When is the last time you thought about seasons and why they exist? Most of us think about it when we see a marked change- perhaps the air has become cooler, or we see the change in the color of leaves. Maybe we see the overcast sky gradually become more bright and sunny. The change in seasons often reminds us there are special events coming up such as summer vacation, fall festivals, Christmas or Easter. We associate seasons with CHANGE – the weather, the day’s events and sometimes even our attitude.
God designed the seasons for many reasons. Obviously they were instituted to become part of the agricultural cycle, as we know the seasons affect crops and plants. But, they are SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. God instituted the seasons for a very important reason that is overlooked by most of the world, and the church.
Take a look at the verse below from Genesis 1:14 (KJV)
“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.”
This verse has traditionally been translated that God made the sun, moon and stars (the lights in the firmament/sky) to serve as a way of dividing seasons such as spring, summer, fall and winter. Why? Because the verse in English says “let them be for seasons.” The last part of the verse says to let them be for “days and years.” So, most people translate that as God made the sun, moon and stars (the lights) to mark what day it was, and what year it is. While all these ideas are true in that the Sun, moon and stars do affect the actual seasons and our calendar, IT IS NOT THE INTENDED MEANING IN THIS PASSAGE.
Keep in mind, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. This passage comes from the Old Testament so we have to look at the original HEBREW MEANING. When we do that, something interesting happens.
The word SEASON in this passage is originally written in Hebrew as MOED. The Hebrew implication of the word MOED is FEASTS. So we see the word doesn’t really mean season as we know it in English (fall, winter, spring or summer). It means FEAST.
What is a feast? Well, the first thing you probably picture is a gigantic table filled with food and drinks. You may be picturing your last get together with all your family- maybe it was Thanksgiving, or Christmas? Though this is a nice picture, it is not what the word means.
According to Strong’s Concordance, a MOED (feast) is an appointed time, place or meeting. So, this means a feast is a divine appointment. A divine appointment with who? The creator of course! God created the lights (sun, moon and stars).
I’m sure this year you have gone to all sorts of appointments- the doctor, the dentist, maybe an interview, business meeting, school conference and the like. I am sure you do not make a habit of missing these appointments, or of showing up late. Most people do their best to be on time for appointments and they actually show up.
God is much more important than our doctor or dentist. And yes, he has an appointment calendar. He has his own list of appointments he keeps with “man”. Every year he shows up at every single one. But most people do not show up. Luckily, we are under grace and not the law, so a big lightning bolt doesn’t come down and strike us. The appointments are not meant to be a judgment, but rather a blessing. They were created and instituted so we can have fellowship with God, and be “in the know” for prophetic events!
By the way, if we go back to the Genesis 1:14 verse, notice it says that God created the lights (sun, moon and stars) for days and years. In this context, it means his holy days- which are his divine appointments- his holy feasts! The Fall appointments are actually called the High Holy Days. Years refers to the Shemitah and Jubilee years. Every 7th year God commanded that the land rest. No working of the land was to be done in the 7th year, also known as the Shemitah (Sabbath) year. Also, financial debts were to be wiped away. At the Jubilee year (which marked the 50th year), any land that had been lost due to debt was returned to the original owner. Also anyone who had become a slave due to debt would be released. These Shemitah and Jubilee years followed the biblical calendar, or appointment calendar of God.
Now that I’ve explained the concept of a divine appointment, let me tell you what the appointments are! In the Old Testament you will find the divine appointments or Feasts of the Lord. They are also called Festivals of the Lord, depending on the translation you use of the Bible.
The appointed times are the Sabbath, Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Feast of Weeks (also known as Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths (also known as Tabernacles or Sukkoth).
I have a feeling that many people reading this blog may have never heard of some of those. Why? Because they are in the Old Testament and often considered “Jewish feasts.” These feasts were celebrated and followed before Christ came on a yearly basis. Even Jesus celebrated them! I put links to scriptures below as examples.
But after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead the Church proclaimed they were no longer necessary. They considered them part of the Law. Well, I hate to burst the bubble, but they are not feasts of the law! They are actually feasts that point to God’s grace and they are all prophetic! Following them is not a path to salvation, just as following the law is not a path to salvation. But, celebrating them provides a key to end time prophecy, and to prophecy that has already happened. It is also an appointment with Jesus.
When Jesus came he clearly fulfilled the law. He was spotless and unblemished. He had no sin. He died on the cross for our sins so we would no longer be under the curse of the law. He never said we shouldn’t try to follow the law though. What I mean by this is that he never said, “Now go and do whatever you want because there are no consequences for it. I died for your sins so you can sin all you want without worry.” Jesus fulfilled the law but that doesn’t mean we ignore the commandments and go around deliberately sinning. We are under grace and not the law, but keep in mind the law is there to protect us and even to bless us. Why do we not murder? Because murder brings wrongful death and horrific grief! Why do we not lie? Because it hides the truth and deceives others. Why do we not commit adultery? Because it destroys marriages and families. Why do we not get drunk? Because we do crazy things while under the influence- things that can destroy relationships and lives. I could go on….
