The Biblical Festivals That Reveal Christ's Role in God's Plan

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The Biblical Festivals That Reveal Christ's Role in God's Plan

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In October this year, a relatively small number of faithful followers of Jesus Christ will meet in locations around the world to celebrate four Holy Days that Jesus of Nazareth and the early New Testament Church observed. On each of these days they will be reminded of His central role in the meaning of these festivals.

Ironically, most Christians—people who by their very name indicate their respect and obedience to Christ—know little about these days authorized by the Bible and observed by our Savior and His followers after His crucifixion.

What are these festivals, and what role does Jesus play in each of them? It is crucial that we see the biblical Holy Days in the proper perspective. That perspective is that of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the One who sits at the right hand of the Father, is central to God's plan of salvation for humanity.

We all know that when Jesus came to earth, He came to die for our sins and to pave the way for eternal salvation. He taught His followers true Christianity, by both His words and His example.

One example that we see recorded in Scripture is His example of observing the festivals of God. Luke tells us that His custom was to observe God's Sabbaths (Luke 4:16 Luke 4:16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
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). Matthew shows that He observed the Passover (Matthew 26:17 Matthew 26:17Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the passover?
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); John records Him observing the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2 John 7:2Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand.
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, 10).

Later passages show that Jesus' followers also observed the Holy Days of God, now with deeper spiritual understanding— Christian understanding. Paul admonished the gentile Corinthians to properly observe the Feast of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread (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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) because these days were Christian celebrations.

Christ is our Passover sacrifice for sins

Passover, which included the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, was commanded by God (Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:4-5 Leviticus 23:4-5 4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover.
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). Passover is also mentioned no less than 28 times in the New Testament, with the majority of occurrences found in the Gospels.

But what is the New Testament Passover all about? It is about the One who is so profound, so holy, so important, that without Him there is no New Testament Passover. That Someone is Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote of Passover's significance in 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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: “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” (emphasis added throughout).

Just before Jesus' last Passover observance before His crucifixion, the high priest Caiaphas said that Jesus would “die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:50 John 11:50Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
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).

John explains this with this comment: “Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death” (John 11:51-53 John 11:51-53 51 And this spoke he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
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).

These scriptures and others reveal that Jesus is our true Passover lamb and that the ancient ceremony pointed to Him and His sacrificial death on our behalf. In fact, the Gospels show that He was slain on the very day of Passover.

As we observe the New Testament Pass-over (kept in the spring in the northern hemisphere), we commemorate and come to better understand the central role Jesus has in the removal of our sins as foreshadowed by the Passover lambs. “And you know that He [Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5 1 John 3:5And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
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).

Unleavened Bread: Jesus Christ in us

The second annual festival, the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, follows right after Passover (Leviticus 23:6-8 Leviticus 23:6-8 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
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). In observing these days, Christians discover that this biblical festival is a time to focus on putting sin out of their lives.

For seven days Christians avoid leaven (an agent such as yeast or baking soda that causes bread dough to rise), as leaven represents sin during the festival.

Paul, referring to “the leaven of malice and wickedness” (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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), compares leaven to sin and its tendency to grow and spread. Jesus referred to leaven as representing hypocrisy (Luke 12:1 Luke 12:1In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
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), false doctrine (Matthew 16:12 Matthew 16:12Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
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) and moral depravity (Mark 8:15 Mark 8:15And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
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). These are some of the sins Christ's true followers must overcome.

But there is an even deeper meaning to the Days of Unleavened Bread. These days picture the promise of the risen Christ. He was resurrected during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Jesus promised that He and the Father would make Their home in our hearts (John 14:23 John 14:23Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our stayed with him.
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). In fact, Christ living within us gives us the sure hope of future glorification as the divine children of God (Colossians 1:27 Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
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).

As we eat unleavened bread during this festival, representing sincerity and truth (see 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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), we are reminded that Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this. We should desire with all of our being to have that Holy One living within us.

Observing the Days of Unleavened Bread reminds us that it is not our righteousness that causes us to overcome sins. Rather, it is the righteousness that comes as a result of Jesus living His righteous life in the hearts of His people, empowering us to conquer sin.

