Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] The real question of the day is, will you keep the feast that Jesus kept? The day is coming when all of God's feasts will be kept, when Christ establishes the kingdom of God right here on earth.
As a child, I remember going to church one week, and the pastor announced it was Pentecost Sunday. I didn't know what that was all about and why it was different from any other day. Now I came to learn that most church-goers, even as adults, don't really understand much about the days on which they worship. Have you heard of Pentecost? I know it's true, most Christian denominations recognize this day. They see a connection between the outpouring of God's spirit, but there's so much more to it. And that's where it gets interesting, when you begin to look into the history of the day.
Pentecost is originally one of God's holy days that He commanded His people to observe. And did you know that God gave times of special worship during the harvest seasons throughout the year? In the book of Exodus it tells us three times you shall keep a feast to me in the year, God says. Now the first three annual festivals are connected to the time of the spring harvest in the land of Israel. The last four are related to the harvests of summer and fall.
Now the intriguing part is it wasn't just about harvesting crops. The Bible actually reveals the physical harvest of crops represents something. They're symbolic, they're symbolizing God's plan to spiritually harvest human beings and give salvation through Jesus Christ. Have you ever noticed that connection before? I mean, think about that for a moment. Remember when Jesus Himself said, “the harvest is truly plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” You see, Christ Himself taught there will be spiritual harvest of God. Now, not wheat or grain but of people, people. It's fascinating when you begin to recognize and realize that God actually gave seven, seven biblical festivals.
Now if you stay with me, coming up we'll see how they were to be for all of us, for all people. They weren't just for Israel, they weren't just for the Jews. And fact we can begin reading about these back in the book of Leviticus. Leviticus chapter 23 actually spells out these festivals and it's important to recognize where they begin. In chapter 23, verse one, it says, “the Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to the children of Israel and say to them, the feast of the Lord which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations. These are My feasts.” So God begins to reveal these seven festivals by saying they're His feasts. They don't belong to any people, no group, but to God Himself. And it's interesting He begins with the Sabbath. The Sabbath, really the first of God's special days of worship. Now going on, we find them revealed 'till we get to verse 15. And in verse 15 He says, “You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheath of the wave offering. Seven Sabbaths shall be completed.” Then He says, “Count 50 days to the day after the seventh Sabbath, then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.” And so many don't realize what's being spoken about, this is the original festival that later became known as Pentecost.
The Greek translation of the Old Testament word "fifty" in that phrase, count 50 days, that's Pentecost in the Greek. And it means 50th. Now most don't understand that the New Testament records that the church, the first century church, the Christian church continued to observe these days including the Sabbath and all of those biblical festivals. So you begin to see there's so much more than just Pentecost Sunday. In fact if you check it out you'll find that Jesus Himself observed seven of them. And we're supposed to be His followers. We're told to walk as He walked or live as He lived, is what the apostle John talked about. In fact, you find that the New Testament church miraculously began on one of these annual festivals at the day of Pentecost.
Now we can read about that in Acts chapter two. And it tells us, when the Pentecost day arrived, the disciples were all together in one place. Suddenly there was a sound from heaven. It was like the howling of a fierce wind and that sound filled the entire house where they were sitting. Then another miracle. They saw something amazing, something that that seemed to be individual flames of fire that came to rest on each one of them. Miraculously, they were then all filled with the Holy Spirit of God and they began to speak. They spoke in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. Now, this amazing event recorded in Acts chapter two is actually a fulfillment of a prophecy of Jesus Christ. Christ Himself said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to be with you always, the spirit of truth.” He said, “The world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you and will be in you.” Christ said, “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.”
So you see in this day of Pentecost most churches, they recognize this powerful event, that God poured out His spirit. Now, some unfortunately mistakenly think that they should speak in tongues. That's not the biblical lesson that's being taught here. You see, giving of God's spirit is what we find here. And that's when the true Church of God began. And when did it happen? On the Feast of Weeks, on Pentecost.
Now there's so much to learn about the connection between the feast of weeks and Pentecost in the New Testament. In fact, that's why we put together this special Bible study aid. God's Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for Mankind. This study aid will really help you to understand the truth about Pentecost. In fact, all of God's Holy Days, because he reveals His plan through an annual cycle of festivals that are described throughout scriptures, Old Testament and New Testament. And it is an amazing plan that holds an incredible future for mankind. So be sure to call us at the number on your screen, or go to beyondtoday.tv. You need to understand what God's plan is, and what do these special days of worship have to do with the purpose that God has in store for us? So call us at the number on your screen, or go to beyondtoday.tv.
Now, you don't want to forget that Pentecost in the Greek is the Feast of Weeks that we read about in Leviticus 23. Sometimes it's called the feast of harvest as well. Did you know there's another name? It's also called the day of first fruits. Numbers 28 says, “also on the day of fruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the Lord at your feast of weeks.” So you see, those two are actually the same. So this harvest festival also represents the first fruits. You might say, well, what's a first fruit anyway? Well, that's the initial grain that was gathered from the spring grain harvest. The first fruits are the first ones to mature and to ripen.
