With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
We are in the midst of the Fall Feasts of the Lord. The beginning of this week was Rosh Hahsanah, or the Feast of Trumpets. October 11-12 is Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, and the following week (October 16-23) is Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. As I have continued to point out, the Lord's Feasts have great significance for both God's Chosen People, the Jews, and us Christians, follows of Yeshua, the coming Messiah. God established His Feasts as a memorial to His faithfulness throughout history to the nation of Israel as His Chosen People, and to all people who would believe in Him through all the coming generations.
The first four feasts have already been fulfilled, the first two by Jesus Christ on the actual feast days according to the Hebrew calendar. He was sacrificed on Passover, and resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits. The third Feast of Unleavened Bread carried great significance in light of His sinless life and His sacrifice, while the fourth Feast, Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks, was again fulfilled on the exact day on what we now call Pentecost.
The Fall Feasts look forward to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy concerning Yeshua’s End Times’ return when He will come with trumpet blasts to usher in a new age of purified fellowship with Him in His new kingdom on earth. And we are now in the midst of that sanctified season. And for that reason, I think it is incumbent upon us to do a quick review of the holy significance of these two weeks in October.
The Feast of Trumpets is a time of new beginnings. There is even some speculation by Bible scholars that based on the view that John the Baptist was born in the spring, around Passover, and his birth preceded the birth of Jesus by 6 months (Luke 1:36), it’s possible to place the birth of the Messiah on the Feast of Trumpets. That would definitely be representative of a new beginning for mankind!
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 we read about the great trumpet (Shofar) that will sound in heaven when the dead who are in Yeshua will rise from their graves, and those who are still alive will go to meet Him in the air. This event precedes the return of the Messiah. The book of Revelation also talks about trumpets sounding in heaven as a series of judgments are poured out on the earth. All of this is to prepare the earth for the Messiah’s return. It is a warning—a wakeup to the earth and the inhabitants therein to get ready! Does it mean that the Rapture of the Church will take place on this Feast Day? It is possible, and Scripture hints at it. But the Bible also says that the Church will be raptured when “the full number of gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). If so, the rapture of the Church could happen on any given day, although Acts 15:13-18 makes it clear that the rapture will have to precede the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week. Since no one knows the day or hour, I prefer to see the Feast of Trumpets as a time of prayer and repentance and acknowledging not only God’s grace, but His calling by the shofar to get ready for a new beginning in the history of mankind.
Ten days later is Yom Kippur. Translated into English as the “Day of Atonement,” Yom Kippur was the only time of year the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place of the Temple to atone for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the entire nation. This was done by sacrificing a bull and a goat and sprinkling the blood of these animals on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Also on this day, two goats were brought before the High Priest. He would lay hands on them and symbolically transfer the sins of the people into them. The first one was the sacrifice—the one that provided atonement for the people’s sins. The second, however, was the scapegoat. This one was released into the wilderness to wander and eventually die, removing sin from the camp. The blood of the first goat brought forgiveness. The second brought sanctification.
Prophetically, The Day of Atonement will be the day in which God’s judgment will be rendered, the books will be closed and everyone’s fate is sealed. It will be a solemn day of acknowledging our sins and seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy.
We need to understand that the shedding of blood has always been required for the forgiveness of sin, and it always will be. That is why the Messiah had to die and shed His blood for us. That is the good news. We have a Redeemer who exchanged His blood for ours. The debt we owe, for both intentional and unintentional sins, was paid by Yeshua through His death on the cross. All we have to do is accept His sacrifice on our behalf.
The third and final Feast in this month of October is Sukkot, otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths. Sukkot, which begins five days after Yom Kippur, is a seven-day period during which Jewish People look back into the history of Israel and remember their forty-year period of wandering in the wilderness. To us Christians, the Feast of Tabernacles represents the Lord’s shelter in the world to come and His great Tabernacle that will exist in Jerusalem in the Kingdom Age. The Lord will establish His Tabernacle in Jerusalem and the world will come each year to appear before the King and worship Him (Zechariah 14:14-17).
But there is another picture that presents itself during this final Feast. Historically, it was also a celebration of the fall harvest and the Lord’s bountiful provision. Prophetically, it is a picture of the harvest of souls that will come at the End of this Age. It should be easy to see that events that were external and physical in the Old Testament are often internal and spiritual in the New Testament. There is a sense in which these holy days also reflect the life of every believer.
Jesus came to offer us new beginnings (Feast of Trumpets), and to live in our hearts at our new birth. As He required the shedding of innocent blood to reconcile Himself with Israel (Yom Kippur) so He shed His own Blood to reconcile Himself with us. As He dwelt with the Israelites in the wilderness of Midian (Tabernacles), so He dwells with us in the wilderness of Earth. “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” He promised (Matt 28:20). Even so, Come Lord Jesus! (Rev. 22:20). As we celebrate these Fall Feats of the Lord, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.