THE THREE FEASTS IN SEVEN PARTS
There were three primary feasts divided into seven parts. All of Israel’s worship centered on these three feasts. There are other worthy celebrations (e.g., Purim and Hanukkah), but they are not of Moses, not prescribed in the Torah. We see three of these in Deuteronomy 16:16:
Deu 16:16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.”
The first feast was the Passover. The first Passover, you may recall, was on the eve of Israel’s departure from the land of Egypt into the wilderness. God judged Egypt, and their gods, for keeping His people, the Hebrews, in bondage. He sent the angel of death to slay the first-born males of all the land, both animals and humans. The children of the Hebrews were spared if blood was placed over the door of their homes.
Exo 12:12-13 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
The Lord made this event the beginning of Israel’s calendar or ‘‘beginning of months’’, and thereby established a “new year” on the first of that month. It has come to be known as “New Year’s Day” on the Hebrew religious calendar. (Rosh Hashanah is “New Year’s Day” on the civil calendar).
Exo 12:1-3 1Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
The Passover delivered Israel from the judgment of the firstborn, and prepared them for a new life as a separated, sanctified, and holy nation. In the same way, the cross of Christ is made the beginning for the child of God and delivers that man or woman from judgment.
1 Blood must be used as a covering to avoid judgment.
To appropriate deliverance for each family, the head of the house took responsibility to place blood across the doorpost. Similarly, in our day, the head of the Christian family stands as that family’s High Priest. It is the head of the family who takes responsibility for his or her family to receive God’s blessing.
2 Recall: the lamb must be without blemish.
Exo 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
1 Pet 1:18-19 18Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
To underscore this once more: Jesus was that Lamb without blemish.
3 And make note: the lamb must be killed.
Exo 12:6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
Jesus, our lamb, was crucified during the time of this feast. He fulfilled the prophecy expressed as a “type” through this feast.
Mat 26:2 (Jesus said) “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
4 The blood must be applied to the doorposts of the house.
For us, there must be an individual appropriation, by faith, of the work of the cross.
Rom 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
5 The flesh must be eaten.
Exo 12:8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
John 6:53-55 53Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”
We eat His flesh by absorbing the Word, confessing our sins, making supplication through prayer, and by living conscious of our communion with Him (we practice the presence of God as taught by the seventeenth century Carmelite monk, Brother Lawrence). As we discern the Lord’s Body, all true believers (1 Cor 11:28-29) enter into that communion:
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (literally, “tabernacled”), and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
6 The people had to depart from where they were.
Exo 12:11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’S Passover.
Israel was to eat the Passover Lamb with loins girded and shoes on their feet, ready to leave Egypt. Likewise, the moment we receive Christ as our Passover Lamb, we must depart from the world and its corrupting influences and allurements. We must follow our Lord in separation from our old life and consecrate ourselves to a new life.
We will never escape our dependence on the work accomplished through the blood of our Passover Lamb, Jesus. Thus, the feast became an ordinance forever:
Exo 12:14 “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.”