The Feasts of the Lord

The Feasts of the Lord
There are seven Feasts in the plan of God to show us our salvation that helps us to understand the Scriptures and foretell the final ingathering and the wedding feast of the Lord.  There is also a weekly feast that celebrates the Creator God and His salvation through His Son Yeshua a preparation of the wedding to come.

The first thing is to determine whose Feasts they are.

Leviticus 23:1-2 “The Lord said to Moses, speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts,  the appointed feasts to the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies’.  From this scripture we can see that these are the Lord’s feasts and if you read through Leviticus 23 it makes it clear that ‘aliens’ living with them were also to partake of these feasts.

Shabbat (Seventh day)

The Creator God including the Son John 1:1-3. John 10:30.

1/      Passover.                             The saving Grace of God Father through the

                                                      Son, the Lamb of God.

2/      Feast of Unleavened Bread  Living a life without sin.  

3/      Feast of First Fruits              Being presented before the Father.

4/      Shavuot (Pentecost)             The Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

5/      Rosh HaShanah.                           The coming King to take us to the  Father.

6/      Yom Kippur.                          The Day of Judgment before the throne of God.

7/      Tabernacles .                       The Wedding feast of the Groom and His bride.

It must always be remembered the Son came to glorify the Father, and the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) came to reveal all truth. John 14:26. This truth of course must also include our Heavenly Father as well as the Son of God, Yeshua. (Ben Elohim)

Let us now go through the different feasts and see how the Lord Yeshua and the promises of God are in each of them.

The Religious year starts with Passover.  Up until the 16th century in the western Gentile world, this month, the month of Nissan - about the time of April - was the first month of the Year, which was in line with the Word of God  then it was changed to the 1st of January.  Apparently this is how April fools’ day came to be, people continued to send presents to people to ‘fool’ them that it was the ‘New Year’.

FEAST: Passover , Unleavened Bread and First Fruits

(Leviticus. 23:4-8, Matthew 26:17)

Commemorates:   Israel's deliverance from Egypt and from bondage.

Prophetic message:  God giving up His first born and only Son  for the sins of the world, the sacrifice of Yeshua the Lamb of God, to set us free from the bondage of sin.

Description of Feast:

Known in Hebrew as Pessach, the Passover Feast was the Independence Day of the Israelites. Each family symbolically re-enacts the first Passover as they eat their own Passover meal. The celebration continued for seven days as they commemorated the Exodus and wilderness wanderings, by eating unleavened bread and doing no work.  Passover is the time of the sacrificial lamb that set the Israelites free from their bondage.  Through the blood of the Lamb they would be able to live even though they too were sinners.

The prophetic message about the sacrifice of Yeshua for the sins of the world is very clear when the history of the Passover and Jewish teachings and living are understood.

Let us first take the Passover itself.  It is common knowledge to Bible readers that a lamb was slain and the blood applied to the doorposts of the houses.  When the Angel passed over and saw the blood, the people of that house were left in peace, the house was “passed over”.  However when the Lord God wants to give a prophetic message that leaves us in no doubt as to the meaning, He normally puts more than one message before us so there is confirmation in what He is saying.  When Yeshua was on the cross and the soldier came to break His legs, which was common to ensure the condemned person would die more quickly, they found that He was already dead. 

So in line with the Scriptures His bones were not broken.  The Israelites were ordered not to break the bones of the lamb to be killed for the original Passover.  This shows another connection between Yeshua and the sacrificial lamb. 

It also states in Hebrews 10:19-20 that Yeshua is our “door” that we have to pass through for salvation, just as the blood surrounded the door that the people had to pass through to be “saved” in Egypt.

We know from Scripture that the Messiah was to come from the line of David who came from Bethlehem. We also know that Yeshua was born in this town, the town of David.  What was so important about this town that Yeshua had to come from here also?

The people living in Israel were ordered by God to go up to Jerusalem three times a year, the first being Passover when they had to bring a perfect lamb for the sacrifice.  This caused some difficulty because of the distance some of them had to travel and the terrain they had to cross, so a Temple flock was raised near Jerusalem.  Yes, that flock was raised near the town of Bethlehem.

Yeshua entered  Jerusalem for the final time on the 10th day of Nissan.  This is the same day that the lambs were brought into the Temple courts.  The lambs were examined for 4 days to ensure they were without blemish.  Yeshua was examined over the same time period and at the end of this time it was declared by Pilate  “I have examined Him . . . He has done nothing to deserve death”. Luke 23:14,15.  Our sacrificial Lamb was without blemish.

