We may not know what year Jesus the Messiah will be coming back but we do know what time of year it will be based upon the feasts that lord Himself instituted!
God wrote into Jewish ritual fore shadowing of his later redemptive work through Christ Jesus, especially into the annual calendar of feasts.
Dates with destiny
The first thing to talk about is the word for feast used in Hebrew. The word for “feast” is moed (מועד). This word is based on a very important root word, עד. In general, we say that moed means “appointed time”, or set feast. But there is more to it. There is certainly a sense of destiny associated with the word, but the word is also used to talk about time: everlasting, like “Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). It also means “until”. Here’s the other main meaning of עד: it is the Hebrew word for “witness”. In court a witness gives testimony to what they have seen and heard, telling something to the people listening about something they have not experienced. The witness testifies and points to something that isn’t present, but has to be explained.
So all together, the word for feast, moed, means a fixed appointed time of destiny which testifies and points to something that goes backwards and forwards through eternity.
Isn’t that a perfect description of what God gives us in the biblical feasts?!
The 3 major festivals
The 3 major festivals, when the people gathered in Jerusalem, were ‘signs’ of the Messiah.
- Passover (March/April in our diaries), when the lamb was killed at 3 p.m., followed a few days later by presenting the ‘first-fruits’ of the harvest – clearly fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Matthew 26:17
- Pentecost (May/June), to give thanks for the law given at Sinai fifty days after the first Passover, though it led to the death of 3000 rebels (Exodus 32:28) – clearly fulfilled in the giving of the Spirit seven weeks after Calvary, bringing life to 3000 penitents (Acts 2:1, Acts 2:41; cf. 2 Corinthians 3:6).
- Tabernacles (September/October), is the ‘great’ feast when Jews recalled the provision of manna in the wilderness by living in temporary shelters, and celebrated the final ingathering of the harvest. Christians celebrate Passover and Pentecost (as Easter and Whit), though now on differently calculated dates. But consciously or unconsciously, they ignore Tabernacles, because they do not see any connection with Christ.
However, the real fulfilment of this feast in Christ is in his second advent, not his first. Just as he died at Passover, sent his Spirit at Pentecost, he will return to Earth at Tabernacles. Right on time.
Every Jew knows this. Their own prophets foretold it. Zechariah predicted that the nations will thereafter ‘go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles’ (Zechariah 14:16). Every year at this time, Jews pray that Gentiles may attend the feast to greet the Messiah.
If any further confirmation is needed, the fact that it is immediately preceded by the Feast of Trumpets should settle the matter (Leviticus 23:23–25; cf. Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 11:15).
On the eighth day of the feast, Jews hold a wedding ceremony and get ‘married’ to the Law (a scroll held by a rabbi under the canopy). On that day they begin again their annual reading of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses. One day it will be the ‘wedding of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19:7). That’s just one of the reasons why Jesus is returning – for his bride.