The Seven Feasts of Jehovah: Part 1

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
The Seven Feasts
It has been said that to understand the seven feasts of the Lord spoken of in Leviticus 23, the seven similitudes of Matthew 13 and the seven letters to the churches in Revelation 23 is to have an outline of the ways of God with man as revealed in the Scriptures. Those who know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour are called His friends (John 15:1414Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:14)), and He makes known His mind and purposes to us in matchless grace. One has sometimes said that the Christian, taught of God, is the only one who has an intelligent outlook on what is going on in the world, for the Lord Jesus said, “All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:1515Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (John 15:15)). May we value this blessed intimacy and walk in communion with the Lord day by day!
The seven feasts of the Lord given to Israel in Leviticus 23 are preceded by the Sabbath, a rest on earth, and this will take place in the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:66Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)). Israel and Jerusalem will be the center of this earthly rest.
The Passover
The seven feasts that follow give us a prophetic outline of the ways of God with that nation, which will finally bring them, and all the nations on earth in association with them, into blessing according to the purposes of God in grace (Gen. 12:23). Therefore the passover comes first: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Ex. 12:1313And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)). The children of Israel were sinners like the Egyptians and, if they were to escape the judgment, it was because a lamb had died and its blood had been shed and sprinkled on the lintel and doorposts of their homes beautiful picture of Christ, the Lamb of God, whose precious blood alone can put away sin. Eating the passover in their homes was, so to speak, making it their own. In a coming day, Israel will learn the value of the work of Christ and will be brought into blessing on the earth as promised in Genesis 15:18-2118In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. (Genesis 15:18‑21).
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The next feast was that of unleavened bread. Leaven in the Bible is used as a figure of the working of evil within, like yeast in dough. When Israel has learned the value of the work of Christ, then He will give them a new heart, as we read in Hebrews 8:1010For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10), “I will put My laws in their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” Then, so to speak, they will keep the feast of unleavened bread. In a practical way now, those who have learned that “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:77Purge 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: (1 Corinthians 5:7)) have the desire and the power to walk here as “new creatures” in Christ Jesus, not allowing the activity of sin (leaven) in their lives.
The Feast of Firstfruits
Next comes the waving of the sheaf of firstfruits, a beautiful picture of Christ risen from the dead and become “the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:2020But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20)). “Christ died for our sins.... He was buried, and... rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3434Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:34)). He was “raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:2525Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:25)). The Israelite could not eat any of the harvest until the sheaf of firstfruits had been waved before the Lord. All blessing to Israel or us is founded on the death and resurrection of Christ. “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:1717And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)).
The Feast of Pentecost
Now we come to the feast of Pentecost, meaning fifty days. It was kept on the morrow after the seventh Sabbath on the first day of the week. This is a remarkable feast, for the way was now opened for the fullest blessing of Israel, and for the Gentile too, because in figure Christ as the passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:77Purge 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: (1 Corinthians 5:7)). He is risen again and is there at the right hand of God for us (Rom. 8:3434Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)). All blessing to man is the result of His glorious work. Now we read in Acts 234For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, (Acts 2:34) about the day of Pentecost and what took place on that day in Jerusalem. It was a new beginning, so to speak.
In Leviticus 23, the feast of Pentecost is brought before us primarily as it has to do with Israel. This was, so to speak, the beginning of the harvest. However, the purpose of God in regard to the blessing of the Gentiles is typified in the two wave loaves baken with leaven. The two wave loaves are the Jew and the Gentile. They are spoken of as the firstfruits (Lev. 23:1717Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:17)) and we read of this in James 1:1818Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18).
They were “baken with leaven” because even though we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, we still have the old nature within us, but it is to be kept in the place of death, just as leaven is not active in baked bread (see Rom. 6:1111Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)). The burnt offering, the meat offering, the drink offering, the sin offering and the peace offering show us how all these offerings bring before us the various aspects of the work of Christ, all fulfilled in the one glorious work which He accomplished once for all at Calvary.
G. H. Hayhoe
(to be continued)