Leviticus 23

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 19, 1997

Introduction

Weíve been going through some miscellaneous laws, but itís still all about holiness, being like God.

Leviticus 23

:2 holy convocations

Next week is our Menís Retreat, where weíre going to have a great time of fellowship, sharing with other believers, getting close to each other in the Lord.

The Jews would be spending 40 years together, kind of like one great big retreat, but when they got into the promised land, they would "all go home".

So, it would be important to set up with the people the regular times when they would come together for fellowship.

Hebrew "miqra' " - convocation, calling together.

A time when the believers got together.

We call it fellowship.

There were to be a whole lot of times during the year that the believers were to get together.

Three statements about fellowship...

1. Fellowship is a chance to be encouraged.

HEB 10:24-25 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging {one another}; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

The question is, when youíre with other Christians, will you take the time to encourage others and to be encouraged.

2. Without fellowship, we can fall away.

HEB 3:12-13 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is {still} called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

I see it all the time when a person stops coming to church for one reason or another.

Then they get used to not coming.

Then they fall away. They get a hard heart, and no one is around to catch it.

One of Satan's favorite techniques is "isolation therapy", getting you off by yourself, then making you feel like nobody understands you or can help you...

3. Our fellowship needs to be in the Lord.

1JO 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Some people get together with other Christians, and just because they are with other Christians, even maybe meeting in a church building, it isn't fellowship.

Playing on a church softball team isn't fellowship. Not until you've sat down and talked about the Lord afterwards.

"Fellowship" (koinonia) means "sharing", it means "having something in common" with someone. We can have many things in common with people - hobbies, musical interests, tastes in pastoral teaching styles... But the thing we need to have fellowship in is the fact that we all share a love for Jesus.

:2 which ye shall proclaim

Another part of the priest's duties was to call people to fellowship.

Encourage people to go to, and plug into, church.

Separate a coal from the pile in the middle of the barbecue, it will go out. Put it in the pile, it will burn bright.

It doesn't have to be our church, just a church where the people can fellowship in Jesus.

:3 sabbath

Once a week was to be a "holy convocation".

Not just a day off, or a day at the river, but a day at church.

:5 Passover

Once a year, in our March - April time.

Celebrating the Lord's deliverance from Egypt.

A Feast where all males where required to go to Jerusalem during.

Note:

The Jewish calendar is not like our calendar.

Their "1st month" is not comparable to our January.

They were on a lunar-solar calendar in that they allowed the sunís orbit to determine the beginning of the year, but based their months on the phases of the moon. They had twelve months, but they fell a little differently than our own.

So, youíll hear me say stuff like, "this falls in our March-April time frame". Itís not a direct corollary with our calendar.

:6-8 Unleavened Bread

Considered a part of Passover. Seven days after Passover.

Celebrating God's deliverance from Egypt, how they ate unleavened bread, no time to leaven it, as they ran.

Note that it starts and ends with a "convocation", a gathering together of God's people.

Leaven is often seen as a symbol for sin, and a feast of Unleavened Bread is a picture of purging from sin.

:9-14 First Fruits of Barley Harvest

It appears to be a special part of the feast of Unleavened Bread, celebrated on the second day of that feast, during March-April, at the beginning of the barley harvest.

It is to occur as soon as they enter the land, but before they begin to eat any of the produce of the land.

The principle is that the people were to learn to offer up to God a portion of their harvest before they eat of it, to demonstrate that they recognize who is providing for them.

:15-21 Pentecost

"Pente" is Greek for "fifty", this feast took place 50 days after the previous feast of first fruits (barley).

Also known as the "Feast of Weeks" (seven sevens plus one).

Other names used were the "Feast of Harvest" (harvest of wheat), and "the day of firstfruits".

Would take place around June.

:17 loaves

Each loaf of bread contained an omer of flour, (2/10ís of an ephah) about five pints, and would have weighed five pounds.

Note: This was the only time when leavened bread was brought before the Lord, though here it wasn't burned.

:20 wave them

Done by walking the animals forwards and backwards, towards and away from the tabernacle or temple, as an act of giving them to God.

:22 you shall not reap to the very corners of your field

Lesson:

Donít forget the poor.

Instead of welfare, the poor were allowed to go out into the fields, after the harvesters, and pick up whatever was left over by the farm workers.

This comes in the section dealing with all these harvest festivals to remind Israel to leave some for the poor people.

Even as we learn to give God from our "first fruits", we should not neglect the poor.

:23-25 Trumpets

This is a favorite of horn players.

Silver trumpets were to be blown on the first day of every month (Num.10:1,10).

Here, they were blown on this specific day in the seventh month (our Sept. - Oct. time period), to herald a day of rest.

Possibly to remind people that this "seventh month" (of the Jewish calendar) was a big month, there was an upcoming big date, the Day of Atonement, also the Feast of Tabernacles was coming up.

