The seven holy days in the Law of Moses foreshadowed major events that pertain to the first and second coming of Christ and reveal YAHWEHs plan to save the “Earth” from Satan—which includes Christ’s return for his church. These holy days make known not only how YAHWEH would rescue souls, but how YAHWEH would defeat Satan on the battlefield—both in the spiritual realm and in the flesh and blood realm. The prophetic holy days disclose knowledge of YAHWEHS vision—especially as it concerns prophecy and our place in it.
To explore Heaven’s grand plan, this text moves back in time to the first century, to the days when the Messiah walked in the Holy Land and spoke forth this prophecy:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matt. 5:17, 18)
What has been accomplished with the first coming of Christ?
What shall be accomplished with the second coming of Christ?
How did God reveal in the Law the prophetic picture of what Christ would accomplish? Christ answered that question: “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses” (Luke 24:44). What is specifically written about Christ in the Law of Moses? What has to be fulfilled?
What is specifically written about Christ in the Law and what has to be fulfilled are the seven holy days: the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast of Tabernacles.
God “wrote” his plan to rescue souls from Satan in the Law—in the holy days; in the writings of Moses, God “embedded” the prophecies that Christ would ultimately fulfill, for within the seven holy days, God painted a “hidden” picture: the chronology, content, and significance of major events that pertain to the first coming of Christ, and the chronology, content, and significance of major events that pertain to the second coming of Christ.
It wasn’t until the days of the New Testament, and the revelation given by Heaven, that this divine story was revealed: the holy days are prophetic in nature. Just as Christ had to fulfill the Ten Commandments in his behavior, he had to fulfill—and has to fulfill—the prophecies written about him in the seven holy days.
This connection between the holy days of the Old Testament and future events of the New Testament was made clear by the apostle Paul: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival [holy day], a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come” (Col. 2:16, 17).
The apostle Paul referred to the prophecies contained in the Old Testament Law: the holy days of the Old Testament “are a shadow [a foreshadowing] of things that were to come [in the New Testament].” Paul wrote this to Christ’s church because the holy days foreshadowed not only the birth of the church, but also the future of the church. In addition, the holy days give Christ’s church a prophetic picture of what is to come for “Israel” and the world.
What is the significance of Paul’s reference to the holy days and of Christ’s reference to the Law of Moses?
If the Old Testament Law foretold what would come to pass in the future, then the Old Testament set God’s precedent: New Testament prophecy must be in agreement with the precedent set in Old Testament prophecy. The Old Testament Law is God’s standard—not only for behavior but also prophecy. Herein, we as Christ’s church need not be blown about with every wind of doctrine on the subject of prophecy. God already established the irrefutable standard in the Old Testament.
This divine harmony between the Old and New Testaments cannot be broken. Frequently, Christ and his apostles quoted Old Testament prophets to demonstrate the fulfillment of prophecy and, in addition, what shall be fulfilled in the future. In essence, the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.
With an understanding of the Old Testament holy days, New Testament prophecy speaks with a clear, unified voice regarding what was accomplished during the first coming of Christ, and what shall be accomplished during the second coming of Christ.
THE HOLY DAYS
As recorded in the Old Testament Law, Moses received from YAHWEH seven holy days that the Hebrew people were to celebrate every year. These holy days—known as feasts—commemorated deliverance and blessing (among other things) for the Hebrew people wrought by the hand of YAH. These feasts, however, had a dual purpose: they were not only annual days of remembrance for the Hebrew people, but also were prophetic symbols that foretold of YAHWEH ultimate plan of deliverance and blessing for all peoples by way of Christ. “The law is . . . a shadow of the good things that are coming” (Heb. 10:1).
Exactly how does the Old Testament Law speak to us in Christ’s church today?
The annual feasts that were marked on the Hebrew calendar were physical celebrations that foretold of future events and their timing. It was by way of these feasts that God marked time: key events that pertain to Christ would occur on the very holy days that God had given in the Old Testament. These ancient holy days not only marked time, but also foreshadowed what Christ would ultimately accomplish by way of his life, death, burial, Resurrection, his sending of the Holy Spirit, his descent for his church, his descent for Israel and, finally, his 1000-year kingdom on Earth.
Exactly how did the seven feasts in the Law of Moses foreshadow major events that pertain to Christ?
Hundreds of years prior to the first coming of Christ, God marked the timing of the following dramatic events: Christ’s Crucifixion, burial, Resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Christ fulfilled the first four holy days: he was crucified on the Feast of Passover; he was in the burial tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, he was resurrected from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits, and, finally, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples on the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)—which was fifty days after the Resurrection. These events occurred as appointed by God, prophesied in the Old Testament Law.
