Monday, June 6, 2011
1. What were the names of the three Feasts/Holidays that the Israelites were required to celebrate?
Ex 23:15, Dt 16:16
2. What was the name of the month when Passover was celebrated?
3. Which season of the year was this?
4. What event in the NT replaces this Feast for Christians?
5. In NZ, which season of the year is this?
6. The first Feast/holiday of the religious year was celebrated in three parts. What were they?
7. Fifty days later another Feast/Holiday was held. It was called
Lev 23:15-21 Or
8. The last Feast/holiday occurred at the end of the religious calendar which was the beginning of the civil calendar and is part of the New Year celebrations.
What are the three parts?
Lev 23:26-32; Lev 16
9. Sabbaths (Lev 23)
Every …………………. Day is a Sabbath of ………………. a day of sacred
……………………………, when no ………Is done (Lev 23:3)
Every ………………… years, the land has a …………………………….
Do not ………………… or ……………the land (Lev 25:1-7)
Every seven Sabbaths of years or ……………………….. years (Lev 25:8), is ………………………………..(Lev 25:10)
10. Apart from the sacrifices which were performed by the priests, what were the Israelites required to do at their Feasts/Holidays?
11. Do you think we as Christians should celebrate more or different days of celebration than Sunday, Christmas and Easter? Which would you include/exclude and why?
The Bible says that ‘All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ (Tim 3:16)
Now when Paul wrote this he only had the Hebrew scriptures, what we call the Old Testament, but we have so much more - 27 writings in the NT – 4 gospel accounts, 1 historical account, numerous letters exhorting, explaining, encouraging, and one account of what is to come. How much more have we got – 66 books by 40 authors!
Do we need to be equipped for the work of God? Yes, let us not neglect the study of His Word.
Tonight, we will look at the topic of Feasts or holidays that the Israelites celebrated. I’m not suggesting that we copy these Feasts, but we study what they meant, why they were celebrated and how they were celebrated in order to learn a little more about the abundant mercy and grace of our God – to grow in knowledge and wisdom so that we may be fully equipped for every good work!
There were three feasts or holidays throughout the year that the Israelites were required to celebrate by coming to Jerusalem (Ex 23)
Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Harvest, Feast of Ingathering
The first group of Feasts included Passover and was celebrated in the month of Abib (Dt 16:1) or Nisan as it was called by the Babylonians. This was a spring feast and is equivalent to our Easter which we (in NZ) celebrate in the autumn.
Passover started on the 14th of the month, followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread from the 15th to the 21st, in which bread without leaven or yeast was eaten and culminating in the Feast of Firstfruits on the 16th of the month, in which a sheaf of barley was waved before the Lord
In the pagan world, spring was a time to remember new growth, new life in Agriculture and new born animals, but Israel was different and their spring feasts commemorated their liberation from bondage and slavery in Egypt and how God acted to save his people, bringing His people out in haste and providing for them.
The Feast of Unleavened bread is known as the Spring Feasts.
The Feast of Weeks is a summer Feast and occurred 49 days after the first sheaf of the harvest was waved (Feast of Firstfruits). Also known as the Feast of Harvest and Pentecost (which means 50, the number of days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread), and occurs sometime in May.
Both the Spring and Summer Feasts are prophetic and have been fulfilled in the cross of Jesus and the giving of the Spirit with the establishment of the church
The Autumn Feasts were a time of presenting Israel before the Lord for his favour, of cleansing and purifying from sins and to commemorate the journey from Egypt to the land of Canaan. But more than that to give thanks to God.
The prophetic fulfilment of the Autumn Feasts is believed to coincide with the future rapture of the church, and the return of Jesus. Therefore, accordingly, the Lord may return in Sept, which is the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.
However, the exact date is not known for sure and we should live as if the Lord is returning tomorrow! (Matt 24:45)
The autumn feasts/holidays, known as the Feast of Ingathering began with the Feast of trumpets and according to the civil calendar was the first day of the year, New Years day, trumpets were blown and Israel presented herself to God for his favour, followed by the day of Atonement, 10days later which was a day of fasting and repentance and concluding with the Feast of Tabernacles in which the people of Israel lived in tents to commemorate their time in the desert.
The Sabbaths were another holiday they celebrated, and included a weekly day of rest for people and animals, a seven yearly cycle for the land and a 50 year cycle for the poor, known as the Year of Jubilee. God said that He was the landowner and the people His tenants and that the land ownership needed to be redeemed if it had been sold for any reason. Slaves were set free and debts were cancelled.
Apart from the sacrifices which were performed by the priests, what were the Israelites required to do at their Feasts/Holidays? (Dt16:14; Lev 23:21)
• Be joyful
• Bring a gift
• Hold a sacred assembly
• Do no regular work
• Deny themselves ie fast maybe from food but also temporal pleasures
To conclude, times of remembrance and celebration are important to God. What and who do we remember and why? How do we celebrate the gift of God and all His blessings? What do we give to Him as freewill offerings? Do we come with a joyful heart or a resentful heart?
May God who is rich in mercy and grace be glorified in all we do!