Berean Bible Study
Jesus in the Feasts of Israel
Note: This study is not fully completed, but many links are available for your own study. Also note that a variety of viewpoints are represented by the authors of the links posted. Some may be coming from a perspective that you don't agree with but still include good information. Also, please note in this study as in every study, the links I've given you are not a guarantee that everything on the full web site is OK.
The Spring Feasts
There are numerous Scriptures in the Bible that say that Christ would die, and even how that would occur (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, etc.). There is another aspect to that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" that many people overlook. You know that the sacrificial system that God set up for the Jews was a picture of the coming perfect sacrifice of Jesus. Well, there were very specific rules about how those sacrifices were to be made, and even when they were to be made. An example can be found in the prescribed Feasts of Israel:
23:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. 3 "'There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.
4 "'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. 7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. 8 For seven days present an offering made to the LORD by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.'"
9 The LORD said to Moses, 10 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, 13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil — an offering made to the LORD by fire, a pleasing aroma — and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. 14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
15 "'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. 18 Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the LORD, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings — an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 19 Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. 20 The priest is to wave the two lambs before the LORD as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the LORD for the priest. 21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
22 "'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'"
23 The LORD said to Moses, 24 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.'"
26 The LORD said to Moses, 27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."
33 The LORD said to Moses, 34 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.
37("'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire — the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD's Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD.)
39 "'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. 40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths 43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'"
44 So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed feasts of the LORD.
We're particularly interested in the Passover feast, which is detailed in Exodus:
12:1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them ("it" - the Hebrew is actually singular) at twilight. (The Hebrew actually says "between the evenings") 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire — head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.
14 "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD — a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat — that is all you may do.
17 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread."
These seven feasts were all historical, in that they celebrated various aspects of the Jews exodus from Egypt. However, they are also prophetic, in that they lay out the whole picture of the work of Jesus:
Colossians 2:16 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
There are three that are held in the spring, one in summer and three in the autumn. The three from the spring have been perfectly fulfilled by Jesus in his first coming, and that's what we're going to go over first.
From its very beginning, the center of Passover was the Passover lamb. Passover and the lamb were bound together. You'll remember that it was the blood of that lamb, smeared on the doorposts of the Jewish houses that saved them from the death angel. They were "passed over" in the death of the first born.
Exodus 12:21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.
It was that way right through to the New Testament, so all Jews everywhere were very familiar with the lamb being the symbol of Passover:
Luke 22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
Just a note here: Although, technically, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were two different things, over the years, the terms became somewhat interchangeable, as in the verse above. To add to the confusion, there were several competing calendars and ways of determining time & days at the time of Jesus. Here is one article that hints at that:
The Last Week Of The Life of Christ and The Feasts of the Jews (This is a long article, very good, about the Feasts and many other things. The following about the time differences is just a very tiny piece of it. This person argues for a Friday crucifixion)
See if you can, in your mind's eye, place yourself in First Century Jerusalem. Imagine yourself to be part of Jesus's coterie of followers. It is Spring, the month of Nisan, two weeks after the first new moon of that season. In Judea, where you are now, they reckon the day to start at dusk, with the appearance in the sky of the first three stars. Three blasts from the shofar, the trumpet made from a ram's horn, from atop the Temple wall, would announce the start of the new day. But in Galilee, where you are from, people reckon that the day starts at dawn. So, standing with Jesus on Thursday morning on the Mount of Olives at about 9 a.m., you reckon that the 14th of Nisan has already started, and that at dusk you will celebrate the Passover. However, those from Judea reckon that the 14th of Nisan does not start until dusk tonight, and thus the Passover would be celebrated on Friday evening. Your religious leaders are also divided--the Pharisees side with the Galileans, the Saduccees with the Judeans.
Interestingly, the way the Torah told when to slaughter the lambs - between the evenings - allowed both to be OK. In addition to the arguing over times, there were sects that held to different calendars entirely. For example, the Essenes, a monastic sect (archeologists think the group that hid the Dead Sea Scrolls was an Essene group), held to a solar calendar, while the Pharisees held to a lunar calendar. (Israel's current calendar is a combination of the two - a lunar calendar that is corrected for the solar year). With the way the Essenes' calendar was set up, Passover was always on a Tuesday.
