Three Harvest Festivals

   Many students have asked; "When are the Feasts of God"? "Do we observe them in this day and age"? Most Christians don't understand we are still to observe the three Harvest Festivals even into this generation. Some may say; it was the law in the Old Testament and we need not follow it today. Not so! Christ told us that the law would not pass until it is fulfilled.

   Matthew 5:18
   18.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

   As Christians we should understand our past and follow the instructions of our Heavenly Father. In this study we'll look at who is to observe the three Harvest Festivals, what the three Harvest Festivals are, when they are, and where they can be found in God's Word.

   The Law was given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai and all twelve tribes were present, but who is to observe the law today? It is our intent to show that the Israelites were to be called by a new name after the dispersion and that new name would be "CHRISTIAN".

   Jeremiah 31:31-34
   31.  Behold, the days come, saith the L
ORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

   Did you know the two houses were separated?

   32.  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
   33.  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the L
ORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
   34.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the L
ORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

   Our Heavenly Father made a new covenant with the house of Israel. They are to be called by His name...

   2Chronicles 7:14
   14.  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

   The ten tribes of Israel would be scattered, first north, over the Caucasus Mountains, into Eastern Europe then eventually throughout the whole world and would become the Christian Nations of today. As they were scattered they would take with them that new name.

   Acts 11:26
   26.  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

   Today, many people don't know or can't even trace where their ancestors come from. Some would find it hard to trace their lineage back for more than six or seven generations, and some can't even go back that far. Nevertheless, it's all part of Father's plan.

   Hosea 2:17
   17.  For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

   So, who is to observe the law today? Those that are called by His name, (Christ-man) "Christians"! Now that we know who is to observe the Festivals, let's find out what the Festivals are.

   When Israel came out of Egypt, God told them they were to commemorate their main experiences in certain ceremonies conducted upon specific holidays, or festivals. There are three main celebrations: (1) "Passover", (2) "Pentecost" and (3) "Tabernacles". These are also known as (1) the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (2) the Feast of Harvest (or Feast of Weeks), and (3) the Feast of Ingathering.

   Exodus 23:14-17
   14.  Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
   15.  Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
   16.  And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
   17.  Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord G

   The feast of Passover; Exodus 12:14, 13:10, (the High Sabbath) is the first of the three harvest festivals. It commemorates the day the Israelites departed Egypt by the mighty hand of The LORD, under Moses, to journey three days into the wilderness to serve and sacrifice to the LORD GOD (in reality they were on their way to the Promised Land).

   The second feast is Pentecost; Leviticus 23:16, (the Feast of weeks) it commemorates the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, the day the fire of God came down upon the mount, and God spoke to all the people.

   The third harvest festival is Tabernacles; Leviticus 23:23-24, (the Feast of Ingathering) it commemorates two things: (1) the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness; and (2) the time Israel was supposed to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land.

   These experiences were set up to remember certain key experiences in the life of the nation. However, they also have other levels of meaning. On the personal side, Passover signifies our Justification from the bondage of sin (Egypt). Pentecost signifies our Sanctification by the filling of the Holy Spirit. Tabernacles signifies our Glorification at "the redemption of our body"; Romans 8:23, when we inherit our "Promised Land".

   To understand more of what the Feasts are all about one must understand the three harvests and that each particular harvest is associated with each of these three feast days. Passover is associated with the harvest of barley; Pentecost is associated with the harvest of wheat; and Tabernacles is associated specifically with the grape harvest. Because this is so little known, some students don't understand Paul's teachings on the three harvests.

   Paul is the only one who actually deals with the three harvests in a single passage. It is found in the great resurrection chapter, 1Corinthians chapter 15. In the first 21 verses, Paul deals with the importance of believing that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. He makes it clear that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then our faith is all in vain, for His resurrection proves that the Spirit of God can indeed raise the dead. On this historic fact our faith hinges.

   Then, from verse 22 through verse 28 Paul deals with our own resurrections and tells us how it is to be, (for the deeper student; as a type; three harvests, three resurrections) it will be "every man in his own order:" 1Corinthians 15:23, who shall be raised at different times in history. These three categories correspond specifically to the three main feast days of Israel. Paul makes this quite clear.

   We see once again that God's Law points the way and the law is the type or how God will allow things to come to pass. Our Father has told us all things, but some do not listen. Since we are here let us see if we can understand more about the three resurrections.

   In the land of Palestine, barley was the first to ripen in the spring of the year. When the people came to Jerusalem for the Passover, each brought a handful of ripe barley to give to God as the firstfruits of the harvest. On the day after Passover, the priest took some of the barley and waved it up before God; Leviticus 23:10-14. First fruits symbolize the consecration of the entire harvest to God and were an earnest, or pledge, of the full harvest yet to be gathered.

