Book: Occult Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which?

A major key to understanding the New Testament is found in the knowledge of the feasts and holy days of God. Far from being abolished— as “Orthodox Christianity” would have us believe—the New Testament reveals deeper and greater meanings for God’s holy days. Without an understanding of these all-important feast days, a person’s comprehension of the New Testament will, in fact, be deficient and incomplete.

In this chapter we will examine how God is using His festivals and holy days to fulfill His plan, purpose and prophecies.

From Matthew to Revelation, it can be clearly established that Christ’s disciples did not observe occult holidays. Rather, Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the Jewish and Gentile converts all observed the commanded feast days of God. True Christians always love God and keep His commandments (Rev. 14:12). In fact, the term “Christian” means a follower of Jesus Christ—one who exhibits the qualities demonstrated and taught by Jesus. A Christian follows Christ regardless of circumstances (Rev. 14:4), and has the testimony and the faith of Christ (Rev. 12:17; 14:12).

The apostle John summed up the conduct and way of life of a true Christian: “If anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked” (I John 2:5-6). And again, “For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His footsteps” (I Pet. 2:21).

Therefore, we are to believe in Jesus Christ and to follow His example— to walk as He walked, for He (as God manifested in the flesh) is the only basis for true Christianity. “For no one is able to lay any other foundation besides that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:11). Not only is He the foundation of our faith, He is also called “the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20 and I Pet. 2:6-7). The entire New Testament is built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. It is through His perfect life, His death for our sins, and His resurrection that we receive salvation. Truly, from Genesis to Revelation, the focus of the entire Bible is Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

Jesus Christ—Our Passover—Died on Passover Day

To grasp the deeper meaning of Passover, we must look to the beginning— as the first prophecy concerning the Messiah is found in Genesis Three. After Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord God Himself—the one Who later became Jesus Christ of the New Testament—prophesied of His future death as God manifested in the flesh. “And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed [Satan and the demons] and her Seed [Jesus Christ]; He [Christ, as Savior] will bruise your [Satan’s] head [destroy his dominion], and you [Satan] shall bruise His [Christ’s] heel [through the crucifixion]” (Gen. 3:15).

However, even before the creation of Adam and Eve, God had made provision for the redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ—as He is “the Lamb [of God, as good as] slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

From the time of the first Passover in Egypt to the time of Jesus Christ, the Passover commemorated the sparing of Israel’s firstborn. The male lamb without blemish sacrificed in the observance of the Old Testament Passover was a type that pointed to Jesus Christ, the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36).

Paul wrote that the Father had set an “appointed time [in which] Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6)—for the sins of the world. What was that “appointed time”? Does this refer to one of the “appointed feasts” of God? The answer is, “Yes!” Paul made this crystal clear when he wrote to the Gentile church in Corinth: “For Christ our Passover [Lamb] was sacrificed for us” (I Cor. 5:7).

As the Gospels narrate, Paul fully understood that Jesus Christ died on the appointed day, the Passover day, at the precise time that God had determined “before the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). The events recorded in the Scriptures concerning Jesus’ last Passover—His betrayal, arrest, trials, beatings, the scourging, the crucifixion, His death and burial—all took place within one 24-hour day reckoned from sunset to sunset. That day was the Passover day in 30 AD, Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar, April 5 on the Julian Roman calendar. By virtue of these historical and spiritual facts, the Passover day is the most important commanded feast of God—because Jesus Christ was crucified and died on that day! Moreover, at least twentyeight specific Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled on this appointed day (Fred R. Coulter, The Day Jesus the Christ Died, pp. 35-43).

As the supreme sacrifice of God the Father, Jesus Christ is indeed our Passover, Who died for us. He took upon Himself the full penalty of our sins to redeem and rescue us from the author of sin, Satan the devil.

Jesus Christ’s Last Passover: The importance of Jesus Christ’s last Passover is demonstrated in the fact that out of a total of eighty-nine chapters in the Gospels, thirty-two chapters (over one-third) are devoted to events just before and after Jesus’ death. On the night of His last Passover, Jesus Christ instituted the New Covenant Christian Passover—a ceremony consisting of:

  • Footwashing (John 13:2-17);
  • Partaking of unleavened bread (Matt. 26:26; Luke 22:19; I Cor. 11:23-24);
  • Partaking of wine (Matt. 26:27-29; Luke 22:18-20; I Cor. 11:25- 29).

Jesus began the New Covenant Christian Passover service by instituting the ordinance of footwashing. In so doing, Jesus “rose from supper and laid aside His garments; and after taking a towel, He secured it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a washing basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel which He had secured…. [And] when He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and had sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me the Teacher and the Lord, and you speak rightly, because I am. Therefore, if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also are duty-bound to wash one another’s feet; for I have given you an example, to show that you also should do exactly as I have done to you. Truly, truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, nor a messenger greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them’ ” (John 13:4-5, 12-17). Thus, through example, Jesus taught His disciples to wash one another’s feet as part of the Christian Passover service.

