Over the course of the year, there are seven mandatory feasts of the Lord, there are more remembrances, feasts, festivals and anniversaries in the Hebrew calendar, but there are seven specific feasts of the Lord that God Himself commanded His people remember and celebrate every year at specific times. We’ve looked at all seven so far and now it’s time to give an overview of them to see the picture they present to us of the story of Salvation and how they’re each fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ.
These feasts occur in clusters; the first three occur in the Israeli spring and they occur close to each so they happen in quick succession.
Passover is when the unblemished, male, one year old lamb is brought into the family, it’s subsequently killed and it’s blood is placed over the door of each home to ensure that the angel of death would ‘pass over’ the home ensuring everyone inside the house would be saved. This is immediately followed by unleavened bread, a week long celebration of the deliverance of the people from certain death and slavery, the bread representing the lamb without sin or blemish who gave them life, followed by First Fruits. The first lives to be delivered from death.
Jesus Himself fulfills all these feasts because He was the Lamb of God, without spot, defect or blemish, perfect and sinless who shed His blood so that man would escape the penalty death and slavery to sin. The Bread of Life without leaven/sin broken for us. Then of course comes First Fruits, in the same way, that generation of Hebrews were the first to escape slavery and death and Jesus was the first to defeat death in Egypt, hell and the grave.
Then there’s a fifty day gap of time that leads us to the Feast of Weeks, ‘Shavuot’ which we call the Feast of Pentcost. There are seven weeks between the first cluster of feasts until Shavuot and this feast celebrates the giving of the Word of God and thus bringing the Light of God’s truth into the world. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh and the Light of the World and on Shavuot, the church was born in Jerusalem…fifty days after His sacrifice and resurrection. This began the preaching of the Gospel that spread throughout the whole world allowing Gentiles to know salvation through Christ, revealed through God’s unchanging Word.
Then there’s another break of time until the final cluster of feasts take place, the autumn feasts, and like the first three, they happen in quick succession.
Rosh Ha’Shana which is the Jewish New Year, that celebrates with the blowing of the Shofar, the trumpet and those trumpet blasts signify the coming of the King who will have His coronation as well as signifying a preparation for repentance by the people before His imminent return. Rosh Ha’Shana begins the Ten Days of Awe, in which they deal with sin in their hearts and lives, taking serious stock of themselves before God in preparation for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement which begins at the end of the Days of Awe.
Yom Kippur is a serious and incredibly solemn day, the most solemn of the entire year in which the High Priest – the mediator between the people and God – would take two goats, one to shed its blood to pay for the sins of the people and one to bear the burden of those sins and to take them away completely. This is where the sins of the people are paid for, salvation is granted and their names are written in the book of life. Jesus of course, is our High Priest and mediator, who sacrificed Himself on our behalf, who paid for our sin and washed it away completely. He paid for our salvation and He took our sin away from us permanently.
Finally, that brings us to Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, a celebration of God’s provision of the Jewish people during the wilderness wanderings for forty years. He fed them, clothed and protected them and at the right time, led them into their promised land inheritance where He continued to provide for them. Their salvation was complete, they were forgiven, had reached their destination and their God dwelt among them. Jesus of course fulfills this feast as well. He’d already paid for the sin but He also will come back as their ruling King and will dwell or ‘tabernacle’ among them as He did during His first advent or coming. Eternal security and inheritance has been paid for and the celebration of new life with the Messiah is the culmination of the redemption of human kind.
The first three feasts show the first coming of Messiah, where He shed His blood, offering Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of man. He body – the bread of life – and His blood – the blood of the covenant that paid for sin was given on behalf of man and then He rose from the grave to prove His divinity and Messiah-ship. This was the time of the first coming of Jesus.
Then there’s a gap of time that allows for the Word of God – the Gospel of Christ – that was taken to the four corners of the world allowing the Gentiles to become grafted in, while for the most part, divine, judicial blindness rests on the individual Jews around the world in spite of the fact that they’re not without God, because God is still keeping His promises and covenants with them. But when that gap of time is complete the last three feasts will be fulfilled.
Then the people of God, more specifically the Jewish people will prepare their hearts for the return of their King, they’ll experience true and genuine repentance and will see clearly the sacrifice and atonement made on their behalf, they’ll cry out to Him and come to saving faith, knowing with certainty their salvation and then great rejoicing will be theirs as their King returns and dwells among them once again. This will be the time of the second coming of Jesus, that Gentile believers are equally and earnestly longing for.
This is God’s plan of Redemption as presented and celebrated every year during the Feasts of the Lord.