Feasts of the Lord


The Import of Understanding the Lord's Timeline: 
God is in the process of restoring the understanding of His timeline to the present day church.  This is a necessary process to prepare the church for His coming rule and reign on the earth.  A preparation process is presently taking place to prepare the church for the prophetic fulfillment of Zechariah 14:16, "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."  

Below is a brief description of the meaning of these feasts for the present day church.  
 
Feasts of the Lord
By Dr. Noreen Jacks

"These are set times of the LORD, the sacred occasions, which you shall celebrate each at its appointed time."  Leviticus 23:4
 
There are three primary Feasts of the Lord, two of which have two additional sub-feasts for a total of seven feasts, the biblical number of completion and perfection. The spring feasts were a “dress rehearsal” for the first coming of the Messiah. The fall feasts are a “dress rehearsal” for the second coming. Instructions for observing the sacred feasts were given to Moses by God in Leviticus 23. The Feasts of the Lord are as follows:
 
  1. Passover = first observed in Egypt, the land of enslavement for the Hebrews (March or April)
  2. Sub-feast: Unleaven Bread = Yeshua is the Bread of Life (March or April)
  3. Sub-feast: First-Fruits = prophetic of Christ’s death and resurrection (March or April)
  4. Pentecost =  giving of the Law of Moses, spiritual fulfillment in Acts 2 (May or June)
  5. Trumpets = also known as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (September or October)
  6. Sub-feast: Day of Atonement = a time of repentance (September or October)
  7. Tabernacles = prophetic of the ingathering of the saints, spiritual harvest (September or October)
 
Passover: 
The first Passover occurred at the conclusion of the ten plagues in Egypt, just prior to the Exodus when God commanded His people to place the blood of an innocent sacrificial lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their homes (Ex 12). The death angel passed over the homes with the blood-covered door, mercifully sparing the lives of all within the dwelling, while slaying the firstborn son in the homes that were not marked with the saving blood of the lamb:
22 You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. 24 And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.  Ex 12:22-24
The first Passover portrayed a prophetic picture of the crucifixion of Jesus, the blameless Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of the world (John 3:16). Jesus commemorated the Passover with His disciples on the night that He was arrested. During the Passover meal, Jesus instituted the New Covenant (Luke 22:14-23). All who accept His sacrificial death will be saved by His precious blood.
 
Unleavened Bread:
The week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread is observed on Nisan 15, the day following the Feast of Passover according to the Hebrew calendar, which is also referred to as “God’s calendar.” The annual springtime commemoration reminds the Jewish people of the bread they made in haste on the night they left Egypt. Leavened bread was forbidden food to the children of God for the entire week of the feast. This was to be a permanent ordinance under penalty of death if disobeyed:
14 ‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  Ex 12:14-15
To this present day observant Jews cleanse their homes of every trace of leaven, including yeast, baking, powder, and baking soda in advance of the coming feast. The removal process can take as long as a month in some traditions while a thorough housecleaning is accomplished. This custom marks the origin of spring cleaning. Some families use the leavening agents to make special pastries for the Festival of Purim that is celebrated in late February or early March.
Leaven symbolizes sin or evil in Scripture. Therefore, it cannot be present in the feast that points prophetically to Jesus Christ, the sinless Bread of Life (John 6:35), who was born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread. Our Lord’s bruised and battered body was broken like bread to feed those who hunger for Him, and He was buried on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Like the unleavened matzah bread of Passover, Jesus was pierced, bruised, and striped:
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. 
Is 53:5
 
