Number 16. Feasts and Fellowship
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum


This study is on the Feasts of Israel, or perhaps more specific, the prophetic significance of the Feasts of Israel as they are contained in Leviticus 23 where Moses spelled out the seven holy seasons of Israel. At the same time these seven feasts or holy seasons of Israel are an outline of the entire programme of redemption from the death of Jesus to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. These festivals will be studied one by one to see how each one is fulfilled in the Messianic programme of the Messiah. The first four of these festivals are fulfilled by the programme of the first coming. The last three of these festivals will be fulfilled by the programme of the second coming. Each of these festivals will be studied from three perspectives. First, how they are celebrated in accordance with The Old Testament law; second, how modern Judaism practices them in addition to the biblical practices; and third, what the Messianic implications are.

The first three verses of Leviticus 23 deal with the issue of the Sabbath, emphasising the sanctity of the Sabbath. These verses merely summarise some earlier details of the observance of the Sabbath. The purpose is to point out that the laws of the Sabbath are still valid even during the observances of these seven holy seasons. So if any one of these Jewish festivals falls upon a Sabbath, all of the Sabbath laws still apply.

1. The Passover

The first holy season Moses deals with is the Passover in 23:4-5.

Passover is the most frequently mentioned festival of all feasts of Israel in both testaments. In the Old Testament, the Feast of the Passover is mentioned over 50 times. In the New Testament it is mentioned 27 times. That certainly shows its importance. In fact, within the framework of Judaism, this is the most important festival of the entire Jewish religious calendar. The Jewish religious calendar is subdivided between feasts and fasts, and by far the most important feast is the Passover.

There are two different names given for this feast. The first name in Hebrew is pesach, the Hebrew name for Passover. This name originates from the angel of death motif. In the account that is found in Exodus 12 the Jews were commanded to take a lamb, slay it, then take the blood of the lamb and sprinkle the blood of the lamb upon the lintel and doorpost of each home. That night as the angel of death passed through the land of Egypt, when he came to a Jewish home and saw the blood upon the lintel and doorpost, he would pass over the Jewish home. But when he came to an Egyptian home and did not see the blood upon the lintel and doorpost, in place of passing over he would pass through and slay the firstborn son of every Egyptian family. In the case of the Jewish homes, the angel of death would simply "pass over". That is where the name for this feast originates, the passing over of the Jewish homes by the angel of death. The second Hebrew name for this festival is zman cheruteinu which means "the season of our emancipation." It emphasises the result of the first Passover: freedom from Egyptian slavery.

A. Biblical Practice of Passover

Insofar as the biblical practice was concerned, there were two key elements. The first element was the killing of the lamb. The lamb was to be set aside on the tenth day of that particular month which is known by two Hebrew names, Aviv and Nissan. From the tenth day to the fourteenth day it was to be tested to make sure it was without spot and without blemish. If it proved to be without spot and without blemish, it would be killed on the evening of the fourteenth for the pascal meal. The pascal meal lamb, the lamb for the family, would be killed on the night of the fourteenth of Nissan. The next morning they were to kill the Passover Lamb for sacrifice. A distinction should be made between the pascal lamb for the pascal meal as over against the Passover Lamb for the sacrifice. The lamb for the Passover meal was killed by each Jewish family on the first night of Passover, the evening of the fourteenth. The priesthood would kill a special sacrificial lamb on the altar on the following morning. It should be kept in mind that the Jewish reckoning of a day begins with sundown. The Jewish day is from sundown to sundown. The first night always precedes the first day. On the first night of the Passover is when the pascal meal was eaten. On the first day of the Passover is when the Passover sacrifice would be offered. Another key point concerning the pascal lamb for the evening meal was not a bone of the lamb was to be broken (Ex. 12:46). The killing of the lamb was the first main element of the biblical practice.

The second main element was the pascal meal (Ex. 12:28). The pascal meal was the eating of the Lamb with two other items: unleavened bread and bitter herbs. In summary, this is the biblical practice of the Passover.

B. Jewish Observance of Passover

In the Jewish observance of the Passover, in the pascal meal there are two key elements.

The first key element is the unleavened bread. Three things had to be true of the unleavened bread to qualify for the Passover. First, it had to be unleavened. In the Bible leaven is a symbol of sin, so God would not permit even the symbol of sin to be in the Jewish home. Second, the bread had to be striped. Third, it had to be pierced so that if the loaf of unleavened bread was held up to the light, light would penetrate through it. A special ceremony is conducted during the pascal meal with the unleavened bread. In the centre of the Passover table would be a bag, usually square, sewn up on three sides, and open on one side. While it is one bag, it contains three compartments. A piece of unleavened bread is put into each compartment so there are three cakes of unleavened bread, each one separated from the other by a single sheet. In the ceremony the middle one is taken out of the bag and broken in two. Half of it is wrapped in linen cloth and hidden away. After it has been hidden for a time, it is removed from its hiding place and broken up so that each person has his own piece which is then eaten.

The second key element in the Jewish observance is wine. Each person will drink four cups of wine in the course of the pascal meal, and each cup has its own name. The first cup is called "the cup of blessing" or "the cup of thanksgiving". The second cup is called "the cup of plagues," symbolising the ten plagues which fell upon Egypt. The third cup is called "the cup of redemption", symbolising the physical redemption of Israel from Egypt achieved by the means of the shedding of the blood of the pascal lamb. The fourth cup is called "the cup of praise" with which the Jewish people sing Psalms 113-118.

C. Messianic Significance of Passover

Within the framework of the Old Testament the Messianic significance is found in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 where the coming Messiah is pictured in terms of a lamb. There are statements made of the Servant of Jehovah in Isaiah 53 which are similar statements used of the pascal lamb. The point Isaiah 52:13-53:12 teaches is that the Messiah would be the final pascal lamb.

