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Bible Study: Seeing Christ in the Old Testament

One of the greatest misconceptions that many people have about the Bible is that the Old and New Testaments are separate items, dealing with different things.  What needs to be seen is that they both focus on Jesus Christ, just from slightly different viewpoints. 

One way to understand this is to imagine how you would adequately document a sculpture if you could only use a regular 35mm camera.  Since you couldn’t take one picture of all of the sides at one time, you would have to take a series of shots, from a variety of different angles, to produce a clear understanding of the statue as a whole.  This series of photos would have to be examined as a group in order to get a grasp of the detail of all aspects of the statue, from all directions. 

This is the same way that we have to look at Scripture.  Jesus Christ is so awesome, in so many ways, that no one written story can encompass the whole.  So God gave us a series of written stories, told from a variety of viewpoints, so that we could gain a clearer picture of Jesus.  These stories range from Genesis (Jesus as creator and covenant-maker), through the rest of the Law (Jesus as Righteousness), the historical writings (Jesus as One who guides His People, and Who controls the World), the Prophets (Jesus as Judge and Savior, the ultimate victor), into the New Testament Gospels (Jesus as Savior, the Lamb of God who takes a way the sin of the world), the Epistle’s (Jesus working in the lives of the saved), and finally to the Revelation (Jesus as King of Kings, who returns the earth (and the saved) to their originally intended perfection).

The purpose of this booklet is to help you see Jesus in the Old Testament, so that you can have a greater understanding of the focus and unity of the Bible.  It is my hope that this will lead you to a greater appreciation for the constant interaction that God has had with us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Let’s start at the Beginning, in Genesis 1:1,  where one of the names of Christ is seen in the Hebrew Text, but is never seen in any of the English translations.  Christ  As  Creator  in  Genesis  1:1   The ALEPH / TAV

Genesis 1:1
Bre’shiyt  bara’  ‘Elohiym  ‘et  hashamayim  w’et  ha’arets.

Genesis 1: 1     |7225| In the beginning     |1254| created     |0430| God     |0853| –            
|8064| the heavens     |0853| and     |0776| the earth

853   apparent contracted from 226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; untranslated particle   AV – not translated; 22 occurrences, primarily in Genesis 1  sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative
Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon,  1995.

Let’s look at the other usages of this “untranslatable article” in the first chapter of Genesis, in the verses in which it appears.

   |7200| And saw     |0430| God     |0853| –             |0216| the light     |3588| that     |9999| {it was}      |2896| good     |0914| and separated     |0430| God     |0996| between     |0216| the light     |0996| and     |2822| the darkness.

   |6213| And made     |0430| God     |0853| –             |7549| the space,     |0914| and He separated     |0996| between     |4325| the waters     |0834| which     |9999| {were}     |8478| under     |7549| the space     |0996| and     |4325| the waters     |0834| which     |9999| {were}     |5921| above     |7549| the space     |1961| and it was     |3651| so.

   |6213| And made     |0430| God     |0853| –             |8147| two     |3974| the lights     |1419| great.     |0853| –              |3974| The light     |1419| great     |4475| for the rule of     |3117| the day,     |0853|              |3974| the light     |6996| small     |4475| for the rule of     |3915| the night,     |0853|             |3556| the stars.

   |1254| And created     |0430| God     |0853| –             |8577| the sea-monsters     |1419| great     |0853|               |3605| all     |9999| {having a}     |5315| life     |2416| living     |7430| that crawls     |9999| {with}     |0834| which     |8317| swarmed     |4325| the waters     |4327| after their species,     |0853|               |3605| every     |5775| bird     |9999| {with}      |3671| wing     |4327| after its species.     |7200| And saw     |0430| God     |3588| that     |2896| good     |9999| {it was}

   |1288| And blessed     |0853| them     |0430| God     |0559| saying,     |6509| Be fruitful     |7235| and be many,     |4390| and fill     |0853| –             |4325| the waters     |3220| in the oceans.     |5775| And the birds     |7235| let multiply     |0776| on the earth.

   |6213| And made     |0430| God     |0853| –             |2416| the animals of     |0776| the earth     |4327| after its species     |0853|              |0929| the cattle     |4327| after its species,     |0853|           |3605| all     |7431| crawlers     |0127| of the ground     |4327| after their species     |7200| and saw     |0430| God     |3588| that     |2896| good     |9999| {it was}.

   |1254| And created     |0430| God     |0853| –              |0120| the mankind    |6754| in His image,     |6754| In the image of     |0430| God     |1254| He created     |0853| him;     |2145| male     |5347| and female     |1254| He created     |0853|

   |1288| And blessed     |0853|            |0430| God,     |0559| and said     |0000| to them     |0430| God,     |6509| Be fruitful     |7235| and multiply,     |4390| and fill     |0853| –              |0776| the earth,     |3533| and it subdue.     |7287| And rule     |1710| over fish of     |3220| the ocean,     |5775| and over of birds     |8064| the heavens     |3605| and over all      |2416| animals     |7430| crawling     |5921| on     |0776| the earth.

