The Significance of the Hebrew Festivals
for the Christian
- Hebrew Festivals For The Christian
- Unleavened Bread
- Feast Of Firstfruits
- Feast Of Weeks
- Feast Of Trumpets
- Day Of Atonement
- Feast Of Tabernacles
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
(Ro. 15:3-6, 2 Tim. 3:14-17, Hosea 12:10, 1 Cor. 10:1-11)
1. In Israel, once a year, the high priest was to enter beyond the veil into The Holy 0f Holies where the "presence" of the Lord resided along with the chest or ark, which contained the tablets of the law, the golden pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded. The purpose of the entrance of the high priest was to make atonement for himself and for the repentant people of the nation, since they could not approach God directly (Lev. l6).
2. The high priest prefigured the ministry of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died, however, the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the outer area in the temple at Jerusalem was ripped apart. This, was symbolic of the fact that now, through the death, resurrection, and enablement provided by Jesus, all men have the opportunity for an atonement and personal communion with their Father which was not previously available. This is the "new and living way." (Heb. 7-10)
3. As a result of His sacrifice the Lord Jesus is now residing in the heavenlies interceding for His children and preparing places for those who will assist Him in the work of the establishment of His Kingdom. The end-of-the-age prophetic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will be entering "beyond the veil" into a "heavenly temple" for those then prepared to serve. It is at this time that the full fruit of the atonement price paid by the Lord Jesus will be in evidence. However, the Day of Atonement is also representative of the final phase of judgment upon the world detailed in the "seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God." (I John 2:1-2, John 14:1-4, Rev 11:19, 15:5-8, 20:4-6, 16:1-21).
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
The Lord spoke to Moses and said, "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. Neither shall you do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God if there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people (he will die). As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person will I destroy from among his people. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your soul; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath. (Lev. 23:27-32).
During the eight days coming between the Feast of Trumpets and the great Day of Atonement, the Israelites had the opportunity for fasting, prayer, and repentance, not only for themselves but for all Israel. Restitution could be made with one another, wrongs could be righted and forgiveness sought. A sense of impending judgment was felt by all because of the belief that unless every requirement of their God was met, judgement would be sure and swift to follow. It was the most solemn time of the year, culminating with the Great Day.
On this tenth day of the seventh month, Tishrei, the high priest, clothed in holy garments, was delegated to make the atonement for himself, and also for the repentant people of the nation, since they could not approach God directly (Lev. 16). This was the only day in the year when the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, where the "presence" of the Lord resided, along with the chest or ark, containing the tablets of the law, the golden pot of manna and Aaron's budded rod.
At the appointed time, the high priest laid aside his official ornaments, and, clad only in white linen, he began to perform his required duties. In addition to the offerings for himself and his household of the priests, two goats were chosen to be the atonement for the people of the nation. Lots were cast upon the goats, one being set apart for sacrifice, and the other as the scapegoat. "Scapegoat signifies "the goat that went away (escaped), or, more literally, "the goat of removal." The first goat was stain, and its blood brought within the veil and sprinkled upon and in front of the Mercy Seat. Then the high priest took the remaining goat, placed his hands on its head, and over it confessed the sins of the people. In type, the sins of the people were "laid on its head"; it was made the sin-bearer for the nation, and, laden with guilt not its own, it was sent away into the wilderness.
Continually, and with particular emphasis given to the Day of Atonement, the Israelites were to offer sacrifices to atone for their sins. They did not yet have the guarantee of a "once for all" sacrifice for their sins or the enablement to over-come sin and fulfill the righteousness which the ceremonial law so effectively dramatized.
The ministry of the high priest of the nation of Israel prefigured the ministry of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died, however, the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the outer areas in the temple at Jerusalem "was torn in two from top to bottom". (Matt. 27:50-5l) This was symbolic of the fact that now, through the death, resurrection and enablement provided by Jesus, all men have the opportunity for an atonement and then, with progress, a personal communion with their Father which was not previously available to all.