The New Testament sees Jesus as the fulfillment of the Passover motif and the Feast of the Passover is fulfilled by the death of the Messiah. For example, four New Testament passages clearly connect the Messiah with the Passover Lamb. In John 1:29,35-36, John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the Jewish people and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! When John identified Jesus in terms of the Lamb of God, he identified Him with the pascal lamb of Exodus 12 and with the Messianic Lamb of Isaiah 53. The Messiah is also pictured as the Lamb in 1 Peter 1:18-19 and Revelation 5:12. Jesus by His death fulfilled the Passover motif of the slaying of the lamb.

Not only is Jesus identified with the Lamb itself, but Paul identifies Him with the whole Passover feast in 1 Corinthians 5:7:

Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacnficed, even Christ.

According to the biblical practice, the lamb was to be set aside on the tenth day of the month. From the tenth until the fourteenth day of the month the lamb was to be tested to be sure it was without spot and without blemish. Jesus was set aside on the tenth day of the month with the Triumphal Entry. The purpose of the Triumphal Entry was not so much to present Himself as King of the Jews for He had already done that. The purpose was to set aside the Lamb of God. From the tenth day of the month until the fourteenth day of the month the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and Herodians tested him. After these four groups tested Him, He was shown to be without spot and without blemish. Therefore, He qualified to be the final Passover sacrifice. Remember the Jewish day begins at sundown so that the first night precedes the first day. On the first night of the Passover, the pascal lamb is eaten. On the first day of the Passover, there was a special Passover sacrifice at nine o'clock in the morning. Jesus ate the pascal meal with His disciples (often called the Last Supper but should be called the Last Passover). He ate the Passover on the night of the fourteenth, the same night Jewish people normally eat it. He died the next morning, nailed to the cross at nine o'clock in the morning, the exact hour when the pascal sacrifice was being offered in the Temple compound. As with the Passover sacrifice (no bone was to be broken), no bone of Jesus was broken (John 19:36). Again, Passover was fulfilled by the death of Christ.

Some of the Jewish observances of the Passover discussed earlier are reflected in the gospel accounts of the Last Passover and the first Lord's Supper. The passage that gives the most details is Luke 22:14-20. As mentioned earlier, in the Jewish observance there are two major elements. First, the unleavened bread that had to have three requirements: it had to be unleavened, striped, and pierced. Furthermore, there is a special ceremony conducted called the Afikomen ceremony. There is one bag with three compartments which has a loaf of unleavened bread placed in each compartment. In the ceremony the middle loaf is removed, broken in two, wrapped in linen cloth, and hidden for a time. After a period of time of hiding, it is removed from its hiding place, unwrapped from the linen cloth, and pieces are broken to distribute to each one participating in the Passover. In Luke 22:19 Jesus referred to that bread as representing His body:

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

What is true in the Jewish observance of the unleavened bread for Passover is true of the body of Christ. Jesus, in reference to the bread said, This is my body. First, the bread had to be unleavened, and leaven is the symbol of sin. The body of Jesus was also unleavened in that it was sinless. If Jesus had committed only one sin, that would have disqualified Him from becoming the Passover sacrifice. But Jesus was the only Jew who ever lived that kept the Mosaic Law perfectly. Therefore, having an unleavened body, He qualified to make the sacrifice for sin. Second, the unleavened bread had to be striped. The body of Christ was also striped by way of the Roman whip at the scourge. Concerning the stripes, Isaiah 53 said, with these stripes we are healed. Third, the bread also had to be pierced. The body of Christ was also pierced by the nails in His hands and feet and by the spear thrust into His side. Concerning the piercing, Zechariah 12:20 said, they shall look unto him whom they have pierced. By being striped, pierced and unleavened, the Jewish Passover bread is a unique picture of the body of Christ.

In this ceremony there is one bag with three compartments portraying the one God who exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In this ceremony the middle loaf is removed, a picture of the Incarnation when the Second Person became man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. It is then broken in two which pictures the death of Jesus. When Christ came to this part of the ceremony He said, this is my body which is broken for you. It is then wrapped in linen cloth. The gospels make it clear that when the body of Jesus was removed from the cross it was also wrapped in linen cloth. It is then hidden for a time; a picture of His burial. It is then removed from its hiding place and unwrapped: a picture of His resurrection. Pieces are broken off and distributed to the members around the table; a picture of John 6 where Jesus said we must all partake of His body. In that same chapter He clearly interprets the "eating" of His body as merely believing that He is the Messiah.

Furthermore, in the Jewish observance there are four cups of wine. Luke does not mention all four cups but does mention two. The first cup is in Luke 22:17-18, the cup of thanksgiving over which the observance begins. When Jesus began His observance, He drank the first cup and said a thanksgiving over it. The third cup is mentioned in Luke 22:20. The third cup is called by the Jewish people "the cup of redemption". For Jews it symbolises the physical redemption brought about in the land of Egypt by the blood of the pascal lamb. Now it becomes a symbol of a spiritual redemption from enslavement to sin. Jesus clearly identified Himself in terms of the Jewish observance of the Passover. Therefore, the Passover is fulfilled by the death of Christ.

2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is recorded in Leviticus 23:6-8.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is mentioned in six other places outside this passage, five of which are in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament. First, Numbers 28:17-25 emphasises the various sacrifices and the special sacrifices which were obligatory for this feast. Second, Deuteronomy 16:3-8 emphasises the necessity of a total absence of leaven during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Third, 11 Chronicles 39:23-27 records how this feast was kept by Hezekiah the king. Fourth, Ezra 6:21-22 states that it was also kept in the days of Ezra. Fifth, Ezekiel 45:21-24 prophesies that it will be observed during the Messianic Kingdom. Not all of the festivals will be observed during the Messianic Kingdom, but this one will. Sixth, the one place this feast is mentioned in the New Testament is Mark 14:1 where Jesus observed this feast.

The Hebrew name for this feast is Hag Hamatzot which means "the feast of unleavened bread" emphasising the necessity of the absence of leaven.

A. Biblical Practice of Feast of Unleavened Bread

The biblical practice was that no leaven could be eaten for these seven days. The Jews were free to eat anything allowable under the Mosaic Law, but they were not allowed to eat anything that contained leaven for those seven days.

