A Summary of God’s Holy Days
An overview of the commanded annual festivals mentioned throughout the Bible


The account of the first Passover is covered in the book of Exodus. About 3,500 years ago, the Creator God saw fit to take the nation of Israel out of captivity in Egypt. Before doing so, God sent 10 plagues upon the Israelites’ Egyptian captors. The final plague was the killing of the firstborn of all who were not protected from the death angel. What protected a household was the blood of a sacrificial lamb, smeared on the doorposts and lintel of each house. With these instructions from God, relayed to the Israelites through His chosen servant Moses, a unique ceremony was instituted on the night of the 14th of Abib (Exodus 12:1-23). God explained further that Passover would become a memorial to be observed forever, not just in that one instance in Egypt (verse 24).

At first, this ceremony might have seemed a little strange to the Israelites. But after their sons were spared from the death angel they began to understand, at least in part, what the Passover really represented! Ultimately, the entire episode was designed to build faith in God’s chosen people—and, in particular, it served as an admonition for His spiritually begotten Israelites today (1 Corinthians 10:11). Ancient Israel did not have the ability or character to fully comprehend the meaning of the Passover ceremony at that time (Deuteronomy 5:29).

Today, we know this ancient Passover ceremony was literally fulfilled by Jesus Christ, which is why He changed the symbols the night before He was crucified (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Because Christ was sacrificed as the Lamb of God to die for the sins of this world, it is no longer necessary to sacrifice animals as a reminder of sin (Hebrews 10:3-4, 9-12, 18).

When Jesus was about 12 years of age, we read that it was His parents’ custom to observe the Passover. “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover” (Luke 2:41). Notice they went every year, and Jesus, the perfectly obedient Son, went along with them. Jesus and His parents also would have kept the seven-day festival of Unleavened Bread.

The Bible indicates that Jesus Christ kept the Passover all the years of His adult life (following His baptism—since the non-baptized are, by law, not allowed to partake of the Passover—see Exodus 12:48; 1 Corinthians 5:6, 8; 11:27-28), setting us a perfect example. Christ stated Himself that the Passover service will still be observed in the Kingdom when He said He would not drink of the fruit of the vine [wine] again until that time. “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). He said this just after drinking the wine with His disciples during His final Passover with them.

On the last Passover He kept just before He died, He changed the symbols from the bitter herbs and lamb to the broken unleavened bread and wine (1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:24). The eating of this unleavened bread signified Christ’s body, beaten and broken for our physical healing, so that we can come to God the Father and ask for healing when we are ill (1 Peter 2:24-25; James 5:14-15). We ask that the penalty of sickness (i.e., the sickness being the consequence of broken health laws—see 1 John 3:4) be blotted out by applying the stripes of Jesus Christ for the forgiving of our physical sins. (Please request The Plain Truth About Healing for more information.)

When we drink of the wine, it symbolizes Christ’s shed blood, which was poured out on the stake for the remission of our spiritual sins against God and His holy law. As a result, we are able to have our sins forgiven when we repent of them. Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled the killing of the unblemished lamb the Israelites were required to kill (from the time the nation was enslaved in Egypt, about b.c. 1500, until the symbols were changed, in a.d. 31). He fulfilled, spiritually, all that the physical lamb represented. A lamb was no longer required to be sacrificed, as was the case with the Old Testament Passover rite (Hebrews 9:26). Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, was willing to be sacrificed so that our sins can be washed away when we repent of them.

During the Passover service, when we eat the small piece of unleavened bread and drink the small amount of wine, we show that we have accepted, and have come under, the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins; and that we have accepted His broken body for the healing of our diseases—the result of our physical sins. All through Christ’s earthly ministry, one of the lessons He continually taught His disciples was that He did not come to do away with His heavenly Father’s law, but rather, He came to magnify it (Matthew 5:17). Thus, in addition to changing the Passover symbols on the eve of His murder, and in addition to commanding that the communion service be kept continually in all future generations, Jesus also instituted a new ordinance of humility—the footwashing ceremony (John 13:4-12). He did this during the Passover meal, mistakenly dubbed the “Last Supper” by many today.

