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/

Truth: Rapture and Tribulation Part 1

This is Part 1 of 6 parts describing the Rapture and Tribulation generalities. A friend asked me about the Rapture and End Times, so here is my response to him. Parts 2-6 will be posted on succeeding days.

The End Times: Rapture and Tribulation

Where is this world going? What will happen in the end times? I had a friend ask me about the Rapture and the End Times, so here is a brief response to his question. Continue reading

Question: Do we see Jesus when we die or at the Rapture?

Question: Do we see Jesus when we die or at the Rapture? 

This is a great question and the study of last things is always fascinating.  The answer to the above question is yes.  Yes, we will see Jesus at death and yes we will see Jesus at the Rapture. We should consider 1) the death of the believer; 2) the order of ascension; and 3) additional passages.  Let’s first look at the death of the believer.

At the death of the believer, the saint will be ushered into the presence of the Lord.  Paul writes, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8)  The context of 2 Corinthians 5 is regarding death and the tearing down of our outward body and receiving a new resurrection body from the Lord.  The above passage states that we can have confidence that when we are absent from the present body, we will be “present” with the Lord.  The word “present” comes from a prepositional phrase that means “face to face” with the Lord.

Secondly, let’s note the order of ascension. At the Rapture, there seems to be a confusing statement that causes some to think that those who die before the Rapture won’t see Jesus until the Rapture.  Paul writes,

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus1.
 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  (1 Thes. 4:14-17)

The first aspect is the order ascension.  The phrase “sleep in Jesus” is a reference to those believers who have died (1 Thes. 4:14).  Paul adds, “We who are alive and remain until the Lord’s coming (Rapture), will by no means precede those who are asleep.” (1 Thes. 4:15)  If those who are dead go first, have they really seen Jesus at death?  The answer is yes, because in order to harmonize 2 Corinthians 5:8, they have in spirit, but they may not have received their resurrection body until the Rapture.  The second aspect is that once we die, there is no time.  In time beyond, everything happens (no time given).  The third aspect is that those who are alive will be together with those who died “to meet the Lord in the air.” The fourth aspect is that “we shall always be with the Lord,” so that the time element will seem instantaneous and we enter right into the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9).

            Thirdly, let’s note several additional passages.  David writes, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (Ps. 17:15)  David spoke of seeing Christ when he was walking in righteousness, but we should consider that in our perfect righteous state, we will see Jesus.  Jesus said that He would leave to prepare a place for His followers, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)  Jesus desires that we behold His glory, which will be completely fulfilled at death, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

            The application is that we want to please Him now! In the verse immediately following the first verse above, Paul writes, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. (2 Cor. 5:9)