Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the significance of the feasts observed by the Hebrews.
[Prayer] Father we turn again to Thee with thanksgiving for Thy word and we pray that Thou wilt be out teacher through the Holy Spirit. Enable us to understand the passages that we shall look at tonight and may, Lord, Thy word be especially meaningful to us as we think about the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament. And we commit the hour to Thee and the hour that follows.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] We’re turning to Leviticus chapter 23, for our study tonight and we are studying the Feasts of Jehovah. And I have had passed out to you a simple outline of the Feasts of Jehovah that might be of help to you in following what I will be saying. So let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke to Leviticus chapter 23, and let me read a few verses beginning with verse 1. Leviticus chapter 23, opens with a word concerning the appointed time of the Sabbath, but since that is a special day of a different character, we are turning our attention tonight to the annual festivals or the annual appointed times. But let me read the opening three verses as well. We’ll read through verse 5, for the first of the feasts.
“The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, the Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.’”
Now beginning at verse 4, we have reference to the annual festivals or appointed times.
“These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. That’s the first of the feasts.”
Someone has said that the feasts of Jehovah are like London’s Big Ben clock, which solemnly chimes out the passing time and by this counts the pulse of a great metropolis, and so Israel’s feasts keep the God appointed memorials of Israel and remind them of their God. There are seven feasts of the Lord that are recorded in Leviticus chapter 23, which are annual feasts.
Now, if you were looking at this very technically you would notice as you read through that the Hebrew word for feasts the word chag only occurs in reference to three of these feasts; Passover in Exodus chapter 12 in verse 14, the word is used and then in the Feasts of Unleavened Bread it is found in this chapter, and in connection with the Feasts of the Tabernacle it is found more than once also in this chapter. But the common word that is used in this particular chapter, chapter 23, for the feasts is really a word mow’ed which means “appointed times.” So really the Authorized Version has somewhat mislead its readers for a lengthy period of time by rendering both of these words as feasts. It probably would be more correct from the standpoint of this chapter to speak of the appointed times of Jehovah, but we’ll use the term feasts because that’s the term that has been used so long.
The feasts that were annual were seven in number. Let me just recite them. They’re all found in this chapter. The Feast of Passover is the first of the festivals that is annual. Then in the 6th verse we have reference to the Feast of Unleavened Bread and then in the 10th verse we have reference to the first fruits of your harvest to the priest and that is reference to the Feast of the First Fruits. And then in the 16th verse we have reference to the Feasts of Weeks or the Feast of Pentecost; that feast went by both of the names, the Feasts of Pentecost and the Feast of Weeks. And then in the 24th verse a reference is made to the blowing of trumpets a holy convocation. That is the fifth of the appointed times. In the sixth, we have reference to the Day of Atonement. It too is a holy convocation. It is said in this 27th verse and so the Day of Atonement is the sixth of the feasts and finally in verse 34, we have reference to the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles. These are the seven feasts that were memorials of Israel’s relation to God.
Now, when we look at the feasts of Jehovah in the light their occurrence in Leviticus chapter 23, we have to conclude that first of all the significance of the feasts has reference to the history of the nation Israel. That is these seven feasts were by interpretation references to the nation Israel and to their spiritual experiences. But by type, that is as they look forward to the new age of the time of the coming of our Lord, they referred to the entire program of the divine redemption through Israel’s Messiah.
Now, let me illustrate that by the use of the Feast of the Passover just for a moment. In the case of the feast of the Passover this was, as you well know, a memorial of the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt. But we know from the New Testament that Feast of Passover also pointed forward to the sufferings of our Lord upon the cross for the lamb which was the basis of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt when the blood was placed on the doorposts is, ultimately, the Lamb of God who shall take away the sin of the world. We also will notice as we go along that these feasts are prophetic of the entire history of the nation Israel which begins with the feast of Passover as the opening feast and concludes with the feast of tabernacles which is a reference to their ultimate regathering and settling in the land of Palestine and also as the recipients of the kingdom of God upon the earth.
So we want to look now at the Feasts of Jehovah and we want to bear in mind particularly typical significance of them. The first is the Feast of Passover. We read in the 5th verse, “In the fifth month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.” The Passover is the first of the feasts and it is not surprising to us that we read in Exodus chapter 12, that it was to mark the beginning of the year for Israel. Turn back to Exodus chapter 12, and we’ll look at the passage in which Israel is given the Passover feast. We notice how that in the history of Israel it has a fundamental significance. Exodus chapter 12, and we read in verse 1 of Exodus chapter 12, this is the historical chapter in which the Passover count is found.
“Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.’”
The first month of the year was the month Nisan and this Passover feast is to be in that first month. And Moses goes on to tell them how they are to take the lamb on the tenth day of the month and hold it for three days in order to test it to see that it is without spot and without blemish. And then he gives directions for the slaughter of the lamb and relates it to their deliverance from the land of Egypt. This feast is the first of the series of feasts because that, of which it speaks, redemption, is the beginning of the history of the nation Israel. Her history really begins with redemption. Redemption is the beginning of life for all not only of Israel as a nation but it is the beginning for all who have experienced redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. So Passover suggests then the redemption of the nation and, therefore, the beginning of life for them. It has typical significance and in this case it is specifically spelled out for us in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, and let’s turn there and read the passage in which the apostle interprets for us the significance of the Passover of Israel. 1 Corinthians chapter 5, you remember the account has to do with evil in the church at Corinth and Paul writes in verse 1.
“It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.” 1 Corinthians 5:2, “And you have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Cast out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.”
Incidentally, notice that here in the apostle’s language leaven is a type of sin and that will come up in the feasts later on but notice the last words of verse 7.
“For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”
Now, notice here that the apostle identifies the Passover lamb in its ultimate fulfillment with our Lord Jesus Christ. He says that the Passover lamb has been sacrificed suggesting that he is a sacrifice for our sins. The fact that he says our Passover suggests also that he is a sacrifice for us. And so in the terms that he uses here, “our Passover has been sacrificed,” we have all of the essentials of the New Testament doctrine of atonement; the Lord Jesus Christ a penal sacrifice, a penal satisfaction of God by means of substitution for us. So it’s very fitting then that the Passover feast which looks forward to our Lord’s suffering in our behalf for our redemption should be the first of the Feasts of Jehovah. And every year when the first month came around the nation Israel was to celebrate the Passover down through their history to remind them that their position as the people of God rested upon the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah who would come.
Well, let’s turn back to Leviticus chapter 23, now and look at the second of the feasts. This is the Feast of Unleavened Bread and we read verses 6 through 8. Leviticus chapter 23 verse 6 through verse 8, “Then on the fifteenth day of the same month,”
Now, this is the very next day. In other words, when the Passover lamb is slain in the afternoon of the fourteenth day since the next day begins at sundown immediately afterwards on the fifteenth day of the same month.
“There is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.”
Now, notice these facts about the feast of unleavened bread, which incidentally is given in much greater detail in the Book of Exodus chapter 12 and chapter 13, but notice first of all that it is immediately following the Feast of Passover that it begins.
Now, that suggests to us immediately that following that which pictures our salvation this Feast of Unleavened Bread, which we will see ahs to do with our sanctification, that suggests that there is a very close relationship between our justification or our salvation in our sanctification. The moment that we have come to a relationship of the Lord Jesus which is redemption that moment is the beginning of the Christian life. So that justification is the beginning of life and sanctification is its continuance and the Christian life is grounded in the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Well, now, let’s turn back to 1 Corinthians chapter 5, again because the Apostle Paul when he stated that Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us, evidently, was thinking about these the relationship between these two feasts when he wrote that chapter in 1 Corinthians. He’s talking about evil in the church and he has just said in the seventh verse, “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”
Now, notice what he says in the eighth verse, “Let us therefore keep the fast.” What kind of feast? Well, he’s talking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread. “Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven,” you can see he has in mind unleavened bread. “Not with old leaven, nor with the leaven,” and notice now he identifies the bread with the virtues that was to suggest, “not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” And here is the most interesting thing. Notice the difference in tenses between the verbs in verse 7 and verse 8, he says, “Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” In other words, the sacrifice of Christ has been accomplished. It does not need repetition. Once and for all the Lord Jesus suffers for our sins, but notice the tense of celebrating the feast, “Therefore let us celebrate the feast” that is a present tense. Now, our Lord suffers once and for all but the keeping of the feast is a continuing thing. Now, since the work of our Lord in being sacrificed for us as the Passover lamb is something that occurs once and for all and is over, the keeping of the feast which is to be a continuous thing is designed to represent for us the new life that we have in Christ. One has to do with the atonement, our redemption, the other has to do with our Christian life. The Feast of the Passover stresses our salvation. The Feast of Unleavened Bread which is celebrated for seven days is designed to celebrate the Christian life.
