The Seven Festivals of Messiah - Introduction

by Eddie Chumney

The Apppointed Feasts

The Festivals of the Lord found in Leviticus, chapter 23, were given to us by God so His people could understand the coining of the Messiah and the role that the Messiah would play in redeeming and restoring both man and the earth back to God following the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden.

The Festivals are divided into two major portions, depending upon whether they occur in the spring or the fall.  The Spring Festivalsteach about the First Coming of the Messiah, and the Fall Festivals teach about the Second Coming of the Messiah. During the course of the year, the rains come in Israel at two primary times - the spring and the fall.  In Hosea 6:3 we read- ". ..His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth."  The "latter and former rain" in this passage is commonly interpreted and understood to be the coming of the Holy Spirit. 

The "former and latter" rain also refers to the First and Second Coming of the Messiah.  The Hebrew word for the former rain, found also in Joel 2:23, is 'moreh', which means "teacher".  Jesus, the teacher, was sent by God to the earth to faithfully teach us righteousness, just as God faithfully sends us the rain. (Isaiah 55:10-11)  The harvest (believers in Christ) is the product that  the rain (Jesus) produces.

The Apostle Paul, in Colossians 2:16-17 refers to the Feasts as a "shadow of things to come."  The first four Feasts or Festivals, which are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost, primarily teach about the significant events in the First Coming of the Messiah and why these events were an important part of God's redemption of man. The last three Feasts, which are the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) also known as Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot), give us a fascinating insight concerning important events that surrond the Second Coming of the Messiah. God gave the Festivals to teach about the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah, the empowering of the believers by the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of the dead, the coronation of the Messiah, the wedding of the Messiah (which we have already outlined in a previous study, but will include portions here as well), the Millennium, and much more. The Bible also provides some powerful reasons for studying and understanding the Seven Festivals of the Messiah:

-The Feasts are in the Bible, and all the Bible is inspired by God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
-The Feasts are a shadow of things to come that teach us about the Messiah.  (Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 10:1)
-God gave the Feasts so we could learn and understand God's plan of redemption for the world and our personal relationship to Him. (Romans 15:4)

To fully understand the Feasts being appointed times given by God, it is important to understand the Biblical Calendar that God gave to us.
There are two primary calendars in the Bible. 
*   The first one is called the Civil Calendar and is used from Genesis 1:1 to Exodus 12.  The first month in the Civil Calendar is Tishrei.  Rosh HaShanah, or the Jewish New Year, the first day in the Civil Calendar, is the beginning of the  New Year. 
*   The second calendar in the Bible is the Religious Calendar.  The Religious Calendar is used from Exodus 12 to Revelation 22.  God established the Religious Calendar in Ex odus 12:2- "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you."  The month that God was referring to was the month which is called Nisan.  Prior to God establishing the month of Nisan as the first month in the Religious Calendar, Nisan was the seventh month in the Civil Calendar.  God gave the Religious Calendar so that we could understand that these Feasts, which He gave and which are His appointed times and foreshadow important events in redemption, would happen on the days He ordained on the Religious Calendar.  These important days on the Religious Calendar are the same days that He gave as Festivals in Leviticus, chapter 23.

Historical Application of the Feasts

1. Passover Israel's deliverance out of Egyptian bondage

2. Unleavened Bread The going out of Egypt

3. First Fruits Crossing the Red Sea

4. Pentecost Giving the Commandments at Mount Sinai

5. Rosh HaShanah Blowing the 'Shofar' (trumpet)
(Feast of Trumpets)       Jewish New Year

6. Day of Atonement Priest entered the Holy of Holies
Cleansing of the people's sins

7. Tabernacles Entering the Promised Land/Great Rejoicing

Messianic Application of the Feasts and the Messianic Fulfillment

1. Passover Death of Christ on the Cross (tree)
2. Unleavened Bread The burial of Jesus
3. First Fruits The resurrection of Jesus
4. Pentecost Pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)

5. Rosh HaShanah The resurrection of the dead
(Feast of Trumpets)        Rapture of the believers

6. Day of Atonement The day of Christ's Second Coming

7. Tabernacles The Messianic Era/Millennium

Feasts and the Spiritual Application of the Feasts

1. Passover
Repent and trust by faith in the shed blood of Jesus

2. Unleavened Bread
Sanctification and separation from evil and represented by water immersion (baptism)

3. First Fruits
Walking in newness of life

4. Pentecost
Immersion (baptism) in the Holy Spirit and faith in God

5. Rosh HaShanah
Hear the calling (shofar/trumpet) of God for our lives  (Feast of Trumpets)

6. Day of Atonement
Yielding ourselves to God so that we may live (face to face) in His Presence

7. Tabernacles
A daily rest in the Messiah and having the rest of His Kingdom in our hearts

Significance in Brief

1. Passover
Reminds us that God is the forgiver of sin who grants us eternal life in His Kingdom through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Passover

2. Unleavened Bread
Depicts putting sin out of our lives

3. First Fruits
Christ, the firstfruits risen from the dead, afterward, those who are Christ's atHis Coming

4. Pentecost
Serves to remind us that our Creator still works miracles, empowering us to carry out His work in this world

5. Rosh HaShanah
Looks forward to the return of Jesus Christ (Feast of Trumpets)   (rapture of the Church), and to the resurrection of the "dead in Christ" -the hope of Christians

6. Day of Atonement
Pictures the loving reconciliation we have with God, made possible through Christ's sacrifice.  It also shows the remarkable truth that Satan will eventually be removed so that humanity can at last attain reconciliation with God on a universal basis.

7. Tabernacles
Represents the Millenium, the reign of Christ on Earth for 1,000 years of true happiness and utopia.