“Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the LORD will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning. You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, but at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt. And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the LORD your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God. You shall do no work on it.
“You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you. And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
“You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place that the LORD will choose, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.
“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.
“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
“You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the LORD your God that you shall make. And you shall not set up a pillar, which the LORD your God hates.
(Deuteronomy 16 ESV)
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
(Psalm 103 ESV)
Something to Consider
Deuteronomy 16: The festal calendar given by God and kept by the Israelites was to serve as a reminder of God’s provision of deliverance for His people but also serves as a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate deliverance for His people. A deliverance provided in the work of Christ. The foundational marker for the scheduling of these feasts was the Sabbath which serves also as a reminder that rest and reflection ought to be the atmosphere during our intentional times of worship. As we reflect on the general meaning intended for each of these three feasts mentioned here, we can rejoice in the fact that these feasts find their greater fulfillment in Christ.
The Feast of the Passover (Feast of Unleavened Bread)
This was observed in remembrance of God’s deliverance for His people from their bondage in Egypt. This was also the day in which Christ instituted the ‘New Passover’ (Lord’s Supper) before suffering on the cross to secure our deliverance from our bondage to sin.
The Feast of Weeks (Feast of the Harvest or Pentecost)
This was observed in remembrance of how God descended before the presence of His people in giving His Law to Moses. This occurred fifty days after the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt. This was also the day that the Spirit descended before the presence of the people at Pentecost giving His people a new identity in Christ (Acts 2:1–11). This occurred fifty days after our deliverance from sin through the cross of Christ.
The Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles)
This was observed to serve as a reminder of who the Israelites were as a people. They were a people who had been called, gathered and delivered by God. God had prepared a Promised Land for them and they dwelt as strangers in a wilderness that was not their own until the predetermined time had come for them to possess their inheritance. This symbolizes the way in which we ought to remember who we are as God’s people. We’ve been called, gathered and delivered by God in Christ. We’ve been promised a place that Christ has prepared for us. It’s another place that’s not of this world, and therefore we currently dwell in a wilderness that is not our own until the predetermined time comes for us to possess our promised inheritance.
The original intent in observing these feasts was to help the people remember the Lord and His work on their behalf. Each served a specific purpose in recalling a specific event that God had done in human history to bring salvation to His people. However, each also foreshadowed a future fulfillment revealed in a specific event that God would do in human history once and for all to gain salvation for His people.
How often have we overlooked that the message of the Bible is solely the message of Christ?
From beginning to end, the Bible is repeating the same message. Written over 1500 years by more than 40 different men on 3 different continents in 3 different languages, and yet the Bible is declaring one message all the way throughout. And it’s not man’s message about God. It’s God’s message about Himself, and what He’s done in human history to fulfill His plan of redemption through the work of Christ.
Perhaps the author of Hebrews has said it best;
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways [even through ceremonial feasts], God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son [Jesus Christ our Savior].” (Hebrews 1:1-2)