By Nathan Jones
Do the Jewish Feasts actually symbolize the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?
Dr. David Reagan and I were blessed by having Michael Norten as a guest on our television show Christ in Prophecy. Michael is a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, formerly a pastor and staffer with Campus Crusade for Christ, and the television personality the Garden Guy. He's written an absolutely fascinating book on the Feasts of Israel titled Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts, explaining what each one means and how they are prophetically significant. I believe you'll find the following interview with Michael concerning the prophetic importance of the Feasts that relate to the First and Second Comings of the Messiah a fascinating read.
More Symbols of the Feasts
Michael Norten: Let's mention two more insights quite briefly before we get into the Fall Feasts. The Feast of First Fruits is very interesting because on the day Jesus resurrected is when Mary Magdalene saw Jesus and wanted to give Him a hug. But, Jesus said to her that she couldn't touch him yet for He hadn't returned to the Father.
Dr. Reagan: That is indeed a mysterious statement.
Michael Norten: Yes, I'd always thought, "Well, how rude of Jesus. She just wanted to give Him a hug. Get over it!" Then I found out as I was looking in Josephus to learn his take on First Fruits, because he was a contemporary Jewish historian, Josephus revealed that during the Feast of First Fruits the Jews were not even allowed to touch the barley until the First Fruits had been presented to God at the Temple. So, Jesus was the First Fruits of many brethren. Jesus said, "Tell all your brethren I'm going to the Father." After Jesus had apparently went back to the Father, He could come back and say something to the effect, "Hey, Thomas, you can touch me now. You're kosher. You're acceptable to God." The barley in the field had became kosher, or acceptable to the Lord, because of what the First Fruits had done. We became acceptable to the Lord not for what we did, but what our First Fruits did.
Dr. Reagan: Once again, that's one of those wonderful gems that you have woven into the Feasts story all throughout your book.
Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture
Michael Norten: Now lets get a good look at the Feast of Trumpets, which is the Fifth Feast and the first of the Fall Feasts in September. We are now going to get some insights on the Second Coming.
Dr. Reagan: These are the three Feasts that you are going to talk about which have not been fulfilled in the Christian experience?
Michael Norten: Correct. They have not been fulfilled.
The Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah as they call, comes on the New Moon. It's celebrated for two days. The reason Jews celebrate it for two days is because no one knows the day or the hour of the New Moon. The Jews would just watch and wait.
Dr. Reagan: Well, that's just like how we don't know the day or hour of the coming of the Lord.
Michael Norten: Exactly! When Israel had determined the New Moon had shown up, then the Jews started blowing trumpets with their hundred different blasts. I show in my book the significance of each one of those blasts. The last blast was the Tekiah Gedolah, which is a long blast, and it's very possible the last trump that Paul was referring to in 1 Thessalonians 4 when he says that we believers in Christ will be caught up at the last trump.
Dr. Reagan: So, are you saying that most likely the Rapture will occur on the Feast of Trumpets?
Michael Norten: It's very possible, because in the Spring Feasts Jesus fulfilled everything He did on the very day of each Feast.
Nathan Jones: If the Rapture were to fall on the Feast of Trumpets, wouldn't we then know the day and hour of Jesus' return?
Michael Norten: No, we wouldn't, for that's why Rosh Hashanah is celebrate over two days.
Dr. Reagan: And, we don't know the year. I called Zola Levitt one time many years ago back in the 80's and I asked, "Zola, do you believe that the Rapture is most likely to occur on the Feast of Trumpets?" He answered, "Well, of course! What's the matter with you? Every year I get my calendar, the first thing I do is I look for the Feast of Trumpets and I put a big red circle around it. The closer we get to that Feast, the harder I pray."
Michael Norten: That's exactly what I do, too.
Yom Kippur and the Second Coming
Michael Norten: Let's now look at the prophetic significance between the last day of the Rosh Hashanah, which is the fifth Feast of Trumpets, and the Sixth Feast which is Yom Kippur. Seven days are between those two feasts. During that time the Jewish priests and the High Priest would go into hiding because they didn't want to be defiled. This points to the fact that we as believers in Christ are a kingdom of priests who will be with our High Priest for seven years after the Rapture. Then, at the end of seven years while the Tribulation is finishing its work, Jesus Christ will come back and we will come with Him. We will be dressed in white. The Jews will look up and recognize Jesus as the one whom they had pierced, according to Zechariah 12, and all of Israel who has survived up to that point will be saved. Their sins will be covered like in the Old Testament.
Dr. Reagan: So, the fulfillment of Yom Kippur will be the Second Coming and the salvation of the Jewish remnant?
Michael Norten: Yes, and the Jews traditionally expect the Messiah to show up at Yom Kippur.
Feast of Tabernacles and the Millennial Kingdom
Michael Norten: Finally, let's look at the Seventh and last Feast — the Feast of Tabernacles. This Feast is all about the celebration. The Redeemed throughout history will be celebrating Christ tabernacling or dwelling with us in His Millennial Kingdom.
Here's what's also quite fascinating, in that there is an addendum to that Feast. It's a seven day feast, but it has eight days. That last day, the eighth day, goes with the fact that eight is a symbolic reminder to the Jews of new beginnings. Eight means a new beginning, and so the Jews call it the Feast of Eighth Day. It's an addendum to the Feast of Tabernacles. When they are packing up in their Sukkot, and their hut, and everything's ready to go, God says, "Hold on! We have one more celebration, and that's the Feast of the Eighth Day." They're to look forward to our eternity with the Lord in the New Heaven and on the New Earth.
So, in entirety, all seven Jewish Feasts, along with the extra eighth, point to Jesus Christ.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, even the Jews recognize the Feast of Tabernacles as being prophetic in the sense that it means the Messiah is going to come and tabernacle with us. Speaking of the Feast of Tabernacles, you think that Jesus was born during that time, don't you?
Michael Norten: Yes, and that tidbit is quite interesting to me, because Luke let the cat out the bag when he said an angel visited Zacharias. Zacharias was John the Baptist's father, and he was of the order of Abia, which is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 24:10. In the Talmud, I discovered they perform their priestly duties at the Temple on the eighth week of the Jewish year.
Dr. Reagan: The priests were divided into groups, and we know exactly in what order they ministered at the Temple.
Michael Norten: Yes, the priestly families were divided into 24 groups.
Nathan Jones: That's just like the 24 Elders who worship around the throne of God in Revelation, right?
Michael Norten: Yes, another symbol. So, we know from the Hebraic calendar when Zacharias was at the Temple to offer incense in the Holy of Holies. Assuming then that he went home and Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist at that point, we count the weeks and realize that John the Baptist had to be born at Passover. Of course, Jesus called him the Elijah of that day. The Jews have always looked at Elijah as coming at the Passover.
Jesus we are told in the Bible was conceived six months later, and in the Hebraic calendar we find out that He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles, which is in October. The shepherds would not have been in the field in December, I guarantee you, so it was October. Then you count backwards and you find out that Jesus was conceived at Hanukkah. Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, and Tabernacles is the Show of Lights. Remember Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." What a couple of bookends is that?!