In Hebrews, seven through ten, is found the antitype of Leviticus sixteen. The High Priest, Jesus Christ, has entered into the Holy of Holies in the heavens, and has taken His own blood to the eternal Mercy Seat. Not only has He prevailed for the sins of those who "know" Him, but for all who will yet come to know Him (John 10:14-16; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 7:26-27). For those who "know" Him, iniquity has not only been covered, but borne away, as typified by the scapegoat sent into the wilderness.
The Lord Jesus has fulfilled the Aaronic priesthood and has established a new priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. The priests of the New Covenant have the opportunity to become "high priest's" and follow Him beyond the veil. "Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, and our body washed with pure water." (Heb. 10:19-22)
That full and complete atonement was made available by Jesus Christ on the cross, there is no doubt whatsoever. However, it is only too evident, upon consideration of the individual life, as well as that of the historical Church, that all that has been made available has rarely been understood and appropriated. All through the ages men have, by understanding and responding to portions of revealed truth, appropriated some measure of deliverance from sin and its effects. But the Body of Christ, as a whole, has not yet done so. Nevertheless, deliverance from sin is available for the here and now for those who will receive it (Malt. 11:12).
As a result of accomplishing His atoning work here on earth, the Lord Jesus is now residing in the heavenlies interceding for His children and preparing places for those who will assist Him in the establishment of his kingdom (I John 2:1-2; John 14:1-3). The prophetic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement for this age will be the High Priest entering into the "temple of God which is in heaven" with the Bride and with her "Household". This event will take place in the heavens as the final phase of judgment falls upon the world, symbolically referred to as the "bowls of the wrath of God. " (Rev. 15:8)
Just prior to the pouring out of the seven bowls of the wrath of God, the prepared Tribulation Saints, including "the dead in Christ," or the Household are "caught up" to be with the Bridegroom and His Bride. This is pictured in Revelation 14:14-16 by "one like the Son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand." With this sharp sickle He reaps the "harvest of the earth", gathering the ripened grain into the "barn" of His heavenly kingdom, for, "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." (Matt. 13:30, 43) These individuals are seen in Revelation 15:2-4 after their gathering to the Lord, singing "the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.. ..." The "song of Moses" was sung by the Israelites after they had been completely delivered out of Egypt and from all the power and attacks of Pharaoh. Again, Egypt symbolizes the world under Satan's jurisdiction, and Pharaoh is a type of Satan.
Immediately following the reaping or gathering of the tribulation saints, Revelation 14:17-19 refers to an angel with another sharp sickle with the command to "gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe." The sickle is thrust in to gather the fruit of the vine of earth and to cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The experience of this "wrath of God" is the result of the seven "plagues" or "bowls full of the wrath of God" being poured out upon the earth (Rev. 15:1, 7; 16:1). Not until the contents of the bowls of wrath have had their initial fulfillment do those who have been joined to the Lord enter into the temple in heaven where the full measure the atonement price paid by the Lord Jesus will be realized. This is why the temple is seen not being opened in heaven before these things are ready to be fulfilled (Rev. 11:19, 15:5, 8). Those who have been "called and chosen and faithful" shall enter into their full liberty in Christ, being made ready to assist in His governmental administration. Again, if the precise timing of the outworking of the Hebrew Festival pattern remains consistent, then on the tenth day of Tishrei, the Great Day of Atonement, and just nine days after the Feast of the Blowing of Trumpets in the year the Harvest-fruits are reaped, will occur the most awesome and solemn moments of the Lord's "atoning" work of the ages, in both the heavenlies and on earth.
As the heavenly company is in the process of preparation for entrance into the temple, the world is in the process of its final phase of judgment.