Here’s a question many fail to ask: If Jesus had abolished all the laws, statutes, judgments, holy days, and everything that God ever gave, then why did He go to such great length and pains to show His disciples how to observe the New Testament Passover service from then on? Certainly Jesus ought to have been busily explaining to them that immediately after His death, there would be no further obligation or them to keep the Passover, had He intended to nail God’s law to the stake! Instead, Jesus was taking this last hour opportunity to initiate at the New Testament Passover a special rite, which He then commanded His disciples to observe and to teach!

Just as Simon Peter argued with Christ, saying he wasn’t going to have Christ wash his feet, many today argue the same thing. Jesus patiently explained that unless Peter took part in the footwashing ceremony, he could have no part with Christ! In other words, Peter would not qualify to be saved! And neither can we qualify for salvation, as Christ’s disciples today, if we fail to keep the Passover ceremony as Christ commanded.

Footwashing in Jesus’s day was a lowly task, which only servants performed when visitors entered a house, since open-toed sandals were the customary footwear of that time and the feet would become very dusty and dirty. Thus, Jesus was illustrating to His disciples that He had come to this Earth to serve mankind! And shortly afterward, He proved the extent of His extreme service for this world when He gave His own life for the sins of all mankind! He suffered the most ignominious and excruciatingly painful death imaginable for us! By washing the feet of the 12 disciples, Christ symbolically showed to what great lengths and pains He was willing to go in His service to mankind in order to offer salvation to everyone. Jesus explained that if He, being the Messiah, would serve mankind, then His disciples ought to serve each other and the world in the same way (verses 13-14).

The New Testament plainly shows that the original 12 apostles, and many of the other disciples and apostles of Christ, did serve in Christ’s steps. What’s more, most of the original apostles also laid down their lives as martyrs while preaching the gospel of Christ! Yet many today do not want to humiliate themselves by simply washing the feet of their church brethren. Some argue that Jesus commanded only His disciples to wash one another’s feet. But Christ clearly shows that it is a command (not an option) for all people and all nations!

Those who obey Christ’s words by partaking of this meaningful ceremony each year are promised a special blessing of lasting happiness (John 13:17; 14:23).

The Days of Unleavened Bread

Immediately following the Passover, God requires us to keep the feast of Unleavened Bread annually. It is commanded for the clear and specific purpose of reminding us of the continual need to become completely sinless.

Notice Leviticus 23:6-8. “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.”

During this seven-day festival, God’s clearly stated law commands us to keep two separate holy convocations, or commanded assemblies, on which we are to meet, as God’s people, to receive teaching from God about the meaning of the days. On these two special high days—i.e., on the first and seventh days of Unleavened Bread—we are forbidden to continue in our regular work because our undivided attention during those high days is to be upon God. God also commands a freewill offering to be taken on these days.

God directs us to remove all leavened products from our homes prior to the observance of this particular festival (Exodus 12:15). Failure to remove leavening—a type of the pervasiveness of sin—means we will be cut off from salvation.

Besides removing leavening from our homes during this time, we must also eat unleavened bread throughout the week to remind us of the haste in which Israel fled Egypt. “Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life” (Deuteronomy 16:3).

The Days of Unleavened Bread begin, officially, at the beginning of Abib 15 (after sunset), just as the ancient Israelites were commanded to do, as their exodus from Egypt began on the same night. This was to be a “night to be much observed” (Exodus 12:42). God’s Church today continues to observe this special “night to be remembered,” as Church members around the world gather in small groups, in homes or in restaurants, to typify their spiritual deliverance from the bondage of sin.

In Hebrews 11, we see the connection between Egypt and sin; Revelation 11:8 also likens Egypt to sin. Following the analogy of Israel’s deliverance by godly intervention, we also make our exodus by miraculous intervention. Pharaoh can be equated to Satan. As the Israelites embarked en route to Palestine, they were chased by Pharaoh. So too, for us today: The moment we forsake our sinful ways, Satan is hot on our heels trying to tempt us back into disobedience (1 Peter 5:8). He is a deceiver; he constantly connives to bring us back into slavery (Romans 6:16). His goal is to prevent us from becoming perfect like our Father and thus keep us out of God’s Family.