We know that Passover lamb symbolized Jesus, whose blood was shed so that the death angel would pass over US:
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
1 Corinthians 5:7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast — as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
In the Passover preparations, two things had to be done. The houses had to be cleaned from top to bottom to remove any trace of yeast - a symbol of sin - before the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the 15th of Nisan. (Bet you didn't know that "spring cleaning" came straight out of the Bible, did you?) This could begin many days before Passover. Then, on the 10th of Nisan, a perfect lamb was chosen and examined closely for any blemish for the next four days. The lamb actually was brought into the house and cared for as a pet during this time.
In the weeks before Jesus began his ministry, John the Baptist "cleaned house" to prepare the people for their Passover lamb:
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way" — 3 "a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"
4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
Then, in the year that Jesus was crucified, on exactly the 10th of Nisan, (on what we call Palm Sunday), Jesus presented himself as the Passover lamb without blemish, their king. The people could accept that he was to be king, but they didn't understand the Passover lamb part, yet. Here is just one of the places that detail this:
11:1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'"
4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
10 "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!"
"Hosanna in the highest!" (This was all Nisan 10)
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
12 The next day (OK, now it's Nisan 11, which began the previous evening) as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written:
"'My house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations'?
But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"
18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. (Jesus begins to be much more blatant in His teaching. He is showing Himself to be the lamb without blemish. If you follow through in the gospels, He was questioned intensely during these days)
19 When evening came, they went out of the city. 20 In the morning, (OK, now it's Nisan 12, which began the previous evening) as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
22 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. 23 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. (I skipped several chapters of discourse here, but if you read carefully, it all happens on the same day - Nisan 12) 14:1 Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, (Remember that Passover was the 14th of Nisan. This is still the 12th of Nisan) and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2 "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot." Take note, here! It was the leaders' choice to wait until AFTER the feast to find a way to kill Jesus. It was Jesus who decided when His crucifixion would be. Remember what He told Judas?
John 13:27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. "What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him.
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (Being Galileans, the disciples considered it already to be the 14th of Nisan, but others wouldn't count it as starting until sundown that evening) when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?" Regardless, that evening would be the 14th of Nisan in anybody's count.
13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there." There are some who believe this is an indication that the "upper room" was actually part of an Essene guest house. Normally, it would be women's work to get the water, but this is a man. Also, Jesus had many more people with him than just the 12 disciples. In Acts 1:15, it says there were 120 people, possibly in that same room, all staying there together. That goes far beyond what a typical house would hold. The Essenes always celebrated Passover on Tuesday, but that doesn't necessarily mean that this was a Tuesday, even if it was being held in an Essene house (although some argue that the Last Supper was indeed on Tuesday evening).
16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover."
9 "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked.
10 He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there."
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." (The disciples didn't seem surprised or upset to be having the Passover meal a day earlier than most people would have had it. Was that because of the calendar difference??? Regardless, this was still "between the evenings" and therefore perfectly legitimate.)
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
20 In the same way, after the supper (That would make this the third cup - the cup of redemption or the cup of blessing) he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him." 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
Paul also mentions this cup:
1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
As it is in Matthew:
Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body ."
27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
As it is in Mark:
Mark 14:22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body ."
23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.
CHRIST IN THE PASSOVER by Curt Sewell (The following is a portion of a much longer article. The longer article argues for a Friday crucifixion)
THE MODERN PASSOVER SEDER (or Order of Service).
The first preparation is a thorough house-cleaning by the hostess, and a ceremonial search (the Bedikat Chametz) for leaven by the host. (NOTE: In the Bible, leaven is usually a symbol of sin.) He uses a lighted candle, a wooden spoon, a feather and a napkin. When he finds the last bits of leavened bread, he wraps it in the napkin and says the Kal Hamira -- "Now I have rid my house of leaven." The napkin and its crumbs are burned. Paul must have had this in mind when he wrote, in I Corinthians 5:7,
"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."
