God’s Blueprint of Salvation Revealed

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God’s Blueprint of Salvation Revealed

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MP3 Audio (32.23 MB)


God’s Blueprint of Salvation Revealed

MP3 Audio (32.23 MB)

If God is trying to save the world today, why are there only 2 billion Christians among 7 billion people on earth? Something surely seems wrong with this picture.

On the other hand, if God isn’t trying to save the world at this time, does He have a plan to offer salvation to everyone? If God has a plan to save mankind—at least the vast majority—what is it, and how can we know that plan?

God designed seven distinct festivals that combine into a synergistic system of salvation for all humankind. How remarkable is the plan of God!

Jesus revealed that in this age, many would be called but only a few would be chosen (Matthew 20:16; John 6:44). Yet the apostle Paul declared that God wants to save all mankind: “He wants everyone to be saved. He wants them to come to know the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, New International Reader’s Version; compare John 3:17). Can these scriptures be reconciled?

God’s Word shows us that He has a blueprint for salvation that’s revealed through His festivals—His feasts and the Holy Days among them—found in the Bible (Leviticus 23). Yet few Christians know about them. Why is this?

The Bible says: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God . . . But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10; 1 Corinthians 2:14, emphasis added throughout).

These verses explain why most Christians don’t know God’s plan of salvation. Most simply don’t care enough to learn what God reveals. If they did, they would study His Word and do as He says—and obeying God would then bring understanding (Psalm 111:10). If, as part of doing that, they faithfully observed God’s annual festivals while accepting the Bible for what it says, they would come to know what these occasions are meant to portray.

Today God’s feasts are neglected, and His plan remains a mystery to mankind (see Romans 16:25-26). Yet God will one day unveil His system of salvation so that the whole world will have proper understanding (Isaiah 11:9; Hebrews 8:10-11). A major way this will be accomplished is through requiring all nations to observe God’s festivals—as we see in particular regarding the Feast of Tabernacles in Zechariah 14:16-19, which describes how all nations will be led to celebrate this feast after Jesus Christ’s return.

Yet you can gain needed insight today through carefully studying God’s Word and living according to what He reveals. As part of that, God tells us to observe a series of seven yearly festivals—these together presenting God’s synergistic system of salvation for all. (To learn more, search “How to observe God’s festivals”.)

Synergy, system and the symbolism of seven

Before addressing these feasts, let’s look briefly at what’s meant by the terms synergy and system and then consider the symbolism of the number seven in Scripture.

Synergy is the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements and contributions. For example, in physiology it is the cooperative action of two or more muscles and nerves that contribute to human mobility.

A system is a set of interacting or interdependent component parts forming a complex whole. BusinessDictionary.com gives this definition: “An organized, purposeful structure that consists of interrelated and interdependent elements. These elements continually influence one another to maintain their activity and the existence of the system . . . to achieve the goal of the system.”

How does this tie in to the number seven? As used in Scripture, seven has its literal numeric sense but also often figuratively refers to spiritual perfection and completeness or wholeness.

As biblical scholar E.W. Bullinger, who produced The Companion Bible, explains regarding the number seven in the Bible, it “stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem, is universal and immemorial in its observance among all nations and in all times. It tells [further] of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection” (Numbers in Prophecy, 1979, p. 168).

Amid the modern Christian world, there are some who recognize that God’s weekly Sabbath is on the seventh day—Friday sunset to Saturday sunset—not the first day of the week or Sunday (see Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 16:22-26; Exodus 31:13-17; Luke 4:16; Acts 13:42-44; Hebrews 4:4-11). Yet very few actually observe the seventh-day Sabbath God gave, instead following unbiblical human custom (compare Matthew 15:9).

God established the weekly seventh-day Sabbath and a system of seven annual feasts—with seven annual Sabbaths or Holy Days among them—because these symbolize, in overview, God’s full plan to bring humanity, all who are ultimately willing, into eternal salvation in His Kingdom.

Seven steps to saving the world

God is a God of order: “God wants everything to be done peacefully and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:33, Contemporary English Version).

The seven individual yearly festivals representing parts of God’s salvation plan for all humankind are, in stepwise progression, the Passover, the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, and the Eighth Day.

