There are seven feasts that God told the ancient Israelite nation to observe. What is interesting is that the purpose of each one of these is similar to what Christians engage in and for the same reasons. You can see the connection between the Jewish feasts and Thanksgiving.
Take a look at these seven feasts and how we have the same needs:
1-The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Or Passover). Leviticus 23:5, Exodus 23:15, and Numbers 28:16-25. This feast celebrated the historical deliverance from Egypt. Our 4th of July originally had a similar purpose. The Lord’s Supper also remembers deliverance from sin – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
2-The Feast of Weeks or Harvest. Exodus 23:16 and 34:22 and Numbers 28:26. It was later known as Pentecost because it was celebrated on the 50th day from the Sabbath beginning the Passover. It was a time to remember the blessing of having grain crops. By the way, our first Thanksgiving occurred on the same date as Thanksgiving 2018 – November 22. The Plymouth Colonists and Wampanoag Indians celebrated it on that date in 1621. First Corinthians 16:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 express a similar joy at the blessings of God.
3-The Feast of Tabernacles (or Feast of Booths or Ingathering). Leviticus 23:34-43, Deuteronomy 16:13-15, and Numbers 29:12-38. This feast celebrated the harvesting of fruit from trees. Our Thanksgiving had a similar origin. (See number 2.)
4-Feast of the Sabbath – or Sabbath of Rest. Leviticus. 23:2-3 and Isaiah 58:13. It was a solemn assembly of thanking God for the nation of Israel. Our Independence day is similar.
5-Day of Blowing Trumpets. Numbers 29:1 and Leviticus 23:24. It was a sabbath and a memorial to celebrate the nation. Our Veterans Day and our Memorial Day are similar.
6-Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23:26-31 and Exodus 30:10. On the 10th day of the 7th month observed once a year a day Israel focused on individual personal sin and making atonement for that sin. Our Lord’s Supper has a connection to that concept every week, and 1 John 1:5-10 tells us that as Christians our atonement is continuous.
7-Feast of Purim. Esther 9:18-32 – This was a celebration established by Mordecai to celebrate the deliverance from Haman similar to our Memorial Day.
Israel had specific feasts to lift and remind their thinking to have an attitude of gratitude for all the blessing they had received. Shouldn’t we have that same spirit as we celebrate Thanksgiving? Romans 1:18-22 describes the enemies of God, and one of the indicators of their antagonism to God was that they were not thankful.
The connection between the Jewish feasts and Thanksgiving are evident. Make Thanksgiving special this year by expressing your sincere thanks for all the blessings God has given.
–John N. Clayton © 2018