BIBLE PROPHETIC TRUTH CONCERNING THE FIRST
AND SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
What are the Feasts of the Lord, or the Feasts of Israel commanded of them by the God of Israel?
1) Passover combined with
(2) Unleavened Bread. (Hebrew: Pesach).
3) First Fruits.
6) Day of Atonement. (Heb: Yom Kippur).
These Feasts are divided into two groups. One group occurs in the Spring of the year and the other occurs in the Autumn of the year. Spiritually speaking, in type, the gap in between speaks of the Church Age, of which the writers and prophets of the Old Testament had no knowledge. It was a ‘mystery’ to them. The term ‘mystery’ means something hidden in the heart of God’s planning and not revealed until He chose to do so. In this case it was with the coming into this world of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church Age is a mystery, not revealed in the Old Testament (Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:3-9; Colossians 1:25-27).
The seven Feasts of the Lord are spread over a period of seven months – significant number 7 meaning completeness.
THE FEASTS OF PASSOVER AND UNLEAVENED BREAD
(Leviticus 23:4-8; Exodus 12:3-8, 15-20; 1st Corinthians 5:6-8)
The Passover sets forth the doctrine of salvation. Unleavened Bread sets forth the doctrine of sanctification or holiness. These are inseparably joined truths (1st Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; 2nd Thessalonians 2:13; 1st Peter 1:2).
In Exodus the Hebrews sacrificed the lamb and then they were to eat all of it that was edible. The remains were to be burned with fire. Nothing was to remain (Exodus 12:8,10-11).
Believers are redeemed by the blood of THE LAMB. Feed on Him in your hearts, by faith – identify with Him. Jesus, the Lamb of God, in the Gospels says ‘take, eat, this is my body. Also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins’. The believer is to make Him their all of his/her life.
No stranger was allowed to feast on the lamb, unless they were in the house, under the blood on the door, and identified with the salvation offered through the blood of the lamb slain. Of course, this was all a type of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The Lamb slain alone saves and alone sanctifies the believer through the operation of the Holy Spirit.
NOTE: John 6:53–55 has no link with the ‘Lord’s Supper’. It relates to taking Him for salvation. It is a spiritual truth. To ‘eat and drink’ Christ means to totally identify with Him in salvation and discipleship. 1st Corinthians 5:7 declares that ‘Christ is our Passover Lamb sacrificed for us’.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread, Exodus 12:15-20 instructed the Hebrews to remove all leaven from their homes. Anyone eating leavened bread would be ‘cut off’ from Israel (v15). The Hebrews were to eat unleavened bread for seven days. The first and seventh days were to be holy days of rest before the Lord.
This period of time would be the beginning of months for the Hebrews, or the beginning of the New Year (Exodus 12:2 & 18).
According to Numbers 28:16 & 17, the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord and the fifteenth day of that month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. The one day of Passover seems to be followed by seven days of the feast of unleavened bread (see Leviticus 23:5).
Leaven in the Bible is a picture of corruption or sin. Holiness is essential as the fruit and evidence of salvation in the believer’s life after he has received Christ. Seven days suggests continuity rather than just a ‘one-day wonder’. A purchased pardon should produce fellowship with God and evidence of a changed life, even from the beginning of salvation experience, because of the renewed relationship with God, the Father through Christ, the Son.
Israel had to eat bread without leaven from the Passover, Exodus 13:6-7, the obedient act and desire to walk in holiness with God.
Leaven – Luke 12:1; Matthew 23:13-15, 23.
Sin and its practice must be put away. A believer cannot enjoy salvation or understand spiritual truths well, until evil is put away consciously in life. The believer must not just be satisfied with the fact and experience of salvation, but also show the fruits unto sanctification – holy living- fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
1st Corinthians 5:7-8 say, ‘purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.’ ‘Put away or put off the old man, put on the new man, created in righteousness and true holiness’, Ephesians 4:22-24, but see this chapter through verses 17 to 32 and chapter 5:12. Also consider 1st Thessalonians 3:13, 4:3 & 7, 5:23.
Note Jesus’ prayer in John 17:17, ‘sanctify them through your truth, your word is truth’. Believers are to be holy because God is holy, 1st Peter 1:16. That brings fellowship and harmony.
In Exodus 12:19, there is a similar verse to verse 15 mentioned above, but this time it says, ‘seven days shall there be no leaven found and in your houses, not just not to be eaten, whoever eats that which is leavened, shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger or born in the land.’ This would be a parallel consideration to the case of fornication discovered in Corinth, see 1st Corinthians 5:1-6 comment below, where the person(s) responsible were to be put out of the Church in discipline. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
The believer is not to be content with just forgiveness of sins, but to become fruitful to a life of holy living – delivered from unholy practices. The principle of sin is with us until we have our new bodies. The practice of sin must be swept from our lives like leaven. Galatians 1:4 says, ‘Christ… gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.’
In Deuteronomy 16:3 we read, ‘you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days, even the bread of affliction… that you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt, all the days of your life’. See also Hebrews 12:2-11 where Jesus is the example of extreme suffering and that the believer does experience the chastening and scourging of the Father who loves His children! See 1st Peter 1:3-9 for further help on this theme and James 1:2-4 concerning enduring trials. In Isaiah 53 we see, prophetically, Jesus experiences travail of soul and is stricken with such suffering, verses 8 and 11. ‘Our light affliction which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’, 2nd Corinthians 4:17.
The leaven of religious hypocrisy – Pharisees.
The leaven of worldliness – Herod, Mark 8:15. Picture of evil life. See Luke 3:19 for Herod’s evil ways.
