Summary: To understand the significance of Jewish festivals at a time the Jews world over would have celebrated three important festivals-Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkoth- in a span of about 20 days beginning with18th Sept 2012.
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! 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)!