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Jesus in the Feast Days

Scripture: Leviticus 23:1-44, John 12:20
Date: 03/16/2002 
The subject is Jesus in the Jewish Feasts. The feasts in Leviticus 23 represent the life and work of Christ. Jesus has fulfilled the meaning of the feasts.
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You know in the Bible after Christ rose from the dead he was walking down the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus with two disciples that did not recognize him and when they were relating how devastated they were that the Messiah had been executed and his body was missing and they couldn’t explain it “he said to them, ’Oh fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and entered into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” “All the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them…” I think this is John chapter five, “…ye think ye have everlasting life: these are they that testify of me.” All of the scriptures tell us something about Jesus.

Now, not only is it true that different symbols represent Jesus. He is the bread. He is the door. He’s the shepherd. He’s the lamb. He’s the rock and I could go on. But Christ is also revealed in the dimension of times and seasons not just things. Time is the dimension, it’s the essence, that we live in. And Christ was revealed in the schedule of the Jewish calendar. Now, I think this is an important subject because the Bible says, “To everything there is a season.” Ecclesiastes chapter three, “and a time for every purpose under heaven.” And Christ is revealed in these different times. Just to give you an idea of how important and how prevalent the teaching of the Jewish feasts is in the life of Christ consider this for a minute. The first time… and our subject today is Jesus in the Jewish Feasts, ok? And so I just want you to know where we’re heading with this.

We’ll learn about the different feasts and how they apply but that’s the theme. Every message we want to see Jesus. Amen? Consider this, the first time that Jesus is recorded speaking in the Bible is when he’s twelve years old at a feast, one of these seven major Jewish feasts. The last time Christ speaks before his death is at another feast, isn’t that right? He first appears at the feasts and he dies at the feasts. As a matter of fact, as near as we can figure, Christ was born somewhere around the feast of trumpets and he died six months later, thirty three and a half years later, during the feast of Passover. So his whole life was in some way marked out by some divine providence the Jewish feasts. And so I think it’s a very edifying study for us. Not only that, the first miracle of Jesus. What was that? It was turning the water into grape juice, was at a Wedding Feast.

So much of what Jesus did was in the context of these feasts. And there’s so many times in the Bible we read that and it just goes whew and we don’t ever see that it wasn’t just what he did, it’s when he did what he did had tremendous significance for the Jewish people. Now not only are we going to try to look at the Old Testament shadows and the reality of Christ in the New Testament I’d like for us to think about what do we do with the Feasts today? There’re some very sincere, zealous Christians who believe that we should keep the Feasts the same way the Jews did. And then there are those who think that they were simply for the Jews and once Christ came there’s no relevance and maybe between those two extremes we’ll find out how we can relate to these prominent Jewish holidays. Now before we do that I need to just explain and, stay with me, you might take some notes.

I was going to share my notes with you but it would have been about five pages for everybody and that’s a lot of paper. One reason people get confused sometimes when we talk about the Jewish Feasts is because they had two calendars that overlapped each other… that were different and distinct. They had their civil calendar that began in the fall around September and that was their civil calendar. Then they had the ceremonial or the sacred calendar and that began in the spring with the new moon before the Passover. They are about six months apart. For instance, you know, when Moses is telling you about the calendar of Noah. He says, during this month the rain fell, in this month the waters dried up, in this month this happened. That’s not the religious calendar. It was not even developed yet. That was the civil calendar that all the Jewish Nation went by.

They were given a new calendar that began during the time of the Exodus. Now also keep in mind that you and I, most of the world now, is under the influence of the Gregorian calendar. It’s the Roman calendar. We call it the Gregorian calendar because Pope Gregory issued an edict that they should make an adjustment and that’s when we ended up getting three hundred sixty-five and one quarter days to be compensated by a leap year so that our days and our calendar matches up perfectly with the rotation of the earth around the sun. Our calendar is dictated by the earth revolving around the sun. The Jewish calendar was a lunar calendar. It’s very different in thinking. We think about where the earth is moving around the sun. We are moving around the light and that dictates the calendar. With the Jews it was the light moving around the earth. See how different that is?

One is the earth moving around the light. The other is the light moving around the earth. They had a lunar calendar. Now the lunar calendar is a little different. They measured approximately three hundred and sixty days in their year for calculations. But you’ve got about twelve point four lunar months per solar year. So you say, “Doug, wouldn’t that throw their seasons off?” The Jews were excellent mathematicians. They make great economists too. They were able to figure that out. They compensated by adding in an extra month called the second Abib. It was an extra month that was added in to compensate whenever they began to get off twenty-nine days or thirty days. And so they had this lunar calendar. Can I move on now? Everyone understand? The Jewish months were dictated by the moon. The new moon was a celebration for them. Matter of fact, just so you’ll know, the word moon and month are the equivalent. Our months are all mixed up by the Romans but they used to be lunar based. And now it’s all bizarre. You’ve heard about what the Romans did with the calendar.