Jesus then broke unleavened bread—symbolizing His broken body—and instructed His disciples to eat of it. Afterwards, He instructed them to drink of wine, symbolizing His shed blood. The Gospel of Mark reads: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread; and after blessing it, He broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And He took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave it to them; and they all drank of it. And He said to them, ‘This is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many’ ” (Mark 14:22-24). Luke gives this account: “And He took bread; and after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body, which is given for you. This do in the remembrance of Me.’ In like manner also, He took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you’ ” (Luke 22:19-20).

Though somewhat veiled, Jesus had earlier revealed to the Jews the meaning of the New Covenant Christian Passover: “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; the one who comes to Me shall never hunger; and the one who believes in Me shall never thirst at any time…. Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert, but they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is even My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ Because of this, the Jews were arguing with one another, saying, ‘How is He able to give us His flesh to eat?’

“Therefore, Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day; for My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood is dwelling in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate manna, and died. The one who eats this bread shall live forever’ ” (John 6:35, 47-58).

In Psalm 34, David foretold of this very concept when He wrote: “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him” (verse 8). What David wrote is very similar to what Jesus said—that is, “trusting in the Lord” is essentially the same as “living by” the Lord. Just as David did not mean that one was to literally taste and eat the Lord, Jesus likewise did not mean that a person was to eat His literal flesh and drink His literal blood—both somehow supposedly transubstantiated in bread and wine taken at the command of a priest. The bread and wine are symbolic of His flesh and blood. As David wrote, the literal action of “trusting” in the Lord was symbolized by the idea of “tasting” the Lord. In a similar manner, actively living by Jesus Christ is symbolized by our eating of the bread and drinking of the wine of the Christian Passover—the symbolic flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.

As an annual event, the New Covenant Christian Passover is to be observed on the night of Nisan 14. The practice of those who partake of “communion,” “the Lord’s Supper,” or the “Eucharist” is to observe such occasions several times a month or year. They are not, however, partaking of the true New Covenant Christian Passover as Jesus commanded His disciples. Rather, they are partaking of a Christianized, apostate, pagan counterfeit. (See Appendix J, “The Eucharist—Sacrifice of the Mass,” p. 328.)

Paul Commanded Gentile Converts to Keep the Passover: The New Testament teaches that the Passover was not for the Jews only. After Jesus was resurrected, He commanded His apostles: “ ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. And lo, I am with you always, even until the completion of the age’ ” (Matt. 28:18-20). Teaching disciples in all nations to observe the New Covenant Christian Passover is clearly part of “all things” commanded by Jesus. It is clearly evident that the observance of the Passover was not limited to Jews only.

In obedience to Jesus’ command—some twenty-six years after His death and resurrection—the apostle Paul instructed Gentile converts to keep the Christian Passover as a yearly reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He emphatically declared that he had received his instructions concerning Passover directly from the Lord. In the strongest terms possible He made it clear that when they kept the Passover, they were not to eat a supper with it, nor were they to call it the “Lord’s Supper” (which they had done). “Therefore, when you assemble together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating, everyone takes his own supper first; now on the one hand, someone goes hungry; but on the other hand, another becomes drunken. WHAT! Don’t you have houses for eating and drinking? Or do you despise the church of God, and put to shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you!… But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that there will be no cause for judgment when you assemble together” (I Cor. 11:20-22, 34).

Paul again gave them the Lord’s instructions on when and how to properly partake of the bread and wine in renewing the New Covenant each year. “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed [the Passover night, Nisan 14] took bread; and after giving thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body, which is being broken for you. This do in the remembrance of Me.’ In like manner, He also took the cup after He had supped, saying, ‘This is the cup of the New Covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in the remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you solemnly proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes. For this reason, if anyone shall eat this bread or shall drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, he shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (I Cor. 11:23-27).

In these verses we find four factors that clearly limit the partaking of the Passover to once each year, on Nisan 14. They are: 1) “in the night in which He was betrayed,” limits the observance to the Passover night only; 2) “in the remembrance of Me”—not “a remembrance” but, as the Greek reads, “the remembrance”—revealing that Passover is a specific, yearly memorial; 3) the phrase “as often as” cannot be taken to mean “as often as one desires” to partake of the bread and wine (the practice of Orthodox Christendom—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly). Rather, this phrase means that as often as they partook of the Passover—year by year—they would remember and proclaim the Lord’s death until He would come. (Remember, at this time the Church was expecting Christ’s second coming to take place within a few years.) 4) The Greek syntax, not translatable into English, limits Passover to an annual observance (Fred R. Coulter, The Christian Passover, pp. 247-265).