   |0559| And said     |0430| God,     |2009| Behold,     |5414| I have given     |0000| to you     |0853|
   |3605| every     |6212| plant     |2232| seeding     |2233| seed     |0834| which     |9999| {is}    |5921| on     |6440| the surface of     |3605| all     |0776| the earth,     |0853|               |3605| every     |6086| tree     |0834| which     |0000| in it     |9999| {is}     |6529| fruit of     |9999| {the}     |6086| tree     |2232| seeding     |2233| seed.     |0000| To you     |1961| will it be     |0402| for food,

   |3605| and to every     |2416| animal of     |0776| the earth     |3605| and to every     |5775| bird of     |8064| the heavens,     |3605| and to every     |7430| crawler     |5921| on     |0776| the earth     |0834| which     |0000| in it     |9999| {is}     |5315| a life     |2416| living     |0853| –            |3605| every     |3418| green     |6212| plant     |0402| for food.      |1961| And it was     |3651| so.

   |7200| And saw     |0430| God     |0853| –            |3605| all     |0834| which     |6213| He had made     |2009| and, look,        |9999| {it was}     |2896| good     |3966| very!     |1961| And was     |6153| evening,     |1961| and was     |1242| morning,    |3117| day     |8345| sixth.

How does this apply to Jesus Christ?  To find out, we must look into the New Testament.
John Chapter 1
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” 16And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Although we do understand that Jesus is the “Living Word”, meaning that He is the embodiment of ALL of God’s Word; the Greek Text for the phrase “the Word” is SINGULAR, indicating that John is referring to ONE SINGLE WORD.  What one single word from the story of Creation meets the following requirements:  one word, directly connected to God Himself, and was involved in every aspect of creation?  The only answer that meets these requirements is the ALEPH/TAV.

Revelation 1:8-11
8“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

As we look at the Book of Revelation, we see Christ using the title “Alpha and Omega”.  These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and they make sense as “the first and last” when you consider that the New Testament was written in Greek.  However, John and Jesus (when He was in the flesh) were HEBREW.  Doesn’t it make sense that if two Hebrew men were speaking to each other, that they would use HEBREW?  Also, since the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet are ALEPH and TAV, and since God directly placed these two letters in Genesis 1 REPEATEDLY, doesn’t it seem that Christ is actually applying the Title of ALEPH/TAV to Himself in Revelation?  Jesus is not only the First and Last in that He encompasses all of God’s fullness, but He is also seen directly as the aspect of the Trinity who did all of the “creating” in Genesis chapter 1.  When we take Jesus’ use of this name in Revelation, combine it with John’s explanation regarding “the Word” in John 1, and combine that with the Hebrew Text in Genesis 1, we see that Jesus is truly God, Creator, and Savior.
Now, let’s move from seeing Christ as Creator, to seeing Him in Creation.

Psalm 19:1-6
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,  Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

Psalm 147:1-5
“Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.  He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.”

The Hebrew word for what we now call the Zodiac is Mazzeroth (meaning “12 signs”).  When we look to the pre-Babylonian definitions given to the “pictures” of the Mazzeroth, we see that God had indeed written His Gospel in the stars as a sign for mankind.  It was only  in the time of the Tower of Babel, and of the following Babylonian astronomy that the pictures were re-defined to have pagan meanings.  The original meanings assigned to the 12 major signs (each with 3 minor signs accompanying them) were as follows:

VIRGO – The Virgin
 COMA – “The Desired” – a woman with child
 CENTAURUS – “The Pierced Victim”
 BOOTES – “He Comes”

LIBRA – The deficient price weighed against the price that covers.
 CRUX – The Cross
 LUPUS – The Slain Victim
 CORONA – The Crown Bestowed

SCORPIO – Seeking to wound, but crushed underfoot
 SERPENS – The serpent struggling with the man
 O-PHI-U-CHUS – The man grasping the serpent
 HERCULES – The mighty man vanquishing the serpent

SAGITTARIUS – The 2 natured man going forth conquering and to conquer
 LYRA – Praise for the conqueror
 ARA – The altar of consuming fire
 DRACO – The Old Serpent coming down from heaven

CAPRICORNUS – The goat of atonement slain for the redeemed
 SAGITTA – The arrow of God sent forth
 AQUILA – The smitten one falling
 DELPHINUS – The dead one rising again

AQUARIUS – The living waters of blessing poured forth
 PISCIS AUSTRALIS – the blessings bestowed
 PEGASUS – The blessings quickly coming
 CYGNUS – The blesser surely returning

PISCES – The reddemed blessed, though bound
 THE BAND – bound, but binding their enemy
 ANDROMEDA – The redeemed in bondage and affliction
 CEPHUS – The redeemer coming to rule

ARIES – The lamb that was slain, prepared for victory
 CASSIOPEIA – The captive delivered, preparing for her husband, the          redeemer
 CETUS – The great enemy bound
 PERSEUS – Delivering his redeemed

TAURUS – The messiah coming to rule
 ORION – Light coming in the Redeemer
 ERIDANUS – Wrath breaking forth on his enemies
 AURIGA – Safety for the redeemed in the day of wrath

GEMINI – The two-fold nature of the king
 LEPUS – The enemy trodden underfoot
 CANIS MAJOR – The coming glorious Prince of Princes
 CANIS MINOR – The Exalted Redeemer

CANCER – The possessions held fast
 URSA MINOR – The lesser sheepfold
 URSA MAJOR – The fold and the flock
 ARGO – The redeemed pilgrims safe at home

LEO – The Lion of the tribe of Judah aroused for the rending of the enemy
 HYDRA – The old serpent destroyed
 CRATER – The cup of divine wrath poured out
 CORVUS – Birds of prey devouring the enemy
Thus we can see that God placed the stars in the heavens as a continual re-telling of the Gospel of His Son, and His victory over sin and death.
Now let’s look at the declaration of Jesus’ ministry that is found in the genealogy  listed in Genesis 5.

