After God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt, He gave to Moses seven annual Feasts of the Lord, religious family holidays for passing down their spiritual heritage. Just as the spring feasts gave prophetic insights into the first coming of the Messiah, the fall feasts are filled with prophetic significance about the second coming of the Messiah. Before He ascended up into heaven, Jesus promised that He would return. The fall feasts give us clues and signs about Christ's second coming.
This retreat consists of:
- four main sessions
- building a Sukkah
- family activities
Introduction: The Feasts of the Lord
God instituted seven different feasts and two more were added to commemorate miraculous events in Israel's history, one before the spring set of feast days and one at the end of the fall set of feast days. This overview gives an understanding of how the Feasts of the Lord fit with the astronomical calendar and what they tell us about God's prophetic plan. If the primary events of Christ's first coming occurred on the exact days of the spring feasts, wouldn't it be logical to conclude that God would fulfill the prophetic shadow of the fall feasts with Christ's second coming?
1st main session: The Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah
This session begins with the blowing of the shofar. Explanation is given of the 40 days preceding the Feast of Trumpets and of the traditions associated with this feast. The prophetic significance of this feast as well as the things that Jesus said about it are also explored.
Children are allowed to try blowing the shofar. Work through the repentance family devotional in preparation for the following day's study of Yom Kippur.
2nd main session: The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur
The ten Days of Awe are explained along with the specifications of the Day of Atonement. Using flannelgraph figures, the tabernacle, its furnishings, and its activities are clearly represented, showing the types and shadows of Christ and the things in the heavenly realm.
A trip to the river gives powerful symbolic understanding into what Christ has done for us and continues to for us through His Holy Spirit living within.
Building a Sukkah
Using branches, opening framing, and old sheets, families work together to build a temporary outdoor shelter.
Each family gathers things to decorate the Sukkah once it is built.
3rd main session: The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot
Like the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the spring, the Feast of Tabernacles is also an eight-day feast. It is the final celebratory family vacation at the end of the harvest. Many of our own harvest traditions come from this feast.
Make a lulav and participate in a prayer parade. Go on a map quest; learn about different countries and pray for each of the seven continents.
4th main session: Hanukkah
Hanukkah was not one of the original Feasts of the Lord. It did not come into Jewish tradition until 160 years or so before Christ was born. In this session we learn the story of Hanukkah and how Jesus used this feast in the most astonishing way. Some Christ-honoring ways of celebrating Hanukkah are shared.
Lighting the Hanukkah candles and each opening a gift.
Family Quiet Time 1: Heart Examination
A booklet is given out containing common areas of sin to think through individually and as a family. A prayer guide leads the family through repentance and seeking God for the pulling down of strongholds.
Family Quiet Time 2: What Christ Said about the Second Coming
Selected readings from the Gospels about the Second Coming with discussion questions.
Family Quiet Time 3: Christ and Hanukkah
Selected readings from the Gospel of John during the time between Sukkot and Hanukkah. List the names of Jesus from these chapters and discuss their meanings.