Happy Lunar New Year. May you know the Lord’s blessing this year.
Celebrations like Lunar New Year bring families together to give thanks, to share gifts, and, among other traditional customs, to remember.
The Bible has a lot to say about festivals and feasts. Leviticus 23 describes the main Jewish festivals of Sabbath, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
The sabbath celebrated the completion of God’s work at Creation. It marked the end of the first week when God rested from all he had done. Passover and Unleavened Bread celebrated the redemption of God’s people from slavery in Egypt. In fact, in the Old Testament, freedom from Egypt became the signal of God’s saving grace and the Passover a reminder of God’s covenant with his people.
The Feast of Weeks celebrated God’s provision – it was a harvest festival. The Feast of Trumpets started a month of sanctification and celebration of God’s forgiveness and grace. This month included the Day of Atonement, the solemn remembrance of God’s atoning work of salvation, and the Feast of Tabernacles, when the Israelites lived in tents for a week to remember God’s guidance and provision in the wilderness for 40 years.
Interestingly, Genesis 1:14 says God created the sun and moon to serve as signs to mark sacred times. But it’s also interesting that once established, these feasts and festivals were not linked to the course of the sun or moon. Instead, the Lord says in Leviticus 23:2, they were “my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.”
More importantly, these great feasts find their fulfilment in Jesus. As the Lord rested on the seventh day, so Jesus rested in the grave on the seventh day. And the believer’s hope of resurrection to eternal life, because of Jesus’ defeat of death, is called our “Sabbath rest” in Hebrews 4.
The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread is of course fulfilled in the New Covenant Jesus announced with the Lord’s Supper. The Feast of Weeks is Pentecost. This is when Jesus poured out the Spirit upon believers. The Feast of Trumpets, though not mentioned explicitly in the New Testament, finds connection with the trumpet blast in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 – the sound to accompany the gathering of God’s people when Jesus returns.
The Day of Atonement is of course fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. The curtain is torn in two. The way to God is open. Jesus has gone through the curtain, his blood “obtaining eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).
Finally, the Feast of Tabernacles is explicitly mentioned in John 7:2. At the highpoint of this festival’s celebration, Jesus declares: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
All biblical festivals and feasts point to Jesus and are fulfilled in Jesus. It’s a reminder to us that the rhythm of our daily lives, our weeks, our months, and our years are to be placed in service of the King of all Creation: Jesus.
This Lunar New Year, I invite us to celebrate but also always to remember that no matter the festival, may our lives point to Jesus and may our lives be in the service of the King. These are his appointed feasts, and we are his appointed people.
聖經有很多關於節日和節期的說法。利未記 23 描述了主要的猶太人節日。這些是安息日、逾越節和除酵節，五旬節、吹角節、贖罪日和住棚節。
有趣的是，以色列人精確地計算了這些節日的時間， 因為神創造了太陽和月亮，以此作為神圣时间的記號，正如創世記 1:14 中所說。但有意思的是，一旦建立，這些盛会和節日就與太陽或月亮的運行無關，而是“耶和华的節期，你們要宣佈為聖會的節期”这是神在利未記 23:2 中的话。
逾越節和除酵節當然在新約中實現了—新的應許—如耶穌在聖餐中的宣告。七七節又叫五旬節——耶穌將聖靈澆灌在信徒身上。號角節，雖然在新約中没有直接提及，但在哥林多前書15:52找到了有關喇叭的经文；帖撒罗尼迦前书 4:16 说道—伴隨神子民聚會的聲音，耶穌回來了。
最後，約翰福音 7:2 明確提到了住棚節。在這场節日慶祝活动的高峰期，耶穌宣告說：“口渴的人可以到我這裡來喝。信我的人，正如聖經所說，活水的江河要從他們裡面流出來。”
Grace and peace