Do You Know About the Holy Days Jesus Kept?

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Do You Know About the Holy Days Jesus Kept?

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When I grew up attending a mainstream Christian church I simply assumed that what I had been taught was correct. However, in my early 20s I was challenged to compare my beliefs with the Bible’s teachings. When studying holidays like Christmas and Easter and

many other subjects, I was shocked to discover major, glaring conflicts with my church’s age-old doctrines and traditions. They simply didn’t agree with the Bible’s instruction.

In examining what the Bible actually revealed, I was introduced to something marvelous—that God had instituted an exciting, step-by-step plan for the future of mankind. This amazing blueprint is revealed in the seamless panorama of the seventh-day Sabbath and the Bible’s seven annual festivals (see Deuteronomy 5:12-14 Deuteronomy 5:12-14 [12] Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD your God has commanded you. [13] Six days you shall labor, and do all your work: [14] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your ox, nor your ass, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you.
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; Leviticus 23:1-44 Leviticus 23:1-44 [1] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [2] Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. [3] Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. [4] These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. [5] In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover. [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. [7] In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [8] But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [9] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [10] Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest: [11] And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. [12] And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD. [13] And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet smell: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. [14] And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. [15] And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: [16] Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD. [17] You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits to the LORD. [18] And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering to the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet smell to the LORD. [19] Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. [20] And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. [21] And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation to you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. [22] And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. [23] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [24] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. [25] You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. [26] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [27] Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. [28] And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. [29] For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. [30] And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. [31] You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. [32] It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath. [33] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [34] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. [35] On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [36] Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. [37] These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day: [38] Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. [39] Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. [40] And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. [41] And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. [42] You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: [43] That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. [44] And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
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). While each one of these has unique features, they all interact and align perfectly to illuminate God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I learned that Jesus Himself faithfully observed the Sabbath and these festivals throughout His entire earthly life—leaving an example for everyone to follow (1 John 2:6 1 John 2:6He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
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).

So are you up for a challenge—one that may conflict with some of your beliefs and yet can show you the pathway to tremendous spiritual insight and incredible hope? If so, join me on a brief journey through Holy Scripture to discover what it says about God’s great plan of salvation as illustrated through the biblical festivals Jesus observed. These include Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day. While some people label these observances as merely “Jewish,” God in fact declares, “These are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2 Leviticus 23:2Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
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, emphasis added throughout).

The weekly Sabbath day

God established the seven-day weekly cycle at the time of creation when He “rested on the seventh day” and set it apart as holy time (Genesis 2:1-3 Genesis 2:1-3 [1] Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. [2] And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. [3] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
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; Mark 2:28 Mark 2:28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
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). In doing so He commanded all people to observe the weekly Sabbath by resting from their labors (Exodus 31:13-17 Exodus 31:13-17 [13] Speak you also to the children of Israel, saying, Truly my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the LORD that does sanctify you. [14] You shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy to you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. [15] Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. [16] Why the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. [17] It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
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; Hebrews 4:1-11 Hebrews 4:1-11 [1] Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. [2] For to us was the gospel preached, as well as to them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. [3] For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. [4] For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. [5] And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. [6] Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: [7] Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. [8] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. [9] There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. [10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. [11] Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
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). In addition to pointing to the true God of creation, the Sabbath looks forward to the future return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, bringing humanity relief and rest from evil, contention and suffering.

It is important to note that Jesus diligently observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16 Luke 4:16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
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, 31; 13:10; Mark 6:2 Mark 6:2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From where has this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given to him, that even such mighty works are worked by his hands?
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), as did the apostles and other members of His early Church (Acts 13:14-44 Acts 13:14-44 [14] But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. [15] And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, You men and brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. [16] Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and you that fear God, give audience. [17] The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelled as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. [18] And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. [19] And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. [20] And after that he gave to them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. [21] And afterward they desired a king: and God gave to them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. [22] And when he had removed him, he raised up to them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. [23] Of this man's seed has God according to his promise raised to Israel a Savior, Jesus: [24] When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. [25] And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think you that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there comes one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose. [26] Men and brothers, children of the stock of Abraham, and whoever among you fears God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. [27] For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. [28] And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. [29] And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulcher. [30] But God raised him from the dead: [31] And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people. [32] And we declare to you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made to the fathers, [33] God has fulfilled the same to us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you. [34] And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. [35] Why he said also in another psalm, You shall not suffer your Holy One to see corruption. [36] For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid to his fathers, and saw corruption: [37] But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. [38] Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins: [39] And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. [40] Beware therefore, lest that come on you, which is spoken of in the prophets; [41] Behold, you despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which you shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it to you. [42] And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles sought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. [43] Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. [44] And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
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; 15:20-21; 17:1-3, 18:4). Their example is one everyone should follow today.