The Composite List

Hebrew Name English Meaning
Adam Man
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow;
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort
Is that remarkable or what?  When you put it all together, you have…..

“Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.”

Now let’s look at Jesus’ interactions with mankind in the Old Testament.

We see a mysterious character who is frequently named as “The Angel Of The Lord” who speaks and acts in ways that are not consistent with other angels.  He receives worship, speaks as God in the first-person, executes judgement, and so on.  The more you study the Scriptures, the more it becomes evident that this “Angel” is God Himself.  But how can people interact with God, and live?  The answer is simple; these are pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus!

See the chart below to see how this “Angel” interacted with a number of people in the Old Testament.

The Angel (or “Messenger”) of the Lord in the O.T. is a mysterious messenger of God. The Lord used this heavenly emissary to appear to human beings who otherwise would not be able to see Him and live (Ex.33:20). The Angel of the Lord performed actions associated with God, such as revelation, deliverance, and God’s judgment. The Angel of the Lord appeared to the following O.T. personalities and performed the following actions on God’s behalf.

Appeared to  Action  Biblical Reference Hagar Instructed Hagar to return to Sarah and told her she would have many descendants Gen. 16:7–10
Abraham Prevented Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac Gen. 22:11–13
Jacob Wrestled with Jacob through the night and blessed him at daybreak Gen. 32:24–30
Moses Spoke to Moses from the burning bush, promising to deliver the Israelites from enslavement Ex. 3:1–8
Israelites Protected the children of Israel from the pursuing Egyptian army Ex. 23:20–23
Israelites Prepared the children of Israel to enter the Promised Land Ex. 23:20–23
Balaam Blocked Balaam’s path, then sent him to deliver a message to Balak Num. 22:22–35
Joshua Reassured Joshua, in his role as commander of the army of the Lord Josh. 5:13–15
Israelites  Announced judgment against the Israelites for their sinful alliances with the Canaanites Judg. 2:1–3
Gideon Commissioned Gideon to fight against the Midianites Judg. 6:11–24
Elijah Provided food for Elijah in the wilderness 1Kin. 19:4–8
David Appeared to David on the threshing floor of Ornan, where David built an altar 1Chr. 21:16–22
Residents of Jerusalem Delivered the citizens of this city from the Assyrian army Is. 37:36
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego Protected these young Israelites from Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace in Babylon Dan 3:25
The Temple The “Messenger of the Covenant” coming in judgment Mal. 3:1

Now let’s look at how Jesus is seen in the “feasts of the Lord” given in the Old Testament.

With all of the Bible studying that we do, there is one very plain teaching of God that is ignored by most, taught by few, and yet may have the most significant impact on your understanding of the Good News of Messiah, of God’s plan, and of salvation, and of about any subject you can ever learn in Church.

That teaching is God’s plan for mankind that is revealed right in the Scriptures, just waiting for us to find and understand! I am speaking of how God has outlined this plan and given it to the very people who He chose to bring the Scriptures to us today. That teaching which God passed down to us through the Jewish people is His prophetic calendar.

Most people think of a calendar only as the way in which we conveniently mark the passing of the days, synchronizing it periodically so that it coordinates with the seasons. Obviously people need a calendar, and so God created one that would not only help people keep track of the seasons, would not only be a way of remembering when to celebrate events in the eternal relationship between God and His children, but  would also be a way to pass down and foreshadow this plan for mankind.

There are about 40 different calendars in use today, including the modern version of the Gregorian calendar that is used in most of the secular world. But there is one calendar that is different — because the Creator of the Universe created it! The only calendar that God ever created! It is known as the “Hebrew calendar.” The Hebrew calendar is a “lunisolar” one – that is, one in which the months are reckoned according to the revolution of the moon around the earth, but which periodically is corrected to coincide with the seasons, which are dependent upon the earth’s revolution around the sun. In principle the beginning of each month is determined by a New Moon (molad) that is based on something called “an adopted mean value of the lunation cycle.” To ensure that Biblical festivals occur in appropriate seasons, months are corrected according to a 19-year cycle in which there are 235 new moons.

Years in the Hebrew calendar are counted, naturally, from the Creation of the earth. That makes sense, since it is the calendar that God Himself created for the use of the people of earth. The only problem with this is that there are differing opinions on when Creation occurred.  But the year doesn’t matter to our current discussion. Each year in the Hebrew calendar consists of twelve or thirteen months, with months consisting of 29 or 30 days. The thirteenth month is introduced 7 times in the 19-year cycle to correct it to the earth’s seasons.
That should be enough to show you that the Hebrew calendar is different than the Gregorian calendar, and to explain why God’s feasts and festivals occur on apparently different dates each year — that is, according to the Biblical calendar they are on the same date each year, while on our secular calendar they are different. 

There are 2 different words used in Leviticus to describe the feasts.  They are:
Mo’ed – which means “an appointment, a fixed time or season, an 
               Assembly”. Used in Leviticus 23:2

Chag – meaning festival, derived from the Hebrew word chagag, which  
             means to “move in a circle, to march in a sacred procession, to
              celebrate and dance”.  Used in Leviticus 23:6

Thus we see that God’s feasts are appointments with mankind that God has set, and that we should keep (or at least study) because has set these times for a purpose.  Also, they are to be times of joy, as God’s message to man is revealed to us: His grace, power, love, redemption, and provision are all shown in the feasts, and give us cause to rejoice.