   It is important to know that the firstfruits of the barley harvest were to be anointed with oil (Leviticus 23:13; "...offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil,"). We Christians know whom it is that is the "Anointed One". Are your eyes beginning to open?

   Only barley could have been used, because the wheat had not yet ripened at Passover in that part of the world. (For the deeper student; you understand that there were those chosen from before this earth-age. Those chosen in the first earth-age have their resurrection secured; see appendixes: 146, 193. It is this resurrection that is the type for the barley.) The wheat ripened later, around the time of Pentecost. Just as barley was offered to God on the first day of the week after Passover, so also, was the wheat offered on Pentecost seven weeks later. This is made clear in Exodus 34:22.

   God harvests His barley, wheat, and grapes in different manners, even as nature teaches us. The chaff from the barley falls away very easily, so barley is said to be winnowed. That is, the action of the wind itself (by means of fans) is sufficient to get rid of the chaff. This speaks of the barley that responds to the wind or Spirit (Greek: pneuma, Hebrew: ruwach).

   To remove the chaff from the wheat requires threshing. This is a more severe action, but it does the job quite well. It depicts the fact that the Church will be harvested by means of judgment, or tribulation. The tribulation in which we speak of is the tribulation of the "instead-of-Christ", (in the Greek language; Anti, translates into; instead-of) that is to say, the one that comes pretending to be the saviour. It is a type of the threshing floor that separates the wheat from the chaff.

   The harvesting of the wheat is the type of the resurrection that comes at the end of this Earth age. Those that are resurrected at this time, Jesus calls "the just".

   Revelation 20:4-5
   4.  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
   5.  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

   Those that are not resurrected because they were found worshipping the beast at the seventh trump will have to wait until the last resurrection at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ, when Satan will be loosed a short season to test them. Everyone must be tested by Satan, in this manner our Heavenly Father truly knows, if we love Him or if we again will follow Satan.

   6.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
   7.  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
   8.  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

   God's judgment is designed to "thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn"; Matthew 3:12. In addition in Matthew 13:49, "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,"

   The firstfruits of Pentecost signify the resurrection, when the Church is raised up to stand before the face of God. As we said earlier, wheat ripened by Pentecost. On that day the high priest was to offer to God two loaves of wheat bread baked with leaven. Once God had received His portion, then the people were allowed to harvest and eat of that year's crop of wheat.

   The feast of Pentecost focuses upon people who are leavened. By baking bread that is leavened, the leaven is stopped. Israel received the law at Mount Sinai on the day of Pentecost. On this day they were formed into a kingdom, as God spoke the Word to them. The people were afraid of the fire and ran from the voice of God; See Exodus 20:18-20. The people were leavened and did not want to step into the fire of God to stop the leaven. So Pentecost was not fulfilled in the days of Moses.

   In the second chapter of Acts, Pentecost was finally fulfilled because the disciples did not run from God, but embraced the fire. However, we are still leavened today and the Church in general has followed Israel's example under Moses by refusing to hear God's voice and by running from His fire.

   Pentecost was not designed to bring perfection, (an unleavened condition). Pentecost gave us only an "earnest" of the Spirit, a down payment, rather than the fullness.

   This speaks of men in whom the foundation of Jesus Christ has already been laid. It speaks of believers. However, because these people are a carnal mixture of wheat and leaven, their works must be tried by fire. The good works (done by faith in obedience to hearing God's voice) will remain; the rest will be burned. The bread must be baked in order to stop the leavening action. This is judgment, but the purpose of the fire is not to destroy the carnal believer, but to stop the carnal nature of sin and as we know, sin is lawlessness; 1John 3:4.

   Moving on to the harvesting of grapes and the type of the resurrection that comes at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ.

   The grapes ripened at the end of the growing season, in late summer. The grapes were harvested and thrown into the winepresses to be trodden down, and the juice was collected. On the feast of Tabernacles a pitcher of Wine from this harvest was poured out before the Lord as a drink offering in the temple; Leviticus 23:37.

   The grape harvest, with the treading of the grapes in the winepresses, tells us the fate of the unbelievers. The winepress depicts God's wrath, judgment, and the lake of fire.

   Paul goes on to this type of resurrection, and, in fact, he spends more time on this resurrection than the other two combined. It is the resurrection signified by the grape harvest at the end of the growing season, which was the focal point of the Feast of Tabernacles. So note how Paul carries this theme into his teaching on this resurrection in 1Corinthians 15:24-28.

