God’s Prophetic Calendar

The Feasts of Israel

God’s Prophetic Calendar          

WHAT Christian would argue with the statement, "Jesus is the center of attention in the New Testament"? But the position often loses some of its certainty when the statement is altered to say, "Jesus is the center of attention in the Old Testament."

Surely, there are dozens of Messianic prophesies found in the five books of Moses (Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomy), in the Psalms (41, 109, 27, 69, 22, 34, 16, 68, and 110) and in the Writings of the major and minor prophets (Isaiah, Micah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Zechariah) that are commonly recognized as looking forward to either the first or second coming of our Lord. But, since God is the same throughout the scriptures, both the original Hebrew and the later Greek, we see that He made layers of meaning pointing from the one to the other. We will see how God endowed layers of Messianic meaning to the instructions that He gave through Moses to Israel while they camped at Mt. Sinai. Some of this significance comes to light through a study of God’s own calendar of feasts, fasts and Sabbath observance as seen in the Book of Leviticus, especially in the 23rd chapter.

In 1988, I visited the small Miller Avenue Baptist Church in Mill Valley, California. I was a seeker after the truth about Jesus, had been singing Black Gospel music for several years (for fun, or so I thought) but couldn’t reconcile the idea of this gentile-seeming Jesus with my typical Jewish identity that defined itself as believing in "anything BUT Jesus." Pastor Kent Philpott said to me then, "No Christian can be an anti-Semite (most Jews assume anti-Semitism until shown otherwise), if he understands the Jewish roots of his own faith." This statement from a Baptist minister acted as a bridge to span the gap between my Jewish identity and my realization that Jesus was who He claimed to be. I hope that this feature will help you to see more clearly God’s plan of redemption throughout the ages and to bridge the gap between you and a Jewish friend, relative or neighbor by giving you a deeper understanding of your own Hebrew Scripture roots.

Over the next several issues, I will attempt to show how we see a full and wonderful picture of Jesus - His ministry, His life, His death and His coming again in Glory -through the lens of the Levitical Feasts. I will also bring facts and anecdotes from the history and observance of the Jews since the time of Jesus and from my own Jewish upbringing and experience.

Our study will begin with Passover, the first of the seven named feasts in Leviticus 23, and end with the Sabbath, the continuing, encompassing and most holy of the observances ordained by God, even to the point of including it in the "big ten"! I will insert links to other internet locations where studies on this subject can be found. Following is a chart outlining the Feasts of Israel. This chart and my study will define each feast by three main categories:

First is the temporal - this relates to the season of the year and requires certain duties and specific means of celebration.

Second is the symbolic - this relates to Israel’s relationship to God. He is holy and Israel is holy in His sight through their setting apart of these His holy days. It is also memorial, a way to remember what God did for His people Israel in the past.

Third is the prophetic - this relates to Jesus’ fulfilling the deeper meaning of these holy days, demonstrating God’s plan of redemption.

The Feasts of the Lord – God’s Prophetic Calendar

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 to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’"
Leviticus 23:1-2

Feast (Hebrew name)

Commanded In


Temporal & Symbolic Significance for Israel under the Law

Symbolic Significance for All God’s People




Ex 12:1-28, Lev 23:5, Num 9:1-5, Deut 16:1-8


(14th of Hebrew month of Nissan)

Redemption from bondage in Egypt

(1st Pilgrimage Festival)

Believers in Christ redeemed from bondage to sin

"You know that you were ransomed…not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."

1 Peter1:18-19



Lev 23:6-8, Deut 16:1-8


(15th- 21st of Hebrew month of Nissan)

Purging of all leaven

(symbol of sin)

All believers in Christ cleansed from sin and empowered to walk in newness of life

"Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed." 1 Cor 5:7

"For our sake, [God] made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21



(Yom Habikkurim)

Lev 23:10-14, Ex 23:19; 34:26


(16th of Nissan)

Thanksgiving to God for His provision of the first of the grain (barley) harvests, the promise of harvest to come

Christ, the First to rise from the dead – the promise of resurrection and eternal life for all who believe in Him

"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep…so also in Christ whall all be made alive." 1 Cor 15:20-22b



(Shavuoth / Pentecost)

Lev 15:21, Num 26:31

Late Spring, seven weeks after Passover – First wheat harvest

Thanksgiving to God for the first of the wheat harvests and

According to Oral Tradition, the time of the giving of the Law at Sinai

(2nd Pilgrimage Festival)

God’s first harvest of those redeemed in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles and

God’s Law written on the hearts of the redeemed

"When the day of Pentecost had come,…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…and there were added that day about three thousand souls." Acts 2:1,4,41b

"I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts." Jer 31:33




"I tell you, lift up your eyes and see how the fields are already white for harvest." John 4:35


(Rosh Hashanah)

Lev 23:23-25, Num 29:1-6

Early Autumn

(1st of Tishri, seventh month)

A solemn assembly – trumpets (shofar) blown to prepare for the national Day of Atonement

Announcing the Return of Jesus Christ, Judge of the world – Call to repentance – Gathering of Elect

Jesus said, "and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Mat 24:30b-31



(Yom Kippur)

Lev 23:26-32, Lev 16:1-34, Num 29:7


(10th of Tishri)

A solemn assembly for repentance and forgiveness under the Law – repeated annually

Final Judgment Day

Believers in Jesus forgiven by one atonement for all time

"…the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom…" 1 Tim 4:1b-2

"So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many…" Heb 9:28

"…and He is the atonement for our sins…" 1 John 2:2




Lev 23:33-34; 39-43


(15th of Tishri)

Harvest celebration and memorial of tabernacles in the wilderness

(3rd Pilgrimage Festival)

Joyous assembly – all peoples brought under the rule of King Messiah

"Behold the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them…" Rev 21:3


What this study is NOT:

This study is not an admonition to celebrate the Feasts as a means of gaining favor either with God or with people. In writing to the Colossians (2:16-17), Paul said, "Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a new moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

What this study IS:

In Romans Chapter 10, verse 4, Paul also wrote, "Christ is the end of the law, so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." The word ‘end’ does not mean elimination but rather completion or fulfillment. Jesus himself said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

In this study, we will see how.

  1. Passover was fulfilled in Jesus’ sacrificial death. 
  2. Unleavened Bread was fulfilled in His work on the cross.
  3. First Fruits was fulfilled in His resurrection from the dead.
  4. Pentecost was fulfilled by His sending the Holy Spirit. 
  5. Trumpets will be fulfilled by His Second Coming. 
  6. Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by His judgment.
  7. Tabernacles will be fulfilled by His Kingdom on earth. 
  8. Sabbath is endlessly fulfilled in resting in Him. 

Acknowledgement: Katie Coddaire - The Earthen Vessel.


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