[Editor’s note: A complete, detailed study of the Old Testament and New Testament Passover is contained in the 500-page book, The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter. It is the most comprehensive book ever written on this vital biblical subject. The book may be ordered from York Publishing Company (see address in front of book) or from] At midnight on the original Passover in Egypt, God passed over the blood-marked houses of the children of Israel and spared their firstborn. At midnight on Jesus’ last Passover, God the Father did not pass over His Beloved Son—the firstborn of the virgin Mary. He did not spare His only begotten Son; rather, He delivered Jesus into the hands of His enemies—betrayed by the kiss of a friend. At the time of His arrest, no one knew (except God the Father and Jesus Christ) that His passion, beating, scourging, crucifixion and death as the true Passover Lamb of God marked the beginning of the plan of salvation for the world.

In the most solemn way possible, God used the Passover day itself for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was God the Father’s appointed day that He had specifically set aside to fulfill His will and the promise of a Savior—one Who would redeem us from our sins. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; but are being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; Whom God has openly manifested to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, in respect to the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; yes, to publicly declare His righteousness in the present time, that He might be just, and the one Who justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus” (Rom. 3:23-26). It is through Jesus Christ that we may receive eternal life, as the apostle John wrote: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Without the shedding of Jesus’ blood, His death and His resurrection from the dead, there would be no forgiveness of sins or eternal salvation (I Cor. 15). Therefore, the Passover day—the remembrance of His death for our sins—is the most important feast of God for New Testament Christians. Those who have the Spirit of God and partake of the New Covenant Christian Passover on Nisan 14 each year are actually renewing their baptismal covenant of eternal life in Jesus Christ. This is accomplished through 1) footwashing—walking in God’s way of service through Jesus Christ 2) partaking of the broken, unleavened bread—symbolizing Jesus’ broken body for our healing and 3) partaking of the wine—symbolizing His shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins. As Jesus said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day” (John 6:53-54).

The Gospels are the record of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as God manifested in the flesh, the Savior of the world. Jesus’ death by crucifixion on the Passover day is the awesome fulfillment of the meaning of Passover—and is central to the gospel message and the convergence and fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies in the Old and New Testaments. This is why true Christians are duty-bound by the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to observe the New Covenant Christian Passover on the night of Nisan 14—once a year and once a year only. Any other practice is disobedience against the Word of God and makes a self-righteous mockery of the greatest act of love by God the Father and Jesus Christ—the sacrifice of our Savior. All other practices have been derived, to one degree or another, from the occult practices of Babylon and Egypt and are not of God.

Jesus Was Placed in the Tomb as the Passover Day Was Ending: Jesus died on the cross at the ninth hour of the day, approximately 3 PM, on Nisan 14, after one of the Roman soldiers thrust a spear into His side (Matt. 27:46-51; Mark 15:34-38). The apostle John, an eyewitness to all the events of that Passover day, wrote this account of Jesus’ death: “And so, when Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing His head, He yielded up His spirit. The Jews therefore, so that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, because it was a preparation day (for that Sabbath was a high day [the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a holy day that began at sunset]), requested of Pilate that their legs might be broken and the bodies be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first one, and the legs of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers had pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water had come out. And he who saw this has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that what he says is true, so that you may believe. For these things took place so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of Him shall be broken.’ And again another scripture says, ‘They shall look upon Him Whom they pierced’ ” (John 19:30-37).

Shortly afterward, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea removed Jesus’ body from the cross and wrapped it with wide strips of linen cloth (with spices) according to the Jewish burial custom of the time. They placed His body in the garden tomb just as the sun was setting, ending Nisan 14 and beginning Nisan 15 (verses 38-42).

Through the Passover, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham made when He pledged His own death in the covenant promise of Genesis 15:17. Christ also fulfilled His own words to His disciples concerning His death (Matt. 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; also see The Day Jesus the Christ Died, pp. 2-43). Thus, Jesus, as God manifested in the flesh, began His three days and nights in the tomb, which was the only sign that He gave to the Jews and to the world that He was the true Messiah (Matt. 12:39-40).

The New Testament Meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread

God commanded the children of Israel to remove all leaven from their houses prior to the Passover, which is also a separate day of eating unleavened bread (Ex. 12:8). They were to have put all leaven out of their houses before the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread began. The only bread they were to eat for the entire feast was unleavened bread (verses 15-20; 13:6-7; Lev. 23:6, etc.).

In the New Testament, we find that Paul taught the Gentiles to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the same way that God had commanded the children of Israel. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul defined leaven as a symbol of sin and sinful human nature—a nature that is “puffed up” with vanity and pride. The brethren in Corinth had been tolerating a gross sin of immorality—in which a man was having sexual relations with his stepmother. Paul wrote: “Your glorying [in this] is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (I Cor. 5:6.) Instead of abhorring such conduct, they were condoning it—even glorying over it. Paul had to correct them severely, because this individual’s sin had begun to leaven the whole congregation with a sinful attitude, which would in turn lead to sinful conduct. He then commanded them to remove the individual from the congregation, just as they had removed leaven from their houses.

