Jehovah God calls his people to remember
Scripture: Deuteronomy 16:1-17
Aim: To focus attention on God’s requirements for His people Israel to keep seven feasts during the year in which they will worship and remember Jehovah’s blessings to them.
Golden Text: “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and the shall not appear before me empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee” (Deuteronomy 16:16-17).
The seven feasts that Jehovah required the Israelites to hold each year were set by Jehovah and were to be adhered to faithfully. They were designed to focus the people’s attention upon Jehovah and His blessings to them. Thus Jehovah required all males (including all families) to be present at the place of Jehovah’s choosing (vs. 6-7, 16, first the tabernacle and later the temple) three times each year.
These times are given as the feast of Unleavened Bread, the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the feast of Tabernacles (See Golden Text above). Every one was required and expected to bring a freewill offering according to the blessing of the Lord upon him (vs. 10, 17). This was not the required 10th, the tithe, but an offering freely given to the Lord because of His blessings upon them.
1. The feast of Passover, the feast of Unleavened bread, and the feast of First-fruits were celebrated together (vs. 1-8). Passover was the first feast instituted. It was instituted on the night before the Israelites left the land of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron (vs. 3). There was to be a sacrifice of a lamb, which was roasted with fire and eaten by the people.
This feast is a remembrance of the deliverance from bondage; thus, is a celebration of salvation from bondage. It is fulfilled in the believer’s salvation from sin when believing on Christ as Savior. This feast was about April 15.
The feast of Unleavened bread (vs. 3-8) started the day after Passover and lasted for a week. All leaven (yeast, etc.) was to be moved out of the dwelling. This was the origin of our “spring cleaning.” They would remove all traces of leaven and eat nothing with leavening in it for a week. This feast speaks to us of consecration to God by getting rid of all sin in the life.
The feast of First-fruits was held on April 16. The first ripe grain, usually barley, was plucked and offered before the Lord in anticipation of the coming harvest. Christ is the First-fruits. He was raised from the dead and when He returns, the saints of the Church shall be resurrected.
2. The feast of Pentecost, Feast of Weeks (vs. 9-12). Fifty days were counted from the day of First-fruits. That day was the Feast of Weeks. It was the ending of the harvest season about June 6. Pentecost was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came to dwell in the believer as recorded in Acts Chapter 2.
3. The feasts of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles are held in October. Trumpets was on the first day of the month. Atonement was on the 10th day of the month. Tabernacles was for a week beginning on the 15th day of the month. Trumpets will be fulfilled when the trumpet is sounded for the return of Christ. Atonement will be completed when Christ raises the saints from the grave. Tabernacles will be fulfilled when the saints are living with Christ in eternity.
These feasts were vital to the life and worship of Israel. They were types of the deliverance of the sinner from sin, the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer, the coming of Christ for the believer, and the eternal abode with Christ in a redeemed body and spirit.
“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!” Have you yet taken them as your feasts? You may by receiving Christ today.