Book: The Appointed Times of Jesus the Messiah
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When it comes to the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ, the prophet Amos instructs us that God will do nothing except He first reveal His plans through His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). Of all the prophets of old, Moses was the most renowned. As this book thoroughly authenticates, God used Moses to reveal—albeit in a veiled form—His Master Plan for human salvation in a series of “appointed times.”

God’s “appointed times” take the unique form of annual festivals based, for the most part, on the agricultural cycle. To scholars and religionists, these festivals (which include the weekly Sabbath and the annual high days or holy days) look like nothing more than rituals tied to the harvest seasons— unimportant relics of ancient peoples, obscured by time, and having no significance to “New Testament” Christians. But they could not be more mistaken!

Israel’s “harvest festivals” were carefully crafted by God to teach powerful lessons and to provide awesome spiritual realities. The apostle Paul wrote that Israel served as an archetype for the Church, stating that certain things “happened to them as examples,” which were “written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages are coming” (I Cor. 10:11). The word “examples” is translated from the Greek tupos, from which we get the English word type. Thus, numerous benchmarks in the history of Israel would serve as prototypes for the Church (which is spiritual Israel), and foremost among them are the annual festivals and holy days God gave to that nation. These festivals were also faithfully observed by both Jews and Gentiles of the apostolic New Testament Church.

What more appropriate parallel could be found—using the physical, agrarian harvest cycle to portray the spiritual harvesting of mankind into the Kingdom of God (Matt. 13). Properly understood, these “appointed” festivals are arranged in three seasons (Ex. 23:14; Deut. 16:16), and encompass seven annual holy days. Briefly, by way of review, the spring festival season includes Passover and the seven days of Unleavened Bread (of which the first and last days are high days); the late spring festival is the Feast of Firstfruits, more widely known as Pentecost (a single high day). The fall festival season begins with the Day of Trumpets, a high day, followed nine days later by the Day of Atonement, also a high day. Later, on the 15th day of the month, comes the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, of which the first day is a high day. That leaves one final high day—the Last Great Day— which comes as an “eighth day” after Tabernacles ends. (For a complete, detailed study on the meaning of God’s annual festivals, please request our book God’s Plan for Mankind Revealed by His Sabbath and Holy Days. This first-of-its-kind, 598-page work provides a comprehensive look at God’s amazing Master Plan for the human family, precisely as it is outlined by the biblical seventh-day Sabbath and annual holy days. Each chapter is a transcript of an in-depth sermon or Bible study revealing God’s purpose from Genesis to Revelation. All the sermons are included on an accompanying set of four CDs.)

God’s festivals and high days are actually “appointed times”—that is, they are to be observed 1) in their appropriate season, and 2) they are to be kept on their duly appointed days. For example, in Exodus 13:10 we are instructed to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread “in its season” or “appointed time” (the Hebrew term used is moed, literally meaning an “appointed time”). In Leviticus 23, where all of God’s holy days are listed together, they are called “the appointed feasts [moadim, plural—appointed times] of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim in their appointed seasons [moadim]” (verses 2, 4). In a sense, God’s “appointed times” are appointments with Him—and must be kept!

The focal point of this book has been Jesus, the Messiah of God. Indeed, at the heart and core of God’s plan of salvation is the Christ, Who is the central figure in each of these “appointed festivals.” As this book has demonstrated, Jesus’ entire life, ministry, as well as His future role in the age to come, are ordered according to these same “appointed times.” As messianic prophecies have been fulfilled across the centuries, they have done so in a highly organized manner—according to God’s specific “appointed times” in conjunction with the 70-week prophecy in Daniel nine. Thus, God’s holy days weave a kind of framework or substructure upon which all prophecy is ordered, arranged and fulfilled.

The first “appointed time” of Jesus the Messiah relates to His birth as the Savior of mankind. As Paul wrote, “when the [appointed] time for the fulfillment [of the promise to Abraham of a “Seed” (Gal. 3:16)] came, God sent forth His own Son, born of a woman…” (Gal. 4:4). Thus, Jesus’ birth occurred according to a carefully planned timetable. Using both Scripture and secular history, we have shown that Jesus’ birth corresponded to “the appointed time” of the fall festival season—specifically the Day of Trumpets. Trumpets is also widely acknowledged for its association with the return of Christ; thus, it is only fitting that God would choose the same holy day to have His Son enter the world the first time!

There has been great debate as to exactly when Jesus began His ministry— as well as how long it lasted. The answer, again, is made clear by carefully examining the “appointed times” and the 70-week prophecy as they relate to the Messiah. As brought out in Chapter Two, our historical and biblical analysis of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy places the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the fall of 26 AD—and specifically at the beginning of a Jubilee year, the 50th year in the continuous land Sabbath cycle (Lev. 25:1- 13). The fact that Jubilee years are announced and begin on the high day of Atonement means that Jesus began His ministry with the 40-day temptation by Satan the devil on “the appointed time” of Atonement.