Paul had to remind them that just as they had unleavened their homes in preparation for keeping the feast, they were to also “unleaven” their spiritual lives from sin through Jesus Christ, our Passover. “Therefore, purge out the old leaven [of sin], so that you may become a new lump [sinless in Christ], even as you are unleavened [in your homes]. For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For this reason, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (verses 7-8).

Paul’s statement, “Let us keep the feast,” is quite emphatic—and should quiet those who falsely teach that Paul was busy abolishing God’s feasts. Clearly, this is a direct command to New Testament Gentile converts to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread! Paul backs up his authority by stating: “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (I Cor. 14:37). This is what Paul taught in all the churches (I Cor. 7:17).

Paul again emphasized the spiritual meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when he admonished the Colossians to forsake their sinful ways and nature and replace them with the character of Christ and His attributes of love and righteousness (Col. 3:1-17).

As Abraham’s spiritual seed, baptized Christians are to put on Jesus Christ—to become like Him (Gal. 3:26-29). “Christ in you, [is] the hope of glory” for Christians (Col. 1:27). By observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Christians learn that through the power of the Holy Spirit they are to overcome sin, live by every Word of God, develop the character of Christ, walk in faith, believe in hope and live in the love of God.

The Night to Be Much Observed: This night, the night of Nisan 15, begins the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. The children of Israel were commanded to observe the Night to Be Much Observed in commemoration of their Exodus from Egypt, and their deliverance from the bondage of slavery (Ex. 12:40-42). It was also on the same night—the “self same day” of Nisan 15—430 years before when the Lord God promised in His covenant with Abraham to deliver his descendants from their slavery (Gen. 15:12-18).

For true Christians, the Night to be Much Observed has intense spiritual meaning. That very night Jesus Christ’s dead body was lying in the tomb—beginning His three days and nights “in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40). This night was a fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to Abraham— in which God pledged to die in order to fulfill His spiritual contract. Jesus’ death was confirmed when his dead body was placed in the tomb as the Passover day was ending at sunset and the Night to Be Much Observed was beginning. Just as the children of Israel were to rejoice in that God had delivered them and released them from their Egyptian bondage, true Christians, the spiritual seed of Abraham, are to rejoice on this night because it is the beginning of their deliverance from the bondage of sin and their exodus from spiritual Egypt (Coulter, The Christian Passover, pp. 266-277).

“Ex” means “out” and “odus” means “way.” Hence, the word “exodus” means, “the way out.” The Exodus was Israel’s “way out” of Egypt (symbolic of sin and bondage to sin). Likewise, for mankind the only “exodus” out of the bondage of sin is through Jesus Christ. At His Passover Jesus said, “I am the way”—Greek, the “way out,” the exodus from sin. Our Christian walk with Jesus Christ begins after we have our sins forgiven through His shed blood as pictured by the Passover. We then begin our journey out of sin and a destructive way of life through love, faithful devotion and obedience to Jesus Christ—walking in the love and grace of God, living by every Word of God and keeping His commandments, as pictured by the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead: After being in the tomb exactly three days and three nights, Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Father as the regular weekly Sabbath, Nisan 17, was ending at sunset during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Coulter, The Day Jesus the Christ Died, pp. 71-81). He was not resurrected on a Sunday morning—not on Orthodox Christendom’s so-called Easter Sunday. He was resurrected at the close of the weekly Sabbath at sunset, just before the first day of the week began.

In the early morning on the first day of the week, when Mary Magdalene and others came to the tomb, an angel specifically told them that Jesus had already risen, that He was not there (Mark 16:2-7; Luke 24:1-6; John 20:1 -10). A literal translation for “the first day of the week” is “the first of the weeks”—i.e., the first day of the seven week count to Pentecost. The Greek indicates that this “first day of the week” was the Wave Sheaf offering day.

The Wave Sheaf Offering Day: The offering of the first of the firstfruits is highly significant to God. Israel was instructed: “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God ” (Ex. 23:19). On this day, the first day of the week and the first day of the fifty-day count to Pentecost, the High Priest was to take a special, premier sheaf of the first of the firstfruits of the barley/wheat harvest and elevate or wave it before the Lord to be accepted by Him (Lev. 23:9-11). This incomparable ritual was symbolic of Jesus Christ’s ascension to the throne of God the Father after He was resurrected from the dead—to be accepted as the first of the firstfruits of God.

The apostle John verified Jesus’ ascension on this day: “But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping; and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white who were sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’

“And after saying these things, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Thinking that He was the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him off, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ Turning around, she said to Him, ‘Rabboni;’ that is to say, ‘Teacher.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brethren and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’ ” (John 20:11-17).

Later that same day at evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples and showed them His wounds from the crucifixion: “Afterwards, as evening was drawing near that day, the first day of the weeks, and the doors were shut where the disciples had assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be to you.’ And after saying this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced because they had seen the Lord” (John 20:19-20).

