1. Who does the Bible say originated these
annual festivals, besides the weekly festival of the Sabbath?
Lev. 23:1-4. Did God specifically state that His annual feasts
were to be observed in addition to the weekly Sabbath? Verses
COMMENT: Notice that these are not the
"feasts of the Jews" or "feasts of Moses," as some have thought.
They are God's own feasts, which God instituted and gave to His
people to keep annually.
2. What is the first festival to be
observed each year? Lev. 23:5. When did God institute the first
Passover? Read and summarize Exodus 12:1-14,
COMMENT: The Passover, the first of God's
commanded annual festivals, pictures the beginning--the very
first step--in God's great Master Plan of salvation for mankind.
The Passover was to be a yearly reminder of
God's intervention in delivering the Israelites' firstborn from
death. It also pictured, in advance, the great sacrifice of
Jesus Christ, "our Passover" lamb (I Cor. 5:7; I Pet. 1:18-19),
for the sins of mankind. The sparing of the Israelites'
firstborn from the death angel through the shed blood of lambs
on that first Passover is a symbolic type of our being spared
today from the eternal penalty of sin (Rom. 6:23) through
After Jesus' death, the Passover, celebrated
with the new symbols of unleavened bread and wine, became a
yearly memorial of His sacrifice, for Jesus became the reality
that the Passover lamb had foreshadowed.
3. Did God command, before Sinai, that the
Passover be kept forever? Ex. 12:14, 24. Did Jesus Christ
observe the Passover? John 2:13, 23._______
COMMENT: Jesus kept the annual festivals. He,
as the God of the Old Testament, was the One who originally gave
them to Israel!
4. Did Jesus institute the New Testament
Passover, with His 12 disciples present, on the night before He
was crucified? Matt. 26:17-20. What was one new command He gave
them regarding the observance of the Passover? John 13:1-5,
5. Did Peter, at first, refuse to allow
Jesus to wash his feet? Verses 6-8. Could Peter have any
relationship with Jesus unless he allowed Him to wash his feet?
Verse 8. Why did Jesus institute this new observance of foot
washing during His last Passover meal? Verses
COMMENT: Open-toed sandals were the customary
footwear of Jesus' time, and so the feet would become dusty.
Foot washing, upon entering a home, was a menial task that only
By washing their feet, Jesus was illustrating
to His disciples that He had come to earth to serve mankind.
Shortly afterward, He proved the extent of His extreme service
to this world when He gave His very life for the sins of all
mankind. Foot washing depicts the attitude of humility and
service to others that Christ desires every Christian to have.
6. Did Jesus plainly command His disciples
to wash one another's feet? John 13:14-15. Were they to teach
the world to do likewise? Matt. 28:19-20. Are those who obey
Christ's words by participating in this meaningful ceremony
promised a special blessing? John 13:17; 14:23._______________
7 What completely new way of observing the
Passover did Jesus institute shortly before His death? Matt.
26:26-29. What command did He give the disciples regarding this
new manner of keeping the Passover? Luke 22:19-20. Were they to
teach this to the world? Matt. 28:19-20._____________
COMMENT: Jesus did not abolish the
Passover--He merely changed the symbols used. Instead of
annually shedding the blood of a lamb and eating its roasted
body, we are now to use unleavened bread and wine.
The New Testament Passover is to be kept as
an annual memorial of Christ's death. It reaffirms year by year
"till he come" (I Cor. 11:26) the true Christian's faith in the
blood of "Christ our Passover" (I Cor. 5:7) for the remission of
sins, as symbolized by the drinking of wine.
Eating the broken bread symbolizes our faith
in the body of Christ, broken open for our physical healing.
Jesus Christ allowed His body to be ripped open in dozens of
places by scourging until He could not even be recognized! He
suffered this torture so we, through faith in His broken body
for us, may have the forgiveness of our physical sins--the
healing of our bodies when we are sick (Isa. 53:5; I Pet. 2:24;
Ps. 103:2-3; Jas. 5:14-15)--in addition to the forgiveness of
our spiritual sins through His shed blood. And so the broken
unleavened bread is a reminder to us that it is by "his stripes
we are healed."
