Next is the putting out of leaven during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-8). Putting out physical leaven for seven days pictures putting sin out of our lives every day through heartfelt desire and effort to quit sinning:
"Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are 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." (1Corinthians 5:7-8)
In addition to not eating leavened items during this period, we should actively eat unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6), which pictures putting on Christ; that is, following His example in all that we do, and allowing Him to live His life in us.
Receive Gift of Holy Spirit
Since it is impossible to obey God on our own, due to the weaknesses of the flesh and the downward pull of our human nature, we need to invoke the next step in God's plan: God's help. This is His Holy Spirit, which He gives to us after our baptism (Acts 2:38). We then become begotten sons of God.
The gift of God's Holy Spirit was first made available to mankind in general on the Feast of Pentecost, a little more than seven weeks after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 2:1-4). This was the beginning of the New Testament Church of God. If we utilize this fantastic gift, we can begin to obey God as we should. And it is this minute portion of God Himself in us that begins our journey toward eternal life:
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God." (Romans 8:14)
Return of Jesus Christ
The Bible often uses trumpets to signify war and destruction. The Day of Trumpets pictures the climactic war between Christ and the forces of Satan, culminating in the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings:
"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, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
"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." (Revelation 19:11-16)
There will never be such a time of war as this in all history. All life would be eradicated from the earth if not for the intervention and second coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:21-22). The resurrection of the firstfruits will occur at this stage in God's plan (1Corinthians 15:52, 1Thessalonians 4:13-17, Revelation 20:1-6).
All the Earth at Peace
Finally, the earth will be at one with its Creator, as pictured by the Day of Atonement, because the Adversary, Satan the Devil, will be imprisoned and not allowed to continue his self-serving rule over this earth:
"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 . . . " (Revelation 20:1-3)
All the world will then learn to follow God's way of love and peace instead of Satan's way of hate and war.
The Thousand Year (Millennial) Reign of the Messiah
After Satan is put away we will enter the truly "golden era" of earth's history, the Millennium, which literally means one thousand years. Jesus and all those resurrected in the first resurrection, shall reign over the earth, bringing fabulous joy and prosperity to all humanity that survive the endtime holocaust:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4-6)
During these thousand years, many will have their opportunity for salvation (eternal life).
The Dead are alive again
At the end of the Millennium, all the dead throughout history who never had an opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ, will be resurrected to a second human life:
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. " (Revelation 20:11-12; See also Ezekiel 37:1-14)
They will enter an earth which is a utopia, after one thousand years of Christ's reign, and learn the right way to live. This is their first and only opportunity to accept Jesus as their personal savior, to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is their time to accept the magnificent gift of eternal life being held out to them.
Sometimes this last feast day is called the "Eighth Day." This is the Biblical term in Leviticus 23. If seven is the number of completion, eight is the number of new beginnings. God has wonderful plans for all of us far into the future, and those plans begin with the Eighth Day, the final step in God's Feast Days.
God's Plan of Salvation
|Festival / Holy Day || ||Step in God's Plan of Salvation |
|Passover|| ||Repentance, baptism, and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal savior. |
|Unleavened Bread || ||Desire and effort to come out of sin (which is breaking the commandments of God). |
|Pentecost || ||God's gift of His Holy Spirit to help us overcome our sins. |
|Trumpets || ||Climactic endtime Day of the Lord and the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings over all the earth, with resurrection of the Saints. |
|Atonement || ||Banishment of Satan from the earth, allowing unity between all mankind and the Almighty Creator God. |
|Feast of Tabernacles|| ||Thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth, with man living in peace and happiness God's Way. |
|Last Great Day || ||Resurrection of all the dead who never knew the truth. They will all have an opportunity for salvation. |
God's Three Harvest Seasons
God's Word says that His Seven Annual Festivals occur during three major time periods, each of which represents a harvest:
“Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD." (Exodus 23:14-17; see also Deuteronomy 16:16-17)
FIRST HARVEST: Early Spring (March / April)
Harvest of the First of the Firstfruits of God's Children -- Jesus Christ
(1Corinthians 15:20; 1Thessalonians 4:14)
1. Passover (14th day of first Hebrew month)
Acceptance of Jesus Christ our Savior who died for our sins.
2. Feast of Unleavened Bread (Seven days: 15th - 21st of first Hebrew month)
With God's help and Holy Spirit putting sin (leaven) out of our lives after accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.
SECOND HARVEST: Late Spring (May / June)
Harvest of the Firstfruits of God's Children
(1Corinthians 15:23; 1Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Receiving of God's Holy Spirit in order to help us in our effort to obey God's righteous Law.
THIRD HARVEST: Fall (September / October)
Harvest of the Rest of the Fruits, the Vast Majority of God's Children
(Revelation 20:4-6, 11-12; Ezekiel 37:11-13)
4. Day of Trumpets (1st Day of Seventh Hebrew Month)
Return of Jesus Christ to destroy man's evil, ungodly, unrighteous system of government.
5. Day of Atonement (10th Day of Seventh Hebrew Month)
Reconciliation of God to His People after putting away the Deceiver and Adversary -- Satan the Devil.
6. Feast of Tabernacles (7 days: 15th - 21st of Seventh Hebrew Month)
Thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth with man living in peace and happiness God's Way.
7. Last Great Day, or Eighth Day (22nd Day of Seventh Hebrew Month)
New Beginnings. Resurrection to human life of all the dead who never knew the truth in order for them to have their opportunity for salvation.