As the apostle Paul explained: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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, King James Version).

Thus the Days of Unleavened Bread are a reminder of the crucial fact that the resurrected Christ who saves us from our sins, is living again in each Christian.

Pentecost: Christ empowers His Church

The third of God's festivals is Pentecost. It was celebrated with much excitement in Israel because it signified the completion of the early firstfruit harvest from the fields. Israelites could be assured of food for their families when God's blessing was on them. This festival, too, teaches us much about Jesus Christ's role in God's plan.

When Jesus was about to ascend to heaven following His resurrection, the apostles were perplexed because their risen Lord was being taken from them. But Jesus had already promised them that He would not leave them as orphans (John 14:18 John 14:18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
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). Answering their concern as to what they should do after His death, He promised that both He and the Father would come to the disciples by and through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-23 John 14:16-23 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. 20 At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas said to him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world? 23 Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our stayed with him.
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).

Jesus repeated this promise in Luke 24:49 Luke 24:49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father on you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high.
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: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” That power is the Holy Spirit. As Jesus foretold, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4 Acts 2:1-4 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
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), and suddenly the disciples became the Church of God.

No longer were they a dazed and bewildered group of men and women—they were now the people of God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they would now be able to truly overcome sin. And through that same power, God's Church would take the gospel to the entire world.

This all became possible because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled His promise by empowering the Church with the Holy Spirit. As Christians celebrate Pentecost to this day, we are reminded that Jesus continues to empower His Church to do His will and to preach the gospel.

We will now briefly cover each of the next four Holy Days, which come in the autumn of the year. As we examine them, we will again notice the pivotal role Jesus Christ plays in fulfilling the meaning of each of these days.

Trumpets: Announcing Christ's return

The Feast of Trumpets is observed in late summer or early autumn, September or October of the Western calendar, on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar (Leviticus 23:24-25 Leviticus 23:24-25 24 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
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).

Trumpets were used in biblical times for several purposes. They were used to announce the beginning of this first autumn Holy Day (Leviticus 23:24 Leviticus 23:24Speak 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.
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). Trumpets were also used to announce the coronation of a king (1 Kings 1:39-40 1 Kings 1:39-40 39 And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. 40 And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.
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). They were used as an alarm to warn of war (Numbers 10:9 Numbers 10:9And 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.
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; 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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). They were used to call the people of God to assembly (Numbers 10:1-8 Numbers 10:1-8 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.
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).

All of these purposes find their ultimate fulfillment in the New Testament teaching that Jesus Christ will return to the earth.

At His return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He will battle against the armies of earth that oppose Him and His rule (Revelation 19:11-21 Revelation 19:11-21 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the middle of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God; 18 That you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
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).

He will also assemble His people together at the sound of the seventh trumpet. The New Testament makes it clear that the resurrection of Christ's faithful servants will occur at the blowing of the seventh trumpet: “For 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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).

And in 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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we read: “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.”

Another key scripture is 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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: “Then the seventh angel sounded [his trumpet]: 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!'”

The biblical Feast of Trumpets foreshadows the long-awaited second coming of Jesus Christ!

Atonement: Satan banished

The Day of Atonement is perhaps the most unusual of the biblical Holy Days. It is a day on which God's people fast, avoiding food and drink (Leviticus 23:26-32 Leviticus 23:26-32 26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
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; 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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).

Atonement is also the day in which the Israelites sacrificed one goat as a sin offering (Leviticus 16:9 Leviticus 16:9And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
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) and released a second goat, the scapegoat (Hebrew Azazel ), into the uninhabited wilderness (Leviticus 16:10 Leviticus 16:10But 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.
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).

The first goat, which was sacrificed as a sin offering, represented Jesus Christ. This goat was slain, its blood shed to cover the sins of people (verses 15-16) just as Christ's blood covers our sins. The mediating high priest in this ceremony also represented Christ. The scapegoat is representative of Satan, who departed from God and is responsible for the temptations of humanity. Satan is the one Jesus called a “liar” and a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
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).

