If you could know what is coming in the days and years just ahead, wouldn’t you be very interested? The Scriptures show that future events are revealed in proper worship, especially in the days Yahweh commanded for His people.
The Apostle Paul in the second chapter of Colossians explains the prophetic significance of our Father’s days of worship. “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; but the body [is] of Messiah,” vv. 16-17.
Along with some of the other Old Testament commandments, Paul is refer-ring here to Yahweh’s days of worship, His Sabbath and Feasts. Now before exploring the prophetic meaning, we will first dispel a common misconception about this passage.
Many interpret Paul as saying that we are no longer obligated to observe these days. In other words, we’re not to be judged on our freedom from these old and archaic obligations.
Is this the message Paul is conveying to the people at Colossae? The answer is no. What he is saying is that we must not allow those outside the body of Messiah, the assembly, to judge us on the worship of our Father in heaven. In verse 17 the word “is” was added by the translators; take it out and the meaning is clear. Those qualified to judge Feast keeping are those in the body who are honoring these days. Only they are well-versed in why, how, and when to celebrate them.
In verse 17 Paul also says that these days are a shadow of things to come. He recognizes the prophetic nature of our Father’s moedim, His annual appointments. Understand that the Feasts given in the Old Testament were more than simply times of worship. Each of these days prophetically foreshadows a special event in our Father’s plan of salvation for mankind.
‘But That’s Old Testament!’
One of the most common misconceptions about the Feasts is that they belong just to the Jews and those people of the Old Testament. They are inconsequential to those in the New Testament.
In Leviticus 23 we find a summary of these Feasts. In verse 2 Yahweh begins by explaining to whom these days belong. He declares, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.”
Does Yahweh tell us that these days belong only to the Jews and are irrelevant to those in the Messiah? No! He says that these are “MY feasts.” Our Heavenly Father clearly says that these holy convocations belong not to man, but to Him. For believers this is an important point.
You see, if we ignore these days we’re not ignoring what belongs to mankind, but something very special belonging to our Creator. In essence, when we ignore these days we tell Yahweh that His worship is of little or no value. So the belief that these times belong only to those in the Old Testament could not be further from the truth.
Passover’s Release from Sin
Let’s now consider the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread to better understand their relevance to us and Yahweh’s prophetic plan of salvation.
Even though the Passover is tech-nically not a Feast (Hebrew chag), it is nonetheless one of the most sacred times in Yahweh’s worship. We find a description of this time in Leviticus 23:5: “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s Passover.”
The Passover is to be observed on the 14th day of the first biblical month at sunset. The word “even” is the Hebrew ereb and means “dusk” or “sundown.” In Exodus 12:6, the word “even” is from the Hebrew ben ha arbayim.
As noted in the Restoration Study Bible, “The timing of the word ‘evening’ has been a matter of debate for millennia. It is derived from the Hebrew phrase ben ha arbayim, which literally means, ‘between the two evenings.’ While rabbinical Judaism and Pharisaic and Talmudic tradition define ben ha arbayim as ‘between noon and sunset,’ it became a period of time that expanded over the centuries.
“The Sadducees…and the Samaritans define this phrase as between sunset and complete darkness. See Numbers 9:3-5, 11 and Leviticus 23:5. Based on scriptural evidence and modern scholarship, the latter interpretation is favored.
“According to The Interpreter’s Bible, the latter definition is the older of the two views: ‘The usage of the time referring to that after sunset and before darkness is the older practice’” (p. 919).
The name of this first month is Abib. This is more a description than a name. Strong’s defines this word as “…from an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, i.e. a young ear of grain; hence, the name of the month Abib or Nisan.” The Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew Lexicon calls it a “month of ear-forming, of greening of crop, of growing green Abib, the month of the Exodus and the Passover (March or April).” As established above, the first month is dependent upon the maturing of the Abib grain. Exodus 9:31 establishes that the grain used is barley.
It was on Passover night that the death angel went through the land of Egypt and killed the firstborn in those homes that had not applied the blood to their door frames. Even in the Old Testament it was through blood that redemption was found. Now this also marked the night to be much observed, as it was on this night that Israel won their freedom from slavery.
Fulfillment in Yahshua’s Death
In 1Corinthians 5:7 the Apostle Paul sheds light on the prophetic meaning of the Passover. He says, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us.”