Let’s apply this same rationale to the Feasts (appointments) of the Lord. Firstly, God never said, “Ok, my son has now come so let’s just get rid of these feasts. They are old and outdated. Just forget all about them.” At the same time, he wasn’t saying the feasts would save you. Only Jesus could do that. But, what’s amazing is that the feasts actually point to Jesus, as they are a shadow of what he would do and will do in the future!
Take Passover, for instance. The Jewish people had been celebrating Passover since their exodus from Egypt and their wanderings in the desert. They had been celebrating this feast (appointment) for at least 1500 years BEFORE CHRIST CAME. On the first Passover they had to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and place the blood of this lamb on the doorpost. They had to eat unleavened bread and drink wine. They continued to celebrate Passover year after year, eating unleavened bread and drinking wine, along with many other traditions. They no longer put the blood on their doorposts, but they still brought lambs to the Temple to be sacrificed.
Christ fulfilled every aspect of the Passover feast when he died on the cross. He was crucified during Passover. In fact, he was placed on the cross at the third hour (9 am), which is the exact time the Jewish people would have been bringing their morning sacrifice of lambs. Even more telling is that during that exact time, the lambs were being bound to the altar by their horns, so they could be slain in the afternoon. The people would be singing Psalm 118 when they brought their unblemished lambs (as was tradition) . This psalm actually says, “He has become my salvation…….the Lord’s right hand has done many things………..the stone the builders rejected has become the corner stone; the Lord has done this…………. Lord save us!…………. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord………the Lord has made his light shine on us; BIND THE SACRIFICE WITH CORDS, EVEN UNTO THE HORNS OF THE ALTAR.” Just as the lambs were being bound to the altar, Jesus was being bound to the cross at the third hour!
Six hours later, when Jesus died on the cross at the 9th hour (3 pm) it would have been time for the evening sacrifice and the slaughter of the final Passover lamb. As Jesus took his last breath, the blood of all those lambs would have been filling the valley near the Temple. I am just giving you SOME of the details! I could go on and on and you would continue to be astounded.
Jesus fulfilled the Lord’s Feast of Passover to the day and the hour PRECISELY! That’s not all though. Did you know he also fulfilled the Feast of of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits and the Feast of Weeks (also known as Pentecost)? He was in the tomb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and he rose from the dead on the Feast of First fruits. He was the first fruit out of the ground. I know, you are thinking, “didn’t that happen on Easter?” No, that is not the biblical name. The name Easter comes from the pagan goddess Eostre, who was a fertility goddess. Jesus’ resurrection happened on the Feast of First fruits. Also, on the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the holy spirit came to live inside believers in Christ. In later posts I will go into more detail about these feasts, but you get the point. CHRIST FULFILLED EVERY ASPECT OF THESE FEASTS or appointments.
There is another meaning behind the word MOED, or appointment. It is a DRESS REHEARSAL. If you look into Jewish tradition and the Hebrew language you will find out that the feasts were considered dress rehearsals. If you are in a play, you have to practice and usually there is a dress rehearsal. The dress rehearsal is supposed to mimic the real thing- the set, the clothes, the lines and the entire production should be performed as if the audience were actually there. The same thing is true of the Lord’s holy feasts, or appointments. They are dress rehearsals for the big day. The Jewish people were doing a dress rehearsal of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost for over 1000 years before it actually became the real thing! If this is true, then obviously the rest of the feasts will follow a similar pattern!
The Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Festival of Booths (Tabernacles) have not been fully fulfilled yet. The Jewish people are still practicing though. Unfortunately, most do not know they are practicing. They don’t realize they are performing the dress rehearsal for the Rapture, Israel’s final redemption and the time when Christ will tabernacle with us during the Millennial Reign. And what about the Christian Church? I know, you are probably thinking, “These are Jewish feasts because the Jews still celebrate them.” Actually, they are the LORD’S FEASTS! The Bible does not say Jewish feasts- it says the Lord’s Feasts! They are feasts for the LORD’S PEOPLE! We were grafted into the family of God when Christ died on the cross for all. Keep in mind we have a Jewish savior that died for us. As Romans 11 states, “we are on the olive branch together.” We are now grafted into the same tree with the Jews. The reason the Jewish people are mostly the ones celebrating the feasts is because the early church leaders such as Constantine and Pope Gregory changed the calendar from a Hebrew calendar to a solar Gregorian calendar. Also, early leaders were trying to distance themselves from the Jews at that time. They considered the Old Testament “Jewish.” Because of this they decided to forgo the feasts of the Lord. They did institute their own traditions, however. They decided how to celebrate the Resurrection, but they did not call it Passover, or continue the original traditions. They completely ignored the Fall feasts, which is a shame because they are so beautifully prophetic. These are the feasts Christ will fulfill in the future. Again, following them doesn’t bring salvation, but it keeps you “in the know” and helps you understand how God orders things. And as I said before God has these appointment times in his “datebook.” He is ready for the dress rehearsal every year, knowing one day will be the real thing.