Julius Caesar, he named a month after himself. Augustus Caesar, he wanted a month named after himself, but August wasn’t long enough and so he took some days off February, which is why February seems to be a little shorter than all the other months. He wanted to have as many days as Julius Caesar had in his month. If you speak Spanish you know that seite is what? Seven. Septembre is supposed to be the seventh month, but it’s the ninth month. October, octogon, ocho, is supposed to be the eighth month but it’s the tenth month. Deca, December should be the tenth month but it’s the twelfth month. You can all thank the Caesars for that. They really scrambled the calendar and you and I are stuck with that. It’s something like the English language, it doesn’t make any sense at all. But anyway, the Jewish calendar, it did have a good method to it. Three hundred and sixty is really a good number for calculating and that’s the number… how many degrees in a circle? Three sixty. They were excellent mathematicians. And that’s the number that they used for their calendar for a year and it was divided into these lunar months. Now having said that, I would like to give you a quick picture of what the seven major Jewish Feasts are. We are not studying all of the Jewish holidays. They have added some since the Exodus.

You’ve heard, of course, of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is one that developed during the time of the Maccabees, which is between Malachi and the New Testament and it’s not addressed in our Bibles without the apocryphal books. You have heard about the book of Esther and another holiday there called Purim where they would celebrate their victory over their persecutors in Persia that wanted to annihilate them. And there are different holidays that have been added but if you look in Leviticus twenty-three you will find the first holiday. As a matter of fact, turn in your Bibles while we consider the chart on the screen. Turn, please, to Leviticus twenty-three and you’ll read here where he identifies the feasts of the Lord. Notice he begins in verse one, “And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them, The feasts of the Lord which you shall proclaim are holy convocations. These are my feasts” (you notice it doesn’t say ‘the Jewish feasts’) “Six days shall work be done but the seventh day is the Sabbath, a solemn rest, a holy convocation…”

Convocation means convening, assembly. Some people say, “We just keep the Sabbath by staying home at our tent.” That’s not what the Bible called it. We were to convene. If you’re just saying home and hanging out, unless you’re sick, it’s not keeping the Sabbath. We’re to assemble and worship God. Okay? “You’ll do no work on it. It’s the Sabbath of the Lord your God” (not the Sabbath of the Jews) “in all your dwellings.” Now the Sabbath is a weekly cycle. First God establishes the priority of the most holy day when he mentions the seventh day Sabbath. Then he in verse four, he says now we’re going to go the ceremonial feasts. Notice how he words it? “These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations, which you shall proclaim,” verse four “at their appointed times.” Now, I want to go back to my chart here. And it begins with the Passover. Their month began when they went out. Put that up on the screen, Sherle, because I want to… Thank you. I want you to all see this. In the beginning of the Exodus Moses said to them, I think this is Exodus chapter 12, “This will be the beginning of months for you.” They knew this was going to be a new, separate calendar that was going to overlap the regular calendar. How many of you are involved in economics in your work somehow?

Or you’re on a board and you know that your fiscal calendar may not end? If you operate a school the fiscal calendar may end in June. Some fiscal calendars end and begin in September and it overlaps the regular calendar that we live with. Well, the Jews understood there were two separate calendars that overlapped. They had their civil calendar and their sacred. A new sacred calendar was developed at the Exodus. They were to mark their beginning as a nation then. They went into Egypt seventy people. That’s not a nation. They came out of Egypt free. And so they had a new calendar that was to remind them of their salvation from slavery. So this whole calendar and these feasts remind us of what? Our salvation from the slavery of sin and the devil. It began with the new moon in the beginning of the month Nisan or Abib depending on if it was a leap year, a Jewish lunar leap year or not. Fourteen days into the new moon they were to sacrifice a Passover lamb. Well if you’ve got the lunar cycle is twenty-eight days and you start with the new moon. New moon means the sky is black, you can’t see the moon. And you go fourteen days what does the moon look like then? Full moon. And if you go home and look on your calendars if you’ve got Easter or Passover on your calendar you’ll see it’s full moon. You know why? Jesus was sacrificed on the full moon. You know why? In Revelation twelve that woman is standing on the moon. The moon represents the prophesies and teachings of the Old Testament.

Jesus died at the brightest time of all of those teachings. He was the epitome, he was the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament Messianic teachings. He died during the brightest time of that. It all pointed to him. So, quickly, you’ve got Passover, the first feast. Unleavened Bread, which was seven days. Passover, one day. First Fruits, one day. These first three feasts kind of fell back to back. They were called the spring feasts. Ok? And there were three of the feasts that were called Pilgrimage feasts. Don’t forget this. All Jews were required during the year to come to the place designated by God before the Lord and assemble and worship him. They were to be Pilgrims and come and worship these feasts. The three pilgrimage feasts were, you notice, Passover, Feast of Weeks and Feast of Tabernacles. They were to come before the Lord during those three feasts. Then you’ve got the Feast of Weeks, which is sometimes better known as Pentecost. Then you’ve got the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. You’ve got the fall feasts, five, six and seven.

Two groups of three. Now, I wanted you to look at that and get that in your head. Stare at it for a moment. Digest it. Sometimes when you’re standing on a bridge and you see all the cables and all the platforms you don’t see the beauty of the bridge. You’ve gotta get away for it to appear spanning from coast to coast. And here I want you to see the span of these feasts that made of the Jewish year. We’re going to kind of march through them quickly and show you some of the fulfillment of these feasts. Lets begin with the first one, Passover. Passover, of course, began when the Children of Israel were liberated from the slavery of Egypt. It was the tenth plague. It was the time when those that did not have the blood of that lamb applied to the lintel and the mantle of their doors a firstborn would die in that family. The angel of judgement coming through the land of Egypt was that final plague. All the Jewish families were told to slay a lamb. Their journey to freedom began with the sacrifice of a lamb. Who do you think that lamb represents? What’s the first step for us in beginning freedom? The first Jewish feast is the first step in the process of salvation for you and me. Sacrificing the lamb. Applying the blood of the lamb. That’s the very first thing. They did not get to Mount Sinai for another fifty days.

