Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Gary Petty] You have a place in God’s plan and it’s really a tragedy that many Christians do not understand this Divine revelation.
How many times have you heard someone say, “God works in mysterious ways?”
You know this phrase isn’t found in the Bible. But it is often used to describe the struggle that we have as we try to understand what God is doing. And let’s be honest there’s many times in our lives when we have no idea what is God doing.
Here’s some good news. God has revealed His ultimate plan. And the way He reveals His plan is so simple, and yet so profound. God actually tells us the great mysteries of what He is doing, how He is doing it and His purpose for each of us. You have a place; you have a place in God’s plan. And it’s really a tragedy that many Christians do not understand this Divine revelation. So how can you understand God’s master plan for humanity? How can you better understand God’s plan for you personally and for your loved ones?
The answers are discovered in the mysterious festivals and ceremonies given by God to ancient Israel. In the Ten Commandments we find instructions given to keep a weekly Sabbath. And so people keep a weekly Sabbath on what we call Saturday.
But you know ancient Israel was also instructed to observe a series of Sabbaths that go throughout the year, they’re annual Sabbaths, and they are contained in three different festival seasons.
And each of these festival seasons God reveals that what He is doing through Jesus Christ as He carries out His plan of salvation.
Now these festivals were observed by Jesus and the early Church and their spiritual meaning is revealed in the New Testament. When we understand the truths contained in these festivals we discover, now this is very important, we discover that that they are profoundly Christian. Old Testament festivals that are profoundly Christian.
So today we’re going to give you an overview of how the New Testament, the New Testament, reveals the mysteries of the festivals and Holy Days of the Old Testament.
Now each of you received a study guide when you came in. I want you to pick up that study guide. It’s called “God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for all Mankind” and we’re giving you this and you can take it home and study. Now this study guide includes a chapter on each of the festivals we are going to talk about. Now if you’re watching today’s program you can get your free copy of this study guide by simply calling the number on your screen or going to beyondtoday.tv
Now let’s take a brief glimpse in the short period of time we have here into each of these festivals. The first of these chapters in the book that I want you to go to is actually on page 9. It’s called “Passover: Why Did Jesus Have To Die?” Now that actually seems like a strange question. Passover and then why did Jesus have to die. What does the Passover and Jesus have to do with each other? I mean when we think of the Passover what do we usually think of? We think of ancient Egypt and Israelites and slavery and how God brought them out of slavery by actually destroying through ten plagues the greatest super power on the earth. Absolutely destroyed the land of Egypt and the last of these ten plagues was the slaying of all the firstborn of Egypt. But the Israelites were saved and the reason why is that they took the blood of a lamb and put it on the doorposts and the Lord it says “passed over” them.
What does this Old Testament story which is important for Christians, but what does it have to do with the question that we just read here in your study guide, “Why did Jesus have to die?”
Well let’s go to the New Testament to answer that question. The Apostle Paul makes this amazing statement in his letter to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 5. I’m going to read this, in fact I’m going to read this here from the Bible to give you the full flavor of what he is saying here. He says, “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.” Now listen to this. “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.”
Ancient Israel was saved from cruel slavery by the blood of a lamb, slain as a substitute for their lives. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid the penalty for our sins so that we can receive eternal salvation and have a relationship with God.
Now understand this. This understanding of Jesus Christ as the Passover is what it means to be a Christian. Jesus is the Passover who came from heaven to die as a substitute for our sins and was resurrected to return to the Father.
Unfortunately, there is actually a movement in Christianity today to redefine Paul’s statements that Jesus really didn’t die for our sins. In fact one pastor over in England has made this statement which made world news. He said that the belief that God would send His Son to die for us is “cosmic child abuse.”
There is no more important key in God’s plan for humanity than to understand that Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb.
The Gospels record how Jesus observed a Passover ceremony with His disciples on the night before He was crucified. And He gave them bread and wine as symbols of His body and blood which He said, “is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
If the understanding, and this is so important and I want all of you to understand this, if the understanding that Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb for our salvation is lost all Christianity is lost. There is no Christian faith left if that is lost. So here we are talking about the Passover. It is fundamental to what it even means to be a Christian.
