COME YE UNTO THE GREAT FEAST – PASSOVER - Part One
COME YE UNTO THE GREAT FEAST – PASSOVER - Part One
Have you “received” your invitation to attend the greatest Wedding feast of all time? Will you be counted among those chosen by the Bridegroom? Who is the Bridegroom anyway? And who is the Bride? Don’t forget to R.S.V.P.!
The Apostle Paul wrote that the seven special Sabbath “Feasts” of the Lord, which the Lord established Himself among Israel, were a symbol or “type” of things to come to teach us about our salvation by Jesus, our Savior.[i] Seven is a holy number of completion and fullness. Yeshua, which is Jesus’ name in Hebrew, means “salvation”.
The first four of these feasts, or “Holy” days, are 1st - Passover[ii], 2nd- Unleavened Bread[iii], 3rd - First Fruits[iv], and 4th - Festival of Weeks[v] or Shavuot - also known as Pentecost[vi] in Greek. These four primarily teach about the first coming of Messiah and His redemption of man. The last three feasts or Sabbaths, are 5th - the Feast of Trumpets[vii], also known as Rosh Hashanah, 6th - the Day of Atonement[viii] or Yom Kippur, and 7th - the Feast of Tabernacles[ix], or Sukkot. These last three are given to draw our minds toward, and teach us about, Messiah’s Second Coming.
God’s Purpose in Giving Us the Feasts
There are two good reasons for studying about the feasts and learning from His purpose in gifting us the Feasts. Although most of us love God and seek to serve Him, most of us do not have an in-depth understanding of His scriptures and the resulting depth of personal relationship He chooses that we have with Him. That deeper relationship is brought out by a better understanding of the Feasts of the Lord which culminate finally, we hope, in actually attending His Wedding Feast, not just as guests, but more importantly, as His “bride”. Listen today, with an open heart, to see if you can discover, that deep personal intimate relationship that the Lord desires you have with Him and why the Sacrament is an even deeper symbolism of that relationship. In Hebrew it is "Ya'ad - an appointment with our Bridegroom and Divine Lord!!
Edward Chumney has shared the following points of why The Lord’s “Festivals”, or “Holy” days, are important to us:
“1. The feasts are a shadow of things to come that teach us about Messiah. (Colossians 2:16-17, Hebrews 10:1).
2. The feasts are prophetic types of events in God’s Plan of Redemption. (1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 11)
3. God gave the feasts so we can learn of His redemption and our personal relationship with Him. (Romans 15:4)
4. The feasts are part of the schoolmaster given to Moses for Israel, after most of the children of Israel rejected the higher understanding that will lead us to Messiah and what He has done for us. (Galatians 3:24) (Ed. Note: The schoolmaster is not for those who have actually ascended the Mount of the Lord and “Re-Ceived” His Rest. It is for those who are children of Zion.[x])
5. The feasts point to Messiah in All things. (Psalm 40:6-8, Heb 10:7) All things are given to testify of Him. (Moses 6:63)
Jesus came to fulfill all that was written of Him in the Old Testament; which consists of the Torah, the Prophets and other writings such as Proverbs and Psalms concerning Him. (Luke 24:26-27,44-45; John 5:46-47)
6. The feasts set forth the pattern of heavenly things on earth (Hebrews 8:1-2,5; 9:8-9, 23 Exodus 25:8-9, 40; 26:30; Numbers 8:4; Ezekiel 43:1-6, 10-12)
7. God gives the natural to explain the spiritual; such as He did with His parables. (1 Corinthians 15:46-47) But, of course, the natural man cannot understand spiritual things, and only those who are willing to receive spiritual eyes can see. By studying the natural symbols God has given, we can better understand the Spiritual meaning.” [xi]
What does “Feast” mean?
The meaning of “Feast” in Hebrew is “a fixed appointment for assembly”, to be done as a cycle or yearly event.[xii] He is telling us that He set certain fixed times to fulfill certain events in His redemption of man. As you will learn by the Feasts, He has fulfilled exactly on the appointed days, His redemptive acts, and sometime in the appointed future He will come again according to appointment and take those who are ready into His great Wedding feast.
