Church of God, New World Ministries

God’s Master Plan of Salvation

Though it is hidden from the majority of mankind, God has outlined a Master Plan of Salvation for mankind. Deuteronomy 16:16 states that “Three times (seasons) in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose…” God has mysteriously wrapped these Holy Days around the spring and fall harvest seasons.  Each of these seven annual Sabbaths plays an explicit part in God’s Master Plan.

1 - Passover

God’s Plan of Salvation begins with the Passover. Millions have rejected this most important day thinking it is for the “Jews” only. They have been deceived into believing the pagan holiday Easter is the day to be observed for modern day Christians. Little do they know that their very eternal life is wrapped around this ancient ceremony. Notice what your Bible says about the PASSOVER.

Turn to the twelfth (12th) chapter of Exodus and begin reading in verse one. “And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, this month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Speak you unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, in the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it…. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, both men and beasts; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the Lord. And the blood for you will be a token upon the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you a MEMORIAL; and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ORDINANCE FOREVER.” (Exodus 12:1-7, 12-14).

The slain lamb, without blemish, represented Jesus Christ. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (conduct) received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (I Pet. 1:18-19).

So, you see that as the children of Israel had to come under the blood of this slain lamb, WE TOO have to come under the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ is referred to as a lamb in several passages in the Bible. As John the Baptist saw Christ approaching he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29).

Jesus Christ observed the Passover His entire life. However, the night before He was crucified He instituted a great change in this ceremony. He knew that He was going to fulfill the real meaning of the Passover, so, “He took bread and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave it unto them saying, this is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Likewise, also the cup after supper saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for your.” (Luke 22:19, 20).

In John 6:53-54 Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh (bread) of the Son of man, and drink His blood, (wine) ye have no life (eternal life) in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day (resurrection).”

After implementing the NEW SYMBOLS for the Passover “He (Christ) riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.” (John 13:4, 5). “After that He poureth water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.” (John 13:13, 14). He continues, “You call me Master and Lord; and you say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Christ was teaching us to be servants and to be humble in our Christian lives.

We no longer slay a lamb at this time of the year. Christ fulfilled that role. We do however, take the bread and wine as a MEMORIAL to Christ’s death. John was inspired to write that failure to observe this simple ceremony would negate our eternal life. (John 6:53-54). Paul wrote to the Church in Rome that “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, however, “…being justified (made clean) freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission (forgiveness) of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;…” (Rom. 3:23-25).

The Passover is only the beginning. Once we have been cleansed of our sins through the blood of Christ, what does God require of us? The Days of Unleavened Bread reveal this ageless secret.

2 - Days of Unleavened Bread

The Passover pictures the DEATH of CHRIST for the remission (forgiveness) of sins that are past. Note that well. Sins that are past! Sins you committed before accepting the blood of Christ. The accepting of His blood does not forgive sins we shall commit. It does NOT give us license to continue in sin—therefore when we accept it, our sins are forgiven only up to that time— FORGIVEN FOR PAST SINS.

Shall we stop there with only past sins forgiven? We are still flesh and blood human beings. We still suffer temptations. Sin has held us in its grasp! We have actually been slaves to sin—held in its power. We are powerless to deliver ourselves from it. We have been in bondage to Egypt! Egypt is a type of sin. (Heb. 11:24-26). We were in bondage to sin just like the Israelites were in bondage to Egypt!

Now we begin to see the significance of the literal fulfillment of the “Days of Unleavened Bread,” in our lives. Sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3:4). “The wages of sin is death;” (Rom. 6:23). Paul asked, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid, how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Paul is saying that we are dead to sin. Our PAST sins have been forgiven. Shall we continue in sin? Absolutely not! We must put sin out of our lives.

The seven days of UNLEAVENED BREAD, following Passover, picture to us the complete putting away of sin. The KEEPING of the Commandments after our past sins are forgiven. They picture the life and work of the RISEN CHRIST who ascended to the throne of God where He is now actively at work in our behalf as our HIGH PRIEST, cleansing us of sin…delivering us completely from its power.

Now turn to the Old Testament account in Leviticus 23 and read where God commands the keeping of these days. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work therein.” (Lev. 23:1-4, 6-8).