Herein, Heaven established a precedent: If the first four feasts foreshadowed events that pertained to the first coming of Christ, then, logically, it stands to reason that the last three feasts foreshadow events that pertain to the second coming of Christ.
In essence, God’s plan to save the “Earth” from Satan would be accomplished in seven stages: God’s Son fulfilled the first three stages of the divine plan as the ultimate sacrifice and Savior while here during his earthly ministry; Christ fulfilled the fourth stage as man’s great high priest from the throne in Heaven when he sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, and he shall complete the final three stages when he returns as Messiah and King.
This divine plan is revealed not only by seeing the prophetic nature of the holy days, but also how the holy days themselves fall on the Hebrew calendar. The first four feasts occur during the “spring season,” forming the first unit of time. The last three feasts occur during the “fall season,” forming the second unit of time. The spring feasts spoke to the first coming of Christ; the fall feasts (celebrated during the time of harvest) spoke to the second coming of Christ.
A long gap in time exists between the spring and fall feasts. On God’s prophetic timetable, this gap in time correlates to the time between the first and second coming of Christ; it is the time known as the “mystery”—the time of Christ’s church. It is the time the world is living in now.
Exactly how did God set all this motion in Old Testament times?
The first four feasts mark key events that pertain to God delivering the children of Israel from Egypt through Moses—which includes God dwelling with his people on Mount Sinai. The parallel to our time is the spiritual reality of God delivering souls from Satan through Christ—which includes God dwelling with his people through the Holy Spirit.
This parallel between God’s deliverance of the Israelites, and God’s deliverance of souls, can be seen by looking back at the epic events that took place at the time of Moses. In the known history of this world, few events compare to those that rocked the Egyptian Empire and eventually led to God meeting with Moses and giving him the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.
This historical saga begins with the children of Israel being slaves to Pharaoh of Egypt, who, despite nine plagues brought upon him and his people, refused to let the Israelites leave. For the tenth and final plague, the angel of death would “strike down every firstborn—both men and animals” (Exod. 12:12). The Israelites, however, would be spared if they sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial Passover lamb on the doorposts of their homes. The angel would see the blood and pass over the house.
The parallel to our time is as follows: just as the blood of the Passover lamb would save Israelites from death, so would the blood of God’s Lamb (Christ) ultimately save souls from death. The Feast of Passover marks this historical event for the Israelites. Passover is also referred to as the “Feast of Our Freedom,” for it marked the beginning of the end to slavery; it was the first holy day God gave to Moses.
THE FEAST OF PASSOVER
God spoke to Moses and provided the details associated with this holy day: a lamb was to be killed on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month called Nisan (equivalent to either March or April on the modern-day calendar). When God gave Moses this revelation, he was setting the stage for what would ultimately occur with his Son, the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29). When God marked the day the lamb was to be slain at the Jewish feast, God simultaneously marked the future day in time his own Son would be crucified.
Here is the Law that God gave Moses:
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month [Nisan] is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. . . . Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight [Hebrew: 3 p.m.].” 1 (Exod. 12:1–3, 6)
This literal feast was also a prophecy that was fulfilled in the first century A.D. by the Lamb of God. While the Jewish religious leaders carried out their ceremony of Passover and sacrificed a lamb on the fourteenth day of Nisan, the Lamb of God was simultaneously sacrificed on the Cross.
According to the Law given to Moses, the sacrificial lamb was to be slain at “twilight,” which is a reference to the exact midpoint between our 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.—which is 3 p.m. This is the precise moment that Christ “gave up his spirit” (Matt. 27:50). Herein, Christ fulfilled the Law given to Moses and fulfilled the prophecy contained within it.
If Christ didn’t fulfill the Law, then he wasn’t the Messiah. There is no doubt that Christ would fulfill the Law of Moses because he was the Messiah. As God’s own Lamb, Jesus had to die at the precise moment in time as originally given by God in the Law. In essence, God had to follow his own Law. The apostle Paul confirmed that Christ fulfilled the Law as God’s Lamb: “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7).
Just as God marked the timing of Jesus’ Crucifixion by way of a Jewish feast, he marked the timing of the burial, Resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost by way of Jewish feasts.
THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
Christ’s burial is marked by the next feast: the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast began on the next day, the fifteenth of Nisan, which began at sunset. (Biblical days began at sunset.)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is marked at the fifteenth day of Nisan, for on that day the angel of death struck down the Egyptians before midnight, and the children of Israel left Egypt that same evening. On this very day in ancient history, “Moses said to the people, ‘Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast [nothing leavened]’” (Exod. 13:3). This feast marks the separation from Egyptian life, their gods, and what is sinful (leavened), and invites the believer to feed upon the Word of God. Jesus Christ is the true “bread of life” (John 6:35).
Three days after leaving Egypt, on the eighteenth day of Nisan, the Israelites reached the shore of the Red Sea. However, fear, not joy, filled their hearts as an angry Pharaoh sought vengeance—chasing after the Israelites with his army. Now, with their backs to the Red Sea, the Israelites could see Pharaoh with his chariots pressing toward them. Yet Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today” (Exod. 14:13).
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. . . . Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” (Exod. 14:21–23, 26)
God established a bridge to freedom—the land bridge formed at the base of the Red Sea. It was the salvation of the Israelites. It saved them from certain death.
Hundreds of years later on the very day that God parted the Red Sea and severed Pharaoh’s hold on the Israelites, he would raise his own Son from the dead. Therein, God would bring about deliverance from sin, sever Satan’s hold on the soul, and usher in immortality—and its freedom. This is our spiritual reality that reflects the physical reality of what took place across the Red Sea. The annual feast that commemorates this day of deliverance at the Red Sea is the Feast of Firstfruits.
THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest’” (Lev. 23:9, 10). By offering the firstfruits of the harvest, the Israelites would acknowledge the miracle that ushered in their new “life.”
Hundreds of years later, when God raised Christ from the dead on the eighteenth day of Nisan, the Messiah became the firstfruits of the divine harvest from the heart of the Earth. Those who would believe this miracle would themselves become a miracle (by gaining eternal life), and would ultimately witness another miracle: the transformation to an eternal, spiritual body, harvested from this Earth to Heaven. The apostle Paul made specific reference to this truth:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [died]. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die [the physical death], so in Christ all will be made alive [transformed to immortal, spiritual life]. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes [at Christ’s return], those who belong to him [will also be harvested from the Earth to Heaven]. (1 Cor. 15:20–23)
The key to this transformation is Christ: he is the bridge to move from mortality to immortality.
In the days of Moses, God established the land bridge to freedom that enabled the Israelites to journey forward toward the Promised Land. Along the way, they reached the wilderness of Sinai and camped by its holy mountain. Exactly fifty days after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, God met with them at Mount Sinai.
[T]here was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. (Exod. 19:16–19)
This descent of God on Mount Sinai “in fire” foreshadowed the descent of the Holy Spirit—the sign of which was “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3). As God communed with his people on Mount Sinai fifty days after his divine intervention at the Red Sea, so God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within the disciples fifty days after the Resurrection of his Son.
THE FEAST OF WEEKS
The fourth feast that marks this revelation of God on Mount Sinai is the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). (“Pentecost” in the Greek language literally means “fifty.”) The Feast of Weeks is marked fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits, and it completes the season of Passover.
If Christ fulfilled the first four feasts on the exact days required by the Old Testament Law, then, logically, it stands to reason that the final three feasts shall be fulfilled with the same precision.
THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS: THE CHURCH
The next grand event on Heaven’s prophetic calendar is Christ’s return to gather his church, and the next feast to be fulfilled is the Feast of Trumpets. The prophecies given by the Son of God, the apostle Paul, and Moses reveal the divine harmony within and between the Old and New Testaments, for they speak with a unified voice regarding the Feast of Trumpets.
The apostle Paul unmistakably connected the return of Christ to gather his church to the Feast of Trumpets, for in Paul’s prophecy he referred to “the last trumpet”: “[I]n a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed [transformed immortal]. For the perishable [the dead] must clothe itself with the imperishable [everlasting life], and the mortal with immortality” (1 Cor. 15:52, 53).
According to Paul, this prophecy will unfold at “the last trumpet,” which is a specific reference to “the last trumpet” blown on the Feast of Trumpets. During this feast, the religious authorities mark the celebration with a series of short trumpet blasts. The ritual is concluded with a single unbroken blast, held for as long as possible. It is called the Tekiah Gedolah. It is “the last trumpet.”