The normal dishes are all packed away, and a special set that's used only once a year is brought out. The hostess cooks a festive meal, but doesn't set it on the table until later in the service. The hostess begins the actual seder by lighting the candles and chanting a blessing. The table is set with several prescribed items, as follows:
1. The Seder Plate, a blue-enameled brass dish that has six compartments for the following foods:
A. The Zeroah, or shank bone of a lamb (no meat),
B.. The bytzah or haggigah, a hard-boiled egg roasted brown,
C. Three kinds of "bitter herbs" -- the chazereth (whole horseradish root), the maror (freshly ground horseradish), and the karpas (lettuce, parsley or celery),
D. The charoseth, a sweet mixture of chopped apples, nuts, raisins, cinnamon and wine.
2. A bowl of salt water.
NOTE: For the first 1500 years, they actually sacrificed a lamb, then ate its meat in the Passover meal. But when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Roman Titus in A.D.70, proper sacrifices became impossible. Thus now the bone is placed on the plate as a memorial. The bitter herbs were to remind them of the misery their ancestors suffered; the charoseth represents the mortar they used in making bricks in Egypt; the salt water is a reminder of the water of the Red Sea and also of their tears. The egg was not there originally; it is a Babylonian symbol of fertility and may have started during their Babylonian captivity during the 6th century B.C.
3. There are also three matzohs (unleavened cracker-like wafers of bread, pierced and striped during baking). These are in a matzo tash, a square white silk bag having three sections.
4. The host has four wine goblets. Sometimes the other celebrants also have four, or sometimes their goblets are refilled several times instead. The four goblets represent the four verbs in Exodus 6:6,7, "I will bring you out; ... I will deliver you; ... I will redeem you; ... I will take you to be my people."
5. There is also an ornate book, the Haggadah, describing the service and containing the prayers. This was compiled in the 13th century A.D., from much earlier fragments.
6. Each chair has a pillow, and guests recline or sit comfortably (to show that they're not slaves).
The host wears a kitel, a long white robe-like outer garment, symbol of purity. On his head is the miter, a white silk crown-shaped headress. He chants the prayer of sanctification, or kiddush,
"Blessed are thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine."
Everyone drinks from the first wine-goblet,
the "cup of sanctification."
The hostess brings in a small towel and bowl of water for ceremonial hand-washing, used several times in the service. (Do you remember that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper?)
The leader passes out bits of karpas to each person. They all chant,
"Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who created the fruit of the earth."
Everyone dips the karpas into salt water
and eats it.
Now the leader takes the matzoh tash with its unity (the three matzohs). He removes the middle matzoh, breaks it in half, and hides or buries one half by wrapping it in a white napkin and placing it under a pillow, or under the table. The other half is replaced in the matzoh tash. The buried wafer is called the aphikomen. He doesn't explain why he does this. (There's a great deal of significance in this "burial," and its later "resurrection," especially for Christians. We'll explain it later.)
Now it's time for the traditional questions, chanted by the youngest child. Basically these ask, "Why is this night different from all others?"
Why do we eat matzohs?
Why must we have bitter herbs?
Why do we dip greens into salt water?
Why do we recline on pillows?
The leader then recites the history of the
Hebrew nation, from Abraham to Moses. He tells about the slavery in
Egypt, and God's deliverance. When he lists the ten plagues,
everyone spills a drop of wine into a cup -- one for each plague.
When the description is over, they all sing and clap a happy song,
praising God. They recite Psalms 113 and 114 (the Hallel). Then they
drink from the second wine-goblet (the cup of praise).
There's more ceremonial washing and eating matzoh, bitter herbs and sweet charoseth. Now the hostess clears the table of the ceremonial items (but leaves the wine-goblets), and brings out the main dinner. This is a little like our big meals at Thanksgiving, etc. -- it contains whatever fancy dishes the family enjoys.
When the meal is finished, the hostess clears the dishes. Now it's time for the search for the aphikomen (the buried half- matzoh). This is done by the children, who make a game of it. Adults call out clues, "You're getting close," etc. (Of course, they all saw the host hide it, so the contest is only ritual.) The youngest is usually allowed to find it, and receives a gift.
The host breaks off olive-size pieces of matzoh from the aphikomen and distributes them to all. They each eat it, in a reverent manner. Sometimes there is a blessing, "In memory of the Passover sacrifice, eaten after one is sated."
