Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Feasts of Israel

Leviticus 23 – Part 1

by Earlene Davis

“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” V. 4

In this one chapter we find God’s instructions to Israel for seven holy convocations to be observed each year. It is marvelous to behold, that in them we see all of God’s plan from the fall to eternity revealed. We are existing between two of these feasts as we comprehend God’s calendar therein.

These feasts are still celebrated today in altered forms by devout Jews. But their major feature being sacrifice is impossible today, because they are without their temple in Jerusalem. So to many the original meaning of the feasts has been lost.

Believers in Christ are not responsible to keep these feasts, but a knowledge of them is enlightening. We can have an appreciation of these feasts by a knowledge of their fulfillment found in the New Testament.

The LORD’S Passover

“In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.” V. 5. The festival year begins with Passover. It is held at the beginning of spring. Exodus 12 and the following chapters tell how Israel was to celebrate it. But here God gives the date for it observance.

God’s calendar is a lunar calendar based on the phases of the moon, rather then the earth’s revolutions around the sun. Each month starts with a new moon, reaching a full moon in the midst of the month. So Passover always falls on a full moon, the first full moon of spring. The lunar cycle is harmonious throughout nature. The tides of the seas rise and fall with the moon, etc. In God’s reckoning the day begins at sunset, or moon rise. In Genesis one, we read, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

As to the meaning of Passover, it is surely the feast of salvation because the blood of the lamb delivered the nation of the Jews from bondage. The lamb had to be a male without blemish. John the Baptist clearly marked out the person of Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

It is no mere coincidence, that our Lord Himself was sacrificed on Passover. At the last supper He stated plainly, “This is My blood of the New Testament shed for many for remission of sin,” Mt. 26:27,28. Just as the Jew marked his house with the blood of the Passover lamb and was saved, so are believers in Christ saved by the shed blood of Christ. Just as we read – it is the Lord’s Passover, so it is God’s Salvation. Lk. 3:6.

We are already living our eternal life. When you believed on Jesus as your blood sacrifice and received Him, you have eternal life for He is Eternal Life. You may not be in the eternal state yet, but you have eternal life and that life never dies. Praise God! We are redeemed, set free from the bondage to sin by the blood of Jesus, the pure, spotless Lamb of God.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” I Pet. 1:18-20.

The remarkable fulfillment of Passover on the exact day illustrates a principle we see with each of the feasts. Our Lord fulfilled each feast on its appropriate day up to the point we have reached in His prophetic plan. All seven feasts have either been fulfilled, or are prophesied to be fulfilled, and His word is yea and amen. II Cor. 1:20.

So, Passover represents salvation. We do not keep the feast in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt, for that was but a shadow of the greater redemption to come. I Cor. 10:16, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”

The Lord Himself instructed us to take communion (a part of the original Passover Feast) in remembrance of the Lord. This He established on the Lord’s own Passover table. I Cor. 11:23-26, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me…also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”
Next issue: The Feast of unleavened bread.
by Earlene Davis