This is a Bible Correspondence Course designed to walk you through some basics and help you have a better understanding of God and His Scripture. It has been edited and updated in order to teach you basic principles. The update is re-edited out of love for the people. We hope you find it useful. Most of the quotes are from the King James Version.
Why Christians Should Keep GODS HOLY DAYS
Why did God institute the WEEKLY Sabbath and, later, ANNUAL Sabbaths? What do they picture? Were GODS Holy Days for ancient Israel only, or are they also for the New Testament Church of God?
GOD created mankind for a stupendous, awe-inspiring purpose! That incredible purpose was first revealed when man was created. God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26).
Your Bible here reveals that God is reproducing Himself through man. God made us for the purpose of fashioning and molding us into His character "image"ultimately to be born as spirit-composed members of His universe-ruling Family!
But this creative work takes time. To accomplish this wonderful purpose in mankind, Many think God has allotted 7,000 yearsseven millennial "days" based on (II Pet. 3:8), which says...But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. But it doesn't actually say 7000 years is allotted to man. That interpretation of men would make God work on men's interpretation of a time table. And this is not necessarily the case. Be careful not to read an assumption into this scripture.
.During the first thousands of years since Adams sin, God has allowed humanity to go its own way, do its own thing, govern itself by its own laws, as influenced by Satan. During the last 1,000 years, man will be ruled directly by Jesus Christ and the saints. Satan will then be completely restrained from broadcasting his evil attitudes to people.
The Bible reveals that God instituted for His Church certain days that picture His purpose for human life, and the plan by which He is accomplishing that purpose.
Weekly Sabbath Pictures Gods Purpose
When God set apart and made holy the seventh-day Sabbath for man (Gen. 2:2-3; Mark 2:27), He gave mankind a day of rest that has great significance.
To His "Church in the wilderness"the congregation of ancient Israel (Acts 7:38)--God revealed that Sabbath keeping would be a "sign" between Him and His people (Ex. 31:16-17). This sign is a proof of identity. Keeping the weekly Sabbath reminds us that God is the Creator of all things, including man. It is also a major sign identifying the true people of God!
The Sabbath also pictures to Gods people the soon-coming Millennium, when mankind will experience "rest" from war, poverty, fear and suffering. This 1,000-year period will be the seventh millennial "day"the "Sabbath"--of Gods -year "week." It is then that the knowledge of Gods wonderful purpose will fill the earth (Isa. 11:9).
But the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath has even further significance and meaning. It also looks forward to the completion of Gods spiritual creation in man. The Sabbath is a type of the Christians future spiritual "rest"of being born into the divine Kingdom or Family of God! When born of Gods Spirit, we will no longer be working against the weaknesses of our present mortal flesh. With spirit-composed bodies, we will never become tired or weary. Well always be alert and active!
The Bible also reveals that God set apart and made holy certain other days of the year in addition to the weekly Sabbath.
Annual Holy Days Picture Gods Master Plan
God has a Master Plan by which He is fulfilling His awesome purpose for mankind. And His Son, Jesus Christ, plays the central role in Gods little-known plan for man.
Gods plan is revealed by seven annual festivals. These annual observances give a step-by-step outline of how God is working out His Master Plan for man. Each vividly pictures a great event in Gods plan. It was not until after the Israelites were delivered from Egypt that God revealed the rest of His annual festivals.
As God made the weekly Sabbath for man when man was made, so He gave His people seven annual festivals, with their annual Holy Days (Sabbaths), when He established the Church (or congregation of Israel) in the wilderness. But Israel, under the covenant made at Sinai, had no promise of receiving the Holy Spirit, and therefore could not understand the spiritual meaning of these annual observances.
Regardless of carnal Israels lack of understanding, Gods annual Holy Days were ordained to be kept FOREVER! Christ kept them. The New Testament Church, founded by Jesus in A.D. 31, kept them. And Gods Church keeps them today!
Just as the weekly Sabbath is a "sign" between God and His people, so are the annual Holy Days (Ex. 31:13). They are the "feasts of the LORD"
"my feasts," said God (Lev. 23:2, 4).
These feasts are, as the God of the Old Testament said in Leviticus 23:37-38, to be kept as holy convocations "beside the [weekly] Sabbaths of the LORD"! And as we learned in Lesson 17, Gods festivals, which are a part of Gods Law, were not done away with when the Sinaitic Covenant ceased to be in force at Christs death.
The whole story of Gods marvelous plan is to be reenacted year after year by Gods Spirit-begotten childrenspiritual Israel todaythrough the keeping of Gods Holy Days. The observance of these days reminds them of His great Master Plan and their part in it.
Gods Spiritual Harvests
In the land settled by ancient Israel (later known as Palestine and now occupied by the modern state of Israel), there is a small spring grain harvest followed by a much larger late summer and autumn harvest. These yearly agricultural harvests are symbolic of Gods spiritual "harvests" of mankind!
Today, we can understand from the teachings of Christ and the apostles that God intends the spring festivals to illustrate that all those He has called to become His Spirit-begotten children before Christs Second Coming are only the "firstfruits" harvest (Jas. 1:18)--only the relatively small beginning of His spiritual harvest of individuals into His divine Family.
The festivals of the much larger autumn harvest season picture Gods calling of thousands of millions of humanity to salvation and Son ship in His glorious Family after Christs return.
In Leviticus 23, we find a summary of these annual festivals. The first four, beginning with the Passover, are memorials of the first part of Gods Master Plan. Including a Waive Sheaf day. They picture the firstfruits of Christ and Christs labors. The last festivals look forward to the future and show how and when God will reap the great autumn harvest of people into His Family!
Holy Days Preserved for Gods Church
The ancient Israelites, in general, did not understand Gods great purpose for mankind. Nor did they understand the spiritual significance of the steps within Gods Master Plan as pictured by His annual Holy Days. God did not reveal this spiritual understanding to them (Eph. 3:4-5) because it was not yet His time to give them His Holy Spirit.
Then why did Christ give Gods Law and Holy Days to ancient Israel?
The Bible tells us that the "oracles"the Old Testament Scriptures,
which include the knowledge of Gods weekly Sabbath, annual Sabbaths and festivals, and Gods true calendarwere given to Israel to be passed on from generation to generation. The Israelites, as we read in Acts 7:38, "received the lively oracles to give unto us [New Testament Christians]."
But more than seven centuries later, the house of Israel went into Assyrian captivity, losing their identity and their knowledge of God. They did not preserve the Hebrew or Old Testament Scriptures nor Gods calendar for Christians today.
Then who did?
The house of Judahthe Jewswhich became separated from the nation
Israel after the death of Solomon, went into Babylonian captivity during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar about 120 years later. But Judah retained the knowledge of her identity and her God.
Recognizing the fact that they had gone into Babylonian captivity for breaking the Sabbath (Neh. 13:17-18), the Jews became overly strict in its observance. Even though they lacked spiritual understanding, they faithfully retained the knowledge of the true Sabbath, and preserved the Old Testament Scriptures and the true calendar.