Well what about the seven days. Well, if you’ll think about it for just a moment seven days is a complete circle of time. There is no day that we observe which is not represented by one of these days and so the week is typically designed to represent the whole of life: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday; that’s the whole of life and so the once and for all sacrifice of the Passover lamb for our salvation is followed by the continuous observance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That is, all that is sinful in the life is to go as a result of our redemption in the Lord Jesus. What he’s trying to say in typical fashion is that the Christian life is a life in which we walk in holiness and the use of these expressions here in verse 7, “Clean out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened; therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” So by figuratively playing upon these Old Testament feasts Paul is exhorting the Corinthians reminding them that they have been saved through the shedding of the blood of Christ and in harmony with the Old Testament. Their salvation should be followed by a life of holiness a life of walking in the unleavened of sincerity and truth.
Did you notice too that he says in verse 7, “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.” Well, that’s reference to their position in Christ because having been becoming believer in the Lord Jesus they not only have the forgiveness of sin but in their position before God they are completely sanctified. So he’s exhorting them to make their practice conform to their position. “You are unleavened therefore keep the feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” The Feast of Unleavened Bread, a very wonderful picture of the Christian life.
Let’s turn back now to Leviticus chapter 23, for the third of our feasts. This is the Feast of the First Fruits. Beginning at verse 9, Moses writes.
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”
Now, he has just spoken about the fourteenth Nisan and then the Feast of Unleavened Bread beginning on the fifteenth. This is the day after that. If the Lord Jesus Christ sacrifice is on the fourteenth and the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the fifteenth there would be a Sabbath then on this is the following first day of the week.
“On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. ‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the Lord. Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.’”
This is the Feast of the First Fruits on the sixteenth day of Nisan. The sixteenth day of Nisan was the beginning of the barley harvest, and so what we have here is the symbolizing of the offering of an entire harvest to God. When we turn to the New Testament we notice a very interesting usage of the term first fruits and I’m asking you again to turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 15. 1 Corinthians chapter 15, and we’ll read verse 20 and 23. 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” And then verse 23, “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.” The Feast of First Fruits then is representative of our Lord Jesus in his resurrection.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead the first fruits of those who are asleep. The offering of the first fruits was a very interesting offering. The children of Israel at the time of the barley harvest went out into the field and cut down some of the sheaves of the barley harvest. Incidentally, they had to cut down those sheaves from a typical field. It could not be cut down from some special field that had been especially cared for. It had to be from a common field and when the barley when it was cut down it was brought into the temple and there it was threshed and then it was roasted and it was exposed to the wind so that the chaff was blown away and then it was ground in the barley mill and the flour of it was offered to God. That was the first fruits and it was very carefully pointed out that the children of Israel could not buy and sell any barley until that first fruits offering had been made. So the new barley couldn’t be used until the first fruits had been duly offered and, therefore, even in that it represents something of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But listen this is what they did. They went out in the field and they cut down that sheaf and they waved it before the Lord. That was the first fruits. What was the point of that? Well, it was to signify first of all that this sheaf was an earnest of more out in the field and second, all of this was thanksgiving for what God had done for them and second it was a sample of that which was still out in the field. It was cut from the field itself. These two aspects of the first fruits are illustrated in our Lord’s ministry of resurrection. When he came forth from the grave on the day after the Sabbath as our text suggests here on the first day of the week he came forth as the first fruits. He was the first fruits of the barley harvest of people.
Now, the fact that it is a first fruits of a harvest. In other words, the first fruits of the whole harvest suggests that our Lord comes forth on the resurrection day as the first fruits of all of the saved. He is the representative man who in his resurrection is identified with and stands with all of the redeemed. He suffers for the redeemed. He also is resurrected for a specific company of people those for whom he stands. And when he comes forth from the grave he is an earnest of others out in the field. That’s a reference to you and me. We are still out in the field. The first fruits has been raised from the dead our Lord Jesus but just as the first fruits of the barley harvest was the earnest of a full harvest in the field so his resurrection is the earnest and guarantee of the resurrection of others, the resurrection of you and me, whom he represents.
And not only that, not only is he the earnest, but he also a sample of that which is to follow. So it is not surprising then that we read at our resurrection we shall have a body like unto his own glorious body. So the feast then of the first fruits was designed, ultimately, to point forward to our Lord Jesus as the representative of the people of God who on the first day of the week comes forth from the grave and in coming forth represents and undertakes for all who are in him. We turn to the fourth feast the Feast of Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost occurred fifty days after the Feast of Passover and we read in verse 15 of Leviticus chapter 23, these words, “Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by,” I’m reading the wrong passage. Verse 15, I can count but I certainly wasn’t counting well then.
