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The Feasts of the Lord


Leviticus 23 describes seven celebrations, or feasts, that are to take place, four during the early
Spring harvest and three during the big Fall harvest.

These feasts played a big role in the lives of the Jewish people. Three times a year—at Passover
in March, Pentecost in June, and the Feast of Tabernacles in September—all Jewish males were
expected to gather together in Jerusalem for the feasts. If you pay attention in the gospels, you
will see that Jesus attended the feasts throughout His life. Paul remained an observant Jew
according to the Law and tried to hurry back to Jerusalem in time for Pentecost, according to
Acts 20.

It is good for Christians to understand the feasts because it helps us to understand the Bible
better, but also because it tells us about God’s timeline. We can see God’s timeline.

[Set up the overhead projector to show a shadow]

When you see a shadow, you are seeing the real thing but only an outline. You do not see the
color or details.

Hebrews 8:4-5
4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts
prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in
heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it
that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

The Bible says that the things God showed Moses on Mt. Sinai were a copy and shadow of
heavenly things. This includes the details of the temple and priestly service, but also the calendar
of celebrations that God detailed in Leviticus 23.


1st$Month$(Nisan)$ 3rd$Month$
$ Pilgrimage$ $ (Sivan)$ $
$ Pilgrimage$
Feast$of$ Day$of$ Feast$of$Booths$
Passover$ Unleavened$ First$Fruits$ Pentecost$or$ Trumpets$ Atonement$ or$Tabernacles$
Bread$$ Feast$of$Weeks$$
$ $

$ $ $
Present!the!first! Present!two! Blow!trumpets!to!
Kill!a!lamb!and!put! Enter!the!most!
Eat!bread!baked! of!the!harvest!to! loaves!of! gather!Israel!for! Celebrate!the!full!
! the!blood!on!the! ! ! holy!place!to!offer!
without!leaven! the!Lord!with! leavened!bread!! preparation!and! harvest!with!joy!
doorpost! the!sacrifice!
thanksgiving! to!the!Lord! repentance!

(A!Sabbath) (A!Sabbath)!
(A!Sabbath) (1st!and!8th!days!

M E A N I N G $R E V E A L E D $T H R O U G H $J E S U S$

Through the feasts, God is revealing His plan of salvation. We can see the things that Jesus has
already accomplished in the Spring feasts, as well as the things that Jesus will accomplish when
He returns in the Fall feasts. The details of the feasts align amazingly with what is revealed
elsewhere in the Bible about God’s plan.
March,!April May,!June September,!October
Passover and Unleavened Bread
These two feasts are celebrated together. The Passover comes first, with a dinner that reminds
people about how God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. This is the dinner that Jesus
shared with His disciples on the night He was betrayed. When he broke the bread and shared the
cup, He was using the unleavened bread, or matzah, and the wine that was part of the Seder

When Jesus said, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees,” His disciples knew that He was
talking about sin because that is what leaven or yeast represents in the Passover. Paul also used
the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread to teach Christians about spiritual truths.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8
7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For
Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the
old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and

In God’s timeline, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is represented by the feasts of Passover and
Unleavened Bread.

First Fruits
The Israelites presented a sheaf from the very first harvest of barley to the Lord. This signified
thanksgiving for the full harvest that God was going to bring throughout the rest of the year.

Paul said that when Jesus rose from the dead, He was the first fruits of the resurrection.
Amazingly, God said that this feast was to happen on the day after the Sabbath, which is when
Jesus also rose from the dead!

1 Corinthians 15:20-23
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen
asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through
a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ,
the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

Jesus’ resurrection is assurance for us that God will also raise us from the dead. We therefore
have hope in a glorious future.

The name Pentecost simply means “Five Weeks” because this feast came 49 days after the feast
of First Fruits. For the Israelites, this was a time to thank God again for the harvest of wheat and
corn, and also to celebrate when God gave the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The two loaves
represent the tablets of the law.

Of course, this is also when God poured out His Holy Spirit on the disciples in Jerusalem, 49
days after Jesus rose again!
Acts 1:3-5
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was
alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave
Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5
For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Working in the Fields
Before the Fall feasts, there is an interval of several months during which the Israelites were
busy working in the fields. If we think about God’s timetable, there is an interval between the
time when Jesus came and went up again, and when He will return. During this time, what are
we to do?

John 4:35
35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and
look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

This is the time when we are to be busy laboring for the Lord in His harvest field. This is where
it gets really exciting …

Feast of Trumpets
This feast was to announce the upcoming Day of Atonement, which occurred 10 days afterward.
The entire nation was to prepare themselves for the most holy day by examining themselves and

The prophet Jeremiah knew that God would scatter the Israelites, but also looked forward to the
day when He would gather them back together and give them a new heart. Indeed, the founding
of the nation of Israel in 1948 takes on important significance in the light of these prophesies.

Day of Atonement
On this, the most holy day, the high priest makes atonement for the nation of Israel. The entire
nation is to spend the day in repentance and fasting. Again, many prophesies in the Old
Testament look forward to a time when the nation of Israel will repent.

Zechariah 12:10
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace
and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him
as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

The Jewish people are looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. The prophets say that they
will repent on that day, mourning because they had pierced Him. Surely this is what Paul also
looked forward to.
Romans 11:25-29
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be
conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has
come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is
concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are

The Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is where the Israelites live in booths made of branches to remind
themselves of the time when God dwelt with them in the desert.

The final feast comes with the final harvest, the “great ingathering.” Jesus repeatedly refers to
the Day of Judgment as a final harvest where the wheat is gathered into God’s barn and the
weeds are thrown into the fire. Revelation 14 describes two harvests at the end of the world: one
is a great harvest from the entire earth, souls who are saved; the other is a terrible harvest of
God’s wrath against those who refuse to repent.

The good news is that the good harvest is going to be a big one. I believe that even as
persecution against God’s church intensifies, the work of the church will be sped up and made
even more powerful. Indeed, that is the pattern we have seen throughout history and even today
we see in places such as Iran and China. The blood of the martyrs is seed.

And the Book of Revelation does in fact describe God again dwelling with His people.

Revelation 21:1-3
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed
away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down
out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard
a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and
he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their

You can take what you’ve learned today as just head knowledge, but I pray that you will allow it
to go deeper and encourage you to work harder for God’s kingdom, knowing that your labor is
not in vain.