Notice what Paul, under inspiration of God, asks: "What advantage then hath the Jew?" Then he answers in part: "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God" (Rom. 3:1-2).
God used the Jews to preserve the Hebrew or Old Testament Scriptures, the weekly Sabbath, by the Scriptures we may know exactly when to keep Gods Holy Days each year. Of all the tribes of Israel, God entrusted the Jews to be the carriers of this revealed knowledge for the New Testament Spirit-begotten Church!
All of Gods festivals are listed together in Leviticus 23, starting with the seventh-day Sabbath, a weekly festival. Lessons 24 through 31 will cover these important festivals thoroughly, beginning with the weekly Sabbath. An entire lesson will be devoted to each. The vital details of Gods Master Plan for fulfilling His great purpose in man will unfold for you in the coming months.
This lesson will present a brief OVERVIEW of each of Gods Holy Days, focusing on their symbolic meaning and specific relevance to Christians today. Lets begin to understand the tremendous meaning of these "feasts of the LORD"!
Gods Seventh-day Sabbath
As we have learned in previous lessons, Gods plan calls for the restoration of His government on earth through His divine ruling Kingdom, composed of future Spirit-born members of His Family. Gods government is based on His spiritual Law of love. It is love toward God and love toward fellowman. Gods love is further magnified by the Ten Commandments, the first four of which show us how to love Godhow we are to worship Him.
The fourth commandment, like the other nine, is an absolutely essential part of Gods Law. Keeping Gods seventh-day Sabbath holy is a sign that identifies those who worship the Creator God, and Him only. This is because the Sabbath is a memorial of Gods creation. But the Sabbath also looks forward to the Millennium and the completion of Gods spiritual creation in man.
Lets begin to understand the great meaning involved in keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.
1. On which day of creation week did God rest? Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:11.
Did God rest because He was tired from all the work He had done during the previous six days? Isa. 40:28.
COMMENT: God is composed of spirit and never becomes tired, as physical human beings do. Therefore He had no reason to rest except that by resting, God "made" the Sabbath and set an example for humans to follow.
2. Who in the God Family made that very first Sabbath? Col. 1:13-16; Mark 2:27-28.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath because He made it! As we have proved in our previous studies, He was the Lord of the Old Testament and the actual Creator of all things.
By ceasing to work on the seventh day of creation week, Christ set apart that 24-hour period and every seventh day afterward for a special and holy use. (The Sabbath begins at sunset, in the evening, at the close of the sixth day, and ends at sunset, in the evening, at the close of the seventh day. See Leviticus 23:32 for an example of when God begins and ends days.)
3. For whom did Jesus say the Sabbath was made? Mark 2:27. Who would that include? Exodus 20:8-10, especially verse 10.
COMMENT: "The Sabbath was made for man," declared Jesus. Every seventh day from creation was set apart by God as time to be specially observed by mankind. The Sabbath was to benefit all who would ever live, if they kept it as God intended.
4. How did Christ intend the Sabbath to benefit mankind? Deut. 5:14.
(Notice the word rest.)
COMMENT: The word Sabbath means "rest" in Hebrew, the language in which the Old Testament was written. Physical rest and mental relaxation after a busy week are obvious reasons for keeping the Sabbath. God knew humans would need periodic rest and change from work.
But the purpose for keeping Gods Sabbath goes far beyond merely resting on it. The seventh-day Sabbath has to do with Gods great purpose for creating mankind!
Man desperately needs this time each week in which to have close spiritual contact with God. The Sabbath gives us time to think more about God, to pray to Him, to worship Him (both in private and in fellowship with others) and to study the Bible to understand more about Gods awesome purpose for our lives and how to achieve it.
5. Was the observance of the Sabbath day to be a special sign of identification between God and His people? Ex. 31:13, 16-17. Did God also make Sabbath observance a separate covenant with His people? Verse 16. Was it to be a perpetual covenant, binding forever? Verses 16-17.
COMMENT: SO that the ancient Israelites would especially remember that the eternal God is Creator, Sustainer and Supreme Ruler over all His creation, God singled out Sabbath observance as the one great sign by which they would always be reminded that He is the Creator, and that they were His chosen people. It was the one commandment that would make Israel especially stand out from all other nations.
So God doubly commanded Sabbath observance by making it a separate covenant, or agreement, with His people Israel. (The Sabbath was already one of the Ten Commandments God had given them earlier.) It was to be an everlasting covenanta sign that would identify the people of God of all generations, including "spiritual Israel" todaySpirit-begotten members of Gods New Testament Church. Notice further:
6. Does the Bible plainly reveal that a real Christian is one who has become a spiritual Israeliteone of Abrahams "seed" through Jesus Christ? Gal. 3:28-29; Rom. 4:16.
COMMENT: God made the special Sabbath covenant with Abrahams physical descendants. It was to be obeyed throughout their generations. Today, all Spirit-begotten Christians have become Abrahams spiritual descendants and therefore keep the Sabbath!
The Sabbath is a reminder of our Creator, who not only created the universe, but who is also creating His holy, righteous character in Spirit-begotten Christianscharacter that will endure forever when they are born into His divine Family! Thus the Sabbath reminds us every week of the Creator God and His wonderful purpose for mankind.
7. Did Jesus Christ keep the Sabbath? Luke 4:16, 31.
COMMENT: Jesus regularly attended religious services on the Sabbath day. He obeyed His own command to meet for worship services every Sabbath (Lev. 23:3). This is the day He would naturally observe, because He is the One who made the Sabbath and ordained that it be kept holy!
8. Was it also the Apostle Pauls custom to keep the Sabbath? Acts
17:1-2. Is there other evidence that the early New Testament Church observed the Sabbath? Acts 13:13-16, 42, 44; 18:1, 4.
COMMENT: There is no question that the early New Testament Church of God observed the seventh-day Sabbath. Those who are striving to obey God today will also be keeping the same day Jesus, Paul and the entire early Church kept.
9. What is Gods warning to us in Hebrews 3:8-12, 17-19? (Notice the word rest in verses 11 and 18.) Was rebellion, especially Sabbath breaking, the reason God did not allow an entire generation of Israelites to enter His "rest"? Ezek. 20:12-13, 15-16.
COMMENT: The land of Canaanthe promised "rest" Israel finally entered (Josh. 1:13)--is referred to in the Bible as a type of the Christians spiritual "rest"of being born into the Kingdom or Family of God and living forever.
10. If we believe and obey God, will we enter Gods "rest"eternal life in His Kingdom? Hebrews 4:3, first nine words, and verse 11.
COMMENT: The equation is clear: Belief in God equals active obedience.
Those who really believe God will be keeping His Sabbath!
