Pagan Holidays- or God's Holy Days- Which?by Herbert W. Armstrong
Does it make any difference which days we observe- or whether we keep them at all? Does the Bible establish whether we are to keep certain days holy to God? Were these days given to ancient Israel only? Are they binding today only on the Jewish people, while Christians are commanded to keep holidays such as Christmas?
WHICH DAYS SHOULD WE KEEP?
In the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel is an
picturing twenty-five hundred years into future, from the day it
written, the course of the Gentile kingdoms.
Starting with the ancient Chaldean Empire of
foretells the successive world rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander’s
Greco-Macedonian kingdom with its four divisions, and finally, of the
Roman Empire. Out of the original Roman Empire, symbolized by "horns"
out of the head of a "beast," are pictured the ten resurrections of the
Roman Empire that have continued since its fall to the present, and are
scheduled to continue until the coming of Christ.
Among these ten kingdoms which have ruled in the
the fall of Rome to the present, appeared another "little horn," whose
"look was more stout than fellows." In other words, another government,
actually smaller, yet dominating over all the others. Students of
recognize this "little horn" as a great religious hierarchy. And in the
25th verse of this prophecy, it is stated that
shall "think to change times and laws."
How Time Was Changed
This same power is mentioned again in the 17th
Revelation, here pictured as ruling over the kings and kingdoms of the
earth, persecuting the true saints.
In every possible manner, this power has helped
God begins the days at sunset, but "the little horn"
so the world now begins the day in the middle of the night by a
God begins the week with the ending of the true
day of the week, but the world begins the working week in the middle of
the night, the second day of the week.
God begins the months with the new moons, but this
induced the world to begin the months according to a clumsy man-made
of heathen origin.
God begins the year in the early spring, when new
nature everywhere, but ancient heathen Rome caused the world to begin
year in the middle of dead winter.
God gave His children a true rest day, designed to
in the knowledge and true worship of the true God- a memorial of God’s
seventh day of the week. But the "little horn" has fastened upon a
world the observance of the days on which the pagans worshipped the
the first day of the week, called SUNday.
Ancient Rome’s pagan holidays have been chained upon
deceived world. These include certain annual holidays- Christmas, New
Easter, as well as many more; every one a pagan day. Upon honest
investigation, one can clearly see that these days are all of
origin and pagan significance. He learns that he can have no part in
them because they have absolutely no connection to the one true God.
But is the Christian of today left without any
God never give to His people annual holy days, as well as the weekly
Are not ancient Rome’s annual holidays mere counterfeits of God’s true
holy days, exactly as Sunday is a counterfeit of the true Sabbath?
Let us honestly open our Bibles and prayerfully
told to study- not argue, not to refute- but to show ourselves approved
unto God and to learn God’s will. We are commanded as Christians to
in knowledge as well as in grace (II Peter 3:18). All Scripture is
by inspiration of God and is profitable to correct and to reprove us
we have, through assumption, false teaching, or prejudice, been in
Most people have supposed that all the annual
of Israel were done away, nailed to the cross. And yet Church history
shows that the early
Church did, for more than four hundred long years at least- perhaps
longer after Christ’s resurrection- continue to keep and observe these
annual holy days given by God!
And just as the Sunday observer is inclined to look
any argument for the weekly Sabbath with prejudice- as a heresy- and to
every argument only in an attitude of attempting to refute it, so it
be only human- only natural for us if we are not on our guard against
to look upon any presentation of these annual Sabbaths in the same
But remember that "he that answereth a matter before
it is folly and shame unto him" (Prov. 18:13).
Let us, therefore, in willing submission to God, ask
for the direction of His Holy Spirit. And in this prayerful,
willing yet careful and cautious attitude, study this question-
Study This Twice
Let us warn, too, that certain objections will be
sure to come
mind- all of which will be dealt with and explained later on. But
the reader is careful to guard against it, the mere presence
in his mind will, to him, overthrow each point as it’s presented-- and
then when the objections are later explained the points made will not
come back to the mind unless the booklet is
studied again from the first.
And in each case the objection will be one of the
by Sunday preachers in attempting to overthrow the truth of the weekly
Sabbath! For the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths stand or fall
The arguments used against the annual Sabbaths will be the identical
used to overthrow the Sabbath- and if these arguments could hold then
would abolish the weekly Sabbath! (For a complete explanation- proving
weekly Sabbath is for New Testament Christians, write for our free
Which Day IS the
Christian Sabbath? [available on this volume- Editor])
Such arguments as "the annual Sabbaths are part of
the law of
or "they offered sacrifices on the annual Sabbaths," or "Colossians
does away with the annual Sabbaths," are not biblically sound.
The annual Sabbaths were not part of the law of
observed before the ritualistic ordinances in the law of Moses
were given. Sacrifices were offered on the weekly Sabbath but this
not do away with the Sabbath. In fact, sacrifices were offered on every
day of the year (Num. 28:3).
Colossians 2:16 refers, not alone to the annual
annual days (the monthly new moons) and the weekly Sabbath. Whenever
Bible uses the expression "Sabbath days" with new moons and holy days,
it is referring to the weekly Sabbath days, the new moons, and the
holy days or feast days. The "Sabbath days" of Colossians 2:16 refers
the weekly Sabbath. Compare I Chron. 23:31 with 11 Chron. 2:4; 31:3;
3:5; Neh. 10:33; Ezek. 46:3. If Colossians does away with the one, it
abolishes the other.
The Old Testament Church
When did the true Church begin? In Acts 7:38 we
learn that the
of Israel was called the church in the wilderness in the days of Moses.
The English word "congregation" used throughout the Old Testament is
another rendering, having the same identical meaning, as the word
in the New Testament. The word translated "congregation" in the Old
is ekklesia in the Septuagint- the same identical Greek word that is
translated CHURCH in the New Testament.
Israel was both church and state. As a kingdom, it
by a system of judges, over 50, sometimes 100s, thousands, etc.; and
then later having a
king. But as a congregation, or church, Israel was organized with a
Joshua, etc.- and the priests of the tribe of Levi. The law of Moses
those ritualistic or ceremonial laws which were ADDED, because of
to the Old Covenant to teach and instill into them the
habit of obedience. These consisted of meat and drink offerings,
washings, and physical ordinances. Also they had the sacrifices, as a
for the sacrifice of Christ.
Please remember this point - the sacrificial system was a
picture and substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Prior to the Law of Moses
In the 12th chapter of
the Children of Israel
were still in Egypt- long before any of the Law of Moses had been
to the time when God revealed to Moses and the Israelites He would make
the Old Covenant with them- we find God’s annual holy days being
observed. And in the 23rd chapter of
find a summary of
these annual holy days or feasts.
Now when God made the Sabbath for man, He gave man a
great significance and purpose. To His Church in the wilderness God
that the Sabbath was a covenant sign between Him and His people. A sign
is a supernatural proof of identity. It is the sign by which we know
He is God. How does it prove that to us? "For in six days the Lord made
heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested." It is a memorial
And creation is the proof of the existence of God.
God. The Sabbath is a weekly memorial of creation, a weekly reminder of
God’s power to create. Therefore it identifies God to us- it keeps us
true memory and true worship of the true God. No other day but the
day of the week could have that great significance and meaning. It was
designed to keep us in the true worship of God by our convening before
him to learn from his ministers.
This is the only way to worship God on the Sabbath.
The Purpose of Holy Days
Now in like manner when God gave His Church seven
God had a great purpose. These days, too, were given to
keep God’s children in the true memory and worship of God by keeping us
constantly reminded and in understanding of God’s great plan of
these annual days picture the different phases in the plan of spiritual
creation. The whole story of spiritual redemption was, in
to be reenacted year after year continually. They have vitally
symbolism and meaning!
It is an historic fact that any nation which ever
Sabbath (weekly) has lost contact with and knowledge of the true God
and gone into idolatry. The only nation which ever did keep God’s
is the only one that was kept in the true memory and worship of the
God- and only when they kept the Sabbath. When ancient Israel began to
profane God’s Sabbath, they began to worship idols!
And in the same way, when in these New Testament
times we have
to observe God’s annual Sabbaths we, as a nation and people, are
knowledge of God’s true plan of reproducing Himself.
The so-called Christian churches today do not
sin is- they do not teach that sin must be put away- they do not
what man is, the purpose of life, the meaning of being born again, and
of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit- they do not understand
God’s Church, today, is not to convert the world but to proclaim the
of the Kingdom as a witness, to live a life of overcoming sin, enduring
unto the end, and that the overcomers shall reign with Christ, being
and priests, in His Kingdom.