Let me give you an example. Have you ever grown tomatoes in your backyard? Well, if you have, there's always just a few tomatoes that seem to ripen before all the rest. That might just be three or four of them, but those are first fruits. Now, the 20 or 30 others, they're still green. They're not going to ripen for a week or two. And so we have this connection to Pentecost. It represents those spiritual first fruits. Now what you find all through the Bible is that God uses that analogy of the harvest. It illustrates so many aspects of His plan of salvation. So just as His people harvested their crops, God's Holy Days show us how He is harvesting people for eternal life in His Kingdom.
Now when you see all of these different facets of God's days and the harvest, there are harvest lessons that you see in the New Testament. And in fact one of the biggest lessons, it points to Jesus Christ Himself. In Romans 8:29, it speaks of Jesus Christ as the firstborn of many brethren. And in fact, there's not only references to Jesus. The New Testament church is also considered to be first fruits. In James chapter one verse 18 it tells us, “of His own will, He brought us forth by the word of truth that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. So you see God's spirit within us, that identifies us. It sets us apart, it sanctifies us as God's people, as true Christians. So members of the church are those who have the first fruits of the spirit.
Now, there's an interesting example of this that we find in first Corinthians chapter 15. And it speaks about a spiritual harvest. Just like those crops that are being harvested, Corinthians tells us that God will resurrect the dead in a specific order, like crops are harvested in a specific order. And in chapter 15, verse 20, it tells us this. It says, “Now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” So we have Christ initially, and then it goes on and tells us more are going to be harvested at His return.
So notice what verse 23 says. Each one in his own order. It says Christ, the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ at His coming. So that speaks of the resurrection of God's people at Christ's return. That's when they will receive immortality, they will receive spirit bodies at that time. And so we recognize that though Holy Days, reveal that plan of God Pentecost is one of annual reminders. I mean, God did some amazing miracles back in time, but it wasn't just then. Our Creator is still working miracles. He gives us His spirit when He calls His people to be first fruits, to be the first in His spiritual harvest.
I know if you begin to study the Bible you'll be, I'm always amazed. I'm amazed at the continuity between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the unity that is there. You can't just throw out the Old Testament and get the whole picture. You find that it all fits together in a beautiful way. In fact, the New Testament, it shows us that the first century Christian Church continued to observe the biblical festivals and it wasn't just Pentecost. There are seven of God's festivals that the New Testament Church of God is to observe. In fact, it begins with Passover and in the New Testament you'll find many references to Passover.
It's followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread, also found throughout the New Testament. There's Pentecost, like we've been speaking about. And then those fall festivals, Trumpets comes next, followed by the Day of Atonement. Yes, you can find references in the New Testament. And Feast of Tabernacles, followed by the eighth day. All of these are connected I think in an amazing way, because you might ask, well what was Jesus's practice? What was His custom?
You know, today you've got little bracelets that have the initials, WWJD, “what would Jesus do.” People ask that. Well, what would Jesus do when it comes to these festivals? Well, read your Bible. If you read the New Testament, you'll find Jesus observed all seven of them, all of them. And what did He teach? That His church, the New Testament church, should observe these days as well. And of course, being His followers, what did He say over and over and over again? He said, “follow me,” follow me. And so we need to follow Christ's example.
And in fact, if you order our study aid, God's Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for Mankind, you'll be able to take a look at those passages that I was referencing in the New Testament. In fact, there's beautiful graphics in our booklet that detail specific scripture in New Testament that you'll want to study. You'll want to recognize these different passages and realize God taught His church to observe these days. Call us at the number on your screen, or go to beyondtoday.tv. You can download the booklet, read it right there online. Be sure and call us for your free copy. I know some might say well, wait a second. Didn't Christ nail those things to the cross? I thought they were done away with. We hope you'll order a booklet. You'll realize that there is deep spiritual meaning in these days. So call us at the number on your screen, or go to beyondtoday.tv. I think you'll be amazed by what your Bible has to say about God's Holy Days.
Now I realize most Christians certainly see that Jesus Christ was the perfect model of how we as Christians should live. I mean, shouldn't our practice follow what the Bible approves? I mean, I think most people would agree with that. But what most people don't realize, they don't realize that the only services, that the only religious festivals that are commanded or approved in the Bible are the ones that Jesus Himself kept. Now, Christ observed the festivals, and He did so for more than just one reason. There's an interesting aspect to why He did, not only because God commanded them, not only because He should do them, not only because He taught His church to observe them. But these days are also relevant to His message. Christ came preaching the Kingdom of God. And when you observe God's Holy Days, when you actually keep them, it will help you to learn so much about God's plan and His purpose. That He wants to give mankind eternal life. He wants to give life to those who will become His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. And in fact, you will find Christ in these days. They are Christian festivals with deep spiritual meaning and significance. Study your Bible, get it out and read the words for yourself. And it'll help you to recognize it's true.