Leavening is a type of sin. “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, (sins) that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Cor. 5:6-7). Paul mentions that Christ passed over our past sins. We have been forgiven once we accept the blood of Christ. What then must we do? “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.” (I Cor. 5:8). The early church kept the Days of Unleavened Bread. Notice Acts 20:6— “We sailed away from Philippi, AFTER THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD.” Paul and his companions plainly had observed the days of unleavened bread at Philippi. The Holy Spirit inspired these words as all scripture is given by the inspiration of God. Seven is God’s number symbolizing COMPLETENESS; we are to follow the Passover with seven days of unleavened bread symbolizing the putting of sin out of our lives COMPLETELY!

We are powerless to overcome sin on our own. And, yet, God commands us to stop sinning and put on Christ. The answer to that problem is found in the next Holy Day—Pentecost. Let’s understand how God helps us put sin out of our lives and actually put on Christ by keeping His Commandments.

3 - Pentecost/Feast of Firstfruits/Feast of Weeks

In Palestine, there are two annual harvests. The first, produced by the early rain, is the spring harvest; the second, produced by the “latter rain”, is the main harvest…the much GREATER fall harvest. These annual harvests depict two separate resurrections of human beings. The first harvest represents those God calls during this age to become His begotten children. The second harvest represents those who have not yet been called during this age but will come to the TRUTH at a much later date, in another age.

If you will recall, Passover symbolized Christ’s sacrifice for the remission of our sins and the days of unleavened bread symbolized the putting away of sin. So, what does PENTECOST represent? Earlier we stated that it is impossible for human beings to develop the mind and nature of God, in and of, themselves. We need help! It was on this day God made that help available to mankind. On this day the Holy Spirit FIRST came to dwell within flesh, as prophesied in Joel 2:28. Peter confirmed this on the Day of Pentecost by saying, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh…”

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).” Remember, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All must repent of their sins, and accept the blood of Jesus Christ to cover those sins. They must then embark on a Christian life of overcoming sin and putting on the divine nature of God. (II Peter 1:4).

As mentioned previously, God has a Plan. That Plan is to call certain ones, at specific ages, to come to the knowledge of the TRUTH. He does not intend to call everyone at once. Paul explains this in I Cor. 15:20-24. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order. Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end…”

 Notice what John said in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Paul full well understood this concept and wrote to the Church in Corinth, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called… (I Cor. 1:26)” “Once you hear the word of TRUTH, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14).

James stated that God, “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18). Those called, who believe, who repent of their sins, are baptized, have hands laid on them, and accept the blood of Christ are begotten with the Holy Spirit. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost (Spirit), whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26). How plain! God will call a group of people during this age and beget them with His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give them the power and ability to keep the Commandments of God and put sin out of their lives. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can put on the Divine Nature of God. Those that are Christ’s at His coming will be changed into spirit beings and enter the Family of God. (I Thess. 4:13-17; I Cor. 15:50-52).

Just as we saw the True Church of God continue to observe the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, so they continued to observe Pentecost. Read it in your Bible: I Cor. 16:8; Acts 20:16.Moses was inspired to write in Lev. 23:2, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.” Had they not been assembled in a HOLY CONVOCATION on the first Pentecost we would never have read in our Bibles the record of the second chapter of Acts!

 Make no mistake; God’s Holy Days are in effect TODAY! They are in effect because they outline God’s Master Plan of Salvation. But that Plan does not end with Pentecost. What is the next step the Master Designer of the Universe has in store for mankind? More is revealed through the fall festivals yet to be discussed.

4 - The Feast of Trumpets

“And the Lord spake…saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an Holy Convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein” (Lev. 23:23-25).

The Feast of Trumpets pictures the blessed event when Christ shall come again. He will come in the clouds, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God (I Thess. 4:14-17). It shall be “at the last trump for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Cor. 15:52).

Unless Christ returns to resurrect the dead, we would never gain eternal life. If there is no resurrection “then also those fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (I Cor. 15:18).

Christ directly intervenes in world affairs at the seventh and last trump (Rev. 11:15-19). A trumpet is a symbol of war. He comes in a time of worldwide war—when the nations are angry! As soon as the work of gathering in the firstfruits (pictured by Pentecost) is completed at the end of this present age, then Christ will begin to set up again the tabernacle of David (Acts 15:16)—to set His hand again, the second time, to recover the remnant of His people (Isa. 11:11)—to search out and to find His lost sheep that the ministers of the churches of this world have failed to search out and seek and find and save during this period (Ezek. 34:1-14).