On the Hebrew calendar, the Feast of Trumpets falls during a unique season: Teshuvah. In Hebrew, it means “to return or repent,” and the message is straightforward: God desires that his creation live righteously, and this time of the year was set aside for people to ponder their approach to life—with a view to setting the heart and mind straight before the Feast of Trumpets, for on that day God offers judgment. This feast is also referred to as Yom HaDin, or the Day of Judgment. On a future day in time, on the Feast of Trumpets, those who have been made righteous by the blood of Christ (judged righteous) will receive the blessing of that judgment and will ascend to Heaven.
Exactly how does the Feast of Trumpets foreshadow what shall come to pass on this future day?
When the trumpet blasts sounded on the Feast of Trumpets, they were more than just ceremonial expressions; they literally summoned the Jewish people. When the Jewish workers in their fields heard the trumpet call, they would immediately cease harvesting and journey to the temple for worship. As it was then (and is now), a Jewish worker could be harvesting alongside a non-Jewish worker, and when the trumpets were heard, the Jewish worker would leave the fields, but the non-Jewish worker would remain. Jesus Christ himself made reference to this phenomenon (and to this feast) when he spoke of his descent in the clouds:
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the [second] coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the [second] coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken [to be with Christ] and the other left [behind]. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (Matt. 24:37–41)
When “the last trumpet” sounds, “one [who belongs to Christ] will be taken [to be with Christ] and the other [who does not belong to Christ will be] left [behind].”
(Note: Even though Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24 speaks of Israel’s salvation after the time of wrath, the fact remains, Christ is now referring to the Feast of Trumpets in this prophetic statement—which applies not only to Israel, but as we learned from Paul, the church as well. We as the church learn not only from Old Testament prophecies, but also from Christ in the Gospels. The prophetic, Hebrew calendar applies to both Israel and the church.)
God marked the glorious, future event of the harvest (on the Feast of Trumpets) by way of the Law.
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.’” (Lev. 23:23, 24)
The Feast of Trumpets fell on the first day of the seventh religious month: Tishrei (equivalent to either September or October). Although Tishrei is the seventh month on the Jewish religious calendar, it is the first month on the Jewish civil calendar. The first day of Tishrei is known as “Rosh HaShanah” or, the “head of the year.” It is the start of the Jewish New Year.
In the Torah (the books of Moses), Rosh HaShanah is referred to as Yom Teruah: the “Day of the Sounding of the Shofar (trumpet),” or the “Day of the Awakening Blast.” Teruah means “an awakening blast” and is also translated as “shout.” The Talmud (Jewish commentaries on Scripture) associates Rosh HaShanah with the resurrection of the dead. The corresponding prophecy is unmistakable: when the “awakening blast” sounds on Rosh HaShanah, truly the church of Christ shall “awake” to the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump [trumpet] of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:16, 17 KJV)
The trumpet blast and the shout will summon all in the church of Christ. When shall this come to pass? Thousands of years ago, God had already marked the very day of the year on the Hebrew calendar when his Son would descend in the clouds for the church: New Year’s Day (Rosh HaShanah).
How does the Hebrew calendar mark New Year’s Day?
Unlike our modern-day calendar, the Hebrew calendar relied upon the moon to mark the first day of each month. The first day of each month on the Hebrew calendar was marked by the appearance of the new moon. When the first sliver of the new moon appeared in the sky, the Jewish authorities marked the first day of the month. Hence, the first day of the seventh month (Tishrei) was determined by the appearance of the seventh new moon. Herein, the heavens marked the start of the Feast of Trumpets: when the first sliver of the seventh new moon appeared in the sky, the first day of Tishrei was marked—and so was the start of the feast. The Feast of Trumpets is also referred to as the “Feast of the New Moon,” for it is the only annual feast of God that commences with this lunar sign from the heavens.
In ancient times, Jewish religious authorities could not predict the day or hour the Feast of Trumpets would begin; they had to wait until the new moon was actually seen by reliable witnesses. As stated in the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, “Early in the morning of the 30th of each month, the Sanhedrin came together and, upon the testimony of two reliable witnesses, proclaimed: ‘The new moon is consecrated.’ Thus the 30th day of the month was declared to be the first day of the new month. If the moon’s crescent had not been seen on the 30th day, the new month did not begin until the 31st day.”2 In essence, the Jewish religious authorities did not know when the Feast of Trumpets would actually commence; they did not know the day or hour.
Jesus Christ made specific reference to this fact when he spoke of the time he would fulfill his promise to return; he said, “No one knows about that day or hour” (Mark. 13:32). This phrase about “not knowing the day or hour” is a specific Hebrew saying, peculiar to the Feast of Trumpets.
