To understand the seven annual feast observances of the Bible is to grasp the plan of salvation. These appointed times offer a wealth of “insider” knowledge that includes keys to when Yahshua will return and who will be saved.
Even more, these days represent a covenant between Yahweh and His people. They teach a coming heavenly Kingdom on earth where the chosen will have positions of authority as priests under Yahshua.
The life of a believer is all about preparation to rule with the Messiah in that Kingdom when He returns. His annual feasts are a time of gathering to rejoice and celebrate the blessings Yahweh has given us. By keeping them we focus on the awesomeness of eternity with the King.
The Feasts more than any other biblical teaching unlock Yahweh’s plans. The seven yearly appointed times reveal seven phases in the salvation design.
Passover Marks the Beginning
Yahweh’s holy times start off with Passover in the first month, Abib, when green ears of barley develop and this first of the grains is harvested. In the seventh month are four high Sabbaths, which complete the harvest season and end with the Last Great Day of the Feast – picturing the Great White Throne judgment of humanity, Revelation 20:5, 12-15; Ezekiel 37:13-14.
On a higher level Yahweh’s plan of redemption is all about spiritual harvesting, starting with the all-important firstfruits.
Yahshua is the first of the firstfruits in the resurrection sequence. His death and resurrection opens the way for other firstfruits by removing the penalty of death that all sins have earned: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures,” James 1:18.
Those in the first resurrection are called firstfruits because they come first, before others who will be resurrected later. They also receive greater rewards. “…and all the assemblies shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works,” Revelation 2:23. The firstborn received the greater inheritance in Scripture.
On the physical level Passover commemorates the deliverance of His people Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians. The Feast of Tabernacles, with a week of temporary living, reminds us that Israel lived in tents or booths before they were brought into the Promised Land. It also reminds us that this life is temporary.
As with Israel’s servitude, we face virtual slavery to this world and much tribulation because of it. Yahshua steps in with His death to deliver His people from this world of bondage.
Pharaoh as a type of haSatan had enslaved the Israelites. They depict Yahweh’s people in every age. Moses, typifying our Savior, was sent to release His people enslaved by a despised ruler. When he told Pharaoh to let His people go so they could serve Yahweh in the wilderness, the metaphor was complete and remarkably transparent.
Truth Involves a Coming Out
Satan is in charge of this sinful world. Through His Passover death, Yahshua released His people from the penalty of sin and Satan’s grip to worship Yahweh in spirit and Truth. They could not do so while in Egypt but had to come out to keep Yahweh’s Feast, which was their first step in redemption.
A similar pattern is true today.
We cannot be lukewarm with one foot in the world and the other in Scripture. We must come completely out of error as we cannot serve both Yahweh and the world.
Once Israel was on its way out of Egypt on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Egyptian army marshaled in hot pursuit to bring them back.
Leavening that is removed for a week from homes and diets represents error that leads to sin and must not be brought back in.
This is another metaphor of what the true believer usually faces when he or she makes the decision to leave popular falsities and come to Yahweh’s covenant.
Family and friends typically oppose the move and want them to give up and go back, owing mostly to their lack of knowledge and understanding of truth.
Duality of the Harvest
Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits seven weeks later points to the harvest of those called out of the world now to help Yahshua rule for a thousand years.
Also known as the Feast of Weeks, this apppointed time commemorates the giving of the law at Sinai, which Israel ratified under the Old Covenant. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit was sent wholesale to help the truth seeker be obedient to the Father and His laws.
In Acts 2: 39 Peter confirms that the chosen are heirs to the Kingdom. The ekklesia (improperly rendered “church”) is being called out of the world now to become a kingdom of priests under the coming rulership of the Messiah.
We are not yet in the Kingdom, but those in the ekklesia are joint heirs of the Kingdom and are training now to help rule in the righteous government of the heavens soon coming to earth. They are learning obedience and righteousness that will dominate in that future government.
Many prophets were given visions of the latter days and the future deliverance of Yahweh’s people, just as 2-3 million Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bondage. Jeremiah says why:
“Wherefore has Yahweh pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our sin that we have committed against Yahweh our Elohim? Then shall you say unto them because your fathers have forsaken me, says Yahweh, and have walked after other deities, and have served them, and have worshiped them, and have forsaken Me, and have not kept my law and have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, you walk everyone after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto Me,’’ Jeremiah 16:10-12.
The ‘Easy Way’ Mindset
When many today read Jeremiah’s prophecy, they think it refers in the modern context to someone else. Most self-professing Bible believers do not realize this prophecy is directed against perverting Scriptures today and forsaking Yahweh by walking a different path and serving mighty ones called G-d and L-rd (Baal, Jer. 23:27).
When clear and explicit verses are presented – such as Exodus 23:11-17 commanding Yahweh’s people to keep the Sabbatical years; to keep the seventh-day Sabbath; not to utter names of pagan deities; to keep the annual holy days –almost to a person they will shrug it off and say that it does not matter today.
