Fulfilment of the Spring Feasts
Many people will tell you that the Torah and the Feasts no longer apply, without understanding what the Torah and the Feasts actually are and what they represent. They are spiritually blind to the meaning of the Feasts. The Feasts are dress rehearsals for the Fathers Salvation Plan for mankind separated into the first coming of the Messiah (spring Feasts) and the second coming of the Messiah (autumn Feasts).
Most denominations will try to distance you from the meaning of the Feasts, seeking to distance you from the Hebrew roots of the Scriptures and understanding of the Salvation Plan. Many church denominations remember a form of the Feasts in the name of pagan rites and witchcraft. But the Torah sets out the Fathers expectations of how we will live and behave to him and to others, and how we worship him. Interestingly, the Scriptures set out that at least one Feast continues after the second coming of the Messiah. This is Sukkot, which is one of the Autumn Feasts
Zechariah 14:16 And it shall be that all who are left from all the nations which came up against Jerusalem, shall go up from year to year to bow themselves to the Sovereign, Yahuah of hosts, and to celebrate the Festival of Sukkot. 17 And it shall be, that if anyone of the clans of the earth does not come up to Jerusalem to bow himself to the Sovereign, Yahuah of hosts, on them there is to be no rain.
The Spring Feasts comprise three separate Feasts, these are the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits. The Feasts are contained within the three major harvest seasons: the barley harvest, the later spring wheat harvest, and the great ingathering late summer and fall harvest. According to the Law of Moses, there are seven annual Sabbaths, known as High Sabbaths, where no servile work is to be done. These Feasts are also termed convocations or Divine Appointments, and there is also the weekly Sabbath that we should all keep as this is the fourth commandment.
The word “convocation” is an interesting word, it is used in Scriptures when referring to the Feasts. The origin of the word in Hebrew is dress rehearsal. This word describes the Feasts perfectly, as they are prophetic in nature.
Yahuah identifies the three major harvest seasons in Deuteronomy 16.
Deuteronomy 16:16 “Three times a year all your males appear before Yahuah your Aluah in the place which He chooses: at the Festival of Matzot, and at the Festival of Shaḇu’ot, and at the Festival of Sukkot. And none should appear before Yahuah empty-handed,
These three harvest seasons symbolically portray our salvation in successive stages. The atonement and salvation of mankind is marked by the Spring Feasts while the ongoing and eventual end of this age is marked by the Autumn Feasts which are our dress rehearsal for the second coming of the Messiah. The Messiah, during his time on earth, and his disciples, and the early church, including Paul, kept the Feasts.
The spring Feasts comprising Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits (Wave Offering) sort of coincide with the pagan festival of e-a-s-t-e-r, due to the intervention of Constantine I in 328 AD, but this is where the similarity between Scriptures and the pagan festivals stop. Refer to the web page "Easter - pagan festival".
The table below sets out the Feast days, as well as the high Sabbath days. Note that this table is in the lunisolar months. To get the actual dates in the Gregorian Calendar is a little more difficult. If you would like the actual dates, email me.
The Spring Feasts are closely linked and referred to as one feast in some of the Gospels. The Passover is the Israeli celebration of the Father liberating the Israelite's from bondage, slavery and oppression in Egypt. The Israelites were told to remember that important event each year on the 14th day of the Israeli month called Nisan. As the Israeli new day started at sunset and ended at the next sunset, the Passover was a supper held at the beginning of Nisan 14. Refer to the page on "Confused calendar dates" for more information.
The Father gave instructions on how to celebrate the first Passover which include the following.
Sacrifice: Families selected a one-year-old lamb (or goat) that was perfect and without blemish on the tenth day of Nisan, for the next 4 days, the lamb (or goat) stayed with the family. On the 14th day, the lamb (or goat) was slaughtered. On the first Passover, the Israelis splashed some of the blood on their doorposts and the upper part of their doorway, roasted the animal whole, and ate it (refer to Exodus 12:3-9)
Food (which also means the Fathers Word): In addition to the lamb (or goat), the Israelite's ate unleavened bread and bitter greens as part of the Passover meal (refer to Exodus 12:8)
Education: Parents used the Passover to teach their children about the Father (Exodus 12:25-27)
The sacrificial blood was a sign that death passed over that house, when the Father exacted judgement on Egypt. The blood of the perfect and innocent Passover lamb symbolised the blood to be shed by the coming Messiah in the salvation plan, and the passing over of the wrath of the Father and death in the final judgement by those that do not have the covering of the Messiahs blood.
What is interesting is that once receiving the covering of the sacrificial lambs blood, the Israelites were instructed to be set apart from the rest of Egypt by not going out of their house (Exodus 12:22). When we accept the sacrifice of the Messiah, we accept his sacrifice as both the passing over of death, and the sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. We should then be set apart from the rest of the world, seeking the Father, his truth, and learning his Word.
Like the Israelites, we are exiting Egypt for the promised land, our journey has begun but will not be without trials. The Exodus story is so powerful and represents so closely what our walk as believers should be. The story of the Israelites in the desert, disobedience, demands, people wanting to turn back, shows the discipline that we need to accept into our lives from that point. This is the renewed covenant between believers and the Father.Following The The Messiah instructed us to remember the Passover during His last Passover supper. We should solemnly observe the Passover, reflecting on the Messiahs sacrifice for all of mankind and renewing the commitment they made to the Father at baptism (I Corinthians 11:23-29).