There are seven bowls of wrath, even as there are seven trumpets. The trumpets announce the beginning of judgments during the overall end-of-the-age period. The trumpet judgments are initiated to bring warning. They are intended to serve as indicators of the times for those who have ears to hear, and eyes to see so that hearts would be turned to God. They are carefully designed to be remedial in nature. The bowls of wrath, however, consummate this judgment period and bring the fullness of the wrath of God upon an earth people in persistently stubborn rebellion toward the loving Father. Each of the bowls of wrath is very closely related to the respective trumpet of the same number designation. In fact, the seven bowls are a consummating extension of the seven trumpets and actually carry out the final force of their blowing. Therefore, there is a correspondence in symbolism between each. The bowls of wrath are not super-natural outpourings from the hand of God, but are the result of that which man has set into motion. They are the consequence of man's wanton disobedience returning upon his own head. All the bowls are implemented in and through the actions of men. It will simply be the overruling providence of God which will cause the final judgments of wrath to be directed in the places and in the manner and at the time that he shall deem fitting (Gal. 6:7-8). A brief comment correlating each of the trumpets and the bowls will assist in understanding the unprecedented intensity within this period of time.
The First Bowl (Rev. 16:1-2)
The First Trumpet unleashed the firepower of the atom and indicated how this firepower would be used to bring severe judgment on the earth. It is the culminating fury of this destruction by nuclear weaponry that is unleashed by the First Bowl. And it is the various effects of this destructive power upon the inhabitants of the earth that is the primary theme of the entire seven bowls.
As the first angel pours his bowl of wrath upon the earth, it causes "a loathsome and malignant sore upon those men who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshipped his image." This language is descriptive of the physical effect of massive atomic radiation. Huge quantities of atomic weaponry will be used by the nations during the final battle of the ages. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard under the impact of these immense explosions (Isa. 24:20). In this manner will it be fulfilled that tile Lord will allow the destruction of "those who destroy (or those who thoroughly pollute) the earth." (Rev. 11:18) All who are not under the full protection of God at this time will be affected, some measure, by this holocaust.
The Second Bowl (Rev. 16:3)
The second angel pours his bowl of wrath into the sea. The Second Trumpet indicates that a great mountain is seen falling into the sea. Water is a symbol for peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues (Rev. 17:15). Therefore, the sea, in both cases mentioned, is a type of peoples in agitation and revolution.
The Second Trumpet identifies America in this regard because it has sinned against such great "light" and opportunity. America is pinpointed as the primary recipient, because of its position in world leadership, but the strife, which will develop from within the land will cause repercussions around the world. Many nations will suffer the impacts of revolution within. Chaos through revolution will continue to the end, although it will be stayed for a time by the imposition of the power of dictatorial governments. These shall arise and shall bring many nations into subjection to the "beast" powers. Then soon after the final conflict (World War III) begins, internal revolution will flare up with renewed force, until many nations become shambles of chaos and confusion. Especially at the last, many shall die, because of the attempt to restore order by those in authority who will be ruthless beyond imagination. This will be the fulfillment of the Second Bowl as the "sea" becomes "blood like that of a dead man and every living thing in the sea died." In other words, those who continue in the "sea" of revolt will be subject to immediate execution. Such drastic measures will be absolutely necessary for governments and nations to even be able to continue their existence.
The Third Bowl (Rev. 16:4-7)
The Third Trumpet pictures the star, which was called "Wormwood" affecting the rivers and fountains of waters. This symbolized the infection of the educated classes and leaders with the false and demon-born ideology of communism, and then the eventual flow of the communist fallacy to the common people through these infected leaders. It is the picture of springs and rivers of waters eventually flowing into the larger bodies of water and the seas.
The third angel pours out his bowl of wrath on the "rivers and springs of waters, and they became blood." The judgment of the Third Bowl falls upon the same leaders who have been responsible for perpetrating the communist fraud. These waters becoming blood shows that, throughout the world, those who have led others into deception and ultimate destruction through the communist conspiracy shall themselves be destroyed. Since they have been guilty of trying to destroy the influence of Christianity, shedding the blood of saints and prophets, they shall be forced to drink of the same, seeing their cause destroyed and their lives extinguished. And so it is recorded, "Yes, 0 Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments. This judgment will come at a time when it is finally apparent that the communist cause is lost and when wholesale destruction from atomic weaponry is taking place.
