Summary: An introductory message, explaining the prophetic purpose of the feasts.
God’s Year Planner
Text: Leviticus 23
Introduction: On the wall of my study I have a Year Planner. Every year I secure a chart which lays out the days of the year so that I can see, at a glance, where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. In the book of Amos 3:7 we read; “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7). God declared He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the Prophets. God, too, has His Year Planner. Whatever God does is never the result of after thought. He is working to a plan, He is working to order, He knows what tomorrow brings because He is in the business of bringing about tomorrow. From the Old Testament to the New, Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and one of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us right here in the Seven Jewish Feasts of Leviticus 23. This is God calendar, God’s Year Planner, in a chapter.
The Hebrew word for feasts (moadim), it is a word which appears in Scripture 223 times and literally means "appointed times." In fact the first time this word crops up is in Genesis 1:14 - Let’s look that up. Notice the word “seasons”, it is the same word translated “feasts in Leviticus 23, and it means appointed times. Why has God set the stars and planets in the sky? “For signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” In other words, that we might tell the time. Why has God designed seven specific feasts listed in Leviticus 23? That we might tell the time. They are “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” (Genesis 1:14).
God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of these seven feasts to reveal to us a special story. The seven annual feasts of Israel were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God. And today they are still celebrated by observant Jews. But for both Jews and non-Jews who have placed their faith in Jesus as Messiah these special days demonstrate the work of redemption through God’s Son. They lead us from the cross to the crown, from Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, right through to His coming millennial kingdom.
Leviticus 23 truly is one of the most profound chapters in all the Word of God, and whilst we as Christians are not required to celebrate the Jewish feast days legislated for in this chapter, it behoves us to study them. Why?
I. Because They Reveal To Us That Our God Is a God of Order
A. Writing to a church in chaos, the Corinthians, Paul said “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
1. From the very first to the last God is a God of order.
2. The book of Leviticus is a book that concerns itself with order.
3. It is a book in which God regulates the worship of His people.
a. There are those who think that it really doesn’t matter how we worship God as long as we do,.
b. But you know God has decreed how He must be worshipped. Speaking to the woman at the well Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24).
4. Now if you were to read through the book of Leviticus by the time you got to chapter 10 you would encounter two men, sons of Aaron, priest of God, by the name of Nadab and Abihu who took the attitude that it doesn’t really matter how God is worshipped.
5. The Bible says they offered “strange fire” before the Lord - what that means exactly we cannot be sure.
a. Various things have been suggested, perhaps they used ingredients in their incense which was not divinely prescribed, or that they used fire other than fire from off the altar.
b. Who knows? What we do know is that however they offered the fire it was unacceptable worship in the sight of God which ultimately cost them their lives.
(I) See Leviticus 10:1-3.
6. You se the truth is you cannot worship God any old way, because God, being a holy God, demands that we worship in a certain way - He is a God of order.
a. The book of Leviticus is a book of regulation, it is God setting in place the way in which He desired to be worshipped under the O.T. economy.
b. And in chapter 23 God arranged a calendar to guide in that worship.