Most of mankind has no idea what God is doing in our world today. In the Bible, God reveals His Plan for our future and eternity!
Does our Creator have a master plan in working out His supreme purpose for all mankind? Very few humans seem to be aware of that purpose. Yet, it is not only very meaningful, but absolutely inspiring when you truly grasp what our Creator is doing!
As thousands of you Tomorrow’s World subscribers are no doubt aware, the vast majority of professing Christians have very little knowledge of what the Bible actually says. Many respected, independent pollsters have clearly demonstrated for years that most churchgoers very seldom study their Bibles. Some will often read an occasional Psalm or “inspirational” portion of the Bible. But far fewer actually study the Bible to sincerely seek understanding of God’s purpose, His way of life and His will as to how we humans should live.
Sadly, because they do not understand God’s plan, millions of professing Christians have no idea that when Jesus Christ returns to this earth, everything is going to change. First of all—as we have proved repeatedly in this magazine—the ultimate reward for true Christians is not “going off to heaven forever” with nothing to do. Describing Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, your Bible states, “Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” (Revelation 11:15).
So Christ will soon rule “the kingdoms of this world”—not up in heaven! Secondly, His saints will assist Him in teaching and ruling over the nations right here on earth. As Revelation 5:9–10 points out, Christ has redeemed us by His blood and has “made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Therefore, soon after Christ’s Second Coming, the entire world will begin to learn to practice God’s way of life.
Notice what your own Bible describes about this soon-coming joyous era. After describing how Jerusalem will be taken in battle and “half of the city shall go into captivity,” the Bible tells us that Christ will go forth to fight the nations and “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:1–4). In verse nine, the story continues, “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.” Continuing in verse 16, Almighty God tells us in His inspired word: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16–19).
My friends, can we believe what the Bible actually says? Think! Most of you reading this grew up in “traditional” Protestant and Catholic churches keeping Christmas and Easter. Yet those days—like many other religious festivals on church calendars—are never even mentioned in your Bible!
Why is this? Why do most people today ignore the seven festivals that God establishes in His word, which Scripture shows will soon be observed by all the world in Christ’s coming Kingdom—a time of “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:20–21)?
The amazing truth is that God’s plan for mankind is revealed in the seven annual festivals He gave His people in the Bible. If you who read this are willing to do what God says now, you will end up being “pioneers” in obeying your Creator and will certainly be among those kings and priests assisting Christ in ruling the entire world and bringing about an entire world full of peace, prosperity and joy which the world has always longed for but never been able to achieve. God’s own calendar reveals His master plan for our world—and for you!
In your Bible, you will find that Jesus Christ and the apostles did observe the religious festivals described in the Old Testament. They are not “Jewish” festivals but religious observances commanded for all human beings, which—as we saw in Zechariah 14—absolutely will be observed by the entire world in a few years when Christ’s feet are again upon this earth. In fact, the New Testament Church of God began on one of these festivals—the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4).
Pentecost was not merely a “one-time event.” For later in the book of Acts, Luke’s inspired account tells us that Paul was going to observe another Pentecost: “For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:16).
Earlier in Acts 20, Luke wrote about his travels with Paul: “But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days” (Acts 20:6). So Paul and his companions were observing the “Days of Unleavened Bread” in a Gentile city—just as they, in fact, observed all of God’s Holy Days throughout the book of Acts.
Interestingly, in the very pagan Gentile city of Corinth, Paul—the apostle to the Gentiles—commanded the Christian brethren: “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:6–8).
So, here is a New Testament command for the Gentiles at Corinth to “keep the Feast”—definitely the Feast of Unleavened Bread which God commanded in the Old Testament and which continued to be kept until it and other apostolic practices were stamped out by a professing Christianity that brought in more and more pagan festivals in place of those Almighty God had commanded. As the respected Protestant historian, Jesse Lyman Hurlbut—writing about the period between 313ad and 476ad—acknowledges: “The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship. Some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals with change of name and worship. About 405ad images of saints and martyrs began to appear in the churches, at first as memorials, then in succession revered, adored, and worshipped” (The Story of the Christian Church, p. 79).
So, although the early “Christian” leaders were accommodative to the pagans around them, God warned our spiritual forefathers against following the customs of the surrounding heathen nations, saying: “Do not inquire after their gods, saying ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:30–31).
Jesus Christ warned the religious leaders of His day, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9). Notice carefully Jesus’ comment about rejecting the commandment of God by following human tradition. This is very definitely the case when we consider which days God made holy. For virtually no one keeps the days introduced by the pagans and also observes the biblical Holy Days that God commands and which Christ and the Apostolic Church observed—days that, when kept and understood, reveal His “master plan” for humanity.
