The Feasts of Israel...A Calendar of World Prophecy
The Feasts were given to Moses as times of appointments when God would meet with His people. He commanded the Jews to gather at a place where He would place His Name, 3 times a year, to commemorate 3 Feasts to honor God's mercy and deliverance. God was very explicit and detailed about how each Feast was to be observed, because within the framework of each Feast were hidden types and shadows...symbols...that would clearly point to the Messiah and His work of atonement and reconciliation. As the Feasts unfolded, it became a prophetic calendar of Messianic events, not only for the Jews, but eventually, for the entire world! It became a calendar of prophetic world history, and is yet to reveal its last 3 Feasts.
There have been many changes in Judaism since God initiated the Feasts. So much so that Biblical Judaism is hardly recognizable in the present day concepts of Contemporary/reformed Judaism. God, Who knows the end from the beginning, anointed Isaiah to record, almost 3000 years ago, a prophecy describing the very day we live in, when we would put more emphasis on Rabbinical concepts found in the Talmud, the Mishna, the 13 articles of Faith, etc: "Wherefore, the LORD said, forasmuch as the people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men". Man changes, but the truth is always evident in types and shadows; the Feasts would always speak of Messiah!
God called Moses up to Mt. Sinai no less than 8 times. It was during these meetings that God gave him the revelations concerning creation of the world, and His plans for man's future. Also, His will for mankind, laws for a life style that would keep man healthy, and wise, and give him the ability to do what he was created to do... to give God pleasure! (Rev 4:11) God wrote with His own finger, the 10 commandments on tablets of stone, and dictated the other 603 laws and Moses wrote them in his own handwriting, and called it "the book of the law". These laws were to benefit the people and covered a multitude of issues such as health and fitness, dietary laws and restrictions, (known as Kosher laws today), medical treatments, civil and moral laws and sacrificial laws governing their relationship with God and worship. Most important, the Lord gave Moses instructions for a tent type tabernacle that would be a place that He would manifest His Presence to the people, and they would know their God was amongst them. It was during this time that God gave Moses a pattern or blueprint of exactly the kind of building He wanted Moses to erect, giving him the exact measurement of every piece of furniture to go in it, and every accessory, down to the color of the drapes and curtains, the type of wood and metals, and the design and the floor plan. Moses had only to obey and follow the plan God laid out for him! It was all God's plan; "Salvation is of the Lord!" It's all His plan...all man has to do is obey and follow the plan! Moses followed the plan, and the result was a tabernacle plan that played a vital role in man's relationship to God for the next 500 years, because it was a floor plan of approach to God! It became an avenue of atonement that spoke of the atoning sacrifice that came by the blood of animals that would one day be fulfilled by the sacrificial blood of Jesus at Calvary! It was a type and shadow of Calvary.
All the symbols and types that were found in the ark, the altars and all the furniture were shadows that pointed to Jesus, and they were created with one purpose in God's mind: they were "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ". They were shadows; He is the Substance. It's a principle: first in the natural or physical, followed by that which is Spiritual. The same pattern is found in the Feasts of Israel. They were designed for the Jew to observe in that day to worship God for their harvests, yet, within the very same framework of each Feast, there's a connection and a prophecy of Jesus and His redemptive work for the Jews and the world! His footprints walk across the pages of the entire calendar!
There are 7 feast days that the Jews were mandated to observe through the year, listed in chronological order in Leviticus 23.
Vs:4-6 "These are the feast of the LORD, even holy convocations which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread"
Vs:10-11 "Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, when ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then shall ye bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest; and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted for you; On the morrow after the Sabbath, the priest shall wave it."
Vs:15-17 "and ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number 50 days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations 2 wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits unto the LORD".
Vs:24 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, in the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation."
Vs:27-29 "And also, on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people."
Vs:34 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD".
Vs:39-43 "Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations; ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all the are that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
These were the appointed times that God wanted to meet with His people. When He brought them out of Egypt's bondage, He made that month, Nisan, the beginning of the new calendar year for them. Now, they would have 2 calendars: the civil year, which began between Sept 15th -October 15th. This calendar would remind them of where the LORD had brought them from, where He was taking them to, and how to worship Him for His provision and blessings. As history unfolded, and prophecies were revealed, it became obvious that this calendar was not only for the Jews, but would affect the entire human race. Each Feast day speaks of events that shaped world history, and of events and prophecies that are yet unfulfilled. Through the study of types and shadows, we can see some of the rites and rituals of these Feasts pointing to spiritual truths that have been dormant for several thousand years...just waiting to be revealed in this end time generation.
Even numbers play an important role, so that from the first Feast to the last, they become an instrument in unfolding of God's will and intention for humanity. The study of number relating to Scriptures is called Numerics.
An example of relating numbers to Biblical study can be seen in the number of Feasts recorded...seven. This number always relates to thing perfected or completed, or in a state of fullness. We can see an example of this in the perfect and complete octave in music...7 notes in a musical scale, (the eighth note begins the 7 note scale again. all music is a combination of just 7 notes.) The color chart is 7 basic colors, all other colors are from a blend of the original 7. In creation, the world was completed on the 7th day, and needed nothing more to make it what it was and is now! The week contains 7 days. The 7 Feasts speak of God's complete and perfect plan for man's redemption and restoration. As the calendar of Feasts unfold, each one will combine its numerical significance with types and shadows to present a complete and full understanding of God's plan for man in today's world.