As Christ Himself commanded, true Christians
today observe the Passover on the eve of the day of His
suffering and death--on the 14th day of the first month of God's
calendar, in the evening, after the beginning of the day.
(The exact date for the Passover, and all of
God's annual festivals, varies from year to year according to
the Roman calendar. The correct dates for all the festivals over
the next several years are listed in God's Sacred Calendar,
which you may request by sending in the literature request
coupon included with this lesson.)
8. Did the Apostle Paul teach New
Testament Christians to keep the Passover by partaking of the
new symbols of unleavened bread and wine, as Jesus had done and
commanded? I Cor. 5:7-8;
COMMENT: The Church Jesus built kept the
Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread--not Easter.
("Easter" in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version is a flagrant
mistranslation of the Greek word pascha. It should be rendered
"Passover," as it is in all modern translations.)
9. Will the Passover be kept by Christ and
others after He establishes the Kingdom of God on earth? Matt.
26:29; Luke 22:15-16. In the meantime, was the Passover to be
kept as a memorial of Christ's death? Review I Corinthians
COMMENT: Jesus commanded His disciples to
keep the Passover in remembrance of Him until He returns. The
apostles did keep it, and today, God's true Church still keeps
Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Passover, the first of God's commanded
annual festivals, pictures the beginning, the very first step,
in God's great Master Plan of salvation for mankind. It was
Jesus Christ, "our Passover" (I Cor. 5:7), who suffered and died
for our sins. But accepting Christ's sacrifice to pay for our
sins is not enough.
Once we have repented of our sins and been
forgiven by God, we must strive to forsake sin completely. We
must come out of this world's ways of sin (Rev. 18:4)--just as
Israel left Egypt, a type of sin (Heb. 11:25-26). We must be
striving to put all sin away from us. That is our part in God's
To help keep us in the knowledge of the
second step in God's plan, Christ gave His Church the second
annual feast. The observance of this feast impresses upon us
that we must strive not to return to the sins Jesus paid for
with His shed blood. Let's understand.
1. What feast did God command the
Israelites to keep immediately after the Passover? Ex. 12:17;
Lev. 23:6. Were they to keep it just this one time? Ex. 12:17;
COMMENT: Notice that the Feast of Unleavened
Bread was given by God before the people reached Mt.
Sinai--before they even left the land of Egypt. It is also to be
kept by all their succeeding generations--forever!
2. For how many days is the Feast of
Unleavened Bread to continue? Ex. 12:15; 34:18; Num. 28:16-17;
Deut. 16:3-4. Were the first and seventh days set apart as Holy
Days--days on which the people were to assemble themselves, much
the same as they would on a weekly Sabbath day? Ex. 12:16; Lev.
COMMENT: The first month of the Hebrew
calendar, which God inspired the Jews to preserve for New
Testament Christians, was called Abib or, later, Nisan. It falls
sometime during the months of March and April of the Roman
calendar today. The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th
of Abib, the day after the Passover. It continues for seven days
until the 21st of Abib. Both the 15th and the 21st are special
Sabbaths--annual "holy convocations"--days of rest and worship
At this point it would be well to distinguish
between God's annual festivals or feasts, and His annual Holy
Days or Sabbaths. God's Master Plan includes seven annual
festivals. Two of these, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the
Feast of Tabernacles, are seven days long. There are also seven
annual Holy Days, which are Sabbaths of rest from regular work.
Each of these Holy Days occurs on, or during, a festival (the
Feast of Unleavened Bread has two). But the Passover, the first
of the festivals, is not a Holy Day or Sabbath. (See chart
Annual Festivals (Lev. 23)
3. Were the Israelites to put all leaven
and leavened food out of their homes and property, and keep it
out during the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Ex.
COMMENT: A leavening agent is any substance
used to cause dough to rise by fermentation. Yeast, baking soda
and baking powder are leavening agents.
4. Is leaven clearly a symbol for sin?
Matt. 16:6, 11-12; Luke 12:1; I Cor.
COMMENT: Leaven is often referred to in the
Bible as a type of sin. Leaven puffs up--and so does sin.