Paul confirmed that Jesus Christ was the “firstfruit” of the resurrection of the dead, the first of the spiritual harvest of God. At His return, at the time of the first resurrection, all those who are Christ’s will be resurrected to eternal life: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruit; then, those who are Christ’s at His coming” (I Cor. 15:20-23). (For more detail about the Wave Sheaf Offering Day, see The Day Jesus the Christ Died, pp. 83-93.)

Additional References to the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Gospels: The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread are two distinct feasts that fall on separate, yet consecutive, days—the 14th and the 15th. The two feasts have different, but related, meanings. Luke, however, records that it had become a common practice to refer to the entire eight-day festival season as “Passover.” “Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called Passover, was approaching” (Luke 22:1).

With this in mind we can better understand certain “difficult” references to the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Gospel of John. “Now the Passover of the Jews was near…. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed on His name, as they observed the miracles that He was doing” (John 2:13, 23). “Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near” (John 6:4). As the time of Jesus’ last Passover approached, John wrote: “Now the Passover of the Jews was near” (John 11:55); “Six days before the Passover” (12:1); “Now before the feast of the Passover” (13:1).

In these and other passages John points to the importance of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. Few realize, however, that the Gospel of John is structured on the framework of the feasts and holy days of God. This makes John’s Gospel not only a record of Jesus’ teachings, but a historical record as well.

  • The harvest of Pentecost—John 4:35
  • Feast of Trumpets—John 5:1
  • Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day—John 7

Throughout the Gospels, the feasts and holy days of God provide the framework for the chronology of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, however, there are “zero” written testimonies indicating that the true apostolic Church ever sanctioned the holidays now observed by Orthodox Christendom.

Other References to the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the New Testament: The book of Acts is a microcosm of the Church of God and the ministry of the apostle Paul from about 30 AD to 67 AD. When examined carefully, it becomes apparent that Luke chronicled events relative to the feasts and holy days. This means that the apostles were using the sacred, calculated Hebrew calendar to record the times of these events, rather than the Roman calendar. Writing about Peter’s imprisonment in 44 AD, Luke records: “Now about that time, Herod the king stretched forth his hands to persecute some of those of the church; and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to take Peter also. (Now those were the days of unleavened bread.) And after arresting him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four sets of four soldiers to guard him with the intent of bringing him out to the people after the Passover season” (Acts 12:1-4).

In a deceitful attempt to give the appearance that the apostolic Church observed Easter, the translators of the King James Version incorrectly translated the Greek word for Passover pascha) in Acts 12:4 as “Easter.” In all other places they correctly translated pascha as “Passover.” However, as we have seen, “Passover” was also used in reference to the entire eight days of Passover and Unleavened Bread, which should be properly translated as “Passover season”—and never “Easter.”

The Seventh Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread: Undoubtedly, Jesus Christ, the apostles and the early New Testament Church observed all seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Although we do not find a specific reference to the seventh day of the feast, Luke’s account of Paul’s journeys in 58 AD demonstrates that he kept the full seven-day feast with Gentiles in northern Greece. “But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread; and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days” (Acts 20:6). This clearly indicates that Paul and his party observed the entire feast, including the seventh day.

In the account of the Exodus, God rescued the children of Israel from Pharaoh and his armies on the seventh day of the feast by bringing them safely through the Red Sea on dry ground. When the Egyptians followed them into the sea, God released the waters, destroying Pharaoh and his army.

As a nation steeped in the satanic occult worship of the sun and other false gods, Egypt is depicted in Scripture as a symbol of sin. Pharaoh was a type of Satan and his army symbolized evil demonic spirits. Just as Pharaoh and his armies pursued the children of Israel after God had rescued them from Egypt, so Satan and his demons can (and do) bring spiritual attacks upon converted Christians, God’s spiritual children, attempting to enslave them again in the bondage of sin.

Thus we can see that, in the New Testament, the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures how God, through Jesus Christ, has rescued us from the power of Satan. “Being strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us qualified for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light; Who has personally rescued us from the power of darkness and has transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love; in Whom we have redemption through His own blood, even the remission of sins” (Col. 1:11-14).

When Jesus called Saul to become Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, He told him why he was chosen: “Now arise, and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you as a minister and a witness both of what you have seen and what I shall reveal to you. I am personally selecting you from among the people and the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, so that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified through faith in Me’ ” (Acts 26:16-18).

As the “god of this world,” Satan blinds the minds of those he has deceived (II Cor. 4:4). He is also called the “prince of the power of the air,” who leads those of this world into living lives of sin and disobedience: “Now you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world” (Eph. 2:1-3).

Paul went on to instruct them on how to fight their spiritual battles against Satan the devil and to overcome him through the power of God and the blood of Jesus Christ: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the might of His strength. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in high places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having worked out all things, to stand.

“Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and wearing the breastplate of righteousness, and having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Besides all these, take up the shield of the faith, with which you will have the power to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one; and put on the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying at all times with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:10-18).

