Why Does Christianity Reject Christ’s Own Holy Days?

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Why Does Christianity Reject Christ’s Own Holy Days?

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October 2017 marks a significant milestone in world religion—the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Yet a much more important biblically mandated occasion comes early in the month, as it falls around this time of year every year. And every year Protestantism sadly fails to acknowledge it and the need to observe it.

This occasion commemorates something that happened nearly 3,500 years ago as well as something much bigger that is yet to come. The reference is to the Feast of Tabernacles, which the whole world will be required to observe when Jesus Christ returns to the earth to rule all nations! (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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).

In fact, in that world to come all people will also celebrate and worship on God’s seventh-day Sabbath (Isaiah 56:1-8 Isaiah 56:1-8 1 Thus said the LORD, Keep you judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man that does this, and the son of man that lays hold on it; that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. 3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that has joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD has utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. 4 For thus said the LORD to the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even to them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. 8 The Lord GOD, which gathers the outcasts of Israel said, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered to him.
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; Isaiah 66:23 Isaiah 66:23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, said the LORD.
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) rather than on the first day of the week, Sunday. And they will observe all seven of the annual feasts or festivals that God revealed to ancient Israel in Leviticus 23!

So why is it that most churchgoers have never heard these things? Why don’t today’s churches teach them? Shouldn’t Christians derive their practice from the Bible?

A quick biblical overview

God had commanded ancient Israel to participate in these periods of special worship during the harvest seasons of the year (Exodus 23:14-16 Exodus 23:14-16 14 Three times you shall keep a feast to me in the year. 15 You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread: (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16 And 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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; Deuteronomy 16:1-17 Deuteronomy 16:1-17 1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover to the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night. 2 You shall therefore sacrifice the passover to the LORD your God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shall you eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for you came forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that you may remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with you in all your coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which you sacrificed the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 You may not sacrifice the passover within any of your gates, which the LORD your God gives you: 6 But at the place which the LORD your God shall choose to place his name in, there you shall sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came forth out of Egypt. 7 And you shall roast and eat it in the place which the LORD your God shall choose: and you shall turn in the morning, and go to your tents. 8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God: you shall do no work therein. 9 Seven weeks shall you number to you: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn. 10 And you shall keep the feast of weeks to the LORD your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give to the LORD your God, according as the LORD your God has blessed you: 11 And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that is within your gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD your God has chosen to place his name there. 12 And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt: and you shall observe and do these statutes. 13 You shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that you have gathered in your corn and your wine: 14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within your gates. 15 Seven days shall you keep a solemn feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD your God shall bless you in all your increase, and in all the works of your hands, therefore you shall surely rejoice. 16 Three 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: 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.
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). Later scriptural teaching reveals that the physical harvests of crops symbolized the spiritual harvests of human beings in God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ (Matthew 9:37-38 Matthew 9:37-38 37 Then said he to his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; 38 Pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.
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; John 4:35 John 4:35Say 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.
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; John 15:1-8; Colossians 2:16-17 Colossians 2:16-17 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
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). The first three annual festivals are associated with the spring harvests in the land of Israel, while the last four festivals are related to the harvest of late summer and fall.

The New Testament shows that the first-century Christian Church continued to observe these biblical festivals. Jesus Himself observed them, and we as His followers are told to walk as He walked (John 7:8-14 John 7:8-14 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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; 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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)—to live as He lived. The New Testament Church miraculously began on one of these annual festivals—the day of Pentecost (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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). And the apostles and disciples of the early Church continued to observe these festivals long after Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 18:21 Acts 18:21But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that comes in Jerusalem: but I will return again to you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
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; Acts 20:16; Acts 27:9; 1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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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).

Through the observance of these feasts, God’s people focus on and are reminded throughout the year of the work of Jesus Christ in fulfilling God’s plan of salvation. And like the early Church, we must continue in them!

God’s festivals rejected, replaced and ignored by the Reformation

So what happened? Over time, apostasy—a falling away from God’s truth—set in and grew. Eventually those who continued in the teachings and practices of Christ and His apostles became a small minority among those who identified themselves as Christian. Many false teachings became attached to Christianity, and new days of worship were instituted, most of pagan origin—weekly Sunday observance and the annual holidays of Christmas and Easter being chief among these.

Even the true gospel message about Christ’s literal future return to rule all nations in the Kingdom of God was altered into a message about the Kingdom existing in the hearts of believers and Christ’s rule being established through the church—the church becoming centered at Rome and coming to dominate the ancient empire and various world powers ever since. Yet this was the great apostate church—not the relatively small true Church that continued in biblical teaching!