Notice when this takes place! “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they (Israel) shall come which were ready to perish…and shall worship the Eternal in the holy mount at Jerusalem” (Isa. 27:13).

When will Israel be gathered? At the sound of the trump—at the second coming of Christ. Because the churches have forgotten the festival of Trumpets, many think that the return of the Jews to Palestine in 1948 is the fulfillment of this prophecy! That is simply not the truth. God’s people must not forget this important holy day!

Christ’s direct intervention in world affairs will be the next great event in the Master Plan of Salvation.

Who knows, perhaps the glorious second coming shall occur, in whatever year it may be, on this very day of the Feast of Trumpets? While we cannot say, it is possible! The crucifixion was upon the Passover Day—the very day! The Holy Spirit came, beginning the selecting of the firstfruits of salvation, on the very day of Pentecost. Had not those 120 disciples been observing the annual Sabbath on Pentecost—had they not been assembled there in holy convocation—they would not have received that blessing of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit?

Repeatedly Jesus warned us to watch regarding His second coming. Could it be possible that, unless we are observing the Feast of Trumpets, as the first century Church Of God was observing Pentecost, that we shall not be ready or caught up to meet Him? Is it not possible? Let us humbly and willingly yield to walk obediently in all the light. Let us observe this Feast!

5 - The Day of Atonement

“…And the LORD spake…saying…also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of Atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls (fast)…Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your soul: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.”

The Day of Atonement pictures a wonderful and great event, to take place after the second coming of Christ, which the world has entirely lost sight of because it has failed to see the true significance of these annual Sabbaths holy unto the Lord. It has failed to keep them as a constant reminder of God’s Master Plan of Salvation!

The symbolism is expressed in the account of events of the Day of Atonement in the 16th chapter of Leviticus.

Verse 5:“And he (Aaron, or the high priest) shall take of the Congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering”

Verse 6: The high priest offered a sin offering for himself and his house

Verses 7 and 8:“And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; the one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat (margin, Hebrew, AZAZEL).”

The key to the whole explanation lies in a correct understanding of the meaning of AZAZEL. This word does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament. The Comprehensive Commentary has:” the word ‘scapegoat’ signifies the goat which went away.”

The English word “scapegoat” signifies “one who bears blame or guilt for others.” But “scapegoat” is an English word, and is not a translation of the Hebrew word AZAZEL. The word “scapegoat,” and the meaning attached to this English word, is not a translation of the Hebrew word AZAZEL, and therefore it is not the word inspired originally. The One Volume Commentary states: “AZAZEL is understood to be the name of one of those malignant demons.”

These two goats were types. Notice, it was necessary to be decided by lot, which one was qualified to represent Christ, and which Azazel. A lot is a solemn appeal to God to decide a doubtful matter. It is a sacred religious ceremony. It includes a supernatural act of God.

Men were unable to decide which goat was qualified to represent Christ. This involved an appeal to God to decide! “One lot for the Eternal, and the other lot for AZAZEL.” Now one lot was for the Lord—this goat typified Christ—but the other lot was not for the Lord, did not typify Christ, but AZAZEL, which represents Satan.

The goat which God selected, through lot, to represent Christ, was slain—as Christ, its antitype was slain. The other goat selected by God to represent Azazel was not slain, but was driven, alive, into an uninhabited wilderness. It was not a resurrected goat, symbolizing the resurrected Christ, for it never died. The uninhabited wilderness, to which this goat was driven, cannot represent heaven, where Christ went. Heaven is neither uninhabited, nor a wilderness.

After God designated which goat represented Christ, and which represented Azazel, the high priest (verse 11) killed the bullock for a sin offering for himself, then took the burning coals of fire and the sweet incense into the Holy of Holies, also sprinkling the blood of the bullock before the mercy seat, typical of the throne of God, covering the tables of testimony (the law). This, the high priest was required to do in order to purify himself to officiate, and to represent Christ as high priest. In the antitype, this was not done, for Christ, our High Priest, had no need of this purification as the typical substitutionary priests did.

