Feasts of Israel and the Menorah

The Menorah was a seven stem lampstand that was the represented light to a dark world and the seven stems portrayed the seven feasts of Israel. There were three feasts in the Spring: the Feast of Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits. Then there is a short delay of 50 days and you have the Feast of Pentecost. Then after another delay, about four months, there are three more Feasts, which include the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Passover involved 1) the killing of the lamb and 2) the Passover meal or seder. The lamb was set aside on the tenth of the month of Aviv (biblical) or Nisan (modern). It was tested for four days to make sure it was without spot and without blemish. On the fourteenth day the lamb was killed for the Passover meal. The next morning, another lamb was used as the Passover sacrifice. The Passover meal included three things: 1) the paschal lamb, the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs.

The time was during the month of Nisan. If one household was small, they would join with others, so one lamb might suffice for several different family groups and nothing of it remained until the morning. There are 15 parts of the meal. For example, there are three pieces of bread, which represent the Trinity. There are four cups of fermented red wine, each of which have meaning of blessing, plagues, redemption and praise.  The shankbone, the forearm of the lamb, represented the outstretched arm that God brought the Jews out of the land of Egypt (Deut 26:8). The salt water, in which several items are dipped represent the tears of the Jews serving in Egypt. There is much else to learn, but let’s apply this.

When Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey, many teach that it was the last offer of kingship to the Jews. It was really that Jesus set Himself aside as the Passover Lamb. It was on the tenth day of the month. For four days, Jesus was tested by the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Scribes and the Herodians. Jesus ate the Seder meal on the first night of the Passover, the same night that all Jewish people ate it, the 14th of Nisan. Jesus died on the first day of Passover, crucified at 9:00 am, the same as Passover lamb. Just as blood was sprinkled on doorposts, so Jesus shed His blood for the world. As the Jews purged their homes of leaven, the believer purges his life of leaven or sin, or the church of sin, which would be church discipline.

The second feast of Unleavened Bread occurred for eight days in conjunction with Passover. It lasted for seven days, in which the Jews could not eat leaven. Passover lasts eight days. Passover was observed in Egypt and the day after Passover, Israel began their journey out of Egypt. The New Testament application is from 1 Corinthians 5:6ff and the Messianic implication is explained in Hebrews 9:1-10:18. This passage explains the cleansing of the heavenly tabernacle, the removal of sins of the OT saints and the application of the blood to the New Testament saints.

The third feast of First Fruits began the counting of 50 days until the Feast of weeks or Pentecost. It was on the Sunday, first day of the week according to Lev 23:11, “the day after the Sabbath.” It was for one day and a sheaf of the first grain on the 16th day of Nisan. It was always on a Sunday, after the Sabbath after the Passover. This marked the two month spring harvest. In AD 30, the 15th of Nisan was from Thursday evening until Friday evening. 16th Nisan, Friday evening to Sat evening was 2nd day and Sat evening to Sunday evening was 3rd day. 

The fourth feast is the Feast of Weeks. It occurs seven weeks, plus one day after First fruits. It is the end of the Spring harvest. Acts 2:1-4 verify that this is the day the church began, as the Holy Spirit came to indwell every church age believer.

The fifth feast is the Feast of Trumpets. Rosh Hashanah is the most common name, “Head of the year”, but there are four others. It happens in the month of Tishrei. The shofar was blown and was curved, because it was a symbol of repentance in contrast to a straight horn, that is for Jews to return to Judaism and the covenant relationship with Yahweh.  It was a day of rest, blowing of the trumpet and many sacrifices. Shofar means “a horn for blowing” and the Hebrew word “truah” means “shout,” “a blast of war, alarm, joy.”

The sixth feast is the Day of Atonement. It was a day of affliction of the soul and day of individual and national atonement.  Several passages of OT taught seven truths. For example, 1) the approach to God was limited (Lev 16). 2) Atonement was by blood (Lev 17:11). 3) The mediator was the high priest. 4) The high priest had to offer a bull for himself first.  The second bull was for Israel. 5) The blood of the first goat made it possible for the second goat to take away the sins of Israel. 6) Atonement dealt with known and unknown sins. 7) Confession of sin always followed the shedding of blood.