In time, and in protest against much corruption and false teachings and practices in the Roman church, came the Protestant Reformation, which had the intent of returning to the Christianity of the New Testament. In some ways it succeeded in restoring biblical concepts, yet it continued in much Roman Christian ideology and even introduced new problems. For all the talk of following Scripture alone, it certainly did not return to the faith and practice of the early Christians.

From the early Reformation period came a set of principles foundational to Protestant teaching on salvation (in contrast to Catholic teaching) known as the five solae or solas—sola being the Latin word for “alone” or “only.”

In the earliest articulations of these principles, there were just three— sola scriptura (“scripture alone”), sola fide (“faith alone”) and sola gratia (“grace alone”). Thus the Bible only was to be the rule of faith—not tradition and Roman church decrees. And salvation was understood to come through grace by faith in Christ for atonement with no requirement of righteous deeds or additional pious acts imposed by the Roman church.

Two solas were added later that also expressed earlier Protestant teaching: solo Christo (“by Christ alone”), rejecting the need for a special priesthood class and any other mediator but Christ, and soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”), rejecting the veneration of Mary, saints and angels.

Despite many changes, there was no return to biblical days of worship.

Faith and grace must be with obedience

Regrettably, the excessive focus on faith alone and grace alone had the shameful consequence of rejecting biblical law in general as part of the process of justification or being made right before God. The epistle of James had explicitly stated that “a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone” (James 2:24 James 2:24You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
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, emphasis added throughout)—for which reason Martin Luther wanted this book removed from the Bible.

And even the apostle Paul, the supposed proponent of rejecting the law, stated that “not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Romans 2:13 Romans 2:13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
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). However, it is true that Paul also said, “We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28 Romans 3:28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
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). Yet there is no contradiction here. We must realize that two stages of justification are being spoken about.

A person is initially justified or made right with God every time He sincerely repents (turns from sin and commits to obeying God) while having faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice—before any actual works of obedience. But a person remains justified by following through on the commitment in continuing obedience with Christ’s help. Sinning thereafter then requires new repentance to be justified or made right, along with continued obedience to remain justified.

It is vital that we continue in obedience to scriptural instructions, including the observance of God’s festivals. Paul himself continued to observe these festivals as a Christian, presenting them as continuing “shadows” or outlines of the great events in God’s plan of salvation yet to be fulfilled (Colossians 2:16-17 Colossians 2:16-17 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
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). He even told the gentile (non-Israelite) congregation in Corinth regarding one of the festivals, “Let us keep the feast” (1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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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)—referring to the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6 Leviticus 23:6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
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).

Claiming “Scripture alone” and “Christ alone”—while disobeying both Scripture and Christ

It’s sadly ironic that the Protestant faith, with its 800 to 900 million adherents today, stands for “Scripture alone” and “Christ alone” while observing worship days and holidays from non-biblical pagan tradition—when the Bible specifically commands not to do that (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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).

At the same time the Protestant faith tells its followers not to observe the days that Scripture says we are to keep, days that Christ Himself gave as the God who interacted with human beings in the Old Testament period (John 1:1-3 John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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; John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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; John 8:58 John 8:58Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.
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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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) and kept as a man in the New Testament!

How did this disconnect come about? It arose in part from a serious anti-Jewish outlook among the Protestant Reformers—following a long-ingrained attitude against Jewish practice in the Roman church.

The festivals given by God in the Old Testament were looked on as Jewish ritual that was supposed to have ended with Christ’s death—and continuing in them was seen as Judaizing legalism. Yet God said these were His feasts (Leviticus 23:1-2 Leviticus 23:1-2 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.
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). And they all together represent the steps in God’s plan of salvation for all humanity— not just the Jewish people— through Jesus Christ. Indeed, the work of Christ is a central focus of every one of these observances. And the work is still ongoing.

Doesn’t it make a great deal more sense that standing for Scripture alone and Christ alone should include observances of God’s commanded biblical festivals that focus deeply on the saving work of Jesus Christ rather than celebrating repackaged holidays of pagan origin with only superficially invented connections to Christ’s story? Certainly!

In fact, a proper biblical understanding of faith and grace also demands the observance of these biblical festivals as part of trusting in God’s Word and receiving His gifts, as these occasions assuredly are. And, yes, it is all to God’s glory!

Overview of the biblical feasts—the steps in God’s plan to save mankind through Jesus Christ

Let’s look more, then, into these biblical festivals listed in Leviticus 23 and take note of the role of Jesus Christ in their meaning and fulfillment. More details about each can be found in our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind .

The Passover, in early spring in the northern hemisphere, was observed by the Israelites with a sacrificed lamb—recalling the blood of the sacrificed lamb in Egypt applied to the lintels and doorposts of Israelite homes to spare them from the plague that killed the Egyptian firstborn (Exodus 12; 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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).

