Feasts of the Lord: Shadows and Realities (Overview)

“What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals, on the feast days of the LORD?” (Isaiah 9:5).

“Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me” (Revelation 3:20).

There are many different calendars in the world today.  There is the Gregorian/Julian calendar which is internationally accepted as the civil calendar.  This calendar begins in January and ends in December and includes American holidays like New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

There is the liturgical calendar that was generated by the Roman catholic church with the holidays that have been universally embraced by the Christian church worldwide.  On this calendar is the weekly Sunday and yearly dates for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.

There is also the Biblical calendar established by God with Israel at Mount Sinai.  This calendar focuses on the weekly and annual festival days called The Feasts of the LORD.  These are the times that God has set to meet with His people in prophetic ways. 

The Mo’edim or Appointed Times

The Hebrew word for ‘feasts or festivals’ is mo’edim and means ‘set or appointed times.’  Within the meaning of mo’ed is the idea of  a ‘meeting of two or more at a certain place and time.’ “Mo’edim    is the word used in Genesis 1:14 for the word ‘seasons‘ when God created the sun, moon and stars.  The Feasts of the LORD are seasons  determined by the sun, moon and stars.   From that account, days are rendered sunset to sunset as ‘there was evening and morning,‘for each day.   Months are approximately 28 days based on the lunar cycle. Years are determined by the  constellations that move across the heavens.   Outlined in Leviticus 23 are the Mo’edim of the Yahweh or the ‘set meeting times’ of the LORD. 

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies” (Leviticus 23:1).

The ‘appointed times’ given by God were called sacred assemblies or holy convocations. In Hebrew, the word for ‘assembly’ or ‘convocation’ is mikrah. This word has its root in qara and means to ‘call out loudly’ or be ‘invited.’  Mikrah has the added nuance of ‘rehearsal’ associated the ‘appointed times’ of God with being invited to a rehearsal dinner

These ‘appointed times’ were not given just to the Tribes of Israel, but also Egyptians who had heeded Moses’ command to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts.  This mixed multitude of men, women and children left Egypt and became one community known as Israelites.

The ‘appointed times’ of the LORD had agricultural foundations with festivals for firstfruits and harvests giving each festival a spiritual significance to the complete redemptive plan of God.  Each festival was a shadow of the Messiah who was, is, and will be.   Yeshua became the reality of the spring ‘appointed times’; he will become the reality of the fall festivals at their ‘appointed times.’

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that are coming; the reality, however, is found in Messiah” (Colossians 2:16-17).

This verse in Colossians has been used for a proof-text that gentiles or non-Jewish believers don’t need to celebrate the Biblically appointed times because they have Jesus in their lives. Instead of understanding the Scripture in the context that judgment should not come from Jews when gentiles join together with them in celebrating their holy days, they rid themselves from what is found in the reality of Messiah. 

Shadows and realities go together.  Shadows imply that there is some substance causing it while something of substance causes a shadow.  If we are in Messiah and he in us, then we have the the light that brings the reality out of the shadows.  The shadows spoken of in these verses to the Colossians are in the progressive present tense, that are coming,  meaning that they are still in process in the present and have yet to all be fulfilled.

This inherited lie has kept the believing gentile separated from their full inheritance in the Messiah of Israel.      Instead of accepting the spiritual blessings that come from celebrating the Sabbath and the New Moon, they reject the very substance of Yeshua’s life in their own.

Weekly Appointed Time

Sabbath is the first appointed time given by the LORD.

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:3).

Present Shadow and Reality

The seventh day Sabbath is a memorial to Creation ‘in the beginning.’  It is so important that God put it in the 10 Commandments as well as listed it the first of the mo’edim.  Yeshua taught that God made the Sabbath for mankind and he is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 8:12, Mark 2:27).   

First of Months and the Spring Feasts

These mo’edim of the LORD have been fulfilled by Yeshua on their appointed day and time.  The first three represent the past work of Yeshua justifying the individual before  God and bringing the hope of redemption to the world. 

Passover is the second appointed time given by the LORD.

“These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Leviticus 23:4-5).

Shadow

The Passover festival is a memorial to the deliverance of the people of God from Egypt through the blood of the lamb.  They were taken from a life of slavery to a life of freedom.  They were taken from the darkness of a pagan world into the light of the God’s Kingdom.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua is our Passover lamb.  Through his sacrificial death, we are taken from a life of slavery in sin to a life of freedom in righteousness.  We are taken from the darkness of the sinful world to the light of the Kingdom of God.

Feast of Unleavened Bread is the third appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow:

This festival is in memorial to the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt.  They had no time to let their bread dough rise. 

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua was the sinless, unleavened bread of life.  He was hastily taken off the cross and buried before the Feast of Unleavened Bread would begin.  He was wrapped in cloths and put in a tomb.

The Feast of Firstfruits is the fourth appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the firstfruits of the harvest.  It is celebrated on the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath following Passover.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua rose from the dead and ascended to his Father and offered himself as the first sheaf of grain from the harvest.

The Feast of Weeks is the fifth appointed time given by The LORD. This festival represents the present work of Yeshua sanctifying the individual through the Holy Spirit and preparing him for the world to come.

Shadow:

There are 50 days between the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks called Counting the Omer.  For 40 of these days Yeshua walked on the earth, met and ate with his disciples.  Then, he ascended into heaven.

Fulfilled Reality:

The Spirit of God came mightily upon the Jewish believers in Messiah as part of the promised new covenant.  Tongues of fire reseted on them and filled them with power to speak in other languages and take the gospel to the nations. 

Fall Appointed Times

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habbakuk 2:3).

These mo’edim of the LORD have not yet been fulfilled by Yeshua.  This is the future work of Yeshua restoring the glory of God to Israel and the nations.  These ‘appointed times’ are a vision of hope.

The Feast of Trumpets is the sixth appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow

The Feast of Trumpets is a memorial to something that has not yet happened. 

Reality is yet to come

At the trumpet call of God, the dead will be raised and changed from mortal to immortality.

The Day of Atonement is the seventh appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow

On this day, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and made atonement for himself and the nation of Israel.

Reality is yet to come

On this day, all Israel will be saved. 

The Feast of Tabernacles is the eighth appointed time given by the LORD.

Shadow

The Feast of Tabernacles is a memorial to the Tabernacle in the wilderness when the LORD lived among His people. 

Reality is yet to come

When Yeshua returns, he will Tabernacle with the nation of Israel and rule the nations from Jerusalem.

The Eternal Sabbath

Shadow

We are living in the shadow of the eternal Sabbath with the vision of a remaining Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:8).

Reality is yet to come

The restoration of the Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem.

The weekly and annual cycle of The Feasts of the LORD give us the complete picture of God’s plan of salvation.   Yeshua was, is and will be the reality in each and every mo’edim.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance” (Psalm 89:15 The Amplified Bible).

©2010 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive that includes more about the Feasts of the LORD and how to celebrate in your home or with others.)

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