Paul focuses here on the Passover and the role that the Messiah had in its fulfillment. Through His death He became the Passover sacrifice. “Fulfill” does not mean “obliterate.”
As confirmed by the prophets, the Feasts are an everlasting command that will be observed in the coming Kingdom, e.g. Isaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 44-46; Zechariah 14:16-19.
According to John the Baptist in the New Testament, Yahshua represents the Passover lamb as found in the Old Testament. John 1:29 reads, “Behold the Lamb of Yahweh, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
The main purpose for Yahshua’s coming to this earth was to shed His blood for the sins of mankind. He also came to set an example to follow in our lives. If not for His sacrifice we would all still be condemned in our sins.
Only through our Savior do we find forgiveness and a complete washing away of our sins. Without His act of reconcilement we would be alienated from our Heavenly Father. Paul confirms in Romans that only through our Savior’s death are we reestablished with Yahweh.
Yahshua will make the reconciliation permanent at His coming, when He will gather His faithful from this earth to serve in His Father’s kingdom. “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other,” Matthew 24:31. Paul adds, “and so shall we ever be with the Master,” 1Thessalonians 4:17.
Leavening and Worldly Corruption
The next annual appointment is equally important and that is the Feast of Un-leavened Bread, the first of the three annual pilgrimage Feasts. We find the command for this holy convocation in Leviticus 23:6-8: “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto Yahweh: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.”
The Feast of Unleavened Bread im-mediately follows the Passover. The Jews eventually combined these observances, yet the Bible teaches that they are separate observances. As the Encyclopaedia Judaica states, “The feast of Passover consists of two parts: the Passover ceremony, and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the [Babylonian] exile they were combined” (vol. 13, p. 169).
Another important fact about the Feast of Unleavened Bread is its duration. Scripture tells us that it is seven days long with the first and seventh days being called “holy convocations.” The word “holy” comes from the Hebrew qodesh and refers to something sacred. The word convocation derives from the Hebrew miqra and literally means something that is called out, as in a public meeting. Therefore, the phrase “holy convocation” refers to a sacred calling out or a sacred meeting.
The command that makes this Feast different from all others is that Yahweh commands that we abstain from leavening or yeast for all seven days. What’s the issue with leavening? you might be wondering.
First, the Israelites left Egypt in haste and were unable to leaven their dough. This Feast commemorates their exodus from the corruption of Egypt while they ate unleavened bread.
Second, leavening symbolizes sin or what leads to sin through wickedness, malice, false beliefs, and corrupt politics. As Israel left the land of Goshen they were not only leaving physical leavening but also spiritual leavening, which was the corruption of Egypt.
Salvation Plan Pictured in the Feast
Also significant is that this Feast has a strong connection to agriculture. It was during this time that Israel offered the wave sheaf or firstfruits of the barley harvest to Yahweh.
From the New Testament we know that the wave sheaf has prophetic meaning. In 1Corinthians 15:20-22 Paul explains what this time prophetically represents. “But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive.”
Here we learn that the Messiah rep-resents the first fruits of those who would be resurrected. As the wave sheaf during the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the first of the grain offerings, Yahshua was the first fruits of those who would rise from the grave.
As we delve into the Feasts we see an amazing harmony between the Old and New testaments. The same principles we find in the Old are alive and well in the New. Contrary to popular belief, it was never the Messiah’s intent to begin a new faith. Even Paul said of himself in Acts 24:14 that he “believed all things written in the law and in the prophets.”
Paul said in 1Corinthians 15:22, “For in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive.”
Only through Yahshua the Messiah do we find everlasting life, which He will grant at His Second Coming to all those immersed into His Name. Understand that this promise had been foreshadowed by the wave sheaf that was offered during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The New Testament is clear that the Messiah and His apostles observed these days. As we’ve also seen, these observances will be kept in the coming Kingdom.
These times foretell Yahweh’s plan of salvation for mankind. They reveal truth found nowhere else. Therefore, not only do we break our Father’s commandments when we ignore these days, but we disregard vital truth pertaining to Yahweh’s plan of salvation for His chosen.
More info on the Biblical Feasts can be found in our FREE booklet: The Amazing Biblical Feasts
For more info please check out this video on Yahweh’s Feasts!