Does God care about you?
Yes, I mean you personally — the one reading this article.
Does He care about your family, your friends, and your loved ones?
How about those who are not Christians and have no desire to be Christians? How about them? Will God simply toss them into an ever-burning hell to be punished and tortured forever — like what most preachers today teach?
How about those people who lived before Bibles were printed? How about those who lived before Jesus was born? How about those who lived in countries where it was or is illegal to preach and believe Christianity? Are the babies born there condemned to an eternity in hell — through no fault of their own?
A Popular Bible Verse
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
~Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
Why do people love this verse? I suspect it’s because of the positive assurance that God is in control — and that He is working out good things for the world.
John 3:16 is no doubt the most popular, most-translated verse in the world:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Does God really want the whole world to be saved — or just the Christians?
… God our Savior… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
~1 Timothy 2:3-4
Is God “OK” with it if most or all would perish and be destroyed eternally?
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
~2 Peter 3:9
God is LOVE. He is patient. He is focused on saving — not condemning.
But can we know the exact plans God has in store for us — for all humanity?
The “Big Picture”
Let’s start with the big picture.
What in the world is God doing? Why did He create man? What is His purpose?
These questions were answered in our post, What Is the Meaning of Life?
Just to recap: God is creating a Family — a divine, spiritual Kingdom composed of formerly mortal human beings.
Yes, God is creating a divine Family, composed of spirit beings who have free will, but who have developed — over a lifetime of overcoming (by the power of God’s Holy Spirit) — the holy, righteous character of Jesus Christ.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things [that is, Jesus Christ], in bringing many sons [or children] to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies [Jesus Christ] and those who are being sanctified [Christians] are all of one [one family], for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…
Our destiny is to become the literal, spiritual children of God — to become like God our Father and Jesus Christ our Elder Brother — in both holy, righteous character and in immortal, spirit composition. God created us physical and mortal in the beginning. But His ultimate plan is to transform us into His spiritual, immortal image and likeness in the end. (Genesis 1:26-27; 1 John 3:1-2). This was His Master Plan from the very beginning!
C.S. Lewis, perhaps the greatest Christian writer of the 20th century, wrote:
The command “Be ye perfect” is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him — for we can prevent Him, if we choose — He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952), pp. 205-206
How does God take us from Point A to Point B — from where we are, to where He wants us to be — from sinful mortal man, to holy immortal child of God?
God’s Master Plan of Salvation
Believe it or not, God has a “master plan” for all humanity. He has revealed it in the Bible in the most unexpected place — in the Seven Annual Festivals of God, first revealed to the nation of Israel.
Many theologians, preachers, and pastors assume that these Feasts were only for the nation of Israel. They assume that these observances are now obsolete, done away, and have no more relevance for true Christians today.
They can’t be more wrong.
Here is what the Word of God says:
And the Lord (YHWH) spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel [as the showcase nation then], and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts… These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.
These feasts are not “the feasts of the Jews.” Notice, God calls them His feasts!
These seven annual holy days have been observed by Jesus Christ, His disciples, and the early first-century Church! They reveal God’s blueprint for humans on this earth.
The Weekly Sabbath
“Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.
Many preachers and pastors err when they teach that the seventh-day [Saturday] Sabbath is the Sabbath of the Jews. The Bible says, “it is the Sabbath of the Lord!
The Sabbath was not designed only for Israel’s wilderness wanderings. It stands as a memorial of creation and a promise of hope and salvation for all mankind (Exodus 20:11; Hebrews 4:8-11; Isaiah 66:23).
One Day = 1,000 Years
The first six days of the week when work is to be done (Sunday to Friday) pictures the first 6,000 years of human striving. The last or seventh day when we are commanded to rest (Saturday) pictures the last 1,000 years of rest, when God will finally intervene and grant universal peace and prosperity for this weary planet.
The Bible talks about this “one-day-is-equal-to-a-thousand-years” principle:
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
~2 Peter 3:8
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
The Seven Annual Festivals
[Please be aware that the months and days mentioned here are not referring to our Roman calendar (which was not even existent during Moses’ time). A good guide will be the Sacred Calendar maintained by some Jews today.]
On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.
This first festival pictures the death of Jesus Christ — the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God has created and ordained LAWS that regulate our happiness and every good thing that we humans want. When we break these laws, they break us. The transgression of God’s immutable, inexorable, and spiritual LAW of LOVE is called SIN (1 John 3:4, KJV). Sin has caused untold heartache, anguish, and suffering on all mankind from the very beginning.
The Bible says, the wages [something you earn from works] of sin is death (Romans 6:23) — not eternal life in hell fire. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God and His expectations (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus Christ is totally sinless, like a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Therefore, as our perfect Creator (John 1:3), only He could pay the penalty of our sins. If He were not sinless, He could only pay the penalty of His own sins.
