The Amazing Connection Between Jewish Holidays, Christ, and Us

I like to unwind at the end of the day with computer solitaire. Life rarely falls neatly into place so watching the cards organize into their suits brings a crazy sense of satisfaction. Maybe that’s why seeing how the Old and New Testaments fit perfectly together thrills me.

Leviticus 23 describes seven Jewish holidays. These festivals, related to Old Testament Jewish history, foreshadowed New Testament events. The first four were fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. Do the last three relate to events surrounding His second coming?

You already know that Jesus, the Lamb of God, died on a Jewish holy day—the Passover. He went to the cross at the time the priests were slaughtering the Passover lambs. Christians call this Good Friday.

The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast” (Lev. 23:5-6 NIV).

The feast of Unleavened Bread symbolized Jesus’s sinless life. His body lay buried during the early days of the festival, “like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.”

Easter and the birth of the church occurred on other Jewish holy days. Easter correlates with the Festival of First Fruits—when Christ was “raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20 NIV).

After His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days with His followers, teaching them and showing many proofs that He was alive. Before He ascended to His Father, He told them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Pentecost, another Jewish holy day, occurred the 50th day after the Feast of First Fruits. Faithful Jews gathered on this holy day to celebrate the giving of the Law. The church was born when the promised Holy Spirit came upon Christ’s assembled followers (Acts 2:1-12). Those gathered from other areas heard the believers praising God in their own languages.

Connecting the First and Second Coming

Peter used a passage from Joel to explain what was happening. These Old Testament verses describing the last days predicted the giving of the Holy Spirit with signs that occurred at Pentecost and ones that are yet to occur (Acts 2:14-21). In other words, Joel talked about the beginning of the church age in the same breath as the second coming of Christ. No wonder New Testament writers wrote as if He could appear any moment. The “last days” had officially begun!

Three More Jewish Holidays: The Days of Return

The first four Jewish holidays were fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. The last three holy days on the Jewish Calendar occur at the end of summer and early fall. The remaining three include The Festival of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and The Festival of Tabernacles.

Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn calls these the Days of Teshuvah or the Days of Return. This is the holiest time of the Hebrew year. A time to turn from sin and return to the Lord before He returns for us. The Days of Return occur at the end of the Jewish calendar.

At Pentecost, Peter presented four proofs that Jesus was alive and the promised Messiah. When the Jewish listeners realized they’d crucified their Messiah they asked, “What must we do?

Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:38-41 NIV).

The exciting days of the birth of the church included great testing. But Jesus’s followers rejoiced to be a part of God’s work. We too live in exciting times. May we share their attitudes and heed their warnings.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31 NIV).

Save yourselves from this corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40 NIV).

Leviticus 23 describes seven Jewish holidays. The first four foreshadowed Christ's first coming. Do the last ones relate to His 2nd coming? #Refreshing Faith, #ChristsReturn Share on X

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Ann J Musico

    Debbie – I love seeing how the OT ad NT fit together so beautifully and I’ve always been fascinated by the Jewish feasts and their meaning. It is beautiful to see how God established these things and Acts 2:40 speaks volumes to me in this day!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, verses like Acts 2:40 are standing out to me too. Thanks so much!

  2. J.D. Wininger

    With Sukkot upon us, how can we not think of how very close we are to His return. While we cannot know, Christ the Son of God does not know, we can feel it closing in upon us. Maranatha! We pray it is time Lord; help us each to bring just one more into the fold, and let us be assured our our place at the marriage supper.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, J.D.! May it be soon! And may our loved ones join us.

  3. Janice

    I love how all the Biblical Holydays point to our Messiah! He came to full fill them all! On Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)at our Messianic Synagogue we all dress in white, signifying having been cleansed white as snow from our sins. I think about when I grow up celebrating this holiday but not knowing the fulfillment in Messiah, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude of His ultimate sacrifice and love for us!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Janice, I love to hear from you Jewish roots how you experience these truths. I’d love to learn more from you. How beautiful to understand how they all fit together.

  4. Barbara Latta

    Debbie, thanks for the exposure to the Jewish festivals. God has a purpose for everything He does and how these festivals reveal Christ gives us another picture of what He did and why He came. Jewish roots are where we came from.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, it thrills me to see these pictures of Christ celebrated every year. May God open their eyes to see Jesus.

  5. Nancy E. Head

    I love the way God has woven thread throughout history. We live within the only meta-narrative–God’s story, history. So wonderful that He shows us through the prophets that He knew the end from the beginning.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Nancy, that is a great comfort when everything seems so out of control. No surprise to Him. He’s on the throne.

  6. Katherine Pasour

    Debbie, thank you for sharing this interesting and informative post. Although, I’ve studied the Old Testament and Jewish culture in my religion undergraduate curriculum, I confess I’d forgotten much of this. It’s important to recognize our connection to Judaism and see how everything comes together in Jesus.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Katherine, I love seeing how everything points to Jesus!

  7. Jeanne

    Debbie, I have never studied the connection between the OT holy days and the NT holy days. Your summary here just reminds me how amazing and intentional God is about how He does things. I loved this. You’ve got me thinking . . .

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeanne, it is really exciting to see how it all fits together. There is so much I don’t know.

  8. Michele Morin

    I was just recently lamenting my ignorance of the feasts and celebrations in the OT.

    And my husband also unwinds with solitaire

    • Debbie Wilson

      Michele, there is so much I don’t know. I love seeing how it fits together. Yes, I am addicted to my evening games.

  9. Melinda Viergever Inman

    This is a fascinating connection to consider. The Lord has given us so many clues and predictions to help us to discern the days that will bring about his return. I had never considered these holidays before until I saw a tweet from your post this past week. Thank you for sharing these ideas and this research into the possible foretelling of the end of days with these other three feasts from Leviticus 23.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Melinda, I find the connections intriguing and exciting. Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll come back.

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