Summary: God’s plan for the ages is reveal in type in one chapter of the Word of God - Leviticus 23 - a chapter that every religious Jew knew well.
“The Gospel According to Leviticus 23”
Dr. Steven G. Cook
A. Read – Leviticus 23:1-14
B. God instituted “7 Feasts” for the nation of Israel to observe.
C. These feasts provide a 2-Fold Purpose.
D. To Israel, the 7 Feasts provided “Object Lessons” to remind them how merciful and gracious Jehovah had been to them as a nation.
E. To the Church, the 7 Feasts provide us a beautiful portrait of Christ and God’s prophetic time-table for the ages.
F. The first three (3) feasts, Feast of Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Feast of Firstfruits, are all closely related, and they are observed in the first month of the Jewish calendar, Nisan.
G. The last three feasts, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles are also closely related, and they are observed in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar.
H. Between these two groups is the fourth feast called the Feast of Pentecost.
I. The first four feasts are Past and have been literally fulfilled by Christ.
J. These last three feasts are Future, and will be literally fulfilled by Christ.
K. The 23rd Chapter of Leviticus is replete with symbolism, types, and shadows.
L. God was very practical in giving instructions for all 7 Feasts in only one chapter.
M. If there was one portion of the Torah that every Jew knew and remembered, it was this chapter; Any error in observing these feasts would mean banishment!
N. Today, religious Jews observe these feasts in “altered forms”; without a temple & sacrificial worship it is impossible for them to observe the “letter of the Law”.
O. Because of this, the 7 Feasts have largely lost their “efficacy & meaning”, therefore, the Jews do not comprehend the important “prophetic inferences” contained in these feasts.
II. The Establishment of the Sabbath (Lev. 23:1-3)
A. The “religious calendar” of Israel is the subject of the entire chapter.
B. Notice that the Sabbath was established as a day of “NO WORK”
C. In all of the feasts there was NO WORK to be done, except by the Priest!
D. What a beautiful picture of salvation – Only the work of our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, availeth anything!
III. The Feast of Passover (Lev. 23:4-5)
A. The Passover – not much is stated concerning this first feast; Obviously, most Jews fully understood it well, for not long ago it was first observed in Egypt.
B. On the 10th day of the first month (Nisan), each Jewish family chose a lamb, without spot or blemish, and observed it for 4 days (Exodus 12).
C. This lamb was provided “redemption from bondage” – It was slain and roasted with fire; its blood was smeared upon the door posts and lintels.
D. 1 Cor. 5:7 clearly reveals the type fulfilled by Christ – “Christ is our Passover!”
E. Gal. 4:4-6 reveals that the “Blood of Jesus Christ” was shed for the sins of the world.
F. The Passover clearly depicts the “Sacrificial, Substitutionary Death of Christ”.
IV. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6-8)
A. The Feast of Unleavened Bread occurred in close conjunction with Passover.
B. It lasted 7 days, beginning with the 15th day of the first month, and continued until the 21st day.
C. During this feast, NO unleavened bread was to be eaten – Leaven in the Word of God depicts SIN.
D. This feast illustrates that one’s life should be free from all sin and malice – of course the only way this is possible is to be “IN Christ”
E. You will notice that there is no lapse of time between “Passover (Redemption)” and “Unleavened Bread (Holiness)”
F. Many today attempt to “excuse themselves” because they are “babes in Christ”
G. Today, religious Jews eat “matzo” (unleavened bread) during this feast – This matzo bread is pin-striped, pierced, & pure, yet they do not see the significance.
V. The Feast of Firstfruits (Lev. 23:9-14)
A. On the 17th day of the first month, every Jew was to offer a “wave offering”, made up of a sheaf of barley wheat as the firstfruits of their harvest.
B. This feast is a wonderful picture of Christ’s Resurrection from the Grave!
C. 1 Cor. 15:20 – “Jesus Christ is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”
D. In these first 3 Feasts we see a clear presentation of the Gospel – The DEATH, BURIAL, & RESURRECTION OF CHRIST (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
E. Question: Was Jesus Crucified on a Friday? Or Wednesday?
F. On Sunday 10th day of 1st month – Jesus presented Himself as Messiah (Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem)
G. On Wednesday at 9:00am, Jesus was crucified as our Passover Lamb
H. He was hurriedly buried BEFORE 6:00pm because the Jews were about to observe the Feast of Passover on 14th day of Nisan