Typology
A relationship between two events in which the first event is seen as a type, or foreshadowing, of the greater second event, known as the antitype.
Feasts that Typify Christ's First Coming
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: God's people, Israel, celebrated yearly feasts in recognition of God's goodness to them. Three of these feasts were also put into place by God to foretell of Christ's First Coming to Earth as a man.
 
 

Every Jewish feast represented an aspect of Christ’s ministry. There are three feasts that symbolized Christ’s First Coming:

The Passover

The Passover represented the crucifixion of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 5:7 Paul says, “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”

Source: Jennie Faber on Flickr.

The Passover first occurred while the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. God sent plagues to punish Egypt, including an angel of death that killed every firstborn in Egypt. In order for God’s people to escape this plague, God told each family to kill a lamb that had no blemish. They were to smear the blood of that sacrificial lamb on their doorposts, so that the angel of death would pass over their houses, and their firstborn would be safe from the plague (Exodus 12).

To remember this event, Jews celebrated the Passover, which not only looked back to their deliverance from Egypt and the lamb’s blood on their doorposts, but also looked ahead to the perfect Lamb that was to be slain to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled the Passover feast. He was the Passover Lamb. Exodus 12:5; 46 says, "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats…neither shall ye break a bone thereof." Although Jesus was killed at the time of Passover, many Christians celebrate His death at Easter, which is a completely separate—and pagan—festival.

Christ fulfilled these prophecies in the New Testament:

Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God (Hebrews 9:14).
But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs…For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken (John 19:33,36).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

This feast represented the body of Christ. It was a symbol of Christ as He lay in the grave. Jesus attributed the symbol of bread to himself. "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:33 NKJV).

This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world (John 6:50-51).

The Pharisees, the religious leaders of the time, knew very well what Jesus was talking about. They understood the typology of the Messiah as the Bread of heaven. They knew when He referred to Himself as the Bread of heaven, He was claiming to be the promised Messiah, the Holy One of Israel. That is why they tried to stone Him.

In the sanctuary’s table of shewbread, the bread, symbolizing Christ as the Bread of Life, was always unleavened bread.

Unleavened bread is bread that has no leaven (yeast). In the Bible, leaven symbolizes sin or error. It causes fermentation. The Lord said to His disciples "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees" (Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15). In addition, the apostle Paul warned the Church at Corinth that "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (1 Corinthians 5:6). He was saying that just a small amount of sin could destroy us.

Jesus is likened to the Unleavened Bread because He was the Sinless One with no leaven whatsoever, and thus fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread (See Luke 1:35; John 8:46; 14:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 3:5).

The Feast of Firstfruits

This feast represented Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrected Jesus was the firstfruits from the dead:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NKJV).

On the day of the feast of firstfruits, the priest waved a sheaf of the first harvest before the Lord. None of the harvest could be eaten before the firstfruits were offered to God.  

When Jesus rose, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. When she realized it was Jesus and drew near to Him, he said “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and to your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17).

A while later, however, He permitted Thomas to touch Him, and in fact told Him to “Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side” (John 20:27).

In between these two events, Jesus would have done exactly what He said He was going to do—ascend to heaven to present Himself to the Father as the firstfruits of those that will be redeemed from the earth. Then He returned to the earth to comfort and visit His friends for another 40 days until He was taken up into heaven (Luke 24:51).  

These three feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits) were celebrated on consecutive days, representing the days of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Read about three other Jewish feasts that pointed to aspects of Christ’s Second Coming.

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
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