Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
By: Michael Anderson
Watch the Video Lesson! COMING SOON!
This is Part 2 of last week’s lesson. In this lesson, we are going to make the connections between the Feasts of the Old Testament and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as, the Great Commission and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are going to look at the story of the last week Christ spent on earth before the Resurrection from the aspect of what was happening as the Jewish people were celebrating the first three feasts. Then we will look at the fourth feast which is the Feast of Harvest. We call that one Pentecost. All seven feasts are pictures of Christ! The last three are yet to be fulfilled as prophecy. I hope this will give us a better understanding from our point of view as Christians.
Let’s do a little refresher:
● The first three feasts are Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. They always happen in the spring in the first month of the Jewish calendar (March to April for us). All three feasts happen in a total of eight days and are often referred to collectively as "Passover."
● Next (fourth), the Feast of Harvest happens fifty days later at the beginning of the summer. By New Testament times, this feast had come to be known by its Greek name pentékosté - translated Pentecost.
● The last three feasts are the Feast of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. They happened in the fall of the year and happen within a twenty one day period. Over the years they have become known by one name instead of three which is the Feast of Tabernacles. These appointed days may be connected to fulfillment of the scriptures concerning the end times. That is something we may look at at a later date.
All of these Feasts are also known as High Sabbaths. The Lord commanded them to observe these days as High Sabbaths no matter what day of the week they may fall on. As we have said before, Sabbath does not mean the seventh day. It means a Holy Day of rest unto the Lord.
Lesson Objective: Connecting the Feast to the Harvest
In this lesson, we will learn the importance of the provisions of God and the need to remember what He has done, as well as, what He is yet to do! We will learn how God can teach us by using things like food, drink and eating together, to show us our need for Him and our need for each other!
● The Lord designed the feasts of the Old Testament not only to remember what the Lord did, but also to teach about the coming Messiah.
● The feasts of the Old Testament reflect the Lord Jesus Christ and although we are not commanded to observe them, we can learn valuable, life changing and life sustaining things from the study of the Feast.
● The statements made by Jesus Christ concerning Himself as the Bread of Life, the Water of Life, and the True Food spoken of in John 6:55, He is telling us that He and His Words are as fundamental to our spiritual life as surely as food is fundamental to our physical life.
● The feasts also teach us that we are to Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and gather the fruit from his fields that are white unto Harvest!
Connecting the Feast and the Harvest!
Passion Week - Day by Day - These are some of the events as I understand them from the day of the Lord's triumphal entry to the day of His Resurrection. The following scenario seems most likely to me, but I will preface all of this by saying that there is quite a bit of confusion for many Bible students. The confusion comes from the fact that different calendars where in use during New Testament times other than the one that was actually referred to by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John! I prefer to use the Word of God and trust the Lord by taking the information that God put in His Word and giving it priority over what other scholars have tried to deduce and have written. I've read many hours on this subject and I am reminded of what a wise friend of mine told me recently: “I do not need to defend God's Word! His Word needs no defense!” If God's Word says it, whether you or I believe it or not, it is true! I do believe every Word of His is true! I am writing this just to say, if you're reading on the web about these events, always read with a cautious eye! Also, I will remind you again, never trust what I say or write! Always go to the Scriptures and see what God's Word says for yourself.
Passion Week - From the Humble Ride on a Colt to the Holy Resurrection of the Christ!
Sunday: (Jewish calendar - It was in the first month which is called Nisan, of the Jewish year (our March -April) and it was the first day of the week called Yom HaRishonin in Hebrew. The first day of the week begins at sundown on Saturday and goes through sundown on Sunday)
Jerusalem was one of the busiest places around. Some estimates put the crowd at three to four million people.
As families were entering Jerusalem and the surrounding area to celebrate the Passover in the coming week, they brought their lambs with them for the sacrifice. And the tenth of Nisan was the day which the Lord had instructed the people through Moses, to choose their sacrificial lamb for the Passover. (Exodus 12:1-5) The lamb is called the Paschal Lamb (which literally means Passover Lamb). Many people were already camped out or had rooms in Jerusalem and had their lambs with them. God commanded them all the way back in Leviticus 23 to select the Paschal Lamb on the tenth for the sacrifice that would occur on the afternoon of the fourteenth, just a few hours before the Passover began.
