God's Festivals: The Biblical Holy Days

Introduction  (continued)

 

 

Some Protestant denominations have misapplied the prophecies to themselves, likely for their own sense of purpose.  For example, Seventh-day Adventists believe their denomination is identified as the "remnant" church in the book of Revelation, and that they will comprise the 144,000 elect. However, John clearly (and without any doubt) identified the 144,000 chosen ones to be from the twelve tribes of Israel in Revelation 7:4-8, even dividing them into the twelve tribes, contrasted by a Jew/Gentile mix of "every nation" one verse later (v. 9).  False teachings flourish when the plainest prophecies are interpreted in a "spiritual" sense, or with Western views or prejudices... instead of the original Hebrew meaning, without regard for the literal language and intent. 

 

Another false belief is that God has, for the most part, discarded His people--the Jews, for their unbelief, and replaced them with His "spiritual" people--the church.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  God's plan is to save many Gentiles, but once the full number has come in, God will bring in the great gathering of His elect--the 144,000 during the final days. As the apostle Paul so eloquently stated, "I ask then, Did God reject His people? By no means! I am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject His people, whom He foreknew," Romans 11:1-2.  In fact, Paul wrote to the Gentile assembly at Rome, "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel [of all twelve tribes] will be saved," Romans 11:25-26.

 

The Festivals have a direct fulfillment in the last days--when type (form) will meet antitype (reality).  Looking for the establishment of the kingdom in their day, the disciples asked the probing question, "Lord, at this time are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?  He said to them: It is not for you to know the [appointed] times and dates ["times or the seasons"--KJV] the Father has set by His own authority," Acts 1:6-7.  That is to say, it was not for that generation to know the annual feast days and holy dates when the final events will transpire.  

 

Paul also connected the annual Festivals to the Day of the Lord.  He wrote, "Now brothers, about the times and dates [appointed "times and the seasons"--KJV; ie., spring and fall observances] we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night [to sinners].  While people are saying, Peace and safety, destruction will come on them, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape... but you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day... let us be alert [to the teaching of God's prophetic Word]," (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).  

 

In other words, the events that lead up to the Day of the Lord are connected to the Biblical holy days, and God's people should not be surprised.  We now have the opportunity to understand the prophetic roadmap (Daniel 12:4, 10) that will guide us past overwhelming demonic miracles, signs and wonders. Yet, when Messiah comes in wrath on the Day of the LORD, He will bring destruction and death to sinners.  For the most part, the world's population will be deceived by the Man of Sin--Antichrist.  They believe that world peace is possible if this world leader is allowed onto the Temple Mount (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).  However, all sinners will "perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."

 

A Shadow Of Things To Come

 

Paul's insight is this: God's Festivals are "a shadow" of events "to come" at the end of time.  Paul understood precisely the connection between the feast days and the end, which he derived at least in part from various Scriptural texts.  God has an unalterable set time, an "appointed time," in which events of the final days will be played out in minute detail.  Four times the Bible associates the appointed times to the end:

 

"I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end." Daniel 8:19.

"The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time," Daniel 11:27.

"Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time," Daniel 11:35.

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay," Habakkuk 2:3.

The annual holy days mark important events during Yeshua's earthly ministry.  He may well have been born on the Feast of Tabernacles (Hebrew: Sukkot).  "Water" plays a significant role during this feast, and ceremonies involving processions of water were common in His day and time.  So it is written: "On the last and greatest day of the Feast [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within Him,"  John 7:37-38.

Six months later the Lamb of God was crucified, as the Passover seder (evening meal) was in preparation.  He rested in the grave over the Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, then arose on the first day of the week.  Added to the life of Christ, no less than forty such events in Israel's history have occurred on Festival and fast days, according to some researchers.  We find Jesus personally fulfilling the Festivals, which He Himself instituted at Mt. Sinai.  He demanded their celebration and observed them during His lifetime, and he will someday bring the feasts to a complete fulfillment in the last days.  No doubt with this divine plan, one can expect end-time prophecies to be fulfilled on the exact calendar dates of the feasts during the "appointed time" which leads up to Messiah's return.

God's Festivals and the Prophetic Timelines

The last generation is invited to learn about God's Festivals, and to understand the significance of each holy day as it relates to the final days.  Although many details about the end of time has been held in secret from the beginning of time, the book of Daniel holds the key to unlocking the mystery surrounding the timing of events.  We can gain insight by recognizing the connection between the various time periods found in the ancient book of Daniel and the modern-day celebrations observed in the Jewish Festivals. 

 

If one could discover when the time periods of Daniel align to the feast days in the coming years, then we might unlock God's time-table of the final days.  By Daniel's own admission, this seems to be the Father's planned design all along--that just before the events transpire, at the time when the end would occur, He would unseal the mysteries: "But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge... none of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand," 

Daniel 12:4, 10.

 

This revelation of times and Jewish holy dates exposes the precision of Bible prophecy.  God has set the times and dates, and from the foundation of the world established the final days in their assigned order according to His omniscient will.

 

Many manuscripts written by Jewish scholars, rabbis and adherents to Judaism provide a wealth of information concerning the historical significance of the holy days as well as what events are expected on the Festivals that lead up to Messiah's intervention.  Unlike Christendom, Judaism has not failed in observing the holy days or to appreciate their apocalyptic connection to the Age To Come.  For example, Jewry has long held that the prophet Elijah, whom the Word of God promises will come and prepare the way for Messiah before the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Malachi 3:1; 4:5), will first appear at Passover in the spring of the year.  Revelation 11:3-12 confirms the coming of two witnesses (Elijah, along with Moses) who will testify for 42 months, or 1260 days.  The two will then meet their doom and will lie in Jerusalem's streets unburied until their resurrection three and one-half days (3 1/2 days) later, just before the great outpouring of God's divine wrath.

 

Students of prophecy should not be surprised to find that often in the Jewish calendar there are 1260 + 3 1/2 days between Passover and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)--a day in Scriptures known for the cutting off of sinners (Leviticus 23:29).

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