To expound upon this thought, Christ’s prophecy about not knowing the “day or hour” refers to two unique segments of time: “day” means “the time from one sunrise or sunset to another,”3 and the word “hour” means “a definite and limited time. . . . [T]he time of the day . . . the hour.”4 In essence, “day” literally means a “day” and “hour” literally means an “hour”—two segments of time associated with the Feast of the New Moon (Rosh HaShanah). Hence, Christ’s prophecy about “not knowing the day or hour” of his return is actually a direct reference to a common phrase used to describe the Feast of Trumpets.
This conclusion—that Christ is specifically referring to this feast—can be viewed from Hebrew history. Rosh HaShanah is also referred to as Yom HaKeseh, which means the “Day of Hiding,” or the “Hidden Day.” This is because the Feast of Trumpets was the only day on the Hebrew calendar “hidden” from view: no man knew the day or hour that this feast would commence.
Herein, Christ and Paul both made direct references to the Feast of Trumpets when referring to the second coming. In other words, the day of the return corresponds to the day of the Feast of Trumpets—just like the day of the Crucifixion corresponded to the day of the Feast of Passover. This divine harmony cannot be broken. “I [Christ] tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt. 5:18).
God’s accomplishments through Christ had to correspond to the Law: Christ couldn’t die “any day,” nor could he be in the burial tomb “any day,” nor could he be resurrected “any day,” nor could he send his Spirit to the apostles “any day,” and Christ can’t come back “any day.” To believe that Christ can return “any day” for the church is to disbelieve that Christ has to fulfill the Law of Moses.
The belief that Christ can return “any day” is rooted in religious history—not in the Scriptures. Our religious ancestors neglected the voice of Moses and consequently were deceived—and the deception continues to this day.
When we stand before the throne of Heaven, what will be our individual testimonies to our Lord and Savior?
Will it be the supreme authority of religious tradition?
Will it be the supreme authority of famous names of renown?
Or will it be the supreme authority of Scripture?
For those of us in the body of Christ who hold to the supreme authority of Scripture, there is no intent to create traditions or stories, but to be worthy of the divinely inspired story already written. Let us not silence the prophecy God marked in the Law of Moses. The Old Testament Law stands: the day of Christ’s descent in the clouds for his church corresponds to the holy day marked by God.
CHRIST’S SECOND COMING TO ISRAEL
The holy days represent God’s prophetic motion picture. Christ’s first coming to Israel corresponded to the “spring” holy days, and Christ’s second coming to Israel shall correspond to the “fall” holy days.
Once the church is transformed and transported off the planet, God will fulfill his end-time promises to the followers of the Old Covenant on Earth. Those promises include the next major, divine event: the descent of Christ for Israel.
What must be fulfilled on Earth for Israel prior to Christ’s second coming to Israel?
The fulfillment of Daniel’s seventieth “week” (Dan. 9:27 KJV) shall precede Christ’s descent for Israel. As revealed by John in Revelation, this “week” consists of 3.5 years of God’s prophets and 3.5 years of Satan’s prophets (Rev. 11:3; 13:5).
When Christ descends in the clouds to rescue Israel from the Antichrist and gather the remnant back to the Holy Land, he will fulfill another holy day.
Christ shall fulfill the first fall feast: the Feast of Trumpets. Just as Christ shall harvest and gather the church in the fall, so shall he harvest and gather Israel in the fall.
While it is clear that Christ must fulfill all seven holy days, it is also clear that Christ must fulfill all seven holy days for Israel so that the Law will be fulfilled as given. Herein, Christ must fulfill all three fall holy days for Israel.
The MYSTERY is the church. The MYSTERY hidden in God was that the Feast of Trumpets would be fulfilled twice: first for the church and then later for Israel.
The prophecy of “the day of the Lord” contains a dual prophecy: the salvation of the church and the salvation of Israel. It was Peter who proclaimed this separation between the two salvations. On Pentecost, Peter quoted a section of Joel’s prophecy (2:28-32a) that specifically spoke of the future salvation of the church—and he did not read the rest of the prophecy in Joel because it spoke of Israel’s future salvation. It is this dual prophecy that translates into the dual fulfillment of the same holy day.
THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS: ISRAEL
God’s holy day of Trumpets speaks to all his creation. It is for all those who embrace the one true God and long to live in righteousness. Listen to what the Hebrew authorities have to say about this holy day of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah):
“Rosh Ha-Shanah does not commemorate a specific event in Jewish history, and in the prayers the accent is on man, not the Jewish people. Rosh Ha-Shanah thus bears a universal message, a message of yearning for the establishment of God’s sovereignty over the entire world and for the day ‘that all works may revere Thee and all creatures prostrate themselves before Thee, that they may all form a single band to Thy will with a perfect heart.’”5
Rosh HaShanah is for both the church and Israel. The salvation of the church and Israel will come to pass on this holy day, and these events will precede Christ’s reign during the 1000-year kingdom.
