JESUS FULFILS THE FEASTS
Jesus was “..the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” [Revelation 13:8] When Man sinned, God provided a covering of animal skins which cost the shedding of blood. From that time onward He was working towards that Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus rode into the city on a donkey as foretold.
“Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,...” Zechariah 9:9
The Lamb Chosen
The Passover lamb was to be chosen on the tenth day of Nisan [or Abib] by “all the congregation of Israel” Exodus 12:3
When Jesus rode through the streets of Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday the crowds that had come to celebrate Passover acclaimed Him as a king. Unwittingly they were choosing their Lamb – a Lamb for the nation and for the world.
The Lamb Examined
The Lamb was to be kept for four days and examined for blemishes. Exodus 12:5,6
Following the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the cleansing of the Temple, Jesus taught there daily. He was confronted by the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, who tried to trap Him in His words. After His arrest, He was questioned by the Chief Priest Caiaphas, Herod the King, and Pilate the Roman Governor. He was examined by every authority in the Land and none could lay blame on Him. Finally Pilate declared, “I find no fault in Him.” The Lamb was declared faultless. He was “...a lamb without blemish and without spot....foreordained before the foundation of the world.” [1Peter 1:19,20]
The Lamb slain
On “the fourteenth day of the same month...the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel....” were to kill the lamb “in the evening” [literally “between the two evenings” The Jews had two evenings, the first being at the decline of the sun when the evening sacrifice was made 3pm]
After a mockery of a trial Jesus was presented by Pilate to the crowds which had assembled from all over Israel to celebrate the Passover Feast. With one accord they cried, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” His death was by common consent. Then, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.” [Isaiah 53;7] Jesus died at the ninth hour or 3pm, the time of the evening sacrifice.
The Lamb was to be roast with fire and eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread Exodus 12:8
Fire speaks of the wrath and judgement of God. “Our God is a consuming fire.”Hebrews 12:29
Jesus stood between the whole Human race and the righteous wrath of God towards sin. The sour wine which they gave Him to drink, typified the cup of suffering and of the bitterness of our sins and which He choose to drink for our sake. At the Last Supper, Jesus broke unleavened bread and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take eat, this is my body.”
No bone was to be broken Exodus 12:46
Sometimes, in order to hasten the death of a victim, his legs were broken, thus preventing any upward movement necessary to breathe. When the soldiers came to Jesus, He was already dead. John states, “These things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.” John 19:36
Passover was on 14th Nisan. On the 15th at 6pm, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. Leaven is a type of sin. Jesus fulfilled this Feast by taking our sins into the grave so that we can be declared holy. We are sanctified in Him.
On the Sunday after Passover was the Feast of Firstfruits. The instructions for keeping this Feast were given on the way to the Promised Land. These three feasts together make up Passover. The Feast of Firstfruits was the consecration of the first sheaf of the harvest. Israel was to be a nation consecrated to God. They were the firstfruits of the nations. “Israel was holiness to the Lord, the firstfruits of His increase.” Jeremiah 2:3 This Feast would have been the anniversary of Israel’s emergence from Egypt by way of the Red Sea. They were “baptized in the cloud and in the sea” 1 Corinthians 10:2.
Jesus fulfilled this Feast by rising from the dead and becoming “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20
When we receive Jesus as our Saviour, we are justified by faith in the shed blood of the Lamb. God then declares us holy and we are baptized by the Spirit into Christ and become members of His Body.[1Corinthians 12:13] This properly is followed by baptism in water. Baptism is an identification with Christ’s burial and resurrection. We have been brought out of “Egypt” i.e. out of bondage to sin and death in the kingdom of darkness .
The Feast of Pentecost was a celebration of thanksgiving for the first harvest. It was the anniversary of the giving of the Law at Mt Sinai which as we have seen was equipping Israel to fulfil their mission. The ascended Lord fulfilled this Feast by pouring out The Holy Spirit on the 120 disciples gathered in the upper room. That day the first harvest of 3,000 souls responded to the Gospel and were baptized. Every believer can and ought to have a personal Pentecost. This is a baptism from within, where the Spirit of God in the spirit of the believer, flows out into the soul area [mind, will and emotions] and brings a heightened sense of the spiritual realm and spiritual truth with deeper revelation of the Bible. The believer is then a channel for the supernatural gifts of the Spirit as in 1 Corinthians 12. Pentecost is the Lord of the Church equipping His Church to fulfil their Commission.
The Feast of Tabernacles in made up of three Feasts – Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles.
The first mention of Israel keeping this Feast was when Solomon, the son of David, consecrated the Temple. This was the great climax of their journey to and possession of, the Promised Land. Their Commission had been completed. The Feast of Tabernacles was the fulfilment of all that Passover promised. This Feast is the End time Feast. It has yet to be fulfilled in the Church.
We will look at the fulfilment of this Feast later.
THE CHURCH BEGINS THE JOURNEY
As the twelve sons of Jacob [later called Israel] were the beginnings of the nation of Israel, so the twelve disciples of Jesus were to be the nucleus of the Church. Judas the betrayer was replaced by Matthias. On the Day of Pentecost 120 waiting in an upper room were filled with the Spirit and 3,000 were added to the infant Church. The Early Church was a vital evangelizing force which “turned the world upside down” [Acts 17:6]
Surviving persecution and the early inroads of heresy, the Church became acceptable when the Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity in 312AD. Many who had never had a true conversion joined the Church, swelling the numbers but reducing its spirituality, and though there have always been true followers of Jesus, the Church succumbed to apathy and error, and became increasingly institutional and ritualistic. The Scriptures were lost to the common people and heathen practices and immorality was tolerated. The Church went into the “Dark Ages” sometimes called the “Devil’s Millennium”
The Church, like the first generation of Israel from Egypt, failed to fulfil its Commission, but God hadn’t finished with Israel and raised up a generation under Joshua who crossed Jordan and possessed the Land. Likewise the Church is still God’s instrument of restoration in the Earth and even now God is raising up a Joshua generation who will complete the Great Commission.
When God began restoring the Church, He first raised up men like Huss and Tyndale to make His Word available to the people. The Spirit and the Word began to bring to light again, truths that had been lost for centuries.
The first truth restored in the 1500’s mainly through Martin Luther, was Justification by faith – faith in Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. In the Wesleyan revival in the 1700’s the truth of Justification by faith was re-emphasized and the truth of Sanctification was restored. The Baptist movement restored the need for personal commitment in baptism. The truths of Passover [coming out of “Egypt”] were restored.
In the 1900’s in the Pentecostal and Charismatic renewals, God restored the truth of Pentecost.
For centuries God has guided the Church on its journey toward its destiny. He brought us out of “Egypt” [the kingdom of darkness] by the shed blood of our Passover Lamb Jesus. We were slaves of Pharaoh [Satan] but have been brought out from under his authority, sanctified, declared to be holy and set apart to God. At Pentecost He equipped the Church to fulfil its Commission and He will bring us into the Land a conquering army. What has been demonstrated in Israel will be manifested in the Church through the power of the Cross of Christ.
God is restoring the Church according to the pattern in the Types. Ahead is the Feast of Tabernacles, but before we celebrate that, we have to come out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit and cross Jordan.
NEXT:- CROSSING JORDAN