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Celebrating Our Relationship with the Sovereign Lord of Time

Celebrating Our Relationship with the
Sovereign Lord of Time

Leviticus 23:1-44

Main Idea: God is the sovereign Lord of time, and He calls us to order our time around Him and go into His presence regularly to worship Him, thank Him, commit to Him, and seek His forgiveness.

I. Look at the Old Covenant Celebrations God Established.

A. The Passover celebrated God delivering Israel from death.

B. The Festival of Unleavened Bread celebrated God delivering Israel from slavery.

C. The Festival of Firstfruits celebrated God’s gift of the coming harvest.

D. The Festival of Weeks celebrated God’s gift of the harvest.

E. The Festival of Trumpets was a signal of the coming New Year.

F. The Day of Atonement celebrated God taking away sin.

G. The Festival of Booths celebrated God’s provision in the wilderness.

II. Learn the New Covenant Connections God Made.

A. In the Passover we see that Jesus is our Passover Lamb.

B. In the Festival of Unleavened Bread we see that Jesus delivers us from slavery.

C. In the Festival of Firstfruits we see that Jesus is the firstfruits of our resurrection.

D. In the Festival of Pentecost we see that Jesus gives the harvest.

E. In the Festival of Trumpets we see that trumpets will signal Jesus’ coming.

F. In the Day of Atonement we see that Jesus takes away sin.

G. In the Festival of Booths we see that Jesus provides for us.

III. Live by the Covenant Celebrations God Established.

A. We seek God’s presence.

B. We celebrate God and His salvation.

C. We share gifts with God and others.

D. We submit to God’s sovereignty over time.

Many of us are familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder through the television show Little House on the Prairie. The television show was based on a series of books written by Wilder about her childhood in nineteenth century America. In her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, Wilder described what Sundays were like when her grandfather was a child.

Sunday . . . began at sundown on Saturday night. Then everyone stopped every kind of work or play. Supper was solemn. After supper, Grandpa’s father read aloud a chapter of the Bible, while everyone sat straight and still in his chair. Then they all knelt down, and their father said a long prayer. When he said, “Amen,” they got up from their knees and each took a candle and went to bed. They must go straight to bed, with no playing, laughing or even talking. Sunday morning they ate a cold breakfast, because nothing could be cooked on Sunday. Then they all . . . walked to church. . . . They must walk slowly and solemnly looking straight ahead. They must not joke or laugh, or even smile. . . . In church, Grandpa and his brother must sit perfectly still for two . . . hours and listen to the sermon. They dare not fidget. . . . They dared not even turn their heads. . . . They must . . . never for one instant take their eyes from the preacher. When church was over, they walked slowly home. They might talk on the way, but they must not talk loudly and they must never laugh or smile. (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods, Harper Trophy, 1971, 87–89)

The Ingalls family devoted the day to worshiping God, and they showed reverence for God. Surely we respect that and do not wish to criticize it. On the other hand, we should also recognize that nothing in Scripture necessitates that kind of somber mood and seemingly drab and dreary environment. The word “celebrating” is in the title of this section. In Leviticus 23 and elsewhere God commanded His people to observe feasts or festivals, and God’s people did celebrate. They gave thanks and praise to God for who He is and what He had done.

God made us to be seekers of joy and pleasure, and He intends for us to seek joy and pleasure in Him. God’s Word compels us to build all of life around Him and direct all of life to Him. When we are happy we express thanks to Him; when we are working we talk with Him and work for His glory; with our families we talk about Him; when we are depressed, lonely, or worried we cry out to Him; our free time is for His glory; and in accord with His command we gather with God’s people weekly to offer worship to Him. We experience everything in life with Him. We order our lives and plan our days according to the truth of His Word.

In the old covenant period God gave to His people sacred days and weeks. God’s sacred calendar carried the message that God’s people live in constant contact with God and order their calendars around worshiping God. God commanded His people to reserve every seventh day to worship Him, and He designed the entire calendar as a reminder of the sacredness of the seventh day (v. 3). He gave seven festivals during the year, and the festivals that lasted more than a day lasted seven days. To determine the date of the Festival of Pentecost they counted seven times seven days, or 49 days, after the Festival of Firstfruits, and the next day was Pentecost. Every seventh year was a sabbatical year, and after seven times seven years, or 49 years, the next year was the Jubilee year. The rather elaborate system of festivals and years underscored that God was the sovereign Lord of the calendar. As God, He has the authority in our lives to plan when we will worship, and we submit to Him as God.

