The Seven Feasts of Israel*

 

    Feast

Day(s) Observed

Commemorating

Scripture

Firstfruits

Passover**

14th Day of Nisan** (Abib)

Israel Protected from the Destroyer

Exodus 12:23

Hebrews 11:28

 

Unleavened Bread

15th-21st Days of Nisan

Israel's Haste in

Flight from Egypt

Exodus 12:17,18

 

Firstfruits

Contemporary with Above

 

 

Barley (March-May)

Second Passover*

14th Day of Iyar**

Same as Above

Numbers 9: 6-12

 

Weeks (Pentecost)

50th Day after 15th Day of Nisan

 

Leviticus 23: 15-22

Wheat  (May-July)

Trumpets

1st Day of Tishri***

Call to Repentance

Leviticus  23: 23,24

 

Atonement

10th Day of Tishri

National Sin Atonement

Leviticus  23: 26-32

 

Tabernacles

15th-22nd Days of Tishri

 

Leviticus  23: 33-36

Grapes/Figs

 

* Israel and the entire Gentile world will be observing some of these feasts during Christ’s millennial rule.

** The First Passover was kept in Egypt, while Israel was still in bondage, but the Passovers of this table were initiated as ordinances that were to be kept on the 14th day of Nissan and the 14th day of Iyar, if needed [Iyar is the second month of the year].

*** Nisan is a Babylonian name which corresponds to the Jewish first month of the year [Abib,our March/April] [Exodus 12:2]; likewise, Tishri  is the Babylonian name which corresponds to the Jewish seventh month of the year [our September/October]. The name Tishri does not appear in the bible. The variableness between the Christian and Jewish calendars is due to the fact that the Jewish calendar is based on cycles of the moon, while the Christian calendar is based on the Solar year.

 

Passover            The 10th plague which the LORD imposed upon the Egyptians was that of the Destroyer which was to kill the firstborn of the Egyptians and their beasts  [Exodus 11:5; 12:12; 12:29].  To protect the Israelites from the Destroyer, God commanded the Israelites to slay lambs and put their blood on the lintel and side posts of their dwellings at even on the 14th Day of Nisan [Exodus 12:7,22,23].  Thus, when the Destroyer passed through the land of Egypt, God "passed over" the Israelite dwellings without harm coming to the Israelite people (and protected the Israelites' beasts as well ).  The first Passover observed after the Israelites left Egyptian captivity was held on the 14th day of Nisan one year after the observance in Egypt.   If this Passover was missed, it should be observed one month later [Numbers 9: 6-12].    While this observance is a remembrance to the Jews that God protected them from physical harm, Christianity observes the Lord’s Supper which commemorates Jesus’ death on the cross for our spiritual salvation.  In the early church’s observance, the Lord’s Supper was referred to as Passover, but the Roman church changed the observance name to Easter, the name of Babylonian goddess.  And even further, the Roman church established Easter to be observed on a Sunday, and not on the 14th day of Nisan, as had been observed by our Lord and the early Christian church.  Moreover, the early church commemorated the Christian Passover once a year, and this on a definite day, the 14th day of Nisan.

 

Unleavened Bread        The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.  Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.  Exodus 34:18      Symbolically, this feast represented the haste of the exodus as the nation of Israel escaped from its bondage in Egypt.  The first day of this feast was a Sabbath in which no servile work could be done  [Leviticus 23:7].

 

Firstfruits   This feast coincided with the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The word firstfruits has connotations regarding

 

http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx/news/hires/2012/uageneticist.jpeg•    the natural:  And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field [Exodus 23:16].   And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end [Exodus 34:22].   For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things [Ezekiel 20:40].    See also Exodus 23:19.

•    the spiritual:   But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept [1 Corinthians 15:20].    But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming [1 Corinthians 15:23].    For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body [Romans 8:22,23].

 

This feast's purpose was to impress upon the nation of Israel their total dependence on God for everything that they harvested.  Since crops matured at different times of the year, there were three major harvest feasts [ Spring, Summer, and Fall ]; the firstfruits of the barley harvest [shown left] concurrent with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the firstfruits of the wheat harvest during the Feast of Weeks, and the firstfruits of olives and grapes during the Feast of Tabernacles.  A secondary, and convenient purpose of this feast, was to provide sustenance for the temple priests and their families.  All harvest feasts were celebrated by the people offering to the LORD certain crops and animals.