Just as the Israelites were miserable under conditions of slavery in Egypt, so have we suffered under the influence of Satan’s world—a world of misery, disillusionment, discouragement and frustration. Satan’s way of life is contrary to that of our promised land, the Kingdom of God.

So one lesson we learn is that we are on a journey away from the captivity of Satan and his system. The Israelites encountered a multitude of obstacles on their exodus, as we do. God tested the ancient Israelites to determine their commitment to His law. He knew they would not live up to this test because they lacked His Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 5:29), but their example is for us today (1 Corinthians 10:11). Along our journey, we are tested by God as He proves our heart (Hebrews 12:6-7). Yet we should not be discouraged: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The primary lesson God was teaching ancient Israel, and is teaching us today, is to rely on Him for deliverance (Exodus 14:14). We are not capable of freeing ourselves; we need God. He always provides a way of escape. This is a promise. God’s goal is to prove to us that He is our only hope. By coming to this understanding, and yielding ourselves to Him and His law completely, we enjoy the benefits of coming under His justice system. Our promised land lies just over the horizon in the Kingdom of God. But again, we must learn to live under the law of God. The Days of Unleavened Bread symbolize our exodus and put us in remembrance of our need to remove every act of disobedience to God’s law from our lives.

The Apostle Paul wrote extensively about the law of God. Paul understood the Days of Unleavened Bread thoroughly. He used this holy day season to expose a major character flaw in the Corinthian church. Paul said they became “puffed up” with vanity as they presumed they were more converted and merciful than Paul (and even God) as they permitted a sinner to remain in their midst (1 Corinthians 5:1-2).

Paul compared the actions of leaven to that of sin, noting that” a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (verse 6). How do we correct this problem? “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (verses 7-8). The Corinthians were urged to take the leaven, or sin, out of their own lives. They were to remove the sinful individual from their midst.

Again, God commands that Christians abstain from leavened products during this seven-day period. We are to physically remove all leaven from our lives (homes and work). God doesn’t do this for sanitary reasons, but to teach a spiritual lesson.

What are we to replace the leaven with? Replace it with leaven-free, or unleavened bread (Exodus 12:15-20;13:6-7). We know that leaven represents sin and that deleavening is a symbolic representation of the removal of sin. However, it is not enough to just remove leaven—we must replace it with food that represents righteousness. Consumption of unleavened foods, especially unleavened bread, over the seven-day period of this feast will symbolize our desire to take in that spiritual diet of pure, unadulterated truth that we are striving to maintain. This is that “bread of righteousness,” the pure Word of God (John 6:31-33, 35).

Christ describes the spiritual analogy further in verses 48 and 50-51: “I am that bread of life …. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” The living Head of God’s true Church reveals that consuming this bread, literally consuming the Word of God, will eventually lead to eternal life.


God’s master plan coincides with two annual grain harvests that took place in the area of ancient Canaan (commonly called Palestine today). These two physical harvests are used by God to picture the two spiritual harvests.

Concerning these two harvest seasons, Lesson 35 of the1969 Ambassador College Correspondence Course said: “In Palestine there are two annual harvest seasons. The first one is a small spring harvest following the winter rains. It begins on the day of the wave sheaf offering, and ends at the Day of Pentecost. In the late summer and early autumn the second harvest season occurred. It followed the late spring or latter rains in Palestine. It ended with the Feast of ingathering, which is called in your Bible the Feast of Tabernacles …. The day of Pentecost pictures the very small early harvest.”

The instructions for the “wave sheaf offering” are in Leviticus 23:10-11. Notice verse 11 especially: “And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.” The high priest had to wave the sheaf of barley before God would accept it. Once God accepted it, the spring harvest began.

Now notice verses 15-16: ”And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.” So we are to begin counting on the day of the wave sheaf offering.

