Part 7 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

The seventh and final feast appointed to Israel by God to be literally fulfilled by Jesus Christ is the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths or Sukkot). It is first mentioned in the scriptures as the Feast of Ingathering, “Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.” (Exodus 23:14-16). It was to be celebrated after they entered the Promised Land and it was to be celebrated in conjunction with the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:33-44). For seven days they were to live in hastily constructed “booths” (the Hebrew word for booth is “sukkot”) to commemorate their time in the wilderness and God’s tabernacle that dwelled in the middle of the desert tents of the nation of Israel. The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is not only a time of remembrance but also a time of great celebration, celebrating the bountiful harvest and the joy of community (Deut 16:14,15).

Because this feast follows a time of great repentance and judgment, the symbolic representation of this Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is deliverance from bondage and restored fellowship with God among His people and the bountiful harvest of souls that will dwell with Him. God dwelled among His people in the Tabernacle in the desert and He will once again dwell among His people here on earth, when Christ returns to dwell among us and rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We must always be ready for the appearance of Jesus our Lord. We are commanded by Jesus to watch expectantly for his return. Each year, the month of Elul prepares us for the Feast of Trumpets on the 1st of Tishri. This year, the Jewish month of Elul begins at sunset on Saturday, September 3rd and it ends on the Feast of Trumpets on the 1st of Tishri, which begins at sunset on October 2nd. This time period before the Feast of Trumpets is spent in honest, rigorous self-examination and repentance. It is an annual purging and realigning, purging ourselves of any spiritual baggage and realigning ourselves with the lives that God calls us to live as those saved and washed by the precious blood of Christ. Repentance is not a one-time thing we do when we come to the cross for salvation, but rather it is a lifestyle of perpetual self-evaluation and surrender that Christ calls us to live.

“For you are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night… But you, brothers, are not in the darkness so that this day should overtake you like a thief.” (1 Thess 5:2,4)

Go back to Part 6 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box
Begin at Part 1 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

Advertisements

Part 6 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

Every year the “Season of Repentance” runs forty days from the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul to the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). It is during this time that we are reminded that we are a people under a covenant with God, bought by the blood of Christ, called to live lives that glorify Him and to examine our lives to ensure that we are living them for His glory, according to His word. During the first thirty days of this season, we make every effort to repent, or “turn toward God.” During this time we are to “awake” from the spiritual sleep induced by sin and ensure that our wicks are trimmed and our lamps are full. It is a time of deep personal reflection, a time of surrender and a time to make absolutely certain we are allowing God to conform us to His purpose and His will, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. These first thirty days are a time of preparation for the trumpet call of God, the shout from heaven to assemble ourselves together to join the Bridegroom on the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast that no man knows the day or the hour.

–“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:14).

–“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36).

The last ten days of this season, before the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), are known as “The Ten Days of Awe”. The Ten Days of Awe are time of additional repentance before the Day of Atonement, or Judgment Day, “Although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times, He now commands all men everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30,31).

Symbolically, the Day of Atonement is when Christ physically returns to the earth to deliver “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 12:17) and to judge the nations, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matt 25:31,32) and rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings–and with Him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Rev 17:14).

In Jewish tradition, the annual period of God’s judgment of the world takes place during the Ten Days of Awe, which begin on Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah) and ends ten days later on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The world enters judgment on the Feast of Trumpets, and ten days later judgment is set and the fate of the righteous and wicked are sealed for all eternity on the Day of Atonement. According to Jewish tradition, everyone on earth is given these ten additional days to repent and get right with God before their fate is sealed and judgment is eternally set.

However from a Christian/Messianic Jewish perspective, it is understood that these ten days are symbolic of the Great Tribulation and it is understood that all those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life since the foundation of the world who remain on the earth during this time will be purified through the fires of tribulation.