In effect, you have to choose. Even in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea during stormy weather, the Apostle Paul chose to observe the Day of Atonement (Acts 27:9). Many Protestant commentaries acknowledge that “the fast” commented on here had to be the Day of Atonement—commanded by God in the Old Testament. Yet Paul was not in some synagogue but out in the ocean on a Roman prison ship with mainly Gentiles surrounding him. As all of us should do, he was following Christ’s example in keeping holy the days that God made holy.
In 1 Corinthians 11:23–26, Paul tells us how we are to keep the Passover service. Again, the “Passover” is one of God’s seven annual festivals commanded to be kept by His people forever.
In John 7, we are told how Jesus Christ—setting us an example—went up “secretly”—as it were—to keep the Feast of Tabernacles even though His life was in danger by so doing! Earlier, He had commanded His brothers: “You go up to this Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, for My time is not yet fully come” (John 7:8). Would Jesus have commanded His own brothers to do something contrary to God’s will? Of course not. For again, Christ was setting us an example of what it means to be a genuine Christian and obey the way of God. So Jesus observed the Feast of Tabernacles just as we will see the entire world doing within a few years!
Throughout the New Testament, we find that Jesus Christ and His genuine followers were observing the seven annual festivals given by Almighty God. Seven, by the way, is used throughout the Bible as a number of completion or perfection. As most of you know, God’s weekly Sabbath day falls on the seventh day, not just any day of the week or of man’s devising.
Again, remember that Jesus Christ was sent into this world as the “light” of the world to set us an example. True Christians will follow that example. As the Apostle Paul instructed the Christians of his day, “Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). So each of us needs to exercise the faith and the courage to follow the example of Jesus Christ and the original Church of God. Even though God’s festivals are fully listed only in the Old Testament, it is very clear that they were commanded for God’s true people forever, and the example of Christ and His true followers shows that they are to be observed.
My friends, Satan the Devil has done a masterful job of deceiving most people into believing that whatever is “Jewish” is bad! Yet—throughout the Bible—it is clear that God sent forth His basic teachings in centuries past and gave them to His people Israel in the letter—not yet revealing the full meaning of what He was telling them to do. Jesus told the Gentile woman He met at Jacob’s well: “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:22–24).
Indeed, salvation originated and is “of the Jews” since God gave His basic teachings through ancient Israel and fully expounded them through Jesus Christ and His apostles. Remember, Jesus was a Jew. Do not everget into an “anti-Jewish” spirit, which will lead you right out of God’s Kingdom and eternal life!
One of Jesus’ first instructions is given in Luke 4:4: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” The only written “word of God” extant at that time is what we call the Old Testament. So the basic foundational teachings are certainly set forth in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ quoted from the Old Testament as “scripture” many, many times—as did His apostles throughout the New Testament.
A complete “listing” of the Holy Days of God and His festivals is given in Leviticus 23. You should study this entire chapter carefully and note that these festivals were declared to be “statutes” that were to be observed forever. And when Almighty God describes the time of Christ’s Second Coming and the re-gathering of His people at the beginning of Christ’s reign on earth, He states: “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27). So God’s people will be taught to walk in His “statutes” in that time when Christ is ruling on this earth in Tomorrow’s World.
Please understand! We certainly do not mean to indicate that every “letter of the law” of these Old Testament passages is to be carried out by New Testament Christians! As Paul clearly explained throughout the book of Hebrews, the animal sacrifices, washings and other rituals were only given as a “school master” for a limited time. They were “concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation” (Hebrews 9:10). So certain sacrifices and washings were done almost every day of the week. Special sacrifices were, indeed, placed on God’s weekly and annual Sabbaths. But these sacrifices were only imposed for that time—“until the time of reformation.”
The example of Christ and the apostles keeping these Holy Days certainly indicates that the days themselves were not done away along with the sacrifices. And the inspiring instruction of Zechariah 14 indicates that God’s days will certainly continue to be kept—and finally kept—by all human beings once Christ returns and the “times of restoration” are indeed upon us at Christ’s Second Coming. As clearly shown by the powerful passage we saw earlier in Zechariah 14, the statutes describing God’s religious festivals are not “done away” in any manner, shape or form. For these wonderful religious festivals do picture the magnificent plan of our Creator.
