God’s Holy Days
Does it make any difference which days we observe or whether we keep them? Does the Bible establish whether we are to keep certain days holy to God? Were these days given to ancient Israel only? Are they binding today only on the Jewish people, while Christians are commanded to keep holidays such as Christmas?
Ancient Rome’s pagan holidays have been chained upon a deceived world. These include Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, as well as many more, every one used to stimulate the sale of merchandise in the commercial markets. Upon honest investigation, the seeker after truth learns that these days are all of pagan origin and significance. We learn that we can have no part in them.
But is the true Christian of today left without any annual holy days? Did God give annual holy days to his people, as well as the weekly Sabbath? Are not ancient Rome’s annual holidays mere counterfeits of God’s true holy days, exactly as Sunday is a counterfeit of the true Sabbath?
Most people have supposed that all the annual Sabbaths and feast days of Israel were done away. And yet Church history shows that the early true Church did, for more than four hundred long years at least perhaps much longer after Christ’s resurrection, continue to keep and observe these annual holy days given by God! The annual Sabbaths were not part of the law of Moses, but were observed before the ritualistic ordinances contained in the law of Moses were given. Sacrifices were offered on the weekly Sabbath, but this does not do away with the Sabbath. In fact, sacrifices were offered on every day of the year. Numbers 28:3.
Israel was both church and state. As a kingdom, it was for years ruled by a system of judges, over 50s, 100s, thousands, etc., later having a king. But as a congregation, or church, Israel was organized with a leader Moses, Joshua, etc. and the priests of the tribe of Levi. The law of Moses contained those ritualistic or ceremonial laws which were ADDED, because of transgressions, to the Old Covenant added until Christ.
Prior to the Law of Moses
In the 12th chapter of Exodus, while Israel was still in Egypt, long before any of the Law of Moses had been given them, we find God’s annual holy days being observed. And in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus we find a summary of these annual holy days or set feasts. These had the great purpose of keeping Israel constantly in the understanding of God’s plan. The whole story of spiritual regeneration was, in these feast days, to be re-enacted year after year continually. They have vitally important symbolism and meaning.
It is an historic fact that any nation which ever broke God’s Sabbath has lost contact with and lost knowledge of the true God. When ancient Israel began to break God’s Sabbath, they began to worship idols! And in the same way, when in these New Testament times we have failed to observe God’s annual Sabbaths we, as a nation and people, are without knowledge of God’s true plan of reproducing Himself.
Most churches teach that Christ finished the ‘plan of redemption’ at the time of his death. But the very first event in God’s great plan for man’s regeneration was the death of Christ. And so the Passover is the first of these events picturing His great plan year by year.
For over two centuries Israel had been in severe bondage in Egypt forced to work with taskmasters over them. There was no Bible no written Word of God. They were not permitted to worship God as He had ordained. They were forced to work seven days a week. They had lost sight even of the true Sabbath that is why God revealed to them the Sabbath in the wilderness.Exodus 16.
Passover Only the Start
At that time in Egypt they had also changed the proper time for commencing the year. And so, on delivering His people from Egypt, God straightened them out as to time. God said, "This month (in the spring) shall be unto you the beginning of months…" (Exodus 12:2). There are some very important details it is important that we notice at this point; perhaps we have not seen them before. It proves that the Passover should be observed the 14th, not the 15th.
Notice Exodus 12. Verse 6, they shall kill the lamb at dusk (Jewish official translation). Verse 8, they shall eat the flesh in that night still the 14th. Verses 9-11 continue to describe how it shall be roasted and eaten the time is still the same night the 14th. Verse 12: "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn…" still same night the 14th. Now read on in verse 29. At midnight (the 14th) the Lord smote the firstborn of Egypt. Verse 30, Pharaoh rose up in the night. This was after the death angel passed at midnight. And therefore after midnight He called for Moses and Aaron.
This must have taken some time, but still the same night. Verse 33, the Egyptian people were urgent to get rid of the Israelites. Verse 35, the Israelites borrowed of the Egyptians silver and gold and clothing, and spoiled the Egyptians. When? This borrowing and spoiling of the Egyptians took several hours. The Israelites lived in the land of Goshen, apart from the Egyptians. The Israelites were forbidden to leave their houses until morning so this spoiling and borrowing took place through the day time of the 14th day.