B. Jewish Observance of Feast of Unleavened Bread

As far as the Jewish observance of the feast, two things should be noted. First, it follows the biblical practice of not eating leaven for seven days. Second, there are specially prepared foods made for this occasion, often containing unleavened bread. There is a Jewish pancake that is made with broken pieces of unleavened bread mixed with scrambled eggs, which is quite tasty. All sandwiches are also made with unleavened bread.

C. Messianic Significance of Feast of Unleavened Bread

Three things should be noted in the messianic significance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. First, leaven in the Scriptures, when used symbolically, is a symbol of sin. Second, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is fulfilled by the offering of the sinless blood of the Messiah. That is the point that the writer of Hebrews makes quite extensively in Hebrews 9:11-10:18. While the Passover was fulfilled by the actual death of Jesus, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the offering of His sinless blood. When Jesus was offered up as a sacrifice and shed sinless blood, the moment His blood was spilled outside His body the Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to begin on the fifteenth day of the month, and that is also the very day Jesus was killed on the cross and therefore shed innocent blood.

Another implication of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 where it is stated that believers are to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread by a holy walk. Believers should purge out the leaven in their lives because Christ our passover was sacrificed for the believer. Again, leaven is the symbol of sin. Even believers sin, and this sin (this leaven in their lives), must be purged. When a person accepts Jesus as his Passover sacrifice in fulfillment of the first feast, at that point he is born again, experiences the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, is baptised into the Body of Christ, and placed into the family of God. Once a believer is in the family, he can never fall out. However, fellowship within the family can be broken by sin or by leaven in the believer's life. The believer must purge the leaven out of his life. The means of purging out leaven from the believer's life in order to restore the fellowship within the family is in 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

By means of confession the believer can purge his life of leaven. In that way he will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in its spiritual sense.

The Feast of the Passover was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His sacrifice.

3. The Feast of the First-Fruits

The Feast of the First-Fruits is in Leviticus 23:9-14.

It is only mentioned one other time, in Numbers 28:26-31, where Moses spells out the special sacrifices which are obligatory for the Feast of First-Fruits.

Altogether this feast has three different names. One Hebrew name is Reshit Ketzivchem which means “the first-fruits of your harvest”. Second, it is called “Feast of Omer" because a special Jewish ceremony, the counting of the omer, begins on this occasion. Third, it is called the "Feast of the Wave-Sheath" because of what was obligatory for the feast.

A. Biblical Practice of Feast of First-Fruits

Insofar as the biblical practice is concerned, four things should be noted. First, it was the first-fruits of the barley and grain harvest. Second, there was to be a one-sheath offering. Third, it was offered the day after the Sabbath which would be Sunday, the first day of the week. Fourth, it marked the beginning of the two-month Spring harvest.

B. Jewish Observance of Feast of First-Fruits

Insofar as the Jewish observance is concerned, in biblical times the Jewish practice followed largely the biblical practice. Since 70 A.D. this feast was largely ignored because it is a feast of agriculture. In the Diaspora the Jews were not allowed to own land because of Gentile law. Therefore, they could not farm the land and the feast could not be practised for most of the centuries since 70 A.D. Today in Israel, however, some new innovations are being brought into practice in the observance of the Feast of the First-Fruits.

C. Messianic Significance of Feast of First-Fruits

Insofar as the messianic significance is concerned, the Feast of the First-Fruits was fulfilled by the resurrection of Jesus. That is what Paul brings out in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23:

But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of them that are asleep. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; then they that are Christ's at his coming.

According to Paul, Jesus was the first-fruits of the resurrection. According to the biblical practice, the Feast of First-Fruits came the day after the Sabbath, meaning Sunday. Even so, Jesus was resurrected the day after the Sabbath, meaning Sunday.

While the Feast of the Passover was fulfilled by the death of Jesus, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His sacrifice, the Feast of First-Fruits is fulfilled by His resurrection. Jesus was not the first one to be raised from the dead, but all the other resurrections were merely restorations back to natural life, and these people died again later.

In the case of Jesus, He was the first One resurrected into true resurrection life where corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality. He is the only One who has experienced this type of resurrection, so He is the first-fruits of the first resurrection. The first-fruits always means the first of more to come later. Indeed, someday believers will be the "more to come later."

4. The Feast of Weeks

The Feast of Weeks is found in Leviticus 23:15-21.

This feast is called Shavu'ot "weeks" because it comes seven weeks after the Passover. The Feast of Weeks is mentioned in seven other places, four of which are in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament. First, Exodus 23:16 the Feast of Weeks is also called the First-Fruits of Your Labours. Second, Exodus 34:22 where it is the first-fruits of the wheat harvest. Third, in Numbers 28:26 where it is called the Feast of Weeks because it comes seven weeks after the Passover. Fourth, in Deuteronomy 16:9-12 it was a time of rejoicing and the Jewish people were commanded to rejoice on this occasion. The fifth is in Acts 2:1-4 where the Holy Spirit came and began to do His work of Spirit baptism. Sixth, is in Acts 20:16 where it tells of Paul's desire to be in Jerusalem to observe this feast. Seventh, is in I Corinthians 16:8 where Paul mentioned that he would be in Ephesus until this feast. The Feast of Weeks has a total of seven different names. The first name is The Feast of Weeks because it takes place seven weeks after the Passover. The second name is the Feast of Harvest because it marked the end of the first or the Spring harvest season which began with the Passover. Third, it is called the Day of the First-Fruits in distinction with the Feast of the First-Fruits because on this occasion the first-fruits of the Summer harvest are offered. (In the Feast of the First Fruits, the first-fruits of the Spring harvest were offered). A fourth name is The Closing Festival. It is called this because it marked the end of the first cycle of festivals. As stated earlier, there are seven different festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23. These are grouped in two sets. The first four come close together, within 50 days of each other. The next three are grouped together and come within two weeks of each other. Between the first cycle of four festivals and the last three, there is a period of time of four months. Because this Feast of Weeks closes the first cycle of feasts which come close together, it is called The Closing Festival; it marks the end of the cycle of festivals that began with Passover. The sixth name is The Season of the Giving of the Law; the ten commandments in particular, were given on this occasion. The seventh name is a Greek name and the most familiar one among Gentile Christians, the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost comes from a Greek term which means "fifty" because it occurs 50 days after the Passover and hence, it was called Pentecost.

