V-5 – In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover. So that’s one. That’s the first one, right? Comes in the spring. What is that day about?
Well, the Passover is called passover because when God took Israel out of Egypt, He told the people of Israel to kill a lamb in each family and put some of the lamb’s blood on their doorpost and on the lintel so that the angel who came over would know that they were to be passed over. And every house that didn’t have that blood on its doorposts, a firstborn died in the house throughout the entire land of Egypt . It even included their livestock. So that was a devastating blow to the nation of Egypt . And that trauma caused the Egyptians to temporarily change their minds and to let the children of Israel leave their land. So the Passover commemorates that event where God freed Israel from Egypt .
It says in verse 6:
V-6 – On the fifteenth day of the same month, is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD. Seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
So the Days of Unleavened Bread last a week and comes the next day after Passover. The Passover is the fourteenth, the Days of Unleavened Bread the fifteenth. So these seven days begin with a holy day, where no servile – or regular – work was to be done. And the last one also was a sabbath day as well. And they had religious gatherings during both of those days.
It says in verse 7:
V-7 – In the first day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no work therein, but you shall offer and offering made by fire unto the LORD for seven days. And then the seventh day also is a holy convocation and you shall do no work. So there it is.
So this week long festival follows the day after the Passover. And that tells us that it’s closely connected to it. So what’s the meaning of that? Well, when the children of Israel were fleeing Egypt , they had to get out so quickly that they didn’t have time to let their bread rise, so they ate it unleavened – without any yeast – at least without it rising. So this festival looks back to the freedom that they experienced after they left Egypt . It’s a period of time. So that’s symbolic of a period of time in history. And God reminds them to be thankful for it and to celebrate it.
But then He introduces something else. And this isn’t something that we really have focused on that much.
V-9 – The LORD spoke unto Moses saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, ‘When you come into the land which I gave you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted for you. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.’”
So during this festival, after the Sabbath, the priest was to take some first ripe grain and offer it to God. Now people have asked, “Well, this is springtime, right? So, isn’t that more of a time to plant than it is to reap?” Well, I used to live in Arkansas . And they used to plant winter wheat, which was ripe in the spring. And that’s what was going on here. They had two harvest seasons in Israel . So this was the smaller winter harvest that was being ripened in the spring.
So besides being thankful for their freedom, they were also celebrating this harvest. Today we just go to the store and buy food. But back then, everything a person needed to live on – to eat – was planted, cultivated, harvested and threshed by hand. So it was much closer to their hearts and consciousness. And, if there was no rain, or, if there was a locust plague, they couldn’t fly in a million tons of rice from China and beef from South America . It didn’t work that way back then. So to have a harvest was something to be really thankful for and to really celebrate. It is, too, today, but we’re just too far removed from it to realize it. So that agrarian nation had a harvest festival. Makes sense, when you think about it, doesn’t it?
Okay, so what comes next? Well, the next holy day is called the feast of weeks in the Old Testament and Pentecost – or count fifty – in the New. It came fifty days after the priest waved the sheaf of grain during Unleavened Bread. So they waved that first ripe grain in the early spring, and then they celebrated the harvest in late May or mid-June. And that all had to do with that one harvest – the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread and then Pentecost.
Now the last four days are in the fall. There’s a big gap between Pentecost and the Feast of Trumpets, which is the next one. It goes, in the Hebrew calendar, to the first day of the seventh month. And we’re told that a trumpet was to be blown. And it was to be a holy convocation. And then ten days later another holy day came called the Day of Atonement. That involved sacrificing a lamb in the holy of holies and then the blood was scattered all over the people. So then the great fall festival came after that – the Feast of Tabernacles, which was a festival that lasted seven days. Have you ever gone out in late September or early October and looked at the sky – the night sky? There’s this gigantic moon out there – the harvest moon, we call it. And these people were working late into the evening, probably, to gather in their store so that they could go to the Feast of Tabernacles. Notice the festive atmosphere in Deuteronomy 14:22. It says:
Dt. 14:22 – You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed that the field brings forth year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God in the place which He shall choose to place His name there…. So they went to the designated location for the festival, which was probably Jerusalem most of the time. I mean that because early on it wasn’t kept in Jerusalem – the altar was not. But it says they are to eat before the LORD their God where He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of your corn, of your wine, of your oil, and the firstlings of your herd and of your flocks that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way be too long for you – to hustle a tenth of your herd down the road, or to tote a tenth of the material that you produced – then, it says, you can turn it into money and take it with you.