Feast of Firstfruits:
The Feast of Firstfruits was the third mandatory observance God gave to the Hebrew people when they entered the Promised Land. The feast was commemorated on Nisan 17 (Nisan 16 according to some), the day the people brought the firstfruits of the barley harvest to the priest as an offering unto the Lord (Lev 23:10-11). At the appointed time, the priest waved a prepared sheaf before the Lord in six directions: north, south, east, west, and up and down to emphasize the omnipresence of Almighty God.
10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  Lev 23:10-11
Families brought their prized offerings to the Temple from all over Israel. It was with great joy that the people waved their sheaves before the Lord in anticipation and thanksgiving of an abundant crop. The corners of their fields were left un-harvested for the gleaners: the widows, orphans, aliens, and poor among them in accordance with the benevolent Law of Moses:
“Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.”  Lev 19:9
The prophetic Feast of Firstfruits was gloriously fulfilled on Resurrection morning when the Son of God arose from the tomb, having conquered death, hell, and the grave. Jesus thereby presented Himself as both the humble waving offering and the exalted high priest before His heavenly Father. And yes, His offering was accepted exactly as the prophets had foretold…on the morning after the Sabbath! Hallelujah!
 
The Feast of Pentecost
The Feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks, was the fourth mandatory celebration on God’s calendar. The Hebrew name for the feast is Shavuot, meaning “weeks.” God commanded His people to count seven weeks, 49 days, and then keep the Feast of Weeks on the 50th day (Deut 16:9-10). The counting commenced with the waving of the Sheaf of Firstfruits. Festal observance is commemorated on Sivan 6-7, which occurs in May or June on the Gregorian calendar. The feast is celebrated by the Jews for one day in Israel and two days outside of Israel.
Historically, Pentecost was an agricultural feast celebrating the wheat harvest, the premiere grain of the ancient world. The Feast of Pentecost also commemorates the giving of the law to Moses by Almighty God, one of Israel most spectacular historical events that occurred on Mount Sinai amidst great signs and wonders:
18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.  Ex 19:18-20
The spiritual fulfillment of Pentecost occurred 50 days after the Resurrection when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the 120 intercessors in the Upper Room, a day that has since been regarded as the birthday of the Church. The fire of Mount Sinai at the giving of the law was now manifested in tongues of fire that came upon the people as they were empowered by the Spirit of the living God:
1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Acts 2:1-4
 
'You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths.  Lev 23:15
 
Feast of Trumpets
A mighty blast of the trumpet ushered in the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month of God’s calendar, Tishri 1, which occurs between mid-September and mid-October on the Gregorian calendar. On this day in Bible times, the sounding of the trumpet summoned the twelve tribes of Israel to a ten-day season of introspection and repentance known as the Ten Days of Awe (Num 29:1). The fifth feast on God’s calendar began with a Sabbath rest, a time when work was prohibited by the Mosaic Law. The following prayer was recited during the festival after the blowing of the trumpet:
 
“Blessed art thou Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to hear the sound of the shofar.”
 
The shofar is blown 100 times during the feast. The message of the shofar is a call to confession and repentance. The shofar calls are listed as follows:
  • Tekiah: an unwavering blast of three seconds
  • Shevarim: three short staccato blasts
  • Teruah: nine staccato blasts
  • Tekiah Gadol: a long steady blast lasting as long as possible 
The Feast of Trumpets, also known as Rosh Hashanah, marks the Jewish New Year. The term is literally translated “head of the year, top of the year, first of the year.” Casting rocks or bread into a lake, river, or ocean is a part of the holy festival for some contemporary celebrants, representing sins being thrown into the sea of forgetfulness (Mic 7:19). Jewish tradition (not Scripture) declares that Adam was created on this momentous day, and Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah, all previously barren women, conceived their promised sons on this special feast day.
 