The death of Jesus Christ reconciled us to God the Father (Romans 5:10). It has wiped away and erased our filthy past (Romans 3:25). When we occasionally stumble along our new path of righteousness, Christ’s sacrifice continually covers our sins, as long as we remain repentant (1 John 1:8-10; 1 John 2:1-2).
This Passover festival is still observed in the New Testament as commanded by Christ Himself, when He took the Passover with His disciples. The apostle Paul also taught this to the converted believers (1 Corinthians 11:23-30).
2. Feast of Unleavened Bread
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
This second festival pictures the putting away of sin completely out of our lives. The symbolism of putting away leaven from our homes for seven days helps us realize that conquering and overcoming sin in our life does not happen overnight — it is an ongoing process, requiring eternal vigilance. Having our ungodly past wiped clean by Christ’s sacrifice does not mean that we are now incapable of sinning, nor are we free to keep on sinning. We need to stay close to God, relying on His help and strength through the power of His Spirit, in order to remain holy and sanctified.
These Days of Unleavened Bread were also observed in the New Testament as commanded by Paul, with added spiritual symbolism (1 Corinthians 5:8).
And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.
This third festival pictures the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the calling of the first harvest of humans to salvation. Most people assume that God is trying to save the whole world now. But this is not the case. God is calling only a few to salvation at this present time. He is calling only the “elect” to be “firstfruits” now — the small, first batch to salvation prior to His second coming (James 1:18). God’s purpose for His Church is to qualify to teach and rule with Jesus Christ when He comes back a second time, in order to save the rest of humanity in the coming Kingdom of God.
The popular belief and teaching of most Christians today — that after the crucifixion, all Old Testament commands and practices have become obsolete — is a dangerous and satanic lie. If the original disciples and believers then had that kind of belief today, they would not have assembled on the Day of Pentecost and would not have received the Holy Spirit poured down that same day (Acts 2:1-4)! Thus, enlightened believers today who are being called by God as part of the “firstfruits” or the “elect” of God continue to keep this Feast as well.
4. Feast of Trumpets
Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
This fourth festival pictures the glorious and triumphant second coming of Jesus Christ and the first resurrection. When Christ returns, He will resurrect to immortal spirit life those who have died in the faith, and will also transform to divine spirit the bodies of those converted Christians who are still alive then. Collectively, as the Bride of Christ, they will enter, possess, and inherit the Kingdom of God — which is both the Family of God and the Government of God (Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 11:5).
5. Day of Atonement
Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.
This fifth festival pictures the binding of Satan the Devil. Before Jesus Christ and His saints can rule this earth, the evil mastermind must be put away. This step pictures the ouster of Satan and his demons from their current position as gods of this evil world. Their work of universal deception will then come to an end. Their defeat will mark the beginning of an age when God and man will finally be “at one” (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10). Thus, the word atonement — “at–one-ment.”
6. Feast of Tabernacles
Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.
This sixth festival pictures the wonderful, happy millennial reign of Jesus Christ and His saints here on the earth — the initial phase of the eternal Kingdom of God. After Satan and his demons are put away, God’s work of restoration can finally begin. A complete transformation will occur on this planet. True education (or a massive re-education) will begin. Corrupt systems will be changed. Wars and conflict will end. Peace will grip the globe! Prosperity will be as common as air and water. Sicknesses and untreatable diseases will be cured. Physical handicaps will be healed. Death will be unheard of. Utopia will no longer be just a dream, but finally a reality (Zechariah 14:16-19; Isaiah 2:2-5; 11:1-11; 25:7-8; 35:1-10; 58:8-12; Micah 4:1-7; Revelation 20:4-6)!
7. Last Great Day (The Eighth Day)
For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.
This seventh festival pictures the second resurrection and the Great White Throne Judgment period, when the rest of humanity — the huge majority, in contrast to the tiny “firstfruits” — will be given their first and only chance at salvation. People who have lived before Bibles were printed and before Jesus Christ was born will be resurrected back to mortal life in a much better world — a Paradise! With Satan gone, they will see the results of a world under the righteous rule of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and His immortal saints ruling with and under Him. Those who repent and believe will also be given salvation (eternal life) in the Kingdom of God — they will join the immortal Family of God — while those incorrigibly wicked who stubbornly refuse to repent (perhaps only a few) will meet their merciful end in the lake of fire, which is the second death (Isaiah 66:17-25; Revelation 20:11-12).
The New Jerusalem and Beyond…
After the earth has been completely purified by fire (2 Peter 3:10-13), and no evil remains here on earth (Malachi 4:1-3), God the Father will finally come down from the third heaven and make His home with us here on planet Earth (Revelation 21:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Yes, the City of God, the New Jerusalem will come down and be the new headquarters of the whole universe (Revelation 21:10-27; 22:1-5). Then, we come at last to a new BEGINNING…
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”