Sermon #46 Leviticus Sermons
Title: “The Feasts Of The Lord”
Text: Leviticus 23:1-44
Subject: The Seven Annual Feasts of Israel – Pictures of Christ
Date: Sunday Morning—October 20, 2002
Tape # X-25b
Reading: Psalm 84
To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.
1. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!
2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
3. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
5. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
6. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
7. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
8. LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
9. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
10. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
12. LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
I want to talk to you today about “The Feasts of The Lord.” In the Old Testament the Lord God required his people to keep seven distinct feasts, called “Holy convocations,” every year. These “holy convocations,” these solemn assemblies of God’s people for worship were to be observed is a specific order, on specific days, and in a specific ways. These seven feasts are described in Leviticus 23.
This 23rd chapter of Leviticus is a chapter of tremendous importance. It is full of typical Gospel instruction. I cannot attempt, and will not try, to give you a detailed exposition of these 44 verses in one message. This morning, I will just call your attention to the highlights. I want us to look at these seven feasts together, and see just one thing from these 44 verses this morning.
Proposition: Each of these feasts were typical of our Lord Jesus Christ and God’s great salvation in and by him.
These seven feasts were seasons of joyful solemnity appointed by God to point to Christ’s coming and the salvation he would accomplish. Each feast pointed the children of Israel back to something they had experienced and pointed them forward to things yet to come.
You cannot avoid noticing the facts that one feast, one commemoration of grace, led to another, and that each seemed to suggest a its successor. In other words, the feasts were given by divine order, and were specifically given to teach (by type and shadow) the order of things to come.
Israel’s feasts seem to represent the course of time, from creation to the final end. The Lamb slain (the passover) begins it, and the eighth day of the blessedness represented in the feast of tabernacles is its close, while the sabbath, symbolizing rest, — God’s rest in himself and his our rest in him — both precedes and follows this course of history.
These feasts also appear to be representative of the great works of our God in redemption, grace, and salvation, ultimately culminating in the tabernacle of God being with men forever!
As we through this chapter, I will show you the seven feasts distinctly set before us in these verses; but as you read the chapter, you cannot help but noticing that the opening three verses appear to be out of place. These first three verses deal with the observance of the sabbath. Then, the next 41 verses describe “the feasts of the Lord.” Being the kind of inquisitive person I am, when I began studying this chapter, I could not avoid asking myself, “Why are these first three verses put here? What was God’s intention in opening this chapter with sabbath instruction?” The answer is not hard to find.
It is very obvious that the sabbath occupied a very prominent and independent place in Old Testament worship. In fact, each of these feasts is specifically associated with sabbath observance. Before Moses gives instruction about keeping the feasts, he gives specific instruction from God about keeping the sabbath. It is as if the Lord is saying, “These feasts which I give are typical of my great salvation which shall give you everlasting rest in me and will give me everlasting rest in you.”
Israel’s first great feast was the feast of the Passover. Their last annual feast was the feast of tabernacles. Strip away their typical dress, and you have, full, complete redemption and eternal, resurrection glory. This everlasting salvation in Christ is that great rest of which the Old Testament sabbath was typical.
(Leviticus 23:1-4) "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. (3) Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (4) These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons."
The sabbath was to be kept every week each week. It was a constant reminder to Israel of that sweet rest which Adam lost in the Garden and of that blessed rest that could and would be recovered only in and by Christ. The sabbath was entirely and only intended to typify salvation in Christ, the blessed rest of life, and faith, and reconciliation to God in him.
“No work” whatsoever was to be done on the sabbath, because salvation is altogether a matter of grace, a work of grace alone, enjoyed by faith in Christ, without our woks of any kind. Now, watch this—No other festival in the Old Testament had such a strict an injunction put on it except only the day of atonement.
Do you see the significance of that? The rest of faith is the same as the rest of complete, perfect atonement, and the rest of complete reconciliation to God. This is what was typified in the beginning, when the Lord God rested from all his works on the seventh day.
Is it so with your soul? Do you have such rest in Christ with God as if you had never sinned? Do you have you no more conscience of sin? This is the rest Christ has won for all who trust him. Oh, come now to the Lord Jesus Christ and rest! Cease from all work and labor and rest in him.
