Pattern of Feasts (G. Zeitler)
Pattern of Feasts: Yearly Cycle
by Gail Zeitler
The Feasts of God act out God’s redemption plan. They are a a prophetic diagram of our walk with God. The Feasts form a yearly cycle of reflection, confession, repentance, atonement and receiving God’s forgiveness.
In the Old Testament, God was present at the appointed times. In the New Testament God is always there if you’ve accepted Yeshua.
The first Feast is Shabbat, which is the Sabbath, the Day of Rest. It is the “Week-iversary” of the first Sabbath. God set up a weekly cycle: work, work, work, work, work, work, REST; work, work, work, work, work, work, REST. The other six Feasts are divided between the Fall and the Spring. The cycle repeats yearly.
For each Feast we will look at its Old Testament and New Testament meanings; how Yeshua observed it; and what it means to us today.
The High Priest had to sacrifice a lamb. Yeshua’s atoning death as the Passover Lamb replaces that Temple sacrifice.
Yeshua celebrated five Seders during His ministry, if you include the Passover trip to Jerusalem when He was twelve years old. (Luke 2:42-51). His last Seder was the Last Supper.
We die to ourselves:
2 Cor 5: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in [Messiah], he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
The Priests offered a wave offering of the first sprouts of the spring barley planting. It was the first of the firstfruit offerings that began the 50 days of “Counting the Omer,” or counting sheaves of wheat to represent each day, until Shavuot (Lev 23:9-22)
The Feast of Firstfruits is Resurrection Day! On that day Yeshua rose from the dead!
We died to self on Passover, now we are born again as we accept Yeshua’s atonement for our sins.
Moses received the Word on Mt. Sinai on Shavuot, fifty days after leaving Egypt (Ex. 16:1). New growth and tender shoots were offered at the Temple.
We are filled with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.
The disciples received the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room as Jews gathered in Jerusalem for the Pilgrim Feast of Shavuot.
From spring to fall — what God has accomplished, waits for us!
Several months pass between the atoning work of the Spring Feasts and the repenting work of the Fall Feasts. What have we done with so great a sacrifice? Have we walked in holiness? After salvation, do we ever sin again? Even a little?
Phil 2:12 …continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
How do we work out our salvation? We do it by stopping to take stock of our behavior by recalling any sins we have not repented of, and by asking God to reveal any sins we are not aware of.
The shofar calls us to reflect for the next ten days (Ten Days of Awe). Rabbinical tradition says that God opens His Book of Life to determine who is righteous enough to have their names inscribed. Rabbis say that only those in His Book can go to heaven.
Yeshua was immersed by John in the Jordan forty days before Rosh Hashonah. He fasted in the wilderness, overcame temptation, and walked into His local synagogue on Rosh Hashonah. We know this because the Scripture He read is the parashah (portion) for Rosh Hashonah, Isaiah 61, a prophecy of the Messiah and what He will do.
We reflect on Rosh Hashonah. How righteous have we been since Passover? Since last Fall?
The shofar calls us, gets our attention as God reveals our sins:
Ps 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Old Testament Priests sacrificed animals to atone for the people’s sins. It was the only day of the year that they could enter the Holy of Holies. If they were not completely pure the Presence of God would strike them dead! The Neilah service marks the closing of God’s Book of Life with shofar’s “Tikiah Gedolah,” the great shofar blast. There is a Tikiah Gedolah at Rosh Hashonah, but the LAST great trumpet blast is on Yom Kippur.
We confess, repent and receive God’s forgiveness because of Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice on Passover. We don’t have to find a priest to sacrifice an animal. We can enter God’s presence anytime through the blood of Yeshua!
Yeshua is asked why He and His disciples don’t fast. We don’t know if this happened at Yom Kippur, but it probably did:
Matt 9:15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
The Feast cycle is now complete so we have a harvest celebration. We’re now pure! Sin has been forgiven! We worship and rejoice in a rehearsal of heaven! We give thanks and gather the harvest of souls!
At the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter wanted to build a tabernacle, which would have been a booth or Succah for Yeshua, Moses and Elijah, but no Succah was needed. God surrounded them with His Glory!
Matt. 17:4-5 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
THE CYCLE OF YESHUA
SUCCOTH: Yeshua’s cycle starts at Succoth. He was born then, not in December, in a Succah, not in a stable.
PASSOVER: Yeshua died on the cross.
FIRSTFRUITS: Yeshua rose again!
SHAVUOT: Yeshua ascended to heaven on the fortieth day of Counting the Omer, ten days before Shavuot. He sent the Holy Spirit to the Upper Room on Shavuot.
ROSH HASHONAH: Yeshua declared Himself to be the Messiah, according to Isaiah 61, heralded by blowing of the shofar.
YOM KIPPUR: The cycle is complete with the Tikiah Gedolah. Could this be the last great trumpet blast when He gathers us to heaven?
1 Cor 15:52 In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
No one is to know the day or hour that the Lord will return (Matt 24:36), but in the same chapter Yeshua ties His return to the last trumpet blast.
Once again, the cycle of Feasts: Yeshua was born on Succoth, died on Passover, rose on Firstfruits, ascended during the Omer, sent the Word and the Holy Spirit for Shavuot, declared His Messiahship on Rosh Hashonah. Could He return on Yom Kippur? Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
(c) 2007 Gail Zeitler all rights reserved
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.