NEW! GOD’S HOLIDAYS – Didn’t know God has Holidays? Yes, He most certainly does! Every beautiful Holiday is both commemorative AND prophetic of iconic events from the Exodus, thru the Cross, and on forward to the Kingdom!

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GODs HOLIDAYS

   … and Their Wonderful Significance!     10-08-19

Many years ago, there was a movie called “The Cross and the Switchblade”, about  a young country preacher named David Wilkerson, who took the Gospel to the gangs on the streets of New York.  Do you remember? Pat Boone played the role of David Wilkerson.  Well, Pastor Wilkerson founded and pastored the Times Square Church, right on Broadway, in the middle of Manhattan, where he ministered primarily to the street people, until his death in April of 2011.

Late in the Summer of 2001, Pastor Wilkerson said he had received a warning from God that a calamity was coming, and for six weeks he felt an intense burden.  The critical need for intercession was so profound that Pastor Wilkerson wiped everything off the church calendar.  He cancelled missions, he put off conferences, postponed youth events, and he rescheduled guest speakers.

For six weeks, there were no sermons.  Instead, there was heart-felt intercession for our nation, with weeping and repentance.  He believed God, that something was coming – and that “something” was not good – and it would be coming soon. His congregation believed him – and so they prayed, and they continued to pray.

Then, Pastor Wilkerson was strongly impressed to do something that seemed almost  bizarre.  He heard God telling him     to make sandwiches,  an abundance of sandwiches.  But why?  For whom?  For what purpose?  That part wasn’t clear, but … he and his church decided to do    what they believed God was telling them to do!  Now, there’s a refreshing example   of simple, childlike faith, isn’t it?

So, that Monday night, the 10th of September, they stayed up thru the entire night, until dawn, making hundreds and hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  By morning, they had a mountain       of about 2,000 sandwiches …

… and at 8:46am, the first plane hit the World Trade Center … and Pastor Wilkerson’s Times Square Church was prepared to feed  and to minister   to the rescue workers and to the survivors of this nation’s worst attack ever.

Making sandwiches all night long seems like a strange thing to do, doesn’t it? And if some flesh-and-blood human being told me I should stay up thru the night and make sandwiches, I’d probably laugh and tell him he’s delusional.

But when we’re in a trusting relationship with your Lord … well, John 10:4 says it best: “His sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.  We may not fully understand God’s purposes, initially, but we’ll obey Him anyway, because we know Him, and we trust  Him,   and because He has proved Himself, over and over … And His marvelous ways are far, far beyond all human comprehension.

Romans 11:34 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord?  Or who hath been His counselor?”

This  (^Bible^) is the Word of God – the revealed will of Our Heavenly Father.  We are sanctified by this Word as we feed upon it, and internalize all that it has to say to us.   God’s Son, Jesus, to Whom Scripture refers as “The Word made flesh”, prayed to His Father in heaven, “Sanctify them by Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth.”

All of God’s Commandments, His Statutes, and His Judgments have a distinct purpose; and each oracle represents some aspect of the Gospel, or a phase of the office and function of one of the members of The Godhead.  All that God has revealed is intended to expand and clarify our understanding of spiritual things.

The full significance of each truth may not be entirely clear to us, but as we grow in our relationship with Him – as He increases our understanding, God’s Spirit will lead us to a clearer grasp, and the pieces will begin to fit into a more complete picture of the purposes of our Heavenly Father.  With Easter approaching, we’re going to take a closer look at God’s Holidays and how each one represents, or fleshes-out, the landmarks along the road to God’s Eternal Kingdom.

As the early Christian Church grew in those early centuries following the crucifixion of Christ and the martyring of the apostles, many influences from the pagan cultures,   into which the Church had been born,   brought about a subtle, gradual setting-aside of some of God’s truths revealed in the Scriptures, in favor of traditions and beliefs that were carried over from their earlier, pagan rituals.  In fact, the Apostle Paul solemnly warned the early Church numerous times in his epistles of this corruption of God’s Word. 

Although some seemingly-logical reasons may be given for embracing these substitutions, this one, over-arching fact remains: Man simply did not, back then – nor does he today – possess any authority  to alter God’s Word.  In fact Jesus vowed that not “one jot or one tittle” –  not one dot of an ‘I’ or a crossing of a ‘T’ – will change until all is fulfilled.  And God Himself has vowed that He “will not alter the thing that goeth out of My lips”,  So, what human being can possess the authority to change God’s Word?  In altering Scripture, the significance of these Holy Days is completely obliterated – it’s lost.    How about an illustration?

Let me tell you about the 100mph goat …

Two country boys are out in the boondocks, hunting; and as they walk along the edge of a wooded area, they come upon an immense hole in the ground. They cautiously approach it, and are astonished by its size – and depth.

The first hunter says, “Wow, that sure is some hole; I can’t even see the bottom. I wonder how deep that thing is.”

The second hunter says, “I don’t know!  Let’s throw something down and listen, and see how long it takes to hit bottom.”

Looking around them, the first hunter says, “Hey, there’s an old automobile transmission.  Gimme a hand, and we’ll throw it in and see”.

