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Following them is not necessary for a Christian but studying them and celebrating within the Christian context is not only enlightening but brings about a deep connection to the biblical text. For those not familiar with the question - There are seven holidays listed in Leviticus 23 (and found elsewhere): 1. Passover (Lev. 23:4-5) - the 14th day of Nisan (our Mar/April) 2. Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6-8) - the 15th day Nisan 3. First Fruits (Lev. 23:9-14) - "day after Sabbath" 4. Feast of Weeks (we know as Pentecost) - (Lev. 23:15-17) - 50 days after First Fruits 5. Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:24-25) - 1st day of 7th month (usually our September) 6. Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:27) 10th day of 7th month 7. Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34) The reason for studying them is that Jesus not only participates in them, but in his death, resurrection, and ascension, he fulfills them! Passover - Jesus IS the Passover Lamb that delivers us from the bondage of sin (1 Cor. 5:7) Unleavened Bread - Jesus is the bread of the world. He is the Unleavened Bread. He has no yeast in him - which represents sin. First Fruits - Jesus in the First Fruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20) that God will provide for believers later. Feast of Weeks - known as Pentecost - Jesus sends the Holy Spirit on the exact holiday (Acts 2:1). This also mimics God delivering the Torah to Moses and the people of Israel at Mount Sinai. Feast of Trumpets - Jesus' 2nd coming will be announced by the blowing of a trumpet. Day of Atonement - Jesus is the scapegoat. His death provided atonement for our sins. Feast of Tabernacles - Jesus celebrates this feast (John 7). The feast is a celebration - marked by Joy - of God's faithful provisions. Understanding the meaning of the festivals and how Jesus interacts with them helps Christians deepen their understanding of the entire Bible. The holidays themselves are an amazing picture of God's redemption for us. He delivers us, He sanctifies us, He provided his Holy Spirit for us, He will one day blast a trumpet to gather his elect, He provided the atonement for our sins, and He provides for us in eternity.
For Christians, all that is needed is to continuously put our faith in Jesus Christ, not trusting in anything we have done, but relying on what Jesus has already done for us – his atoning sacrifice. There is nothing else we can add to that. We may choose to observe special days or eat only certain foods, but those are matters of personal preference, not requirements. In doing so or not doing so, we should not look down on those who have a different preference than us. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. Romans 14:5-6
The theme of the bible is Spiritual Life. The events in the bible show us how we got this life at creation; how we lost this life through the fall into sin; how we get this life back through faith in Jesus; how we celebrate this life in praise and worship; how we enjoy this life to the full through an intimate personal relationship with God; how we use this life to bless others and meet their needs; and how we pass on this life by sharing the gospel. The New Testament illuminates this Spiritual Life, explaining the theology of the Christian faith. The Old Testament illustrates this Spiritual Life through the pictures and videos that show us God's relationship with his people, the nation of Israel, recorded in the Old Testament. Our job as Christians is to discover for ourselves, how the pictures of these 7 feasts illustrate the Spiritual Life that God wants us to understand and enjoy. So briefly, here is what I have discovered about these celebrations. 1. Passover When the blood was splashed on the door frames of the Israelites homes, the angel of death passed over them. When we put our faith in Jesus, his blood covers and washes away all our sins, so that on judgement day we will hear God say "Not Guilty" because Jesus has already paid the price for all our sins when he shed his blood for us. 2. Unleavened bread The unleavened bread reminds us that Jesus is the bread of our lives. He lived the perfect sinless life that we never could. When we feast on Jesus's living and eternal words in the bible, we are nourished in our battle against sin, so we don't let the yeast (sin) work its way through the whole batch of dough (our whole lives). 3. First fruits As the first fruits were an offering of the best of the harvest, when we reflect on all God's blessings in our lives, we want to give thanks by offering the best of our lives - our time, talents, resources - for his kingdom purposes. 4. Feast of Weeks We are reminded how gracious God is to us, by giving us his Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads us into all truth. The Spirit empowers us to complete the good works that our Father has prepared in advance for us to do. The Spirit is moulding and shaping the character of Jesus into our lives, so that when people look at us, they will see Jesus. 5. Feast of trumpets Jesus is the coming King for every Christian. The trumpet will announce his arrival. He will resurrect us to meet him in the air, we will receive our new glorious bodies, be freed from the presence of sin forever, and will rule with Jesus for eternity in the new heaven and earth. 6. Day of atonement Jesus was the perfect sacrificial lamb, who willingly gave his life to make atonement for the sins of the whole world. Because of our faith in Jesus, he takes our sin upon himself, and gives us his perfect righteousness, so that we can have an intimate personal relationship with God. 7. Feast of Tabernacles As the Israelites were reminded how God had taken care of them for 40 years during their wilderness sojourning, we are reminded that Jesus is always with us because his Holy Spirit lives inside us. God will always take care of us, meet all our needs, accomplish his plans and purposes through us and take us to our home in heaven.
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