Look at the Old Covenant Celebrations God Established

The Passover Celebrated God Delivering Israel from Death

God told His people to celebrate the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month. The Passover is described in verses 4 and 5. The Passover Festival originated in Egypt. God sent 10 plagues on Egypt to deliver His people from slavery. The last plague was the death of the firstborn. When God sent that final plague, He told His people to eat a special meal together, the Passover meal. That meal included a Passover lamb, and God said that whoever put the blood of a lamb on his doorpost would be safe from the plague of death. The Hebrew slaves put the blood on their doorposts, God delivered them from death, and God told His people to share that meal together on the same night every year to remember His delivering them from death.

The Festival of Unleavened Bread Celebrated God Delivering Israel from Slavery

The Festival of Unleavened Bread is described in verses 6-8. God instituted the Festival of Unleavened Bread when His people were about to exit Egypt. The bread was unleavened because they were in a hurry to get out of Egypt, so they didn’t take the time to add leaven (yeast) to the bread and wait for it to rise. God told them to observe the seven-day Festival of Unleavened Bread every year. He also told them to say to one another during that festival that God brought them out of Egypt with a strong hand. They celebrated God delivering them from slavery.

The Festival of Firstfruits Celebrated God’s Gift of the Coming Harvest

The Festival of Firstfruits is described in verses 9-14. The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were in the spring when the harvest began to ripen. During the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the people took the first of the harvest that had ripened, waved it before the Lord in thanks, and gave an offering to the Lord as an expression of thanks for the harvest that was coming. That ceremony was the Festival of Firstfruits, and the people observed it during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Since the Festival of Unleavened Bread lasted for a week, a Sabbath day, or Saturday, would have been during that week. The Festival of Firstfruits was observed on the day after that Sabbath, on Sunday (unless the first day of Unleavened Bread was considered a “Sabbath,” in which case Firstfruits would always fall on Nisan 16; Ross, Holiness to the Lord, 417).

In Jerram Barrs’ book about Christians applying Old Testament law, he told a story about his father-in-law who was a farmer in California. His father-in-law had a lot of fruit trees, and one day Dr. Barrs discovered him in the peach orchard. He saw him kneeling and praying aloud. He was holding up a peach in each hand saying, “Lord, these peaches are yours. These trees are yours. . . . This orchard is yours. My farm is yours. I am yours. Thank you for your love to me in Jesus. Help me to serve you in all I do.” After the prayer, Dr. Barrs approached his father-in-law and asked him about what he had done. His father-in-law said he had read that the Lord commanded His people to bring the firstfruits and offer them to Him, so he had decided he would always do that with his firstfruits. He knew that Christians are not obligated to observe the old covenant festivals, but he also saw a principle in the festival—the principle of giving thanks to God and dedicating what we have to God (Barrs, Delighting in the Law of the Lord, 116–17). Dr. Barrs’s father-in-law was interpreting and applying God’s law in the right way. He saw principles in the law that are affirmed in the New Testament—gratitude to God, acknowledgement of God’s ownership, and faithful stewardship of all God gives us—and he put those into practice.

The Festival of Weeks Celebrated God’s Gift of the Harvest

In verse 15 God said, “You are to count seven complete weeks starting from the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the presentation offering.” Seven weeks is 49 days after the Festival of Firstfruits. The next day was called the Festival of Weeks, though it is not named in Leviticus 23. The Bible also refers to it as Pentecost. The word “Pentecost” means 50, and Pentecost was 50 days after the Festival of Firstfruits. Pentecost was at the end of the harvest, and the purpose of Pentecost was to celebrate God’s gift of the harvest that the people had gathered by that time.

