God’s Annual Festivals: Foreshadowing Great Events

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God’s Annual Festivals

Foreshadowing Great Events

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Why do most Christians avoid the festivals God commanded ancient Israel to observe in Leviticus 23 and other passages? After all, Scripture shows that these feasts are going to be observed by all humanity when Jesus Christ returns (see 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.
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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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; Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For 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:
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). Still, many Christians consider them to be either mere Jewish holidays or simply outdated.

What if you discovered that God clearly expects that His festivals are to be observed? Would you do so? It may surprise you to learn that a seamless thread involving these festivals runs throughout Scripture—from the law where they were given to the book of Revelation.

Though the apostle John wrote it down, the actual Author of Revelation is Jesus Christ on behalf of God the Father (Revelation 1:1 Revelation 1:1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John:
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). This final book of the Bible reveals what God, through Christ, has done over the past 2,000 years, is doing today, and will do in the future beyond today (Hebrews 1:2 Hebrews 1:2Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
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; Revelation 11:17-18 Revelation 11:17-18 [17] Saying, We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned. [18] And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
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; 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.
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).

Christ prophesied that the autumn feasts listed in Leviticus 23:23-39 Leviticus 23:23-39 [23] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [24] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. [25] You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. [26] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [27] Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. [28] And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. [29] For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. [30] And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. [31] You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. [32] It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath. [33] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [34] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. [35] On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [36] Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. [37] These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day: [38] Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. [39] Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
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—that is, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day that follows—will be fulfilled in the latter parts of Revelation. Should you be observing these festivals today?

Does your church keep the feasts Jesus kept?

The New Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that Jesus, the apostles and the first-century Christians actually observed the ancient “Jewish” festivals, not Christmas or Easter:

“The earliest Christians did not immediately dissociate themselves from the observance of the Jewish feasts. Many references in the NT [New Testament] indicate that Jesus and His disciples, as well as the early Palestinian Christian communities [that is, those in Judea and Galilee], observed the Sabbath and the major annual festivals” (1967, Vol. 5, p. 867, “Early Christian Feasts,” emphasis added throughout).

These statements are biblically accurate. Yet what follows is not. Notice carefully how this Catholic resource justifies the changes made to the Sabbath and annual festivals:

“This observance had been invested by Christ with a new dimension, however, since He proclaimed His own superiority to the Law and oriented it to the eschatological [or end-time] events. It remained for St. Paul to proclaim the Christian’s independence from the Jewish festival calendar (Colossians 2:16 Colossians 2:16 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:
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), and with the fall of Jerusalem and the growth of the Church outside Palestine, the Judeo-Christian festival observance ceased except among sectarian groups” (ibid.). This rationale is misleading and wrong.

Jesus would never, could never, nor did He ever, change God’s laws regarding the weekly or annual Sabbaths found in Leviticus 23. Jesus was perfectly at one with His Holy Father, working His will and finishing His work (compare John 17:21 John 17:21That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
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; John 9:4 John 9:4I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.
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; John 17:4 John 17:4I have glorified you on the earth: I have finished the work which you gave me to do.
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; John 17:21 John 17:21That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
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). And Jesus remains the same throughout time (Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
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). Had He changed God’s law, including the Fourth Commandment about the Sabbath in 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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and God’s other delineations of holy time, He would have sinned (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
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), and we would have no Savior (see 1 Peter 2:22 1 Peter 2:22Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
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; 2 Corinthians 5:21 2 Corinthians 5:21For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
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).

Recall Jesus’ impassioned and unequivocal statement to His disciples regarding God’s laws and Sabbaths: “Don’t suppose that I came to do away with the Law [including God’s Sabbaths] and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning”—teaching the meaning through word and perfect living example (Matthew 5:17 Matthew 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
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, Contemporary English Version). He then said: “I say to you very seriously that as long as heaven and earth exist, neither the smallest letter nor even the smallest stroke of a pen will be erased from the Law until everything there becomes a reality” (Matthew 5:18 Matthew 5:18For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
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, Common English Bible).