And it says in verse 26:
V-26 – And you shall bestow that money for whatever your soul desires – oxen, or sheep – that would be prime rib or rack of lamb, right? – or wine, or even strong drink – nice martini, occasionally, during the Feast isn’t a bad thing – or whatever your soul desires. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice – you and your household.
So it was a big party. They all had a tenth of everything that they’d made that year to celebrate with – so quite a large amount. It must have been pretty important to God that they do that – to spend a tenth of the gross national product to do that. But that’s what they did.
Now, I’m back to this question of why we keep them? The world calls them Jewish holy days – Roshashana, they call it the Day of Atonement, too. They keep the Feast of Tabernacles and all of that. And they keep the Passover. But the biblical name actually is the Feasts of the LORD.
So why would we observe an ancient harvest festival of an agrarian nation that are still kept by the people who are the tribe of Judah? What’s the answer to that question? We do it, but do we remember why? That’s why we’re here today – to remember why.
There are a lot of Christians who say, “We don’t need to keep these days. They don’t have anything to do with us. They’re part of the law of Moses, which was done away with when the nation of Israel and temple worship and all that stopped. So it’s really not relevant to us today.” And they say, “We keep days that have to do with Christ, like Christmas and Easter – not these Jewish days.” Well, if you thought that, remember that you thought that. Hang on to that thought for me.
There’s an interesting scripture in the New Testament. I’m going to fill it out a little bit before we turn to it. There was a woman in the New Testament times named Elizabeth. She married a man named Zechariah. He was a Levite – a priest. While he was in the temple one day, doing his priestly duties, he was given a message from God. He was told that his wife was going to have a very special child, and that he was to call his name John. Now there’s a lot said about John in the Bible, even though he was killed by Herod not long before they started the New Testament history. We’re told that he was the most righteous of all men, and that he was to pave the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He was called John the Baptist because he went over Jordan – out into the rural districts – and was baptizing people out there. Let’s go to John 1:25:
Jn. 1:25 – So the people that were curious about what he was doing, and they asked him, and said, “Why are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor that prophet?” And John said to them, “I baptize in water, but among you stands one whom you do not know. It is He who comes after me – the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. And the next day after he said this, he saw Jesus coming to him, and he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Now that’s a curious statement, isn’t it? Why would he say something like that? The Lamb of God. Why was Jesus like a lamb? What do we know about lambs? Well, we know that Israel killed a lamb and spread it on their doorposts, don’t we? The blood of the lamb saved them from death at that time, didn’t it? And what day was that that they did that on? Well, they did it on Passover, didn’t they? So tell me what day Jesus died on? He died on Passover, didn’t He? So now tell me that Passover has nothing to do with Jesus Christ and isn’t relevant to us today. I mean, there it is, right?
It’s interesting, too, that the night before Jesus died – the Passover started the night before He was killed, because it was reckoned from sunset to sunset. So the day He was killed…the night before He had a dinner. And it was after sundown. So that was on the Passover. He gathered His disciples together and He gave them bread and wine to eat and drink. And He said that the bread symbolized His body and the wine symbolized His blood. Then He commanded them to take that bread and that wine every Passover to commemorate His death.
Now I know that most people have heard a twisted version of that story. Some people do it everyday. Some people do it every week. Some people do it every whenever. But that is not what it says in the New Testament. You can read it for yourself. You don’t need to take anybody’s word for it. It’s right there to read in John.
So what about the next holy day – Unleavened Bread. Let’s go into the New Testament – to 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. Paul says to the Corinthians:
1 Cor. 5:6-8 – Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, that you may be a new batch without yeast, as you really are. For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. Now, as a result of that sacrifice, what are Christians to do? Let us keep the festival, not with the old yeast – the yeast of malice and wickedness – but with bread without yeast – the bread of sincerity and truth. So now there’s a new meaning given to these ancient symbols. And they’re given to Christian people. He said that what happened to Christ on Passover necessitates that we keep that Festival of Unleavened Bread.