Gods Sabbath should not be treated lightly or forgotten. We are commanded to "Remember the Sabbath day" (Ex. 20:8) because it is a memorial of Gods restoration of the earth and the creation of man. And the Sabbath pictures the coming eternal "rest" that true Christians will enter when born into the Family of God as spirit-composed children of God. They will then be free of all the physical weaknesses and limitations of this mortal life.
11. Did God command the entire nation of Israel to meet together (a "convocation") on the weekly Sabbath? Lev. 23:3. What are New Testament Christians admonished regarding the assembling of themselves? Heb. 10:25.
COMMENT: Gods people today attend weekly Sabbath services of the Worldwide Church of God in more than 50 nations around the world. Every Sabbath, they meet together to receive spiritual instruction from the Bible, taught by the ministry of Gods Church (Eph. 4:11-13).
Gods people rejoice in His Sabbath and enjoy fellowshipping with each other on this day. They are learning what a great blessing it is to keep Gods Sabbath holythe day that reminds us of the Creator God and His stupendous purpose for mankind!
Most Bible commentators and scholars agree that the many passing references to Gods annual festivals in the New Testament indicate that their observance in the early Church was known, acceptedeven taken for granted. More importantly, Christ and the Church of God customarily kept the annual festivals: "In the early Christian church the propriety of celebrating the festivals together with the whole of the Jewish people was never questioned, so that it needed no special mention" (The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 1, p. 628).
However, it is obvious from a study of the New Testament that Gods annual festivals took on a new significance in the apostolic Church of God. Jesus teaching and example gave new understanding about the meaning of these days and how they are to be observed.
Notice what The Encyclopedia Britannica says about the early New Testament Church of God keeping the biblical festivals in a new and different way: "The sanctity of special times [such as Easter and Christmas] was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians... [who] continued to observe the Jewish festivals [of Leviticus 23], though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed" (vol. 8, p. 828, 11th edition, emphasis ours).
1. Who does the Bible say originated these annual festivals, besides the weekly festival of the Sabbath? Lev. 23:1-4. Did God specifically state that His annual feasts were to be observed in addition to the weekly Sabbath? Verses 37-38.
COMMENT: Notice that these are not the "feasts of the Jews" or "feasts of Moses," as some have thought. They are Gods own feasts, which God instituted and gave to His people to keep annually.
2. What is the first festival to be observed each year? Lev. 23:5. When did God institute the first Passover? Read and summarize Exodus 12:1-14, 21-27.
COMMENT: The Passover, the first of Gods commanded annual festivals, pictures the beginningthe very first stepin Gods great Master Plan of salvation for mankind.
The Passover was to be a yearly reminder of Gods intervention in delivering the Israelites firstborn from death. It also pictured, in advance, the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, "our Passover" lamb (I Cor. 5:7; I Pet. 1:18-19), for the sins of mankind. The sparing of the Israelites firstborn from the death angel through the shed blood of lambs on that first Passover is a symbolic type of our being spared today from the eternal penalty of sin (Rom. 6:23) through Christs sacrifice.
After Jesus death, the Passover, celebrated with the new symbols of unleavened bread and wine, became a yearly memorial of His sacrifice, for Jesus became the reality that the Passover lamb had foreshadowed.
3. Did God command, before Sinai, that the Passover be kept forever? Ex. 12:14, 24. Did Jesus Christ observe the Passover? John 2:13, 23.
COMMENT: Jesus kept the annual festivals. He, as the God of the Old Testament, was the One who originally gave them to Israel!
4. Did Jesus institute the New Testament Passover, with His 12 disciples present, on the night before He was crucified? Matt. 26:17-20. What was one new command He gave them regarding the observance of the Passover? John 13:1-5, 14-15.
5. Did Peter, at first, refuse to allow Jesus to wash his feet? Verses 6-8. Could Peter have any relationship with Jesus unless he allowed Him to wash his feet? Verse 8. Why did Jesus institute this new observance of foot washing during His last Passover meal? Verses 12-16.
COMMENT: Open-toed sandals were the customary footwear of Jesus time, and so the feet would become dusty. Foot washing, upon entering a home, was a menial task that only servants performed.
By washing their feet, Jesus was illustrating to His disciples that He had come to earth to serve mankind. Shortly afterward, He proved the extent of His extreme service to this world when He gave His very life for the sins of all mankind. Foot washing depicts the attitude of humility and service to others that Christ desires every Christian to have.
6. Did Jesus plainly command His disciples to wash one anothers feet?
John 13:14-15. Were they to teach the world to do likewise? Matt. 28:19-20. Are those who obey Christs words by participating in this meaningful ceremony promised a special blessing? John 13:17; 14:23.
7. What completely new way of observing the Passover did Jesus institute shortly before His death? Matt. 26:26-29. What command did He give the disciples regarding this new manner of keeping the Passover? Luke 22:19-20. Were they to teach this to the world? Matt. 28:19-20.
COMMENT: Jesus did not abolish the PassoverHe merely changed the symbols used. Instead of annually shedding the blood of a lamb and eating its roasted body, we are now to use unleavened bread and wine.
The New Testament Passover is to be kept as an annual memorial of Christs death. It reaffirms year by year "till he come" (I Cor. 11:26) the true Christians faith in the blood of "Christ our Passover" (I Cor. 5:7) for the remission of sins, as symbolized by the drinking of wine.
Eating the broken bread symbolizes our faith in the body of Christ, broken open for our physical healing. Jesus Christ allowed His body to be ripped open in dozens of places by scourging until He could not even be recognized! He suffered this torture so we, through faith in His broken body for us, may have the forgiveness of our physical sinsthe healing of our bodies when we are sick (Isa. 53:5; I Pet. 2:24; Ps. 103:2-3; Jas. 5:14-15)--in addition to the forgiveness of our spiritual sins through His shed blood. And so the broken unleavened bread is a reminder to us that it is by "his stripes we are healed."
As Christ Himself commanded, true Christians today observe the Passover on the eve of the day of His suffering and deathon the 14th day of the first month of Gods calendar, in the evening, after the beginning of the day.
(The exact date for the Passover, and all of Gods annual festivals, varies from year to year according to the Roman calendar. The correct dates for all the festivals over the next several years are listed in Gods Sacred Calendar, which you may request by sending in the literature request coupon included with this lesson.)
8. Did the Apostle Paul teach New Testament Christians to keep the Passover by partaking of the new symbols of unleavened bread and wine, as Jesus had done and commanded? I Cor. 5:7-8; 11:23-26.
COMMENT: The Church Jesus built kept the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Breadnot Easter. ("Easter" in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version is a flagrant mistranslation of the Greek word pascha. It should be rendered "Passover," as it is in all modern translations.)
9. Will the Passover be kept by Christ and others after He establishes the Kingdom of God on earth? Matt. 26:29; Luke 22:15-16. In the meantime, was the Passover to be kept as a memorial of Christs death? Review I Corinthians 11:25-26.