:26-32 Day of Atonement

In Hebrew, "Yom Kippur"

Takes place during our Sept. - Oct. time period, we just passed in on October 10.

See Lev.16 for more details...

This was the one day of the year when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and make atonement for the sins of the nation upon the mercy seat (God's throne).

It too was to be a day of holy convocation - fellowship.

:27 afflict your souls

Unlike the other gatherings, this one was a day of fasting, not feasting.

:31 you shall do no work at all

We found as we studied this feast in Leviticus 16, that this whole, entire atoning work has already been fulfilled, once for all.

The whole point of Hebrews 9-10 is to show that once and for all, Jesus paid the price for all our sins, making the way open into the Holy Place for us.

HEB 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

I find it interesting that such a big deal is made on this particular feast day about not doing any work.

Granted, in all the other feasts (except "first fruits"), there is a point where Israel was told not to do any work, but here it is mentioned in verse 28,29,30,31,32!

I think that God wanted a clear picture here, if you are going to experience atonement, a covering of your sins, you can't work to achieve it.

EPH 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, {it is} the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

:33-44 Tabernacles

Also took place in the same "seventh month" (Sept. - Oct.). Lasted for seven days.

Was to celebrate how God took care of the nation Israel in the wilderness, while they lived in tents, or "booths", or "tabernacles".

Jewish holiday of "Sukkoth" (booths)

The idea was that you would build a shelter out in your back yard with your kids, made out of branches, and live outside, camping, with your family for seven days.

Kind of like a vacation! Jesus was invited!

:37 to offer an offering made by fire

Another aspect of fellowship - WORSHIP

We come together to offer up sacrifices and offerings that are acceptable to the Lord, together!

We no longer have to offer up little bleating lambs, but something else, even more important - praise.

HEB 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

:40 you shall rejoice before the Lord your God

Another element of Fellowship - joy!

Songs of Ascents - songs that were sung by the Jews as they went up to Jerusalem to the yearly feasts, occasions like the Feast of Tabernacles.

PSA 133:1-3 (A Song of Ascents, of David.) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, {Even} Aaron's beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the \Lord\ commanded the blessing-life forever.

:41 a statute for ever

This feast will even be celebrated on into the Millennium!

:43 so that your generations may know

Another aspect of these feasts was the educational aspect for the children. (Ex. 12:14-15)

As the kids saw these things done year after year, they would wonder, "Why are we doing this?" Then the parents would have a wonderful opportunity to share with their children what great things God has done for them.

Your fellowship should be a testimony to your family. It should be an example to your children to follow.

Prophetically

I can't help but see a prophetic significance with these seven Jewish feasts. Some are obvious, some aren't, yet.

We see a prophetic significance because some significant things happened on these specific feast days, things which are just too coincidental...

1. Passover

Jesus fulfilled the idea of the passover by dying on the cross.

Jesus is called our Passover Lamb (1Cor. 5:7)

2. Unleavened Bread

Tied in with the Passover, is there any unique significance to it or not.

This was the Passion week. During this week, Jesus was tried, crucified, buried, and raised.

As we learn to identify with Him, we learn to put away our sins, as the purging of leaven.

3. First Fruits

It was to be celebrated "the day after the sabbath", and that could possibly refer to Sunday, the day of resurrection.

Jesus in His resurrection is referred to as the first fruits (1CO 15:20)

4. Pentecost

Fifty days after first fruits.

Fulfilled with the birth of the church

The church was the beginning of God reaping His fields.

We are called first fruits (James 1:18)

A Pause?

These first four feasts take place at the beginning of the year, Pentecost being almost two months afterward, but still tied in with the first set of feasts.

The next three feasts all take place in the seventh month.

Could there be some sort of correlation between the first and second coming of Jesus? The first set of feasts fir the first coming, the second set of feasts for the second coming?

There have not been any significant prophetic events that have happened yet during the last three feasts.

5. Trumpets

Many feel this might be tied in with the Rapture of the Church.

It is interesting that the two main verses that describe the Rapture, also contain references to trumpets (1Th. 4:16; 1Cor. 15:51-52)

1Th 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of {the} archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

1CO 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

During the Sept. - Oct. time period.

This is why some of these books have come out in recent years saying that the rapture is going to happen in either September or October ("88 Reasons why the Rapture is going to happen in 1988...")

6. Day of Atonement

Some see this as fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus, and the salvation of Israel based upon Jesus' death at His first coming.

ZEC 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.

(Rom 11:26-27 KJV) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: {27} For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

7. Tabernacles

Prophetic of when God dwells again with man on earth, during the Millennial Kingdom

It also happens to be the only feast mentioned as being celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom:

(Zec 14:16 KJV) And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.