The LORD's Feasts and Holy Days

Mapping the Plan of God

hand babyWhen God established His Holy Days—the weekly and annual Sabbaths—one of the reasons they were given was to set us an example or a teaching aid for understanding His plan of salvation.

 In Leviticus 23, we read how God patterned His feast days (Heb. moed –“appointed/set times”) according to the seasons and cycles of life and its environment (Gen. 1:14). These are not just coincidental because God knows right from creation how He will eventually use the growing cycles He set within plants, animals and even humans as an effective witness and tool in executing His plans.

Thus, if we follow the seasonal harvest in Palestine, God’s annual festivals can be classified and patterned with the Spring harvest—the Passover/Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, and Fall harvest—beginning Trumpets, culminating to the Feast of Tabernacles (“Booths”) and the Eighth Day.

But is there more to it? What other spiritual lesson from life’s cycle we can learn from?

With the advent of modern medicine together with the latest technologies, many observations even in the microscopic levels had come to light. One way to look at it is through our own life cycles! Yes, somewhat ‘hidden’ in our gene, we can actually map-out the plan of God!

God’s holy days do not only show us the plan of salvation, they also illustrate something only few people recognize today. They picture how we humans are made and how we were born. These must be very important to God that He patterned the human development or “birth process” after them. Let’s examine and find out how they are perfectly fit together.

This is how the cycle of life begins.

Ovulation in a woman’s body usually occurs about the 14th day before the beginning of her next monthly menstrual cycle. According to medical authorities the egg (which size is only like a period at the end of this sentence) must be fertilized during this critical 24-hour period for a baby to be conceived. After fertilization by male sperm, the egg or embryo begins a journey of seven days from the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it finally implants itself.

The embryo slowly develops and grows, by the 50th day the tiny embryo will then change to a human fetus (Latin for “offspring”).  During this period the tiny living human has now a discernable heartbeat, arms, legs, and other vital internal organs. The face begins to round and in more advance screening, you can actually detect its gender.  On this fiftieth day, this minute replica of humanity is, for the first time, recognizable as human!

By the 1st day of the seventh month one of the five senses –the hearing –is fully developed. Loud noises from outside the womb can be heard and responded to by the fetus. Hence, obstetricians advise expectant mother during this month to let it hear musical sound.

 By the 10th day of the seventh month the blood of the fetus changes. The haemoglobin (or the red components of blood cells) is converted so it can carry oxygen throughout the circulation of the child, independent of the mother. By the 15th day of the same month, the lungs of the fetus are completely developed. The baby would now live if it were born. This period is what is termed as the beginning of the “safe delivery period.”

This physical creation of man is just a blueprint of God’s great plan. He has determined that humans will one day become part of His spiritual family. In John 3:3, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that we must be born again if we are to enter the kingdom of God. In another vision, John saw a woman travailing with a child (Revelation 12:2-5). There are other passages (such as Isaiah 66:9) that illustrate and even equate both our physical as type of our spiritual experiences to a birth, but the most powerful and moving is found in Psalm 139:14-16 (KJV):

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy Book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”     

But before this spiritual birth into God’s family can take place, spiritual development is a must. Now, here is how the cycle of God’s holy days coincided perfectly with the cycle of our physical birth and how they picture the spiritual development process in a future child of God.

Just as physical life is begotten on or about the 14th day before the next menstrual cycle of a woman, God first annual Sabbath occurs on the 14th day of the first month of God’s calendar. This day is called the Passover. Leviticus 23:5 declares,

“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover.”

Jesus Christ is our Passover (1Corinthians 5:7). Without His shed blood to pay the death penalty for our sins, we could never begin our first walk to spiritual development.

Fertilization to a ripe ovum must occur within 24 hours, or by the 15th day of the same month. Leviticus 23:6 says,

“And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.”