The seventh feast, the Feast of Succoth or Tabernacles. Let’s note several things. 1) It was seven days long, 2) They built and lived in booths or branch tents, 3) They celebrated with citrus type fruit citron, the lulav, which is a branch of the palm tree, the hadas, which is a branch of the myrtle tree, and the anwah, which is a branch of the willow. 4) It follows the Day of Atonement and considered to be a time of rejoicing following the day of affliction. 5) It marked the first fruits of fall harvest. 6) An additional eighth day of solemn assembly followed the 7th day, but the Jews did not have to live in the booth.

What’s the application? Passover was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah. The Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His blood offering. The feast of First fruits was fulfilled by the Resurrection of Jesus. The feast of weeks was fulfilled by the birthday of the Church. The Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the next great event of the church – the Rapture of the Church. The Feast of Trumpets is declared by the sound of a Trumpet and a shout, which is true of the Rapture (1 Thes 4:13-18). The Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation, which is the affliction of Israel to turn back to their Messiah. And the Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled by the Messianic Kingdom, or what we also call the Millennium.

No one knows the day or the hour (Matt 24:36),
but let’s have some fun and look at several passages.

What time is it?  Matt 24:32-36 describes the events that will happen at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. In that context, it says that the generation will not pass away until that event comes.

What is a generation? Ps 90:1-10 describes that while God is from eternity to eternity, a generation is 70 years and if by strength, 80 years. So IF we begin the clock again on May 14, 1948, when Israel was again recognized as a nation, then 80 years from that date is May 14, 2028. (Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 24:32-36) Subtract 7 years and you have May 14, 2021, or the beginning of Daniel’s 70the week.  The Feast of Trumpets occurs before that and it can be a minute before or even a few years before and that would be the Feast of Trumpets 2020, or September 19, 2020. Ha! Maybe today!

Why is it important to understand human history from God’s perspective?

When were there sacrifices? Until the cross and in the Millennium

Who was responsible for disseminating God’s Word? We all are!  The question is, are you motivated to share your faith about Jesus Christ? Are you motivated to disciple people to Him, so they will reach more? We don’t discuss these things for our own interests, but for the sake of reaching others!  May the Lord bless you as you reach out to lead others to Christ.

This website has a good diagram that relates the feasts to the End Times:
http://www.ltradio.org/charts/

Question: What is your understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew? Is it future or already present, but not yet?

An initial note should be stated: when you compare the parable messages from Mark 4; Luke 8 and Matthew 13, you’ll see that the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are used interchangeably. So is the Kingdom of Heaven future rather than “already, but not yet”?

We first need to see that there are five facets of “kingdom” in Scripture. There terms “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of Heaven” both refer to God’s rule, although the uses of the term “kingdom” will reveal five different facets.

Continue reading

Question: If someone is proud, what is the “put off” and “put on”?

God created the most beautiful world when He created the Garden of Eden. It remained incredible, until Adam sinned and God thrust him out of the Garden into a creation that now groans because of Adam’s sin, “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” (Rom. 8:22)

The basis of Adam’s sin was pride. He chose to choose independently of God’s will. He chose to act without asking God what he should do. He chose to rely upon his own sense rather than depend solely on the Lord. That is what pride is. It is the fundamental cause of all sins in life. Continue reading

Question: Why does a loving God allow suffering?

Why does a loving God allow suffering? I looked at one aspect of the question on an earlier post, “How can a loving God allow suffering?” which looked at one element of the question, namely, people don’t understand the character of God’s holiness and the offense of sin against holiness, which results in personal and corporate suffering. This article will focus on another aspect, Continue reading

Insights: Should you celebrate Halloween as a Christian?

Should you celebrate Halloween as a Christian? I have taken almost every position on what to do with Halloween.  I respect good brothers and sisters who want nothing to do with the day.  I have taught the position of Halloween as initiated by the evil spirits and Celtic traditions.  Continue reading

Question: Is a Faith a Work?

Recently, I was in a conversation with a person who held to a strict Calvinistic position. That is, he believed in the five point TULIP principles. During the conversation, we discussed Ephesians 2:8 and how the word “that” cannot refer to faith because of the Greek grammatical construction, but it must refer to “salvation,” which is elliptical (which means it is implied by the verb “saved”). As the discussion continued, I stated that faith was a non-meritorious decision.  There is no merit before God. Then he commented that a decision or faith is an action and salvation is not obtained by a work or an action. Continue reading

Why do bad things still happen?

When a person trusts in Jesus Christ, he becomes a child of God.  There is no greater blessing in life, than to be God’s child. When you trust in Jesus Christ, you become a part of the universal Church, you are identified with the family of God, you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and you have an eternal destiny with the Lord in heaven. Yet, there are still bad things that happen. Why? Here are six reasons why there is so much trouble.

