Posted by: Nito | January 4, 2016

Did You Know: Your Appointments With God?

In Leviticus 23:2 God is instructing Moses, “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The appointed times (established feasts) of the Lord which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these” (AMP, underlining mine). Father God is telling us that these are His feasts. These aren’t feasts that man has figured out and set up, but are the appointed times we have with God. They are ordained by Him and occur on the exact dates within a Jewish year.

If your boss would schedule a meeting with you for tomorrow afternoon, and you appear in the morning of the day after tomorrow and say, “Here I am Boss, you wanted to see me!?”, what would your boss say? Would he compare you to the five foolish virgins who were late for the wedding feast and were rejected (see Matthew 25:1-13) or would he compare you to the lazy and disinterested wedding guests who refused to come to the wedding having all sorts of “good excuses”(see Matthew 22:2-10).

People say that we cannot possibly know when the end times would come. They base this on Jesus’ words that “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32, NKJV). But, right before He said this Jesus also said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Mark 13:28-30, NKJV, underlining mine).

Did you know that, throughout the Bible, the fig tree consistently symbolises Israel and her people?  So, when we see that Israel is reborn as a country and nation, and becomes to bud and put forth leaves (which has started back in 1948, when she began again to exist as an independent country) we should know that the end is near. Moreover, the generation that coincides with this event (i.e. the “baby boomers“) will not pass away before the end times would come.

So, even though we cannot exactly know the year of Jesus’ second coming, when the end of the human government on earth would end and the 1000 years of God’s government would begin (see Revelation 20:1-4), we can conclude, with a certain dose of assurance, that this time is very near. We are practically living in the end times, very close to the end.

Even though we don’t know the exact year of Jesus’ second coming, could we nevertheless assume that this would happen in the days that God has set up as His appointed times? If we successfully establish a correlation between Jesus’ first coming (that happened 2000 years ago) and the Jewish feasts, could we have some confidence in conclusion that His second coming would also occur on these appointed days?

Like, if we don’t know the year of His coming, could we assume that the days of His appointments (when we are supposed to gather together and appear before Him) are milestones on His project plan? And we could therefore come to these holy convocations expectant, and if nothing happens this year then we would expect something to happen the next year and so on?

Let’s have a look at the Jewish feasts and what has happened on those days. There are altogether seven feasts: three in the spring, three in the autumn and one in the middle. The first one is the Passover (see Leviticus 23:5) which Jews celebrate in remembrance of the night when the Hebrews, while still in bondage in Egypt, took the blood of a lamb and marked the doorposts of their houses (see Exodus 12:7), so that death, which swallowed up the firstborns of the Egyptians, would pass over them (see Exodus 12:12-13). As a result, the Pharaoh let them go and they were free from the slavery. Similarly, Jesus came as the Lamb of God and at the cross He took the punishment for the sins of the world (John 1:29) and so set us free from the slavery to sin (Romans 6:18). Without shedding of the blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). His blood has covered us and is cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Immediately after the Passover the next day starts the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for seven days (see Leviticus 23:6). At the Last Supper meal, which Jesus had with His disciples a day before the Passover, Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) broke the bread and said, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19, NKJV). The broken bread symbolises Yeshua’s broken body, which was broken for the remission of our sins and was laid down in the grave for us. Yeshua is the bread of life and whosoever believes in Him will never hunger or thirst (John 6:35).

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread (i.e. within the 7 days of this feast) the third appointment is scheduled, which is the Feast of Firstfruits. This feast falls on the first Sunday that occurs within the 7 day period of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:10-11). The Feast of Firstfruits symbolises Yeshua’s resurrection, because He is the firstfruit of those who are raised from the dead (see 1 Corinthians 15:20). We were spiritually dead due to our transgressions and sin, but with Yeshua, God has also raised us (who believe) from spiritual death into an everlasting life. Because of His great love for us, God has made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:1-6).

So, we see how Yeshua fulfilled the first three of God’s appointments 2000 years ago; with His death, burial and resurrection. To really understand the precision with which these spring feasts (appointed times) were fulfilled, we need to know that a day in Hebrew calendar doesn’t start at midnight, like our does, but at 6 PM (18:00) on the previous day (which is a zero hour according to the Hebrew time measurement). Also, we need to understand that the Passover lamb (that was to be slaughtered for the Passover meal), was required to be separated from the rest of the sheep, examined to verify it doesn’t have any blemishes or defects and then was killed on the Passover day at 3 PM (9 PM Hebrew time), so that it could be prepared for the Passover meal in the evening.

Yeshua was brought before Pilate early in the morning on the Passover day (see John 18:28). At 6 AM in the morning (exactly at noon according to the Hebrew time) Pilat succumbed to the angry mob that wanted Yeshua killed so he delivered Him to the legionaries to be crucified (John 19:14-16). He was crucified at 9 AM, which is 3 PM Hebrew time (Mark 15:25), and He died on the cross at 3 PM (9 PM Hebrew time, see Mark 15:34-37). He died exactly at the time when Passover lambs were slaughtered in the Temple in the preparation for the evening Passover meal.