They do not understand that Christ is coming again,
the second coming fail to understand its meaning and purpose. They have
no knowledge or conception of the good news of the coming Kingdom of
only true New Testament Bible gospel. Rather some teach that
the Kingdom of God is already here dwelling within us - that is a lie!
Not understanding these vital steps in the true plan
the Christian churches therefore teach that the Law is abolished. They
pagan doctrine of the immortality of the soul, going immediately to
or hell at death- and they teach that death is only life again in
either Heaven or Hell.
And all is confusion!
God’s feasts, or holy days, or Sabbaths, were
commanded to be
kept year after year, and forever, to prevent such confusion! We ask
the reader to retain an open
we shall prove that forever, in this case, means forever!
God has purposed to impress the plan
upon all the minds of His children through all time, keeping His Church
in the true understanding of plan!
The Passover and the Days of Unleavened
Most churches teach that Christ finished the Plan of
He was crucified,.but the very first step
in God’s great plan for man’s
redemption was the death of Christ. We find the observance of this
Sacrifice beginning in Eden when God killed a lamb or goat in order
cover the nakedness (symbol of sin) of Adam and Eve with skins. We find
operating when Abel sacrificed a substitute lamb. And so the Passover
the first of these events observed by God’s children year by year,
picturing the start His
great plan to save us from our human, sinful nature. Let us understand
Egypt is a type, or symbol, of sin. As God’s people
are today in
soon are to be delivered after God pours out His plagues upon Babylon,
so they once were in Egypt and were delivered after the pouring out of
Just as professing Christians have been deceived and
of true time and God’s days, as well as the true worship of God, so it
was with the children of Israel in Egypt. For over two centuries they
had been in severe
to work with taskmasters over them. There was no Bible- no written Word
of God. They were not permitted to worship God as He had ordained. They
were forced to work seven days a week. They had lost sight even of the
true Sabbath- that is why God had to reveal to them the Sabbath in the
wilderness (Ex. 16).
Passover Only the Start
At that time in Egypt they had also changed the
the year. So, on delivering His people from Egypt (sin),
them out as to the counting of time. And, as the beginning of our
salvation was wrought
by Christ’s death on the cross in the spring, so God said, "This month
shall be unto you the beginning of months" (Ex. 12:2).
Some keep the beginning of God’s feasts of salvation
Passover but never go on to know the "depth of the riches" of God’s
pictured by the following feasts! Christ is not only the author, or
but the finisher of our salvation!
On the tenth day of this first month the Israelites
to take a lamb without blemish. They kept it until- not after- the 14th
day of the same first month. At even, or at dusk as the Jewish
has it- between the two evenings, or between sunset and dark- the
lamb was killed.
This was in, not after, the 14th
They shed the blood
of the lamb, picturing Christ’s sacrifice to come. They ate the flesh
that night. At midnight the death angel came, but passed over every
where the blood had been sprinkled. There are some very
important details that we should
this point; perhaps we have not seen them before. It proves that the
should be observed the 14th, not the 15th
like the Jews believe.
Passover 14th, Not 15th
Notice Exodus 12 Verse 6, they shall kill the lamb
official translation). Verse 8, they shall eat the flesh in that night-
still the 14th. Verses 9-11 continue to describe
how it shall
be roasted and eaten- the time is still the same night- the 14th.
Verse 12: "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and
smite all the firstborn"- still same night: the 14th.
Now notice carefully the paragraph beginning verse 21. Here
detailed directions for striking the blood on the door posts- the time
was done, as proved above, was the night part of the 14th.
carefully verse 22: "...Strike the lintel and the two side posts with
blood that is in the bason: and none of you shall go out at the door of
his house until the morning." Notice that carefully! None were
to leave their houses that night. They remained in their houses until
They remained there all night!
Now read on in verse 29. At midnight (the 14th)
smote the firstborn of Egypt. Verse 30, Pharaoh rose up in the night.
was of course after the death angel passed at midnight, and therefore
He called for Moses and Aaron. This must have taken
the same night. Verse 33, the Egyptian people were urgent to get rid of
the Israelites. Verse 35, the Israelites borrowed of the Egyptians
and gold and clothing, and spoiled the Egyptians. When? Surely this
and spoiling of the Egyptians took several hours. The Israelites lived
in the land of Goshen, apart from the Egyptians. The Israelites were
to leave their houses until morning- so this spoiling and borrowing
place through the day time of the 14th day.
The Exodus, 24 Hours After Passover
But- notice this highly important point- the
not go out
from the land of Egypt until that night- the 15th
of Abib! Notice
the section composed of verses 40-42: "... Even the selfsame day it
to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of
It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out
the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed."
is the night to be observed? The night they came out of Egypt. They
out of Egypt, not during the daytime the 14th,
but after that
day had ended- after the sun had set the following night- on the 15th
of Abib! And that night, the 15th, is to be
The following verses, beginning verse 43, form a new
refer again to Passover- the 14th day.
Now, notice Deuteronomy 16:1. "Observe the month of
Passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy
brought thee forth out of Egypt by night." Notice it, they did not go
of Egypt, until night. And this night was the 15th,
14th. Further proof?
Notice now Numbers 33:3. "And they departed from
month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the
Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight
of all the Egyptians."
How much clearer can it be?
There it is in plain language.
Now some believe that they killed the lamb between
3 p.m., near the end of the day; ate it that night- the 15th
(claiming that is when the Passover was eaten, and when we should take
it today) and then went on out of Egypt that same night. But this
will not hold water in view of all these scriptures and those
through Exodus 12.
The Israelites were not permitted to leave their
eating the lamb. They remained in their own houses- in the land of
daylight. Then they went to their Egyptian neighbors and spoiled them
as commanded. There were millions of Israelites, it took time to
them all. It also took time to do the spoiling. This could not have
been done after
when Pharaoh rose up, and still have gotten out of Egypt the same
The Israelites were in their own houses in Goshen all that night.
12:10 further proves this. Whatever remained of their roasted lamb
until morning they were to burn with fire. That shows they stayed in
homes until morning.
They did not leave Egypt until after that day ended-
again, during the night part of the fifteenth.
IN the 14th, Not
Now to connect one other vital point, turn to
the fourteenth day [not AFTER IT]...is the Passover of the Lord. And in
the fifteenth day [not before it] of this month is the feast: seven
shall unleavened bread be eaten."
Leviticus 23:5-6 says the same thing. Notice the
15th but the 14th. "In
it" is not after it is past.
And notice, too, the feast mentioned here is not the 14th
the Passover is elsewhere called a feast), but the feast day is the 15th.
The seven-day period begins the 15th. The 15th
the first of the seven days of unleavened bread.
However, since leaven was put out of the houses
during the 14th
day, it came to be called one of the Days of Unleavened Bread by New
times, but when this is done eight days are included in the term "days
of unleavened bread." The entire eight-day period is, in New Testament
usage, sometimes called by the name "Passover" too. To
discern which days are being spoken of, you have to know the truth
first and rely on context.
The seven-day period begins the 15th,
after the 14th,
or Passover, has ended. These are the Days of Unleavened
The 14th day is the Passover.
It is the
first of God’s festivals.
It is not the feast day mentioned here. In the fifteenth day is the
Let us get that distinction clearly in mind. It is the FIFTEENTH that
the FEAST- the 14th is the Passover. This feast
day begins after
Passover day has ended.
Now with these facts well in mind, let us turn back
beginning verse 14. "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and
ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye
keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat
bread...and in the first day there shall be an holy convocation to
What day is established as a memorial- not a shadow,
memorial- a feast- to
be kept forever? Notice, it is the day that is the feast- "Ye shall
it a feast." It is the day that is the feast day- the 15th
not the 14th- not the Passover!
This day is the feast day- a memorial, to be kept as
convocation, forever! Seven days are included, and we have shown that
seven-day period begins the 15th, after Passover
"In the fourteenth is the Passover, but in the fifteenth day is the
Many have always believed the day here spoken of,
was the Passover, or 14th. But it is not- it is
Now this day- the 15th- is
a holy convocation.
Look in the dictionary. A "convocation" is an assembly of people
their presence is commanded, under power and authority. A "holy
is a religious assembly for purposes of worship. The weekly Sabbath is
a holy convocation. So is Abib 15th. Our
presence is commanded
under God’s power and authority. But let us continue.
Notice now, beginning verse 16: "And in the first
day [of the
15th of Abib], there shall be an holy
convocation, and in the
seventh day [21st of Abib] there shall be an
to you...And ye shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for in
selfsame day [the fifteenth Abib] have I brought your armies out of the
land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day [the fifteenth, not
the 14th] in your generations by an ordinance
for ever" (Ex.