Moral corruption. See 1st Corinthians 5:1-6, where the worst form of fornication is exposed and commanded to be put out of the Church, delivered up for Satan’s actions.
2nd Corinthians 7:1 commands the believers to ‘cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’
In Exodus the Hebrews sacrificed the lamb and then they were to eat all of it that was edible, Exodus 12:8,10-11. Believers are redeemed by the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘who was without sin, but became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him’, 2nd Corinthians 5:21.
THE FEAST OF FIRST-FRUITS
The Passover and sacrifice of the lamb for redemption had been in Egypt – a picture of the world. The following feasts of the Lord for His people were to be celebrated in the land of Israel.
So it is for us. We were in the world and needed a Passover Lamb sacrificed for us to redeem us. Now believers are in salvation experience, in the land of God’s favour and blessing for fruitfulness. Now we can begin to understand the significance of the remaining Feasts of the Lord and their significance, especially for Israel, both physically and spiritually, but also spiritually for the true Church believers. Believers are in the experience of promise and covenant. These feasts of the Lord could not be celebrated in the wilderness either, let alone Egypt.
Note that on the day after the Passover Sabbath, the priest would bring in a barley sheaf, the first harvest fruits of the year’s early harvest as a wave offering to the Lord. This was also a heave offering, Exodus 29:27, lifted up on high in presentation to the LORD Jehovah Himself alone. As a wave offering it was waved to and fro to the four corners of the earth. The significance is that it was a Sunday, as we call this day, Leviticus 23:10-11. Jesus rose on a Sunday, as we know it. Note that this was the day after the Passover Sabbath (Saturday), i.e. a Sunday. The Lord Jesus Christ became the “First-Fruits of the Resurrection”, see 1st Corinthians 15:20 & 23. He had been the ‘first sheaf cut down as the Pre-eminent One. Now He is raised up again. Christ, the First Fruits, the Wave Offering, the Heave offering to God His Father, now becomes the believer’s Father.
The first celebration in the land of New Life’. even symbolising then the first day of New Life for the believer. To the believers he is the Incorruptible Seed, like the Word of God. Christ is born in the believer, unto newness of life, by the operation of the Holy Spirit (1st Peter 1:23). He could be even likened to that ‘good Seed that fell into the ground and died’. He was raised as the Incorruptible Seed, which was imperishable – death could not hold Him. He has now become the Bread of Life to Believers, feeding on Him in our hearts, by faith. He lives in the believer by His Spirit. His resurrection life is being reproduced in us. The true Church will be changed into His likeness, from glory to glory, see 2nd Corinthians 3:17-18. Maturity in Christ should be the believer’s aim, even in this world. As with a tree, the potential is always in the seed to produce a tree. So is the Christ life within the believer to reproduce the character of Christ in the believer to maturity and we shall be changed, when He comes for the true Church, into His likeness of quality of life and character. All this becomes possible because He is the First-Born from the dead. Colossians 1:18 says, ‘He is the Head of the Body, the Church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence’. Hebrews 12:23 says, ‘…the Church of the first-born which are written in heaven….’ Christ is the Head, the Beginning (the file-leader, pioneer Hebrews 12:2), First-Born from the dead, to have pre-eminence. Christ is the First-Born over creation, Colossians 1:15. In verse 18 of Colossians chapter 1, the Greek is ‘ek ton nekron’, which is translated correctly, ‘out from among the dead’, a significant resurrection. The Apostle Paul used the same phrase in the Greek in Philippians 3:11 with the same intention that he would be ‘resurrected OUT from among the dead’. Others remained dead, and not raised. Romans 8:29 addresses Him as the ‘First-Born among many brethren. He is the Father’s ‘First-Born’, His only begotten Son, Hebrews 1:6. Revelation 1:5 refers to Him as the ‘first-begotten from the dead’.
The term ‘first begotten or First-Born is from the Greek ‘prototokos’. This expresses His priority to and over creation and not in the sense of the first to be born or created, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses declare. He is the uncreated. Eternal Son, as the Father and the Spirit is.
In the Old Testament the phrase is used to speak of superiority of position as declared in the Hebrews letter. In Exodus 4:22 Israel is declared by God through Moses to the Pharaoh that ‘Israel is my son, even my first-born.’
Christ’s superiority is in relation to creation. He produced creation. Christ made everything, Colossians 1:15-18. In relation to resurrection, read again Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5. In relation to the Church, read Romans 8:29 and Hebrews 12:23 again. In relation to His second Advent we read in Hebrews 1:6, ‘the Father brings again the First-Born into the world’, that is, puts Christ again into His rightful place of supremacy and ownership, Kingship and Lordship over creation, nations, enemies, death, sin, Satan and evil. Also He is Bridegroom of the Church, too.
HE IS LORD. Psalm 89:27 says. ‘I will make Him my First-Born, the highest of the kings of the earth.
The word ‘pre-eminent’ is linked with the thought of having double inheritance over other sons, see Deuteronomy 21:17. He is creator and re-creator of many sons, leading them on to glory, Hebrews 2:10.
Now He is the pioneer, file-leader, risen from the dead, gone on before us to prepare a place for us, soon to come again for us, His true Church. He is coming for a completed Church, a complete harvest, in that sense. He will harvest among Israel and the Gentiles even in the Great Tribulation yet to come and save many, among whom there will be many martyrs for their faith, after the Church is taken to Glory.
The Lord Jesus Christ will then return to take up His rightful pre-eminent place as First-Born of the Father to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords, overthrowing all enemies, to reign and to rule as only He should. Read Ezekiel 36: 26 to 28.