The 1st Coming of Jesus

The 1st Coming of Jesus

The incarnation, like the angel shared with the shepherds, on the hills around Bethlehem on the eve of Jesus’ birth, is news of great joy!

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:10-11

Jesus’ coming was prophesied

The coming of God Himself was a day the Jews over the ages had looked forward to. There are some 400 prophecies about Jesus’ coming.

When God actually came to planet earth, in person of Jesus Christ, He fulfilled all 400 prophecies about Him. Every single prophetic promise about His first coming that is in the Old Testament, He nailed with incredible precision.

As it is said, Jesus was in the Old concealed!

  • The Messiah would be resurrected Psalm 16:8–11
  • The Messiah would be born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14
  • The Messiah would be preceded by Elijah the prophet Malachi 4:5–6
  • The Messiah would come riding on a donkey Zechariah 9:9
  • The Messiah would be called out of Egypt Hosea 11:1
  • The Messiah would be called God’s Son Psalm 2:1–12
  • The Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver Zechariah 11:12–13

Today I want to look at just one just one of the Jewish Feasts and show you how this feast prophetically predicted.

The 7 Feasts of Israel

When God established His First Covenant with the People of Israel He instructed the Jews to observe 7 Feasts:

“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies… These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:”
Leviticus 23:2, 4

These 7 feasts were memorials to God’s dealings and interventions in the life of the people of Israel: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles

They were enshrined because God wants us to constantly remember His works. When Israel stopped remembering they drifted from God.

Psalm 78 tells us:

9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,

    turned back on the day of battle;

10 they did not keep God’s covenant

    and refused to live by his law.

11 They forgot what he had done,

    the wonders he had shown them.

The Jewish Calendar

  • The Jewish Calendar was based on the lunar cycle rather than a solar calendar like we use today.
  • The Hebrew term for “month,” chodesh, means “new moon”. In fact the new moon begins the Jewish month.
  • The Hebrew lunar calendar contained 12 months of 30 days.
  • Keeping the lunar calendar coordinated with the seasons of the year required adding a 13th month to the lunar calendar seven out of every nineteen years. This additional month was added to the end of the year following the last month Adar, and was simply called Second Adar.

Hebrew
Month

Modern
Equivalent

Feast

Nisan

March/April

Passover
Unleavened Bread
First Fruits

Iyyar

April/May

Sivan

May/June

Pentecost

Tammuz

June/July

Ab

July/August

Elul

August/Sept

Tishri

Sept/October

Trumpets
Atonement
Tabernacles

Marchesvan

Oct/Nov

Chislev

Nov/Dec

Tebeth

Dec/January

Shebat

January/Feb

Adar

Feb/March

These 7 Feasts God enshrined in Israel’s annual calendar, were save the date occasions, designed to keep God in the forefront to their mind.

Let’s take a quick look at them:

Feast

Jewish Date Georgian Month (Day Length)

Commemorated

Passover

Nisan 14–21
Mar./Apr

(1)

Commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt.

Unleavened Bread

Nisan 15–21

Mar./Apr
(7)

Commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt.

First Fruits

Nisan 22

Apr

(2)

Acknowledges the fertility of the land that God gave the Israelites.

Pentecost

Sivan 6
May/June
(2)

Commemorates the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. Includes a Day of Firstfruits for the wheat harvest. 

Trumpets

Tishri 1
Sept./Oct

(2)

Day of the blowing of the trumpets to signal the beginning of the civil new year. 

Atonement

Tishri 10
Sept/Oct

(1)

On this day the high priest makes atonement for the nation’s sin.

Tabernacles


Tishri 15–21
Sept/Oct
(7)

Commemorates the forty years of wilderness wandering where the people dwelt in booths made of branches and boughs of trees. 

Remember that in each of the pages of the Bible is Jesus. So behind these Feasts was Jesus. Each Feast pointed to some aspect of the person of Jesus and His ministry.

Feast

Jewish Date Georgian Month (Day Length)

Commemorate

Prophetic Fulfilment

Passover

Nisan 14–21
Mar./Apr

(1)

Commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt.

Jesus’ crucifixion

Unleavened Bread

Nisan 15–21

Mar./Apr
(7)

Commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. Includes a Day of Firstfruits for the barley harvest.  For 7 days unleavened bread was eaten

Jesus’ burial

First Fruits

Nisan 22

Apr

(2)

For acknowledging the fertility of the land that God gave the Israelites.

Jesus’ resurrection

Pentecost

Sivan 6
May/June
(2)

Commemorates the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. Includes a Day of Firstfruits for the wheat harvest.  Marked by offering of sacrifices.

Holy Spirit Given to the Church

Trumpets

Tishri 1
Sept./Oct

(2)

Day of the blowing of the trumpets to signal the beginning of the civil new year.  Hard labor ceased during this time.

Destruction of the Second Temple in AD70 (Sep 24, 70AD)

Atonement

Tishri 10
Sept/Oct

(1)

On this day the high priest makes atonement for the nation’s sin. Also a day of fasting.  It is only observed once a year (Ex 30:10).

