1 Corinthians 5:7-8 “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.”
Over the past few months I have become fascinated with the feasts of the Old Testament. Just a few years ago, this subject matter would have bored me to tears; however, lately, God has opened my eyes to the remarkable foreshadowing He gives us through these feasts in the arrival of His One and Only Son, His subsequent death and resurrection, and finally the day when Jesus Christ will return. Our great God has an incredible and intricate plan laid out specifically for us to recognize His Son, and the commandments of these celebrated feasts given to the Israelites in the Old Testament directly demonstrate His illustrious design to us in the 21st century.
The feasts celebrated by His chosen people became and remain unique and unusual. The term “feasts” in Hebrew literally means “appointed times.” They are intended to be a time of meeting between God and man for “holy purposes,” and they certainly reveal a special story to us as Believers in Jesus Christ as our Messiah. This week, as Easter approaches and we celebrate our risen Savior, I thought it would be the ideal time to revisit the symbolism in three of the seven feasts given in the pages of the Old Testament.
Friday, we celebrate the Passover. As the Israelites were preparing to escape from their bondage in Egypt, God gave them their first festival – the Lord’s Passover. It celebrated the protection the Lord gave His chosen people from the final destructive plague on the Egyptians before they set them free. The Israelites were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and put its blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses in order to be saved from the angel of death. Then, they were to eat the meat of the lamb. This is the Lord’s Passover (Exodus 12:4-14). Today, we celebrate Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:18-20). The celebration of the Passover began in the evening at dusk and continued until the next day at dusk. Jesus Christ ate the Passover meal with His disciples, then, He was slaughtered as our Passover Lamb.
Saturday, we celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The day after the Lord’s Passover, God established the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This particular feast was one that truly caught my attention this year. Leaven, also known as yeast, symbolizes sin in the scriptures. “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth” 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. Jesus’ time in the tomb fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He clearly represented the sinless bread of Heaven that didn’t rise on this day (as bread made without yeast doesn’t rise). Jesus also tied the past perfectly together with our future as He tells us in John 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits. The resurrection of our sinless Savior is Biblically connected to the Feast of Firstfruits in its timing and spirit. Jesus rose from the grave on this feast day which represented the beginning of the barley season. Ceremonially at this feast, the first sheaf or firstfruits of the harvest is cut, and in a carefully prescribed and meticulous ceremony is presented to the Lord. God’s subsequent acceptance of the firstfruits is a pledge on His part of a full harvest to come. “Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23. We, as Believers, will be harvested at the appointed time of Christ’s second coming – it is what we are waiting in anticipation for!
Our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was crucified as our unblemished Lamb on the day of the Passover. His sinless body lay unrisen in the tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and He was resurrected from the dead on the day of the Firstfruits celebration – could God have made it more plain?! His hands began this elaborate, yet simplistic design 3500 years ago, and through the gift of His Holy Spirit (appropriately given at the Jewish Festival, Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), He allows us to connect the dots today. Praise our great God this week for giving the Israelites these great celebrations which point us, as Believers, to our ultimate destination. “Oh, my Strength, I watch for you; you, Oh God, are my fortress” (Psalm 59:9).
Until next week, celebrating the risen King… Katie
Incidently, if you are in the Birmingham area and would be interested in experiencing our Messiah’s last supper, rich with Jewish roots and heritage, you can go to www.shalombirmingham.com for tickets and details. It is to be held at the Cahaba Grand April 7th. I’m anticipating it to be a wonderful experience of unity in the body of Christ!