There it is! Before the ceremonial law of Moses was
ever instituted! The
as a Sabbath, or holy convocation forever, is the feast day, the
day on which they went out of Egypt, and they went out on the 15th,
not the 14th (Numbers 33:3). This day
is a memorial, not a shadow of the cross. A
from Egypt, which pictures to us deliverance from sin!
To keep us constantly in the memory of the great
our sins forgiven by Christ’s blood (pictured by the 14th),
are not to stop there and remain in sin but to go out away from sin!
Why should we observe the 14th, picturing
remission of past
sins, and then refuse to continue the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the life-long process of coming out from sin- seven days of unleavened
bread symbolizing and
picturing complete putting away of sin, or in other words, the keeping
of the Commandments?
Not Abolished With Old Covenant
Observe that the Days of Unleavened Bread are an
period of time, having
Sabbaths. And this period is established forever- while the Israelites
still in Egypt- before one word of the ceremonial law of Moses had been
given or written- before God even proposed the Old Covenant!
the law of Moses, or the Old Covenant, did not
they cannot take away! And in Fenton’s translation, we find the 17th
verse translated thus: "...Consequently keep this period as an
institution." The whole period is included.
This alone ought to prove that the holy days- and
days of unleavened
bread- are binding today, and forever!
Now, if these texts apply to the 15th,
not the 14th,
as they assuredly do, and is here conclusively proved, then is the
forever? Indeed it is! But these texts above refer to the feast, and
the Passover. In the paragraph beginning Exodus 12:21 the Passover is
referred to, and verse 24 establishes it forever!
Purpose of Festival
But let us learn the full significance of this. Why
feast days? What was His great purpose? Turn now to Exodus 13, verse 3:
"And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came
from Egypt." This was the 15th of Abib. Verses
6: "Seven days
thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and the seventh day shall be a feast
the Eternal...This is done because of that which the Eternal did"--(a
it shall be for a sign"- that is, having also a future meaning- "unto
upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes"- having to do
both works and will- why?--"that the Lord’s law may be in thy
shalt therefore keep this ordinance."
Can you see the wonderful meaning? Do you grasp the
of it all? Do you see God’s purpose? The Passover only pictures the
of Christ for the remission of sins that are past (Rom. 3:25). The
of His blood does not forgive sins we may later commit; it does not
license to continue in sin. Therefore when we accept it, our sins are
only up to that time- past sins.
But shall we stop there with only past sins
forgiven? We are
beings. We still shall suffer temptations. Sin has held us in its
have been slaves to sin and its power. And we are powerless to deliver
ourselves from it! We have been in bondage to sin. Let us understand
picture- the meaning.
Quitting Sin Utterly
To what extent shall we put away sin? Not partially,
And, as leaven is also a type of sin (I Cor. 5:8)--leaven puffs up, and
so does sin; and, as seven is God’s number symbolizing completeness, we
are to follow the Passover with seven days of unleavened bread!
The picture- the meaning- the symbolism, is not
alone. Passover pictures the acceptance of Christ’s blood for the
of past sins. It pictures the crucified- the dead-
we leave Christ symbolically hanging on the
of Unleavened Bread following Passover picture to us the complete
away of sin, the keeping of the Commandments- after past sins are
forgiven. They picture the life and work of the risen Christ-
ascended to the
throne of God where He is now actively at work on our behalf as our
Priest, cleansing us of sin- delivering us completely from its power!
And this is a life-long process!
To observe the Passover alone, and then fail to
of unleavened bread, means, in the symbolism, to accept Christ’s blood
and then to continue in sin- to erroneously say the Law is done away
we are under grace alone, meaning license, to continue in sin!
The seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
of the Commandments, which is another way of saying the putting away of
God’s true Church is to have these feast days, the
a memorial picturing the deliverance from sin, in OUR right hand and
as God’s sign in order that we shall keep His commandments. The
forehead is the seat of the intellect and symbolizes acceptance,
the right hand symbolizes work. We have this sign of God that
this truth about the holy days and Days of Unleavened Bread, we will
not on these holy days! Not only is the weekly Sabbath God’s sign
31:12-17) but annual Sabbaths are signs as well!
Notice how marvelously this ordinance pictures the
I remember one year, during the last Day of Unleavened Bread, one
housewife mentioned she had found a half slice of leavened
behind some things in her home. Of
course, she had put it out of the house immediately. Another
said she had found a can of baking powder
did not know she had. Another found a slice of bread and some yeast.
had put the leaven out as soon as discovered. How true to
life is the picture! How often do we,
have put away sin, discover hidden sins or habits we did not know we
had- or thought we had overcome? They must be combated
It should be interjected that
coming out of sin is a lifelong process, meaning that we are not
expected to be perfect immediately. It is impossible for us
to fully put away sin, as the examples provided above illustrates.
While we cannot expect to fully overcome sin immediately upon
identifying it, we are expected to fight against it as soon as sin is
discovered. God will not be around sin and we must be close
to God, therefore whenever we sin we have to repent expediently and
strive for perfection. While we will never be perfect as long
as we're human, we are to strive for it and see growth in our personal
lives. Every year around Passover we examine ourselves
intently, noting our accomplishments (successes that God has given us
in perfecting our character) and areas of failure, where we need to put
even more effort in the following year. This is a lifelong
battle and we must put everything we have into it.
But let us notice the wonderful picture further. The
started out of Egypt the night of the 15th of
Abib as we must,
willingly, of our own accord, start out of sin as soon as we accept the
blood of Christ. They started out on their own power- and we must make
But they did not get far until Pharaoh pursued after
If Egypt is a type of sin, then surely Pharaoh must picture Satan; the
army of Egypt, Satan’s demons.
While Israel was in Egypt they were Pharaoh’s
under his taskmasters- just as the sinner is in the power of the devil.
But when Israel took the blood of the lamb, then God acted, and as a
Pharaoh released Israel. When we accept Christ’s blood, GOD acts, and
devil must release us.
And, as the Israelites went out with a high hand
great exultation and elation over their deliverance from bondage, so
the newly begotten Christian start out his Christian life. But what
The devil and sin immediately pursue after the newly
God- and soon the new and inexperienced Christian finds he is down in
depths of discouragement and tempted to give up and quit.
Notice Exodus 14, beginning verse 10--as soon as the
this great army pursuing them, they lost their courage. Fear came over
them. They began to grumble and complain. They saw it was impossible
them to get away from Pharaoh and his army, because he was too powerful
for them. And they were helpless. So it is with us.
Our Strength Not Sufficient!
But notice the message of God to them through Moses:
still, and see the salvation of the Eternal...for the Egyptians...ye
see them again no more for ever. The Eternal shall fight for
Helpless, we are told to stand still and see the
He shall fight for us. We cannot conquer Satan and sin, but He can. It
is the risen Christ- our High Priest- who will cleanse us- sanctify us-
us- who said He would never leave us nor forsake us!
We cannot keep the Commandments in our own power and
IN us can keep them! We must rely on Him in faith.
Notice verse 19. The angel that had gone before,
the way, now went behind them, getting between them and their enemy to
them. And then God parted the waters of the Red Sea. "And the waters
a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left" (verse 22). In
Isaiah 55:1 and John 7:37-39, the waters a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
The living waters of God are a wall to us, on our
our left, guiding us in the true path and protecting us in
But when Pharaoh and his army attempted to follow after Israel in this
divinely created path these same waters completely covered them, as
repentance removes and covers our sins, and the Israelites saw them no
more! What a wonderful picture!
No Sacrifices Originally
Thus we see the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as well
was ordained and established forever prior to the Old Covenant. Let us
be consistent about this. Opponents tell us these are in the law of
We reply they existed before the law of Moses, are carried over in the
New Testament, and therefore are binding today.
Notice especially that originally there were no
and drink ordinances- held on these days. See Jeremiah 7:22-23. These
were not instituted for the purpose of the sacrifices as some have
suppose These holy days are memorials, and twice plainly called such.
do we find such plain language calling the Sabbath memorial? (See also
The Sabbath, too, existed before the law of Moses.
It was made
unto the Lord before the Mosaic law was given.
The sacrificial ordinances and meat and drink offerings under
the Mosaic law were instituted - temporarily until the sacrifice of
Christ - and held at various times. Some were daily, some were
weekly and monthly or on the annual Holy Days. But, mark well this fact! Where we find these
drink offerings instituted on the holy days we find them also on the
Sabbath. The same chapters in the law of Moses that add them to the
days also add them to the weekly days.
