I am 25% Jewish. My Grandmother was Jewish, so that makes my dad half-Jewish, which makes me a quarter-Jewish. Right? And you want to know something, I’ve never been invited to Rosh Hashanah or Passover or any of the other Jewish Festivals. Heck, being 1/4 Jewish you think my local Rabbi would have invited me to at least one night of Hanukkah. I guess I just look too Gentile-y.
Christians have a lot to learn about the Old Testament and the Jewish people. I hear a lot of Christians say things like “everything is about Christ from Genesis to Revelation” and “the ‘Old’ is Jesus concealed and the ‘New’ is Jesus revealed.” But we rarely study the Old Testament. We know Noah built a big boat. We know Joseph just wanted to be a fashion model for colorful coats. Before him, everyone just went with tan or beige. And we know Daniel doesn’t taste like Fancy Feast. We have a coloring-book-level knowledge of Old Testament characters, and that’s about it. Today, I hope to add to that knowledge a little bit.
In the Old Testament, there are 7 Feasts. There are a billion festivals, remembrances, and ceremonies, but only 7 Feasts. Any time you see the number seven in the Bible, remember, it is the number of completion or perfection. (Think God creating the world in 7 days.) So what do the Feasts reveal about Christ? More than a trailer to a Summer Movie Blockbuster. You know the ones. They basically tell the whole plot, reveal the big twist in the second act, and shows every funny joke in the entire movie. The 7 Feasts reveal just about that much about Jesus.
#1 – The Passover Feast
The Basics – For God’s final judgment on Egypt, He was going to kill all the firstborn children. So God told Moses to tell the Israelites to wipe lamb’s blood on the doorposts of their homes and the death that was coming would pass over their home and move on to the next one. All of Israel was saved that night. They were delivered because of the blood. Every year, the Israelites are to remember that deliverance. They are to slaughter the best lamb they have, but not break a single bone.
Jesus – It was His blood that saved us. The only truly perfect Lamb. The wrath of God passed over us and moved on to Jesus instead. Oh, and not one of Jesus’ bones were broken when He was crucified.
#2 – The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Basics – This is a 7-day celebration that starts right after Passover. It is a reminder of the freedom from Egyptian bondage and that God supplied all their needs with bread from heaven while in the dessert. So each year, the Israelites would eat unleavened bread as a reminder. One tradition had the father of a household hide the 2nd of 3 pieces of bread for the children to find.
Jesus – He is the Bread of Life. The Christ was born in Bethlehem (the House of Bread). His body is even represented by bread in Communion. Jesus even fits he symbol of the Hidden bread. He is the 2nd person of the Trinity and He was hidden for 3 days before being revealed. And most importantly, He is the only “unleavened” or sinless person to ever exist.
#3 – The Feast of First Fruits
The Basics – God began this holiday as a way of explaining the Tabernacle. The Israelites were going to have the presence of God in their midst. This was no simple gesture. The Israelites would need to bring their best sacrifices, their purest forms of worship, and their most sincere service. In return, God would bring them blessings, victories, and abundance. This festival was the reminder to bring their best to God, because He always gives good gifts with a new harvest each Spring. So they would bring their barley on the day after the Sabbath (i.e. Sunday)
Jesus – He is specifically mentioned as the First Fruits of the Resurrection. When a tree bears fruit, it proves that it is alive and what kind of fruit it will produce. When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved He was alive and proved what kind of living fruit he would be producing. Oh yeah, and He did that on a Sunday.
#4 – Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (or Shavuot)
The Basics – This is began as a celebration of the grain harvest but also commemorated the Law coming down from Mount Sinai. It came 7 full weeks after the original Passover and it continued to be held on the 50th day after that feast. They would bake 2 breads both with levin this time (perhaps representing the sin of both Jews and Gentiles???) and present this before God. Also when the Law first came down from Heaven, Moses found the Israelites worshipping a golden calf. God caused an earthquake and 3,000 people were killed that day.
Jesus – Pentecost became the day that God’s Spirit came down from Heaven. He is another Comforter exactly like Jesus, except He can be with all believers all the time. When the Spirit came down and Peter preached his first sermon, 3,000 people were saved that day. Boom
Those were the 4 Spring Feasts that have already been fulfilled, the next 3 are the Fall Feasts which have yet to be fulfilled. Any time we are dealing with unfulfilled prophecy there can only be speculation. One’s beliefs on the End Times also begin to shine through. WARNING: Pre-millennialism ahead!
#5 – Feast of Trumpets (or Rosh Hashanah)
The Basics – This is the only Feast that is not on the same day each year. It goes according to the new moon. So no one knows the exact day. This Feast also has no historical event that is to be remembered. It is simply a warning that the Day of Atonement is coming. Everyone needs to ready themselves to be presentable before the Lord. The blast of the trumpets told the Israelites to head to the Tabernacle. In modern times it has also come to represent the Jewish New Year.
Speculation – Many look to this as a reference to the Rapture of Christ’s church. It is a warning that Armageddon is coming. It calls all of God’s people into His presence. Now, all of God’s attention is back on Israel. No one knows the day or hour when the Rapture is coming, and 1 Thessalonians 4 specifically mentions a trumpet being heard when the dead in Christ rise first. It begins a new era so to speak.
#6 – Day of Atonement (or Yom Kippur)
The Basics – Again this Feast is not linked to a historical event but rather is the day where the sins of the nation of Israel are atoned for. It represents God’s wrath being subdued and man’s sins being covered over for another year. It is the holiest of days. No one is to work. All are to be reverent before God.
Speculation – This would then represent Armageddon. In fact, when the Feast of Trumpets would end on the 2nd day of the month, there would be 7 nights before the start of the Day of Atonement. Some see this as representing the 7 years of tribulation. The Jewish people refer to these days as “The Days of Awe.” Seems fitting. They are concluded in a day where Jesus would physically and literally cleanse the earth from sin. No more covering over it. He spiritually defeated sin at the cross, and He will physically defeat sin at Armageddon.
#7 – Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkoth)
The Basics – This Feast was to remind the Jewish people of their humble beginnings as a nation in bondage. A Jewish family eat in these little constructed huts for all 7 days of the Feast.
Speculation – When Jesus physically and literally returns, his dwelling will not be small and humble, but will be great and mighty. It ends with the number of completion, for Christ’s work is complete. All that is left is a New Heaven and a New Earth.
Well, I hope you learned something today. The 3 Feasts representing the end times are more like a good movie preview. I understand enough to peak my interest, but it’s clear that there are going to be some twists and turns. I can’t wait to find out what happens. I told you what I think, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.