Another word that is used in Leviticus, starting in 23:2 is translated into English as “convocation”, but in Hebrew is “miqra”, which literally means “rehearsal”.  Thus we also see that the feasts, as we celebrate them, are rehearsals for future events relating to our redemption.

How Christ Is Seen In The Feasts (Summary)
Passover speaks of the substitutionary death of the Lamb of God. Christ died on the day of Passover. Unleavened Bread speaks of the holy walk of the believer (1 Cor. 5:6–8). Firstfruits speaks of Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruit of the resurrection of all believers (1 Cor. 15:20–23). Christ rose on the day of the Firstfruits. Pentecost speaks of the descent of the Holy Spirit after Christ’s ascension. Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles speak of events associated with the second advent of Christ. This may be why these three are separated by a long gap from the first four in Israel’s annual cycle.

In studying God’s prophetic calendar, it would make sense to start at the beginning. But there are at least two “beginnings.” The first was given by God during the Exodus from Egypt, and is written about in Sh’mot [Exodus] 12:1-3
God said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.”   This Scripture is speaking of the month of Nisan (at that time called “Aviv”), in which we find Pesach (Passover). God gave this month as the beginning of the year for the Israelites because they had been “redeemed” or “saved” or “reborn” as a people, brought out from slavery in Egypt. This time of the year was to mark a celebration of Pesach for all eternity. It is the New Year for the Nation of Israel.  Notice that there are 2 “New Years” (Civil (Rosh Hashanah) and Religious (Passover), just as there are 2 “beginnings” for people.  You are “BORN”, and have earthly (CIVIL) life, but you must also be “BORN AGAIN” through the Lamb of God (PASSOVER) to have SPIRITUAL life also.

Most of us have also heard of Rosh Hashanah, (“Yom Teruah” in the Bible) which is commonly known as the “Jewish New Year.”  Rosh HaShanah literally means the “head of the year.” But it is not the beginning of the “new year” according to God. Since the exodus, that has been the month in which God told us to celebrate Pesach. It is believed that this date, the 1st day of Tishri, designates the creation of the world. Therefore it is not only the anniversary of the beginning of the world and the beginning of our relationship with God, but it represents the beginning of the bringing about of His Plan  — His plan for bringing to completion the perfecting of His relationship with us. For this reason the modern “Jewish” calendar starts with 1 Tishri, as does God’s “prophetic” calendar.

It is interesting and useful to look at the rabbinic interpretations of these feasts and festivals, and it is a curious fact that Rosh Hashanah is conspicuously lacking in the same sort of imagery and symbolism that the other holy days are. We are told that Rosh Hashanah is the “Day of the Blowing of the Shofar” (Yom Teruah). A shofar is the rams-horn trumpet that God commanded be blown on this day. Rosh Hashanah is the start of the ten days of introspection leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. But even more interesting than Rosh Hashanah on the 1st of Tishri and Yom Kippur on the 10th of Tishri is another festival, Sukkot (“Feast of Tabernacles”) that occurs on the 15th of Tishri.   The cycle of God’s prophetic calendar actually comes together at the Feast of Tabernacles, when, we believe, Messiah Y’Shua came to “tabernacle among us” and was born in the flesh in Beit Lekhem (Bethlehem) about 2,000 years ago. So to start our study we will, for now, pass by these three occurrences in the month of Tishri, and start just after Y’Shua’s birth. As in all calendars, the end of one era is the beginning of the next, and this month of Tishri is both the beginning and the end of God’s prophetic calendar.

Let us then continue from that point on through the prophetic year.

The next festival mentioned in the Scriptures is Hanukkah. Hanukkah is not specifically mentioned in the Tanakh (Foundational Scriptures). It is mentioned prophetically in Daniel, its story is told in the Apocrypha, and it is mentioned in the Brit Hadashah (Illustrative Scriptures, “New Testament”). Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, which falls approximately around the Roman month of December. Apparently it was celebrated by Y’Shua, because, as it is written in Yochanan (John) 10:22-23,  “Then came Hanukkah [or Feast of Dedication]. It was winter, and Y’Shua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s [Solomon’s] Colonnade.”
What is the significance to the Body of Messiah of Hanukkah? It is a celebration of deliverance — of redemption.   It is also known as the “Festival of Lights” because each year in celebration of the rededication of the Temple, the Temple would be lit up as at no other time of the year. Y’Shua is the Light of the world. Hanukkah, as a celebration of rededication and redemption, points to the time when the Messiah would come to earth and be the light  which points the way to salvation. In its earthly sense it is the story of deliverance from assimilation.

The next in the prophetic cycle is Purim, which falls on the 14th of Adar (Adar II in leap years). This is called the “Feast of Lots” because of the way that the date for the destruction of the Jewish people was picked. It is also a celebration of redemption. Its story is written in the Book of Esther. Purim is a holy day that shows that God will keep his promises and His covenant with those who love Him. Hanukkah and Purim show two sides of the most serious problem that the Jewish people and everyone who has ever loved God has had, has today, and always will have. That is the problem of assimilation. In the story of Hanukkah, we see the problem of voluntary assimilation that can be compared very easily to the recent history of the United States. In the story of Purim we see forced assimilation, where those who would not assimilate voluntarily were to be killed. This can easily be compared to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and other plans to exterminate the Jewish people.