The argument that since the sacrifices are done away with, being held on these
annual holy days, then the holy days are done away with too must apply equally to the Sabbath! If this argument
it abolishes also the other. The Sunday preachers argue that these
do away with the Sabbath. We deny such claims- why? The Sabbath existed
sacrifices were added. The same is true of the holy days! They began,
before the ritualistic law of Moses!
Sacrifices on Weekly Sabbath
Let us notice Numbers 28 and 29: First, the
offerings by fire
day, the "morning-evening" sacrifice. Second, verses 9-10, burnt meat
and drink offerings every Sabbath. Third, verses 11-15, new moons.
verse 16, to end of chapter 29, the annual days.
Now we know these daily meat and drink offerings, by
fire, were done away. But are the seven weekdays done away? Is the weekly
done away? Is the first day of each month done away? Not in God’s
Then neither are the annual holy days of the Lord done away!
The sacrifices were typical, and they came with the
they went with it. But the days on which they were held were not
did not come with the law of Moses, and did not go with it.
The days are binding forever! As the Sabbath is a
in New Testament
And now we wish to show a New Testament command-
more plain and direct
than any we can find for the weekly Sabbath- to keep these annual holy
Observe again Numbers 28:16-17: "IN the fourteenth
day of the
month is the Passover of the Lord. And in the fifteenth day of this
is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten." This feast was not the 14th,
but the 15th.
was the Passover when the lamb was killed; that was the 14th.
The daylight part of the 14th was the
preparation for the Feast
of Unleavened Bread (Matt. 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14).
John 18:28 can prove to be a little misleading. It implies
that the Passover was to be held later than when Christ observed it.
This is alluding to the day-time sacrifices the priests would
perform in preparation of the first day of Unleavened Bread.
It is not the sacrifice of the lamb observed the night
before, which everyone observed in their homes.
Let us get this point thoroughly established in our
is true then all of these days are still binding upon us by
New Testament as well as Old Testament authority!
Notice Matthew 26:5. The chief priests and the
scribes conspiring to
kill Jesus said: "Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among
people." They hastened so they could take and kill Him the day before
feast, or on the 14th Abib (Nisan). Mark 14:2 says the same thing. Now to establish that
the day after the Passover festival, and that was the high day Sabbath-
day after Jesus was crucified, notice John 13:29: "For some of them
because Judas had the bag [was treasurer- Fenton translation], that
had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need against the
Surely this proves the feast was the following day- the 15th
Abib (Nisan), as all these scriptures positively affirm. For further
on this vital subject, write for our free booklet "The Resurrection Was
Not On Sunday".
Now let us examine carefully I Corinthians 5:7-8.
this to the Passover. Notice it does not say, nor apply to, Passover at
all. Let us study to see what it does say:
"For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
KEEP THE FEAST." Notice it. Because Christ, our Passover, has been
therefore let us of the NEW Testament Church- because Christ had
what? Notice it! Not just the Passover here which was on the 14th
Abib (Nisan)--but let us keep the feast- which was the 15th!
The high-day Sabbath of John 19:31! The annual holy day. And, in a
sense, the feast included all seven of the Days of Unleavened Bread,
the second holy day, Sabbath, on the 21st Abib
(Nisan)! We cannot
escape this if we are yielded to the Lord and the Word of God! There
is, plain language, in the New Testament! Because Christ was crucified,
therefore let us keep the feast! The 14th was
but in the 15th day of this month is the feast!
Let us no longer
apply that to the Passover, for it says "feast."
Days of Unleavened Bread Kept by Paul and
It is faithfully recorded in the New Testament that
the period its history covers, was keeping those days!
In Acts 20:6: "We sailed away from Philippi after
the Days of Unleavened Bread." Paul and companions plainly had observed
the Days of Unleavened Bread at Philippi (with the Gentiles he was sent
to). The Holy Spirit could never have inspired such words
otherwise. Notice also Acts 12:3-4: "Then were the days of
this, if those days had, in God’s sight, ceased to exist?
Notice, it is not one ignorant of what was abolished
writing these words- it is Almighty God saying it through inspiration
of the Holy
Spirit. This was years after the crucifixion. The Days of Unleavened Bread
still existed, or the Holy Spirit could not have inspired "then were
the Days Unleavened Bread."
Chapter 2 | ↑ top
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PENTECOST
IS THIS the only "day of salvation"? Most churches
all who die "unsaved," or do not "get saved" before the second coming
Christ can never receive salvation.
They assume there is a great contest in progress
Satan. They believe Christ came to save the world, and by means of all
these churches He is desperately trying to "get the
On the other hand, the clever deceptive devil is
doing all he
prevent people from being "saved." And they seem to believe there is a
time limit on the contest.
We are now near the time for the Second Coming of
returns to earth in person He will find Himself helpless- utterly
to save the world from Satan’s clutch- because then "it will be too
"Probation will be closed," as one denomination expresses it.
This paganized teaching represents Satan as far more
Do we realize that?
The Answer Revealed
The New Testament Church of God started
on the annual Sabbath day called "Pentecost" or "Feast of Firstfruits."
It is also called the "Feast of Weeks." The New Testament Church
continued year after year
Sabbath, Pentecost, as we shall show. God gave this festival
to His people in order to
keep them continually informed, that the present time is only
first, preliminary "harvest of souls."
As already explained, God’s purpose in giving the
holy days was to keep His children constantly in true understanding and remembrance of
God’s great plan. To accomplish this, God took the yearly
ancient Israel as the picture of the spiritual harvest of souls.
In the Holy Land there are two annual harvests.
First, is the
grain harvest. Second, comes the fall harvest. God intended His holy
to picture to His Church repeatedly year by year the fact that only
He Himself calls during this age can become His begotten children now!
And we are merely the Firstfruits of the great spiritual harvest!
The Wave Sheaf
But let us continue the central passage which
days- Leviticus 23.
Here we find all of God’s proclaimed holy
the one chapter. First is the weekly convocation day, the Sabbath, the
seventh day of the week. Then, beginning verse 4, follows a list of the
annual festivals, also commanded assemblies, "which ye shall proclaim
their seasons." This means we should observe them on the appropriate day and learn of what they picture on that day!
First of these is the Passover, followed by the Days
of Unleavened Bread
with the two annual Sabbaths. Beginning verse 9, we find instructions
the wave-sheaf offering.
The Israelites were not allowed to eat any of the
until this day (verse 14). Then, on the day following the weekly
in a solemn ceremony of the Levitical priesthood (these rituals were mere
substitutes for what Christ fulfilled and therefore not practiced today), the first sheaf of
was cut and brought to the priest. The priest solemnly waved it before
the Eternal to be accepted for them.
This pictures the resurrected Christ ascending to
heaven to be
by His Father as the very first human to be actually born of God (born again)- the
of the first harvest of souls! By comparing John 20:17 with Matthew
you will see that Christ presented Himself before the Father on the
after His resurrection the previous evening (I Cor. 15:20, 23; Rom.
Col. 1:15, 18). This fulfillment of the wave-sheaf offering actually
on Sunday, the morrow after the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
How to Figure Pentecost
Next comes Pentecost. The word "Pentecost" is a
the New Testament but not in the Old. It signifies the "fiftieth (day)."
the Old Testament this feast is called "Feast of Firstfruits," and
Notice the properly translated plain instruction
23:15: "And ye shall count unto you from [on, or beginning with] the
after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave
seven Sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the
Sabbath shall ye number fifty days." And that fiftieth day is
"And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it
may be an
unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute
in all your dwellings throughout your generations" (verse 21).
All other holy days or festivals come on definite
But this one annual Sabbath must be determined by counting. It is very
simple and plain.
It is of very grave importance that we figure the
and this only, is made holy by the Eternal Creator. Suppose at the same
time the Church of God was founded, the apostles had miscounted, And
the day of Pentecost was fully come" (Acts 2:1) they, instead of being
all with one accord in one place were in discord, some having observed
the day preceding, and some waiting until the following day!