The Passover

Passover memorializes the miraculous event by which God broke the bonds of ancient Israel’s enslavement in Egypt. On the first Passover evening a lamb was slain, roasted and eaten in each Israelite household. The lamb’s blood was placed on the lintel and doorposts of their homes as a sign of God’s protection from the plague of death upon Egypt’s firstborn (Exodus 12:12-13 Exodus 12:12-13 [12] For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. [13] And the blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
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).

Scripture reveals that the lambs symbolized Jesus Christ as the future sacrificial “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
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). He did this by willingly dying, His blood shed so that every person could be spared from eternal spiritual death (Matthew 26:28 Matthew 26:28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
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; Romans 5:20-21 Romans 5:20-21 [20] Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: [21] That as sin has reigned to death, even so might grace reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
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). At the Passover observance with His disciples the night before His death, Jesus shared the symbols of unleavened bread and wine as representing His sinless body and His blood poured out to cleanse all those who repent of their sins (Ephesians 1:7 Ephesians 1:7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
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; 1 John 1:7 1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
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).

Jesus had been observing the Passover throughout His human life. “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast” (Luke 2:41-42 Luke 2:41-42 [41] Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. [42] And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
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). At age 30, when Jesus began His earthly ministry, He was still observing it as He always had: “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 2:13 John 2:13And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
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). (It’s termed “the Passover of the Jews” here since the Jews observed it while gentiles did not.)

Then later, as noted above, He observed the Passover at the time of His sacrificial death (Matthew 26:17-19 Matthew 26:17-19 [17] Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the passover? [18] And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, The Master said, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples. [19] And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
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). Plus, it’s important to note that more than two decades later, the apostles and other members of His Church were still observing the Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7-8 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
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).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Returning to the story of ancient Israel, the Bible explains that the morning after the Passover, the Israelites began to gather in preparation for hastily leaving Egypt that evening. At that time “they baked unleavened cakes of the dough . . . because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves” (Exodus 12:39 Exodus 12:39And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
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).

God told the Israelites to observe the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread each year as a reminder that He freed them from terrible bondage (Leviticus 23:5-8 Leviticus 23:5-8 [5] In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover. [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. [7] In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [8] But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
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). This is emblematic of our redemption from the spiritual slavery of sin through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Unleavened bread is symbolic of Jesus’ life, unblemished by sin, which all people must strive to imitate. Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life (John 6:33 John 6:33For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.
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, 35, 48, 51), is at the center of this festival—as He is in all of God’s Holy Days. He personally observed this feast, as did the apostles and the Church—then and now (Acts 20:6 Acts 20:6And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days; where we stayed seven days.
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; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 [6] Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
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).

The Feast of Pentecost

The Bible shows that God spoke the Ten Commandments to the Israelites at Mount Sinai about the time of Pentecost (Jewish tradition holding that this was the exact day). God at that time made a covenant with them, stating that after they agreed to its terms they would “be a special treasure” to Him (Exodus 19:1-8 Exodus 19:1-8 [1] In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. [2] For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. [3] And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. [5] Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people to the LORD.
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).

This relationship was a forerunner to a far more meaningful one involving Christ’s disciples on a later Day of Pentecost. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:1-4 Acts 2:1-4 [1] And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. [4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
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).

This defining moment not only marked the birth of the New Testament Church but began fulfilling God’s promise to make a new covenant with faithful disciples by writing His laws on their hearts and minds (Ezekiel 36:26-27 Ezekiel 36:26-27 [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.
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; Jeremiah 31:31-33 Jeremiah 31:31-33 [31] Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD: [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
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). The members of God’s Church today follow the example of Jesus and His early disciples in observing this Holy Day (Acts 20:16 Acts 20:16For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hurried, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
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). By doing so they are reminded of the hope, joy and divine transformation that God provides through the power of His Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
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; 2 Corinthians 6:6 2 Corinthians 6:6By pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
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; 13:14).