The Fourth Bowl (Rev. 16:8-9)
The Fourth Trumpet shows the sun, moon and stars being darkened in a fulfillment which is to take place on the continent of Europe as the sun, or Christianity in its traditional forms as supported by the State, is to be completely disrupted. This is the preliminary judgment upon the apostasies of Church-State Christianity.
The fourth angel pours out his bowl of wrath on the same "sun" that was darkened under the Fourth Trumpet. This time, though, the outcome is the scorching of men with fire. This is what is to befall the inhabitants of Europe, for there will be great destruction on that continent as the fire from atomic explosions devastates many areas. The result is that many will blaspheme "the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory." Those who have not repented during the judgments of the tribulation period, remain unrelenting in their obstinacy during the bowls period and to the end.
The Fifth Bowl (Rev. 16:10-11)
The Fifth Trumpet brings about the release of swarms of rebellious spirit beings from their confinement in "the pit" or "unseen" realm. Under Satanic leadership, a major part of the activity of these spirits is to so influence the minds of certain men in high places that they will precipitate the world into titanic conflict. These men are primarily those who are behind the communist conspiracy to enslave the world under an atheistic dictatorship.
The fifth angel pours out his bowl of wrath upon the throne of the beast and brings retribution to the beast and to his kingdom. Especially shall those who have held out in stubborn support of the beast system of communism and its image in world socialist government be the object of wrath. The Lord will providently cause certain events to turn against the communist purveyors of the anti-God society just when it appears it will succeed in a total victory.
Rather soon after the "Great Tribulation" takes hold on the world, many will realize the deceitful, seductive tactics of governments of the beast and its image, and a split will develop between the "east" and "west" which will lead to inevitable conflict. All-out war will be the result. Near the end of the Tribulation, the tide of the struggle will ultimately be turned against the beast nations and they will be caught in a web of their own making. It is recorded that the kingdom of the beast "became darken; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain...." As an outgrowth of the bitter hatred and resentment, which will arise in the hearts of those who have been completely sold out to their depraved ways, "they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds."
The Sixth Bowl (Rev. 16:12-16)
The Sixth Trumpet announces the release of the four angels, which were bound in the river Euphrates, and the going forth of the armies of the anti-God conspiracies which eventually follows. The going forth of armies from the lands of the east is symbolically pictured in the Scripture by the over flow of the banks of the Euphrates river (Isa. 8:6-8).
But when the sixth angel pours out his bowl of wrath upon the same great river, the Euphrates, its waters are dried up. This indicates a further aspect of judgment upon the beast and the darkening of his kingdom. The drying up of the Euphrates must be symbolic of the dissipation of armed forces.
At this point in the description, the dread forces, which gather "the kings of the whole world" to Har-Magedon, are brought into focus. They are as "three unclean spirits like frogs" coming out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 13). Frogs are creatures of the water, which are perpetually croaking in the darkness of night. The water speaks of things of the soul and, therefore, those things which lurk deep within the desire-nature of reprobate man. The croaking indicates the speaking of lying propaganda, which is the product of man1s darkness apart from the light of divine truth. All of this is the result of unclean spirits working to subvert man into ways of exploitation, lust for power, and eventual bloodshed.
