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GOD’S PLAN FOR THE CHURCH AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE

By Susan Nikirk

PART FIVE

THE SPRING FEASTS

We are living in a very prophetic time, where biblical prophecy is unfolding before our eyes. God’s plan of redemption through Yeshua The Messiah is embroidered throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation. An area of great significance that the Church has very little revelation on is the Feasts of The Lord. There are seven Feasts of The Lord, each one points to Yeshua past, present, and future. As stated in my previous article on "The Appointed Times", God set definite festivals for all his children. (Gen. 1:14, Ps. 104:19, Lev. 23) God’s calendar has never been changed or terminated by Him and is still in the process of being prophetically fulfilled by Yeshua. There is definite veiled information hidden in the Feast days that the Spirit of God wants to reveal to the Church; which will unlock more of the power of God. In this article I will present a short synopsis of the four Spring Feasts which are: Passover (Pesach), The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzot), The Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim), The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), also known as Pentecost. (Lev. 23:4-22)

When God instituted His spiritual calendar, it began on Nisan one, which was to be "the beginning of months". (Ex. 12:2) It was at this time that the Lord redeemed Israel, His "firstborn son" (Ex. 4:22), in order to serve Him. The most ancient of the Feasts of The Lord is Passover (Pesach), which was first celebrated on Nisan 14/15 on the evening before the Israelites left Egypt for the Promised Land. (Lev. 23:5) The Hebrew word "Pesach" means, "to pass over". In order that Pharaoh would finally let the Hebrew people go, God was about to send the angel of death throughout Egypt, killing the firstborn. God proclaimed that there would be deliverance for every household which applied the blood of their own sacrificial lamb to their doorpost. God would "pesach", pass over that house upon seeing the blood of the sacrifice, and not allow the death of the firstborn. (Ex. 12:13) Both the Hebrew people and the stranger (Gentiles) that joined themselves to the Israelites and applied the blood to the doorposts were spared the judgment of God. (Ex. 12:23b, 38) This is a perfect picture of the shed blood of Messiah on our behalf. Yeshua, the perfect Lamb of God, died to take away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) "In his forbearance, he had passed over…the sins people had committed in the past." (Rom. 3:25) Three days later Moses led the children of Israel and the strangers that joined them through the Red Sea, where they became the nation of Israel.

Today, this miraculous deliverance begins its celebration in what is known as the Pesach Seder (Passover service and meal). Yeshua celebrated this same Pesach Seder with his disciples. Most of the Church knows this to be called the Last Supper. What the Church calls Communion actually comes from this Pesach Seder. Without knowledge of the Pesach Seder that Yeshua participated in, it is impossible to have a full revelation of what took place. We need to understand that the elements referred to as the blood and body of Messiah was not just an event that took place at the Last Supper, but was instituted over a thousand years prior to Calvary. One of the key focus points of the Seder is the demonstration of the four cups of wine, which highlight the four promises given to Moses from God in Exodus 6:6-7. These promises are called the four "I wills". Unfortunately in the New Testament only the first and third cup are written about in Luke 22:17, 20. The third cup is called the cup of redemption, which points to the fact that the Israelites were "bought back, redeemed" from Egyptian slavery. What an amazing fulfillment could be seen as Yeshua took the cup of redemption and said "This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matt. 26:28) From that point on, true disciples of Yeshua could not only celebrate the redemption from Egypt, but also the spiritual redemption found through faith in God’s Messiah.

When God instituted His spiritual calendar, He stated that the Passover was to be kept by the Israelites "forever" and "throughout your generations". (Ex. 12:14, 24, 42, 13:10) God commanded the strangers (Gentile converts) who had joined themselves to the commonwealth of Israel to also celebrate the Passover. (Ex. 12:48,49, Nu. 9:14, 15:15-16, Eph. 2:19) Torah requires that converts be treated as equals. Passover points to the future day of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9), as Yeshua said "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God". (Luke 22:15-16) There is tremendous Messianic symbolism in the Seder, and I suggest that every believer participate in one.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzot) begins on Nisan 15, lasts for seven days, and is part of the Passover. (Lev. 23:6-8) It reminds us of the hurried exodus of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt; when they did not have time to let their bread rise. Therefore, they ate unleavened bread on their journey into the desert to meet with God. In observing this Feast all leaven is to be removed from the house, and only unleavened bread is to be eaten. The Hebrew word for leaven is "chametz", which means, "decay, corruption, sour". Leaven in the Bible is a symbol of sin. As leaven must be removed from the houses during this time, so must sin be removed from our lives. The bread known as matzot has great symbolism; it is flat with lines and holes in it. It says in the scriptures that the Messiah was pierced, wounded and by His stripes we are healed. (Ps. 22:16, Is. 53:5, I Pet. 2:24) Remember Yeshua took the bread and said at the Passover meal, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." Paul taught the spiritual message of Passover and the Corinthian church observed the Festival. "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (I Co. 5:7-8) The Lord is coming back for a holy Church without spot, wrinkle, or blemish.

The Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim) is celebrated during the Passover week. (Lev. 23:9-14) When the Israelites entered the Promised Land which flowed with milk and honey, they were to present an offering of the first fruits of the land to the Lord God. As part of the Temple ceremony, the priest would take some of the barley, lift it up, and wave it to the Lord in the sight of all the people. One of the foundational doctrines of our faith is the resurrection of Messiah. This event was foreshadowed in the Feast of First Fruits, where not only did Messiah die on Passover, but He rose on the Feast of First Fruits. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (Jn. 12:32) The apostle Paul had revelation connecting the event of the resurrection of Messiah to this Feast. "But Messiah has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." (I Co. 15:20) After the fourth century, when the Roman Empire declared itself to be Christian and separated from their Hebrew roots, the Church eventually integrated certain pagan celebrations. Passover and First Fruits were no longer celebrated on the days that God set in the Bible. The Roman Church tried to create a picture of the resurrection by messianizing the pagan celebration of Ishtar, the goddess of spring, calling it Easter, which is still observed today. The well-known symbols of eggs, rabbits, chicks, and candy are deceptions to camouflage the biblical foundation of the Feast. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection when it really occurred, on The Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim), as a remembrance of His fulfilling this "type" and "shadow" on that day? Yeshua was resurrected, the first fruits of those who sleep in their graves; therefore this Feast is a great hope and reminder of our resurrection at His second coming. The early Church didn’t just celebrate the resurrection day, but always observed and celebrated The Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and The Feast of First Fruits. Together these feasts brought a clear picture of Messiah bringing us redemption from sin and the gift of eternal life.

The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) stands out as one of the most dramatic festivals. It occurred fifty days after the first Passover in Egypt when the Hebrew people came to Mount Sinai and received the Torah (first five books of Moses and the oral law). (Lev. 23:15-22) In Hebrew the word "Shavuot" means "weeks", and stands for the seven weeks during which the Hebrew people prepared themselves for the giving of the Torah. During this time they rid themselves of the scares of bondage, immorality, and became a holy nation ready to stand before God. The rabbis have compared this event to a wedding between God and the Hebrew people. Just as a bride today gets herself ready to meet her groom, so the Hebrew people got themselves ready to become His special nation and He became their God. For one year the Israelites camped at Mount Sinai and were instructed from God on holy living, which entailed the 613 commandments in the Torah. These commandments were God’s dowry to His people. Much of the Church today does not even acknowledge this dowry.

Today the Church calls this Feast Pentecost, (a Greek word meaning fiftieth), where the Holy Spirit came upon the believers. (Acts 2:1-4) In order to have a fuller revelation of this event, Acts 2:1 should read as follows: "The festival of Shavuot arrived, and the believers all gathered together in one place." We need to be aware that as the disciples were gathered together waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit, they were in obedience to the scriptures and observing Shavuot, celebrating the giving of the Torah. They were reading specific assigned scriptures from Exodus and Ezekiel which spoke about incredible signs and wonders like the fire, smoke, and lightening that were seen on that day. We know that this same fire came upon them, and what we know as the birth of the New Testament Church began. Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals in which the Israelites were commanded to celebrate in Jerusalem. This is the reason that there was a multitude of people from every nation in Jerusalem at that particular time and three thousand new believers in Yeshua were added. (Acts 2:5, 41)

There is much prophetic significance in Shavuot. One is the offering of the two loaves of bread unto the Lord. (Lev 23:17) These two loaves are baked with leaven, which we know is a type of sin, they represent the Jew and Gentile, both not perfect coming together into one new man. (Eph.2:15) Another prophetic sign has to do with the book of Ruth, which is also read during this Feast. Shavuot is the time of the wheat harvest in the land of Israel. Ruth, a Gentile, returned with her Jewish mother in law, Naomi, to the land of Israel during the time of the beginning of the harvest. One of the commandments given regarding Shavuot was Leviticus 23:22, where it states that the corners of a field being harvested must be left for the poor and the stranger (Gentile). It was because of this Levitical law that Ruth, a Gentile, met and married Boaz, a Jew, bringing forth a son, who became the ancestor of our Messiah, Jesus/Yeshua. Shavuot also points to the future of God’s promise of the latter day great harvest of souls.

Through man’s ignorance, pride, and the deception of Satan, Jews and Christians have been robbed of the true Messianic message and prophecies contained within the Lord’s Feasts. Biblical holy days have been replaced by Romanized Church traditions with pagan roots. The Lord’s Feasts have become "The Jewish Holidays" and the biblical examples of Yeshua found in the Feasts have been discarded. Yeshua said, "I am the truth," and the truth about Him is to be found and celebrated in every Feast of God’s calendar, including the Sabbath. These Feasts are for all who are fellow citizens in God’s kingdom and members of God’s household. God chose the Jews, anointed a people, appointed a priesthood, and gave an annual schedule of events that was intended to be a blessing to Jews and non-Jews everywhere. Christianity without Judaism is rootless. Proverbs 22:28 says, "Remove not the ancient landmarks that thy fathers set."

Next In The Series: "The Fall Feasts".  Go There >>

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