by Brian G. Bettes
As we approach the fall holy days our minds turn to the final steps in God’s master plan for mankind. It is hard to believe that in just under six weeks we will kick off the fall holy day season with the Feast of Trumpets. As we look to the future events represented by the fall festivals, it is always good to briefly look back and review where we have been in order to accurately see where we are going.
When we look into the rearview mirror of our own personal life, we should see a time when God started to rescue us as He did the children of Israel while being held captive in the land of Egypt (Exodus 3:6-7). We should be able to recognize exactly when He began to reach out His hand to us, opening our eyes to His truth and working miracles in our lives as He started to reveal Himself to us. We saw and felt His power in our lives as He began to deliver us from this world in a way we had not known, seen, nor understood before. In short, He called us (John 6:44, 65). In response we fulfilled the symbols of repentance from a life of works that led to death (Romans 6:20-21). In faith we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior through the sacrifice of His life in place of ours (Romans 5:6-8). We started feeding directly on Him as our living Bread of Life (John 6:51), and we began our own personal journey out of and away from the Egypt of this sinful world; all of this pictured by the Passover and days of Unleavened Bread.
As we continue to look behind us in that mirror we see that, just as the children of Israel went down into the Red Sea and emerged on the other side into a new world with Jesus leading them in a cloud by day and fire by night (1 Corinthians 10:1-2), we also forged ahead with complete and total surrender to Him by participating in the symbolism of the burial of our old man in the watery grave of baptism. Our sins were washed away and we were resurrected to live a new life following Him as we came up out of those waters, this being represented by the last day of Unleavened Bread.
After having hands laid on us to receive the Holy Spirit from our Father, which combines with our human spirit to make us His very children (Romans 8:15-16), we began to be led by that same Spirit (Romans 8:14); this as we know is represented by the Feast of First Fruits, or Pentecost. All of the above events are encapsulated within the short but powerful proclamation that the apostle Peter made to those requesting what to do on that first day of Pentecost after the resurrection of our Lord. He said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
We now turn our focus to look out the windshield to see what is in front of us. The next step is our own personal victory day at the return of Jesus Christ as represented by the Feast of Trumpets. The day our bodies and minds become fully spirit as Jesus did at His resurrection, when we ourselves will be either resurrected or changed (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1Thessalonians 4:16-17).
But that is not the end of His plan, is it? Our personal faith being finished by Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) is not the end of the story. In other words, it isn’t all about us! God has more in store as seen in the rest of His holy days. As we drive further down the road, what comes into view? The Day of Atonement. It is a day that represents God preparing the earth for Jesus Christ’s millennial rule by locking Satan away in a prison cell (compare the events of Leviticus 16:10, 20-22 with Revelation 20:1-3).
Christ then returns with us by His side to help Him usher in a new era, a new world, and a new way of thinking and living (Revelation 20:4, 6). After the thousand years is finished, the rest of the dead (Revelation 20:5) will be resurrected, given and second chance at living under Christ’s rule, then judged by their willingness to follow Him. Some, if their name is written in the Book of Life, will receive eternal life in the family of God just as we did. Others whose names were not in that Book will be thrown into the lake of fire, which is not an ever-burning existence in a place called hell by the way (Revelation 20:11-15).
At this point death and hell (Greek: hades, or grave) are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). All authority on earth has at that point come under the rule of Jesus Christ, and all who are living who were once flesh are now Spirit-born children of the Father. And after the very last enemy, which is death, has been destroyed, the final culmination of God’s plan to create children through mankind becomes complete when Jesus Christ hands rule of the Kingdom over to our Father (1 Corinthians 15:23-26). WOW!
Think of it — what an incredible plan! God uses His holy days as milestones along our journey to becoming His children. God is reproducing Himself from first nothing, then clay using His Holy Spirit. What He is creating isn’t just another “thing.” It isn’t even just another sentient being like angels. No, He is creating an exact replica of Himself many times over. God’s piece de resistance, His masterpiece is you, me, and ultimately the rest of mankind if each of us willingly responds appropriately within the timeframe we are given. Let’s enjoy the wonder and beauty of His plan as we celebrate the fall feast days!