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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, September 02 2021

Will you celebrate Jesus Christ's return?

The Feast of Trumpets introduces the autumn festivals—representing the culmination of the present age of man and the beginning of a time when God will play a much more direct part in world events.

Will you celebrate Jesus Christ's return?
Jesus Christ's return will be announced by a heavenly trumpet blast.
by Peter Eddington

Avery significant month on the calendar lies just ahead of us. Thousands of Christians around the world are preparing to observe a very important biblical Holy Day. Maybe you've heard of it? It's called the Day, or Feast, of Trumpets. (View Holy Days calendar to see when Feast of Trumpets is kept.)

A prophetic picture

Jesus Christ observed this festival, as did the New Testament Church of God. It pictures the time of Jesus' return to this earth to establish His Father's Kingdom here. His return will be announced by a heavenly trumpet blast, and it will occur on the seventh of seven blasts—the seventh trump. We read about this event, as prophesied by Jesus Himself, in Matthew chapter 24:

"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:30-31).

We are approaching the observance of this great event, the Feast of Trumpets. It makes us stop and consider the time when the actual prophesied fulfillment of the Day of Trumpets will occur—when our Lord descends from heaven to the Mount of Olives and establishes the Kingdom of God on earth, beginning at Jerusalem.

The second coming of Jesus Christ

Throughout history there has been much controversy, doubt and misinformation about the return of Jesus Christ. Many thought He would already have returned—some doubt that He will return at all! Many people today scoff at the idea of Jesus ruling from Jerusalem in the not too distant future.

However, the Bible is clear on this. His return will be as unmistakable and as universally visible as a flash of lightning (Matthew 24:27). It will be sudden and quite unexpected to the world (Matthew 24:37-39). It demands constant readiness on our part (Matthew 24:42-44), since none of us knows the exact time of His coming (Matthew 24:36). But we do know the end will come after the gospel of the Kingdom is preached to the world (Matthew 24:14)!

As Jesus commanded us, let us continue to pray, "Your kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). As thousands of Christians around the world observe the Feast of Trumpets, keep in mind the great significance of what it pictures in God's Holy Day plan for mankind—the return of our Savior. If you're unfamiliar with this important day, you can read all about it in our Bible study aid booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind. Perhaps you will feel compelled to observe it, too, as you pray for God's Kingdom to come.

With time, he also came to understand the days observed by most of Christianity are not commanded in the Bible, and Scripture backed up his realisation that associating the name of Jesus with these days did not make them more acceptable: "... in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).

While in high school, he also discovered that in the King James Version of the Bible the word translated as "Easter" in Acts 12:4 was an erroneous translation of the Greek word ‘pascha’, a word clearly meaning the Passover (described in Leviticus 23:5). It was not until the second century, long after the New Testament was written, that people began to replace the Passover observance with Easter.

Jesus and His family observed the Holy Days of the Bible, travelling to Jerusalem, when He was twelve years old, to observe the Passover (Luke 2:41, 42). John 7 also shows Christ keeping the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day (described in Leviticus 23:33-36) in spite of the threat of bodily harm. Jesus kept all of the annual festivals, not only because He was a devout Jew, but because God commanded them and He was setting an example for Christians today (Matthew 28:20).

These Holy Days were also observed following Christ's ascension. The disciples were gathered together to observe the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent (Acts 2:1), because Pentecost was still a "holy convocation," a commanded assembly (Leviticus 23: 15- 16, 21).

Gentile Christians also observed the biblical Holy Days. More than 20 years after Christ’s crucifixion, about the year A.D. 55, the Apostle Paul gave important instruction to the Church in the gentile city of Corinth, where most church members were gentile. A man was involved in an immoral relationship, and Paul instructed them to expel him from the church:"...Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump...For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with ...the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

The Corinthians had put out leaven to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but had not applied the spiritual lesson. Paul’s intent, by instructing them to "keep the feast," was not to spiritualize away the Days of Unleavened Bread, but to magnify them. The New Testament builds on the foundation of the Old by emphasizing the spiritual intent of the Holy Days.

Colossians 2:16, 17 is perhaps the most oft-quoted New Testament Scripture used to discredit the Holy Days: "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."

Paul was not saying not to keep the Holy Days, he was addressing their proper observance. The Colossians had been introducing ascetic practices on the Holy Days, as they were being influenced to follow the commandments and doctrines of men (verses 18-23). If anything, these verses corroborate the practice of God's true Church in the first century was to observe these days,

Another misunderstood text is Galatians 4:8-10. Verses 8 and 9 refer to the practices of the Galatians before they knew the true God, and after learning the truth, they were beginning to return to these ‘weak and beggarly elements’. To say God's laws are weak and beggarly is blasphemous. These "days and months and seasons [times] and years" were pagan practices, possibly similar to astrology today.

When a person looks into the commands and examples in the Bible to determine which religious festivals to observe, there is only one choice to be found: the annual festivals and Holy Days of God. If we are to build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and follow the example of Jesus Christ, we will faithfully observe these days, and come to learn more about God's plan of salvation for humanity.