HEBREW FEASTS and HOLY DAYS
FORESHADOWING CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCES
In Exodus 23:17, 34:23 and Deuteronomy 16:2-3, &16 we read that the Lord commands the men of Israel to come before Him three times a year. The 16th chapter of Deuteronomy is more specific and these three times a year are identified with 7 separate feasts. They include the spring feasts of Passover, Unleavened, and Firstfruits; the summer Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost) and the fall feasts of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles (or Ingathering). An additional two feasts, Dedication and Purim, were added by the Lord later. All 9 feasts are very significant and correlate to essential spiritual experiences for the Christian. Finally, a review of designated holy days, including Sabbath, Sabbatical and Jubilees is warranted as these were also God ordained and speak to the believer about “The Rest” found only in Christ Jesus. Restated, these feasts and holy days include:
1. Feast of Passover
2. Feast of the Unleavened Bread
3. Feast of Fristfruits
4. Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost)
5. Feast of Trumpets
6. Day of Atonement
7. Feast of Tabernacles
8. Feast of the Dedication of the Temple
9. Feast of Purim
10. Sabbath – weekly
11. Sabbatical – every 7 years
12. Jubilees – every 50 years
FEAST OF PASSOVER
Exodus 12:21-23: “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”
First it is generally understood that it was no accident that Jesus was crucified on the feast of Passover. God was offering up his Lamb once and for all so that this annual practice that was initiated when the Hebrews fled from Egypt would no longer need to be repeated. Consequently we view our salvation experience or born again experience as the spiritual fulfillment of Passover initiated centuries before. That is, the Passover was instituted as a type and shadow of things to come. The blood of an innocent lamb had to be put on the doorpost and lintels of each household so that the death Angel would pass-over. Where there was no blood applied the firstborn died.
Likewise, when we come to Christ we accept his shed blood on the cross like the blood that was applied to the vertical door posts and horizontal lintels for the propitiation of our sins. We leave a cursed kingdom of darkness where God’s judgment and wrath is poured out and we enter into His glorious kingdom of light that carries with it the promise of eternal life. Passover is a perfect picture of what Christ did for us on Calvary in type and shadow. Indeed the Christian knows that it was no coincidence that Jesus died on Passover.
FEAST OF THE UNLEAVENED BREAD
Deuteronomy 16:3: “Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.”
Concurrent with the Feast of Passover two other feasts are celebrated in the springtime. These include the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and the Feast of the Firstfruits (Ex 34:18-20). Sometimes they are collectively simply called the Passover, and at other times in the Old Testament they are simply referred to the Feast of the Unleavened as in Deuteronomy 16:16. These, like Passover are also symbolic and instituted as a foreshadowing of events in the life of the believer that have spiritual significance. As the Hebrews made ready for their departure and even as they approached the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army was in pursuit, the Hebrews were instructed to eat their bread in haste and without yeast or leaven. Likewise, Jesus said regarding sin, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, cast out therefore the leaven. This is a type and shadow of the need for repentance – when a person first comes to Christ. We are brought out of Egypt (spiritually speaking) by the blood of the Lamb and we repent of our sins or cast out the leaven.
FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS
Finally, after they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land and the Egyptians were drowned, they celebrated the Feast of Firstfruits. This is described as such because the Hebrews offered unto God sacrifices including a portion of their first or early harvest. Even the firstborn child was dedicated to God and was thereafter called to a priestly order. Again this is a perfect type and shadow of the commitment that is made to Christ at the time of salvation. Recall Paul’s words “that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service.”
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea (1Cor.10:1-2).
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (1Pet.3:21).
FEAST OF PENTECOST
Following their safe escape and out of the reach of Pharaoh one might naturally think that they would travel directly to the Promised Land. Instead God directs them in the opposite direction, to the southern region of the Sinai Peninsula, to Mount Sinai. There Moses receives the 10 Commandments. Because this occurs 50 days after Passover or on the day after seven weeks it is called the Feast of Weeks or, in the Greek, the Feast of Pentecost.
Once again this is perfectly fulfilled in the book of Acts on the Feast of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was first poured out on the 120 disciples in the upper room. Hence, just as it was absolutely necessary that Jesus die on the Feast of Passover, so too was it absolutely necessary that the Holy Ghost be poured out on the Feast of Pentecost. According to Gods Word, “BE YE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST.” In this case scripture speaks for itself regarding the necessity of this filling…
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33).