A Jewish day is divided into two 12 hour sections, the first being from 6 o`clock in the evening to 6 o’clock in the morning, the second being from 6 o’clock in the morning until 6 o’clock in the evening. The daylight hours were counted off from 6 o’clock in the morning.  It is a historical fact that the first lamb was sacrificed at 9 o’clock in the morning, the same time that Yeshua was crucified. Mark 15:25.   The last lamb was to be killed at 3 o’clock in the afternoon; this is the recorded time of Yeshua’s death. “and at the ninth hour He died”. Mark 15:32-33.  From this we can see the direct relationship between the sacrifice of the lamb for the sins of the people at the Temple and the sacrifice that Jesus made for the sins of the whole world.

All sacrifices had to be overseen by the high priest who would declare “that it is completed” in accordance with the Scriptures. To understand how this was transferred to Yeshua to declare that it had been (completed) finished, we need to look back to the position of the High Priest.  There were rules laid down within the office of Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) and one of these was the forbidding of tearing the priestly robes.  Leviticus 21:10.  So when Caiaphas tore his robes when Yeshua said He was the Messiah (Matthew 26:65) his priesthood was invalidated and anything that he now did in that role was null and void.

This meant he no longer had the authority to oversee the sacrifice and that the animal sacrifice at that moment, the same time at which Yeshua was being crucified, would no longer be recognised by God.

The position of High Priest had to be through an anointing of God,  but it is a recorded fact that Caiaphas was a political appointee made by the Roman authorities. John 11:48. It seems that the position of High Priest moved from the Aaronic line during the time of the Maccabees. They took this role as reward for their victory over the Greeks, when they freed the Temple from the Greeks and rededicated it to God in 135 AD.

For Yeshua to be recognised by God as our High Priest (Cohen HaGadol), He had to be anointed by the previous High Priest.   If  we look at the first Chapter of Luke we will see that both of John the Baptist’s parents were of the line of Aaron.  This made their son John the rightful heir to the High Priesthood.  This is most likely the reason that Yeshua, instead of being baptised in the pool at the Temple courts, went to John to be baptised.  He was baptised by the rightful heir to the high priesthood and therefore anointed by God for the task that lay ahead.

Now if John was the rightful High Priest a role which was to be passed on to Yeshua, maybe that is why God allowed the death of John so that all was done in order and there were not two High Priests when it came time for Yeshua to become both our earthly and heavenly High Priest.

Now as Yeshua hung on the cross, He was not only the sacrifice for the sins of the world, (as the animal sacrifice was no longer recognised by God),  He was also the Cohen HaGadol (High Priest).  This gave him the full right to declare “It is completed (finished)”. “It has been done in accordance with the Word of God”.  He gave up His spirit and died. They placed Him in the grave quickly, as the next day was the Sabbath. His work was completed. He said it was correct (good) and on the seventh day He rested. He entered His rest from His work.

It is interesting that in the Seder (Passover) meal the bread (Matzah) used is without yeast, in line with Scripture.  When the Israelites left Egypt they did not have time to bake the bread with yeast.  Yeast is the symbol of sin in our lives. 1 Corinthians 5.  So within every Seder meal the Matzah is without yeast, a symbol of living our lives without sin.  To ensure that there is no yeast left in the Matzah for the Passover Seder, the Rabbis treat the Matzah in such a way that it speaks of  Isaiah 53.  Firstly it has stripes,  ‘By His stripes we are healed’. Next it is full of very small holes, ‘He was pierced for our transgressions’, and finally it is covered with brown patches like bruising, ‘He was bruised for our iniquities’, Isaiah 53 v 5.

Affikomen (Bread of Affliction)

For the Seder meal there are three pieces of Matzot (Matzot), being the plural of matzah).  The Jewish people see this as unity between God, the land and the people.  But as believers in Yeshua we can see the tri-unity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  As the Seder meal continues the “Bread of Affliction”, which is always the middle one of the three Matzot, is taken from the others, broken in half, wrapped in a white cloth and ‘buried’- hidden - to be found later and brought back for the final act of the Seder meal.

The Word of God Wrapped in a white cloth and buried. Luke 23:53

At the end of the Seder meal the question is asked - “Who has taken the ‘Affikomen’ (the matzah, meaning the dessert) and hidden it. ‘And Mary said “they have  taken my Lord and I do not know were they have put Him” John 20v13.  The children set off to find the missing Matzah and the one who finds it is rewarded.  Isaiah it not amazing that when we find Yeshua we have in our possession the means of the greatest reward obtainable, eternal  life with God the Father?

Let us now return to the final act of the crucifixion, that is where Yeshua’s cloak was to be divided amongst them. Matthew 27:35.  They did not tear the garment of this Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) Leviticus 21:10 so therefore His status as High Priest was not removed from Him and therefore He remains our High Priest forever. Hebrews 7:21.

It is clear from scripture that our Lord was in the Tomb on the Shabbat. Genesis 1 tells us that the Father worked for six days looked at it all and claimed it was complete.  In John 14, Yeshua says the Father and I are one. That means that He and the Father worked for six days of creation and declared it finished.