The Levitical high priest is ready to go out and officiate. Next, the goat which God selected by lot to represent Christ, as the sin offering of the people, was killed. Thus, the sins of the people were borne by this goat, even as Christ, finally, once for all bore our sins on the stake. But Christ rose again from the dead, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven.

Who, or what, from this point on in the Levitical ceremony, typified the resurrected Christ, who went to heaven?

The risen Christ, now at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven (I Pet. 3:21-22) is called—what? Our High Priest! What was the earthly type of God’s Throne?

The earthly type of God’s throne was the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. After Christ died, He went to the heavenly mercy seat interceding for us, as our High Priest, “…entering into what is within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:19-20).

Who, or what, in the Levitical ceremony of the Day of Atonement, typified the risen Christ, our High Priest, who went within the veil to God’s throne in heaven? The one goat had been slain. It represented the slain Christ. It can no longer represent the risen Christ. The slain Christ was not our High Priest as the Levitical priesthood, with its high priest, did not end until Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven as a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. But the risen Christ was High Priest. Now, who took this part in the Levitical ceremonies, temporarily reenacted year by year, on this eternal Holy Day? It was the Levitical high priest, not the goat representing Azazel!

As soon as the slain goat was dead, who went within the veil, presenting the blood of this goat before the typical throne of God?

Lev. 16:15-16:“Then shall he (the high priest) kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and (now the high priest himself typifying the work of the risen Christ) bring his blood within the veil…and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat: and he shall make atonement for the holy place…”

And so it was the high priest taking the blood within the veil, to the mercy seat, which typified the risen Christ figuratively taking His blood, once for all, within the veil to the very throne of God in heaven, there to intercede for us as High Priest.

The slain goat represented the crucified Jesus. The high priest, by taking the blood of this slain goat into the veil to the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies, a type of God’s throne, represented and did the work of the risen Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on High, there interceding as our High Priest.

The high priest going within the veil, into the Holy of Holies, symbolized Christ’s return to heaven. The work he did while in the Holy of Holies symbolized Christ’s work these 2,000 years interceding for us, presenting His shed blood before the mercy seat in heaven. Now, returning, symbolizing Christ’s return to earth, what did he do?

“And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon 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 upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him (Fenton: shall carry upon itself) all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. And Aaron shall…wash his flesh with water…and he that let go the goat for the scapegoat (Azazel) shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp” (Lev. 16:20-26).

Is there justice with God? Is not God a God of justice, as well as of compassion and mercy? Who is the real author of our sins? The Devil is the author of them, even as Christ is the author of our salvation. Jesus took our guilt—our blame—our sins—upon Himself as an innocent substitutionary sacrifice. He was an innocent victim. He loved us, and was willing to die for us. Our guilt—our sins, were borne by Him, and Him alone—and God forgives them when we repent and accept His sacrifice. And yet—is this full justice?

The real cause—the actual author of those sins was Satan the Devil. Is it justice for Christ to bear guilt that is not His, while the Devil goes off scot-free? Wouldn’t real justice be for God to place the original blame and guilt where it belongs?

Notice this carefully. Christ bore our guilt. For we have been guilty, even though the Devil was the original cause of it all. But justice certainly demands that God place right back on the head of the Devil his guilt—not our guilt, but his own guilt—for leading us into sin. We were guilty too—and our guilt Christ bore—yet all our sins belong right back on the Devil as his own guilt!

Here is another point to consider. The Azazel goat carries away the sins of all the people already forgiven. These sins already were fully paid for by Christ’s substitute sacrifice, symbolized by the killing of the innocent goat. Before, those same sins were finally laid on the live goat which had been previously paid for by the death of the slain goat.

The Devil is the real author of all sin. Can we be finally made at one with God, as long as this instigator of sin is with us? He must first be driven away. And there would not be justice with God unless his own guilt in our sins were placed right back on his head? Is it justice for Christ to bear the Devil’s guilt, as well as our own guilt, for our sins? Christ has carried our sins, but must He continue to carry them? Should they not be removed entirely from us, and from the presence even of God?

Webster’s Dictionary says to “atone” means to “set at one, to join in one—to form by uniting”. We shall not be completely joined in one, and united with God, until all expiated sins are removed from the presence of God.