(Matthew 11:28-30) "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
(Hebrews 4:3) "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."
(Hebrews 4:7) "Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
The rest of faith is good, oh, how good! But the rest of heaven will be glorious!
(Hebrews 4:9) "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."
I. The Feast of Passover (v. 5)
(Leviticus 23:5) "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover."
The first of Israel’s feast was the feast of Passover. This feast was a constant reminder of God’s great work of grace in bringing Israel out of Egypt by his mighty power and stretched out arm, because of the blood that was shed for them (Ex. 12-14). But it was more than that. The Passover was a picture of and a constant reminder of God’s promise to send a Redeemer, even Christ our Passover, who is sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7).
(1 Corinthians 5:7) "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:"
This feast is called “the Lord’s passover” because the whole of the work was his. Three things were prominent in the first passover—(1.) A Lamb—(2.) Blood!—(3.) Deliverance! It was pre-eminently “the Lord’s Passover!”
· He ordained it.
· He provided the lamb.
· He accepted the lamb.
· He passed over the people.
· He brought them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea.
· He was praised for it (Ex. 15).
· “Salvation is of the Lord!”
As often as we eat the bread and drink the wine at the Lord’s Table, like Israel of old, we show forth the Lord’s death until he comes again, in remembrance of him.
· In Remembrance of Redemption Finished—Atonement!
· In Remembrance of Redemption Future—Resurrection Glory!
(1 Peter 1:18-20) "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,"
(Psalms 115:1) "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake."
II. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (vv. 6-8)
(Leviticus 23:6) "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread."
The feast of unleavened bread was really a continuation of the feast of Passover. On the Passover night the children of Israel ate the Lamb with their coats on their backs, their shoes on their feet, and their staffs in their hand, ready to go out of Egypt. The Passover sacrifice was the cause. The feast of unleavened bread represents the effects of redemption. The sacrifice of the paschal lamb (Christ—His Shed Blood!) is the effectual cause of pardon. The sweet fellowship of faith, represented in the feast of unleavened bread, is the effect, the sure and certain result of Christ’s death as our Substitute.
The feast of unleavened bread pictures faith in Christ (John 6:53-56).
(John 6:53-56) "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (55) For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."
Don’t miss the connection of the feast of unleavened bread with the feast of passover. The feast of unleavened bread began the next day after the passover was ended. So, too, the gift of life and faith in Christ follows the accomplishments of Christ at Calvary. All who were redeemed by blood shall be made to live and feed upon Christ at God’s appointed time.
(Galatians 3:13-14) "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
As one great family the children of Israel kept the first day of this feast as a “holy convocation.” No servile work was done. It was a blessed time of rest. (Faith in Christ is a perpetual sabbath rest.) The people were all joined together, united in one holy body of redeemed souls, remembering what God had done for them.
· They were all bought with the same blood.
· They were all saved by the same power.
· They were all going to the same homeland.
· They all ate the same bread.
(Ephesians 3:18-19) "May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
(Ephesians 4:1-7) "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."
III. The Feast of Firstfruits (vv. 9-14)
(Leviticus 23:10-12) "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (11) And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. (12) And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD."
The Holy Spirit tells us plainly that this feast speaks of Christ’s glorious resurrection and of our resurrection with him, in him, and by him
(1 Corinthians 15:23) "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
(James 1:18) "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
(Revelation 14:4) "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
(Romans 11:16) "For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches."
Now, look at verse 12 again. The sheaf of firstfruits is offered to God with the lamb of burnt offering!
(Leviticus 23:12) "And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD."
IV. The Feast of weeks (vv. 15-22)
The feast of weeks described in verses 15-22 was held fifty days (seven weeks and a day—a sabbath) after the feast of firstfruits. It is commonly called “Pentecost” because it was held on the 50th day. This is the harvest, or ingathering feast. This great harvest feast speaks of ingathering of God’s elect by Christ.