We are not saved by Mt. Sinai. We’re saved by the lamb. Amen? So they take that lamb’s blood. They’d apply it. And when the angel of judgement came through and he saw the blood he would pass over. Passover meant God’s wrath passing by. They found grace. And so Passover was a time of their finding grace. When Jesus ate the Last Supper and he died on the cross that was the week of Passover. He mentions it specifically in Luke 22:15. You remember what Christ said? “With fervent desire, I have decided to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” What time of year was it that Christ died? It was the Passover. Now the meal that Jesus ate with the disciples was not the Passover sacrifice meal. It was a pre-meal that was very common in preparation for that Sabbath that was coming. The next day was the Passover when that sacrifice was going to be made. So this was a pre-meal that he ate with them at that time. How do we know that? The next day was when Christ died. That’s when the lamb was slain. Now it’s very significant to remember the Passover lamb was to be slain “between the two evenings.” Stay with me again. I’ll try and make it simple. The Jewish reckoning of the day was different than ours. We start and end the day at midnight. And Daylight Savings time is changed at two in the morning.

You all know that? Our calendar is different. Theirs was dictated by the sun, the positions of the sun. Once it was twelve o’clock that was called the first evening because the sun was now going to be going down from that point on. Once the sun went down it was called the second evening. Between twelve o’clock and six o’clock were the first and second evening. The Passover lamb was slain right in the middle of that. What time would that be? Three o’clock. Guess what time of day Jesus died. The Bible calls it “the ninth hour.” That was three o’clock in our time. The very same moment that Jesus on the cross outside of Jerusalem declared “it is finished” and he breathed his last inside the Temple the veil was ripping from the top to the bottom. The priests were preparing to sacrifice the little lamb in horror that they saw that the Holy of Holies was exposed and there was no Ark in there anymore because it had been hidden from the days of Jeremiah. Knife probably dropped from their hands and the little lamb scampered away. Christ was the Passover lamb that died during that time.

He died at exactly the time. Matter of fact, I’m going to pause here and because I want you to see Jesus in the feasts I’m going to quickly review a number of the shadows in the Old Testament and the fulfillment in Christ just during the Passover. First of all, Exodus 12 verse 3 says a lamb was to be selected several days before it was slain. They’d pick the lamb in advance. You know Jesus was condemned by the High Priest several days before he was executed. They got together. Caiaphas said, “Don’t you know anything at all but that it’s expedient that this man should perish and not for the whole nation?” and they voted to kill him. He was selected. The lamb was to be set apart by itself before it was sacrificed, Exodus 12 verse 6. Jesus, before his sacrifice, “walked no more openly with the Jews.” He went alone. Remember the brother said, “Let’s go to the feast.” He said, “you go.” And he went alone. He separated himself. Exodus 12 verse 6, “the Passover lamb was slain on the fourteenth day of” Nisan or Abib, depending on, if it was a leap year. Jesus died at that very same time. John 18:28 tells us that. Exodus 12 verse 6, “the lamb was slain between the two evenings” which would be the ninth hour, three o’clock our time. Jesus died exactly during the ninth hour. Exodus 12 verse 8, “they’ll eat the flesh that night; roasted in fire...” The lamb was to go through the fire. Who was our lamb? He went through the furnace for you and me. Through the fiery trials and furthermore it was to be eaten with bitter herbs.

He drank the bitter suffering the rejection that belongs to you and me. Exodus 12:46, “not a bone of the lamb was to be broken.” Well, they broke the bones of the thief on the right and the left of Jesus, but they did not break his. He was a lamb without spot without blemish. Exodus 12 verse 7, “The blood was placed on the doorposts.” We must apply the blood of Christ to our hearts. “The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” Of course that’s I John 1:7. Exodus 12:8, “unleavened bread and bitter herbs” were eaten with the lamb. Leaven is a symbol for sin. Christ was without sin. He was the bread of life. Exodus 12:22, no shelter was provided from the destroyer except under the blood. We have no shelter from the coming judgement except that we are under the blood of the lamb. “Neither is there salvation,” Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Exodus 12:43, “no stranger” could eat the Passover. Revelation 21 verse 12, no sinner can share in the reward of the righteous. Jesus said when he comes he will declare to the lost, “I don’t know you.” You cannot be a stranger to Jesus and eat the Passover. We need to know him. Amen? So that’s just the Passover very quickly. Let’s move on to the other feasts. Can you see the many symbols where Jesus appears in this Jewish feast? The second feast, which was the day after the Passover, was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You find that in Exodus 34:18, “The feast of unleavened bread shall thou keep. Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee.” Now most of the time in the Bible leaven is the symbol of what? Sin.