Judgement Day

Tabernacles

Tishri 15–21
Sept/Oct
(7)

Lasts seven days, commemorates the forty years of wilderness wandering where the people dwelt in booths made of branches and boughs of trees. 

Jesus’ birth

The Feast of Tabernacles pointed to Jesus’ birth.

This prophetic promise of his coming connected with this feast was fulfilled in astounding detail.

The Gospel writer Luke gives us details of the events leading up and around the birth of Jesus.

5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.

Luke 1:5

Luke tells us that Zechariah, Jesus’ uncle was a Levite priest, who was part of the order of the priestly division of Abijah.

The story goes on to say that Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were childless. It happened that whilst he was performing his priestly duties and burning incense in the Temple, an angel appeared to him. The angel tells him that his wife Elizabeth would conceive and bear a son, and that he should name him John.

Now we can tell when this happens because of some handy information the Bible provides on the order in which the 24 Levite priestly families performed their duties across the Jewish calendar for a week at a time.

The Levite Priestly Division Cycle

The Old Testament prescribed that only one tribe was allowed for ministering in the Holy Temple. This tribe were the Levites.

The Levites were organized into 24 divisions also known as “lots” by King David.

3 With the help of Zadok a descendant of Eleazar and Ahimelek a descendant of Ithamar, David separated them into divisions for their appointed order of ministering.

1 Chronicles 24:3

The Levite priestly division cycle began at the beginning of the Jewish year on the first of Nisan, sometime in March-April in the Georgian calendar.  

From Luke’s Gospel we know that Zachariah was a priest in the “division of Abijah”.

According to 1 Chronicles 24:10 Zachariah’s Abijah division was assigned to the 8th rotation of the year.

 … 10 the eighth [rotation] to Abijah,

1 Chronicles 24:10

When you factor in that all priests were required to be on duty during the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost, Zachariah’s 8th rotation would have happened in the month of Sivan (May/June) on the 10th week of the year. Specifically, this would have been at the middle of Sivan (June).

Month

Week of the Year

Festival

Divison

Nisan

1

1. Jehoiarib

2

2. Jedaiah

3

Passover

All

4

3. Harim

Iyyar

5

4. Seorim

6

5. Malchijah

7

6. Mijamin

8

7. Hakkoz

Sivan

9

Pentecost

All

10

8. Abijah

Zechariah would have finished his first period of duty about the middle of Sivan.

After finishing his duties Zechariah goes home to Elizabeth after his rotation has finished. Elizabeth naturally would have missed Zechariah. Remember that Luke tells us that Zechariah nearly aborts his miracle because of his unbelief, so the Angel Gabe protects the miracle by shutting John’s mouth up tight.  Elizabeth really likes this sultry, silent man who returns home. One thing leads to another and they have a night of passion and John the Baptist is conceived sometime around the middle of Sivan (June).

Count on 40 weeks (nine months), the usual period of pregnancy from the Sivan 15: July, and you are now in middle of the Jewish month of Nisan (March), the following year.

John The Baptist Born on Passover

I want to propose to you that John the Baptist was born in the middle of Nisan the following year, on or during the Feast of Passover.

The Jewish Passover commemorated how God delivered Israel out of Egypt. The Jews were required to celebrate this Feast with a a number of traditions and customs: the Passover meal, painting the blood of the lamb around the lintels of their doorposts.

Over the years traditions were added to the celebration. By the time of Jesus one tradition was that 5 cups of red wine were poured out during the meal. Each cup commemorated a different aspect of the passover event:

1. The first cup commemorated that God had promised: ”I will take you out”.

2. The second cup commemorated that God had promised: “I will deliver you”.

3. The third cup commemorated that God had promised: “I will redeem you”,

4. The fourth cup commemorated that God had promised: “I will acquire you.”

Each of the these 4 cups were drunk at the table as a way of partaking and entering into what God had done for the Jewish people in the taking out, their deliverance, their redemption and God’s acquisition of them.

The Elijah Cup

Although the 5th cup was poured it was never consumed.

The 5th cup of wine commemorated God’s promise to Moses that He would “bring them into the land.”

The Jews recognized they had never fully ever entered the Promised Land. They had tastes of it but it had never been fully realized. They awaited and longed for the day this would happen.

In anticipation of this they placed this 5th cup in the middle of the table awaiting for this day when God would fully bring them into the Promised Land. The Jews called the 5th cup the Elijah Cup.

The Jewish Prophets foretold that preceding this full coming into the land, God would send to them the Prophet Elijah. Elijah was one of two people the Bible records was taken directly into heaven. 

The Jews awaited his return because he would herald the coming of the Messiah who would be the one to lead the Jews into the Promised Land forever.

Luke tells us that John the Baptist was this Elijah prophet who preceded the Messiah.

17 And he [John the Baptist] will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Luke 1:17

Jesus also joins the dots of these prophetic hopes of Elijah and John the Baptist:

11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Matt 17:11-13

John’s birth tells us when Jesus was born

As we have seen, John the Baptist was conceived in the Jewish month of Sivan (June). Luke tells that six months after John the Baptist was conceived, The Angel Gabe visits again, but this time he visits Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee… 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.