In the Gospels, Christ prophesied of his descent for Israel and the gathering of it. In the epistles, Paul prophesied of Christ’s descent for the church and the gathering of it.
What is central to the holy day of Trumpets? The sounding of trumpets which gathered God’s people. Both Christ and Paul referred to a trumpet when referring to the gathering of God’s people.
Hebrew authorities speak of the unmistakable association between the trumpet and Rosh HaShanah: “[T]he Shofar [trumpet] attained its chief and lasting religious importance in connection with the New Year’s festival (Rosh HaShanah), celebrated on the 1st of Tishri (Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1).”6
It was Moses who first marked the role of the trumpet on the Feast of Trumpets: “On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly [a gathering] and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets” (Num. 29:1).
Paul referred to “the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15: 52).
Christ referred to “a great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31 KJV), or “the great trumpet.”
Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah’s return for Israel and also marked that day by referring to “the great trumpet” (Isa. 27:13 KJV).
Hebrew authorities make reference to this same prophecy spoken by Isaiah: “[T]he future redemption of Israel, which was conceived of in connection with Israel’s repentance, was to be announced by means of the Shofar [which is a ram’s horn, and is translated as trumpet] (Isa. 27:13).”7 Modern-day Judaism associates “the great trumpet” with the arrival of the Messiah.
According to Hebrew authorities, “the last trumpet” and “the great trumpet” are not one and the same; they mark unique sounds. Yet, both “the last trumpet” and “the great trumpet” sound on the same holy day: the Feast of Trumpets!!
On the Feast of Trumpets, the trumpet sounds 101 times. This number is divided as follows: 30, 30, 40, and 1.
THE GREAT TRUMPET: “[The] Ram’s horn [Shofar] sounded on New Year’s. . . . A series of 30 blasts continued in quick succession, is called the Great Teki’a.”8
THE LAST TRUMPET (Final, single blast): “The last Tekiah, known as Tekiah Gedolah, is prolonged as long as the breath of the officiant holds out.”9
God’s divine plan is ours to understand: The redemption of the church and Israel shall come to pass on the same holy day, the Feast of Trumpets, or New Year’s Day; the gathering of the church shall come to pass with the sound of “the last trumpet,” and the gathering of Israel shall come to pass with the sound of “the great trumpet”!!
This is God’s idea of a happy New Year.
The fall holy day of Trumpets (New Year’s Day) is marked by the New Moon. The New Moon has long held prophetic significance relative to the redemption of Israel.
What follows is the Hebrew liturgy that is read on the Sabbath that precedes the New Moon:
“The Reader: ‘He who wrought miracles for our fathers and redeemed them from slavery unto freedom, may He speedily redeem us and gather our dispersed ones from the four corners of the earth. So let us say, Amen!
‘[Hear ye] All Israel: . . . The New Moon shall be on the . . . day of the coming week! May it come to us and all Israel for good!’”
“The Congregation: ‘May the Holy One, blessed be He! Renew unto us and unto all His people the House of Israel for life and peace, for gladness and joy, for salvation and consolation! So let us say, Amen!’”10
This same joy of future salvation rings just as true for us, the church.
How can we as the church of Christ—with a clear conscience and honest heart before our Lord—declare all of this to be one massive coincidence?
Truly, we as the church of Christ are looking at the heart of the Creator, who communicated salvation through many prophets and apostles, providing many pieces of the same prophetic puzzle: God’s unified picture of prophecy.
While in the Holy Land, Christ prophesied of his return to gather the remnant of Israel. He introduced his prophecy by referring to Daniel, and concluded his prophecy by referring to the gathering and a “great sound of a trumpet.”
What follows are prophecies about Israel’s salvation spoken by Christ, Isaiah, and Moses, respectively.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea [referring to the followers of the Old Covenant] flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a GREAT SOUND OF A TRUMPET [THE GREAT TRUMPET11], and they shall gather together his elect [Israel] from the four winds [of the Earth], from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt. 24:21–31 KJV)
In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O ISRAELITES, will be GATHERED up one by one. And in that day A GREAT TRUMPET will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem. (Isa. 27:12, 13)
That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and GATHER THEE FROM ALL THE NATIONS, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. IF ANY OF THINE BE DRIVEN OUT UNTO THE OUTMOST PARTS OF HEAVEN, FROM THENCE WILL THE LORD THY GOD GATHER THEE, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it. (Deut. 30:3–5 KJV)
Moses and Isaiah prophesied of Israel’s salvation—and so did the Messiah.