This festival teaches us that Jesus Christ was sinless and, as the sacrificial “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” gave His life so that the sins of humanity could be forgiven and the death penalty removed, commencing with the redemption of the firstborn of humanity, God’s Church today (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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; 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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; 1 Peter 1:18-20 1 Peter 1:18-20 18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
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; Romans 3:25 Romans 3:25Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
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; Hebrews 12:23 Hebrews 12:23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
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).

The New Testament observance of this festival includes foot-washing and the partaking of unleavened bread and wine as symbolic of Christ’s body and shed blood offered in sacrifice, following His instruction and example (John 13:12-17 John 13:12-17 12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said to them, Know you what I have done to you? 13 You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.
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; Matthew 26:17-30 Matthew 26:17-30 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. 20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. 21 And as they did eat, he said, Truly I say to you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say to him, Lord, is it I? 23 And he answered and said, He that dips his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said to him, You have said. 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. 30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
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; Luke 22:14-20 Luke 22:14-20 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
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; 1 Corinthians 11:23-31 1 Corinthians 11:23-31 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
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).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, starting the day after Passover and continuing for seven days, recalls the Israelite Exodus from Egypt and crossing of the Red Sea, being freed from captivity and the sinful life there (Exodus 12-14; Leviticus 23:6-8 Leviticus 23:6-8 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 biblical festival teaches us that Jesus Christ leads us to reject lawlessness, repent of sin and live by every word of God (1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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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; 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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). It was during this festival that Jesus was dead and buried for three days and nights and then rose from the dead. We are to be figuratively buried and raised with Him into new life, as pictured by baptism (Romans 6)—imagery also seen in the Red Sea crossing (1 Corinthians 10:1-2 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 1 Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
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).

During this festival, leaven—an agent such as yeast that causes bread dough to rise during baking—symbolizes sin and is therefore removed from our homes and not eaten for the seven days (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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; Exodus 12:19 Exodus 12:19Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
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). By eating un leavened bread during this time instead, we picture partaking of the true Bread of life, Jesus Christ (John 6:35 John 6:35And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.
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, John 6:48-51 John 6:48-51 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
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), and thereby living a sinless life of sincerity and truth—the risen Christ living in us.

The Feast of Pentecost is a one-day festival that falls in late spring in the northern hemisphere (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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). Also called the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Harvest or Firstfruits, it teaches us that Jesus Christ is now building His Church, comprising those who are a “kind of firstfruits” in the spiritual harvest of mankind, having the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (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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; 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 2:37-39 Acts 2:37-39 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
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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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; 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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).

Besides its harvest aspect, Pentecost recalls the time of God’s speaking of the Ten Commandments to Israel at Mount Sinai. This is also when the Holy Spirit, which empowers us to continue in obedience to the law, was given to the New Testament Church in Acts 2.

God’s spiritual firstfruits, true Christians of this age, will be given salvation at the return of Christ. They have been given the Holy Spirit, which creates in each one a new heart and nature to live in wholehearted obedience to the commandments of God. Jesus Himself is the first of the firstfruits, as formerly pictured in a special firstfruits offering during the previous festival (see 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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; 1 Corinthians 15:20 1 Corinthians 15:20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
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, 23). Pentecost, Greek for “fiftieth,” is the 50th day counting from that initial offering of the wave sheaf during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of Trumpets, a Holy Day in late summer or early fall in the northern hemisphere, was to memorialize a loud blaring (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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), probably the sound of the ram’s horn when God—in the person of the Being who was later born in the flesh as Jesus Christ—came down onto Mount Sinai in a great display of power and then spoke the commandments (Exodus 19-20).

This festival teaches us that Jesus Christ will return to the earth at the end of this age in power and glory—again preceded by the sound of trumpet blasts. Seven angels with seven trumpets are described in Revelation 8-10 heralding world-shaking events. Christ will return with the blowing of the seventh trumpet (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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)—the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Corinthians 15:52In 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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).

At the last trumpet Christ will again come down to pro-claim God’s law—not just to Israel but to all humanity. At that time He will resurrect God’s faithful servants who are no longer living and instantly change those obedient saints who are still alive into immortal spirit beings (Matthew 24:31 Matthew 24:31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 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.
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; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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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).

The Day of Atonement, a Holy Day following shortly after the previous one, was during the time of Israel’s tabernacle and temple the occasion for a special ceremony involving two goats—one representing Jesus Christ that was sacrificed and the other symbolizing something else, this goat being banished alive into the desert (Leviticus 16; Leviticus 23:26-33 Leviticus 23:26-33 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,
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).