COMMENT: Jesus commanded His disciples to keep the Passover in remembrance of Him until He returns. The apostles did keep it, and today, Gods true Church still keeps the Passover!
Feast of Waive Sheaf or a Day of Waive Sheaf
Lev 23:9-14 Explains this is detail. Christ being the First of the Firstfruits, pictures the beginning, the very first step in God's Master plan for salvation, by accepting Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, and was accepted back to the father, in the symbolism of this "first of the firstfruits" day.
Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Passover, the first part of Gods commanded annual festivals, pictures the beginning, the very next step, in Gods great Master Plan of salvation for mankind. It was Jesus Christ, "our Passover" (I Cor. 5:7), who suffered and died for our sins. But accepting Christs sacrifice to pay for our sins is not enough.
Once we have repented of our sins and been forgiven by God, we must strive to forsake sin completely. We must come out of this worlds ways of sin (Rev. 18:4)--just as Israel left Egypt, a type of sin (Heb. 11:25-26). We must be striving to put all sin away from us. That is our part in Gods Master Plan.
To help keep us in the knowledge of the second step in Gods plan, Christ gave His Church the second annual feast. The observance of this feast impresses upon us that we must strive not to return to the sins Jesus paid for with His shed blood. Lets understand.
1. What feast did God command the Israelites to keep immediately after the Passover? Ex. 12:17; Lev. 23:6. Were they to keep it just this one time? Ex. 12:17; 13:10.
COMMENT: Notice that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was given by God before the people reached Mt. Sinaibefore they even left the land of Egypt. It is also to be kept by all their succeeding generationsforever!
2. For how many days is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to continue? Ex.
12:15; 34:18; Num. 28:16-17; Deut. 16:3-4. Were the first and seventh days set apart as Holy Daysdays on which the people were to assemble themselves, much the same as they would on a weekly Sabbath day? Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:3, 7-8.
COMMENT: The first month of the Biblical calendar, which God inspired the Jews to preserve for New Testament Christians, was called Abib or, later, Nisan. It falls sometime during the months of March and/or April of the Roman calendar today. The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 14th of Abib, the day of the Passover. It continues for seven days until the 21st of Abib. Both the 14th and the 20th are special Sabbathsannual "holy convocations"days of rest and worship of God.
At this point it would be well to distinguish between Gods annual festivals or feasts, and His annual Holy Days or Sabbaths. Gods Master Plan includes annual festivals. Two of these, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles, are seven days long. There are also annual Holy Days, which are Sabbaths of rest from regular work. Each of these Holy Days occurs on, or during, a festival (the Feast of Unleavened Bread has two). But the Passover, the first of the festivals, is not a Holy Day or Sabbath. (See chart below.)
GODS ANNUAL FESTIVALS (LEV. 23)
|PASSOVER| UNLEAVENED BREAD WAIVE SHEAF DAY | PENTECOST |TRUMPETS| ATONEMENT |TABERNACLES| LAST great day |
3. Were the Israelites to put all leaven and leavened food out of their homes and property, and keep it out during the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Ex. 12:15-19; 13:7.
COMMENT: A leavening agent is any substance used to cause dough to rise by fermentation. Yeast, baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents.
4. Is leaven clearly a symbol for sin? Matt. 16:6, 11-12; Luke 12:1; I Cor. 5:8.
COMMENT: Leaven is often referred to in the Bible as a type of sin. Leaven puffs upand so does sin. Unleavened bread is a flat bread that contains no leavening agent, and therefore typifies the absence of sin. And since seven is Gods special number signifying completion and perfection, the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread remind us that God wants His people to strive to put sin completely out of their lives.
5. Does God specifically command His people to eat unleavened bread during this festival? Ex. 12:15, 19-20; Lev. 23:6.
COMMENT: The Israelites were not merely to remove all leavening and leavened foods from their property. That would have only symbolized putting away sin. They were commanded to eat unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This act of eating unleavened bread symbolizes the opposite of sinactive obedience to God!
6. Upon repentance and baptism, Christs sacrifice blots out all of ones past sins. When Paul asked if we should continue in sin, what did he answer? Rom. 6:15-16. What was his apostolic command? Verses 11-13.
COMMENT: Christ died so that we would not have to pay the penalty of eternal death (Rom. 6:23). After repentance and baptism, God expects us to strive to obey His Lawto "unleaven" our lives. God does not want us to continue in sin, for Christ is not the minister of sin (Gal. 2:17).
7. Did Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, say New Testament Christians should keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread? I Cor. 5:8.
8. What did Paul say that clearly shows the Church of God at Corinth was, at the time he wrote, keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Verse 7. Notice the words "as ye are unleavened."
COMMENT: The Apostle Paul was telling the Corinthian church members to put out spiritual leaven, just as they had already put out all physical leaven in preparation for this festival. They were to keep the Feast not only with unleavened bread, but also with the spiritually "unleavened" attitude of sincerity and truth.
9. Does God want Christians to forsake this worlds way of sin? Rev. 18:4. Are we to continually striveto expend effort and energyto put sin out of our lives as it crops up? Heb. 12:1, 4.
COMMENT: If we are to become Spirit-born members of Gods Family, we must prove that we will obey God here and now by striving to get the spiritual leaven of sin out of our lives and keep it out! This is our part in Gods great Master Plan.
Hence, every spring the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread specially reminds Spirit-begotten Christians of their continual need to keep Gods commandments. It is a time when they symbolically renew their resolve to live in harmony with Gods Lawto rededicate their lives to continual spiritual growth and overcoming.
PentecostFeast of Firstfruitsof Mankind
God knows that to successfully put sin out of our lives and keep it out, our own human willpower and abilities are not enough. We need the spiritual power of Gods Holy Spirit to help us keep Gods spiritual Law.
This is the third step in Gods Master Plan, pictured by the third annual festival, the day of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks or Feast of Firstfruits.
1. What were Gods instructions regarding this festival? Lev. 23:15-17, 20. Was this feast a Holy Day, or Sabbath of rest, on which the people were to assemble? Verse 21. Was it to be kept by Gods people every year forever? Same verse.
COMMENT: At this point we need to understand the symbolism of a ceremony associated with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and how it ties in with the third annual festival. The meaning of this ceremony is important, although it no longer occurs since the Romans destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70.
2. What kind of offering had to be presented to God before the spring harvest could begin? Verses 9-11, 14.
COMMENT: As explained in the introduction of this lesson, God established His festivals in conjunction with the two annual agricultural harvests in the land of Palestine. God uses these harvests as a pattern for the two spiritual "harvests" of His great Master Plan.
The physical harvests help us understand that God is not dealing with the vast majority of the world today. God is calling only a very few into His Church before Christs Second Coming. God intends the spring festivals to illustrate to His Church yearly that His Spirit-begotten children are the "firstfruits" of salvation (Jas. 1:18)--the relatively small beginning of His spiritual harvest of mankind into His divine Family.