In a single prophecy about his second coming to Israel, the Son of God spoke forth the collective voice of the Old Testament prophets. Christ prophesied of the time of wrath, the signs that would mark his return to the Holy Land, and the gathering of the remnant of Israel.
Christ marked this future time when he prophesied, “No one knows about that day or hour” (Matt. 24:36). As discussed earlier with the church, this phrase about “not knowing the day or hour” is a specific Hebrew saying, peculiar to the Feast of Trumpets.
At the time of the New Moon, on the Feast of Trumpets, Christ the King shall return for Israel with his angels, which include us, his church. We who shall be transformed immortal shall return with our Lord: “The armies of heaven were following him [Christ], riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev. 19:14). (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints) (Rev. 19:8). “[T]he Lamb [Christ] will overcome . . . because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (Rev. 17:14).This is the prophecy of the Apocalypse; it is the battle of Armageddon; it is the salvation of Israel; it is the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets: the Day of Judgment.
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand. . . . YAH thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of YAH is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? (Joel 2:1, 11)
[T]he Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. . . . Then YAH my ELOHIM will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zech. 14:3–5)
[T]he Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Messiah Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. (2 Thess. 1:7–9 KJV)
[T]he Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For with fire and with his sword YAH will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by YAH. (Isa. 66:15, 16)
Evil shall be defeated, the Israelites shall be gathered, and there shall be a resurrection of the dead. God’s hand of blessing shall extend to the dead, for many who currently sleep in the grave shall rise to live in the coming kingdom.
Just as there shall be a resurrection of the dead when Christ descends for his church on the Feast of Trumpets, there shall also be a resurrection of the dead when Christ descends for Israel on the Feast of Trumpets. The believers from Old Testament times shall rise from their graves to live in Christ’s kingdom on Earth.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
The hand of the Lord was upon me [Ezekiel], and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”12 (Ezek. 36:37, 38; 37:1–14)
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
With the Israelites gathered in the Holy Land, Christ shall take his rightful throne and the apostles will judge the twelve tribes—and fulfill the next holy day: the Day of Atonement.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28)
Christ reaffirmed this prophecy by giving a vision to John in Revelation. Christ revealed the multiple thrones and judgment that will follow the Apocalypse: “I [John] saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge” (Rev. 20:4). The Day of Atonement is the most solemn day of the year because Heaven’s judgment is sealed. On this future day in time—on Yom Kippur—righteous judgment will be delivered.
The sixth feast given to Moses was the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur. It falls on the tenth day of the Hebrew month called Tishrei, and it is the most solemn day on the Hebrew calendar. The ten days that lead up to and include this day are referred to as the “Ten Days of Repentance.” They are the final ten days of the unique season of Teshuvah, and they are High Holy Days. God gave the final ten-day span of time for his people to examine their lives, pray for forgiveness, and return to what is right—before the Day of Atonement.
Atonement ushers in a regeneration when founded upon a humble heart and an amendment of unjust ways. The central theme of the holy day was to restore the interrupted relationship with God, for this is what the Creator seeks with his creation: harmony.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
When God gave Moses the Law regarding the Day of Atonement, he gave his people a way to choose to be free from their sins, to be clean.
“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you—because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. . . . He [the priest] is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place . . . and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community” (Lev. 16:29, 30, 32, 33).
The high priest acted on behalf of the people to bring about this cleansing of sin. On the Day of Atonement the high priest entered into the holiest of all: the Holy of Holies in the temple. “[T]he high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance” (Heb. 9:7). There he sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice (the sin offering) on the mercy seat, and it yielded the cleansing of sin.
Of the many prophecies that refer to Christ’s return for followers of the Old Covenant, one given by the prophet Isaiah makes specific reference to the priestly responsibility that takes place on the Day of Atonement: the sprinkling of the blood. Isaiah prophesied, “so will he [Christ] sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him” (Isa. 52:15).
On the Day of Atonement, Christ himself shall enter the Holy of Holies in the temple and shall intercede for God’s people.
“[S]uddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Mal. 3:1)
In Heaven, Christ now reigns as the great high priest, and he shall return as Lord and King to judge, and to cleanse, and to make atonement for God’s people.