There is one scripture that says, “Have a little leaven in yourself.” But it’s talking about… the context is different. Leaven is typically a symbol of sin. You know, the Bible speaks about the “leaven of the Pharisees” the “leaven of the Sadducees” the “leaven of Herod” and I think that’s interesting because those three groups represent the three categories of sin. The Pharisees represented righteousness by works and legalism. Jesus said, “Beware of it.” “Straining a gnat and swallowing a camel.” The Sadducees was presumption, disbelief and humanism. They didn’t believe in Spirit or resurrection. The leaven of Herod was worldliness and presumption. Whether it’s the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, the pride of life, the Bible says that it was “to be eaten unleavened.” And so that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a symbol for Christ. Jesus said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” And he was bread with no sin. He was the only one who lived without sinning. Now I’ll back up and review some of these but I want to go to the next feast which is the offering of first fruits.

It was the common practice on the fourteenth day of the month Abib or Nisan whenever the Passover was, depending on the moon. The fifteenth day was the Sabbath and on the sixteenth day the Bible states “on the morrow after the Sabbath the first fruits were waved before the Lord.” What happened on the morrow after the Sabbath when Jesus slept in the tomb? He rose. After the Sabbath was past, early in the morning, they were to wave the first fruits of harvest before the Lord. Now different kinds of crops ripen at different times during the year. You’ve got some things, broccoli, you can grow in the winter. Certain grains ripen in the spring. How many of you are having to mow your grass already? Ok? Grain is a grass. Wheat is a grass. And this time of year, which is the time of Passover, they would begin to see the heads on some of their crops begin to bud and they would bring this before the Lord, the very first of it, and they’d wave it before the Lord. Now that’s a symbol because Christ is called the first begotten of the dead in the Bible.

It was on the third day after the Passover that they had these First Fruits. Jesus was that grain that was waved. “On the morrow after the Sabbath the first fruits were waved before the Lord.” How many of you remember the story in the Bible where there wasn’t enough food to feed the people and Jesus had a little boy bring his lunch? And Jesus took that lunch from the little boy. It was all he had but he gave it to Jesus and when he gave his first and all he had to Jesus Christ multiplied it and there were twelve baskets left over. We are to give our first of what we have to the Lord. We should not be giving him our leftovers. You’d be surprised how many times I visit and pray and council with members, who say, “You know, I can’t afford to pay my tithe this week.” And I think don’t you understand? You can’t afford not to. You’ll have less money if you don’t. You won’t have more. It’s a lie of the devil. Who can say amen to that? When you think by giving the Lord the leftovers you somehow end up with more that is backward thinking.

When you give God your first fruits and you live by faith he multiplies the remainder and you end up with more. And it works that way every time. Now when Christ died, just like when a kernel of corn is not eaten but you let it die, you put it in the ground, it produces a much bigger crop. You know, not only was Jesus the first begotten of the dead, but Christ, as our high priest, took a small sample of the harvest to heaven with him. Do you remember reading in the Gospel of Matthew that when Christ died there was a great earthquake and many of the graves of those that slept were opened and many bodies… Matthew 27 verse 51 through 53, “and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of their graves after his resurrection,” (they needed permission after he was raised) “they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” So who was it that was raised? A number of the prophets and patriarchs and kings who had lived around Jerusalem, their graves were opened up. We don’t know. Over there in Hebron the Jews and the Palestinians are guarding the grave of Abraham. I wonder, is he still there? We don’t know. Many of the graves around Jerusalem… Now Hebron, granted, is a little distance from Jerusalem. John the Baptist could have been there, Isaiah the prophet, Jeremiah and others. And he… and they rose from the dead and they went into the city and they testified that yes, Jesus was the Messiah. When Christ ascended they ascended with him. He took them to heaven sort of as the first fruits.

When you read in Revelation about these twenty-four elders that around the throne, where’d they come from? If the rest of the dead are asleep, where’d they come from? How’d they get there? I know about Elijah. I know about Enoch. I know about Moses. But that’s not twenty-four. Where’d they come from? I believe they are some of this austere, not austere, elite body of people who were raised when Christ was raised. He took them to heaven like a wave sheaf. First Fruits, you might say. Now something that I think is really interesting is the next feast. It is called the Feast of Weeks or better known as Pentecost. Now most of us when we think of Pentecost we think of Acts chapter two, right? But really the first Pentecost was at Mount Sinai. See, according to the Jewish calendar, fifty weeks or seven weeks of seven after the Passover was a special holiday. That also happened to coincide with when they stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and God declared his covenant to them. Let me read this to you. It says in Leviticus 23 verse 16, “count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.” What kind of grain offering? “A new grain.” What is seed or bread a symbol of in the Bible? The word of God. God, for the first time, spoke audibly in the hearing of the Nation. They saw the cloud, his pillar of fire was there, his presence was on the mountain, there was a shaking, it was a powerful experience and he spoke to them this covenant. That’s the old covenant.

In the New Testament what happened fifty days after the Passover when Jesus died? Was there a new grain offering? God shook the place where they were again. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. There was fire, not on the mountain, on their heads. And they spoke the word of God with power and they proclaimed the new covenant exactly fifty days later. It was a time of delivering, activating the new relationship and so this was given during Pentecost. Pentecost was one of the pilgrimage feasts. You remember it says in Acts chapter 2 that “there were dwelling in Jerusalem devout men out of every nation under heaven.” They all came and they gathered together before the Lord during that time because it was a time when they had been commanded to come. Pentecost, where we get the word Pentagon, means five or fifty. And it says, “Thou shall observe the Feast of Weeks the First Fruits of wheat harvest and the Feast of Ingathering at the years end.” So these were the first four feasts which were the spring feasts. How many feasts are there that we find here in Leviticus? There are seven major feasts. You know The Lord’s Prayer has seven petitions in it? These seven feasts are divided by four and three. The Lord’s Prayer is divided by four and three. Did you know that?