Exodus 24 Hours After Passover
But notice this highly important point the Israelites did not go out from the land of Egypt until that night the 15th of Abib! Notice the section composed of verses 40-42: "… even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It is A Night To Be Much Observed unto the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed… "
Which is the night to be observed? The night they came out of Egypt. They went out of Egypt, not during the daytime the 14th, but after that day had ended after the sun had set the following night on the 15th of Abib! and that night , the 15th, is to be observed. The following verses, beginning verse 43, form a new paragraph, and refer again to Passover the 14th day.
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Now to connect one other vital point, turn to Numbers 28:16-17. "IN the fourteenth day… is the Passover of the Lord. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten."Passover is elsewhere called a feast, but the feast day is the 15th. The 15th is the first of the seven days of unleavened bread. However, since leaven was put out of the houses during the 14th day, it came to be called one of the days of unleavened bread by New Testament times, but when this is done, eight days are included in the term "days of unleavened bread." The entire eight-day period is, in New Testament usage, sometimes called by the name "Passover."
The 14th day is the Passover. It is the first of God’s festivals. It is not the feast day mentioned here. In the fifteenth day is the feast. Let us get that distinction clearly in mind. It is the Fifteenth that is the Feast the 14th is the Passover. This feast day begins after Passover has ended.
Now with these facts well in mind, let us turn back to Exodus 12. Notice beginning verse 14. "And this day shall be unto you for 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. Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread… and in the first day there shall be an holy convocation." verses 14-16.
There it is! Before the ceremonial law of Moses! The day established as a Sabbath, or holy convocation forever, is the feast day, the same day on which they went out of Egypt. To keep us constantly in the memory of the fact that, having had our sins forgiven by Christ’s blood (pictured by the 14th) we are not to stop there, but to go out away from sin- law breaking! Why should we observe the 14th, picturing remission of past sins, and then refuse to continue the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days symbolizing and picturing complete putting away of sin, or, in other words, the keeping of the Commandments?
Not Abolished With Old Covenant
Notice that the days of unleavened bread are a period, having two high-day Sabbaths. And this period is established forever while the Israelites were still in Egypt before one word of the ceremonial law of Moses had been given or written before God even proposed the Old Covenant! What the law of Moses, or the Old Covenant, did not bring or institute, they cannot take away! And in Fenton’s translation, we find the 17th verse translated: "…Consequently keep this period as an everlasting institution." The whole period is included. This alone ought to prove that the holy days and the seven days of unleavened bread are binding today, and forever!
Can you see the wonderful meaning, do you see God’s purpose? The Passover only pictures the death of Christ for the remission of sins that are past. Romans 3:25. The accepting of His sacrifice does not forgive law breaking that we may later commit; it does not give license to continue to break the commandments. Therefore when we accept it, our sins are forgiven only up to that time. To what extent shall we put away sin? Not partially, but completely! And, as leaven is also a type (I Corinthians 5:8) leaven puffs up and so does sin and, as seven is God’s number symbolizing completeness, we are to follow the Passover with seven days of unleavened bread!
The seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread picture the keeping of the Commandments, which is another way of saying the putting away of sin. Sin is "the transgression of the law".
God’s true Church is to keep these feast days, the first of which is a memorial picturing deliverance from sin,(in our right hand and forehead), as God’s sign, in order that we shall keep His commandments. And since the forehead is the intellect, symbolizes acceptance, and the right hand symbolizes work, we have this sign of God by accepting this truth about the holy days and Days of Unleavened Bread, and by NOT WORKING on these holy days! Not only is the weekly Sabbath God’s sign (Exodus 31:12-17) but annual Sabbaths are signs as well!
No Sacrifices Originally
We see the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as well as the Passover, was ordained and established forever, prior to the Old Covenant. Let us be consistent about this. Opponents tell us these are in the law of Moses. We reply they existed before the law of Moses, are carried over in the New Testament, an therefore are binding today.
