Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Leonard Lauriault
Religion columnist 

Jewish holidays and the church

 

October 18, 2017



There are eight significant holidays or festivals on the original Jewish calendar (Leviticus 23:1-44). The first three festivals (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits) fell within eight days of each other in early spring. Passover occurred on the 14th of the first month of their calendar and the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread began the next day. The Feast of Firstfruits occurred on the first day of the week (Sunday) after Passover and would’ve been no later than the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Firstfruits commemorated the barley harvest, which was the earliest maturing of Israel’s winter grain crops at the time. Therefore, Jesus is our Passover Lamb and the Firstfruits of those he’ll resurrect when he returns (1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 15:20-23).

A gap of seven weeks occurred between Firstfruits and the next festival, Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Harvest or Weeks, commemorating the wheat harvest as the last of Israel’s winter grains to mature and the beginning of the summer dry season (Joel 2:23). In the New Testament, it was on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection that people were told how to be united with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection, thereby becoming the first harvest of souls and establishing the church (Acts 2:1-41). Now it’s up to Christians to spread that good news so others can also be recreated in God’s image and for his purpose (1 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:9-10).

Since Jesus arose on Sunday and the church was established on Sunday, that became the day the early church met each week to remember Jesus’ sacrifice as our Passover Lamb and to take part in the other components of corporate worship (Acts 20:7; 2:42; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). I don’t know if Israel’s dry summer season is connected with our Christian life unless it’s a reminder that we must live by faith as we serve God until Jesus returns, although, his indwelling Spirit reminds us of our inheritance (John 14:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:7; James 5:7-8; Romans 8:14-25).

It’s also interesting that the last four Jewish holidays/festivals are close in time, coming in early autumn. I haven’t studied their possible meaning under the New Covenant; however, the first of those involved trumpets, followed by the Day of Atonement, “Ingathering,” and a sacred assembly (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; Revelation 6:9-17). Whatever their new meaning, preparing ourselves and serving as Christians while we wait for Jesus’ return prepares us to celebrate the remaining festivals under the New Covenant (Matthew 24:29-51).

Although God planned all of this before creation, he does everything in his own time (Galatians 3:26-4:7; Matthew 25:31-34). Now, we’re to complete what he willed for us to do since before creation (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:12-16; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 4:17). We can understand God’s revealed will and must pay careful attention to what the Bible says about our salvation or we’ll miss out on it (Ephesians 3:2-5; Hebrews 2:1-4; 10:19-31; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2:15; Philippians 3:15-16). Are you living up to God’s will?

Leonard Lauriault writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected]

 
 

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