| DISCOVERING THE JEWISH
ROOTS OF YOUR CHRISTIAN
Jesus Fulfilled the Spring Feasts of
A message presented in a number of churches by Ken Williams
Copyright (c) 2012 - All rights reserved
If you have tried to share your faith in Chirst with others, you likely have heard someone say, "That is just blind faith," or perhaps, That's just pie in the sky bye-and-bye." My friend, the Christian faith is not based on "blind faith." Blind faith is putting $10.00 a week into the state lottery and hoping against all odds that you will come out ahead. Blind faith is stupidly challenging the laws of nature, and hoping they will not catch up with you. But Christians, who according to Ephesians 2:8, are saved by God's grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus, are not in any way exercising blind faith.
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith in Christ as, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Did you notice those two defining words: substance and evidence? Our faith is not blind. Our faith is based on "substance" and "evidence." Some of the proof we use to back up our faith in Christ is the more than 300 Old Testament prophecies which Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament; and He fulfilled them to the very smallest detail. That is a statistical impossibility!
This morning I want to talk to you about some Old Testament prophecies which Jesus fulfilled, which are seldom if ever considered among that 300 number. They are understood by Jewish believers in Messiah, but those of us who do not have Jewish backgrounds read right over them without catching their significence.
Turn with me to Matthew 5:17. I have heard many say that Jesus "did away with the Law," or "desroyed the Law," by the shedding of His blood on Calvary. Not so, my friend. Not accordng to Matthew. Matthew writes here, "Think not that I have come to destroy the Law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but the fulfill." There is a big difference between destroying and fulfilling. How long will the Law remain in effect? Verse 18: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled." How long will the Old Testament Law remain in effect? "Till all be fulfilled!" These are Jesus' words, and they are in the New Testament.
How did Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets? He fulfill the Old Testament prophecies concerning the first appearance of the promised Messiah by being born in the line of King David; being Divine (God becoming a human being); being born of a virgin; being born in Bethlehem; being brought out of Egypt; His healing and teaching ministry; His crucifixion (taking upon Himself, our sin); His resurrection from the grave; and we could go on and one (more than 300 such Old Testament prophecies fulfilled).
Also, Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets by being the first, and only human being, ever to live completely within the Law, never once breaking it. He kept the Commandmets. He kept the sacrificial requirements at the Temple in Jerusalem. He kept, what the New Testament called (both Jesus and Paul used the term), "the times and the seasons." The Jews understood the term "the times" to refer to the Sabbaths (weekly Sabbaths, 7th year Sabbaths, and the 49th year of Jubilee). They understood the term "seasons" to refer to the seven annual Feasts of the Lord. There were three spring feasts: Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) and Firstfruits (HaBikkurim), all within a two week period. Pentecost (Shavuot) came 50 days after Firstfruits. Then there were three fall feasts: Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles (Sukkot), all within a two week period. Each of these feasts looked back to some event in Israel's history (Passover - their deliverance from Egypt - Pentecost - the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and the establishment of Judaism, etc.). The Old Testament called these remembrances "convocations" or "rehearsals." Twice in the New Testament Paul called them, "Shadows of good things to come" or "Rehearsals of good things to come." The Old Testament calls them "Feasts of the Lord." For 1500 years the Jews went through these ceremonies "rehearsing" for the time Messiah would fulfill them.
I want to suggest, this morning, that Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts of the Lord during His first coming; and that He will fulfill the Fall Feasts of the Lord when He returns at some time still in the future.
Let's go to Passon Week, beginning with Palm Sunday and follow what the Jews were doing during their spring Feasts of the Lord (Unleavened Bread, Passover and Firstfruits). Early in the morning of Palm Sunday, the High Priest, with an entourage of several hundred priests would march from the Temple, through the streets of Jerusalem to the city wall. There he would leave the priests lining the streets as he rode off on his donkey with a handful of priests toward Bethlehem. He had to select the Passovr Lamb (pure, without spot, and without blemish). All of the lambs sacrificed in the Temple were born and raised on the hills around Bethlehem. That is why God had to use the Roman government to get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Purge out, therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ, our Passover is sacrificed for us" (I Corinthians 5:7). Paul is teaching, here, from the spring feasts. "Purge out the leaven" has to do with the Feast of Unleavened Bread (part of the two week spring Feasts of the Lord). To prepare, children would go through the house and find leaven (dirt, impurities) and they would be removed. All leaven (yeast) would be removed, and all cakes and breads were flat because they did not rise. Remember, leaven in the Bible is a type of sin. Paul says that his Christian readers are to purge out all "leaven" because Jesus was the "Passover Lamb." Jesus fulfilled Passover.
This is why there was no room for Joseph and Mary at the Inn in Bethlehem. God had arranged for the city to be filled with visitors in town for the same reason as the Holy Family; the Roman census. The Passover Lamb had to be born in a feeding, watering, birthing trough; just as all Passover lambs were. We call it a "manger;" a much prettier sounding name than what it really was.
After selecting the Passover lamb for the nation, the High Priest got back on his donkey and headed back toward Jerusalem with his group of priests. He carried the lamb on his lap. Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, the more than 200,000 Jews who had come for the spring feasts began lining the street between the gate and the Temple. At the same time, Jesus came ridng down the side of the Mount of Olives on a donkey along with His disciples and followers. As Jesus and His group arrived at the gate, the priests, believing it was the High Priest returning with the Passover lamb, swung the gates open and began shouting Psalm 118:26 just as they had for 1500 years, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of Jehovah! Hossnna in the highest" (Matthew 21:9)! The priests and people lined the road with palm branches, and even their clothes, just as they had for centuries. But as Jesus and His entourage entered the city and moved through the crowd, the priests said, "Who is this" (verse 10)? They suddenly realized that this was not the High Prist with the nation's Passover lamb. Luke tells us in chapter 19 that the Pharisees tried to get Jesus to quiet the crowd. But Jesus said in verse 40 that if the people would be quiet the stones would cry out.
Jesus had just fulfilled the first part of Passover. The Jews had been rehearsing for this for 1500 years. That year, Jesus, the Passover Lamb, came into the city just as Passover lambs had for over a thousand years. Jesus had fulfilled the first part of Passover to the smallest detail. But there was still much more to come.
Now let's go on to the second part of Jesus' fulfillment of the spring feasts as the Passover Lamb. The lamb which the High Priest eventually brought through the city gate and into the Temple is now tethered in the Court of the Temple; and will remain there for four days. The lamb would remain there for the High Priest, the Levites and the people to inspect. It must be "without spot, and without blemish," because it will be offered for the sins of the people. Jesus, God's Passover Lamb, was also in the court of the Temple for four days. Read Matthew chapters 21 to 25. Each of the four days Jesus was questioned by the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Saducees, and even the hated Herodians. Their purpose was to find some fault with Him - "to trick Him." They could find "no fault with Him." He was "without spot or blemish." As a matter of fact, they were amazed by His answers, wondering how One with no education could answer like this.
[If you would like a detailed run down of the four days of grilling Jesus underwent, check out Studies in Matthew (Verse by Verse), by Ken Williams. Details on obtaining it are at the end of this page.]
The third part of Jesus' fulfillment of the spring Feasts of the Lord is called, in Jewish tradition, the Day of Preparation. It is the day the Passover lambs for each family are killed, the blood sprinkled on the door posts and the Passover meal is prepared. Now, we must remember that the Jewish day (the biblical day) begins at sundown (around 6:00) in the evening, and runs through sundown the next day. Remember in Genesis, "...the evening and the morning was the second (third, fourth...) day?" Following the fourth day of inspection, at sundown (which is now the fifth day - the Day of Preparation), Jesus took His disciples to the Upper Room for "The Last Supper." From there, Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was arrested. He was taken before the Sanhedrin, and the High Priest, Caiaphas, for a trial that lasted all night (a violation of Jewish law). He was found guilty of blasphemy for saying He was the Son of the Most High God. Because the Jews had lost the right to condemn people to death, the Sanhedrin sent Jesus on the the Roman Governor, Pilate, early in the morning of the Day of Preparation before dawn.
Meanwhile, back in the Court of the Temple, the High Priest arrives just after dawn. He goes directly to the lamb and inspects him for one final time. At the same time, Pilate, who has been questioning Jesus comes out onto his balcony. In concert, both Pilate and the High Priest, cry out, "I find no fault in him!"
Then, in the Temple, hundreds of priests begin the ceremonial slaying of the individual family lambs. Each family brings a lamb to the Temple. A priest kills the lamb according to ceremonial regulations. The family then takes the lamb home to prepare for the Passover meal that night. The blood is splashed on the door posts and above the door just as it was in Egypt on that first Passover night 1,500 years earlier. Thousands of lambs are slain. The killing continues all day long. At noon, the skies suddenly grow black as night (Jesus is hanging on the cross). The torches on the Temple platform are lit, and the killing of the lambs continues.
All of the family Passover lambs must be slain before 3:00 (the 9th hour by the biblical clock); because at 3:00, the official Passover lamb for the nation must be slain using the proper ceremonial phrases. So, at 3:00, Caiaphas raises the knife. The official Passover Lamb for the nation is slain and the required sacrifice before the Lord is made. Then, in concert with Jesus hanging on the cross, both cry out, "It... is... finished!" At that very moment everyone on the Temple Mount is stunned as the one foot thick, 25 foot high veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom, opening the Holy of Holies (the place where God met mankind) to the view of everyone.
With the sacrifice completed, everyone rushes home, because there are less than three hours left on Preparation Day. Passover begins at sundown; and Passover is observed as a Sabbath, no matter on which day of the week it falls. Preparations for the Passover meal must be complete before Passover begins, for no work can be done after sundown. It was during this short time period that Jesus' body was place in the tomb and sealed. At sundown each family gathers together to eat the Passover meal as they go through the Passover Seder (the ceremony). Then they watch for midnight (the beginning of the third watch by the biblical clock), to commemorate the Death Angel which passed over the Israelite homes covered by the blood of the lamb on that first Passover; but struck with death of the eldest child in all homes not covered by the blood.
Three days later Jesus rose from the grave on Firstfruits (the third Spring Feast of the Lord). This was the day a section of a special barley field on the side of the Mount of Olives would be harvested early in the morning, just before dawn. The shocks of barley would be brought back to the Temple. The grain would be beat out of the stalk; then pulverized into flour by a stone grinder. Then the flour would be baked into loaves of bread and the High Priest would take those loaves before the Lord and offer them as the "first fruits" of the harvest. This was called a "wave offering." The High Priest would hold the loaves before the Lord, "wave" them up and down in front of himself, then back and forth at eye-level, in the sign of a cross.
Back at the tomb, just before dawn, Jesus rose from the grave. Shortly after dawn He met Mary in the garden and asked her not to touch Him, because He had not yet ascended into Heaven to preent Himself before the Father as "the first fruits" offering of the resurrection. This is the way the Apostle Paul put it, "...Just so, the resurrection of Christ from the grave was the first fruits of those who would have faith in Him and be raised to be with Him at the resurrection." Listen now, "But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept (those who are dead). For since by man came death, by man came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming" (I Corinthians 15:20-23). Let me suggest that Jesus presented Himself before the Father later that morning at he same time the High Priest was waving the first fruits offering in the Temple, which would have been around 10:00 (or the fourth hour by the biblical clock).
Unfortunately the people who were rehearsing these three Feasts of the Lord, did not understand that after 1500 years of rehearsing, this was the real performance. Wow! What a God we serve! No human being or group of human beings could possibly have put together such a chain of events. The fulfillment of the three spring Feasts of the Lord by our Savior is just as impresive, or perhaps even more impressive, than the fulfillment of the more than 300 individual prophecies about Him in the Old Testament.
We do not believe with blind faith. We have a God Who can, and has, changed the course of human history. Our faith is based on "substance" and "evidence" (Hebrews 11:1). What more proof could anyone want? Are you living in the light of this glorious "substance" and "evidence?" Have you, by faith, put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Links for more information...
COMING IN 2013...
THE FEASTS OF THE LORD
God's Blueprint for the Ages
By Ken Williams
Copyright (c) 2013 - All Rights Reserved
"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" (Leviticus 23:1-2). Notice that these feasts are: (1) proclaimed by God, (2) He calls them holy convocations, and (3) God calls them His feasts.
First, notice that they were proclaimed by God. God gave them to Moses as a part of the Law given at Mount Sinai. They are the longest running religious observances on the face of the earth, now over 3,500 years old. While their practice has changed significantly since the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, they still follow a similar format and they are of the same significance as they were when God ordained them.
Second, God called them "holy convocations." Today most Jews refer to them as their "high holy days." The term "convocation" has the idea of gathering together for the purpose of worship. That worship has three phases: (1) worship, praise, adoration and education, (2) reflection on God's goodness in the past, and (3) dependence upon God, faith in God's ability to lead us into and through the future, and even a mental practice, shadow picture or rehearsal of that which is still to come.
Third, God says they are not feasts of the Jews, as many Christians refer to them. They are "feasts of the Lord." That is an important distinction that becomes very important in this study. The term "feast" in the original Hebrew means, an appointed time, a pre-arranged holy meeting. We think of the term "feast" as having something to do with eating, perhaps a great banquet. However, while there is eating and feasting associated with some of the seven Feasts of the Lord, that is not the meaning of the word translated "feasts" in our English Bibles.
Today there seems to be little understanding or study of the Feasts of the Lord in Christian circles. Yet this subject is vitally important to understanding much of what goes on in the New Testament, especially in the Gospels. The seven Levitical feasts played significant roles in the Lord's earthly ministry and are a picture of the entire redemptive story, from His death as our Passover Lamb to His second coming when He will "tabernacle" (or dwell) with His people forever. Do you recall the Apostle Paul using the term "the times and the seasons" (Acts 1:7 and I Thessalonians 5:1). When the Jews heard that term, their minds automatically understood that "the times" meant the weekly Sabbaths; and "the seasons" meant the seven annual Feasts of the Lord.
Perhaps a list of the chapter titles will give you an idea of what this book is all about.
Chapter 1: The Feasts of the Lord
Chapter 2: The Spring Feasts of the Lord
The Pssover Feast
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast of Firstfruits
Jesus Fulfilled the Spring Feasts of the Lord
Chapter 3: The Day of Pentecost
The Counting of the Omer
The Day of Pentecost
Chapter 4: The Fall Feasts of the Lord
The Feast of Trumpets
The Days of Awe
The Day of Atonement
The Feast of Tabernacles
The Great Day of the Feast
The Jewish Wedding
Chapter 5: Old Testament Pictures of End-time Events
End Time Pictures from Qumran and the Didache
The Law of the Harvest
The Parable of the Fig Tree
The Sounds of the Shofar
The Old Testament Story of Gideon
The Thousand Year Day
Chapter 6: Three Words
A Word of Caution
A Word of Encouragement
A Word of Warning
This book comes out of my study of the understanding ancient Jewish rabbis (before the time of Christ) had of the Scriptures, and how the Jews of Jesus' day understood what He said anddid. It also covers how Jesus, in what Christians refer to as "Holy Week," fulfilled to the day, the hour and the very minute the celebration of the Spring Feasts of the Lord that was going on in the Temple.
THE FEASTS OF THE LORD
God's Blueprint for the Ages
COMING - JANUARY 2013
$10.95 plus $4.00 S & H
Pre-order by sending check or money order to:
Ken Williams Ministres
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Studies in Matthew (Verse by Verse)
(Jesus was a Recognized Jewish Rabbi)
By Ken Williams
Studies in Matthew is 335 pages of verse-by-verse commentary that attempts to go back to the Jewish roots. Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews of his time. He attempts to prove that Jesus is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament using a variety of argumens;
- His heritage
- His birth
- His call to ministry
- His dscription of the Kingdom
- His purpose
- His miracles
- His accomplishments - fulfilling the spring Feasts of the Lord to the
day, the hour and the minute, and to the smallest detail.
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