Luke 1:26

So Mary gets pregnant 6 months after the middle of Sivan – June. That places the divine conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb in the Jewish month of Kislev which is in December. Fast forward 40 weeks (9 months) from the middle of Kislev and you get to which month? The month Jewish month of Tishrei (which is sometime in September or October).

Are there any Jewish Festivals in the middle of Tishrei?

Yes on the 15th of Tishrei falls the Festival of Tabernacles.

Jesus was born on the Feast of Tabernacles

If you remember from what we learnt earlier, The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated the forty years of wilderness wandering where the people dwelt in booths made of branches and boughs of trees. 

During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish families today in Israel construct a flimsy shelter called a Succah, made of loosely assembled walls and a leafy overhead covering. They often eat and sometimes sleep in their Succah.

Luke tells us that Jesus was not born in a house like other Jewish children in Jesus’ day. Around the time of Jesus’ birth his step-dad Joseph was required to travel with Mary from where they were living in Nazareth to his birth town Bethlehem for a Roman census.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:3-7

When they arrived at Bethlehem there was no room at the inn. Luke tells us that Jesus was placed in a manager.

In other words Jesus was born in a temporary lodging, a type of Succah – A Tabernacle.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

The Greek word “dwelt” of this verse comes from the word Greek word skeinos. It is the Greek word which in Hebrew means tabernacled (tent).

The Amplified Version of the Bible translates John 1:14 as:

14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.

John 1:14

Do you remember how at the beginning of our message today we we heard how the message of Jesus’ tabanacling was “news of great joy which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10).

The Feast of Tabernacles was called by the Jews “The Season of our Joy.” It was also known as the “Feast of the Nations.” 

It was the only Jewish feast where the Gentile nations are positively encouraged to participate. 

The angels that appeared to the shepherds that night were actually giving them a greeting for the Feast of Tabernacles.

The tradition of Ushpizin

Things get even more amazing! We saw above how Luke  also tells us that the angels delivered this news of great joy to shepherds?

For thousands of years there was a tradition the Jews practiced during the Feast of Tabernacles (And it is practiced even to this day), known as Ushpizin.

The word Ushpizin is an an Aramaic for “guests”.

During the Feast of Tabernacles the hosts invite 7 guests into their Tabernacle (sukkah).

Here is something even more outstanding! The singular of the word Ushpizin is the word ushpiza and it means “innkeeper”.

The ceremony of Ushpizin calls for the Jews to be innkeepers who invite and welcoming the seven faithful shepherds to their temporary lodgings.

These special shepherd visitors are symbolic of the 7 shepherd faithful forefathers of the Jewish nation: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David.

    • Abraham represents love and kindness
    • Isaac represents restraint and personal strength
    • Jacob represents beauty and truth
    • Moses represents eternality and dominance through Torah
    • Aaron represents empathy and receptivity to divine splendor
    • Joseph represents holiness and the spiritual foundation
    • David represents the establishment of the kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The purpose of these shepherd guests was they prophetically symbolized these founding shepherd forefathers who each visited to inspect how well the hosts had fulfilled the commandment of the feast of tabernacles, and observe how well they dwelt under God’s protection.

One of the important experiences of Sukkot is that of leaving the protection of our permanent dwellings and basking in the shade and protection of God’s presence. Each of the seven Ushpizin exemplified this idea during their lifetimes. Each of these Patriarchs  prophetically in the life of the shepherds find their way to the feet of Jesus. He was the fulfilment of the Jewish hope. He was the ultimate one for leaving heaven and coming to earth.

Jesus’ circumcision

Eight days later, according to Luke 2:21, Jesus was circumcised:

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses,Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
Luke 2:21-22

If the day of Jesus’ birth was the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, then the day of His circumcision would be the eighth day after Tabernacles which was also a day of sacred assembly called “Shemini Atzeret” or “the Eighth day of Solemn Assembly” and also the “Rejoicing in Torah”.

It commemorated the day which the Jews complete their annual cycle of Torah readings and start again from Genesis. It was considered to be a time of fulfillment of the Torah and also a new beginning for it.

Jesus said:

 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 

Matthew 5:17

Coincidence? No it was a miracle.

Implications:

  1. You’re going to be ok

We have seen that God destined for Jesus to come and designated an exact day for Him to come. There was no accident. He landed on spot X.

God did this even with all the moving parts that went on throughout history, with the Devil actively working against God to throw spanners in the works and also God never violated humanity’s free will .

Yet God did it. He landed Jesus on the very day destined for Him to arrive on planet earth.

If God did that for Jesus what does that speak about for His plans for your life? It should fill you with hope. You see the reason Jesus came was for you. The whole point of His coming was for you:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

God is able to take all the moving parts of your life. You history, good, bad, the beautiful and ugly and turn it into something good and extraordinary.

8 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Romans 8:8

No matter what you are dealt with God wins. If it ain’t good it ain’t over.

2. Jesus came to Lead us to the Promised Land

The Promised land is the promised land because of Jesus. It is the Kingdom of God. It is not somewhere we go when we die. Heaven is heaven because of Jesus.

Jesus came to bring heaven to earth. He is dumping the promised land in your life. He holds nothing back of himself.

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