Editor’s Note: We’re excited to announce a brand new Friday lineup on the Gospel Blog!
We’re saying goodbye to the Good Word and hello to a rotating lineup of guest columnists! That means you can look forward to hearing from new voices on a regular basis throughout the year. (Talk about Fri-yay!)
To start us off, Brother Frank Natoli is bringing us a series of articles on the seven feasts of Israel. Did you know that these feasts are more than just fasts and fetes? Each one points to Jesus Christ, and by the end of this series, you’ll understand how.
(And now, we pass the microphone to Brother Frank…)
What Are the Feasts, Exactly?
The Hebrew feast schedule consisted of seven different, yet interrelated observances (Exodus 34:22-23).
The Hebrew word for feast literally means “assemblies convened at an appointed time and place.”
The feasts of Israel provide an element of gathering and remembering. These assemblies occurred in the following order:
- Unleavened Bread
- First Fruits
- Day of Atonement
The feast calendar kept God’s presence in the minds and hearts of His people.
There is an allegory (or type and shadow) in these feast days.
Looking at the sequence of events, we can see that the feasts have a much deeper meaning and foreshadow significant future occurrences. The value and additional insight from the Book of Mormon also adds to the significance of these seven feasts.
The first one we will discuss is…
A type and shadow of Christ’s crucifixion
- Leviticus 23:5, Exodus 12
- Occurs on the 14th day of the first month of the first full moon of spring
When Israel was in Egyptian captivity, deliverance of a temporal nature came by the blood of the lamb sprinkled or placed on the doorposts of their homes. The death angel literally “passed over” those houses whose residents were obedient to God’s direction.
Likewise, deliverance of a spiritual nature comes today to all those who are willing to apply the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ, to their hearts in humble obedience to His gospel (Matthew 26:28).
Both representations of the lamb provide a blood atonement for the sins of the people. For the children of Israel, it had to be renewed once each year, while the second was called “the great and last sacrifice” (Alma 34:10-15) made for all mankind through the crucifixion of Jesus.
The Law Fulfilled
Interestingly, Jesus was crucified in the precise hours before the Passover officially began, just as the actual lamb was (between the ninth and eleventh hour (Exodus 12:6)). Once the Passover formally began, no killing (death) could take place, therefore timing was crucial (John 19:31).
Some have wondered why Christ died so quickly on the cross. It took only three hours, according to Matthew 27:45-50. Others sometimes lingered for days in their agonizing crucifixions.
This lingering typically resulted in the need to break the legs of individuals to speed up the death process (John 19:31-33) so their lungs would be crushed by their own weight and they’d quickly die.
But even in His death, Jesus made provision for the fulfilling of the Law by obeying it.
Some suggest He hung on the cross as long as it was lawful to do so and still die with enough time to be buried before the beginning of the Passover, thereby setting into motion His final, great fulfillment of the Law of Moses (3 Nephi 15:4-6).
Another point relative to the Passover lamb is found in Exodus 12:9. It states that the Passover lamb is not to be “sodden at all with water.” This, too, was fulfilled by the fact that Jesus received no water during his final trial, flogging, or crucifixion, even when He asked for water (John 19:28). Instead, He was given vinegar in the fulfillment of Psalm 69:21, which states, “they gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”
Jesus truly represents our salvation in the type and shadow of the Passover lamb.
Do We Still Obeserve the Passover Today?
As a Church, instead of observing the feast of Passover in remembrance of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, we commemorate Christ’s sacrifice for all mankind with the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper.
This sacrifice provides an exodus from sin, as Jesus said:
“Do this in Remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
Catch Brother Frank’s Next Post on Feb. 19
Reminder! The Gospel Blog will be down all next week due to the Church website redesign, so Brother Frank’s next article on the Feast of Unleavened Bread will publish two weeks from today. See you then!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.