This points to the time when Jesus Christ at His return will send a mighty angel to bind Satan the devil away 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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). It pictures the removal of the primary cause of sin—Satan and his demons. Until God removes the original instigator of sin, mankind will continue to be led into disobedience and suffering.

This Holy Day also pictures Jesus Christ as our High Priest making atonement before God the Father for the sins of all mankind. This atonement, or “at-one-ment,” allows us to be reconciled (at one) with God and have direct access to Him by spiritually entering into the “holiest of all” (Hebrews 9:8-14 Hebrews 9:8-14 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
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; Hebrews 10:19-20 Hebrews 10:19-20 19 Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
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). By fasting on this day, Christians draw closer to God and picture the reconciliation to God that all mankind will experience following Christ’s return. Jesus Christ is essential in this process as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-15 Hebrews 4:14-15 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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; Hebrews 5:4-5 Hebrews 5:4-5 4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said to him, You are my Son, to day have I begotten you.
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, Hebrews 5:10 Hebrews 5:10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
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) and as our one sacrifice for sin forever (Hebrews 9:26-28 Hebrews 9:26-28 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation.
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Hebrews 10:12 Hebrews 10:12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
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).

Jewish tradition places this fast day as the last day of Moses’ second 40-day fast—when he came down with new tablets of the law after having broken the first set in response to Israel’s sin with the golden calf and mediated a renewal of the Sinai covenant (Exodus 34). This may be a parallel with Jesus’ second coming as the Mediator of the New Covenant, with the law to now be written on tablets of the heart of the Israelites and all people—as it is now being written on the hearts of true Christians by the Holy Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 3:3 2 Corinthians 3:3For as much as you are manifestly declared to be the letter of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
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; Hebrews 10:15-17 Hebrews 10:15-17 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
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).

The Feast of Tabernacles, also called the Feast of Ingathering, comes a few days after the previous Holy Day and lasts for seven days (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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; 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 23:33-44 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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). Besides celebrating the great harvest at the end of the agricultural year, this festival was also originally intended to commemorate the Israelites dwelling in temporary structures of branches when they left Egypt (Leviticus 23:40-43 Leviticus 23:40-43 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.
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).

This feast teaches us that when Jesus Christ returns, He will begin the ingathering or harvest of the part of mankind still alive at His return, and establish a new society with Himself as King of Kings and Lord of Lords under God the Father.

Jesus, assisted by the resurrected saints, will set up His government on the earth for 1,000 years, a period often called the Millennium (Revelation 19:11-16 Revelation 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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; Revelation 20:4; Leviticus 23:39-43 Leviticus 23:39-43 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.
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; Matthew 17:1-4 Matthew 17:1-4 1 And after six days Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, and brings them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
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; Hebrews 11:8-9 Hebrews 11:8-9 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
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). Rule under His laws will spread from Jerusalem throughout the world to usher in an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity (Isaiah 2:2-4 Isaiah 2:2-4 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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; Daniel 2:35 Daniel 2:35Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
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; Daniel 2:44 Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
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; Daniel 7:13-14). This was part of the good news of the Kingdom of God that Jesus and His disciples proclaimed—including how we may enter and be part of that great Kingdom.

The Feast of Tabernacles is observed today through regional gatherings throughout the world. Church members are to live in temporary dwellings during that time. While this reminds us that life today is fleeting, it also symbolizes the Millennium, when earthly dwelling will still be temporary, albeit the grandest ever—awaiting the permanence of the new heavens and new earth still to come (Revelation 21-22). As we saw at the outset, Scripture explicitly states that all nations will be required to observe this festival (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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).

The Eighth Day, the Holy Day immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles (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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), continues with many of the themes of the Feast of Tabernacles but is an independent feast.

This day teaches us that Jesus Christ will complete His harvest of human beings by raising from the dead, and offering salvation to, all who have died in the past and have never been given a full opportunity to be saved (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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; Luke 11:31-32 Luke 11:31-32 31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
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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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). In the last reference here, Jesus is the One pictured sitting on the great white throne in judgment—for the Father has committed all judgment to the Son (John 5:22-23 John 5:22-23 22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son: 23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.
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; John 5:27 John 5:27And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
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).

Thus, the annual cycle of the celebration of the festivals and Holy Days of the Bible reminds Christ’s disciples that He is working out God’s plan of offering salvation from sin and death and the gift of eternal life in the family of God to all humanity—past, present and future.

Why do the major branches of traditional Christianity reject these observances that focus on the saving work of Christ? Because they are steeped in false tradition and misunderstanding. This includes those of the Protestant faith who proclaim Scripture alone and Christ alone. For by these principles they should not be observing holidays derived from paganism, but the only festivals actually commanded in Scripture—festivals kept by the apostles and early Church that present, step by step, God’s great plan of salvation through Jesus Christ!