Leviticus 23 describes 7 feasts that the children of Israel are to proclaim, in their seasons, as holy convocations. These 7 feasts are the feasts of the LORD.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.”
– Leviticus 23:1-2
“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.”
– Leviticus 23:4
A convocation, מקרא miqra in Hebrew, is a “public assembly” and importantly also a “rehearsal”.
According to Leviticus 23, there 7 feasts of the LORD:
1. Passover, פסח Pesach
2. Unleavened Bread, חג המצות Hag Ha-Matzot
3. Firstfruits, ראשית קציר Reshit Katzir
4. Pentecost, שבועות Shavuot
5. Trumpets, יום תרועה Yom Teruah
6. Atonement, יום כיפור Yom Kippur
7. Tabernacles, סוכות Sukkot
Today, most of these feasts are marked as festivals by the Jews, and are also holidays in Israel. Incidentally, the word “holiday” derives from the Old English for “holy day”.
Of the 7, Jews today do not mark firstfruits, and they have combined passover and unleavened bread together.
ראש השנה Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year and a time when the shofar is blown, is regarded to be equivalent to the feast of trumpets, Yom Teruah.
The first 3 feasts occur in spring, usually sometime between March and April. The fourth occurs usually sometime between May and June. And the last 3 occur in autumn, usually sometime between September and October.
All 7 feasts are prophetically meaningful, marking an event in the grand scheme of things. This is why the feasts are described as “holy convocations”.
The first 4 feasts have been fulfilled by the first coming of Jesus Christ. The last 3 remain unfulfilled, and pertain to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Here are the 7 feasts of the LORD, in some detail:
1. Passover, Leviticus 23:5
“In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover.”
– Leviticus 23:5
The passover, firstly, marks the night of the exodus of the congregation of Israel from Egypt, Exodus 12. In that night, the congregation was asked to eat an unblemished lamb, roasted in fire, with unleavened bread, and herbs, Exodus 12:3-10, and to mark the side and upper door posts of the houses wherein they ate the supper, Exodus 12:7. In that night, the LORD smote all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, passing over the houses of the congregation of Israel. This event enabled the exodus of Israel from Egypt, i.e. their escape from bondage. This night occurred on the fourteenth day of the month, Exodus 12:6.
The passover is also significant because Jesus Christ was wounded, crucified and killed on the day of passover, at his first coming. John the Baptist describes Jesus Christ as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, in John 1:29. “He was wounded for our transgressions”, “and with his stripes we are healed”, Isaiah 53:5. By his sacrifice, John 10:14-18, we are “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God”, Romans 8:21.
On the night of passover, which Jews also call the first day of unleavened bread, Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples ate the last supper: Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-20.
Incidentally, in Jewish custom, the new day begins at twilight or sunset, not at midnight. So, biblically, the last supper, the betrayal and arrest at Gethsemane, the trial by Caiaphas and the other chief priests, the cock crowing thrice, the handing over to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, the mob crying out “Crucify him”, the mocking and scourging, and the crucifixion all took place within the day of passover. And at the ninth hour of the day of passover, Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:34 and Luke 23:44, the sun suddenly darkened and Jesus died.
Christian tradition says, the last supper happened on Thursday and the crucifixion on Friday, because the events are considered from the point of view of the Gregorian calendar.
The synoptic gospels, however, consider events from the point of view of the Jewish calendar. Hence, the ninth hour of the day of passover would be 3pm on Good Friday, Gregorian.
The gospel of John, in particular, explains the fact that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ happened on the passover. John 13:1 describes the last supper as “the feast of passover”. John 18:28 notes that the Jewish guards of Caiaphas led Jesus into the hall of judgment but did not enter lest they became defiled and could not eat the passover. This occurred around the time the cock crew thrice, suggesting the dawn. And in John 19:14, there’s an expression “the preparation of the passover”, which alludes to the day of passover and simultaneously a day of preparation for the Sabbath. It is clear that Christ was crucified on the day before the Sabbath, because the Jews besought Pilate to break the legs of the crucified so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, John 19:31. Besides that, Mark 15:42 and Luke 23:54 explain clearly “the preparation” and “the Sabbath”.
“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.”
– Mark 15:42-43
Finally, notice that 2 of the 4 blood moons of 2014-2015 happened on the day of passover.
2. Unleavened Bread, Leviticus 23:6-7
“And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.”
– Leviticus 23:6
Strictly speaking, per Leviticus 23:6, 1 day after the day of passover is the day of the feast of unleavened bread.
So, since Jesus Christ was crucified and buried in a tomb on passover, the day of unleavened bread represents the death of Jesus Christ, during which the Son of man was “in the heart of the earth”, Matthew 12:40 and 1 Peter 3:18-20.