The Festival of Trumpets Was a Signal of the Coming New Year

The timing of the New Year in the old covenant period seems strange to most of us. For us, the New Year falls on January 1. God’s people in the old covenant period celebrated a religious New Year on the first day of the month Nisan in the spring, and a civil New Year on the first day of the month Tishri in the fall. God refers to the civil New Year in verses 23-25. The New Year was signaled by blowing trumpets to gather the people and by presenting an offering to the Lord. Note that God said the celebration of the New Year was to focus on Him. In the ancient Near East all kinds of superstitions and revelry were associated with the New Year, much like today. God told His people to worship Him on New Year’s Day. Many Christians observe a tradition of celebrating by praying as each New Year dawns. What a wonderful way to begin a year, and what a wonderful way to put into practice the principle of the Festival of Trumpets—begin the year with God.

The next celebration came 10 days after the Festival of Trumpets.

The Day of Atonement Celebrated God Taking Away Sin

The sixteenth chapter of Leviticus is devoted exclusively to the Day of Atonement, and God again commanded the Day of Atonement in chapter 23, verses 26-32. Clearly, the Day of Atonement was a high and holy day. Since an entire chapter focused on the Day of Atonement we will not consider it at length here, except to mention that the Day of Atonement portrayed God taking away the sins of the people and the sins of the high priest.

The Day of Atonement was on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the fifteenth day of the seventh month was the Festival of Booths.

The Festival of Booths Celebrated God’s Provision in the Wilderness

The Festival of Booths is described in some detail in verses 33-43. Sometimes the Festival of Booths is called the Festival of Tabernacles. The Jews call it Succoth because succoth is the Hebrew word translated “booths” or “tabernacles.” The best translation is probably something like “hut” or “shack,” because the booths were just temporary shelters made of limbs, sticks, and branches (Neh 8:14-16). God told His people to build shelters and live in them during the Festival of Booths to remember that they had lived in the wilderness for 40 years and God had provided for them throughout those years.

Why should Bible teachers and pastors teach followers of Jesus this detailed information about festivals we no longer celebrate? Are the festivals important enough to talk about in church? First, this information is important because it is in the Bible. Second, the old covenant festivals are important because of what God did in salvation history during those festivals and how that salvation history relates to us.

Learn the New Covenant Connections God Made

Amazingly, God timed the most important events in Jesus’ saving work to coincide with festivals He had commanded His people to observe over 1,400 years earlier. We will review briefly each festival and the connection with the atoning work of Jesus.

In the Passover We See that Jesus Is Our Passover Lamb

To prepare for the Passover meal, each family killed a Passover lamb. They killed the lambs on Friday, since Passover began at sundown on Friday afternoon. Why does the church no longer offer the sacrifices described in the book of Leviticus? We have seen in the book of Hebrews that the old covenant sacrifices are no longer relevant because Jesus is the final, once-for-all, perfect sacrifice, and He has made the old covenant sacrifices obsolete. The Gospel of John refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Of the 365 days God could have chosen for Jesus’ crucifixion, God arranged for Him to be crucified by the decision of wicked men on the Friday afternoon when the lambs were killed in preparation for the Festival of Passover. God was teaching a lesson. Jesus is our Passover Lamb. Just as God delivered the Hebrew slaves in Egypt from death when they put the blood of the lamb on the doorpost, God also delivers every person from eternal death when they put their faith in Jesus the Lamb of God who shed His blood for our sin. The preaching of the apostles communicated that message verbally, as does the whole New Testament. The timing God arranged for the death of Jesus communicates that message symbolically. The providential calendar correspondence between the testaments is so clear that Gordon Wenham wrote, “Nowhere is the continuity between the testaments so clear as in the calendar” (Leviticus, 306). God arranged for Jesus, the Son of God and the Lamb of God, to be killed at the time of the Passover to fulfill that part of His old covenant commands. The timing of the death of Jesus is nothing short of a divine miracle and demonstrates that our God is sovereign over time.

In the Festival of Unleavened Bread We See that Jesus Delivers Us from Slavery

The Festival of Unleavened Bread commemorated God’s deliverance of His people from slavery. Jesus delivers from slavery all people who put their faith in Him. In John 8 Jesus said, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin,” but “if the Son sets you free, you really will be free” (vv. 34,36). Revelation 1:5 says Jesus “has set us free from our sins by His blood.” Jesus delivers us from slavery to sin, self, and the Devil. Jesus fulfills the Festival of Unleavened Bread.

