THE FEASTS OF THE LORD: GOD'S APPOINTED TIMES
by David Kiern
Have you ever wondered why God created the lights in the sky? The answer is found on the very first page of Scripture:
“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night.
They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years.’”
The Hebrew word for festivals is mo’adim, which is more accurately translated as “appointed times.” Established at the creation of the world, with the details given later at Mount Sinai, the Biblical Feasts of the LORD are uniquely designed to be divine appointments between God and His people.
The Feasts were major events in ancient Israel. Three times a year, Jewish pilgrims would journey to Jerusalem and worship God alongside their brothers and sisters from all 12 tribes.
The Bible records a massive revival during the Feast of Passover under King Hezekiah. Another spiritual awakening came in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah during the Feast of Tabernacles, as the exiles were returning home from Babylon.
During the first century, Jewish historian Josephus estimates that 2 million worshipers came up to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.
But all that changed after Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. For nearly two thousand years, the Holy Days in Israel were largely forgotten. With the Jews expelled from the Land and Jerusalem in ruins, the celebrations, prayers and songs ceased.
But then, a miracle began to take place which was prophesied long ago...
THE FEASTS RETURN TO ISRAEL
A rebirth of the Feasts of the LORD in Israel began to unfold in the late 19th century as courageous Jewish immigrants returned to their homeland. They began farming again, physically connecting them to the agricultural cycles which anchor the Feasts. They took up residence in Jerusalem again, reviving the Biblical destination for worshipers. And in recent decades, air travel has made it possible for Jews who live all over the world to easily visit the Land during the festivals.
Not since the days of the 1st century have so many Jewish families celebrated the appointed times of God throughout the Land of Israel.
CHRISTIANS AND THE FEASTS
A spiritual awakening is underway, not only amongst the Jewish people, but throughout the Christian world as well. More Christians today recognize and participate in the Biblical Festivals on some level than at any time since the first century. This is not a brand new phenomenon, but a rebirth of an old practice. Jesus and His Apostles celebrated the Feasts year after year.
The earliest followers of Yeshua, both Jew and Gentile, participated in the Biblical Festivals as a natural part of their faith. Paul even encourages his Gentile audience in Corinth not to be discouraged as they observed the Biblical Holy Days, even though they were being mocked for it:
“Therefore, do not let anyone pass judgment on you in matters of food or drink, or in respect to a festival or new moon or Shabbat.
These are a foreshadowing of things to come, but the reality is Messiah.”
Paul’s phrase “things to come” refers to the Messianic Kingdom, sometimes called the Millennium Reign of Christ, that we still await. Just as Jews see the Sabbath as a foreshadow of the World to Come, Christians see the Biblical Holy Days as foreshadows of the work of the Messiah—what He has accomplished in the past and what He will accomplish in the future.
The Spring Feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread and Pentecost) look back at the death, resurrection and ascension of Yeshua and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Fall Feasts (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles) look forward to the return of Yeshua, the complete removal of sin from the hearts of Believers and the everlasting dwelling of God with man.
The seven Feasts of the LORD give mankind the opportunity to commemorate the powerful works of God through the Nation of Israel. They provide a framework to teach children about salvation and the redemption to come. And they allow congregations to partake in the greatest narrative the world has ever known.
Read more about the Biblical Feasts of Israel in our new hardcover coffee table book, I AM ISRAEL: The Believer's Guide to the Rebirth of the Promised Land.
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