Notice especially, that originally there were no sacrifices no meat and drink ordinances held on these days. See Jeremiah 7:22-23. These days were not instituted for the purpose of the sacrifices as some have wrongly suppose these holy days are memorials, and twice plainly called such. Where do we find such plain language calling the Sabbath memorial? See also Leviticus 23:24.The Sabbath, too, existed before the law of Moses. It was made holy unto the Lord before the Mosaic law was given.
Commanded in New Testament
And now let us see a New Testament command more plain, more direct, than any we can find for the weekly Sabbath to keep these annual holy days! The daylight part of the 14th was the preparation for the feast (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14). Note, in Jesus’ day the Jews celebrated their Passover one day late according to the tradition of the elders. John 18:28.
Let us get this point thoroughly established in our minds, for if this is true, as it is, then all of these days are still binding upon us, by New Testament, as well as Old Testament authority!
Notice Matthew 26:5. The chief priests and the scribes conspiring to kill Jesus, said: "Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people." They hastened so they could take and kill Him the day before the feast, or on the 14th Abib (Nisan).
Mark 14:2 says the same thing. Now to establish that the feast day was the day after the Passover festival, and that was the high day Sabbath the day after Jesus was killed, notice John 13:29: "For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag (was treasurer Fenton translation), that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need against the feast." Surely this proves the feast was the following day the 15th Abib (Nisan), as all these scriptures positively affirm.
Now let us examine carefully I Corinthians 5:7-8. Churches have applied this to the Passover. Notice it does not say, nor apply to, Passover at all. Let us willingly, prayerfully study to see what it does say: For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore LET US KEEP THE FEAST… " Notice it. Because Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed, therefore let us of the NEW Testament dispensation because Christ had died keep, not the Passover which was on the 14th Abib (Nisan) but let us keep the feast which was the 15th! The high-day Sabbath of John 19:31! The annual holy day. And, in a larger sense, the feast included all seven days of unleavened bread, including the second holy day, Sabbath, on the 21st Abib (Nisan)!
Days of Unleavened Bread Kept by Paul and the New Testament Church
It is faithfully recorded in the New Testament that the Church, during the period its history covers, was keeping those days! In Acts 20:6: "We sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread." Paul and companions plainly had observed the days of unleavened bread at Philippi. God’s Spirit could never have inspired such words otherwise. Notice also Acts 12:3-4: "Then were the days of unleavened bread." Why this, if those days had, in God’s sight, ceased to exist?
Notice, it is not anyone ignorant of what was abolished making this statement. It is God saying it through inspiration of His Spirit. This was years after Christ’s death. The days of unleavened bread still existed, or God could not have inspired "then were the days unleavened bread."
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The New Testament Church of God was founded on a Sunday (the first day of the week). It started on the annual Sabbath day called "Pentecost" or "Feast of First fruits." Also called the "Feast of Weeks." The New Testament Church continued, year after year, to keep this annual Sabbath, Pentecost, as we shall show. And God gave this festival to His people in order to reveal, this is only the first, preliminary "harvest."
As already explained, God’s purpose in giving His Church His annual holy days was to keep them constantly in true understanding of God’s great plan. To accomplish this, God took the yearly material harvest seasons in ancient Israel as the picture of the spiritual harvest. In the Holy Land there are two annual harvests. First, is the spring grain harvest. Second, comes the fall harvest. God intended His holy days to picture to His Church repeatedly year by year the fact that only those He Himself calls during this age can become His begotten children now! And we are merely the first fruits of the great spiritual harvest!
Let’s continue the central passage which summarizes all the holy days, Leviticus 23. Here we find all of God’s festivals in the one chapter. First is the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. Then, beginning verse 4, follows a list of the annual festivals, also commanded assemblies, "which you shall proclaim in their seasons."
First of these is the Passover, followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the two annual Sabbaths. Beginning verse 9, we find instructions for the ‘wavesheaf’ offering. The Israelites were not allowed to harvest any of the early grain crop until this day (verse14). Then, on the day following the weekly Sabbath, in a solemn ceremony of the Levitical priesthood, the first sheaf of grain was cut. This event always occurred during the days of unleavened bread- see Joshua 5. The sheaf was then brought to the priest. The priest solemnly waved it before the Eternal to be accepted for them.
