REVELATION AND REDEMPTION HIDDEN IN THE HEBREW CALENDAR!
The Hebrew Calendar is divided into spring and fall biblical holidays. Amazingly these holidays reveal God’s master plan of redemption and correspond to end-time events; including the 1st and 2nd coming of the Lord.
Leviticus 23 calls these “Feasts of the Lord” appointed times and holy rehearsals. Each holiday offers a window of opportunity to:
- Rehearse God’s plan of redemption
- Draw close to God
- Receive an impartation of fresh revelation
- Experience a miracle outpouring of God’s blessing
WHAT PASSOVER MEANS
The first spring holiday is Passover and commemorates the supernatural deliverance from Egyptian slavery. It was by the power of the blood of that unblemished lamb applied to the doorpost of every house that finally broke the power of bondage.
Since the days of Moses, this was a divine rehearsal for when God would send His Lamb as the ultimate sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world.
Incredibly, after a 4-day examination period before the Roman and elite religious leaders, Jesus was found without blemish and slain (crucified) at the exact time the Passover offering was slain in the Temple. This festival of the Lord is considered the spiritual New Year.
FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
This is followed the next day by the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread which speaks of sanctification and purity. Leaven symbolizes sin and God told the Jewish people to cleanse all leaven from their homes and eat only unleavened bread, matzah, for seven days, symbolizing a holy walk with Him.
Jesus, who lived as the sinless Lamb of God, is the “Bread of Life”. (John 1:29; John 6:48) Just as the matzah, Jesus was stripped and pierced, to symbolize the power of sin, sickness and death have been broken.
The celebration of the First Fruits Offering is 3 days after Passover. It is the first of three major First Fruits Offerings (Deut. 16:16).
The High Priest would lift this barley offering to the Lord and wave it back and forth. It is a powerful and symbolic reminder of God’s grace, favor and protection and directly corresponds to the Resurrection of the Lord. Jesus is called the Firstfruits of many brethren (Romans 8:29, 1 Cor. 15:20-23).
His resurrection marked the beginning of the great harvest of souls, which would extend to all nations. (Matthew 28:19, 20)
COUNTING THE OMER
There is a 49-day period following Passover called “Counting the Omer”. This 7-week period is a time of preparation for receiving a fresh outpouring from God. Then on the 50th day (Jubilee), comes Shavuot or Pentecost when biblical history records both the giving of the Torah at Mt.
Sinai (Exodus 19,20) and the giving of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1, 2) about 1,500 years later. It’s symbolic of the completion of the salvation and redemption that began in Egypt.
Pentecost also fulfills the promise in Jeremiah 31:31-33 that God would make a new covenant by writing the Torah on the hearts of the believers.
This is the second of three First Fruits Offerings and is a wheat offering; representing wisdom, anointing, and prosperity. The time between the spring and fall holidays corresponds to the time of waiting for Jesus to return.
MONTH OF ELUL
The Fall Holidays begin with the season (month) of Elul, called the time of searching and “Teshuvah” (return or repentance).
The entire forty-day period between Elul and Yom Kippur is viewed as a supernatural time for God’s people. It’s highlighted by the daily blowing of the trumpet or shofar. Like an alarm, it awakens us and beckons us to return to the Lord and the foundations of our faith. It’s an appointed time to renew, refresh and improve our relationship with God and God’s people.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (civil), follows thirty days of Elul with a 2-day celebration. It officially begins the High Holiday season and what is affectionately called the 10 Days of Awe.
We are to focus on “Teshuvah”, repentance and return to the Lord. We also emphasize doing good works and making amends. It is another appointed time and divine rehearsal, with God offering repentance and forgiveness for the sins and mistakes we’ve made, along with the opportunity to move forward into our destiny.
Traditionally, it is here that God expects us to give an account for all the good things (or bad things) we’ve done the previous year.
Jesus likely launched His public ministry during the High Holiday season, when people would be in the spirit to receive this message.