A. Biblical Practice of Feast of Weeks

Insofar as the biblical practice is concerned, three things should be noted. First, on this occasion there were two wave loaves offered on a single sheet. Second, these loaves were to be leavened. Leaven was obligatory on this occasion. This is the only festival where leaven was permitted to be added to the sacrifice. Leaven is a symbol of sin, and those that this sacrifice and offering represent are sinners. Third, the date of this feast was the sixth day of the month of Sivan. It was seven weeks plus one day after the second day of Passover or the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

B. Jewish Observance of Feast of Weeks

Concerning the Jewish observance of the Feast of Weeks, several things should be noted. First, it is observed by the reading of the Book of Ruth because it is a story which took place during the time of harvest. Ruth was a Gentile who was a convert to the law, and the rabbis taught that the Law was given on this occasion. Furthermore, the Book of Ruth is read because of another Jewish tradition which says King David, a descendant of Ruth, was born during the Feast of Weeks. A second Jewish practice is to stay up all night in order to study Mosaic Law. The reason the rabbis give for this custom is that at the time the Law was given there was thunder and lightning that kept the Jews awake all night. A third Jewish practice is the eating of a special food item called kreplach. Kreplach is a form of Jewish ravioli generally chopped meat with garlic and onions closed in pasta. Whereas Italian ravioli generally comes squared, Jewish kreplach comes in triangular fashion. The three sides signify several things. It signifies the three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It signifies the three divisions of the Old Testament: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. It signifies that Moses was the third of three children of that family. It signifies the three days which were necessary in the preparation for the receiving of the Law. Rather than in tomato sauce, kreplach is usually served fried or in chicken soup. A second Jewish eating custom for this occasion is eating cheese. Cheese is produced from milk, and milk was one of the products of the Holy Land. God was bringing them to a land that was to be flowing with milk and honey. A special food item is called cheese blintzes. The closest thing one might be familiar with is a crepe suzette. This is a very thin pancake, and inside the pancake there is cheese (usually cream cheese) enclosed into a rectangular form, and fried or baked. It is usually eaten with some kind of sour cream sauce or fruit topping. Usually two of these are served side by side. The reason is that other Jewish practice to mention is that on this occasion branches from trees and grass from the field are spread over the floor of the synagogue as a reminder that on this occasion Jewish people should be praying for a bumper crop of fruit.

C. Messianic Significance of Feast of Weeks

Three items should be noted in the messianic significance of the Feast of Weeks. First, the Feast of Weeks is specifically fulfilled by the sending of the Holy Spirit to empower the Church (Acts 2:1-4). It is no accident that this occurred specifically on the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Pentecost. It was on that occasion that the Holy Spirit began a new ministry. It is wrong to believe (as some have taught) that it is only in Acts two that the Holy Spirit first appeared. That is simply not so. The Holy Spirit is active in the gospels. What was new in Acts two was not the coming of the Holy Spirit as such, but rather a ministry of the Holy Spirit He never performed prior to Acts two: the ministry of Spirit baptism. No one was ever baptised by the Holy Spirit throughout the pages of the Old Testament. No one was ever Spirit-baptised in the gospels. The first time the Holy Spirit began to do His work of baptisms was in Acts two. It is a unique ministry. That the Spirit baptism and the beginning of a new era of the church are intertwined is obvious from several lines of evidence. First, in Colossians 1:18 it is stated that the church is the body of Christ. Second, in Ephesians 2:11-16 it is stated that this body, which is the church, is comprised of Jewish and Gentile believers united together into one body. Third, in 1 Corinthians 12:13 it is stated that entrance into the body is by Spirit baptism: For in one Spirit were we all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit. Spirit baptism is absolutely essential for the membership and growth of the body. Every believer is baptised by the Spirit. That is why Paul makes it so clear in 1 Corinthians 12:13 when he said, for in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body. The coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts two began His work of Spirit baptism, giving power to the church, the body of Christ. The Feast of Weeks is fulfilled by this.

The second thing by way of messianic significance is to remember that in the biblical practice of this feast there were to be two loaves offered on a single sheet. In the church there are two types of people: Jews and Gentiles, united into one body (Eph. 2:11-16, 3:5-6). Furthermore, these loaves were to be leavened. Leaven is a symbol of sin. This means that Jewish and Gentile sinners are brought into the church, the body of Christ.

It was also pointed out that the Feast of Weeks is also called the Day of First-Fruits because it marked the first-fruits of the Summer harvest. The application is on the first-fruits of the believers which were Jewish believers. For example, the first-fruits of the newly empowered church is found in Acts 2:41-42 where 3,000 Jews were saved on that occasion. This comprised the church of that day. These were Jewish believers. Furthermore, James who wrote specifically to Jewish believers (James 1:1-2) in James 1:18 called these Jewish believers first-fruits. The first-fruits aspect of the Feast of Weeks is fulfilled by the Jewish believers of those early days of the church during the first century.

The Feast of Weeks is fulfilled by the empowering of the church comprised of Jewish and Gentile believers into one body. The first-fruit aspect is fulfilled by virtue of the fact that Jewish believers were the first ones into this body.

5. The Four Month Interval Between First and Second Cycle of Feasts

The first four feasts were fulfilled by the programme of the first coming of Christ. The first four festivals come within 50 days of each other. Between the first four and the last three feasts, there is a four-month interval mentioned in passing in Leviticus 23:22. It was a pause between the two sets of festivals during which time life was to continue along normal lines. It is pictured as a summertime of labour in the fields in preparation for the final harvest of the Summer and before the Fall harvest would come. Leviticus 23:22 reads:

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them for the poor, and the sojourner: I am Jehovah your God.

