Introduction: God's Holy Day Plan

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God's Holy Day Plan

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Every nation observes patriotic holidays. These special days are reminders of important events in a country's history. They provide continuity between a nation's past and the present.

Usually citizens can understand and explain at least some of the significance of these celebrations. Yet paradoxically, those same citizens seldom understand much about the days on which they worship and honor God. The nonbiblical roots of these religious practices are quietly ignored in their celebration.

As a result, people usually assume that popular observances such as Easter and Christmas serve as true representations of the themes of the Bible. Yet God's Word nowhere commands their observance, nor does the Bible record these holidays being observed by the early New Testament Church. However, God does command other, rarely noticed, festivals in His Word.

Some people realize that the Bible mentions specific days for religious celebration. But only a few can name any of them or explain their significance.

Those aware of these biblical festivals generally believe that they were meant only for ancient Israel and that the need for them ceased following Jesus Christ's crucifixion. They assume these days simply pointed toward Christ, concluding that, since He lived on earth 2,000 years ago, their importance has long since passed. Most people consider these festivals as nothing more than relics of history with no relevance to the modern world.

Believe it or not, the Bible itself clearly contradicts these commonly held views. An objective look at the biblical record reveals that both Christmas and Easter—the two main observances on the traditional Christian calendar —are nowhere to be found (except in Acts 12:4 Acts 12:4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
American King James Version×
where the King James Version mistranslates the Greek word meaning Passover as Easter). Surprising to many, the New Testament shows Jesus Christ observing the Holy Days of the Bible, as well as His disciples following His example in observing them many decades after His death, burial and resurrection.

The teachings of the apostles in the years of the first century after the resurrection also differ from most people's assumptions. The apostles' instructions reveal a God who intended that all Christians observe the biblical Holy Days—and for a remarkable reason!

What these Holy Days reveal

Why does God want us to observe His Holy Days? Because He wants us to know about our future, He reveals to us His great purpose for humanity.

He explains why He put us on earth, reveals our ultimate destiny and tells us how we can attain it! The observance of God's festivals provides the key to understanding God's great plan for the future of mankind!

The biblical festivals, and the Holy Days within them, fall during three seasons of the year—the early spring harvest, the late spring harvest and the late summer to early autumn harvest in the land of biblical Israel. The themes these days portray God's spiritual harvest of mankind to eternal life spoken of by Jesus Christ (John 4:35-38 John 4:35-38 [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.
American King James Version×

These observances serve as timeless reminders of how God's plan gives eternal life to mortal man. Our Creator will bring His plan to fruition in spite of man's choices and actions, which have consistently led to separation from God, suffering and death (Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×
; Proverbs 16:25 Proverbs 16:25There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
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; Isaiah 59:1-8 Isaiah 59:1-8 [1] Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: [2] But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. [3] For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perverseness. [4] None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. [5] They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eats of their eggs dies, and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper. [6] Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. [7] Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. [8] The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whoever goes therein shall not know peace.
American King James Version×
; Jeremiah 10:23 Jeremiah 10:23O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.
American King James Version×
). These festivals reveal the unfolding of God's plan for humanity and how He will establish His Kingdom on earth. This is the good news, or gospel, Jesus Christ preached (Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 [14] Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, [15] And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×
). (For more information, read the Bible study aid The Gospel of the Kingdom.)

God's design to grant humanity eternal life has existed since "the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34 Matthew 25:34Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
American King James Version×
). His Holy Days teach humanity about that remarkable plan. The apostle Paul beautifully summed up its essence in his letter to the Ephesians: "He has made known to us his secret purpose, in accordance with the plan which he determined beforehand in Christ, to be put into effect when the time was ripe: namely, that the universe, everything in heaven and earth, might be brought into unity in Christ. In Christ indeed we have been given our share in this heritage, as was decreed in his design whose purpose is everywhere at work" (Ephesians 1:9-11 Ephesians 1:9-11 [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: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:
American King James Version×
, Revised English Bible).

God's Holy Days help us comprehend His master plan—the way He intends us to truly become His people. Notice this description of our destiny: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God" (Revelation 21:3 Revelation 21:3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
American King James Version×
). Step by step, His Holy Days show us how this beautiful picture will become a reality.

In Leviticus 23 we find a listing of God's festivals. After discussing the weekly Sabbath, the text describes special observances with unusual names, such as the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles—the word "Feast" here translated from the Hebrew chag or hag, specifying a festival or celebration. In giving these occasions, God instructed Moses to make it clear that "these are the feasts of the Lord" (Leviticus 23:4 Leviticus 23:4These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
American King James Version×
, Leviticus 23:37 Leviticus 23:37These 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:
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout). The word translated "feasts" in this case is the Hebrew mo'edim, meaning "appointed times"—appointments with God that He wants us to keep.

The Bible teaches that eventually God will teach everyone to observe these days (Zechariah 14:16 Zechariah 14:16And 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.
American King James Version×
). In the pages of this booklet you will learn the fascinating purpose of each of God's Holy Days, along with their promise of hope for mankind!