However, Jesus did not publicly announce the fact that He was the “Anointed One” until the following Pentecost—the 50th day, a mini-jubilee. One of the focal points of Jesus’ ministry was the building of His Church (Matt. 16:18)—those who would become the firstfruits of God’s salvation. Since “the appointed time” of Pentecost points to the resurrection of the saints—those who make up the true Church—Pentecost was the most appropriate high day on which to emphasize the fact that Jesus was indeed the Messiah of God, the one Who would bring salvation to mankind, beginning with the firstfruits.

The next “appointed time” of the Messiah relates to His sacrificial death for mankind. Paul tells us that “at the appointed time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). Thus, Jesus’ death also occurred according to a carefully planned timetable. In fact, long before the creation of the world, this momentous event had been planned: A member of the very God Family would divest Himself of His glory and manifest Himself as a human being; then, at “the appointed time,” He would give Himself in death—lay down His life as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of man. Indeed, Jesus was as good as “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). In time, Jesus would come and pay with His own blood in order to release man from the power of Satan and the bondage of sin, and to reconcile mankind to God the Father. Paul would later write that “Christ our Passover”—at “the appointed time” of Nisan 14th—“was sacrificed for us” (I Cor. 5:7). All true Christians, then, have been bought with a great price and now belong to Jesus the Messiah.

The time Jesus spent entombed in the grave directly corresponds to one of God’s holy days—the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread— and ends with the weekly Sabbath during this particular feast. Jesus Himself pronounced “the appointed time” that He would be in the grave. By referring to Jonah’s “entombment” in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 1:17), Christ foretold that He would be in the grave for exactly three days and three nights. This was the only sign He gave as proof that He was the Messiah. Thus, the fulfillment of this prophecy was a testimony not only to that generation, but to all future generations that Jesus was, and is, the “Anointed One” of God. Jesus’ “appointed time” in the grave was followed immediately by “the appointed time” of His resurrection on the weekly Sabbath, just before sunset as that Sabbath was ending. Misinterpreting the scriptural record, Christians today typically believe that Jesus was crucified and laid in a tomb on a Friday, and that He was resurrected on Sunday morning. Thus, according to their reasoning, He was not actually in the tomb for three days and three nights, as He had prophesied, but for only two nights and one full day—which, if true, would discredit Him as our Savior.

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the high priest at the Tabernacle/ Temple was instructed to take a premier sheaf of the first-ripe barley and “wave” it before God (Lev. 23:9-11). The instructions for this unusual ceremony are found along with the listing of the annual holy days; however, the “wave sheaf offering” (as it came to be known) is not itself a high day. As shown in Chapter Six, this unique ceremony points to a crucial “appointed time” of the Messiah. As the sacrifice of the Passover lamb was a type of the crucifixion and death of Christ, so the offering of the wave sheaf was a type of Jesus’ ascension to God the Father in heaven to be accepted as the first of the firstfruits—as the firstborn from among the dead!

On this day, Jesus—as the Lamb of God, having been beaten and slain as “appointed”—ascended to the throne of God the Father and was accepted as the sin offering for the sins of all mankind. Anciently, the premier sheaf of grain had to be accepted by God before any other grain could be harvested. Likewise, only when Jesus had been raised to life and subsequently presented before God the Father in heaven for His acceptance could salvation even begin to be offered to man. Interestingly, it is through the wave sheaf offering that the “count” to Pentecost begins—and Pentecost ultimately pictures the salvation of the firstfruits, the Church, culminating in the first resurrection.

As previously noted, God’s holy days form an intricate framework or substructure upon which prophecy is arrayed, ordered and fulfilled. Prophecies dealing with the latter days will also be fulfilled according to God’s “appointed times.” Our careful exegesis of the Scriptures dealing with the timelines presented by the books of Daniel and Revelation has proven that Jesus’ return will occur only after specific signs and events. In fact, Scripture gives three key events in this regard: 1) the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, which signals the beginning of the end; 2) the setting up of the “abomination of desolation,” which marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation; and 3) the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, which heralds the return of Christ. An accurate understanding of these events demonstrates that Jesus’ return corresponds to the “appointed times” of Pentecost and Trumpets. While we cannot know the “day or hour” of Jesus’ return, it is apparent that the Feast of Trumpets pictures Christ’s second coming—and undoubtedly it is the very day of His literal return to the earth to usher in the Kingdom of God. The Day of Atonement, of course, pictures the removal of Satan the devil, while the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day portray the age to come under the peaceful reign of Christ and His bride, when universal salvation will be offered to all mankind.

As you have seen throughout this book, God has divinely designed the salvation-centered role of Jesus the Messiah in accordance with the 70- week prophecy of Daniel nine and the “appointed times” of His holy days. Each key event in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ—from His birth to His second coming to establish the millennial age—has been correlated to various aspects of the three festival seasons. Indeed, it is only within this unique framework of God’s “appointed times” that the pivotal role of Jesus as the Messiah can be rightly understood.