The Feasts of the Lord are not only for the Jews but for all of God’s people. They are God’s plan for mankind.
The Spring Feasts were fulfilled during Jesus’ first coming:
Passover Eve (Pesach – Nissan 14th) – On the first Passover, the blood of the Passover lamb was painted on the doorposts and lintels of the homes of the Hebrews to provide atonement and protection for God’s people. The Lord passed over the firstborn Hebrew males delivering them and their families from slavery and death in Egypt. Since the firstborn Egyptian males were not protected by the blood atonement of the Passover Lamb, God killed them.
Passover (Nissan 14th) is the Preparation Day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 14:19). The week of Unleavened Bread is also known as the week of Passover.
Jesus died as the ultimate Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7b). Jesus was crucified and buried before sundown on Nissan 14th and before the Jews celebrated their Passover meal in the evening when the 14th officially became the 15th (John 18:28).
Jesus’ blood provides atonement for those who choose to submit to Him. In fact, believers live under that atonement covering as they obey His commandments. Submitting to Jesus as Lord and Savior frees Christians from slavery to sin and from the curse of the law which is the second death or being consumed in the lake of fire.
Week of Passover or Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzot – Nissan 15th – 21st) – When the mixed multitude left Egypt, they ate unleavened bread. The Jews celebrate this feast in remembrance of the event of Passover and the Exodus from Egypt.
Jesus’ sinless, dead, unleavened body was in the grave during the first 3 days and 3 nights of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nissan 15th, 16th, and 17th).
Firstfruits (Yom HaBikkurim – end of Nissan 17th/beginning of Nissan 18th) – The Hebrews were commanded to offer firstfruits from the barley harvest on the day after the Sabbath (Lev. 23:11). There is a difference of opinion as to which Sabbath is referred to here. The Feast of Unleavened Bread has two High Sabbaths which are Nissan 15th and 21st. The Feast of Firstfruits is either the day after the first High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nissan 16th) or the day after the weekly Sabbath which is during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Jesus rose from the dead (became leavened) in the middle of the week of Unleavened Bread (Passover). This happened 3 days and 3 nights after Jesus’ death and burial. This was the day after the weekly Sabbath and not the day after the first High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread (Nissan 16th). Jesus most likely died and was buried on Wednesday right before sundown and rose from the dead on Saturday evening right after sundown (which was technically when Sunday began).
Most English versions of Matthew 28:1 indicate the women went to the tomb after the Sabbath (singular). Actually, the Greek New Testament indicates they went to the tomb after the Sabbaths (plural). This verse was referring to both the first High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread and the weekly Sabbath. According to 1 Corinthians 15:20, Jesus was the Firstfruit of the Barley harvest.
For a long time I believed the Feast of Firstfruits should fall on the day after the weekly Sabbath during the week of Unleavened Bread (Passover) but at this point in time, I have a reason to believe otherwise. This does not change the fact that Jesus was the Firstfruit of the Barley harvest. Jesus also fulfilled some aspects of the fall feasts but we are waiting for future fulfillments as well.
Pentecost (Hag Shavuot or Counting the Omer – Sivan 6th or between Sivan 5th and 11th depending on which Sabbath you Count the Omer from) – Traditionally, the Hag Shavuot is when God spoke the Ten Commandments to His people so that He could dwell among them.
Today the Jews Count the Omer for 50 days starting from the day after the first High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread which is Nissan 16th and ending on Sivan 6. Others believe we should Count the Omer for 50 days starting from the day after the weekly Sabbath (from the Sunday) during the week of Unleavened Bread and ending on the Hag Shavuot (Pentecost) because Christ rose from the dead on the day after the weekly Sabbath.
As we think about these two options, we should take time to ponder the possible significance of Daniel 12:11-12. By the time of the 1290th day, the adomination of desolation will be set up in a future temple. This should be Nissan 19th if the final shavuah (7 year period; in this case, the 70th week of Daniel) I’m thinking of is correct. In this particular shavuah, the 1335th day will be the 49th day of the Omer if the omer is counted from the day after the first High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread (Passover). Daniel was told that anyone who waits and arrives at the 1335th day will be blessed. Recall the common pattern (7×7) + 1 because the blessing will most likely come on the 50th day.
This seems similar to Jesus telling His disciples to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power of the Holy Spirit from on high (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5). The Holy Spirit was certainly a blessing to those who received it.
Physically waiting (chakah) until the 1335th day for a blessing will be hard to do because Jesus encouraged those in Judea to flee to the mountains when they see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place (Matt. 24:15-22). Perhaps this is not meant to be a physical tarrying. Chakah can also mean to hope, expect, or long for.
In the disciples’ case, Jesus made it clear they were to physically wait. This was difficult for them to do because they feared for their lives but when the day of Pentecost finally came, the Holy Spirit came at the appointed time to dwell within all believers and empowered them to preach the gospel (Acts 2:1-4).
The Hag Shavuot is the fulfillment of the Firstfruits of the Wheat harvest (Act 2:41, Acts 10:45-46).
**Be sure to see the article on the Metonic Cycle and the accompanying powerpoint called “The Secret of the 1260 Days” in order to learn more about the 70th Week of Daniel and the particular shavuah I have in mind.
Celebrate the Feasts
In 1 Corinthians 5:8, Paul encouraged us to keep the feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread and told us in what manner we should observe it: “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” NKJV
My kids have complained that observing Passover is difficult but I have told them that it’s a great way we can learn to put to death the sins of the flesh in our lives in a very tangible way. It’s given me the opportunity to teach them that removing sin and leaven from our lives takes awareness, planning, and commitment in both the physical and spiritual realms. Once they understood the spiritual application, they were a little more willing to celebrate the feast in a more physical way.
Would you be willing to celebrate the Spring Feasts too?
Don’t be afraid to plan a Messianic Passover Meal, cleanse your house of products containing leavening agents for the week of Unleavened Bread, and daily Count the Omer for 50 days each year!
Please don’t plan to do so based on the dates for Easter. Get on-line and find out the proper dates each year to celebrate the feasts of the Lord because the Hebrew dates differ from the Gregorian dates each year.
Don’t worry about what others say to you concerning your decision. Allow the celebration of the spring feasts to deepen your understanding of how Jesus fulfilled them and to enhance your relationship with the Lord.
Remember Colossians 2:16-17 says, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” NKJV
May God bless you as you celebrate the spring feasts!