Christians are to overcome Satan and resist his attacks through the blood of the Lamb, even if it costs them their physical lives: “And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. And I heard a great voice in heaven say, ‘Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ because the accuser of our brethren has been cast down, who accuses them day and night before our God. But they overcame him through the blood of the Lamb, and through the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death’ ” (Rev. 12:9-11).

Jesus prayed to the Father that His people would be delivered from “the evil one”—Satan (John 17:15). He also told us we are to pray and entreat God daily that He would rescue us from the evil one (Matt. 6:13). There are many passages in the New Testament that show how God rescues us from sin and Satan. This ongoing spiritual battle—of overcoming sin, Satan and the world—reflects the special meaning of the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the New Testament.

Pentecost in the New Testament

Typically, God uses His feasts and holy days as benchmarks as He fulfills His will and purpose—often involving powerful historical events as well as spiritual events. For example, after God led the children of Israel to Mount Sinai, He personally spoke the Ten Commandments to them from the top of the mount in an awesome display of power and glory on the day of Pentecost (Ex. 20:1-17). As the New Testament shows, God again used the day of Pentecost in a wondrous demonstration of the power of His Holy Spirit—as He initially granted His Spirit to His Church.

In 30 AD, after Jesus was seen by His apostles and disciples for forty days, He instructed them to go to Jerusalem and wait until they had received the power of the Holy Spirit. “And while they were assembled with Him, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to ‘await the promise of the Father, which,’ He said, ‘you have heard of Me. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit after not many days…. But you yourselves shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth’ ” (Acts 1:4-5, 8). Jesus then ascended into heaven and disappeared out of sight.

Ten days later, when the apostles and disciples were assembled together in a meeting room on the temple grounds to observe the day of Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit upon them in a unique display of His spiritual power. “And when the day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day, was being fulfilled, they were all with one accord in the same place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a powerful wind, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit; and they began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the words to proclaim.

“Now there were many Jews who were sojourning in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when word of this went out, the multitude came together and were confounded, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were all amazed, and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Behold, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that we hear each one in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and those who inhabit Mesopotamia, and Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, both Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya which are near Cyrene, and the Romans who are sojourning here, both Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians; we hear them speaking in our own languages the great things of God.’ And they were all amazed and greatly perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ ” (Acts 2:1-12).

By the power of His Holy Spirit, God miraculously caused the apostles to speak simultaneously in a multitude of languages. Thousands of Jews and proselytes from all over the world heard the apostles powerfully preach the message of God about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ in their own languages.

Because God had placed His name and presence in the Temple in Jerusalem, He likewise began the Church there. This was the reason He sent the Holy Spirit in the way that He did on this particular holy day. Had it been done in any other location, no one would have believed that this was an act of God. However, the manner in which God poured out His Spirit— in the presence of multiple thousands of Jews assembled at the temple observing Pentecost—left no doubt that this was a powerful act of God. It was clearly His personal, divine intervention—not the work of men. This amazing display of God’s power also provided the spiritual seal of authority confirming the apostles as His called and chosen witnesses (Luke 24:43-49).

Silencing the few detractors, Peter stood up to preach a dynamic message about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the thousands gathered at the temple. After convicting them in conscience, he called on them to repent to God for their sins which killed Christ: “ ‘Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with full assurance that God has made this same Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Now after hearing this, they were cut to the heart; and they said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 2:36-38). As a result, three thousand were baptized and added to the Church on that momentous day of Pentecost in 30 AD—the day the true Church of God began.

Few Are Chosen Because Few Repent: With the beginning of the Church on Pentecost, God revealed that He was selecting only those few who repent and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Continuing in Acts Two: “ ‘For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God may call.’ And with many other words he earnestly testified and exhorted, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who joyfully received his message were baptized; and about three thousand souls were added that day. And they steadfastly continued in the teachings of the apostles and in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and in prayers” (verses 39-42). While there were thousands of Jews at the temple on Pentecost, only 3,000 repented and were baptized because they were the only ones who answered God’s call. God gave His Holy Spirit only to those individuals—not to the other thousands who did not repent. This confirms the truth that God only gives the Holy Spirit to the few who answer His call, repent of their sins and are baptized. From the time of Jesus’ ministry until His second coming, God the Father and Jesus Christ are choosing only the ones who answer God’s call. As Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen”— because few repent (Matt. 22:14, Luke 13:1-5).

Because they refuse to repent, the vast majority have not been chosen by God at this time. Instead of believing God, people tend to believe in traditional religions—and many indeed claim that they are “Christian” because they “preach Christ’s name.” Typically, however, they reject God’s commands concerning the weekly Sabbath and holy days.

But Jesus emphasized that professing His name is not enough: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but the one who is doing the will of My Father, Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day [of judgment], ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy through Your name? And did we not cast out demons through Your name? And did we not perform many works of power through Your name?’ And then I will confess to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who work lawlessness’ ” (Matt. 7:21-23).