The wave sheaf was a special offering administered by the high priest. This event began the 50-day spring harvest which ended on the day of Pentecost. Notice the special instructions God gave for this particular offering: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it” (verses 10-11). This offering officially began the spring harvest. (For more information on exactly how the 50 days are counted, feel free to request our reprint article on counting Pentecost.) As our Passover, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7) was crucified on the same day the Old Testament lamb was killed (Abib/Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar). In actual history, this occurred late Wednesday afternoon in a.d. 31. Most in this world assume Christ was crucified on Friday afternoon, because the Scriptures refer to a Sabbath following the day Christ was killed. The following day, however, was an annual holy day (see John 19:31). This was the first day of Unleavened Bread.

Jesus died Wednesday afternoon and was buried just before sunset (Luke 23:52-54). He had to be in the grave for three full days and nights to fulfill the prophecy He stated in Matthew 12:39-40. Three full days and nights from late Wednesday afternoon leads us to late Saturday afternoon, which is actually when Jesus Christ was resurrected. Early Sunday morning, when Mary and her companions came to the sepulcher where Christ was buried, Jesus had already risen (see Mark 16:2, 6).

Shortly after that, Mary began to cry because she thought someone took Christ’s body (John 20:11). Then Christ appeared before her and before she could touch Him, He said, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (verse 17). So while Christ was resurrected late Saturday afternoon, He had not yet ascended to His Father when Mary saw Him early Sunday morning. Comparing this verse in John with Matthew 28:9 (when the disciples were allowed to touch Jesus) shows that Christ ascended to God’s throne later that day, on Sunday.

This is all very important because spiritually, Jesus Christ is that wave sheaf offering! Christ is the first of the firstfruits (1 Corinthians 15:23). He was the first human to actually be born again by a resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). He ascended before God the Father and was accepted as the firstfruit of the spiritual harvest precisely on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath! God’s people called out of this world will make up the rest of that spring harvest which is pictured by the day of Pentecost. The latter harvest, which occurs in the fall, pictures a time when all of mankind will have the opportunity to be saved. But before that is the firstfruits. And before the firstfruits is the first of the firstfruits—or the wave sheaf offering. The spiritual wave sheaf offering (Jesus Christ) occurred during the Days of Unleavened Bread in a.d. 31.

Old Testament history and the example of Jesus Christ prove that the wave sheaf Sunday always occurs during the Days of Unleavened Bread and after a weekly Sabbath.

Just as the spring harvest in Palestine was very small compared to the fall harvest, so will the firstfruits harvest be small in number compared to the great fall harvest when multiple billions of people will be given their first chance for salvation.

Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote in the May 1985 Good News: “[Pentecost] teaches us that we of the true Church are the ‘firstfruits’ only—the first to receive salvation through Christ. It teaches us that all others are not yet called.”

This is why the apostles in the New Testament didn’t go out looking for converts! And the same holds true today. God calls people into this wonderful work (John 6:44).

It was on Pentecost that the early New Testament Church first received the Holy Spirit. The Church began on Pentecost in a.d. 31 with 120 converts. And the Church grew as God called people out of this world (Acts 2:47).

Notice what Mr. Armstrong wrote later in that article: “Think on this! God is calling only a comparative few now. Is that an evil or a blessing? It is a tremendous blessing, for, referring to God’s Church for this Church dispensation only, Jesus says: ‘And he that overcometh [overcomes Satan and self and the world], and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron …’ (Revelation 2:26-27), and ‘To him that overcometh [Satan, the world and self] I will grant to sit with me in my throne’ (Revelation 3:21).

“Those promises pertain only to those called before Christ’s return. So some wanting to accuse God might ask: ‘Isn’t this unfair to those not called now? They have no chance to know, now, the joys of God’s Holy Spirit. And they have no promise of exalted position or power when they are “saved” later!’

“Absolutely no! There is no injustice with God. I’m sure those not now called do not feel they are discriminated against. They don’t want to be called. And as for high and glorified position, that is a responsibility, and I do not know of anyone uncalled who has any sense whatever of dissatisfaction because he may not have such exalted position in the World Tomorrow, ruled by the Kingdom of God.

“But nevertheless, this is an interesting point. Those called now do have Satan, Satan’s world, and their own human nature to overcome—and that requires effort, self-denial and willpower, which most humans would not want to pay.”

Those who have been called out of this world today do have much to overcome. But isn’t it worth it? The experiences from which we learn right now will aid us in teaching the masses in the World Tomorrow.

God has called us out of this world now, so He can later save the whole world, through us! We are not called now to just save ourselves. If God only wanted to get us into the Kingdom, He would not have called us now! He would have called us in the great fall harvest, as He will most of humanity. The firstfruit harvest is now, so God can prepare us to help in the great fall harvest! A huge job lies ahead. Then we will help God harvest most of humanity, so they too can become born sons of God.

This world is just waiting on the firstfruits. “Because the [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the [sonship], to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:21-23).

This world is groaning and travailing as it waits for our appearance, because we have the solutions to ease its pain. Notice verse 24: “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” The firstfruits are this world’s only hope. And yet this world is oblivious to the firstfruits and the fantastic meaning of Pentecost.

The Feast of Trumpets

The day of Trumpets pictures the greatest day in the history of this Earth: the day of Jesus Christ’s return and the resurrection of His saints.

Every king is crowned in a coronation ceremony. Jesus Christ is no exception! He too will be crowned as Supreme Ruler—as King of Kings.

God planned for Christ to be born a king. He knew only His Son could overcome the present king of this world, Satan the devil. And so He made the following prophecy: “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:31-33). Jesus Christ was born to reign over the nations of the Earth.

Jesus Christ understood His office. Just before His crucifixion, He was brought before Pontius Pilate, who asked Him, “Art thou a king then?” (John 18:37). Christ’s reply: “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” However, though Christ was born to be king over all, He is not crowned yet!

Christ did not, at His first coming over 19 centuries ago, replace Satan. He wasn’t crowned king at that time. No—He was crucified! He recognized that His Kingdom was not to be set up at that time. “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (verse 36).

It was not then time to assume the responsibility of that office. Jesus Christ is coming again, as we picture every year on the Feast of Trumpet—this time as King of kings, to bring the world peace and prosperity.

God first introduced the Feast of Trumpets to the nation of Israel after the Exodus, on the first day of the seventh month. God initiated the beginning of the civil calendar, or civil new year. It was, and still is, a high holy day accompanied by the blowing of the trumpets. As in all seven of God’s holy days, there is a commanded assembly (Leviticus 23:23-25).

The nation of Israel became quite familiar with blowing the trumpets. The Israelites had experienced firsthand the piercing sound of the trumpet as it became louder and louder in their ears at Mt. Sinai. God thundered the Ten Commandments, and the people trembled (Exodus 19:16-18).

The Feast of Trumpets is the key that unlocks the Millennium. It begins the sequence of events that put us at one with our God and removes the destroyer. It ushers in the government of God and His spirit-ruling Family. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” (Revelation 11:15-17).

The Feast of Trumpets is a vital link in the prophetic fulfilment of God’s plan for His Bride and for all who will be born into His Family.

The Feast of Trumpets is the fourth holy day out of seven for the year. Four is the number of new beginnings. The day of Trumpets sounds the beginning of the new age of the rulership of Christ and His wife—the Family of God. All of His great saints of the past will be resurrected on that day (verse 16). On the day of Christ’s return, all of our beloved teachers of the past who taught the Word of God will be there: Moses, David, the prophets, the apostles—and all the loyal saints of God.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). Jesus Christ will return as the fulfillment of this fantastic day of Trumpets!

The Day of Atonement

Atonement literally means “at one with”—we are to be at one with God! The Day of Atonement is perhaps the most unusual holy day of the year. Why? Because it is the one 24-hour period in which God commands His people to “afflict your souls”! (Leviticus 23:26-27, 32). The words afflict and fast are interchangeable (Ezra 8:21; Isaiah 58:3, 5).

What the Day of Atonement pictures is man, not only at one with God, but free and independent from Satan. This is why God commands fasting on this day. Proper fasting frees us from our fleshly lusts and brings us close to God. Isaiah 58:6 states, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” There is a certain sense of liberation associated with Atonement. This day pictures the time when humanity will be freed from the evil, sinful burdens that weigh on it.

