The Chronology and Purpose of GOD’s Holy Day Festivals
Man's AWESOME Promise of Hope.
The seven Holy Day Festivals which are described in Lev. chapter 23 and Deut. chapter 16 are GOD’S annual Feasts and Sabbath Days. They include Holy convocations in which He commands His people to assemble for fellowship and to worship Him, in order to learn about Him and His plans for mankind; while feasting and rejoicing in Him (Lev. 23:1-4; Deut. 14:23-26; Neh. 8:1-12). He sanctified them (set them apart), for His Holy purpose, and commands us to teach them to our children, together with His commandments, statutes, and laws (Exod. 13:14; Deut. 4:10; 6:1-7). The fourth commandment is bound together with His Holy Days (Lev. 23:2-4).
The Messiah observed them with His disciples, and commands us to continue keeping them in remembrance of Him until He returns to keep them with us again in God’s Kingdom (Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:16-19). His followers are to imitate Him (John 7:8-14; 13:15; 15:4-14; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:3-6). He confirmed the continuation of His congregation on an annual festival—the day of Pentecost—and delivered the Holy Spirit to His followers (Acts 2:1-4). The Messiah’s followers continued to observe them long after the resurrection (Acts 2:1; 18:21; 20:6, 16; 27:9; 1 Cor. 5:7-8; 11:23-27; 16:8). Paul refers to them as continuing/remaining shadows of the marvelous events in God'splan of salvation, which are being fulfilled as time progresses (Col. 2:16-17). He instructs Gentiles to also keep them (1 Cor. 5:8; 11:23-26).
Observing these Holy Days throughout the year reminds God's people of the miraculous role that the Messiah plays in His AWESOME salvation plan. By studying the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the divine calling to a new way of life (John 6:44, 65; Rom. 6:4), we see the establishing of the Messiah’s congregation as God’s Family. Thus, by focussing on the Messiah’s role in these Festivals, we begin to understand the true meaning behind His Holy Days and Feasts.
During the course of these festivals are seven annual High Day Sabbaths - Holy convocations: 1st & 2nd) The first and seventh days of Unleavened Bread; 3rd) the Feast of Pentecost; 4th) the Day of Trumpets; 5th) the Day of Atonement; 6th) the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and; 7th) the Eighth Day. Although God commands His people to observe His Passover; it is not commanded as a High Sabbath day.
The LORD's Passover (Exod. 12:1-14; Lev. 23:5; Deut. 16:1-2; Matt 26:2; 17-20; Mark 14:1; 12-16; Luke 2:41-42; 22:1-20; John 2:1-23; 6:4; 11:55; 12:1; 13:1-17; 18:28-39; 19:14) is the first annual festival of the year. It teaches us that the Messiah was sinless and blameless (Isa. 53:9; Luke 23:41; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5), which qualified Him to be the unblemished Passover Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Rev. 5:6-14; 7:14; 12:11; 13:8; 14:4), by willingly shedding His blood and giving His life as a ransom to forgive the sins of mankind, to remove it’s penalty (Isa. 53; Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 1:29; 10:11-18; Acts 13:38; 20:28; Rom. 3:25; 5:8-11; 1 Cor. 5:7; 15:3; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 1:7; Col. 2:13; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 1:3; 2:17; 9:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Rev. 1:5). While observing His last Passover with His disciples, He humbly washed their feet, and commands His followers to do the same, if they want to have part in Him (John 13:5-17).
The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exod. 12:15-20; 13:6-7; 23:15; 34:18; Lev. 23:6-8; Num. 28:17-25; Deut. 16:3-4; 16:16; Matt. 26:17; Mark 14:1, 12; Luke 22:1-7; Acts 12:3; 20:6; 1 Cor. 5:7-8) reminds us that we’ve been called to reject lawlessness and repent of sin (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; 11:27-29). We are to live by every word of God and according to the Messiah’s teaching and examples (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4; 1 Cor. 10; James 5:10; 1 Peter 2:21). Leaven symbolizes sin, and as such is removed from our dwelling place for the duration of the seven days of this Feast (Exod. 12:19; Deut. 16:3-4; 13:7; 1 Cor. 5:7-8). Eating unleavened bread symbolizes practicing a life of sincerity and truth, by putting out sin.