Without genuine belief in the teachings of God the Father and Jesus Christ, such people become blinded and deceived: “And His disciples came to Him and asked, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ And He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has understanding, to him more shall be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have understanding, even what he has shall be taken away from him. For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, “In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way perceive; for the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and should hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear’ ” (Matt. 13:10-16). (As we will see later, because God has blinded them at this time, their opportunity for salvation will come after the Millennium is over. We will thoroughly cover this vital truth when we come to the meaning of the Last Great Day.)

Indeed, at this present time very few are called and chosen, because very few actually believe God or Jesus Christ—or believe Their Word, the Bible. Few are willing to repent, be baptized, obey God and strive to live by every Word of God (Matt. 4:4; John 14:20-24; Acts 4:10-12, 19-20; 5:29-32).

It Is God the Father and Jesus Christ Who Do the Choosing: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly things with Christ; according as He has personally chosen us for Himself” (Eph. 1:3-4). Jesus told His disciples: “You yourselves did not choose Me, but I have personally chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; so that whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He may give you” (John 15:16). This is why Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6) and “No one can come to Me unless the Father, Who sent Me, draws him” (John 6:44). In these two verses Jesus clearly shows that this special calling is a joint act on the part of God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is simply not a matter of human determination or effort— but of God’s choosing.

The Meaning of Pentecost: God’s unique use of the day of Pentecost in the past has magnified and added to its meaning. Today, when we observe Pentecost, we may recall the lessons of this feast in both the Old and New Testaments:

1) God gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel (Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:7-21).

2) Israel celebrated the completed wheat and barley harvest of the firstfruits (Ex. 23:16).

3) God sent the Holy Spirit to begin His Church.

4) After our repentance and conversion, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, God begins to write His laws and commandments in our hearts and minds (Heb. 10:16).

5) The apostles’ miraculous preaching in many languages fulfilled, in part, Christ’s command that the Gospel be preached in all the world, to all nations (Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:44-47).

6) By sending the Holy Spirit, God signaled that He was going to reject and ultimately destroy the temple and its system of worship, as prophesied (Isa. 66:1-5; Matt. 22:1-7; Acts 7:44-50).

7) All who desire to worship God the Father could now do so in spirit and in truth—from any location, not just at the Temple in Jerusalem (John 4:20-24; Heb. 10:16-22).

There is also a prophetic aspect to the Feast of Pentecost, in which God will again use this feast to fulfill His will and purpose. Christians are called spiritual “firstfruits” (James 1:18), and the harvest of the spiritual firstfruits is at the end of this age (Matt. 13:18-43; Rev. 14:14-16). This spiritual harvest, as pictured by Pentecost, will be a resurrection to eternal life for all who are called and chosen. This is the first resurrection at Jesus’ coming (I Cor. 15:20-23; Rev. 20:6).

Visualize the blowing of a trumpet on the day of Pentecost. The children of Israel were assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments spoken by God: “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning [Pentecost] that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain. And the sound of the trumpet was exceedingly loud so that all the people in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God. And they stood at the base of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was smoking, all of it because the LORD came down upon it in fire. And the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the sound of the trumpet sounded long, and became very strong, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice” (Ex. 19:16-19).

In Numbers 10:10, we read that the trumpet was to be blown on each holy day, including the Feast of Pentecost. This served to remind the children of Israel of the Pentecost at Sinai on which they received the Ten Commandments.

The apostle Paul draws a special comparison between the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai and the assembling of the resurrected saints as they meet Jesus Christ. He emphasizes how much greater this event will be when compared to what the children of Israel had experienced: “For you [the Church] have not come to the mount [Sinai] that could be touched and that burned with fire, nor to gloominess, and fearful darkness, and the whirlwind; and to the sound of the trumpet, and to the voice of the words, which those who heard begged that the word not be spoken directly to them. (For they could not endure what was being commanded: ‘And if even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned, or shot through with an arrow’; and so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I am greatly afraid and trembling.’)

“But you [the Church] have come to [spiritual] Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem; and to an innumerable company of angels; to the joyous festival gathering [Pentecost resurrection]; and to the church of the firstborn [the firstfruits of God], registered in the book of life in heaven; and to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of the just who have been perfected; and to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant; and to sprinkling of the blood of ratification, proclaiming superior things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:18-24).

The prophetic significance of the trumpet blown on Pentecost is that it pictures the “last trumpet”—blown at the time of the resurrection of the saints. Jesus Himself foretold this: “But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:29-31).

The apostle Paul also declared that the first resurrection to eternal life would occur at the last trump: “And as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality. Now when this corruptible shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (I Cor. 15:49-54).

In Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, he wrote that the first resurrection takes place at the last trumpet: “But I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, that you be not grieved, even as others, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in exactly the same way also, those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall in no wise precede those who have fallen asleep because the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds for the meeting with the Lord in the air; and so shall we always be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:13-17).

