God's Plan as Revealed by His Holy Days

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God's Plan as Revealed by His Holy Days

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The Holy Days reveal God's plan of salvation for all humanity. Just as the plan of salvation is universal, so are the Holy Days. They progressively provide hope for all humans as God's boundless love is made available through their fulfillment. The universality of these days is confirmed in Leviticus 23:4 Leviticus 23:4These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
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: "These are the feasts of the Lord," not just the feasts of Israel. These feasts include the weekly Sabbath. After Jesus Christ created the Sabbath day, He rested (Hebrew shabath: "kept Sabbath") from all the work He had made (Genesis 2:2 Genesis 2:2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
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).

Since Jesus Christ created the Sabbath, He is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28 Mark 2:28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
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). "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:3 John 1:3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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). Thus, anyone who attempts to confine the "feasts of the Lord" to the Jews must deny Jesus' own testimony. So to deny that Jesus Christ created the Sabbath is to deny His lordship and sovereignty.

Since the weekly Sabbath and the Holy Days are "feasts of the Lord," they stand or fall together. They reveal the greatest purpose of God: His desire to have a relationship with every human that has ever lived or ever will live. Human beings can have a relationship with God only through the Holy Spirit. Those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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). The Sabbaths of the Lord reveal God as a spiritual Creator who desires a relationship with humankind.

If, at the creation of man, God had not created the Sabbath and revealed Himself as the spiritual Creator, man would have been incomplete: cut off, without any hope or knowledge of how to relate to his Creator. So, at creation, our great loving Father revealed His love, care and concern for humans by revealing Himself as the spiritual Creator, who would commune with humans through the Holy Spirit as symbolized by the tree of life.

One cannot eat of the tree of life without recognizing God's sovereignty in all facets of His being. Adam and Eve rejected God's sovereignty in their lives. They refused to look to God for the knowledge of good and evil; that is, the knowledge of how to relate to God and fellow humans. As a result of Adam's and Eve's rejection of God as spiritual Creator and Revelator, humanity as a whole was cut off from the Holy Spirit, and hence a relationship with their Creator, for more than 4,000 years.

The progressive revelation and spiritual fulfillment of "the feasts of the Lord" provide all humans who have ever lived with an opportunity to call upon the name of Jesus Christ as He has commanded for redemption and reconciliation with our loving Father. God is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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). Yes, the "feasts of the Lord" are truly universal since they reveal God's will for all humans.

Jesus Christ kept the feasts. The apostle Paul admonished the Corinthians, "Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump [a little leaven leavens the whole 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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).

These passages demonstrate at least two vital truths concerning Christians' observance of the Holy Days in the New Testament. First of all, they were clearly keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread in that they were unleavened (physically). Paul then admonishes them to keep the Feast spiritually by casting out the old leaven (sin), just as they had put out the physical leaven and had thus become physically unleavened. The spiritual keeping of the Feast is to be done through the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Jesus Christ is that unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. The Church is to eat and drink of His Word so "that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26 Ephesians 5:26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
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).

With this backdrop we can now parallel the Holy Days with literal events in Israel's history, with "the principles of the doctrine of Christ" (KJV) as outlined in Hebrews 6:1-2 Hebrews 6:1-2 [1] Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, [2] Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
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, and the spiritual fulfillment of the Holy Days that culminates with all humans being given the opportunity to enter into a spiritual relationship with their loving heavenly Father.

The Weekly Sabbath

God revealed the Sabbath to Adam and Eve the day after they were created. The apostle Paul wrote that "the law is spiritual" (Romans 7:14 Romans 7:14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
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). The Sabbath proves that God is a spiritual Creator. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is . . ." (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
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). So the Sabbath parallels the doctrine of faith in God. In short, to deny the spiritual law is to deny that "God is."

The author of Hebrews wrote that there remains a rest for the people of God, and the Hebrews were admonished to labor to enter into that rest (Hebrews 4:9-11 Hebrews 4:9-11 [9] There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. [10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. [11] Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
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). The word rest is translated from the Greek word sabbatismos, which implies a physical keeping of the Sabbath as well as the future millennial rest that is to be enjoyed by the entire creation at the manifestation of the sons of God during the thousand-year reign of Christ and the saints.

Passover

The servitude of Israel in the land of Egypt culminated with God hearing the cries of His people and raising up His servant Moses to lead them out of captivity (Exodus 3:7-11 Exodus 3:7-11 [7] And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; [8] And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. [9] Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come to me: and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. [10] Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. [11] And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
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). Time after time, Moses went before Pharaoh pleading for freedom so Israel could hold a feast and "sacrifice unto the Lord" (Exodus 5:1-3 Exodus 5:1-3 [1] And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness. [2] And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. [3] And they said, The God of the Hebrews has met with us: let us go, we pray you, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice to the LORD our God; lest he fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword.
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). Time after time Pharaoh hardened his heart as God sent deadly plagues upon the Egyptians and their land.

