THE SEVEN ANNUAL SACRED FEASTS OF THE OLD COVENANT
AND THEIR FULFILLMENT IN JESUS CHRIST
THE SEVEN ANNUAL FEASTS OF THE OLD COVENANT
Which foreshadow the Redemption of mankind
"Yahweh said to Moses, 'Speak to the Israelites and say to them:
"These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of Yahweh, which
you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’” Leviticus 23:1-2
“Then never let anyone criticize you for what you eat or drink, or about observance of annual festivals,
[..].. These are only a shadow of what was coming; the reality is the body of Christ.”
* = Pilgrim feasts: Exodus 23:14-17; 34:18-23; Deuteronomy 16:1-16
Classified as “remembrance” sacrifices and the only feasts ordained by Yahweh
OLD COVENANT FEASTS
|OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE||OT / MODERN TIME||
JESUS THE MESSIAH
(begins the liturgical year)
-The Redemption of Israel
Exodus 12:2 This month must be the first of all months for you.
Dt 16:1-3, 4-7;
Jn 2:13; 11:55;
1 Cor 5:7;
|Slaying of the first Passover lamb and remembering the sign of the blood of the lamb and how God redeemed Israel’s firstborn on the night of the first Passover in Egypt. This is the first Feast of remembrance of the Exodus experience when the children of Israel began the exodus out of slavery and as a holy people began the journey to the Promised Land.||This sacrifice prefigured Jesus’ blood sacrifice, His atonement for the sins of man, and the promise of the redemption of mankind in the new exodus out of sin and death and into the Promised Land of heaven. On the 14th of Nisan, 30AD this was the last legitimate old covenant blood sacrifice.|
Hebrew = HAG HAMATZOT
-The Sanctification of the Israel
Exodus 12:8, 16,
That night the flesh must be eaten roasted over the fire… for seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you must hold a sacred assembly, and on the 7th day a sacred assembly.
Ex 12:15-20; 39; 13:3-10; 23:15; 34:18;
Dt 16:3, 4, 8;
Mk 14:1, 12;
1 Cor 5:6-8
7 day feast
|This feast lasted 7 days (8 days if Passover is counted) in which eating bread with yeast (the symbol of sin) is forbidden. On the first night of the feast the eating of the sacrificial meal of the Passover lamb, together with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Remembering how the Israelites ate this sacrificial meal the night the 10th plague fell upon the Egyptians, killing their firstborn male-children and animals and how Yahweh brought Israel out of Egypt in haste and that they are called to be a holy people. Making designated offerings daily in the Temple for this week.||
The night of the Passover
became the next day of Nisan 15 and the last Old Covenant Feast of Unleavened
Bread. This feast prefigured the first sacrificial Eucharistic meal Jesus
celebrated with His disciples. We now call this first Eucharistic celebration
the “Last Supper.” Later on Nisan 15 Jesus was arrested, tried and crucified
in the morning;
He became the bread broken for the sins of the world that gives eternal life
( John 6:48-56 ).
Hebrew =YOM HABIKKURIM
This feast is no longer observed in Rabbinic Judaism (only the “firstfruits” of the wheat harvest at the Feast of Weeks is observed today)(1)
-The resurrection of Israel as a free people.
Ex 23:19; 34:26;
Dt 26:5, 9-10;
1 Cor 15:20-23
took place the day after the first Sabbath after Passover
(Lev 23:11) =
|Presenting a sheaf of the first barley harvest as a wave offering; making a burnt offering and a grain offering. Recognizing the redemption of the first-born in Egypt, the miracle of crossing the Red Sea when Israel began a new life as free men and women, and later recognizing God’s bounty in the Promised Land.||
Always falling on the first
day of the week, our Sunday, this old covenant feast prefigured the crossing
over to new life in the Resurrection of the Messiah, who became the firstfruits
of the redeemed souls of man on Resurrection Sunday
(1 Cor 15:20-23).
Hebrew = SHAVUOT
or HAG HASHAVUOT
Greek = PENTECOST
(50th day in Greek)
also known as FEAST OF THE HARVEST (Heb. = HAG HAKATZIR) where the firstfruits of the wheat is offered(1)
-The origination of Israel as the Covenant People Of Yahweh
Ex 23:16; 34:22a;
Act 2:1-4; 20:16;
1 Cor 16:8
50 days after Firstfruits = on a Sunday
A festival of joy 50 days
after the Feast of Firstfruits; mandatory and voluntary offerings including
the firstfruits of the wheat harvest.
Recalling the formation of the old covenant Church and giving of the Law at Sinai 50 days after crossing the Red Sea, and thankfulness for the Lord’s blessings.
This feast falls 50 days
(as the ancients counted) after the Feast of Firstfruits and
therefore always on a Sunday. It celebrated the creation of the Old Covenant Church at
Mt. Sinai and was fulfilled in the creation of the New Covenant Church at the second great Pentecost
THE LONG SUMMER HARVEST
(in the Final Age of man Christians are God’s laborers in the harvest of souls)
OLD COVENANT FEASTS
|OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE||OT/ MODERN TIME||DESCRIPTION AND SIGNIFICANCE||These Feasts have yet to be fulfilled in Jesus|
Hebrew = ROSH HASHANA
The beginning of the civil year.
-An ingathering of the Covenant people of God.
