Divine Days & Prophetic Celebrations
Our last article explored the Tabernacle’s metal construction materials and layout, and how they symbolically explained God’s relationship with His People and the standards of purity that He required of them. He knew that they were imperfect humans and would ultimately fail to be able to keep all of His Statutes, so He set aside special times of the year to recognize their failings, make atonement for their sins, and rejoice in the God of Mercy they worshiped. More importantly, these seven celebrations were prophetic signs meant to point Israel to the coming of Christ and His Sacrifice.
While the Israelites were still in slavery, God gave the people their first mitzvah (roughly translated as precept, decree, or commandment). God informed Moses and Aaron that the upcoming new moon was distinct and that “this month [was] the beginning of months for [Israel]; it [was] the first month of [their] year” (ref. Exodus 12:1-2). Keeping this lunar based religious calendar was significant, because it required the population to deliberately watch for God’s appointed times, rather than relying on any dating systems men devised.
The first of God’s Holy Feasts was the upcoming Passover. On the tenth day of Aviv, the first Hebraic month, each family was required to bring a flawless yearling from their herd into their homes. The animal would remain with them till the fourteenth day of the month, when it was killed and prepared on Passover. Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a donkey on the tenth day of the first month, mirroring His role as the perfect Passover Lamb being brought into the sinner’s home (John 12:12-19; Mark 11:1-12; Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 19:28-44) and would also be crucified and buried on the fourteenth day of the first month.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread started on the fifteenth day of the same month, the day after Passover, and was meant to be a day of rest. Observers were not to eat bread that contained leavening for seven days (Exodus 12:15), with the final day being another day of rest. The pierced and scorched flatbread that was eaten that week symbolized the flawless Christ who suffered and died.
The Feast of First Fruits was the first day after the Passover Sabbath, and occurred during the previously mentioned week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:4-8, 9-22) Paul tells us that Christ was the first fruits of those who would be raised from the dead (Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; Romans 8:23). Christ rose from the grave on the Feast of First Fruits, which also marked the beginning of counting towards the day of Pentecost.
Pentecost (Shavuot), from the Greek pentēkostē which meant fiftieth day, occurred fifty days after the Passover Sabbath, starting from the Feast of First Fruits (ref. Leviticus 23:15-22) . Ancient Hebrews celebrated this Feast of Weeks as the beginning of a joyous harvest of fall grains, while Acts 2:1-31 describes Pentecost as the first great harvest of souls and the descending of the Holy Spirit on Christ’s followers after His Ascension.
Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the seventh month, is sometimes thought of as the Jewish Civil New Year due to the fact that it is translated as “Head of the Year“, but it was originally referred to as the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-27; Numbers 29:1). Many significant people are traditionally believed to have been born on Rosh Hashanah including Abraham (the first Patriarch), Isaac (the first allusion to the sacrificial lamb), Jacob (the first of the tribes of Israel), Joseph (the first great provider of food to the world), and Samuel (the first Prophet). It was also celebrated as the inauguration date of Joseph (Genesis 41:40) and Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:21-23). It is also speculated that the Festival of Trumpets was the day that Solomon’s Temple was dedicated (1 Kings 8:1-2, 8:65-66; 2 Chronicles 5:3, 7:8-10). The allusions to the coming King arriving to the sound of trumpets was a deeply rooted theme in the Old Testament.
Yom Kippur (the tenth day of the seventh month) was the Day of Atonement and the only day that the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to offer a sin sacrifice to fully cover the trespasses of the nation of Israel for the year (Leviticus 16). It was traditionally understood that when the high priest was within the Holy of Hollies, offering the sacrifice for the sins of Israel, the high priest would receive a prophecy regarding the events of the upcoming year. Caiaphas, who was the high priest the year Christ was crucified, prophesied Jesus’ role as the sin sacrifice not only for the nation of Israel, but the entire world (ref. John 18:13-14, Matthew 26:3-5, John 11:49-53).
The Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot) took place on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after Yom Kippur, and required that the Israelites live in tabernacles/booths/tents for seven days as a remembrance of when God had brought them out of Egypt and they lived in temporary structures in the wilderness (ref. Leviticus 23:42-43). It was also a prophetic sign declaring that God would come down in a temporary human body and live amongst His People (ref. John 1:14). Jesus, despite being pursued by the Jewish leaders, celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, where He revealed Himself as the Light of the World and the Living Water, which were two important symbols in the festivities. Christ left the city and was transfigured on the Mount of Olives on the final day of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2-John 8:1; Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18).
Over the next few articles, we will be delving deeper into the signs and symbols that God placed in the spring celebrations for the ancient Israelites to recognize His Son’s Arrival and how He fulfilled these feasts. Christ served as the Passover Lamb that was brought into Jerusalem and killed and passed through the fire for our sins (ref. 1 Peter 3:18-20). The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a week-long reminder of the sinless life that Christ lived. Christ’s resurrection during the Feast of First Fruits marked the beginning of an extraordinary spiritual harvest. Pentecost punctuated the spring feasts with the in-gathering of souls and the arrival of the Holy Spirit as our Helper.
Starting thousands of years ago, it is clear to see that God’s Holy Festivals were not arbitrary agricultural celebrations, but were instead sacred prophetic references to Christ’s Crucifixion for our sins. By exploring the deeper details of these Holy Days we will gain a greater understanding of how God made preparations for Christ’s role in fulfilling the Feasts and what the Holy Spirit is doing in today’s Prophetic Age.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator
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