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Look, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will suffer tribulation for ten days. Be faithful even unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev 2:10)
And all who dwell on the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” (Rev 13:8)
“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.'” (Rev 13:14)

Ideally, we are to have gotten our spiritual house in order by repenting of all known sin and making any relationship reconciliation with others by the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah). This is the purpose of the month of spiritual preparation beforehand. However, when we examine the overall picture of God’s plan through the symbolism of His appointed feasts, it appears that those who have outstanding issues with God and man when the last trumpet sounds for the Feast of Trumpets, will find themselves subjected to further purification before they will be “able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36).

This is almost a heretical concept to a church that worships a Jesus that doesn’t require anything from them. Western Christianity focuses only on God’s grace and give little to no significance to God’s very real seriousness about living sanctified lives. As a culture, we are so far removed from what it truly means to be Christian that we have created our own religion. Of this particular Laodicean age of Christianity, Jesus said we are blind and completely ignorant of our own spiritual nakedness. He tells us we are in desperate need of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, but are too blind and lukewarm to care. (Rev 3:15-18). His instructions to us at Revelation 3, verse 19, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent”, lend even more seriousness to the annual season of repentance before the Feast of Trumpets. Of the seven churches Jesus speaks to in Revelation, five of them are specifically instructed to “repent.” (Rev 2:5; 2:16; 2:22; 3:3; 3:19).

Throughout time and history, one thing and one thing only has ever served to quickly awaken those in spiritual slumber, and that thing is tribulation. Unfortunately, hardship and suffering are the only things that arouse the lukewarm from their stupor and turn them back to radical devotion and total surrender to Christ.

We’ve covered two of the last three appointed feasts to be literally fulfilled by Christ:

1. The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), which symbolizes the calling together of those under Christ’s covenant, who have their wicks trimmed and their lamps full, described as “The virgins who were ready..” (Matt 25:10) and are “able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36). The month of Elul is the season of repentance, which gives all believers a window of time to set their lives in order and to thoroughly repent of any ungodliness in their lives so as to be found worthy to escape the coming judgment. If Jesus should tarry another year before He returns, then the believer has been spiritually rejuvenated and refreshed to bear fruit for God’s kingdom and shine their light for God’s glory throughout the ensuing year.

2.  The Day of Atonement and the preceding Ten Days of Awe, which symbolizes the Great Tribulation and the physical return of Christ on the Day of Judgment. Those who are not spiritually ready when the last trumpet sounds for the Feast of Trumpets, who remain to be purified, will go through the purging of the tribulation period, so that they will be ready for the Day of Atonement, which is the final separation of the sheep from the goats. These ten additional days of repentance are given for mankind to repent and get right with God before judgment is eternally set.

The last appointed feast that will be literally fulfilled by Christ is the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths or Sukkot. We’ll talk more about that in my next post.

Continue to Part 7 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box
Go back to Part 5 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

Part 5 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

A simple reading of the Parable of the Ten Virgins implies that there will be some virgins with lamps who are not taken by the Bridegroom. This is something that has haunted me for a very long time. Who exactly are these virgins? Who precisely do they represent? One thing I know without a doubt, is that God is calling His church to repentance….all of us. Another thing I know without a doubt is that there will be some virgins with lamps who are expecting the Bridegroom who will be spiritually unprepared for the call to the wedding feast: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom… But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.'” (Matt 25:1,10-12).

Another statement by Jesus that haunts me is His rebuke to the Church of Laodicea at Revelation Chapter 3, verse 16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (For a more thorough examination of the Church of Laodicea, read THIS).

We need to keep in mind that all of Jesus’ admonishments to the seven churches in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 are to those IN THE CHURCH. Of all seven churches, only the church of Philadelphia is promised to be kept from “the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” (Rev 3:10). All of the other churches were rebuked. At Matthew Chapter 25, only the five wise virgins go with the Bridegroom. Of the seven churches in Revelation, only the Church of Philadelphia is kept from the hour of trial. Whatever Jesus is telling us in these two passages, one thing is clear, He is speaking of an exclusive group of people.

I have read many a heated debate between those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture versus those who believe the church will go through the Great Tribulation (post-tribulation rapture). One side uses scripture to prove their rock-solid case, the other side uses scripture to prove their rock-solid case and the stand-off continues. Who is right? Perhaps they both are. Why the heated debate? Perhaps because they are not looking at the picture on the cover of the puzzle box to see the overall design. Five virgins go, five virgins stay. We’ll talk about what happens to the five that stay in my next post.

