The seven feasts
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
The most famous part of the law of Moses is the ten commandments (Ex 20:1-17, Deut 5:1-21). These principles have been recognized throughout time all over the world, and they are the foundation of western civilization. They are shown in many displays in public places. For just one example, they are represented in three prominent places in the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, there are more than just ten commandments in the law of Moses. There are 613. In the law, the people of Israel were given seven main feasts to celebrate every year. Three were in the spring, one in summer, and three in the fall. Due to differences in calendars, they don’t always fall on the exact same days on ours; but the first three are usually in March/April, one in June, and the last three in late September/early October. They are described primarily in Leviticus 23, but they are also mentioned in other passages listed below such as Deuteronomy 16. They are as follows:
1. The Passover
2. The feast of unleavened bread
3. The feast of firstfruits
4. The feast of weeks, also called the feast of harvest or Pentecost
5. The feast of trumpets
6. The day of atonement
7. The feast of tabernacles
The word feast means a meeting at an appointed place and time. For three of these feasts, all adult men were required to attend – the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles (Ex 23:14-17, Deut 16:16). The feasts of Passover, unleavened bread, and tabernacles were for remembering how God brought Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness. The feasts of firstfruits and weeks were for celebrating their successful crops. The feast of trumpets has no specific meaning described other than blowing trumpets and making offerings. The day of atonement was a day for national repentance. Each feast had its own instructions on what ceremonies were to be performed.
There is a popular teaching about the seven feasts that says they have specific implications beyond the law of Moses. Some say they point prophetically to Jesus, and some say they describe God’s prophetic plan for the first and second comings of Christ. As to them pointing to Christ in general, the whole Old Testament points to Christ (Lk 24:27 and 44, Jn 1:45, Acts 3:18-24, Gal 3:14 and 24). We can certainly find correlations between the feasts and the New Testament without inventing ones that are not actually in the Bible, and without stretching the meaning of those that are to fit our theories of interpretation. However, we should be careful not to just repeat things we have heard other people say, or things that we have read. We should be especially careful about things that produce a “wow” factor but are not scripturally sound. Let us remember the Bereans who examined what they heard being taught to see if it was scripturally sound (Acts 17:10-12).
The popular way the seven feasts are interpreted to have prophetic meaning has some problems. It attaches meaning to some of the feasts that there is no scripture for. It stretches the meaning of some of the feasts to fit the interpretation. It ignores scriptural information that shows flaws in it, and it narrows down information about the feasts to exclude them to it. It ignores some details that don’t fit. Here is some information in the Bible about the feasts to illustrate these problems.
1. Passover (Ex 12:1-14, Lev 23:5, Deut 16:1-7). The commemoration of when God passed
over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and killed the firstborn of Egypt. Also, the
commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt. The ceremony featured the killing and eating
of a lamb and the putting of its blood on their doorposts to mark them as Israelites.
A. Correlations in the New Testament:
1. Jesus celebrated the Passover with the 12 apostles before His arrest (Mt 26:2-19)
2. Christ is our Passover lamb (1Cor 5:7)
3. Jesus shed His blood for our forgiveness (Lev 17:11, Mt 26:28, Rom 3:25, Eph 1:7,
Col 1:14, 1Jn 1:7, Rev 1:5)
4. Jesus is the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29, 1Pet 1:19, 26 times in Rev)
B. There are 20 other references to lambs including 5 of the 7 feasts (firstfruits,
unleavened bread, trumpets, the day of atonement, and tabernacles). This shows that
the sacrifice of lambs was not exclusive to Passover.
1. Abraham (Gen 22:7-8)
2. To redeem a donkey (Ex 13:13, Ex 34:20)
3. The daily morning and evening sacrifices (Ex 29:38-41, Num 28:3-8)
4. Praise offering any time by anyone (Lev 3:7)
5. Sin offering (Lev 4:32-35)
6. Trespass offering (Lev 5:6-7)
7. Burnt offering (Lev 9:3)
8. Mother’s purifying (Lev 12:6-8)
9. Cleansing of leprosy (Lev 14)
10. Feast of firstfruits (Lev 23:12, Num 28:26-29)
11. Pentecost (Lev 23:16-20)
12. Nazarite (Num 6:14)
13. The offering of the 12 princes (Num 7)
14. Anyone any time for a burnt offering, vow, freewill offering, or feasts
15. Sabbath (Num 23:9-10)
16. First of the month (Num 28:11-15)
17. Feast of unleavened bread (Num 28:17-25)
18. Feast of trumpets (Num 29:1-2)
19. Day of atonement (Num 29:7-10)
20. Feast of tabernacles (Num 29:12-37)
2. The feast of unleavened bread (Ex 12:15-20, Ex 13:6-10, Ex 23:15, Ex 34:18, Lev 23:6-8,
Num 28:17-25, Deut 16:3-8). A commemoration of the Exodus.
