An Introduction to the Feasts of the Lord
In God's Torah (instruction/Law), God commands His followers to observe seven highly meaningful holidays, called "feasts" (also called rehearsals, appointed times, or festivals). The most inclusive passage is Leviticus 23. These feasts can be divided into two feast seasons. The spring feasts consist of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost. The fall feasts consist of The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Why should believers care about the Feasts?
The bottom line is this: They are "feasts of the Lord" - not only "of the Jews." (Lev. 23:2, e.g.) Our God is the God of Israel and that which is His, is ours. We will find, as we examine these holidays, how truly significant they are in revealing Jesus to humanity.
These are not only holidays on which God gives us rest, as many are high Sabbaths, but they are patterns that teach us about God and His creation. Since most are harvest celebrations, they teach us about the cycle of the year and reveal the provision of the Lord. Furthermore, the mention of these harvests (barley, wheat, etc.) in Scripture often reveals thematic connections to Gods pattern of fulfillment of these Feasts.
But there is far more revealed than even earthly provision. The feasts are detailed rehearsals for mighty acts that God does for mankind. What God commands us to do, He Himself always does as well; He sanctifies these times by His incredible acts. They teach us about Gods acts in our past, such as freedom from bondage in Egypt, trusting the Lord in the wilderness, and taking His promised land. They also reveal our future. The feasts are prophetic of specific events in the second coming of Jesus and the kingdom He will establish.
The spring feasts (Passover, etc.) teach us primarily about our spiritual redemption and inheritance, and were fulfilled in detail in Jesus' first coming. The fall feasts (Trumpets, etc.) teach us primarily about our coming physical redemption and inheritance, and will very likely be fulfilled in detail by Jesus in a future time. There are many themes that run through these holidays, but they all reveal the power and redemption of the God of Israel and reveal His power over all else that exists.