There are three ideologies, closely related, yet with separate emphases and identified with different power blocks that have been leading the nations to certain and final conflict. This gathering of the nations has been going on for many years, ever since the implementation of the ideologies mentioned began in earnest. That which comes out of the mouth of the dragon is Fascism; that which comes out of the mouth of the beast is Communism; and that which comes out of the mouth of the false prophet is Socialism. They are all systems, which emphasize the "deifying" of the powers of autocratic rule. They recognize no rights of the individual as divinely given by God. They breed moral degeneracy and spiritual insipidness. They lead to inevitable conflict and chaos. Unconformed to the plan of God, they cannot last, and they will either collapse under their own perverted weight amidst much bloodshed, or they will end in agonizing conflict with each other. "They are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the Day of the great God the Almighty.
Having seen the power of the beast dissipate, symbolized by the drying up of the waters of the Euphrates as a result of the Sixth Bowl, there yet remains in this prophetic picture, the Seventh Bowl. This is the last agonizing event of the atomic holocaust, which continues to rage into and throughout the seven bowls of wrath. "Har-Magedon" referring to the final conflict of the ages (World War III), during both the latter half of the tribulation and the final bowls of wrath, will then be over. The city of Megiddo, to which the expression "Har-Magedon" refers, was situated on the edge of a great and strategic plain, north of Jerusalem, where many great and decisive battles were fought in ancient times. Although, initially, much of the martial-activity will center in the Middle-East, the gathering of the nations to "Har-Magedon" is also symbolic of the entire "east-block" conflict against the worldwide "Jerusalem" of modern Christendom, the "west. " All nations will be affected by the titanic warfare of nuclear World War III (Matt. 24:21)
The Seventh Bowl (Rev. 16:17-21)
The Seventh Trumpet announces the "coming" of the Lord to take to Himself those who have so prepared themselves before and during the period of great tribulation. Those prepared during the tribulation can join the "dead in Christ" company and become the ones who come Out of the great tribulation having "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev. 7:14).
When the Seventh Angel pours out his bowl of wrath into the air, a loud voice is heard from the temple in heaven saying, "It is done." It is the personal, visible return of the Lord that causes the final bowl of wrath to be poured out. He comes to "tread the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty." (Rev. 19:15) He comes to "be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." (2 Thess. 1:7-8). Some of the fire of atomic destruction will still be raging as He returns to put an end to man's insanity, lest all life would be destroyed (Matt. 24:22).
Acceptance of Jesus as Preserver, which includes the application of His atoning blood for initial cleansing, and then as Lord initiates the process of regeneration. But the atoning blood of Christ does not of itself alone wash away the carnal nature. The blood is intended to cleanse away the stain of committed sin on the soul and purge the conscience (mind and soul) to make way for the "new" mind which is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit (Heb. 9:22, 14; Ro. 12:2; Eph. 4:20-24; Gal. 5:25). It is through cooperation with the Holy Spirit that each individual has the opportunity for causing the carnal nature to be judged, sentenced and permanently put down, as in death, for it is contrary to life in the Spirit. The Christian is not to be just continually forgiven, but is to be living completely without sin (Ro 6:11; 8:2; Gal. 5:24; Ro 8:28-30).
However, in the Father's eyes, the child is "perfect" in His sight, if that one is seeking to "know" and "love" the Father with the whole heart, soul, mind and strength to the extent of his true ability and understanding, even though the child may have weaknesses and still make many mistakes and need much help and correction. If he is doing all the things he should be doing to gain more understanding and draw progressively closer to the Father he is "perfect" in the sight of his Father (John 14:21). This does require the overcoming of sin during periods of testing, and that is possible only while living within the plan of our Lord and relying on Christ's strength within (Heb. 4:15-16; 5:7-9; 7:25). It is in this manner that the righteous requirements of the law will be filled up (Heb. 8:7-10, 10:16-17).
Based on his understanding of the Lord's law, each individual is to "judge with righteous judgment" to conform himself to the Lord's will; lest he be judged." It must be recognized, however, that true righteousness in any individual is that righteousness which Jesus Christ designed and presented and which is developed through the teaching of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 1:26-31; John 14:26; 16:7-15).
"Therefore, leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not again laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God; of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. Heb. 6:1-2).