Unleavened bread is a flat bread that contains no leavening
agent, and therefore typifies the absence of sin. And since
seven is God's special number signifying completion and
perfection, the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
remind us that God wants His people to strive to put sin
completely out of their lives.
5. Does God specifically command His
people to eat unleavened bread during this festival? Ex. 12:15,
19-20; Lev. 23:6.______________________
COMMENT: The Israelites were not merely to
remove all leavening and leavened foods from their property.
That would have only symbolized putting away sin. They were
commanded to eat unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened
Bread. This act of eating unleavened bread symbolizes the
opposite of sin--active obedience to God!
6. Upon repentance and baptism, Christ's
sacrifice blots out all of one's past sins. When Paul asked if
we should continue in sin, what did he answer? Rom. 6:15-16.
What was his apostolic command? Verses
COMMENT: Christ died so that we would not
have to pay the penalty of eternal death (Rom. 6:23). After
repentance and baptism, God expects us to strive to obey His
Law--to "unleaven" our lives. God does not want us to continue
in sin, for Christ is not the minister of sin (Gal. 2:17).
7. Did Paul, under inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, say New Testament Christians should keep the Feast of
Unleavened Bread? I Cor. 5:8.__________
8. What did Paul say that clearly shows
the Church of God at Corinth was, at the time he wrote, keeping
the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Verse 7. Notice the words "as ye
COMMENT: The Apostle Paul was telling the
Corinthian church members to put out spiritual leaven, just as
they had already put out all physical leaven in preparation for
this festival. They were to keep the Feast not only with
unleavened bread, but also with the spiritually "unleavened"
attitude of sincerity and truth.
9. Does God want Christians to forsake
this world's way of sin? Rev. 18:4. Are we to continually
strive--to expend effort and energy--to put sin out of our lives
as it crops up? Heb. 12:1,
COMMENT: If we are to become Spirit-born
members of God's Family, we must prove that we will obey God
here and now by striving to get the spiritual leaven of sin out
of our lives and keep it out! This is our part in God's great
Hence, every spring the seven-day Feast of
Unleavened Bread specially reminds Spirit-begotten Christians of
their continual need to keep God's commandments. It is a time
when they symbolically renew their resolve to live in harmony
with God's Law--to rededicate their lives to continual spiritual
growth and overcoming.
Pentecost--Feast of Firstfruits
God knows that to successfully put sin out of
our lives and keep it out, our own human willpower and abilities
are not enough. We need the spiritual power of God's Holy Spirit
to help us keep God's spiritual Law.
This is the third step in God's Master Plan,
pictured by the third annual festival, the day of Pentecost,
also called the Feast of Weeks or Feast of Firstfruits.
1. What were God's instructions regarding
this festival? Lev. 23:15-17, 20. Was this feast a Holy Day, or
Sabbath of rest, on which the people were to assemble? Verse 21.
Was it to be kept by God's people every year forever? Same
COMMENT: At this point we need to understand
the symbolism of a ceremony associated with the Feast of
Unleavened Bread, and how it ties in with the third annual
festival. The meaning of this ceremony is important, although it
no longer occurs since the Romans destroyed the Temple in A.D.
2. What kind of offering had to be
presented to God before the spring harvest could begin? Verses
COMMENT: As explained in the introduction of
this lesson, God established His festivals in conjunction with
the two annual agricultural harvests in the land of Palestine.
God uses these harvests as a pattern for the two spiritual
"harvests" of His great Master Plan.
The physical harvests help us understand that
God is not dealing with the vast majority of the world today.
God is calling only a very few into His Church before Christ's
Second Coming. God intends the spring festivals to illustrate to
His Church yearly that His Spirit-begotten children are the "firstfruits"
of salvation (Jas. 1:18)--the relatively small beginning of His
spiritual harvest of mankind into His divine Family.