Now back in our study guide here. The next chapter, “The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Replacing Sin With The Bread of Life.” The day after the Passover is the beginning of a seven-day festival that’s known as the “Days or Feast of Unleavened Bread.”
It is called unleavened bread because when the Israelites left Egypt, they were in such a hurry they didn’t have time to leaven their bread. Now leavening is what causes bread to rise. So keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread means to eat very flat bread. Now this is a piece of bread made from rye. It’s not exactly what they would have had but a piece of rye with no leavening. Pretty flat bread. Not exactly what you get from your bakery is it? And so for seven after that and still in Jewish community today they do not eat leavened bread during this seven day period.
So, what does unleavened bread have to do with Christians? I want to go back to what I read just a minute ago. Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians and read this again and think about this. You know we talked about Jesus as the Passover but let’s think about what he actually said.
Paul writes “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.” Now he’s talking to a Gentile church. And he’s talking to the gentile church and he’s using leavening as a symbol. They would have understood I mean they all made their own bread. They understood what leavening did. They understood. But he’s talking about them as people. He says you must become unleavened “that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.” So he says the people, the Christians there must become 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.”
Paul uses leavening here as a symbol of wrong attitudes and sin and he says that Christians must become unleavened. You see accepting Jesus as our Passover is just the first step and it’s the first step in this great festival plan. We must have Christ live in us so that we follow His example. How many times did Jesus say, that we see in the book of John where He said, “you must partake of me I am the Bread of life.”
What’s amazing here is Paul says to these Christians here in Corinth, which is in Greece, to “keep the feast.” Now what feast is he talking about?
It’s obviously the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. Paul tells a non-Jewish congregation to keep the feast and now remember this is long after Jesus had died and been resurrected.
When we study Paul’s passage and think of becoming spiritually unleavened. I mean think about what this really means, that we have to have Christ living in us, we are faced with an impossible task. You and I cannot have Christ live in us by ourselves. How can we do that? I mean how can we overcome sin by ourselves?
And this brings us to the next festival, and you will find it your study guide. It’s the Feast of Pentecost: The Firstfruits of God’s Harvest. Now this annual festival is a little later in the spring. So this is the second of the 3 festival seasons. In Acts 2 we find Christians the disciples of Jesus Christ meeting on Pentecost. And Acts 2 says when the Day of Pentecost has fully come, they were all with one accord in one house. And something very interesting happened as they came together, these Christians, these followers of Jesus Christ. Remember these are His disciples, these are His followers and this long after Jesus was resurrected. And what happened they were meeting in that house and they heard the sound of rushing wind. And as the sound of rushing wind came it startled them. And suddenly their worship service was disrupted. And then it says it looked like tongues of fire came down upon each of them and as it did they began to speak in other languages. This was the pouring out of God’s Spirit that was prophesied in the Old Testament and as they received God’s Spirit to begin to speak in other languages and right after this people began to rush up to them and talk to them and ask what’s happening here and they began to tell them the gospel in the languages of the people who came to them. A great miracle as God poured out His Spirit upon these people.
Passover reveals the truth about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. The Feast of Unleavened Bread tells us about how we must become symbolically deleavened by having Christ live in us but we can’t do that on our own and what we find here on Pentecost is that God has poured out His Spirit on humanity and the New Testament church was observing this day. And this same Spirit, this same Spirit is available to you today. Available to Christians today.
Are you beginning to see how these festivals are not just Jewish? How many times when people talk about the ancient festivals, well they, they were just Jewish. They are remarkably Christian and they are deeply embedded into the New Testament. Each festival reveals a step in God’s plan for those who respond to His call.
I want to remind those who are watching that to get the free copy of your study guide that we’re talking about today, we’re going to be going through for the rest of the program, all you have to do is call the number on your screen, get your free copy, or go to beyondtoday.tv
Now let’s take a look at the fall festivals because the rest of the festivals are clumped together at the fall.
