When God brought His people out of Egypt, one of the things He gave His fledgling Hebrew nation of Israel was His feasts, appointed times to gather together and celebrate. He clearly calls them His own feasts in Leviticus 23:2:
“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”
God is Sovereign, and nothing He does, or allows to happen, is by chance or without His oversight. In giving Israel His feasts, He was not only giving His people national celebrations, national holidays, He was doing something far deeper. Not only did the feasts of the LORD give structure and pattern to the nation’s yearly cycle, they gave them something to look back on to celebrate (God’s specific and clearly miraculous deliverance from oppression in Egypt). They also gave the nation something to look forward to, as well.
One of the Hebrew words translated “feast” in English is “miqra”, which, as well as meaning convocation also means rehearsal. So when Israel celebrated God’s feasts they were rehearsing His plans for the future as well.
In fact, God has set His whole plan of salvation in His feasts. Therefore we as Christians, in returning to Biblical Christianity, need to understand the feasts of the LORD and what they mean.
Not only did the feasts give Israel’s calendar year structure and pattern, but they also give us, as believers, a structure and pattern of God’s plan of salvation. There are seven feasts listed in Leviticus 23, excluding the weekly Sabbath: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First-Fruits, the Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. The fulfilments of each of these feasts provide the structure and pattern of God’s entire plan of salvation of the ages.
How can we say that? How can we know that? Well, by looking into the Scriptures and learning. First of all, the feasts are divided into two groups, the one’s that fall in the spring-time, and the one’s that fall in the autumn. As we look into the Scriptures, we see that the Lord Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew (meaning salvation), fulfilled all the spring-time feasts. He died on the cross as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” John 1:29, fulfilling Passover. His sacrificial death was “without sin”, (Luke 23:41, Hebrews 4:15), fulfilling Unleavened Bread. He rose from the dead on the Feast of First-Fruits, the “first to rise from the dead”, (Acts 26:23, 1 Cor. 15:20). And it was Yeshua who sent the Holy Spirit at the fulfilment of the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, Luke 24:49, John 16:7.
So, we can draw several specific and clear conclusions from these facts. First and foremost, they are all about the Lord Jesus! He Himself is the fulfilment of God’s feasts! He fulfilled each one of the spring-time feasts in person. Secondly, He fulfilled each feast at the actual time of the actual calendar feast, and in the sequence of the calendar feasts.
And so, just as Jesus fulfilled each of the spring feasts in His first coming, we can justifiably expect Him to fulfil each of the autumnal feasts in His second coming, at exactly the right time! This is why the feasts are so important! At each one, we are either celebrating what God the Father in the Lord Jesus has already done or what He will do in His future second coming. This is why we need to properly understand the feasts, because they teach us so much of God Himself, and of His entire plan of salvation. As Paul said in Romans 11:33:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”