When I was a kid, the white-washed walls of a doctor’s waiting room pointed to only one thing: checking out the “Where’s Waldo?” book. Forget “Home and Garden” or “People” magazines — my eyes eagerly searched for the familiar time-waster of trying to find Waldo in the midst of the messy crowd.
Sorting through prophecies and symbolisms of the Old Testament can feel similar, like an intricate game of “Where’s Jesus?”
But the richness of God’s Word is that it often reveals a deeper truth if you know where to look.
Jesus often pointed to the “beginning” (Genesis), the Law of Moses (first five books) and the prophets (Jeremiah through Malachi) to reveal God’s plan for mankind and clues to recognize the Savior. For the Jews of his time, understanding the Old Testament was key to discovering that Jesus is their promised Messiah.
And if you have heard the Good News from the New Testament and received Jesus as your Savior, Old Testament prophecies and symbolism provide further proof and assurance that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.
This feast remembers the last plague in Egypt, when the angel of death “passed over” the children of Israel who applied the blood of the lamb to their doors. The Israelites took a bundle of hyssop and dipped it into the blood in the basin at the threshold. Going up, they put it up on the lintel, then touched the two sides of the frame (Exodus 12). Can you see the imagery? Bottom to top, side to side: the motion formed a cross.
When John the Baptist said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NLT), he understood the Old Testament reference. And in the New Testament we see that Jesus — born in a stable, visited by shepherds and led to the slaughter — is that lamb sent for us. His death allows the judgement we deserve to pass over us.
When we accept Christ, we accept the loving gift of a second chance — because of his death on the cross, we have a clean slate!
This seven-day feast begins on the day following the start of Passover. In the haste of the Israelites to leave Egypt, there was no time to add leaven (yeast) to their bread. During this time, remembering the hardships in Egypt and how God freed them from captivity, the Jews eat nothing leavened.
Leaven often represents sin and decay in the Bible. Once incorporated, yeast becomes an inseparable part of the bread; the same is true for sin’s effect on our lives. The Jews were constantly sacrificing unblemished animals to temporarily atone for sin. Only the Messiah, the perfect sinless sacrifice, could offer a permanent solution.
The unleavened bread represents Jesus’ sinless life; he is the only perfect sacrifice for our sins.
In John 6:35, Jesus boldly states that he is the bread of life. Not only does he remove our sins, he nourishes our souls!
The Feast of First Fruits is one of three Jewish harvest feasts to thank and honor God for all he provided. Although they didn’t know it at the time, the children of Israel were celebrating what would become a very important day.
Jesus is called Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23, NLT). He put on a temporary tabernacle — a human body — to dwell on this earth and offer himself as a sacrifice.
This feast also points to the promise that God will return and rally with his people — in the person of Jesus. And when he does, he has promised that there will be no more death and suffering, that he himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4). His return is the final answer to the hope we’ve carried our entire lives. What a day that will be!
Unlike searching for Waldo in a messy world, we can pray for God’s wisdom as we read his Word. Even with this small glimpse into these feasts, we see his intentional love for humanity has endured centuries, and he has left us clues that foreshadow the beauty that is to come. The Old Testament has many hidden truths that, in light of the New Testament, bring a richer understanding to your life in Jesus Christ.
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