The first three petitions are “hollowed be thy name,” “thy kingdom,” “thy will.” The last four petitions are “lead us,” “feed us,” “keep us,” “deliver us.” And so, did I say “forgive us”? Yeah. There’s four petitions in the Lord’s Prayer man to man, and there are three petitions man to God. And these feasts were divided the same way. Isn’t that interesting? Now after you go from Pentecost through the summer then you get to the beginning of what they call the civil year. It was known as the Feast of Trumpets. They did not blow the typical trumpets where you’ve got a bugler holding or the trumpet with the three fingers or even the silver trumpets that they blew in the temple. They had the special shofar. It was a ram’s horn of varying lengths and it was given as a sound several times and it was warning them that a new year was beginning. And it was also telling them a time of judgement was coming. Now when you think about trumpets blowing in the Bible a number of things happen. Matter of fact, there’s a scripture in Psalms 81 verse 3. It tells us that they blew the trumpet for both religious and civil occasions. “Blow the trumpet at the time of the new moon, at the full moon, in our solemn feast day.” Well, the new moon was the beginning of the month. That was a marking of time.

The full moon was when the Passover was, the feast day. The trumpet was to announce something significant happening. Now having read this in the Old Testament, what did they do before they entered the Promised Land in the days of Joshua? Before the Children of Israel crossed over they sent an army over. And that army sent the priests and they marched around the city of Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant and they blew seven trumpets. And eventually the walls of Jericho coming down was a signal that they had gained access to the Promised Land. So the Feast of Trumpets in the Jewish year is to represent for us that the enemy is going to be punished, their barriers are coming down, we are going to be judged and we’re preparing to enter the Promised Land. Not only do we see that it’s true here in the Old Testament. Seven trumpets the priests were blowing. Do you hear seven trumpets anywhere in Revelation? When do those seven trumpets blow? Well, now that’s a real subject for debate. Some believe that the only meaning of the seven trumpets in Revelation is historical. I do believe there is a historical fulfillment. I personally believe that you will see a rapid-succession last day fulfillment of those seven trumpets. Those trumpets are going to be blown again and there is going to be great catastrophe on the enemies of God’s people just before Jesus comes. And I think you are… I am not prepared to give a study on that and please have mercy on me if you disagree, but you know I believe that many of these prophesies have a dual application. So the Feast of Trumpets was a time in the seventh month, that’s the seventh religious month, the first day of the month. It was a Sabbath of rest, a memorial, of blowing trumpets, a holy convocation.

The Bible says the resurrection is going to take place that way. First Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” And a ram was a sacrifice. It was through the ram’s horn. Now a ram represents Christ. What was it that Abraham used instead of Isaac as a sacrifice? It was a ram. What does a horn represent in the Bible? Power. A horn was a symbol of strength to this nomadic people. You ever seen mountain goats butt heads? It’s really something. Don’t try that yourself. They just charge each other. I heard somewhere that the people that build football helmets have studied the skulls of mountain sheep and woodpeckers to find out how they’re able to pound their heads without getting brain damage. No, really. They’re trying to find out, how does it keep the brain in place? You ever seen those rams? They line up and then they go pow and the hills ring with a bang! A ram’s horn is very strong. It was a symbol of strength. It’s talking about Christ’s strength and his sacrifice that gives this message. The trumpet was a message of warning, it was a call to worship, it was a warning of judgement, it was a warning of war. And here we are nearing the end of the year and these things are coming. Then we get the sixth feast, which is the Day of Atonement. Now this was a feast that revolved around a cleansing of several groups. It was a time when the sanctuary was cleansed.

The priesthood was cleansed. The first of the two offerings was an offering that was made for Aaron and his sons. They were cleansed from their sins before they went in to represent the people. So it was not only cleansing of Aaron, but it was a cleansing of the sanctuary. And furthermore, it was to represent a cleansing of the people. Now they had this service where they would pick not only a bull to cleanse Aaron and his sons but two goats. And they would cast lots. They would pick one of these goats. The Lord would allow them to pick… they allowed the Lord to pick one of these goats. One of goats was sacrificed. He was the Lord’s goat. The other goat was Azazel or the scapegoat. We’ve all heard the expression, “he’s the scapegoat.” It means he’s taking the blame. Typically we say “a scapegoat” we think someone taking the blame that they don’t deserve. But that scapegoat represents the devil. A lot of people think, “What? Only one who bears sin in the Bible is the Lord!” That’s not true. Think about that. Who bears your sin if you don’t accept Jesus? Yeah! “Every man is rewarded according to his works.” Is anyone bearing Satin’s sin? No. This idea that “the only one who bears sin in the Bible is the Lord” is completely, categorically unbiblical! The Lord provides forgiveness for everybody who will accept that, but those who don’t, they’re going to suffer for their own sins! And so, and who ultimately is going to burn day and night forever and ever in the Lake of Fire because of what he’s instigated?

