Posted by: Heather | September 23, 2010

The Season of Our Rejoicing!

Leviticus 23:2  Speak to the Israelites and say them:  ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’ (NIV)

I’m beginning to see an awareness in the body of Christ that I really like.  The feasts are a subject that rarely, if ever came up in the church in years past.  But, as time marches on, people are becoming more and more fascinated with these festivals many call ‘the Jewish feasts’.   People are beginning to see the parallels that exist between the precepts laid out in the Old Testament, and their fulfillment in the New Testament.

For too long, the church as a whole has held the view that Jesus and the New Testament was God’s ‘plan B’, because ‘plan A’ (the Old Testament) didn’t work.   This is a myth that has permeated the body of Christ for many years, and robbed us of much of our heritage.   When we begin to study the Old Testament, and see the parallels between the Old and the New, a sharper picture emerges.  It becomes very clear that God had one plan all along.  The entire Old Testament is the foreshadowing of Jesus, who was to come in bodily form and be written about in the New Testament.   Without the Old Testament, there is no plan of salvation, and no ultimate sacrifice. Every important doctrine in the New Testament had already been brought forth in the Old.  In fact, the events of the New Testament had to happen before they could be recorded.  The only scripture the ‘New Testament church’ knew was the Old Testament.  So, the way to salvation already had to be written there so the people could have scripture to test who the real Messiah was.  The New Testament was written primarily by men who knew the Old Testament incredibly well, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote an easily understood manuscript that shows Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament.

The feasts are one way God used to make Himself known to His people.  The timetable and plan of God is embedded in the feast cycle.  Leviticus 23:2 shows us 2 things.  The first is that the feasts are God’s feasts, not ‘Jewish feasts’.   God very plainly tells Moses, ‘These are MY appointed feasts’ (emphasis mine).  The second is that these feasts are set apart, specifically appointed times for God to meet with His people.  The word “feast” is “moed” in Hebrew, which means ‘set time’ in Hebrew.  “Sacred assemblies” (KJV uses the term ‘holy convocation’) means being set apart.

Why is it important to study the feasts of the Lord?  Knowing God’s appointed times and seasons will bring us a new understanding of Him and how He works.  God is a God of order.   Learning about His order can only enhance our knowledge and relationship with Him.  This knowledge brings with it a brand-new intimacy.  Not only that, learning all we can about Him opens up exciting new potential for spiritual growth, which then leads to positive emotional and yes, even physical changes as we apply what we learn to our lives.  As we begin to see how Jesus has fulfilled (or will yet fulfill) every single feast, an excitement builds about the Bible, and we truly begin to see this holy book as one unit, not two.  Even though the modern-day orthodox Jew doesn’t acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah, we can see how Jesus fulfills everything written between the covers of the Bible, and that the Hebraic customs and rituals used to celebrate the feasts point the way directly to our Savior.

Many of the major events of the Bible occurred around these feast days.  It’s a fascinating study and helps us to see why Jesus did many of the things He did as He fulfilled them.  There are even things in our physical world that are centered around the feasts of the Lord.  For instance, the birth cycle that occurs in a woman’s body as a baby is conceived and grows, correlates exactly to these feasts.  So, as I’ve said so many times before, if we study creation, we will see God Himself behind it all.

The feast cycle contains the following festivals:  Sabbath (which is a weekly celebration), Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement,  Tabernacles, Hanukkah, and Purim.  All of these feasts were instituted by God Himself in Leviticus 23, with the exception of Hanukkah and Purim.  These were added later, but were also celebrated by Jesus, as we see in the New Testament.

With this series, we actually start at the end of the feast cycle.  The fall feasts of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles are the feasts that Jesus has yet to fulfill.  At sundown Sept 23, 2010, the Feast of Tabernacles will begin.   It is the most important and most joyous feast of them all.  The Hebrew name is Sukkot, which means ‘booths’.  This feast is in remembrance of the time the Israelites spent in the wilderness, living in tents (booths) for 40 years.   Sukkot (Tabernacles) also looks forward to the time that Jesus comes back to earth to establish His kingdom (the millennial reign).

Sukkot is the third and final harvest festival of the year, and is celebrated at the close of the fruit harvest.  All of the grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates have been gathered in, and the people are ready to praise the Lord, and thank Him for His gracious provision that year, as well as offer prayers for the next growing season.  Sukkot also has several other names:  It can be called Feast of Booths, Feast of the Ingathering, or simply The Feast.  It begins on the 15th day of the 7th month, Tishrei (which falls on our Friday evening, Sept 23rd this year), and lasts for 7 days.  A sabbath (rest) day is added at the end, making it a total of 8 days.

As my time allows, I plan to write several posts about this feast, and how the symbolism connects to Jesus.  I pray you’ll be blessed and tune in to learn more about the Messiah, our Savior.  Come with me as we celebrate the season of our rejoicing!!

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Responses

  1. I’ve actually heard Perry Stone refer to God’s timetable, which included the feasts, as being like a circle and not linear. Most people tend to think of time as a “line.” After all, that is what they teach in schools. Eventually, everything comes full circle. Good article.

    • Wendy, yes they are in a circular (cycle) pattern. Thanks a lot! 🙂


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