The risen Christ gave us a delightful picture and foretaste of the ingathering of his elect in Acts 2:1-4. When the ay of pentecost was fully come he poured out his Spirit upon all flesh and 3000 souls were gathered into the fold of his grace at one time. Just as the harvest followed the firstfruits, so the salvation of God’s elect follows the resurrection of Christ. Indeed, all the redeemed shall be gathered unto God.
(Isaiah 43:5-7) "Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; (6) I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; (7) Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."
(John 10:15-18) "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
(Romans 11:26) "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:"
Look at verse 22 for a minute.
(Leviticus 23:22) "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God."
Even in requiring Israel never to gather all their harvest, the Lord is teaching us about his grace. As Boaz left some handfuls of purpose for Ruth, so the Lord God always provides for his own. In the Old Testament, there was a remnant according to the election of grace among the Gentiles. The Lord said, “You take care that you provide for them.” In this gospel age there is a remnant according to the election of grace among the Jews. The Lord says, “You take care that you provide for them.”
In other words, the Lord would have us ever mindful of the needs of others, specifically of the fact that he has a people to whom he will be gracious; and he gives us the privilege of serving their souls’ needs.
V. The Feast of Trumpets (vv. 23-25)
The feast of trumpets represented the glorious triumph of Christ proclaimed by the gospel.
(Leviticus 23:23-25) "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (24) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (25) Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD."
I have no doubt at all that “the joyful sound” mentioned in Psalm 89:15 referred to the feast of trumpets.
(Psalms 89:15) "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance."
Every saved sinner enters into the joyful sound of grace proclaimed in the gospel. We hear the sweet sounds of mercy and trust, justice and judgment, righteousness and peace blended together in blessed harmony, and rejoice. I’m no musician, but I know every note of the song, and rejoice in each one.
· Justice Satisfied!
· Redemption Accomplished!
· Sin Pardoned!
· Righteousness Brought In!
· God Glorified!
· Salvation Sure!
· Grace! Grace! Grace!
· Eternal Salvation!
(Psalms 89:14-37) "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. (15) Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. (16) In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. (17) For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. (18) For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. (19) Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. (20) I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: (21) With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. (22) The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. (23) And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. (24) But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. (25) I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. (26) He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. (27) Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. (28) My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. (29) His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (30) If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; (31) If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; (32) Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. (33) Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. (34) My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. (35) Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. (36) His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. (37) It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah."
VI. The Feast of Atonements (vv. 26-32)
(Leviticus 23:26-32) "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (27) Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. (28) And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. (29) For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. (30) And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. (31) Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (32) It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."
The word “atonement” in verse 27 should be in the plural, “atonements.” Really, the word would be better translated “expiations.” This feast has reference to our perfect, complete restoration to our God and the restitution of all things, when our great Savior shall have gathered all things together in one, for the glory of God.
(Acts 3:21) "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."
(Ephesians 1:11) "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28) "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (25) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (27) For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."
The feast of trumpets was a prelude to and a proclamation of liberty!
(Romans 8:18-24) "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, (21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (24) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"
VII. The Feast of Tabernacles (vv. 33-43)
(Leviticus 23:33-34) "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (34) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD."
This feast of tabernacles was a time when Israel was reminded that they dwelt in booths in the wilderness and God dwelt with them in the cloudy and fiery pillar. But it spoke of more than that. It spoke of that time when God came here and tabernacled in human flesh that he might at last bring God and man together in eternal glory and perfect fellowship, with sin and every evil consequence of it forever expiated, put away, purged, gone, and forgotten forever!
(Psalms 72:16-19) "There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. (17) His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. (18) Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. (19) And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen."
(Revelation 21:1-7) "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."
Now, let me show you one more thing. The eighth day was considered the great day of the feast of tabernacles (John 7:37). On the eighth day all grapes and fruits were gathered in (Ex. 23:16). The harvest was completed. What a time of celebration it was! The joy of harvest and the shouting and dancing associated with the treading of the winepresses must have been something to behold. Who knows? It just may be that this is the eighth day of the feast. This may just be the last day there is. So I want you to turn to John 7:37, and hear the Son of God, as he speaks on the eighth day, the great day of the feast.
(John 7:37-38) "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
(Revelation 21:5-7) "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."