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
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?
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
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
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
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;
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,
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.
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.
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
become dusty. Foot washing, upon entering a home, was a menial task that only servants
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
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
annually shedding the blood of a lamb and eating its roasted body, we are now to
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" 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
death? Review I Corinthians 11:25-26.
Comment: Jesus commanded His disciples to keep the Passover in remembrance of Him
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
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
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
between God's annual festivals or feasts, and His annual Holy Days or Sabbaths. God's
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.
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
5 . Does God specifically command His people to eat unleavened bread during this
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?
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.
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
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
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
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"?
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
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
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
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
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?
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;
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?
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
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
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
goat was banished. Satan and his demons will be completely restrained by Christ from
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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;
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!