This pictures the resurrected Christ ascending to heaven to be accepted by His Father as the very first human to be actually born of God the first fruit of the first harvest! By comparing John 20:17 with Matthew 28:9, you will see that Christ presented Himself before the Father on the morning after His resurrection the previous evening (I Corinthians 15:20,23; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15,18). This fulfillment of the wave-sheaf offering actually occurred on Sunday, the morrow after the Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread.
How to Figure Pentecost
Next comes Pentecost. The word "Pentecost" is a Greek word, used in the New Testament, but not in the Old. It signifies "fiftieth (day)." In the Old Testament this feast is called "Feast of First fruits," and "Feast of Weeks."
Notice the properly translated plain instruction beginning Leviticus 23:15: "And you shall count unto you from-on, or beginning with– the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days… " And that fiftieth day is Pentecost! "And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be a holy convocation unto you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations." verse 21.
All other holy days or festivals come on definite days of definite months. But this one annual Sabbath must be determined by counting. It is very simple and plain. It is very importance that we figure the right day. This day, and this only, is made holy by God. Suppose at the same time the Church of God was founded, the apostles had miscounted, and "when the day of Pentecost was fully come" (Acts 2:1) they, instead of being all with one accord in one place were in discord, some having observed the day preceding, and some waiting until the following day!
The Pharisees, who gained complete control of Jewish religious observances shortly after the middle of the first century AD, figured (incorrectly that is, from the wrong starting point) from the day after the first annual Sabbath. Before that time, however, the high priests of the family Boethus, who were Sadducees, had been in control of matters concerning the festivals in Jerusalem. The Boethusians always counted from the morrow after the weekly Sabbath, the day we call Saturday, which usually fell within the Days of Unleavened Bread or immediately before the first day of Unleavened Bread. This historical information has been preserved for us in the Mishna, which was set in writing about AD 200:
"The Boethusians say: ‘The cutting of the sheaf does not take place at the end of the day of the feast the first of the seven days of unleavened bread, but only at the end of the next regular Sabbath’" (Menahoth 10, 3). This practice had been handed down among the priests from generation to generation. And their method of counting was done as long as they remained in control of the Temple and its rituals. Samaritans and Karaites (Jewish sect dating from the eighth century AD) have also continued to count from the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of the week.
On a Sunday
Starting then to count from the offering of the wave sheaf, with that Sunday as day number one, we will always come out on another Sunday but not always on the same day of the month. It is something which must be "counted" each and every year. Neither in the Hebrew (or biblical) calendar, nor in the Roman calendar which is commonly used today, can the day of Pentecost ever become fixed on a set day of the month.
Quoting again from the Mishna, and speaking about the correct practice which had been followed in Jerusalem before the Pharisees took complete control,(The Boethusians say:) "Pentecost always falls on the day after the Sabbath."Chagigah, 2, 4. This makes very clear the meaning of the last part of Leviticus 23:15 and the beginning of verse 16: "….seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days."
A second and perhaps for some a simpler instruction for counting to Pentecost is found in Deuteronomy 16:9-10: "Seven weeks shall you number unto you: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn. And you shall keep the feast of weeks (Pentecost)… "This means of counting is also referred to in Numbers 28:26: "Also in the day of the first fruits (Pentecost), when you bring a new meat offering unto the Lord, after your weeks be out, you shall have an holy convocation; you shall do no servile work."
Because seven weeks were counted, the festival of Pentecost was also known as the "feast of weeks." Deuteronomy 16:10. Passover symbolized Christ’s sacrifice for the remission of our sins, and the days of unleavened bread the putting away of sin. Pentecost pictures the first part of the spiritual harvest the calling out of the Church the called-out ones which, for the New Testament dispensation, began on Sunday Pentecost, June 17,31 AD. On that day God’s Spirit came to the individual church members, as prophesied by Joel.
On the fiftieth day (Pentecost) in Old Testament times, two "wave loaves" (Leviticus 23:17,20) were brought out of the habitations of the congregation as the first fruits unto the Lord. Just so the New Testament Church was gathered out of this world as the first fruits, in fulfillment of the meaning of the wave loaves. We have all, if we have received Gods Spirit, become a part of that New Testament Church. We have become part of what was symbolized by those wave loaves.
