Volume 13, Number 2, July-August 2009

What Are the Holydays FOR?

Of All Biblical Subjects, God’s Annual Holydays enjoy the Least Regard in most of the Professing Christian Community.  The Disdain for them is due Largely to a Mis-Representation of their Ultimate Purpose

© Rich Traver, 81520-1411,  7-21-06  [ 90 ]

 

In the greater Christian Community, there are few subjects which are met with greater disinterest than the seven annual Holydays found in the pages of Scripture. Despite the Early Church being seen as having observed them, and despite the Apostle Paul’s direct instruction to a Greek (Gentile) congregation to keep one set in particular, (1st Cor. 5:7-8) yet the attraction to non-biblical religious holidays seem the more compelling, to our secular society and even among the religiously inclined.

It’s All About Grace

Factoring into people’s sentiments in this matter is the issue of Grace. It is counter-posed that we are not in any way obligated to keep Biblical Holydays as means of attaining salvation. Despite this being technically correct, a greater matter is overlooked. These days are not our means of attainment, rather they are educational tools created by God to permit us to better understand the process of salvation, both personal salvation and ultimate world salvation, and to provide a framework upon which to be able to better understand Bible Prophecy.

Observing these before-ordained Holydays and focusing on their illustrative meaning gives each disciple a more in-depth comprehension of how personal salvation is attained and how that opportunity will be extended ultimately to all who have ever lived!

It is ironic that the one place in the New Testament which most specifically mentions Holydays is used to discourage interest in them! Colossians 2:16-17 admonishes the Christian: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body…of Christ. What this verse says is to let no man judge them in how they were observing these things, but rather to let the Church (the body of Christ) do so. (The word “is” was added by translators, and it clouds the point.) Notice please, that Paul wasn’t indicating that ‘men’ were judging them for not keeping these things, but rather for how they were keeping them. The New Testament Church kept them somewhat differently than did the religious zealots of the day! What has been largely overlooked here is the explanation of their ultimate purpose, that they’re a ‘shadow of things to come’. Why would Paul want them to disregard observances which present an ‘outline of future events’ ? (A modern way of saying it.)

Biblical Holydays offer a framework for a more in-depth understanding of redemption and prophecy. Most perceive prophecy to be only dark predictions of end-time events. Anyone with a reasonably correct understanding of prophecy will immediately see the correlation between prophesied events and God’s Holydays, particularly the Fall Holydays. Anyone not finding Bible Prophecy to be clear and understandable can gain much from a familiarity with Biblical Holydays in knowing how events interrelate and why they happen.

Holyday observance isn’t our means of earning salvation, nor was it ever intended to be, but of enhancing understanding, (growing further in grace and knowledge).

Greater Salvation

The Spring Holydays illustrate the process of personal salvation. (Passover, the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Firstfruits.)

God’s Annual Holydays powerfully incorporate the fundamental Biblical Doctrine of the Resurrections from the dead. Spring Holydays end with the First Resurrection, the Fall Holydays sequence begins with it.

The Fall Holydays illustrate how the process of salvation will be afforded to all who have ever lived (or will live beyond the Great Tribulation in the Millennial Age): world salvation (pictured by: The Day of Trumpets, Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day).

All Nations Will Come

The world will one day be introduced to them. The set of Holydays into which all nations will be invited (gently coerced) into observing is that set which illustrates what is then being offered them! The Feast of Tabernacles! Zech. 14:16 has:

 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 1 18And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 20In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowl’s before the altar. [A reference to Zechariah 9:15?]

Clearly here, Gentile nations, bar none, will be called upon to be adequately represented in Jerusalem, annually, before the returned and reigning Christ, to worship Him at the Feast of Tabernacles. The Saints having been raised immortal (in the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:5) at the Feast of Trumpets) and having been made ‘one’ with Christ (at the Day of Atonement) before the others’ era of opportunity is come to them!

Test Yourself

Consider a brief test as to whether or not you could benefit from a familiarity with biblical Holydays:

1.    Do you understand about the Millennial Rule of Christ and His Glorified Immortal Saints on Earth? (Rev. 2:26, 5:10, 20:4 & 6)

2.    Do you understand the need for the resurrections from the dead? (1Cor. 15:13-17, Heb. 6:2)

3.    Can you explain how many resurrections there are and generally when they occur? (Rev. 20:5)

4.    Do you know that Pentecost originally was an Old Testament observance? (Lev. 23:15-16)

5.    Do you understand what will happen in the post-millennial age and beyond that?

6.    Can you explain when it is that all the uncalled dead will have the opportunity that they never had in their lifetimes? (Rev. 20:12, John 6:44, & 6:37-40, Ezekiel 37, etc.)

God has a Plan by which all who have ever lived, who never had opportunity, will have opportunity for salvation. That Plan is laid out rather specific-ally in His Holydays. (Man’s holiday inventions present none of this! Man’s theology doesn’t have answers for this wide-open redemptive situation.) Modern theology holds to the opinion that this is the only day of salvation, that ‘whosoever will’ may come today, despite the clear qualification by Jesus Christ Himself that anyone in this first harvest must be drawn toward salvation specifically as a result of the Father having called him.2

There are two general ‘harvest periods’ in the process, known by the terms: “the early and the latter rains”. (James 5:7, Zech. 9:9 thru 10:1, Deut. 11:13-17 ) My articles addressing the resurrections from the dead further explain their essential part (www.goldensheaves.org). We place ourselves at a perceptual disadvantage whenever we consign God’s Holydays to practical irrelevance.    

 

Footnotes:

1          This is that period generally known as ‘the latter rain’, suggesting that they must respond positively to be afforded the opportunity then open to all.  It isn’t the rain itself that’s harvested, it’s the fruit of that outpouring.

2          John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Verse 44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

 

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