This terrible mess? Lucifer! Matter of fact, even in the Mishna, in the Jewish writings, they understood that this goat was the devil. And they would cleanse the sanctuary from the sins of the people that had been stored there spiritually through the year. The people were preparing to stand pure before the Lord. It was a time of fasting, a putting away of sin. The Lord’s goat was slain. They would take this scapegoat by the hand of a fit man. He would bring it off in the wilderness and the Mishna, the Jewish writings, tell us he’d kick it off a cliff because if that goat came back, it was a bad omen. Something else I read that is not in the Bible. People always write me letters, “Where in the Bible is that?” It’s not in the Bible. It’s in the Jewish writings. They used to take a scarlet cloth and they would tie half of this scarlet ribbon around the neck of the scapegoat and part of it was tied around one of the horns of the alter in the sanctuary. After the scapegoat was pushed off the cliff, they claim that the scarf, if they were forgiven, would turn white. Now here’s the interesting thing. They say that always happened. That after the scapegoat was executed the scarf, the piece of it that was still, this ribbon that was still in the sanctuary went from crimson red to white miraculously. In the Mishna it says, “This ceased to happen forty days before the temple… forty years before the temple was destroyed it ceased to turn white.” When did Jesus die? Forty years before the temple was destroyed.

Now this is in the Jewish writings. You wonder why they don’t say, “Hey! How come we haven’t noticed that connection?” But I thought you would find that interesting. Now Christ is everything in the sanctuary. When you look in the Holy of Holies Jesus is the sacrifice, he’s the Lord’s goat. Jesus is the Priest. It’s his blood that’s offered. The lamp represents the light. Jesus is the “light of the world.” There’s bread. Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven. The high priest would wave this incense which is the symbol for intercession with the prayers. Jesus is the one in whose name we pray. And then you’ve got the Ark of the Covenant with those rocks with the Ten Commandments. Christ is the rock. Mercy seat on the lid. Shekhinah glory. All these things are telling us about Jesus. So not only the Feast of the Day of Atonement, but the very sanctuary is absolutely shouting for us to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Then we come to the last feast, which is the Feast of Tabernacles and this was a very exciting time. Now the Jews were nomadic people and as nomads for you to remember your pilgrimage through the wilderness took an extra step. I remember on more than one occasion when we go up to our cabin in Covolo you know where we’re surrounded with nothing but wilderness the kids have said, “Hey, Dad! Let’s go camping.” I say, “Are you kidding? This is camping!” They say, “No! This isn’t camping. We want to go in the front yard and stay in a tent!” Any of you ever had your kids do that?

Go in the back yard and stay in a tent so they can be camping! Well, we are camping. What do you do if you’re a Jew and you live in a tent and you’re going to remember your pilgrimage? What’s a step down from a tent? Well it’s to live in a booth made from palms. And that’s what they would do. They would wave palms before the Lord as a sign of victory. It was the last feast of the year. They made these booths. How many do you remember where Jonah, he was just aching for some shade in the sun and that gourd grew up and gave him a little booth, a little shade? And so they’d make these booths and it signified many, many important things. First of all, it was called the Feast of Succoth, which means booths. There is a town in Israel called Succoth, a region. It was a memorial of their temporary dwellings during the Exodus and for seven days the people moved out of their homes and they lived in temporary shelters. It was sort of like camp meeting, I guess. As a reminder of their wanderings in the wilderness for forty years. Branches were cut down from palms and willows and other trees and waved in celebration before the Lord during this fast of seven days. It was a time to remember God’s provision. When they were in these booths did God miraculously provide their food for them? Yeah.

Did God also miraculously provide their water? He did. Water from a rock. And it was a reminder of God’s presence because God was in a booth. What do you think the tabernacle was? I mean, Solomon built a permanent, beautiful temple later, but in the meantime God was in a tent. That’s what King David said, “Lord, it’s not fit! I’m in a house of cedar and you’re in a tent!” And so when they got together it was a reminder that God dwelt with us in a tent. He “tabernacled with us.” Does that sound a little bit to you like Revelation when it says, “The tabernacle of God is with men?” You know, “Call his name Emmanuel. God with us.” And so during this Feast of Tabernacles it was to remind them of God’s provision, God’s leading, his presence, that he was willing to dwell with them, that he would take care of them. During the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus stood up. You can read in John, chapter 7, verse 38, and he made a proclamation. All the Jews are gathered at this feast. It was one of the pilgrimage feasts. And he stood up and he said, “He that believes on me, as the scriptures has said, ‘out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’” He waited until the time of the feast to make this statement because it was the custom of the Jewish priests. They would take some water and they would scoop it from the spring there in Jerusalem and they would pour it out before the Lord and it would run down to the Kidron Valley. And it was to remind them of how God miraculously had water coming out of a rock that would supply them during the drought of the desert. And Christ, in the midst of all them saying this they hear this voice echo out in the sanctuary say, “Come unto me and you’ll have a well of water inside you.”

Jesus was the rock that water came out of. That supplied their need in the desert. He was constantly through his ministry trying to point to the feasts and help them see him in all the feasts. He was the unleavened bread. He was the Passover lamb. He is the tabernacle. We are in Christ. He is the one that we are in. He is the High Priest. Through all these feasts… That’s something else that you may want to know. Of all the Gospel writers, if you type the word “feast” into your Bible search program (I’m sure you have a computer) you’ll find John references Christ in the feasts ten times more than any of the other Gospel writers. He really recognized this truth that Jesus was the fulfillment of not only the objects that the Jews had but the calendar, the times that the Jews had. He was the fulfillment of that. Now here’s the big question. I wanted to save some time for this. You’re going to run into this. If you dozed off while I went through the feasts, wake up and take this in, ok? I know, I’ve thought about this, I’ve said, you know it’s a deep subject.

