This column seeks to highlight the hope of a future time of peace brought by Jesus Christ at His second coming. The “times of restoration of all things” will be more than another utopian ideal. For many readers of this column, the prophesied future provides a compelling vision that fills the days, weeks and years of life with meaning. Each article of this publication seeks to point the way to God’s view of today’s world and the spiritual solutions to its problems. Let me describe how this translates into a walk of faith.
This month of September, United Church of God members will be observing four of the seven biblical festivals: the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. By the time most of you are reading this, members and other interested people will be gathering to keep the Holy Days as God commands. These festivals hold a message of hope and light for this world as it makes its way forward through challenging times.
• The Feast of Trumpets (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.
American King James Version×). This day foreshadows the return of Jesus Christ to the earth as King of Kings as described in Revelation 19:11-16 Revelation 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
American King James Version×. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and Christ will reign on the earth.
• The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27 Leviticus 23:27Also 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.
American King James Version×). This is a solemn day of fasting, picturing a time when all mankind will be reconciled to God. The source of all evil, Satan the devil, will be identified and removed from influencing the course of human events. Revelation 20:1-2 Revelation 20:1-2 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,
American King James Version×describes, “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.”
• The Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34 Leviticus 23:34Speak 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.
American King James Version×). This marvelous festival pictures a time of peace throughout the world. Christ’s return will result in the establishment of a righteous government that will restore the elusive peace and goodwill among all peoples throughout the world. Zechariah 14:16 Zechariah 14:16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
American King James Version×shows that eventually all people will be keeping this festival: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”
The Last Great Day (the eighth day of 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.
American King James Version×). The meaning of this festival contains the most hopeful of messages. It coincides with the time spoken of in Revelation 20:11-12 Revelation 20:11-12 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.
American King James Version×when “the dead, small and great” stand before God in the judgment of the great white throne. This day pictures the time when all who have never had a chance will have the opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit and eternal life.
For more information about God’s festivals, please request our booklet, God’s Holy Day Plan, the Promise of Hope for All Mankind.
These days define a deep-rooted faith among those who follow the words of Christ. God’s message of hope in these festivals shows the positive future beyond today’s headlines of human strife and tragedy. It is a time to step back from the world of today and renew the vision of the world to come. It is a time to view the problems of today’s world from God’s perspective. Those who observe these festivals receive training in the solutions to the great problems afflicting today’s world. May God speed that day of restoration. WNP