Maranatha Ministry


BIBLE COURSE

 

Lesson 23


WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS KEEP GOD’S HOLY DAYS?


Why did God institute the WEEKLY Sabbath  and the seven ANNUAL SABBATHS? What do they picture? Were God’s Holy Days for the ancient Israelites only, or are they also for the New Testament Church of God Today?

God created mankind for an awesome purpose! That purpose was first revealed when man was created. God had said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. ( Genesis 1:26) But this creative work takes time. To accomplish this wonderful purpose in man, God has allotted 7,000 years----seven millennial “days”. ( 2 Peter 3:8) The Weekly Sabbath pictures God’s purpose. When God set apart and made holy the seventh day Sabbath for man.(Genesis 2:2-3; Mark 2:27). God revealed that the Sabbath would be a “sign” between Him and His people (Exodus 31:16,17). The Sabbath also pictures the soon coming millennium when mankind will experience the “rest” from war, poverty, fear and suffering. It is then that the knowledge of God’s purpose will fill the whole earth! See Isaiah 11:9. The Annual Holy Days picture God’s Master Plan and as such, will show that through these seven annual festivals of what God has for mankind’s future! God’s Annual Holy Days were ordained to be kept forever! Jesus kept them. The New Testament Church, founded by Jesus, kept them. And God’s people today keep them also! Just as the weekly Sabbath is a “sign” between God and His people, so are the annual Holy Days (Exodus 31:13). They are the “Feasts of the LORD”---”My Feasts,” said God. (Leviticus 23:2,4). All of God’s festivals are listed in Leviticus 23.


Let’s begin to understand the tremendous meaning of these “FEASTS OF THE LORD”! Please get your Bible and note pad and pen and don’t forget to look up and read and study each scripture that is listed!


1. On which day of creation week did God rest? Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 20:11. Did God rest because He was tired from all the work He had done during the previous six days? Isaiah 40:28.


2. Who in the God family made that very first Sabbath? Col. 1:12-16; Mark 2:27-28.


Comment: Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath because He made it! By ceasing to work on the seventh day of creation week, Jesus set apart that 24-hour period and every seventh day afterwards for a special and holy use. (The Sabbath begins at sunset, in the evening, at the close of the sixth day, and ends at sunset ,in the evening, at the close of the seventh day. See Leviticus 23:32 for an example of when God begins and ends days.)


3. For whom did Jesus say the Sabbath was made? Mark 2:27. Who would that include? Exodus 20:8-10, especially verse 10.


Comment: The “Sabbath was made for man” said Jesus.


4. How did Christ intend the Sabbath to benefit mankind? Deuteronomy 5:14 ( Notice the word rest.)


Comment: The word Sabbath means to “rest” in Hebrew, the language in which the old Testament was written. But the purpose for keeping the Sabbath goes far beyond merely to resting on it. Man needs this time each week in which to have spiritual contact with God. The Sabbath gives us time to think about God, to pray to Him, to worship Him both in private and in fellowship with others.


5. Was the observance of the Sabbath day to be a special sign of identification between God and His and His people? Exodus 31:13, 16-17. Did God also make Sabbath observance a separate covenant with His people?

Verse 16. Was it to be a perpetual covenant, binding forever? Verses 16-17.

Comment: God singled out Sabbath observance as the one great sign by which His people would always be reminded that He is the Creator, and that they were His chosen people. It was the one commandment that would make Israel especially stand out from all other nations. It was to be an everlasting covenant- a sign that would identify the people of God of all generations, including “spiritual Israel” today--Spirit-begotten members of God’s New Testament Church.


6. Does the Bible plainly reveal that a real Christian is one who has become a spiritual Israelite--one of Abraham’s “seed” through Jesus Christ? Galatians 3:28-29; Romans 4:16.


Comment: God made the special Sabbath covenant with Abraham’s physical descendants. It was to be obeyed throughout their generations. Today, all Spirit-begotten Christians have become Abrahams’ spiritual descendants and therefore keep the Sabbath. Thus the Sabbath reminds us every week of the Creator God and His wonderful purpose for mankind.


7.  Did Jesus Christ keep the Sabbath? Luke 4:16,31. (This is the day that the Lord had made and so Jesus kept the Sabbath that He had commanded to be observed. Leviticus 23:3)


8. Was it also the Apostle Paul’s custom to keep the Sabbath? Acts 17:1-2. Is there other evidence that the early New Testament Church observed the Sabbath? Acts 13:13-16,42; 18:1,4.


9. What is God’s warning to us in Hebrews 3:8-1, 17-19? (Notice the word “rest” in verses 11 and 18.) Was rebellion, especially Sabbath breaking, the reason God did not allow an entire generation of Israelites to enter His “rest”? Ezekiel 20:12-13, 15-16.


10. If we believe and obey God, will we enter God’s “rest”--eternal life in His Kingdom? Hebrews 4:3, first nine words, and verse 11.


Comment: The equation is clear: Belief in God equals active obedience. Those who really believe God will be keeping His Sabbath!


11. Did God command the entire nation of Israel to meet together (a “convocation”) on the weekly Sabbath? Leviticus 23:3. What are New Testament Christians admonished regarding the assembling of themselves? Hebrews. 10:25.


THE PASSOVER

Most Bible commentators and scholars agree that the many passing references to God’s annual festivals in the New Testament indicate that their observance in the early Church of God was known, accepted--even taken for granted. More importantly, Christ and the Church of God customarily kept the annual festivals: “In the early Christian church the propriety of celebrating the festivals together with the whole of the Jewish people was never questioned, so that it needed no special mention” ( The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 1 p.628.)


1. What does the Bible say originated these annual festivals, besides the weekly festival of the Sabbath? Leviticus 23:1-4. Did God specifically state that His annual feasts were to be observed in addition to the weekly Sabbath? Verses 37-38.


Comment: Notice that these feasts are NOT THE FEASTS OF THE Jews or of MOSES. They are God’s OWN FEASTS and so God has commanded us to keep them.


2. What is the first festival to be observed each year? Leviticus 23:5. When did God institute the first Passover? Read and summarize Exodus 12:1-14, 21-27.


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 (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 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 ( Romans 6:23) through Christ’s sacrifice. 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.

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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, 14-15.


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 12-16.


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 servants performed.

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 Corinthians. 11:26) the true Christian's faith in the blood of "Christ our pass-over" (I Corinthians. 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 (Isaiah. 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 Biblical 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.)

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 Corinthians. 5:7 -8; 11:23-26.


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 11:25-26.


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 Church still keeps the Passover!


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 pass-over" (I Corinthians. 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 Master Plan. 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; 13:10.


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-for ever!


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. 23:3,7-8.


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 of God. 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.


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. 12:15-19; 13:7.


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 Corinthians. 5:8.


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 11-13.


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 Corinthians. 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 are unleavened."


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, 4.


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 Master Plan. 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 First-fruits.


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 verse.


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. 70.


2. What kind of offering had to be presented to God before the spring harvest could begin? Verses 9-11, 14.


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 "first-fruits" 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 "wave-sheaf offering" and represented the first of the first-fruits harvest. Once the wave-sheaf was offered, the harvest could begin. The spring harvest ended by the time of the Feast of First-fruits, 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 first-fruits of the year's crops He had given them. Now let's see the interesting connection between the wave-sheaf 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 first-fruits of God's spiritual harvest? I Corinthians. 15:20, 23; Col. 1:18. Therefore, are Spirit-begotten Christians clearly the First-fruits of God's great Master Plan? Jas. 1:18; Rom. 8:23.


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 20:19-20, 27 -28.


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 wave-sheaf was offered that Jesus Christ was accepted by His Father as the spiritual "wave-sheaf" offering in heaven! Christ therefore fulfilled the symbolism of the Old Testament wave-sheaf 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, last part.


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"?

Verse 26.


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 Corinthians. 12:12-14.


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 first-fruits 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 first-fruits of

God's spiritual harvest began to be prepared by His Spirit for "reaping" into God's divine Family.


FEAST OF TRUMPETS


The Feast of Trumpets portrays a pivotal event in God's plan. This festival  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 earth.

Let's understand exactly how this festival fits into God's great 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 24.


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 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 24.


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 living. 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. 24:21-22.



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? Matthew. 24:22.


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 Thessalonians. 4:16-17; I Corinthians. 15:51-52; Rev. 11:15-18. Is this trumpet the seventh and final one of the seven introduced in Revelation 8? I Corinthians. 15:52.


DAY OF ATONEMENT


What about Satan? What happens to him after Christ returns? 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. 23:27.


2. How are we to observe the Day of Atonement? Verse 32. How does one "afflict" his body on this

day? Isaiah. 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 evening] unto even [evening]" 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 (Isaiah. 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. 23:28.


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 is restrained. 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? Verses 29-30.


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 fulfilment of this part of God's 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 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 Atonement!


FEAST OF TABERNACLES


1. What God-ordained festival occurs only five days after the Day of Atonement? Lev. 23:34; Deut. 16:13-15.


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 41.


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. 14:26.

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. 23:42.


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). But just as the Feast of Tabernacles is a physical feast filled with rejoicing, it is also a spiritual feast too.


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? Micah. 4:1-2. Will the whole world finally come to understand God's way to peace, happiness, abundant living and salvation? Isaiah. 11:9; Jeremiah. 31:34.


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 re-education 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 spiritual blessings.


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 18-19.


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  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? Isaiah. 9:7.


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 Millennium!


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 lost forever? 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 Plan.


1. Is it God's will that all who have ever lived come to the knowledge of His plan of salvation? 2 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 Son-ship 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 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 Plan. That, as we learned in Lesson 21, is the Great White Throne Judgment period after the Millennium. Revelation 20:5 shows that a another 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 Family. 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 (Isaiah. 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. 11:20-24; 12:41-42.


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 Great Day. God's 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 our elder brother!



Lesson 2. World Peace..Coming in our Time

Lesson 3. The Dramatic Return of Jesus Christ

Lesson 4. The Coming Utopia, The Wonderful World of Tomorrow

Lesson 1. Why Study The Bible?

Lesson 5. Just What is Man?

Lesson 7. Will You go to Heaven?

Lesson 6. What is ‘Hell’?

Lesson 8. What it Means to be ‘Born Again’

Lesson 9. What is Real Repentance?

Lesson 10. Should You be Baptised?

Lesson 11. Why You Need The Holy Spirit

Lesson 12. Christianity Is A Way of Life

Lesson 13. Who and What is GOD?

Lesson 14. Angels

Lesson 15. What Makes Man Unique

Lesson 16. Ancient Israel? Why God’s Chosen People?

Lesson 17.The Truth About The Old and New Covenant

Lesson 18. The True Gospel

Lesson 19. The New Covenant and Testament

Lesson 20. To Rule With Jesus

Lesson 21. Is It Really The Only Day of Salvation

Lesson 22. God’s Purpose for Mankind Revealed

Lesson 23. Why Should Christians Keep God’s Holy Days?

Lesson 24. The Truth About God’s Holy Sabbath