The next one is called the Feast of Trumpets. Now what’s interesting is in your study guide, when you go to the Feast of Trumpets, you’ll see that that says “A turning point in history.” Now why would it be a turning point in history?
The spring festivals are all about Jesus Christ and the work He’s done in bringing us to God. It’s about the Passover and the creation of the New Testament Church. The latter festivals are about prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled that are fulfilled by Jesus Christ. So we’re back to the New Testament.
In ancient Israel the Feast of Trumpets involved the blowing of a ram’s horn. Now here’s a rams horn. And you can imagine how big this animal must have been. That’s one side of the head. And they would blow shofars on this day.
What’s interesting is in the New Testament we find very many prophecies about trumpets and the blowing of trumpets. In the Olivet prophecy Jesus Christ talks about He will return “with the sound of the trumpet.” The Apostle Paul says, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible…”
The book of Revelation talks about seven trumpets that blow and announce the events that culminate in the seventh trumpet which is the return of Jesus and the resurrection of His followers.
In the Feast of Trumpets we find the amazing details of Christ’s role in the coming judgment.
Now the feast of Trumpets is followed ten days later by the Day of Atonement and the Day of Atonement has an entire chapter in your study aid. And the title of that chapter is the “Day of Atonement: Removal of Sin’s Cause and Reconciliation to God.” What’s interesting about the Day of Atonement is that in ancient Israel you go back to the Old Testament, this day contained more symbols, more rituals, more mysteries than any of the other of these annual Holy Days. And it was considered the most solemn day of the year.
Now I just want to pass on to you because there are so many ceremonies in the Day of Atonement that I encourage you to go to beyondtoday.tv and watch a program that we did called “The Day of Atonement and the Gospel” because what’s important on the Day of Atonement is the Day of Atonement reveals the gospel. The gospel message. Because we can’t cover all the ceremonies of this day in just this short program.
Now you’ll see that the program we did had two goats on it and that’s because this day had a ceremony that involved two goats that were separated for God. One was for God and one was taken out into the wilderness. It has to do with the cause of sin and the cause of sin is Satan. So this day has to do with the putting away of Satan. And it also has to do with Jesus Christ as High Priest. This day centered around the High Priest who would bring a sacrifice to God for the sins of the people. For all the sins of the people. In ancient Israel if the sacrifice of the High Priest was not accepted on this day it meant that God had rejected you.
Let me read something here in the book of Revelation chapter 20 about this time when Christ returns. And what does He do? One of the first things He does after He returns. It says “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.” What an amazing thing here. Satan is the god of this world according to Paul. It explains evil. You and I live in an evil world because Satan is ruling this world. Then Jesus Christ comes and takes him and binds him for a thousand years. This is part of what we learn on the Day of Atonement. It’s a New Testament meaning. It’s a future meaning, it’s a prophetic meaning.
Now notice something we just read. After Satan is bound, the next great prophetic event is one thousand-years. What is called the millennium. It’s the only place in the Bible where we find out how long Jesus is going to rule on the earth. A thousand years, a millennium. And that’s why the next chapter in your study guide is “The Feast Of Tabernacles: Jesus Christ Reigns Over All The Earth.”
Jesus Christ is returning to reign on this earth just as He told His disciples He would and just as there are dozens of Old Testament prophecies that talk about the Messiah reigning on the earth. But you know as He comes back He doesn’t come back as a baby. He doesn’t come back as a human being.
In the chapter just before what we read here in Revelation it talks about Jesus binding Satan. It says this about His coming, about His return that we see on the Feast of Trumpets and it’s completed through the Day of Atonement and then sets up His reign on earth. “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood,” Jesus Christ the sacrifice. That’s why if we don’t understand the Passover and we’re a follower of where some of these Christian teachers are going, Christianity is going to be lost. It’s not going to be Christian anymore because it’s not going to be following Christ anymore. And he says “His name is called The Word of God.” The Word is another name for Christ. And he says “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
You know Jesus Christ is coming back wearing a crown. Literally the KING OF KINGS. This is a typical crown of what a king in the middle ages would wear. Because the king in the Middle Ages wasn’t just the ruler he was also the ruler of the army. The king was the leader of the army. Jesus comes back as ruler and as king of kings.