“For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, this is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear” (Isaiah 28:11-12).
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).
“John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16).
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-6).
“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3).
“Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).
The first Pentecost described in Exodus was a celebration of the word of God given in a literal or natural way, on tablets of stone. The book of Acts reveals Pentecost fulfilled where the word of God is delivered spiritually and his disciples utter the very oracles of God by speaking in tongues. However, take note that when Moses gave the Hebrews the 10 Commandments etched in stone by God’s own finger there was a great falling away. Indeed a golden calf was erected and worshiped. The earth opened up and swallowed 3000 who sought to overthrow Moses and his leadership. So too, we should not be surprised as we enter into this spiritual Pentecost and we witness or are overwhelmed with a great falling away.
Despite this mighty demonstration of God’s power at Pentecost the believer can also testify to the persistence of the carnal mind, which is often evident by the abundant working of the flesh. Indeed, more than any other feast we struggle with our own behaviors and the behaviors of other believers who have given way to fleshly and carnal desires, and they are often blatantly publicized. Hence we come to realize that these events associated with apostasy, debauchery and degradation were foretold in type and shadow at Mt Sinai. Why? Because just as it was not God’s intention that the Hebrews were to remain in the wilderness, it is also not God’s intention that we remain fixated on the Baptism of the Holy Ghost as God’s goal for our life. God desires that we move on to the Promised Land.
HARVEST OR FALL FEASTS
FEAST OF TRUMPETS
In Numbers 11 we read that God instructs Moses to construct trumpets made of silver to announce to the encamped Israelites the need to move on after they celebrated the “Feast of Weeks”… known in the Greek as the “Feast of Pentecost.” The glory cloud was moving. The trumpets were sounding. Tent stakes needed to be pulled up. And God’s people needed to follow Moses to the Promised Land.
Knowing that the Pentecostal experience speaks of the the gift of the Holy Spirit we are likewise encouraged to move on. Ephesians 1:13-17 reads “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise…I cease not to… mention of you in my prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give unto you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the Knowledge of Him.”
So in moving beyong the Pentecostal experience, or what some call the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, we are compelled by Paul’s prayer to recieve the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him, or a special type of enlightenment that comes from God. Apparently it is so important that the Lord compares this enlightment in Old Testment type and shadow to the blast of Trumpets.
Essentially this experience which involves divine revelation empowers the Christian to actually comprehend the full extent of His love to “usward who believe.” No more “ever learning, never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” No more need for Sunday School. It is because of this enlightening experience that the songwriter wrote, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
This revelation is divine wisdom. At long last the Christian understands God’s purpose and goal for the entire body of Christ. And that goal is to “conform us to His image,” …that we as “His body” are to be “Filled with ALL the Fullness of God,” …that we enter into Unity and Oneness with Him as He prayed in the Garden, …that together with Him we become Manifested Sons of God to set all creation free.
But this encounter with Christ is inclusive of much more. Knowing the goal and knowing how to get there are two different things. Hence the need for wisdom and revelation.
Yet at the same time this Feast of Trumpets is experiential because a quickening in the spirit occurs with each new insight. For example, in their journey the Hebrews had many experiences and received many specific instructions. They were fed by manna and later by quail. Water miraculously gushed from the rock and quenched their thirst. They followed a pillar of cloud by day which protected them from the blistering desert rays. They were warmed at night from freezing temperatures by the pillar of fire.
They further received instruction to construct a tabernacle that was more like a blueprint of the temple they would build once in Palestine. It would contain three compartments that housed objects such as an altar of sacrifice, a water laver, a golden candlestick, a table of shew bread and an ark where the presence of the Lord visibly dwelt.
The story of Gideon in Judges 6 easily foreshadows this illuminating experience. Though far outnumbered Gideon and his 300 men in unison broke their vessels of clay revealing the firey light that was hidden inside. And together while sounding the trumpet they made haste with a loud shout toward the sleeping Midianites. Upon waking the enemy slaughtered each other in the confusion of night’s darkness.