So here is the great apostle talking about what most people consider a Jewish holy day. And that is the argument that is advanced against this observance – “It’s not Christian” – and yet there we have the apostle that was struck down blind on Damascus Road by Christ Himself telling the Corinthians to keep this festival as a result of what Jesus did on Passover.
Now people have said, “Well, He did that because He was a Jew. That’s what He was used to doing – just like we’re used to keeping Christmas and Easter and whatever.” But think about the context of this comment for a second. Do you know where Corinth is? Or was? Well, it was a city in Asia Minor. And do you know who populated this city? It was vastly Gentile. And I’m sure there were Jews there, but there were also many, many people in the congregation who were Gentile. So we have here Paul teaching Gentile Christians to keep a Jewish holy day? Doesn’t make sense? And he explains why Christians ought to keep it. He explains it had a deeper meaning in Jesus Christ than it ever had before.
I’d really like somebody to show me in the Bible where it says that we’re supposed to observe His birth or His resurrection. It’s not in there. But this is. See, these really are the real Christian holidays. Today we worship on days that we’re not told to and we’re not worshipping on the days we were told to worship on. And we keep doing what we’ve always done, because that’s what we’re comfortable with. But that is not what we’ve been told to do.
Most churches observe the Day of Pentecost. Did you know that? Most mainstream Christian churches observe Pentecost. Pentecost is a Jewish holy day. It was a part of the Old Testament system of holy days. Do you know what happened on that day in the New Testament? God founded His church on that day! Now how unusual is that – that God would found His New Testament church on a Jewish holy day? Could that possibly mean that the meaning of the day is beyond Judaism and beyond Israelites in Moses’ time?
So the next question is, “If a church would keep one of those days, why wouldn’t they keep all of them?” They’re connected. It is clear, in the New Testament, what happened on Pentecost. There’s no getting around it. It’s the most clear of all the holy days in the New Testament, so perhaps that explains why it’s been acknowledged.
By the way, if a lamb was killed on Passover and John called Jesus the Lamb of God, what does it tell us? That at least one lamb was killed on every holy day? What does that tell us? It tells us that Jesus Christ is involved in all the holy days and their meaning – that Jesus Christ – when you study it, really – He is the holy days!
Now in Hebrew 9, there is an interesting scripture. We’re moving on…. I skipped the Feast of Trumpets because we’re going to talk more about that in a minute. And it’s the one the comes next after Pentecost. I’m going to go on to Atonement for the moment. In Hebrews 9, there is a really interesting scripture here – in verse 1 – where Paul is explaining to the Hebrews something that they never understood.
Heb. 9:1 – Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and earthly service. The first covenant. That would have been when they built the tabernacle and all of that. …for there was a tabernacle prepared – the outer one, in which there was a lampstand, and a table, and the sacred bread, that is called the holy place. Then behind the second veil there was a tabernacle, which is called the holy of holies. So, originally, in the tabernacle, there was a little tent room inside a bigger one.
V-4 – And that had a golden altar – in verse 4 – and incense, the ark of the covenant – covered on all sides with gold – in which there was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant. Do you remember the name of the movie about the covenant that Stephen Spielberg did? The Raiders of the Lost Ark. And above it were the cheribum of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Do you remember, in the movie, how they had their wings outstretched? And he says:
V-6 – But of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship. But into the second, only the high priest enters once a year. Now do you know what day that was? That was on the Day of Atonement. So why is he talking to the church about this? He says, …not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit – wow! The Holy Spirit is teaching us about something related to the Day of Atonement – that the way into the holiest of all had not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly, both gifts and sacrifices are offered, which cannot make the worshipper perfect in conscience, since they relate only – this is important – to pay attention to verse 10 – they relate only to food and drink – and if you look the meaning of that up, it means food offerings and drink offerings – and various washings –ritualistic washing associated with the temple worship – regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacles – not made with hands – that is to say, not of this creation – and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own bood, He entered the holy place – not every year – but once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Are you getting the picture? All that – that happened back then on the Day of Atonement in ancient Israel – was looking forward to and has everything to do with Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. That’s what the Day of Atonement is really about. That is what it has always pictured – from the very beginning.