And just as the wave sheaf was lifted up into the air and waved, symbolizing Christ’s trip to heaven and return, so the wave loaves were lifted up and waved, symbolizing that we too shall for a moment leave this solid earth when we ascend to meet Him in the air (IThessalonians 4:16-17) before we return with Him to stand on the Mount of Olives as He begins His 1000 year rule on earth. Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:3-4.
Most Not Now Called
God has not cast away His people, Israel-the American and British people. But He has blinded them for a temporary period of time so that through their fall, the Gentiles, are individually grafted in, or spiritually adopted into the family of Israel. Romans 11. This is the time when God the Father is calling a people to reign with Christ in the Kingdom during the thousand years. Revelation 5:10.
After taking a people for His name "I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I (Christ, not men) will set it up. "That the residue of men might seek after the Lord." Acts 15:14-17.
During this present age, the descendants of ancient Judah and Israel are blinded. After this, Christ will return, and then the rest of blinded Israel, and Gentiles alike, will seek after the Lord when Satan is removed and Christ reigns as King over the earth! Those of the first fruits made spirit, will then reign with Him in the wonderful work of building a new civilization.
During this time Israel- America and Britain are mostly blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles come in; Romans 11:26, all twelve nations of Israel shall then be given Gods Spirit. All Israel shall be brought to repentance because Christ turns ungodliness from Israel by forgiving our law breaking.
Only First Harvest Now
In James 1:18 and Romans 8:23, picking out people to bear His name, began on the day of Pentecost. This feast annually pictures this great event in God’s plan! Notice, too, that these feasts, Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost, fall at the beginning of the year, and the great events they picture occur at the very beginning.
The group of holy days coming at the end of the year all symbolize tremendous events in God’s plan. They all come in the seventh month and their fulfillment will introduce the seventh thousand-years.
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"And the Lord spoke saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a Holy Convocation. You shall do no servile work therein." Leviticus 23:23-25.
Here is pictured an event in God’s plan, when Christ shall come again. I Thessalonians 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 (all) be changed." I Corinthians 15:52.
Christ directly intervenes in world affairs at the seventh or last trump. Revelation 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 first fruits (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. Isaiah11:11. This refers to THE RECOVERY OF THE AMERICAN AND BRITISH PEOPLE.
Notice exactly when this takes place! "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish…and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem." Isaiah 27:13. When will THE 12 NATIONS OF ISRAEL be regathered? 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 a part of the Jews to the Holy Land and the setting up of a nation called Israel now is the fulfillment of this prophecy! Christ’s direct intervention in world affairs will be the next event in Gods plan.
And perhaps Christ’s Second Coming shall occur, in whatever year it may be, on this very day of the Feast of Trumpets? While we cannot say for certain, yet can we see this possibility? Christ died on the Passover – the very day! Gods Spirit came, beginning the selecting of the first fruits, on the very day of Pentecost. Had not those 120 disciples been observing this annual Sabbath, had they not been assembled there, could they have received Gods 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? The Festival of Trumpets is a day of rejoicing and, as the weekly Sabbath, holy unto the Lord. Nehemiah 8:2, 9-12. Note: See ‘Where Are The 12 Nations Of Israel Located’ also the informative ‘Where Did The 12 Apostles Go’ found on Page1 of the America And Britain’s Future Free Library. Return to Chapters
Next, let us read Leviticus 23:26, 27, 31-32 "And the Lord spoke… 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 you shall ‘afflict your souls’ (fast)… You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and you shall ‘afflict your souls’: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall you celebrate your Sabbath." At-one-ment with God! Man at last made one with God!
Again, in the 16th chapter of Leviticus, verses 29 and 31, where the symbolism of the Day of Atonement is explained, we find it instituted a holy Sabbath to be kept forever: "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall ‘afflict your souls’ (fast), and do no work… It shall be a Sabbath of rest unto you, and you shall ‘afflict your souls,’by a statute for ever."
Notice, too, in Leviticus 23:32, the expression "from even unto even, shall you celebrate your Sabbath." Every Sabbath keeper quotes this passage to show that the Sabbath begins at sunset. If we believe that, then why not keep the Sabbath that this very text is speaking of, the high Sabbath of the Day of Atonement, instituted forever? Are we consistent, when we continually quote this text to show when to begin the Sabbath, and then refuse to keep the very Sabbath referred to?
