The Feast of Passover begins tomorrow, April 22nd (Nisan 14), and is followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread on April 23rd (Nisan 15), and the Feast of FirstFruits on April 24 (Nisan 16). The origin of these feasts were prophesied by the Almighty in Leviticus 23, and were prophetic foreshadows of Yeshua’s (Jesus) First Coming events. As God commanded in Leviticus 23:6-8, the Feast of Unleavened Bread continues as a seven day feast from Nisan 15-22 (April 23-30). As we will discover, although these feasts were established during the Exodus from Egypt, Yeshua fulfilled the feasts to the exact day, hour, and details of the ceremony at His First Coming! Below is a chart of the seven feasts of Leviticus 23. Messiah fulfilled the first four feasts at His First Coming and He will fulfill the three fall feasts of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles at His Second Coming events!
According to the prophecy of Leviticus 23 and all four of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark , Luke, and John), Yeshua’s crucifixion occurred on Nisan 14 (April 22), His burial on Nisan 15 (April 23), and His resurrection on Nisan 16 (April 24). Please note, the Hebrew dates for these events do not change, however, the Gregorian (Roman/modern western calendar) dates will fluctuate from year to year. Also, the Hebrew (Jewish) day begins at sundown and lasts until the following sundown.
Luke begins the timeline of Messiah’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection by introducing the Passover weekend.
Luke 22:1, “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.”
Now, let us journey through the Gospels during the events that occurred on this prophetic weekend:
Nisan 14-The Feast of Passover (Sundown on Thursday to Sundown on Friday)
Nisan 14-Passover-Thursday Evening
Messiah sent His disciples to prepare the Passover meal (Last Supper) (Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:7-13)
Messiah washes the disciples feet (John 13:1-20)
Messiah has the Last Supper, offering His body and His blood through the New Covenant (Matthew 26:20-30, Mark 14:17-26, Luke 22:14-30, John 13:21-30)
Messiah predicts Peter’s denial of Him (Matthew 26:31-35, Mark 14:27-31, Luke 22:31-34, John 13:31-38)
Messiah agonizes in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46)
Messiah’s three prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane; For Himself (John 17:1-5), for His Disciples (John 17:6-19) , and all believers (John 17:20-26)
Messiah is betrayed and arrested (Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-11)
Annas, the Father in Law of Caiaphas questions Messiah (John 18:12:24)
Caiaphas the High Priest questions Messiah (Matthew 26:57-67, Mark 14:53-65)
Peter denies knowing Messiah three times as prophesied (Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-65, John 18:25-27)
Nisan 14-Passover-Friday Morning
The “religious leaders” condemn Messiah (Matthew 27:1-2, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 22:66-71)
Judas Iscariot hangs himself (Matthew 27:3-10)
Messiah stands trial before Pilate (Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:1-5, John 18:28-37)
Messiah stands before Herod (Luke 23:6-12)
Nisan 14-Passover-Friday Afternoon
Pilate hands over Messiah to be crucified (Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:38-40, John 19:1-16)
Roman soldiers mock Messiah (Matthew 27:27-31, Mark 15:16-20)
Messiah is led away to be crucified (Matthew 27:32-34, Mark 15:21-24, Luke 23:26-31, John 19:17-27)
Messiah is placed on the cross (Matthew 27:35-44, Mark 15:25-32, Luke 23:32-43)
Messiah dies on the cross (Matthew 27:45-56, Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-37) (dies on the ninth hour-3pm evening sacrifice)
Nisan 15-The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Sundown on Friday to Sundown on Saturday)
Unleavened Bread-Nisan 15
Messiah is laid in the tomb (buried) (Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42)
Nisan 16-The Feast of First Fruits (Sundown on Saturday to Sundown on Sunday)
First Fruits-Nisan 16
Messiah rises from the dead and becomes the FirstFruits (Matthew 28:1-7, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-10)
Messiah’s First Coming events occurred on God’s prophetic timeline and on His appointed feasts in Leviticus 23. As we continue, we will explore and discover the prophetic foreshadows of each feast and also Messiah’s fulfillment of the divine appointments that occurred on the exact day, hour, and details of the ceremony!
In Genesis, God established His divine calendar for signs and seasons.
Genesis 1:14, “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.”
The Lord established His calendar for mankind (you and me) based on the sun and the moon in order for us to understand His signs and seasons. The Hebrew word for seasons is “Mo’ed” (Strong’s #4150), which means an “appointed feast, an appointed festival, or an appointed time.” God created His calendar for specific divine appointments (seasons) with mankind! In Exodus, He commanded the children of Israel as to when the first month would occur on His calendar.