(This is the point during the Last Supper at which Jesus broke the bread and passed bits to His disciples; however, Jesus added the significant words given in Luke 22:19),
"This is my body which is given for you."
The host now takes the third cup of wine,
"the cup of redemption," or "the cup of blessing,"
and offers the main table grace blessing. (In Jewish tradition, the
main blessing comes after the meal.) Then they all drink from the
At the Last Supper, this is the place referred to in Luke 22:20,
"Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you'."
There is a fourth wine-goblet at the table,
that hasn't been used until now. This is called "the cup of
Elijah." There is also an empty chair, waiting for Elijah to
come. This is done because of the promise contained at the end of
the Old Testament, in Malachi 4:5,6 :
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Messianic expectations run very high among the Jewish people, especially at Passover time. The children of the house then make a ritual of going and looking closely at the cup, to see if Elijah has come and sipped some. One of the children goes to the door, opens it, and looks for Elijah. Everyone says, "Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the LORD!"
The host then leads in the recitation of the second part of the Hallel -- Psalms 115-118, then the Great Hallel, Psalm 136. Everyone drinks from the fourth cup of wine. After one more prayer of blessing (that contains the phrase "Next year in Jerusalem") the Passover celebration is finished.
MYSTERY OF THE APHIKOMEN
It's fascinating that this age-old Passover
ceremony is rich in so many details, and each one has a deep
significance. In response to the ritual questions, each one is
explained in terms of its historical origin and meaning. And yet,
one of the main features of the feast is not well understood by most
Jewish participants. They refer to the three matzohs in the matzoh
tash as the Unity; but there is no agreement on what is united. And
no one seems to have any idea why the middle one is broken, buried,
and later brought back up.
Some rabbis teach that these represent Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; others say they portray the unity of worship -- priests, Levites and congregation; still others say they stand for the crowns of learning, priesthood and kingship. But there's no explanation for breaking and hiding the middle one. Christians have a better explanation; it involves the "bread of heaven," spoken of in John 6:32-59.
A verse that is very holy to the Jews is
the shemah of Deuteronomy 6:4-9,
"Hear, O Israel: the LORD thy God is one LORD. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children ... and thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
That word "one" in the Hebrew is echad, meaning a composite oneness, not just the number one. It's the same word used in Genesis 2:24, where Adam and Eve are said to be "one flesh," and in Ezekiel 37 to describe the two sticks becoming one. Here it is describing the unity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit -- the three persons of the Godhead, acting as one.
This is the true meaning of the unity of the three matzohs in the matzoh tash. And which of these is the middle one? That is obviously God the Son -- Jesus the Messiah, our Lord. Let's see how He could be represented by a piece of unleavened bread. Read John 6:32-59. Verse 35 says,
And Jesus said unto them, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
God subtly emphasized this truth in choosing the spot where His Son would be born. The meaning of the name "Bethlehem" is "house of bread." (By the way, the name "Nazareth" means "branch." That meaning clarifies the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1.)
But why isn't the sacrificed lamb still used? And how did matzohs come to prominence? Deuteronomy 12:11-14 says that people were not to offer sacrifices except at the location that God chose. Other scriptures make it clear that He chose the Temple site on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. When the Roman army, under Titus, destroyed the Temple in A.D.70, there was no more acceptable place for sacrifice of the lamb. That's why today's Passover meals don't include the meat of a lamb, merely a symbolic shank bone. The rabbis, in the second century A.D., instituted the use of matzohs to represent the sacrificed lamb. That practice still holds.
Now we can see why the middle matzoh is broken during the Passover, then hidden or buried. Jesus's body was broken for us, He died, and was buried. But He didn't stay dead -- He came back to life, came out of the tomb! That is represented by bringing out that matzoh later in the ceremony. It is then broken into pieces, and passed out to each person. And this is the exact spot during the Last Supper, when Jesus said,
"This is my body which is given for you."
The very next item in the service is
drinking from the wine-goblet known as the "Cup of Redemption."
That's when Jesus said,
"This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
This is why we can say with confidence that Jesus is actually the central character in the Passover Seder. And, if that's not enough, let's look at the way His death, burial and resurrection fits the timing of the first three of the Seven Feasts of Israel. He was killed on Passover Day, was buried for three days during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and rose from the dead on the day of FirstFruits.
