We know the holiday season so well, but how many know about the amazing holiday system God set up in the Bible? It is set out in the Old Testament, an annual cycle of seven feasts. This meant nothing much to me until I realized that those seven holidays were prophetic – in other words, that the feasts themselves were prophecies of future events.
The exciting thing is that the first four feasts have already been fulfilled in history, and the last three are still to be fulfilled, possibly in the near future. The last three feasts tell us what is coming down the pike, and wow, now, right now, today, is the time to get ready, for when the next feast is fulfilled, the fifth one, there will be no time at all to do anything. Please read on and find out about the stupendous event which will suddenly be upon us, a defining moment in the history of the world.
We have described the seven feasts* and their hidden meanings in our book ‘Goodbye America, Goodbye Britain’, available from our web shop, and here are the highlights. God set them up for the children of Israel and even now, although modern Israel is for the most part secular, the seven feasts are still celebrated. They are as follows. The first four are in the spring; then there is a long, hot summer with little rain, and the last three feasts are in the autumn.
- Passover. This harks back to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and was symbolic of the shedding of Christ’s blood at Calvary. On Passover the Jews slew a lamb and applied the blood to the lintel and doorposts, which protected them from the Angel of Death, on the night when the firstborn of all the Egyptians were slain; and this foreshadowed how the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, saves us from judgment.
- Unleavened Bread. Leaven is always a symbol of sin in the Bible and even today Jewish families rid their homes of any food containing leaven for the week of this feast. The hidden message in it is that Jesus was the unleavened bread, because he had no sin, and therefore His sacrifice for our sins on the cross was acceptable to God. Without the shedding of His blood, there would never have been forgiveness for any of us.
- First Fruits. This was the early harvest, and it symbolizes the resurrection, because the Lord Jesus is the first in everything; He is pre-eminent, the first to rise from the dead, and the source of our hope of also rising.
- Feast of Weeks, Pentecost. Seven weeks plus one day (on a Sunday), fifty days after First Fruits, Pentecost was celebrated, the early harvest. The fulfillment, on the day itself, was the birthday of the church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers, Peter delivered his first sermon, and three thousand Jews were converted and baptized in one day.
Those first four feasts were fulfilled in the year that Christ died. Following the symbols of the prophetic feasts, we are now in the long, hot summer period when there is little rain. Rain is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, and certainly there is very little now falling in the western world, with very few conversions.
But now comes the last three autumn feasts.
- Feast of Trumpets. This is the next feast, the next prophetic event, to be literally fulfilled, just as the first four were literally fulfilled. It symbolizes the return of Christ for His church, the momentous event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. ‘For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ (This feast is also called Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year.) This is the Rapture of the church, when every born again believer in the Lord Jesus joins Him in the air – the dead believers first, then we who are alive at the time. This will be the happiest day of our lives - if we are living for Christ. There is even a crown promised for all those who love the Lord’s appearing (2 Tim 4:8). This is a crown that every believer can aspire to. Will you get that crown? Or will you be ashamed of what you are doing on the day He comes?
- Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Nine days after the Feast of Trumpets is this dread day. In modern Israel nothing moves on this day; everyone just stays home and fasts all day, afflicting their souls and praying for forgiveness of sins. This typifies the repentance of the nation of Israel after the Rapture of the church, when the nation will be in the utmost peril, and the survivors will afflict their souls and will turn to Christ at last, finally recognize Him as Israel’s Messiah, and beg Him to return and save them from total destruction. This is what all heaven is waiting for, and this is what precipitates the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus, returning from heaven, with all His saints, to defeat His enemies and set up His kingdom on this earth.
- Feast of Tabernacles. This also looks back and looks forward. It looks back to the time when Israel lived in tents in the wilderness after the Exodus, but looks forward to the kingdom of Christ on earth, the 1,000 year Millennial reign which the Lord tells us of in Chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation. This is when those who have been faithful in their service to the Lord Jesus will receive abundant rewards.
Here is another interesting idea relating the seven feasts to the menorah, the seven-branched candlestick which burned in the ancient Jewish Temple. The menorah has three candles on one side (the first three spring feasts), a central pillar (Pentecost, the church) holding it all together, and three candles on the other side (the last three feasts). In one beautiful object, the whole of salvation history is depicted.
I hope our readers will understand the colossal significance of the seven Jewish feasts. They are a framework of human history, with the climax of history – the Rapture of all true believers – the next event on God’s calendar.
In the 1980s when we were new Christians, we saw car stickers in America asking: ‘Are you ready for the Rapture?’ We haven’t seen those for many years, and it is as though people have forgotten or got tired of waiting. But God’s Word still stands.
The Rapture is a real event and we have been warned about it, not least by the Jewish prophetic feasts. So we ask our readers (and ourselves!) – are you ready for the Rapture? Have you taken that all-important step of accepting the Lord Jesus as your Savior, and asking Him to forgive all your sins? Are you faithfully working at whatever He has given you to do? If you can answer ‘yes’ to the last two questions, you are probably ready! If not, today is your day to get ready…
*Read about the feasts in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16. I am indebted to Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum (www.ariel.org) for his teaching on these feasts and urge readers to get on to his website and obtain teaching materials, as they have been such a blessing to us.