Exodus 12:1-2,” Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”
God’s calendar is referred to as the Hebrew (Jewish) calendar, and the first month of the religious year is Nisan. Today, most of the world uses the Julius/Gregorian calendar (Roman), however, as we will confirm, it is not the calendar that God uses.
The Origin of Passover
In the Torah, God commanded the children of Israel to keep seven feasts that would coincide with His calendar; Passover, Unleavened Bread, FirstFruits, Shavuot, Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles. The children of Israel were commanded to proclaim and celebrate these feasts every year.
Leviticus 23:1-2, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”
The Lord told Moses to tell the children of Israel about His feasts. It is very important to understand that these are not Israel’s feasts, and not the Jew’s feasts, but God’s feasts. So, if you are saved in Jesus, Jew or Gentile, then these feasts are for you to proclaim and celebrate every year as well (Galatians 3:29)! As we discovered, the word Mo’ed means feasts or divine appointments (Strong’s #4150). Now, let us define “holy convocations” from the original Hebrew language.
The Hebrew word for “holy convocations” is Miqra, which means “rehearsal” (Strong’s Dictionary, H-4744).
When we substitute the words of the original Hebrew meaning into Leviticus 23:1-2, it reads like this (I am paraphrasing to common English):
Leviticus 23:1-2, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “The divine appointments of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be rehearsals, these are My divine appointments.“
God is clearly telling us that His divine appointments with mankind, Messiah’s First and Second Coming events, will occur on His seven feast days. Messiah also confirmed that He would fulfill these feasts as well.
Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law (Torah) till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Messiah plainly stated that He is going to fulfill ALL of the law (Torah) and the prophets. Yeshua (Jesus) was the Word made flesh (John 1), who embodied and followed the Law of God (Torah) perfectly. Thus, He did not destroy or abolish the Torah, but rather He fulfilled it to perfection. Messiah also fulfilled many prophecies of the Torah and the prophets at His First Coming, and He will fulfill all of the remaining prophecies at His Second Coming.
Messiah also gives us a strong warning for not obeying His laws and commandments as well. He states that “whoever breaks the commandments and teaches men to do so, that person will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” However, He also states that “whoever keeps His commandments and teaches men to do so, that person will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” This includes proclaiming and celebrating the Lord’s seven feasts (Leviticus 23)!
To understand the connection between the commanded Feast Days of the Lord and Messiah, let us explore the prophetic foreshadows of the four spring feasts, and how Messiah fulfilled them at His First Coming!
The Feast of Passover (Nisan 14)
Leviticus 23:5, “On the fourteenth day of the first month (Nisan 14) at evening is the Lord’s Passover.”
According to the Hebrew calendar, this day is Nisan 14, which is usually in April (April 22, 2016) on the Gregorian calendar. The children of Israel have “rehearsed” Passover since the first Passover in Egypt, approximately 1,500 years before Messiah was born. Let us remember, the children of Israel were captives in Egypt for 400 years. At the end of the Egyptian captivity, God sent ten plagues upon Pharaoh and the Egyptian people (Exodus 7-12). God’s tenth plague set the children of Israel free from Egyptian captivity.
Prophetic Foreshadow of Messiah’s Passover
Exodus 11:4-7, “Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”
Moses warned Pharaoh of God’s judgment on all of the Egyptian’s firstborn, including Pharaohs, if he did not release the children of Israel from captivity. In one of the most prophetic, fatal, and devastating events in the Holy Bible, Pharaoh denied Moses’ warning and did not release them.
Exodus 11:9-10, “But the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.”
As the Lord understands all of mankind’s decisions before they are made (Daniel 2:20-22), including Pharaohs, this event would become the inauguration of the first Passover! Before God executed His final plague on the Egyptians, God gave Moses and Aaron instructions for the the Lord’s Passover (rehearsal).
Exodus 12:1-14,” Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month (Nisan 10) every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month (Nisan 14). Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. It is the Lord’s Passover. ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.”
Just as God commanded, the first month of the Hebrew calendar is Nisan. The children of Israel were commanded to take an unblemished, first year, male lamb as the Passover lamb. The description of the lamb foreshadows Jesus, since He is the unblemished Lamb of the world! The children of Israel were commanded to put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, and also on the lintel of the houses in order for them to be excluded (Passover) from God’s wrath. This is a prophetic foreshadow of all believers who accept the blood of the cross, as the Lord will “passover” us in His day of judgment. Hallelujah!
