O.T. Feasts and Their Significance

A pulpit aid for sermon preparation.

Edward Magi, Former president of the Estonian Conference in Europe.

In the Old Testament we find altogether seven set feasts and holy convocations.

I. The three feasts of the first half year.

1. The three feasts of the second half year.
 
2. The Pentecost, a special feast, between these two groups.
 
3. Regulation that men of Israel shall appear before the Lord three times yearly—Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks, and Feast of Tabernacles. Dent. 16:16. See also Ex. 23 :17; 34:23; Leviticus 23.

II. FEASTS OF FIRST HALF YEAR.

I. Passover. Ex. 12:1-7.

a. A memorial of Israel's deliverance from bondage of Egypt.

b.On fourteenth day of first month, Abib.

c. Celebration: Killing of Iamb and sprin­kling of his blood on doorposts.

d.Significance : Death of Christ at Golgo­tha, and cleansing of our hearts with His blood. i Cor. 5:7; John 1 :29. 2. Feast of Unleavened Bread. Ex. 12:15. a. In close connection with Passover; nevertheless a special feast. Preservation of life by eating.

II. Significance: After being redeemed, we have to preserve our lives by eating of Christ. John 6:51.

a. Leaven (sin) should be put away from our hearts, and we should eat unleav­ened bread (Christ). I Cor. 5:8; Matt. 16:6; Mark 8:15; Matthew 23; Mark 3:6. Lord's supper in New Testament a symbol thereof.

b. Celebration: Putting away leaven out of houses and eating of unleavened bread for seven days. A special consecration in Israel after deliverance out of Egypt.

c. Significance: After being redeemed, we have to preserve our lives by eating of Christ. John 6:51. Leaven (sin) should be put away from our hearts, and we should eat unleavened bread (Christ), i Cor. 5:8; Matt. 16:6; Mark 8:15; Matthew 23; Mark  3:6. ' Lord's supper in New Testament  a symbol thereof.

3. Day of Wave Sheaf. Lev. 23:11.

a. This feast celebrated on sixteenth day of month Abib.

b.Celebration: No special Sabbath, nor day of feast, but on that day a special sheaf was waved before the Lord, which was already selected from the field be­fore fourteenth day. On that day also special sacrifices offered. Lev. 23 :12, 13. Now harvest could commence.

c. Significance : Resurrection of Jesus as first fruits of the dead. Now in New Testament times harvest could com­mence. I Cor. 15:20, 23. Christ as­cended to Father immediately after res­urrection as first fruits. John 20:17.

4. Pentecost, or Feast of Weeks. Lev, 23: 15-19.

a. Pentecost is a special religious festival between feasts of first half year and feasts of second half year.

b. Celebration: A feast of joy at close of harvest, fifty days after Passover. Wav­ing of sheaves had been performed at beginning of harvest; Pentecost was celebrated at close of harvest as a feast of thanksgiving to the Lord, giver of all good gifts. On that day no sheaves were presented to the Lord, but they brought leavened wave loaves of fine flour for first fruits unto Jehovah. Sheaf was fresh, sinless, unleavened. Loaf—made by man—leavened. Jews cele­brated that day as a memorial of giving of law at Sinai. On that day they dec­orated their houses, synagogues, and streets with green, and windows with flowers and roses. They wore green garlands around their heads, because ev­erything was green at Sinai at the time of giving the law. They read the book of Ruth. That day of lawgiving on Mount Sinai was for Jews a day of fear and trembling. Exodus 19. In New Testament, law was written into heart of man. Heb. 8:8-11. This work done by Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Teacher.

c. Significance: On day of Pentecost in New Testament, Holy Spirit was poured out. As leavened loaves were waved on fiftieth day after Passover, so there were also exactly fifty days between Christ's resurrection and outpouring of Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-5. The resurrected, who with Christ were taken to heaven, were presented there as first fruits. Eph. 4:8; Matt. 27:52, 53.

III. FEASTS OF SECOND HALF YEAR.

I. Feast of Trumpets. Lev. 23:23-25.

a. Celebration : Blowing of trumpets on first to tenth day of seventh month, was an announcement that soon—after ten days—came the Day of Atonement, judgment day of Israel. Prepare to meet thy God!

b. Significance : Preparatory work of ad­vent message and beginning of time of judgment, started in 1833—ten years before commencement of time of judg­ment, when with great revivals and con­fessions of sins coming of judgment day was proclaimed. Rev. 14:6, 7.

2. Day of Atonement. Lev. 23:26-32.

a. Celebration: On tenth day of seventh month the Day of Atonement took place. Bringing of two he-goats. With sacri­fice of first he-goat came atonement of sins in most holy place. Casting lot for Azazel. Repentance of people at same time. Final atonement of sins of re­pentant people, and cleansing of sanctu­ary. Leviticus 16.

b. Significance : Atonement work of Christ in heavenly sanctuary, beginning in 1844 in most holy place. Judgment message on earth. Giving of advent message. Going out of high priest, or returning to His church. Preparation of hearts. Final atonement of confessed sins. Binding of Satan at Christ's coming. Heb. 8:1, 2; 9:11, 14, 23-28; Rev. 11 :19 ; 15 :4-8 ; 14:14.

3. Feast of Tabernacles, Lev. 23 :34-42.

a. Celebration: On fifteenth day of seventh month people brought branches of palm trees, boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and were rejoiced for seven days. While on the Day of Atonement Israel had to afflict their souls, now they gathered together with their neighbors and acquaintances and renewed their friendship ties. This was a memorial of their wanderings in the wilderness and arrival in Canaan. Deut. 16 :12-16.

b. Significance: Arrival of last generation and of all peoples to the new earth—spiritual Canaan. Matt. 8 :19 ; Isaiah 35; Rev. 21 :22; Isa. 66:22, 23.

Feast of Tabernacles, being a memorial of wanderings in wilderness, was also a great symbol of time when people of God shall gather to great feast and har­vest day in kingdom of God. Isa. 51:11.

IV. CONCLUSION.

a. Feasts of the first half year symbolized first period of Christian Era—death of Christ; life through His death and resurrection.

b. Then followed outpouring of Holy Spirit to first Christians. Same Spirit has been promised to church of Christ also in clos­ing days of earth's history.

c. Feasts of second half year symbolized lat­ter part of Christian Era—warning and re­vival message in 1833; time of judgment and advent message, when the cases of all will be investigated who have carried their sins by confession to sanctuary. At last when history of this earth is concluded, then symbolic feasts will come to an end with seventh feast (number of perfection), the feast of tabernacles, celebrated by vic­torious redeemed in earth made new.


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Edward Magi, Former president of the Estonian Conference in Europe.

January 1947

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