This evening marks the beginning of The Day of Atonement, a 24 hour period of somber spiritual reflection. Historically, it was the day the high priest of Israel would enter the holy place and atone for the sins of the nation. Sprinkling blood on the mercy-seat and releasing a scapegoat into the wilderness were part of the ceremony and are rife with messianic imagery. It is a day of fasting to represent affliction of the soul (spirit of repentance). It is the 6th of 7 feasts God commanded to observe. Why is this significant? Because these are not merely “Jewish holidays”, they are God’s “Holy Days” and hold great relevance for the Christian faith as well. They are very important to him, but most Christians are unfamiliar with them.
God ordained his holy days to coincide with the spring and fall cycles of nature. They are spiritual markers. The spring feasts are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and The Feast of Weeks. The fall feasts are Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. In church, we sing of spring and fall rains in relation to the first and second comings of the messiah. At his first coming, he literally fulfilled the spring feasts. He is the Passover Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world whose shed blood permits God to “pass over” us in judgement as he did in ancient Egypt. He was without sin (leaven) and continuously warned to beware the leaven (pride) of the Pharisees and in Gal 5:9 Paul remarks “a little leaven spoils the whole loaf.” He was the “first fruits of the resurrection” (1Cor 15:20). 7 weeks of 7 days later, on the 50th day is the Feast of Weeks. We know it as Pentecost (50th day), when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the disciples gathered in the upper room in Acts 2:41. Tradition also holds it is the same day Moses received the 10 Commandments at Sinai.
By literally fulfilling the spring feasts with such accuracy and symbolism at his first coming, what are the odds he will fulfill the fall feasts in the same manner? In my opinion, quite probable. Christians are familiar with trumpet blasts being a major theme in second coming eschatology. In Matt 24:31 Jesus states “And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” In 1 Thes 4:16 Paul states “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” The book of Revelations contains some of the most famous trumpet blast imagery known. The Day of Lord is mentioned 24 times in the Bible and is always connected with wrath for the unredeemed. It is the day that the remnant of Israel will be saved (atoned for). The Feast of Tabernacles is the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, when he returns to tabernacle and dwell among us.
We are exhorted to be watchful and ready for the coming of Christ. In the parable of the fig tree in Matt 24:32 Christ states “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.” He is using the budding of the fig tree in the summer season to illustrate a point about His second coming. No one knows the day or hour, but in 1 Thes 5:4 Paul states “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.” As believers, we are surely supposed to have knowledge of the feasts and understand their spiritual significance. They are an integral part of God’s plan for humanity and set a beautiful pattern to mark the year. I encourage you to do your own study of God’s feasts. You will be richly blessed with a deeper understanding of God’s prophetic signs and seasons.