In John 1:29 John the Baptist announced Jesus's approach by shouting,
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
And Paul, in I Corinthians 15:20, said,
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfuits of them that slept."
As you know, Judas left as Jesus' command before the supper was completed. When they were done, they went to the Mount of Olives, and Jesus prayed in the garden. This was still the 14th of Nisan, because (biblically) it had just begun at sundown. The soldiers come and take Jesus. He appears before the Sanhedrin in their overnight, illegal "trial," before Herod and before Pilate, all during the night and very early morning hours. He is crucified at the third hour (the hours were counted in two twelve hour blocks beginning at 6 p.m.), which was 9:00 a.m. He dies six hours later, at 3:00 p.m. - the exact time that the lambs are being slaughtered in the temple for the Passover Feast that evening (when most people held it).
The next day, the 15th of Nisan, begins at sundown, usually considered to be 6:00 p.m. It is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is a special "High Sabbath":
John 19:28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath.
This does not mean that it was necessarily Friday, with the Saturday Sabbath beginning at sundown. It could have worked out that both the weekly Sabbath and the High Sabbath (the 15th of Nisan) were the same day. However, there is a clue in Matthew:
Matthew 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
In this verse, the word "Sabbath" is actually plural in the Greek. It should read, "After the Sabbaths," which implies that there was more than one for the women to wait through. Regardless of what day of the week it was, Jesus was killed on the 14th of Nisan. He died at the same time that Josephus says the lambs are slaughtered for the evening feast - 3 p.m.
He is buried in the tomb during the first days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He died for our sins, even though He was sinless Himself. That is what the unleavened bread symbolizes - sinlessness.
Saturday (which began at sundown Friday night) is the weekly Sabbath. It ends at sundown. The next day begins, known as the "first day of the week." This is the first day after Sabbath after Passover - or the Feast of Firstfruits. Paul says,
1 Corinthians 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
He says it not only because it implies that Jesus is only the first to be resurrected, but also because He was raised from the dead ON THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS. While the priests are waving the first of the barley harvest over the altar, the women are finding an empty tomb.
The first fruits of the harvest are given in trust and faith that a full harvest will follow. As our "firstfruits," we trust that Jesus' resurrection will be followed (soon?) by ours! So, the day we call Easter Sunday, was really the day of the Firstfruits of Resurrection.
Jesus fulfilled all these Spring feasts perfectly, not only fulfilling the symbols, but fulfilling them on the exact day. He fulfilled the Feast of Weeks (what we call Pentecost) when He sent the Holy Spirit in tongues of flame - again, on the very day. Will the fall feasts be fulfilled in the same way? We don't know! It's very interesting that the Jews (the ones who believe the true new month begins with the sighting of the thinnest sliver of the new moon) call the Feast of Trumpets the "Day that no one knows." Could Jesus return then? Who knows? If we think that's the day, then that's probably not the day!
THE FEASTS OF ISRAEL
OF FIRST IMPORTANCE, A Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15
The Feasts Of Israel, 66/40 Radio Broadcast
A Simplified Overview of the Feasts of the Lord
OK, for those of you that really want all the possible scenarios of how the week may have gone, here are more articles (PLEASE remember that your faith is not based on what day this took place. Whether it was Friday or not, you celebrate what Jesus did for you on that day. We celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25, although the choosing of that date was fairly arbitrary. It doesn't matter whether or not “Good Friday” was actually Friday. Jesus died that you could live):
Good Friday is a Myth; Jesus Died on a Wednesday!!
In Defense of a Wednesday Crucifixion
A Thursday Crucifixion Date?
The Case for a Thursday Crucifixion
A Thursday crucifixion?
Three Days and Three Nights (argues for Wednesday)
Crucified on Thursday Here's a tidbit on why the 10th of Nisan was probably Sunday:
How do we know that Jesus' Triumphant
entry into Jerusalem was on a Sunday? Because John 12:1 says that
Jesus dined with Lazarus 6 days before the Passover ( a Sabbath
Saturday) and John 12:12 tells us that Jesus entered the city of
Jerusalem "on the next day" (after dining with Lazarus)
which would have made that a Sunday, the 1st day of the week. How
do we arrive at that?