The prophet Joel speaks of the solemn feast of repentance in the following passage:
 
Blow a trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants.  Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber.  Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’”  (Joel 2:15-17)
 
The prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets will usher in the return of the heavenly Bridegroom, who will come for His bride in His Father’s appointed time (Matt 24:36). Just as the joyful festival participants gathered their ripe, abundant crops from the fields, so will the Lord of the Harvest gather His saints from the four corners of the earth:
 
And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.  Matt 24:31
 
Day of Atonement
The annual Day of Atonement, the sixth great Feast on God’s calendar, is known in Hebrew as Yom Kippur, the national time of reparation in Judaism that points prophetically to the day when all Israel will be saved. The Hebrew term, kippur, means “to cover, to conceal (sin).”
25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
27 “This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” (Rom 11:25-37)

The Day of Atonement is commemorated ten days after the Feast of Trumpets, the season of repentance. Atonement follows repentance. It cannot precede it. There can be no covering or dissolution of sin without heartfelt contrition. This event marks the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar, demanding abstention from all forms of pleasure and luxuries including: lotions, bathing, martial relations, and leather shoes. Jews fast from food and water for a period of 25 hours. The feast marks a day to afflict the flesh. The annual, temporary atonement for sin on Yom Kippur, the feast of covering (sin), pointed prophetically to Yeshua’s eternal sacrifice that would atone for all the sins of the world (John 3:16).
 
The second feast of the seventh month was the day of days for the High Priest of Israel. In the holiest nation on earth, on the holiest day of the year, the holiest man on earth entered the holiest place on earth…the Holy of Holies…and came face to face with his Creator! In preparation for the atonement sacrifice, the high priest bathed five times in a mikveh immersion (a ritual bath). According to the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, the high priest also washed his hands and feet ten times during that day. He eventually entered the Holy of Holies according to the prescribed manner, where he sprinkled the blood of a bull and a goat on the Mercy Seat. The congregation of Israel held its collective breath while waiting for the sins of the priesthood and the sins of the nation to be forgiven by the Almighty (Lev 16:14-15).
 
The Feast of Atonement precedes the Feast of Tabernacles, the Festival of Joy, which is the blessed fruit of confession, repentance, and atonement. The ultimate fulfillment of the feast will occur when the last trumpet blows, and the dead in Christ in will rise from their graves:
 
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thess 4:16-17
 
Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles, the most joyful of the Feasts of the Lord, is likely the origin of the American Thanksgiving. The week-long celebration commenced on Tishri 17, mid-September to mid-October on the Gregorian calendar, during the fall fruit harvest in Israel: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and honey from the date palm tree (Deut 8:7-8). By the grace of God, the Israelites inherited the labor of many generations when they entered the land, giving them much reason to express gratitude to the Lord (Josh 24:13).
 
God instructed His people to erect a sukkah, the Hebrew term for “booth” or “tabernacle,” for the duration of the feast to commemorate their wilderness wanderings:
40 Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, 43 so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”  Lev 23:40-43
The sukkah is still a part of the festivities among religious and non-religious Jews alike. Colorful, creative renditions of the biblical hut can be seen on roof tops, balconies, parks, parking lots, and alleys throughout Israel. The temporary structure must be constructed of natural elements that are sturdy enough to endure the elements for one week. The sukkah dwellers must be able to see the stars through the roof, just as their ancestors did in the wilderness. Some observant Jews dwell in the sukkah for the duration of the feast. Others eat meals and entertain in the sukkah. The temporary structures remind the Jews that this world is not their final dwelling place.

The Feast of Tabernacles is replete with prophetic significance such as the Water Drawing Ceremony that pointed prophetically to Jesus, the Fountain of Living Water (John 7:38-39), and the Festival of Lights that previewed Him as the Light of the World (John 8:12). The high priest, a type of Jesus, called for wind and water to enter the Temple, symbols of the Holy Spirit and the cleansing water of the Word. A priest known as the “pierced one” played a pierced flute.
 
All of these prophetic acts were later fulfilled by our Lord, the anointed High Priest, who was pierced for our transgressions (Is 53:7). Jesus is the cleansing Word made flesh (John 1:14); He is our breath of life (Gen 2:7); and He is Israel’s sukkah (shelter) in the wilderness. God commanded His people to rejoice during the Feast of Tabernacles. I pray you will rejoice also. Chag Sameach (Happy Feast)!