Yeshua entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Nissan, was examined for four days brought to trial on the 5th day and was crucified on the 6th day, the day of preparation, which is always the day before Shabbat (Friday)

Then the second person of the Godhead cried out “It is finished”, (it was completed as per the word of God,) - gave up His Spirit and died. He was laid in the Tomb and rested on the 7th day.

The Feast Of Unleavened Bread.

The Passover feast includes Chag HaMatzah, the feast of  unleavened bread, a symbol of being without sin. “and He was found to be without sin.”   Luke 23:14. This always started the day after the sacrifice. On this Chag HaMatzah, Yeshua was in the grave. 

There is a thought that He could have been in Hades talking to those who had died, and were possibly waiting on the Messiah to come. Ephesians 4:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:18-19.  If this was the case He would be showing them that He was the true Lord of the Sabbath.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread has been passed over with little interest other than to say that leaven is a sign of sin and to be without leaven a sign of being without sin. We know from scripture that the Israelites were told to eat only unleavened bread when leaving Egypt. Exodus 12:15. Yeshua said to be aware of the leaven of the Pharisees, Matthew 16:6 and Paul reminds us that leaven is a symbol of sin, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. There is a strong warning here for all who want to follow in the path of Yeshua.

To take part in this feast of unleavened bread is a time of reflection, not just on the fact that we are sinners who by the Grace of God, have been redeemed and released from the bondage of sin. It is a time of reflection on what sin is, where it came from, and what sort of affect it can have on our walk with God. It is a time to come to terms with how sin can destroy us and distract us from the path that God has set before us.

It is not the sin in the world that destroys us but that sin from the world we allow to come into us, into our minds our hearts our spirits. This feast is a reminder of just that, it is what is within and not external that destroys. Unleavened bread can be kept for many years and can still be edible, but if we try to keep leavened bread for more than a few days it soon becomes bad. It is the leaven from within that destroys and that is the same with us, it is the sin that we have allowed to enter into us that destroys. If we remove the sin, the leaven, from our lives then we are walking the path God commanded, “Be holy as I am Holy”, Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:16.

By this we continue the process of preparation for the time we will stand at the Judgment seat of God. 2 Corinthians 5:10. Yeshua started us on this path when He died on the Cross. He is the standard we have to follow. Remember, there is no further sacrifice because all has been completed in Him. Hebrews 10:26.

The Feast of First Fruits.

In the Hebrew language to say on the third day, is to mean the day after tomorrow, so He rose on the third day, the day of first fruits. 1 Corinthians 15:4.

On the first day of the week after the Shabbat of Passover week  is the  Feast of First Fruits,  the day of celebrating and of presenting the first of the barley harvest to the Lord God. On the first day of the week the disciples went to the tomb and found it empty.  He was not there; He had risen from the dead. 

Yeshua was the first fruits from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20.  When Mary went to touch Him He said “do not touch Me as I have not yet gone to the Father” John 20:17.  He was still to present the first fruits to God.

If we look at Genesis 1. We will see that the first fruits were created on the third day.  It is as if our redemption was put in place from the beginning of time.  There is an interesting study to be made on things that happened in the Word of God  on the third day,  e.g.  it was on the third day after the Israelites arrived at Mt Sinai that Moses went up the mountain to speak with God.

The prophetic picture the Lord God has presented to us through the Passover is so clear people may wonder why this has not been seen before now.  Over the centuries the Hebraic background of the Bible has been hidden from the people.  The first ‘Believers in the Messiah’ were Jewish people and the problem was not where do the Jews fit in to all this, but where do the Gentiles fit in to God’s plan.  Romans Chapters Nine, Ten and Eleven.  In the beginning there were two types of believer, Hebraic thinkers, those who mainly - but not entirely - lived in the land of Israel and Hellenistic thinkers, mostly Gentiles, who had taken on the thought patterns of the ancient Greeks. There was much harmony between them and the Hebraic thinkers tried to accommodate the Hellenistic thinkers. Romans 15, but as mentioned earlier, as the Gentile Hellenistic thinkers took control of the Church, the Hebraic roots of the Bible were lost.

In researching the early Church it is found there were many reasons, some major and some minor, for the split away from the Jewish roots.  However there is always a perfect timing with the Lord and in these end times people are being awakened to their Hebraic roots.  More and more Gentiles in this country and around the world are coming to understand Romans 11, how we are grafted in to the Olive (Hebraic) Tree, not separate but part of the overall plan and we become one in Yeshua. Ephesians 2:14-15

With the Passover complete, the sacrifice that gives us our release from sin, we can reflect on this and it’s meaning.

Step one completed, our salvation was given.

God gave the Israelites seven weeks to reflect on this as He brought them to the foot of the mountain,  where Shavuot (Feast of weeks) took place.