The Day of Atonement pictures a wonderful and great event, to take place after the return of Christ.The world 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 plan. The Day of Atonement is given in the 16th chapter of Leviticus.
Types of Christ and Satan
In Leviticus16:8-These two goats were, types. Notice, it was necessary to be decided by lot, which one was qualified to represent Christ, and which Satan. Some say ‘both’ were qualified. The scripture does not say this. (let’s not assume it). A "lot" is a solemn appeal to God to decide a doubtful matter. It is a sacred religious ceremony. That is why lotteries and gambling are an actual profaning of an appeal to God.
Next, the goat which God selected by lot to represent Christ, as the sin offering of the people, was killed. The sins of the people were borne by the goat, even as Christ, finally, once for all, bore our sins. 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 1900 years interceding for us. Now, coming back out, symbolizing Christ’s return to earth.
What did the high priest do? "And when he has 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 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 shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp." Leviticus 16:20-26.
Satan the Accuser
Satan is the accuser of the brethren. His power over men is founded on breaking Gods law. When all these sins, of which he is the author, are laid back on him, after being removed from us by Christ, then Satan shall have lost his claim on us. And no longer can he accuse us! In the 19th chapter of Revelation, we have the prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ.
At the beginning of the 20th chapter, what is to happen? Exactly what the 16th chapter of Leviticus shows. Satan is sent away, the symbol here used is the "bottomless pit" symbol of an uninhabited desolate wilderness (Revelation 18:2) and he is sent there by a FIT man- an ANGEL from heaven. Now Satan is not killed. He does not die. He is still alive a thousand years later after the Millennium. Revelation 20:7.
Now a few points that will come to mind. Both goats were "presented before the Lord." Can Satan be presented before the Lord? Job 1:6 and 2:1 says he has presented himself before the Lord. Notice the live goat was driven away from the Holy of Holies a symbol of God’s presence.
And so the annual Day of Atonement was instituted forever to keep continually before God’s people and His Church the plan, to occur after the Second Coming of Christ.
And we find this annual holy day recognized in the New Testament. In Acts 27:9, when Paul was on his perilous sea voyage to Rome, it is recorded that "when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past…" See the margin in your Bible.
The fast refers to the Day of Atonement the 10th day of the seventh month. Now this day could not then have been past on that particular year unless that day was still in full effect and force and existence. Otherwise Gods Spirit could never have inspired those words! This strongly indicates that this day was still in existence and being recognized.
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Now we come to the festival of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths the sixth festival. Let us notice the instruction concerning this occasion: "You shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after you have gathered in your corn and your wine. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter… Seven days shall you keep a solemn feast unto the Lord your God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord your God shall bless you in all your increase, and in all the works of your hands, therefore you shall surely rejoice…. and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Eternal your God which he has given you." Deuteronomy 16:13-17.
Here is the Festival of Tabernacles, to be kept for seven days, beginning the 15th day of the seventh month of God’s sacred calendar. Notice Leviticus 23:33-35: "And the Eternal spoke unto Moses, saying, 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 Eternal. On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no servile work therein."
On the first of these days is a holy convocations- commanded assembly. No work is to be done. "… And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days… It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month." Leviticus 23:40- 41. Notice that it is commanded forever.
Here are pictured those final events in God’s great plan: after Christ has died for our law breaking, after He has sent us Gods Spirit-His mind, and picked out a people to become kings and priests through the thousand years after His Second Coming, then we are ready for that final series of events, the actual making of the New Covenant, the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth and the reaping of the great harvest for a thousand years, when all nations will become members of the Family of God.
Pictures the Millennium
To portray His plan, God took the yearly material harvest seasons in ancient Israel as the picture of the spiritual harvest of souls. In the Holy Land there are two annual harvests. The first is the spring grain harvest. Second comes the main harvest.
Now notice when the Festival of Tabernacles is to be held "at the year’s end" (Exodus 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’s or Tabernacles pictures the fall harvest the great harvest of people in the Millennium!
