GOD is not in competition with Satan! He is not trying to save the whole world now! Long ago Jesus Christ announced that His message, the good news of the Kingdom of God, would be preached in this age merely as a witness to all nations--not to convert them (Matthew 24:14). When God sets His hand to save the world, He will save it!
God's seven annual festivals picture the steps in God's Master Plan of salvation for all mankind. The first three festivals, which occur during the spring in the Northern Hemisphere, picture great events leading to the first spiritual harvest of Spirit-begotten human beings into God's Family. From previous lessons we learned that the Passover is a memorial of Christ's sacrifice for our sins. The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures our putting sin away and our constant need to obey God. Pentecost pictures the spiritual begettal and the maturing of the firstfruits of God's plan.
Then, during the fall in the Northern Hemisphere, come the last four festivals. They portray tremendous events yet to occur in God's plan. The Feast of Trumpets, the first of these four, pictures the return of Jesus Christ to raise the firstfruits to immortality and to set up God's government on earth. The Day of Atonement pictures the deposing, removal and binding of Satan for 1,000 years. With Satan's sinful influence gone, mankind can then be reconciled--made at one-- with God.
Then 1,000 years of peace and prosperity will follow. Those who are the firstfruits of God's spiritual harvest--first born into God's Family and co-inheritors with Jesus Christ--will join Him in ruling the earth. The Spirit-born saints will be given the opportunity of bringing the spiritual knowledge of salvation to every human then alive and to those born during the Millennium. This happy Millennium is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles--the sixth of God's seven annual festivals picturing His plan of salvation.
As we learned in previous lessons, God used the two yearly harvest seasons in the Northern Hemisphere to picture the future spiritual harvests of mankind into His divine Family.
The spring grain harvest is small compared to the great fall harvest. The first harvest is represented by a single day--the Festival of Pentecost. It pictures the spiritual firstfruits, the relatively small number of people whom God has called into His Church before Christ's re-turn, when they will be born into God's Family.
But the Feast of Tabernacles lasts a full seven days. This shows that God's great second harvest of mankind will take a long period of time to be reaped. People will be born physically, called of God and, after fulfilling their life's purpose of growing in God's character, born spiritually into His Family all during the 1,000 years.
God intends the Feast of Tabernacles to separate and free His people from the world and its evil influences. This great festival gives them a special time and setting, in which they are free from the routine cares of the world, to think more about God's purpose for life and how to attain it. Living in temporary dwellings for an entire week--away from their everyday surroundings, jobs, and most negative influences-- God's people picture by their observance of these seven days the universal freedom and peace that will exist when Satan is gone and the Spirit of God is available to every human being.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
For a more in depth study of this annual Holy Day see Lesson 6 of the Holy Day Series.
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