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118 views • April 15, 2021

THE LORD'S APPOINTED TIMES

Eagle7 Focus
Eagle7 Focus
(Leviticus 23) Introduction121 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:’” (Leviticus 23:2). The Lord’s appointed times are festivals and holy days that commemorate significant times and events in Israel’s history. I had the unique privilege of attending Beth Hallel, a Messianic Jewish congregation, from 1988 through 1994. During these six years I joined with my Messianic Jewish friends in celebrating these holidays. They were a rich experience. In the fall of 1992, I was teaching through the Book of Revelation. As I heard the shofars blowing in the synagogue, I began thinking of the seven trumpet judgments. I asked myself what the association might be between these shofars and the trumpets in Revelation. This paper, in part, is what I discovered. How do you learn best? Do you prefer to hear a lecture or read a book? Do you get more out of a documentary movie or studying the printed page? Can you learn about something abstractly, or do you need hands-on experience? As with many other things, the Lord has given each of us different learning styles. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the Lord communicates His truth in diverse ways. This is, at its core, what Leviticus 23 and related scriptures have to tell us. We not only have His written word, but we have commemorative holy days to transmit truth to the young and the old, the literate and the illiterate alike. The holy days tell and show the great truths of God’s salvation, His love, and His plans. They contain things to hear, see, taste, build, and do, and they appeal to everybody. They are “holy days,” but that really means that they are holidays. The celebrations are fun, mostly, but they also teach us about eternal things. From a New Testament perspective, these holidays take on a meaning much richer than the Old Testament saints could have dreamed of. As Paul wrote to the Colossian church: Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). These holidays look back, in time, to miracles that God performed for the world and for the Israelites. They also look forward, in time, to the work of Jesus Christ. Occurring during the spring and fall harvests, they speak of God’s continuous provisions. Together they promise God’s eternal care for His people. This paper tells the story of these events on three levels. The first level discusses how the holidays have been celebrated through the centuries. The second level discusses the sensory elements and how they teach the truth in non-verbal ways. The third level discusses how Jesus Christ fulfilled or will fulfill the substance of each celebration. The Jewish Calendar Having invited you to the fun, I must ask you to pause to consider the calendar through which these celebrations flow. This is because the Jewish Calendar is very different from ours. There is no January or February to be found. Instead, the Bible refers to “the first month,” “the seventh month,” or names like Abib and Ethanim. There is no quick way to say that, for a particular year, the 15th of Abib occurs on the 6th of April. Also, most of you know that October is in the fall, but do you know what season Ethanim occupies? Do you know that the Bible has another name for the month of Abib? I hope that you find this section useful for this and other studies that you do. As I have already stated, the Lord’s “appointed times” occur through the year. The Jews, because they celebrate them every year, can and do anticipate each one in its season. They are a part of their culture. A Jew knows that the Feast of Tabernacles occurs in the fall as readily as we know that Easter occurs in the spring. The placement of these festivals through the year has prophetic significance. To be specific, Jesus’ death and resurrection are the substance of the spring holidays. His retu
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