PESACH/Feast of Unleavened Bread
The next redemption festival is Pesach (“Passover”), whose theme is redemption from slavery. Passover starts “between the lights” at the end of the 13th of Nisan and the beginning of the 14th of Nisan. The “Feast of Unleavened Bread” begins the evening at the start of the 15th. Both have become known collectively as Passover. Again, as prophecy it has more than one focus and purpose. In celebrating Pesach we celebrate and remember and thank God for redeeming our people from slavery in Egypt. But for us now, in the last days, Pesach represents the redemption that is available to us through God — redemption from slavery to sin. That is why on Passover God has made us focus on removing from our homes and from our lives yeast, or leaven, which represents sin.   But did the Jewish people prior to Y’Shua put this together, and understand its prophetic significance? Yes! There always has been in Jewish tradition a dual reason for eating the unleavened bread on Passover. One was because when the children of Israel had to leave Egypt in haste, there was not time for the dough that they had made to rise, to leaven, so they ended up eating flat bread. But in the first letter that Rabbi Sha’ul (known as the “Apostle Paul”) wrote to the Corinthians, in chapter 5 verses 6-8 it is written:  “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know the [old] saying, “It takes only a little Hametz to leaven a whole batch of dough?” Get rid of the old Hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach Lamb, the Messiah has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the [Passover] seder, not with leftover hametz, the hametz of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah [unleavened bread] of purity and truth.”

Passover points to redemption from sin. But even more important than that, it foreshadows the way in which God was going to allow us to have complete and eternal redemption from sin! The Passover Lamb! Tell me, what sense would it have made to anyone for Yochanan (John) the Immerser (Baptizer) to proclaim of Y’Shua, “Look, the Lamb of Elohim, who takes away the sin of the world!” if the lamb didn’t already represent the Messiah? And what sense would it have made to Y’Shua’s disciples for Him to show them the symbolism of His body and blood?  Redemption from assimilation both voluntary and forced — redemption from Sin — and the way to salvation.

The first day of the week, following the Sabbath of Passover week, is First Firstfruits, and is symbolic of redemption and salvation, making it highly important that Jesus was resurrected on this day.  This is due to the historic events associated with this particular date, which are:
  Noah’s Ark comes to rest on Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4).
  Israel crosses the Red Sea (Exodus 3:18, 5:3, 5:14).
  Israel eats the firstfruits of the Promised Land (Joshua 5:10-12).
  Haman is defeated (Esther 3:1-6).

Passover (Pesach, Heb.)
Ex. 12:1–28, 43–49; Lev. 23:5; Num. 28:16; Deut. 16:1–8
The evening of the fourteenth day of Nisan (Abib), the first month of the year (March/April).
(1) To commemorate Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
(2) To remind the children of Israel that God “passed over their houses, i.e., spared the firstborn of the Israelites (Ex. 12:27)
(1) Christ is our Passover (cf. John 1:29; 19:36; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:18).
(2) The Passover is the foundation for the Lord’s Supper (cf. Matt. 26:17–30; Mark 14:12–25; Luke 22:1–20).
(3) The Passover foreshadows the marriage supper of the Lamb (cf. Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:16–18).

Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzah, Heb.).
Ex. 12:15-20; 13:3–10; Lev. 23:6–8; Num. 28:17–25; Deut. 16:3–8
It began on the fifteenth day of Nisan (Abib) and continued for one week (March/April).
To commemorate the hardships of Israel’s hurried flight from Egypt (Ex 12:39). The absence of leaven symbolized complete consecration and devotion to God.
(1) Unleavened bread is a type of Christ (cf. John 6:30–59; 1 Cor. 11:24).
(2) Unleavened bread is a type of the true church (cf. 1 Cor. 5:7, 8).

Day of Firstfruits (Bikkurim, Heb.).
Lev. 23:9–14
On the day after the Sabbath of Passover (March/April).
To dedicate and consecrate the firstfruits of the barley harvest.
(1) Firstfruits is a type of the bodily resurrection of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20–23).
(2) Firstfruits is a guarantee of the bodily resurrection of all believers (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20–23; 1Thess. 4:13–18).
(3) Firstfruits is a type of the consecration of the church.

The next festival in the prophetic calendar is Shavuot or “Pentecost.” It is called Pentecost because it is celebrated on the fiftieth day counting from “Early Firstfruits” (Bikkurim), which is the day after Sabbath during Passover. Bikkurim represents the day when Y’Shua ascended to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Y’Shua’s resurrection is celebrated as part of the Pesach/Feast of Unleavened Bread. The historical significance of Shavuot, or “Feast of Weeks,” besides being a day of celebration and thanking God for the early harvest, is that it is believed that the Torah, God’s perfect standard for His children, the first five books of the Bible, was given then on Mount Sinai. Of course this makes sense because it is also the day on which the Ruakh HaQodesh, or “Holy Spirit,” was given to the believers in Jerusalem.

Prophetically it represents now. It represents the time of the combined Jewish/Gentile Church, empowered by the Spirit.  This time will culminate in separation of the Godly REMNANT from the worldly FALSE CHURCH.  During this time of culmination, a number of Jews around the world will come to recognize Y’Shua as the Messiah of Israel. Also during this time the rest of the Body of Messiah will recognize the Jewish roots of their faith. It is the time of Revival in which “The TRUE Church” will begin to be pulled back to the righteousness of God.

Lev. 23:15–22; Num. 28:26; Deut. 16:9–12
The day after the seventh Sabbath after the Day of Firstfruits (May/June).
To dedicate and consecrate firstfruits of the wheat harvest.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church occurred on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The two loaves, representative of the Jew and Gentile, contained leaven because sin is found within the church.