 

Weeks [ Pentecost ]   This feast was observed after a "week of weeks", on the 50th day after the 15th Day of Nisan.  The 15th day of Nisan was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, so seven Sabbaths hence would number the seven weeks to be followed by the next day, the Day of Pentecost.  At this feast the Israelites were commanded to

 

•   present a sheaf of barley as a wave offering unto the LORD [Leviticus 23: 15-17]

•   offer seven lambs, one young bullock, two rams, and drink offerings unto the LORD [Leviticus 23: 18-20]

 

Image result for images shofar trumpetTrumpets    This day was set by ordinance to be a time of the blowing of the trumpets to herald the approaching of the most important day of the year - the Day of Atonement which followed on the tenth day of Tishri [Leviticus 23:24]. Tishri  is a Babylonian name, and according to the Jewish calendar, it is the seventh month of the year [September/October].  The first nine days preceding the Day of Atonement (Yom Kipper) were a time of reflection, contrition, and repentance for the nation of Israel.  At this time the people were to "afflict their souls" in preparation for the atonement of their collective sins.  In somber significance, these days could be likened, in a spiritual sense, to John's Baptism of Repentance which prepared the people for the Lord Jesus' ministry to them.  Moreover, all the people were to "trumpet" their own personal trumpet, or shofar [shown right], even on the Day of Atonement [Leviticus 25:9].  In addition to the foregoing, trumpets were blown to

 

•   call the nation to assembly (as when the people of Israel left Egypt united as a nation under Moses)

•   call the people to battle  And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies [Numbers 10:9]

•   signal the people on their journeying [Numbers 10:2]

 

Trumpets were also to be blown for many other reasons, such as

 

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.  Numbers 10:10

 

At Jericho, God had seven Israelite priests to blow their trumpets for seven days, with the seventh day blowing the walls fell down flat and the Israelites easily conquered the city [Joshua 6:8-20].  But for the Christian, the most important blowing of the trumpet will be when the Lord Jesus calls us up to meet Him in the clouds at the Rapture

 

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  1 Corinthians 15:51-54

 

Atonement   On the Day of Atonement four sacrificial animals were selected: a young bullock, a ram, and two kid goats.  The bullock was sacrificed as a sin offering for Aaron and his household, the ram for a burnt offering, and the two goats were a sin offering for the people.  There was special provision, however, with respect to the two goats: Aaron took two goats, presented them to the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and cast lots on them - one for a sacrifice unto the LORD and the other goat to be set free into the wilderness.  Aaron confessed the sins of the people while laying his hands upon the scapegoat that was set free into the wilderness Leviticus 16:7-10; 20-22 

 

God's instructions to Aaron concerning the application of the blood within the vail

 

And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.   Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:  And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.   Leviticus 16:14-16

 

      [ God's instructions to Aaron and scapegoat bearer concerning their cleansing - Leviticus 16:23-28 ]

 

The forgiveness which the Israelites received on their observance of the Day of Atonement was that of a temporary nature [Hebrews 10:4], because it took the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and His eternal blood to accomplish the complete eradication of all believers' sins permanently forever.    For an extended treatment of this permanent atonement, please see Sin, the Law, and the Blood.

 

In Christian application, we can consider us Christians to be symbolic of the scapegoat in that we do not receive the punishment for our sins since Christ took them upon Himself on the Cross of Calvary.  We know this to be true:  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21.  The Day of Atonement was the only time in any given year in which the High Priest went into the Holiest where the Ark of the Covenant was to make an atonement for the sins of the people.  Likewise, the LORD Jesus Christ entered in once in the Heavenly Temple to present His blood as an eternal cleansing of all sin for all mankind  [Please see Sin, the Law, and the Blood].

 

No words can describe the glorious scene that took place the day when the LORD Jesus, attired in the beautiful robe of the High Priest with the precious stones upon the breastplate, stepped into the Holiest realm of the Heavenly Temple and applied His Holy, Eternal Blood onto the Ark of the Testimony and the Ark of the Covenant to atone for the believers' sins of both the old and new testament saints.  I am convinced that this Heavenly Atonement will be reenacted for us, in one form or another, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

 

Tabernacles     The Feast of Tabernacles was to be observed

 

•   on the fifteenth day of the seventh month  Leviticus 23:34

•   by all born Israelites by dwelling for seven days in booths made from palm branches, boughs of thick trees, and brook willows  Leviticus 23:39-43

•   as a memorial to the time when God had the Israelites dwell in booths when He brought them out of Egyptian captivity  Leviticus 23:43

•   with burnt offerings, meat offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings unto the LORD  Leviticus 23:37

•   forever by Israel, and also by all the people of the earth during the millennial rule of Christ  Leviticus 23:43

•   as one of the annual "solemn feasts" when all able-bodied twenty-year old males were to go to Jerusalem and present themselves to the LORD with some sacrifices 

 

For us Christians, these activities of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem are to commemorate God's goodness in providing us all the good things of shelter and of food sustenance.  Like the Israelites, all Gentiles will also be required to attend this annual celebration during the Lord Jesus' millennial rule on earth;  if they don't attend, God will withhold the rain from them and smite them with plagues.  Zechariah 14: 17,18

 

 

Overall Summary of the Seven Feasts

 

The sacrifices brought unto the LORD at the temple (i.e., tabernacle) served several purposes

 

•  they were an acknowledgment to the LORD that it was He who provided all things which sustained them, hence, their physical well-being

•  they were food for the temple priests who did the temple worship service unto the LORD, that provided for the people's spiritual well-being

•  they received forgiveness for their trespasses and sins

•  they were a foreshadow of the ultimate sacrifice - the sacrifice of the LORD Jesus Christ Himself at Calvary for all the sins of mankind

 

 

 

 

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