Today is not the only day of salvation. Today is A DAY of salvation. Isaiah said so: chapter 49, verse 8. In fact, the original Greek words of Paul in II Corinthians 6:2 should be translated "a day of salvation," not "the day of salvation."Turn to the book of Zechariah to understand this more thoroughly. In the 12th and 13th chapters we have a picture of Christ returning and the reconciliation of the world commencing. Here the meaning of the Festivals of Trumpets and Atonement is made plain.
Notice the 14th chapter. The time is the Millennium. "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, 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," Gods 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 Gods Spirit is granted to all, what happens? "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." verse 16.
Gentiles To Keep the Feast of Tabernacles
Notice this 16th verse of Zechariah 14. After Christ returns, the nations who have not yet received Gods Spirit will come to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles! How could they keep a festival that was abolished at Christ’s death? They could keep it only if it were commanded forever. And what will happen if they refuse to obey God? "And it shall be, that who so 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."
And if the nations still won’t obey…? "there shall be the plague…" upon those nations who refuse 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 18-19. To become a part of Gods Family even the foreign nations must keep this festival. Of course, it is commanded forever!
Now we customarily quote Isaiah 66:23, showing that the Sabbath will be kept in the Millennium, as proof we must keep it now. Will we, then, when we read Zechariah 14:16, showing that the Feast of Tabernacles will be kept in the Millennium, be consistent by keeping it today?
Can we qualify as a son of God a king and priest ruling with Christ on His throne, assisting Christ at that time, if we now refuse to keep these festivals? Notice that Christ kept the Feast of Tabernacles. The Apostle John devoted an entire chapter, the seventh chapter, to describe what Jesus said and did during the Feast of Tabernacles in the last year of His ministry.
Why Called the Feast of Tabernacles
During the Millennium, the Kingdom of God into which we may enter, will rule the nations which will then have received Gods Spirit. The billions of human beings 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 human, for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." I Corinthians 15:50. "You must be born again" meaning made Spirit- to live forever- to inherit the Kingdom, said Jesus.
Remember that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were merely heirs when they dwelled on earth. Hebrews 11:9. While heirs they dwelled in tabernacles or booths, picturing that they were not yet inheritors. We read of the Feast of Tabernacles that "you shall dwell in booths seven days… that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt." Leviticus 23:42-43.
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 human nations, the people will be only heirs to the Kingdom. They must overcome and grow in knowledge and wisdom to inherit the promises.
What a marvelous picture. God says of Ephraim (a type of all Israel) that they will "dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast." Hosea 12:9. Israel, in the wilderness, was a type of all people who must go through trials and tribulations to inherit the promises. They were wanderers, waiting to inherit the promises.
The contention, held by some, that human beings in the Millennium will remain flesh and blood forever is plainly denied by the Feast of Tabernacles, for the festival itself points toward an eternal inheritance. Besides, after Jesus gathers the Church, and after He is seated on His throne where we will be ruling with Him, He will gather the nations before Him and say: "Inherit the Kingdom." Matthew 25:34.
Return to Chapters
Did you notice that the Feast of Tabernacles is only the sixth festival? There is yet another,the seventh.
The Feast of Tabernacles is, strictly speaking, seven days long to picture the entire Millennium. Seven is God’s number of completeness. Therefore, there must also be seven festivals. Let us notice where it is mentioned: "The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord… On the eighth day shall be a holy convocation unto you… it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein." Leviticus 23:34,36.
This eighth day, a separate feast, is called "the last day, that great day of the feast." John 7:37. What does this final holy day represent? Notice what Jesus preached about on that day: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink… out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…" John 7:37-39.
This was Jesus’ sermon giving the meaning of the last great day! Now in Revelation 20. After the Millennium, what happens? A resurrection! This couldn’t include those having Gods spirit today, as they will appear when Christ returns. It couldn’t refer to those converted during the Millennium. They have already inherited the Kingdom during the Millennium, after living out a normal life-span. Those in this resurrection must be those who died in past ages! They are not brought to life until after the Millennium. Revelation 20:5.