“You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. ‘You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an bushel; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.” Notice the expression baked with leaven. Along with the bread you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their libations offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord. You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings. The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the Lord; they are to be holy to the Lord for the priest. On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation, you shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.”
Now this is the Feast of Pentecost. Notice it is fifty days after the other three feasts. We’ve had the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of the First Fruits are all in the month Nisan right together within three days of one another. But now seven weeks later in Israel’s year is the Feast of Pentecost fifty days after Passover. There were three great annual feasts in Israel which required the children of Israel to go up to Jerusalem to present themselves before the Lord at the temple. Well Passover was one of them and the feast of Pentecost was another. So this was a very important one of the feasts. It was considered by the Jewish people the birthday of Judaism because it was their feeling, it cannot be proved, and that on the day of Pentecost the law was given to the nation Israel. What we really learned from the Bible is that the day of Pentecost is the birthday of the church. It’s rather interesting that the same day which we know from the New Testament is the birthday of the church was thought by Israel, there is no proof of this, to be the birthday of Judaism because they thought the law was given by Moses at Mount Sinai on that day.
Now, the important thing about the Feast of Pentecost is the two loaves of bread that are baked with leaven. Notice the offering in verse 17, “You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of a bushel; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.” The case of the Feast of Unleavened Bread for one week they were to eat unleavened bread because that signified their life in Christ as believers and so it was to be a life of holiness. But now we have something that something in which leaven is specifically required, two loaves are to be baked with leaven.
What are these loaves signify? Well, now let’s turn over to Acts chapter 2, for the historical occasion of the Feast of Pentecost. You notice how Luke makes a little bit over this because he begins by making reference to it. We read here, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” We have studied enough in the Bible to know, of course, that when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost he did not come because they were all together in one place and of one accord. What we see here is the fulfillment of prophecy. If the disciples had been in Beersheba playing pool at Abe’s place, the Holy Spirit would still have come fifty days after our Lord’s crucifixion in Jerusalem at the temple area. So we must remember as we think about this that this was the fulfillment of a specific historical prophecy.
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
Now we learned from Acts chapter 11, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred right here and it is by the baptism of the Holy Spirit that one enters the church of Jesus Christ. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,” and the body is the church and that baptism occurred on the day of Pentecost chapter 11, tells us. So this is the birthday of the church. Three thousand people came to a knowledge of the Lord through salvation. We read in verse 41 and verse 42, “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Added to the Lord)They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
What now do the two loaves baked with leaven suggest? We cannot be too dogmatic but it would seem from a study of the Scripture in the light of the fact that it is on the day of Pentecost that the church has its birthday and one of the characteristic features of the church according to the Apostle Paul is that the Gentiles have become fellow heirs with the Jews. We, I don’t think, would be too far off if we say that these two loaves are designed to represent the Jews and the Gentiles who now are formed into one body the church. And the fact that these two loaves are to be baked with leaven would confirm the fact that it is a reference to individuals who are in themselves sinners. One of the interesting things that confirm this, though we don’t want to lay too much stress on it, is the fact that the Book of Ruth was read on the day of Pentecost. Isn’t’ that interesting? Because in the Book of Ruth we have that beautiful story of a Gentile woman who by virtue of the working of the Holy Spirit comes to become a part of Israel and ultimately to be in the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the fact that the Book of Ruth was read on this day would seem to suggest that there was some recognition in Israel of the fact that the Feast of Pentecost was, ultimately, a time in which Israel a time in which Israel could look forward to the day when Jews and Gentiles would be blessed in their common Messiah. The fifth feast, the Feast of Trumpets, let’s turn back to Leviticus chapter 23, and read a few verses beginning with the 23rd verse. We read, “Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.’” Now, I think, the interesting thing to notice here right at the beginning is we have been talking about three feasts in the first month and then the Feast of Pentecost which sometimes I think was in the second month and sometimes in the third month depending on the calendar and so we have a lengthy period of time from the second or third month until the seventh month of the year in which there are no feasts at all.