The spring harvest began in the following manner: On the morning of the first day of the week (Sunday) during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a sheaf of newly cut barley, cut the night before, was prepared and brought to the priest, who waved it in the air to be accepted by God. This was called the "wave sheaf offering" and represented the first of the firstfruits harvest. The Barley would have to be ripe enough to cut. This also indicates a time of year period.
Once the wave sheaf was offered, the harvest could begin. The spring harvest ended by the time of the Feast of Firstfruits, 50 days later. (The New Testament name for this festival, Pentecost, literally means "fiftieth [day].") The people gathered on this annual Sabbath to give God thanks for the firstfruits of the years crops He had given them. Now lets see the interesting connection between the wave sheaf offering and, Jesus Christ.
3. Who was the first to be resurrected from the dead into Gods Family?
Acts 26:23. Was He therefore the first of the firstfruits of Gods spiritual harvest? I Cor. 15:20, 23; Col. 1:18. Therefore, are Spirit-begotten Christians clearly the firstfruits of Gods great Master Plan? Jas. 1:18; Rom. 8:23.
4. After Christ was resurrected from the dead, did He have to ascend to His Father in heaven? John 20:17. On that same day after returning from heaven, could His disciples then touch Him? Compare Matthew 28:9 with John 20:19-20, 27-28.
COMMENT: This was the first day of the week (Sunday) during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was on the very same morning that the wave sheaf was offered that Jesus Christ was accepted by His Father as the spiritual "wave sheaf" offering in heaven!
Christ therefore fulfilled the symbolism of the Old Testament wave sheaf offering. He was the first resurrected Son of Godthe first harvested product of Gods Master Plan. He became the firstborn Son of Godthe first human to complete the process of salvation and be "born again."
But Jesus could not have become the captain of our salvation and our elder brother without possessing an all-important ingredient from God something we all must have if we are to be born again as He was.
5. Could Jesus do any spiritual works, including obedience to God, with just His human strength? John 5:30; 8:28. Where did He get the necessary power? John 14:10, last part.
COMMENT: The Father "dwelt" in Jesus through the Holy Spirit!
6. Did Christ promise the same spiritual help to His disciples? John 14:16. What is the "Comforter"? Verse 26.
7. On what day did the disciples actually receive Gods Holy Spirit? Acts 2:1-4. Did they thus become members of Gods spiritual Church? I Cor.12:12-14.
COMMENT: Fifty days after Christ was accepted in heaven, the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples just as Jesus had promised. It was on the day of Pentecost that God sent His Spirit to begin His Churchto beget and strengthen the firstfruits He was beginning to call into His Church, symbolically represented by the two "wave loaves" mentioned in Leviticus 23:17, 20.
The New Testament festival of Pentecost is now a memorial that commemorates the founding of the New Testament Church of God through the receiving of the Holy Spirit. It was on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 that the initial firstfruits of Gods spiritual harvest began to be prepared by His Spirit for "reaping" into Gods divine Family.
Feast of Trumpets
But the firstfruits cannot be reaped into Gods Family unless they are "born again" (John 3:38)--resurrected and changed into spirit. That will not occur until Jesus Christ comes again, which brings us to the fourth step in Gods Master Plan.
The Feast of Trumpets portrays a pivotal event in Gods plan. This festival not only pictures the coming of Christ to resurrect and change the firstfruits, it also pictures the terrible time of world war just ahead and the intervention of Jesus Christ to save humanity from total annihilation, as well as to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
Lets understand exactly how this festival fits into Gods great Master Plan.
1. When is the fourth annual festival to be observed? Lev. 23:23-25. Is this another annual Sabbath of rest from ones regular work? Verses 24-25. Are Gods people commanded to meet together before Him on this Holy Day?
COMMENT: The number seven in Gods plan signifies completion and perfection. The seventh month of Gods calendar contains the final four festivals, picturing the completion of Gods Master Plan for mankind. The festival that occurs on the first day of this month marks the beginning of the final events in Gods plan.
2. Was this festival to be a memorial of blowing of trumpets? Verse 24.
COMMENT: It is from this ceremony that the Feast of Trumpets draws its name. There is a great deal of symbolic meaning tied in with the blowing of these trumpetsespecially with regard to the end time in which were living.
Trumpets were blown to announce Gods festivals, as well as to call Gods people to assembly. Trumpets were also used as an alarm of invading armies and impending warfare. This terrifying sound filled the people of ancient Israel with fear, because they knew the horror of war was imminent! It is this warning of war that sets apart the Feast of Trumpets from Gods other festivals.
3. When did Jesus say that Gods coming Kingdom would be established wouldnt it be in a time of world war? Matt. 24:3, 6-8; Luke 21:31. Would man then have the power to destroy all human life from the face of the earth? Matt. 24:21-22.
4. What does the book of Revelation say regarding the blowing of supernatural trumpets shortly before the return of Jesus Christ? Rev. 8:1-2, 6.
COMMENT: The seventh seal that covered the scroll (Rev. 5:1), when opened, disclosed seven angels with seven trumpets representing seven consecutive colossal world events. These are to be physical punishments from God to warn the nations not to go further into national and personal sins.
The last three trumpet plagues (also called "woes") specifically picture three phases of catastrophic world war. At the third, mankind will be saved from extinction by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
5. Will those who turn to God be protected from these trumpet plagues? Rev. 3:10; 7:2-3; 12:14. Is it for the sake of the "elect" that Christ will intervene in world affairs to cut short the time of great trouble and rescue mankind from nuclear annihilation? Matt. 24:22.
COMMENT: The elect of God are the firstfruits of His great Master Plan. They are the ones God has called out of this world to be the "firstfruits harvest" of the divine Family He is creating.
6. Did Jesus promise to send His angels to gather together His elect at the blast of a great trumpet? Verses 30-31. Is the sounding of this trumpet the time of the resurrection of the dead in Christ? I Thess. 4:16-17; I Cor. 15:51-52; Rev. 11:15-18. Is this trumpet the seventh and final one of the seven introduced in Revelation 8? I Cor. 15:52.
COMMENT: At the sound of the seventh trumpet, announcing the return of Jesus Christ, the firstfruits of Gods plan will be resurrected and changedborn as immortal spirit beings into the Family of God! God will then have reaped the smaller spiritual harvest of individuals into His Family. They will then begin to help Christ rule the earth (Rev. 20:6) and reap the much greater spiritual harvest during and after the Millennium. The last three festivals picture the details of how this will be accomplished.
Day at Atonement
What about Satan? What happens to him after Christ returns?
The fifth step in Gods Master Plan, the Day of Atonement, reveals the answer. It pictures Christ deposing Satan the devil from his present position as world ruler (II Cor. 4:4) and Satans removal to a place completely away from mankind. He will be bound for 1,000 years, no longer able to deceive the nations and influence man to sin.
After Satans imprisonment, the rest of humanity will be reconciled made at onewith God. Lets understand the meaning in the symbolism of this unique fifth festival of God.
