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The Three Feasts

Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Weeks, Harvest, Pentecost, Trumpets (Rosh Hashana),
DOA (Yom Kippur), Tabernacles, Booths, Ingathering (Succoth).

All the hoop-la about Good Friday and Ash Wednesday and Lent, (not found in scripture!) serves to shroud the legitimate Holy Days.
    In Acts 2 we read "and when the Day of Pentecost was fully come" -- but how many know this refers to the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) and the miraculous event which initiated this special day?

Scripture says "three", so I say "three", despite the other numbers I hear bandied about. "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles.." Deut 16:16. The place which God chose was Solomon's Temple. 2Chr7:12.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was also called "Passover", and the Feast of Weeks was also called "Harvest" or "Pentecost", and the Feast of Tabernacles was also called "Booths" or "Ingathering".

Compare Ex23 and 34:18-23, Lev23, Numb28,29, Deut 16, and Neh8, for a totality of data concerning these feasts. The multiple names didn't mean more feasts; it was still just these three feasts which the Hebrews were instructed to observe on three occasions each year. From wherever they lived, they would travel to Jerusalem, to the Temple where God had chosen to place His name, to celebrate these feasts.

...... (1) PASSOVER ..... (2) PENTECOST..... (3) TABERNACLES

The first feast (Passover) was observed in the first month, and the third feast (Tabernacles) was observed in the seventh month, and the second feast (Harvest or Pentecost) had no set date--it was seasonal, depending on the time the firstfruits of the crop appeared. This Harvest, or Feast of Weeks, is better known as Pentecost (Greek "50") to Christians familiar with Acts chapter two.

The Lunar Calendar. It wasn't January to July for the Hebrews--the moon was their calendar and the twelve moons of 29.5 days each meant their year lasted only 354 days, so they began the New Year eleven days ahead of the solar calendar. Not much harm in that first year, but after three years they would be 33 days advanced--an entire month! After six years they would be two months ahead; after nine years they would be a full quarter advanced, and having snow in June or a heat wave in January began to be a real possibility. They partially solved this discrepancy by adding an extra month (Adar) at the end of every third year, but it didn't keep the calendar from progressing to the point where Passover (the day they killed the lamb) occurred just three days prior to the beginning of the countdown to Pentecost; that is, on the Day of Firstfruits.

Scripture never mentions it, but the High Priest Caiaphas must have waved those grain offerings to the Lord on the very day of the Resurrection!   (Different from word 'waived' -- hah, but I like to say Jesus was our WAIVER, amen?)

Even today Jews and Muslims keep up with the Lunar Calendar, so 'annual' events like Ramadan and the Jewish New Year are always coming up sooner than before.

The First Feast: Passover

It memorializes the account in Exodus concerning the blood and the eating of the passover lamb, followed by the eating of the unleavened bread. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." Ex12:13. Hence the name "Passover".

They didn't know anything about the coming of the Lamb of God, Jesus, but they dutifully selected their lamb on the 10th day of that first month and took it home. Four days later, on the 14th (could be any day of the week, but it occurred at full-moon), they killed that lamb, and smeared the blood over the doorposts of their homes, and then ate the lamb! "Eat all of it", "eat it in haste, with your loins girded" and "don't break a bone of it", were also included in their instructions. Nothing was said about fancy tablecloths or extra seating for guests, and they certainly couldn't know how the legs of Jesus would be unbroken at Calvary, Jn19:31, as added confirmation to his identity. It's essential to be aware of how Jesus is not only the Lamb, but according to Scripture is also the Bread, the Lion, the Vine, the Door, the Cornerstone, the Light of the World, the Resurrection, the Alpha & Omega, etc.

"Passover" was on the 14th so it coincided with the full moon, and the seven days of eating unleavened bread followed immediately afterwards. No specific reason for eating this "flat" bread was given, nor why that leaven must be removed from their premises for those seven days. Perhaps the Children of Israel had no understanding of how people (individuals) could be "bread". The apostles didn't seem to understand when Jesus told them "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees", Mt16:6. Christians, on the other hand, are well aware that the leaven of the Old Testament was sin and hypocrisy, and that now in the Church Age we are "one bread and one body", 1Cor10:17.

"Therefore let us KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavening of sincerity and truth." 1Cor5:8 The Apostle Paul didn't (did NOT) follow up this statement by telling about the new leaven. Instead, he tells the Church at Colossus about how the mystery of the ages is "Christ within you, the hope of glory" ! Col 1:27. This is the New Leaven for those who become New Creatures! Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. John the Baptist was first, and he said of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease".

