ANNUAL FEAST DAYS PICTURE GOD'S MASTER PLAN OF SALVATION!
God's annual Feasts are listed in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16 — as well as recorded all throughout God's Word. These Annual Holy Days were commanded to be observed "forever" (Leviticus 23:14, 21, 31, 41). The New Testment Church observed the annual Sabbaths (Acts 2; 12:3-4; 18:21; 20:6, 16; 27:9; 1 Corinthians 16:8). These Sabbaths will continue to be observed during Christ's Millennial rule (Zechariah 14:1, 9, 16-19).
God's Annual Feast Days — Picture the Seven Steps in His Plan of Salvation — of Bringing Mankind into God's Kingdom. They Occur in the Following Order Each Year —
1. The Passover — Pictures the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 5:6) sacrificed for our sins, (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus established the New Testament Passover with the symbols of bread and wine (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
2. The Seven Days of Unleavened Bread — Typify purging the leaven of sin, malice and wickedness out of the believer's life — and partaking of Christ's nature — the "Bread of Life" — the "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:6-13; Luke 12:1, John 6:27-35).
3. The Feast of Firstfruits (Pentecost) — Pictures the small harvest of "begotten" followers of Christ who will be harvested at the "first resurrection" (Revelation 20:4-5), as "a kind of firstfruits" (James 1:18). It also pictures the coming of God's Spirit — the anniversary of the New Testament Church — which is recorded in Acts 2 — at Pentecost 31 AD.
4. The Feast of Trumpets — Points prophetically to the second coming of Jesus Christ — shortly before His Millenial rule of 1000 years. (Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 11:15-18; 19:15; Zechariah 14:9).
5. The Day of Atonement — Pictures the banishment of Satan, and man's becoming "at one" with God — at the beginning of the Millennium (Leviticus 16:8, 10, 15-27; Revelation 20:1-3).
6. The Feast of Tabernacles — Pictures the soon-coming Kingdom — under the Government of Jesus Christ and His saints — for 1000 years — the period known as the "Millennium". (Zechariah 14; Matthew 9:37-38; 13:1-30; Luke 12:32; John 7:6-14; Acts 17:31; Revelation 12:9; 20:4-6). It pictures that Christ came the first time and tabernacled with mankind while He was on earth (John 1:14). It also pictures that we as Christians are "temporary tabernacles" (2 Peter 1:14) — that our final home will be tabernacling with God the Father and Jesus Christ in Heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21, 22).
7. The Last Great Day — Foreshadows the great Judgment period — of at least 100 years —that will occur at the end of the 1000 year Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth (John 7:37; Leviticus 23:36, 39, 33-34;Isaiah 65, Revelation 20:11-12, ). It pictures one of the greatest truths in scripture — that God is not willing that any one should perish — that all mankind — who never had the opportunity and understanding of the Gospel — will be resurrected to life — to be given the opportunity for Salvation. It is the crowning revelation of God's mercy and love (2 Peter 3:8-9).
THE HARVEST SEASONS OF ISRAEL
It is important to understand that the Feast Days were built around the Harvest seasons of Israel. As such,they are a perfect picture of how God will harvest mankind into His Kingdom. Israel has a weather season totally unlike ours. The "promised land" has a five month rainless season from May to October. The Bible speaks of the "former" and "latter" rains The "former" or early rains were the first autumn showers. falling around the late part of October or early part of November. They prepared the ground for the seed, because the soil was almost too hard to plow without it. Three months without rain in the Autumn would ruin the hopes for most crops.
Two Main Crops
The two main crops the Israelites planted were wheat and barley, referred to in the KJV Bible as "corn". The heaviest rains fall the late part of December, extending into January and February. This is followed by the spring or "latter" rains. These late rains bring the crops to full maturity. The barley was just fit for the sickle at Passover. The wave sheaf offering was waved on the day after the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Fifty days later at Pentecost the wheat was ripe for of harvesting and the first fruit wheat loaves were waved before God.
The Late Summer and Fall Harvest
The harvest in late summer could more accurately be called the fruit harvest. Dates and figs were picked at this time as the main crop ripened about August. Olive trees ripened slowly and were picked as time permitted. Grapes were the most important crops. The actual harvesting began in August and the wine was squeezed out in September. Thus, when Israel kept the Feast of Tabernacles at the end of their Harvest seasons, they could look back and be thankful for their crops. It was the fruit of their labor and all the blessings of the Eternal from the prior year. It is interesting that the Hebrew word for "Feast" comes form a root word "chag" or "hag" , meaning to " move or dance in a circle". It was a time of dancing, rejoicing and great festivity. I hope you will take the to study the Feast Days that were built around the Harvest Seasons of Israel.
It was during these seasons that God ordained the Feasts; His appointed Holy Days. The Feasts throw a flood of light and revelation on the Master Plan of God to harvest mankind into His Kingdom!
This is a very concise outline of the Feasts Days We also recommend these articles for further insight on this subject —
GOD'S HOLY DAYS OR PAGAN HOLIDAYS-WHICH?
CHAIN REFERENCE YOUR BIBLE TO PROVE THE FEAST DAYS SHOULD STILL BE OBSERVED!
GOD'S HOLY DAY PLAN
DOES GOD HAVE A 7,000 YEAR PLAN?
Our good friends with the Church of God International provide this excellent booklet —
DID THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH OBSERVE THE SABBATH AND HOLY DAYS?