Finally God revealed to Moses how the Israelites could be saved. They were instructed to set aside an unblemished lamb on the 10th day of the first month. (Here we find God revealing His sacred calendar to the Israelites.)

On the 14th day of the month they were instructed to kill the lambs and sprinkle the blood of the lambs on the doorposts of their homes, so the death angel would pass over their homes and spare their firstborn. In those homes where no blood was sprinkled, the firstborn of both man and beast were slain.

About 1,450 years later, Jesus Christ became our Passover Lamb on the 14th day of the first month of the sacred calendar. Jesus Christ is our Passover (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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). His sacrifice makes it possible for the believer to leave spiritual Egypt. Leaving spiritual Egypt parallels the doctrine of repentance. The blood of Christ becomes the propitiation_the atoning sacrifice_for sin, for all persons who repent of breaking God's great, immutable, spiritual law. Christ came to save us out of our sins, not in our sins. As Paul wrote, "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!" (Galatians 2:17 Galatians 2:17But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
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).

Christ instituted the new symbols of the Passover on the night before He was betrayed and crucified. The bread and wine represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The blood of Christ is the seal of the new covenant. Jesus said that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53 John 6:53Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
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).

Christians are therefore commanded to keep the Feast of Passover. In light of His clear instructions, no Christian would deny the necessity of keeping the Feast of Passover. Are the other feasts of God any less important in the purpose and plan of God?

First Day of Unleavened Bread

The children of Israel left Egypt on the 15th day of the first month, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This freedom was made possible by the blood of the Passover lambs and the Israelites' faith in God. After we are convicted of sin by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit and repent and exercise faith, we too can begin to leave spiritual Egypt.

It took Israel seven days to completely leave the geographical environs of Egypt. But the moment a person exercises faith in God for the remission of sins that are past, he is justified and the penalty for sin is abolished. The repentant sinner is viewed as sinless and righteous in the sight of God (Colossians 1:21-22 Colossians 1:21-22 [21] And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled [22] In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and unreproveable in his sight:
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).

The Christian is to continue in a state of repentance and contrition before God by eating of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (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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). Thus the repentant sinner is supposed to continually put sin out through faith. Faith without works is dead. Therefore Paul said, ". . . For 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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).

The justified person commits himself to perpetually living what the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures_a life of removing sin by living in faith before God.

Last Day of Unleavened Bread

The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Paul wrote that this was their baptism (1 Corinthians 10:2 1 Corinthians 10:2And were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
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). The crossing of the Red Sea marked the Israelites' final departure from Egypt, symbolic of sin and death.

Immediately after Israel crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites sang the victory song of Moses: ". . . The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation . . ." (Exodus 15:2 Exodus 15:2The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
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, KJV).

Israel prepared God a physical habitation, the tabernacle. In this habitation, Israel approached God through offerings and sacrifices, none of which changed the heart. Today God wants us to approach Him with a new heart. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart-these, O God, You will not despise" (Psalms 51:17 Psalms 51:17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
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).

Today God's habitation is in the individual believer's heart and mind. God dwells in the hearts and minds of believers. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the believer is given the power to crucify the flesh and keep the hosts of Pharaoh, the works of the flesh, in their watery, baptismal grave.

The subject of the Holy Spirit leads us to the parallels of the Feast of Pentecost.

Feast of Pentecost

According to Jewish tradition, Israel received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai on the Day of Pentecost. The Ten Commandments became the basis of Christ's marriage covenant with Israel.

The law is spiritual, but humans had been cut off from the Holy Spirit since Adam and Eve rejected the source of all things spiritual in the Garden of Eden. Thus Israel did not have the heart and mind to keep the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
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).

God recognized the weakness of the people and promised a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-32 Jeremiah 31:31-32 [31] Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD:
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). This covenant made it possible for the laws of God to be written on the inward parts of the believer (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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). Jesus Christ is the "Mediator of a better covenant [the new covenant], which was established on better promises."

The Greek word nomotheteo, translated here as established, means "furnished with law." So the new covenant was furnished with law. What law? The same laws that were codified at Mount Sinai, which included the "feasts of the Lord."

The better promises are spiritual. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ replaced the sacrificial laws of the old covenant, making it possible for the conscience of the believer to be purged (Hebrews 9:14 Hebrews 9:14How 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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). Upon repentance and faith in the blood of Christ for remission of past sins, God gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to the believer (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then 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.
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).