   1Corinthians 15:24-28
   24.  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
   25.  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
   26.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
   27.  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
   28.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

   Note how often Paul says these people are to be put "under His feet". There can be no doubt that Paul had the grape harvest in mind, for treading the grapes under foot is a Hebrew idiom known to indicate judgment. This is absolutely consistent with the rest of Paul's writings, where he reveals how all things will be reconciled to God. Paul is obviously referring to the rebellious nations of the earth who are enemies of God in this present age. Paul says that the purpose of creation is for all these nations to be subdued unto Christ.

   Then, when He has eliminated all His enemies, He will finally destroy that last enemy, death. One can only destroy death by giving Life. That is why we refer to this as a resurrection. Only when death itself is destroyed in the lake of fire can it have no more part in the created universe, then, will God be all in all.

   The purpose of the grain harvests of spring (barley and wheat) is to provide bread for God's great communion table. The purpose of the feast of Tabernacles with its celebration of the winepress is to provide the wine for God's table. Without this wine, His communion table would have only bread and would be incomplete. God will have His wine, but it must come by means of the winepress, which speaks of the judgments of The Creator.

   So we see there were three main feast days of Israel: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Each of these called for temple ceremonies involving a different product of the harvest: barley, wheat and grapes. The first two are grain; the last is a fruit. These are harvest festivals at the three times in the year when all the males were to stand before the presence (face) of God. These three festivals are prophetic of the "harvest of souls", where the divine command goes forth for all men to stand before God.

   Leviticus, chapter 23 tells us when the feasts are to be observed. Some are confused because we do not use the same calendar, as did the Levitical priesthood. We will try to help explain it, first you will need a modern day calendar with the date of the Vernal Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox marked on it. The Vernal Equinox is the first day of Spring, as the Autumnal Equinox is the first day of Autumn. The Levitical priesthood used the solar calendar to find the Feast Days, as commanded by Leviticus, chapter 23.

   The solar calendar is based on seven jubilees (7 50's) plus the 15-day count to Passover; Leviticus 23:5. We start with the Vernal Equinox (Spring Equinox) and count 14 days; the next day is Passover, the 14th day at evening begins Passover. The Hebrew day actually started at sunset, so one 24-hour day began at sunset and ended at sunset the next day, which then started a new day.

   Starting from the day after Passover (14+1=15) we start counting to 50, the fiftieth day from Passover is Pentecost, we count a 2nd 50 and then a 3rd 50, and so on till we come back to the Spring Equinox again. This is a solar year, (15+7x50=365). Every fourth year an extra day was added (just as today's leap year). We will explain this at the same time as we learn how to find the Feast of Tabernacles.

   Now, to find the Feast of Tabernacles lets start over. We have the Vernal Equinox (Spring Equinox) and count 14 days; the next day is Passover. The day after Passover we count one jubilee, this is Pentecost, and we keep counting a second jubilee and then a third (15+50+50+50).

   This day is known as the Feast of Trumpets, and 15 days after the Feast of Trumpets is the Feast of Tabernacles (10 days after the Feast of Trumpets is the Day of Atonement; Leviticus 23:27). The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for seven days and at the end of the seven days is the Autumnal Equinox. Every fourth year the Feast of Tabernacles is extended to eight days and that was checked by the Autumnal Equinox since every year the Vernal Equinox is 1/4 day later, this is where the extra day is added.

   For you that can not find a calendar with the Vernal Equinox or the Autumnal Equinox on it we have posted the Equinoxes for the next few years below.

Year Vernal
2014 March 20 September 22
2015 March 20 September 23
2016 March 19 September 22
2017 March 20 September 22
2018 March 20 September 22
2019 March 20 September 23
2020 March 19 September 22
2021 March 20 September 22
2022 March 20 September 22
2023 March 20 September 23
2024 March 19 September 22
   In conclusion: we have shown that it is the Christians who are to observe the Feast days, we have shown what the Feast days are, when they are to be observed, where they can be found in The Word of God. In addition, we hope that we have shown why our Heavenly Father has made them so important.

   As Jesus, The Anointed One, resurrected in earnest of the full harvest, it is He that is our Passover; 1Corinthians 5:7. The other Harvest Feasts show us how the harvesting of souls will come about in the end of this Earth age.

   Our Heavenly Father's Word is so very powerful and so beautiful in its simplicity, as you can see it's not hard to understand if you take the time to read it. It's most important that you know that Father loves you and He will forgive you, your sins, if you ask, in the name of His only Begotten Son, Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

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