God’s Blueprint of Salvation Revealed

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God’s Blueprint of Salvation Revealed

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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 Matthew 20:16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
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; John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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). 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 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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, New International Reader’s Version; compare 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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). 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 2:9-10 9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. 10 But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
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; 1 Corinthians 2:14 1 Corinthians 2:14But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
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, 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 (Psalms 111:10 Psalms 111:10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endures for ever.
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). 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 Romans 16:25-26 25 Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
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). Yet God will one day unveil His system of salvation so that the whole world will have proper understanding (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
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; Hebrews 8:10-11 Hebrews 8:10-11 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
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). 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 Zechariah 14:16-19 16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even on them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, with which the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
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, 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 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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; Exodus 20:8-11 Exodus 20:8-11 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: 10 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, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
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; Exodus 16:22-26 Exodus 16:22-26 22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 And he said to them, This is that which the LORD has said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath to the LORD: bake that which you will bake to day, and seethe that you will seethe; and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath to the LORD: to day you shall not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
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; 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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; 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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; Acts 13:42-44 Acts 13:42-44 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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; Hebrews 4:4-11 Hebrews 4:4-11 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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). Yet very few actually observe the seventh-day Sabbath God gave, instead following unbiblical human custom (compare Matthew 15:9 Matthew 15:9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
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).

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 1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
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, 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 Leviticus 23:9-14 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.
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) 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 John 4:34-38 34 Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not you, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One sows, and another reaps. 38 I sent you to reap that where on you bestowed no labor: other men labored, and you are entered into their labors.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
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).

Furthermore, the annual feasts align with the three harvest seasons of ancient Israel (see Deuteronomy 16:16 Deuteronomy 16:16Three times in a year shall all your males appear before the LORD your God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
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)—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 Exodus 34:22And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
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), 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 Revelation 20:4-13 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 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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; 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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).

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 Leviticus 23:4-5 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.
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). 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 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge 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:
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).

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 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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; John 3:16-17 John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For 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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; Acts 22:16 Acts 22:16And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
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; Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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).

Without the fulfillment of Passover, none of the feasts following it could be fulfilled. Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3 1 Corinthians 15:3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
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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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) so we could die to our sins and begin a new, transformed life patterned after His life (Romans 6:1-11 Romans 6:1-11 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died to sin once: but in that he lives, he lives to God. 11 Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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).

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 Leviticus 23:6-14 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.
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). 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 Matthew 16:6Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
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; Luke 12:1 Luke 12:1In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
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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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). 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 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
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). 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 Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
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; Ephesians 2:4-6 Ephesians 2:4-6 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) 6 And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
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). Thus, we must take in Christ and put out sin—becoming holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16 1 Peter 1:15-16 15 But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.
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).

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 Exodus 34:22And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
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; Leviticus 23:15-22 Leviticus 23:15-22 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.
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). 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 Leviticus 23:16Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.
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; Acts 2:1 Acts 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
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).

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 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
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; James 1:18 James 1:18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
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). 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 2:1-4 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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; Acts 2:17 Acts 2:17And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
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).

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 Leviticus 23:23-25 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.
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). A blowing of trumpets by a watchman in Old Testament times warned of an approaching army and imminent war (Ezekiel 33:2-4 Ezekiel 33:2-4 2 Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them, When I bring the sword on a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: 3 If when he sees the sword come on the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; 4 Then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be on his own head.
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). The Feast of Trumpets looks ahead to God’s intervention in human affairs, without which we would otherwise annihilate ourselves (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
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).

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 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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; Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
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); 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 Corinthians 15:50-52 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.
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; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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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); 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 Leviticus 23:26-32 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.
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). 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 Revelation 20:1-3 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, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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). Satan, originally an archangel who rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-15 Isaiah 14:12-15 12 How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
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; Ezekiel 28:11-17 Ezekiel 28:11-17 11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation on the king of Tyrus, and say to him, Thus said the Lord GOD; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were on the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16 By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the middle of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the middle of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.
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), is now the god of this world and its kingdoms (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In 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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; Matthew 4:8-9 Matthew 4:8-9 8 Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me.
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) 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 Isaiah 14:6-7 6 He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hinders. 7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.
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). God further charges that Satan “did not open the house of his prisoners” (Isaiah 14:17 Isaiah 14:17That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
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)—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 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
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), 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 Leviticus 23:33-44 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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). 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 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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; 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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). For 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
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) Israel and all nations will live in unprecedented peace and unparalleled prosperity (Micah 4:1-4 Micah 4:1-4 1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow to it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
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; Amos 9:13-14 Amos 9:13-14 13 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
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).

As noted earlier, this feast celebrates the fall ingathering harvest (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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), 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 Leviticus 23:36-39 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.
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) 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 Ezekiel 36:35And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
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; Isaiah 11:6-9 Isaiah 11:6-9 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatted calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 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.
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; Isaiah 51:3 Isaiah 51:3For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
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; Isaiah 65:20 Isaiah 65:20There shall be no more there an infant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
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; Isaiah 65:25 Isaiah 65:25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, said the LORD.
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).

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 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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; Ezekiel 37:11 Ezekiel 37:11Then 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.
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).

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 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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). 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 1 Peter 4:17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
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; 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
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; John 12:48 John 12:48He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
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).

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 Revelation 20:12And 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.
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).

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 Ephesians 1:7-10 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
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).

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 Romans 11:33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
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).

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!