In the book of Isaiah, God reveals to us that he shows us the end from the beginning in order that we are not surprised. God is pretty much like an open book and this is why if you want to know God's plans for the ages, all you have to do is 'Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read...' (Isaiah 34:16) The reason we are in the dark when it comes to God's plans for the ages and even for our lives is because we do not give enough attention to the book - The B.I.B.L.E. Let's look at what God said in Isaiah,
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
God's plans for the ages can be perceived simply by looking at what was written in the past. This brings me to a very important point about the Old Testament that is pertinent to us today. First, you need to get out of your mind the idea that we don't need anything from the Old Testament. God's Holy Word is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament. When Jesus, Paul or the apostles would refer to the Scriptures they would have been referring to the Old Testament because the New Testament was not written at the time. Therefore they would preach from what we call the Old Testament but in reality is called the Tanakh by the Jews. As Christians we call the 39 books from Genesis to Malachi the Old Testament, which may give the impression to some people that everything that is in the old has been done away with, but nothing could be further from the truth. Let us remember that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. What we call the Old Testament is called the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish Scriptures or the Tanakh .
The Tanakh is simply an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions:
Torah = Teachings and also known as the Five Books of Moses
Nevi'im = Prophets
Ketuvim = Writings
God's Holy Word is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament
Here is a basic understanding of the Tanakh. The Torah (Genesis -Deuteronomy) records the creation, the fall, the flood, the history of humanity and the creation of Israel with its captivity and deliverance from Pharaoh. It also contained the ceremonial laws, the civil laws and the moral laws. Then we have the Nevi'im which are the prophetic books and these are divided into the major and minor prophets books. The difference between the major and minor is not in terms of importance but in terms of the size of the books. The Ketuvim are the Writings such as the books of Job, Psalms and Proverbs. This is a basic, not a comprehensive understanding of the Hebrew Bible which we call the Old Testament. The point I am endeavoring to make to you is that the Old Testament is as relevant to you today as the New Testament. That is why God gave you both.
While the sacrificial rituals and ceremonials laws have already been fulfilled in Christ, yet there are many things in the Old Testament that are yet to come to pass such as prophecies in regards to Israel, the nations, the end times and the second coming of the Lord. The Old Testament does not just contain prophecies of the incarnation and the first coming of Jesus but also of his second coming. There are so many believers who are surprised to read such a statement nevertheless it is a fact. There are also landmarks that God has lodged in the Old Testament that show us God's eternal plans for the human race. One of these landmarks is the feasts of the Lord,
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts...These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
Leviticus 23:1-2, 4
A very important detail that you need to be aware of is that these feasts are called the feasts of the Lord. It is not called the feasts of Israel for if it were they would only apply to Israel. These are the feasts of the Lord and God says, 'these are my feasts'. Therefore we need to give attention to them. The second detail you need to be aware of is the word feasts. Now whenever we hear the word feast, what automatically comes to mind is food. However these feasts were not conveying the idea of a feast because the Hebrew word for feasts is Moed and it means divine appointments. Therefore these feasts were divine appointments with God to reveal specific things. Notice also that God said of these feasts, '...Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations..'. These feasts were also holy convocations. In today's vernacular a convocation would be a gathering of a large assembly, and that is certainly true. However the word convocation is the Hebrew word miqra and it does not just speak of a gathering but it also means a rehearsal. We can understand it better with the idea of a dress rehearsal such as for a wedding, a play or a concert. A dress rehearsal refers to a rehearsal of a live show, in which everything is done as it would be in a real performance. Therefore when the people commemorated these feasts, in effect they were seeing the dress rehearsals of the divine plans, divine appointments, divine seasons, divine timing and God's dealing with mankind. There are seven feasts unveiled in Leviticus 23 and they are the unfolding of God's agenda. These seven feasts are
- Feast of Passover - Leviticus 23:5
- Feast of Unleavened Bread - Leviticus 23:6
- Feast of Firstfruit - Leviticus 23:10,11
- Feast of Pentecost - Leviticus 23:17
- Feast of Trumpet - Leviticus 23:24
- Feast of Atonement - Leviticus 23:27
- Feast of Tabernacle - Leviticus 23:34
These seven feasts were biblical, literal, historical and prophetical. These seven Torah feasts have been commemorated and celebrated for the last 3500 years. They were observed for 1500 years before Jesus came on the earth. Every time Israel observed these feasts it was God unfolding his plans to them and to the world. Here is what I want you to grasp- These seven feasts reveal-
- God's plan for humanity and the earth
- Jesus' redemptive work
- The person of Jesus
- The calendar of God
- God's dealing with Israel, the church and the nations
- Where we are right now
- The past, present and future
In the next article we will discuss the feasts and how they pertain to us in salvation, showing the death, burial and resurrection to the rapture and the millenial reign of Christ.