The Seven Feasts of Jehovah: An Introduction

Leviticus 23

Why study the feasts

The Old Testament furnishes us with the shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1). For one who loves the Lord understanding His concern for the welfare of man is to understand the Lord Himself and the dealings with his Chosen people. Further, understanding the connection of the Old Testament with the things of New Testament enables a true searcher of Scripture to be fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14).

Study of the Law is to reveal the true nature of God and His working towards us, a lost people, redeemed from everlasting destruction, destine now for glory, as heirs. The typography of the Seven Feasts of Jehovah reveals the path Christ took to purchase and sanctify His chosen people, and further, it reveals the glorious moment of "being with Him". It does this by looking forward to a future time of restoration of His people.

Study points

  • Old Testament is the shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 10:1).
  • The connection of the Old Testament with the things of New Testament enables a true searcher of Scripture to be fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14).
  • "The New Testament hidden in the Old, the Old Testament revealed in the new"
  • Law reveals the true nature of God and His working towards us, a lost people, redeemed from everlasting destruction, destine now for glory, as heirs.
  • The typography of the Seven Feasts of Jehovah reveals the path Christ took to purchase and sanctify His chosen people, and further, it reveals the glorious moment of "being with Him". It does this by looking forward to a future time of restoration of His people.
  • A Christian's interest in the feasts is in the way they speak of the Jehovah's boundless mercy and grace.

The tenet

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. Hebrews 10:1 (NKJV)

Background

  • The Feasts governed the lives of Israel.
  • Feasts ran from Spring to Autumn.
  • Three times a year all males had to present themselves to the temple at Jerusalem (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles - Ex 23:14-17). A "holy" convocation is a religious meeting, and in Scripture it is a holy gathering of people as appointed by God, hence being more than a congregational meeting.
  • The feasts ran from the early rains in spring through to the late rains, which came at the end of the long hot summer, at the beginning of autumn.
  • There were three feasts, a break the forth feast, then a break followed by the last three.

  • Observance is not required by Christians (because Christ fulfilled the law).
  • Early Church observed Passover.
  • Key bible passages - Leviticus 23 outlines the law pertaining to the seven feasts.
  • These feasts belonged to Jehovah - see Leviticus 23:2.

The "types" seen in the feasts are as follows.

Feast
Action
Antitype
NT Reference
Passover Blood sprinkled The Lords death 1 Cor 5:7
Unleavened bread Passover eaten Communion of Saints 1 Cor 5:7,8
First fruits Sheaf of first fruits waved Christ’s resurrection 1 Cor 15:20
Pentecost Two loaves waved Holy Spirit Sent Gal 3:28
Trumpets Trumpet blowing Christ return to His land 1 Cor 15:51-52
Day of Atonement Blood atonement Repentance of Jews Heb 9:28
Tabernacles Dwelling in booths Millennium Revelation 20..
Note that in each action many other 'types" can be found, for instance, in the atoning sacrifice, which Christ has done, once for all, the Passover lamb, being Christ Himself.

Note that in each action many other "types" can be found, for instance, in the atoning sacrifice, which Christ has done, once for all, the Passover lamb, being Christ Himself.

Overview

  • Not counting the Sabbath there are seven feasts, a divinely perfect number. The Sabbath makes it eight, instituted in the first week of creation, but the book of Leviticus (chapter 23) begins with the Sabbath, then states that there are "seven holy convocations which you shall proclaim".
  • The first four feasts are connected with the Lord's heavenly people, the Church - Christ is our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7). These have been fully fulfilled.
  • The last three feasts are more connected with His earthly people, Israel. These remain to be fulfilled.
  • They were held at the place Jehovah appointed (Deut 16:16). The three times when males appeared in Jerusalem, they had to come without empty hands (Deut 16:16, Ex 29:24, Lev 16:12, Deut 26:2).

Christians need to realise that observance of the feasts are not required, (because Christ fulfilled the law), however, the early church did observe Passover. Also note that Passover observed by the early church in Acts is not the Easter Christendom observes now, that latter being a pagan festival, borrowed by the Church of Rome from Babylon along with "Lent". (In 2004 there is a month between Easter and Passover).

0. Sabbath

  • Leviticus 23, describing the Seven Feasts, begins with Sabbath.
  • Observed weekly, feasts are yearly.
  • Observed at home, others in the place Jehovah appointed (Deut 12:14, 16:6).
  • The Sabbath has not been completely filled, for there remaineth a rest for the people of God. (Heb 4:9).

