Feasts of the Lord

The Seven Feasts of The Lord

Understanding Jewish Feasts as a Christian

by Daniel Ryan — Posted on May 9, 2016

The Feast of the Passover (Lev. 23:5)

Pesach

Christ's passover

The Fest of the Passover falls on “the fourteenth day of the first month” (Lev. 23:5) of the Jewish calendar, and lasts one day.

The Feast of the Passover was instituted to help the children of Israel remember when the destroying angel passed over their houses and delivered them from the Egyptians (Ex. 12:21–28, Ex. 13:14-15).

While in captivity, God commanded Israel to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and to use it’s blood to mark the doors of their houses. The plague of the angel of death would pass over their house and not slay their first born child.

This directly points to Christ as we use the blood of Christ, who was sacrificed as the first born of our Father, to become free of the chains of death and become resurrected.

The day that Christ was crucified actually fell on the day of the feast of the passover.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6)

Chag HaMotzi

Christ eating unleavened bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread starts on “the fifteenth day of the same month [as The Feast of the Passover]” (Lev. 23:6), the next day, and lasts one week.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted to teach the children of Israel about Christ’s sinless life. During these seven days Israel must eat unleavened bread, or bread without yeast.

  1. One symbol for Leaven or yeast is sin or evil.
  2. Christ describes himself as “the bread of life” (John 6:35).
  3. Seven is often used as a symbol of perfection or completion.

So the feast of Unleavened Bread is a journey for the children of Israel to take to become free from sin and become perfected through Christ.

The Feast of the First Fruits (Lev. 23:11)

Reshit Katzir

The Feast of the First Fruits falls “On the morrow after the Sabbath” of The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the second day during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of the First Fruits was instituted to teach the children of Israel of Christ’s resurrection.

During the feast, a sheaf, or bundle of the first reaped grains of harvest, barley, was waved before the Lord.

This points directly to Christ’s resurrection. Not only did it fall on the day that he was raised, but the “waving” before the Lord could be interpreted as being lifted or risen, just as Christ was risen on that day.

The Feast of the Pentecost (Lev. 23:16)

Shavu’ot

Pentecost, coming from the Green word meaning fifty days, comes from the meaning that the Feast of the Pentecost, or The Festival of Weeks as it was known then, commences fifty days after the end of the Feast of the Passover.

In Jewish tradition, the Feast of the Pentecost celebrates receiving the Law of Moses from Mount Sinai. Scholars believe it was literally this day that Moses spoke to God face to face, and it is regarded as the birth of the Israelite nation.

This feast is used to foreshadow another gift God will give his people, the day that the Holy Ghost was first given to his disciples. (Acts 2:1-4) And historically, much like the birth of the Jewish nation, this is considered the day Christ’s church officially began.

(The Spring Feasts)

The first three feasts start on three consecutive days, the Feast of Unleavened Bread starts on the second day, however, it continues for a week. Those three days are critical to Christ and his mission for us as they fall exactly on and between his crucifixion and resurrection.

Additionally, these three feasts start the harvest of barley. The barley helps connect the three feasts, and their connection to Christ.

The barley is reaped on, or sometimes the day before, the feast of the Passover. Interestingly, the barley is cut down, to be harvest, on or just before the same day that Christ was brought down for us. Then on the third day, the barley, just as Christ was, is lifted up and waved on the morning of the third day, just as Christ was that morning as well.

Fifty days later, only 10 days after Christ leaves his apostles and ascends into Heaven, the Holy Ghost is received by his disciples.

The four spring feasts have individual meaning and symbolism towards Christ, but as a whole, tell the story of Christ’s final mortal days, his ascension, and the start of his Church.

The Feast of the Trumpets (Lev. 23:24)

Yom Teru’ah

The Feast of the Trumpets falls on “the seventh month, in the first day of the month” of the Jewish calendar.

One use of feast is to remind the Jews of the most important use of a trumpet, on Mount Sinai.

“… 13 when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount… 16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.” (Ex. 19:13,16-20)

At this time, God came down in person to his prophet, instructed him on how to lead his people, and gave him the Mosaic Covenant.

High Priest sounding trumpet.

Another important symbol from this feast comes from the fact that in ancient times, the high priest would blow a trumpet to signal to his people to cease harvesting the field and to gather in the temple.

In the New Testament, we get one last important use of trumpets. “for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible.” (1 Cor. 15:52)

One fulfillment of this is when Christ instituted the new covenant. (Luke 22:20)

But a more full fulfillment of this happened during the Feast of the Trumpets of 1827. The feast that day was the exact day that Joseph Smith received the plates from the angel Moroni, Sept 22, 1827.

The fulfillment of the feast signals:

  1. The beginning of the final harvest, symbolized by Joseph receiving the plates.
  2. A time when his prophet receives new revelation, like Moses, which leads to new covenants being made.
  3. The gathering of all people to the temple.
  4. The time for the work for the dead to begin.

These four meanings are why Moroni is seen blowing out of a trumpet on top of each temple, to signify the fulfillment of the feast, and to gather all people to the temple.

The Feast of the Atonement (Lev. 23:27)

Yom Kippur

The Feast of the Atonement falls on “the tenth day of this seventh month”, nine days following the Feast of the Trumpets.

Animal Sacrifice

Yom Kippur, or the “Day of Atonement”, is the holiest day of the year for Jews. The Torah states that Yom Kippur is the only day in which the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to pray unto God and offer a blood sacrifice for the sins of the people.

The shoresh [root] for the word Kippur derives from kofer, meaning “ransom”. This shoresh also appears in the team “Kapporet”, or Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat was in the Holy of Holies on which the sacrificial blood was presented.

In the Torah, Yom Kippur is actually written in the plural, possibly indicating that the atonement can cleanse us from all transgressions, iniquities, & sins.

Yom Kippur marks the climax of the ten day period of repentance called the “Days of Awe”, yamim nora’im. At the end of the Ten Days of Repentance, every soul would be sealed in either the Book of Life, or the Book of Death, signifying the final judgement of Israel.

All of these symbols clearly indicates that it is only through true repentance can we be written in the Book of Life, gain exaltation & eternal life, which comes only through Christ’s ransom for each and every one of our sins.

The Feast of the Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34)

Sukkot

The Feast of the Tabernacles falls on “The fifteenth day of this seventh month” and lasts for seven days.

During the existence of the Ancient Jerusalem Temple, Jews were commanded to pilgrim there and participate in the services at the temple.

This feast celebrates God sheltering the Israelites in the wilderness. Each year, Jews build shelters outside their house and worship in them, thus it represents a time of renewed fellowship with God. They would praise God for his continual provision, and his great provision and protection for the Israelites during the 40 years in the wilderness, much like the temple tabernacle provided spiritual protection for the Israelites.

One clear symbol taken from the Feast of the Tabernacles is that fellowship with God leads to his spiritual, and physical, protection.