"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." [Colossians 2:16-17]
Jesus is risen! Do those words excite you? If they don’t, then they should! An old church tradition has a worship leader state, “Jesus is risen!” after which the congregation responds, “He is risen indeed!” He really is alive. He’s the only person in all of time to be bodily resurrected from the dead and glorified. Jesus is a prophetic fulfillment of the Hebrew Festival of Firstfruits. But Jesus is also our Passover. Our entire reality –all there is or ever shall be- is found in Christ. He is the fulfillment of every promise of God. All future promises that have yet to be fulfilled will also be fulfilled in Christ. I find it very interesting that the early Festivals of the Hebrew calendar have already been fulfilled: Passover (Jesus became our Passover Lamb), Unleavened Bread (Jesus eliminated our sin on the cross), and Firstfruits (Jesus was the first to rise from the dead). These three Festivals were fulfilled in Christ during His “Passion” week, during the first month of the Hebrew calendar. One other festival was fulfilled in the third month, Pentecost (or the Feast of Weeks) which was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came in power on Pentecost and the Church began. All four of those Festivals occur in the season of the first harvest of the year, the spring season. But there are three more festivals that have yet to be fulfilled: The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. All of those Festivals occur in the seventh month of Hebrew Calendar –the season of the last harvest of the year, the fall season.
The seven Festivals were and still are practiced every year. They have very specific regulations for each Festival and the regulations are “shadows” of a greater Reality, who is Jesus Christ. When we see a shadow, we understand that we are not looking at a real thing, but the real thing is casting the shadow because the reality is being exposed by the light. This is the Way of God. He doesn’t show us everything that will happen in the future, but He does make definite promises and we see only a “shadow” of what is yet to come. I cannot escape that the Festivals also center around Israel. There is a very rocky road ahead for Israel because the Reality of the three later Festivals is coming back. But the Church will escape the coming Wrath (and I think the time is very near). We can rejoice that we are not reserved for God’s wrath because we heard the Message of the Gospel and have responded to it (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The Church is such an awesome part of God’s plan, because if we remain faithful and long for the Appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we will avoid the coming Wrath. These are the Days of Grace. We have the freedom to choose God and choose to serve God. And we enjoy this Time of God’s Favor because the first four Festivals have been fulfilled in Christ, and He is now our Reality.
Jesus is Risen. And because He has risen from the dead, we also anticipate our own bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15) –well, that is, if our bodies have died when Jesus returns… because another, exclusive promise to the Church is that those who are still alive in Christ at the Lord’s return… will never die (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We will be caught up with Christ and transformed, forever glorified. It’s good to be in the Church. It’s good to love a Savior who loves us so much. But let’s be found faithful when He returns. Please continue to serve diligently for the Lord because your labor is not in vain. Seek first the Kingdom of God and the Lord will take care of everything else. Make Him First in your life, before all other priorities, and you will find sweet order and wisdom flowing into your life. And we can praise God for all of these things (and so many more) because Jesus is alive, sticking up for us every single day, without exception, until all is made perfect. This is our hope, this is our Reality.
Happy Resurrection Day, and the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” Come Lord Jesus, come. We anticipate Your Return with joy and awe.
Love in Jesus,