First, Jesus said bad things would happen. He could stop all bad things, but then he would have to remove every person from earth.  Inside every person, in fact in every Christian, is a sin nature. The sin nature is what continues to cause problems as Paul declared,

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (Rom 7:15-17 NKJ)

Because of the sin nature, people still sin. Sin causes troubles.  Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJ) The question is: Will you trust Jesus while you are in the trouble and learn patience, endurance and perseverance?  He still loves you and He will never forsake you (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).

Secondly, the world is full of trouble because when Adam sinned, he gave up rulership of the world to Satan. Consequently, Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4) and he loves to make people miserable and blame God for their misery.  In fact, Satan blinds the minds of those under his influence. Paul wrote, “…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Cor. 4:4 NKJ) Satan’s blinding work prevents many from trusting the goodness of God and His good works, because they look for their hope in the world.

We know Satan is the god of this world, because he attempted to offer the kingdoms of the world to Jesus during the temptations of Jesus. Luke recorded the dialogue between Satan and Jesus,

5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”  8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, `You shall worship the LORD your God.” (Luke 4:5-8 NKJ)

There is no contest between God and Satan, because God could end the conflict at any time and wipe out Satan.  Why does God not destroy Satan? He will in His sovereign timing (Rev. 20:10).  In the meantime, God is showing that those who live under grace in dependency upon Him will be blessed and those who reject God will be miserable and find an empty future. Yet, even in trouble, there is hope in the Lord that eases the trouble and glorifies Him.

It is similar to when Jeremiah was sitting on the ash heap of Jerusalem’s destruction, he found hope in the Lord.  When God allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed in B.C. 586, because they had forsaken the Lord, Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations.  The city was destroyed.  Homes were ruined. The stench from dead bodies was repulsive. And yet, Jeremiah found his hope in the Lord,

21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him! (Lam 3:21-24 NKJ)

Thirdly, God allowed Satan to be a part of the testing process. Regarding testing, God allowed Satan to harm Job who was a blameless man, yet the testing showed that a blameless man would not curse God, but would trust God. When messengers reported that raiders came and stole his herds and another messenger said his ten children died in a huge windstorm, Job responded with trust in the Lord,

20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. (Job 1:20-22 NKJ)

Even in the trouble, the bad things, though Satan was the instrument God used, Job trusted in the Lord.

Fourthly, God allows Satan to be a part of the divine discipline process. That can produce trouble for many people. When a young man was committing incest with his step-mother, the Corinthian church acted like they should just practice grace.  Paul rebuked the church and said,

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles– that a man has his father’s wife!  2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.  3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 5:1-5 NKJ)

In other words, Paul chastised them for not fearing the holiness of God. They should have put him out of the church, which would have been a discipline on the young man, because there were no other churches in Corinth. Because the young man was saved (1 Cor. 5:5), he would have been exposed to Satan’s wrath. Why? He would have been exposed, because Jesus Christ dwelt within the young man and Satan can’t stand anyone who is a Christian. Therefore the young man would have become a target of Satan. If you are associated with a person or people who are under-going divine discipline, you will experience their discipline by association.

Fifthly, bad things are a purifying process of helping us become more dependent on Him. We in America do everything we can to maintain comfort.  We avoid troubles at any cost.  However, trials and troubles are often God’s purifying process. Peter wrote,

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Pet. 4:12-17 NKJ)

Peter also wrote,

10 But maythe God of all grace, who called usto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Pet. 5:10 NKJ)

The purpose of troubles is to “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” You will become more dependent on the Lord in His sovereign actions. You will gain strength to face new trials and reveal your tremendous trust in Him.

And sixthly, after death, there are no more bad things. Once the Christian is in heaven, there are no more sorrows and no more tears as John wrote, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4 NKJ) One of the greatest blessings of being a Christian is knowing that there is an end to the troubles of life. Heaven will be a place of God’s peace.

Generally, people do not like bad things or troubles.  Yet the one who trusts in the Lord will accept troubles as a part of God’s purifying and growing process. God offers peace in the midst of trouble. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJ) You can have that peace today as you walk in and trust Him. Paul wrote, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7 NKJ)

God has a purpose for everything. God will richly reward those who trust Him, even when circumstances are bad.  He is worthy of hope.  He is worthy of your trust.