Dear Brethren and Friends,
This month, we will begin to observe the Fall Holy Days. On September 26th, the Feast of Trumpets will be observed.
All of God’s commanded Holy Days portray significant parts in His great master plan for the salvation of mankind. Yet, the vast majority of people have not even the vaguest idea of their meaning, and only the precious few understand their significance. Rather, under the blinding deception of Satan’s world rule (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4), so called “holidays” such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween have displaced the true sacred assemblies God has commanded—including Sunday worship in place of Sabbath observance. In fact, God utterly rejects worship associated with these false ceremonies and rituals! (Isaiah 1:12-15; Amos 5:21-23).
Do you remember the challenges faced when you first began to observe the weekly Sabbath and then the annual Holy Days? Do you also remember the thrill of learning the true meaning of why God has instituted His holy convocations?
Due to Israel’s disobedience in former times, the Holy Days of God fell by the wayside, and only when a righteous king arose in Judah were these foundational observances re-established. When they were, God greatly blessed the people for their obedience.
During the reign of Hezekiah, the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were once again observed. Note God’s response: “Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 30:12). Josiah also restored observance of some of the Holy Days:
“And the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 35:17-18).
Following their return from Babylonian captivity, the Jews kept the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ezra 6:19-22) and some of the Fall Holy Days (Nehemiah 8). With the completion of the second Temple, Holy Day observances eventually became firmly established among the Jews, even though they added quite a few rituals not commanded in Scripture—leading up to the time of Jesus.
The New Testament records events in which Jesus observed the annual Holy Days, and this often was centered in Jerusalem. John 7:37-38 specifically mentions the last day of the Feast, “the eighth day” (Leviticus 23:36), which is a separate Feast Day from the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, and the theme of what Jesus proclaimed at that time.
Jesus also observed the Sabbath day, “as His custom was” (Luke 4:16). Likewise, the Church of God did not suddenly abandon either God’s commanded holy convocations or the example of Jesus in this regard, even though at times, the Church had apparently forgotten the meaning of some of the annual Holy Days and had neglected to observe them. While the Church has never ceased to exist since its founding, historical records offer very little detailed information about how one generation after another actually served God. We do get a sense, however, of the various eras of the Church in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.
Not until God called Herbert Armstrong in the early part of the past century did all of the Holy Days become widely observed again by members of the Church. That observance grew to such an extent that Feast sites were established in many nations.
Today, the former “singleness of heart” which is so absolutely needed to truly please God—and “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) remains a challenge for all of those called by God.
Still, we in the Church of the Eternal God and our international affiliates strive to faithfully and zealously KEEP the weekly Sabbath and the annual Holy Days. By doing so, we participate in the Work of God given to us at this time. We also grow in knowledge about the future rule of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God and of our part in it!
Always remember—God blesses us for our obedience to Him, and we can look forward to the approaching Holy Days in anticipation of God’s help and inspiration.
Let’s each thankfully consider the tremendous blessing of our being able to keep the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day (as well as the other annual Holy Days and the weekly Sabbath) with knowledge of their meaning—all part of the magnificent plan of God and the promise of our part in His glorious Kingdom!
You might want to review our booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Fall Holy Days,” and if you do not have a copy, we would be happy to send you one free of charge.
In Christ’s Service,