1. What annual Sabbath follows only nine days after the Feast of Trumpets? Lev. 23:27; 16:29-31. Are Gods people commanded to assemble before Him on this day? Lev. 23:27.
2. How are we to observe the Day of Atonement? Verse 32. How does one "afflict" his body on this day? Isa. 58:3; Ezra 8:21.
COMMENT: The Day of Atonement is perhaps the most unusual Holy Day, as far as what God expects us to do. It is the one day of the year on which God commands us to fastto abstain from food and water (Ex. 34:28; Esther 4:16)--for 24 hours, from sunset on the ninth day of the month to sunset on the tenth day ("from even [in"] unto even [ing]"Lev. 23:32).
Fasting for spiritual reasons at any time of the year should be for the purpose of humbling ourselvesto draw closer to God and His righteous way (Isa. 58:6-11). Thus fasting on the Day of Atonement is a vivid reminder of the state of mind necessary for salvationof humility, godly sorrow, earnestly seeking after God and His waya condition to which this world will have been brought by the catastrophic events culminating in Jesus Christs return!
3. Does the Day of Atonement also differ from all other annual Holy Days in that no work of any kind is to be done on it? Num. 29:7; Lev.16:29. Why is this day to be kept so solemnly? Lev. 23:28.
COMMENT: What does the word atonement mean? Webster says to atone means to "set at one." To join in oneto form by uniting. This day actually symbolizes God and man being set at one: literally the Day of At-one-ment! But God and mankind cannot be fully at onein full agreementuntil Satan is restrained.
The 16th chapter of Leviticus details what God told the Levitical priesthood to do on the Day of Atonement. These rituals, although no longer performed, reveal another step in Gods plan to restore His government on earth and to bring saving knowledge to everyone.
4. Was the Aaronic high priest to make a special sin offering once a year to atone for all the sins of Israel? Lev. 16:32-34. Was this done on the Day of Atonement? Verses 29-30.
5. But before the high priest made this atonement, did he take two goats and then cast lots to determine who each would represent? Lev. 16:7-8. Was one to represent Christ, the LORD? Verse 8. Who was the other goat to represent? Same verse.
Was he to be banished? Verse 10.
COMMENT: The English word "scapegoat" is not), a correct translation of the Hebrew word God inspired. Most Bibles with marginal renderings show that the original word was azazel. Azazel among the early desert dwellers in the Sinai referred to Satan the devil!
6. Was the goat representing Christ offered as a sin offering for all the people? Verses 15-16. Were the sins of the people symbolically placed on the head of the other goat, representing Satan, which was then taken into the wilderness? Verses 21-22.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ atoned for our sins when He took the penalty of our sins (deathRom. 6:23) upon Himself by sacrificing His sinless life for us. But the real cause of those sins is Satan the devil (John 8:42-44). In this Levitical ritual, all of mans Satan-inspired sins were symbolically put right back on Satans head where they belong!
When Jesus Christ returns, the blame for mankinds sins will be placed squarely on Satan, who will then be removed from the presence of man. Notice the fulfillment of this part of Gods Master Plan as revealed by Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation:
7. What will be done to Satan after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Rev. 20:1-2. Where will he be cast? Verse 3. Also notice Revelation 18:1-2.
COMMENT: The "bottomless pit" or abyss was pictured by the desert wilderness where the azazel goat was banished. Satan and his demons will be completely restrained by Christ from further leading mankind into sin. No longer will Satan be able to broadcast (Eph. 2:2) his evil attitudes.
At the devils chaining by an angel of God (symbolically the "fit man" of Leviticus 16:21), the minds of men, formerly kept spiritually closed by Satan, will be opened by the Spirit of God!
For the first time, humanity will be able to understand Gods Master Plan of salvation. People will then begin to realize their wrong ways and desire to repent and receive forgiveness of their sins. Only then will man become at one with Christ and the Father, as pictured by the Day of At-one-ment!
Feast of Tabernacles
1. What God-ordained festival occurs only five days after the Day of Atonement? Lev. 23:34; Deut. 16:13-15.
2. Does this seven-day feast begin with a Holy Day on which all ordinary work is forbidden, and on which people are to gather before God? Lev. 23:35. Did God command that this annual festival be kept forever?
COMMENT: The Feast of Tabernacles was also called the Feast of Ingathering (Ex. 23:16; 34:22) because it celebrated the summer and early autumn harvest (Lev. 23:39).
3. What is the divinely set theme for the annual observance of the Feast of Tabernacles? Deut. 16:14-15. Does God say that good food should be eaten to increase ones joy and happiness during this feast? Deut. 14:26.
COMMENT: The Feast of Tabernacles, picturing the sixth step in Gods Master Plan, is a time of great rejoicing! For ancient Israel, it was a time of rejoicing because the abundant winters store was taken in just before the Feast. But in the Millennium, which this feast pictures, the happiness, joy and prosperity portrayed by the Feast of Tabernacles will exist worldwide under the righteous rule of Jesus Christ. Universal adherence to Gods way of life will make the World Tomorrow a literal utopia!
4. Are Gods people to live in boothstemporary dwellingsduring the Feast? Lev. 23:42.
COMMENT: A "tabernacle" or "booth" is a temporary dwelling. God commanded the ancient Israelites to live in temporary shelters made of tree branches (verse 40) while observing the Feast of Tabernacles. For Gods people who attend the Feast of Tabernacles today, a tent, camper, motel or hotel room would certainly qualify as a temporary dwelling.
God intends the Feast of Tabernacles to separate and free His people from the world. Living in temporary dwellings for an entire weekaway from their everyday surroundings, jobs and most negative influencesGods people enjoy a tiny foretaste of the universal freedom, joy and peace that will exist in the Millennium when Satan is gone and the Spirit of God is leading all of humanity (Joel 2:28, 32).
These are days of continuous, genuine Christian fellowship and just plain good fun! Tens of thousands of Gods people and their families gather at dozens of festival sites around the world. Christians at the Feast demonstrate now, by the way they live together in harmony, what todays sin-filled, unhappy world will become like after Christ returns.
But just as the Feast of Tabernacles is a physical feast filled with rejoicing, it is also a spiritual feast of education and preparation. Members of Gods Church receive instruction from Gods ministers through inspiring sermons to help them further prepare to rule and teach with Christ during the Millennium.
5. After Jesus Christ subdues the warring nations at His return and establishes Gods government over the earth, will the nations begin to come to Him for instruction in Gods way of life? Mic. 4:1-2. Will the whole world finally come to understand Gods way to peace, happiness, abundant living and salvation? Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34.
COMMENT: Once Satan has been bound and the government of God set up, a 1,000-year golden age of world peace and prosperity will begin. Christs reeducation program for the entire world will bring about a new civilization based on Gods way of lifeHis Law of loveresulting in great physical and spiritual blessings.