It is a one-verse statement which is not related to any feast. It almost seems like an unnecessary interruption unless it is understood what is really happening. It is the pause between the festivals which are fulfilled by the programme of the first coming as over against the festivals to be fulfilled by the programme of the second coming. This interval of four months does have a messianic implication. The messianic implication is the insertion of the age when the Gospel goes out to the Gentiles which interrupts the programme of the feasts of Israel. Indeed, the gleanings for the poor and the stranger is a very good picture of the mission of the church itself in gospel evangelism. For example, John 4:35 which states, look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest. It becomes a fitting symbol of the obligation of the church to do the work of gospel evangelism. Verse 22, being a parenthetical verse interrupting the discussion of the feasts of Israel, is significant in that it does symbolise the present age in which we now live, in which the programme of the Feasts of Israel has been temporarily interrupted.

The last three festivals in the second cycle of festivals also all come together, even closer together than those of the first cycle of feasts. In fact, they all come within two weeks of each other. The last three of these feasts of the second cycle are to be fulfilled by the programme of the second coming.

6. The Feast of Trumpets

The Feast of Trumpets is found in Leviticus 23:23-25.

These three verses describe the Feast of Trumpets very simply. It is mentioned in only two other places in Scripture. Numbers 29:1-6 emphasises the various sacrifices which were obligatory for this festival. Second, in Nehemiah 8:1-12 where it was during the Feast of Trumpets that Ezra. read the Law of Moses before the people.

This feast has a total of five different names. The first is Yomtruah which means "the day of the blowing of the trumpets." This is a biblical name for this feast. In modern Judaism it is taught that this name was given because on this day there is a call to Jews to remember their sins. The second name is The Memorial of Triumph or the Shouting of Joy based upon Job 38:7 which stated that when God created the heavens and the earth, the sons of God shouted for joy. There is a Jewish tradition that the world was created on the Feast of Trumpets. According to Job 38:7 when the heavens and the earth were created the sons of God, the angels, shouted for joy. That gave rise to the second name based upon belief that on this day God created the heavens and the earth. A third name for this feast is The Day of Remembrance. It is given this name because in Jewish theology there is a call to Jews to remember their sins on this day before the next holy season, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The fourth name is The Day of Judgement. A Jewish tradition teaches that on this day all Jews pass in judgement to see if their sins will be forgiven or not; hence, The Day of Judgement. The fifth name, the most common name among Jewish people today for this feast, is Rosh Hashanah which means "the head of the year." It is the beginning of the Jewish civil year. Technically speaking, the Jewish calendar has two new years. The religious new year begins in the Spring with the Feast of Passover. The civil year begins in the Fall with the Feast of Trumpets. Because this is called the Jewish New Year, it is given the name of Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year, based upon the Jewish traditions that it was on this day that God created the heavens and the earth.

A. Biblical Practice of Feast of Trumpets

Insofar as the biblical practice is concerned, four things should be mentioned. First, it was a one-day festival only. Second, it was to be a day in which there was to be no labour. Like the Sabbath, it was a day of rest. Third, it was to be celebrated by blowing of trumpets. Fourth, the "trumpet" was not a long silver trumpet as thought of and often pictured in many Bible picture books. Rather, the trumpet, called the shofar, was the horn of a ram. By Jewish law, horns of all kosher animals are permitted except for bulls, but the ram's horn has been preferred because of the symbolic link with Isaac's sacrifice in Genesis 22.

B. Jewish Observance of Feast of Trumpets

Insofar as the Jewish observance of this particular feast, several things should be noted. First, was the blowing of the shofar or trumpet. On this occasion the trumpet is blown in the synagogue. In Jewish theology there are three reasons for blowing the trumpet. First, the blowing of the trumpet is a call to remembrance and repentance. On this day there is a call to all Jews to return to Judaism, for on this day all Jews will pass under judgement. The second reason for the blowing of the trumpet is as a reminder of Israel's covenant relationship with God. It reminds the Jews of her covenant with God. The third reason for the blowing of the ram's horn is to confuse Satan on the day he accuses Israel. According to Zechariah 3:1 Satan likes to accuse Israel of Israel's sin. In Jewish theology Satan does this on the Feast of Trumpets. On this day the trumpet is blown so that Satan's mind will be confused on the very day he is trying to accuse Israel. Second, what is the meaning of the blowing of the ram's horn? There are three meanings. First, it is a symbol of the regathering of Israel, for in Isaiah 27:12-13 Israel's regathering is to be signalled by the blowing of a trumpet. The second meaning is that it is a symbol of the resurrection of the dead, for a trumpet will sound when the dead are raised. The third meaning for the blowing of the trumpet is that on this day when the trumpet is blown on earth, in heaven three books are opened. The first book is the Book of the Righteous . The ones who are righteous have their names inscribed in the Book of the Righteous. That means that they are in the Book of Life, and they will survive another year. The second book is the Book of the Wicked. The wicked ones are inscribed in it. It is also known as the Book of the Dead. These are the ones who are completely wicked, and that means they will die during that year. There is a third book called the Book of the In-Between. Since most Jews are neither totally righteous or totally wicked, they are inscribed in the Book of the In-Between on this day, and they are given ten days to repent. Between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, ten days will transpire. One is to repent during those ten days before the final judgement day of the Day of Atonement. Since one can never be sure in what book his name will be inscribed, the Jewish teaching is that he should assume one is in the in-between group and repent during these ten days.

The third thing about the Jewish observance concerns the trumpet blasts. There will be a total of 100 blasts. These are divided into four different types of trumpet blasts. The first type is called tekiah which is a long, single blast. It is a straight, plain, smooth, continuous note which symbolises the expression of joy and contentment. The second type of trumpet blast is the shevarim which is three short blasts, a combination of three broken notes. The third type is called the truah which are extremely short blasts comprised of nine staccato notes. These first three types of blasts (the tekiah, shevarim, and truah) are all intermixed back and forth. Finally comes the fourth one, the last one, called the tekiah gedolah which means "the great tekiah" or "the great blast" or "the last trump." This is a long, single note that concludes the blowing of the trumpets. It is the last of a total of 100 trumpet blasts.

