Light from the Ancient Sanctuary B
Understanding the Spring Feasts of the Sanctuary
SPRING CEREMONIES: 1st month
THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
THE WAVE SHEAF
THE FEAST OF HARVEST: PENTECOST
FALL CEREMONIES: 7th month
THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
The sanctuary had a number of feast-days that were part of its
services during the year. The feasts were the holy days, or the holidays
of the Hebrew people. Their feast days, sacred gatherings at the
sanctuary, began in the spring at the beginning of their ceremonial
year, which lasted for seven months. There were three major gatherings
Each feast represented something from the past. The ceremonial year was also an enacted prophecy, representing the history of this world and the plan of salvation as carried out by Jesus, the Messiah. Each feast pointed back and forward as well.
The whole system of the feasts extended symbolically from the death of Christ, His work in man’s behalf, until the Redeemed are completely restored and entering heaven forever. It is a beautiful plan, and as you study these things out, you find that every part of the prophecy has been fulfilled, right up until the time in which we live, where Jesus is soon to come.
God was preparing to rescue the Children of Israel from Egypt, where they had been treated cruelly as slaves. He had sent Moses to speak to Pharaoh and tell him to “Let My people go!”
But Pharaoh would not listen to Moses at all. Even when plagues had
well nigh ruined the land of Egypt, he still said “Who is the LORD, that
I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither
will I let Israel go.”
God spoke to Moses to tell the children of Israel, each family, to take a lamb from the flock. It was to be a male and have no blemish, and they were to bring it into live with them four days before the special night.
God said that He was about to strike all the firstborn of Egypt in one night! The Israelites were to kill the lamb on the evening before this terrible night, and dip hyssop in its blood, and mark their door posts and lintel with the blood of the lamb.
When the angel of death went through the Land of Egypt to do his terrible work, he would see the blood on the door and ‘Pass-Over’ the houses of the Israelites.
While they were waiting, the Israelites were to roast the lamb and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were not to break any of its bones or leave any of the meat. Anything that was left was to be burned.
When the terrible plague struck Egypt at midnight, Orders came from Pharaoh for the Israelites to leave Egypt, which they promptly did.
Just as that happened back then, it will happen that way in the future. We who accept Jesus as our sacrifice, accept His blood in our behalf to redeem us from sin. At the end of time, when the seven last plagues are being poured on the earth, God will look at that sign of redemption upon each one of His children and the scourge will pass over them and they cannot be harmed.
Egyptian bondage, in Bible prophecy, represents slavery to sin. Jesus was the true ‘Passover Lamb’. Four days before His death on the cross, when the Israelites were out in their fields getting their yearling to bring in for their sacrifice for the Passover feast, the Sanhedrin had met. They were meeting that very day, and there they decided to condemn Jesus to death; they set Him apart to die.
They determined that they would take Him and offer him up that weekend which was the Passover. If they were only reading their own prophecies, they would have realized that they were actually fulfilling them. By their evil intentions, they had set Jesus aside the same time the Passover lamb was to be set aside.
Jesus was crucified on the day that the Passover Lamb was to be slain. He died at 3 PM, the exact time the Passover Lamb was to be killed. At His death cry, a mighty earthquake struck the city of Jerusalem and split the rock on which the temple was built. The ‘Rock of Ages’ had been ‘cleft’ for us.
Jesus was put to death in the exact moment in time specified 1500 years before. Every year when the Passover lamb was offered, it was always offered at exactly the same time of day, at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. At that very moment, while the priests were reaching that knife to slice the throat of the Passover lamb in the sanctuary, they had Christ out on a cross and were putting Him to death outside the city.
Here they were literally putting the true Lamb of God to death, and they didn’t recognize their own prophecies, that He was fulfilling. As Jesus died, He lifted His head toward heaven and cried, “Into Thy hands I commend My spirit, IT IS FINISHED!” It was exactly 3:00 o’clock when that happened.
No Bone of Him was Broken. When the Roman soldiers came to break the legs of the ones on the cross, Jesus was already dead, so they broke not His bones. Instead they pierced him with a spear. The Passover Lamb was always pierced with a spit to roast it.
At that moment the Priests were about to put the lamb in the sanctuary to death, and a tremendous earthquake took place, the only one that has been recorded in Palestine. There was no earthquake fault through that area until that day. It could be heard coming from a distance. It was a tremendous roar, a rumbling sound, and it ripped right through Jerusalem, right through the center of the temple, and out the other side, and right through the middle of the Mountain of Olives where Jesus often spent His time in prayer with God.
It ripped that 18 foot curtain that was as thick as a man’s hand, from top to bottom as it tore through the temple, and it cracked the rock that was underneath the Most Holy Place.
The priest, with upraised hand to slay the Lamb, was terrified as this heavy curtain that covered the most holy place from the gaze of the people, was torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand. No human power could have torn that heavy curtain! The knife dropped from his nerveless hand and the lamb sprang free, and escaped in the confusion.