6. But what will happen to those nations that at first refuse to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and thus refuse to be reeducated to Gods way? Zech. 14:16-17. And if they still wont obey? Verses 18-19.
COMMENT: Christ will reeducate the people of the world through His annual festivals. The world will come to know that Gods Master Plan pictures the way to physical blessings and spiritual salvation. Those who stubbornly refuse to keep the Feast of Tabernacles will suffer from drought and plagues until they submit to God.
7. Is there to be any end to the increase of Gods government? Isa.9:7.
COMMENT: World population will increase rapidly in the Millennium. Eventually thousands of millions will be spiritually converted! The great "autumn harvest" of humans will be gathered into the Kingdom of Godborn again as divine members of the ruling Family of God during the Millennium.
By the end of the thousand years, the great Family of God will be ready for the final step in Gods Master Plan. Even greater joy and accomplishments lie ahead after the Millennium!
The Last Great Day
What about all those who have lived and died without ever being called of God (including, perhaps, most of your loved ones today)--who never had an opportunity to know and really understand Gods purpose and plan for mankind? Are they lost forever?
The answer is revealed in the meaning of the Last Great Daythe seventh and last of Gods annual festivalsthe festival that pictures the seventh and final step in Gods great Master Plan.
1. Is it Gods will that all who have ever lived come to the knowledge of His plan of salvation? II Pet. 3:9; I Tim. 2:4.
COMMENT: In His loving concern for all mankind, God has planned for everyone who has ever lived to receive an opportunity for salvation and Son ship in His Family, just as the already spiritually called and begotten children of God have been given their opportunity.
Just as the week is not complete without the seventh-day Sabbath, Gods Master Plan is not complete without His seventh and final annual festival.
The number seven in the Bible signifies completion and perfection. This seventh festival of God reveals the perfection of Gods great Master Plan that Gods love and mercy toward mankind will extend beyond the Millennium.
2. Was there an eighth day of worship immediately following the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles? Lev. 23:36, 39.
COMMENT: The last annual Sabbath or Holy Day is observed immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles. But because of its close proximity to this seven-day Feast, it was associated with the Feast of Tabernacles and was called the "eighth day." It came to be known among Christians as "the last day, that great day of the feast" (John 7:37). The Last Great Day is clearly a separate festival and Holy Day.
The Last Great Day pictures the completion of Gods Master Plan. That, as we learned in Lesson 21, is the Great White Throne Judgment period after the Millennium. Revelation 20:5 shows that a second resurrection will occur after the Millennium, and verses 11-12 reveal that those in this resurrection to mortal life, who died never having been called to participate in Gods plan of salvation, will then be given their opportunity to become members of Gods divine ruling Family.
These individuals will be given enough time to learn to obey God, just as Spirit-begotten Christians have opportunity to do today. Those who continue to live Gods way of life, developing the character of God, will be changed from mortality to immortality at the end of this period of judgment, which apparently will last 100 years (Isa. 65:20).
3. How did Jesus refer to this special "day" or period of judgment for these people who have yet to hear and understand the wonderful message of salvation? Matt. 11:20-24; 12:41-42.
COMMENT: Christ mentioned the people of Tyre and Sidon, Sodom, Nineveh in Jonahs time and finally the Queen of the south. All of these examples of people who lived in different generations are compared to those of Jesus day, the vast majority of whom did not understand or believe Christs message. Jesus tells us that they all will be resurrected with the generation that lived during His time!
Jesus gave enough examples of people living at widespread times to prove that most of humanity will be alive at the same time on this earth. There will be pre-Flood men and women, all 12 tribes of Israel, those who lived during the Middle Ages and the vast majority living now. Even babies and children who died untimely deaths will be resurrected then. They will all rise in the second resurrection because they had not been called by God during their first life.
The ancient peoples Jesus mentioned in Matthew 11 and 12 would have repented if He had personally come to them in their day. And they will repent when resurrected and given access to the Holy Spirit after the Millennium.
Your Bible shows that the vast majority of those who ever lived will finally be born into Gods Family at the end of this coming period of judgment, pictured by the Last Great Day.
Gods Master Plan of salvation for mankind will then be complete.
Then the spirit-composed members of Gods great ruling Family can look forward to new heavens and a new earthand to new and wonderful opportunities in ruling the universe under God our Father and Jesus Christ our elder brother!
Christ the Focus of Gods Holy Days
Through the years, Gods People have grown in the understanding of the spiritual meaning of Gods Holy Days. Unlike the days commonly observed by traditional Christianity today, Gods days reveal His great purpose for mankind and how He is accomplishing it.
In this overview lesson, we learned that Christ, our Creator, is fashioning us into Gods spiritual character image to become members of His divine Kingdom, as pictured by the weekly Sabbath. We also learned that Gods annual festivals not only teach us His Master Plan of salvation, they point us directly to our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is "our Passover" (I Cor. 5:7). It is by "putting on" Christ that we put sin out of our lives (Rom.
13:13-14), as pictured by the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Christ is the first of the "firstfruits," (Lev 23:9-14 the day and the symbolism) and it was 50 days after His resurrection that He sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was sent to spiritually beget those whom the Father would call, thus enabling them to obey His Law, successfully overcome sin in their lives and grow spiritually.
Christ will return to earth to intervene in world affairs (pictured by the Feast of Trumpets), resurrect His firstfruits, and rule as King of kings and Lord of lords, putting down the despotic rule of Satan, the arch deceiver, as portrayed by the Day of Atonement. With the influence of the devil and his demons gone, all mankind will have the opportunity to become "at one" with Christ through repentance, baptism and the receipt of Gods Spirit.
Christ is coming to set up the government of God on earth, making it a veritable utopiapictured by the Feast of Tabernacles. Thousands of millions will be Spirit-begotten and born into the Family of God during the Millennium.
Finally, Christ will make salvation available to everyone who ever lived, but never heard or understood the truth, in the last great step in Gods planthe Last Great Day, picturing the last judgment period.
Gods Ecclesia (People) understands and teach the precious truth concerning His purpose and plan for mankind. Around the world, Spirit-begotten children of God faithfully observe His weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days every year!
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Remember that with the next lesson we will begin our expanded study of each of Gods Holy Days. Lesson 24 will cover the seventh-day Sabbath in-depth. Not only will the points brought out in this lessons brief study of the weekly Sabbath be covered in greater detail, we will also answer questions such as: How is the Sabbath a special "test" commandment? Has time been "lost"? Did God change the seventh-day Sabbath to another day? How can we make Gods weekly Sabbath a spiritual blessing and delight?
This multiple choice test is designed to help you review the preceding lesson. Its an enjoyable way of putting to use some of the vital knowledge and understanding you have gained through this lesson.
Select one of the four choices given under each question or incomplete statement. The other three are incorrectunless stated or indicated otherwise.
Take sufficient time to understand each question or statement, as well as the choices. Try to do as many as you can without referring to the lesson. If you have difficulty deciding on the correct answer, then review the part of the lesson in question.
