JEWISH FEASTS and the PLAN of GOD

by Dr. Vic Reasoner


All Jewish males were required to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem for three major feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Exod 23:14-17; 34:18-23; Deut 16:16). However, Leviticus 23 deals with the Sabbath and five feasts. In his reference Bible, Scofield listed seven great religious feasts, but Passover and Unleavened Bread were one seven-day feast. The feast of Firstfruits and the feast of Weeks were one and the same (Exod 34:22).

Two feasts came in the Spring, which was the beginning of the Jewish sacred calendar and the day of their Exodus. The month in which these feasts occurred was first called “Abib,” which meant “spouting” or “green ears.” Three feasts came in the Fall, which was the beginning of the Jewish civil year. After Rosh Hashanah, “The head of the year” which was ushered in by trumpets, came the Day of Atonement.

In general, Scofield attempted to divide these feasts around the first and second advents of Christ, making the last three future. He interpreted trumpets as the regathering of Israel, the day of Atonement as the salvation of Israel, and tabernacles as the millennium. But unless we accept dispensationalism’s dual plan of salvation, a universal atonement has already been made at the cross. Since the Day of Atonement fell between trumpets and tabernacle in the Jewish calendar, this means trumpets is associated with Christ’s first advent. This leaves only the ingathering of tabernacles yet to be fulfilled.

Albert Edersheim connected the feast of tabernacles with Revelation 7:9-10 and said it is the only type in the Old Testament which has not yet been fulfilled. He connected the feast of tabernacles with the latter- day glory described in Zechariah 14:16-21, which describes the conversion of all nations. Solomon’s temple and the descent of the Shechinah glory of God occurred during this feast (1 Kings 8; 2 Chron 7). Every year during this feast the high priest poured a vessel of water from the Pool of Siloam over the temple altar, praying for continued rain and blessing. It was the last day of this feast that Jesus prophesied in John 7:37-39 that rivers of living water would flow after the Holy Spirit was given. Only through the drawing of this Spirit will an innumerable host finally be gathered.

Some dispensationalists, such as Malcolm Biernes, have claimed the feast of trumpets symbolized the rapture of the Church, tying 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 with Rosh Hashanah, while the feast of tabernacles symbolized the millennium. It was also on this basis that Edgar Whisenant predicted the rapture for September, 1988, then September, 1989. However, these passages describe the resurrection, not a secret rapture some seven years before the return of Christ.

The feast of trumpets is incorporated in Revelation 8-9, announcing the establishment of Christ’s kingdom and millennial reign at his first advent. Thus, the feast of trumpets does not symbolize a gathering out or rapture, but the feast of tabernacles does symbolize an ingathering or harvest of souls.

Actually all three major feasts centered around harvest. On the day after Passover a sheaf of barley was brought to the priest and held up or waved before the Lord as an act of gratitude. Until this act was completed the harvest could not begin. Seven weeks later, firstfruits was the wheat harvest. Enough wheat was now ripe that two loaves of bread were brought before the Lord and waved in thanksgiving. It was called firstfruits because it occurred in the Spring

When we turn to Revelation 7:1-8 we have here depicted the firstfruits which were gathered at Pentecost (compare to 14:4). But John moves from the beginning of the church to the end of the church, or from Spring to Fall, and 7:9-17 depict the feast of ingathering or harvest.

The feast of trumpets is incorporated in Revelation 8-9, announcing the establishment of Christ’s kingdom and millennial reign at his first advent. Notice the last trumpet does not sound until 11:15 and it proclaims a past, not future event. Thus, the seventh trumpet of Revelation does not correspond to the last trumpet which Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15:52 or the trumpet of 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

Therefore, the feast of trumpets does not symbolize a gathering out or rapture, but the feast of tabernacles does symbolize an ingathering or harvest of souls. A proper understanding of the great plan of God, as typified in the Jewish calendar, is that atonement has been made (Passover), the Spirit has been given (Pentecost), and we live in anticipation of world revival (Tabernacles).

[Excepted from A Fundamental Wesleyan Commentary on Revelation, pp. 273-275].



back