The spring harvest began in the following
manner: On the morning of the first day of the week (Sunday)
during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a sheaf of newly cut
barley, cut the night before, was prepared and brought to the
priest, who waved it in the air to be accepted by God. This was
called the "wavesheaf offering" and represented the first of the
Once the wavesheaf was offered, the harvest
could begin. The spring harvest ended by the time of the Feast
of Firstfruits, 50 days later. (The New Testament name for this
festival, Pentecost, literally means "fiftieth [day].") The
people gathered on this annual Sabbath to give God thanks for
the firstfruits of the year's crops He had given them. Now let's
see the interesting connection between the wavesheaf offering
and, Jesus Christ.
3. Who was the first to be resurrected
from the dead into God's Family? Acts 26:23. Was He therefore
the first of the firstfruits of God's spiritual harvest? I Cor.
15:20, 23; Col. 1:18. Therefore, are Spirit-begotten Christians
clearly the firstfruits of God's great Master Plan? Jas. 1:18;
4. After Christ was resurrected from the
dead, did He have to ascend to His Father in heaven? John 20:17.
On that same day after returning from heaven, could His
disciples then touch Him? Compare Matthew 28:9 with John
COMMENT: This was the first day of the week
(Sunday) during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was on the
very same morning that the wavesheaf was offered that Jesus
Christ was accepted by His Father as the spiritual "wavesheaf"
offering in heaven!
Christ therefore fulfilled the symbolism of
the Old Testament wavesheaf offering. He was the first
resurrected Son of God--the first harvested product of God's
Master Plan. He became the firstborn Son of God--the first human
to complete the process of salvation and be "born again."
But Jesus could not have become the captain
of our salvation and our elder brother without possessing an
all-important ingredient from God-- something we all must have
if we are to be born again as He was.
5. Could Jesus do any spiritual works,
including obedience to God, with just His human strength? John
5:30; 8:28. Where did He get the necessary power? John 14:10,
COMMENT: The Father "dwelt" in Jesus through
the Holy Spirit!
6. Did Christ promise the same spiritual
help to His disciples? John 14:16. What is the "Comforter"?
7. On what day did the disciples actually
receive God's Holy Spirit? Acts 2:1-4. Did they thus become
members of God's spiritual Church? I Cor.
COMMENT: Fifty days after Christ was accepted
in heaven, the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples just as
Jesus had promised. It was on the day of Pentecost that God sent
His Spirit to begin His Church--to beget and strengthen the
firstfruits He was beginning to call into His Church,
symbolically represented by the two "wave loaves" mentioned in
Leviticus 23:17, 20.
The New Testament festival of Pentecost is
now a memorial that commemorates the founding of the New
Testament Church of God through the receiving of the Holy
Spirit. It was on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 that the
initial firstfruits of God's spiritual harvest began to be
prepared by His Spirit for "reaping" into God's divine Family.
Feast of Trumpets
But the firstfruits cannot be reaped into
God's Family unless they are "born again" (John
3:38)--resurrected and changed into spirit. That will not occur
until Jesus Christ comes again, which brings us to the fourth
step in God's Master Plan.
The Feast of Trumpets portrays a pivotal
event in God's plan. This festival not only pictures the coming
of Christ to resurrect and change the firstfruits, it also
pictures the terrible time of world war just ahead and the
intervention of Jesus Christ to save humanity from total
annihilation, as well as to establish the Kingdom of God on
Let's understand exactly how this festival
fits into God's great Master Plan.
1. When is the fourth annual festival to
be observed? Lev. 23:23-25. Is this another annual Sabbath of
rest from one's regular work? Verses 24-25. Are God's people
commanded to meet together before Him on this Holy Day? Verse
COMMENT: The number seven in God's plan
signifies completion and perfection. The seventh month of God's
calendar contains the final four festivals, picturing the
completion of God's Master Plan for mankind. The festival that
occurs on the first day of this month marks the beginning of the
final events in God's plan.
2. Was this festival to be a memorial of
blowing of trumpets? Verse
COMMENT: It is from this ceremony that the
Feast of Trumpets draws its name. There is a great deal of
symbolic meaning tied in with the blowing of these
trumpets--especially with regard to the end time in which we're
Trumpets were blown to announce God's
festivals, as well as to call God's people to assembly. Trumpets
were also used as an alarm of invading armies and impending
warfare. This terrifying sound filled the people of ancient
Israel with fear, because they knew the horror of war was
imminent! It is this warning of war that sets apart the Feast of
Trumpets from God's other festivals.