1. God gave His people weekly and annual Sabbaths that A. no longer have meaning or purpose. B. were patterned after pagan festivals. C. are reminders of His purpose and plan for bringing mortal humans into His divine Family. D. are not to be observed by true Christians today.
2. Which statement is FALSE? A. The land called Canaan in ancient times produces abundant harvests throughout the year. B. The spring grain harvest in the modern state of Israel is the smaller of the two annual harvest seasons. C. Gods festivals during the spring harvest season picture the relatively small beginning of Gods spiritual harvest of humans into His Family. D. The festivals that occur near the conclusion of the late summer-early autumn harvest season picture God calling the vast majority of mankind to salvation.
3. The "oracles"the Old Testament Scriptures, which include knowledge of Gods Sabbaths and festivals and Gods calendarwere given to ancient Israel and preserved by the tribe of Judah A. until the coming of Christ, who did away with the Law. B. because they were only for the Jews. C. to help the Jews earn salvation. D. for Gods New Testament Spirit-begotten Church.
4. After renewing the face of the earth in six days, God (the Word, who became Jesus Christ) rested on the seventh day A. because He was tired from all His work. B. to set an example for humans to follow. C.known today as Sunday. D.known today as Friday.
5. If we keep the Sabbath as God intends, it A. gives us extra time to learn more about God and His awesome purpose for our lives. B. is a sign reminding us that He is the Creator and we are His chosen people. C. is a type of our future spiritual "rest" as Spirit-born members of Gods divine Kingdom or Family. D. All of the above.
6. Since Gods Spirit-begotten childrentrue Christianshave become Abrahams spiritual descendants, they A. keep Gods weekly Sabbath
Saturday, the seventh day of the week. B. keep every day of the week "holy." C. no longer need to keep any day. D. keep Sunday, the first day of the week.
7. The New Testament references to Gods annual festivals indicate that the Church Jesus Christ founded A. knew it was no longer necessary to observe these festivals. B. observed Gods festivals, just as Christ had done and commanded His chosen people to do. C. observed these festivals only in Judea. D. celebrated Easter and Christmas.
8. Which statement about the first of Gods seven annual festivals is FALSE? The Passover A. was originally a yearly reminder of Gods deliverance of Israels firstborn from death. B. pictured, in advance, the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of mankind. C. was to be kept forever and is now an annual memorial of Christs suffering and death. D. commemorates Christs resurrection.
9. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus A. instituted the sacrament of communion, and told His disciples to observe it every Sunday morning. B. changed the Passover symbols to unleavened bread and wine. C. told His disciples to commemorate His birth and resurrection. D. explained to His disciples that His death would do away with the annual festivals.
10. Which statement about the New Testament Passover is FALSE? A. The new symbols Jesus gave on the eve of His death were for the apostles only. B. Foot washing, which Jesus instituted before taking the bread and wine, depicts the attitude of humility and service every true Christian should have. C. Eating the unleavened bread symbolizes our faith in the body or Christ, which was broken open for our physical healing. D. Drinking the wine symbolizes our faith in the fact that Christs blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
11. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the one of Gods annual festivals,
A. was replaced by Lent through the authority of the apostles. B. shows that accepting Christs sacrifice to pay for our sins is all that God requires of us. C. reminds us that God wants Christians to be striving to put sin completely out of their lives. D. lasts for eight days.
12. Leaven is a symbol for sin. Therefore A. leaven should never be eaten. unleavened bread typifies the presence of sin. C. the Feast of Unleavened Bread shows that God does not want us to "unleaven" our lives spiritually. D. the act of eating unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread symbolizes the opposite of sinrighteousness, which is active obedience to God.
13. Pentecost, the forth annual festival and Holy Day, A. reminds us that we need the power of Gods Spirit to overcome sin. B. reminds us that human willpower alone is enough to overcome sin. C. should be observed as a special day for baptisms and confirmations. D. is observed correctly by those churches named after this day.
14. "Pentecost," the New Testament name for the Old Testament "Feast of Firstfruits," A. was observed 50 days after the spring grain harvest began. B. is a memorial of the coming of Gods Spirit to beget and strengthen the "firstfruits" of Gods Master Plan. C. commemorates the beginning of the New Testament Church of God in A.D. 3l. D. All of the above.
15. The festival picturing the fourth step in Gods Master Plan A. marks the completion of events involving the Church. 8. has nothing to do with Christs return to earth. C. is the Feast of Trumpets. D. is no longer to be observed today.
16. The fourth of Gods annual festivals A. has no meaning for Gods Church today. B. pictures the return of Jesus Christ to save humanity from total annihilation. C. is a musical festival with little spiritual meaning. D. pictures Christ coming to "rapture" away His saints.
17. The Feast of Trumpets also pictures the A. terrible time of world war just before Christs return. B. resurrection of the "firstfruits," who will be reaped into Gods Family. C. first resurrection. D. All of the above.
18. After Christ returns, He will A. begin to qualify to replace Satan. B. depose Satan from being world ruler and restrain him from influencing mankind for 1,000 years. C. allow Satan to rule for another l,000 years. D. allow Satan to continue broadcasting his evil attitudes to mankind.
19. Fasting on the Day of Atonement A. means to abstain from meat but not other foods or water for 24 hours. B. has no connection with becoming at one with God. C. is for the purpose of humbling oneself to draw closer to God. D. is not a vivid reminder or the state of mind necessary for salvation.
20. The symbolism surrounding the azazel goat of Leviticus 16 pictures A. all sin being blamed on Christ. B. the blame for mankinds sins being placed on Satan, who inspired them. C. mankinds sins never being forgiven. D. Satan and his demons being released to further lead mankind into sin.
21. After Christ has returned to earth and put Satan away, He will A. begin the 1,000-year reign of the Kingdom of God on earth. B. return to heaven and let men solve their own problems. C. return to heaven with His saints, leaving the earth desolate for 1,000 years. D. abolish Gods annual Holy Days.
22. During the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, Gods people A. are to live in temporary accommodations such as motel and hotel rooms. B. rejoice greatly, thus picturing the universal happiness and joy that will exist during the Millennium. C. receive instruction from Gods Word to help them further prepare to rule and teach in the Millennium. D. All of the above.
23. The Last Great Day, the festival immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles, A. pictures the Great White Throne Judgment period, when all who were not yet called by God will be given their opportunity for salvation. B. has no connection with the second resurrection. C. shows how unfair God really is. D. shows that today is indeed the only "day" of salvation.
24. Gods Master Plan for the salvation of all mankind will A. never be complete. B. be complete at Christs return. C. be complete after the period of judgment pictured by the Last Great Day. D. is now complete.
25. Gods Holy Days A. point us directly to our Savior, Jesus Christ. B. reveal His great purpose for mankind and how He is accomplishing it. C. are faithfully kept by true Christians. D. All of the above.