Seeking shortcuts is a common human trait and following the path of least resistance is typical. Preaching an easy road to salvation is a pastime of many ministries and the people eat it up.
“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:31.
When it comes to pure worship, Yahweh offers no shortcuts. His is a doctrine of self-discipline, of overcoming our sinful nature. The firstfruits individual views life from His perspective, no matter what the obstacles.
“Therefore thus says Yahweh. Elohim of hosts. O my people that dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite you with a rod. and shall lift up his staff against you, after the manner of Egypt,” Isaiah 10:24.
Hebrews 12:22-24 clearly shows that the true people of Yahweh are referred to as those dwelling in Zion. These saints will undergo future persecution and tribulation but they will be delivered with a mighty hand just as were the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.
It is at this time that the saints will be living in tabernacles just before Yahweh intervenes.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that Yahweh shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth,” Isaiah 11:11-12.
And now verse 16. “There shall be a highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria: like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt,” Isaiah 11:16. Note that it will be but a vestige of His people that will be left as He sets His hand to recover them a second time. He will be known as the One who saved His people from the north country, not as the Elohim who saved His people from Egypt. This series of events will surpass anything that the world has ever seen before.
Disobedience Carries a Price
The world is not obediently keeping the feast days as Yahweh commands. One cause is ignorance about the great plan of salvation. The consequence is serious: judgment.
“Howl ye: for the day of Yahweh is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty … Behold the day of Yahweh comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine,” Isaiah 13:6.9-10.
Yahshua Himself spoke of this time in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24:29. Notice that He begins in verse 21 stating, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Verse 24 shows that the elect, or chosen people, will still be on the earth, as he speaks of false messiahs, and false prophets who will show great signs and wonders that will be so astounding and real that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived.
Our Savior goes on to say in Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven…”
This prophecy is also seen in Joel 2:31. It is a time of Yahweh’s wrath upon a lawless and defiant world that refuses His ways and teachings.
Many times Isaiah refers to the end of the age when Yahweh’s anger is poured out on a sick, sin-filled world. Isaiah 59:18 shows that Yahweh will repay the sins of His adversaries with fury.
“So shall they fear the name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of Yahweh shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith Yahweh,” vv. 19-20. Yahweh promises deliverance to His people who overcome now and live for him.
Fall Festivals Unfulfilled
At His return, Yahshua will gather His people from around the world. He promises untold glory for those who remain steadfast. In Isaiah 61 we find the verse Yahshua quoted when He began His public ministry.
“The Spirit of Yahweh is upon me. because he has anointed me to preach The Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of Yahweh,” Luke 4:18-19.
Yahshua stopped in the middle of the second verse. But it is obvious that He was speaking of the sabbatical year in this prophecy.
Yahweh always brings events about according to His timetable.
Passover has been fulfilled twice, as has Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. But the Feasts of the seventh month have never been fulfilled. Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles are awaiting fulfillment and Yahweh undoubtedly will be right on schedule.
His feast days help us remember His plan of redemption, which we are reminded of at three harvest times during the year. The fall moedim begin a time of tribulation and foreshadow the deception of the false prophet and the iron grip of the man of sin.
These festivals go on to remind us of the coming Kingdom of Yahweh where His law and government will rule the world.
Looking Toward a Far Greater Future
Temporarily staying in succoth or shelters, as we are commanded by Yahweh at Tabernacles, reminds us that we are but sojourners and travelers in this world. Our real goal is to be in the future Kingdom wherein is righteousness and where the entire world will be keeping His Sabbaths and His laws, Isaiah 66:23.
We are pilgrims merely passing through this fallen world, revealed in the temporary dwellings, as we focus on a far greater world to come.
We have the greatest opportunity ever to worship Yahweh in spirit and in truth. There are more study resources to prove the truth of the Bible than in any generation before us. We are without excuse.
Knowing and loving Yahweh means doing what He asks, just as a child shows love and respect to his or her parents by obeying them – and they love them all the more in return.
By obeying Yahweh’s commands, which include the observance of the seventh-month festivals, we show that we desire His awesome blessings. We truly want the promises of rulership with Him in His Kingdom that come only by proving that we first will obey Him.
John wrote, “But whoso keeps His word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby we know that we are in Him,” 1John 2:5.
The Feasts teach the Kingdom coming to earth. You can have a foretaste of that joyous Kingdom today.
Decide right now to be closer to your Heavenly Father. Discover the deep-down happiness and fulfillment that comes in living for Yahweh by observing His special days.
Want to know more? Check out our article on the prophecy contained in the Passover and Unleavened Bread!
For your consideration. It is clear that all of physical creation is designed to help us understand Yahwh’s plan. Just as the temple and all the emblems and the ark were shadows of the heavenly, so are the seasons of planting and harvesting. There are two harvest feasts which, as you have said, are Pentecost/First Fruits the first harvest, and Tabernacles/Ingathering the fall harvest. But you do not have a spring harvest and a fall harvest from the same planting. You plant the spring crop and after it is reaped then you plant the fall crop. Each is planted separately… Read more »