These seven feasts of God are distinct yet interdependent. Succeeding feasts build on previous ones—with all reinforcing one another. But the order is important. The Passover comes first, representing Christ’s offering of Himself in our place. This is followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, during which a special offering of a sheaf of grain (Leviticus 23:9-14) ultimately looked forward to Jesus being raised to be accepted as the first of God’s harvest of human lives into His divine family (see John 4:34-38; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

Furthermore, the annual feasts align with the three harvest seasons of ancient Israel (see Deuteronomy 16:16)—each corresponding to the progression of God’s great spiritual harvest of human beings.

The early spring barley harvest at the time of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread commenced with the wave-sheaf offering that symbolizes Christ our Savior, as just mentioned. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost in late spring was “of the firstfruits of wheat harvest” (Exodus 34:22), depicting God’s saints (all His true followers) spiritually harvested in this age.

Finally, the “Feast of Ingathering” (same verse)—another name for the Feast of Tabernacles—celebrated the great agricultural harvest of late summer and autumn. This foreshadowed the great harvest of mankind when vast numbers will come to salvation during the 1,000-year reign of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment period to follow (see Revelation 20:4-13; Ezekiel 37:1-14).

Let’s briefly consider the seven annual feasts one by one.

The Passover

God’s system of festivals begins with a key starting point—the Passover (Leviticus 23:4-5). The name “Passover” refers to the night when God sent a plague of death on the Egyptian firstborn but passed over the houses of the Israelites who had put the blood of sacrificed lambs around their doors, sparing them from death (Exodus 12). Those slain Passover lambs were symbolic of Jesus Christ being sacrificed as our Passover Lamb. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

The Israelites were protected under the cover of the sacrificial lambs’ blood. Today, those whom God has called to be part of His Church are covered by the shed blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, which washes away their sins and spares them permanent death (John 1:29; John 3:16-17; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:23).

Without the fulfillment of Passover, none of the feasts following it could be fulfilled. Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 John 1:7) so we could die to our sins and begin a new, transformed life patterned after His life (Romans 6:1-11).

The Passover, then, is the beginning of God’s annual feasts. All feasts that follow the Passover are built on that foundation. They would not exist apart from what it portrays.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Immediately following the Passover is the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-14). Bread without leaven typifies the humility and holiness that Christ teaches His disciples to exhibit. Leavened bread dough puffs up. Jesus and Paul likened leaven to sin and hypocrisy (Matthew 16:6; Luke 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8). God wants us to overcome sin that weakens and can destroy us.

Christ’s disciples remove leaven from their homes for seven days and eat unleavened bread for seven days, considering what it represents spiritually. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Christians must figuratively ingest God’s Word—internalizing it so it becomes part of them.

Since we cannot make ourselves holy (and God demands holiness), God the Father views us as holy through the resurrected Christ Jesus (see Colossians 3:4; Ephesians 2:4-6). Thus, we must take in Christ and put out sin—becoming holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

And recall that it was during this festival that the wave-sheaf of the first of the barley harvest was presented to God— representing Christ as the beginning of the spiritual harvest of humanity.

The Feast of Pentecost

The Feast of Weeks is so named because it comes seven weeks after the day of the wave-sheaf offering (Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:15-22). The day also came to be called Pentecost, meaning “fiftieth” in Greek, as people are specifically told to count 50 days to it (Leviticus 23:16; Acts 2:1).

This feast, which anciently centered on the wave offering of two leavened loaves of the firstfruits of wheat, pictures the presentation before God of His people in this age as spiritual firstfruits (see Romans 8:23; James 1:18). It further represents the conversion of God’s people through the Holy Spirit, which was given to the early Church in a powerful way on the day of Pentecost, anticipating yet later fulfillment in this age (Acts 2:1-4; Acts 2:17).

Pentecost points to the first harvest of humanity in God’s plan for salvation, with expectation of a later harvest ahead.

The Feast of Trumpets

The events that accompany the later harvest of humanity in God’s system of salvation are represented in the festivals of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Eighth Day. Introducing these is the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25). A blowing of trumpets by a watchman in Old Testament times warned of an approaching army and imminent war (Ezekiel 33:2-4). The Feast of Trumpets looks ahead to God’s intervention in human affairs, without which we would otherwise annihilate ourselves (Matthew 24:21-22).

The fulfillment of this feast will include a number of major events: the Day of the Lord, when angels will blow trumpets followed by cataclysmic upheaval (Revelation 8-9); the crowning of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and His return to save mankind from annihilation (Revelation 11:15; Matthew 24:22); the resurrection at the last trumpet of the righteous who have lived and died before this time, immediately followed by the change of the living saints to immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17); and the pouring out of the seven last plagues, which will include the destruction of tyrannical leaders and their military powers (Revelation 15-16).