Although God gave the feasts to cause us to remember Him, He did not give the feasts so we would think we could earn or obtain salvation by going through the motions of observing those feasts. Salvation does not come from the things “we” do, but from the things He does. They are given to point us to Him, and away from Self.
“Not only did God appoint a time, but He also appointed a place to observe, which is significant. Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles were to be observed in Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:4). Jesus wrought out His atonement for us in Jerusalem; He was crucified, was buried, and rose from the dead in Jerusalem.”[xiii] Also, the Endowment of Power from on High by the Holy Spirit[xiv] took place exactly 50 days later in Jerusalem on that very Day of Pentecost. Moreover, Christ will return and set His foot on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem[xv], most likely, on the Day of Atonement shortly after the Day of the Trumpets, sounding in our ears in an unmistakable way, and then we will observe a millennial feast with the Lord Himself, which is what the 7th Feast of Tabernacles (or Temples) is all about.
God established His calendar by starting His new year with the month of Nisan[xvi] (or Aviv/Abib), which is in the Roman month March/April, denoting Spring or New Life. Specifically the day of Spring Equinox is the first day of the year. God’s calendar is spiritual in nature, and the Julian/Roman calendar is civil or physical in nature. Every one of us has a civil or physical birth day, and all of us should look forward to that “spiritual-birth” day when we choose to be born again into spiritual Life.
There are three major feasts or festival seasons. The first three feasts occur in the first month of the Hebrew year, called Nisan, which begins on Spring Equinox (usually March 20). They take place during a seven day period and are: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. Then on the Third Hebrew month of Sivan[xvii], which is the Roman month May/June, is Pentecost, meaning 50 days. Pente-cost in Greek literally denotes 50.
The last three “Feasts” are observed in the month of Tishrei or the Julian September/October starting with Autumn Equinox. Three seasons! Three is the number denoting God, the number of perfect testimony and three witnesses for a perfect, complete witness and testament. The Spirit testifies of the Father and the Son, and they all testify of each other. The feasts are a perfect witness of God’s divine plan and the role of Messiah in fulfilling that plan. “These are the festivals of the Lord. The Lord Himself is the Host of these festivals and all those who believe in Him are His Guests.”[xviii]
The spring festivals teach about the first coming of Messiah. This denotes New Life in Christ. And the Fall Festivals teach about His 2nd coming during the time of Harvest. Will his “second coming” be a time of Harvest?
The Highly Symbolic Nature of the Spring Feasts
The Passover appointment is always given to be on the 14th day of Nisan and begins at 6 PM on that day. The Feast of Unleavened Bread continues for seven days starting on the day after Passover[xix]. The Feast of First Fruits[xx], sometimes called Barley Harvest, is observed during the week of Unleavened Bread, and is appointed as a special Sabbath to occur on the day after the regular weekly Sabbath during the week of Unleavened Bread. Anciently, on this day, sheaves of barley were waved before the Lord in a prescribed way. Paul said that Jesus was the first fruits of them that slept[xxi], and He arose from his sleep of death on that Sunday morning on the exact day of First Fruits. Then from the day of First Fruits you count 50 days to get to Pentecost meaning 50 days. The Hebrew word for this feast is Shavuot meaning Feast of Seven Weeks. This feast occurring on Pentecost, day 50, is the culmination or completion (or perhaps the pinnacle ordainance) of the Passover.[xxii]
Passover begins in Egypt, a “type” of “the world we live in today”, where Israel had become slaves to the “worldly masters”. When Israel cried out in their sufferings (we usually don’t cry out in our prosperity), then God called forth a “type” of deliverer named Moses. God told Moses that He, God, would bring the children of Israel out of Egypt (the World) to the Promised Land (Zion). When God sent Moses to Pharaoh, God did not tell Moses to ask Pharaoh to allow the children of Israel to leave Egypt and go to the Promised Land. Instead, God instructed Moses to ask Pharaoh to allow the children of Israel to take a three-day journey into the wilderness to make a sacrifice to God. Moses stated that exactly to Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s first defiance of the Almighty was his refusal to allow the people of God to observe a feast ((appointment with the Lord), and sacrifice to Him.
