A. Colossians 2:16-17
Because the Old Testament merely prefigured Christ, it lacks permanent substance. The festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths foreshadowed the New Testament in Christ, but are not the basis on which anyone now living should be judged.
B. Romans 15:4
Because the Scripture of the Old Covenant is still relevant for learning, we intend herein to learn what we can of the ancient feasts and holy days.
I. “AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR MONTHS”
A. Numbers 10:10; 28:11-15; Psalm 81:3-4
The beginning of the month was to be a time of trumpet blowing and sacrificing. We derive our word “month” from the word “moon” because a month is a unit of time based on the lunar cycle; thus, the new moon represents a new month.
B. James 4:14
It is uncertain just why God told Israel to celebrate the start of each month, but it clearly marked the passage of time, of which we must still be very mindful, understanding the brevity of life.
II. “SABBATH” & “JUBILEE”
A. Leviticus 23:3; 25:4; 25:8-17
The seventh day of every week, the seventh year, and the fiftieth year, which was called Jubilee, were all times of rest. Rest is the meaning of the word “Sabbath”.
B. Hebrews 4:1-10
In the New Testament, rest still “remains”, not having yet been received. It is promised in the hereafter for those obedient to God.
III. “PASSOVER” OR “THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD”
A. Exodus 12:1-28; Leviticus 23:5-6; Deuteronomy 16:1-3
“Passover” was established when the tenth plague befell Egypt. The death of the firstborn would afflict the Egyptians, but not the Israelites who smeared the blood of their sacrificial lambs on their doorframes. When the Lord came through the land, He would see the blood and “pass over”, sparing the Israelites the anguish of their oppressors. Immediately following this great event, the Israelites would flee Egypt in a mass exodus into the wilderness. Needing to move in haste, they would have no time for their bread to rise, so their provisions would be unleavened. Accordingly, the “feast of unleavened bread” accompanied the annual observance of Passover, which took place on the 14th day of Abib, their first month of the year.
B. 1st Corinthians 5:7-8
Now, “Christ” is “our Passover”, not the Lord’s Supper, but Jesus, the sacrificed Lamb, is, Himself, the Passover during the present covenant. The context of this passage is about the need for purity, figurative leaven, “malice and wickedness”, necessarily being removed.
C. 2nd Peter 3:12
As the Israelites prepared their unleavened bread for a hasty departure, we, too, must “hasten” Christ’s return.
IV. “THE FEAST OF HARVEST” OR “FIRSTFRUITS” OR “THE
FEAST OF WEEKS” OR “PENTECOST”
A. Exodus 23:14-17; Leviticus 23:15-21; Deuteronomy 16:9-12; Acts 2:1
At the outset of the harvest season, the people of Israel were to offer the firstfruits of their produce to God. This occurred seven weeks after Passover, and was, therefore, called the “Feast of Weeks”. By the New Testament, when the Jews were speaking Greek, they called this “Pentecost”, which is Greek for counting fifty, the number of days from Passover.
B. James 1:18
In the New Testament, Christians are the “firstfruits”, meaning we are an offering to God.
V. “A DAY OF BLOWING THE TRUMPETS”
A. Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6
On the 1st day of the seventh month, the Levites were to blow trumpets in Israel.
B. Colossians 3:16
The New Testament is not without opportunity to sound forth God’s honor. Now, though, the instrument is the heart and the mouth, not the trumpet.
VI. “THE DAY OF ATONEMENT”
A. Leviticus 16:29-34; 23:26-32
On the 10th day of the seventh month was the day of Atonement, when the priests were to cleanse everyone, including themselves, of sin.
B. Hebrews 9:1-28
Unlike the priests who had to offer sacrifices for their own atonement before the people could receive the same, the sinless Christ offered Himself, fulfilling what was “symbolic” with “the greater and more perfect”.
VII. “THE FEAST OF INGATHERING” OR “THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES”
A. Exodus 23:16b; 34:22b; Leviticus 23:33-44; Deuteronomy 16:13-17
The end of the harvest season was the time for “ingathering”, when the final yield of produce would be offered to God. On this occasion, the 15th day of the seventh month, the people of Israel were to dwell in tabernacles, also called booths, to remind them of their temporary dwellings during their pilgrimage from Egypt to Canaan.
B. 1st Peter 2:11; Ephesians 2:19
Christians are pilgrims, wandering the earth until we arrive at home in heaven.
C. 1st Timothy 1:15-16; 1st Corinthians 15:9-10
As the feast of tabernacles prompted the Israelites to remember where they came from, Christians must do likewise, recalling we were once sinners in desperate need of grace!
A. Esther 9:1-32
A Jewess named Esther became queen in the Persian Empire at the same time that a villain named Haman intended to annihilate the Jewish race. Holocaust was averted, however, and the enemies of the Israel were put to the sword. The Jews under Queen Esther and her relative Mordecai declared a holiday to celebrate their deliverance and victory on the 14th and 15th days of Adar, the twelfth month, calling the occasion “Purim” after “pur”, the lot cast by Haman in his original plot.
B. Colossians 1:13; 2nd Peter 2:4-9; Romans 8:19-21
God still provides deliverance: from darkness into His kingdom, from temptation, and ultimately from this material world.
IX. “THE FEAST OF DEDICATION”
A. John 10:22-23
Although His participation cannot be confirmed, Jesus’ approval of “the feast of Dedication” is implied by His presence at the temple while it was celebrated. Had He objected to the event, He would have cleansed the temple as He did when He chased out the money changers (John 2:13-17). Known to us as “Hanukkah”, the feast of Dedication is mentioned in Scripture in this passage alone. One must turn to the uninspired text 1st Maccabees 4 to gain some historical context. To summarize, the Greek Army defiled the temple, and the Jews cleansed it and it was rededicated.
B. 2nd Corinthians 5:17; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:20-24
Dedication, or better put: renewal, is a major theme of the New Testament. It is what a soul gains in Christ and must be constantly about.
A. Hebrews 10:1-4
By this study of Old Testament festivals and holidays, we see how inadequate that Covenant was, providing merely “a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image”.
B. Acts 13:38-39
In Christ is the justification that Moses’ Law lacked.
By Bryan Matthew Dockens
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