The Spring Feasts

Last time, the topic was on the harvest seasons. This week and next week will give a brief summary of the seven feasts. This week is about the Spring feasts. Next week will be about the Fall Feasts.

In Leviticus 23, there are seven holidays called “the feasts of the LORD.” These holidays are God’s holidays–they belong to Him.

Leviticus 23:1–2 (PEB)
1The Always-Present One said to Moses, 2“Tell the people of Israel: ‘You will announce the Always-Present One’s appointed feasts (festivals) as holy gatherings. These {are} My special feasts.’”
Leviticus 23:1–2 (NIV)
1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.’”

The Seven Feasts

These are seven holidays that God instituted, which were intended to be times to meet with God.

Spring Feasts:

  • Pesach – Passover
  • Hag HaMatzot – The Feast of Unleavened Bread
  • Yom HaBikkurim – The Feast of Firstfruits
  • Shavuot – The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

Fall Feasts:

  • Rosh HaShanah – The Feast of Trumpets
  • Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement
  • Sukkot – The Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths or Feast of the Engathering)

Three of the seven appointed feasts were pilgrimage feasts when all Jewish males were required to go to Jerusalem to “appear before the Lord” (Deuteronomy 16:6).

Three Pilgrimage Feasts:

  • Hag HaMatzot – Feast of Unleavened Bread
  • Shavuot – The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
  • Sukkoth – The Feasts of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths)

Leviticus 23 – God’s Redemption Plan

It is sometimes referred to as “God calendar of redeeming grace” or the “calendar of divine redemption.”

Passover pictures the death of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice. He died on Passover.
Unleavened Bread pictures the sinless Jesus, “the Bread of Life” from heaven.
Firstfruits foretold his resurrection on the third day.
Pentecost foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later.

The holidays and Sabbath days are a “shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:16–17).

Three main lessons are:

  1. God’s Protection
  2. God’s Provision
  3. God’s Promise

The Spring Feasts

The spring feasts have been fulfilled. The fall feasts will be covered next time. Here is a summary of the Spring feasts.

Passover

There was only one Passover when God delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. It was to be observed as a lasting ordinance for generations to come. Even today this is an important feast for the Jewish people. We observe Easter as a holiday declaring that Jesus is risen! Jesus is alive!

The observance of Passover was so important that God gave an alternate day for those who was unable to attend on Nisan 14. They could celebrate Passover thirty days later (Pesach Sheni) on the 14th of the second month, lyyar. (Numbers 9:1–14; 2 Chronicles 30:2,15). Since the Hebrew calendar is based on lunar cycles, the Day of Passover could fall on any day of the week. This is significant when it comes to celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits.

Nugget: Jesus’ parents traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. At age 12, Jesus went with them (Luke 2:41–50). Verse 46 reads, “After three days they found Him…” This is a foreshadow of Jesus’ death and resurrection to occur during a Passover 21 years later. It is also the first time mentioned that Mary lost Jesus and found him three days later. This would happen again 21 years later.

For more infornation, read the Passover series.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

This feasts starts on Nisan 15 and go to Nisan 21. The LORD said for seven days the children of Israel must eat unleavened bread. This bread, made in a hurry without yeast, represents how the LORD brought the Hebrews out of Egypt in haste. Even having leaven present in one’s house or apartment is forbidden.

Nugget: This type of bread eaten called matzah is made with flour and water only. During the baking process it comes out striped and pierced.

For more information, read this post about unleavened bread.

Feast of Firstfruits

On this feast, the people offered the first ripe sheaf of barley to the LORD as an act of dedicating the harvest to Him. The sheaf of barley was brought to the Temple so the priest could wave it before the LORD. Firstfruits marked the countdown to the Feast of Weeks. Beginning with firstfruits, 49 days (or 7 7s) were counted, and on the 50th day, the Feasts of Weeks were celebrated (Leviticus 23:15–16).

Some teachers say Firstfruits is Nisan 16 while others say (using v. 11) it is the day after the Sabbath. Since the Feast of Unleavened bread is 7 days, a Sabbath day will occur during that week period from Nissan 15 to 21.If the Sabbath was on Nissan 19, then the Feast of Firstfruits would be celebrated on Nissan 20.

Nugget: Jesus was resurrected on Day of Firstfruits.

For more Information, read the Firstfruits series.

Feasts of Weeks or Pentecost

This feast is the time to present an offering of new grain of the summer wheat harvest to the LORD. The Hebrew people were to bring two long, flat leaven (not unleavened) loaves of wheat bread for the priest to wave before the LORD (Leviticus 23:17).

The book of Ruth is often read to celebrate this holiday. It is interesting that these fields Boaz and Ruth owned was outside of Bethlehem. This is the field that was used in Jesus time to raise the Temple’s sheep. The sheep were breed to be perfect and without blemish. These sheep were to be used as sacrificial lambs. Amazing how the Holy Word follows the Scarlet Thread.

Nugget: Jesus is our Shepherd. And, He is also the sacrificial Lamb that atoned for our Sin.

Nugget: After the resurrection of Jesus, the LORD spent 40 days with the disciples explaining how the Tanakh (Old Testament) pointed to Himself as their fulfillment. The believers were told to tarry in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father. This encounter occurred 10 days later on Pentecost. They received power and boldness.

The following is a comparison of the Pentecosts at Mt. Sinai and in Jerusalem (Acts 2) done by Perry Stone. This originally aired in Perry Stone’s Manna-Fest program on April 6, 2010. It was re-aired on January 12, 2015. Watch In the Beginning Was the End, Part 2.

Comparison of Two Pentecosts

On Mt. Sinai
  • On a holy mountain (Exodus 19:23)
  • Trembling mountain (Exodus 19:18)
  • Fire on a mountain (Exodus 19:18)
  • Sound of a trumpet (Exodus 19:19)
  • Glory filled mountain (Exodus 24:16)
  • 3,000 died (Exodus 32:28)
  • Kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6)
In Jerusalem
  • On a holy mountain (Acts 2:1–2)
  • Trembling house (Acts 2:1–2)
  • Cloven tongues of fire (Acts 2:3)
  • Sound of wind (Acts 2:2)
  • Glory filled the house (Acts 2:2)
  • 3,000 saved (Acts 2:41)
  • Kings and priests (Revelation 5:10)

Nugget: It took 50 days for the Hebrews to reach Mt. Sinai in their journey to the Promise Land.

For more information, Read the Pentacost series.

To repeat, in Leviticus 23, there are seven holidays called “the feasts of the LORD.” These holidays are God’s holidays–they belong to Him.

Next time, we will finish the summary by covering the fall feasts.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)