This is that judgment mentioned in Matthew 10:15. It is a time when those who died without understanding will be given an opportunity, Ezekiel 16:53-55 makes this very plain. Even those in Israel who died will be given their first opportunity to understand the truth of God and His plan. Ezekiel 37. The prophet wrote that God would pour out His Spirit on those resurrected. verse 14. This is precisely what Jesus mentioned in His sermon on that great day of the feast in the autumn of AD 30.
This eighth day, which follows the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, pictures the completion of Gods plan. All parents and children, young and old will be resurrected. Notice that the "book of life" is opened (Revelation 20:12). Revelation presents the final view as the present material heaven and earth are physically clensed, the vast majority of all who have ever lived have been changed to spirit. Those who have decided to continue rebelling against Gods way of peace will be destroyed as the earth is cleansed with fire.
What a marvelous plan! All will have an equal opportunity. And finally, notice in Leviticus 23:37-38. After describing these annual holy days, it says: "These are the feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations… beside the Sabbaths of the Lord." We are, then, to keep these besides the weekly Sabbath.
Sunday is the weekly rest day of this modern churchianity, but the Sabbath is the day of God. Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and a host of others are the holidays that have come directly from paganism, but these seven annual holy days are the holy days of God! Let us give up the pagan holidays of this world and observe the true holy days of God.
Colossians 2:16 was written as a warning to the Gentile Christians at Colosse to protect them from false teachers who were subtly perverting the message Paul taught. Notice what Paul wrote: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink (margin for eating or drinking), or in respect (any part or portion connected with the observance) of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days." Colossians 2:16.
The original Greek in verse 16 for "meat, or in drink" en broosei and en posei means "in eating and drinking."There is no mention of the abolition of God’s Law or His holy days. Nothing is done away in these verses. In fact, it is just the opposite. The very criticism the Colossians were receiving about their observance of these days proves they were keeping them. How could they be criticized "with regard to" days they were not keeping?
The once-pagan Colossians never kept these holy days of God before! They observed pagan customs prior to this. Now that they had learned Gods plan, they were keeping holy the days God made holy. And Paul is warning them not to return to or be influenced by their old pagan ways the ways of those who hated God’s Law and His festivals.
"Let no man therefore judge you…." (verse 16) in these matters, said Paul, "but (rather) the body of Christ" (Colossians 2:17, last part). These verses has troubled many. Yet it should not. Notice that the word "is" in the King James Version is in italics. It does not appear in the original. The original Greek says only, "…but, the body of Christ." What is the body of Christ? How does Paul use this expression in Colossians? Turn to chapter one. In verse 18 we find that Christ "is the head of the body, the church." See also Colossians 2:19.
The true Church of God is the body of Christ. Just as the Spirit of God once dwelled in the earthly body of Jesus Christ so now Gods Spirit dwells in each member of the Church and together the members constitute one body, doing the very work Christ did. The Church is therefore Christ’s body today! And Christ is the Head as the husband is the head of the wife. Ephesians 5:23.
Paul is declaring in Colossians that no unauthorized person is to sit in judgment of a true Christian’s conduct. Man does not determine how we should live. But it is the responsibility of the Church the body of Christ to determine these matters! The Church is to teach how to observe the festivals to explain the meaning of self-control in eating and drinking, etc.
So these little-understood verses ought to be translated clearly: "Let no man therefore judge you ….but (rather let) the body of Christ (determine it)." Let Christ’s Body-the church-judge these Church matters. Greek scholars recognize the last clause "but (rather) the body of Christ" demands that a verb be added, but have often not seen that the missing verb should be supplied from the most logical and grammatically parallel clause so as to read properly "Let the body of Christ judge -these matters"!
Note: If you would like to begin observing God’s Holy Day’s, see God’s Holy Days calendar in the America And Britain’s Future Free Reference Sections.
Note: If on a rare occasion you are unable to take the Passover on the appointed date there is provision to take this at a later date specified. The second Passover is on the 14th of Iyay, which is 30 days following the date of the first Passover, observed the night before.
6 Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day. 7 And those men said to him, "We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the children of Israel?" 8 And Moses said to them, "Stand still, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you." 9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the LORD’s Passover. 11 On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it. NKJV
Summary, Herbert Armstrong, Free Library Copy
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