Why study the feasts? Because the Bible says so:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17)
God has a 3-fold purpose for the feasts:
- FOR ISRAEL – Object Lessons to remind them how merciful and gracious God had been to them as a nation
- FOR THE WORLD – God’s prophetic timetable
- FOR CHRISTIANS – A beautiful portrait of Jesus Christ
The outline below is an overview of each feast, simply showing the significance to each of these groups. This study was born out of Nehemiah 8:1-2 as I was studying “How To Study The Bible.” In verse 8:2, the context of chapter 8 is seen at the Feast of Trumpet, “upon the first day of the seventh month.” The importance of this and how it affects our Bible study will be analyzed in the conclusion.
We find all 7 feasts on Leviticus 23.
I. Passover (Leviticus 23:4-5)
A. Israel – This feast marks the Passover in Egypt
B. Prophecy – Death of Jesus – the Passover Lamb (1Cor 5:7)
C. Christian – Our salvation (Acts 4:12)
II. Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-8)
A. Israel – One’s life should be free from all sin and malice
B. Prophecy – Burial of Jesus (1Cor 5:6-9; 2Cor 7:1)
C. Christian – Our separation – from sin (Gal 5:7-9)
NOTE: There is no lapse of time between Passover (Salvation) and Unleavened Bread (Sanctification). Sanctification is to be immediate, without excuse!
III. First Fruits (Leviticus 23:9-14)
A. Israel – This feast marked the spring harvest
B. Prophecy – Resurrection of Jesus (1Cor 15:20-21)
C. Christian – Our service – Give God our first/best (Prov 3:9-10)
NOTE: First 3 feasts are the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1Cor 15:3-4)
IV. Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-22)
A. Israel – This feast marked the summer harvest – Jews offer a “wave offering” of 2 loaves baked with leaven
B. Prophecy – Church empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1)
C. Christian – Our Spirit filled life (Eph 5:18)
NOTE: First Fruits had no leaven offered, as there was no sin or evil in Christ. Now, Pentecost, pointing to the church, baked with leaven because the presence of sin and is still found in the church. Two loaves picture both Jew and Gentile, equal in importance to the Lord, but diseased by the leaven of sin.
V. Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25)
A. Israel – This feast marked the fall harvest, the greatest harvest
B. Prophecy – Rapture of the Church (1Thess 4:16-18)
C. Christian – Our searching – The scriptures (Acts 17:11)
NOTE: Feast of First Fruits celebrated the spring harvest. Pentecost celebrated the summer harvest, 50 days after the First Fruits. The summer harvest yielded more fruit than the first. Trumpets celebrated the fall harvest, the greatest harvest of the year.
VI. Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32)
A. Israel – Day of sorrow and repentance over sin
B. Prophecy – Tribulation and 2nd coming (Zech 12:10-11)
C. Christian – Our sanctification (1John 1:9)
NOTE: During this feast, the Jew was not allowed to work, and each Jew was to afflict their souls from “even” to “even.” Can you imagine staying awake for 24 hours confessing your sins?
VII. Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44)
A. Israel – Marked the completion of the whole harvest
B. Prophecy – Millennial reign of Christ (Rev 20:4)
C. Christian – Our sojourneying (1Pet 1:17; 2Cor 5:1-2)
NOTE: The feast of sorrow (Atonement) was followed by the feast of gladness (Tabernacles), 7 days later. The tribulation is 7 years!
The Feast of Trumpets started this study of mine. This was the feast taking place when Nehemiah opened the Word of God for the first time in 400 hundreds of years. Much preaching can be done around how Israel responded and respected God’s word, how hungry they were after being starved in captivity to Egypt. Egypt as a type of the world, we are in captivity today. We can learn here from Israel.
The Feast of Trumpets, according to Jewish tradition, did not commence until the “new moon” was spotted. Because of weather patterns and changing of the moons and seasons, the day nor the hour of the actual crescent of the moon was not known. Priests would set watch and as soon as it appeared the trumpets would sound. The watch for the moon went for 2 days, because though they knew the season, they did not know the hour.
Prophetically this is significant to us:
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:36-37)
We know the season of the Rapture, but not the day nor the hour.We just have to open our eyes and look around at the season coming into view:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (II Timothy 3:1-5)
So, we are to set watch and wait to hear the trumpets sound:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13)
Therefore, prophetically, we are to sit in anticipation, on the edge of our seats, watching and waiting for the coming of our Lord. If we do this, we will be rewarded with God’s crowning jewels.
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:8)
In our Christian walk, this is exactly how we are to approach the Word of God. This is exactly how the children of Israel did in Nehemiah 8. likewise, we should approach the Word of God on the edge of our seat seeking and looking diligently for the trumpet to sound, waiting for the light bulb to go off, for God give us an amazing crown jewel from His Holy Word. Approach it with anticipation of finding the jewels of God.
WITH THE USE OF THIS FEAST IN NEHEMIAH 8:2, THIS POINTS TO OUR NEED TO SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES DILIGENTLY
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
HOW DILIGENT ARE YOU WITH GOD’S HOLY WORD?