3. When did Jesus say that God's coming
Kingdom would be established-- wouldn't it be in a time of world
war? Matt. 24:3, 6-8; Luke 21:31. Would man then have the power
to destroy all human life from the face of the earth? Matt.
4. What does the book of Revelation say
regarding the blowing of supernatural trumpets shortly before
the return of Jesus Christ? Rev. 8:1-2, 6.
COMMENT: The seventh seal that covered the
scroll (Rev. 5:1), when opened, disclosed seven angels with
seven trumpets representing seven consecutive colossal world
events. These are to be physical punishments from God to warn
the nations not to go further into national and personal sins.
The last three trumpet plagues (also called
"woes") specifically picture three phases of catastrophic world
war. At the third, mankind will be saved from extinction by the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
5. Will those who turn to God be protected
from these trumpet plagues? Rev. 3:10; 7:2-3; 12:14. Is it for
the sake of the "elect" that Christ will intervene in world
affairs to cut short the time of great trouble and rescue
mankind from nuclear annihilation? Matt.
COMMENT: The elect of God are the firstfruits
of His great Master Plan. They are the ones God has called out
of this world to be the "firstfruits harvest" of the divine
Family He is creating.
6. Did Jesus promise to send His angels to
gather together His elect at the blast of a great trumpet?
Verses 30-31. Is the sounding of this trumpet the time of the
resurrection of the dead in Christ? I Thess. 4:16-17; I Cor.
15:51-52; Rev. 11:15-18. Is this trumpet the seventh and final
one of the seven introduced in Revelation 8? I Cor.
COMMENT: At the sound of the seventh trumpet,
announcing the return of Jesus Christ, the firstfruits of God's
plan will be resurrected and changed--born as immortal spirit
beings into the Family of God! God will then have reaped the
smaller spiritual harvest of individuals into His Family. They
will then begin to help Christ rule the earth (Rev. 20:6) and
reap the much greater spiritual harvest during and after the
Millennium. The last three festivals picture the details of how
this will be accomplished.
Day at Atonement
What about Satan? What happens to him after
The fifth step in God's Master Plan, the Day
of Atonement, reveals the answer. It pictures Christ deposing
Satan the devil from his present position as world ruler (II Cor.
4:4) and Satan's removal to a place completely away from
mankind. He will be bound for 1,000 years, no longer able to
deceive the nations and influence man to sin.
After Satan's imprisonment, the rest of
humanity will be reconciled-- made at one--with God. Let's
understand the meaning in the symbolism of this unique fifth
festival of God.
1. What annual Sabbath follows only nine
days after the Feast of Trumpets? Lev. 23:27; 16:29-31. Are
God's people commanded to assemble before Him on this day? Lev.
2. How are we to observe the Day of
Atonement? Verse 32. How does one "afflict" his body on this
day? Isa. 58:3; Ezra 8:21.__________________
COMMENT: The Day of Atonement is perhaps the
most unusual Holy Day, as far as what God expects us to do. It
is the one day of the year on which God commands us to fast--to
abstain from food and water (Ex. 34:28; Esther 4:16)--for 24
hours, from sunset on the ninth day of the month to sunset on
the tenth day ("from even [in"] unto even [ing]"--Lev. 23:32).
Fasting for spiritual reasons at any time of
the year should be for the purpose of humbling ourselves--to
draw closer to God and His righteous way (Isa. 58:6-11). Thus
fasting on the Day of Atonement is a vivid reminder of the state
of mind necessary for salvation--of humility, godly sorrow,
earnestly seeking after God and His way--a condition to which
this world will have been brought by the catastrophic events
culminating in Jesus Christ's return!
3. Does the Day of Atonement also differ
from all other annual Holy Days in that no work of any kind is
to be done on it? Num. 29:7; Lev. 16:29. Why is this day to be
kept so solemnly? Lev.
COMMENT: What does the word atonement mean?
Webster says to atone means to "set at one." To join in one--to
form by uniting. This day actually symbolizes God and man being
set at one: literally the Day of At-one-ment! But God and
mankind cannot be fully at one--in full agreement--until Satan
The 16th chapter of Leviticus details what
God told the Levitical priesthood to do on the Day of Atonement.