"For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us", 1Cor5:7. Without the Exodus account to tell us about the passover lamb, we wouldn't have this tremendous metaphorical analogy showing how the New Testament explains what the Old Testament contains!

HIGH SABBATH: Num28:16 "And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD. 28:17 And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. 28:18 In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein" -- holy convocation is apparently spoken of as "high sabbath" in John 19:31.

What does PASSOVER mean to the Christian? It's the beginning of a life committed to Christ. He recognizes the truth of the sacrifice made by the Lamb of God and figuratively puts that blood over the doorway to his house, just as Pilate called for a basin and water to wash his hands of the blood of Christ [we won't discuss whether that worked or not (whether he did it in vain, or not) --it's the principle and the figure I'm calling attention to].

Right after this is when we begin eating the bread. Not the unleavened bread for us, but rather the true and living bread which is the Bible; the Word of God incarnate (in the flesh then, and now in print). And not just for seven days, but for life. Paradoxically we do "get the leaven out" by resolving to turn from our worldly ways, and speak the truth in sincerity and love. Recognizing the New Commandment to "love one another as He loved us", Jn13:34, and noting that Death & Life are in the power of the tongue, Prov18:21. Speaking in tongues is often disparaged as the least of the spiritual gifts, whereas scripture depicts it as the first evidence of being filled with the person of the Holy Spirit, or you could say with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:45, 19:6, 1Cor12,14.

The Second Feast: Pentecost!

What it means for the Day of Pentecost TO BE FULLY COME...

This was the Harvest Feast, also called the Feast of Weeks, and in the New Testament called the Feast of Pentecost. This was the feast which had no set date, but counting began when the first of the crops appeared, and then seven weeks (fifty days) later culminated in that final great "Day" of Pentecost. Dt16:9, Lev23:10. Devout Jews would, of course, be in the Temple that day--in the place where God had chosen to place his name, and not in some upper room as some teachers claim.

The Jewish Sabbath was Saturday (Fri. sunset until Sat. sunset) and the count was to begin the day after (Sunday) when the priest waved the sheaf of firstfruits, and ended on the Sunday fifty days later. THAT was when the Day of Pentecost was fully come--fifty days after Firstfruits! Somebody was counting!

The 40 day bogus count from Ash Wed. to Easter is a mockery of the Bible truth which calls for a 50 day count from Firstfruits till Pentecost.

"Every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits; afterwards they that are Christ's...", 1Cor15:23. Jesus IS the Resurrection, and he WAS resurrected--he was planted, but he arose!

Remember how the Genesis Joseph dreamed of his brothers sheaves bowing down to his sheaf? This is part of the "sowing & reaping" allegory -- don't criticize Joseph for telling his dream because "whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning", Rom15:4, and the precept of how a person could figuratively be bread or grain is what leads to the logic of how Jesus is both the Living Bread, Jn6, and also the incorruptible seed that was planted (in the womb and in the tomb) so that God would beget sons and daughters. 1Jn3:2.

"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting". Acts2:2.

What does PENTECOST mean to the Christian? This is the essence of our faith--that because Christ rose from the dead and went to heaven, we have confidence we'll do the same. On that great Day of Pentecost those were Jews who converted to the cause of Christ when they recognized the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies such as Psalm 22 and Deut 18:15. The Gentiles didn't begin to accept Christ until after Peter was sent to Cornelius, and they weren't called Christians until Acts 11:26 after Paul had taught in Antioch. "The Jew first, and also the Gentile" (or Greek) is an expression found in Romans 1:16 and 2:9,10 and supports the age of mankind proposition whereby the "Children" followed the Pre-Law dispensation of the Genesis "Infancy" and in turn were followed by the "Adult" dispensation of the Church Age.

Now the "times of the Jews" (two millennium) has been succeeded by the "times of the Gentiles" (also two millennium), similar to the account of the seven years of Rachel & Leah, and the seven years of putting the bread into the storehouse followed by the seven years of feeding on that bread. Figuratively we've competed our "7 weeks" (or 50 yrs of Jubilee) and now the time of the full harvest is upon us. The "perilous times" of 2Tim3 are here!

The Third Feast: TabernaclesBlowing the shofar

Israel's final feast of the year was in the 7th month (Tishri) and, curiously, begins with the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana) being recognized by Rabbi's as the "Jewish New Year". (In our year 2010, Jewish year 5771, it's supposed to occur on the 10th of September). I say curious because God decreed the first month of the year was Abib, and you'd think that New Years would be the 1st day of Abib.

Maybe because it was on the Day of Atonement when their sins were erased for a year, it became a 'New Year' for them.