A fourth item to mention about the Jewish practice is a ceremony called the Tashlich. This is a ceremony conducted by orthodox Jewish people based upon Micah 7:19 where Micah prophesied that the day will come when God will cast the sins of Israel into the depths of the sea. In the Tashlich ceremony this is done on the afternoon of that day. Jewish people come to a body of water (a river, lake, ocean beach) and symbolically empty their pockets into the body of water symbolising the day when God will cast the sins of Israel into the depths of the sea.

The fifth item concerning the observance of the Feast of Trumpets by Jewish people today is the many legends concerning the significance of this day. Among these legends (a few of the many): it was on this day that the world was created; it was on this day that Adam was created; it was on this day that Adam fell; on this day Cain killed Abel; on this day the waters of the flood dried up; on this day Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were born and all died; on this day Sarah, Rebecca and Hannah all gave birth; on this day Elisha blessed the women of Shunem with child; on this day sacrifices were resumed when the Temple was rebuilt when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. One last thing to mention concerning the Jewish practice of this feast concerns the special food items such as eating bread that is dipped in honey to symbolise the hope for a sweet year, for on this occasion the civil new year begins. Apples are eaten which are also dipped in honey. Honey carrots are eaten as a hot meal. The festive meal of this occasion includes some type of a head meat. Sometimes it is a ram's head in memory of the sacrifice of Isaac. Sometimes it is a fish head in hope that Jews will be the head some day and not the tail. The popular fruits for this occasion are apples, grapes and pomegranates.

C. Messianic Significance of Feast of Trumpets

The fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets is the Rapture of the Church regardless of what view one takes of the timing of this event. There are two main passages which give the details of the Rapture of the Church, both of which mention the issue of a trumpet. This is no accident in light of the fact that the Rapture will fulfill the Feast of Trumpets. The first of these passages is I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Verse 16 of that passage reads:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first

One of the things that will sound on the day the Rapture occurs is going to be a trumpet. On one hand, Jesus will give a shout; on the other hand, the archangel will repeat that shout, but then a trumpet will be blown setting the events of the Rapture into action. The second passage which discusses the Rapture is I Corinthians 15:15-58. Verse 52 also mentions twice the presence of a trumpet:

In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The events of the Rapture are the resurrection of the dead saints when corruption puts on incorruption and the catching up, or rapturing, of the living saints where mortality puts on immortality. That will be signalled by the blowing of a trumpet. The trumpet that is blown is clearly said to be the last trump. The last trump is a technical term for the final long and most significant trumpet blast of the Feast of Trumpets. What Paul is saying is that the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the Church.

7. The Day of Atonement

The next holy season is not a festival, which is why the expression "holy season" is a better term. The Day of Atonement is found in Leviticus 23:26-32.

It is also mentioned in five other places. First, Leviticus 16:1-34 which will be discussed later. Second, Leviticus 25:8-12 spells out some special rules for whenever the Day of Atonement falls on a Sabbatical year (every seventh year) or during the year of the jubilee (every fiftieth year). Third, is in Numbers 29:7-11 which emphasises the special offerings and sacrifices for this occasion. The fourth place is Hebrews 9:11-10:18 which compares the blood sacrifices between the blood of the animal and the blood of the Messiah and shows superiority of the blood of the Messiah. The fifth is Hebrews 13:10-16 where the author draws a comparison of the sacrifices being burned outside the camp and Christ dying outside the gates of Jerusalem. The connection is that just as the Day of Atonement, sacrifice was burnt outside the camp, even so Jesus suffered outside the camp, outside the gate and walls of Jerusalem.

There are three different names for this particular holy season. The most common name is Yom Kippur which means "the day of atonement." The second name, very similar, is Yom Hakippurim which means "the day of atonements." It uses the plural form for the word "atonement" because on this day the atonement was made for both the living and the dead in Jewish tradition. The third name is Shabbat Shabbaton which means "the sabbath of sabbaths" because this is by far the holiest of rest days. All the laws which apply to the Sabbath also apply to this day, and more so.

A. Biblical Practice of the Day of Atonement

Insofar as the biblical practice is concerned, three things should be noted.

First, it was a day of national atonement in which atonement was provided for the whole nation. However, this atonement was applied only to those individuals who afflicted their souls.

The second thing about the biblical practice of this occasion is that the details are given by Leviticus 16:1-34. To summarise, in Leviticus 16:1-2 the writer spells out the restrictions concerning the holy of holies in that the holy of holies was limited to only one person, the High Priest. Even then, only on one day out of the year was he allowed to enter the holy of holies: the Day of Atonement. Verses 3-5 concern the preparations which were to be made. An offering was to be made for the High Priest which consisted of a bullock. The High Priest had to wear the special high priestly clothing of this occasion. There was also to be the offering for the people which consisted of two goats. Verses 6-10 concern the presentation of the sacrifices. The bullock or calf was presented for the High Priest, and the two goats were presented on behalf of the people. The two goats were brought before the High Priest, and the casting of lots was performed. The purpose of the casting of lots was to see which goat would be the offering for Jehovah as a sin offering and which goat would be the scapegoat, the goat of removal, the goat for Azazel. Once it was decided by the casting of lots which goat would live and which goat would die, there would be the atonement for the priest. Concerning the atonement for the priest, the calf would be killed and the blood brought into the holy of holies of the tabernacle or temple. That was the first of two times in which the High Priest would enter the holy of holies. Once the sins of the priest were atoned for, then came the atonement for the people. The goat which was selected to die was killed. This was the sin offering on behalf of the people. The blood of the goat would then be taken into the holy of holies, and for the second time on this occasion, the High Priest was able to enter the holy of holies itself. Then came the second goat, the goat for removal (Azazel). The High Priest laid his hands upon the head of the live goat and confessed the sins of Israel. The goat was then driven out into the wilderness picturing the removal of Israel's sins. Following the shedding of blood came the removal of sins. Verses 23-28 concern the cleansing of the participants which included the burning of the remainder of the Day of Atonement sacrifice outside the camp. Verses 29-34 spell out further restrictions and specifications.

