Rejoice, dear friends, rejoice! Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, fulfills the meaning of every Jewish feast! While the Old Testament laid out the ceremonies the Jews were to celebrate, brilliant pictures of the Messiah were woven mysteriously into the fabric of those feasts. But God declared through the prophet Amos that He does nothing unless He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7) Therefore, those brilliant pictures are revealed in the Jewish feasts! Let’s dig into this!
Four feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost) occur in the spring and early-summer. The final three feasts (Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) occur in the fall. Prophetically speaking, Jesus has fulfilled the first four, while the final three await future fulfillment. We are living between #4 and #5. Our Blessed Hope will faithfully fulfill the final three at just the right time!
Leviticus 23 outlines each of the seven feasts of Israel, and here is the prophetic significance of each:
- Passover. This feast reveals that, just as the blood of the Passover lamb provided deliverance to the captive Israelites in Egypt, Jesus was crucified, becoming our Passover Lamb, at the same time that the lambs were slaughtered for the Passover meal during the feast (John 19:13-14). Indeed, Jesus the Messiah is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), whose blood was sacrificed for our sin.
- Unleavened Bread. In the Bible, leaven is often a picture of sin. But our Messiah was sinless, so He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. In John 12:24, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus was buried during this feast, the “grain of wheat” dying, then bursting forth as the “bread of life.” (Jesus declared Himself the bread of life in John 6:35.)
- First Fruits. Jesus died on a cross for our sins, but He rose again as the First Fruits of those who are asleep! (1 Corinthians 15:20) “Those who are asleep” are believers who will be resurrected at the rapture! Jesus was the First Fruit, but we will be like Him in resurrection!
- Pentecost. Occurring 50 days after the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost is the image of the harvest of souls described in Acts 2, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the Church. We are currently living in the Church Age, and the prophetic calendar is about to turn the page to the fulfillment of the final three feasts!
- Feast of Trumpets. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) That particular trumpet refers to the rapture, but there are many trumpets referenced in Scripture, and this is a Jewish feast. Could this feast point to a different trumpet heralding a time when Jewish eyes will open to see their Messiah? Either way, Jesus fulfills it!
- Day of Atonement. The Second Coming of Christ is one event, two phases. At the rapture, believers will be “snatched away,” to meet Jesus in the air. However, following the tribulation, Jesus will come back to earth bodily and physically. Many Bible scholars believe this will be the Day of Atonement for the Jews who will finally “look upon Me [Jesus] whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10) and recognize Jesus as Messiah (Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).
- Feast of Tabernacles (Booths). During their wilderness wandering, the Israelites lived in tabernacles (booths), as they dwelt near the tabernacle of God. However, the Feast of Tabernacles points to the day when the Lord fulfills His promise to “tabernacle” once again with His people. (Micah 4:1-7) What an incredibly joyous day that will be when we rule and reign with the King of Glory!
For Jews who are yet to recognize the Messiah, they celebrate these feasts as reverent rituals. As believers in Christ, we study and acknowledge these feasts as confirmation of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf! If we wish to celebrate the final Feast of Trumpets, we must first celebrate the first six! We must be washed by the blood of the Passover Lamb who lived a sinless (unleavened) life and became the First Fruits. That speaks of salvation. Pentecost (pouring out of the Holy Spirit) becomes our inheritance, and we are set apart for His use until the last trumpet sounds (rapture). That spares us from the wrath of the tribulation, while God finishes His plan for the Jews (Day of Atonement). Then, and only then, may we fully enjoy the Feast of Tabernacles when we will dwell (tabernacle) with the Lord forever! (Psalm 23:6)
Our Lord Jesus Christ…painted perfectly in the feasts of Israel!