May 28, 2010

Examining The Scripture XIX: Holy Days

Brief Synopsis:
Not only do the offerings or Leviticus: Chapters 1-7 test the reading endurance of the more spiritual Christian, so too do the Feasts and Celebrations of Leviticus 23 which is what this post will elaborate on. They are hard to read and absorb without intense focus but we need to understand them to understand the Lord's "appointed times". Times that the Israelites were to proclaim as sacred assemblies. In some shape or form they are fulfilled by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. I have again outlined the feasts as I had done with the offerings earlier in Leviticus. I will name the Holy day, when it was and what it was for. Please note that these celebrations are near planting and harvest times as the Israelites were primarily an agrarian society dependant on crops and the land. Hence the dire effects to the population during famines and droughts.

The Sabbath:

a. Every seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest. The Israelites were forbidden to work.

b. Not a feast but a holy day none the less.

The Passover

a. Celebration of God’s miraculous intervention on behalf of the Israelites in Egypt by destruction of the firstborn in households that did not have blood on the door sill.

b. Spring-First month (Nisan), on the 14th day of the month at twilight, is the Lord's Passover.

c. The Last Supper was a Passover meal.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

a. Bread made in haste just prior to the Exodus. Celebrates the Lord's deliverance.

b. Spring-First month (Nisan), on the 15th-21st day of the month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord

c. Seven days they ate unleavened bread.

The Feast of First Fruits (Barley)

a. Spring-First month (Nisan), on the 16th day of the month. Celebration of the first fruits of the harvest and of harvests to come. It is usually done as a wave offering. I have done my own personal study on this and found that Jesus Christ was the first fruits of the Resurrection.

b. Hebrews were to bring the first sheaves of the barley harvest and wave them before the Lord. At the beginning of the day representative leaders of the people would cut certain barley sheaves that had been set aside specifically for this purpose and bring them to the priest. The priest would then present them to the Lord by waving them back and forth. The purpose of this was to consecrate the harvest to the Lord. The first fruits were representative of the entire harvest. This act reminded Hebrews that the land and all its harvest rightfully belonged to God. The people are just stewards of the land.
Jesus fulfilled this feast when He became the first fruits resurrected from the dead. His beginning marked the beginning of the harvest of souls who have been set apart for God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Booker 48).

The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost

a. Celebration of the wheat harvest

b. Late Spring-Third month on 6th day (Sivan)

c. Seven weeks after Passover-First wheat harvest

The Feast of Trumpets (Day of Shouting)

a. Autumn-Seventh month on the 1st day

b. A solemn assembly where trumpet called shofar or ram’s horn is blown to prepare for Day of Atonement.

The Day of Atonement

a. Autumn-Seventh month on the 10st day

b. The day that the High Priest sacrificed the scapegoat to impart all of the sins of the people, then sprinkled its blood on the Mercy seat in the holiest place in the Temple.

The Feast of Booths/Tabernacles

a. Autumn-Seventh month on the 15st day

b. Living in booths as a reminder of forefather’s nomadic life wandering in the wilderness.

It is critical to understand that all of these feasts are feasts that celebrate Jesus Christ in some shape or form. As with everything else in the Bible we see all arrows from the Old and New Testaments pointing to the centrality of Jesus and His amazing work on the cross. In our day and age as we move farther and farther away from the age of the patriarchs and the time of Jesus we begin to lose touch with the purposes and the meanings of what the Bible contains. I look for Christ in everything in the Bible (and my life). Sometimes the story revolves around man or his fallen nature. Where it doesn’t apply to man it is usually somehow either pointing forward or backwards in time to “The Man!” the Son of God.

Booker, Richard. Jesus in the Feasts of Israel: Restoring the Spiritual Realities of the Feasts to the Church. South Plainfield, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1987. Print.

Hill, Andrew E., and Dr. John H. Walton. "Leviticus." A Survey of the Old Testament (Second Edition). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2000. 110. Print.

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