Summary: To learn lessons from Jewish Festivals which have been described as the shadow of the Coming Christ in both His First advent as well as His second Advent!!!
THE JEWISH FESTIVALS-A SHADOW OF CHRIST
These (Jewish festivals) are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.-Colossians 2:17
Action: a) Display of picture of the shadow of Christ
b) Display of picture of a Jewish calender of Festivals
Oh yes, most of the Christians may not be celebrating the Jewish Festivals like some First Century Christians did (especially those of the Jewish background – Romans 14:5) but boy…are there lessons to be gleaned from them!!! What better time than now…when the World over in the next 20 days or so, the Jews will be celebrating three of their important festivals…Rosh Hashannah…Yom Kippur…and Sukkoth. Mind you complete Chapters in the Bible like Leviticus 16/23 and Numbers 28/29 are dedicated to their observance. When Apostle Paul wrote that they were a “shadow of the things to come” (Colossians 2:17) what did he actually mean? When someone is walking towards us, with bright light in the background, we are bound to see his shadow first and then the person. Right? Similarly when the Son of God was coming to us, with the indescribable light of his Father (I Tim 6:14-16) behind him, we were bound to see His shadow first, as a sure proof of His approach. The Divine instructions about Jewish festivals “hewn in rock” as it were in the Scriptures served and still serve as a “shadow of Christ” to come not only in his first advent but also in his second advent! Simply put, the Jewish Festivals portray symbolically the landmark events in Christian history…the ones’ which have already occurred and the ones’ which would occur.
The ORDER in which the Jews have been Divinely commanded to celebrate their festivals beginning with Passover and ending with Purim in the Jewish calendar year of 12 months (from April to March) is an adequate pointer to God’s sovereign hand in operation who in His infinite wisdom had concealed the entire history of our times in it! In the table given below are the Jewish Festivals in the order the good Lord commanded them to commemorate and celebrate and in the brackets is given the Chronological order in which the events actually occurred…
I. THE PASSOVER (2)
II. THE FESTIVAL OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (3)
III. THE FESTIVAL OF FIRST FRUITS (7)
IV. THE PENTECOST (5)
V. THE FEAST OF THE TRUMPETS (1)
VI. THE DAY OF ATONEMENT (6)
VII. THE FESTIVAL OF TABERNACLES (4)
VIII. THE FESTIVAL OF DEDICATION (9)
IX. THE FESTIVAL OF PURIM (8)
ANNUAL FESTIVALS ARE CELEBERATED TO REMEMBER/COMMEMORATE AN EVENT AND IT IS ONLY LOGICAL THAT THEY ARE CELEBERATED CHRONOLOGICALLY (I,E…IN THE ORDER, THEY OCCURRED HISTORICALLY). BUT WITH RESPECT TO JEWISH FESTIVALS, WE WOULD OBSERVE DIVINE PROVIDENCE AT WORK IN THAT, FESTIVALS DO NOT REFLECT THE ORDER IN WHICH THE EVENTS OCCURRED BUT RATHER HIGHLIGHT THE ORDER IN WHICH EVENTS IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY HAVE OCCURRED/WOULD OCCUR.
ONE MORE PROOF THAT BY USING THE SACRED JEWISH FESTIVALS, THE ALMIGHTY HAS ALL ALONG WANTED TO CONVEY A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO THE WORLD. IN GOD’S SCHEME OF THINGS, WE OUGHT TO REMEMBER THAT AT TIMES, THERE IS SOMETHING MORE THAN THAT MEETS THE EYE! THE REVEALER OF SECRETS (DAN 2:22) WOULD HAVE US DEPEND ON HIM, IN ORDER WE PRAISE HIM, ALL THE MORE, WHEN HE REVEALS THE SECRETS TO US!
Didn’t Wise King Solomon say that it is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them (Proverbs 25:2)? So let us for once don the apparel of an explorer like Indiana Jones in unraveling the “significance” of Jewish Festivals to us Christians especially in the times when the dispensation of Grace is drawing to a close.
In this message/series of two parts, we would categorize the Jewish festivals into two groups
I) Jewish festivals signifying those events in Christian history, which have already occurred!
1. THE PASSOVER
2. THE FESTIVAL OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
3. THE FESTIVAL OF FIRST FRUITS
4. THE PENTECOST
It has been a constant allegation by contemporary Jewish Biblical Scholars that historical Christian events are not DIVINELY MANDATED as they did not happen in full public glare, like the Divinely mandated events of the Jewish Scriptural history…like say events of the Passover night, parting of the Red sea, descent of the Holy consuming fire on Mount Carmel etc etc. God’s work they claim would always be a national revelation, not happening in a remote corner. Now who is to tell them, that landmark events in Christian history occurred on Jewish festivals-PUBLICLY (Acts 26:26)!!! Praise God, they did serve as a revelation for many Jews of the first century, who received Christ as their Savior in their lives (Acts 2:41/5:14)!
II) Jewish festivals signifying those events in Christian history, which are yet to occur! They are also significant to the future of the Jews.