Leviticus 23:4 reads: “These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.”
The Hebrew word for “feasts” means “appointed times.” God Himself set appointed times to meet with man for holy convocations or holy reasons. People in every nation have special times or dates set aside called holidays to remember and celebrate certain people, events, occasions victories, etc. Jehovah set aside certain times and seasons to be celebrated and remembered by His people who are called by His name. Who are the Lord’s people; the body of Christ? Who are Christians?
The Hebrew word “Adah” or “Kahal” is translated “Ekklesia” meaning “the called out.” The Jews and Gentiles that were called out of their sin and rebellion make up the true body of Jesus Christ. There is technically no such thing as the Gentile Church. To be correct one would have to use the term the “Ekklesia” or the commonwealth of Israel. We are all sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if we are “born again”. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32:28; 35:10-12). There was no nation of Israel when the name change was given by God. Neither was there a religion called “Judaism.” God made His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (God changed Jacob’s name to Israel). Genesis 17:2-7; 26:2-6; 35:9-12; 48:12-20; Ephesians 2:12-20; 3:3-6. God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations, which today comprise both Jews and Gentiles, which are part of the “Ekklesia” or the commonwealth of Israel. Genesis 22:16-18; 28:14: “…as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore…and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed…”
Isaiah 51:1-2 and Romans 11:13-23 read: “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him…For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office…And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in…And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.”
The following are just a few Scriptures showing that the righteous observed the Feasts in the Old Testament, that Jesus and His disciples observed the Feasts in the New Testament, and that all people from every nation will be forced by Jesus Himself to observe the Feasts when He returns to earth to rule and reign!
Luke 2:41-43: “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days…”
Luke 22:1-20: “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the Goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: There make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
Did you notice that the Lord’s Supper was held on the Passover? Without the truth of the Passover, there is no reason to remember and participate in the Lord’s Supper. In all reality, the Lord’s Supper is part and parcel of the Passover!
John 7:8-11: “Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?”
Zechariah 14:16-19: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even 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 whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
To me, ladies and gentlemen, it is the height of idolatry or sheer ignorance for a Christian today to reject God’s holidays. There are only seven holidays that God Himself wants the righteous to remember. Other national holidays that you choose to remember are your personal choice. Some are not wrong to celebrate, and others should not be celebrated as they have Satanic origins, etc. But God’s seven holidays are wonderful faith-builders as they look back at the miracles of God and forward to the miraculous events of our Lord’s return.
As a parent, I use these God-ordained holidays to teach my children the spiritual realities of Jesus Christ...past, present and future. God’s seven feasts depict the entire redemptive career of Jesus Christ the Messiah. I believe personally the reason why the church in America is not really seeing signs, wonders, and miracles as we read in the book of Acts is because we continually compromise. God is not compromising on the issues, even though leaders today teach the people that it is not applicable or it does not really matter. When Jesus Christ returns to earth to rule and reign from Jerusalem, with an iron hand He will force every Christian and every sinner to come to Jerusalem to honor the Feast of Tabernacles, or He will Himself impose judgments on them.
No, we do not really see an Acts type of revival because churches compromise on God’s commandments. Look at the churches who brag about being in a revival, though they don’t meet the criteria of a Biblical revival with addition to the church daily and the mighty genuine miracles. Because of their compromise or rebellion over God’s holidays, etc., they themselves are finally suffering rebellion (church problems and splits). A spirit of rejecting God’s standard or Word finally stops the supposed revival and splits the church.
In this article and the next one we will look at God’s spring holidays or Feasts. Later in the year we will look at God’s fall holidays or Feasts.
The timing of God’s Feasts are in accordance with the Jewish lunar (moon) calendar which is approximately 354 days a year. Consequently, seven times every nineteen years the current Jewish calendar has a thirteenth month to make up for it. This is why the holidays do not fall on the same days every year as they do on our Gregorian calendar.
The first spring Holiday or Feast is a one day Feast called “Passover”, which is followed immediately by the seven day “Feast of Unleavened Bread”. In Exodus 12:6, Leviticus 23:4-5, and Numbers 9:3; 28:16, Jehovah said that “Passover” was to be celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month, Nisan (March-April), which was the day that God brought His people out of Egypt. The “Feast of Unleavened Bread” was to begin on the 15th day of Nisan.
