My Fitness

Friday, August 28, 2015

seven feasts

I just bought a bunch of Zola Levitt booklets so be prepared for several posts from The Nerd Side!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Old Testament, like me, in Leviticus 23 God outlines the Hebrew calendar and includes seven feasts that should be observed. ZL explains in his booklet titled The Seven Feasts of Israel these feasts and further explains how Christ was the fulfillment of each of these feasts. It's a fascinating and very short read - the first section is only 20 pages long and the second section is just another 10.

I'm not sure how I could possibly make this any shorter than ZL already has, but I'm just so excited about it all that I'm still going to try! Any Christian will find a nice encouragement in this (the book, not necessarily this post) brief read. In fact much of the New Testament even is lost on its readers due to its strange language which would have been very clear to those first century believers who primarily came from a Jewish heritage. Zola Levitt, the author, comes from just such a Jewish heritage, as his name might suggest!

The seven feasts are as follows: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Harvest, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.

I encourage you to go purchase this $3 booklet for yourself so you can get the real deal and not just my summation. I get no commission. Here's my summation:

The festival year begins with the Passover feast. Remember in Exodus 12 Moses was trying to free the slaves out of Egypt. Incidentally, there was a full moon. God always plans his feasts around the lunar cycle. I wonder if this is where so many superstitions about the full moon being scary come from - because all the oldest sons in Egypt died that night while the Israelites painted their doors with literal blood from a lamb and had this plague Pass Over them.

In the New Testament, Christ is hailed as the lamb that was slain. Jesus' blood delivered us from the slavery of sin. Jesus celebrated the Passover feast right before he was slaughtered. He said, "This is my body" when he took the bread of the Passover meal, the middle piece to symbolize the Son, which the Jews would realize he was equating himself to the lamb from their historic exodus from Egypt. He said, "this is my blood" when sharing the Passover wine. As Christians when we follow his command to "do this in remembrance of me" during Communion we are meant to more than remember that Christ died to save us from our sins but to remember the original Passover and see that God has always had a plan for salvation. When we as Messianic Jews or Hebraic Christians celebrate the Passover meal, we were commanded in the Old Testament to explain when asked, "This is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses." In the New Testament WE are the temple of God and WE are those houses. So Jesus renews this command with the Spiritual lesson that we tell the story of the Lamb being slain and we remember that the Lamb is Jesus.

Passover is the feast of Salvation.

Unleavened Bread
On the very following night after Passover, the feast of Unleavened Bread is celebrated. It lasts for seven days. There's a certain numerology within Judaism and the number 7 is called the number of completion. Leaven is symbolic of sin, and thus unleavened bread is a sinless life. Just as the Israelites were called to eat unleavened bread for a complete week, so Christians are called to live a complete, sinless life and not eat any evil.

When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 he address the knowledgeable Jewish congregation, that is they knew all about the ancient festivals, and outright called Christ "Our Passover Lamb"and to celebrate the festival with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The fulfillment of each festival by Christ was not lost on Paul.

It is interesting to note that Jesus was born in Bethlehem which literally translates to "House of Bread" and Jesus was the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

First Fruits
This third feast is held on the Sunday following the previous. In today's weird culture we have come to call this holiday Easter after a pagan deity. I've never enjoyed Easter because rabbits and eggs seemed so weird. Reading ZL's booklet I wish as Christians we'd call this holiday First Fruits. It carries such a bigger meaning.

Christ IS the first fruit from the grave. He was resurrected. He lives and offers us eternal life as well. And that is why Christ is the first because you and I can be the second and third and fourth. Old Israelites were to celebrate the first fruits of their smaller harvest by offering a sheaf of grain and sacrifice of a lamb, male without blemish. And so the Christian has already had the lamb slain and the first fruit sheaf of salvation offered.

Exactly 50 days after first fruits mini harvest is the summer's big Feast of Harvest. Coincidentally (what's that saying about coincidences? That it takes a lot of planning to have a coincidence? Something like that.) in the New Testament 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ is the day of Pentecost.

In Leviticus, God instructs the Israelites to offer two loaves here. It seems God is foretelling that his Church will be comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, which I am eternally grateful in words I can't describe.

This summer harvest is a much greater harvest than that of First Fruits, exactly 3000 souls.

Christ was crucified on Passover.
He was buried on Unleavened Bread.
He was raised on First Fruits.
He sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

And this is where we remain in history. We remain with the order to harvest the crops. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers few as Christ said in Matthew 9:37. We are to go and make disciples in every nation, baptizing them, and teaching them as Christ commanded in Matthew 28:19. We have this baptism on the Spirit just as the original disciples did and we are thus empowered to continue to harvest what belongs to God.

The feast of Trumpets is held on the first day of the seventh month. Having six months filled, the beginning of the seventh ushers in this feast. Perhaps that is why the book of John records the first miracle of Jesus as the first sign: he filled six water jars and turned it into good wine that people would get drunk on. ZL doesn't mention this passage, it just popped into my head.

