We have covered a LOT of ground, haven’t we? Timeline of the feasts. Jewish calendar. Sacred seasons. Commemorative reasons for the spring feasts. Prophetic significance.
If you haven’t read the prior posts, please scroll down to the beginning one - October 22. It’ll make the rest of this make a lot more sense!
The feasts. Appointed times. The LORD’S appointed times. Celebrations with a purpose. Weekly Sabbath. Jesus is our rest. Passover. Jesus is our Passover Lamb. Unleavened Bread. Jesus takes our sin away and He had to die so that we could live….He is the First Fruit….we are the fruit that follows. Pentecost - giving of the Law brought death but the giving of the Spirit birthed the church.
Spring feasts. Remember what God has done…reflect on the prophecy fulfilled.
On the calendar, three months follow the Spring feasts. Then comes Tishri (lines up with September/October on our Gregorian calendar). And the fall feasts commence!
Let’s look at how they are explained in Leviticus 23:23-44…
The Feast of Trumpets
23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the Lord.”
The Day of Atonement
26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves[a] and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lordyour God. 29 For whoever is not afflicted[b] on that very day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.”
The Feast of Booths
33 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths[c] to the Lord. 35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. 36 For seven days you shall present food offerings to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.
37 “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day, 38 besides the Lord's Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord.
39 “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lordseven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40 And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41 You shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
44 Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the Lord.
So there we have it. In the 7th month (Tishri), the Jews were commanded to celebrate three times - Tishri 1 - Feast of Trumpets; Tishri 10 - Day of Atonement; Tishri 15 - Feast of Booths (Tabernacles). Explaining what the holidays are based on is the simple part. Grasping what they may mean prophetically, uh, not so much. SO let’s begin with what the feasts commemorate…..
Feast of Trumpets
On the first day of the 7th month, God commanded His people to gather for a sacred assembly. This day was observed to point to an ingathering of the nation of Israel. A sacred assembly and a day of rest commemorated with trumpet blasts and sacrifices, this holiday also pointed to when God provided the ram as a substitute for Issac and was seen as the announcement of impending judgment. This specific trumpet used was a ram’s horn (“shofar”) and was blown throughout the day in a series of four different sets of blasts. Even the order of the trumpet blasts was significant - the blasts were calling for the people to listen to the voice of God and sounded the theme of suffering, repentance, triumph, and joy.
So all through the day, at regular intervals, these trumpets were sounded, proclaiming God’s presence among His people, calling for them to harken to His voice, and anticipating the upcoming feast - the Day of Atonement.
This HOLY day is currently referred to as Rosh Hashana and is seen as the beginning of the New Year for the Jewish people. (Remember what we learned about civil vs. religious calendar). The term “Rosh Hashana” literally means “head of new year”.
This day was seen as a new beginning, a time to prepare for what lies ahead and especially to get oneself ready to be made right before God. In fact, the days between the two feasts of Rosh Hashana and The Day of Atonement are referred to even now as “The Days of Awe”. It is during this time that people are to reflect on their lives and standing before The Great Jehovah. For nine days, people are given the opportunity to repent and become acceptable to God, hoping to have their names written in the Book of Life.
Then Tishri 10.
The Day of Atonement
Often referred to as Yom KIppur, this is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. After the ten days of awe, when God’s people were to examine themselves and repent of their sin, this was the one day each year that the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and offer sacrifices to atone for the sins of the entire nation. The Holy of Holies was the inner sanctuary of the Temple, inaccessible to mankind except for this one day per year for the High Priest, because it was here that the Holy Spirit of God dwelt.
The high priest would first bathe and then put on white undergarments and a white tunic. Then he prepared the sacrifices. He offered a bull for the sin of himself and his house, and then took a censer with burning coals and incense into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled some blood from the bull on the ark of the covenant. We will see the significance of these things in the next post but pay close attention to this next action - two goats were chosen for the Day of Atonement. The High Priest sacrificed one and sprinkled some of its blood on the ark of the covenant; the other became the "scapegoat" . He then came out of the tent, put his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confessed the sins of the people over it. The goat was then taken out into the wilderness and released. The high priest would leave his white clothing in the tent of meeting, bathe again, and then put on his regular priestly apparel.
The need for two goats illustrates the need for propitiation (the slaughter of the one as a sin offering to appease the wrath of God) and the need for expiation (the removal of sin so that it was forgotten and no longer clung to the people, carried out by the scapegoat). The two goats symbolized both propitiation and expiation and together illustrate what atonement means.
This day, which also marked the end of the annual harvest, was viewed by God’s people as the day their fates were sealed….the books were closed. Many Jews believe that their Messiah will come on this most holy day of their calendar.
The Feast of Booths (tabernacles)
Celebrated on Tishri 15 and continuing for a week, this feast commemorated the time that the people of God spent in the wilderness, living in temporary dwelling places. Thus, in remembrance, the people were to construct “booths” or “tabernacles” to live in during these seven days. (Although we are accustomed to hearing the word “tabernacle” describe the holy sanctuary, it literally means “movable/temporary dwelling place”). This was a joyful celebration, giving thanks for God’s provision not only in the wilderness during the time of Moses but also for the harvest just gathered in. In fact, many American history scholars believe this was the basis for the celebration of the Pilgrims in 1621, or what we call “The First Thanksgiving”.
The Jews observed this HOLY day with great joy and enthusiasm. At the time of Christ, this feast included elaborate water and light displays to symbolize the presence of God among His people.
Wow. This is a lot of information. And we haven’t even gotten to the ways these feasts may be fulfilled prophetically! We will do that next time.
Thanks for reading.