A couple of years ago, in the course of studying the whole Word of God with Seeking Scripture, I began to take a sincere interest in the Biblical holy days, the Father’s appointed times that are often referred to, simply, as the “Biblical Feasts”: Passover, Trumpets, Tabernacles, etc. As I began to study, I began to notice a few things. The first, and probably the most alarming, is the number of times that they are mentioned in the Word. For years I had studied scripture, but not once had any of my teachers lingered over Passover as it would have originally been observed. They didn’t go into detail regarding the Feasts of Unleavened Bread or the Feast of Weeks (also known as Pentecost or Shavuot), even though they are clearly mentioned and frequently observed in the gospels, the book of Acts, and in a host of the epistles. Suddenly I began to understand that these appointed times were not something that had been relegated to antiquity. They were a bright, brilliant, profound part of the way Christ and his disciples walked out their faith (Mat. 26:17, Acts 20:6 & 16, 1 Cor. 16:8, Acts 27:9 1 Cor. 11:23-29). Obviously, this required more study.
I dove in, and began to unpack Passover first. As I did, as I studied the way that the Israelites would have kept Passover, as I read God name it as one of “His appointed times,” as I looked through the sacrifices and symbols, the stories and the songs, as I read about Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits, I found that the last days of Jesus came into much clearer focus. All of a sudden, the phrase “passover lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7) simply meant more as did Paul’s naming of the Messiah as the “firstfruits” of many brethren (1 Cor. 15:20). This only seemed to make me more curious. I read about the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, and found that it coincided with Pentecost and the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit. This led, quite naturally, to a look at the fall feasts: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. The more I unpacked, the more I began to understand that I had been missing a rich, vibrant, valuable part of my faith. The more I unpacked, the more I began to understand that I had been missing a rich, vibrant, valuable part of my faith.
Tentatively, I began to flesh out what celebrating these holy days in my own life would look like. Could I host a Passover meal? Would I be willing to remove the leaven from my home? Could I blow a trumpet and shout for joy at the thought of Christ’s return? The short answer: “Sure.” The real answer is much longer. Not only could I, but I felt a need to, a desire to see what the Father had to teach in this season. Just as in my Passover study, things began to click, to fall into place. When I read John’s gospel and he referred to “the last day, that great day of the feast,” (John 7:37) I knew what that meant! I was paying more attention when the Word spoke of Trumpets and Atonement. I got really excited when I remembered that Christ didn’t just “dwell” with us, he “tabernacled” with us (John 1:14) and will do so again!
The more I unpacked, the more I began to understand that I had been missing a rich, vibrant, valuable part of my faith.
Then I tripped across Colossians 2:16-17 “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Paul is writing in a future tense to Gentile believers who are attempting to walk in the footsteps of Christ. He didn’t say these are a shadow of what has already happened, but that these things, these holy days and Sabbaths are not just a shadow pointing to Christ, but they are a shadow “of things to come” and Jesus is the substance. It’s as if our Messiah stands at the center (as He should) and when we look from Him toward the Older Testament, we see a savior-shaped shadow outlined in each of YHWH’s feasts. We see a savior-shaped shadow outlined in each of YHWH’s feasts. But when we change our position, when we look from Christ across the Newer Testament and the prophetic announcements of His kingdom, there again is that savior-shaped shadow pointing toward a time of feasting perfected. These times of feasting, of remembrance, were instituted by God, practiced by both Christ and the early church, and, according to both Ezekiel and Zechariah (Eze. 46, Zech 14), will be celebrated in the coming Millennial Reign.
We see a savior-shaped shadow outlined in each of YHWH’s feasts.
But when we change our position, when we look from Christ across the Newer Testament and the prophetic announcements of His kingdom, there again is that savior-shaped shadow pointing toward a time of feasting perfected. These times of feasting, of remembrance, were instituted by God, practiced by both Christ and the early church, and, according to both Ezekiel and Zechariah (Eze. 46, Zech 14), will be celebrated in the coming Millennial Reign.
So, my family and I celebrate. We honor Passover and remember Egypt and Moses and Jesus and the cross. We count to Shavuot and thank the Father for the gifts of his Word and His Spirit. We blow trumpets and train our ears for the next time that we hear that sound. We go camping with friends and family, and look forward to a time when that celebration doesn’t have to end. And every time we celebrate the appointed times, we learn more about this Word that has changed all of our lives; we come to know our savior better, and through Him, we deepen our relationship with the Father. Do I have to celebrate these appointed times? That’s the wrong question. I get to celebrate them! I get to sit at the foot of the greatest teacher in the universe and learn in the way He taught. Do we celebrate them perfectly? Of course not. We can’t, but God has blessed our own small efforts so much that each time we celebrate it’s as if we’re opening a new gift directly from His hand.
My salvation rests securely in my faith in Christ, but anything that draws me away from this world and toward Him can only ever be for my highest good. So, we pray, we shout, we celebrate, and we look forward to a time when our keeping of the Father’s appointed times is made perfect, when He rules and reigns in peace, and we have the opportunity to celebrate these times with our Messiah and watch the Light of the World eliminate the need for shadows.
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