And now  we find ourselves back at the beginning – The day of the blowing of the ram’s horn.

It is written in Rev 10: 7:  “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”   This, then, is finally the purpose and the reason behind the “Feast of Trumpets.” This is why there is not a more complete, a more symbolic meaning traditionally given. This is indeed why it is not written in the Scriptures that Y’Shua celebrated this day. The prophetic completion of this day will come when the Messiah comes back for His children. And, indeed, it will be the start of the final “Days of Awe” as the Rabbis call it – the ten days leading up to the Day of Atonement. This is the period when all of those who would stand before the Judgment Throne and have their lives opened as a book would be pondering their lives, remembering all the times they purposely broke God’s Law, forgot about God and lived a worldly, assimilated, and sinful life.

The following are the names associated with the festival of Rosh Hashanah from Jewish and Rabbinical writings:
 Teshuvah (repentance)
 Rosh Hashanah (head of the year, birthday of the world)
 Yom Teruah (Day of the awakening blast, feast of trumpets)
 Yom HaDin (Day of Judgment)
 Ha Melech (Coronation of the Messiah)
 Yom Ha Zikkaron (Day of Remembrance, or Memorial)
 Time of Jacobs Trouble (also, birthpangs of the Messiah)
 The opening of the gates
 Kiddushin/Nesu’in (the wedding ceremony)
 Natzal (the resurrection of the dead)
 Shofar (the last trumpet)
 Yom Hakeseh (the hidden day)

Lev. 23:23–25; Num. 10:10; 29:1–6
The first day of the seventh month (Tishri), the sabbatical month (September/October).
To usher in and consecrate the seventh month as the sabbatical month.
In the N.T. the blowing of the trumpet is associated with the return of our Lord (cf. Matt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement on the 10th of Tishri then represents the judgment. Too late to seek atonement. Too late to change, to repent, to turn back to God and to live a more godly lifestyle. The world as we know it will have ended and a new era will have begun on Rosh Hashanah — the “Head of the Year” — the blowing of the final trumpet call. Eternal life for believers would have started. And only one festival of God remains.

Lev. 16; 23:26–32; Num. 29:7–11
The tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri-September/October).
To make annual atonement for the sins of the priests and the people, and for the tabernacle (temple).
The Day of Atonement finds its ultimate fulfillment in the crucifixion of Christ (cf. Heb 9).  It represents the redeeming work of Christ more adequately than any other O.T. type.

Sukkot, the “Feast of Tabernacles” — commemorates when Yeshua came to earth the first time to redeem us from our sins, when He came to earth as the suffering servant. In its final celebration it will signify when Messiah comes as the Lion of Judah – coming to reign over the earth in the Millennium.  It is quite evident from Scripture that Jesus was born on Sukkot, rather than in December (when we celebrate Christmas).  Thus John is quite right in his Gospel when he says, “The Word became flesh and DWELT (literally, TABERNACLED) among us.”

Names associated with Sukkot:
 The Season of our Joy
 The Festival of Ingathering
 The feast of the Nations
 The Festival of Dedication
 The Festival of Lights

Lev. 23:33–43; Num. 29:12–38; Deut. 16:13–17
The fifteenth through twenty-first of the seventh month (Tishri), with an eighth day added as a climax to all the feasts (September/October).
 (1) To commemorate God’s deliverance and protection during the wilderness wanderings (23:43).
(2) To rejoice in the completion of all the harvest (23:29).
The Feast of Tabernacles foreshadows the peace and prosperity of the millennial reign of Christ (Zech. 14:16).

So you see – it is all there! It is all shown in the cycle we call the “Jewish Festivals.” But I want to close by showing you what God’s opinion is of whether they are only “Jewish Festivals.” God tells us about the festivals in a few places, but mainly in Leviticus chapter 23. It is written starting in verse 1:
“God said to Moses, “Speak to the Yisraeli and say to them: “These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of God, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.”
Not only is Jesus seen in the Feasts, but He is also seen in each of the various sacrifices commanded in the Book of Leviticus.

Typology of Sacrifice:
The typology of sacrifice has been much discussed. There can be no question that, from the standpoint of the New Testament, many of the sacrifices were typical. They pre-figured, and designedly so, the great sacrifice of Christ. Thus they could not really take away sin; they were in that sense unreal. But the question is, were they typical to the people of Israel? Did Moses and the priests and prophets and people understand that they were merely figures of the true Sacrifice to come, which alone could take away sin? Did they understand that their Messiah was to be sacrificed, His blood shed, to make atonement for them, and render their divinely given means of atonement all unreal? The answer must be an emphatic “No.” There is no hint that their minds were directed to think of the Coming One as their sacrifice, foreshadowed by their offerings. That was the one thing the nation could not and would not understand, and to this day the cross is their chief stumblingblock. The statement that the Servant is to be a guilt offering (Isaiah 53:10) is the nearest approach to it, but this is far from saying that the whole sacrificial system was understood as foreshadowing that event. The great prophets all speak of a sacrificial system in full vogue in the Messianic age.  We regard the sacrificial system as great religious educational system, adapted to the capacity of the people at that age, intended to develop right conceptions of sin, proper appreciation of the holiness of God, correct ideas of how to approach God, a familiarity with the idea of sacrifice as the fundamental thing in redemption, life, and service to God and man.  It is important to notice that God ordained 5 Levitical sacrifices, because 5 is the symbolic number of grace, and the sacrificial system was always an object of God’s GRACE, since it was God’s choice to allow substitutionary atonement in the first place.  Most “New Testament” Christians don’t realize that GRACE is the topic of BOTH the Old and New Testaments.

