Leviticus 23 Feasts of the LORD

Oct 29, 2014  |  Leviticus, Old Testament  |  No Comments

Feasts of the LORD

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I have to admit that I’m excited to read this chapter.  I feel the Christian church has strayed in celebrating holidays based on pagan celebrations instead of following the feasts God Himself designated.  I think it is interesting that this chapter also reiterates the importance of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath

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What is our obligation for the Sabbath?  Rest and holy convocation.  The meaning of rest is clear, but how often do we follow this command?  The question of which day is designated as the Sabbath can be challenging as well, at least for Christians.  The other element of keeping the Sabbath is the holy convocation.  What exactly is the holy convocation?  Part of the meaning is obvious – a gathering of believers.  The part that is less clear is, for what purpose?  I found the following article interesting and challenging on the subject – “Holy Convocation – What Does the Bible say about Convocation?”

The Passover

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God specifies the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as the first of the appointed feasts.  Why don’t Christians celebrate the holy feasts?  I think there’s a tendency to ignore our true role relative to the Jewish people.  God set apart the Jews to be His holy people.  He didn’t replace the Jews with Christians, but rather grafted us in.  What then does it mean with regards to the feasts of God?

We need to remember that God commanded the celebration of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, including the time for when it is to be celebrated.  This feast begins and ends with a holy convocation.  In between, daily food sacrifices are to be made and, of course, no yeast is to be present during this time.  The yeast restriction reminds us that we need to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.  I also think of Jesus’ teaching where yeast represents the corruption of God’s laws with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.  What are the examples of yeast in our current culture?  I think examples of legalism are very similar to what Jesus despised from the Pharisees – burdening the people instead of freeing them to seek God.  I wonder if the corruption of the church with New Age ideas isn’t also an example of the corruption of yeast.  With the imminent return of Christ, being prepared to leave is also something we need to embrace.

The Feast of First Fruits

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God deserves the first of the harvest, not our leftovers.  Before we have ANY of the fruit, we need to first give freely to God.   The firstfruits are also a foreshadowing of the harvest of souls begun with Jesus Christ.  Give generously, before considering your own needs and God will reward you.   Give thankfully, for, without Him, there is neither life nor harvest.  It’s also a remembrance of God and what He has done for us.

The Festival of Weeks

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This festival occurs seven weeks after the firstfruits, well into the bounty of the harvest.  How easy to forget God during bounty.  I wonder if this festival is partly to remind the people from whom the bounty comes.  At the end of this passage is a reminder to leave a little of the harvest for the poor, another thing that’s easy to forget when you’re enjoying plenty.   Note also how the number seven plays in this passage, the number of completeness.  After this will come the trumpets and the unexpected, but for now, the work is finished.

The Festival of Trumpets

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These few verses carry a weight of meaning, particularly to the Christian.  They prepare the way for the Messiah and will prepare the way for the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It’s also a warning to repent and turn to God, in preparation for His righteous judgment.  It starts the countdown to the day of atonement.  It takes place in the seventh month, the seventh symbolizing completeness.  Finally, the Feast of Trumpets will be the final call to judgment, as it announces the great day of the Lord.  Let us each be prepared for that day.

The Day of Atonement

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As I read the paragraph on the Day of Atonement, I cannot help but think of Jesus’ sermon on the mount when He says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  If we are not afflicted about our sin or repentant, if we don’t mourn our sin, how can we be forgiven and comforted?  Instead, we are way too comfortable with our sin.  Whether Jewish or Christian, I think we accept our sinful ways too casually.  When you read the tone of this paragraph, listen to God’s heart – sin is a critical, life-threatening concern.  It should drive you to your knees and you should weep as God weeps.  What a privilege that Jesus came to take this burden of sin from us, but never forget the price nor how seriously God takes sin.

The Feast of Booths

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This final feast is a grand celebration of God’s bounty and provision and of His rescue of His people from captivity.  It is a full week of celebration.  Isn’t it interesting that following the time of mourning and repentance for our sins, God decrees a celebration of rejoicing.  It is a week of dancing and praising, eating and living in booths, all to remember the generous provision of our God.  It is a celebration of God’s presence in our midst and His guidance in our lives.  This great time of rejoicing is the merest shadow of the rejoicing that will occur when Jesus comes back to reign and we can live by His light forever.

 

 

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