The Pharisees, who gained complete control of Jewish
shortly after the middle of the first century AD, figured (incorrectly-
is, from the wrong starting point) from the day after the first annual
Before that time, however, the high priests of the
were Sadducees, had been in control of matters concerning the festivals
in Jerusalem. The Boethusians always counted from the morrow after the
weekly Sabbath, the day we call Saturday, which usually fell within the
Days of Unleavened Bread or immediately before the first day of
Bread. This historical information has been preserved for us in the
which was set in writing about A.D. 200:
"The Boethusians say: ‘The cutting of the sheaf does
at the end of the day of the feast [the first of the seven days of
bread], but only at the end of the next regular Sabbath’" (Menahoth,
This practice had been handed down among the priests
to generation. And their method of counting was done as long as they
in control of the Temple and its rituals. Samaritans and Karaites
sect dating from the eighth century A.D.) have also continued to count
from the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of the week.
is important to remember that the wave sheaf was always offered DURING
the Days of Unleavened Bread on a Sunday, never outside of the Days of
Unleavened Bread. Waving the sheaf outside of the Days of
Unleavened Bread would have no significance since it pictures Christ
(being unleavened, never having sinned).
On a Sunday
Starting then to count from the offering of the wave
Sunday as day number one, we will always come out on another Sunday-
NOT always on the same day of the month. It is something which must be
"counted" each and every year. Neither in the Hebrew (or biblical)
nor in the Roman calendar which is commonly used today, can the day of
Pentecost ever become fixed on a set day of the month.
Quoting again from the Mishna, and speaking about
which had been followed in Jerusalem before the Pharisees took complete
control, "[The Boethusians say:] Pentecost always falls on the day
the Sabbath" (Chagigah, 2,4).
This makes very clear the meaning of the last part
and the beginning of verse 16: "...Seven Sabbath shall be complete:
unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days."
A second and perhaps for some a simpler instruction
Pentecost is found in Deuteronomy 16:9-10: "Seven weeks shalt thou
unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou
to put the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks
This means of counting is also referred to in
the day of the Firstfruits [Pentecost], when ye bring a new meat
unto the Lord, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy
ye shall do no servile work."
Because seven weeks were counted, the festival of
known as the "feast of weeks" (Deut. 16:10).
Meaning of Pentecost
Passover symbolized Christ’s sacrifice for the
and the Days of Unleavened Bread the putting away of sin. Pentecost
the first part of the spiritual harvest- the calling out of the Church-
called-out ones- which, for the New Testament Church, began on
June 17, 31 A.D. On that day the Holy Spirit came to dwell within
as prophesied by Joel.
On the fiftieth day (Pentecost) in Old Testament
(Lev. 23:17, 20) were brought out of the habitations of the
as the Firstfruits unto the Lord. Just so the New Testament Church was
gathered out of this world as the Firstfruits of His salvation, in
of the meaning of the wave loaves, mixed with leavening because all others have sinned at one point in time.
We have all, if we have been converted, become a
part of that
Church. We have become part of what was symbolized by those wave
And just as the wave sheaf was lifted up into the
Christ’s trip to heaven and return, so the wave loaves were lifted up
waved, symbolizing that we too shall for a moment leave this solid
when we ascend to meet Him in the air (I Thess. 4:16-17), but not
heaven, before we
with Him to stand on the Mount of Olives as He begins His millennial
(Acts 1:11; Zech. 14:3-4).
Most Not Now Called
God has not cast away His people, the physical nation of Israel. But He
blinded the whole of the people, save those who he calls, just like the
rest of the world; so that through their fall salvation came to
the Gentiles, who, through Christ, are individually grafted in, or
adopted into, the family of Israel (Rom. 11). These too must
be called, or drawn by God; no one can understand the truth or come to
repentance unless God is calling them.
This is the time when God is calling a small number
of people for His
be kings and priests, reigning with Christ in the Kingdom during the
years (Rev. 5:10).
"After this"- after the 6,000 years are fulfilled,
when God has called out Israelites and Gentiles alike to be a part of
his family- "I will return," promises Christ. What for?
will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I
build again the ruins thereof, and I [Christ, not men] will set it up."
Why? "That the residue of men might seek after the
During this present Church age, the descendants of
Israel are blinded like the rest of the world, and only those that God
calls can see the truth. After this Christ will return and then the
men- blinded Israel and Gentiles alike will seek after the Lord when
is chained and Christ reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords! All alive will become a part of the Church of God.
Those of the Firstfruits of His salvation, made
reign with Him as kings and priests in the wonderful work of building a
During this time the whole world, Gentile and Jew
alike, until the 6000 years are complete, are blind to the ways of God; but after the return of
Christ (Rom. 11:26) all Israel shall then be saved
from sin; for the Deliverer, Christ, shall come out of Zion! All Israel
shall be brought to repentance and saved from sin- how? Because Christ
ungodliness from mortal Israel by forgiving sin.
How wonderful is God’s great plan of redemption,
it, as we see it pictured in these annual holy days!
Only First Harvest Now
In James 1:18 and Romans 8:23, for example, the
saints are called the Firstfruits of God’s salvation. The era of the
the greater work of calling people to bear His name began on the day of
Very few are called to the Church even in this age, but it is more than
those who were called in the Old Testament time. This feast
annually pictures this great event in
God’s redemptive plan!
Notice, too, that these feasts, Unleavened Bread and
at the beginning of the year, and the great events they picture occur
the very beginning of the plan of salvation!
The group of holy days coming at the END of the year
events in God’s plan of redemption to occur yet future, at the end of
the age! They all come in the seventh month- and their
will introduce the seventh one-thousand year period since creation!
The churches of this world today teach it is the
to save the world. They teach that all who ever shall be saved are
saved now in this present age. They teach that "probation
at, or prior to, the Second Coming of Christ. If this be true, what a failure is God’s plan! Only
have been truly saved in this time. One third of all living on Earth today have never even heard the only name whereby we may be
saved! And that is far from enough to obtain salvation anyways!
Are they- the majority of all living, eternally lost
heard- lost and condemned without a chance? The common teaching is that
God has cast away His people Israel and they are eternally doomed and
lost. Had they been keeping these annual holy days, commanded to be
forever- all kept faithfully by the New Testament Church as recorded in
Acts and in church history- we, the descendants of ancient Israel,
would have understood God’s wonderful
plan and not be so confused about the truth.
We are not to convert everyone in the world in this
the Gospel. What Gospel? The good news of the Kingdom- the good news of
the thousand years of restitution of all things when Christ returns to
reign in power and great glory! This is the work of the Worldwide
Church of God today under Herbert W. Armstrong, as commissioned in
The good news of the coming Kingdom is to be
preached as a
Many have been called during this time but only few actually chosen,
still fewer have remained faithful to the end!
They- the slim few picked out from both Israel and
the Gentile nations for His name- shall be made
immortal and shall
reign during the thousand years of the Kingdom upon earth. Then
blindness will be removed. They were blinded until the end of the 6,000 years.
The heavens received Jesus until the time of restitution of all
things, soon to come!
Those now gathered, since that day of Pentecost,
June 17, 31
only the Firstfruits of God’s plan of salvation. This age,
is picking out only the "Firstfruits" of those to be saved. And they
being tried and tested to qualify for positions as kings and priests in
the Kingdom, to then bring about the real salvation of the world.
When Christ Returns
Then it is that God shall set His hand again the
the remnant of His people- Israel (Isa. 11:11).
Then it is that "...the Lord will come with fire,
by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh...And I will set a sign
among them, and I will send those that escape [these plagues] of them
the nations [Gentiles)...that have not heard my fame, neither have seen
my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles" (Isa.
Then it is that "living waters shall go out from
Gentile nations that have not heard previously "shall even go up from
to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast
of Tabernacles"! (Zech. 14:16.)
Then it is that many nations "shall come and say,
let us go
up to the mountain [nation] of the Lord...and he will teach us of his
and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many
and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords
plowshares...neither shall they learn war any more...In that day, saith
the Lord...the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from
even for ever" (Micah 4:2-7). This does not apply to God’s Church now-
to the glorious time of the Kingdom, after Christ returns. What a
plan of redemption!
Adam sinned. All have sinned. From Adam to now we
of man without God- of human suffering and failure.
And thus God, in His great wisdom, has permitted men
what sinners they are- how helpless they are, of themselves!
That is the lesson of 6,000 years of human history.
And finally we shall have to learn the lesson that
it is only
Himself undertakes to save men- by sending Jesus to rule with a rod of
the world can really be saved! And so those now being saved are the
of salvation, and will have the very great honor of being Christ’s
in that wonderful Kingdom work of redemption!
That is God’s true plan of redemption, as taught
And how contrary to the popular teaching! But it is the plan,
pictured in God’s annual holy days. And had the churches continued to
these holy days, they would never have lost sight of this plan or
under the deception of false religionists!
Pentecost Observed by New Testament Church
Just as we found the true Church of God continuing
of Unleavened Bread and the Passover, so they continued to observe
Read it: I Corinthians 16:8; Acts 20:16.