In the Festival of Firstfruits We See that Jesus Is the Firstfruits of Our Resurrection

Passover was on the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan, and the Festival of Unleavened Bread began on the day after Passover, on the fifteenth day of Nisan. During the week of the Festival of Unleavened Bread a Sabbath would have occurred. The Sabbath was a Saturday, and the next day was a Sunday. When Jesus was crucified at the beginning of Passover, the day of Passover, the fourteenth of Nisan, was also a Sabbath, a Saturday. The next day was Sunday. That day began the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and in the case of the year Jesus was crucified that Sunday was also the Festival of Firstfruits because it was the day after a Sabbath during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. That Sunday was the Festival of Firstfruits, and it was the day Jesus was resurrected. During the Festival of Firstfruits the Jews thanked God for the firstfruits and the coming harvest. Jesus rose from the dead on that day; He was the first to rise from the dead. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 15:20 refers to Jesus as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Jesus rose from the dead, and all those who put their faith in Him will also rise to eternal life. He is the firstfruits; we are the harvest that comes after Him.

In the timing of Jesus’ death and resurrection God has given us physical, historical illustrations of what He did in Jesus. We have said that the sacrificial system described in Leviticus was preparatory and pedagogical. In other words, the old covenant sacrifices prepared the world for the sacrifice of Jesus and they taught the meaning of His sacrifice. The festivals of the old covenant period were also preparatory and pedagogical—they prepared the world for what God did in Jesus, and they taught the meaning of what He did. He is our Passover Lamb, He delivers us from slavery as God delivered the Hebrews, and He rose from the grave as the firstfruits of all the people who will be resurrected when they put their faith in Him.

Next, 50 days after the Festival of Firstfruits, the Festival of Pentecost occurred.

In the Festival of Pentecost We See that Jesus Gives the Harvest

Pentecost was a harvest festival. How did Jesus fulfill that harvest? On the Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Jesus, was there a harvest? Yes, the second chapter of Acts says that on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon the church. Acts 2:41 says, “That day about 3,000 people were added to them.” Those new Christians were the harvested fruit of the continuing ministry of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It was a harvest of souls. The early church father Chrysostom made this connection explicit. He wrote, “What is this Pentecost? The time when the sickle was to be put to the harvest, and the ingathering was made.” Then he wrote of the Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came on the church and 3,000 people were saved, “Here, as the sickle, keen-edged, came the Spirit down” (“Chrysostom,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 11:25). God’s Spirit reaped a harvest on the day God had chosen over 1,400 years earlier as a celebration of the harvest. On the day of Pentecost, the sickle of the Holy Spirit came down and reaped a harvest. Every time followers of Jesus get together for worship another Pentecost occurs, because the Holy Spirit still comes down upon the church, and whenever someone comes to saving faith, Jesus is giving a harvest.

In the Festival of Trumpets We See that Trumpets Will Signal Jesus’ Coming

The Festival of Trumpets was the New Year festival. Today Jewish people refer to the day as Rosh Hashanah—the head/beginning of the year. The trumpets heralded the New Year. In the old covenant period leaders used trumpets to call God’s people together—for the New Year, for battle, and for other purposes. The New Testament says that one day God will order trumpets to be blown to herald the arrival of Jesus and the gathering of His church to His side. First Thessalonians 4:16-17 says,

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord.

When the Lord Jesus returns, He will call out a command, an archangel will speak, and a trumpet will sound. The book of Revelation also says that during God’s judgment at the end of this age, seven angels will blow seven trumpets to signal that God’s judgment has arrived. God gave the Festival of Trumpets to foreshadow that a new day is coming. As early as the garden of Eden, God promised to send the seed of the woman to bruise the head of the serpent. Throughout the Old Testament God repeated His promise to send a Messiah to defeat the serpent. God’s people anticipated the coming of the Messiah who would crush evil and the evil one. When the trumpets sounded at every New Year celebration, they knew they were one year closer to the arrival of the Messiah. God says that one day His trumpet will sound and Jesus “will descend from heaven with a shout.”