The book of Revelation confirms that the last trump is the seventh trumpet—when the first resurrection takes place: “Then the seventh angel sounded his trumpet; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign into the ages of eternity.’ And the twenty-four elders, who sit before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; for You have taken to Yourself Your great power, and have reigned. For the nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time for the dead to be judged, and to give reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to all those who fear Your name, the small and the great; and to destroy those who destroy the earth’ ” (Rev. 11:15-18).

When the first resurrection takes place, angels will carry the saints to a gigantic sea of glass in the clouds (conceivably over Jerusalem) to meet Christ. “And I saw a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and awesome are Your works, Lord God Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the saints. Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You only are holy; and all the nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been revealed’ ” (Rev. 15:2-4).

Several things will take place on this sea of glass before Christ and the saints return to the earth to establish the Kingdom of God on earth:

1) The saints will receive their new names (Rev. 2:17).

2) The saints are given their rewards (I Cor. 3:8; Rev. 11:18; 22:12; II John 8).

3) The saints will receive their assignments as kings or priests (Rev. 20:6).

4) The marriage of the Lamb and His bride will take place (Rev. 19:6-8).

5) The marriage supper will take place (Rev. 19:9; Matt. 22:1-13).

6) The saints will witness the seven last plagues poured out—the vengeance of God (Rev. 15:5-8; 16:1-21; Psa. 149:4-9). The seventh plague will be the Battle of Armageddon.

7) They will be gathered into God’s army and will fight with Christ as they return to the earth with Jesus to establish the Kingdom and government of God on the earth (Rev. 19:11-21; Zech. 14:1-9).

It will take time for all these things to transpire, undoubtedly extending from the day of Pentecost unto the Feast of Trumpets, about four months, thus fulfilling the events of Revelation Chapters 15-16 and 18-19.

Thus, the Word of God reveals that just as God began the Church on Pentecost by sending the Holy Spirit, He will complete the harvest of His Church—the spiritual firstfruits—on Pentecost. On that day God will resurrect from the dead all the righteous saints—from Abel, the first martyr, to the two witnesses, the final martyrs. In the resurrection they will all be changed in a twinkling of an eye and given glorious, immortal bodies as the spiritual sons and daughters of God the Father. “[W]e are waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who will transform our vile bodies, that they may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the inner working of His own power, whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21). As glorified spirit beings, they will shine as the stars of heaven (Dan. 12:1-3; Matt. 13:43).

They will share the same eternal existence and glory as Jesus Christ: “The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. Now if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him” (Rom. 8:16-17). This is why Paul calls the first resurrection a superior resurrection (Heb. 11:35-40). Finally, John writes: “Behold! What glorious love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God…. [And] we know that when He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him exactly as He is” (I John 3:1-2).

The book of Revelation proclaims: “Blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power” (Rev. 20:6). As pictured by the Feast of Pentecost, Christians look forward to receiving eternal life and glory in the first resurrection (Rom. 8:14-18; I John 3:1-3).

Other References to Pentecost: There are two other references showing that Paul kept the Feast of Pentecost. As we have clearly seen, Paul continually taught the Gentile converts to keep the feasts and holy days of God, which included the Feast of Pentecost.

  • Paul wrote to the Corinthians from Ephesus of his intentions to visit and stay with them. However, he let them know that he would remain in Ephesus until Pentecost. This means that he and all the brethren in Ephesus kept the Feast of Pentecost. “But I will come to you after I pass through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia. It may be that I shall stay with you, or that I may even winter there, so that you may send me forth on my journey wherever I may go. For at this time I will not stop to see you, but I hope at some future time to stay with you, if the Lord permits. But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has been opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (I Cor. 16:5-9).
  • On another occasion, Paul was journeying to Jerusalem and intended to keep Pentecost there: “For Paul had decided to sail by Ephesus, because he did not want to spend time in Asia; for he hastened in order to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, if possible” (Acts 20:16).
  • In the Gospel of John, Jesus points out the ripening harvest to His disciples, which apparently is a direct reference to Pentecost: “Do not say that there are yet four months, and then the harvest comes. I say to you, look around. Lift up your eyes and see the fields, for they are already white to harvest” (John 4:35). From Pentecost until the fall harvest season and the fall festivals and holy days is four months—so Christ must have been referring to the time of Pentecost. As we have seen, 3,000 new converts were added to the Church on Pentecost in 30 AD.

In this chapter, we have taken a broad overview of the spring feasts and holy days of God in the New Testament—where we find overwhelming evidence that the apostolic New Testament Church kept and revered these days. The “God-breathed” beautiful writings of the apostles truly expand the scope and spiritual significance of God’s feasts and holy days. Far from being abolished by Jesus Christ and His true apostles, these days continue to foreshadow and crystallize God’s purpose and plan for us all.

In the next chapter, we will learn how the fall feasts and holy days continue to reveal God’s prophetic master plan, outlining His loving purpose for all of humanity.