Now, if you look at this little diagram that I’ve given you, you can notice that there is a rather lengthy period of time between the first four feasts and the final three which also occur within a very short compass. The very fact the Feasts of Trumpets does not occur for a number of months, four at least, suggests in the history of Israel’s redemption that there is lengthy period of time in Israel’s history which is unaccounted for and in our diagram the author of this diagram, Mr. Richie, has inserted the present age in which Israel is scattered under the discipline of God for her rejection of the Messiah and he has also noted this as the time when the formation of the church takes place. Well, of course, that is not directly taught in this chapter, but from the standpoint at which we look back we can certainly see that this is the age of Gentile salvation in which Jews and Gentiles are in the body of Christ and enjoy together the blessings that proceed from the promises that God made to Abraham.
The Feast of Trumpets; what was the trumpet used for? Well, the trumpet was used for the gathering of the people of God. And so we have suggested here the time in the future when Israel shall be awakened and shall be called to repentance and called to return to the land, the Feast of Trumpets. We hasten on and notice verse 26 through 32 of Leviticus chapter 23, for the feast of the Day of Atonement. Let me just read verse 26 and 27 since we’ve just studied this recently we won’t have to stress it.
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord.’”
The Feast of Trumpets occurred on the first day of this seventh month of Tishrei, ten days later the feast of the Day of Atonement. The Israelites generally practice repentance, fasting during the ten days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of the Day of Atonement, but we’ve been saying and we said in our last two studies that the Day of Atonement is the day of Israel’s national cleansing. It’s the day when Israel finally comes to a realization of the fact that they have crucified our Lord Jesus Christ and come in repentance and faith and are converted to the Lord that they have rejected for so long. Today Israel has no temple. They have no priests. They have no sacrifices. What do they do on the Day of Atonement? Well, they the rabbi’s lay a great deal of stress on substituting repentance and prayer and charity for sacrifices and then its almost amusing to read that they also sacrifice a rooster for every male and a hen for every female. They have no sacrifices. They have no place to offer them. They are required to offer them in Jerusalem to appear at the Day of Atonement then but they are, rather I should have said the Feast of Tabernacles, but they are required to offer their sacrifices according to the law of the Lord in the Old testament, they are unable to do it and the only they have are these ineffectual substitutes, which ought to, it seems to me, prey upon their consciences and bring them to the conviction that there must be something wrong if their great sovereign God is unable to allow them to offer the sacrifices that he himself has required.
Well, the Day of Atonement is Israel’s cleansing and restoration and then the Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the seven feasts and in Leviticus chapter 23, again in verse 33 through verse 44, we read of it. I’ll just read verse 33 and 34, “Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths (or tabernacles) for seven days to the Lord.’” And this feast is designed to represent the kingdom age when Israel has finally been regathered in the land and is ruling and reigning from Jerusalem. In Zechariah chapter 14, we won’t have time to read this verse 16 through 21, there is a great prophecy which specifies some of the details of the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles during the kingdom of God on the earth. By the way, there were two great features of the Feast of Tabernacles which appear in the Gospel of John. Remember that the Lord Jesus in the midst of, I should say, when the feast of tabernacles was observed there was an elaborate ceremony by which certain members of the nation went out into the pool of shalom and brought water back into the temple and poured it out. And you remember, “The Lord Jesus stood up at on the great day of the feast and cried if any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.” He was claiming to be the fulfillment of that which the outpoured water signified, the one from whom came the Holy Sprit.
And then also the second feature of the Feast of Tabernacles was the illumination of the temple area. It’s supposed to be very beautiful done at night and it was at that precise time in the Gospel of John when the Lord Jesus said in the midst of the illumination of the day of the Feast day of Tabernacles, “I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” He was claiming to be the king who shall be here in person when the historical feast of Tabernacles is observed in the future. These then are the seven feasts of the nation Israel designed to unfold for them their history from the time of their past deliverance from Egypt typically on through the fulfillment in our Lord’s crucifixion in his resurrection in the formation of the body of believers composed of both Jews and Gentiles through this lengthy present age on through the future when Israel will be regathered, come to their national cleansing, and finally enter into the possession of the promises that God made to Abraham. It is amazing how so many of the details of Israel’s future are set forth so clearly in the Old Testament Scriptures. Surely the Bible is an inspired book.
If you’re here tonight and you have never believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, I invite you to consider the claims of our Lord out of this book written by the finger of God down through the centuries to proclaim the ministry of the Messiah of Israel.
Let’s bow together in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee and praise Thee for these wonderful pictures of what Thou has been doing down through the years. Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. And O Father let us by Thy grace go on keeping the feast not with the unleavened bread of wickedness and sin but with the unleavened bread not with the leavened bread but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. And may, O Lord, as a result of Thy working in our midst the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified. Accept our thanks for the word of God and for all that it means.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.