The third item to mention concerning the biblical practice is that there were two key elements. First, it was a time of the affliction of the soul. Second, it was a time when two goats would be offered: one to die and one to live to remove the sins.

B. Jewish Observance of the Day of Atonement

In dealing with the Jewish observance on this occasion, several things should be mentioned. First, the basic tenant in Judaism is that man can achieve atonement for his sins by his own efforts. That is not a biblical teaching, but that is the teaching of modem Judaism.

The second thing about Jewish practice is that there has now been a substitution for the biblical practices because the Temple is no longer standing, and that makes the sacrificial system impossible. In place of the affliction of the soul, the first key element of the biblical observance, Judaism practices the affliction of the body. This day is a day of fasting. It used to be a common practice for some Jews to have themselves flogged on the day before the Day of Atonement. In place of the goat, ultra-orthodoxy still practice a form of sacrifice: the sacrifice of a chicken; a rooster for a male and a hen for a female. Before the rooster or hen is sacrificed, the fowl is raised over the head and a prayer is recited which goes as follows:

This is my substitute. This is my exchange. This is my atonement. This fowl will go to its death, and l shall enter into a good and long life and peace.

Most Jewish people do not practice any form of blood sacrifice. In place of blood sacrifices they practice three other things: repentance, prayer, and charity. The teaching of the rabbis is that repentance, prayer and charity are valid substitutes for sacrifice.

A third thing by way of Jewish observance concerns the Jewish practice of self-denials. In keeping with the motif of the affliction of the body, Jews are forbidden five things. First, there is to be no eating or drinking in order to enhance spirituality. Second, there is to be no washing and bathing because these things cause comfort, and one is not to be comfortable on this day. Third, there is to be no anointing of oil which includes modern-day hand and face creams. Fourth, there is to be no cohabitation with the spouse. Fifth, there is to be no wearing of leather shoes or sandals because these are luxury items. Luxury is not to be shown on this occasion. Furthermore, the rabbis taught that on the Day of Atonement all the earth is holy ground. Jews must wear shoes made of rubber or canvas so they could feel that holy ground.

A fourth practice is the reading of the Book of Jonah to show that a man cannot run away from God. It also teaches the efficacy of repentance. Just as God heard the repentance of Nineveh and spared them, so will He do again.

C. Messianic Significance of the Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement is, of course, fulfilled with the Messiah. In the concept of the Old Testament this is taught in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 where the Messiah is pictured as the final Day of Atonement sacrifice which contains the concept of substitution and the concept of atonement. Contextually, Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is not only a prophecy of the crucifixion, it is also the words of Israel's confession when Israel will confess her national sin and be saved as a nation. The key element of the Day of Atonement is the element of affliction. In the biblical practice, it was the affliction of the soul. In the Jewish practice it is the affliction of the body. The Day of Atonement is to be fulfilled by Israel's national salvation when both types of affliction will be present. It is no accident that the Tribulation is often referred to in the Scriptures by the term affliction. It is a time of tremendous affliction in fulfillment of the affliction of the Day of Atonement. During the Great Tribulation there will be the affliction of both the body and the soul. The affliction of the body of Israel is detailed by Hosea 5:15-6:3. Israel as a nation will be afflicted during the course of the Great Tribulation. Hosea 5:15 states:

I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly.

This affliction is detailed in Zechariah 13:8-9, an affliction that will destroy two-thirds of the nation of that day. This will lead to a second type of affliction: the affliction of the soul. The affliction of the soul is given in Zechariah 12:10-13:1 where the Spirit is poured out on the people of Israel, and they will then look unto the One they pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son.

By means of the afflictions of the Great Tribulation will come the national regeneration of Israel. The national regeneration itself comes by means of Israel's confession of their national offence, their national sin. That national sin is confessed with the words of Isaiah 53:1-9.

8. The Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles is in Leviticus 23:33-44.

Outside of this passage, the Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned in five other passages. First, Numbers 29:12-34 which spells out the sacrifices for each day of the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles. Altogether a total of 70 bulls are offered during this period. According to Judaism, these 70 bulls represent the 70 Gentile nations of Genesis ten. What is significant is that Judaism has connected this feast with the Gentiles, which is not true with the other festivals. Second, Deuteronomy 16:13-15 where there is a special emphasis on the issue of rejoicing. Third, is Nehemiah 8:13-18 where the startling fact is discovered that in the days of Nehemiah this feast was kept for the first time since the days of Joshua. In other words, after Joshua, the Feast of Tabernacles was not observed for centuries. It was not even observed during the righteous reigns of David and Solomon. The fourth place this feast is mentioned is in Zechariah 14:16-19. This passage will be discussed in the messianic significance portion of this feast. The fifth is John 7:1-10:21 where Christ's observance of this particular feast is recorded.

Altogether there are five different names for this feast. The first name is simply The Feast. When Jews talk about The Feast, they always mean the Feast of Tabernacles because this one has a lot of unusual pomp and ceremony connected with it. Second, it is called Succot or The Feast of Booths or The Feast of Tabernacles because Jews were obligated to live in a succah, booth or tabernacle, on this occasion. Third, it is called the Feast of the Ingathering in Exodus 23:13 because it marks the end of the Summer harvest. The fourth name is the Eighth Day of Assembly. This is actually an independent holiday from the Feast of Tabernacles, but it is connected to it because it follows immediately the day after. It marks the conclusion of the festivities and observances of the Feast of Tabernacles. The fifth name for this is called Simchat Torah which means "the rejoicing over the Law." It is also a name given to the added eighth day, this one based upon Numbers 29:35-38. On this day the cycle of the reading of the Law begins anew. The Jewish rabbis divided the five books of Moses into 52 parts. Each part is read in the morning Sabbath service. By the end of each year the entire Mosaic Law has been read in the synagogue. It is on this occasion, the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, that Judaism concludes the reading of Deuteronomy and begins the reading of Genesis.

