GOD’S MASTER PLAN- PATRICK BASTIEN
In every country, we find that people devotedly celebrate their national holidays. These special days are reminders of important events in a country and/or culture’s history. They provide permanence between a nation’s past and present. Most often, citizens can understand and explain at least some of the significance of these national celebrations. Yet, in contradiction, those same citizens seldom have much understanding about the holidays on which they worship God. The non-biblical roots of these religious practices are quietly ignored in their celebrations.
As a result, people usually assume that popular observances such as Easter and Christmas serve as true representations of particular themes described to be observed in the Bible. Yet, God’s Word nowhere commands their observance, nor does the Bible record their commemoration in the early New Testament Church. However, God does command other rarely noticed festivals, (or Holy Days) outlined in Leviticus 23, such as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles for our consideration.
Why does God desire that we observe these Holy Days? It is because they hold the key to understanding our destiny, which answers the question: why were we born? He reveals to us in these Holy days His Great purpose for the future of mankind: His Master Plan for humanity. Through the Holy Days, God explains why He put us on the Earth. He reveals our ultimate destiny and tells us how we can attain a better understanding of it through observing the Holy Days.
God’s Holy Days hold great meaning. Comparably, commercialized “holi-days” such as Christmas, Easter, and other non-biblical holidays come up absolutely empty when equated against these Holy Days.
Picture a typical Christmas Eve, with all the commercial advertisements and shopping sprees. Many people all over the world feel duty-bound to give presents to others, but they often give little or nothing to Christ for His work and the monumental sacrifice that He made for us.
In this article, I’d like to present an overview of what the biblical Holy Days illustrate. As mentioned, described in Leviticus 23, are seven religious festivals that God gave mankind to observe. Also, it is interesting to note that biblical numerology reveals that seven is the number representative of perfection.
The first Holy Day of the year is the Passover. It pictures the death of Christ, as our Passover Lamb. This is the first stage in God’s Plan for Salvation. We have to really repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord, whom we should obey. The death of Jesus Christ is the pivotal event that lays the foundation for the remaining Holy Days and Festivals. It is the most momentous step in God’s plan. Jesus came for this purpose so He could draw all of mankind unto Him (John 12:27, 32). Therefore, it is important for those who have been baptized to share in the emblems of the wine and unleavened bread, showing their continued dedication to the covenant they made when they accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Immediately following the Passover, comes the seven Days of Unleavened Bread (again, the number of perfection). This Festival pictures putting sin out of our lives so that we can grow in grace and knowledge and live as God’s redeemed people (Exodus 12:15; Leviticus 23:6; Acts 12:3). Additionally, eating unleavened bread underscores the importance of Christ’s broken body for us and how we are healed by His stripes (2 Peter 2:24).
Third is the Feast of Pentecost. This pictures the need for God’s Holy Spirit to be poured down on us (Acts 2:1-4). The Holy Days progressively reveal how God is working with humanity now and how He will continue to work with us in the world to come.
Fourth in the sequence is the Feast of Trumpets. Celebrated in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, it pictures the end times and the first resurrection of the dead. In the Old Testament, trumpets were blown to sound the alarm for war in ancient Israel. Trumpets picture a time of war and chaos just before Christ’s return. They represent the culmination of the present age of mankind and the beginning of an incredible time during which God will play a much more direct role in world events by sending Christ back to the Earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:11-21).
Next is the Day of Atonement. This day depicts Satan’s banishment, when the world finally has “at-one-ment” with God (Leviticus 23:27; Acts 27:9). The Bible tells us that Satan has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9). And because of that he will be restrained for a thousand years, but ultimately put out and pitched from God’s kingdom forever and ever (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10).
Sixth in the sequence that God wants us to observe is the Feast of Tabernacles, which runs for seven days, (there’s that number of perfection again) and pictures the Kingdom of God on Earth. In Old Testament times it was called the Feast of Ingathering. It represents, metaphorically, the big harvest of souls during the millennium, when God will open everyone’s minds to His plan for the ultimate destiny of mankind. All human beings will eventually understand who God is and what He stands for.
At last, the grand finale is the Great White Throne Judgment (Last Great Day). This day pictures the rest of the dead coming back to life (Revelation 20:5). It is a time when billions of human beings who lived throughout the course of mankind’s history and were either deceived, or had never had a chance to hear the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to finally come to know the true God, our Saviour, and purpose for life. These people will be given a genuine chance to accept Jesus as their Lord, Saviour, and Creator whom we must obey. They will be given their first real opportunity to understand God and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Unequivocally, God has a magnificent plan, which is revealed through His Holy Days. These are the religious Holy Days we ought to be keeping! They picture the true God, and the true plan He has for us—a great plan that is pictured by these Holy Days of Almighty God which sadly, most of the people on Earth have never heard about.
Finally, if the truth were known, most people would want to worship God in the right way. Admittedly, it is fair to say they would want to do what the Bible says. And what the Bible says is, if we really love Jesus and in fact accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, then we must heed what He said in Luke 6:46, “Why call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say?”
If Jesus is indeed our Lord, we must do what He says, and follow His examples. Take a look at 1 Peter 2:21. It says we should follow His example. His example illustrates that He kept all of the Holy Days outlined above, as did His disciples, along with the early New Testament Church. The God of the Bible tells us not to follow the traditions of men, and without realizing it, most Christians, though very sincere, are doing just that: following the traditions of men rather than following the plan of God. Most of them are well meaning people, but have just grown up keeping the days they were taught as children, taking them for granted, simply believing they are true.
Notice what Jesus told the religious leaders of His day in Matthew 15:3-9. We must not follow the traditions of men instead of God’s ways.