Pentecost, (Exod. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:15-16; Deut. 16:9-10; Acts 2:1-4; 20:16; 1 Cor. 16:8) - the early harvest of firstfruits also called the Feast of Weeks - pictures the Messiah’s confirmation of the continuation of His congregation, now with Holy Spirit inspired followers. During its observance, the Holy Spirit was delivered to His firstfruits (Acts 2:1-4; Rom. 5:5; Gal. 4:6; James 1:18), which circumcised their hearts (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; Rom. 2:28-29; Col. 2:11) from which is borne an obedient nature to live by the Commandments of God (Exod. 23:16; John 14:14-26; Acts 5:32; Rom. 5:5; Heb. 5:9; Rev. 14:4-5, 12; 22:14). His firstfruits will be given salvation at His return (John 5:24-29; Rev. 5:9-10; 11:15-18; 12:10; 14:4, 12; 22:12-14).
The Day of Trumpets (Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1) points to the Messiah’s glorious, visible and audible return to earth at the end of this age; events likened to when He appeared at Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:16-19; Rev 11:15-19). He will then first resurrect His saints who have died, and instantly thereafter change His saints who are yet alive, to immortal spirit beings (Matt. 24:31; John 5:25-29; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thess. 4:13-17). This is the first, and better resurrection (Rev. 20:4-5; Heb. 11:35). This festival commemorates the blowing of trumpets (Lev. 23:24; Num. 10:10; 29:1), which marks a sequence of major apocalyptic end time events. There are seven trumpets described in the book of Revelation, the last (the seventh) of which will announce the Messiah’s glorious and triumphant return to earth (Matt. 24:29-31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 11:15-19).
The Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:30; 23:27; Num. 29:7) reminds us that the Messiah shed His blood and gave His life to atone for the sins of mankind. It also points to a 1,000 year period when Satan's influences will be removed from this earth (Lev. 16:20-22; 29-31; Rev. 20:1-3). This Holy Day pictures the Messiah (our High Priest), making atonement for our sins, reconciling us to God, thus allowing us access through the veil into the ‘Holiest of all’ (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 9:8-14; 10:19-20). By fasting on this day, we draw closer to God while meditating on the reconciliation of us to Him as our merciful healer and redeemer. The Messiah is essential in this process as our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16; 5:4-6, 10), and as our eternal sacrifice for sin (Heb. 9:12; 26-28).
The Feast of Tabernacles (Exod. 23:16-17; Lev. 23:34; Num. 29:12; Deut. 16:13-17; Zech. 14:16-19; John 7:2 - the whole chapter) pictures the Messiah’s return as King of kings and Lord of lords to put an end to the worst war to ever have been invented by Satan through his servants - the religious and political governing bodies of this world (Ps. 2:9; 49:14; 89:23; Dan. 7:22; Rev. 2:26-27; 12:5; 19:15). The Messiah will gather His people - again the second time - described as the ingathering (Exod. 23:16; 34:22; Deut. 16:13), not just from Egypt, but this time from ALL nations (Isa. 11:11-16; Jer. 16:14-15; 23:3-8; 29:1-14; 30:3; 32:37-44; Ezek. 28:25-26; 34:11-16; 36:24; Amos 9:14-15; Matt. 24:31) in order to establish His Father’s Kingdom. He, together with His resurrected firstfruits, will set up God’s government and rule this earth for 1,000 years (Ps. 37:11; Matt 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 5:10; 20:4-6). Rule under His laws and commandments will expand from Jerusalem throughout the world to usher in and confirm the new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; 50:5; Ezek. 37:26; Mic. 4:2; Heb. 8:8-13), while entering into a time of unprecedented and unimaginable peace and prosperity (Isa. 2:2-4; 9:7; 11:1-16; 65:17-25; Jer. 31:34; 50:4-6; Ezek. 34:1-31; 36:1-38; Dan. 2:35, 44; 7:13-14; Hab. 2:14; Rom. 8:18-23; Heb. 8:11).