So, again, let me now set forth an overview of all seven of God’s annual religious festivals so we can better understand His Master Plan as revealed through them. First comes the solemn observance of Christ’s suffering and death on our behalf. The Bible calls this the “Passover.” It pictures our acceptance of Christ’s broken body and shed blood, which He offered as our Savior. But remember, this is only the first step in God’s Plan for us! Next, we need to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) and begin to put our old sinful ways and habits completely out of our lives. This “overcoming” process is pictured by the Days of Unleavened Bread, a seven-day festival that begins with one annual Holy Day and ends with another.
God’s master plan reveals that we in the Spirit-begotten Church—the “little flock” (Luke 12:32)—are just the “firstfruits” of the great spiritual harvest that will occur after Christ’s Second Coming. So, God’s third annual festival, the Feast of Pentecost or Feast of “Firstfruits,” pictures the fact that only a very small spiritual harvest is being reaped by God at this time. God is not trying to save the whole world now. Otherwise He would be doing so—and the billions of unbelievers of past ages and even in our present day in China, India and other nations would quickly come to full understanding of the true God and genuine acceptance of His Son as their Lord and Savior!
The next step in God’s master plan is pictured by the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24). This festival pictures the cataclysmic events at the end of this present age and Christ’s second coming. Trumpets were literally used in ancient Israel as alarms of war. In our day, at the climax of a series of wars and worldwide upheavals, Jesus Christ will return and the dead will be raised “at the last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:51–52).
After that, God will supernaturally bind Satan and put him into the bottomless pit “so that he should deceive the nations no more” (Revelation 20:3). Finally, with Satan bound, man can become “at one” with God. This is clearly pictured by the fifth annual festival—the Day of Atonement.
After Christ’s return, God will pour out His Spirit and begin to enlighten all of humanity with the true understanding of His great plan. At that time, God says, “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). This is pictured by our joyous observance of the sixth annual festival in God’s Plan—the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles or “Feast of Ingathering” (Exodus 34:22).
God’s calendar is based upon the harvest seasons of Israel. It pictures for Christians the spiritual harvest God plans to reap—first, the small spring harvest pictured by the Feast of Firstfruits, then, at the end of this age, the massive autumn harvest pictured by the Feast of Ingathering.
After all of this, you might wonder, what part of God’s master plan could there still be left to picture? The answer is found in the seventh and final festival God gave His people. What will happen to the untold billions of people of past ages who never understood virtually anything about the true God, about Jesus Christ, or about God’s purpose for their lives? What will happen to these “unsaved” billions of human beings since “there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11)?
The answer is found in the festival known as the Last Great Day (John 7:37). This festival pictures the time when God will—for the first time—open the minds of billions to understand His word, and give them a genuine opportunity to have their names written in the “Book of Life” (Revelation 20:11–12).
From our first acceptance of Christ as Savior, to the picturing of His Second Coming, all the way until the Last Great Day picturing the time when all human beings will finally have a real opportunity for salvation—these God-given, God-inspired festivals reveal the magnificent plan of God. The pagan religious festivals that Satan has foisted off on a deceived humanity are indeed a cheap substitute. For, in reality, they picture a false god, a false Christ and lead to the acceptance of a false gospel, which directly contradicts the true message that Christ and the apostles preached!
The seven religious festivals commanded by Almighty God to His people truly picture the Master Plan that God is working out here below.
If you would like to learn more and if you would like to learn and prove to yourself the details about these festivals and their full description in the Bible and how to keep them, be sure and write us or call us immediately and ask for your free copy of our truly inspiring and eye-opening booklet entitled, The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan. This booklet will truly “open your eyes” to truth that very few professing Christians on earth have understood. For Satan the Devil does indeed have his “master plan” and he has deceived “the whole world” according to your Bible (Revelation 12:9).
So take action! Call us or write us today to request your free copy of this powerful and vital booklet to help you understand God’s great purpose. If you are interested in observing God’s Holy Days with those of us in this Work, please write or phone the Living Church of God office nearest you. Be assured that no one will call on you unless you request it. If you desire, one of our representatives will set up an appointment at a time and place convenient for you. You will not be pressured to “join” anything. In fact, our minister or local representative may suggest that you do further reading, take your time and be sure that you truly want to live by every word of God.
But once you start acting on the Truth, you will be delighted to find people of like faith with whom to fellowship, to study and to learn and practice together God’s way of life. You will be part of a joyous spiritual “family” and have an opportunity to gain spiritual understanding and truth right out of the Bible in a way you have never done before. By obeying your Creator—by acting on the Truth—you will truly be preparing to be one of those kings and priests in Tomorrow’s World. You will then be fulfilling your part in God’s Master Plan for your life.