Today’s Reading: Leviticus 22-23
Today’s Reflection: Leviticus 23:1-3
1) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2) “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts. 3) “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.
Chapter 23 of Leviticus outlines the appointed feasts: the holy days (or holidays) of the children of Israel. These were special occasions of celebration and sacrifice to the Lord. What’s most interesting is the first feast listed is the Sabbath. The very same Sabbath Israel was commanded to observe in the fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11).
As we’re going through the Old Testament you may be encountering some things that seem unfamiliar, or even seem unimportant. This may be particularly true through the Pentateuch—the first five books of the bible, written by Moses, that define the laws of God as given to Israel. In modern Christianity we have a tendency to focus on the New Testament (the Gospels and other writings of the apostles), rather than the Old Testament (the law and the prophets, including the ceremonial and sacrificial feast days).
But the reality is that the entire Bible is one story, with Jesus Christ and the Gospel at its centre. The feast days, centred as they were around the sanctuary, are also about Jesus. You can’t fully understand being freed from slavery to sin through sacrifice without understanding Passover (Leviticus 23:4-8), and you can’t fully understand Jesus as the substitution for our sins without understanding the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32).
So the ceremonial laws are still significant even now. And to ensure this significance was recognized a portion of the feast days were placed in the 10 Commandments with the Sabbath command.
There is no separation between the ceremonial and moral law. There is only the promise of the law and the fulfillment of the law. Understanding the feast days is integral to understanding the promise, and ultimately the fulfillment, of Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:4 – For Christ is the end* of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
* The word ‘end’ is from the Greek ‘teleos’, which can also be interpreted as purpose or fulfillment.