God also commanded the children of Israel to keep Passover as a memorial (rehearsal), and they were to celebrate this feast “throughout their generations.” Why did God command them to keep Passover throughout the generations? He was training the children of Israel to rehearse Passover every year so they would understand Messiah’s First Coming events, His divine appointments (feasts). The Exodus Passover is what delivered God’s people from Egypt, however, it was also a “rehearsal” for a greater deliverance in the future!
Numbers 9:2-3, “Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month (Nisan 14), at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time (rehearsal). According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it.”
Messiah’s Fulfillment of Passover
During Messiah’s First Coming, He entered Jerusalem when the feast days were approaching. On Nisan 10, four days before Passover, the people were commanded to take a sacrificial lamb to Jerusalem according to the Torah.
Exodus 12:3, “On the tenth of this month (Nisan 10) every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.”
In Jesus’ day, all of the sheep were raised in Bethlehem, just as our Lamb of God was also born there (Micah 5:2).
On Nisan 10, the lambs were brought from Bethlehem into the northern gate to be sacrificed for Passover. At the same time, Messiah was entering through the eastern gate (Lions Gate) as the Passover Lamb of the world! Jesus and the lambs entered Jerusalem at the same time for Passover, as both would be sacrificed.
King David wrote the songs for Messiah’s seven feasts days known as the Hallel (Psalms 113-118). Also, Hosanna means save now (Strong’s #5614). As Jesus and the lambs were coming into Jerusalem, the people were singing the Hallel saying, ” save now, save now” (Hosanna)!
Psalm 118:24-26, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now (Hosanna), I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.”
The day before Passover on Nisan 14, the High Priests were commanded to inspect the lambs and make sure they did not have any blemishes.
Exodus 12:5, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year.”
As the High Priests were inspecting the lambs for blemishes, the Pharisees and Herodians were inspecting Jesus.
Mark 12:13, “Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words.”
However, they did not find any wrongdoing of Messiah, as He was without blemish.
Matthew 26:59-60, “Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none.”
Pilate found Him without blemish as well.
Luke 23:13-15, “Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.” (Also Luke 23:4)
During the Lord’s Seven Feasts, the children of Israel sang the Hallel, Psalms 113-118. After the Lord’s supper, and before Messiah was betrayed and crucified on Passover, the children of Israel were singing Psalm 118.
Psalm 118:21-23,27, “I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. God is the Lord, and He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.”
The children of Israel were singing Psalm 118 as a “rehearsal” for Passover and did not realize Messiah’s First Coming events (three Spring Feasts) were being fulfilled! This prophetic Psalm states, “this was the Lord’s doing,” clearly confirming that God preordained Messiah’s crucifixion. The soldiers were about to “bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar.”
On Nisan 14, the day of Passover, the High Priest’s “rehearsal” was to sacrifice the Lamb. The High Priests had been rehearsing this ceremony for 1,500 years, ever since the children of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. At the third hour (9am), which is the morning sacrifice, the High Priest would bind the lamb to the alter for Passover. At the exact hour as the High Priest was binding the lamb for sacrifice, the soldiers were also binding Messiah to the cross.
Mark 15:21-25, “Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. Now it was the third hour (9am), and they crucified Him.”
As they lifted Messiah’s body on the cross, the people were singing Psalms 118 in the Hallel.
Psalm 118:14-16, “The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
As we know, Messiah is the right hand of God Almighty (Mark 16:19, Luke 22:69). After Messiah was nailed and lifted up on the cross, more “rehearsals” were fulfilled.
Matthew 27:45-47, “Now from the sixth hour (12 noon) until the ninth hour (3pm, evening sacrifice) there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour (3pm evening sacrifice) Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
John 19:30, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”
As the High Priest was killing the lamb for Passover (the evening sacrifice-3pm), Messiah died on the cross for the sins of the world! (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:10). Furthermore, when Jesus said, “It is finished,” this is a direct reference to the High Priest, as he would say the exact words when he finished killing the Passover lamb.
God preordained when the first Passover would happen in Egypt and exactly when His only begotten son, Jesus, would fulfill the Feast of Passover. Messiah fulfilled Passover to the exact day, to the exact hour, and to the exact detail of the ceremony!
Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15)
Prophetic Foreshadow of Unleavened Bread
The day after Passover, Nisan 15, is the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Leviticus 23:6, “And on the fifteenth day of the same month (Nisan 15) is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.”
On the inaugural Feast of Unleavened Bread in Egypt, God commanded the children of Israel to remove all of the leavened bread from their houses.
Exodus 12:15, “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”
Leavened bread symbolizes sin. God wanted the children of Israel to remove sin from their houses and their lives. This was a prophetic foreshadow and rehearsal of Messiah’s First Coming, as He was without sin (unleavened).
