EDEN CELEBRATES THE FEASTS OF THE LORD
The Feasts of the Lord are God’s annual calendar for the Church of Christ as confirmed by the cycles of the sun, moon and seasons as created in Genesis as well as being the revelation of God’s Plan of Redemption and fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
As NT believers, we worked throughout the year to produce the best spiritual crop. And tonight we come to conclude the harvesting season of this year with feasting, thanksgiving and worship to the One who made it all possible – YESHUA OUR MESSIAH.
In Genesis God created the sun, moon and stars. The reason for this was to create days, nights, years and seasons (H4150 mô’êd = ‘fixed time/appointed time/festival’). These seasons would be determined by the earth’s movement in relation to the sun and moon. Nothing would be co-incidental; everything would be according to God’s calendar.
Each season would furthermore determine the planting, growth and harvesting of the crops and, to commemorate these seasons, God instituted seven feasts which He Himself called “The Feasts of the LORD” (Lev. 23:1-2). Contrary to some of the Christian feasts that we celebrate, these feasts are discussed throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. God did not only appoint these feasts, but He also owned them by calling them “My Feasts” (Lev. 23:2).
As an eternal, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent God, we would not at all be surprised to find that God’s spiritual seasons, His whole Plan of Redemption, coincides with His natural seasons.
God chose the Hebrew nation to reveal Himself and His order to the rest of mankind. The Hebrew’s religious calendar revolved around the cultivation of crops and the major feasts had an agricultural significance, for they marked the seasons of planting and harvesting. These events enhanced the worker’s sense of personal worth and enriched his faith in God. The Hebrew farmer worked with God to produce the best crop possible. He and his family always concluded the harvesting season with feasting and worship (Deut. 16:13-17).
This feast took place at the beginning of the Biblical year in the 1st month (March/April) of the spring season and had three parts to it: 1) The Feast of Passover, 2) The Feast of Unleavened Bread and 3) The Day of the Sheaf of First Fruits. These three feasts were fulfilled by Jesus when He 1) offered Himself for the sins of mankind on the day and time when the Passover lamb was offered at the Temple in Jerusalem as 2) the sinless Lamb of God. Through His sacrifice of Himself on the cross, death “pass over” all those who believe in Him and 3) through His resurrection on the 3rd day He became the First Fruit of those who will be resurrected at His Second Coming.
THE FEAST OF WEEKS (SHAVUOT)
The next great Feast that the Lord commanded Israel to keep was Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks which is observed in the late spring usually late May or early June. This feast was called by this name because seven weeks and one day were counted from the Feast of First Fruits until its observance. Shavuot was the day on which the first fruit offerings of the summer wheat crop were brought to the Temple. In the New Testament it is referred to as the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 20:16; I Cor. 16:8), Pentecost being the translation of the Greek word for 'fiftieth,' since it was celebrated on the fiftieth day from the Feast of First Fruits .
Prophetic Feasts to be fulfilled by Jesus
The four *springtime feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and Feast of Weeks) were fulfilled in connection with Messiah’s First Coming. The Bible’s three *autumn feasts (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles) will be fulfilled at Messiah’s Second Coming (*Northern Hemisphere).
THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS
The Feast of Trumpets was introduced on the first day of the seventh month of the Biblical calendar by the Day of Blowing of Trumpets. The first day of the month coincided with the New Moon, thus this feast was introduced with a New Moon when the moon is dark and only a thin crescent. All the other Feasts occur later in their respective months when the moon is bright.
The Feast of Trumpets foreshadows Israel’s dark day. Israel’s prophets repeatedly warned of a coming dark day of judgment which they referred to as “the day of the Lord” – that terrible period at the end of this age when the Lord will pour out His fiery judgment, not only upon Israel’s enemies, but also upon Israel to bring her to repentance and into the New Covenant (See Amos 5:18-20; Joel 2:31). As the Day of the Lord begins, God’s last trumpet will sound and Messiah will reveal Himself to the nation of Israel and bring her into the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; Ezek. 20:35-38; Zech. 13:9).
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT (YOM KIPPUR)
Yom Kippur falls on the 10th day of Tishri, the seventh Hebrew month (around September/October), between the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles and is without doubt the most awesome holy day in Israel. It still has a powerful influence over the culture and worship of Israel. But of even greater importance is the fact that the Day of Atonement provides a backdrop for understanding the scope of Messiah’s payment for sin and the security of God’s people today.