A. Biblical Practice of Feast of Tabernacles

Insofar as the biblical practices are concerned, five things should be mentioned. First, it was a seven-day festival with an eighth day added to it. Second, it was to be observed by the building of booths or tabernacles to commemorate the 40 years of wilderness wanderings. During those 40 years the Jews had to live in booths or tabernacles emphasising their temporary abodes. In remembrance of those 40 years, each year Jews were to live in these booths (for these seven days). Third, it is to be celebrated with the four species. In the Bible these four species are the three types of branches and a fruit. The fruit is a citron, and the branches are the palm branch, the myrtle branch, and the willow branch. The fourth thing about the biblical practice is that it was to be a time of rejoicing after the affliction of the Day of Atonement. The fifth thing about the biblical celebration is it, too, was a feast of first-fruits, and in this case, it was the first-fruits of the Fall harvest.

B. Jewish Observance of Feast of Tabernacles

Concerning Jewish practices, several things should be mentioned. First, there are three key symbols of this feast. The first one is the booth or tabernacle which became a symbol of the wasted national hope. At the same time, it provided the hope for a future restoration based upon Amos 9:11 where Amos promised the day would come when the hut, booth, or tabernacle of David would be restored. By Jewish practice the booth is to be made of flimsy material to give the feeling of a temporary abode and to give a sense of the insecurity the Jewish people felt during the wilderness wanderings. The roof is to be made of branches. The branches should have a density 'which provides more shade than sunlight, but at night, the stars should still be visible through it. The inside of the booth or tabernacle is decorated with fruits, nuts and other things.

The second symbol is called the lulav. The lulav ties together the three types of branches which were obligatory to observe this feast: palm branches, myrtle branches, and willow branches. The way Jewish people practice this is that there is one palm branch tied to three myrtle branches to two willow branches. This is carried by the hand and waved in every direction. It is used especially during the prayer for rain because in Israel the rainy season begins at this time of year.

The third symbol is the citron which is a citrus fruit. It symbolises the fruit of the promised land. It is considered to be the most important symbol because it has both fragrance and taste. The palm branch has fruit, but no fragrance. The myrtle has fragrance but no fruit. The willow has not fragrance or fruit. But the citron has both fruit and fragrance.

The second item to mention by way of Jewish practice concerns the two key ceremonies during the Temple period of the time of Jesus. The first key ceremony was called The Pouring Out of the Water. In this ceremony the priests marched from the Temple Mount down the Kidron Valley to the Pool of Siloam where pitchers were filled with water. The priests then marched back up the Temple Mount. As they ascended the fifteen steps into the Temple compound they sang the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). The priests then poured out the water into the large lavor in the Temple compound. This was followed by great rejoicing. The Jewish rabbis said that "he who had not seen the rejoicing at the pouring out of the water had not seen rejoicing in all his life." The rabbis interpreted the pouring out of the water as a symbol of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Israel in the last days. The prophets predicted the day would come when the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon the whole nation of Israel. The outpouring of the water symbolised the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the whole nation of Israel.

The second key ceremony was the kindling of the lights. There were huge golden lampstands set up in the Temple compound. Each one had four golden cups. These were lit toward sundown. Because there were so many lamps, the light was so great, that the rabbis said that there was not a house in Jerusalem that was not lit by the light coming from those huge lampstands. In Judaism this was a symbol of the Shechinah Glory light.

A third item traditional on this occasion is the reading of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is a book of pessimism. The book is read to show the pessimism which tends to be the mood of the masses who just experienced the long holiday season beginning with the Feast of Trumpets and ending with the Feast of Tabernacles.

Fourth, it is during this time that Jewish people pray for rain, for in Israel the rainy season begins shortly after this feast.

Fifth, it is a period of great rejoicing. It is a time when the Jewish people sing and dance, especially doing dances that are done in circuits.

A sixth Jewish practice is the eating of kreplach, a form of Jewish ravioli: pasta filled with beaten meat and onions. It symbolises the beating of the branches with which Jews prayed for rain.

C. Messianic Significance of Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles was observed by Jesus while He was on earth. When Jesus observed the Feast of Tabernacles, He responded to both key ceremonies. At the first key ceremony, the pouring out of the water which symbolised the pouring out of the Spirit, Jesus gave an invitation in which He said, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that belleveth on me, as the scriptures hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). John pointed out that what Jesus was referring to was the coming of the Holy Spirit who would indwell every believer. This had not yet happened because Jesus had not been glorified. But it was going to happen. The pouring out of the water of the Feast of Tabernacles symbolises the indwelling Holy Spirit which Jewish and Gentile believers now have. In response to the second key ceremony (the lighting of the lampstands), Jesus said, I am the light of the world (John 8:12).

Ultimately, according to Zechariah 14:16-19, the Feast of Tabernacles is to be fulfilled by the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom:

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso of all the families of the earth goeth not up unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, upon them there shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, neither shall it be upon them; there shall be the plague wherewith Jehovah will smite the nations that go not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations that go not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Under the Mosaic Law the Feast of Tabernacles was obligatory only for the Jewish people. In the Kingdom, under the Kingdom law, the Feast of Tabernacles will be obligatory for all Gentile nations. Once a year every Gentile nation will be required to send a delegation to Jerusalem to observe this particular festival. Just as the Feast of Trumpets was a time of rejoicing following the affliction of the Day of Atonement, even so the Messianic Kingdom will be a time of rejoicing following the affliction of the Great Tribulation.

CONCLUSION

These are the seven holy seasons of Israel. The first cycle of four festivals was fulfilled by the programme of the first coming. The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His offering. The Feast of First-Fruits was fulfilled by the resurrection of the Messiah. The Feast of Weeks was fulfilled by the sending of the Holy Spirit to empower the church.

Then came a four-month interval between the first cycle and the second cycle of feasts. This four-month interval is now being fulfilled by the insertion of the age when the Gospel goes to all nations. Then the second cycle of three feasts will be fulfilled by the programme of the second coming. The Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the church.

The Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation during which time there Will be the affliction of Israel's body and soul that will lead to Israel's salvation and national atonement. The Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled by the Messianic Kingdom.

(Reprinted from Tishrei Vol 2 No 1, The Feasts, Autumn 1993)