Exodus 13:7-10, “Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters. And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘This is done because of what the Lord did for me when I came up from Egypt. It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.”
Messiah’s Fulfillment of Unleavened Bread
On Nisan 15, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus was laid (buried) in a tomb.
Mark 15:46, “Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.”
Messiah was unleavened, without sin, and He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (Also see Hebrews 4:14-16).
Approximately 1,500 years before Messiah’s fulfillment of Unleavened Bread, we discover a prophetic foreshadow of this feast. God “buried” His Son on Nisan 15, and the Egyptians buried their firstborn on this day as well.
Numbers 33:3-4, “They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month (Nisan 15); on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians. For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them.”
Just as the Egyptians buried their firstborn on the inaugural Feast of Unleavened Bread, God also “buried” Messiah on this feast (Nisan 15), therefore fulfilling the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the exact detail and the exact day!
The Feast of FirstFruits (Nisan 16)
Prophetic Foreshadow of FirstFruits
Two days after Passover, on Nisan 16, is the Feast of FirstFruits.
Leviticus 23:10-12, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord.”
God commanded the Feast of FirstFruits to be “rehearsed” the day after the Sabbath (Saturday), which is Sunday, Nisan 16. The children of Israel were commanded to bring a sheaf of the first fruits and give it to the High Priests. The High Priests would wave the sheaf to the Lord for acceptance. A sheaf represents a person or people (Strong’ s Dictionary #6016). Also, God commanded a “male lamb of the first year and without blemish” to be offered as a sacrifice when the priests waved the sheaf.
Messiah’s Fulfillment of FirstFruits
After Jesus was crucified on Nisan 14, and laid in the tomb on Nisan 15, He rose on Nisan 16, the Feast of FirstFruits!
Matthew 28:1,5-6, “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn (Sunday), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.”
According to God’s (Hebrew) calendar, the Sabbath (Saturday) is the last day of the week, and the first day of the week is Sunday. The Apostle Matthew states that Messiah was not in the tomb “at dawn,” because He had risen! So, at dawn on Sunday (Nisan 16), as the High Priests were waving their first fruits (sheaf) to the Lord, Messiah rose from the dead at the same time, becoming the FirstFruits of mankind! The first sheave that the High Priest would wave represents that the entire harvest would be fulfilled. This tells us that just as Messiah was the FirstFruit dedicated to God, we are His harvest, and therefore we will be resurrected as well!
Psalm 16:10, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol (Hell), nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
As the High Priest waved the sheaf to the Lord, he was also commanded to offer an unblemished male lamb of the first year. As we discovered, Messiah was the unblemished male lamb of the first year (FirstFruits), fulfilling this prophecy!
Acts 13:33-35, “God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’”
Jesus is the Beginning of the Creation of God, First Begotten Son, Firstborn of all creatures, Firstborn of Mankind, Firstborn of Mary, First Begotten of the Dead, and the FirstFruits of the Resurrection! Messiah is the Feast of FirstFruits!
Clearly and without question, the foundation of Passover (Nisan 14), Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15), and FirstFruits (Nisan 16) is directly from the Holy Bible. God Almighty commanded the children of Israel to proclaim and celebrate these feasts throughout the generations.
Are the seven feasts for the Gentiles to celebrate as well? Remember, God commanded that these were His feasts, not just Israel’s or the Jewish people’s feasts. Also, Messiah Himself stated that He came to fulfill the Torah and the prophets.
Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
So, if you are saved in Jesus the Messiah, and He fulfilled the Spring Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and FirstFruits, then clearly, these feasts are for all of mankind, Jew and Gentile, to celebrate and proclaim every year! Furthermore, God commands His believers to celebrate this holy and divine weekend on Nisan 14-16 (April 22-24, 2016).
Counting the Omer to Shavuot (Pentecost)
Leviticus 23:15-17, “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.”
As the Feast of FirstFruits concluded, the children of Israel were to count seven sabbaths (7 x 7=49), and on the 50th day, they were to celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost). On the first Shavuot, approximately 1,500 years before Messiah, the Torah was given to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19). God commanded them to “rehearse” Shavuot every year so that they would understand the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).
Shavuot is also called the Feast of Weeks because of the counting of the Omer. The counting of the Omer is an ancient unit of measure which was originally used by the children of Israel to measure barley (spring harvest) as an offering in the temple in Jerusalem. The counting of the Omer is important for us to understand, because it is a verbal counting of each of the forty-nine days (seven weeks) between Passover and Shavuot. Why did God command them to count the Omer?