Additionally, the apostle Paul didn’t abolish or repeal God’s laws in Colossians 2:16 Colossians 2:16 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:
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, as the above resource contends. Instead he confirmed them. Paul stated here, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths.”

It’s commonly thought that he was telling the Christians of Colossae to disregard Jewish criticism over their not following Jewish observances. But the reality was just the opposite. This was a gentile congregation that had not participated in such observances before. The truth is that Paul was telling the Christian converts to disregard outside criticism over how they were now observing these occasions. (See “Colossians 2:16 Shows Gentile Christians Observed the Biblical Holy Days” in our free study aid God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.)

As we saw, the New Catholic Encyclopedia identifies those who continued to observe the biblical feasts as sectarian—the word here implying narrow-minded smaller groups who don’t follow the teachings of a larger denomination.

Yet Jesus said that His Church would be small: “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14 Matthew 7:14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
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). He also said that He would honor those who honor Him (John 12:26 John 12:26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.
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) and call those great who do His will and teach others to do the same (Matthew 5:19 Matthew 5:19Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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).

Many Christians today prefer a comfortable and conformist Christianity, one without persecution. Contrast this with Jesus’ teaching: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20 John 15:20Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
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).

Does your church keep the feasts Jesus and His disciples kept?

What are the New Testament feasts?

In considering this, let’s address festival observance in the New Testament, and then we’ll see the correlation in Revelation.

The Catholic reference work quoted above admits that Jesus, the apostles and the early Church observed God’s Old Testament feasts in the New Testament. Leviticus 23 lists them. The first three come in the spring in the land of Israel—the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Pentecost. The last four occur in the transition from late summer to early autumn—the feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Eighth Day. Let’s identify all these in the New Testament in stepwise progression.

Jesus died on the Passover day. And the apostle Paul admonished the Corinthian church to keep the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread that followed: “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (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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).

Luke, who wrote one of the four Gospels and the book of Acts, used the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a significant time marker: “And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread” (Acts 12:3 Acts 12:3And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
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).

After Jesus’ resurrection, His disciples kept the Feast of Pentecost (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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), the very day on which they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians observe this feast today, at least in name. (The festival was not called Pentecost in its listing in 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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. Yet the name was taken from a word that occurs here in verse 16 in the Greek translation of the Old Testament meaning “fifty” in the phrase “count fifty days”—that is, from an earlier grain offering to determine when this feast was to be observed.)

The Feast of Trumpets is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament but the loud noise of trumpets as a herald of Christ’s second coming is. The book of Revelation presents seven trumpets being blown by angels leading up to Christ’s return. And 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 state that Jesus will come and His followers will be resurrected at the last trumpet. It makes sense that the early Christians would have observed this festival in anticipation of these future events.

Luke presents the apostle Paul referring to the Day of Atonement, a commanded fast day, as a time marker, this day being still significant to Christians: “Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them . . .” (Acts 27:9 Acts 27:9Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
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). This occasion also looked forward to future events, as we will see.

Paul seems to refer to the Feast of Tabernacles when he departed from Ephesus:

“I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing” (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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). In not naming the feast, Paul may have been following the convention of referring to the Feast of Tabernacles as simply “the Feast,” as it was the greatest of all the feasts in terms of festivity, celebrating the end-of-year harvest (see Deuteronomy 16:16-17 Deuteronomy 16:16-17 [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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; Leviticus 23:39 Leviticus 23:39Also 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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).

Observing this festival will be required of all nations when Jesus returns: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem [in the end time] shall go up [to Jerusalem] from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (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.
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).

The true greatness of this feast rests in what it pictures—the great spiritual harvest of human beings under the reign of Jesus Christ, when the nations will be led to salvation.