What is amazing to me is how the Lord is now opening the eyes of all his people and showing them how his biblical calendar is relevant today! The last three feasts are on their way to being fulfilled, possibly in our life times. Many churches are now celebrating the Lord’s Feasts because they realize they all point to Jesus! They are not celebrating them as part of the Law, but out of reverence for God’s calendar, and because they are prophetic.
As I continue future blogs I will write about things that will help you see how God’s appointment calendar works. I follow the Gregorian calendar like everyone else- this is the calendar the world uses and includes the familiar months of January, February, March, etc – all the way to December. This calendar is a sun calendar. There is nothing wrong with following this calendar because school, business and daily life revolve around this system. BUT- I also take note of the biblical (Hebrew) calendar. This calendar follows the cycles of not just the sun, but also the moon. These are the months of the biblical calendar. I have written which month they correspond to on the Gregorian calendar. Because the biblical calendar follows the cycles of the sun and the moon, there are two months listed for each Hebrew (biblical month). That means it varies from year to year- it could occur in either month. The Gregorian calendar only follows solar cycles
Below is a great link that will teach you about the biblical calendar
I use the biblical calendar to keep track of when the Lord’s feasts are. This way I can celebrate them. This is not to be legalistic! I do not think I am saved by these feasts and I do not think I’m going to be in trouble with God if I miss an appointment. I keep them because I feel closer to Christ when I celebrate them. Think about this- most of the nation celebrates Halloween, but this is definitely not a feast mentioned in the Bible! It is pagan and filled with all sorts of evil traditions. But year after year, people celebrate it. Christmas is supposed to be about Christ, but we mostly see Santa, elves and reindeer. Christmas, by the way, is not listed as a Feast of the Lord. We celebrate the Lord’s birth on this date, but the Bible does not list this as a time to officially meet with the Lord. And Jesus was not born in the winter. He was likely born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, fulfilling part of that feast. When he was a baby he was circumcised on the 8th day to fulfill God’s covenant to Abraham. The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for eight days with the 8th day being “set apart”. There is a lot of evidence in the Bible to back this up but that will have to be in another blog. Hanukkah, by the way, is mentioned in the Bible. It is called the Feast of Dedication. This is a time to remember when God’s Temple was rededicated, after having been defiled. Again, most people see this just as a “Jewish holiday.”
I am not saying you can’t celebrate holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, etc! In fact, celebrating Christ’s birth at Christmas is wonderful, as long as it is about him and not overshadowed by everything else.
The Lord’s Feasts are actually listed in the Bible and he uses them to meet with us so why would we only celebrate man instituted “feasts”, but not the Lord’s? If the Lord has set an appointment then why wouldn’t we show up? Again, this is not to earn “points” or grace or anything like that. As I’ve once heard it put……….”During the Feasts of the Lord, Jesus is waiting in the field. He’s waiting for us to gather with him and celebrate.” Truthfully speaking, Jesus will likely perform all these feasts one day at the appointed time. He performed the Spring Feasts to the day and the hour at the feast appointment time. As far as the Fall feasts, we don’t know what year or hour Christ will fulfill them, but it will likely occur on the feast itself, which occurs every year at the appointed time. It is possible they will be fulfilled in stages, or several times before they are completely fulfilled and finished. This is a pattern God uses with his feasts. If you get into depth and study the feasts you will find out God uses his appointment times throughout history to speak to his people and to nations. Again, that’s a whole other blog.
The point I’m trying to get across in this blog is that the Lord’s Feasts are something you should take note of. They are not for the weary eyed sleeper. They are for all those who want to become wide-eyed, curious and soon to be amazed followers of Christ. I can tell you firsthand that seeing what these feasts really are has changed my life and given me new found hope. The feasts remind me of Jesus’ promises for me and for the Bride of Christ. Stay tuned for blogs about individual feasts.
Look under the tab God’s Calendar for the next upcoming appointment time, or special date on the biblical calendar.
High Holy Days for the rest of 2018- Feasts of the Lord:
FEAST OF TRUMPETS: Begins at sundown, September 9 and lasts through sundown Tuesday, September 11
DAY OF ATONEMENT: Begins at sundown, September 18 and ends at sundown September 19
FEAST OF BOOTHS/TABERNACLES: Begins at sundown September 23 and ends the evening of September 30
HANUKKAH- known as the Feast of Dedication in the Bible: Begins at sundown on December 2 and ends the evening of December 10