V-13 – For if the blood of bulls and goats – verse 13 – and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling those who have defiled, sanctify to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of transgressions that were committed unto the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Most people assume – most Christians assume – that the feasts of the LORD were done away with along with the sacrifices and all that. Why should they be when we see that they have everything to do with Christ? And, if you go back to verse 10, do you see anything that has been removed there? I mean, there’s a list there of what is no longer necessary. Do you see the holy days in there? It’s not there, is it?
Let’s go to 1 Peter 2:20. We’re going to learn some biblical principles now. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:20:
1 Pt. 2:20 – But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and you endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. He goes on to talk about how they hurled insults at Him and He didn’t retaliate, He suffered and He made no threats. He bore our sins in His body on the tree so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. And he says: By His wounds you are healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the shepherd and the overseer of your souls.
So Bible Basic Principles 101: Jesus came and set an example for us that we should follow it.
He kept the holy days – not just the Passover. We have Him in the temple – in the book of John – preaching on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and in the temple again on the Last Great Day. What was He preaching about? He was preaching about the Holy Spirit and how it was going to be like a river that would flow out of Him into us at some future time. He didn’t preach about a Jewish observance. He was talking about future New Testament activity and about New Testament meaning. He was preaching about the Holy Spirit. And He was preaching about His sacrifice. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can look it up for yourself. Look it up in John 7, and verse 37 and following.
Okay, let’s go to Bible Principles 101B – another vital principle. Have you ever heard that saying, “The faith once delivered?” You’ve heard that, haven’t you? Did you know that came out of the Bible? It’s a well-known scripture. It’s in Jude 1, verse 3. Let’s see what Jude meant by it when he said it.
Jude 1:3 – Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. That’s the faith once delivered. It was delivered once. It was perfect. It didn’t need any additions. It didn’t need any subtractions. It was the model for us to follow. And Jude is writing here to remind the church that Christ came and delivered to the church a way of worshipping God that they should keep following and not deviate.
So we can look at the picture of what the church did in the New Testament and understand what we should do. They kept the seventh day, not the first. The kept the feasts of the LORD, not Christmas and Easter. It’s interesting. They didn’t see circumcision as a part of Chritianity, which is a part of the law. And before the New Testament church era was over, the temple was destroyed, so they all understood that they weren’t to sacrifice any longer. They believed in the Holy Spirit as the power of God. They believed in a resurrection from the dead. They baptized adults with full immersion. That’s the model. That’s what we see them doing.
The point is, we are to contend for the faith once delivered. You can ask almost anybody, “Do you want the original thing, or a watered-down version that has passed through hundreds of thousands of minds since then?” It’s always the same answer. The original is always better. I mean, how many little MP3 players are on the market? And what was the first one? It was an iPOD, right? And they’re still the best! They’re still out in front. And that’s the way it is with the church. So, don’t deviate from it. If you have deviated, get back to it! Get back to it.
Okay, now let’s talk about Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets is the only one of the holy days that is not mentioned directly in the New Testament. And because of that, many theologians have thrown off all the holy days, because they think they can’t find that one in there. They can’t see any typological significance. “It’s just blowing a trumpet and offering an offering.” Let’s just take a closer look at that.
The way that we understand all of these days to be necessary is that we see the New Testament church observing them. And we understand what they mean by reading what the Bible says. The Bible tells us what they mean. It doesn’t talk so much about this day. But the image that is presented is so unmistakable, it doesn’t have to be.
Somebody asked me once if I observed new moons. And I said, “No, I don’t observe them.” But you know, I was thinking about it later. I do observe one. What is a new moon? Well, a new moon is the first day of every Hebrew month. They celebrated, or marked, the beginning of the month by blowing a trumpet. So the Feast of Trumpets was celebrated by blowing a trumpet, because it was the first day of which month? The seventh month. So how many trumpets had been blown that year when they got to that one? Seven of them. There is an incredibly powerful and clear picture of seven trumpets in the New Testament, isn’t there? And that picture is about the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. Isn’t that interesting? It is to me.