You’ll lose people, but it’s an important study. What do we do with the feasts today? Should we keep the Jewish feasts? And, if so, to what extent, and how? Now there are very sincere people, and I don’t question their sincerity and I understand their logic. I’ve heard all the arguments. I’ve studied this out thoroughly myself. “If you’re going to keep the Sabbath,” they say, “why not keep the other Jewish feasts?” And how many of you have met people that believe in keeping all the Jewish feasts? Yes, we’ve all met people. And there’re some creative arguments in favor of that. There are a number of very big differences. First of all, the distinction between the Seventh Day Sabbath and the feasts is a several thousand-year distinction. There was no sin when God instituted the Sabbath. It’s part of his perfect plan. The feasts came as a result of sin. They were shadows. The Sabbath is a weekly cycle, a holy day. The feasts are dates. The Bible tells us in Colossians that these holy days are nailed to the cross. Now before I go there I want to share another point with you.

The feasts did not appear until there was a Jewish Nation and they were given to a Jewish Nation. Who was the Sabbath given to? Jesus said, “the Sabbath was made for man.” Adam and Eve, in the beginning, right after their honeymoon. Their honeymoon was on the Sabbath Day. I mean they were made the sixth day, the next day was the Sabbath with the Lord, right? So what is a Jew? Who is a Jew today? Who is spiritual Israel? We need to know who the Jews are to know how to keep the feasts. Now follow me quickly and I’d like to just give you a quick study on this subject about Israel. Does God save Jewish people in any special way today beyond Christians or does the Bible say, “Now, in Christ, there is neither Jew or Gentile”? This is a very unpopular truth I’m going to share with you. I know I went back to the NRB and this just is very patronizing theology out there that God has some special favor for the Jews and he’s saving them and they’re really the fulfillment of prophesies and they completely blind themselves to all these prophesies that say, “Yes, the Jews are still very important to the Lord, but not more important than Spiritual Jews.” Because if you’re a physical Jew and you reject Jesus do you have some kind of weight with the Lord or special rank above those who are Gentiles that accept Jesus?

Why do you think Christ spent so much time saying to the Jews, “The children will come from the East and the West and sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” The Gentiles will come from the East and the West and sit down in the kingdom and the children of the kingdom, the literal Jews in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. John the Baptist said to the Jews that came, “Do you think because you’re descendants of Abraham you have special merit? Yea, God is able to raise up from these stones children unto Abraham.” One of the central messages of the New Testament is, “Do not think that God is going to save you based on your identity or your race.” He doesn’t work that way. If there’s anything clear in the Bible it’s that Israel today, from God’s perspective, the New Testament perspective, is a spiritual nation. Now let me give you some more information on this. Galatians 3:7, (You might jot some of these down.) “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”

Those that have faith in Christ, they are the children of Abraham. Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” All of the promises in the Bible belong to us. Let me pause right here and say one other thing that’s very important. We are spiritual Israel, but you have to be Israel to be saved. God never makes a salvation covenant with Gentiles. He only makes the salvation covenant with Jews. The new covenant is only made with Jews and we all know we’re saved based on the new covenant, amen? Let’s read that. Hebrews 8:8, “For finding fault with them, he said, behold the day is come, says the Lord, I’ll make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” Where does God make a saving covenant with the Gentiles? Nowhere. So unless you understand the truth about being spiritual Israel, you can’t be saved. You become a spiritual Jew. Romans chapter 2 verse 25 and 26, “For circumcision profits, if you keep the law: but if you break the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision.

Therefore if the uncircumcision” (the Gentiles) “keep the righteousness of the law, shall not their uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?” Now I know that’s a sort of a tongue twister but what that means is that people who are not literally, physically Jews if they’re keeping the truth even though they’re physically not Jews it’s counted to them, they’re adopted in, they’re grafted in based on their faith. That’s what Paul is saying. Romans 2:29, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly;” or physically “neither is that circumcision, which is in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and the circumcision is in the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter.” So all of us need to have… And circumcision represents a cutting away of the carnal nature, being led by the spirit and not by the flesh… We need to have that commitment in the heart.

God is not going to save people based on some physical characteristic. He saves us based on a faith characteristic. Romans 9:6, “They are not all Israel, who are of Israel.” There were some Jews that were Jews like the Apostles were all Jews, spiritually and physically. I hope I am. Romans 9 verse 8, “That is, they which are the children of the flesh.” These were not the children of God. “But the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” I could go on and on and on. There are just hundreds of scriptures in the Bible that bear this out, that the Gentiles are grafted into the stock of Israel. We become the spiritual Jews. Now having said that, if we’re spiritual Jews how do we keep the Jewish feasts? Physically? After going through all of this to explain that we’re spiritual Jews are we now going to keep the feasts physically? First of all, three of the feasts are pilgrimage feasts. They were to gather at the temple in Jerusalem. How are we going to do that? It’s not there any more. But is there still a temple? Yes. You are the temple of God. Are we to keep the feasts spiritually? Yes. We’re doing this today. One of the best examples is the Passover. How did Jesus keep the Passover? Do we still sacrifice lambs for the Passover? Or is Christ now our Passover lamb?