Type had met anti-type! The Lamb of God had died for the sins of the world. No longer would the offering of lambs on earthly altars have any meaning.
THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
They were to eat bread made without yeast, which was a symbol of sin; the roasted lamb, which represented Jesus; and bitter herbs to represent repentance for sin. Grape juice was to be unfermented.
After the Passover lamb, was offered as a sacrifice, it was to be eaten that evening, while the plague was passing over. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Why unleavened bread? Most bread you eat has leaven or yeast in it, and that yeast grows in there and causes it to swell and permeates the whole bread. With no leaven, the bread just stays kind of hard.
That leaven represents sin in our lives and how it permeates our whole life. But they were to have no leaven in the bread, symbolizing that now that they had eaten the Passover lamb, they were under the blood of the sacrifice and protected, they had no sin in their lives any longer and they were about to be freed from the bondage of sin forever.
The feast of unleavened bread occurred while Jesus slept in the tomb. He had paid sin’s penalty, now man could, if he chose, accept the provision for salvation and be forever free of the bondage of sin.
That Sabbath was ‘an high day’, that means the ceremonial Sabbath was falling upon the Sabbath of the law, the seventh day of the week. As Jesus rested at the end of creation week, so now at the end of His week of restoring man and dying as a sacrifice, Jesus rested again. Once as the Creator, He rested; now as the Re-Creator, the Restorer, He rested in the grave on the sacred Sabbath day sealing forever the fact that the Sabbath is the day of rest. Jesus fulfilled that day of rest.
THE WAVE SHEAF:
The Priest was to go early on the next day and pick some first ripened heads of barley to make a sheaf. Then he took it in before the Lord in the Temple, and waved it before the Lord.
And the next day Israel went out of Egypt, away from the cruel slavery. They were free, and they went out into the wilderness to offer themselves before God. That was represented by the wave sheaf.
The next morning Jesus, resurrected from the tomb, ascended to heaven to present Himself as the Wave Sheaf. He ascended to His Father at the same time that the priest was offering up the wave sheaf, and He perfectly fulfilled this symbol. Christ gave absolute evidence that He was the Promised One by fulfilling the plan of salvation in every particular.
THE FEAST OF HARVEST or Pentecost
This feast was called the Pentecost as it took place after 49 days, on the 50th day. This was the time of the harvest of the grain. Before the grain could be harvested, the ‘first fruits’ were to be gathered and some special loaves prepared and offered before the Lord.
Now let’s look again at the first feasts. Passover commemorated the day that the Israelites offered the lamb and put that blood on the doorposts, and then went into their homes. Under the protection of that blood, they ate the body of that lamb and unleavened bread that night. Then they were released the next day to go out and worship God represented by the wave sheaf. 50 days later they were before Sinai and received God’s law, the great Pentecost, when they were offering themselves before God as the first fruits of his work of redeeming mankind.
Pentecost was actually the time that the children of Israel had left Egypt, wandering through the deserts, guided by God, they came to the plain of Sinai, and there beneath that mountain God spoke the law to them. On that day they entered into a covenant relationship with God. It represented that the fruit of God’s work in bringing them out of Egypt was now before Him in the wilderness, and this was the great Pentecost.
When Jesus died, there was a mighty earthquake and some of the graves were opened. When He arose from the dead early on the first day before dawn, some people were raised with him. The Bible says they went into Jerusalem and told people about the resurrection of Jesus! (Matthew 27:52, 53.)
When Jesus ascended to Heaven after 40 days, these resurrected ones went with him. They were the first fruits of the great harvest of souls that Jesus’ blood would redeem from the earth.
Ten days later Jesus had presented them before His Heavenly Father and started upon His work in the heavenly Sanctuary and as a signal to His people on earth, a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit was sent to them and through the Spirit filled preaching of the Apostles, over 3,000 came into the early Christian church in one day! First Fruits were indeed presented, both in heaven and also on earth as the ‘Christian’ church was born.
THE FINAL FIRST FRUITS
There is a second application to the presentation of the ‘First-Fruits’ that takes place at the end of this world’s history, just before the 2nd Coming of Jesus.
We read about them in Revelation 14:3, 4: “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”
When the Priests gathered the first-fruits of the harvest, they were to make flour of the grain and bake 2 loaves. “Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.” Leviticus 23:17.
Now why were these loaves to be baked with Leaven when Leaven was a
symbol of sin and was not to be used in any other sacrifice? These
loaves did not represent Jesus; they represented those special redeemed
ones, the 144,000.
The special loaves started with ‘sin’ in them; but as they were thoroughly baked the leaven was destroyed and when they were presented, there was no live yeast in them any more!
So the 144,000 ‘first-fruits’ will go through a special time of trial and affliction and when they are finally translated to the Kingdom of Jesus, there will be no sin living in them any more forever!
They are what Jesus must present before He can bring the sin problem to an end, raise the righteous dead and take all His redeemed home.
In the ceremony, after the loaves were presented to God, they
belonged to the priest. So this special group belong to the Lamb and
will serve Him forever in His kingdom.