Let's say we have a "Passover Calendar", much like our "Advent calendars". These calendars mark DAY ONE on the actual anticipated day itself. Counting backwards in anticipation would be like this:
Passover...day one ( in this case, a Thursday night)
Saturday...day six (in perfect agreement with John 12:1)
That would make Sunday the 10th; Monday the 11th; Tuesday the 12th; Wednesday the 13th; and Thursday the 14th of Nisan, the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb.
Was Jesus crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? (argues for Friday)
Was Jesus crucified on Wednesday or Friday? (argues for Friday)
How to hold a Christian Passover Feast (includes another explanation of the seder elements):
Introduction to a Christian Seder
Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is celebrated on the 15th of Nisan. It's all tied up with Passover and was included in the information above, but here are some additional links for your study:
THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
Feast of First Fruits
The Feast of First Fruits was on the day after the Saturday Sabbath after Passover. (On Sunday, in other words!) Again, this feast was included in the information above, but here are some additional links.
The Feast of the First Fruits
First Fruits Then and Now
Pentecost (Feast of Weeks)
Biblically, the day that Pentecost should be celebrated will always be 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits. It should always fall on a Sunday. Since the Jews do not always celebrate the Feast of First Fruits on a Sunday (they celebrate on the 6th of Sivan, not a particular day), they do not always celebrate the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot on a Sunday. That's why you'll see it on different days on calendars. Christians call it "Pentecost" after the Greek word for 50.
It may be this feast that Jesus was referring to in John 4, as this is also a celebration of the first of the big harvest:
John 4:35 Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks
The Church in the Old Testament - The Feast of Weeks
Rosh Hashanah - Feast of Trumpets
As mentioned previously, God established seven feasts - three in the spring, one in early summer and three in the fall. The Jewish Menorah, the seven-branched candle stick, is designed around the same sort of idea. There are three feasts, a break of time, then Pentecost, then a break of time and then, the final three feasts. The first three come all in a rush and the last three come all in a rush. The middle one is in the midst of a long, drawn-out period. For those of you that are looking for the symbols within the feasts, their very arrangement is prophetic.
Jesus perfectly fulfilled the first three feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits, in his first coming. The middle feast, Pentecost, was fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the church. The last three feasts seem to picture the second coming of Jesus, and the first of these is the Feast of Trumpets.
Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come.
In the original calendar, what the Jewish calendar now calls Tishri, was the first month (our Sept/Oct), and to the Jews, the first day of this month is considered the birthday of the world. The civil calendar in Israel still uses this same month as its new year. That is where the name "Rosh Hashanah" comes from. It means "the head of the year."
The Feast of Trumpets is the only feast that comes on the first day of the month. The months are determined by the sighting of the thinnest sliver of the new moon, so this is the only feast that has an uncertain beginning. Everyone watches and waits for the sounding of the first trumpet, which announces the sighting of the moon. It may be that the night is cloudy, and the moon is not sighted at all - and so the waiting and watching continues into the second night, if necessary.
As Christians, this watching and waiting symbolizes our waiting for Jesus. We do not know when he may come, and so we are instructed to keep watch.
The shofar is blown 100 times during the feast, calling the people to wake up and repent. To the Jews, this blowing of the shofar symbolizes the coming of the Day of the Lord, when God's wrath is poured out on an unrepentant world.
It is very appropriate that we, as Christians, remember the Feast of Trumpets - a day that for us, should symbolize the nearness of the coming of our Lord Jesus. The following verse seems an appropriate one to think about on this day:
Ephesians 5:6-14 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners with them. For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
"Wake up O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
The following are articles for additional reading on the Feast of Trumpets. Remember that only the Bible is inspired, and that these articles are knowledgeable opinions only. Like with everything besides the Bible, we should be ready to learn, but cautious. In other words, take all of them with at least a grain (or more!!) of salt. I'll always try to post articles that come from more than one side of an issue.
The Feast of Trumpets in Old Testament Times
Rosh Hashanah - Feast of Trumpets
Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah
Israel's New Year Begins: The Feast of Trumpets
Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement
The tenth of Tishri is the Day of Atonement. Again, God established seven feasts - three in the spring, one in early summer and three in the fall.
