Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Three Important Feasts

There are three major feasts of Israel that require all of Israel to come to Jerusalem. The feasts are Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The significance of the feasts is clearly Messianic in character.  The feast of Passover was given to Israel as they were in bondage in Egypt and served as the great “breaking” of Pharaoh’s hold on them. Every Israelite household was told to sprinkle blood upon the threshold of the house, those doing so would be spared death.  It is from this incredible object lesson that the Lamb of God typology finds it full significance in our Lord Jesus Christ – He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Jesus’ death fulfilled the Passover promise as He served as our substitute for sin (Isa. 53:5; 2Co 5:21;1 Pet. 2:21-24;3:18), satisfying the wrath of God by shedding His propitious blood (Heb. 2:17-18; 1 John 2:2; 4:10)  reconciling the world (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and individuals (Rom. 5:1-11; Col. 1:21-22) to Himself, as He paid the price, redeeming us from our sins (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Eph. 1:7). His death settling the sin issue. The feast of Passover observes the act of divine election and deliverance (Wycliffe Bible Dictionary) and it is Christ that fulfills that promise and gift to Israel.

Fifty days after His Passover death, the second feast requiring all Israel to be representedly present is the feast of Pentecost ,also known as the feast of Weeks (I can’t help but think of Daniel 9’s weeks which give the precise timing of His birth and death), and the “firstfruits of the wheat harvest” (Ex. 34:22). The feast comes 7 weeks after Passover.  Pentecost is the only feast that gives no specific significance for the day. Tradition teaches that the law was given to Moses on this day.   It is here that the Church is born as Christ is the head of the Church (Eph. 1:20-23), marking the firstfruits of Christ’s Church, and marks the beginning of the coming of the Holy Spirit and a new work of Christ as mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6). This feast too has found fulfillment in Christ, but Christ has not yet come again to bring the New Covenant to fulfillment. That can only be satisfied in the Millennial Kingdom.

The final feast requiring Jewish presence is the feast of tabernacles. The Tabernacle is a typological expression of the fulfillment of the promise to Israel, “I will be your God and you will be My people” (Ex. 6:6-7; Lev. 26:11-13). As such, the tabernacle reveals the person of Yahweh and the place where the people meets with God (Dictionary of Premillennial Theology). The feast of Tabernacles started in the wilderness sojourn as God led Israel providing all their needs in the desert.   This feast occurs in the seventh month. It is also called the feast of in-gathering (Ex. 23:16).  This feast is not complete yet for Christ is not yet seated on His throne (Matt. 25:31; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3). The feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled when Christ returns and establishes His kingdom in Jerusalem with Israel for 1000 years. Israel will tabernacle with Messiah!  (Zech. 14:16; Rom. 11:25-27).

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.  If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zech. 14:16-19 NKJ)