In the Day of Atonement We See that Jesus Takes Away Sin

God gave the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, to provide ceremonies that symbolized His removal of Israel’s sin. The Day of Atonement was unique. The sacrificial rituals on that day were different from the five types of sacrifices God commanded in the first seven chapters of Leviticus. The Day of Atonement rituals were different in at least six ways. First, the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement were for all the people, whereas the sacrifices described in chapters 1–7 were for the purpose of the worship of individual Israelites. Second, the rituals described for the Day of Atonement were observed only on one day per year. Third, all the sacrifices described in chapters 1–7 could be offered by any priest, but only the high priest performed the rituals of the Day of Atonement. Fourth, none of the other rituals involved the space known as the most holy place, where the ark and the mercy seat were located. However, on the Day of Atonement the high priest entered the most holy place to make atonement for himself and for all the people. Fifth, on the Day of Atonement the high priest observed atoning rituals not only for himself and for all the people, but also for the “holy place, the tent of meeting, and the altar” (16:20). The sixth unique feature of the Day of Atonement was the scapegoat. During the Day of Atonement two goats were offered as sacrifices (in addition to a bull and a ram). The high priest burned one of the goats on the altar, and the other was kept alive as the “scapegoat” and sent away into the wilderness.

The writer of Hebrews referred to the Day of Atonement rituals in order to show how Jesus has fulfilled and superseded them. Just as the Day of Atonement contrasted with the other sacrificial rites, Jesus’ sacrifice contrasts with the Day of Atonement rites and has replaced all the old covenant sacrifices. As Hebrews 8:6 says, “Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry.” Hebrews 9 calls Jesus the “high priest” (v. 11) who entered the most holy place. However, He did not enter the earthly tabernacle but “the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (v. 11), “into heaven itself” (v. 24). Thus, Jesus made His sacrifice before God the Father Himself. Also, Jesus offered His sacrifice only once, not once per year (vv. 12,25-26). Third, Jesus did not offer the blood of animals, but His own blood as a sacrifice (v. 12). Therefore, Jesus is “the mediator of a new covenant” (v. 15). Jesus fulfills the Day of Atonement rituals because He takes away our sins. He is our scapegoat; our sin was placed on Him, and He went outside the gate of the city to be crucified as a sacrifice for our sins.

In the Festival of Booths We See that Jesus Provides for Us

The Festival of Booths was last on the sacred calendar. This festival commemorated God’s provision during all the hardships of the Jews’ 40-year wilderness wandering. What does the New Testament tell us about Jesus? Philippians 4:19 says, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” No matter what we go through, no matter what wilderness experience we may have to endure, Jesus will provide our every need. In the new covenant age we don’t observe the Festival of Booths. We don’t construct booths and live in them one week every year, but we do gather each week to give thanks and praise to Jesus who provides our salvation and meets our every need.

Live by the Covenant Celebrations God Established

God communicated powerful truths in the old covenant sacred calendar and in its fulfillment in Jesus. The way we live should be altered by those truths. How should we live differently in light of God’s revealed truth in Leviticus 23?

We Seek God’s Presence

Going into the presence of God was the purpose of the festival days. God established times when His people would formally come into His presence. Those days—the high, holy days—were not the only times God wanted His people to come to Him. But He ordered the calendar so all year long they would never forget to come to Him. The festivals communicate the message that every season, every experience during the year, every emotion, is directed to God. All of life relates to Him. Financial income, the blessing of the harvest, is His provision, so we go to Him and give thanks. When we think about the good times in our pasts, those good times were God’s blessings, so we go to Him and give Him praise that He was working in ways we could not even see at the time. As we approach a new year, we go into His presence and commit the year to Him. We also go to Him to confess sin and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. God ordered the calendar of His people around fellowship with Him. God’s arrangement of the year in that way constitutes an exhortation to us—seek God’s presence.

We Celebrate God and His Salvation

We have many moments of celebration in our lives. We celebrate winning a game or a championship. We throw a big party at a wedding. We celebrate graduations, anniversaries, and milestone birthdays. Before I came to faith in Jesus it never occurred to me that God had anything to do with moments of celebration like that, but He does. God made us as people who celebrate. We yell with joy when our team wins. We laugh and sing at birthday parties. We have a special dinner to celebrate a promotion or retirement. We throw a party to celebrate friendship.