The apostles and the disciples in the early church continued to observe these festivals long after Jesus's death and resurrection. In fact, I'll give you one example. It's an example found in first Corinthians chapter five, verse eight. In fact, this passage was written more than a quarter of a century after the crucifixion and resurrection. So here we are years and years later, and notice the instruction given here. It says, “Therefore, let us keep the feast.” Let us keep the feast. It says. “not with old leaven nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Now, this focuses on that festival of unleavened bread. But what we find is that by observing these feasts, actually keeping them as we're told to do, that we are focused on and we are reminded of the work of Jesus Christ in fulfilling God's plan of salvation. And like the early church, we have to observe them too. It's our duty, our honor, to be able to keep these beautiful days that God gave us.
Now have you ever wondered, well why doesn't my church observe God's Holy Days? Now you can read for yourself many references about these Holy Days. In fact, even in the new Catholic encyclopedia, it tells us something interesting. It tells us that Jesus and the apostles and the first century church actually observed these festivals. It tells us this. Many references in the New Testament indicate that Jesus and His disciples as well as the early Palestinian Christian communities, observed the Sabbath and the major annual festivals. So there it is, but what happened? Well, many false teachings became attached to Christianity.
Eventually those who continued in the teachings and practices of Christ and His apostles became a small minority among those who began to identify themselves as Christian. New days of worship were instituted, most of them from pagan origin. Weekly Sunday observance came to be the practice of so many and annual holidays like Easter and Christmas found their way into Christianity. The gospel about Christ's literal future return to rule all the nations in the Kingdom of God, it was kind of lost, it was altered. And the Roman church became the great apostate church. Now in time, the Protestant reformation came. Now despite many changes, it continued in many false teachings and unfortunately there was no return to biblical days of worship.
Now consider the great significant of God's Holy Days. They have so much meaning and they build, one upon another, upon another. And they progressively reveal how God is working with humanity. The first of those days is Passover, Passover. Now that reminds us of the lamb's blood on the doors in Egypt, but it also points to Christ. Christ Himself was sinless, and He was the sacrificial lamb of God who takes away our sin. It all has to start with the removal of sin and Jesus Christ.
Next, we have the Days of Unleavened Bread. That also recalls the Israelite exit from Egypt, and remember, crossing the Red Sea, being freed from captivity. But it didn't stop there. Jesus Christ leads us to repent our sin. He leads us out of sin, like those Israelites left Egypt. They left that sin behind. We can do the same through Jesus Christ, and we can repent of sin and live by every word of God.
Next is Pentecost. We've been talking about that first spiritual harvest of first fruits, and by the power of God's spirit we can overcome sin.
Next up is the Feast of Trumpets. It reminds us that Jesus Christ will return. He will literally return at the end of this age, and He'll be announced by the sound of a trumpet.
Now, Trumpets is followed by the Day of Atonement. Here something critical happens. The primary cause of sin will be removed. Satan will be bound when Christ returns. In fact, it also pictures Jesus Christ as our high priest. He makes atonement before God for all the sins of mankind. That's followed by the Feast of Tabernacles, and Tabernacles celebrates the fact that Jesus will set up His government on earth for 1,000 years.
And we conclude with the Eighth Day, it is the culmination of God's plan to offer salvation to all. People who died in the past and who did not understand God's way of life will be resurrected back to physical life. And they'll be given a full opportunity to learn about God's plan end to respond to that plan. And so what you find is incredible spiritual meaning throughout God's Holy Day plan.
Jesus Christ is at the heart and center of what God is doing and what He will do. In fact, I'd love for you to learn more about it by ordering our free study guide, God's Holy Day Plan, the Promise of Hope for All Mankind. It details what God is doing, and what God's plan is all about and how it's reflected in those festivals. You've got questions? I'm sure that you probably do. Well, you can get your questions answered. So call us at the number on your screen and we'll send you a free copy of God's Holy Day Plan. Or if you'd like, go to our website, beyondtoday.tv. There, you can download it, read it, or get it right on your smartphone or your tablet. Get your copy of God's Holy Day Plan, because it will help you to answer the questions of, "Why doesn't my church keep these days?" And after all, Christ said we should, so I better look into this. So order your study aid, God's Holy Day Plan. No doubt, the annual festivals and Holy Days of the Bible, they remind us of God's plan that is represented through these festival days. The real question of the day is, will you keep the feasts that Jesus kept? Most who identify as Christians don't for now. But beyond today, everyone will. Don't just settle for Pentecost. The day is coming when all of God's feasts will be kept, when Christ establishes the Kingdom of God right here on earth. I pray that you'll learn about His days and hear God's call drawing you near to observe His festivals. So make it your goal to worship and praise Him in spirit and in truth, by honoring the design of salvation that's found in God's Holy Days.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet God's Holy Day Plan, the Promise of Hope for All Mankind. Most believe God's seven annual festivals are simply Old Testament commands that don't matter to us today, but these Holy Days were kept by Jesus Himself, along with His disciples, and later by the apostle Paul and the Christian Church. Each Holy Day foreshadows a unique aspect of God's plan for you. Order now, call toll-free 1-888-886-8632, or write to the address shown on your screen. You can know what the future holds. This booklet will help you understand God's astonishing plan of salvation for every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. Six times a year, you'll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy, as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call today to receive your free booklet, God's Holy Day Plan, the Promise of Hope for All Mankind, and your free one year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. 1-888-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv.