The Feasts of Jehovah - Leviticus 23

by Joseph Hunting

INTRODUCTION: "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, . . . these are the feasts of Jehovah, even holy convocations which ye shall proclaim in their seasons." Leviticus 23:1-4

In all there are seven Holy Convocations which extend through the first seven months of the Jewish calendar. The first three -- Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits -- are observed in the first month.

The fourth festival -- Pentecost -- is observed in the third month, whilst the remaining three -- Blowing of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles -- are observed in the seventh month.

In the following series we shall respond to the gracious invitation of the Saviour to "come and dine" at the Festive Board of Jehovah -- the God of Israel.


"And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall celebrate it a feast unto the Lord, as an ordinance for ever shall ye celebrate it.

Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread . . . nothing that is leaven shall ye eat." Exodus 12:14,20-Trans. Isaac Leeser

Israel sojourned precisely 430 years in Egypt to the day! "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt was 430 years. And it came to pass at the end of 430 years, even the self same day, it came to pass that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12)

Immediately following Israel's redemption on the 14th Nissan, the nation was commanded by God to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th Nissan.

Just as the Lord Jesus, as the Lamb of God, unlocks the mysteries of the Passover, so His sinless body supplies the key to unlock the beautiful truths to be found in the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

In the Passover it is the blood of the Lamb that provides salvation, whilst the unleavened bread speaks of the sinlessness of the Lamb.

The festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread were originally two separate festivals, however, Luke records that they were observed together at the last Passover. "Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover . . . And when the hour was come, He sat down and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. And He took bread and gave thanks, and gave unto them saying, This is My body which is given for you: This do in remembrance of Me." (Luke 22)

When the Lord Jesus uttered the words, "This is My body which is given for you" , He revealed the true meaning for unleavened bread at the Passover.

Just as He was "the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world" , so also, "He was without spot and blemish," and, "in Him there was no sin."

Throughout Scripture leaven is used as a type of sin. Thus the Lord commanded Israel, "Thou shalt not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven. Ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: For whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel." (Exodus 34:25 and 12:15)

Even today elaborate preparations are made in Jewish homes to eradicate all traces of leaven prior to the Passover. On one such occasion a blind Jewish friend asked me to inspect the floors incase a single crumb had been left by the cleaner.

The significance of unleavened bread at the Lord's table is emphasised by the Apostle Paul when he corrected the behaviour of the Corinthian Christians. "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice or wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (I Corinthians 5:8)

The use of common bread as the symbol of the Lord's body at Communion destroys the beautiful meaning underlying His words "This is My body which is given for you." For this reason the Apostle Paul wrote, "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven . . . "

Finally, the Feast of Unleavened bread sets forth the believers separation from the world. "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened


As Passover and Unleavened Bread portray the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, so the Feast of Firstfruits speaks of His resurrection.

The Children of Israel were commanded not to partake of the harvest until the sheaf of firstfruits was presented before the Lord. Thus this festival is a type of Christ -- Who was raised "on the morrow after the Sabbath", (Leviticus 23:11) "as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre . . . and the angel said, He is not here, for He is risen." (Matthew 28:1-6)

"And the Lord spake unto Moses saying: When he be come into the land . . . and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it." (Leviticus 23)

Thus we see how perfectly the Lord Jesus fulfilled all that was written of Him. Not only is He "our Passover sacrificed for us", "but now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." (I Corinthians 15:20)