This week long festival celebrates the time when Christ will bring peace and prosperity to all humanity. He will eradicate hunger, stop all civil and religious strife, and reveal the truth of the Great God.
There’s no longer a need for armies because He will be ruling as King of kings and Lord of lords. And this is the hope and the desire of all Christians. And it is the prophetic message of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Now there is one more annual Sabbath that is mentioned in the Bible and we have that in the study guide as our next chapter. It comes at the very end of the Feast of Tabernacles. And it’s simply called the Eighth Day in the Old Testament. And there is very little about the Eighth Day in the Old Testament. I mean if you just read the Old Testament you wouldn’t even know what the Eighth Day is about. Now it’s interesting that in this booklet it talks about this is a day of salvation. Now the Bible doesn’t teach universal salvation, but neither does it teach that all human beings are damned by God without any hope of salvation.
To understand this day what we have to do is look at the book of Revelation. What happens after the millennium? We know what the Feast of Tabernacles represents. The millennium of course is that 1000 year reign. After that we have a time called the Great White Throne judgment. And in the Great White Throne Judgment we have a second resurrection. You can read about this in chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation.
We have the Great White Throne Judgment, we have the second resurrection, we have Satan removed forever because he’s loosed for a little season and then we have something remarkable. We have a description of God the Father coming down to this earth in New Jerusalem. The very throne of God comes here. Humanity doesn’t go to heaven forever the Father comes here, following Jesus Christ here. And it says that Jesus gives, He gives the Kingdom to the Father. Even the Eighth Day is not understood unless you understand the New Testament.
These aren’t just Old Testament days. Now let me just recap a little bit about what we talked about here because we have all these Holy Days.
We have the Passover: Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Well, Jesus is the Passover. Jesus is the Passover. He is the Passover Lamb. Without that substitute you and I have no hope for salvation because we are dead in our sins and by the law of God we are condemned.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread where we must take an unleavened life. The leavening of sin must be removed from us. That means Christ must live in us. We worship, and we honor a resurrected Jesus Christ not a dead Jesus Christ. But how does that happen?
Well then we have Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost: The Firstfruits of God’s Harvest. Here’s where the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Church. Of all these Holy Days this day is so amazing because it’s actually outlined in great detail in the New Testament because we see this is where we see the New Testament church began.
We have the Feast of Trumpets when Christ actually returns to establish God’s Kingdom on this earth.
The Day of Atonement with all of its amazing rituals and sacrifices that tells us about Jesus Christ as High Priest. It tells us about how Satan must be removed so that we can be, not just the church because the Day of Atonement isn’t just about the church. It’s about all humanity, all humanity being reconciled to God.
The Feast of Tabernacles. The 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ without Satan bringing peace and prosperity to this world.
And then we have Eighth Day which you see the symbol there of a White Throne. The Great White Throne Judgment in which there is a second resurrection. That’s what it says in Revelation 21 and then in 22 we see, Revelation 22, that God brings His throne to this earth.
These are important days. To fully understand the meaning of the New Testament we actually must look at, back at, these Holy Days. And to understand these Holy Days you must observe them.
These biblical festivals should be the foundation of the Christian calendar. They should be how Christians celebrate the work of Jesus Christ. And I know that’s a controversial statement. Celebrate Jesus Christ through these ancient festivals? Yes. You know I have observed these festivals since I was a child in a New Testament way. And they have helped me experience one, a deeper relationship with God and Jesus Christ. A deeper understanding of God’s plan, and have a more meaningful hope for the future.
And God can do the same thing in your life.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “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.
This free study aid “God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind ” will open your eyes to God’s amazing plan for humanity, and how it is revealed by observing His annual festivals.
God wants you to know the deep spiritual meaning He placed in the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day.
Each Holy Day foreshadows a unique aspect of God’s plan for you.
Learn the fascinating truth. 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.
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Beyond Today magazine brings you understanding of today’s world and hope for the future!
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Call today to receive your free booklet, “God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind ” and your free, 1-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv.