Festivals of the Lord
Chapter 23 of Leviticus makes it clear that these feasts are not Jewish feasts. Verse 2 tells us they are Gods feasts. The Hebrew word for these feasts is "Mo'ed" which means "appointed times". These are Gods appointed times to meet with us, and by observing them we learn about the saving grace of His Messiah in His first coming and what to expect in His second coming. God calls these feasts "Holy Convocations", which in Hebrew means "rehearsals." Yes, the Jews have been keeping them for thousands of years, but without knowing the Messiah, they lack in their understanding of the message. I am not suggesting the Jewish scholars missed the point, it is that they were truly blinded by God in order for the "Gentiles" to have the opportunity to be adopted or grafted into the children of God. We are supposed to be the off-spring of the house of Israel, but some how we were stolen by the Roman beastly system and our foundation still lies in the Roman Catholic church. The enemy of Rome was the Jewish people. Constantine drove all the Jewishness out of Christianity. To make a long story short, the protestant reformation did not restore the foundation back to its first century roots. Our foundation still remains imbedded in Rome. According to Daniel, Messiahs second coming we would still be under Roman influence (clay and iron toes). How can the Jews embrace us as brothers if we follow paganism such as calling "Passover", "Easter". I know I have already ruffled feathers, but bear with me, I used to feel the same way until God opened my eyes to the errors in my beliefs. How can we not be ashamed for the way we Christians treated the Jewish people over the years in the name of Christ. In the last days, God tells us we will be one united power in His hand (Ez. 37:15). How can we love each other, worship the same God unless we find common ground. Well, the common ground is for us to love the Jewish people into seeing the Messiah in us. In order to do this, we need to realize we worship a Jewish Messiah. If we are to be like Him, then let us study His life and teachings. Jesus and all the Disciples and Apostles kept Gods appointed times-"The Feasts". Before I get all preachy, let me start to explain the meaning of the 7 feasts and how they relate to Jesus/Yeshua.
Let us start with Jesus riding into Jerusalem from Mount Olive. Jesus wept when He looked over Jerusalem, because He knew His missions out come. The people knew by the book of Daniel, that the Messiah was due that year. They wanted to be delivered from Rome. By ignoring the teachings of Gods Feasts, they missed the part where their had to be a sacrificed lamb or the suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53. They cut palms from the local trees (Bethany means place of palms) and began to wave them in front of Jesus. The waving of the palms is a part of the fall feast of "Sukkot", which is the teaching of the second coming of the Messiah. We will see this when I get to the fall feasts. Jesus was doing the same thing as all the other people who came to the feasts. They were presenting their lambs to the priests to be inspected for spots a blemishes. The week before the festivals, they made sure their lambs were the best they could find. Jesus presented Himself to the temple mount priest to be inspected. They ask Him many questions trying to find fault (spots and blemishes). They could not find any and made up lies to fit their desire to get rid of Him. He was taking their glory away.
Passover was an "engagement dinner" celebrated by Israel and her betrothal to God. The giving of the law on Mount Sinai was the marriage contract. God went to prepare a place for His bride but His bride was unfaithful. (If you have never been to a "seder" meal try and find one in your area and attend it. It carries a great message.) At Jesus' "Last Supper"/Seder, Jesus took the third cup of wine--"the cup of redemption," which He called the "new covenant in My blood" (Luke 22:20). In reality Jesus was saying to His bride "I will redeem you, I will pay the price for you." At a seder there is a forth cup, "the cup of praise". Jesus did not partake of this cup because He said, "But I say unto you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom" (Matthew 26:29). A day will soon come when the body of Christ and its brother the Messianic Jewish believers will become "One New Man". The bride of Christ will be caught up in the air to be with Him forever (Thessalonians 4:16-17). We will share a heavenly Passover meal at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:7-9). These hidden meanings about the Messiah in the festivals are not hard to see if you are searching for truth about who the Messiah is. They are all about Him. We need not celebrate these festivals just as the Jews do, but we do need to keep them in a sacred way to meet with our Messiah Yeshua/Jesus, at His appointed times. We may miss a blessing. These feasts are not for salvation , that comes by grace. We follow the feasts because we know the Lord will bless us when we are obedient.
