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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: May 10, 2023

Leviticus 23:23-44

In our reading from Leviticus this morning, God tells His people that the Day of Atonement is to be a permanent ceremony in their lives, one that every Israelite ever is supposed to celebrate, no matter where he lives. “It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places,” the Lord says.

God says the same thing about the Passover, the Feast of the Firstfruits, the feast of Weeks and the Feast of Booths. So what should we make of this? Through faith in Christ, we have been grafted into the tree of Israel. Through faith, Abraham is our father because we belong to the God who made Abraham His own and who has made Himself our Father. Through our baptism into the Triune name, we became the true Israelites. But are we true Israelites if we don’t keep these forever statues, these eternal feasts?

This is not a question we need to worry about because we do keep these feasts. And we keep them eternally whenever we worship the One who eternally fulfilled them all.

Every feast of the Israelite calendar was a prophecy, a promise of the Son of God who would win eternal life for His people in a way that would bring light to all the shadows and types in which those feasts were rooted. Jesus Christ became the Passover Lamb when His blood covered our hearts, forgave our sins, and caused the sentence of death to pass over us. Jesus became the scapegoat of the Day of Atonement who made us one with God as He was driven into the wilderness with our sins pressed down upon His head. Jesus fulfilled the Feast of the Firstfruits by being the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, the first to rise from the dead that we might live in resurrection glory forever. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, where the harvest was gathered in because He is the one who will gather us into His Father’s Kingdom with His living arms of mercy. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Fast of Booths or Tabernacles because the One who tabernacled among us in the flesh is now leading us out of the wilderness and into the Kingdom of His Father.

So just as we have been grafted into Israel, so these Israelite feasts have been subsumed into Christ, which means that, whenever we hear Christ’s word and believe it, we celebrate all of these eternal feasts. Whenever we feast on the flesh and blood of the Lamb, we honor and keep these feasts. Whenever we receive the mercy, the forgiveness, life, and salvation of God’s own Son, we receive the One who fulfilled every feast of the Israelite year, which means we are faithful, feast-keeping Israelites, faithful sons of Abraham, and beloved children of God.

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