God’s Fall Feasts
Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s spring feasts in His first coming. Historians have confirmed this fulfillment. No longer is there any guesswork. The remaining fall feasts are also prophetic and Jesus will fulfill them in His second coming. They will soon be facts of history also. Jesus redeemed the entire Body of Christ—the Church—in the spring feasts. He has not yet redeemed Israel. God has blinded Israel to enable His gospel of grace to go to the nations of the world for several thousand years. Paul records the age of grace as a mystery in his letter to the Ephesians. It was not revealed prior to Jesus’ work at the cross, and not recorded in the pages of the Old Testament. However, a seven-year tribulation period will begin at the close of the age of God’s grace. This week of years will mark the end of grace extended to the world and the beginning of God’s judgment. He will judge the wicked world and many will perish, as in the days of the worldwide flood. God will also use this seven-year period to remove the blindness and soften the heart of his chosen nation, Israel. The ‘7’ feasts represent the complete prophetic program of God. The prophetic program mostly pictures God’s dealing with Israel. Prophecy occurs in the context of time and history. Jesus will redeem the remnant of Israel surviving God’s fiery judgment of this world. The fall feasts describe that redemption.
Alas! For that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved from it. It shall come about on that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves. But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them’ (Jer. 30:7-9).
The fall feasts occur in the ‘7th’ month of the lunar year. It is a holy month for Israel, just as the ‘7th’ day of the week and the ‘7th’ year are holy according to Mosaic Law (Exodus 20: 8-10; Lev. 25: 4).
Feast of Trumpets – Rosh Hashanah:
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation’ (Leviticus 23: 24).
There is an interval of several months between the fourth feast, Pentecost and the fifth feast, Trumpets. Prophetically, that interval represents the Age of Grace—the time in which we now live. The Feast of Pentecost gave birth to the Body of Christ—the church. The interval between the feasts represents all whom God calls into the Body of Christ. The Feast of Trumpets marks the end of the church age and God’s call to bring them home. He sounds the call with the shofar, the ram’s horn.
Scripture reveals God sounds the trumpet on only 2 occasions: (1) When He calls His people into His holy presence, and (2) When He declares war upon His enemies. At Mount Sinai, God sounded His trumpet when calling His chosen nation Israel into His presence for the giving of the Law.
And Mount Sinai, the whole of it, smoked, because Jehovah descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice (Exodus 19: 18-20).
God revealed the mystery of the rapture to the Apostle Paul. The Lord will call the Body of Christ into His presence and escort them into heaven for eternity. He wrote of this mystery in letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air… (1Thess. 4: 16-17).
We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Cor. 15: 51-52).
The Feast of Trumpets stands unique among all God’s feasts. It starts with the sighting of the New Moon on the first day of the seventh month of Tishri. If clouds obscure the thin crescent moon, the feast will not begin. Once the moon is sighted, blasts from the rams’ horns are sounded consecutively from Israel’s mountaintops and the feast commences. Similarly, watchfulness is critical in anticipating the rapture, as several New Testament Scriptures confirm.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come (Matt. 24: 42).
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (1 Thess. 5:6).
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2: 13).
The shofar sounds when God goes to war against His enemies. Numerous Old Testament Scriptures attest to this. Several examples follow:
When you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and be saved from your enemies (Num 10: 9).
When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ (Jud. 7: 18—Gideon battling the Midianites).
So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. (Joshua 6: 20—Israelites conquering Jericho).
Old Testament Scriptures indicate God’s trumpet will sound when the great Day of the Lord begins. The trumpet will commence the period of God’s judgment on this earth—the Day of the Lord.
And Jehovah shall be seen over them; and His arrow shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord Jehovah will blow the trumpet, and will go with whirlwinds of the south (Zech. 9: 14).
That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements (Zephaniah 12: 15-16).
Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness (Joel 2: 1-2).
Near is the great day of the Lord, near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the Lord! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and the high corner towers (Zeph. 1: 14-16).
Wail, for the Day of the Lord is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will fall limp, and every man’s heart will melt. They will be terrified, pains and anguish will take hold of them; they will writhe like a woman in labor, they will look at one another in astonishment, their faces aflame. Behold, the Day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; the sun will be dark when it rises and moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of the Lord of hosts in the day of His burning anger (Isaiah 13: 6-13).
Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit fulfilled the spring feasts exactly on the day of their celebration. Two events will occur fulfilling the Feast of Trumpets: God will deliver the righteous in the rapture and He will sound the trumpet to warn of His impending judgment of the wicked. Paul pictures the Lord’s deliverance of the righteous in 1Thess 4:16-17 and he describes the beginning of God’s judgment upon a wicked world in Thessalonians Chapter 5. The Day of the Lord will begin with God’s trumpet, and He will pour His fierce wrath upon a wicked world and His nation Israel. God will prepare the survivors for entrance into a New Covenant and the Millennial Kingdom (Jer. 31: 31; Ezek. 20: 35-38; Zech. 13: 9).
Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur:
Leviticus 23: 27 – Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
The Day of Atonement is Israel’s most holy day. The Jews know it as Yom Kippur. ‘Yom’ means day and ‘Kippur’ means to cover. On this great day the Jews made a blood sacrifice from an unblemished animal to cover their sins of the past year. Only on Yom Kippur could the High Priest enter the Holy of Holies to make a sacrifice for the sins of the nation. The Roman military destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD. Animal sacrifices ceased in Israel from then until now. However, this practice will soon restart when a new Temple is erected upon the Temple Mount.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement (covering) for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul (Lev. 17: 11).
The blood of an innocent animal provided only a temporary covering for sin under the Old Covenant. But the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God made the final payment for the sins of mankind and provides true forgiveness for sin and reconciliation to God. “Behold, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Only those individuals who appropriate this by faith can be reconciled. These fortunate ones enter into the New Covenant, which was instituted symbolically by Jesus at the Last Supper. The New Covenant is an eternal relationship with God that can only be attained by the faith of the believer. The true remnant of Israel that survives the Day of the Lord’s wrath (the great tribulation—Matt. 24: 21-22) will enter into that New Covenant with God. They will finally realize and appropriate the fact that Jesus Christ is their Savior and Messiah. He is the One whom they pierced. God will pour out His grace upon them on that day. It will be their national Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn (Zech 12: 10).
Feast of Tabernacles—Sukkot:
The seventh and final feast of the Lord occurs in the seventh month of Tishri, the fifteenth day, and it lasts for seven days. God required the Jews make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast (Exodus 23: 17; 34: 22-23; Deut. 16: 16)
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD’ (Leviticus 23: 34).
And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days (Lev 23: 40).
God dwelled with Israel for forty years and manifested His presence by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day. The Feast of Tabernacles commemorates that great event. Jewish families erect temporary shelters of branches and leaves during this feast. They dwell in them to remember God’s miraculous work. The Gospel of John records Jesus activities at the Feast of Tabernacles. It provides us an understanding of His fulfillment of this feast. Each night of the feast was celebrated with a light show that rivaled any fireworks of the ancient world. Towering menorahs were lit afire and impressive torch dances were performed from the second night of the feast to the final night. This recalled the descent of God’s Shekinah glory into the temple in King Solomon’s days. Jesus had arrived to teach in the temple on the day after the Feast of Tabernacles—the Sabbath day. He proclaimed: “I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8: 12). Later that day He repeated that claim when he healed a blind man. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9: 5). He had proclaimed His light superseded the phenomenal light shows portrayed during the Feast of Tabernacles. This was His claim to be the Messiah. God the Son was dwelling with His people. The Pharisees understood His claim and considered it blasphemous. They plotted to kill Him thereafter.
The Feast of Tabernacles incorporated a sense of urgency for the upcoming winter rainy season. Many prayers were uttered to God to supply needed rain for the bounty of their winter crops. Each morning of the feast, the High Priest would lead a procession of musicians and worshippers from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam to fill his golden pitcher full of water. He then led the procession back to the Temple. They entered the Temple and the priests proclaimed in unison an important verse from the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isa 12:3). The High Priest marched the procession one time around the altar then ceremonially poured the water over the altar, praying for God’s water provision for the upcoming winter season. The Jews believed the final seventh day of the feast was the time God determined if He would supply adequate rain for the upcoming year’s grain crops. For six days the High Priest had marched around the altar one time then poured the golden pitcher of water onto the altar. That seventh morning the High Priest encircled the altar seven times before pouring the water from the golden pitcher onto the altar. The worshippers sang Psalm 118: 25 as they followed the High Priest around and around: “O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech you, do send prosperity!” They waved palm branches as they sang. Water and the coming Messiah were foremost on everyone’s minds. Suddenly, a young man in the crowd interrupted the service, as the High Priest was about to empty the contents of the golden pitcher onto the altar. He proclaimed: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7: 37-38). This man, Jesus, had claimed to be the Messiah. He offered salvation (living water) to any who would follow Him. The priests, Sadducees, and Pharisees were livid and correctly perceived this as an affront to their authority. “Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him” (John 7: 44).
God instructed His people to celebrate this feast during the years of the Millennial Kingdom. This is because God will, once again, dwell with His people during this time. He will be God the Son ruling His Kingdom on earth.
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 (Zech 14: 16).
The Feast of Tabernacles has a future fulfillment also, like all of God’s appointed feasts. Once again, this feast is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. The initial day of God’s Kingdom on earth will likely be the literal day beginning this great feast. But God will continue to dwell with His people beyond the Millennial Kingdom and forevermore. A wonderful promise has been recorded for God’s followers in The Book of Revelation.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God (Revelation 21: 3).
Believers living in the last days of this world will experience the fulfillment of God’s fall feasts. Many believe this time is very close. Evil in this present world appears to drive most current events. Satan knows his end is near and plans to take as many with him as possible. But Jesus has already won the victory. He is patiently adding the last souls to the Body of Christ. The age of God’s grace is just about over. Very soon Jesus will shut the door of the bottomless pit after He imprisons Satan for a thousand years. At that time Jesus Christ will have fulfilled each of God’s fall feasts.