Yom Kippur was the only day of the year on which the high priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple and stand before the presence of God’s glory. Here he, as representative of the nation of Israel, had to make atonement for the sins of himself and his house as well as for the whole nation by means of blood sacrifices.
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES (SUKKOTH)
One special and peculiar offering was that of two goats which were offered on this day. Two lots were placed inside a vessel; one was inscribed with “for the Lord” and one “for the scapegoat” (lit. Azazel or ‘escape goat’). The high priest then had to kill the goat, on which the Lord’s lot fell, as a sin offering and offer the blood in the Holy of Holies, whilst the other goat had to be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement for the sin of the people, and was then released into the wilderness, thereby symbolically bearing away the sins of the people (Lev. 16:8-10).
During the end time period, the seventh trumpet will sound and Messiah will return and do battle against His enemies (The Day of Trumpets) and break the yoke of Gentile oppression from the neck of Israel (Ps. 2:9; Is. 9:4). Then the Messianic throne will be established, “And the LORD shall be King over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9; Rev 11:15). Israel’s sin will be dealt with and the Lord will remember their sin no more (Is. 43:25; Jer. 31:34). Isaiah prophesied that spiritually the nation would be born in a day (Is. 66:7-8; cf. Rom. 11:26-27). This will be the prophetic fulfilment of Israel’s Day of Atonement as the nation comes face to face in repentance with the Messiah at the end of the seventieth week (Dan. 9:24; Rev 1:7). For us as believers, the atoning duty of the high priest in the Old Testament foreshadowed the perfect atonement of Jesus when He died on the cross and entered the throne room of God the Father in heaven to present His blood and the veil of the Temple was miraculously rent from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).
This supernatural event signified that the way into God's presence was now open to all who believe in God through Christ. Believers can now come to God through the veil of Christ's flesh and blood (Hebrews 10:19-22) at any time and without the fear of perishing.
Like the first goat who died as sin offering and whose blood was sprinkled within the veil on the Mercy Seat, so Jesus, our Sin-offering died to reconcile us to God as His blood was brought into the heavenly Sanctuary, within the veil (Heb. 9:12).
The scapegoat, after the laying on of hands, was sent by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness bearing away the sins, transgressions, iniquities and uncleanness of Israel. Likewise, Jesus was crucified outside the city walls (Heb. 13:11-12; cf. Is.53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21).
The seventh and final feast given by the Lord is known as Sukkoth or the Feast of Tabernacles. It is the most joyful and festive of all the feasts. The feast of Tabernacles is spoken of as the Feast of Ingathering, which took place at the end of the year. During this harvest all the fruits of the land were gathered together with the wine and oil (Lev. 23:33-43; Num. 29:12-39; Deut. 31:10-13).
The English word “tabernacle” is from the Latin word tabernaculum meaning “booth” or “hut.” The feast acquired this name from the Biblical requirement for all Israelites to dwell in tabernacles or temporary shelters during this holiday. It was to be an annual reminder of God’s provision during the forty years in the wilderness when Israel had lived in similar shelters. This final feast of the year is also known in Scripture as “the Feast of Ingathering” (Ex. 23:16; 34:22), for it was observed after all crops had been harvested and gathered.
The Feast of Tabernacles falls in the autumn of the year (northern hemisphere), on the 15th day of Tishri, which is the seventh month on the Biblical calendar (usually late September to mid-October) and only five days after the solemn Day of Atonement.
When Jesus returns to earth to occupy the throne of David (Mat. 25:31; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30), establish His Messianic Kingdom for a thousand years on earth to tabernacle amongst His own, He will gather the remnant of Israel back to her land. Isaiah described this event as the harvesting of olives (Is. 24:13). The righteous among the Gentiles will also be gathered to the Lord. This will be the largest ingathering of souls ever when, not only individuals, but nations will lay down their crowns before Jesus and will come up to Jerusalem to feast and pray and to submit to His righteous millennial reign (Zech. 14:16; Ezek. 37:27-28; Cf. Rev. 21:3).
It is noteworthy that the last feasts fall in the seventh month of the Biblical calendar, since the number seven is the Biblical number of perfection and fulfilment/completion.
Every year all the members of Eden Academy of Worship participate in the celebrations of the Feasts of the Lord in Gauteng. The celebrations are open to all who would like to celebrate with us. There is no entry fee, only an offering is taken for the continued celebration of the feasts. Please contact us if you wish to receive regular information and invitations.
For more information, Tel/Fax: 011 678-6645
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