The Feast of Trumpets

In Scripture, trumpets—whether metal instruments or rams’ horns—were employed for important purposes including calling people to assemble (Numbers 10:1-10 Numbers 10:1-10 [1] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [2] Make you two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. [3] And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [4] And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. [5] When you blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. [6] When you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. [7] But when the congregation is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm. [8] And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. [9] And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. [10] Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
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), an alarm of impending war (Jeremiah 4:19 Jeremiah 4:19My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
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) and the proclamation of a king’s coronation (1 Kings 1:39-40 1 Kings 1:39-40 [39] And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. [40] And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.
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). Trumpets were also blown to announce the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets—the first of four Holy Days of the fall harvest season (Leviticus 23:24 Leviticus 23:24Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
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).

The weighty characteristic of the Feast of Trumpets is its vital connection to biblical prophecy of a great, future trumpet blast announcing the turning point in all of human history—the second coming of Jesus Christ! (Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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).

It also reminds us of another key event that will occur when that trumpet sounds—the resurrection of Christ’s faithful followers: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
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; see also Job 14:14-15 Job 14:14-15 [14] If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. [15] You shall call, and I will answer you: you will have a desire to the work of your hands.
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; Romans 8:11 Romans 8:11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:50-55 1 Corinthians 15:50-55 [50] Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?
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).

When Jesus walked the earth as a man He observed the Feast of Trumpets, and on His return at the sound of the great trumpet He will fulfill its meaning by taking over the rule of this world and ushering God’s spirit-born sons and daughters into His glorious Kingdom and family (Isaiah 52:7 Isaiah 52:7How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation; that said to Zion, Your God reigns!
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; 1 Corinthians 15:51 1 Corinthians 15:51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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). This is why God’s people today keep this Holy Day and all of His festivals to fully comprehend and deeply appreciate His marvelous plan of salvation!

The Day of Atonement

The Bible explains that Satan is a real spirit being who possesses immense power to deceive people and influence them to disobey God’s commandments—resulting in terrible suffering and anguish (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
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; Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:2Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
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; 1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
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). 

The Day of Atonement, observed with fasting, pictures a marvelous time when, shortly after Jesus Christ’s second coming, Satan the devil and his demons will be bound for 1,000 years (Leviticus 16:20-22 Leviticus 16:20-22 [20] And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: [21] And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: [22] And the goat shall bear on him all their iniquities to a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
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, 29-30). The apostle John describes this in Revelation 20:1-2 Revelation 20:1-2 [1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
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: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

With Satan’s poisonous influence severed, Jesus will begin removing humanity’s spiritual blindness (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 [3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
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) so that in due time, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14 Habakkuk 2:14For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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). Additionally, the Day of Atonement reveals that Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice will ultimately be made available to all people for the cleansing of their sins, giving everyone the opportunity to obtain salvation (John 3:17 John 3:17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
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).

The Feast of Tabernacles

The first time the Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned in Scripture it is referred to as the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16 Exodus 23:16And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field.
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). In ancient Israel, this was a great fall harvest festival where the people rejoiced together while thanking God for His blessings of prosperity and protection (Deuteronomy 12:10-12 Deuteronomy 12:10-12 [10] But when you go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God gives you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety; [11] Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall you bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to the LORD: [12] And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; for as much as he has no part nor inheritance with you.
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). During the seven-day festival the people dwelt in temporary shelters made from branches of trees. This was to remind them that God dwelt with and sustained them throughout their 40-year wandering in the wilderness (Exodus 25:8-9 Exodus 25:8-9 [8] And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. [9] According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make it.
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; 1 Corinthians 10:4 1 Corinthians 10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
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; Leviticus 23:42-43 Leviticus 23:42-43 [42] You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: [43] That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
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).