If leaven can be likened to sin, then the death of Christ takes away the sin of the world.
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
– 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
3. Firstfruits, Leviticus 23:10-14
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.”
– Leviticus 23:10-12
The feast of firstfruits should be the day after the first Sabbath following the day of unleavened bread, as I read it.
Jesus Christ was crucified and buried in a tomb on passover, and he rose on the third day, Matthew 28:1-6 and John 20:1-17 etc, as he himself prophesied, Matthew 20:19 and John 2:19 etc. That day happened to be the day after the Sabbath. Therefore, the feast of firstfruits represents the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
4. Pentecost, Leviticus 23:15-22
“And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.”
– Leviticus 23:15-16
The feast of pentecost should be 7 sabbaths following the day after the feast of firstfruits, i.e. 50 days after firstfruits, as I read it.
It was on the day of pentecost that the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the apostles of Jesus, Acts 2:1-18.
In Acts 2:16-18, Peter invoked Joel 2:28-29 to explain to the Judaean crowd around him that his speaking in a foreign tongue was the work of the Holy Ghost.
The feast of pentecost marks the beginning of the age of the church.
As of now, 2016 AD, we are still within the age of the church.
5. Trumpets, Leviticus 23:24-25
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.”
– Leviticus 23:24
The feast of trumpets should be the first day of the seventh month.
In my opinion, trumpets represents the 7 trumpets or vials of the wrath of God, Revelation 8-10 and 15-19.
Interestingly, in the oral tradition of Judaism, Rosh Hashanah is linked to something called “the day of judgment”, יום הדין Yom Ha-Din. The seventh trumpet, of course, heralds the day of the LORD, Joel 2:31 and Zephaniah 1:14 etc.
I should say, the gap between the first and the seventh trumpets might be years, because the fifth takes 5 months and the sixth at least 1 year.
I’m inclined to think the feast of trumpets, which happens on the first day of the seventh month, will herald the first of the 7 trumpets.
But I could be mistaken, because of the timing of the feasts of atonement and tabernacles. It is possible that the feast of trumpets will herald the seventh trumpet instead of the first. That would fit with the idea of Yom Ha-Din.
However, no man is supposed to know the day or the hour of the Second Coming, not even the angels, but only the Father: Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32. This suggests the seventh trumpet cannot occur on a known date such as Rosh Hashanah.
6. Atonement, Leviticus 23:27-32
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.”
– Leviticus 23:27
The feast of atonement should be the tenth day of the seventh month.
The day of atonement, Yom Kippur, is said to be the holiest day of the year for Jews.
Normally, atonement comes after trumpets. The one exception is the jubile year. In that year, atonement coincides with trumpets.
“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”
– Leviticus 25:8-10
My understanding is, atonement signifies redemption for the people of Israel. In this context, atonement means a reconciliation between Israel and God.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
– Romans 11:25-27
In Genesis 32:24-26, at Peniel, Jacob the person wrestled with “a man”, an angel of the LORD, and in effect prevailed. And the man said to Jacob, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob but Israel”, Genesis 32:28. The name Israel ישראל means “he who struggles with God”.
When Israel is redeemed and made holy, the LORD will turn to the people a “pure language” so that they may all serve him with one consent, Zephaniah 3:9. Furthermore, at that time, the LORD will give Israel a new name, Jeremiah 23:6.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
– Jeremiah 23:5-6
Atonement comes after trumpets. Therefore, atonement comes after the “great tribulation”, Matthew 24:21-22.
“And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”
– Isaiah 4:3-4
“For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.”
– Isaiah 48:9-12
Notice Joel 2:15-18 especially, re the feast of atonement and the sounding of trumpets.
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.”
– Joel 2:15-18
Let the priests of Israel assemble and call upon the name of the LORD, Joel 2:31-32, and pray for forgiveness. Then will Israel propitiate. Then will the LORD pour out his spirit upon all flesh of the remnant of Israel, Joel 2:27-29 and Zechariah 12:10.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
– Zechariah 12:10
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
– Revelation 1:7
Remember, salvation is by grace, and through faith; salvation is a gift of God and is not of works: Ephesians 2:8-9.
In my opinion, as pentecost was for the Gentiles, so atonement will be for the Jews.
7. Tabernacles, Leviticus 23:34-36
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.
– Leviticus 23:34
The feast of tabernacles should be the fifteenth day of the seventh month.
Tabernacles must surely signify the kingdom of God at Zion, that is to say, the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, upon the throne of David: Luke 1:32, Isaiah 9:6-7, Revelation 20:4, etc.
Perhaps, tabernacles will be the moment Jesus Christ arrives in Zion.
It cannot be insignificant that 2 of the 4 blood moons of 2014-2015 happened on the day of tabernacles.