What is also amazing is that Yeshua, the Lamb of God, was presenting Himself in the Temple for the previous three days, so that people could examine Him and see that He doesn’t have any blemishes or defects (just like it was done with other Passover lambs). Therefore we see how Yeshua fulfilled all religious rituals and passed all requirements for the sacrificial lamb. The Lamb of God died on the cross at the same time as the Passover lambs were sacrificed in the Temple. He wasn’t a bit late or too early; He appeared right on time for God’s first appointment—the Passover.

Yeshua said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40, NKJV). Traditionally, Christians celebrate Good Friday as the day when Yeshua was crucified, but if this is true then Yeshua’s statement that He would be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” isn’t. There simply aren’t three days and three nights (i.e. 72 hours) from Good Friday to Easter (Sunday). Matthew 27 describes the account when chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate to ask him to set the guard at Yeshua’s tomb because they’ve remembered His saying that He would raise after three days (see Matthew 27:62-63). So, they’ve also heard “three days”.

Did you know that according to the Jewish law a person must be dead for three days before their death is deemed official? For that very reason Lazarus’ resurrection, after he was in the grave for four days (John 11:14-17), was a great problem for Jewish priests, because a great multitude started to believe in Yeshua (see John 12:9-11). If Lazarus was not officially dead, chief priests could have dismissed his resurrection as fake and explain it to the people in a more natural way. But when his decomposing and stinky body (John 11:39) came to life everybody knew this was God’s doing. Similarly, if Yeshua didn’t spend three days in the grave, His death wouldn’t be official and consequently His resurrection wouldn’t be a miracle.

Did you also know that in Leviticus 23 God sets up two types of nonworking days (i.e. days of rest). Each Saturday (Sabbath, or Shabbat in Hebrew), which is the seventh day in a week, is a day of rest (Leviticus 23:3), but also are some of the feast days, which are also referred to as Sabbaths. According to Leviticus 23:7, such is the day after the Passover (i.e. the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread). In Mark 15:42 we see this day was referred to as Sabbath, but it was actually a Thursday. We know this because the next day, after this Sabbath, three women bought spices to anoint Yeshua (see Mark 16:1). In Luke 23:56 we see the same women spending the whole day (Friday) preparing the spices and then they’ve rested during Sabbath (i.e. a regular nonworking Saturday). Matthew 28:1 says that on the first day of the week (Sunday) women came to the tomb.

Also bear in mind that Hebrew Sunday starts at 6 PM on Saturday and the daylight during the Passover season lasts until 7 PM. So, Yeshua was really “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” as shown in the diagram below, and He rose up on Saturday evening (which was officially Sunday) during the Feast of Firstfruits, as the first (1 Corinthians 15:20) of those who were raised from the dead. After His resurrection, many saints were resurrected as well and appeared in Jerusalem on Sunday (see Matthew 27:52-53). So, can you see how Yeshua, apart from fulfilling the Passover to the exact specifications, also fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits as per requirements written in Leviticus? Can you see that when God says these feast are His appointed times, He is doing something important on those days and is expecting us to come and participate?

Jesus was resurrected after three days and three nights

The next appointment with God, as defined in Leviticus 23:15-16, is the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. On this day Holy Spirit came upon the disciples (Acts 2:1-4). Yeshua had commanded them to stay in Jerusalem until they would be baptised with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5), which happened exactly fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits, on the day of Pentecost. So we see that God is doing something on the scheduled feast days. He said those are His appointed times and we could view them as milestones in His plan of redemption. The progress of the redemption “project” is scheduled to be revealed on those feast days and we (as project participants) need to come to the project meeting to reconnect with the Project Manager, realign to the plan and check if a new phase is going to start. So, year after year, we are coming to the scheduled project meetings not actually knowing if this would be the year when a particular project milestone would be met and if a new phase would be started. Nevertheless, we come on the appointed dates expectant and ready (in the case it does).

Hence, the reasoning could be, now that we have established a good correlation between Yeshua’s first coming and the first four feasts, that we take a guess and assume that the last three feasts relate to Yeshua’s second coming. If this is true then we could expect that the most important events of the second coming would occur on the last three feast days. Those three fall feasts could represent the Rapture of the church (event #2 on the end times timeline), God’s wrath (starts after the event #7) and establishing of Yeshua’s Millennial Kingdom on earth (event #10). If this is true, even though those events will be separated by several years, we could be somewhat certain that Yeshua will fulfil them all with the same precision He did fulfil the first four feasts. Many scholars support this view, so let’s examine the three fall feasts, and their symbolism (so that we could see why is this so). Let’s start from the last (seventh) feast, working our way backwards to the fifth feast (the first of the fall feasts).