Incidentally, the word “sacrifice” in Hebrew, (as left over from the Pure Adamic language) means personal intimate relationship.[xxiii] We don’t understand “sacrifice” today, because we think it means “doing a ritual” or giving of something we want or would rather not give up to someone else. Consider the possible meaning of “Sacrifice” as: giving our Self to someone else completely in a personal intimate relationship; as the Bride gives herself to the Bridegroom.
Pharoah’s Pride is His Destruction
Because of Pharaoh’s vanity in thinking that he should be the God of those slaves under him, plagues were poured out upon Egypt, and “the World”. The last plague was the Passover of the Destroying Angel on the 14th night of Nisan, who passed over those who had symbolically marked their doors with the Blood of the Passover Lamb. Those who did not choose the Passover Lamb, and His redeeming Blood, suffered a most horrible death. The children of Israel were instructed to leave Egypt at midnight on the 14th day of Nisan in haste. They did not even have time to wait for their bread to raise because of the leaven they normally put in the bread, but made unleavened dough to take in their haste so they would have a little bit to eat on the journey into the wilderness to find their God who desired to talk with them face to face[xxiv].
The children of Israel came to the banks of the Red Sea, possibly on the 17th day of Nisan, which is three days after the day they left Egypt. When Pharaoh saw the children of Israel trapped against the Sea, in his anger and pride, he foolishly decided to pursue them with his army. The children of Israel feared greatly, as we always do when we see our predicament of not always being able to provide for our own safety and deliverance. But Moses said: “Stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord. Yeshua in Hebrew means “Salvation” or “Savior”. Jesus is the Salvation of the Lord that Moses was talking about. Exodus 15 states that the “Right Hand of the Lord” destroyed the Egyptians. The “Right Hand” in scripture refers to Messiah or Yeshua.[xxv]
It is important to note that God at no time ever violated His love for all of His children in what was done. Pharaoh caused the death, by drowning, of himself and his army by his own pride. The children of Israel went down to Egypt voluntarily and gave themselves voluntarily to rulership under Pharaoh so that they could have some food. They chose their “status” under Pharaoh. Because of this, Pharaoh had “legal” ownership over the people of Israel. This ownership could be broken only by the death of Pharaoh, thus freeing the children of Israel to go to the Promised Land of Zion. God only asked Pharaoh to let his people go for 3 days to the wilderness to talk with Him. When Pharaoh was destroyed of his own accord, his rulership over the children of Israel was legally broken and the people were free to go to Zion (The Promised Land). For this reason, the Passover is sometimes referred to as “the Feast of Our Freedom”.
Our Bondage and Deliverance
Until we children of Israel understand who our Deliverer is, we will remain in the condition of slavery we have placed ourselves in this world of Egypt. We, too, have chosen our “Status”. Isaiah said, the children of Israel in the last days will sell themselves into bondage for nothing, but they will be redeemed without money.[xxvi] And I might add, it will be without violating our agency and without violating the agency of those under whom we are in bondage. God fairly and lovingly delivered Alma’s people out of bondage to show them “who” their deliverer is. One-half of all they produced was owed and payable to the Lamanite King, under whom they had voluntarily placed themselves.[xxvii] Our bondage is also both physical and spiritual. Generally, we end up owing one half of all we produce to the civil “king”. Our only deliverance today is through that One who can heal us from our spiritual bondage in Self, and release us from our self-created civil bondage.
A certain spiritual analogy or parallel can easily be made concerning our bondage under the Natural Man today in this world. The point is that the Atonement or purchasing power of Yeshua releases the legal ownership that The Natural Man has over us and we are made free by, and only by, His Blood, thereby to walk into the Promised Land and receive all His precious promises. His atoning purchase of our souls occurred on that third day after Passover as He rose from death and Hell. And He Himself ascended to God His Father to see Him once again face to face where He was embraced by the Father, back into His Loving Presence. Speaking of this purchase of our souls, referred to by Paul the Apostle in several scriptures, the Hebrew word “peculiar” is defined as a purchase of something extremely valuable (such as a Bride). The Lord has often referred to Israel as a “peculiar” people[xxviii], meaning his most valuable purchase --- His Bride, whom He has purchased with His Blood.