The lamb was to be without any blemish. It was to be perfect!! After each family had chosen their lamb, it would then be taken to a priest who examined the lamb thoroughly and then would pronounce the lamb to be without flaw. The lamb could then be used for the sacrifice. Each family was to keep their lamb with them in their home and observe it for the week to make sure there was no defect found in this lamb. The lamb would actually live in the house or tent with the family during this time. It was not uncommon for children to become attached to these lambs by the time that they would need to be sacrificed. Although this might seem cruel, I believe what God designed this whole scenario for was to teach them the cost of sin. The children not only gave up a dear pet but they also had to eat it on the night of the Passover. Each and every adult in Jerusalem knew what this was like when they were children.
Each Paschal Lamb would then be examined by a priest sometime during the next four days to see if the lamb was perfect. They would look for something wrong with the lamb. If they found nothing, the lamb was approved for sacrifice.
It was on this very day, the tenth day of Nisan, that Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people cheered and called out to the Lamb of God, the son of David! The people shouted “Hosanna! Hosanna to the King!” They did not realize it, but as they shouted, they had chosen their Paschal Lamb!
Monday: (Jewish calendar - the day begins at sundown on Sunday and goes through sundown on Monday)
The next day (Monday), the people were busy carrying out the preparation leading up to Passover and the appointed seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, both of which would begin after dusk of the fourteenth of Nisan and end at dusk of the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan. (See: Exodus 12:15-20 and Leviticus 23:6-8.) During the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the people were not allowed to have any yeast inside their homes and they were not allowed to eat any bread with yeast in it. So, on the eleventh of Nisan (Monday), the people would begin to clean and scrub and remove every bit of yeast that could be found in their house or tent just as the Lord commanded through Moses 1,300 or so years earlier. The whole house would be cleaned thoroughly to avoid any accidental yeast being left behind in dust or crumbs. In modern times it is very common for practicing Jews to even move all of the appliances in a Jewish household so that no crumbs or dust are left underneath them that may contain yeast. The LORD used yeast as a representation of sin to the Jewish people when He was teaching them how to worship at the Tabernacle. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to teach them to put the sin out of their lives and be holy before the Almighty Holy God!
Jesus enters the Temple on this day and throws the money changers out of the House of God! Jesus keeps the command! The sin that was present in His Father’s House (the yeast) was removed!
Beginning on this day (Monday), Jesus was also thoroughly examined by the priests and religious leaders as well. They were not doing it as a prelude to Passover! They were doing it to kill Him! They constantly questioned Him with trick questions trying to force Him into giving some answer they could use against Him. But no matter how hard they tried, they could not find a fault in Him. So just like the Paschal Lamb, Jesus stood up to the priest’s examination. See John 7 for some past history on this……
Tuesday: (Jewish calendar - the day begins at sundown on Monday and goes through sundown on Tuesday)
This day is a continuation of the preparation that the Jewish people were doing to get ready for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is also a very busy day for the Lord. Jesus had gone to Bethany which was about two miles away from Jerusalem. Jesus had spent the night in Bethany with His good friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Then, on Tuesday morning, Jesus went back to Jerusalem and began to teach the people. Jesus taught at a frantic pace. He knew His time was close at hand. He teaches and confronts the Pharisees on what would actually be His last day of public teaching and ministry before the crucifixion. It may be on this day that the Pharisees actually made the final decision to have Jesus killed. That night, Jesus does not go back to Bethany but instead, spends the night on the Mount of Olives.
Wednesday: (Jewish calendar - the day begins at sundown on Tuesday and goes through sundown on Wednesday)
Wednesday is a silent day for our Lord. No one is really sure what He did all day on Wednesday because the day is not mentioned in any of the gospels. It is likely that He did go back to Bethany on Wednesday morning and spend the day with His friends and His disciples. It is on this day that Judas strikes a deal with the Pharisees to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
Thursday: (Jewish calendar - the day begins at sundown on Wednesday and goes through sundown on Thursday)
Jesus has His disciples preparing for their last Seder Passover meal. Normally they would have eaten unleavened bread, bitter herbs and a roasted lamb that had been cooked on a spit (rotisserie). But, on this day, the disciples were setting up an upper room, owned by “a certain man,” and some strange things were happening. They were having the Passover meal a day early; on top of that, there was no lamb to cook! The enemies of Jesus are quiet on this day. They are about to strike. They had already worked out a plan of how they were going to kill Jesus. And, there was a traitor who would help them.