1. Passover (14th day first month), see also Exodus

  • Speaks of redemption: a separation of the people of God (Psm 148:14) from Egypt.
  • It speaks to us as having been redeemed from the curse of the law:
  • No stranger can partake - only His chosen, the redeemed.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), Galatians 3:13 (NKJV)

  • It involved a lamb and spilt blood.
  • The ground on which it is taken (the location) is chosen by Jehovah.
  • Done to glorify God: Exodus 6:7, John 17:3, 1 Cor 6:20.

2. Unleavened bread

  • Passover was eaten without leavened, and unleavened bread was eaten for a further week.
  • Involved the absence of leaven: leaven was not seen, was not eaten, was not in the home.
  • Leaven speaks of sin. Unleavened bread speaks of salvation. Gentiles ought to live without sin.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1 (KJV)

  • It speaks of the communion of the saints.
  • All men had to appear in a place God appointed (Jerusalem) see Deuteronomy 16:16.

3. Firstfruits

  • On the first day of the week as the Son (Christ) rose from the dead, and the sun rose in the east, the priest was waving the first fruits.
  • Involved the waving of the first fruits of the harvest before the Lord, on the east side of the tabernacle.
  • It speaks to us of Christ's resurrection - first among the dead.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20 (NKJV)

  • Shows that the sacrifice is sufficient for our sins.
  • The first fruit (Christ) was the example of what was to come - a great harvest.

4. Weeks 50 days after Passover

  • Linked to the firstfruits, using two loaves, made from the first grain.
  • Linked to the sin offering that made it possible for God to accept the leaven (where the leaven was killed by heat).
  • Two loaves speak to us of Jews and Gentiles, united by the Holy Spirit.
  • Pentecost is a type of God's people gathered by the Holy Spirit
  • Involves oil, leaven and baking.
  • Belongs to the stranger as well Lev 23:22, and involved free will offering.
  • All men had to appear in a place God appointed (Jerusalem) see Deuteronomy 16:16.

5. Trumpets (1stday of Seventh month)

  • Occurs after the Autumn rain in the seventh month, where rain always speaks to us of the Holy Spirit.
  • No work was to be done - it was to be a Sabbath.
  • Occurs after a long hot summer, where the Holy Spirit has been quenched.
  • Trumpets points to future events, when Jehovah shall "be King over all the earth", Zech 14:9.
  • The events are spoken about in Isaiah 18:3-7, 27:13.
  • It spoke to Israel of God's ability to defend them from their enemy.

6. Atonement (See also Leviticus 16)

  • Involved affliction of soul (deny), atonement for sin, and rest from labour.
  • Speaks of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, where Christ glorified His Father: the feast formed the ground of God's dealing in grace, mercy, patience and forbearance.
  • It speaks of the bitter sorrow Israel will feel when then realise that they did to their Messiah. (Zech 13:6).
  • The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. Jeremiah 8:20 (KJV).
  • They will mourn the one whom they have pieced (Zech 12:10-14).
  • Guilt will be felt and they shall be afflicted.
  • This truly belongs to Israel

7. Tabernacles

  • After the long journey in the wilderness, where each pain and pang of hunger was dealt with by the gracious Jehovah, and they now rejoice in Canaan.
  • It remembers the in-gathering of the harvest, a time of rejoicing.
  • Its fulfilment is in the Millennial reign - after the gathering of the corn and wine.
  • All men had to appear in a place God appointed (Jerusalem) see Deuteronomy 16:16.

The Jewish Calendar

The Jewish calendar is confusing because it initially followed the seasons and phases of the moon. Hence their names were just descriptions of what was happening eg "Abib" meaning sprouting (corn), the first month, "Bul" meaning rain the 8th month.

The first month was designated by God to be the month the exodus took place and was called "Abib": it is now called "Nisan" (Ex 12:2). However, a glance at the Jewish calendar shows that new year (Rosh Hashanah) is celebrated in September or October in the month of Tishri. This is because there are two systems - one religious and one civil. This discord probably occurred after the exile. The beginning of each month was determined by the new moon, and to account for the uneven number of lunar months in a year, certain leap months were added periodically. Adding further confusion, due to the complex rules applied to "leap months".

