Summary: The 5th message in the Leviticus series focuses on the 7 feasts of the Lord in Leviticus 23 and how they all point to Jesus Christ for fulfillmemt
Leviticus #5 - Feasts of the Lord
Leviticus 23 - Castle Hills Christian Ch.- July 11, 2010
This is the 5th in the Leviticus sermon series we’ve been having this summer. I’ve skimmed lightly over the book, but I want to give special attention to chapter 23. In this one chapter Moses gives special attention to 7 feasts of the Lord that the Jews were to celebrate together every year. These joyous times of celebration are stuffed FULL of meaning. Each of the 7 feasts had …
¨ historical meaning (looking back into the past),
¨ agricultural and spiritual meaning (which still apply to us in the present day)
¨ and prophetic meaning (some prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming and some that are yet to be fulfilled)
These 7 FEASTS all point us toward Jesus Christ. They are like a shadow of the work Jesus would do for Israel and for all the world.
(A few years back, I studied these feast to teach a class…)
Today we’ll look at the 7 feasts in the order in which they happened on the Jewish calendar. We’ll focus on the historical, spiritual, and prophetic meaning of each feast. There is so MUCH we could say about each feast, but (because we need to beat the Baptist to lunch) I’m going to group the 7 feasts into their clusters. We’ll look at them in this way: spring feasts (3), summer feast (1), and fall feasts (3)
Spring Feasts: Leviticus 23:4-22 (First month)
During the spring, the Jews celebrated these 3 feasts…
¨ the Feast of the Passover (14th of Nisan, the first month of the holy calendar)
¨ the Feast of Unleavened Bread (this started the next day and lasted for 7 days, from the 15th to the 21st of Nisan)
¨ And the Feast of the First Fruits (which came during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was held on “the morrow after the Sabbath” which means on a Sunday between the 15th and 21st of Nisan)
First we’ll look at the Historical meaning of these 3 feasts. The Passover reminded the Jews of the 10th plague in Egypt, when God sent the death angel to kill the firstborn of every kind of creature. On that night, God instructed the Jews to kill a lamb and spread its blood on the door-posts of their homes so that the death angel would pass over their houses and spare the firstborn.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread involved a time of house cleaning when all leaven would be removed from the Jewish home. Only unleavened bread was served during this week-long feast. The Historical Significance of this feast was not specified … but it may have reminded the Jews of the years of wandering in the wilderness. The New Testament gives insight into its meaning. “Therefore let us keep the Feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven or malice and wickedness; with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” I Corinthians 5:8 The Feast of Unleavened Bread represents consecration and separation unto the Lord.
The Feast of the Sheaf of First Fruits commemorates Israel’s first harvest in the land of promise after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The Jews were forbidden to taste of the spring harvest until the Priest waved a lone sheaf of grain in the house of the Lord. This is the celebration that was held on “the morrow after the Sabbath” which means it was always celebrated on a Sunday.
Now, let’s look at the astounding way these 3 Spring Feasts were fulfilled by Jesus Christ himself. Not only did Jesus complete the meaning of these Feasts … he fulfilled all 3 on the actual DAY that feast was being celebrated in Jerusalem.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan, 4 days before Passover. This was the same day when Jewish families would bring lambs into their homes to dwell with the families for 4 days before it would be killed in the temple and prepared for the Passover feast.
Jesus celebrated the Passover feast with his men on the day of preparation, which is the day the Galileans celebrated Passover. The next day was the 14th of Nisan … which was the day when Judeans celebrated Passover.
That means that at the very time when Jesus was dying on the cross, lambs were being slain in the temple for the Judean Passover meals. It is likely that Jesus actually heard the cries of the dying lambs in the temple courts as he hung on the cross. By the time of the Judean Passover, Jesus was already in the tomb.
We know that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday … the morrow after the Sabbath. In I Corinthians 15, Paul reveals the significance of Jesus rising from the dead on the day of the Feast of First fruits this when he says, “Christ is the First-fruits of the resurrected ones.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)