Friday: (Jewish calendar - the day begins at sundown on Thursday and goes through sundown on Friday)
On this evening (our Thursday evening), Jesus meets with His disciples for this unusual meal, that was unlike any Passover meal they had ever celebrated, the disciples were probably very confused. All four Gospels call this day “preparation day”.
It would be on this day, the Day of Preparation on which Jesus would be killed. Jesus identifies who the traitor is, but that night no one fully understood what He was saying. Peter is cautioned about what is coming later that night and He teaches his disciples one last lesson about love, humility and service by washing their feet.
The mood is different from anything they had ever experienced in the past. Instead of a celebration of what God did that night so long ago in Egypt, there seems to be nothing but dread for what was about to come. Traditionally Psalm 113, 114 and probably 115 were sung before the last cup. The Passover meal always used four cups of wine. This was another strange thing for the disciples, because that night Jesus used only one cup. Then they sang the last song they would sing together before the crucifixion. (Matthew 26:30) Most likely they sang Psalm 116-118 as they headed toward the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane.
Here are a few excerpts from what they would probably have sung that night:
“The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!’... For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.… What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,... O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving…” (Psalm 116:3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 16-17 ESV).
In these words, we can see and even feel some of the anguish that Jesus must have been feeling at that moment. In just a few minutes, He will be praying in the garden, “Father, take this cup from me…” just before He is arrested in the garden. He is put on multiple trials, beaten, questioned and is forced to take the place of a murderer named Barabbas.
Something you may not have paid attention to in the past is the fact that the priest do not enter into Pilate's palace in order to accuse Jesus there. Instead they incite the crowd to come to a public place and scream for the death of Jesus. The reason they would not go in is that if they entered Pilate's Palace there may be bread or yeast inside that palace and somehow they would be defiled and unable to participate publicly as priest in the rest of the holidays of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They wanted to be able to stand in front of crowds and have the recognition…
Jesus is forced to carry His own cross as the people of Jerusalem prepare for their celebration that begins that afternoon and evening. With no sleep and multiple beatings, Jesus falls under the weight of the cross as He is led away that morning. He is led through the gates and to the place where His life's blood would be spilled. Again I find myself wondering, where on that mountain was Abraham going to offer Isaac when the Lord stopped him? Could it have been at that place where the crosses were raised?
It is at the third hour of the day (three hours after sunrise), the morning sacrifice is made in the Temple. This was a daily sacrifice that was given six days each week but not on the sabbath. It was at the same time that Jesus is nailed to the cross “It was the third hour when they crucified Him.” (Mark 15:25) As He hangs upon the cross, people continue to gather outside of the Temple gates with their sacrificial lambs. Tens of thousands of lambs would be slaughtered that day. At about the ninth hour of the day, the gates of the Temple are thrown open wide. The people were allowed into the Temple in waves of about 3,000 at a time.
As the people entered the Temple they would be singing the hallel Psalms. (Psalms 113-118) Imagine! Thousands and thousands of people singing the hallel Psalms together. Now look past the walls of the Temple in your minds eye... Only a few hundred yards away! Out on the side of the mountain called Moriah where three crosses were standing. And in the middle, THE Paschal Lamb! THE Lamb of God was hanging on the center cross. In His ears, were ringing the songs that He Himself had given to man. Some of the words He would have heard while this huge crowd sang just beyond the Temple walls were:
“The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, do save, we beseech You; O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; We have blessed you from the house of the Lord” (Psalm 118:22-26).
Just seven days earlier, they were singing some of the same words as Jesus entered Jerusalem! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Now, they are singing them as He takes His last breath.
They immediately (at the ninth hour) begin killing those lambs and shedding the blood there in the Temple. They would use a cup to catch the blood of the lamb and that would be poured into a larger pot/bucket which would then be passed to a priest. In a line like a fireman's bucket brigade, the blood would be passed up to the altar where the last priest in the line would throw the blood onto the altar. The Blood would splash onto the altar and run down onto the ground. Then, they passed the bucket back out.
Blood would have been everywhere. It would be gushing off of the altar and down into the drainage channels and out of the Temple area. It was also a command that the bones of the lamb could not be broken, so only their blood would be spilled. At the same hour that the Temple gates were opened and the lambs when slaughtered, Jesus Himself takes His last breath and dies.