The Feasts are divided into 2 groups. (In numerics, 2 is the number that indicates division or separation.) The first 4 feasts are in the beginning of the yea, separated by 4 months before the last 3 feasts are observed. Bible numerics relate the number 4 to "things God created to benefit man; to help mankind in his effort to thrive in this world." There are 4 seasons, for planting and harvesting; 4 regions of the earth; 4 directions for man to travel in; 4 watches (or parts) of the 24 hour day; 4 lunar phases that affect the tides and plant growth; 4 elements affecting the conditions of the world. The first 4 segments of the 7 feasts occur during the first 4 months of the year, and all are related to things that enable man to plant, produce, thrive and worship.
The first Feast, (in Exodus, Chapters 11 and 12), was designed as a means by which God liberated the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. God, in response to the cries of the people for an end to their hardship and slavery, instructed Moses to select a lamb on the 10th of Nisan, and if after 4 days, it was found to be unblemished, healthy, whole and perfect, they would sacrifice the lamb and use its blood to sprinkle on the houses for a protective sign. That lamb would be known as the Pasach lamb, meaning "skipper lamb", because at midnight, on the 14thof Nisan, God would "skip over" their houses if they were protected by the blood, and would slay the first born of the homes where there wasn't an application of blood from the sacrificed Pasach/skipper lamb. According to the Biblical and secular history, all those that had applied the blood to their doors were spared death, and all in Egypt that had not applied the blood were in anguish and grief for their losses, including the Pharaoh and those in his palace. This was the 10th and final plague God had brought as a warning to the Pharoah to let His people return to their land. This was part of a prophecy given 400 years earlier to Abraham, and was fulfilled to the exact time, place and circumstances. (Genesis 15:13, 14).
The Feast of Passover was instituted as a time for the Jews to remember the goodness and provision of the One God of Israel forever, in all their generations, and to remember that He was All Sufficient to meet their needs. It was during this time He revealed Himself to be their Savior and Redeemer, when He provided their liberation from bondage and exile. Through the leadership of Moses and the Presence of God in the cloud, He led them daily. That night was to be remembered as "the LORD'S Passover".
It's no coincidence that Passover is number ONE in the lineup of the Feasts, because the message of Passover speaks of the virtues of God, Who is ONE in number...He tells us, in the laws, "thou shalt have no other gods"..no multiplicity, as the pagans did, but "the LORD our God is one LORD". (Deut. 6:4) numerically speaking, ONE is a number that needs no other number added to it to make it what it is.. it stands alone, expressing exactly what it is... all sufficient, needing nothing beside it. ONE plus nothing else is still ONE! (Isaiah 45:21; "there is no God beside Me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside Me." Vs. 22: "..I am God an there is none else." The number ONE expresses the All Sufficiency of the One God; the LORD, our Passover, Who is All Sufficient to redeem us from spiritual bondage and bring us into a place of freedom and peace.
Passover has highly significant prophetic and spiritual applications, especially for the end time generation. The application of the blood on their houses provided protection for the Israelites from God's judgment as He passed over Egypt that night. Not just any animal's blood, but from a specific lamb that had been observed for imperfections for 4 days. Nationally and historically, this first Feast day deals with the all sufficiency of a God that provided safety, protection and deliverance to the Jews from their bondage. Prophetically, it was a "type and shadow": .. that pointed to a spiritual deliverance that God would one day provide through a sacrifice that would meet the same criteria of that Pesach Lamb. It would become the means by which man, not on a national level, but as an individual, could experience spiritual deliverance from guilt, shame, addictions, disease and bondage that attach themselves to men through sin. Almost 2000 years later, God sent the Messiah, Yeshua, anointed to walk in this world as the anti-type... the fulfillment of the sacrificial Pesach Lamb of Passover. The apostle Paul referred to Him as "Christ, our Passover:, (I Corinth 5:7), who lived among the Israelites and taught them, and practiced Godly principles for 3 years. John called Him "the Lamb of God". On the day the Passover Pesach lamb was taken to Jerusalem for the priests to examine for the next 4 days, (Nisan 10), Yeshua, the Lamb of God, came into Jerusalem to teach and answer questions in the Temple, in the streets, on the hillsides, for all men to observe. In the next 4 days, Yeshua stood before His disciples, His apostles, His accusers, (the high priests, the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod), and they could not find any valid accusation in Him. (no imperfections) Even Pilate, desiring to free Him, pleaded to the crowd that this Man was innocent, and he admitted "I find no fault in Him" .. Yeshua was likened unto the Pesach lamb, unblemished and perfect. On the 14th day of Nisan, as the Pesach lamb was being sacrificed to shed it's blood, to fulfill the ceremonial law, Yeshua was fulfilling the spiritual "type" by being crucified outside the city, providing atonement and deliverance through the blood required to keep judgment from humanity's house! A National deliverance through the blood of the Pesach lamb … a shadow of what would follow: Personal and spiritual deliverance through "Christ, our Passover:", the Lamb of God.
Today, contemporary Judaism celebrates the Passover rituals by gathering friends and family around a Passover meal, consisting of special foods that are types representing the events of the first Passover... hard boiled eggs that speak of the hardness of Pharaoh's heart; salt water for the tears shed by the Jews in slavery; bitter herbs for their bitterness and sorrow before God's deliverance; a mixture to remind them of the mortar they had to make in building the cities for the Egyptians, and the unleavened bread made without yeast because they fled Egypt in haste. Most important on the tray is shank bone from a lamb, to honor the blood shed for their deliverance from the Pesach lamb. A day set aside to honor the One God of Israel, Who has revealed Himself as the One Lord and Savior, Yeshua.
"For I am the LORD, thy God, the Holy One of Israel, the Savior"
As we delve into a more detailed study of rites and rituals of the actual Passover meal, you will begin to see that everything in it points to the plan Yahweh, the Almighty God had in preparing for the coming Messiah.
The diagram below shows how the Feasts of the Lord translate from the Bible, to Jewish celebrations and then to Christian celebration.
The Feasts of the Lord are: