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“Concerning the Feasts of the Lord”
The 23rd chapter of Leviticus describes the seven feasts the Lord God required Israel to keep as “holy convocations” throughout the Old Testament. These “holy convocations” were typical, ceremonial feasts by which the whole work of redemption is pictured.
1. The Feast of Passover (v. 5) was a picture of our redemption by Christ.
2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (vv. 6-8) was a portrayal of faith in Christ.
3. The Feast of Firstfruits (vv. 9-14) typified the resurrection of Christ and our resurrection with him.
4. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (vv. 15-22) portrayed the ingathering of God’s elect by the irresistible power and omnipotent grace of God the Holy Spirit.
5. The Feast of Trumpets (vv. 23-25) was a typical picture of the proclamation of the gospel.
6. The Feast of Atonements (Expiations) (vv. 26-32) typified “the times of the restitution of all things, of which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began” (Acts 3: 21).
7. The Feast of Tabernacles (vv. 33-43) portrayed that eternal glory awaiting us when the whole work of grace is complete and all God’s elect are brought into heavenly glory, when the Lord God shall forever be our Tabernacle.
Each feast involved the observance of the sabbath. In fact, the opening verses (vv. 1-3) of the chapter show us that the sabbath was prominent in all Old Testament worship. There was no worship of God without the observance of the sabbath in the Old Testament.
The fact that the sabbath is given such a prominent place and is intimately connected with all these feasts of worship is very important. The Lord is here giving us a very instructive picture of redemption and grace.
These seven feasts give us a vivid type of all God’s saving operations of grace for his elect. The sabbath portrayed that rest which remains for the people of God. It was a ceremonial day to be observed by Israel; but it was also a type of that which was (and in a sense is) yet to come. The sabbath overshadowed all the feasts of worship. It typically encompassed all that great and glorious work of God’s salvation in Christ, which this chapter foreshadows, when it is finished.
The sabbath is God’s rest, into which all who believe enter now by faith in Christ; but which, as to its full and actual accomplishment, yet remains (Hebrews 4:1-11). Soon we shall enter into our everlasting rest that shall never be disturbed. While resting in Christ, we labor as workers together with God, in the full assurance that, when all our earthly toil is over, we shall enjoy unbroken, eternal rest in those mansions of unfading light and unalloyed blessedness where labor and sorrow can never enter. Here we have but a foretaste of the eternal sabbath awaiting us when time shall be no more, that sabbath which shall never be broken, that “holy convocation” which shall never be dissolved.