The Spring Feasts

if you haven’t read other posts, go back to oct 22

I hope you are already excited by the things we’ve learned so far.  Holidays are HOLY days – God’s appointed times to reveal the glory of His character.  His faithfulness in historical events and the greatness of His plan for the future of His children.  Appointed times…sacred seasons…times to celebrate WHO He is.

These annual celebrations…the blueprints of the plan of God…teach us the historical events of Scripture, the prophetic events on God’s timeline, the glory of our redemption in Christ, and even insight into our walk with Him.  So we want to dive in and see what the Spring feasts are all about!

 

Remember that these appointed times of God’s are tied to the agricultural cycle, the planting and harvesting that served as the foundation of the ancient Israelite economy.  The realities of growing food and the dependence on God inherent in that underscored the cause for celebration.  The timeline God designated for these feasts is significant – pay careful attention to the dates.

Understanding the Jewish calendar is a critical component of learning about these sacred times – the Hebrews not only had different names for their months and a different starting point for their year, they also based their calendar on the moon, ended the week on Saturday (Sabbath), and considered a “day” as one evening to the next.  These components explain the differences that we encounter as we explore the days and dates of the feasts and their prophetic fulfillment. Lots of details to keep in mind as we go through. 

First, we will look at the timing of each holiday and historical events that the feasts commemorate.  Then we will examine their prophetic fulfillment.

The Spring feasts: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). God established Passover to be celebrated on Nissan 14 as remembrance of when He led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. You might recall the events of their exodus: God commanded Moses to take His people out of Egypt and into the land He had given to Abraham. ( The descendants of Abraham had been living there until famine drove the family of Jacob into Egypt for food. They settled there and grew mightily and eventually proved a threat to the country’s leadership. Little by little, the Hebrew people became enslaved to the Egyptians.  It’s a cool story with some incredible backstory details – check it out in Genesis 37-47.  Really great stuff.) 

Well, the leader of Egypt (Pharaoh) didn’t want to lose all this free labor so he refused to let Moses leave with the people. God doesn’t take no for an answer, so He sent plague after plague (10 in all) to display His power to Pharaoh and to repudiate the “gods” the Egyptians worshipped.  Each plague was an opportunity for Pharaoh to change his mind.  Each time he refused, another plague came.

The final plague is described in Exodus 11: 1-6 and 12:1-13.  God said He would send death to the homes  of the Egyptians. The firstborn of every home would die and there would be such a great cry that Pharaoh would finally let His people go. God purposed this plague for the people of Egypt and therefore He provided a protection for His children. We need to read word for word about this provision –

Exodus 12:1-13

Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “this month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the  year to you.  Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. Now if the household is too small for a lamb, the he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them, according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.  Your lamb shall be an unblemished male, a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.  And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight (literally “between the evenings” – 3:00pm). Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorpost and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. Now you shall eat it in this manner, with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste – it is the Lord’s Passover.  For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments --- I am the Lord.  And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.’ “

 

Notice these things:  the dates of bringing the lamb into the household, and the date/time of killing the lamb and the use of the blood.  These are significant when we look at prophetic fulfillment.

 

That is the celebration of Passover, commemorating the provision of the Lord to protect against death. Next is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is found in these verses, following the instructions on Passover -Exodus 13:14-18 –

The Lord is still speaking…

“Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord, throughout the generations and you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. And on the first day you shall have a holy assembly and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except that what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.  You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts (ancestors) out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. “

 

In Scripture, leaven (yeast agent) represents sin. This will be significant to remember when we look at the prophetic fulfillment of this feast.  For now, focus on the historical importance – when the Israelites were leaving Egypt, they ate in haste, not having time for bread to rise, so leaven was omitted.  This memorial was observed for a week and Leviticus tells us that this specific feast was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the month, the evening meal after Passover.

 

The Feast of FirstFruits was to be celebrated on the first day after the Sabbath following the Passover (that would be our Sunday).  This sacred day was to be observed after entering the Promised land and it was an offering of the first fruits of the barley harvest.  This was a time to give thanks for the harvest the  Lord had provided as well  as signifying the promise of the harvest yet to be gathered.  (Leviticus 23:9-14)

Hang onto the details of the day of and reason for the celebration.

 

The final Spring Feast is described in Leviticus 23:15-22.  This is still the Lord speaking – “You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days(Pentecost) to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord.  You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be made of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.  Along with the bread, you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their libations, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord.  You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings.  The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the Lord; they are to be holy to the Lord for the priest.  On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation.  You shall do no laborious work.  It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien.  I am the Lord your God.

 This is called the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, which  means 50.  It is a celebration and dedication of the wheat harvest of the land. Seven weeks after the First Fruits feast, which was the harvesting of barley, God commanded the Israelites to observe the harvest of the wheat.  These details are significant.  The days,  the timing and the grain being harvested. This feast was also a commemoration of when God gave to Moses The Law on Mount Sinai, the standards of His righteousness to be lived out by His people. Which of course was impossible to keep….

 

We will look at how these were fulfilled in Christ….next post.