The new convert is to become a new creation in Jesus Christ. He is now a son of God, having received the Spirit of sonship (Romans 8:15 Romans 8:15For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
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and Galatians 4:5-6 Galatians 4:5-6 [5] To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [6] And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
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). He can now be led by the Spirit of God. There is a new mind abiding in his inward parts, providing the power to walk after the Spirit rather than the flesh (Romans 8:1 Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
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).

As the believer yields himself to obey the mind of the Spirit, he is actively involved in "put[ting] on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24 Ephesians 4:24And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
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). This means that God is actually present and active in his mind. God is writing His laws, His ways, in the mind and heart of the believer.

The spiritual mind and the power to become a new creation were made possible when God sent His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, A.D. 31 (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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). On the very feast day that the law was given, God sent His Holy Spirit to correct the fault of the people, who did not keep the terms of the covenant (Hebrews 8:8 Hebrews 8:8For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
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).

Under the old covenant, Pentecost (also called the Festival of Weeks) marked the harvest of the firstfruits (Leviticus 23:20 Leviticus 23:20And 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.
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). On Pentecost, the priest waved the bread of the firstfruits from the early wheat harvest.

On Pentecost, A.D. 31, God began to call out the firstfruits of the new Israel-the Israel of God (Acts 2:39 Acts 2:39For 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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; Galatians 6:16 Galatians 6:16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.
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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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; Revelation 14:4 Revelation 14:4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
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).

Pentecost parallels the doctrine of the laying on of hands (Hebrews 6:2 Hebrews 6:2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
American King James Version×
). The new convert receives the Holy Spirit of sonship by the laying on of hands. The Samaritans who repented and were baptized by Philip received the Holy Spirit when Peter and John came down to Samaria and laid hands on them (Acts 8:14-18 Acts 8:14-18 [14] Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John: [15] Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: [16] (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) [17] Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. [18] And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
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). Through this ceremony God demonstrates through whom He is working.

Simon the sorcerer desired this gift of the Spirit but refused God's conditions for receiving it (Acts 8:18-23 Acts 8:18-23 [18] And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, [19] Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. [20] But Peter said to him, Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. [21] You have neither part nor lot in this matter: for your heart is not right in the sight of God. [22] Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. [23] For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
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).

The meaning of the Feast of Pentecost is lived every day in the life of the believer. The inward man is to be renewed daily through God's Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:16 2 Corinthians 4:16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
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). God gives His Spirit to those who ask for it, to those who eat and drink of His Word and to those who obey Him (Luke 11:13 Luke 11:13If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
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; John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
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; Acts 5:32 Acts 5:32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.
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).

Feast of Trumpets

In ancient Israel, trumpets were blown to assemble the congregation when it went to war, on feast days and on other special occasions (Numbers 10:1-10 Numbers 10:1-10 [1] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [2] Make you two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. [3] And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [4] And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. [5] When you blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. [6] When you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. [7] But when the congregation is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm. [8] And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. [9] And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. [10] Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
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). The blowing of trumpets could signal a time of alarm or a time of joy and rejoicing. The Feast of Trumpets marked the beginning of the great fall harvest in ancient Israel, a commanded time of rejoicing and thanksgiving before God.

In the New Testament, the sounding of trumpets marks a time of great contrasts. On the one hand, the trumpet plagues are poured out on the unrepentant inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 8:6 Revelation 8:6And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
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, Revelation 9:21 Revelation 9:21Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
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). And on the other hand, the sounding of the trumpet marks the completion of the mystery of God (Revelation 10:7 Revelation 10:7But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he has declared to his servants the prophets.
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).

Paul explains the mystery: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 [51] Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
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).

So the sounding of trumpets in the New Testament parallels that of the Old Testament. Trumpets may be a time of great travail or a time of great victory. The resurrection from the dead is the greatest victory of all victories for humankind (1 Corinthians 15:54-58 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 [54] So 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. [55] O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
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). The resurrection will indeed be full of glory and a time of unspeakable joy.

The first resurrection marks the harvest of the firstfruits that have been called out since A.D. 31. It will be the greatest turning point in human history. "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'" (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 Feast of Trumpets parallels the doctrine of resurrection in Hebrews 6:2 Hebrews 6:2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
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. Believers who have been crucified with Christ in the watery grave of baptism are raised to newness of life to serve God in the newness of the Spirit (Romans 6:3-6 Romans 6:3-6 [3] Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
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). This means that Christians are to live a new live, a "resurrected" life, by yielding themselves to God as servants of righteousness (Romans 6:13 Romans 6:13Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
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).