Likewise, God has called us to allow our flesh or “these vessels of clay” so to speak, to be shattered so that the Light of Christ can shine and dispel the powers of Darkness. Empowered by the fire of God within – our anointed voice, like a trumpet causes Satan to flee.
But why were only 300 men chosen? Recall that initially thousands of Israelites were sent home because they were consumed by the cares of this world. Later, a second group were sent home because they lapped up water like dogs? Likewise today many believers lap up the water of the word from man, movement or ministry rather than from the Holy Ghost.
But why only 300? Is there something special about that number?
We believe yes. The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of Moses measured 10 cubits by 30 cubits, or 300 square cubits. And when Jesus gave up the Ghost “the middle wall of partition was rent in twain.” Thus the temple was no more divided into two rooms but was now “one new man.” in other words, Jesus the God-Man could now be ONE with His Body.
“What? Know ye not ye are the Temple of the Holy Ghost?” Beloved, as we follow Christ into battle – you and I, like Gideon’s 300, are the Temple of God called to demolish the forces of Satan when we allow our flesh to be broken, allow the light of His love to shine through us and shout the victory in Jesus name. Pray that His divine Widom be revealed to you in this hour so that you might recieve not just the 30 or the 60 fold, but the 100 fold blessing of His Fullness.
DAY OF ATONEMENT
After receiving such great Wisdom and Revelation from Christ himself the believer is attacked and tried in the natural and spiritual realms in a way like never before. Revelations gained at the Feast of Trumpets are tried in the fire by a seemingly endless series of tribulations. Because it is so difficult to rejoice in the midst of horrific personal tribulation this period of time is not referred to as a feast but is simply called the Day of Atonement.
While sojourning in the wilderness we might be compelled to ask “why do bad things happen to good people?” Then the Lord responds, “Who are the “good people?” The Bible says there is “none righteous, no not one.” Even “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” But the question I believe is valid in this respect. According to Hebrews 11, when describing Noah, we discover that “righteousness is by faith.” So in God’s eyes, those of faith are good, so to speak. Indeed, in the same chapter Moses “had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” Does this mean there is a reward for the suffering of the righteous?
And reading the rest of the chapter we discover many were even tortured for their faith. Why? So “that they might obtain THE PROMISE… that they might obtain a better ressurection… that they without us should not be made PERFECT.” How? “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” So perhaps there is a point, so far as the believer is concerned, for inescapable suffering.
At this juncture the believer also becomes well acquainted with the books of Job and James. They become your new best friends while sackcloth and ashes are, for the first time, truly understood. Like the 40 days of Noah’s flood or the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness it now becomes personal. Indeed this period of time can be likened unto the 40 weeks of Job’s trials or like the 40 weeks of gestation before birth. This is a marked period of time foreordained by the Lord to confirm and solidify divine revelations that nourished the believer during the Feast of Trumpets. It’s as if Trumpets is a time of preparing the soil for a great planting. It is often a time of rejoicing and typically many are involved. At the end of the day there is satisfaction in the cool of the summer evening. It is a job well done. While Atonement involves waiting, pulling weeds and chasing away birds and rodents who would readily devour your garden and its fresh tender shoots, it is a difficult time and lonely time in which the heat of the noonday sun beats down mercilessly. And unlike the time of planting, no one is there to help.
How we should conduct ourselves in the midst of trials is another matter. Apparently, according to James, we are “to count it all joy.” But I think this might be almost impossible without the power of the Holy Ghost. Why? Because, according to Jesus, the Holy Ghost is “the Comforter, who will lead and guide us into ALL truth.” So I pray that “the Spirit of Christ (this Holy Ghost) dwell in you richly by faith.”
FEAST OF TABERNACLES
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord… And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days… You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month… You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths” (Leviticus 23:33-34, 40, 41, 42).
Finally at long last the believer has come to the River Jordan. This experience, known as the Feast of Tabernacles is characterized by deliverance. Here each believer tabernacles intimately with the Lord as He delivers the New Creation Manchild who is born to slay giants. Just as the Hebrews are delivered out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land, so to is the believer birthed into a Kingdom Walk. 9 Jesus can do this mighty work. And with this deliverance we march into the Promised Land on dry ground while the Jordan River parts. We are well aware that there are giants in the land but we have been reassured that…
We are able to go up and take the country
And possess the land from Jordan to the sea,
And though giants tall there be our way to hinder,
God will surely give the victory.
