One of the most striking truths we find in Yahweh’s Word pertains to His days of worship. Not only do these days serve a practical purpose, but they also reveal Yahweh’s plan for mankind; each day represents a significant part in Yahweh’s design for His Creation. Those who disregard these days suffer a two-fold loss.
Choosing not to observe Yahweh’s set-apart days not only relinquishes the natural and spiritual blessings, but also forfeits the prophetic insight that these days offer. It is the intent of this article to show in detail the prophetic truths in the observances found within Yahweh’s inspired Word. (All references are taken from the Restoration Study Bible (RSB)
The Apostle Paul states, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Messiah," Colossians 2:16-17.
Some have understood Paul to say here that we should not be judged for ignoring or dismissing the Old Testament days of worship. However, a close examination of Paul’s words will show the opposite to be true; Paul is admonishing New Testament believers not to allow the disobedient world to judge or condemn them for their faithful obedience to the days that Yahweh established.
In verse 17 Paul states that these days are a shadow of things to come. Some modern translations render this as, "were a shadow." The correct word is "are," placing the context in the present and future. The phrase, "shadow of things to come," points to the prophetic nature of these days. As noted, these are not only days of worship, but also days of future importance.
Within the Word we find seven appointments that Yahweh established for His people: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. The first three of these observances have been fulfilled in both Old and New Testaments, with the latter awaiting future fulfillment. Let’s begin with Passover.
In Exodus 11:4-6, Yahweh revealed to Moses what would happen on Passover evening. "And Moses said, Thus saith Yahweh, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more."
When the death angel went through Egypt on the 14th of Abib at midnight, all the "unprotected" firstborn of Egypt died. Those spared were those who did as Yahweh commanded through Moses; those who placed the saving blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes were spared. As the root word for Passover expresses, the death angel "passed" or "skipped over" those homes. As such, Passover for the Israelites will always be remembered as the night that Yahweh released Israel from Egyptian bondage.
In the Old Testament the Passover lamb was a token of salvation. Through its blood Israel was saved or spared from the wrath of the death angel. In the New Testament we find another Passover lamb. Paul, in 1Corinthians 5:7, identifies this lamb as Yahshua the Messiah: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us."
Yahshua, through his own death, fulfilled the role of the Old Testament Passover lamb. The Old Testament lamb brought to Israel freedom from the death angel and their later release from the sin of Egypt. Yahshua did the same spiritually. When Yahshua died and shed His blood, He justified, or freed us, from our previous sin; he removed the shackles of death by purging our iniquities. Yahshua’s death was the prophetic fulfillment of the Passover or the shadow that was to come.
Week-long Lessons from Bread
The next observance in the Biblical calendar is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This celebration immediately follows the Passover, beginning on the 15th of Abib: "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto Yahweh: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein" (Lev. 23:6-8).
Unlike the Passover, which is a one-day memorial, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day observance. Another difference between the Passover and this Feast centers on agriculture, as most of Yahweh’s Feast Days are agriculturally based. This truth must be understood if one is to comprehend the significance of these days.
This Feast commemorated the barley harvest, which was the first grain harvest of the year. During this Feast the priest would wave the omer offering of barley, representing the firstfruits of the harvest, to Yahweh. Leviticus 23:9-11 explains this process:
"And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you 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: And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it."
There are different views on what is meant by "Sabbath." Some interpret this as the first high-Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and others as the weekly Sabbath. The word "Sabbath" in verse 11 is shabbath and refers exclusively to the weekly Sabbath (except for Atonement). For this reason, the Sabbath mentioned here most likely refers to the weekly Sabbath.
This places the waving of the sheaf on the first day of the week within the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Once the sheaf was waved, Israel could commence with the barley harvest, again depicting the agricultural im-portance of this observance.
In the New Testament we find that Yahshua fulfilled this Feast through offering up of Himself as the Firstfruits. Before we consider this, however, it is expedient to review the timing of his death. Luke 23:50-56 offers a chronology of this event: "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of Elohim. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Yahshua. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment."