Matthew 4 recounts that He went into a forty-day period of fasting, which likely corresponds to Elul, a time of consecration and dedication to His spiritual mission. His first word in public ministry, recorded in Matthew 4:17 is “Teshuvah (repent) for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Rosh Hashanah is called the Feast of Trumpets and is “a shadow of good things to come.” I Thessalonians 4:16-18 speaks about the sound of the final trumpet (shofar) and the re-gathering of believers–known as the rapture of the church.
This end-time event is also described in I Corinthians 15 when all believers receive the full manifestation of eternal life and the world to come. It begins the 7 year period known as the Great Tribulation or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:4-7, Daniel 12:1, Matthew 24:15-22) and is the introduction to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as described in Revelation 19:9.
There is a 7 day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and it corresponds to the 7 years of the Great Tribulation here on earth.
While believers are in heaven, those who are left behind still have an opportunity to come to faith in God. It will be however a very difficult experience because His wrath is poured out upon the nations who have refused to recognize the Lord and are intensely determined to rebel against Him.
Yom Kippur follows and is a very special day known as the Day of Atonement.
For 3,500 years Jews have celebrated this holiest of days with a focus on forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
These themes are rooted in the story of the Golden calf in Exodus 32 . . .
. . . Here, Moses pleaded with God to forgive the Jewish people. On the first Yom Kippur, Moses brought the second set of Tablets down from Mount Sinai, it signified that God had accepted their repentance and had forgiven them.
From that day forward, every Yom Kippur has symbolized God’s amazing love, divine mercy, and unconditional forgiveness; a divine moment when the Lord wipes the slate clean and releases the blessing of a new beginning.
The main religious ceremony of Yom Kippur is described in Leviticus 16 and revolves around the High Priest, the Holy of Holies, the sprinkling of the blood 7 times on the mercy seat and the sacrifices of two goats.
This two-fold sacrifice reveals how the blood not only provides forgiveness of sins but also the power to break every curse. It is meant to be a time of great blessing and shows us what our Messiah would accomplish for us – including the revelation of the 7 Places Jesus Shed His Blood.
This epic day points to the promise of the Lord’s second coming which is known as Judgment Day or the Great Day of the Lord. Prophetically, it takes place after the 7 year tribulation period. This is when Jesus returns with His army of saints and defeats His enemies at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). It prepares the way for the Messianic Era spoken of in Revelation 19-20, Zechariah 14 and Isaiah 66.
The final holiday of the year, Sukkot, is the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.
Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that Sukkot represents a culmination of time; a time when both the individual and the nation have succeeded in attaining the long, sought-after harvest.
It’s a time of great rejoicing that every one of our needs is met. It’s now at this appointed time that we bring the final of the three First Fruit Offerings to demonstrate our gratitude and trust in God. There is a miracle revelation drawn from Malachi 3 that as we ‘return to the offerings of old’ God will open the windows of heaven and pour out an unlimited blessing.
The First Fruit Offerings are the hidden key to the manifestation of this promise.
One of the great symbols of this holiday is the sukkah, the shelter or booth built to serve as a reminder of God’s faithful protection through the forty years in the wilderness. As a temporary structure, the sukkah also symbolizes that our physical body and natural life on earth are temporary; that above all else we should always put our faith in the Lord. Ancient teaching refers to the sukkah as the “shelter of faith.”
This Feast of the Lord is also called the Holiday of Gathering and draws another important parallel between both Testaments—the end-time harvest of souls.
In Deuteronomy 16 God establishes the theme of the threshing floor and points spiritually to the end-time sifting of the wheat from the chaff. It corresponds to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:31-34 and the end time gathering of the nations and the separating of the sheep from the goats.
This also points to the Millennial Reign of the Messiah in Revelation 20-21, when the fullness of the redemptive name of Emanuel (God with us) will be revealed. (Matthew 1:23), Zechariah 14:16 proclaims that during this thousand-year reign of Christ, the nations will travel to Jerusalem to worship the King and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
There are 7 major Jewish Feasts, which are appointed times on the Hebrew Calendar. They have significant meaning for Christians and it is important to understand them as we explore our Jewish roots.