So they pick it up and lug it over to the hole’s edge, and they count together, “One … and two … and three!”, and they heave it into the hole.

Well, they’re standing there, listening intently and peering over the edge when … they hear a frantic rustling in the brush behind them.

As they whirl around toward the commotion, a goat comes crashing through the brush, runs up to the hole and, without hesitation, he leaps in,    head-first,   and disappears into the abyss.

While they stand gawking at each other and peering down into the hole, trying to figure out what that was all about,  an old farmer approaches them.

“Say there,” says the farmer, “You fellers didn’t happen to see my goat around here anywhere, did you?”

The first hunter says, “Funny you should ask, ‘cuz we was just standing here a minute ago and a goat come dashing out of the bushes – doin’ about ‘a hunert miles an hour’   -   and jumps head-long, right into this-here hole!”

“That’s impossible!” the old farmer exclaimed.  “I had him chained …

   … to a transmission!”

What went wrong here?  Well, neither hunter stopped to question    what was the reason for an automobile transmission to be out in the middle of the back-woods.  And wouldn’t  they at least    wonder about the purpose of the chain that was hooked to the housing?   It was all there for a legitimate reason!  It had to be!

The same can be said of God’s Holy Days, which is precisely, by the way, where we get our present-day word “holidays” – it comes straight from His “Holy Days”. 

God’s Holidays identify and celebrate seven milestones, seven iconic landmarks, for His Church    on the road to Eternity: Passover /The Crucifixion;  FirstFruits /The Resurrection;  Pentecost /The Gift of the Holy Spirit;  Feast of Trumpets / Last Call to Repentance; The Day of Atonement / the Final Judgment; The Feast of Tabernacles / the Return of Christ and the Redeemed of the Earth entering the Heavenly Kingdom.

God’s Holidays are both commemorative and prophetic.  They mark past milestones in the history of God’s Church, and in addition, for every one of these Holidays,  there remains a yet-unfulfilled, future significance for all Christians!

Let’s begin with Easter, the season during which mainstream Christianity marks the Passion of the Christ.  But it is a “mixed bag” of the world’s holidays, as the combined overflow from the pagan “fertility rites of Spring”, colored eggs, jelly beans, and chocolate bunnies, have overrun and drowned the true significance of this time of year!  But there’s a much deeper, far more meaningful significance to this season, which I’d like to share with you right now:

 

 

Passover, the first on God’s calendar, points back  to the night before the “Church in the Wilderness” left Egypt;  and then, forward from that time to the crucifixion (looking back now, it was a future event, then)  Today,  Passover  is prophetic – now it’s pointing ahead to the future fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that He will celebrate the Passover with the Redeemed, once all is fulfilled in the Kingdom.  (see Luke 22:15, 16)

 

The seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, beginning the very next day, teaches us that the Savior is the “Bread of Life”, and that He was without sin, although He was fully-born into carnal, human flesh.  Yeast, fermentation, and leavening, are Biblical symbols of sin, corruption, and falsehood, in which He took no part. He truly was “The Unleavened Bread which came down from heaven”!  (a clear reference to the 40 years of Manna, which, in itself, prophesied of the coming Jesus!)

 

 

The third day, The Day of First-fruits, commemorates Jesus’ arising from the grave as the First-fruits of the Resurrection (the Wave Sheaf from of Barley crop).  It also points forward to the Great Resurrection Day of the Redeemed in Christ.

 

 

 

Pentecost  is a most-interesting Holiday, and yet it’s barely understood by mainstream Christianity.  Thanks to our Pentecostal and Assemblies-of-God brethren, we’re mindful of the Day of Pentecost, because that was when the Holy Spirit descended on the congregation of believers who were gathered to celebrate this HolyDay; and the Bible says that 3000 souls were baptized and added to the Early Church in just one day!  Many, many more were to follow.

Jesus had ascended into heaven only 10 days prior to that, and had instructed His followers to remain in Jerusalem, with the promise that He would send them His Representative, The Holy Spirit, to help them to establish the Church and carry forward the Good News of the Gospel, and guide them on the right path.

But a little-known fact of Pentecost is that, according to Hebrew scholars and Biblical historians, Pentecost  is the occasion, fifty days after Passover and the Exodus, when God spoke the Ten Commandments from atop Mount Sinai, and then wrote them on two stone tables with His finger, and gave them to Moses.

So, Pentecost is commemorative of the giving of the Law from Mt. Sinai, as well as the descending of the Holy Spirit on the Early Church – an event that’s referred to as the “Early Rain”, which is a term that pertains to the growing seasons in the middle-east.   

 

But, the future significance of Pentecost is the falling of the “Latter Rain”, or the great and final outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which will ripen the crop of precious souls in God’s Vineyard, for His great and final Harvest.