Jesus perfectly fulfilled the first three feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits, in his first coming. The middle feast, Pentecost, was fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the church. The last three feasts seem to picture the second coming of Jesus, and the middle one of these is Day of Atonement. (The Day of Atonement is currently a fast, not a feast. The feasting will not occur until the day of the great feast when Jesus comes again)
Why should we care about any of these days?
Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come.
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The very best way to study the Day of Atonement is to read about it from the Old Testament and then the New Testament's commentary on that same thing:
The Day of Atonement
1 The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the LORD . 2 The LORD said to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.
3 "This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. 5 From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
6 "Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats-one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat.  9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat.
11 "Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD , and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die. 14 He is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.
15 "He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.
18 "Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. 19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.
20 "When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites-all their sins-and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.
23 "Then Aaron is to go into the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. 24 He shall bathe himself with water in a holy place and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
26 "The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. 27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.
29 "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves  and not do any work-whether native-born or an alien living among you- 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD , you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community.
34 "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites."
And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses.
Now, to really get the full commentary, you should read Hebrews 8, 9 and 10. Chapter 9 mentions the Day of Atonement specifically, so I included most of it here. Hebrews is a deep book, so don't worry if you don't really get it the first time through. It will make more sense as you learn more and God has trained you enough (I'm still waiting for that point with some of it. There are parts that I have NO idea about. Perhaps they will just be on my growing list of things to ask Jesus about when I can sit at His feet.):
Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle
1Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
The Blood of Christ
11When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
16In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep." 21In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. 25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
The Day of Atonement was fulfilled at the cross, when Jesus took all our sins, past, present and future, upon himself and died in our place. In the Old Covenant with Israel, the atonement had to be done again and again, but Jesus has atoned for us once and for all. He put us "at one" with God. The Day of Atonement will have its ultimate fulfillment when Jesus returns, as the last verse above shows. So, the Day of Atonement both looks back to the cross, and ahead to the day when we will (finally, hurrah!) sin no more.
Here are additional articles for your enjoyment. Again, please always take these extra links with major grains of salt. They're interesting, but multiple points of view are included, and they can't all be right.
Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Messiah in Yom Kippur
The Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement
Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles begins on the 15th day of Tishri. (usually October) It begins at sundown and continues for seven days. There is also an eighth day that is counted separately. The symbolism of this feast is very rich, but most of it is not really at a beginner level. However there are some really interesting aspects of this feast that we may touch on at some point in the future. (If you have particular interest now, just let me know).
During the Feast of Tabernacles, observant Jews still build booths to live in. In Jerusalem, many of them build on small balconies outside their apartments. These temporary shelters are reminders of their wandering in the wilderness. They are meant to emphasize that our time in this world, this wilderness, is just for a time - and that our real home still awaits us.
Many people believe that Jesus was born on the Feast of Tabernacles. You can read more about that here:
On What Day Was Jesus Born?
If that is true, God made at least two "puns" in his Word about that. In John 1:14, it says, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. That word "dwelling" actually means "tabernacle" in Greek. If God was hinting toward the Feast of Tabernacles and the dwelling in booths, this verse implies temporary dwelling, which was exactly true. Jesus physically dwelt on earth only a short time. Also, the Feast of Tabernacles is always on the day of the full moon, which makes this verse interesting, too:
Galatians 4:4-5 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
This feast has particular meaning for me, as it was exactly at sundown at the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles that my husband had a heart attack. It was a vivid reminder to me that this world is just our temporary dwelling place.
Feast of Tabernacles
33 The LORD said to Moses, 34 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.
37 (" 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire-the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD's Sabbaths and  in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD .)
39 " 'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. 40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths 43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.' "
The Feast of Tabernacles is also discussed here:
Jesus Goes to the Feast of Tabernacles
1After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. 2But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." 9Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?"
12Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man."
13Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.
Jesus Teaches at the Feast
14Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?"
16Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?"
20"You are demon-possessed," the crowd answered. "Who is trying to kill you?"
21Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. 22Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. 23Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? 24Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
Is Jesus the Christ?