It’s funny, too. I ran into some theologians once and they were asking me about this. I don’t guess they were really theologians – they didn’t have any education. They just thought they were. They said, “Well, you can’t prove the Feast of Trumpets.” So I trotted this out to them. And they said, “Well, that’s just symbolism. It’s not definitive evidence.” I said, “Well, you believe that the whole Bible is just a symbol and that the return of Christ, actually, is just a symbol for God’s work in the church to solve all the world’s problems. So, if I can’t use ‘just symbolism,’ why do you get to? Let’s play fair.”
Let’s think about timing now. This is another way to think about what the Feast of Trumpets means. The feasts of the LORD start with Christ’s sacrifice in the spring at Passover. Then the next day begins Unleavened Bread. Then fifty days later is Pentecost. So that takes you, at the very latest, to mid-June – late-May, mid-June – most of the time, early-June. Then we go all through the summer to late-September before we come to Trumpets and Atonement. That’s the biggest gap in the calendar – well, if you start from the beginning anyway – it’s the biggest gap. Then you have the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day – bang, bang, bang, right in a row. So the timing tells us something about what is going on in the plan of God.
The Passover – Christ is sacrificed. Then we have Unleavened Bread immediately on that, which is to picture the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, right – living God’s way. Then the revelation of the church. Then there’s this long span of time while the church works, and people grow, and time passes. Then Christ returns. And then bang, bang, bang – a whole succession of things occur in rapid order.
The first one of those rapid things to occur is the return of Jesus Christ. And that is what the New Testament tells us is going to happen. The church is going to be ongoing. Things are just going to be rocking on. And all of a sudden, it’s going to catch everybody by surprise – even the people that study prophecy night and day.
Okay. We’re going to talk for a minute about another John now. He was one of the disciples Jesus chose – a man named John. He’s not the same as John the Baptist. He lived through Jesus’ ministry. In fact, he lived longer than any of the apostles. He lived into his nineties, which for back then, was really good. We have somebody here today that is probably older than John was, but John didn’t have oxygen tanks and the good stuff we have today. So he was old. In his old age – sixty years after Christ died – Jesus came back to him with an amazing message. He gave him a vision. And it was the revelation about what was to happen in the last days. We find in this book the meaning of the latter holy days laid out in sequential order.
So let’s go to Revelation 11 and let’s see what happens at the seventh trumpet. I mean, you can’t have a sermon about the Feast of Trumpets and not read the scripture that tells what it is, right? I guess you could, but I’ve never done it.
Rev. 11:15 – And the seventh angel sounded – there it is. I’m not going to read the preface – the buildup to it – but before that it says there were seven angels with seven trumpets. And now this is the seventh angel sounding. So this is it! And there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” Now it says, “they are become,” in the King James version. What does that mean? Well, the sense there is “good as His.” It hasn’t happened yet, but there isn’t any question about what is going to happen next. It’s already a done deal even though it hasn’t happened. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces and worshipped God, saying, “We give thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which are, and was, and are to come, because You have taken to You Your great power and have reigned.” So this scripture shows us that the coming of Jesus Christ is tied to the sound of the seventh trumpet blast here in Revelation.
Let me ask you a really interesting question. So what? So what does that mean? That is the main question we’re asking today. That’s what we started out with. Why does God tell us to keep the feasts of the LORD? Why does He tell us to keep the Feast of Trumpets? Why do it? What’s the point of it? Well, it’s one of the ways that God tells us that we should worship Him.
A lot of people don’t understand this, but since God is God, He gets to decide how He wants to be worshipped. We don’t get to decide that. We can decide how big our offerings are, what kind of good works we’re going to do to people. But there are some things that are completely out of our hands. And one of them is what days we’re to worship on. So that’s a really good reason to keep it right there, isn’t it? To worship God. And like the four and twenty elders that fell down on their faces – dumbfounded by the majesty and power of God – they worshipped. And that’s a really good thing for us to do. We probably aren’t as good at that as we ought to be.
But, if that’s the only reason we do it, or, if that’s the reason that you think is the most important, then you’re missing out. That’s kind of like a little kid, who has been told to stay out of the street, and thinks the reason he’s supposed to stay out of the street is because his daddy said so. There’s a lot more to it than that, isn’t there? Why is he supposed to stay out of the street. Well, because he could get killed. So staying out of the street is good for him – really good! Keeping the Feast of Trumpets is what we are supposed to do because it’s good for us. There’s benefit to it.