Continue to Part 6 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box
Go back to Part 4 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

Part 4 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

As Christians, we are called to keep “short accounts” with God on a daily basis. Each day we should confess our sins and humbly ask for God’s abundant forgiveness. However, the “season of repentance” during the Jewish month of Elul is a sanctified reminder to be spiritually prepared for the appearance of Jesus our Lord, “But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’” (Matt 25:6).

During the month of Elul, we are to prepare for the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) by getting our spiritual house in order. During this time, we make every effort to repent and “return” to God in every area of our lives. It is a time of thorough self-examination, a time of coming before God in total submission, without worldly distraction, seeking Him to reveal anything in our lives that does not line up with the standard of His Word and the lives we are called to live as those who call Jesus Lord. The month of Elul is, quite literally, the season in which we ensure our lamps are full and our wicks are trimmed in preparation for the arrival of the Bridegroom for the wedding feast.

In Matthew Chapter 25, Jesus tells the parable of the 10 Virgins who are awaiting the Bridegroom. The alarm is sounded for the Bridegrooms’ return and the wise virgins are those who trim away their burnt wicks (sins) and restore full light to their lamps with the extra oil (fullness of God’s word and His Spirit). When the spiritual call of the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) comes, there will be no time for preparation. It must be done beforehand: “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, ‘No, since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matt 25:8-13).

We can observe this “season of repentance” and prepare for the appearing of the Bridegroom in three ways, through three types of “turning”:

1) We turn back to God and make every effort to turn away from sin
—We allow God to thoroughly examine our heart and our life and submit to whatever He asks us to turn away from. If there is anything in your life that you know you shouldn’t be indulging in or doing, then stop. All those things that you say to yourself, “I know I need to stop….” or “I know I shouldn’t be doing…..”, then stop. Stop doing it because you don’t want to be doing it when the Bridegroom shows up. In the same way, all those things that you say to yourself, “I know I really should start doing….”, then start doing it. Whether it’s Bible study, daily prayer, going to church, or anything that encourages you to spend more time in God’s kingdom, rather than your own.
—Whatever you have been putting off, whether good or bad, this is the season to make those changes.

2) We turn to others we’ve harmed or offended
—We honestly evaluate and examine ourselves and make amends for any damaged relationship. We embrace God’s command to forgive each other and to ask for each other’s forgiveness. If there is any bitterness, resentment, ill-will, anger or hurt between you and another person, then prostrate yourself before the Lord and ask Him to make you clean. Ask Him to help you forgive or to ask for forgiveness….and mean it.
—Whatever you have been harboring against someone or whatever you have done to hurt someone, this is the season to get rid of that baggage.

3) We turn to those in need
—We turn away from our own endeavors, our own pursuits and consider the needs and welfare of others, over our own. We pour ourselves out in obedience to Paul’s instructions to, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phil 2:3,4), and “No one should seek his own good, but the good of others.” (1 Cor 10:24). Do random acts of kindness simply because you genuinely love God, “..let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:16).
—When you see a need that needs to be met in the life of another, and you are capable of meeting it, then this season is an active reminder to do it.  Even (or especially) if it is inconvenient and requires personal sacrifice on your part.

The month of Elul and the preparation for the Feast of Trumpets remind us to be spiritually ready for the appearance of Jesus our Lord. Over and over we are commanded by Jesus Himself to “watch”:

–“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day on which your Lord will come.” (Matt 24:42)
–“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matt 25:13) —“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know when the master of the house will return
–whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or in the morning.”
(Mark 13:35) –“And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Keep watch!” (Mark 13:37)
“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds on watch when he returns.” (Luke 12:37) —“If therefore you shall not watch, I will come like a thief, and you shall not know at what hour I will come upon you.” (Rev 3:3) —“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one watching and keeping his garments, so that he should not walk naked and they might see his shame.” (Rev 16:5)

–“But watch yourselves, or your hearts will be weighed down by dissipation, drunkenness, and the worries of life—and that day will spring upon you suddenly like a snare. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. So keep watch at all times, and pray that you may have the strength to escape all that is about to happen and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

So what happens to those who aren’t watching by ensuring that they are spiritually ready for the Bridegroom’s appearance? “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’” (Matt 25:12). We’ll talk more about that in my next post.