So for me to go back and kill a lamb is a denial of Christ. To try to keep the feasts the same way the Jews did… If you want to go camping and get palm trees and get under there, well, fine. I don’t have anything against anyone that wants to keep the feast that way. Matter of fact, this is what the Bible is talking about in Romans 14 where Paul says, “If man wants to regard a day unto the Lord, let him regard it unto the Lord. If he’s not going to regard a day unto the Lord, to the Lord he does not regard it.” He’s not talking about the Sabbath, the weekly cycle. He’s talking about the Jewish Feasts. And if you want to remember these and get a rams horn and blow the trumpet and go get under a tabernacle and remember these events then God be with you. That’s fine. Don’t judge your brother who does not. Some might want to keep it spiritually. That’s why Colossians says, “Let no man judge you regarding sabbath days that are shadows.” It’s talking about the Jewish feast days not the seventh day Sabbath. That’s a date. That was rather a part of the weekly cycle and not a date. And so it’s just so clear to me that for us to superimpose these Jewish… you know what it reminds me of? You’ve got a loved one and they’re gone for a long time. My daughter Cherie is in the army. Her husband is in the army. He’s in Afghanistan right now for six months. Right after he left she found out she’s pregnant. That’s tough. Daniel’s in boot camp. He’s married. His wife is in Walla Walla finishing school.

They’re having a hard time right now. Just, you know separation. And I know Cherie and Michelle, Daniel’s wife, they’re looking at pictures. Probably kissing pictures. Maybe even holding pictures. Carrying pictures. But the day is going to come, God willing, when they’re going to go to the airport and meet their loved one, right? Now when they get there, to the airport, and they’ve got the picture with them in case they forget. They want to make sure that they can identify them when they get off the plane, right? And they’ve got the picture with them and as they come off the plane and they see them and they’re, “Oh! I‘m so glad! I couldn’t wait to see you!” And they’ve got the photograph and they’re, “Oh! It’s so good to see you!” And they’re, “Wait a second, I’m here! What are you holding the picture for?” Wouldn’t that seem bizarre? When we now live in a time where Christ is the fulfillment of all of these shadows, why would you keep hugging the shadow? See what I’m saying? It’s almost a denial of the reality of Christ.

Why would you hang onto the shadow instead of the reality? And all of these feast days, the Bible says, they were there to point us to Christ, but now Christ is the substance, the seed has come. They were schoolmasters to teach us. And so, when you meet people who are going around and they’re beating you up telling you that you’ve got to keep the Jewish feast days, don’t let them judge you. Don’t let them put that on you. Are there things for us to learn from these feasts? Yes. They’re to help us recognize Jesus. I mean, I don’t know about you and I haven’t even covered a fragment of them. I’ve got just three pages of examples just from the seven feasts. I’ll be happy to share with you later. There’s whole books on it where every one of the feasts is teaching us about Jesus, they’re all pointing us to Jesus. You know it makes me think. Closing scripture. Gospel of John chapter 12 verse 20. It makes me think of this story in the Bible, “Now there were certain Greeks,” these are Gentiles, “those who had come up to worship at the feast: and they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and they asked him, and they said, Sir, we want to see Jesus.” They had come to the feast, but what did they want to see at the feast?

They want to see Jesus. And once you find Jesus the feast doesn’t have its meaning anymore. He’s the fulfillment of that. He’s the substance. You don’t need to keep kissing the photograph when the individual is in front of you. You don’t need to keep hugging the photograph or some momento when the reality, living, breathing person is in front of you. And Christ is the person that all of this pointed to. Can you see that? Isn’t that good news? And that should be our prayer. Is that in all these things we see Jesus. Which happens to be our closing hymn. So why don’t you turn in your hymnals to 494 “We Would See Jesus”. That’s what the Old Testament is trying to tell us. “These are they which testify of me.” And let’s stand together as we sing.

*** Maybe, just by a show of hands, you’d like to express to the Lord this morning if there is any thing, it even might be religious trappings and ceremony, that’s eclipsing your view of Christ would you like to ask the Lord to remove those things, to really see the goodness of God, to see Jesus? Let’s sing verse 4 ***

Our Loving Father, our Creator, Lord, this is our prayer. We, like Zaccheus, want to climb a tree, take up our cross that we might see Jesus. And Lord, we can hear Christ say to us what he said to Philip and Nathaniel, “Come and see.” He’s inviting us to look upon him. Lord, I pray that if there are things in our lives that are in some way blurring, obscuring, eclipsing the image of your face, remove those things. We know that it’s your goodness that leads us to repentance. We know it’s when we see your love for us we first love you so help us to see, Lord. Open our eyes. I pray, Lord, that you will bless each person who has come forward for the appeal this morning. You know what the needs might be in their lives. Whatever they happen to be we would ask that Jesus would both release and activate the power of the Spirit and the Person of the Spirit in their hearts. Minister to them, heal them and I pray, Lord, that you’ll help them find solutions for their problems. And for each of us, who are either listening by tape or here in this house today, help us to know how to, in a practical sense, experience the beauty of these Jewish feasts living in this time. And, Lord, we want to thank you again for hearing this prayer because we’re claiming the merits of Jesus and we come in his name. Amen.

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The Desire of Ages: Gethsemane to Glory by Ellen White

The Desire of Ages: Gethsemane to Glory by Ellen White
God's Promises




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