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Appointed Times

Which festivals actually appear in the Bible? 

Let’s return to thinking about times and seasons. We can understand how the Bible records moments of God’s revelation to us as moments in time and we have discussed how He expects us to commit these moments to our memories in our daily lives. He has graciously provided us with a mechanism to help us on the way and, true to His gracious revelation, He has used a basic function of time itself to do so. He has given us the annual cycle of time and, within this, He has placed the modi’im, the appointed times. These are listed in Leviticus 23, but here is a brief summary.

He gave us the Saturday Sabbath as a reminder of His six day creation and the command to rest on the seventh. Of all the modi’im, this is the only one that runs on a weekly cycle … obviously!

He gave us Passover, to remind us of the events leading up to the Sinai event, teaching us of redemption from slavery, but also the redemptive act of Jesus dying for us on the cross, the day after the Last Supper, a Passover meal.

He gave us the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) to remind us of the Sinai event, the giving of the Torah, but also of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in Jerusalem, who were there to celebrate Shavuot.

He gave us the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) to highlight the start of a period of repentance and self-examination (though this is not specifically mentioned in the passage), culminating nine days later with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), to remind us with the need of atonement, only completely fulfilled by Jesus’s work on the cross.

He gave us the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot), to remind us of our reliance on Him, symbolised by the temporary booths erected during the eight days of the feast. Zechariah 14:16 also reminds us that this feast will still be valid in the future time when Jesus will return to rule over us.

All these feasts were given on a specific date in the Hebrew calendar. This doesn’t make them Jewish feasts, but rather they are biblical feasts. However we must note that they are considered Jewish feasts and hence “of no value to the Church”, because the Church had dumped both the Hebrew (biblical) calendar and knowledge of the feasts themselves.

Now we all know that Christian denominations do respect an annual cycle and have their own feasts and celebrations to celebrate events in history. But – and this is a big but – how much are they informed by Holy Scripture? Let’s see … next week.

 

This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp

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