Continue to Part 5 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box
Go back to Part 3 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

Part 3 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

When God gave Moses the seven appointed feasts to be observed by Israel, He told Moses that the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) was to be a Sabbath day observed by the blowing of trumpets as a memorial to remind Israel that they were a people under a covenant– a nation who had accepted the responsibilities of being God’s people (Num 29:1; Lev 23:24). God Himself blew a heavenly trumpet (shofar) at Mt Sinai to call the people to attention and to announce His Presence for the inauguration of His covenant with them. Therefore, the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is a time of calling God’s people to attention, to sound a warning, to give an alarm, jolting us from our sleep, calling us to remember our Lord as King. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.” (Matt 25:6,7).

In ancient Israel, when the trumpet (shofar) would sound at the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), the field workers would stop their labor and come into the Temple. The high priest blew the trumpet so that the faithful would stop harvesting and come to worship. It was, in essence, a call to attention to assemble themselves to be gathered unto the Lord: But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. …For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matt 24)

When the trumpets are blown on the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah), there is a set pattern of different sounds that are repeated, with one single, final blast referred to as the “Last Trump”: “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Cor 15:51,52).

The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) is unique because it is the only appointed feast that begins on a new moon. Jews reckon their days as beginning and ending at sunset, rather than at midnight. Therefore, in ancient Israel, the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) was also known as the “Feast that no man knows the day or the hour”, because it could not be determined whether the new moon would appear before the sun set or after the sun set, only God knew the exact hour when the moon would appear. In ancient Israel, two witnesses would stand on the walls of Jerusalem and watch for the first sliver (crescent) of the new moon. When God decided to allow the new moon to appear in the sky, then these two witnesses would sound the shofar (trumpet) and all the people in the city would immediately drop what they were doing, and go to the temple. “But as for that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)

The days leading up to the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) are known as the “season of repentance” and they take place during the 6th month on the Jewish calendar which is called Elul. We prepare for the Feast of Trumpets during the month of Elul by getting our spiritual house in order, And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.” (Matt 25:10). We’ll take a closer look at what it means to be “ready” in my next post.

Continue to Part 4 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box
Go back to Part 2 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

Part 2 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

To understand the picture that represents God’s overall design as revealed to us through the symbolism of the seven appointed Jewish feasts, we must first gain an understanding of the Jewish calendar. There are major differences in the Gregorian calendar we use in America versus the Jewish calendar. One of those differences is that the months of the Jewish calendar correspond in an over-lapping fashion to the Gregorian calendar months we use in America. Meaning, the Jewish month begins a few days into the Gregorian month and doesn’t end until a few days into the following month.

Another major difference is that the Jewish calendar has two “New Years”. One is the Biblical new year and the other is the civil new year. The Biblical New Year begins when God told Moses, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:2). Thus, the first month of the Jewish calendar is the month of Nisan, which falls on the March/April months of the Gregorian calendar. However, the number of the year itself (i.e.: we are in the Gregorian year number 2016 or the Jewish year number 5776) is reckoned according to the civil new year, which is the 1st day of the 7th month of the Jewish calendar, and that month is called Tishri, which falls on the September/October months of the Gregorian calendar. The first day of Tishri is called Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year”. This day also falls on one of the seven feasts appointed by God, called the Feast of Trumpets or “Yom Teruah”, which means “day of shouting/blasting”. We’ll talk more about this day further on.

It is commonly understood that the Seven Feasts appointed unto Moses by God symbolized His plan for salvation through Jesus Christ and His millennial reign on earth as King of Kings. The Apostle Paul tells us that they were “a shadow of the things to come,” (Col 2:17), meaning that the feasts were symbolic and pointed to the literal fulfillment of something greater– Jesus Christ. The first four feasts are celebrated at the beginning of the Jewish Biblical year, which corresponds to spring. The last three feasts are celebrated at the beginning of the Jewish civil year, which corresponds to fall.