Remember when you first came to Jesus and got saved. You were as light as a feather. The burden of your sin was rolled away. You met the lover of your soul. You were overcome with joy. Every day you awoke and you couldn’t wait to talk to Him. You couldn’t wait to read your Bible. You couldn’t wait to fellowship with other believers. So what happened? Basically, the cares of this world, the desires of the flesh and the devil crept back into your life. And now, if you’re honest, you wonder if you’re worse now than you were before you met Jesus.
If you are a Christian and you have struggled relentlessly with worldly desires, then you are probably under attack by the enemy of your soul and the Kingdom of Darkness. This kingdom that has but a short time is cast down and is revealed in Scripture. It includes a chaotic, hegemonic power structure where it’s various members obey orders because they fear punishment, yet they war against each other. Ranked by power and authority, members in particular include:
1) Fallen Archangel Lucifer, a former cherub of light created to worship the Almighty;
2) Fallen Cherubim or 200 Satanic Principalities that do Lucifer’s bidding among the nations;
3) Fallen Seraphim or Evil Powers of Wickedness that enslave billions of souls into world systems;
4) Fallen Angels or Demonic Spirits that take possession of individuals;
5) Fallen Angels or Unclean Spirits that impose infirmity and disease;
6) Fallen Angels or Foul Spirits that impose death;
7) Fallen Nephilim or Familiar Spirits that haunt with generational curses;
These are the most common spirits that plague Christians:
1) A SPIRIT OF LUST often characterized by pornography, fornication, homosexuality, adultery, masturbation, gluttony, and an obsession with sensual pleasure;
2) A SPIRIT OF MURDER often characterized by bitterness, hatred and jealousy,a desire for revenge, an obsession with homicide and/or suicide;
3) A SPIRIT OF IDOL WORSHIP often characterized by greed, selfishness, covetousness, and/or the desire for wealth, power or possessions;
4) A SPIRIT OF ANTI-CHRIST often characterized by pride, arrogance and a belief in one’s own superiority, a desperate need to be worshipped, adored and/or recognized;
5) A SPIRIT OF WITCHCRAFT often characterized by addictions, rituals and secrecy associated with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and/or violent entertainment;
6) A SPIRIT OF LIES often characterized by arguments, a desire to debate, contentions, a desire to be seen as right or a constant desire to correct others;
7) A SPIRIT OF FEAR often characterized by unforgiveness, inferiority, condemnation and/or mental /emotional illness.
Our Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ stands at the door of your heart and calls you to Him. Don’t wait. Don’t walk. Run to Him. He will deliver you and set you free from the Kingdom of Darkness. Repent and tell Him you are sorry for collaborating with the enemy. Call out the name of that spirit that has oppressed you. Rebuke it now in the name of Jesus and command it to leave your life. Remain in prayer looking to Jesus until the filthy thing is gone. Wait upon Him until He comes with a new confidence, a renewed faith that the evil thing has left you. While praising Him in word and song wait upon Him for the confidence knowing that He has brought you His strength to overcome. Jesus did not come to condemn you but, through faith believing in His grace he is now come to set you free.
Be released from the powers of these evil spirits in Jesus name. Satan, take your hands off God’s property now in JESUS name. I said NOW in JESUS name. We give you all the praise and glory Lord Jesus. You alone are worthy of all praise. Thank you Jesus for loving us, for setting us free.
DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE
I also mentioned two other feasts that were added. The first, known as the Dedication of the Temple, followed Solomon’s prayer and was ultimately characterized by fire which fell from heaven and consumed 144,000 sacrifices. Additionally, God’s glory like a thick cloud filled the Temple. No doubt this event is a foreshadowing of the Baptism of Fire referenced by John the Baptist when referring to Christ’s mission on earth.
In Hebrews 6:1-3 we read of the doctrine of baptisms. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” Hence, this passage suggests that more than one baptism is required if godly perfection is to be achieved. What are these baptisms?
