Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Why Should Christians Keep the Biblical Festivals of Leviticus 23?

You are here

Why Should Christians Keep The Biblical Festivals of Leviticus 23?

Downloads
MP3 Audio (33.9 MB)
Chart (196.16 KB)

Downloads

Why Should Christians Keep the Biblical Festivals of Leviticus 23?

MP3 Audio (33.9 MB)
Chart (196.16 KB)
×

The holy days are a summary outline of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. They are filled with meaning and provide clarity... and yet most know nothing of them... and many who know the instructions found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy... do not understand the profound message they contain.

The chart referred to in this message can be downloaded at this link - https://www.ucg.org/system/storage/serve/1371366/slide5_1.jpg

Transcript

Why Should We Keep the Biblical Holy Days?

God’s Holy Days Are Full of Meaning, Instruction & Insight

God created human beings for an amazing/eternal purpose! Every man, woman, and child here has been made in God's own image... a physical being made of dust, clay, molecules.... yet with a spiritual component built into us.

That spirit within humans distinguishes us from all the other creatures on the planet... it takes humans to a different level of being and thinking.

That spirit God has placed within us is designed to interact with and work with the holy spirit of God to bring about a new creation... each completely unique... yet conforming to a righteous pattern. Humans are designed for spirit-born life... and all have the potential to be born into the family of God Himself.

God’s Process of Spiritual Creation Takes Time

On a personal level: the godly character of each individual being takes a lifetime to develop... some 70, some 80, sometimes even 90 years!

On a macro level:the end-to-end process God has mapped out for bringing a vast multitude of spirit born children to the fullness of glory spans... centuries, and millenia.

Year after year, we walk together through the stages of that carefully worked out plan. We walk through them by the careful and thoughtful observance of 7 festivals and 7 holy days God gave to humanity through His chosen people Israel.

Each of these festivals pictures a necessary, and distinct, step in the work God is doing. They are a road map for the process of our own spiritual creation... and for God's large scale plan of filling the universe with life. They cover past, present, and future... They address all the known universe... They are for every man, woman, and child who has ever drawn the breath of life.

The holy days provide at least three primary functions: 1) they give structure to spiritual instruction and understanding, showing us where we are in God’s plan 2) they provide a schedule and lesson plan 3) they provide a test of obedience and application.

The holy days are a summary outline of the Gospel  of the Kingdom of God. They are filled with meaning and provide clarity... and yet most know nothing of them... and many who know the instructions found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy... do not understand the profound message they contain.

Israel Did Not Understand

The people of Israel never understood how the holy days pictured God's plan of salvation and spiritual birth... their lack of understanding was not because they were stupid... but because they did not have God's holy spirit within them… and they did not accept the messengers God sent them.

In history and in time, God used Israel to establish the physical routine of keeping these days... and it is through Israel that the holy days have been recorded and preserved throughout history Romans 3:2-4 Romans 3:2-4 [2] Much every way: chiefly, because that to them were committed the oracles of God. [3] For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? [4] God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That you might be justified in your sayings, and might overcome when you are judged.
American King James Version×
.

Leviticus 23:1-2 Leviticus 23:1-2 [1] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [2] Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
American King James Version×
 These are not "festivals of the Jews"... God says, "these are MY APPOINTED TIMES". The job of Israel and the Jews was to proclaim them!

We owe Israel a debt of gratitude for the role Israel has played in preserving these days. But, we do not look to them for understanding of what these appointed holy days of God mean. Israel  foolishly rejected the Messiah king sent to them [Jesus].... without an understanding and appreciation of Christ no one can understand the spiritual lesson of the holy days.

The holy days and festivals are about what Jesus Christ has done, what He is doing right now, and what He will yet do in the future.

The Holy Days are for The Church of God

Israel's hard and painful work of establishing and preserving these days throughout time was for the benefit of the Church of God [Romans 11:18 Romans 11:18Boast not against the branches. But if you boast, you bore not the root, but the root you.
American King James Version×
you do not support the root, the root supports you”]. Since the coming of Christ God’s festivals are filled with new meaning. We understand this through:

  1. the direct instruction of Jesus Himself - some of this instruction is clear direct statements with zero ambiguity... some are by giving us pointers back to OT prophecies and symbols
    1. Example: Mark 14:22-25 Mark 14:22-25 [22] And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. [23] And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. [24] And he said to them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. [25] Truly I say to you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
      American King James Version×
       - bread and wine
  2. the ongoing instruction of the ministry - some of the understanding we have comes from instruction given to disciples by Jesus which were not recorded in scripture, but which formed the basis for more detailed instruction
    1. Example: John 6 “ I am the bread of life come down from heaven … whoever eats of this bread has life everlasting
  3. the spiritual discernment granted by the holy spirit - some of our understanding comes from applying biblical based typology, symbolism, and key words. We use these  to take elements of salvation which are well known and thoroughly explained and tie them back to the holy days
    1. Example: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 [1] It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. [2] And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you. [3] For I truly, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has so done this deed, [4] In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, [5] To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. [6] Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
      American King James Version×
       [read verse 7 only] Paul compares sin in the congregation to the leavening we must get rid of during the festival
    2. Example: 1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
      American King James Version×
       the symbol of the trumpet points us back to the festival

Leviticus 23:3 Leviticus 23:3Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
American King James Version×
The Weekly Sabbath

The first of God's appointed times is the weekly Sabbath. It is unique in that it is based on a cycle of counting rather than on movements of the sun and moon. This cycle of counting 7 days... then another 7 days was established at creation and carried forward to the present.

The weekly Sabbath is a weekly remembrance that God is our creator [Exodus 20:11 Exodus 20:11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
American King James Version×
]... it is a weekly reminder that it is God who delivers us from oppression and bondage [Deuteronomy 5:15 Deuteronomy 5:15And remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD your God brought you out there through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.
American King James Version×
].