The "resurrected" Christian can call on God in this time of travail, and God will deliver. God delights in your reliance upon Him as you live the new life of resurrection (Psalms 50:14-15 Psalms 50:14-15 [14] Offer to God thanksgiving; and pay your vows to the most High: [15] And call on me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
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).

Day of Atonement

On the Day of Atonement, the Israelites were commanded to afflict their souls by fasting. "From evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath" (Leviticus 23:32 Leviticus 23:32It 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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). The casual reader may think it paradoxical for God to command a Sabbath fast and at the same time call it a celebration. The solemn significance of this day truly called for a celebration.

This was the day that the high priest put on special garments and went into the Holy of Holies in the very presence of God to offer blood to atone for his sins and the sins of the people, and to cleanse the sanctuary. The sanctuary had not sinned, but the sins of the nation had been placed on the altar during the year. Therefore it, too, had to be cleansed.

Jesus Christ entered into the Holy Place in heaven, in the presence of God, to provide a new and living way for each believer to enter into the holiest of all through His blood (Hebrews 9:23-24 Hebrews 9:23-24 [23] It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. [24] For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 10:18-21 Hebrews 10:18-21 [18] Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. [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; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God;
American King James Version×
).

The blood that was sprinkled on the altar in the Holy of Holies of the earthly sanctuary was the blood of a goat that had been selected by the casting of lots (Leviticus 16:6-10 Leviticus 16:6-10 [6] And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. [7] And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [8] And Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. [9] And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. [10] But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
American King James Version×
). The other goat was called the scapegoat (Hebrew Azazel: the "goat of separation"), signifying entire removal.

Some commentators believe that Azazel means the "great demon" or "Satan." They continue to debate who or what the Azazel goat represents. It is obvious that the blood of the goat that was sprinkled on the altar in the Holy of Holies represents the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:10 Hebrews 10:10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
American King James Version×
).

In some ways, it seems that both Passover and the Day of Atonement point to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the same way. And, in some ways, they are the same. That is, the sins of humanity can be passed over through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ (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;
American King James Version×
).

The Day of Atonement adds a new dimension. Not only have we been redeemed by the blood of Christ, we have a High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for us. Moreover, we can live in the Holy of Holies, in the presence of God. Thus we are able to "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16 Hebrews 4:15-16 [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. [16] Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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).

In view of our position in the Holy of Holies before the throne of God, let us return to the significance of the Azazel goat. It is clear from the Scriptures that "without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22 Hebrews 9:22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
American King James Version×
). Therefore, it is not possible that the Azazel goat could have anything to do with the remission of sins.

The Levitical high priest took the blood of the goat (which represented the blood of Christ) into the Holy of Holies. Then he was to come back out and "lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, [and] confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel." Then, putting the sins of Israel on the head of the goat, he sent the goat "away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness" (Leviticus 16:21-22 Leviticus 16:21-22 [21] And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: [22] And the goat shall bear on him all their iniquities to a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
American King James Version×
).

Placing sin on the head of the goat represents responsibility. We commonly say "your sins are on your head." Satan is the author and father of sin and death. The individual believer can have his sins atoned for through the blood of Christ, but that does not expiate the accountability of the being who is responsible for the way of sin and death. The Azazel goat was taken into an uninhabited land and let go. That is, he was taken to a place that prevented him from having any contact or influence upon the people.

In like manner, Satan and his demons will be banished to a place that will prevent them from influencing mankind (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.
American King James Version×
).

We have been given the power through Jesus Christ to cast Satan out of our lives now. As John wrote, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4 1 John 4:4You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
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).

Paul wrote, "If God is for us, who can be against us? . . . We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:31 Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
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, Romans 8:37 Romans 8:37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
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).

"And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly . . ." (Romans 16:20 Romans 16:20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
American King James Version×
).

Christians should continually celebrate the significance of the Day of Atonement. We rejoice in its importance in bringing peace and rest to the entire creation and our reconciliation to God made possible through Christ's sacrifice.

Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles (Hebrew succah: "hut" of woven boughs) was observed by Israel after the fall harvest. The Israelites were commanded to leave their houses and build temporary dwelling places (booths) to live in as they rejoiced before the Eternal.

Because the feast was held after the great fall harvest, it was also called the Feast of Ingathering (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.
American King James Version×
). The Feast of Tabernacles was the most meaningful of all the feasts in that it reminded them of Passover and how they dwelt in booths after God brought them out of Egypt.

It was a time associated with rest, peace and prosperity. The needs of all people including the stranger, the widow, the poor and the Levite were provided for at this feast. The people were commanded to rejoice before the Eternal for seven days.