Abstaining from food pictures abstaining from fleshly lusts, resisting sin, and resisting Satan—which is what the world will be doing once this day is fulfilled. Throughout the Millennium, this day will be observed as a memorial of mankind’s being freed from Satan. But now we fast to learn how to be free from Satan—because we still have to deal with him. Probably the most powerful example of fasting is that found in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, in the context of Christ’s titanic battle with Satan. Christ prepared to replace Satan as god of this world by fasting, removing any temptation to rely on Himself or His physical body, and instead relying on His Father. And how did Satan first tempt Christ? “And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread” (Luke 4:3). Satan knew that if he could get Jesus to focus on the physical and thus rely on Himself, He would no longer rely on God.

The fact is, man is dependent on physical food. But notice how Christ responded in verse 4: “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Man can learn by fasting that just as he was created to need food, so was he created to need the words of his Creator! Just as badly as we feel we need food or water when we fast—just as much as our knotted stomachs yearn and dry mouths cry out—that is how desperately we need God!

Paul states in Romans 6:16, 18: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?… Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” It is a universal law that man would be a servant of one power or another. Once the world is independent from Satan, it then will be reliant on God. Atonement is a type of independence day for the world—but only independence from Satan. Then man will be at one with God and will be dependent on Him.

Man was created with a human spirit (Job 32:8)—the performance of which depended on the presence of God’s powerful Holy Spirit. God created it that way. All of mankind will have access to the Spirit, access to the Father, once Satan receives the blame for all his deception and is removed from this Earth.

Remember, when Christ our Passover died for us, the veil to the holy of holies was ripped apart. Because He qualified to replace Satan as ruler of the Earth, He also paid the ransom to free us from the kidnapper and deceiver of all civilization. We, as firstfruits, can now have access to God the Father, the holy of holies, and the Holy Spirit to combine with our spirit. And it will be the same for the entire world when the Day of Atonement is fulfilled!

Once at one with God, humanity will be on the path leading to membership in the God Family. Mankind will develop His character, His nature and eventually have everlasting life in His family. And all because they learned to rely on Him!

Romans 6:22 states, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Once freed from sin, we are then servants at one with God, eventually attaining our potential to have life as God has life.

What a vision contained in the Day of Atonement!

This evil world will soon learn this vision. All men will soon learn what true independence is: freedom from Satan, freedom from evil human nature, but reliance on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of their Creator.

The Feast of Tabernacles

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

Here we read the command to keep a Feast to the Eternal for seven days. Seven days to be filled spiritually and physically with the best of God’s blessings. Seven days that picture a joyous time in the near future when this Earth will reap the abundance of God poured out upon the human family—the millennial, 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on the Earth.

Notice Deuteronomy 16:13-15: ”Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.”

There is God’s command for your immediate family (“thou, and thy son, and thy daughter”), your extended family (“thy manservant, and thy maidservant”) and your spiritual family (“the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow”)—to rejoice as a total family before Him, and with Him, the head of the God Family!

Everything we read here shows that God made the Feast of Tabernacles to be a joyous Feast for the family. To understand God’s command to rejoice, and how we are to do so, we need to meditate on what this Feast portrays.

This rejoicing spoken of in the Psalms is of a people who have been spared. Consider the plight of these individuals: They have been starved, lived with the pain of loved ones perishing, perhaps witnessed the raping of their own precious daughters, the murder of their defenseless babies—treated like cattle by a beast power that considered them sub-human.f

Most, if not all of them, might have begged for death because they just could not stand to see, or endure, that existence; and now, the Kingdom of God has arrived, and they rejoice! This picture does not equate to a time of drunkenness, partying or gluttony. It is a time of relief from pain—a time of gladness and joy because the earth finally has been given a government of love and mercy—the government of God. A time when families can be together and not have to worry about crime or catastrophe. A time when Satan will be bound for a thousand years. That’s the kind of rejoicing we see here. “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof” (Psalm 97:1).

God commands us to rejoice before Him at the Feast of Tabernacles. How does He reveal to His servants where the Feast will be? Before the Bible was written, He spoke directly to men. Adam, Enoch and Abraham communicated with God personally. Today, God speaks directly to His servant through His written Word—the Holy Bible.

