Hi friends! Did you know that Israel is God’s calendar and time piece? Since the time of Abraham, when God called him out of pagan idol worship in the land of Ur (modern-day Iraq) to a new land (Canaan), God put forth a specific nation and a specific people group to carry out a very unique mission. Abraham became father of the Jews (see Genesis 12 and 15), and God promised him land and descendants.
The promised land was Israel (plus some, but Israel did not conquer all God promised to give them), and Abraham’s descendants are the Jewish people. They were commissioned to bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3), and certainly God brought that about when Jesus, the Messiah, came to be crucified for our sins, buried to abolish guilt and shame, and rise again on the third day to give us everlasting life!
But God’s plan for both Jews and Gentiles goes even deeper than that, and Jews throughout the ages began to realize that the seven major feasts were demonstrations of God’s faithfulness to them. To us as Christians, we see those feasts as foreshadows of God’s promises, and as a calendar of what to expect throughout history.
We’ve posted several detailed posts regarding the feasts, but here is a snapshot:
- Feast of Passover: Jews view Passover as proof of God’s faithfulness to deliver them from Egyptian slavery (and that’s true). Christians relate it to Jesus, the Passover Lamb who was led to slaughter and died for our sins.
- Feast of Unleavened Bread: Also associated with Passover, the Jews were commanded to leave Egypt before the leaven was able to make bread rise, and God provided for them in the wilderness. As Christians, we view Jesus as the fulfillment of the Feast of Unleavened Bread because just like that flat, unleavened matzo, Jesus was striped, pierced, bruised and broken because of our sin, which is why He became the sacrifice for us.
- Feast of First Fruits: To finish out the weeklong celebration with Passover and Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits is a time of Jewish rejoicing that God had brought them out, so they gave an offering of the first fruits of their harvest. For Christians, Jesus was first to rise to everlasting life, so is the first fruit of the resurrection. That guarantees our resurrection from the grave (or during the rapture) when He comes again.
- Pentecost: This feast is always celebrated 50 days after the weeklong celebration of First Fruits, in late-spring. Jews view it as the time in which God gave the law to Moses. According to the New Testament, Christians recognize it as the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon believers, giving us power to live out our Christian lives.
- Feast of Trumpets: This grand celebration followed quickly by the next two, is called Rosh HaShanah, the “head of the year,” in Jewish culture today. Though it is not rooted in Scripture as a New Year celebration, it is carried off as one in Israel and in the Jewish diaspora. Christians recognize a time when a trumpet will blow and, though there are great differences about whether it is the time of our rapture, or the trumpet that sounds to alert the Jewish people to their Messiah (which I believe), it symbolizes a time when God calls His people to fellowship with Him.
- Yom Kippur: The most somber day on the Jewish calendar, this is the Day of Atonement, when Jews fast and pray, hoping to cast their sins away for the previous year. Of course, Christians hold a different view. Our sins were cast away at the cross, so for us, it is a time in the future when we will see Jewish eyes open to the Messiah and national salvation will take place in Israel, as Romans 11:26 describes.
- Feast of Tabernacles: Again, the Jews celebrate the goodness of God, remembering how they lived in tents (tabernacles) in the wilderness as they were brought out of Egypt. It is a sweet commemoration and very joyful, but misses the New Testament mark, where we find that, following the rapture and the physical return of Jesus to the earth (at the end of the Tribulation), Christ-following Jews and Gentiles will worship our King together for 1,000 years (known as the Millennium). There will be no distinction between Jews and Gentiles at that time and oh what sweet fellowship we will have!
If you are a student of the Bible, you know that the feasts are prophetic, and thus, God’s calendar. The first four have already been fulfilled at Jesus’ first coming and soon after, and the final three will be fulfilled at Jesus’ second coming!
But what fills in the gaps for us? How do we know what comes next? Honestly, there are no other Bible prophecies that must happen before the rapture. Jesus could come for us at any time. Yet, we also know of a great battle that will take place either shortly before or very soon after the rapture, and that is an invasion of Israel from the north, led by a madman out of Russia and joined by equally madmen from the areas of Iran, Turkey, Libya and Sudan/Ethiopia. (See Ezekiel 38 for those details!)
Now, here is the point: God has placed Israel at the center of the universe, and Jerusalem at the center of Israel! Nothing happens in end times that doesn’t have much to do about Israel! The Bible doesn’t talk about the US, Europe, China or any other nation on earth EXCEPT as they relate to Israel. Israel is the apple of His eye, and also the eye of the storm. They are the epicenter of all God’s plans for Israel and the nations. Therefore, the eyes of the wise are always on Israel!
Ezekiel 38 clearly indicates that Israel will be prosperous and secure when that invasion from the north takes place. In reality, the players are already there. (Have you paid attention to the news in the last 10 years?) Thus, it is even more important to keep our eyes on Israel.
Pastor Jack provides more insight in this 3 1/2-minute clip, so listen up!
Hey, by the way, our tour group heads to Israel on February 17 and I’m inviting all of you to travel along with us! I’ll be posting the same preparatory material we provide our tour guests to help you prepare along with them, then we’ll post live from Israel! Now is a great time to save Looking4theBlessedHope.com as a favorite and follow along with us. It’s the next best thing to being there!