Ezekiel spoke forth God’s vision that would mark the future fulfillment of this holy day of Atonement:
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. . . . Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever. (Ezek. 36:25–27; 37:28)
The cleansing and the judgment given on the Day of Atonement shall prepare the way for the millennial kingdom: the 1000-year reign of Heaven on Earth. The seventh and final feast—the Feast of Tabernacles—foreshadows this magnificent time to come for our world.
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
The Feast of Tabernacles calls to remembrance the time the children of Israel lived in the desert (the wilderness), following the exodus from Egypt. The Hebrew word for “tabernacle” means “booth, cottage, pavilion, [or] tent.”13
The Old Testament makes reference to the temporary dwellings in which the Israelites lived in the wilderness while on the path to the Promised Land. As recorded by Moses, the Feast of Tabernacles—which begins on the fifteenth day of Tishrei—lasts for seven days.
Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 23:41–43)
This seven-day feast foreshadowed the millennial kingdom. This holy time calls to remembrance the wilderness experience and the supernatural presence of God.
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Exod. 13:21, 22)
In the desert, the Israelites saw the hand of God, understood his presence, and knew he had delivered them—and built a sanctuary for him. It is written: “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I [God] will dwell among them” (Exod. 25:8).
As God dwelt with the Israelites and protected them in the wilderness, so shall the Son of God dwell and reign in this world. At this future time, immortal souls shall reign over the Earth and live with the mortal souls (those among the nations who lived through the final seven years of prophecy). For 1000 years, peace shall reign on this planet. What follows are prophecies about this divine, future time:
“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.” (Zech. 2:10–12)
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isa. 2:2–4)
The Feast of Tabernacles is also referred to as the “Festival of Ingathering” and the “Feast of the Nations.” As prophesied in the Old Testament, during the time of Heaven’s 1000-year kingdom, nations on Earth will celebrate this feast: “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Messiah Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zech. 14:16).
The Feast of Tabernacles is also called the “Season of Our Joy.” It is the joy found in YAHWEH deliverance and presence. This can be seen from the following prophecy that speaks of the coming millennial kingdom:
[B]e glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I [God] will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. (Isa. 65:18–24)
This is the time of the glorious restoration of the nation of Israel, when all those who dwell in the Holy Land and throughout the world shall know the Creator.
In this national restoration, God’s blessing to the followers of the Old Covenant will witness the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy: the ancient nation of Israel, once separated by the northern and southern tribes, shall be joined by God—to be one again.
The word of the Lord came to me [Ezekiel]: “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
“When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezek. 37:15–23)
1. The English word “twilight” (also translated “in the evening”) is derived from the Hebrew concept that means “between the two evenings, or, according to Lightfoot, between the decline of the sun (after noon) and its setting” (E. W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990], 88). “Between the two evenings” refers to the midpoint between first hour of the “evening” part of the day (noon) and the last hour of the “evening” part of the day (6 p.m.)—which is 3 p.m.
The first hour of the biblical “daytime” is at sunrise, and is designated as 6 a.m. The ninth hour of the biblical “daytime” (when Christ was crucified) is equivalent to our 3 p.m. (The actual start time of the 24-hour biblical day on the Hebrew calendar begins at sunset and ends at the following sunset.)
2. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Inc., New York, 1942), 171.
3. E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 202.
4. E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, p. 385.
5. The International Jewish Encyclopedia (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1973), 259, 260.
6. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 514.
7. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 514.
8. The Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge (New York: Behrman’s Jewish Book House, 1944), 514.
9. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 515.
10. The Jewish Encyclopedia (New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1905), 243.
11. “A great sound of a trumpet” is a figure of speech known as Hendiadys, where “it is not two things, but one.” A trumpet and a great sound equals “a great sounding trumpet,” (E. W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990], 1366.
12. The prophecy of “dry bones” is given in the context of the millennial kingdom: “Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever” (Ezek. 37:28). The chapters that immediately follow the prophecy of “dry bones” (Ezekiel 38 and 39) refer to the prophecy against Gog and Magog. The apostle John also prophesied of the final battle against Gog and Magog in Revelation 20.
Both John and Ezekiel identified what shall occur before the battle: John prophesied of a 1000-year span of time (Rev. 20:3, 5, 7), and Ezekiel prophesied of the resurrection of the dead. Herein, both Ezekiel and John gave the chronology and content of end-time events. The “dry bones” prophecy corresponds to the same time spoken by John: the 1000-year span of time that precedes the final battle against Gog and Magog.