The Eighth Day following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles is a separate and distinct feast, it being the last of the seven annual feasts. Though distinct, its placement immediately following Tabernacles shows its continuance in the prior feast’s themes. Here we find pictured the culmination of the global Eden-like environment for the salvation of the greatest numbers of human beings ever—when all who ever lived without a proper understanding will be resurrected to be taught God’s truth and given the opportunity to be saved. Your Bible presents this period as the Great White Throne Judgment (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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).

The number seven in Scripture symbolizes completion, while eight signifies going beyond that—in the sense of being overfull or to “super-abound” (E.W. Bullinger, Number in Scripture, 1979, p. 196, “Eight”). The saving of billions of people in the future fits with this symbolism. (See Ezekiel 37:18-25 Ezekiel 37:18-25 [18] And when the children of your people shall speak to you, saying, Will you not show us what you mean by these? [19] Say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand. [20] And the sticks where on you write shall be in your hand before their eyes. [21] And say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, where they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. [23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. [24] And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. [25] And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelled; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
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, which refers to Israel being saved first, but Scripture includes gentiles as well—Romans 9:22-26 Romans 9:22-26 [22] What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: [23] And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared to glory, [24] Even us, whom he has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? [25] As he said also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. [26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
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).

The fact is, this feast and all of the biblical feasts were and are significant for all nations, not just the Jews. They were observed by Jesus Christ, the apostles and the early Christian Church, just as the New Catholic Encyclopedia confirmed. And they will be observed during Christ’s coming reign over the world.

Yet most churches today fail to acknowledge these celebrations that arefound in Scripture and instead follow traditions of substituting other worship days rooted in false religion. As Jesus warned the religious leaders of His day, “It is useless for you to worship me, when you teach rules made up by humans” (Mark 7:7 Mark 7:7However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
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; CEV).

Now let’s see how the autumn feast days will be fulfilled, as revealed in the Bible’s last book.

Time of war and drawing near to God

The later chapters of Revelation show the fulfillments of the four fall feasts found in Leviticus 23. May God open your eyes to see and your ears to hear.

In Revelation 8, we see angels blowing the final seven trumpets that fulfill the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets.

As already mentioned, the Feast of Trumpets represents the calamitous events leading up to Christ’s return and the resurrection and change of His people into immortal glory.

Trumpets were sounded in ancient Israel as an alarm of war (Jeremiah 4:19 Jeremiah 4:19My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
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). The seven trumpets of Revelation warn humankind that Christ is returning to wage war on murderous tyrants to save humanity from itself, when He will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18 Revelation 11:18And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
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; compare John 18:36 John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
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).

In Revelation 8, we see angels blowing the final seven trumpets that fulfill the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets: “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets . . . So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” (Revelation 8:2 Revelation 8:2And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
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; Revelation 8:6 Revelation 8:6And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
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). Four trumpets are blown in Revelation 8, while the fifth and sixth trumpets are sounded in chapter 9.

The seventh and final trumpet is blown in 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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, whereon it is announced that the world’s kingdoms are taken over by God’s Kingdom. This is glorious good news, and trumpets were also blown in biblical times in glad celebration, such as at the coronation of kings. We are also told of this time ahead that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For 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:
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).

Yet while this event of great joy occurs, seven last plagues and more warfare follow. Under demonic direction, the forces of two major military powers, the Beast power (Revelation 13:1-8 Revelation 13:1-8 [1] And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads the name of blasphemy. [2] And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. [3] And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. [4] And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him? [5] And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months. [6] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. [7] And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. [8] And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
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) and the kings of the east (Revelation 16:12-14 Revelation 16:12-14 [12] And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. [13] And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. [14] For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
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), will converge in the land of Israel.

They will then march to Jerusalem to fight the returning Jesus—and, as laid out in Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19, they will lose the battle.

This brings us to the next Holy Day, the Day of Atonement. The vanquishing of human enemies will be followed by the overthrow of the evil spiritual forces influencing the world.

