Friday, June 8, 2012

The Jet Airliner of the Old Testament - Leviticus 23

Leviticus 23:1-2 "The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these"

One of the grandest Jet airliners you'll ever ride - "Leviticus 23"
Imagine yourself at a large international airport, where thousands of flights are going in and out and over the runways into the air.  You know that anyone one of those planes will enable you to launch into the blue ocean of sky above, however the plane you are traveling in can take you way above the clouds.  Your aircraft of choice is the "Leviticus 23", a massive plane whose wingspan dominates the airfield and whose range is utterly limitless. 

Certainly there are other craft that can take you up faster, however this one is known for its gradual ascent and its big windows.  Everyone who boards "Leviticus 23" will be traveling first class.  The destination? Jesus Christ.  The Pilot: God the Holy Spirit.  I am but a steward, and you are the passenger.

Now this flight will be done in several stages - since our journey will span thousands of years and ultimately all of eternity.  However if you stay with me - I guarantee you that by the end - you will behold the point of our journey - Picturing Jesus Christ. 

The 7 Jewish Feasts or "appointed times" and "dress rehearsals"
As in all flights - timing is everything.  Furthermore, you have got to be prepared.  God has thought of everything, which is why He uses the term "convocations" (in the Hebrew = dress rehearsal) and "appointed times".  What we see commonly translated as "feasts" in our old English translations actually refers to the process of the Jews eating and celebrating to recall what God had done for them.

As much as these seven festivals were designed to recall the past (at least the first four feasts), the more important thrust of this text is to point forward to what God was going to do (thus the final three feasts).  The people of God were on a journey to the promised land - the land of Canaan.  Thus God prescribed these "seven feasts" to both remind the people and point the people ahead to Himself.  Today I will just list them, with a brief phrase about how they picture Jesus Christ:

1. The Feast (convocation) of Passover 23:4-5 - Christ crucified
2. The Feast of Unleaven bread 23:6-8 - Christ buriedThe, sinless
3. The Feast of First Fruits 23:9-14 - Christ raised ffrom the dead
4. The Feast of Pentecost 23:15-22 - Christ ascended and sending the Holy Spirit

Now these first feasts occured in the Spring and Summer of the year on the Jewish calendar.  The last three feasts occur in the fall, they are....

5. The Feast of Trumpets 23:23-25 - Christ's return
6. The Day of Atonement 23:26-32 - Israel as a nation saved at Christ's return
7. Feast of Tabernacles 23:33-44 - Christ's 1,000 years reign or what is termed "millennial reign".

How we can see nature, history and prophecy focusing on Christ through the windows of this big jet airliner of "Leviticus 23"
As we noted earlier, the first three feasts occur in the Spring (our March/April), Pentecost in the summer (our June) and the final three in the Fall (our September/October).  Note those three seasons: Spring (New Life), Summer (Dryness) and Autumn (Harvest).  Truly Christ came the first time to provide New life to all who believe, this current age is dry, however as Christians we anticipate the harvest season of the coming fall.  In our eagerness for Him to return, we know the fulfillment of God's word will be reaped.

All of history is pictured in this massive chapter.  If we include Leviticus 23:1-3, we see Moses reflecting back on creation.  Christ was there with the Father, for it was through God the Son all things came into being. (John 1:1-18; Colossians 1:16-17).  From beginning to middle to end, from creation to redemption to Kingdom we see Christ at every point.

Then prophetically, these seven feasts all point to Christ - the one in whom their appointed times find culmination.  No doubt, we have entered into the heights of scripture through Leviticus 23 - and Christ is the One whom we enjoy seeing!

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