How is it good for us? I had a little guy…. I love this. This one of the most fun things that has ever happened to me in my counseling practice. I had this little guy come to my office. He’s a returning client. When I first met him, I think he was in the fourth grade and now’s he’s in the sixth. So he’s starting his first year of middle school. He told his mother that he needed to see me again. He said, “I have some problems,” when he came to me, “and I don’t know what to do.” I mean, head and shoulders what he was before verbally. He can really express himself. And I said, “You came here because you hope I’ll figure out what to do.” And he said, “Yes,” with this big beaming smile. And I said, “Well, it’s really obvious that you’re quite a bit older now and that we can talk about this instead of playing.” He nodded. I explained to him that now that we’re together again, the part of his mind that takes care of him is going to send up messages to him – pictures or dreams or unusual thoughts – and it’s going to be in code so we won’t be able to understand all of it. And our job is to figure out what these pictures mean. And once we do, then we’ll know what to do with the problems. So I said, “Have you had any strong dreams or thoughts recently?” And his brow furled a little bit, and then his eyes got big, and he said, “I can’t stop thinking about pie!” I said, “Pie?” He said, “Yeah, I’ve talked so much about pie, people are buying them for me. My mom bought me one. My aunt bought me one. I love pie!” He said, “So what does that mean?” I said, “Well, I don’t know, but I’ll bet you do.” I said, “What is pie?” He said, “I love pie, especially blueberry pie and apple pie with lots of cinnamon on it.” I could relate to that big time myself. So I said, “Okay, so how does pie make you feel?” He said, “Really good! When I’m eating pie, it makes all my problems go away.” And I said, “Okay, so that’s it! That’s it. How long have you been having these dreams?” “Oh, just the last couple of weeks.” “So you just told me that you came here hoping that all your problems would go away.” He said, “Hey, yeah!” And I said, “Maybe your sudden preoccupation with pie is about our working together – you and me.” “Yeah,” he says, “you’re my pie!”
So that sounds really silly, doesn’t it? No? It does to me – I mean, when you just take it out of context. But that’s what his mind…that was the image that his mind was working with and it made perfect sense to him. And that image that we, together, deciphered reconnected us and we’re now ready to do therapy. And he understands now how therapy works, whereas he didn’t before.
I was thinking about that. This little guy doesn’t need information. He needs relationship. He needs the connection. And he’ll figure all this stuff out for himself in the face of a healthy therapeutic relationship. He’s going to solve all these problems by himself. And I’m just going to help him figure out the images. So, for him, that preoccupation about pie is code for needing connection and support.
So, okay, what does that have to do with the feasts of the LORD? Well, God sends us word pictures. They are called feasts. And they are to communicate something to us at a very deep level. It’s not just “Do it because I said so.” It’s “Do it because I’ve got something I want you to know.” And this is the only way you’re going to get to know it.
In preparation for this sermon, I looked up, in a couple of Bible commentaries, about the holy days. And it so funny to read what they write, because you can tell that they really want to understand it, but they don’t get it, because they never have kept them before. So they kind of get things out of order, and they get the Feast of Weeks confused with this and that, and think they were kept here, there and everywhere else. And they just don’t have a picture of what was going on because they never observed them. So there is something to be learned there that comes only by observance.
Now what is that is to be learned? What is the overall picture of the festivals? It’s a harvest. It’s all about harvest – two of them. It’s not just about the harvest of an ancient people. But it’s the story of how God is, step-by-step, harvesting all of us for His kingdom. It’s all through the Bible. See the lillies, how they grow! The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Do you know who said those words? Jesus Christ. Mainstream Christianity knows God’s plan is like a harvest, but because they don’t connect to the harvest festivals – or they don’t connect the harvest festivals to the plan – they don’t know as much as they could know about what God is doing with us.
I’ve said that to many people and they kind of give me that blank look. I used to, too. I’m not putting anybody down. I’m just saying that unless you do it, you don’t get it. People say, “Why should I want to know more about what God’s doing with me? I’ve got the basics down. I know I’m going to heaven. That’s enough for me.” Are you sure? The picture that is painted about what God is doing with us in the holy day plan – the feasts of the LORD – is quite different than what popular Christianity believes.
