Today we celebrate President’s Day in the United States by staying home from work. I thought it was appropriate that my reading is on the 7 feasts in Leviticus 23. Admittedly, I never really paid attention to these things before until my pastor pointed out that the 7 feasts mirrors the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. Now that made it a lot more interesting. Instead of trying to recreate the whole thing, let me give you the excerpt from a commentary by Pastor David Guzik on the feasts. He can explain it much more clearly than I can.
1. Structurally, the first four feasts are linked together, and the last three feasts are also linked – and there is a separation of time between these two groups of feasts.
2. The group of the first four feasts relate to the work of Jesus in His first coming, of His earthly ministry.
a. The feast of Passover clearly presents Jesus as our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), the Lamb of God who was sacrificed, and whose blood was received and applied, so the wrath of God would pass us over.
b. The feast of Unleavened Bread relates time of Jesus’ burial, after His perfect, sinless sacrifice on the cross, during which He was received by God the Father as holy and complete (the Holy One who would not see corruption, Acts 2:27), perfectly accomplishing our salvation.
c. The feast of Firstfruits relates to the resurrection of Jesus, who was the first human to receive resurrection; He is the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18) and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep . . . Christ the firstfruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming.(1 Corinthians 15:20; 15:23)
d. The feast of Pentecost obviously is connected with the birth of the Church and the “harvest” resulting (Acts 2); significantly, in the ceremony at the feast of Pentecost, two unleavened loaves of bread are waved as a holy offering to God, speaking of the bringing of “unleavened” Gentiles into the church.
3. Between the first set of four feasts and the second set of three feasts, there is a significant time gap – almost four months, which, significantly, was a time of harvest in Israel; even as our current age is a time of harvest for the church, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)
4. The second group of the last three feasts relate to events connected with the second coming of Jesus.
a. The feast of Trumpets speaks of the ultimate assembly of God’s people at the sound of a trumpet – the rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), and of the gathering of Israel for the special purpose God has for them in the last days.
b. The Day of Atonement not only speaks of the ultimate, perfect atonement Jesus offered on our behalf, but also of the affliction – and salvation – Israel will see during the Great Tribulation.
i. It will truly be a time when the soul of Israel is afflicted, but for their ultimate salvation; as Jeremiah 30:7 says regarding that period: Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it, and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
c. The feast of Tabernacles speaks of the millennial rest of comfort of God for Israel and all of God’s people; it is all about peace and rest, from beginning to end.
i. Tabernacles is specifically said to be celebrated during the millennium (Zechariah 14:16-19).
5. Significantly, there is good evidence that each of the four feasts relevant to the first coming of Jesus saw their prophetic fulfillment on the exact day of the feast.
a. Jesus was actually crucified on the Passover (John 19:14). His body would have been buried, and His holy and pure sacrifice acknowledged by God the Father during the Feast of Unleavened Bread following, and He would have risen from the dead on Firstfruits, the day after Passover’s Sabbath. Additionally, the church was founded on the actual day of Pentecost.
b. For this reason, many speculate it would be consistent for God to gather His people to Himself at the rapture on the day of the feast of trumpets – on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This can certainly be regarded as a possibility.
I’m back. Good stuff, right? Our church actually observes Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), complete with real shofars (ram’s horn). It’s amazing if you’ve never heard it. This is the sound we are going to hear when the Lord comes to get us. Maranatha!