Thanks for joining our Sunday Bible study. Being a Jewish believer in Jesus since age 20, I relish how the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible). The Jewish Feast Days, including the two High Holidays, are significant examples. Now considering today’s title, I hear heads exploding in synagogues, but remember the words of a Divine Jewish rabbi: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Before diving in, I extend thanks to my co-writer, Russ Breault, who originated this lesson and wrote the first draft. Russ is a Bible scholar, highly regarded national lecturer, and expert on the Shroud of Turin. He has co-written or inspired several of my Bible studies. Easter’s Vol. 109 is the most recent. Whenever Russ says, “Myyyy-rah, I have a Bible study for you,” I always listen.
Our two-part study of Jewish Feast Days from Leviticus 23 details the seven “feasts” (called “festivals” in some translations). All are still celebrated Jewish traditions. Of the first four examined today, only the Sabbath is weekly. The remaining three are spring feasts dictated in God’s order: The Passover/ Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Feast of Weeks – (Shavuot).
Next week we will discuss the three autumn feasts: The Feast of Trumpets (better known as Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year) followed by the Day of Atonement (known as Yom Kippur). Together Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the Jewish High Holidays. The third is the Feast of Tabernacles, and all are related to the harvest — God’s harvest.
Now let’s open Leviticus, the third book of the Torah and Hebrew Bible:
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts’ ” [or ‘scared assemblies’ in some translations] (Leviticus 23:1-2).
All the feasts recorded in Leviticus 23 are prophetic and important for the church to understand their meaning and message. I encourage you to read all 44 verses of Leviticus 23 to hear God’s voice explain the feasts.
Sabbath: “ ‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest..” (Leviticus 23:3).
Passover is the annual remembrance of how God miraculously engineered the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt, as recorded in Exodus 12. Famously, ten plagues concluded with the death of every firstborn male, including Pharaoh’s son. God instructed Moses that each family must kill a spotless lamb and wipe the blood on the top, bottom, and sides of their home’s doorpost.
Then the death angel would “pass over” the blood-marked doors but kill the firstborn male of every unmarked house.
Jesus Connection: For believers, Jesus is our “spotless” Passover “lamb of God” crucified on the eve of Passover when the high priest slays the sacrificial lamb. Read more in Vol. 107.
From the baptism of Jesus: “The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29).
Passover’s Unleavened Bread (matzoh): This cracker-like bread came about when the Israelites had to quickly leave Egypt, leaving no time to add yeast to make their bread rise. During the annual Passover seder meal, the matzoh is broken, wrapped in a linen napkin, and hidden for children to find later. This symbolism relates to the Last Supper and His burial the next day. (Read about matzoh and me here.)
Jesus Connection: “He [Jesus] took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19-20).
First Fruits: God told Moses:
“ ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord.. on the day after the Sabbath…You must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect..’ ” (Leviticus 23: 9-14).
Jesus Connection: On Sunday, Jesus (“Lamb of God”) rose from the dead and became the first fruit of the resurrection. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (died).” (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).
Feast of Weeks: Often celebrated using its Hebrew name Shavuot, this a celebration that occurs fifty days after Firstfruits, when the Lord demands more offerings:
“ ‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.’ .. ‘Present with this bread, seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings…’ ”
“ ‘The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest.’ ”
Like most feast declarations, this one ends with: “ ‘I am the Lord your God’ ” (Leviticus 23:15-22).
Jesus Connection: On the Day of Pentecost (the same day as Feast of Weeks), the Holy Spirit — as heralded by Jesus in (Acts 1:8) — came upon believers gathered together in Jerusalem, and they all began speaking with other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Foreigners from surrounding nations heard the gospel preached in their language by people who didn’t speak these languages. Pentecost is when the Covenant of the Law, which required perfect obedience, had been replaced with the Covenant of Grace. This Grace Covenant stands today with faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit replaced strict obedience to the Law.
God’s plan: The spring Feasts were prophetically fulfilled by Jesus on the exact day the Jews celebrated them. But over time, Christianity renamed the spring feasts as Good Friday (Passover)/Holy Communion (Unleavened Bread), Easter (Firstfruits), and Pentecost (Feast of Weeks/Shavuot).
Linking the Leviticus 23 feasts to Jesus is another example of how the New Testament fulfills the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
Regarding the three fall feasts that we will discuss next week, strangely, there are no Christian counterparts. Why? How did that happen? If these feasts are also prophetic, what is their meaning? Stay tuned, and be ready!
Author’s Note: Readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.” Part Two, featuring volumes 57-113, will be published later this year.
Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to education about the Shroud of Turin.
Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.