The Passover holiday is a tremendous Feast to celebrate. It gives parents many examples of God’s mercy and grace, miracles of deliverance, provision and salvation to tell their children which will increase their faith. It shows us how in the future God will intervene to protect and save us during the times of the plagues described in Revelation, just as He protected His people during the plagues in Egypt when God poured out His wrath upon an ungodly superpower.
The way of escape is always the same. Follow God’s Word explicitly, and the blood will cover you as in Exodus 12. Jehovah gave clear instructions; steps which had to be taken to avoid the final plague under which Pharaoh and the Egyptians would suffer. The Passover is to be remembered by the righteous as a holy day forever (Exodus 12:14; 13:3, etc.).
The scenario of events leading up to God’s intervention in the Passover are a shadow, a prelude, as they resemble the situation in the world today for the Christian and nation of Israel. Once again, miracles will occur before ultimate deliverance and the return of the Messiah. Only this time, instead of Moses, it will be Jesus!
Pharaoh was a cruel leader to God’s people but was loved by the Egyptians. So shall the final antichrist persecute the Christians but will be loved by the world. Not all of the people of Israel escaped as not all of the nation of Israel or the Christians will escape today with tribulation about to begin. Only those who called on the name of the Lord and followed His instructions/commandments to the letter were covered (and will be covered) by the blood. The other Israelites were judged along with the Egyptians, as the Israelites and Christians will be today. The situation looked hopeless for the slaves in Egypt as it will look and be for the commonwealth of Israel (Jews and Gentiles who are really Christians), during the tribulation. Exodus 3:2 tells about the bush that burned but was never consumed. We, like Moses, will see supernatural incidents that will exhort us to recognize that God is holy, and we must draw nigh unto Him and seek and respect Him with all of our being to be able to be led by the Holy Spirit during the plagues that are about to begin. The plagues from God upon Egypt resemble the plagues described in Revelation that are coming upon the world’s governments and the wicked. If you study, you will notice that each plague was directed against an Egyptian deity and finally against Pharaoh’s own house, since he was considered a god. This was a real test of whose powers were greater and who was the real God. The blood of the Egyptian gods did not protect them. As God instructed through Moses, only the blood of the lambs, representing the final Lamb of God, Jesus Himself, would alone have the power to save all who would obey Him. Finally, Pharaoh realized he was no match for Jehovah and allowed the slaves to leave. They marched right past the sphinx of Egypt into the desert on their way to the promised land. So it will happen again. The antichrist, leading the armies of the world, will discover that he is powerless against Jesus Christ, and will relinquish the slaves of the Messiah to follow and obey Him as He rules and reigns over the nations from Jerusalem.
The Messiah was crucified on the memorial celebration day of the Passover. Remember the lambs were slain in Egypt on the day of the one and only Passover, and Jesus is the Lamb of God. God had the righteous select a perfect lamb in its prime to be used as a sacrifice to avoid the final plague in Egypt. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice in His prime, sinless, meeting the qualifications for us to escape the wrath and judgment of God, both on earth and in eternity. Again, refer to Exodus, chapter 12; the lamb was to be taken away from the flock on the tenth day of Nisan and kept until the fourteenth day of the month. This allowed time to ensure that the lamb was without blemish and a relationship could be established between the individuals in the home and the lamb. During the afternoon of the fourteenth day the lambs were to be publicly killed by “the whole assembly”, yet individually applied to every family home. Today when we teach our children the spiritual truths throughout the Passover, we emphasize the importance of establishing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Even though salvation is available for all who accept Him and all are responsible for killing Him; yet, individually Jesus must be accepted and followed. He died for you personally, as well as for all who receive Him (Exodus 12:3,5,13,42, John 3:16).