So to us, the Passover now celebrates our release from the bondage of sin. The Messiahs blood fulfills the requirement of a sacrifice, but we choose to remember the renewed covenant that has released us from a life of slavery to this world and sin and remember the Messiahs sacrifice for our sins and the sins of all people who would ever live.
Passover is not a High Sabbath day, but the following day is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and that first day is a High Sabbath day (refer Leviticus 23:2; Leviticus 23:6-7). The Passover day was a preparation day for that High Sabbath day, just as it was a preparation day for the Israelis leaving Egypt.
John 19:31 Therefore, since it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the stake on the Sabbath – for that Sabbath was a high one – the Judaens asked Pilate to have their legs broken, and that they be taken away.
Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast Unleavened Bread was to remind Israel of the speed of their deliverance. It is a period that comes right after Passover and is a period where no leavened bread or leavening is to be eaten. In fact, we are commanded to remove leaven completely from where we live. The reason for that is that leaven is a Scriptural metaphor for sin, and unleavened bread is a Scriptural metaphor for false doctrine. We are again being called to a life without sin, and without false doctrine. It is a time that helps us to focus on replacing sin with righteousness in our lives.
The Israelis had to leave Egypt very quickly, so quickly that they did not have time to wait for dough to rise or prepare proper provisioning. Instead they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt
Exodus 12:39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt, and had not been able to delay, nor had they prepared food for themselves.
This Feast along with Passover was instituted as the first two feasts for Israel; they were a reminder of Israel’s redemption story. They were to be passed from generation to generations for the ages to come.
This is the first feast the men of Israel were required to present themselves beforeYahuah at the Temple, the other two feasts were the Feast of Weeks and Tabernacles (Exodus 23:14-17;34:18-23, Deuteronomy. 16:16;2 Chronicles 8:13) and both the first day and the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a High Sabbath day.
Paul kept this Feast and advised the church at Corinth to keep the Feast
1 Corinthians5:8 So then let us celebrate the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The Father gave instructions on how to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread which include the following.
The first day and the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are High Sabbath days, so no servile work can be done
All the men are to come to worship the Father three times a year at the one place of worship . . . Each man is to bring a gift as he is able . . . (Deuteronomy 16:16 - 17)
The Messiah was crucified on the Passover day, but was resurrected during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, so to us, the Feast of Unleavened Bread now celebrates our redemption from sin and the start of our journey to the promised land. Just as Pharaoh held the Israelites as slaves in Egypt, Satan held us captive. Just as the Father delivered Israel out of Egypt with the intent that they never return, the Father delivers us from our sinful life and instructs us never to return. Since leaven typically puffs things up, it represents not only the root of many sins, pride, but also malice, wickedness, hypocrisy and wrong teachings.
Feast of First Fruits
Interestingly, the first day after the normal Sabbath, after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (High Sabbath day), is the Feast of First-fruits. This was the day of first sheaf waving, the first fruit of the barley harvest. This was also the day that the resurrected Messiah ascended to the Father.
The first-fruits of the ground were offered to the Father just as the first-born of man and animals. The law required, that on the next day after the normal Sabbath after the first day of unleavened bread, a sheaf of new corn should be waved by the priest before the altar ( Leviticus 23:5 Leviticus 23:6 Leviticus 23:10 Leviticus 23:12 ; 2:12 ) as an offering.
These offerings were a separate class of offerings, given as a show of servitude, peace and commitment. First-fruit wave offerings marked the beginning of the spring grain harvest and the counting period between the holidays of Passover and Pentecost.
The Father gave instructions on how to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread which include the following.
The priest would wave a sheaf (omer) of green barley of the new harvest before the Father (north, south, east, then west) as a symbolic gesture of dedicating it to Him
A male lamb was then sacrificed as a burnt offering to the Father (olah)
Unleavened bread mixed with oil and wine was offered
No other crops could be harvested until after the first fruits were presented
In the New Testament, the term first fruits takes on a symbolic meaning. Paul mentions the Messiah as the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The Messiah was the first fruits for the harvest that we are now all part of.
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. 21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man.
So to us, the term First-Fruits means that there is more to come. When the priest waved the sheaves of the barley harvest before the Father as the First-Fruits he was thanking the Father for the abundant harvest that they were about to have. The first-fruits were the first, the very first of the harvest, as it was only the beginning of the abundance of the harvest that was about to follow. The Messiah, the First-Fruits of the Resurrection, meant that He was the first of the resurrection that would never see death again. The abundance of the harvest of the resurrection means that there will be an abundance of resurrections in the future.
The Messiahs crucifixion fulfilled the prophecy of the Messiahs first coming, and the Spring Feasts exactly
Is it all coincidence? I think not, the Messiahs death fulfilled the Spring Feasts exactly. This is very different to the understanding I had of these festivals and what I had been taught!
It is a true story of absolute love and sacrifice that we must not demean by aligning it with pagan festivals.
By partaking of the, as the Messiah commanded, we are rededicating our lives to walk in His way and live our lives by Him. “The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood is dwelling in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me” (John 6:56-57).
The believers relationship with the Messiah and the Father is renewed each year by participating in the Passover. The true meaning of the Passover goes far beyond understanding the correct day and correct manner for its observance. In reality, the Passover is the foundation of God’s plan for our lives—now and for all eternity!