Let’s review the events in chronological order. On Wednesday evening, Joseph took Yahshua’s body and laid it in a new tomb, vv. 50-54. The next day, Thursday, was the Sabbath or first high-Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, v. 54. On Friday, the women prepared the spices and ointments and on the next day rested on the weekly Sabbath, vv. 55-56. Luke 24:1 states, "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them." According to the RSB: the word "‘week’ is a mistranslation of the Greek te mia ton sabbaton, and should have been rendered ‘first day of the Sabbaths.’
Leviticus 23:15-17 shows that this ‘first day’ is the first of the Sabbaths in the count of the seven Sabbaths to Pentecost. On this day, therefore, the ‘Savior’ became the firstfruits of ‘Yahweh’s’ resurrection harvest…" (p. 1376). Based on this explanation, the day that the women came back to the tomb was the same day that the priest sacrificed the omer offering.
From John’s evangel, Miriam saw Yahshua on this day: "And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Yahshua standing, and knew not that it was Yahshua. Yahshua saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away" (John 20:14-15).
Why would Miriam suppose that Yahshua was the gardener in this passage? The answer may be that he was waving the firstfruits to Yahweh. Yahshua became the firstfruits of those who would be resurrected. "But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1Cor. 15:20).
Feast of Weeks (Firstfruits)
The latest Feast to be fulfilled in both Old and New Testaments is the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. According to Leviticus 23:15-16, this day was observed fifty days from the wave sheaf offering: "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh."
The Feast of Weeks is exactly seven complete weeks plus one day or fifty days from when the priest waved the omer offering. Since the sheaf was waved on the Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks is always observed on the first day of the week. Similar to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, this Feast commemorated the wheat harvest. As wheat was more valued than barley, this was an important harvest for Israel. On this day Israel was told to make two loaves with fine flour or wheat and have the priest wave them before Yahweh, analogous to the omer offering: "Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto Yahweh…And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before Yahweh, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest" (Lev. 23:17, 20).
While there is much debate as to what these two loaves represent, it’s been suggested that they may symbolize Jew and gentile. In addition to the agricultural connection, it is also speculated that at this time Moses received the Law from Sinai. Exodus 19:1 offers indication of this event: "In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai."
Israel was at Sinai in the third month, the same month as the Feast of Weeks. Based on this, it is probable that Moses received the commandments on this Feast. In addition to Scripture, Jewish tradition also holds to the law being delivered on this day.
Furthermore, almost all major events in the Old Testament were connected to a Feast observance. It would seem rather strange or out of place to find no connection with the giving of the Law at Sinai and an Old Testament Feast.
Assuming that the commandments were received on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, an interesting parallel is found in the New Testament.
In Acts 2:1-4 we find the outpouring of Yahweh’s Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
Yahweh’s Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. As confirmation of this momentous event, through the Spirit those gathered received the gift of tongues or the ability to speak in other languages. As a matter of fact, it was through this Spirit and gift that led to the saving of the 3,000 souls in verse 41.
It is important to note that the Holy Spirit completes the Law. While the law defines the morality and truth of Yahweh, the Spirit helps believers to distinguish and rightly apply the Law. The two complement one another. From the evidence it is reasonable to conclude that the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost was fulfilled through the Old and New Testaments by the giving of the Law at Sinai and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Jerusalem. As seen, the two loaves may also depict the grafting in of the gentiles with Israel, see also Romans 11:11-24.
In part 2 in this series, we will ex-plore the remaining fall feasts, which foreshadow events connected with Yahshua’s Second Coming, Yahweh’s Millennial Kingdom, and the Great White Throne Judgment.
Don’t Be Left Out
Don’t be left out, it is not too late. Make plans now to join Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry for these prophetic days of worship! Your life and your Bible understanding will never be the same as you receive Yahweh’s blessings for your obedience.