Story of Offerings & Feasts
2 Timothy 2:2 – Hear, Entrust, Teach, Multiply!
Some parts of the Bible are hard to understand. That’s why we need to slow down, take out our trusty compass, and identify where we are.
Creation, Fall, Flood, Nations, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Passover, Law, Tabernacle.
We have talked our way through the first two books of the Bible, Genesis, and Exodus. Today we arrive at Leviticus, a book that knocks many people off their Bible reading plan. Through 27 chapters, it is a mountain-filled mix of God-given regulations for the children of Israel. It contains everything they needed to know about what offerings to give and when, what was clean and what wasn’t, how to live together as a people and with their Creator, blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience. Some “don’ts” listed are so blush-worthy and self-evident it’s hard to believe they have to be pointed out at all. But there they are. God included them for a reason.
Leviticus 1:1-6:7 details five different offerings to be made by God’s people at the Tabernacle. On behalf of the people of Israel, priests made two types of offerings to God.
Three In-Fellowship Offerings
Think about your own home. The kitchen is where meals are prepared for the family to enjoy. Before eating, many families offer their praise to God for providing the material necessities of their lives. Out of respect and gratitude, the oldest people at the table are served first in the Middle East. The choicest selections are offered to them. After the elders are served, everyone else fills their plate.
Now think about God in the Tabernacle. He is the ultimate elder at the table. The priests presented three offerings to God on behalf of His people.
After the priests served God at the altar, they took their portion.
Two Out-of-Fellowship Offerings
When either an individual, a group of people, or the entire nation of Israel sinned, God provided a way to restore fellowship through the second category of offerings.
The sin and guilt offerings graphically illustrated the severity and consequences of sin. These offerings did not remove one’s sin. They merely covered them for a while. They pointed to the need for a permanent solution, a sacrifice that removed one’s sin for all time.
Holy, Holy, Holy
God established the protocols for how, when, and where the people made their offerings. Moses relayed the information to Aaron, Israel’s first high priest.
Leviticus 10:1-11 records an event worthy of notice and consideration. Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron’s sons, arrogantly disrespected God at His table. Read that portion to see what happened to them. Is there anything in this account that you should consider regarding your worship of God?
The Seven Feasts of Israel
Seven feasts were to be observed each calendar year. Read Leviticus 23:1-44.
As the “light to the Nations,” God wanted Israel to provide a continual picture of His redemptive love through their annual celebrations. The feasts were much more than an opportunity to rest and contemplate what God had done for His people. They were also prophetic.
Four Spring Feasts
Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost looked forward to Yeshua’s first coming and the Church’s birth.
- Passover: Jesus died as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
- Unleavened Bread: Leaven is the symbol of sin in the Bible. Jesus was sinless. He is the unleavened Messiah. Jesus’ sinlessness is what qualified Him to be the sacrificed Lamb of God.
- First Fruits: After the crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb. Three days later, He rose from the grave, alive again as the first fruits from the dead. Yeshua’s resurrection validates His promise of resurrection for all who believe in Him.
- Pentecost: Fifty days after Passover, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, just as He promised. Through His empowerment, the Church Jesus is building was given birth.
Three Fall Feasts
Right now, the world is in a waiting period. The Gospel is being proclaimed and is accepted or rejected. At a specific point in time which only the Father knows, three things will happen, all of them tied to the fall feasts. In the same manner that the spring feasts prophetically previewed Jesus’ first coming, the fall feasts point to His second coming.
- Trumpets: When the Good News of the Gospel has been proclaimed to the entire world, an event known as the Rapture will occur. At that moment, all who have believed in Jesus, dead and alive, will be taken from earth to be with Lord Jesus where He is. The Rapture will be preceded by the blowing of a trumpet that all will hear. There will be no Jesus followers on the earth at that moment.
- Day of Atonement: Shortly after that, 144,000 Jewish evangelists will proclaim and defend their newfound belief in Messiah Jesus. At the end of seven years, all the Jewish people who survive the Great Tribulation will accept Yeshua as their Messiah and be saved, both physically and spiritually. The atoning blood of Jesus’ death on the cross will cover their sin forever!
- Tabernacles: With the salvation of all Israel, Messiah Jesus returns from heaven, accompanied by the raptured saints and the souls of Old Testament believers. Old Testament saints will receive their glorified bodies. Yeshua will once again take up residence among His people for 1,000 years from His Tabernacle in Jerusalem.
Talk Thru the Bible – OT Lessons
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Read Leviticus 1:1-6:7, 23:1-44
- At Mt. Sinai, God gave more than the Law and the Tabernacle to His Chosen People, the Israelites. He also gave them an entire tribe from whom He would appoint priests to serve Him at the Tabernacle, the tribe of Levi.
- Priests represented the people to God and God to the people. They acted as mediators between the two parties.
- The priests oversaw the two methods God gave the people. Five offerings and seven feasts established how God and Israel’s relationship was established, maintained and restored.
- Some of the offerings were voluntary, and others were mandatory.
- The feasts were times of national celebration for God’s goodness in the history of His nation. They also were prophetic, pointing to Jesus’ First and Second Coming.
- How were the high priest’s duties in the earthly Tabernacle similar to the duties of Jesus as the High Priest in the heavenly Tabernacle today? How are they different?
- What are the implications of the fact that Jesus is not a Levite, nor a descendant of Aaron, yet still identified as our High Priest in the book of Hebrews?
- What did the Spring Feasts point to prophetically in the Bible? The Fall Feasts?
- How can you explain the annual “waiting period” between the Spring/Fall Feasts of Israel to students of the Bible today?
- Which book of the Bible places the events associated with the Fall Feasts in chronological order in great detail?
Make an “I will” Statement.
- Based on your study of the Offering and Feasts, what will you think, say, or do differently starting today?
- Who will you tell your “I will” statement to that will hold you accountable.