 

 

 

These are the Holy Days in the Springtime of the year, which pertain to His first appearing on this earth.  In the Fall, there are more, which apply to His Second Appearing, His return!  Trumpet  fanfare always announces something big, something of vast importance.  Trumpets proclaim and they summon!  Looking back, the Feast of Trumpets summoned the people to put their accounts in order, in preparation for the Judgment Day, which was represented by The Day of Atonement, and followed ten days afterward.  For us, today, the prophetic significance of the Feast of Trumpets’ is as God’s last appeal,  announcing the coming Great Day of Atonement, and the actual, final, Great White Throne Judgment.

 

 

The Day of Atonement is the only one of God’s Holidays that is not a joyous celebration, and that’s for very sound reason.  The Day of Atonement  is a solemn day of confession, repentance, and fasting, and it represents that impending Great Day of Reckoning, appointed by Our Heavenly Father  (Acts 17:31).

 

 

The eight-day-long Feast of Tabernacles is a most joyous time, and has two Holy Days – the first day and the last.  The first Sabbath of Tabernacles commemorates the redemption and release of God’s people from Egyptian bondage, which was followed by their years of wandering in the wilderness;   while the second Sabbath celebrates their crossing the Jordan and finally entering the Promised Land.  Now, the prophetic meaning, looking forward – the future significance of these two Holidays, is  1) the Second Coming of Jesus, which will rescue us from this “Egypt of sin”, from our  trials in this wilderness –  and  2) the Redeemed entering the Heavenly Kingdom, which is the true, eternal “Promised Land”.  

 

 

Here again is an additional, intriguing significance to this Holiday, the Feast of Tabernacles:  Nearly everyone agrees without dispute, that Jesus’ birth did not occur on December 25th.   Most theological historians concur that He was quite likely born in the Fall of the year, somewhere from what we now know as late September into early October.  Many Biblical scholars believe Jesus’ birth was at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, which falls comfortably within that time frame … because Scripture had prophesied that the Messiah would “tabernacle” with mankind – would “dwell among us”.  His name, “Immanuel”, means “God with us”, or more literally, “God in us”!  

 

Haven’t you ever wondered why there was no room at the inn at Bethlehem, when the pregnant Mary and Joseph arrived?  Because it was the Feast of Tabernacles!

 

Note again the consistency and the symmetry: The Spring Holy Days   all pertain to Christ’s earthly ministry at His first appearing,   while the Autumn Holy Days, pertain to His Second Coming

 

(Seven milestones :) Crucifixion, Resurrection, Receiving the Holy Spirit, The Final Appeal, The Judgment, Christ’s Return, Entering the Kingdom – Now, which of these events does not apply to Christians living in the 21st Century?  They all do!

 

Perhaps unintentionally,    perhaps not  –  as in the story of the two hunters and the 100mph goat – the “church of man” has blotted out all seven of God’s original Biblical Holidays;  and in the process, both the commemorative and the prophetic meanings of each have been swept away; so that now, when we attempt to explain to folks that Jesus – Whom John the Baptist introduced as “the Lamb of God” – really was offered on the actual  Day of the Passover, and died at the very hour of the evening sacrifice, thus becoming indeed, in reality  the fulfillment of this prophetic HolyDay … well, when we tell them,  it’s all news   to far too many!

And when we go on to explain that Jesus   actually did arise from the tomb   on the exact  Day of the First-fruits, (Scripture testifies: “the third day He rose again …”)  becoming the reality of the First-fruits of the harvest – the First-fruits of the resurrection of the dead … most folks have never heard that either!  The full significance and the symbolism that God “built-into” each of His Holidays is re-taught and reinforced each time we honor and celebrate,   and enjoy them!

In the same way that Jesus fulfilled the Passover  to the letter, on the exact  Day; and then became the fulfillment of the First-fruits on that very morning; and in the same way that the “Pentecost” was validated by the Holy Spirit precisely on the Day of the Feast of Pentecost,  I believe that the remaining milestone events – God’s Final Call, the Day of Judgment, the Return of Jesus, and the Redeemed of the earth entering the Kingdom – these  events yet-to-come  will be fulfilled at the exact times of the Fall Holidays, in the same way, and on the Holidays that point to these events.  Moreover, all the events that the Spring Holidays point to   have already occurred, right on time! Why would this not be true also of the Fall Days?

So, tho we’re surrounded at this season with beautifully-decorated eggs, colored jelly-beans, chocolate rabbits, and gummy little chickie-candies,  may we keep upper-most in our minds, these priceless gifts of God – His living HolyDays and everything that they represent. They speak to our hearts, and gently remind us:

Have we claimed the sacrifice of Christ, the Passover Lamb, as our very own?

Is it our earnest desire to become like Jesus, “unleavened” in our character?

Have you invited His abiding Spirit, to dwell within you, and to empower you?

Have you accepted your place “in” Christ, and received His New Birth in you?

Are you eager to bring others to Jesus – to “sound your trumpet” for Him ?

Are you putting your house in order, in preparation for His soon return?

How much stronger might our faith be … how much more joyous might be our journey to God’s Kingdom … if we were to celebrate, to appropriate, and incorporate into our daily lives, the true significance – the real meaning – of these wonderful  Holidays   that were given to us for the strengthening of our faith by our wonderful, loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus!

 

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