The Mosaic Sacrificial System.
The Law of the Burnt Offering (Olah):
The law of the burnt offering is found in Leviticus 1.  They were for the statutory individual and national offering upon the “horned” altar before the sanctuary. Already the daily burnt offerings of the priests had been provided for (Exodus 29:38-42). The burnt offering is here called qorban, “oblation.”
(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 1:3-17).   This may have been from the herd or flock or fowls, brought to the tent of meeting; hands were laid (heavily) upon its head designating it as the offerer’s substitute, it was killed, flayed and cut in pieces. If of the flock, it was to be killed on the north side of the altar; if a fowl, the priest must kill it.

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 1:3-17).   If a bullock or of the flock, the priest was to sprinkle the blood round about the altar, put on the fire, lay the wood and pieces of the carcass, wash the inwards, legs, etc., and burn it all as a sweet savor to God. If a fowl, he must wring the neck, drain out the blood on the side of the altar, cast the crop, filth, etc., among the ashes, rend the wings without dividing the bird and burn the carcass on the altar.

Christ seen in this offering:  We see Christ in both “sides” of this sacrifice; both God’s “side” and the sinners “side”.  For the sinner, this sacrifice deals with sin through the death of the substitute, whom the sinner must DIRECTLY IDENTIFY WITH (by placing his hands on it and praying over it).  In the same manner, we cannot be saved unless we DIRECTLY IDENTIFY with Christ as our Savior, thus applying His death to our life.  From God’s “side”, we see that Christ is the “best of the flock”, whole, and without blemish; as was necessary for this sacrifice.  Also, He is the WHOLE burnt offering, given totally to God, without reservation.

The Law of the Meal Offering (Minchah):
The term “meal offering” is here confined to offerings of flour or meal, etc.
(The King James Version “meat-offering”, where the word “meat” simply means any food), and was first used at the consecration of Aaron and his sons (Exodus 29:41). These must not be offered on the altar of incense (Exodus 30:9); were used at the completion of the tabernacle (Exodus 40:29); and always with the morning and evening burnt offerings.

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 2:1-16).   It must be of fine flour, with oil and frankincense added, and brought to the priest; if baked in the oven, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, or wafers and oil; if of the baking pan, fine flour mingled with oil parted into pieces and oil thereon; if of the frying pan, the same ingredients. Leaven and honey must never be used as they quickly become corrupt. Every offering must be seasoned with salt. If of the first-fruits (bikkurim), it should consist of grain in the ear, parched with oil and frankincense upon it.

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 2:1-16).   This required him to take out a handful with the oil and frankincense thereon and burn it as a memorial upon the altar. The remainder was holy and belonged to the priest. Of the cakes, after bringing them to the altar, he was to take a portion, burn it and appropriate the remainder; the same with the first-fruits.

Christ seen in this sacrifice:  The Hebrew word for the “meal” (flour/cereal) sacrifice is “mincha”, meaning an offering from an INFERIOR to a SUPERIOR.  The word is sometimes translated as “present”, as in the story of Jacob sending “presents” to his brother Esau to forestall his wrath.  It is also used this way in the story of Joseph, when his brothers bring “presents” to Joseph (before they know he is their brother) to influence him to return their younger brother whom Joseph wants to keep.  Jesus is the “fruit of the ground”, the “ear of corn that falls to the ground and dies” producing a great harvest.  He provides FOR US the only gift that is GOOD ENOUGH for God.  We, the INFERIOR, must give gift a to God that is WORTHY of Him, but OUR righteousness is “as filthy rags”.  You wouldn’t give filthy rags as a gift to the president of the United States would you?  In Christ, we are able to give His perfection and righteousness back to God on our own behalf.  Just as in the Meal Offering, GOD had caused the grain to grow, but the offerer gave it back to Him.  GOD sent His Son into the world, and we “give Him back” to God in place our own righteousness.

The Law of the Peace Offering:
The peace offerings indicated right relations with God, expressing good-fellowship, gratitude and obligation. The common altars were fitted for their use (Exodus 20:24), as feasts had been thus celebrated from time immemorial. At the feast before God on the Mount, peace offerings provided the food (Exodus 24:5); also before the golden bull (Exodus 32:6). The wave offerings and heave offerings were portions of these.

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 3:1-17).   The offering might be a bullock, a lamb, or a goat, either male or female, latitude being allowed in this case. The ritual was the same as in the case of the burnt offering (see above).

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 3:1-17).   Blood must be sprinkled on the altar round about, the caul, the liver and the kidneys must be taken away and the fat parts burned on the altar; the fat tail of the lamb must also be burned. These portions were offerings of food by fire to the Deity. The ritual for a goat was the same as for a bullock.

(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:12 (Hebrew 5); 7:1).  The fat was to be burned on the altar of burnt offering. If it was a thank offering (zebhach ha-todhah), it must have unleavened cakes with oil, cakes mingled with oil and fine flour soaked. Cakes of leavened bread might be offered, and one cake was to be a heave offering to the priest. The flesh was to be eaten that day; none was to be left till morning (Leviticus 22:30). If it was a votive offering (zebhach nedher) or a freewill offering (zebhach nedhabhah), it might be eaten on the first and second days, but not on the third day; it should then be an abomination.