Had they not been assembled in a holy convocation on
after everything that was supposedly abolished, we never could
have read in our Bibles the sublime record of the second chapter of
Now a "holy convocation" means a holy assembly of
under absolute authority. Look up the word "convocation" in the
It is an assembly where everyone is commanded, under authority, to be
The Sabbath is a weekly holy convocation. We are commanded, therefore,
to assemble ourselves together. Each of these annual days is an holy
The early Church obeyed. Do we?
Chapter 3 | ↑ top
FEAST OF TRUMPETS
"AND THE, Lord spake...saying, In the seventh month,
of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial [not a shadow] of
of trumpets, an HOLY CONVOCATION. Ye shall do no servile work therein"
Here is pictured to us the next event in God’s
when Christ shall COME again, in clouds with a shout, with the voice of
the archangel, and with the trump of God (I Thes. 4:14-17). It shall be
"at the last trump for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be
incorruptible, and we shall [all, speaking of the 144,000 God has been
calling out of the world throughout human history] be changed" (I Cor.
Unless Christ returns to resurrect the dead, we
life- if there is no resurrection "then also those which are fallen
in Christ have perished" (I Cor. 15:18).
Christ directly intervenes in world affairs at the
trump (Rev. 11:15-19). A trumpet is a symbol of war. He comes in a time
of worldwide war- when the nation are angry! As soon as the work of
in the Firstfruits (pictured by Pentecost) is completed at the end of
present age, then Christ will begin to set up again the tabernacle of
(Acts 15:16)--to set His hand again the second time to recover the
of His people (Isa. 11:11)--to search out and to find His lost sheep
the ministers of the churches have failed to search out and save during
this period (Ezek. 34:1-14).
Notice exactly when this takes place! "And it shall
that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they [Israel]
come which were ready to perish...and shall worship the Lord in the
mount at Jerusalem" (Isa. 27:13).
When will Israel be regathered? At the sound of the
Coming of Christ. Because the churches have forgotten the Festival of
many think that the return of a part of the Jews to the Holy Land and
setting up of a nation called Israel now is the fulfillment of this
prophecy! And who is Israel today? For more on
this, please request "The United States and Britain in Prophecy."
Christ’s direct intervention in world affairs will
be the next
in the plan of redemption.
And perhaps the glorious Second Coming shall occur,
it may be, on this very day of the Feast of Trumpets- who knows? While
cannot say for certain, yet cannot we see this possibility? The
was upon the Passover day- the very day! The Holy Spirit came,
the selecting of the Firstfruits of salvation, on the very day of
Had not those 120 disciples been observing this
they not been assembled there in holy convocation- could they have
that blessing of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit? Repeatedly
Jesus warned us to watch, regarding His Second Coming! Could it be
that, unless we are observing the Feast of Trumpets, as the
Church of God was observing Pentecost, that we shall not be ready, or
up to meet Him? We do not- we cannot, of course say; but we do ask the
Is it not possible?
The Festival of Trumpets is a day of rejoicing- and,
holy unto the Lord (Neh. 8:2, 9-12).
Day of Atonement, or the Fast
Next, let us read Leviticus 23:26, 27, 31-32-- "And
saying...also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a
of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall
your souls [fast].... Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a
for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be
unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the
day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your
Sabbath." At-one-ment with God! Man at last made one
with his Maker!
Again, in the 16th chapter of
Leviticus, verses 29 and 31,
where the symbolism of the Day of Atonement is explained, we find it
a holy Sabbath to be kept forever: "And this shall be a statute for
unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye
shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of
own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you... It shall be a
of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for
Notice, too, in Leviticus 23:32, the expression
shall ye celebrate your Sabbath." Every Sabbath keeper quotes this
to show that the Sabbath begins at sunset. If we believe that, then why
not keep the Sabbath that this very text is speaking of- the high
of the Day of Atonement, instituted forever? Are we consistent, when we
continually quote this text to show when to begin the Sabbath, and then
refuse to keep the very Sabbath referred to?
Meaning Pictured by Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement pictures a wonderful and great
after the Second Coming of Christ, which the world is in total
of because it has failed to see the true significance of these annual
holy unto the Lord. It has failed to keep them as a constant reminder
God’s plan of redemption!
The symbolism is all expressed in the account of the
of Atonement in the 16th
chapter of Leviticus.
Verse 5--"And he [Aaron, or the high priest] shall
take of the
of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering."
Verse 6--The high priest offered HIMSELF and his
Verses 7 and 8--"And he shall take the two goats,
present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the
Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; the one lot for the LORD, and
the other lot for the scapegoat" (margin, Hebrew, Azazel).
Now because this has not been understood- because
views and opinions and ideas and explanations of this, we will pause
to go into this in some detail. Let us, therefore, regardless of our
former convictions, study with open minds without prejudice, proving
things. We want truth!
The key to the whole explanation lies in a correct
the meaning of Azazel. This word does not occur elsewhere in the Old
The Comprehensive Commentary has: "Spencer, after the oldest opinions
the Hebrews and Christians, thinks Azazel is the name of the Devil, and
so Rosen... The word scapegoat signifies the goat which went away. "
One Volume Commentary says: "The word ‘scapegoat’ in the AV. is not a
It is merely an interpretation of the supposed meaning by the
True, the English word "scapegoat" signifies "one
guilt for others." But "scapegoat" is an English word, and is not a
of the Hebrew word Azazel. The word "scapegoat," and the meaning
to this English word, is not a translation of the Hebrew word Azazel,
therefore it is not the word inspired originally. Continues the One
Commentary: "Azazel is understood to be the name of one of those
Types of Christ and Satan
These two goats were, of course, types. Notice, it
be decided by lot, which one was qualified to represent Christ, and
Azazel. Some say BOTH were qualified. The scripture does not say this.
Let us not assume it. Now a "lot" is a solemn appeal to God to decide a
doubtful matter. It is a sacred religious ceremony. It included a
act of God.
Notice, men were unable to decide which goat was
Christ. This involved an appeal to God to decide! "One lot for the
and the other lot for Azazel." Now one lot was for the Lord- this goat
Christ- but the other lot was not for the Lord, did not typify Christ,
Azazel- Satan! These words most naturally suggest that Azazel is the
of a person, here contrasted to the Eternal! Notice the contrast- one
the Lord, the other for Azazel.
Now the goat which God selected, through lot, to
slain- like Christ. But the other goat selected
God to represent Azazel was not slain, but was driven, alive, into an
wilderness. It was not a resurrected goat, symbolizing the resurrected
Christ, for it never died. The uninhabited wilderness, to which this
was driven, cannot, as we shall show, represent heaven where Christ
Heaven is neither uninhabited nor a wilderness.
After God designated which goat represented Christ
the high priest (verse 11) killed a bullock for a sin offering for
then took the burning coals of fire and the sweet incense into the
of Holies (a chamber inside the Temple), also sprinkling the blood of
the bullock before the mercy
seat, symbolic of the throne of God, covering the tablets of testimony
This the high priest was required to do in order to purify himself to
and to represent Christ as High Priest.
Now the Levitical high priest was ready to go out
Next, the goat which God selected by lot to represent
the sin offering of the people, was killed. Thus the sins of
borne by the goat, even as Christ, finally, once for all, bore our sins
on the cross. But Christ rose again from the dead, and ascended to the
throne of God in heaven.
Now, which goat in this Levitical ceremony
symbolized Christ who ascended to heaven? Some say the goat
Azazel. Let us see.
The risen Christ, now at the right hand of the
throne of God
(I Peter 3:22), is called- what? Our High Priest! What was the earthly
of God’s throne? The uninhabited wilderness? No! That is where the live
The earthly type of God’s throne was the mercy seat
Holiest of Holies.
After Christ died, He went to the heavenly mercy seat interceding for
as our High Priest. "... Entereth into that within the veil; whither
forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever
after the order of Melchisedec" (Heb. 6:19-20).
Now, again, who, or what, in the Levitical ceremony
of the Day
of Atonement, symbolized the risen Christ, our High Priest, who went
within the veil to
God’s throne in heaven? The one goat had been slain. It represented the
slain Christ. It can no longer represent the risen Christ. The slain
was not our High Priest, because the Levitical priesthood, with its
priest, did not end until Christ rose from the dead and ascended to
as a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. The risen Christ is
our High Priest. Now WHO symbolized this part in the Levitical
re-enacted year by year, on this eternal Holy Day? Why, so obviously a
child could see, it was the Levitical high priest, not the goat
The High Priest- Type of Christ
As soon as the slain goat was dead, who went within
the blood of this goat before the typical throne of God?