NOTE: 1 day is to God as 1000 years (Ps. 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). God commands man to work for his necessities the first six days of the week, resembling six Scriptural days - 6000 years since Adam started tilling the ground (Gen. 3:23). God’s seventh-day Sabbath (the 7th millennium), pictures the following 1000 years in which His resurrected saints will spiritually rest (Heb. 4:1-11) during their rule and reign on this earth together with the Messiah; without Satan’s influences (Rev. 20:4). The mortal survivors of the great tribulation (Matt.24:40-41; 25:1-13; Luke 17:34-36; Rev. 7:9) will also experience a tremendous rest from Satan's influences, while they will be able to prosper in peace and harmony under God/Messiah's governance. These people are the ones who will survive and endure to the end (Matt. 24:13; Mark 13:13; James 5:11). Those that will be taken are the ones that will be changed/resurrected upon the Messiah's return (1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18), and those that will be left are the ones that will continue to dwell on this earth, thus entering and welcoming the Satan-free millennium.
The Eighth Day, (Lev. 23:36-39; Num. 29:35; John 8:1-10:42) depicts the Messiah’s completion - the total and final fulfillment (Matt. 5:18) of His GREAT Fall harvest of humans (Exod. 23:16; 34:22; Deut. 16:13) by resurrecting to mortal life (the 2nd resurrection, Rev. 20:5-6), all people who’ve died without having been called to know the Gospel truth about salvation in the Messiah, and the Kingdom of God - the True GOSPEL (Ezek. 37:1-14; Matt. 10:15; 11:21-24; Mark 1:14; Luke 10:12-14; 11:31-32; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25; Rom. 11:7-27; 2 Peter 3:9). God is not trying to save everyone in this present age, but only His firstfruits - the late-Spring/early-Summer harvest as portrayed by the Pentecost Festival. The Messiah stated that to be the very reason why He spoke in parables (Matt. 13:10-16), that not all were to be saved in this era. And the Scriptures make plain that God's plan is as such to hopefully save ALL of mankind (Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33: 11; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4), but each in his own order (1 Cor. 15:23). This is mankind's greatest hope.
Please note that the theme of the Eighth Day is NOT to be understood as a second chance for salvation. Rather, as a FAIR and JUST God, He gives every person that's ever been born - from Adam and Eve up to the end of time - 1 opportunity to choose between His ways, and Satan’s. That’s why Satan is loosed for this period (Rev. 20:3-8), about 100 years (Isa. 65:20), after the millennium (Rev. 20: 5-7); in order to test them, so that they - as free moral agents - will also CHOOSE their own destiny; but after having been given the knowledge of the TRUE Gospel of salvation in the Messiah, and His Kingdom (Isa. 11; Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:11). This group of people could be in the multiple billions - consisting of such as those described in Ezek. 37:1-14 - and they ought to be astonished when they are resurrected to find the world in peace and harmony like never before, as it will be after having been ruled by the Messiah for a millennium.
As the events of the Eighth Day draw to its close, it ties in with what appears to be the final event, the great white throne judgement (Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:5-15). That's when the third and final resurrection occurs, when the incorrigibly wicked of ALL time (those who willingly and consciously rejected God), will be awakened to be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 2:21; 9:20-21; 16:9-11), together with those who will not have repented through this last period of time, to be burned to ashes (Mal. 4:3; 2 Peter 3:10-12; Rev. 20:15); known as the second death (Rev. 20: 5-15). Since the whole universe will become koshered by fire at that time - as according to 2 Peter 3:10-12 - the NEW Heaven and NEW Earth will be created (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1). Thus the NEW Jerusalem will come down in which God will personally tabernacle with His people for ALL Eternity (Rev. 21:2-3).
Thus, the observance of God’s annual and weekly Sabbaths and Festivals reminds us that He's working out His plan of extending salvation from sin and death, and offering the gift of eternal life into His family to ALL of humanity - past, present and future - thereby offering everyone the gift of eternal life, thereby becoming a member/child of His family.
WHAT AN AWESOME PLAN!
Many Blessings To All.
2010, Revised Aug 2015