Here’s something else to think about. At our moment in time, the first three holy days picture aspects of God’s plan that have already become manifested. Christ’s death – Passover. Living in a state of grace – yes, living unleavened bread is living in grace. That’s what that’s all about. Isn’t that a New Testament concept? The founding of the church and the coming of the Holy Spirit – that’s happened. Those are all done. But then the last four have not actually been manifested yet. Christ has not returned. He has not drawn human kind back to Himself. He has not established His kingdom on earth. And we are not at “the end beyond thing” – that goes on after all that. So that means that these events that are in the fall are prophetic, doesn’t it? And of course at that word – at that word prophetic – some people’s eyes begin to roll back in their heads. They begin to foam at the mouth and quiver with excitement. They forget everything else and they go wild for prophecy. Now, it’s not bad to want to study prophecy. But the operative term here is forget everything else. Prophecy is just a tool to get us to what’s really important. It’s not the importance itself. So, if we get stuck on prophecy, we’re just majoring in the minors. That’s just a tool to get to what is really important.
Even understanding the plan is not the most important thing. A lot of us have worshipped understanding the plan. But that’s not the most important thing. The way to understand what’s really important is to ask, “What does this plan mean? What’s it about? Why are we doing this? Why do we keep this day? What’s it about?” Well, we do it because we’re told to worship on this day. Good. We’re told to worship on this day because there is knowledge connected to it. But what else? What’s the deeper issue? Why is there a plan of God? What is He doing? And what’s it all for? Well, it a harvest, right? Okay.
So let’s go to Hebrews 2, and verse 8.
Heb. 2:8 – You have put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we do not yet see all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. Why? For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both He who sacrifices and those who are being sacrificed are all one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.
It’s about a family. It’s about a God family. God is creating a family. He’s harvesting us to be in His family! What does that mean? There’s just levels of it. What does that mean? Well, what is a family? It’s a group of people who are all connected relationally. But if you stop and think about it, they are not all connected biologically, either. Because the father and mother aren’t biologically connected. So what is the common connection in the family? Well, they all live in the same house. No, they don’t – not sometimes, they don’t. It’s not about that, is it? If you use the definition that I just gave you – a group of people who are all connected relationally – that could apply to a sports team, people working in an office downtown or a military platoon. So what’s the connection? The secret to understanding that is to ask, “How are the parents connected?” Well, they’re connected by marriage, aren’t they? And where does marriage come from? It comes from God, doesn’t it? So a family is a group of people who are interrelated through a sacred relationship with God. The covenant that we make is not only to each other, but it’s to God – that we will stay together.
So, it’s like we’ve been saying here at LifeResource all along. It’s all about the relationship. That’s why all the hoop-la. That’s why a tenth of ancient Israel’s income was spent on these days. It’s to help us understand what God is really doing with us.
Why is Christ coming back? Why the Feast of Trumpets? Well, He’s coming back to establish His kingdom – to become the king of the world – where He can draw more and more people – future generations – into relationship with Him and His Father, so they can enter into the family of God. This day pictures that event.
Many people focus on the return of Christ as the end all. Once that happens, that’s the big blast. And they think, because they don’t keep the festivals, which reveal that the return of Christ is not the end – that that’s just the beginning…. But the plan shows us that the return of Christ, actually, is right in the middle of the plan – not the end of it.
So each one of these festivals explains an aspect of how that sacred and eternal relationship is going to be brought about – how God is reproducing, how He is creating a family for Himself – and Jesus Christ being our older brother. We’re going to be in the family.
So these days are celebrations where the family of God comes together to celebrate our family with our family. That’s what it’s about. It’s like a lady told me she was really upset because her married children wouldn’t come back for Thanksgiving with her. We all want that. God wants us to be here, too. It’s a family event. But it’s not really about the days as much as it is about the relationship – the days are for the relationship. That is what is important. And as this festival season is entered, it’s our time to think and learn more about our relationship with God, and also to think about our relationship with the rest of His family. After all, we are a family, and we need to learn how to get along as brothers and sisters in Christ, and we need to learn what role we will play in the eternal family of God. And we’ll learn more about that at Park City at the Feast of Tabernacles.