After Jesus returns to earth, He will commission an angel to banish Satan into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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). Satan will no longer be allowed to deceive the nations. This world will not know peace until Satan the archdeceiver is put away. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the One who has crushed the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15 Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
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) and whose sacrifice will afterward be applied to the earth's repentant nations, is central to the ultimate fulfillment of this day.

Tabernacles: Christ's millennial rule

Jesus is also central to the understanding of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. He observed this Feast while He was on earth and told others to observe this Feast as well (John 7:2-14 John 7:2-14 2 Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3 His brothers therefore said to him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that your disciples also may see the works that you do. 4 For there is no man that does any thing in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world. 5 For neither did his brothers believe in him. 6 Then Jesus said to them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go you up to this feast: I go not up yet to this feast: for my time is not yet full come. 9 When he had said these words to them, he stayed still in Galilee. 10 But when his brothers were gone up, then went he also up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11 Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12 And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, No; but he deceives the people. 13 However, no man spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews. 14 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
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).

In Old Testament times the Israelites would gather in Jerusalem and dwell in small huts or booths made from the leafy branches of trees, rejoicing in the worship of God (Leviticus 23:40 Leviticus 23:40And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
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). The Old Testament links the reign of Jesus Christ on the earth with the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-21 Zechariah 14:16-21 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. 20 In that day shall there be on the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
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).

After Jesus returns, the world will experience a 1,000-year period of peace and prosperity (Revelation 20:1-6 Revelation 20:1-6 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. 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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). He will serve as the King of the Kingdom of God under God the Father. The earth will be changed—not through the achievement of mankind, but through the infinite power of Almighty God.

In Isaiah 35:4-7 Isaiah 35:4-7 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
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we read of this time: “'Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water …”

These verses will be literally fulfilled when the One who now sits at the right hand of the Father, Jesus Christ, returns to earth.

The last festival: Salvation offered to all

Following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles is a final feast day, the eighth day (Leviticus 23:36 Leviticus 23:36Seven 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.
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). This festival has an ultimate and profound meaning in the plan of God.

Many today worry about loved ones who died before they came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They worry about loved ones who died before they repented and were baptized in faith. Their concern is that their loved ones are lost, doomed forever in an ever-burning hellfire.

But God is a God of love. He will never allow any human being to be lost without first being given a fair opportunity to hear the gospel. All who have gone to their graves without the knowledge of God will ultimately be given an opportunity to know God and respond to Him.

In Ezekiel 37:10-14 Ezekiel 37:10-14 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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we read of a great resurrection of people, Israelites who had died without really having understood God's great plan: “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

God's words to them are: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it.”

Ezekiel 37 tells us that a time is coming when those who died without the full knowledge of God will be given an opportunity for salvation. They will finally recognize Jesus Christ for what He really is, our Lord and our Savior.

Non-Christians who lived their entire lives without ever hearing the name of Jesus —the only name by which we can 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.
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)—will at last have the opportunity to accept His sacrifice as payment for their sins and be given their opportunity to receive God's Spirit.

This last of God's festivals represents the Last Judgment. The meaning of this final festival is that a time is yet coming in God's timetable in which those who never had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be raised from their graves and learn God's truth for the first time.

Jesus described it as a time when the long-dead inhabitants of Nineveh and people like the Queen of Sheba would rise in a period of judgment with those of Jesus' day (Matthew 12:41-42 Matthew 12:41-42 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
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). Since the Father “has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22 John 5:22For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son:
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), Jesus himself will be the final judge of all mankind.

This festival does not symbolize, as Pentecost does, those who presently are called and who know the Lord's will. We know that our time of judgment is right now, and that we must be busy serving God today.

But those who have never known the truth will someday be given the opportunity to know God and understand His great plan. The meaning of this festival is that it will not ultimately be only the few who will be given opportunity for salvation, but the many. God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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, compare 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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).

These Holy Days of God give us an overview of God's great plan of salvation. The fulfillment of these days is dependent on the One who became man, who died for our sins, who now sits at the right hand of the Father and who is coming again. That One's name is Jesus Christ. GN