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 The Feast of Trumpets
Leviticus 23:23-25, Numbers 29:1-6
Pastor Pat Damiani
September 17, 2017
Last Sunday 22 people in our family and extended family gathered together to celebrate several birthdays.
This is
actually a pretty regular occurrence for us since we pretty much have at least one birthday to celebrate almost
every month of the year.
Those gatherings are always a great opportunity to celebrate not only a number of
birthdays but to think about and celebrate the great blessing of family.
When we gather like that, we don’t do it because we’re directed to do that – there is nowhere in the Bible that
commands us or even suggests that we are to celebrate birthdays.
We do it because we genuinely enjoy getting
together.
The same is actually true for some of the holidays we observe as disciples of Jesus.
Nowhere in the Bible are we
instructed to celebrate the birth or the resurrection of Jesus, for instance.
There are really only two observances
that are commanded in the New Testament – baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
That’s why I’m really excited that
we’re going to have at least one baptism coming up on October 8 and I’m praying that we’re going to have
some others who will also be publicly testifying to their faith in Jesus through baptism that day.
While over the years I have run across some Christians who disagree, to me I see absolutely nothing wrong with
observing a holiday that celebrates the birth or the resurrection of Jesus.
Those holidays are kind of like our family
birthday get togethers – we observe them because we enjoy having a special time to celebrate those important
events, not just because we are commanded to do so.
When I think about the significance of family gatherings or church celebrations in my own life, it’s not really
surprising to me that God initiated a number of holidays and observances in the life of Israel.
Those feasts we
intended to remind the people of the great salvation that God had provided for them and to thank God for his
goodness to them.
Those feasts also pointed ahead to the arrival of the Messiah, who would provide a way for God’s people to be
saved for eternity.
Those feasts were divided into two seasons.
Earlier this year, we studied the four spring feasts [show chart] and
found that each one of them were fulfilled by Jesus at His first coming:
• The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrificial death
• The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by His burial
• The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled by His resurrection
• The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) was fulfilled by the coming of the Holy Spirit
While each of these feasts all pointed forward to significant events in the life of Jesus, we need to keep in mind
that these feasts were specifically instituted for the people of Israel and have great significance for them as a
people.
Go ahead and turn to Leviticus chapter 23.
We’ll be spending some time here over the next several weeks.
In this
chapter, God provides Moses with instructions concerning the feasts.
The chapter begins with instructions for the
Sabbath and then in verses 4-21, we read instructions for the four spring feasts that I just mentioned.
Then we come
to verse 22, which seems out of place:
“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you
gather the gleanings after your harvest.
You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD
your God.”
(Leviticus 23:22 ESV)
Then in verse 23, God continues with His instructions for the three fall feasts.
But for some reason, in this four-month
gap between the spring and the fall feasts, we find instructions for providing for the poor and the sojourner – a
word that is used throughout the Old Testament to describe someone who does not belong to the nation of Israel –
in other words a “Gentile”.
While there is no way the people of Moses day could have understood this, the New Testament clearly reveals
why God includes this verse about the Gentiles right here in the text.
First we have the words of Jesus to His disciples after His encounter with the woman at the well in John 4:
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’?
Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see
that the fields are white for harvest.
(John 4:35 ESV)
Notice the mention of “four months”.
I don’t think Jesus just randomly picked that time period.
Jesus has just told
the woman at the well that “salvation is from the Jews” and then revealed to her that He was the Messiah, who
would inaugurate that salvation.
That four-month period corresponds to the gap between the spring and fall feasts,
a period that corresponds to an important time in the life of Israel in which God is preparing them for their ultimate
salvation.
Then in Romans 11, Paul is writing about how salvation had come to the Gentiles in order to make Israel jealous so
that they would eventually be saved.
Let me read just a couple of verses from that section:
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has
come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
And in this way, all Israel will be saved, as it is
written…
Romans 11:25-26 (ESV)
These period that began with the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit and which will last until the
“fullness of the Gentiles has come in” is what we would call the “Church Age” – the time in which we are now
living.
[Show next chart]
Essentially the Church Age is a “break” in God’s dealing with Israel that will resume with future events that
correspond to the three fall feasts.
So it seems quite likely that all three of those feasts also correspond with the
second coming of Jesus in some way just as the four spring feasts were all literally fulfilled by Jesus at His first
coming.
[Show next chart].
So today and next week, we’ll look at the first two fall feasts – the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.
And then at the beginning of October, we’ll study the final feast – the Feast of Booths.
Hopefully, you’re still in Leviticus 23 and you can follow along as I read verse 23-25:
[Read Leviticus 23:23-25]
There is some further detail about the offerings that were to be made as part of this feast in Numbers 29:1-6.
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