A. New Testament correlations
1. It was at the time of the death of Jesus (Mt 26:17, Mk 14:1 & 12)
2. Removing leaven is symbolic of removing sin (1Cor 5:7-8)
B. Removing leaven is not exclusive to this feast. There are 6 other examples including
1. Passover (Ex 12:8)
2. The consecration of the priests (Ex 29:2 & 23, Lev 8:2 & 26)
3. Sacrifice by anyone any time (Lev 2:1-5)
4. Meat offering (Lev 6:16)
5. Thanksgiving/peace offering (Lev 7:12-13)
6. Nazarite (Num 6:15-19)
3. The feast of firstfruits (Lev 23:9-14). A celebration of the spring harvest.
A. New Testament correlations
1. Firstfruits of the Spirit (Rom 8:23)
2. Of Achaia (Rom 10:5, 1Cor 16:15)
3. Of them that slept (1Cor 15:20 & 23)
4. Kind of firstfruits (Jam 1:18)
5. Unto God (Rev 14:4)
B. Jesus is called the firstbegotten (Heb 1:6, Rev 1:5)
1. 5 of these 7 references are about God’s people, not Christ. Only 1 is about Him.
2. Correlations with harvest and the second coming mean it is at the end of the time
frame, not the middle or even closer to the beginning than the end as the feast of
firstfruits was (Mt 9:37-38, Mt 13:30, Jn 4:35-40, Rev 14:15).
4. Pentecost, also feast of weeks or harvest (Ex 23:16 & 19, Ex 34:22 & 26, Lev 23:15-21, Num
28:26-31). A celebration of the summer harvest, 50 days after Passover. New Testament
A. The first New Testament outpouring of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-4)
B. Firstfruits of the Spirit (Rom 8:23)
5. Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25, Num 29:1).
A. New Testament correlations
1. Gathering of the elect (Mt 24:31)
2. At the resurrection (1Cor 15:52, 1Thes 4:16)
3. Some correlate Rev 1:10 and Rev 4:1 to the resurrection
1. There is no specific explanation in the law of Moses of what this feast may
2. Because a trumpet is mentioned in the New Testament relating to the rapture, the
conclusion is made that this feast represents that event prophetically. There are
many other references to trumpets that they do not try to correlate to the
resurrection including solemn days and the day of atonement (Lev 25:9).
a. Numbers 10:2-10 lists 6 times trumpets were used
1. when they called an assembly (just the princes, an alarm for just the east
camps, a second alarm for the south camps to join the east camps)
2. when journeying
3. an alarm for war (examples – Num 31:6, Josh 6, Jud 7, 1Sam 13:3, 2Chr
13:12-14, Jer 4:19, Eze 36:3, Neh 4:20, Joel 2:1)
4. solemn days
5. first of the month
6. over sacrifices
b. in worship (1Chr 13:8, 1Chr 16:42, 2Chr 5:13, 2Chr 7:6, 2Chr 20:28, 2Chr 23:13,
2Chr 29:26-27, Ezra 3:10, Neh 12:35 & 41, Ps 98:6, Ps 100:3)
c. the 7 angels (Rev 8:2 & 6)
d. Mt. Sinai (Ex 19:13-19, Ex 20:18)
e. Jubilee (Lev 25:9)
f. inauguration of a new king (1Ki 1:41, 2Ki9:13, 2Ki 11:14)
6. The day of atonement (Ex 30:10, Lev 16:1-34, Lev 23:26-32). The annual day of national
repentance and a special sacrifice wherein the high priest went into the most holy place.
A. The only specific New Testament correlation is Romans 5:11, although remission is
1. Many other sacrifices were for atonement
2. The alleged correlation to prophecy is that it symbolizes Israel’s purging of unbelief
in the Messiah. There is no Old or New Testament scripture for this. It is totally
made up to justify the correlation to an alleged prophetic timeline. Israel will turn to
Jesus as the Messiah at the end (Rom 11), but this feast does not symbolize that.
7. The feast of tabernacles or ingathering (Lev 23:33-36 & 39-43, Deut 16:13-16, Deut
31:10). The commemoration of the wandering in the wilderness before entering the
promised land. They were to live in booths like brush arbors for 7 days.
A. There is no New Testament correlation except for these which are not directly related
as the theory indicates.
B. The feast of tabernacles was occurring in John 7 (vs 2)
C. Zechariah 14:16-19 says the feast of tabernacles will be reinstituted
D. According to the theory, this feast represents God dwelling with man after the second
coming. That is not what the feast represents.
The prophetic interpretation places the rapture before the atoning death of Christ, which is why they have to invent a scripturally arbitrary meaning for the day of atonement. We can see symbolic meaning of Christ and even parts of the prophetic plan of God generally in the 7 feasts, but we do not see a perfect correlation or a specifically defined doctrine of this in the New Testament. The plan of God which He made before the foundation of the world will come to pass, and He will return; but not necessarily according to the interpretations of some.