In Revelation 19, we have the prophecy of Christ’s second coming. At the beginning of the 20th chapter, what does Christ do? Exactly what the 16th chapter of Leviticus shows. The Devil is sent away—the symbol here used is the “bottomless pit”. The symbol of an uninhabited desolate wilderness (Rev. 20:1-3)—and he is sent there by a fit man—an angel from heaven. Now the devil is not killed. He does not die. He is still alive a thousand years later—after the millennium (Rev. 20:7).

We must observe this most special Holy Day year after year on the tenth day of the seventh month. Continued observance will ensure we do not forget. We must keep this Feast forever!

6 - The Feast of Tabernacles

Let’s recap what we have learned so far: AFTER Christ has died for our sins to redeem mankind—AFTER He has sent us the Holy Spirit and picked out a people for His Name to become kings and priests through the thousand years—AFTER His glorious second coming—AFTER He has finally restored the redeemed by placing all the sins upon the head of Satan, their real author, and separating both him and the sins from the presence of God and His people, thus finally perfecting the AT-ONE-MENT, making us finally joined in one—then we are ready for that final series of events in God’s Plan, the commencement of the “Marriage of The Lamb,” the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth and the reaping of the great harvest of souls for one thousand years. This festival, The Feast of Tabernacles, pictures the MILLENNIUM!

To portray His Plan, God took the yearly material harvest seasons in Palestine as the picture of the spiritual harvest of souls. In Palestine, there are two annual harvests. The first, produced by the early rain, is the spring rain harvest. Second, produced by the “latter rain,” comes the main harvest—the much greater fall harvest.

When is this festival to be held? Notice, “at the year’s end” (Ex. 34:22). In this verse the festival of tabernacles or booths is specifically called the “feast of ingathering.” The harvest year ended at the beginning of autumn. Just as Pentecost pictures the early harvest—this church age, so the festival of ingathering of tabernacles pictures the fall harvest—the great harvest of souls in the millennium!

Contrary to what II Cor. 6:2 says, today is not the ONLY day of salvation. Today is a day of salvation. (Isaiah 49:8). The original Greek words of Paul in II Cor. 6:2 should be translated “A day of Salvation”, not the day of salvation.

What is the time setting of Zechariah 14? The millennium! “The Eternal shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Eternal and His Name one…there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited” (verses 9-11). It is the time when “living waters”—salvation, the Holy Spirit— “shall go out from Jerusalem” (verse 8). The “waters” are literal as well as figurative. God often pictures His spiritual PLAN by material events.

In that day, when the earth is safely inhabited, when the Holy Spirit is granted to all mortal flesh, what happens? “And it shall come to pass that everyone 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.” Notice verse 16. After Christ returns, the nations—mortal Gentiles who have NOT YET received the opportunity for salvation—will come to Jerusalem. Why? To keep the Feast of Tabernacles!

What happens if the nations refuse to KEEP THE FEAST? “And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them SHALL BE NO RAIN.” The nations will be forced to keep the feast. And if they still won’t obey, “There shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen”—there are still heathen nations just beginning to learn the way of salvation— “that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles” (verses 17-19).

Now let’s look at the Old Testament account of this Holy Day. “Thou shalt keep the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou have gathered in from thy threshing and from thy winepress. And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter…Seven days shalt thou keep a feast unto the Eternal thy God in the place which the Eternal shall choose; because the Eternal thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in the work of thy hands, and thou shalt be altogether joyful…and they shall not appear before the Eternal empty; every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Eternal thy God which He hath given thee” (Deut. 16:13-17).

Why is the feast called the Feast of Tabernacles of Booths? During the millennium, the Kingdom of God into which we may be born will rule the nations which are composed of mortal men begotten by the Spirit of God. The billions of mortals alive during the millennium will still be heirs to the Kingdom of God. They will not yet have inherited it as long as they remain mortal flesh, for “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50). “Ye must be born again”—of the spirit—to inherit the Kingdom, said Jesus.

Remember that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were merely heirs when they dwelled on earth (Heb. 11:9). While heirs they dwelled in tabernacles or booths, sojourning in the land of promise. Booths, or temporary dwellings, pictured that they were not yet inheritors. Thus, we read of the Feast of Tabernacles that “Ye shall dwell in booths seven days…that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Lev. 23:43). Israel dwelled in booths in the wilderness BEFORE they entered the Promised Land. Those booths pictured that they were only heirs. Even during the millennium, when the Kingdom of God is ruling over mortal nations, the people will be only heirs to the Kingdom. They must overcome their carnal nature and grow in knowledge and wisdom to inherit the promises.

