Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feasting on Jesus

These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.
(Leviticus 23:4 – ESV)

In Leviticus 23 we have the seven major feasts that were observed by the Jews under the ceremonial system and each one of them points us to a certain aspect of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf. Now, as Christians, since Jesus is the fulfillment of these, we do not have to keep the feasts (Colossians 2:16-17), but they do make for a fascinating study that can enrich our understanding. Of course, there is so much more than we can delve into here, we cannot give a detailed exposition of these verses in one message, but let’s take a quick look at the feasts and see them as types of Christ’s life and work. We want to “feast” on Jesus.

These seven feasts were seasons of joyful solemnity appointed by God to point to Christ’s coming and what He would accomplish. Each feast pointed the children of Israel back to something they had experienced and pointed them forward to things yet to come.

Verse 5 has a reference to the Passover, representing the time when God passed over the Jews and destroyed the Egyptian first born, securing the release of God’s people from captivity, which reminds us of the Cross, the shedding of blood, and the remission of our sins (1 Corinthians 5:7 / John 1:29). In this we see Christ’s death.

Verses 6-8 speaks of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which represents purity, freedom from corruption, and which reminds us of the sinless life of Jesus (Acts 2:27, 31 / Hebrews 4:15 / 1 Corinthians 5:8). In this we see Christ’s burial.

Verses 9-14 bring us to the Feast of Firstfruits, which represented the fact that the whole harvest would come, which reminds us of Christ’s resurrection to an incorruptible body, and the guarantee of our resurrection to an incorruptible body (Acts 26:23 / 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 / 1 Corinthians 6:14 / 2 Corinthians 4:14 / Romans 8:11 / Philippians 3:20-21 / Hebrews 2:14-15).

Verses 15-22 (15-16) are about the Feast of Pentecost, fifty days from the crossing of the Red Sea, and fifty days after Christ was resurrected, when the Holy Spirit was poured out (Acts 2). This speaks of the ingathering of all God’s elect from all over the world.

In reviewing the first four feasts we see that Christ was crucified on the Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread, raised again on Firstfruits and sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The first four, or spring feasts, represent the first advent of Christ; the second three in the fall represent His second advent.

Verses 23-25 (24) give us the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), was the first day of the Jewish New Year, in the seventh month of the religious calendar, but the first month of the civil calendar. It was a memorial celebration of the glorious future of Israel, a proclamation of liberty which served as a calling for attention to the Day of Atonement, and it represents the glorious triumph of Christ in the Gospel and Jesus coming for His Church (1 Corinthians 15:51-53 / 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Verses 26-32 (27) present the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), was a solemn holy day when the high priest of Israel entered into the Holy of Holies and made a sacrifice on his behalf as well as for all the sins of Israel. Jesus is our High Priest and the full and final sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 9:24-28). The Day of Atonement will reach its final fulfillment when the Lord returns at His Second Coming, at which time Israel will finally accept Jesus’ atonement.

Verses 33-44 (34) show us the Feast of Tabernacles, which celebrated that God provided shelter for the Israelites in the wilderness, He dwelt with them in the pillars of cloud and fire, it represents Christ as our shelter (Colossians 3:1-4), and is a picture of the Millennial Kingdom.

Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected, and as believers He is poured out upon us, He is coming for us again, He has made the final sacrifice, and He is our shelter for any journey we must go through, and our eternal habitation.

The ups and downs of life are here to stay, and life itself is fleeting. Trials are here for a moment. So is triumph. So are we. But amidst all of this there is Jesus, He is risen, and He is everything, and everything we need.

John 7:37-39 – the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:36), symbolized the entrance into Canaan. They would repeat Isaiah 12:3 for 7 days as they poured water on the altar, on the 8th day they stopped the literal water. Jesus took it figuratively for Himself (Isaiah 44:3, 58:11), telling them the true source of Living Water.

Now all these feasts are pointing forward to the greatest feast, what we call the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Matthew 26:26-29 / Revelation 19:6-9 – We proclaim the reason for our hope (the Lord’s death) and the object of our hope (The Lord Himself coming for us).

Ephesians 5:25-27 – this gives us another picture of Christ and His redeeming work from the cross into glory with His bride, His body, the saints

Communion, or as we sometimes call it, the Lord’s Supper, is one important way that we do the remembering, as we remember His sinless life and His sacrifice on the cross and, because of His resurrection and ascension, His sure promise of coming again.

The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrifice, because we cannot repeat the infinite sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 9-10), but it points us back to the truth that we come to know God because of the judgment that fell on our King at Calvary’s Cross. It points us to the fact that He was given for our trespasses, and raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25).

We should be broken over our rejection of our God but then we should be rejoicing as we see the gospel put on display through the taking of the Supper together. The Lord’s Supper is an opportunity to present the tangible evidence that our sins are forgiven. The Lord’s Supper is the great proclamation of the death, resurrection, and return of Christ until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:26) and we dine with Him in heaven at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.


Even So... said...

This is a brand new post, taken from our 2009 Resurrection Sunday sermon by the same name...you can find the whole sermon as delivered on our sermon audio page...

Even So... said...

We are now in the process of taking our sermons from 2009 and turning them into blog posts...stay tuned for more new material...

Even So... said...

It would do you especially well to listen to the part where we go into John 7:37-39 in more detail, it was powerful stuff...God bless you, and thank you for reading and listening...