These rituals, although no longer performed, reveal another step
in God's plan to restore His government on earth and to bring
saving knowledge to everyone.
4. Was the Aaronic high priest to make a
special sin offering once a year to atone for all the sins of
Israel? Lev. 16:32-34. Was this done on the Day of Atonement?
5. But before the high priest made this
atonement, did he take two goats and then cast lots to determine
who each would represent? Lev. 16:7-8. Was one to represent
Christ, the LORD? Verse 8. Who was the other goat to represent?
Same verse. Was he to be banished? Verse 10.
COMMENT: The English word "scapegoat" is
not), a correct translation of the Hebrew word God inspired.
Most Bibles with marginal renderings show that the original word
was azazel. Azazel among the early desert dwellers in the Sinai
referred to Satan the devil!
6. Was the goat representing Christ
offered as a sin offering for all the people? Verses 15-16. Were
the sins of the people symbolically placed on the head of the
other goat, representing Satan, which was then taken into the
wilderness? Verses 21-22.______________________________________
COMMENT: Jesus Christ atoned for our sins
when He took the penalty of our sins (death--Rom. 6:23) upon
Himself by sacrificing His sinless life for us. But the real
cause of those sins is Satan the devil (John 8:42-44). In this
Levitical ritual, all of man's Satan-inspired sins were
symbolically put right back on Satan's head where they belong!
When Jesus Christ returns, the blame for
mankind's sins will be placed squarely on Satan, who will then
be removed from the presence of man. Notice the fulfillment of
this part of God's Master Plan as revealed by Jesus Christ in
the book of Revelation:
7. What will be done to Satan after the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Rev. 20:1-2. Where will he be
cast? Verse 3. Also notice Revelation 18:1-2.
COMMENT: The "bottomless pit" or abyss was
pictured by the desert wilderness where the azazel goat was
banished. Satan and his demons will be completely restrained by
Christ from further leading mankind into sin. No longer will
Satan be able to broadcast (Eph. 2:2) his evil attitudes.
At the devil's chaining by an angel of God
(symbolically the "fit man" of Leviticus 16:21), the minds of
men, formerly kept spiritually closed by Satan, will be opened
by the Spirit of God!
For the first time, humanity will be able to
understand God's Master Plan of salvation. People will then
begin to realize their wrong ways and desire to repent and
receive forgiveness of their sins. Only then will man become at
one with Christ and the Father, as pictured by the Day of At-
Feast of Tabernacles
1. What God-ordained festival occurs only
five days after the Day of Atonement? Lev. 23:34; Deut.
2. Does this seven-day feast begin with a
Holy Day on which all ordinary work is forbidden, and on which
people are to gather before God? Lev. 23:35. Did God command
that this annual festival be kept forever? Verse
COMMENT: The Feast of Tabernacles was also
called the Feast of Ingathering (Ex. 23:16; 34:22) because it
celebrated the summer and early autumn harvest (Lev. 23:39).
3. What is the divinely set theme for the
annual observance of the Feast of Tabernacles? Deut. 16:14-15.
Does God say that good food should be eaten to increase one's
joy and happiness during this feast? Deut.
COMMENT: The Feast of Tabernacles, picturing
the sixth step in God's Master Plan, is a time of great
rejoicing! For ancient Israel, it was a time of rejoicing
because the abundant winter's store was taken in just before the
Feast. But in the Millennium, which this feast pictures, the
happiness, joy and prosperity portrayed by the Feast of
Tabernacles will exist worldwide under the righteous rule of
Jesus Christ. Universal adherence to God's way of life will make
the World Tomorrow a literal utopia!
4. Are God's people to live in
booths--temporary dwellings--during the Feast? Lev.
COMMENT: A "tabernacle" or "booth" is a
temporary dwelling. God commanded the ancient Israelites to live
in temporary shelters made of tree branches (verse 40) while
observing the Feast of Tabernacles. For God's people who attend
the Feast of Tabernacles today, a tent, camper, motel or hotel
room would certainly qualify as a temporary dwelling.