The Omer is counted because God commanded it to be done in Leviticus 23:15-16. Also, for approximately 400 years, the children of Israel lived in Egypt, a pagan society (Exodus 12:40). They were not ready to receive God’s instructions (Torah). So, during the period between Passover and Shavuot, God was re-training them spiritually and mentally by giving them different instructions to follow in order to create obedience. Although they understood all of God’s miraculous events in Egypt (10 plagues, Red Sea miracle, manna in the desert, and water from rock, etc), God knew permanent change had to come to the children of Israel. This change only comes from adjusting one’s mindset towards God and His laws. The counting of the Omer is a journey from Passover to Shavuot. Passover is a symbol of our salvation through Messiah, and Shavuot completes the process with the remembrance of the pouring out of God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The 50 days are a time of reflection, thankfulness, growth, purification, and preparation.
Messiah’s Resurrection Appearances
After Messiah’s resurrection on the Feast of FirstFruits (Nisan 16), all of His appearances came during the counting of the Omer to Shavuot. On the first day of the Omer, the Apostle John tells us that Jesus appeared to Mary as she wept at the empty tomb (John 20:11, 14-16).
After Messiah’s appearance to Mary, she told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and He appeared to them, as well (John 20:18-19).
Messiah appeared to two believers traveling on the road (Luke 24:13-35)
As Jesus appeared to the disciples and met with them, they received the Holy Spirit from Him (John 20:22).
On the eighth day of the Omer, Messiah appeared to “doubting Thomas” and the disciples (John 20:24-28).
Messiah gives the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20)
During the counting of the Omer, Messiah was seen by more than 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6-7).
During the Omer, Jesus appeared to several of the disciples while they were fishing by the sea (John 21:1-3).
Messiah talks to Peter (John 21:15-25)
Messiah appears to the disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:44-49)
On the 40th day of the Omer, Messiah ascended to heaven (Acts 1:3-4,9)
Shavuot- The Holy Spirit was Poured Out
On Shavuot, exactly 50 days from the Feast of FirstFruits, the promised Holy Spirit was poured out among the people (Luke 24:46-49, Acts 2:1-13)
The Book of Acts tells us that 3,000 people were saved on Shavuot! (Acts 2:41)
In contrast, on the first Shavuot at Mount Sinai, a prophetic foreshadow, 3,000 people died at the giving of the Torah for worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32:27-28)
This prophetic foreshadow tells us that we can only be saved by grace though faith, not of works. However, sinning freely is certainly not justified.
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
On the first Shavuot at Mount Sinai, Moses gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments, which were written by God on stone tablets. At the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), Messiah poured out His Holy Spirit on the tablets of mankind’s hearts!
Clearly and without question, Messiah’s crucifixion occurred on Nisan 14 (April 22), His burial on Nisan 15 (April 23), and His resurrection on Nisan 16 (April 24), just as God prophesied in Leviticus 23. Remember, the Hebrew dates of the Lord’s feasts days will fluctuate on the Gregorian Calendar. This is why it is very important to have a basic understanding of God’s calendar, the Hebrew calendar, so that we do not fall into error. In 2016, Passover, Unleavened Bread, and FirstFruits occur on April 22-24. Shavuot (Pentecost) occurs on June 12th, 2016. Most Gregorian calendars state Shavuot (Pentecost) occurs on May 15th, but this is inaccurate and not according to the Holy Bible. The Gregorian date of Shavuot is based off of 50 days from Easter, but God clearly states that we are to count the Omer (50 days) from the Feast of FirstFruits (Leviticus 23:15-22). Obviously, we should follow God’s laws and commandments instead of mankind’s pagan traditions and ceremonies of Easter. For more information on the difference between Passover and Easter, please click below.
Just as the children of Israel killed an unblemished lamb in Egypt and the Almighty “Passover” their firstborn, THE unblemished Lamb, Yeshua, was crucified so that the Almighty will “Passover” the believers on judgement day so that we do not inherit eternal damnation but everlasting life! Yeshua, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, the Almighty, paid the price on Calvary for all of mankind’s sins, becoming the Passover Lamb of the world!
The Feast of Passover is not only the feast on which we celebrate the passover of the children of Israel in Egypt, but it is also a time to remember the everlasting Passover by the Lamb of the world, Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the King of Israel! Happy Passover weekend my friends!
John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Please remember, if you or your family members would like to read the articles in your native language, there is a language translator at the top of the website at www.faithfulperformance.com. Also, please don’t forget about the free Faithful Performance APP on Amazon.com.