The first four feasts of spring were literally fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus was crucified on Passover, buried during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, raised on the Feast of First Fruits and sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Therefore, it is generally understood that at His second coming, He will literally fulfill the last three feasts during the fall. The gap of time in-between the spring and fall feasts is generally understood to represent the large gap of time (church age/age of grace/time of the Gentiles) that would transpire between Christ’s first and second coming.

The last three feasts to be literally fulfilled at Christ’s second coming are:

1. Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah)
2. Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
3. Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot or Feast of Booths)

After a long summer of harvest (symbolic of the church age), the first fall festival is the Feast of Trumpets. The symbolism of this appointed Feast is the rapture of the Bride of Christ and the declaration of God’s judgment upon a fallen world. This time of judgment is also known as the Great Tribulation, which is symbolized by the “Ten Days of Awe” that take place between the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). We’ll discuss this symbolism in further detail in my next post.

Continue to Part 3 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box
Go back to Part 1 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

Part 1 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box

There is a parable that Jesus told that haunted me for a long time. I’ve included it in several of my writings, but I’ve never addressed it specifically. The parable haunted me because, if taken at face value, it challenges the notion of the rapture that is preached in most churches. I am certainly no expert in theology, but a simple reading of this particular parable forces one to reconsider what we have been taught by men versus what we are being taught by Christ. Thus, for years, the Parable of the Ten Virgins has been a rock in my spiritual shoe, it has been a grain of sand under my spiritual tongue. I have meditated on this parable for a long time, I have prayed about it and asked God to grant me correct understanding of it, no matter where it may lead me. I believe that God answered that prayer a few weeks ago and after much prayer and much seeking, I believe that I am being led to share that understanding with those meant to receive it.

I’ve been working on this writing for weeks and what I will be sharing consists of several parts that must be explained to be understood. Therefore, this writing will consist of a series of posts and it is my prayer that people will make the investment of their time to read it because it may possibly determine where they are during the period of time the Bible refers to as “great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Matt 24:21).

I believe the main reason for the various understandings, contradictions and misinterpretations of the rapture, or what the Bible refers to as the “HARPAZO” (1 Thess 4:16,17), is that we are trying to put together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle without looking at the picture on the box cover. For us to have a proper understanding of how the pieces fit together, we must be able to look upon the overall design. For us to find the picture that represents the overall design, we must examine the first coming of Christ. And it is when we examine the first coming of Christ, that we come to the understanding that His manifestation as God in the flesh literally fulfilled the first four of the seven appointed Jewish feasts.

To truly grasp the breadth and depth of symbolism in Jesus’ teachings and ministry, it is important to have a general understanding of Jewish history, culture and customs. As Christians, we are not specifically commanded to observe all of the Old Covenant system of feasts and rituals in this New Covenant of grace through Jesus Christ, but we should have an understanding of their meaning and purpose and incorporate that understanding into our expression of faith.

Jewish culture and customs revolved not only around Mosaic Law, but also around their appointed annual feasts. When Moses was on Mount Sinai, God appointed seven feasts to Israel and the dates they were to be observed (Leviticus 23:4-44): Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets (also called Yom Teruah or Rosh Hashanah), Atonement (also called Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles (also called Sukkot or the Feast of Booths).

The first four appointed feasts were literally fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus was crucified as the Passover Lamb on Passover (Lev 23:5; John 1:29), buried as the Bread of Life during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:5,6; John 6:35), raised incorruptible on the Feast of First Fruits (Lev 23:10; 1 Cor 15:20), and sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Lev 23:16; Acts 2:1-4). If the first four feasts were literally fulfilled at Christ’s first coming, then we can expect that the last three feasts will be literally fulfilled at His second coming. We will take a closer look at this picture that represents God’s overall design in my next post.

Continue to Part 2 of 7: The Picture On The Puzzle Box