As recently discussed, the Lord prescribed seven feasts to Moses which were to be observed by the Children of Israel. The initial feasts or Holy Days were Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement and Ingathering. Three of the feasts were Spring feasts and three were Fall feasts, with Pentecost in the middle like the servant lamp in a Menorah design.
Three of the feasts were mandatory for Jewish men who lived within a certain radius of the location of the Tabernacle, and later, the Temple. The three mandatory feasts were the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and the Feast of Ingathering, or the Fall harvest. This latter feast is one reason why I believe “there was no room at the inn,” because Bethlehem was full of pilgrims who had come to the mandatory feast.
While reading the Book of Exodus I came to realize there are parallels between the Spring feasts and the Fall feasts. This realization dawned on me as I read the Lord’s instructions to Moses and Aaron in Exodus 12:2. The Lord said, “This month is to be the first month of the year.”(my emphasis). Apparently, up to that time the year began in the Fall at harvest time. This would be a sure sign of the annual cycle. The Jews continue to celebrate the New Year in the Fall at the Feast of Trumpets on Tishri 1. This is the first day of the secular year. When the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, it was Nisan, a Spring month. Nisan begins the religious year for the Jews. So Nisan 1 and Tishri 1 parallel each other as the first day of their respective years.
In Exodus 12:3 the Lord instructs the Children of Israel to obtain a lamb (or a goat - verse five) on Nisan 10. This is the lamb which was sacrificed for Passover. Of course, Jesus is our Passover lamb, who atoned for our sins. On Tishri 10 the Jews celebrate the Feast of Atonement, when the sins of the people were placed on a scape goat. So Atonement is present in both the Spring and the Fall on Nisan 10 and Tishri 10.
Passover occurred on Nisan 15 and was followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, one of the mandatory feasts. The Feast of Harvest or Ingathering is another mandatory feast and is celebrated on Tishri 15. The Feast of Unleavened Bread , or the “bread of haste” reminds the Children of Israel of their liberation from Egypt. At the Feast of Ingathering they stay in “booths” to remind them of the time they spent in the desert after their liberation from Egypt. Nisan 15 in the Spring and Tishri 15 in the Fall both refer to the same event.
One of my favorite scriptures is in the Revelation 4:6. This verse describes the Throne of God and a sea like glass before it. It is a picture of the perfect control of God the Creator. There is not a ripple in this sea. It is like glass. I am not surprised that the Spring Feasts and Fall Feasts parallel each other. Our God is an orderly God. Everything is under control.
Leavening is frequently used as a picture of sin in the Bible. A little sin soon spreads throughout the entire community. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is the first of the mandatory feasts. Jesus, who was without sin, was in the grave during this feast. He replaced the unleavened bread and took the place of this feast. Pentecost, another mandatory feast, is also called the Feast of the (early) Harvest (Exodus 23:16). The Church became the early harvest and took the place of Pentecost, which is the “birthday” of the Church.
The only mandatory feast that has not been fulfilled is the Fall Harvest or the Feast of Ingathering. I wonder how this last feast will be fulfilled. Will it be fulfilled by Jesus, the Church or the Jews?