The trumpet was the signal for the Israelite field workers to come into the Temple. And Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15: 52 that the trump shall sound and we will be changed. This is known as the Rapture of the Church. He writes in the last verse of this chapter for us to continue to labor knowing that we do not labor in vain. Christ is coming again. In a letter to the Thessalonians, he writes for us to be encouraged because Christ will descend with a sound of the trumpet.

In Exodus ZL explains there's a parallel for the Christian walk. God's people saw the Promised Land and that marked the end of their journey of death through the desert. Similarly The Rapture represents the end of our earthly journey of wilderness. Passover is salvation. The march through the Red Sea is baptism. Wandering in the desert is our life on earth. And Jericho, remember was the first city in the Promised Land that the Israelites conquered under Joshua's leadership; remember still that they marched around for six day and on the seventh day the marched around it seven times and then blew a great trumpet; and so Jericho is the rapture. See even our leaders have the same name. Joshua is the Hebrew name Yeshua just as the Greek transliteration (there are no Js in Greek, but English does weird things and thus we have Joshua and Jesus although they are the same name) Jesus is actually the Hebrew name Yeshua, meaning God is Salvation.

Eight days after Trumpets (that is on the ninth day) is the Day of Atonement. This is considered the highest of Holy Days and was spent reflecting on all the sins of the previous year for each individual. God took this day so seriously that he would kill anyone who did not observe this feast correctly.

This feast is not correlated to any day for Christian. This is wonderful because our atonement has already been bought. We will not experience Christ fulfilling this feast. This feast is the Second Coming of the Lord which occurs after the Rapture.

The prophet Zechariah records how mournful Israel will be when they reflect on their sin of rejecting their own Messiah:
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep butterfly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
And if one asks him, "What are these wounds on your back?" he will say, "The wounds I received in the house of my friends."
The seventh feast is six days later on the fifteenth and lasts seven days, this is on the seventh full moon of the year. In the wanderings of Israel through the desert for forty years, God protected them and even made their clothing last supernaturally and provided manna from heaven supernaturally. And so all Israel build little tents and shelters in their front yards and spend the week worshipping God for his protection and provision.

modern feast of Tabernacles
ZL says the feast of Tabernacles represents the Lord's shelter in the life to come, His great Tabernacle to exist in Jerusalem during the Kingdom Age. And so ends the Jewish festivals, with a great week of worshipping the Almighty.

ZL Conclusions:
The Seven Feast of Israel forecasts the entire career of the Messiah, the Jews, the Church, and even the other nations. He laid out the feasts in the calendar year in a manner that reflects in proportion the history of the Church.

I've always wondered why the festivals were so strangely clumped. If I were to set up a holiday schedule it would look pretty even and symmetric throughout the year, but God clumped several together and made them last different amounts of time. And he did so in a fashion that reflects his Plan that he had in mind since the beginning of time. This is how we can know and trust the Bible: it has told the future. If the Jews were willing to see at the time of Christ that he was the Christ, they would have recognized the pattern. Jesus said he fulfilled everything that was written not just in the Prophets but also the Law and the Psalms must be fulfilled (Luke 24:44). Let's see a single other religion accurately predict the future. Often people see Christianity as separate from Judaism, but it is my opinion that this is faulty since the New Testament records that we are grafted onto the Vine. We don't replace the Vine. For a long time in that first century Christians just belonged to "The Way" which was a sect of Judaism. And when we see our Salvation outlined without the feasts of the Jews it is hard to think we are not the same. If you find this offensive, my apologies. I don't mean it to be.

ZL goes on to point out that if we follow the feasts of Israel, then we must conclude a pre-tribulation rapture. And also his six working feasts and one of rest which has been a theme since the Creation account, and the fourth Commandment to honor the Sabbath day and keep it Holy. Now we can see why this is so important. We reflect on the amazing power of the Almighty in all his Creation and now we can see his outline of festivals and the foreshadowing of the Christ. If we honor the Sabbath by simply not doing work, we miss so much. I'm not legalistic and do not think there is one magical way to honor the Sabbath; I'm simply stating that you can do more than simply not doing anything.

Six thousand years, just like Jesus' six filled water jars, have passed since the history of man has started. Some have speculated that this means we should expect the next feast to be fulfilled this coming year. That would be great and exciting. Knowing or not knowing makes no difference though. You're either ready or you're not. If you're not ready and you die tomorrow, your fate is sealed. If you're ready and that day comes and goes, then you're still ready and you will still continue to live a life worthy of the calling.

Listen to these sermons by Jimmy Evans on the end times for his thoughts. But remember that it doesn't matter when the Rapture will be because you should live as if it will be today. Continue to make plans and live your life but be ready. How sad you will be if you die without Christ or if you are left behind during the tribulation.

ps- the second part of the book will also blow your mind and I'll write about that at a later date.

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