The priest asked Pilate to have the legs broken of the men that were on the crosses so that they would no longer be able to push themselves up to breathe. They did this because the Sabbath and Passover, which was a High Sabbath was about to begin and it would somehow defile them and Jerusalem if these men were still on the cross bleeding during the High Sabbath of Passover. When they break the bones of the thieves next to Him, they turn to break Jesus’ legs, but He is already dead. So, just like the Paschal Lamb of Passover, none of Jesus' bones were broken. Within the next three hours, He would be buried quickly and unceremoniously because of the short amount of time left before Passover began. I wonder if you could hear the sound of the stone being rolled over the entrance of the tomb just as the sun went down and it literally was the Passover.
Saturday: (Jewish calendar - the day begins at sundown on Friday and goes through sundown on Saturday)
(Friday evening) It is officially Passover and the beginning of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Jewish people would begin roasting their lamb that had been slaughtered. They would eat the lamb together as a family that night along with the bread and bitter herbs. They were commanded by the Lord not to leave any of the lamb until morning. They would either eat all of the meat or they would burn whatever they could not eat.
While this is going on, Jesus is in the grave. The disciples are hiding and the women are preparing spices and supplies that they need to treat the body as soon as Passover, which this year happened to be the weekly Sabbath, was ended.
Sunday: (Jewish calendar - the day begins at sundown on Saturday and goes through sundown on Sunday)
Luke 24:1 - But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. Resurrection morning! This day is also the Feast of Firstfruits. The Lord commanded the Israelites to bring sheaves of some of their first crops, probably barley since it is the first ground crop to ripen for the Israelites, and wave them before the Lord (called the Wave Offering) on the first day of the week (Sunday) after Passover. The day is about celebrating the increase that God has given for that which is coming out of the ground.
Jesus is the firstborn from among the dead! He is the first fruit to come up out of the ground and live life eternal. The Feast of the Firstfruits is a clear picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus ascends to heaven forty days later and sends the Holy Spirit during the next feast! Harvest! The fourth festival is the Festival of Harvest. Also called Pentecost. It happens fifty days after Passover. It is also a High Sabbath. On this day the Holy Spirit came down upon the 120 in the upper room. They then preach the gospel to the crowds and three thousand souls are harvested on the very day of the Feast of Harvest! (Acts 2:1-4)
It seems like most Christians do not realize that Pentecost is a Jewish festival. This feast had been happening since the time of Moses. As Christians, we recognize the day as the coming of the Holy Spirit but do not celebrate it as a holiday? I wonder why the church does not do that? We celebrate other holidays that have nothing to do with Christianity? For the Jews, it is the second most important day of the year. The Lord gave “Firstfruits” to the church on that day! The Holy Spirit came to dwell in the hearts of believers permanently on this day! That had never happened before! On that day, 120 go out and testify about Jesus and 3,000 souls are gathered in on the day of the Feast of the Harvest!
For the Jews the Festival of harvest was one day a year. For us it is still going on! We live in the Festival of Harvest! Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35) The next three festivals do not occur until the fall of the year. After all of the harvest is in, the Feast of Booths is observed. We have yet to see them play out as fulfilled prophecy.
The obvious end to this study is obviously, the fields that are ripe unto harvest. I believe the “fields are white for harvest” is a direct reference to the picture God painted for us in the harvesting of manna in the wilderness. The Bread of Heaven that the Israelites were gathering every morning except on the holy day of rest. The manna is a clear picture of Jesus, who is the true Bread of Heaven! Fields are ripe because the Spirit is out ahead of us working on those who need to receive Christ as Savior. The harvest is ripe, but there are not many that will go into the field and actually pick the harvest.
What do we learn from the feasts? We have gained knowledge about the connections between the feasts and the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Messiah’s death, burial and resurrection, but I do not believe that is the main thing that the Lord is wanting to teach us! The big picture teaches us the message that God would have us to hear! It is the connection between the feasts and the harvest! it is the command of Christ to GO! Pick the harvest! Tell people what you know about Jesus Christ! Lead the lost to salvation! Tell them of the Lamb of God whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of their sins! Tell them of the need to remove the leaven (sin) from their lives and that there is only one that can accomplish that for them! Tell them, He is the one who rose from the dead on that first Resurrection morning as the firstfruits of a Great Harvest!
How many people have you harvested for Christ? His fields are ripe and all He is waiting on is... you!
God speaks through Moses as he tells the people God's instructions concerning the feasts of the Lord.
God acts by using His servant, Moses to teach the people about the feasts which are not only designed for Israel to worship of the Lord God, but also as prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.
God reveals Himself as the God of grace and mercy as He allows the children of Israel to observe these feasts and receive forgiveness of sins even when they are rebelli
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