 After fertilization, the egg will then journey for seven days beginning on the 15th till it implant itself in the uterus.  Consequently, a spiritually begotten child of God must not stagnate after being begotten. He/She must begin a journey that will end in his/her coming out of this world, so to speak. The Days of Unleavened Bread (or DUB) picture this spiritual process. It pictures the putting away of sin and coming out of this world.

Pentecost (Shavout or feast of Weeks) is the next Holy Day on God’s calendar. Leviticus 23:15 states,

“And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath...”

In an article Why Count Pentecost? (Giving and Sharing Issue 59, Feb. 2001, p.19), Kathy Puliafico quotes the following book that describe the dramatic changes happening inside the mother’s womb on the fiftieth day, the author writes,

 “How are we formed from the raw material, the clay, of the world?

How are waters, carbohydrates, proteins, and assorted minerals, and metals able to come together to form such complex structure...

If we start as a collection of cells, how does each cell know where to go as we grow? Why are we shaped as we are, and how is that shaped reproduced? If we start out as microscopic ball of cells why don’t we end up as a big ball of cells? Perhaps most amazing of all, these changes take place very quickly. In the first fifty days of pregnancy, that tiny ball of cells will change to a little person,  with a place for thousands of different types of cells, and every type of cell in its place...By the fiftieth day the heart, liver, brain, bones, and blood are packaged in arms, legs, head, and trunk...These first fifty days hold the most incredible transformation of our lives, a metamorphosis from blob to babe.” (Christopher Vaugman, How Life Begins, US: Time Books, 1996, p.77)

Hence, after counting 50 days a new physical life is no longer called an embryo but a fetus or “offspring”.

By the seventh month, on the 1st day the baby’ hearing is fully developed. The baby can discern sounds outside the womb and respond to them. Is there a Sabbath where something is done so the people will listen? Leviticus 23:24

“ Speak to the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh of the month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.”

On the 10th day of the seventh month, the blood of the fetus changes to allow circulation of oxygen. It was also on the 10th day of the seventh month, called the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27):

“Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.”

It was also during this occasion where the high priest in Israel sacrificed a goat, sprinkled its blood on the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:15-16). This sacrifice point to a future event—that is, the risen Christ figuratively taking His blood to the mercy seat at the very throne of God (Hebrews 9:24-28).

In the Leviticus 23:34, God instructed Moses and said,

“Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.”

This feast pictures the establishment of God’s kingdom and the millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth. During this same month on the 15th , the lungs of the baby are fully developed sufficiently that should birth takes place during this period the baby can already live. Hence, it is said that during this period the baby is considered living in a “temporary dwelling”—in the mother’s womb. By the same token, the spirit-led sons and daughters of God will no longer live in their physical bodies as symbolized by “tabernacles”, but will be born again with glorified bodies composed of spirit in the first resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:48-53) How really few understand today what it really means to be born physically and what it symbolize for our future—to be born again, this time as literal sons/daughters of God!

These are all simply amazing and unbelievable, isn’t it?!

When God formed the first man, He created with it some hidden code in our gene that perfectly tied up to His purpose and design!  Surely, so that no one could deny the mighty works of God. As Paul puts it in Romans 1:18-20

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against al ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God shown has it to them. For the invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

 “But what about the rest of humanity, those who have not had an opportunity to understand God’s truth?” one may ask. The next feast following immediately after the seven days of Feast of Tabernacles, supplied the answer to this question.  Called simply as the “Eighth day” feast (Leviticus 23:39), it symbolizes new beginnings and first opportunity.  Vast majority of people will be given their opportunity to know and obey God and also develop godly character (Revelation 20:12). The Eighth day also means a new dawn of existence to infinity and beyond. 

Indeed, God has a great purpose for the whole of humanity. That purpose is revealed to us through His holy days or annual festivals to be proclaimed in “its seasons.” And, as it was more profoundly tied up to the process of our physical birth, which in turn pictures our future inheritance, the process of our spiritual birth—born again—into the kingdom of God! 

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