Christ seen in this sacrifice: This was the only sacrifice where the sinner and the priest would eat part of it together, initiating the common bond of hospitality (which was crucially important in Middle Eastern thinking).  This sacrifice was the Old Testament equivalent of COMMUNION.  When we come to the Lord’s Table to share in Communion, we are “feasting” (symbolically) on what God has provided, and we acknowledge that we are at peace with God through Jesus Christ.  See Luke 2:14, Colossians 1:20, Ephesians 2:14.

The Law of the Sin Offering:
The sin offering was a sacrifice of a special kind, doubtless peculiar to Israel and first mentioned at the consecration of Aaron and his sons. It is not then spoken of as an innovation. It was of special value as an expiatory sacrifice.

The Law of the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35; 24-30, etc.).
(1) The Occasion and Meaning:
Specifically to atone for unwitting sins, sins of error (sheghaghah),
mistakes or rash acts, unknown at the time, but afterward made known.
There were gradations of these for several classes of offenders: the
anointed priest (Leviticus 4:3-12), the whole congregation (Leviticus 4:13-21), a ruler (Leviticus 4:22-26), one of the common people (Leviticus 4:27-35), forswearing (5:1), touching an unclean thing (Leviticus 5:2) or the uncleanness of man (Leviticus 5:3), or rashly sweating in ignorance (Leviticus 5:4). For conscious and willful violations of the Law, no atonement was possible, with some exceptions, for which provision was made in the guilt offerings.

(2) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.):
The anointed priest must offer a bullock at the tent of meeting, lay his hands upon it and slay it before Yahweh. The congregation was also required to bring a young bullock before the tent of meeting, the elders were to lay hands upon it and slay it before Yahweh. The ruler must bring a he-goat and do the same. One of the common people might bring a she-goat or lamb and present it in the same manner. If too poor for these, two turtledoves or young pigeons, one for a sin offering and one for burnt offering, would suffice. If too poor for these, the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour without oil or frankincense would suffice.

(3) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.):
He must bring the bullock’s blood to the tent of meeting, dip his finger into it and sprinkle blood 7 times before the veil of the sanctuary, and put some on the horns of the altar of incense, but most of the blood must be poured out at the base of the altar. The fat must be burned upon the altar, all the rest of the carcass must be carried to a clean place without the camp and burned. In the case of the whole congregation, the ritual is the same. In the case of a ruler, the blood is to be put upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, not the altar of incense. In the case of one of the common people, the ritual is similar to that of the ruler. In both the latter cases the carcass belonged to the priest. If a bird, the priest must wring off its head, sprinkle some blood on the side of the altar and pour the rest at the base. Nothing is said of the disposal of the carcass. If of fine flour, the priest must take out a handful and burn it upon the altar, keeping the remainder for himself. The use of fine flour for an expiatory sacrifice is evidently exceptional and
intended to be so. Though life was not given, yet necessity of life — that which represented life — was offered.

(4) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:24-30):
The sin offering was to be slain in the same place as the burnt offering. It was most holy, and the priest alone might eat what was left of the ram, pigeon or flour, in the holy place. Whatever touched it was to be holy, any garment sprinkled with the blood must be washed in a holy place, earthen vessels used must be broken, and brazen vessels thoroughly scoured and rinsed.

Christ seen in this sacrifice: Jesus is indeed our SIN OFFERING, making atonement for us in His death.  See Romans 8:3, 2nd Corinthians 5:21.

The Guilt Offering:
The guilt offering (the King James Version “trespass offering”) (Leviticus 5:14 through 6:7) was a special kind of sin offering, always of a private character and accompanied by a fine. It expressed expiation and restitution. The classes of sin requiring a guilt offering with reparation in money are:

(1) a trespass in the holy things done unwittingly;

(2) anything which the Law forbade depriving God or the priest of their

(3) dealing falsely, with a neighbor in a deposit, or pledge, or robbery,
or oppression;

(4) swearing falsely regarding anything lost;

(5) seduction of a betrothed bondmaid (Leviticus 19:20-22). The
first two of these are unwitting sins, the others cannot be.

The Ritual (Leviticus 5:14 through 6:7).
A ram proportionate in value to the offense and worth at least two shekels is required. The ritual is probably the same as that of the sin offering, though no mention is made of the laying on of hands, and the blood is not brought into the sanctuary, but sprinkled about the base of the altar, the fat and inside parts being burned, and the flesh eaten by the priests in a holy place.

Christ seen in this sacrifice:  See Isaiah 53:8, 2nd Corinthians 5:19, Colossians 2:13-14.  We have ALL sinned and come short of the glory of God, and are GUILTY of treason (against our Creator), filthiness (spiritually), and sin.  Only in Christ can our guilt (trespass) be cleansed.

The Mosaic sacrifices given in Leviticus show the life, death, and ministry of Christ in its’ various facets.  The entire story is one of God showing grace to mankind, making provision for our sin to be cleansed, and providing a way for sinners to have fellowship with the Holy and Righteous God.  Christ is the True Sacrifice, that living Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

And so we come to end our journey through the Old Testament.  At every turn, we have seen Jesus.  He is Creator, proclaimed in the stars, announced in the genealogy of the first ten generations of mankind, the “Angel of the Lord” who interacted with mankind on numerous occasions, and the focus of every feast and every sacrifice commanded by God. 

The entire story of the Bible in BOTH Testaments is the story of Jesus, our Savior, Lord, and King.  AMEN!