The Hebrew feasts that were commanded by God to be followed religiously in the Old Testament were, in this order:
- The Passover (1st month, 14th day of the Hebrew year)
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread (1st month, 15th to the 22nd day)
- The Feast of Firstfruits (the first harvest, 3rd month, variable)
- The Feast of Weeks (7 Sabbaths after the firstfruits, or 50 days, also called pentecost)
- The Feast of Trumpets (7th month, 1st day)
- The Day of Atonement (7th month, 10th day)
- The Feast of Tabernacles (7th month, 15th through 22nd day)
Of these, the most important celebration, illustrated by the amount of offerings decreed, and holiness required, is the Day of Atonement, followed by the Feast of Tabernacles.
Notice all the 1’s, 3’s, 7’s, and 22’s in this calendar. God’s Realm is a circle. A circle of perfect Love.
The Day of Atonement was the only day the holiest Priest was allowed by God to go behind the veil to minister to Him. And even then, the Priest had to make a huge cloud of incense to occlude the vision of the LORD so that he would not die by seeing the LORD above the mercy seat upon the Ark of the Covenant. God disallowed the priests to go into the Holiest of Holies ‘at just any time’ after Aaron’s two sons sinned by making profane fire in the sanctuary. So the only time Priests could go into this sacred place was once per year. It was a very holy day and involved much cleansing and preparation for not only the Priest himself, but for the Tabernacle, the furnishings, and all the articles in the Holy Place.
The children of God would bring two kid goats to the Priest, and he would cast lots to see which one would be for the LORD, for the sin offering of the people; and which one would be the scapegoat, to be let go wild in the wilderness. After making a cloud of incense behind the veil, lest he die seeing the LORD’s presence, the Priest would kill the LORD’s goat and offer its blood by sprinkling it upon and before the mercy seat of the LORD. This would atone for the Holy Place for all the iniquities of the children of God. Then the Priest would lay his hands on the scapegoat’s head and confess upon it all the transgressions and sins of all the children of God in all their iniquities they had done, and send it out into the wilderness, where it would bear unto itself all their iniquities, taking them away into a solitary land.
When the story of Jesus’ life is recounted in the Gospels, the first act of his adult life we are privy to is his baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist when the Holy Spirit alighted upon him, and spoke, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then he immediately was ‘led by the Spirit’ into the Wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The devil tempted him three times, and Jesus stayed faithful and true to God and His word all three times, using the Law of God to thwart the devil every time.
We could have been apprised of Jesus’ life before this point, and it would have been intensely interesting. The reason the Gospel starts here is to make it obvious to those with eyes to see that Jesus is beginning with the end of the Israelite’s holy calendar, in order to best symbolize that He was here to finish God’s work, once and for all.
Jesus going into the wilderness reminds us of the scapegoat upon which were placed the sins of God’s people, before he was sent into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement to provide forgiveness and redemption to all the children of God. Jesus, having cleansed himself with baptism by God’s Prophet, and having been covered by the cloud of the Holy Spirit, went out into the wilderness as a man and defeated the devil by overcoming the sins that would normally plague man. He begins his mission for God with the last feast of the Hebrew year, as if he is picking up and completing or finishing that which was incomplete before him.
Jesus was in the Wilderness 40 days and 40 nights. He is not the 2nd Adam, but the 3rd Adam, Noah being the 2nd Adam. Noah was perfect in God’s eyes and he alone, with his 3 sons, was chosen by God to perpetuate God’s people before the Great Deluge. However, Noah sinned. Jesus came and succeeded, not only as Adam, but as the embodiment of God on earth, as the literal Son of God.
God has now divinely established Jesus as the perfect combination of man and God on earth, because Jesus defeats the devil time and time again, and overcomes sin; always while giving attribution to the Father. Jesus shows us how we are supposed to live and to love in the way God intended. Sometimes he fixes the law where it was incorrectly related, and sometimes he gives us new Law. As his work becomes completed on earth, the time for his final and most perfect and holy sacrifice draws near. This final act is to offer himself as the sacrificial lamb so that all who protect their life with his blood may have the curse of death pass them over; as happened in the days when our people were slaves in Egypt, just before they were set free.
But the man who… ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of the Lord at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin. ~Numbers 9:13
This final act of Jesus sets us free of not only our captivity, but from death, if we but paint His blood upon our life. By making atonement for us with His perfect life, and allowing death to pass over us with His perfect blood, Jesus completed God’s will, drawing us into God’s divine circle once and for all.
Thank you, Jesus, for your Divine and Unique and Holy sacrifice for us~