There is no way to completely explain these seven special celebrations of Israel in just a few pages of notes. However, what we will do is give you an outline which will help you to do your study in this area if God so directs. Although the feasts are mentioned elsewhere in the word of God, God has chosen to put the guidelines together in just one chapter - Leviticus 23. The children of Israel had no excuse to not study and learn these special days. All that he had to do was learn this one chapter. If they made just one mistake in the celebration of the feasts it meant banishment from their people. Therefore, the Jew should have been very careful to follow the instructions closely. There is great significance in these feasts for the child of God today. (a graphic representation is insert at the bottom of this article)
- Leviticus 23:5 - The Feast of Passover
Rooted in the events of Exodus Chapter 12 this feast begins the festival year for Israel. . In Exodus 12 God passes over the households of Egypt which are protected by the Blood of an Innocent Lamb. (As a note of interest there is no Death Angel in Exodus 12, God does the killing) God used a lunar calendar of 30 days to ensure that all would know when Passover would occur. Passover always occurs the first full moon after the blossoming of the almond trees of Israel in the Spring of the year. This feast represents our Salvation. Jesus Himself was sacrificed at the Passover. It was His blood of the New Testament shed for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:27; John 1:29
- Leviticus 23:6 - The Feast of Unleavened Bread
This is a seven day feast that always starts the next day after Passover. The Jewish family must use pure unleavened bread during the week following Passover. Leaven always symbolizes sin and lack of purity in the word of God. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. The Unleavened Bread of the New Testament is the body of Jesus. He was the Bread of Life. John 6:33 If you could see a Jewish matzo you would see that it is striped. Isaiah 53
- Leviticus 23:10-11 -The Feast of First Fruits
The first Sunday following the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Feast of First Fruits. During this time the Jewish family would acknowledge the fertility of the land which the Lord had given them. It speaks of the Day of Resurrection that we Christians celebrate. 1 Corinthians 15:23 Jesus was the First to be resurrected, and then we, in his order, will experience this resurrection. 1 Thessalonians 4-16-17
- Leviticus 23:15-17 - The Feast of the Harvest
It was exactly fifty days after the beginning of the previous Feast of First Fruits. We call this Pentecost. Note the two wave loafs baked with leaven. They represent man with his sin. One for the Jew and one for the Gentile, and they comprise the church today. Acts 1:3 - The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Acts 2:1 cf Exodus 32:28. 3 thousand saved and 3 thousand killed when the law came down. At this point in history, 2000 A.D., all of the above feasts have been fulfilled. The remaining feasts have yet to be fulfilled.
- Leviticus 23:24 - The Feast of Trumpets
God used trumpets many times in the Old Testament. Remember reading about Jericho and how God brought the walls down? Joshua 7 How about the trumpets in the Year of Jubilee? Leviticus 25. This feast occurs on the first day of the month Tishrei, or the seventh month. It occurs in the fall - September/October. The trumpets were blown on the walls and all of the harvesters in the fields would stop and come in to the city. This one is clearly associated with the Lord calling in His people from the harvest fields. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
- Leviticus 23:27-32 - The Feast of the Day of Atonement
The tenth day of the seventh month, it was a day of confession. This feast is not to be fulfilled during the church age. The church needs no atonement. It is exonerated and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ our Lord. It was a day of rest and speaks of the restoration of Israel. Romans 11:26
- Leviticus 23:34, 42-43 - The Feast of Tabernacles
The fifteenth day of the seventh month. This is the one spoken of in Nehemiah 8. This speaks of the sheltering power of God where God will provide a dwelling place for His children in the world to come. Zechariah 14:16-19 God sets up His "booth" in Jerusalem, and all of the inhabitants of eternity will come to appear before the King of Kings to worship Him. Ezekiel 37:26-27
This lesson has been an abbreviated history of the main feasts of Israel as described in Leviticus 23. There are several more feasts and holy days that have been instituted and observed over the centuries since Moses wrote about these in Leviticus 23.(Hanukkah, Purim, Yo-Ha-sho'ah,and Yom ha-Atma'ut.) We will leave these to your studies if you decide to do more research. The information that I have gleaned comes from "The Feasts of Israel:Seasons of the Messiah" by Bruce Scott.