First, a public confession of faith and commitment to Christ is demonstrates with a clear conscious toward God through Water Baptism, which typically follows saving faith or a salvation experience. Next, we experience the anointing of His Spirit with the mighty Baptism of the Holy Ghost, in which we receive the power to witness to others and communicate the very oracles of God in an expanded prayer language. Finally, a third baptism is recorded in Luke 3:16, “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with Fire.” But what is the purpose of this Firey Baptism?
Historically, a warm fire has been understood as a universal symbol of love. Even in a love sonnet from Song of Solomon 8:6, we read:
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Moreover, when Solomon dedicated the first temple, and the people saw fire from the Lord descending over it, they understood that it demonstrated the Lord’s love for them. This love is described in 2 Chronicles 7:3. “When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast LOVE endures forever.” Likewise, when Jesus Christ baptizes us with the Fire of the Holy Spirit, it is a baptism of intense spiritual and divine LOVE that is truly overwhelming and transforming.
With the Baptism of Fire, Jesus Christ cleanses our hearts by changing our desires, and motives, so that we no longer even want ungodly pleasures or things. And if we are tempted, instead of being drawn to those old, ungodly pleasures we find the very thought of indulging in them intensely distressing and unpleasant.
Additionally, this baptism has historically been considered by most Christians to be an intense and long process of purification that does not occur easily. Rather than look to scripture, Christians have traditionally defined the experience by gravitating to the secular phrase, “trial by fire.” In other words, death to ungodly desires could take years of trial, temptation and tribulation. This long and exhaustive process is also often associated with another phrase not found in Scripture known as “Christian Maturity.” Although there may be some truth to these concepts, it is not likely the appropriate definition for the Baptism of Fire. Why?
Because from scripture we understand the advent of a fiery purification occurs suddenly. Indeed this is consistent with the whole notion of “baptism.” Reading Malachi 3:1-3, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall SUDDENLY come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s FIRE, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Precious believer, if your walk with Christ is filled with a sense of failure and spiritual bankruptcy, then look to Jesus for victory. Ask Him to save you, deliver you, fill you and baptize you in the fire of the Holy Ghost. He longs to hear your heart’s cry even now.
FEAST OF PURIM
The Feast of Purim is a Jewish holiday in celebration of the deliverance of the Jews as recorded in the book of Esther. It is also known as the Feast of Lots (Purim being the Hebrew word for “lots”). The feast is not mentioned in the New Testament, although scholars believe the unnamed feast of John 5:1 could be Purim.
In Esther, Haman, prime minister to the Persian King Ahasuerus, is insulted by the Jewish leader Mordecai, who refused to bow to Haman. Haman convinces the king that all Jews are rebellious and must be destroyed. To set the date of the genocide, Haman uses lots, or purim. Unbeknownst to Haman, Ahasuerus’s queen, Esther, is a Jew and Mordecai’s niece. Esther appeals to Ahasuerus for her people’s lives. The king cannot revoke the decree to attack the Jews, but he does issue a new decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves. As a result, Haman and his family are executed, and the Jews kill 75,000 would-be attackers. To memorialize the victory, Mordecai institutes the Feast of Purim to be celebrated every year (Esther 9:26-32).
Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
“There remain if therefore a rest for the people of God.” The difference between these three holy days of convocation are compared by Jesus when he spoke of 30-60-100 fold blessing. And interestingly, each one of these speaks about rest. A rest from one’s own labor and entering into the rest of the Lord. He says take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Likewise he takes our burden from us. Of course the Sabbath is celebrated weekly and indicates a brief exposure to the rest of the Lord. Believers may be at church or in their own prayer closet but they are visited by the presence of the Lord even if for a brief moment. Reassurances experienced and faith is built. During these moments answers come, others can be healed or delivered and his presence can be experienced in a powerful, almost electrifying way.
Exodus 23:10-11: “And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.”
Obviously more is gained during a sabbatical. In this case the believer enters into a time of refreshing for a lengthy period of time. Many are caught up in these revivals and believe that they will never end. It’s so disappointing when the day of trials returns..
But the longing of every believer who truly seeks intimacy in fellowship with Christ is for an unbroken, unfiltered, unabashed mutual experience with our Savior which fulfills his prayer, “that we may be one.”
Leviticus 25:8-13 states: “You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field. In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property.”
Brother Jerry Turk
Table of the Hebrew Feasts