As mentioned, the Day of Atonement is a fast day (Leviticus 23:27-32 Leviticus 23:27-32 [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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). God commands His people to fast and pray in order to focus their faith on His deliverance of them from wicked spirits who roam this world (see Matthew 17:21 Matthew 17:21However, this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.
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; 1 Peter 5:7 1 Peter 5:7Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
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; Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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; Job 1:7 Job 1:7And the LORD said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
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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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).

Atonement is fulfilled in Revelation 20: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (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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).

The incarceration of Satan and the demons is a major aspect of the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, fitting with this day’s ceremony of banishing a goat into the wilderness in Leviticus 16 (see “What Does the Day of Atonement Have to Do With Jesus Christ?”). With the removal of these evil spirits, widespread repentance will occur and peace will begin to spread throughout the world (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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). This leads us to the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Peace and joy throughout the world

The Feast of Tabernacles depicts a future global Garden of Eden (see Amos 9:13 Amos 9:13Behold, 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.
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; 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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). For the first time in human history, all nations will prosper in peace under the rule of Christ and His saints (that is, His followers of this age then glorified). Notice Christ’s overview of this fulfillment in Revelation 20:4-6 Revelation 20:4-6 [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.
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:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them [see 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 [2] Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? [3] Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
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; Revelation 2:26 Revelation 2:26And he that overcomes, and keeps my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
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] . . . who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished [in fulfillment of the Eighth Day].

“This [at the beginning of the 1,000 years when Christ returns] is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over 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” (see also Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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).

At the end of this 1,000 years Satan will be released for a brief period, during which he will instigate a final rebellion against God. But fire from God will consume those who participate. Satan and his demons will then be cast into the lake of fire and taken out of the picture for good (Revelation 20:7-10 Revelation 20:7-10 [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.
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).

Then, after the short season of Satan’s final rebellion, comes the Great White Throne Judgment, typified by the Eighth Day.

Again, the Eighth Day follows the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. This “extra” day may appear to be just an extension of the seven-day feast. Yet it is a separate and distinct holy feast that symbolizes the time of salvation for billions of people!

God sanctioned the Eighth Day as a time for His people to assemble before Him: “For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it” (Leviticus 23:39 Leviticus 23:39Also 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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).

Christ’s imagery of the fulfillment of the Eighth-Day festival as described by John fits here perfectly: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God [compare 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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], and books were opened [books of the Bible opened to understanding and as the basis for judgment].

“And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life [Philippians 4:3 Philippians 4:3And I entreat you also, true yoke fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.
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]. And the dead were judged according to their works [over a period of time after God reveals His truth to them], by the things which were written in the books [see John 12:47-48 John 12:47-48 [47] And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. [48] He 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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]. The sea gave up the dead who were in it [resurrection to physical life as 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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shows], and Death [a great enemy, 1 Corinthians 15:26 1 Corinthians 15:26The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:54 1 Corinthians 15:54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
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] and Hades [the grave] delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works” (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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; James 2:20-26 James 2:20-26 [20] But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar? [22] See you how faith worked with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? [23] And the scripture was fulfilled which said, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. [24] You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [25] Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? [26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
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, concerning faith and works).

Note that judgment here is not an immediate sentencing but an evaluation over the new lifetimes of those resurrected—just as those in God’s Church today are judged over the course of their lives (compare 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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).

Will you keep the feasts Jesus kept?

Given important understanding of the fulfillments of the last four feasts, the big question is: Will you keep the feasts that Jesus kept? Most who identify as Christians won’t—for now. But beyond today, everyone will. All of God’s feasts will be kept after Christ establishes the Kingdom of God on earth, as symbolized by the Feast of Tabernacles.

God’s feasts in Leviticus 23 portray the salvation of all humankind for all time. Jesus Christ, His apostles, and the early Church of God faithfully kept them—understanding that they pictured great events yet to come. Now God has revealed the meaning of these occasions to you.

The fall feasts in Leviticus 23 are fulfilled in the later chapters of Revelation. May you hear and heed God’s call to observe His festivals as part of the condition of obedience He has set for you and all people to remain in his plan of salvation—both for now and forever!