In short, the Feast of Trumpets portrays both the calamity and the jubilation that will come when Jesus Christ intervenes to take control of the world and reign on earth.

The Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement is an occasion of drawing near to God through fasting (Leviticus 23:26-32). In ancient times it involved a ceremony in which a goat “for the Lord” was slain and another goat was banished to the wilderness (Leviticus 16). The slain goat represents Christ’s sacrifice, through which the world will be reconciled to God at Christ’s return.

The banished goat symbolizes the removal of the spirit tyrant of this world—the incarceration of Satan and his demon cohorts for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). Satan, originally an archangel who rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-17), is now the god of this world and its kingdoms (2 Corinthians 4:4; Matthew 4:8-9) and the great unseen power behind despotic oppressors of mankind.

Isaiah prophesied the fulfillment of the meaning of the Day of Atonement: “He [Satan] who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is [now himself] persecuted and no one hinders. The whole earth is [finally] at rest and quiet . . .” (Isaiah 14:6-7). God further charges that Satan “did not open the house of his prisoners” (Isaiah 14:17)—that is, the human race whom he enslaved through sin and suffering throughout history.

With physical and spiritual tyrants removed, the earth and its inhabitants can finally enjoy peace and prosperity (Isaiah 11:9), symbolized by the Feast of Tabernacles to follow.

The Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles is a joyous festival of seven days in which the Israelites were to live in temporary dwellings—with an Eighth Day following as an added feast (Leviticus 23:33-44). The Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled in the future reign of the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus, on the earth (see Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:9-10). For 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4) Israel and all nations will live in unprecedented peace and unparalleled prosperity (Micah 4:1-4; Amos 9:13-14).

As noted earlier, this feast celebrates the fall ingathering harvest (Exodus 23:16), which symbolizes the harvest of untold millions of people in the age to come.

Amazingly, this doesn’t mark the end of God’s great ingathering harvest of human lives. That remains for the fulfillment of the Eighth Day that follows the Feast of Tabernacles. Again, all of God’s feasts are interdependent.

The Eighth Day

The Eighth Day feast (see Leviticus 23:36-39) is connected to the previous seven days, but its themes go beyond. Its fulfillment will be like that of the Feast of Tabernacles in many respects. Both festivals portray a global Garden of Eden (see Ezekiel 36:35; Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 65:20; Isaiah 65:25).

Yet the Eighth Day celebrates the last and greatest of all spiritual harvest periods. It includes the resurrection to physical life of all human beings who lived since Adam without receiving the opportunity to be saved. This will be their day of salvation (see Revelation 20:11-13; Ezekiel 37:11).

This general resurrection is called the Great White Throne Judgment, as Jesus Christ will then sit in judgment on “a great white throne” (Revelation 20:11-13). Great here may encompass the scope of this judgment—involving great numbers of people resurrected, perhaps many billions strong. White would seem to denote brilliant light or Christ’s righteousness. Throne presents Christ as the uncontested Sovereign. And regarding Judgment, Christ will judge people out of the Holy Bible, just like the judgment God’s Church undergoes today (1 Peter 4:17; 2 Corinthians 11:32-33; John 12:48).

This judgment is not an immediate sentencing, but rather an evaluation that takes place over a long period of time. “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books [the books of the Bible] were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books [of the Bible], according to their works” (Revelation 20:12).

The Eighth Day feast depicting the Great White Throne Judgment is the culmination of the great system of salvation for all mankind, for all time. The seven distinct feasts of God coalesce in His synergistic system of salvation.

For all mankind through the ages—and for you today

The apostle Paul writes about the culmination of God’s plan of salvation, looking from this age to the next:

“In Him we [of the Church in this age] have redemption through [Christ’s] blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ [in the 1,000-year period and the Great White Throne Judgment], both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him” (Ephesians 1:7-10).

Yes, Almighty God designed seven distinct festivals that combine into a synergistic system of salvation for all humankind. How remarkable is the plan of God—and the system of feasts He’s given us to keep it in mind! Along with the apostle Paul, we too can exclaim, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33).

God’s seven annual festivals are commanded to be kept each year. They represent and depict His blueprint for the salvation of all mankind—including you. So why not start observing them?

If you choose to keep God’s annual feasts, you will come to know the mystery of life and God’s ultimate purpose for you—to enjoy immortality in His divine eternal family forever. Begin today to keep and enjoy God’s system of life-giving feasts!