The last of the feasts is the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), which represents the time period when Yeshua will establish His 1000 year reign on earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and will rule all nations with the rod of iron (see Revelation 19:15-16). If you could describe the Feast of Tabernacles with a single word it would be ‘joy’. Joy of being together with God that dwells on the earth, in a beautiful age filled with peace and love, and where evil is absent (as Satan is locked up inside the Abyss, the bottomless pit, see Revelation 20:1-2). Isaiah describes this time period with the following words: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11::6-9, NKJV).

But before Yeshua comes for the second time, the world will go through a period of distress and calamity. Yeshua mentioned that the Great Tribulation (see Matthew 24:15-21) will start with the event that was prophesied to occur in the middle of the last seven years (see Daniel 9:27), which is marked as the event #5 on the end times timeline. At that time the Antichrist will stop the sacrifices (in the Third Jewish Temple that will be built on the Temple Mount), will declare himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) and will set up an idol in the Temple (i.e. the “abomination of desolation” referred to by Yeshua in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14). Antichrist will declare his dictatorship around the world and will force people to take his mark (i.e. “mark of the beast”, see Revelation 13:16). Who will not have this mark will not be able to buy or sell (Revelation 13:17). But everyone who would worship the Antichrist, or his idol in the Temple or receive his mark will end up in hell (Revelation 14:9-11).

Immediately preceding Yeshua’s return God will cleanse the earth from all evil. Antichrist will be removed together with all those that served and worshipped him and who took his mark. This series of events is known as God’s Wrath (placed after the event #7 on the end times timeline). Revelation 16 describes seven angels with seven bowls of wrath that are poured on the earth, causing various diseases and calamities. After the sixth bowl of wrath is poured, Antichrist is mobilising the world’s army and gathering them at Armageddon is an attempt to defeat Yeshua that has come (see Revelation 16:14-16). Antichrist and his armies are defeated (Revelation 19:17-21) and the seventh bowl of wrath starts a great earthquake. This earthquake levels all the mountains, moves all islands and destroys all the cities. What follows after that earthquake is a great hail with hailstones that weigh tens of kilograms (see Revelation 16:18-21).

But before God’s Wrath is poured out on the earth, Yeshua will “harvest” the earth (Revelation 14:14-16) and take all the believers out of the world (event #7 on the end time timeline). They are removed before the wrath, but they did come through the Great Tribulation (see Revelation 7:9-14). Hence, this event corresponds to the “pre-wrath” rapture that some folks talk about. This harvest event is symbolised in the feast called the Day of Atonement, which is the second of the fall feasts and is described in Leviticus 23:27.  It’s also worth mentioning here that there is also a “post-tribulation” view of the rapture, because Yeshua said He will gather His elect at the time of His “official” appearing to the whole world (see Matthew 24:29-31), when the sixth bowl of wrath (event #8 on the end times timeline) is poured out. I believe this talks about the Jewish remnant that will somehow “miss” His earlier harvest, but nevertheless the Day of Atonement for them (i.e. the Jewish remnant) symbolises this later gathering. Perhaps this is the reason (i.e. two distinct gathering of Yeshua’s disciples and people) that the word “kippur” (atonement) used in Leviticus 23:27 is actually a plural noun.

However, the actual rapture proper, the “pre-tribulation”rapture of the firstfruits (also referred to as the “rapture of the church”) which is marked on the end times timeline as the event #2, is symbolised with the first fall feast, which is the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets occurs on the first day of the seventh Hebrew month (Leviticus 23:24) which in our calendars occurs in September or October. The Hebrew New Year begins on the same day and also a ten-day period of repentance called the Days of Awe. The climax of this period (i.e. the tenth day) is the above-mentioned Day of Atonement. During this period one should introspect where they stand in their relationship with God and others. If one needs to ask for forgiveness from somebody, they should do it, because they want to be found worthy at the Day of Atonement (i.e. symbolically they need to be ready for Yeshua’s harvest mentioned above). The reason why this feast is taken to symbolise the rapture is because the Days of Awe represent the tribulation and Yeshua promised that some people will not go through it (see Revelation 3:10).  Those are His selected firstfruits (i.e. not all the church) that will be taken (Revelation 14:3-4) before the last seven years would begin.

So, this concludes the article. Friend, we cannot predict exactly when things will happen but we can make a good guess they would follow the patten of the Jewish feast days. Therefore, get ready because we do live in the end of days. And the best way to get ready is to become a disciple of Yeshua. If you want to do so, say the following with the full conviction of your heart.

Lord Yeshua (Jesus), I repent of my sins. I believe that you died on the cross to take my punishment. I believe that you rose from the dead and will come again to rule the world. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Friend, if you prayed this prayer you are born-again, which means that Yeshua (i.e. His Spirit) now lives within you. Find a good bible-based, Spirit-filled church that will teach you and equip you for the days ahead.

Happy New Year!

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  1. […] the follow up article we will concentrate more on the Jewish feast days to see if we could pick up some clues about the […]


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