Those are obvious from a reading of the OT commandments. But in the NT we learn that the weekly Sabbath is also a weekly reminder of the Millennial rule of Christ... when we achieve rest and relief from poverty, suffering, and deception Hebrews 4:8-10 Hebrews 4:8-10 [8] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. [9] There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. [10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
American King James Version×
.

Leviticus 23:4 Leviticus 23:4These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
American King James Version×
The Yearly Festivals and Holy Days

Now we come to the appointed times that occur only once per year. These are not based on a cycle of counting... rather they are based on the giant time clock visible in the sky. The movement of the Sun and moon [Genesis 1:14 Genesis 1:14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
American King James Version×
].

Leviticus 23: 5 The Passover

The first thing that must happen in God's plan for redemption... sanctification... and regeneration is: AN INTERVENTION. To save human beings from death God must proactively take action... this is an example of His grace.

With the first Passover we have the unblemished lamb who's blood is shed so that death might pass-over the people of Israel. In the NC we have the unblemished, sinless Jesus. His blood is shed so that we might be redeemed from the just penalty of our own sin 1 Peter 1:18 1 Peter 1:18For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
American King James Version×
.

Jesus did not abolish the Passover... He filled it with new meaning... He changed the symbols to the bread and wine. He told us to keep observing the Passover but in a new way... as a memorial of what He had done for us. He said "keep doing the Passover in this way until I return and we are able to keep it together in the kingdom of God [Matthew 26:29 Matthew 26:29But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
American King James Version×
]

On a personal level: the Passover is a time for us to remember our personal acceptance of Jesus Christ which we demonstrated through repentance, and baptism. On big picture level: we remember a distinct moment in world history when Jesus died in the flesh to make salvation possible for everyone.

Leviticus 23:6-8 Leviticus 23:6-8 [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. [7] In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [8] But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
American King James Version×
Unleavened Bread

The plan of God does not end with the death of Jesus... that is where it begins! The Days of Unleavened Bread picture the part we play the development and nurturing of the spiritual creation leading to glory.

  • the hard work of overcoming sin... putting it out of our lives. This is pictured by removing leaven from our homes... and avoiding eating leavened products as we go about or days.
  • the hard work of putting on the character of the new spiritual creation... the new man .. putting righteousness into our lives. This is pictured by the eating the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The festival period lasts 7 days ... picturing overcoming as a life ling process. The week begins with a holy convocation and ends with another commanded assembly.

The first holy day begins in the evening and starts with a "night to be much observed". Its is a night of watching/vigil to remember how God watched over Israel as He lead them out of Egypt by night after the sun had set on the 15th day of Aviv/Nissan [Exodus]. Like Israel we are told we must begin our journey of coming out of sin [Hebrews 11:2 Hebrews 11:2For by it the elders obtained a good report.
American King James Version×
4-26, Revelation 18:4 Revelation 18:4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.
American King James Version×
].

The last day of the 7 day festival is also a high day... an annual Sabbath. It was at this time that the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea... and the sea washed back covering and killing the Egyptian army that pursued them.

This pictures our exodus from sin... a time when Satan no longer holds us as slaves to sin.

Leviticus 23:9-14 Leviticus 23:9-14 [9] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [10] Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest: [11] And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. [12] And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD. [13] And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet smell: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. [14] And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
American King James Version×
Wave
 Sheaf Offering

The wave sheaf was an aspect of the festival which was only put in place after Israel came into the promised land. It was a picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His appearance before the Father as the first of the first fruits.

The wave sheaf ceremony is not part of the new covenant observance of the days of unleavened bread. Why? Christ the true sheaf from the first harvest [barley] has already risen from the dead as the first of the first fruits… also, there is no high priest to administer the ceremony.

Leviticus 23: 15-16, 21 Pentecost

We must receive the help of God's holy spirit to successfully overcome our personal sin and extract our self from this world and its ways John 14:10 John 14:10Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.
American King James Version×
 it was not by His own power but rather the presence of the holy spirit in Him. John 14:14-16 John 14:14-16 [14] If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. [15] If you love me, keep my commandments. [16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
American King James Version×
 That same power is at work in you today! Other key points:

  1. As mentioned earlier, it is through the holy spirit that we are begotten of God and may become the spirit-born children of God.
  2. Pentecost is also the birth of the Church of God through which God's truth is proclaimed as a witness until the return of Christ

Leviticus 23:23 Leviticus 23:23And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
American King James Version×
Trumpets

Personal: We cannot be completely brought into God's everlasting family unless we are resurrected and given spirit bodies. Big Picture: Christ must return for there to ever be righteous rule among humanity.

Leviticus 23:27 Leviticus 23:27Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
American King James Version×
,32 Atonement

Satan must be removed so that humanity can live at peace.

Leviticus 23:34-35 Feast of Tabernacles

Personal: we shall join Christ and rule with Him in the KOG  Big Picture: Humanity will enjoy the blessings, benefits, and peace of righteous rule for 1,000 years. It will serve as a living demonstration of how God's way works... which leads to the last Great Day.

Leviticus 23:36-39 Leviticus 23:36-39 [36] Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. [37] These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day: [38] Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. [39] Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
American King James Version×
Last Great Day

This day answers the question... What about all those who have lived and died never knowing about Christ... or having lived all their lives deceived about God's great plan. This is the day when "the rest of the dead rise up"... This is the day when understanding of God's great plan will be completely understood by all people.

Conclusion

Rejoice, because that understanding of God's plan and purpose for bringing many children to everlasting glory has been made known to you. Today you have heard once again a brief overview... we will get into the details more as this year's cycle of 7 festivals, and 7 holy days come once again.