As we continue in our study of the book of Deuteronomy, we pick up at the end of chapter 15.
Scripture and Summary
The firstborn of the flock is directed to be set apart specifically for religious festivals. The only exception is if the animal has any defect that would render it an improper sacrifice, in which case it can be eaten by both the ceremonially pure and impure alike.
The first of the three national festivals are established here: Israel’s “independence day” celebrating their rescue from slavery, Passover and its prescribed observance is established.
The feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, is established here. It was to be a celebration of the people inhabiting the land. It was also a celebration of the first fruits of the harvest, a celebration of anticipation.
The last of the mandatory festivals is the feast of tabernacles or booths. Coming at the close of the harvest season, this celebrates the abundance of their harvest, which is a gift from God, just as he supplied them during their wandering.
God is the host of the party. He is the one who provides the favors as well as the feast. God intends for us to celebrate him and his goodness with him and with each other and he only wants the best.
In Christ we, as believers, find the fulfillment of each of these festivals.
In the Passover, Christ’s spilt blood marks the believer apart from the world upon which God’s righteous judgment is coming. This blood is not applied by man or his efforts but by God to those whom have been given faith. This was fulfilled at the crucifixion.
Pentecost was fulfilled when God brought his people into his kingdom. This kingdom was not one defined by physical borders but by the breadth and width of creation. He brought the first fruits of his labors in.
Booths is in the process of being fulfilled. God dwells among his people in the presence of his Spirit. The times of our past wandering in our lostness in sin should cause us to work to bring our gifts to our Savior and God in the form of transformed lives dedicated to obedience.
Just as these celebrations served to remember what God did for his people, Christians today should regularly celebrate what has been done in Christ both as a private act in prayer and study of God’s word and corporately as the church.