A Real Feast

It was the summer of 1989 while having some meetings in London, Ontario, that I picked a book out of the library of my host called Harvest Festivals by H. K. Downie. I had never read anything on the Feasts of Jehovah before and had never in adulthood heard them expounded from the platform. I was fascinated with what I read. Not having completed my reading before I left, I found an old copy in Grand Rapids and finished the book.

That Fall, a brother dropped off a chart he thought I might use. It was a large wall chart of the Feasts of Jehovah. Right then I knew this study I had promised myself had to commence.

During the following Spring, I had the unusual opportunity of having six days to drive across the country from Nashville to San Diego by myself; so I took that opportunity to dig into a study of the Feasts. What a treasure of material I found! As a result, this has become one of my favorite passages of Scripture. Its rich truths scan the whole Book and is full of the doctrines of salvation, as well as dispensational and prophetic truth.

While Harvest Festivals is out of print, there are some good books available that would be useful additions to any library.

The standard work is The Feasts of Jehovah by John Ritchie. Included in this book is a very helpful chart. Its straitforward exposition makes this book one of the beginning books of your study. One word of caution I feel is in order. The Feast of Trumpets signifies the returning of Israel as a nation at the second coming of Christ (Mt. 24:31). Mr. Ritchie, while emphasizing this in his book, also points out that the church is looking for a trumpet as well. In recent years, that interpretation has spurred many outlandish "date-setting" schemes. Mr. Ritchie certainly believed in the imminent return of Christ and never had date-setting in mind. But in our day, we need to be clear on its true meaning. The trumpet sound that you and I are looking for, calls the Bride away from earth to heaven. The trumpet sound that Israel hears brings them back to Jerusalem and into the glorious kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament; this is the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets.

The second book that I found of great value is The Outpouring by Elwood McQauid. He is the editor of the magazine, Israel My Glory, published by Friends of Israel. His book looks at the Lord's trips to Jerusalem during the feast days as emphasized in John's Gospel. He explains many Jewish traditions that had sprung up around the feasts; with that as a backdrop, he shows how the miracles He did, the actions He took, and the words He spoke at the feasts not only demonstrated His Messiahship but proved He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament types to which the feasts pointed. The Jewish people had missed the point of the feasts and their traditions had made them "the feasts of the Jews." Jesus drew their hearts back to the real intention of the feasts, Himself. It is well written, and a fresh look at the feasts.

Another book recently written is God's Prophetic Calendar by Lehman Strauss. In his exposition, Mr. Strauss lays particular emphasis on the prophetic overview of the plan of salvation from the death of the Lord Jesus to His second coming. He states in the introduction: "I have not located a single chapter in the Bible that, in my judgment, is more doctrinally and prophetically profound and fraught with more of the weight of God's plan for holy living, than the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus. Here is an orderly unfolding of the prophetic panorama, reserved in clarity for the student who will take the time to study it carefully." This book, while not complete in many details, does demonstrate the chronological order of God's program of salvation for Jew and Gentile.

With these books you will have some good help in the study of this very full chapter in God's Word. And in understanding this chapter you will have a better grasp of the whole of God's great plan of salvation, centered in the Lord Jesus, initiated by Christ in His first coming, and completed in His second coming.