Tabernacles, or Booths (Heb: Succoth), speaks symbolically of a residence; exemplified in the Gospels as "building our house upon the Rock or upon sinking sand". Mt7:24. It's akin to the contemporary saying about having to lie in the bed that you made yourself -- scripture says you need to build your eternal dwelling place on the firm foundation of the Word of God. Don't believe the evil report of scoffers and unbelievers! Jesus says "Take up your bed, and Walk", John5:8.

There were three parts to this final feast. On the first day of the seventh month was "Trumpets", then on the tenth was the "Day of Atonement", and the 15th (full-moon) began the seven days of Succoth: of dwelling in the house you've made for yourself. Neh8:17. (Maybe Jesus is building it according to YOUR spiritual specifications??) Figuratively or allegorically we're now looking for the Lord to descend from heaven with the trumpet of God, 1Thes4:16 -- that's when Christians will truly begin this final feast.

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..."

Compare the above verse in 1Corinthians with this verse in Joshua 6:5 -- "...when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him."

See the comparison? Click here to read the poem "Walls".

The Day of Atonement on the tenth speaks of the white-throne Judgment, so I think of Ready for Spiritual Walk? it as DEAD ON ARRIVAL. Surely it applies to those who have smirched the name above every name--those who have hated others and dealt in wickedness and are unforgiving or unrepentant. They'll be facing the Judge of all the Earth, and I'd hate to be in their shoes. What about my own shoes?? Hopefully, I've removed them because I'm standing on the Holy Ground of the Word of God--and have my feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel. Eph6:15.

This DOA (Yom Kippur) was when the High Priest entered into the Most Holy Place, Lev16, behind the veil; something he (and only he) did just one time in the year. Two (2) goats had been selected for the occasion: one called the "scapegoat" was to be released into the wilderness "by the hand of a fit man", and the other goat was to be killed and its blood carried by the High Priest into that "Holiest Place".
Jesus is represented by both goats: the scapegoat by taking the blame/punishment for our sins, and the other goat by dying and becoming our Super High Priest who takes his own blood into Heaven. I see the "man of opportunity" as Simon the Cyrenian, Mk15:21/Lk23:26, who chanced by and was pressed into carrying the wooden cross.

"Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain to build it", Ps127:1. Never mind the paradox of who's doing the building -- just get in step with the Lord and the two of you can build it together! PASSOVER to the modern believer translates from "Eating the Lamb" to "Reading the Book", and then hastily leaving your worldly ways (your personal exodus). No, you don't have to put on sandals and head for Jerusalem--just get the leaven out by cleaning up your act and "blooming where you're planted". As a faithful King and a Priest you'll succeed in whatever vocation or endeavor you've been gifted, so long as you honor the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In spite of their apparent "Christian" principles, Easter and Lent and Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (Christmas, too) are "holidays" NOT recognized in Scripture. If it weren't for the way they detract from the truth of the Three True Feasts, Deut 16:16 and Ex34:22, it would be easy to overlook the way they ADD to the Scripture in defiance of Revelation 22:18.

The next feast, PENTECOST, or Feast of Weeks, represents the interval between the first of the crops and the full harvest. It helps me to think of it as the difference between the early grain crop and the final fruit crop. It starts with Jesus as the first to be resurrected (Firstfruits) and extends to that great day when "many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt". Daniel 12:2.   Some will have NO FRUIT and others will have fruit that is positively putrid!

The final feast, TABERNACLES, or Ingathering (2Thes2:1) speaks of how each of us builds his own house or temple of the Lord. The Old Testament presented a God who lived in a box (Ark of the Covenant), but that was only an introductory precept leading to how He wants to dwell in his people. 2Cor6:16. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him". 1Cor2:9. This [short] life is a test for the eternity to come -- let's run the race!



P.S. Should we be keeping these Feasts today?? Should we be keeping up with the Lunar calendar??     NOT LIKE THEY DID! -- now that we understand the MEANING of them, we keep them figuratively by taking Jesus as our saviour, and by eating the True Bread (Bible), and by being spiritually fruitful (Love, Joy, Peace, etc.) and by building our house on the Rock that is Christ.

Galatians 5 tells us to "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Go ahead and attend the ritual Feasts if you want to (the Law is good); and you aren't required to obey everything your priest or pastor tells you, but it would be nice to know whose side you're on... Amen?

In his book about the Feasts of Israel, Zola Levitt compares the timing of the feasts to the development of the baby in the womb.   Many thought provoking parallels.

See a brief PowerPoint slide show? Click here.

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Last modified (tweaked) 22 January 2013 by Bob Smith.