There are seven feasts that the Children of Israel were instructed to celebrate each year. There are three Spring feasts, three Fall feasts and Pentecost which falls between the two groups. The Hebrew religious year begins with the first new moon following the Spring solstice (March 22nd). A further test is done to determine if the barley crop is mature enough. If these criteria are met, the new year begins with Nisan 1.
On Nisan 10, in preparation for Passover, the Passover lamb was presented at the Temple by the priests. This is thought to have been the very same day that we know as Palm Sunday, when Jesus, the Lamb of God, was presented at Jerusalem.
Passover begins at sunset Nisan 14 and continues through the next day, Nisan 15. It is a reminder of the final plague in Egypt when the Death Angel passed over the houses with the Blood of the Lamb on the door lintel (the top frame) and the two sides of the doorframe. The location of the blood on the doorframe reminds us of the Cross. Those houses without the Blood of the Passover Lamb lost the firstborn child of the household. This resulted in the liberation of the Children of Israel from the Egyptian bondage. Of course, Jesus is our Passover Lamb and His death resulted in our liberation from the bondage of sin.
The Passover meal contains many symbols that point to Jesus. There are three pieces of bread; one is hidden. This reminds us of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; one of which (Jesus) is hidden to the Jews. There are four cups of wine that are partaken during the dinner. The third cup is the Cup of Redemption. It was this cup that Jesus held when He said, “This is my blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many.” (Mark 14:24) We have redemption through Jesus.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on Nisan 15 and continued for a week. It was celebrated by the use of bread baked without yeast. Yeast or leavening in the Bible is a picture of sin. Just as a little yeast works its way through the entire loaf of bread, a little sin can work its way through your life. This feast also reminds us of the unleavened bread at the Communion Table, that has been used by the Church for almost two thousand years as we remember Jesus, according to His instructions. (Matthew 26:26)
On the Sunday following Passover is the Feast of Firstfruits. This is the day Christians recognize as Resurrection Sunday. How very fitting that this Jewish feast should fall on the day that Jesus rose from the dead, the Firstfruits of the grave. (First Corinthians 15:20).
The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed. Praise the Lord!