The typology is beautiful. As the Israelites dwelled in booths, or temporary dwellings, so must you and I dwell in temporary dwellings (our physical bodies) during this lifetime. The Holy Spirit dwells in us developing a “new creature” in Christ. When we are changed, our physical bodies pass away and the Spirit is magnified. (II Cor. 5:1-5). Now turn to II Peter and read verses 13 and 14.“Yea I think it meet (suitable), as long as I am in this tabernacle (body) to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle (die), even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”

What a marvelous Plan. God is fair. But wait! What about all those who died before Christ’s return and never had an opportunity for Salvation? What about your loved ones and mine? What about all the babies that were aborted or killed before ever coming of age to be able to KNOW GOD? Are they GONE FOREVER? Absolutely NOT! God is fair. This group of people’s HOPE lies in the seventh and final HOLY DAY—The Last Great Day!

7 - The Last Great Day

"The 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." (2 Peter 3:9).

 As we have seen by reviewing the Day of Pentecost, The Days of Unleavened Bread, and The Feast of Trumpets, God is NOW, during this AGE, calling out a people to reign with CHRIST in HIS government when he returns very soon to this earth.  Those qualifying to rule NOW will receive their reward and be designated to rule over various towns, cities, and even nations. (Luke 19:12-27).  The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the opportunity for salvation for those flesh and blood human beings who live over into the millennium.  But what about the vast majority of mankind who NEVER HAD AN OPPORTUNITY to learn the truth of God?

Thus far we have covered ONLY six of God's Seven Annual Holy Days.  There is yet one more to discuss--The Last Great Day.  And what a glorious event that will be!  A time when the greatest number of people will be added to the glorified Family of God.

Let’s pick up the story in Revelation 20 verses 1-4.  “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”  The thousand years is the millennium. It is during this period of time the saints, those who receive salvation at Christ’s return, will rule with Christ.  Notice verse 4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Now, notice carefully what verse 5 says, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” How plain, there is yet to be another resurrection. This is the eighth Day in fulfillment.

 Notice Leviticus 23:34-36, "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. (35) On the first day shall be a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (36) Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD:  it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein."

 Jesus himself preached about this magnanimous event in John 7:37-39. "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if a man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38)  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost (Spirit) was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

In a nutshell, Christ was saying that the Holy Spirt would be made available to "any who would believe on him" during this last day.  This day follows Christ's return to this earth.  It follows the millennial reign of Christ and His saints for one thousand years on this earth.  This is speaking of a future time.  It is speaking of a FUTURE RESURRECTION-A SECOND RESURRECTION! (Rev. 20:11-12). "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." 

God inspired Ezekiel to see this RESURRECTION and to write about it.  Notice Ezekiel 37:1-6, "The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, (2) and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry."  Notice that there was very many and they were very dry (old). (3) And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?  And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. (4) Again, he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 95)  Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: (6) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord."  It is clear that this is a physical RESURRECTION.  These dry bones will be given breath.  They will have sinews and FLESH put on them.  They will come back to life as flesh and blood human beings who died NOT KNOWING THE TRUTH OF GOD!

Notice what God does for them.  Remember what he said he would do on the Last Great Day in his sermon recorded in part in John the seventh chapter.  Did he not say he would make the Holy Spirit available to all who believed on Him?  (Verse 14).  "And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord."  Now is their day of salvation.  They can receive the Holy Spirit.  And will be given approximately one hundred years to accept God's Way or reject it (Isaiah 65:20).  They will be judged, just as the saints are being judged NOW. (I Peter 4:17).  If they qualify, they too will be changed into Spirit beings and enter the WONDERFUL FAMILY OF GOD.

God truly does have a Plan for mankind.  He wants all of humankind to enter his glorious Family. This marvelous Plan is outlined through these seven annual Holy Days.  They were commanded assemblies for the Israelites and they are commanded assemblies for all of mankind.

What a marvelous PLAN.  All will have an equal opportunity for salvation. 

Do these Holy days seem like they make sense to you? You may be being called by God to come to the knowledge of His truth as contained in the pages of YOUR Bible!

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