School has begun, coffee shops serve pumpkin lattes again, and the crisp feeling of Autumn tingles the air as the leaves of trees turn all shades of yellow, red and orange, and warm thoughts of the holidays drift through our minds. Holidays are special to most of us for various reasons, mostly because of family time, gifts, good food and all the decorations. There is a history that comes with most holidays, for every holiday had its beginning at some point in time and for some reason. It is important to know that reason or else the holiday loses its meaning, and one might as well call holidays “family time” instead of Thanksgiving or Christmas.
On that note, there are seven holidays that are special to God. They are most important and number one, because God says they are important. They are called “holy convocations” and “appointed feasts”. Interestingly enough God’s holidays are not Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day, Halloween, or Mother’s Day. Not one of these holidays was put in place by God. They were all manmade.
Nevertheless, in Leviticus 23:1 “The Lord spoke . . . saying, “Speak to the people . . . and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts.””
What feasts are these that God is speaking about in this passage? There are four Spring feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost. There are three Fall feasts: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. All four Spring festivals have been fulfilled through Jesus. He was our Passover Lamb, our buried Unleavened Bread, our First Fruits of the resurrection, and He sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The three Fall feasts have not yet been fulfilled by Jesus.
There are those who say these feast days are Jewish, but God does not call them Jewish. He very clearly calls them “My appointed feasts.” Because they are His, it is imperative that we recognize their importance and purpose. Does this mean that we have to celebrate them? No. We don’t even have to celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving, but it is more special when we do. Even so, it is a blessing to observe God’s appointed feasts, for in so doing we are celebrating what Jesus did for us and will do for us in the near future. Truly the focal point of these holidays is Jesus.
In the Hebrew language “feast” actually means “an appointment, fixed time.” And when God calls them “holy convocations,” convocation actually means “a rehearsal.” Therefore, all of God’s feasts are appointed times set apart by God as a dress rehearsals for something more to come.
A clear example of this is Passover, which was set in place on the night that God delivered the Israelites by the blood of the lamb from the death angel and out of Egypt. For hundreds of years, the Jews rightly celebrated Passover looking back at what God had done for them in Egypt. But God intended that more to be fulfilled through this “appointment” and so the people were to “rehearse” it until Jesus fulfilled it completely as the Passover Lamb. For it is by Jesus’ blood that we are delivered from death, hell and the grave. Now we too as Christians look back on Passover and remember all Jesus did for us. Clearly, this festival is not only meant for the Jews but for all who believe on Jesus’ Passover sacrifice. And clearly it is not just about food or family, but the focus is clearly on God.
So, as we enter the splendor of Autumn, let us remember that God has three “appointments” to meet with us as His people. The first appointment is Yom Teruah. The second appointment is Yom Kipper. And the final and most exciting appointment is that of Sukkot. These are not manmade holidays like Christmas and Independence Day; these are God made days for all God’s people.
We are living in the Last Days. Let’s be aware of what God is saying through His “appointed feasts,” and celebrate the soon return of Jesus!