2 Sam 6:15;
1 Cor 15:52;
1 Thes 4:16
1 Tishri =
|Ingathering of the nation of Israel. A sacred assembly and a day of rest commemorated with trumpet blasts and sacrifices. Israel presents itself before the Lord for his favor and prepares for the call to judgment of Israel in the next feast...||
This feast may prefigure
the ingathering of the New Covenant Church, which is the “new Israel”
(Gal 6:16) when at the signal of the trumpet of God, Christ comes to collect His Bride, the Church
(1 Thes 4:15-18;
DAY OF ATONEMENT
Hebrew = YOM KIPUR
The atonement of the Covenant people
Heb 9:7; 10:3, 30-31; 10:19-22;
2 Ptr 3:7;
Rev 17:4; 20:12
10 Tishri =
|A day of rest, fasting and sacrifices of atonement for priests and people and atonement for the tabernacle and altar. Cleanse people and priests and king from their sins and purify the Holy Place in the Temple.||
This feast may prefigure the Final Judgment at the end of time
also called FEAST OF SHELTERS OR BOOTHS
Hebrew = SUKKOTH
God’s presence with His Covenant people; looked forward to the coming of the Messiah
Ex 23:16b; 34:22b;
Lev 23:33-36; 39-43;
1 Kgs 8:3, 65;
2 Chr 7:1;
2 Pt 3:7, 10, 13;
15-22 Tishri =
8 day feast
A week of celebration for
the harvest; living in booths and offering sacrifices.
Memorializes the giving of the Tabernacle in the desert and the Temple in Jerusalem. Giving thanks for the productivity of the Promised Land.
This feast may prefigure
the true “Promised Land” in the creation of the new heaven and the new earth
where the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the Temple
( Rev 21:22)
*. The 3 pilgrim Feasts: every Israelite male, 13 years or older, must present himself to Yahweh three times a year at the Temple in Jerusalem at the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the 7 day feast following the Passover sacrifice), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and at the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths). See Exodus 23:14-17 & Deuteronomy 16:16. Passover (which begins the liturgical year), the Feast Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits all fall within an 8 day period and the last feast of the year, the Feast of Tabernacles (which ends the liturgical year), also covers an 8-day period. If the 7 Sacred Feasts are a blueprint for God’s plan of salvation then we are presently in the period of “the long summer harvest”, and the laborers in God’s vineyard are gathering souls into God’s storehouse of heaven.
Both the Feasts of Purim and Hanukkah are national feasts instituted by the people in thanksgiving to God. Purim is celebrated in the month of Adar (February/March) and celebrates the salvation of the Jews from gentile persecution in the Book of Esther (Esther 9:18-32). Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is celebrated in the month of Kislev (December). It is a feast that recalls the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem described in the Book of Maccabees. These feasts are not festivals ordained by God but are instead festivals proclaimed by the people to celebrate an historical event which demonstrated God’s divine intervention and protection of the Covenant people. Jesus observed the Feast of Hanukkah in John 10:22.
1. Please note that sometime shortly after the resurrection of Christ the Jewish religious authority adjusted the dates of the Feasts of Firstfruits and the next feast which was celebrated 50 days from Firstfruits, the Feast of Pentecost. They began to celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits on the day after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the 16th of Nisan so that feast would not be fulfilled in Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. This meant that from that time on Firstfruits and Pentecost would no longer fall annually on a Sunday. The “great Sabbath” of Passover week was also then considered to be the week prior to the week long feast instead of in the midst of that holy week. The 1st century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus testifies to the purposeful change in feast dates in Antiquities of the Jews, 13.8. 4 (252), where this first century AD Jewish historian and former Old Covenant Priest writes: “And truly he did not speak falsely in saying so; for the festival, which we call Pentecost, did then fall out to be the next day to the Sabbath …” Josephus offers evidence that the festival of Pentecost used to always fall on a Sunday, the day next to the Sabbath which was Saturday.
2. The feast of Pentecost was determined by counting 7 times 7 weeks from the Feast of Firstfruits and the 50th day would then be the Feast of Pentecost. The ancients did not have the concept of 0 as a numerical place value and therefore the counting of any sequence began with the first day counted as #1 [i.e. Jesus was in the tomb 3 days as the ancients counted from Friday to Sunday, not as we count today]. Therefore, the Feast of Pentecost also always fell on a Sunday like the Feast of Firstfruits. Josephus’ statement in Antiquities of the Jews is that Pentecost used to be celebrated on the day after the Passover/Unleavened Bread Festival week Sabbath, which is our Sunday. This means that the Feast of Firstfruits also used to be celebrated on a Sunday (see Leviticus 23:11), foreshadowing God’s plan that the Christ should be resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits on a Sunday and that the birth of the New Covenant Church would be on the Sunday of the Feast of Pentecost! The Karaite sect of Judaism, which claims descent from the Sadducees, is the only Jewish sect which continues to celebrate Firstfruits on the day after the “great Sabbath”, which was the first Sabbath of Passover week, on a Sunday, and Pentecost on a Sunday 50 days later just as commanded in Leviticus 23:11. The Karaites are also the only Jews who continue to celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits; the other Jewish sects have entirely dropped the celebration of the Feast of Firstfruits because it is on this feast day that Christians claim Jesus of Nazareth arose from the dead. Both Orthodox and Reform Jews count Pentecost as 50 days from the 16th of Nisan.
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 1991, revised 1997, revised 2006 October Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.