Sixty years before the Norman Conquest of 1066, the English town of Reading was ravaged by Sweyn the Dane. For Reading, a major catastrophe; but in the overall calendar of British history, no more than a blip.
Well over 2,000 years before that event, a major calendar change took place. Immediately prior to the Exodus, the Israelites were instructed by God—as we read in Ex. 12:2—to institute an annual calendar commencing in spring, rather than in autumn. The Hebrew—sacred—calendar revolves around a cycle of feasts, the first complete listing of which is found in Lev. 23.
In biblical numerics, the number ‘seven’ signifies “perfection/completion.” Moreover, in Scripture the number ‘seven’ marks the sacred measurement of time. The weekly Sabbath is the seventh of days; Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost) is observed upon completion of seven weeks from the Day of First Fruits; the seventh month in the sacred calendar stands out from the rest. Similarly, each seventh year is a Sabbatical, and after seven times seven years comes the Year of Jubilee. In Lev. 23, between a prologue and an epilogue, we note seven feasts listed, as follows:
- Passover (v. 5)
- Unleavened Bread (vv. 6-8)
- First Fruits (vv. 10-14)
- Weeks (Pentecost) (vv. 15-21)
- (Blowing of) Trumpets (vv. 24-25)
- Day of Atonement (vv. 27-32)
- Tabernacles (vv. 34-36; 39-43)
The prologue, the weekly Sabbath, appears in v. 3. The epilogue, the Eight-Day Convocation, is mentioned in vv. 36 and 39.
Many Christians might well ask: “What can the Hebrew calendar possibly have to do with my Christian walk?” In the first place, it is well-worth noting that the occasions listed in Lev. 23 are not “the Feasts of Israel” or “the Feasts of the Jews.” At the very beginning of this chapter, as we see from the Hebrew original, God refers to them as “the Appointed Times of the Lord.”
For Christians, there is, indeed, a vital connection—in that the Hebrew sacred calendar is the time-frame for the Eternal Covenant. Believers in the Messiah from the nations have been brought into covenant relationship through the blood of the Messiah—the blood of the Eternal Covenant. By His grace, we have become fellow-partakers of covenant fulfillment. We are now part of that household which functions within His time-frame of history and prophecy.
God wanted His appointments to be observed at specific times and in definite sequences. Yeshua’s (Jesus’) actions in history are closely connected with these exact dates. There is a tremendous amount of prophetic significance in the Hebrew biblical calendar; His overall prophetic plan is revealed through this design in time. It is amazing how clear thinking and good understanding of God’s design can make a difference in our walk with Him.
If you are in Yeshua, you are in this time-frame in a living way, experiencing the truth of it. In His walk on earth, Yeshua lived within this time-frame. Now, as High Priest in the Holiest in Heaven, He is interceding and watching over His word to fulfill it according to His design—within the covenant time-frame.
We want to cooperate with Him and function in this context as a sanctuary in time, where His Eternal Spirit is working out His purposes—through history, and our personal lives as part of it.
From the New Testament, we know that the first four of the seven feasts had their historic fulfillment in Yeshua’s sinless (unleavened) life and in the sequence of events of His crucifixion, burial and resurrection—and in the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. That being the case, we have no reason to doubt that the remaining three feasts will be fulfilled in what is obviously a pattern of salvation history.
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