Feast Cycle and Calendar arrangement

March/April May/June July Aug Sept/Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
Early rain The long hot Summer Late rain        
Nisan Iyar Sivan Tamuz Ab Elul Tishrei Marches-van Kislev Tevet Shebat Adar
Abib:† Ziv Sivan Tammuz Av Elul Ethanim Bul Kislev Tebeth Shevat Adar
Passover (14)
Unleavened Bread (15-21)*
Firstfruits (16)
  Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (6)*       Trumpets (Jewish New Year) (1)
Day of Atonement (10)
Tabernacles (15-21)*
         
*All men had to attend in Jerusalem (Deut 16:16, Ex 23:14)
Some alternative names/spellings for the months of the Hebrew calendar

The Jewish Calendar 2020 or Year 5780 - Summary of the Seven Feasts and others

Note that for a Jew the dates do not change - for example Chanukkah is the 25th of Kislev (9th month). What does change is the day in relation to the sun, because the Jewish calendar is not in sync with the sun, and hence the date in respect to the Gregorian calendar (which most in the world uses) does change. In this table the date is the date of commencement of the feast/holiday at sunset.

 

Year 5780 (2020)

Description

Verse

Synopsis

Sunset 9 March – nightfall 10 March

Purim

Esther 9

Celebration of the providence of God over his people on the eve of their planned destruction.

Sunset 8 April – nightfall 16 April

Passover (Pesach)

Leviticus 23:4-8
Deut 16:6
Exodus 6:6-7
Exodus 11-12

A people under bondage requiring rescuing:
Egypt
The Lamb
The Blood
The Passover feast


Jesus Christ our Passover lamb

1 Cor 5:7
Heb 4:15
2 Cor 6:16

The antitype: Our Lamb Our priest, Our sacrifice


Unleavened Bread

Deut 16:3
1 Cor 5:7-8

Unleavened bread for 7 days
Feast for the redeemed
Old leaven and new
A type of the life of a believer – communion of saints


First fruits (the wave sheaf)

Lev 23:9-14
Num 18:12
Exodus 23:19

The first fruits of the harvest is the Lords
The land flowing with milk and honey
Type: Christ resurrected


Christ the First Fruits

1 Cor 15:20
1 Cor 15:23

What must we do to be saved ( Acts 16:30)
Hope in Jesus Christ, risen from amongst the dead
The sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice found in the sheaf of first fruits, waved

Sunset 28 May - nightfall 30 May

The feast of Weeks (Shavuot)

Leviticus 23:15-22
Ex 23:16
Num 28:26

The feast of weeks (festival of Revelation)
Two wave loaves
The leaven, but baked
The timing of the feast, a voluntary offering


Pentecost

Acts 2:1
Galatians 3:28
Acts 15:14
Rom 11:25

We are all one in Christ Jesus – there is neither Jew nor Greek…
The Holy Spirit
The mystery of God revealed in the Church
The present interval - Summer

Sunset 18 September – nightfall 20 September

The feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

Lev 23:24-25
Num 29:1
Isaiah 18:3
John 12:24
Acts 15:14
Rom 11:25

The present interval – the day of Grace.
A time of little rain.
Jews return to their land
The time to come – ever present with the Lord


A great sound of a Trumpet

Matt 24:31
1 Cor 15:51-52
1 Thess 4:16

The type - the day of rain, The type – trumpets
The awakening of Israel
The coming of the Lord

Sunset 27 September - nightfall 28 September

Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Leviticus 16; 23:26-32
Numbers 29:7

The types in the atonement.
The holiest place
The sacrifices


Christ offered once

Hebrews 9:28
Hebrews 5, 7 & 10

Repentance of Jews
The superiority of Christ over the law
'Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world"

Sunset 2 October - nightfall 9 October

Tabernacles (Sukkot)

Deut 16:13
Lev 23:27
Matt 6:10
Rev 14:14-20

Millennium - a time of joy and rejoicing
The corn, The wine, The wrath of God

Sunset 9 October - nightfall 11 October

} Shemini Atzeret

} Other Jewish, non-sacred feasts e.g.
Rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem

} Simchat Torah

Sunset 10 December - nightfall 18 December

Chanukah

2020 dates from <  http://www.chabad.org/holidays/default_cdo/jewish/holidays.htm >

 

 

David L Simon (CCC 2005)
Seven feasts of Jehovah\The Seven Feasts of Jehovah - Introduction
Posted 2007
Updated 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015