God intends the Feast of Tabernacles to
separate and free His people from the world. Living in temporary
dwellings for an entire week--away from their everyday
surroundings, jobs and most negative influences--God's people
enjoy a tiny foretaste of the universal freedom, joy and peace
that will exist in the Millennium when Satan is gone and the
Spirit of God is leading all of humanity (Joel 2:28, 32).
These are days of continuous, genuine
Christian fellowship and just plain good fun! Tens of thousands
of God's people and their families gather at dozens of festival
sites around the world. Christians at the Feast demonstrate now,
by the way they live together in harmony, what today's
sin-filled, unhappy world will become like after Christ returns.
But just as the Feast of Tabernacles is a
physical feast filled with rejoicing, it is also a spiritual
feast of education and preparation. Members of God's Church
receive instruction from God's ministers through inspiring
sermons to help them further prepare to rule and teach with
Christ during the Millennium.
5. After Jesus Christ subdues the warring
nations at His return and establishes God's government over the
earth, will the nations begin to come to Him for instruction in
God's way of life? Mic. 4:1-2. Will the whole world finally come
to understand God's way to peace, happiness, abundant living and
salvation? Isa. 11:9; Jer.
COMMENT: Once Satan has been bound and the
government of God set up, a 1,000-year golden age of world peace
and prosperity will begin. Christ's reeducation program for the
entire world will bring about a new civilization based on God's
way of life--His Law of love--resulting in great physical and
6. But what will happen to those nations
that at first refuse to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and thus
refuse to be re-educated to God's way? Zech. 14:16-17. And if
they still won't obey? Verses
COMMENT: Christ will re-educate the people of
the world through His annual festivals. The world will come to
know that God's Master Plan pictures the way to physical
blessings and spiritual salvation. Those who stubbornly refuse
to keep the Feast of Tabernacles will suffer from drought and
plagues until they submit to God.
7. Is there to be any end to the increase
of God's government? Isa.
COMMENT: World population will increase
rapidly in the Millennium. Eventually thousands of millions will
be spiritually converted! The great "autumn harvest" of humans
will be gathered into the Kingdom of God--born again as divine
members of the ruling Family of God during the Millennium.
By the end of the thousand years, the great
Family of God will be ready for the final step in God's Master
Plan. Even greater joy and accomplishments lie ahead after the
The Last Great Day
What about all those who have lived and died
without ever being called of God (including, perhaps, most of
your loved ones today)--who never had an opportunity to know and
really understand God's purpose and plan for mankind? Are they
The answer is revealed in the meaning of the
Last Great Day--the seventh and last of God's annual
festivals--the festival that pictures the seventh and final step
in God's great Master Plan.
1. Is it God's will that all who have ever
lived come to the knowledge of His plan of salvation? II Pet.
3:9; I Tim. 2:4._______________________
COMMENT: In His loving concern for all
mankind, God has planned for everyone who has ever lived to
receive an opportunity for salvation and Sonship in His Family,
just as the already spiritually called and begotten children of
God have been given their opportunity.
Just as the week is not complete without the
seventh-day Sabbath, God's Master Plan is not complete without
His seventh and final annual festival.
The number seven in the Bible signifies
completion and perfection. This seventh festival of God reveals
the perfection of God's great Master Plan-- that God's love and
mercy toward mankind will extend beyond the Millennium.
2. Was there an eighth day of worship
immediately following the seven days of the Feast of
Tabernacles? Lev. 23:36, 39.______________________
COMMENT: The last annual Sabbath or Holy Day
is observed immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles. But
because of its close proximity to this seven-day Feast, it was
associated with the Feast of Tabernacles and was called the
"eighth day." It came to be known among Christians as "the last
day, that great day of the feast" (John 7:37). The Last Great
Day is clearly a separate festival and Holy Day.
The Last Great Day pictures the completion of
God's Master Plan. That, as we learned in Lesson 21, is the
Great White Throne Judgment period after the Millennium.