And Christ commands us, personally, to come to the Feast of Tabernacles and appear before our God.

Attending the Feast where God places His name is a means of developing God’s very character in us. We need to prove to God that obedience to Him is first in our lives! To enable us to appear before Him, God tells us to use the second tithe, which we have diligently saved, on good food and drink in a way that will cause us to rejoice at His Feast (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). Here, God says,” And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after [margin, rightly desires], for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household” (verse 26).

And God promises to bless us and all the work of our hands, whatever our source of income might be, if we obey Him in this command. And for this reason we shall rejoice in the Feast knowing that we’re receiving a blessing by keeping it! (verse 24).

In ancient times, when travel expenses were of little consequence, the tithe was used to cover food expenses primarily. But today, since the purpose of the second tithe is to enable us to attend the festivals, sometimes much more of it has to be spent for transportation than for food. “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there … that thou mayest learn to fear the Lordt hy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money … and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose … and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice” (verses 22-26).

The second tithe is to be used to attend the festivals. Reading further we see: “Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine … but thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter. …”

(Deuteronomy 12:17-18).There is the positive command that those who cannot attend the Feast should not use the second tithe at home.

Many prophecies show us that the Feast pictures a time when there will be worldwide obedience to God’s government. “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:17-19).

Over and over again, God tells us that the Feast of Tabernacles is a time of rejoicing! It pictures the millennial reign of Christ—a time which Herbert W. Armstrong referred to as the “Wonderful World Tomorrow.”

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God” (Isaiah 35:1-2)

The Last Great Day

The Last Great Day is observed immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles and represents a time called the Great White Throne Judgment.

The Great White Throne Judgment is a term used to describe the time after the 1,000-year reign of Christ, when all who have ever lived and not known God will be resurrected to mortal life and be taught God’s way. The term comes from this passage in Revelation 20:11-13: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” Everyone will be condemned for his or her sins, because all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Yet, at this judgment, they will be given the opportunity to repent—to change from their former ways and live a life with the knowledge of God’s ways.

This shows the awesome plan and loving mercy of our great Creator God. This world has been cut off from Him for 6,000 years. All mankind has been deceived by Satan the devil (Revelation 12:9), except for the select few God has called out. When Christ returns at the end of the 6,000 years, He will set up His government. With Satan put away, the world will finally know peace and joy. Christ will rule with the resurrected saints (Revelation 20:4)—those few called out today. Notice verse 5: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” At the end of the 1,000 years, two things will happen: Firstly, Satan will be released from his prison (verse 7); after he deceives the nations yet once again and is banished from Earth forever and ever, every other human being who has ever lived throughout the 6,000 years of Satan’s reign over Earth will be resurrected.

This second resurrection is described in Ezekiel 37:1-14. They will then finally have God’s truth revealed to them (verses 13-14) and be given their chance to become a part of God’s Kingdom. The many billions of people who did not learn God’s way during their lifetime finally will be taught it.

In His mercy, God will resurrect your loved ones that did not learn the truth. God will also resurrect serial killers, sex offenders and other criminals. Men like Adolf Hitler, Attila the Hun and Genghis Kahn—who simply did not understand God’s truth in their lifetimes—will be given the chance they never had to learn God’s way. They will have their one opportunity along with everyone else who has not yet received this chance. This period of time is called the Great White Throne Judgment.

Only one passage reveals the duration of the Great White Throne Judgment: Isaiah 65:17-25. In verse 20, we read, “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” From this point on, no more infants will be born. There will then be two classes of people: “the child” and “the sinner.”

“The child,” in this instance, refers to a person who is righteous. We are to enter the Kingdom of God as a little child (Luke 18:17). Why, then, does the Prophet Isaiah say that the child will die? Because, at some point, this temporal, physical existence of the righteous will end. Those who fall into the category of “the child” will become Spirit-born sons of God, just as those who were Christ’s at His coming did in the first resurrection. They also will be “changed … in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). The sinners will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 14:10), ending their existence.

Then with God’s plan for this Earth concluded, the development of the entire universe can begin!