A high point of the Feast of Tabernacles occurred in the year of release in the seven-year cycle. "At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing" (Deuteronomy 31:10-11 Deuteronomy 31:10-11 [10] And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, [11] When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD your God in the place which he shall choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
American King James Version×
).

It was the responsibility of the Levites to teach and expound the law of God throughout the year, but in the year of release there was special emphasis placed on the law of God. This was evidently done to remind the people that God was the source of all blessings and the Author of rest and release.

The prophets Isaiah and Hosea wrote of a time in which all of God's creation will be at rest and peace. The nations will beat their swords into plowshares, and even the enmity between man and beast will be removed. "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
American King James Version×
).

All of the types of Israel's keeping the Feast are contained in these prophecies for the future kingdom of God. In that day the nations shall go up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and they shall be taught the ways of God. The peoples of all nations will learn the way of love, joy and peace in God's kingdom (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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; Isaiah 2:2-5 Isaiah 2:2-5 [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. [5] O house of Jacob, come you, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
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).

The resurrected saints will be made priests of God and Christ, and they will rule and reign with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed 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.
American King James Version×
). Thus the Feast of Tabernacles pictures the rule and reign of the saints in the kingdom of God.

Judgment is now on the house of God. The saints are being prepared to become kings and priests in the kingdom of God. In that thousand-year period, the saints and converted humans will help bring all nations into a relationship with God, Christ and each member of the family of God. It will be a time of judgment for all the world. The Feast of Tabernacles parallels the doctrine of judgment (Hebrews 6:2 Hebrews 6:2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
American King James Version×
). This judgment is not to be construed as a final sentencing, but a time for salvation.

The Feast of Tabernacles is rich in meaning for Christians today for many reasons. We who have entered into His spiritual rest in this church age are given the opportunity to preach the good news of the kingdom of God here and now. We are given the opportunity to demonstrate to the nations the virtues of Him who has called us out of darkness so God may be glorified in the day of their visitation (1 Peter 2:9-12 1 Peter 2:9-12 [9] But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. [11] Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; [12] Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
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).

Last Great Day

"On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink'" (John 7:37 John 7:37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.
American King James Version×
).

During the time of Christ's ministry on earth, the Jews drew out water from the pool of Siloam and poured it on the altar every day, but on the last great day of the Feast they circled the altar seven times and poured out the waters of Siloam the last time. The waters of Siloam represented healing for the people. Jesus interrupted their ceremony and identified the Spirit of God as the source of eternal life.

The apostle Peter wrote that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
American King James Version×
). Yet countless thousands of members of the human race have died having never heard the name of Jesus Christ, much less been given the opportunity for salvation.

Is God a respecter of persons, or will all humans who have ever lived be provided with an opportunity to drink of the living waters?

The Scriptures reveal that there is a first resurrection of the firstfruits and then a second resurrection for those who were not called to salvation in this age. "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth_those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28-29 John 5:28-29 [28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, [29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.
American King James Version×
).

The prophet Ezekiel foretold a time in which God will open the graves of the dead and give them physical life (Ezekiel 37:13-14 Ezekiel 37:13-14 [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.
American King James Version×
).

For all the qualities and characteristics of God's will and character to be fulfilled, it is incumbent upon him to allow every person who ever lived to enter the process and plan of salvation. He "desires all men to be saved" and is "not willing that any should perish" (1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
American King James Version×
; 2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
American King James Version×
).

The fulfillment of the Last Great Day will provide this opportunity. "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished" (Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
American King James Version×
). All of those who have died, cut off from the precious saving knowledge of God and the gift of His Spirit through repentance and faith in Christ, will be resurrected to physical life and given this priceless opportunity.

God calls each person at the time that is best for that person. Today is not the only day of salvation. If it is, God's purpose and plan for humanity have been miserable failures. But, praise be unto God, this is not the only day of salvation. "I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in a [not the; see Isaiah 49:8 Isaiah 49:8Thus said the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you: and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
American King James Version×
and original manuscripts for verification] day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2 2 Corinthians 6:2(For he said, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
American King James Version×
, KJV).

The Last Great Day parallels the doctrine of judgment and going on to perfection (Hebrews 6:2 Hebrews 6:2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
American King James Version×
). It will be a time in which all humans who ever lived can know God and go on to perfection. We who have been called to salvation in this age must go on to perfection now, thereby fulfilling the intent of the Last Great Day.

"And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" Revelation 22:17 Revelation 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
American King James Version×
). That's the purpose and plan of God as revealed by the Holy Days. O the depth and the riches of God! 

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