Revelation 20:5 shows that a second resurrection will occur
after the Millennium, and verses 11-12 reveal that those in this
resurrection to mortal life, who died never having been called
to participate in God's plan of salvation, will then be given
their opportunity to become members of God's divine ruling
These individuals will be given enough time
to learn to obey God, just as Spirit-begotten Christians have
opportunity to do today. Those who continue to live God's way of
life, developing the character of God, will be changed from
mortality to immortality at the end of this period of judgment,
which apparently will last 100 years (Isa. 65:20).
3. How did Jesus refer to this special
"day" or period of judgment for these people who have yet to
hear and understand the wonderful message of salvation? Matt.
COMMENT: Christ mentioned the people of Tyre
and Sidon, Sodom, Nineveh in Jonah's time and finally the Queen
of the south. All of these examples of people who lived in
different generations are compared to those of Jesus' day, the
vast majority of whom did not understand or believe Christ's
message. Jesus tells us that they all will be resurrected with
the generation that lived during His time!
Jesus gave enough examples of people living
at widespread times to prove that most of humanity will be alive
at the same time on this earth. There will be pre-Flood men and
women, all 12 tribes of Israel, those who lived during the
Middle Ages and the vast majority living now. Even babies and
children who died untimely deaths will be resurrected then. They
will all rise in the second resurrection because they had not
been called by God during their first life.
The ancient peoples Jesus mentioned in
Matthew 11 and 12 would have repented if He had personally come
to them in their day. And they will repent when resurrected and
given access to the Holy Spirit after the Millennium.
Your Bible shows that the vast majority of
those who ever lived will finally be born into God's Family at
the end of this coming period of judgment, pictured by the Last
God's Master Plan of salvation for mankind
will then be complete.
Then the spirit-composed members of God's
great ruling Family can look forward to new heavens and a new
earth--and to new and wonderful opportunities in ruling the
universe under God our Father and Jesus Christ our elder
Christ the Focus of God's Holy Days
Through the years, God's Church has grown in
the understanding of the spiritual meaning of God's Holy Days.
Unlike the days commonly observed by traditional Christianity
today, God's days reveal His great purpose for mankind and how
He is accomplishing it.
In this overview lesson, we learned that
Christ, our Creator, is fashioning us into God's spiritual
character image to become members of His divine Kingdom, as
pictured by the weekly Sabbath. We also learned that God's
annual festivals not only teach us His Master Plan of salvation,
they point us directly to our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is "our
Passover" (I Cor. 5:7). It is by "putting on" Christ that we put
sin out of our lives (Rom. 13:13-14), as pictured by the Feast
of Unleavened Bread.
Christ is the first of the "firstfruits," and
it was 50 days after His resurrection that He sent the Holy
Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was sent to
spiritually beget those whom the Father would call, thus
enabling them to obey His Law, successfully overcome sin in
their lives and grow spiritually.
Christ will return to earth to intervene in
world affairs (pictured by the Feast of Trumpets), resurrect His
firstfruits, and rule as King of kings and Lord of lords,
putting down the despotic rule of Satan, the archdeceiver, as
portrayed by the Day of Atonement. With the influence of the
devil and his demons gone, all mankind will have the opportunity
to become "at one" with Christ through repentance, baptism and
the receipt of God's Spirit.
Christ is coming to set up the government of
God on earth, making it a veritable utopia--pictured by the
Feast of Tabernacles. Thousands of millions will be
Spirit-begotten and born into the Family of God during the
Finally, Christ will make salvation available
to everyone who ever lived, but never heard or understood the
truth, in the last great step in God's plan--the Last Great Day,
picturing the last judgment period.
God's Church understands and teaches the
precious truth concerning His purpose and plan for mankind.
Around the world, Spirit-begotten children of God faithfully
observe His weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days every year! * *
* * *
Remember that with the next lesson we will
begin our expanded study of each of God's Holy Days. Lesson 24
will cover the seventh-day Sabbath in-depth. Not only will the
points brought out in this lesson's brief study of the weekly
Sabbath be covered in greater detail, we will also answer
questions such as: How is the Sabbath a special "test"
commandment? Has time been "lost"? Did God change the
seventh-day Sabbath to another day? How can we make God's weekly
Sabbath a spiritual blessing and delight?