Is There a Red Sea Blocking our Way?
The Red Sea is nothing for those who “Re-Ceive” the Passover Lamb and really trust in Him. If we happen to be Self-ish egotists - like Pharoah – then there is a lot to fear. The Lord Jesus has cleared the path for us through the valley of death or the drowning in the depths of the Sea of this world. We must someday choose to let go of our fear and come over to the other side of things, which will require trust in Him and a sure knowledge that He has already overcome “all” things that stand in our way. He is our Deliverer. He is not our destroyer. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should have Eternal Life. He sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the World through Him might be Saved”[xxix] This is for all those who choose to Believe and trust in His Re-deeming, Delivering power, and who deny not His Power to do so.
So you see that all of these Feasts or Festivals point to Christ, teach of Christ, testify of Christ, prophesy of Christ, and bring us to Christ so that our children may know to what source they must look for their salvation and deliverance.[xxx]
The author is greatly indebted to the Hebrew research and writings of Edward Chumney, “The Seven Festivals of the Messiah”, in bringing forward much of the understanding of the great symbolism of the Lord’s Feasts in our own latter-day lives, and this author has both summarized and paraphrased, and also adapted Chumney’s work for a Latter day Saint readership. The intent is to bring us all to a more complete understanding and receipt of the Lord’s New Covenant (D&C 84:48,57) A further study of Chumney’s Seven Festivals of the Messiah and also the Hebrew language is highly recommended for those who choose to immerse themselves in that New Covenant of Love.
See also “Newton's Date For The Crucifixion” by John P. Pratt Reprinted from Quarterly Journal of Royal Astronomical Society 32, (Sept. 1991), 301-304.
The author has intentionally misspelled the words “Re-Ceive” and “Ordainance” and “Faith-Full” and “At-One-ment” to draw attention to the true powerful meaning of those words. Conscious attention to the meaning of words in scripture and in our language is revelatory.
In Parts 2 and 3 of this discussion, we will go further into the most important Feast (Anointing Ordainance) of all, that of Pentecost (Shauvot), and also the Fall Feasts, denoting the approaching Second Coming of the Bridegroom and the Redemptive Wedding Feast that will take place.
[i] Colossians 2:16-17, 1 Corinthians 5:7 [ii] Exodus 12:17-24 [iii] Exodus 23:15, Leviticus. 23: 6, Exodus 34:18 [iv] 1 Corinthians 15: 20,23; Lev. 23: 9-14; Numbers 28: 26 [v] Exodus 34: 23 [vi] Acts 2: 1; D&C 109:36 [vii] Lev. 23:23-24; Psalms 81:3; Numbers 10: 10 [viii] Leviticus 23: 27-28; Lev. 25: 9 [ix] Leviticus 23:34; Deuteronomy 16:13,16; Zechariah 14:16-19 [x] D&C 84:55-57 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all – until they remember the New Covenant. [xi]The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, Edward Chumney, pg. 3-4 [xii] Chumney, pg. 4 [xiii] Chumney pg. 5 [xiv] Doctrine & Covenants 105:11; Acts 2:1-11 [xv] Zech. 14:4 [xvi] Esther 3:7 [xvii] Esther 8:9 [xviii] Chumney, pg 7; Leviticus 23:2 [xix] Exodus 23:15, Leviticus. 23: 6, Exodus 34:18 [xx] Leviticus 23:9-14; Numbers 28:26 [xxi] 1 Corinthians 15:20 [xxii] Leviticus 23:15-23 [xxiii] Building Blocks of the Soul, Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson [xxiv] Exodus 12:15-39; Ex. 13:7; D&C 84:23-27 [xxv] Psalm 118:15-16; Exodus 15:16 [xxvi] Isaiah 52:3 [xxvii] Mosiah 23:23-24; Mosiah 24:10-15; Alma 38:5,14 [xxviii] 1 Peter 2:9; Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 14:2 [xxix] John 3:16-17 [xxx] 2 Nephi 25: 26-29