Feast of Unleavened Bread
The next feast in the Spring grouping of three, is "Unleavened Bread". Leaven is known as sin in the Bible. In the Jewish home, before they start Passover, they clean the house of all leavened products. This is where we got the custom of "Spring cleaning". During this feast the people are taking their lambs to the Temple to be sacrificed. A shoulder or hind quarter is kept by the Levite Priests and the rest is given back to the people for the Passover meal. As the first lamb is being sacrificed on the Temple Mount, at 9:00 in the morning, Jesus is being nailed to the cross on Golgotha. All during the day the Levite choir in the Temple are singing Psalms, especially Psalm 118. Take a moment and read this Psalm before you continue reading this article. At three o'clock in the afternoon the last lamb is slain on the Temple Mount, and the High Priest says "It is finished". Also at the same time Jesus says "it is finished". This tells me Yeshua is the "High Priest" and went into the Holy of Holies in Heaven to sprinkle His blood on the "Mercy Seat" of God to atone for our sins.
There are seven extra Sabbaths in the year, and are set apart from the seventh day Sabbaths (Saturday). Each feast of the Lord has an extra high holy Sabbath. When Jesus said to the people that were looking for a sign, He said "the only sign I will give you is Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish". Jesus means just that, that He would spend three days and nights in the belly of the earth, not two. Good Friday is a misinterpretation of scripture. Not understanding the Jewish Sabbaths, led those interpreting scripture to believe He was placed in the tomb before a seventh day Sabbath. He was placed in the tomb before preparation day, a high holy Sabbath of the feasts of unleavened bread. It would have been before sundown on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday). If you believe in a messiah that only spent one day and two nights in the tomb, then he is not the anointed Messiah of God. A true prophet of God has to be right 100% of the time. Jesus was Prophet, High priest, King of kings, and God. If He said He would be in the tomb three days and three knights He was.
Feast of First Fruits
The next feast on the Jewish calendar and still a part of the Passover celebration is "First-fruits". The first sheaves of the barley harvest were gathered, and brought to the Temple and waved before the Lord. It was the acknowledgement that all the products of the land came from God, and thankfulness for His goodness. Israelites brought as an offering to the Lord a portion of the fruits that ripened first, these were looked upon as an investment of the coming harvest. The offering was made both for the nation (Lev. 23:10,17) and by individuals (Exod. 23:19; Deut. 26:1-11) A portion of the first fruits were set aside in ribbon wrapped bundles during the counting of the "omar" (7 weeks and a day to "Shavuot/Pentecost), then they were winnowed and the dry seeds were ground very fine to make bread to take to the Temple as a sacrifice for Pentecost. Jesus arose from the tomb on the day of First-fruits as the First-Fruits of the Resurrection.
The fall festivals come next as a teaching of Jesus' second coming. A long period of time (approximately 123 days) goes by before the next feast, and this time period represents the "Age of the gentiles" to the Jews. Some Christians call this the "age of Dispensation", a period of time during which man is tested for obedience to God. (By the way this word's definition is "law", if Jesus nailed the "law" to the cross why did early Christians choose to use this word?) This is the fullness of time for the "Church age". Jew and Christian scholars believe there will be seven of these ages throughout the age of mankind. We are going through the sixth, the seventh will be with God, and is called "Tabernacles".
The Feast of Sukkot/Tabernacles"
These fall feasts of the Lord are grouped together just as the spring feasts are. The first to come is called "Rosh HaShannah". It is also called the "Feasts of Trumpets". It falls on the first day of "Tishri" on the Jewish calendar. "Rosh" means the head or first and "shannah" means year, so it is the Head of the year.
The fall feasts teach us of a time that has not been fulfilled yet. It is a teaching of the second coming of the Messiah. Just as He fulfilled the spring feasts down to the moment, He will do the same in the fall feasts. Rosh HaShannah (trumpet/shofar blast) will usher in the resurrection of the "dead in Christ". (I wonder if this will take place at the very moment that the two witnesses are resurrected on the streets of Jerusalem spoken of in Revelation 11?) Everyone on earth will know something happened that was super natural. With all the means of modern technology, the world will know instantaneously. We as believers in the Messiah have been taught all our lives that the alive and well will meet them in the air. If it does not take place immediately, we will feel we were left behind. But if we follow the feasts and listen to the prophesies of Jesus in Matthew 24 (...as in the days of Noah) we will realise God gives a 7 to 10 day period of time to repent. He is a merciful God. Seven days later comes "Yom Kippur" or "day of atonement" (just as in the days of Noah, God shut the door to the ark, but it did not rain for seven more days) and it will be judgement day! Jesus will place His feet on the Mount of Olives and judgment begins. The King/God/Messiah will be on earth with man. A few days after Yom Kippur, is the starting of "Sukkot" or Tabernacles (Tishrei 22) and is a seven day feast that represents the thousand year reign of the King of kings and Lord of lords. This I believe is when Yeshua the King brings His wedding chamber down to earth. The place He went to prepare for us who love and obey Him. Read all about this 1500 mile square "Tabernacle" that comes down and rests over Jerusalem in Revelation 21:10. It is the new Jerusalem!