As mentioned earlier, the second holiday God wants the remnant to observe is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This holiday begins the day after the Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is held from the 15th until the 21st of Nisan. In Scripture many times the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are blurred together. Thus, it is common to call both “the eight days of Passover”. The Bible tells us in Luke 22:1,7 that in Jesus’ time it was also common to call all eight days the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
During this holiday I teach and remind my children of Jehovah’s supernatural salvation for those living by faith from Egyptian bondage. Remember, when the people fled from Egypt in the middle of the night there was no time for the bread dough to rise (Deuteronomy 16:3; Exodus 12:39). I also tell my children that God will always make a way of escape and salvation for each one of us in our time of need. And, as the people had to be ready to leave without warning, so we today must be ready to meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in case we die without warning before the return of Christ. The seven days of eating Unleavened Bread not only remind us of the affliction the people suffered in Egypt under the stereotype of the antichrist, but looks forward to the seven years of affliction during the tribulation in the book of Revelation which believers who are alive at that time must endure. But, we can look back and see that God brought the Israelites through it, and He will be faithful to bring us through our time of affliction.
Exodus 12:15 reads: “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”
In Matthew 16:6,11, Mark 8:15, Luke 12:1, Galations 5:19-21, and many other places, sin is pictured as leaven. The warning in Exodus 12:15 is that God will not allow any leaven or sin in our lives when He returns. It will not be tolerated in heaven, and it will damn us here before heaven if we leave it unattended. The Bible tells us He will put all rebellion under His feet.
Because sin is referred to as leaven, only matzah (unleavened bread) was used in the temple because the offering had to be pure (Leviticus 2:11; 6:16-17; 10:12).
I Corinthians 5:7-8 tells us: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither, with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
I also teach my children the prophetic meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread found in the work of the Messiah, Jesus. Passover shows us the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb. The Feast of Unleavened Bread portrays the burial of Jesus. And, the Feast of Firstfruits, which we will look at in the next article, pictures the resurrection of the Messiah. Isaiah 53:3-9 speaks of Jesus’ amazing burial. Along with the wicked, He died a criminal’s death, but was buried with the honored and rich (Matthew 27:57-60). Usually a criminal was thrown outside the city in the garbage heap, but not the Messiah.! Because He was pure and sinless without leaven and died for the sins of others, He was honored in the place of His burial. His body did not suffer decay (Psalms 16:10). Genesis 3:19 tells us that the bodies of sinners are subject to decay. But, not Christ Jesus, who arose from the grave on the third day, removing our sins, if we receive Him (Psalms 103:12; Hebrews 9:26).
Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Passover in His death (crucifixion). Jesus deliberately arranged his itinerary and activities around the events associated with the selection, test, and death of the lamb used for The Passover. In this way the people could understand who Jesus was and what He was doing. Jesus was set aside to be sacrificed, examined and slaughtered (crucified) on the exact month, day, and hour that the Jews had been treating the lambs for 1,500 years in keeping the holiday of God called the Feast of Passover. That is why John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world in John 1:29.
Again, the special Feasts of God are holidays that we should look forward to each year with anticipation. They are great faith builders and marvelous real examples of God’s power, with heroes that will not let you down. The Passover is history for you and I if we have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God Who takes our place and forgives our sins. We remember it with thanksgiving daily. We are now living in the Feast of Unleavened Bread which requires our lives to be lived in purity without leaven/sin.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT ISSUE
World Ministries International
Roman 3:23-; 6:23 tells us that every person is guilty of sin and death. The Bible says that the angel of death, as in Egypt, will one day come knocking at our heart’s door. Hebrews 2:14-15 says that man is afraid of death. Man is also afraid of God because man knows intuitively that he deserves the judgment of God for his sins. To avoid thinking of this fear of death and God, man tries to keep himself very busy in a numbing fashion with religion, money, business, power, sex, alcohol, sports, etc. Isaiah tells us “there is no peace for the wicked.” Jesus Christ, who is our Lamb, provided His blood for us to put on the doorpost of our heart; thus, allowing a way to escape eternal death because of His death and resurrection (1 John 1:7; I Corinthians 15:51-57). There is no reason now to fear death, for Jesus became our substitutionary sacrifice so eternal death will “pass over” all who believe in and follow the Messiah. Now we can have peace with God as we apply the Passover (Jesus) in our lives and honor The Unleavened Bread (remove sin from our lives; Ephesians 4:22). For a deeper teaching on the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, ask for our shortwave tape of this article!
To help support WMI in our task to warn the Church, both within America and throughout the world, please specify the amount of your contribution on the envelope enclosed. If you are receiving these articles each month, please be responsible and send a monthly offering. Blessings and shalom.
© 2001 World Ministries International