God is not opposed to that. He instituted festivals and feasts. Jesus went to at least one wedding, He shared meals with people, and He said the kingdom of God is like a feast. God invites us to celebrate, and He invites us to celebrate Him. He is our greatest joy, and He is the source of every other joy. Since God made us to celebrate, since God ordered the calendar of His people around celebrations, since God is our greatest reason to celebrate, and since every other reason to celebrate comes from God, why wouldn’t we celebrate Him and His salvation? When we consider the joy of being saved, it is difficult to understand people who claim to have that salvation but have no impulse to celebrate it—they feel no pleasure in getting together with God’s people to worship. The sacred calendar of the old covenant says that knowing God is good, life’s blessings come from Him, and going into His presence is a feast. We celebrate God and His salvation.

We Share Gifts with God and Others

A prominent part of the festivals of the old covenant was giving offerings to God and sharing meals with other people, and verse 22 mentions sharing with the poor and the foreigner. The New Testament also has much to say about our gifts to God and our generosity to others. Second Corinthians 9:7 says we are not to give “reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Do we give generously to God and others?

We Submit to God’s Sovereignty over Time

The sacred calendar of the old covenant communicated the message that God is the Master of time. Through the centuries Jewish children asked their parents, “Why are we going to Jerusalem for the Festival of Unleavened Bread?” Their parents would say, “Because God told us to go to this festival during this week, and throughout the year we do what He tells us to do.” Furthermore, God’s fulfillment of the sacred calendar in Jesus shows us that He controls time. The Dutch statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper once famously said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!” To paraphrase Kuyper, there is not a split second in all of our existence over which Christ does not claim ownership! He is sovereign over time.

Do you submit to His lordship over the time in your life? We hardly mentioned the Sabbath day; that’s mentioned in verse 3 of Leviticus 23. God told His people that day was a day of rest and it was a holy day. The principle of setting aside a day of rest and worship is still in effect in the new covenant age. The New Testament tells us to gather together for worship and fellowship. When our time, our schedules, are submitted to His lordship we will do that. In our denomination, studies show that worship attendance is lower than past years, not because there are fewer people but because people are not in worship as regularly as in the past. “We have a lot to do; we’re busy people.” That’s the way we excuse our failure to submit to God’s sovereignty over our time. When we gather with God’s people every week to celebrate our relationship with Him, He’s able to take of our schedule.

When the Jews and Romans colluded to put Jesus to death, they thought they were in charge of Jesus’ fate. They had positions of authority that made them appear to be the masters of that place and time. And they were responsible for Jesus’ death. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, he told them, “You used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him” (Acts 2:23). However, in His providential sovereignty God was also guiding all the decisions and events in connection with the death of Jesus. As Peter put it, “He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge” (Acts 2:23). The authorities thought the decision to kill Jesus on the afternoon beginning Passover was solely their decision. But over 1,400 years before that day when God’s people were slaves in Egypt, God told them to kill a lamb and put its blood over their doors and He would save them from death. When God told them that, He knew that 1,400 years later—to the hour—He would arrange the death of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

If God can arrange history to the hour from over a thousand years away, don’t you think He is capable of helping us with the challenges of our schedules? May we submit to His lordship over the days and hours of our lives. Let us make Him the focal point of all our celebration and acknowledge Him and speak to Him in every task and moment. We praise Him as the God over time. We spend time with Him, and we obey what He tells us to do with our time.

Reflect and Discuss

  1. In the old covenant period, what messages did God’s sacred calendar communicate?
  2. What principles from Israel’s celebrations can you apply to your life?
  3. Why should we learn about festivals that we no longer celebrate?
  4. Explain Gordon Wenham’s statement, “Nowhere is the continuity between the testaments so clear as in the calendar.”
  5. On what day did God arrange for Jesus to be crucified? What is the significance of this?
  6. What festival was celebrated on the day Jesus was resurrected? Explain why this is important.
  7. What harvest did God give on the Pentecost after the death and resurrection of Jesus?
  8. What does the Festival of Trumpets foreshadow?
  9. How should we live differently in light of God’s revealed truth in Leviticus 23?
  10. Do you order your life and plan your days according to the truth of God’s Word?
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