The Feasts of the Lord reveal a roadmap of God’s progressive pattern planned to take man from the depths of bondage (sin), to the heights of His glory. Let’s take a look at some of the key components of understanding this Blueprint.
The Feast dates celebrated each year were, and still are, determined by the Hebrew Covenant Calendar. But when did the Hebrew Covenant Calendar originate, and how is it determined?
At the time the Lord instructed Moses of what the children of Israel needed to do in order for the death plague to “pass over” their dwelling, the Hebrew Covenant Calendar was birthed (Ex. 12). The conversation started with the Lord “resetting” the yearly calendar starting in the Spring, rather than in the Fall when the Hebrews were accustomed to recognizing the first of the year.
“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Ex. 12:2).
“This month” would later be identified as the month the Bible refers to as “Abib” or “Nisan,” when the land was able to offer up its spring “firstfruits” (Lev.23:10). God established this calendar based upon the moon, using the New Moon to signify the beginning of each month. Passover was the first Feast God set forth on this calendar before leaving Egypt, and the rest of the Feasts were established later at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 23).
“…On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father…….now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month……And thus you shall eat it….It is the LORD’S Passover” (Ex. 12:3,6,11).
God attached the Feast dates to the pattern of the moon rather than the sun, which was set apart from the Egyptians who looked to the sun god to worship. When the “new moon” arrived, this signaled day one of the first month, with Passover being celebrated 14 days later.
When the children of Israel departed Egypt and came to Mount Sinai, the Lord offered the nation a proposal of marriage to be His Holy Nation (Ex. 19:6). The people accepted, and the “Tablets of Covenant” were given, which included the Hebraic Covenant Calendar that had the dates of the Feasts, a “holy” time to honor the marriage covenant (Ex. 20-23).
God commanded the children of Israel to honor the Lord seven times a year through His Feasts, including the continuation of celebrating Passover each year so they remembered how He delivered them from Egypt.
“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…These are the Feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times” (Lev. 23:2,4).
The Lord Himself referred to these Feasts days as “Convocations;” which when translated, means “sacred assembly” as well as “rehearsals.” He called them “Holy” and gave specific instruction for each holy rehearsal to follow as a “statute forever” (Lev. 23:14,21,31). The rehearsal was not only a remembrance of the Israelites history with the Lord when He became their “Groom,” but also a prophetic witness of how God would later perfect His covenant relationship through Christ and “His Bride.”
So why did God establish His Hebrew Covenant Calendar with the moon?
To answer that question, let’s first define God’s mission in making the sun, moon, and stars and tie it together with the Feasts.
Genesis 1:14 says, “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for SIGNS and SEASONS and for days and years.”
The word SIGN in Hebrew means, “a signal of the Coming One.” God chose to use the sun, moon and stars to establish His timing, His days, and His nights, but also His SIGN of the “Coming One.”
When God spoke to Moses and established this Feast calendar according to the “new moon,” His purpose was to use it to establish a SIGN of the “Coming One.” In making a Covenant with His Chosen people (The Commonwealth of Israel and then later in the New Testament the nation of Christians), God’s plan was to use them to become His SIGN of the “One to Come” (Christ the Redeemer and Christ the King).
Psalm 89:37 also confirms the moon as the Lord’s sign.
“It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky”
In Psalm 104:19, the Scripture declares that God “appointed the moon for seasons” [divine appointment, fixed time, signal, or witness].
Searching through the scripture again in Genesis 1:14, the word “SEASON” in Hebrew means “moed,” and is translated as “a divine appointment, fixed time, signal, or witness.”
Coincidentally, in Leviticus 23:2 (shown up above), the word “FEAST” in Hebrew also means “moed.” Therefore, Feasts are also translated “divine appointment, fixed time, season, signal, or witness.”
The scriptures indicate a direct correlation between God’s SIGNS and SEASONS, mentioned in Genesis 1:14, with the moon and the Feasts to reveal the “One to Come.” The Feasts of the LORD were God’s fixed time to extend an intimate invitation to be His witness to the world.
When the children of Israel celebrated these Feasts each year, the nations watched and witnessed them diligently traversing three times a year to God’s appointed place (Deut. 16:16). Surely, many who observed the trek most likely asked about the purpose of the journey. The witness of the purpose was given: The One True God who delivered His people out of Egypt through Passover, married them at Pentecost at Mt. Sinai with a written certificate signed by His own finger (Tablets of Covenant), and bore witness of His Covenant with His presence dwelling in the Tabernacle is worthy of our honor.
Today, believers are a sign (witness) individually as we share our faith in Christ and celebrate how He delivers us from Egypt (sins of the world), gives us the Holy Spirit who writes the Tablets of Covenant on our hearts, and dwells in our temple (body).
The Feast blueprint also reveals a corporate union with the Lord, becoming a corporate SIGN that will reveal the “Coming King” and “His Bride” who later judge the nations in the Millennium.
The importance of these “Feasts” dates that God established has not ceased, changed or become irrelevant, even though we now live in the Age of the New Covenant. On the contrary, as believers, the invitation is actually more relevant to us now since we can see through the lens of the Old AND New Testament of how Jesus fulfills the Feasts.
Honoring the Feasts isn’t a requirement for our salvation of course, but they do serve a Kingdom purpose of a SIGN to the world of Christ as Savior and King. In the years ahead, they will also be used as a measuring stick as to which nations are aligned with Christ in the Millennium:
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14:16-19).
The purpose of any dress rehearsal is to put into practice a production/show in its entirety before the “live performance.” The Children of Israel (representing those IN COVENANT WITH GOD) were chosen to be a part of the cast of what I am going to coin, the Lord’s “Redemption Production.” In this production, the manuscript was written by the “finger of God,” and given to the Children of Israel at Mt. Sinai (Lev. 23). Their role was to follow each Feast as instructed so that WHEN Christ came many centuries later, there was no doubt of who the Lord was.
We can read about the whole Blueprint of the Spring Feasts going “LIVE” in the Gospels when Christ became the Passover Lamb, died, rose from the dead, and sent the Holy Spirit as a promise of His return. As the Spring Feasts come around each year now believers can celebrate the memory of that “live performance,” and thank God for sending Jesus to fulfill the script.
Today, believers have been given the privilege of participating in the cast of the second act of the “Redemption Production;” preparing for the time when Christ will return as King.
The final three Feasts that we are awaiting the fulfillment are known as the “Fall Feasts.” The Fall Feasts consist of the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Given that ALL Christians have great hope and expectation of Jesus’ return, it serves us well to study His Manuscript, so we understand our role and participate in the “dress rehearsal” so that our hearts are ready.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him’…” (Matt. 25:6)!