Leviticus 16:15--"Then shall he [the high priest]
goat of the
sin offering, that is for the people, and [now the high priest himself
typifying the work of the risen Christ] bring his blood within the
and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat...and [verse 16] he shall make an
for the holy place."
And so it was the high priest, taking blood within
the veil to
seat, symbolizing the risen Christ by taking HIS blood,
for all, within the veil to the very throne of God in heaven- there to
intercede for us as High Priest. Surely this is so plain a child can
The slain goat represented the crucified Jesus. The
taking the blood of this slain goat into the veil to the mercy seat in
the Holiest of Holies, a symbol of God’s throne, represented and did
of the risen Christ; who ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on
there interceding as our High Priest. Can we honestly continue to teach
that the goat representing Azazel depicted the risen
Did this live goat take the blood of Christ within the veil, to the
The high priest going within the veil, into the
Christ’s ascension to heaven. The work he did while in the Holiest of
symbolized Christ’s work these 1900 years interceding for us,
His shed blood before the mercy seat in heaven. Now, symbolizing
Christ’s return to earth, what did the High Priest do?
"And when he hath made an end of reconciling the
tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live
goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live
and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and
all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head
of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the
wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him [Fenton: shall carry upon
itself] all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall
go the goat in the wilderness. And Aaron shall...wash his flesh with
And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat [Azazel] shall wash his
and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp" (Lev.
The Azazel Goat Not Our Sin-Bearer
Let us get this straight!
Is there justice with God? Is not God a god of
well as of
compassion and mercy? Who is the real author of our sins? Who bears
responsibility? The devil is
the author of them, even as Christ is the author of our salvation.
took our guilt- our blame- our sins- upon Himself as an innocent
sacrifice. He was an innocent victim. He loved us and was willing to
for us. Our guilt- our sins, were borne by Him and Him alone- and God
them when we repent and accept His sacrifice. And yet is this, if we
there, full justice?
The real cause- the actual author of those sins was
Is it justice for Christ to bear guilt that is not His, while the devil
goes off scot-free? Do you not suppose GOD’s great plan will finally
full justice by placing that original blame and guilt right where it
Now mark carefully this distinction. Christ bore our
For we have
been guilty, even though the devil was the original cause of it all.
justice certainly demands that God place right back on the head of the
devil his guilt- not our guilt, but his own guilt- for leading us into
We were guilty, too- and our guilt Christ bore- yet all our sins belong
back on the devil as his own guilt!
Now notice another point. The Azazel goat carries
sins of all
the people already forgiven. These sins already were fully paid for by
Christ’s substitute sacrifice, symbolized by the killing of the
goat before those same sins were finally laid on the live goat. They
been previously paid for by the death of the slain goat.
The devil is the real author of all sin. Can we,
at one with God, as long as this instigator of sin is with us? Can we
see he must first be driven away? And there would not be justice with
unless his own guilt in our sins were placed right back on his head? Is
it justice for Christ to bear the devil’s guilt as well as our own
for our sins? Christ has carried our sins, but must He continue to
them? Should they not be removed entirely from us and from the
Thus the killing and sprinkling of blood of the
forth the means of reconciliation with God, through the substituted
of an innocent victim. So finally the sending away of the second goat,
laden with those sins, the expiation of which had been signified by the
first goat, no less vividly sets forth the effect of that sacrifice, in
complete removal of those expiated sins from the presence of God!
Satan the Accuser
Satan is the accuser of the brethren. His power over
on sin. When all these sins, of which he is the author, are laid back
him after being removed from us by Christ, then Satan shall have lost
his claim on us. And no longer can he accuse us!
Thus, finally, as the acceptance of the blood of the
symbolized complete propitiation and pardon of Israel’s sins, so the
of Azazel bearing away those expiated sins symbolizes the complete
of all sins- deliverance by the atonement from the power of the
The sacrifice of the first innocent victim was the
with God, but not yet complete justice.
The driving away of the second live goat shows the
by placing the sins on their author where they belong, and the complete
removal of the sins and their author from the presence of God and His
thus the complete deliverance of the people from the power of Satan.
Webster says to atone means to set at one. To join
in one- to
uniting. We shall not be completely joined in one, and united with God,
until this is done.
Before leaving this, notice, too, that after laying
the live goat, Azazel, Aaron had to wash and cleanse himself before
in contact with the people. So, too, the "fit man" also had to wash his
clothes and bathe himself after coming in contact with the Azazel goat
before he came into the presence of the people. The symbolism is
that of having come in contact with the devil!
Notice, now, this act of putting these already
sins on the head of this live goat does not take place until after the
high priest returns from the Holiest of Holies within the veil- so this
an act to take place after the Second Coming of Christ to this earth!
But if the live goat represented the resurrected
Christ bore on the cross were placed by another, symbolized by the high
back on Christ after His resurrection. Would this make sense? Is the
of the Azazel goat being Christ consistent? No, but the plain simple
does fit at every turn, and IS consistent. The first goat represented
innocent Jesus who died for our sins- the high priest represented the
Christ going within the veil to the mercy seat, or throne of God in
for over 1900 years- and the high priest returning to place the sins
upon the head of the live goat represented the return of Christ who
place the sins He bore on their author, the devil, and who will be sent
away alive into a desolate uninhabited wilderness- the "bottomless pit"
or abyss of Revelation 20:3.
In the 19th chapter of
have the prophecy of
the Second Coming of Christ. At the beginning of the 20th
what is to happen?
Exactly what the 16th chapter
Leviticus shows. The devil
is sent away- the symbol here used is the "bottomless pit" symbol of an
uninhabited desolate wilderness (Rev. 18:2)--and he is sent there by a
FIT man- an ANGEL from heaven. Now the devil is not killed. He does not
die. He is still alive a thousand years later- after the Millennium
Now a few points that will come to mind. Both goats
before the Lord." Can Satan be presented before the Lord? Job 1:6 and
says he has presented himself before the Lord. Note, too, Azazel was
away from the Holiest of Holies, a symbol of God’s presence.
And so the annual Day of Atonement was instituted
before God’s children and His Church the plan of redemption, to occur
the Second Coming of Christ.
And we find this annual holy day recognized in the
Acts 27:9, when Paul was on his perilous sea voyage to Rome, it is
that "when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already
past...." See the margin in your Bible. The fast refers to the Day of
10th day of the seventh month. Now this day
could not then have
been past on that particular year unless that day was still in full
and force and existence. Otherwise the Holy Spirit surely could never
inspired those words! Surely this strongly indicates that this day was
still in existence and being recognized thus by the Holy Spirit.
Chapter 4 | ↑ top
FEAST OF TABERNACLES
NOW WE come to the festival of Tabernacles- or Feast
Booths- the sixth
festival. Let us notice the instruction concerning this occasion:
"Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven
thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine. And thou shalt rejoice in
thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter... Seven days shalt thou
keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord
choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine
and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely
and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: every man shall give
he is able, according to the blessing of the Eternal thy God which he
given thee" (Deut. 16:13-17).
Here is the Festival of Tabernacles, to be kept for
the 15th day of the seventh month of God’s
Notice Leviticus 23:33-35: "And the Eternal spake unto Moses, saying,
unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh
month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the
On the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile
On the first of these days is a holy convocations-
No work is to be done. "... And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your
seven days... It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye
celebrate it in the seventh month" (Lev. 23:40-41).
Notice that it is commanded forever.
Here are pictured those final culminating events in
great plan: after Christ has died for our sins to redeem
mankind- after He
us the Holy Spirit and picked out a people for His Name to become kings
and priests through the thousand years- after His glorious Second
He has finally restored the redeemed by placing all the sins upon the
of Satan, their real author, and separating both him and the sins from
the presence of God and His people, thus finally perfecting the
making us finally joined in one- then we are ready for that final
of events, the commencement of the "Marriage of the Lamb," the actual
of the New Covenant, the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth
the reaping of the great harvest of souls for a thousand years.
This festival is the picture of the Millennium!
Pictures the Millennium
To portray His plan, God took the yearly material
ancient Israel as the picture of the spiritual harvest of souls. In the
Holy Land there are two annual harvests. The first is the spring grain
harvest. Second comes the main harvest.
Now notice when the Festival of Tabernacles is to be
end" (Ex. 34:22). In this verse the Festival of Tabernacles or Booths
specifically called the "feast of ingathering." The harvest year ended
at the beginning of autumn. Just as Pentecost pictures the early
harvest- this church age, so the Festival of Ingatherings or
the fall harvest- the great harvest of souls in the Millennium!