Just as Jesus personally kept the Feast of Tabernacles, His present-day disciples do the same (John 7:2-14 John 7:2-14 [2] Now the Jew's feast of tabernacles was at hand. [3] His brothers therefore said to him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that your disciples also may see the works that you do. [4] For there is no man that does any thing in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world. [5] For neither did his brothers believe in him. [6] Then Jesus said to them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. [7] The world cannot hate you; but me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. [8] Go you up to this feast: I go not up yet to this feast: for my time is not yet full come. [9] When he had said these words to them, he stayed still in Galilee. [10] But when his brothers were gone up, then went he also up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. [11] Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? [12] And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, No; but he deceives the people. [13] However, no man spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews. [14] Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
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). Furthermore, this seven-day festival, which begins with an annual Holy Day (Leviticus 23:34-35 Leviticus 23:34-35 [34] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. [35] On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
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), pictures the coming time when Christ will dwell with man on earth (Romans 11:26 Romans 11:26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
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). And Jesus will reign on earth for a thousand years as King of Kings (Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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; 20:4, 6).

During that magnificent future age, all people will not only learn God’s ways but will experience extraordinary peace and prosperity, while being brought into a close relationship with their Creator (Isaiah 11:9-10 Isaiah 11:9-10 [9] They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. [10] And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
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).

The Eighth Day

The Eighth Day immediately follows the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles and adds an intensely exciting element to God’s perfect plan. It reveals that Jesus Christ will complete His great harvest of human beings by raising from the dead all people who had never heard about Him or learned and lived God’s way of life! All of these resurrected people, raised to temporary physical life again, will be given the opportunity for salvation and eternal life (see Ezekiel 37:1-14 Ezekiel 37:1-14 [1] The hand of the LORD was on me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the middle of the valley which was full of bones, [2] And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, see, they were very dry. [3] And he said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, you know. [4] Again he said to me, Prophesy on these bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. [5] Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: [6] And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD. [7] So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. [8] And when I beheld, see, the sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. [9] Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. [10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceeding great army. [11] Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. [12] Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. [13] And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, [14] And shall put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall you know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, said the LORD.
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; Romans 11:25-27 Romans 11:25-27 [25] For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.
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; Revelation 20:11-13 Revelation 20:11-13 [11] And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. [12] And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
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).

Again, as with the Sabbath and the other Holy Days, Jesus Christ observed this Eighth Day, as the people of His true Church also do today.

In summary, God’s amazing plan for humanity is revealed in the marvelous panorama of the weekly seventh-day Sabbath and His seven annual festivals—all of which interrelate to light the pathway to salvation through Jesus Christ. As was noted, Jesus obediently observed each festival during His earthly ministry. In doing so He left an example for His disciples to imitate so they could understand God’s loving plan of salvation. In fact, thousands of people from around the world gather in many locations to keep God’s festivals each year.

What does this mean for you? Will you carefully consider what you’ve read here and study it on your own with the aim of growing in spiritual understanding? If so, and if you follow Jesus’ example of keeping the Sabbath and festivals of the Bible, it can lead you to experience tremendous joy and peace in knowing God and His awesome plan for you and all people. We hope and pray you are up for the challenge!

 


 

The Truth About Christmas and Easter

Many people assume that Christmas and Easter originate in the Bible. But the fact is, Christian observance of these days is found nowhere in Scripture. (There is one place where Passover is incorrectly translated “Easter” in Acts 12:4 Acts 12:4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
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in the King James Version.)

Actually, Christmas and Easter emerged from ancient festivals honoring pagan gods. James Hastings, editor of The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, wrote, “Most of the Christmas customs . . . are not genuine Christian customs, but heathen customs which have been absorbed or tolerated by the Church” (1910, Vol. 3, p. 608, emphasis added throughout).

Regarding Easter, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words states: “The term ‘Easter’ is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. ‘Easter’ was . . . introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity” (1985).

When challenged by such statements, many professing Christians might justify continuing in these observances by saying, “Shouldn’t we be able to worship God any way we choose?” The answer is no, for God said not to worship Him with pagan religious customs (Deuteronomy 12:29-32 Deuteronomy 12:29-32 [29] When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; [30] Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. [31] You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. [32] What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
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; Jeremiah 10:2 Jeremiah 10:2Thus said the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
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).

The truth is, God has already decided how He wants to be worshipped, which is by means of His own holy festivals. Otherwise, as Jesus said, “In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9 Matthew 15:9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
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). Furthermore, He explained that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23 John 4:23But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
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).

So how about you? Are you worshipping God as He directs? If not, isn’t now the time to start?

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