25At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? 26Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ ? 27But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from."
28Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."
30At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. 31Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, "When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?"
32The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.
33Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. 34You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come."
35The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36What did he mean when he said, 'You will look for me, but you will not find me,' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"
37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, (NOTE: This is actually the SEVENTH day of the feast. See below) Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
On the last day of the Feast, the "Great Day" (the seventh day, not the eighth), there is a joyous procession from the Pool of Siloam to the temple. The priest fills a golden pitcher of water from the pool and pours it on the altar of the temple in thanksgiving for the fall rains that begin at this time of year in Israel. (It usually doesn't rain during the summer months). It was probably during this processional that Jesus declared himself the source of living water. 40On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet."
41Others said, "He is the Christ."
42Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn (Now this is the 8th day of the Feast - the day declared to be a special Sabbath) he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
7But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
The Validity of Jesus' Testimony
12When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." During the Feast of Tabernacles, great lights are lit in the temple every evening. Jesus was probably standing in that light when he spoke these words.
28So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." 30Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.
Here are some articles on the Feast of Tabernacles. Again, they represent multiple points of view. It was a little difficult to find articles from a non-millennial point of view, but most of these articles don't dwell on that aspect anyway. Regardless of your point of view on that issue, we are all looking to a time when we will be with Jesus, when we will tabernacle together forevermore.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The Biblical Institution of the Feast - Sukkot
The Significance of the Feast of Tabernacles to the Church (non-millennial)
Jesus Celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles
Tabernacles This article is good because it lists many Scripture references, but they are incorrect in calling the eighth day the "last day" of the feast. It was actually the seventh day that is the "Last day" or "Great Day" of the Feast. This doesn't really matter for now, but someday, if you want to study deeply into the symbols of this feast, it makes a difference. It's actually clearer in the King James:
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
The Feast of Tabernacles Overview
Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles This one was written by a Jewish Christian and has a very Jewish flavor
Even today, there seem to be many things that just "happen" to fall on these Jewish holidays. There is another day, a somber day, that is also notorious among the Jewish people - the 9th day of the month of Av, which falls in July or August.
History of Events on Tisha B'Av
2448 (1312) Spies return from 40 days in Israel with evil reports of the Land of Israel. Jewish people cry in despair, give up hope of entering the Land of Israel.
3340 (421) Destruction of First Temple by the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezar. About 100,000 Jews killed during invasion. Exile of remaining tribes in southern kingdom to Babylon and Persia.
3830 70 Destruction of Second Temple by Romans, under Titus. Over 2,500,000 Jews die as a result of war, famine and disease. Over 1,000,000 Jews exiled to all parts of the Roman Empire. Over 100,000 Jews sold as slaves by Romans. Jews killed and tortured in gladiatorial "games" and pagan celebrations.
3892 132 Bar Kochba revolt crushed. Betar destroyed - over 100,00 killed.
3893 133 Turnus Rufus ploughs site of Temple. Romans build pagan city of Aelia Capitolina on site of Jerusalem.
4855 1095 First Crusade declared by Pope Urban II. 10,000 Jews killed in first month of Crusade. Crusades bring death and destruction to thousands of Jews, totally obliterate many communities in Rhineland and France.
5050 1290 Expulsion of Jews from England, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books and property.
5252 1492 Inquisition in Spain and Portugal culminates in the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. Families separated, many die by drowning, massive loss of property. (Columbus leaves on the night before!)
5674 1914 Britain and Russia declare war on Germany. First World War begins. First World War issues unresolved, ultimately causing Second World War and Holocaust. 75% of all Jews in war zones. Jews in armies of all sides - 120,000 Jewish casualties in armies. Over 400 pogroms immediately following war in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
5702 1942 Deportations from Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp begin.
5749 1989 Iraq walks out of talks with Kuwait.
5754 1994 The deadly bombing the building of the AMIA (the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina) which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others.
The Feasts of Israel:A Study in Symbolic Prophecy
The Feasts are fascinating. If you enjoyed this study into the symbolism, you may also enjoy The Bible is About Jesus. And, of course, I can't resist symbolism in practically every study I write. You'll find many more at the link below.
This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies. If you have questions or comments, please write me. Thank you!
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