Today is not the only day of salvation. Today is a
Isaiah said so: chapter 49, verse 8. In fact, the original Greek words
of Paul in 11 Corinthians 6:2 should be translated "a day of
not "the day of salvation."
Turn to the book of Zechariah to understand this
the 12th and 13th
chapters we have a picture of Christ
returning and the reconciliation of the world commencing. Here the
of the Festivals of Trumpets and Atonement is made plain.
Next, notice the 14th
chapter. The time
is the Millennium.
"The Eternal shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there
be one Eternal, and his name one...there shall be no more utter
but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited" (verses 9, 11). It is the time
when "living waters"- salvation, the Holy Spirit- "shall go out from
(verse 8). The "waters" are literal as well as figurative. God often
His spiritual plan by material events.
In that day, when the earth is able to be safely
when the Holy
is granted to all mortal flesh, what happens? "And it shall come to
that every one that is left of all the nations which came against
shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of
and to keep the feast of tabernacles" (verse 16).
Gentiles Forced to Keep the Feast of
Notice this 16th verse of
After Christ returns,
the nations- mortal Gentiles who have not yet received salvation- will
to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles! How could they keep a
that was abolished at the cross? They could keep it only if it were
And what will happen if they refuse to obey God?
"And it shall
who so 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
Strong words these!
The nations will be forced to keep the Feast of
to year, when Christ is ruling with a rod of iron!
And if the nations still won’t obey? "There shall be
the Lord will smite the heathen"- there are still heathen nations just
to learn the way of salvation- "that come not up to keep the feast of
This shall be the punishment...of all nations that come not up to keep
the feast of tabernacles" (verses 17-19).
To receive salvation even the Gentiles will have to
Of course, it is commanded forever!
Now we customarily quote Isaiah 66:23, showing that
be kept in the Millennium as proof we must keep it now. Will we, then,
when we read Zechariah 14:16, showing that the Feast of Tabernacles
be kept in the Millennium, be consistent by keeping it today?
Can we qualify as a son of God- a king and priest-
on His throne, assisting Christ at that time, if we now refuse to keep
these festivals? Notice that Christ kept the Feast of Tabernacles. The
Apostle John devoted an entire chapter of his gospel- the seventh
describe what Jesus said and did during the Feast of Tabernacles in the
last year of His ministry.
Why Called the Feast of Tabernacles
During the Millennium, the Kingdom of God into which
we may be
will rule the nations which are composed of mortal men begotten by the
Spirit of God. The billions of mortal men alive during the Millennium
still be heirs to the Kingdom of God. They will not yet have inherited
it as long as they remain mortal flesh, for "flesh and blood cannot
the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 15:50). "Ye must be born
again"- of the
Spirit- "to inherit the Kingdom," said Jesus.
Remember that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were merely
on earth (Heb. 11:9). While heirs they dwelled in tabernacles or
sojourning in the land of promise. Booths or temporary dwellings
that they were not yet inheritors. Thus we read of the Feast of
that "ye shall dwell in booths seven days...that your generations may
that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought
out of the land of Egypt" (Lev. 23:42-43). Israel dwelled in booths in
the wilderness before they entered the promised land. Those booths
that they were only heirs. Even during the Millennium, when the Kingdom
of God is ruling over mortal nations, the people will be only heirs to
the Kingdom. They must overcome and grow in knowledge and wisdom to
What a marvelous picture. God says of Ephraim (a
type of all
that they will "dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn
(Hosea 12:9). Israel, in the wilderness, was a type of all people who
go through trials and tribulations to inherit the promises. They were
waiting to inherit the promises of salvation.
The contention, held by some sects, that mortal
Millennium will remain flesh and blood forever is plainly denied by the
Feast of Tabernacles, for the festival itself points toward an eternal
inheritance. This does not mean that they will inherit it
during the Millennium or not have to face death, however.
Yet Another Festival!
Did you notice that the Feast of Tabernacles is only
There is yet another- the seventh!
The Feast of Tabernacles is, strictly speaking,
long- to picture
the entire Millennium. Seven is God’s number of completeness.
there must also be seven festivals. Let us notice where it is
"The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of
for seven days unto the Lord... On the eighth day shall be an holy
unto you...it is a [day of] solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile
work therein" (Lev. 23:34, 36). This eighth day, technically a separate
feast, is called "the last day, that great day of the feast" (John
What does this final holy day represent?
Notice what Jesus preached about on that day: "If
thirst, let him come unto me, and drink...out of his belly
flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which
that believe on him should receive...)" (John 7:37-39).
This was Jesus’ sermon giving the meaning of the
Now turn to Revelation 20. After the Millennium,
The dead stand before God. This couldn’t include those truly in God's
as they will appear before the judgment seat when Christ returns. It
refer to those converted, tried, and tested during the Millennium. They
the Kingdom during the Millennium, after living out a normal life-span.
Those in this resurrection must be those who died in ignorance in past
ages! They are not brought to life until after the Millennium (Rev.
Pictures the Day of Judgment
This is that judgment day mentioned in Matthew 10:
15. It is a
when all who died in ignorance will be given an opportunity to
salvation. Ezekiel 16:53-55 makes this very plain. Even those in Israel
who died in their sins will be given their first opportunity to
the truth of God and His way (Ezek. 37). The prophet wrote that God
pour out His Spirit on those resurrected (verse 14). This is precisely
the salvation that Jesus mentioned in His sermon on that great day of
feast in the autumn of 30 A.D.
This eighth day, which immediately follows the seven
of Tabernacles, pictures the completion of the plan of redemption. It
just prior to the new heaven and the new earth. All- parents and
young and old- will be resurrected.
Notice that the "book of life"- depicting salvation-
Revelation presents the final view of the "judgment day" as the present
material heaven and earth are perishing- and the faithful are receiving
their eternal reward at the throne of Christ. The wicked- those who
seen perishing in the lake of fire!
What a marvelous plan! All will have an equal
And finally, notice in Leviticus 23:37-38. After
holy days, it says: "These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall
to be holy convocations...beside the Sabbaths of the Lord." We are,
to keep these besides the Sabbath of the Lord. SUNDAY is the weekly day
of worship of this modern churchianity, but the Sabbath is the day of
Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, and a host of others
that have come directly from paganism, but these seven annual holy days
are the holy days of God! Let us forsake the pagan holidays of this
and observe the true holy days of God.
Colossians 2:16 was written as a warning to the
Colosse to protect them from false teachers- teachers who were subtly
the message Paul taught. Notice what Paul wrote: "Let no MAN therefore
judge you in meat, or in drink [margin- for eating or drinking], or in
[any part or portion connected with the observance] of an holy day, or
the new moon, or of the sabbath days"(Col. 2:16).
The original Greek in verse 16 for "meat, or in
en posei- means "in eating and drinking."
There is no mention of the abolition of God’s Law or
Nothing is done away in these verses. In fact, it is
The very criticism the Colossians were receiving about their observance
of these days proves they WERE keeping them. How could they be
"with regard to" days they were not keeping?
The once-pagan Colossians never kept these holy days
They were heathen prior to conversion. Now that they had learned the
they were keeping holy the days God made holy. And Paul is warning them
not to return to or be influenced by their old pagan ways- the ways of
who hated God’s Law and His festivals.
"Let no man therefore judge you..." (verse 16) in
Paul, "but [rather] the body of Christ" (Col. 2:17, last part).
This verse has troubled many, yet it should not.
"is" in the King James Version is in italics. It does not appear in the
original. The original Greek says only, "...but, the body of Christ."
is the body of Christ? How does Paul use this expression in Colossians?
Turn to chapter one. In verse 18 we find that Christ
the body, THE CHURCH." See also Colossians 2:19.
The true Church of God is the body of Christ. Just
God once dwelled in the earthly body of Jesus Christ so now the Holy
dwells in each member of the Church and together the members constitute
one body, doing the very work Christ instructs them to do. The Church
body today! And Christ is the Head as the husband is the head of the
Paul is declaring in Colossians that no unauthorized
in judgment of a true Christian’s conduct. Man does not determine how
should live. But it is the responsibility of the Church- the body of
determine these matters! The Church is to teach how to observe the
explain the meaning of self-control in eating and drinking, etc.
So these little-understood verses ought to
no man therefore judge you...but [rather let] the body of Christ
it]." Let Christ’s Body judge these Church matters. Greek scholars
the last clause "but [rather] the body of Christ" demands that a verb
added, but have often not seen that the missing verb should be supplied
from the most logical and grammatically parallel clause so as to read
"Let the body of Christ judge [these matters]"!