In numerous Scriptures throughout the Bible, God reveals Himself as a consummate planner who always successfully completes what He plans. Consider one such scripture: “The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely as I have thought, so it shall come to pass. And as I have purposed, so it shall stand.” (Isa. 14:24). In verse 25, God gives us an example of the certainty of His planning: “That I will break the Assyrian in My land, And on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, And his burden removed from their shoulders.”(You can read the partial fulfillment of this prophecy in 2Kings chapters 17-19).
In the 14th chapter of Isaiah verses 26 and 27, God continues and says clearly that His plans affect everyone and everything on earth. “This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth. And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, And who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, And who will turn it back?”
In Isaiah 46:9-10, God reveals His planning process: ” . . .For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.” In verse 11, God reveals even more about His planning process and how He executes His plans: ” . . .Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.”
Thus, in a nutshell: God purposes [works out all details of his plan in His limitless mind] speaks it through the Living Word (see John 1:1-5) and executes the plan through the Holy Spirit, the very personification of His power, just as the Word personifies His purpose, (See Acts 1:8; Luke 1:35; Rom. 15:13; 1Thes. 1:5;2Tim. 1:7).
God inspired the Bible as an owner’s manual that positions and enables God’s children, the younger siblings of Jesus, the Christ, to align with God’s plan, to embrace God’s power and yield to the process by which God executes His plan in each of our lives, accomplishing in us the destiny that He purposed for us. With that, let’s study God’s plan from the perspective of seven annual holy days.
In Leviticus, chapter 23, God reveals a comprehensive summary of His plan that demonstrates the process He uses to implement it, and the timeline He works on.
Before, we discuss the plan, please understand why God reveals His plan the way He does: Every word in the Bible relates to God’s plan. However, a person can read and study the Bible sincerely, yes even born from above children of God, without having a clue about God’s plan. When a person studies the Bible without the guiding context of God’s plan, these efforts lead to misinterpretation, misapplication and dislocation of Scripture.
Consider this cogent example: “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now, He who has prepared us for this very thing [For mortality to be swallowed up by immortality] is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2Cor. 5:1-5).
Almost all professing followers of Christ misquote verse eight. When they say it, they say the following: “To be absent from the body [is to be] present with the Lord.” First of all, that’s not what that verse says. Read it slowly: “We are confident, yes, well pleased Rather to be absent from the body and to present with the Lord.”
Now, back to God’s plan revealed in a comprehensive series of annual festivals described in Leviticus, chapter 23 and in other passages throughout the Old Testament as follows: Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, aka The Feast of Weeks, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.
God launches His plan with Passover, an annual festival that occurs annually on Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar.
This month-Nisan-corresponds with March/April on our Gregorian calendar and illustrates that God’s plan begins with Him bestowing His grace upon a creation that neither deserves, nor can earn it. Grace from God produces Redemption. Jesus, the Christ, fulfilled this segment of God’s plan He died on a cross at Golgotha on Passover, Nisan 14, 31AD-a Wednesday afternoon.
Psa. 111:9 “He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever; Holy and reverend is His name.”
Rom. 3:24 ” . . .being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Eph. 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
Col. 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Heb. 9:11-12, 15 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
1Cor. 5:7 “Therefore, purge out the old leaven, hat you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
Beginning on Nisan 15 and continuing through the 22nd, God commanded the nation of Israel to observe a festival call The Days of Unleavened Bread.
This festival, the second “step” in God’s plan illustrates that humans cannot “put sin out” by human effort. This step, described by the term Regeneration, follows redemption. This seven-day festival also reveals that while salvation, pictured in His death on the cross exists as an event, sanctification, aka regeneration, operates as a process. Two activities characterize this festival. The first activity involves the challenge of putting leaven out of out lives for seven consecutive days and illustrates that this requires a lifelong struggle. The second activity involves putting unleavened bread (Jesus the Christ, as the true bread from Heaven, see John 6:51) into our living systems. Since Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible exists as “Jesus, the Christ,” in print. Therefore, daily Bible study describes the process of “eating” unleavened bread In a practical sense, regeneration occurs when Jesus, the Christ circumcises the sinful nature (see Col. 2:9-11). This second day God’s plan is being fulfilled as God confronts, convicts and converts more people.
Ex. 12:15-19 “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”
Matt. 16:11-12 “How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?-but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Mark 8:15 “Then He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
Luke 12:1 ” . . .He began to say to His disciples first of all, ‘Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
1Cor. 5:6-8 “Your glorying is not good. 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 . . .Therefore, 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.”
Now, we come to the third step, or phase of God’s plan, His divine work with human beings, call The Feast of Pentecost, also referred to as the Feast of Weeks.
This festival illustrates that only the in-dwelling of God, first through the work of Jesus the Christ as He circumcises the sinful nature, and then through the work of the Holy Spirit as He unites with our human spirit, thus making us a new creation (See 2Cor. 5:17).
This putting out of sin-aka circumcising the sinful nature-puts each born from above child of God on the straight and narrow road of sanctification. The Holy Spirit’s daily and continued guidance into truth washes us by the Word, a process also known in Scripture as being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This third day of God’s plan occurred 10 days after the ascension of Jesus into Heaven where He assumed His role as High Priest in the tabernacle of Heaven where He currently serves as our Advocate before the Father.
Rom. 8:16 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
2Cor. 1:21-22 “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and give us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
2Cor. 5:5 “Now He who has prepred us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
Eph. 1:13-14 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise
Titus 3:4-5 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
When we understand God’s plan as revealed into this pattern of annual Sabbaths or Holy Days, we see that we are about 3.5 days into the plan. This time between the Spring and Summer festivals-Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread-and the Fall festivals-Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and The Last Great Day-illustrates the Church Age. That’s where we are now in God’s plan. Jesus declared that during this time, after fulfilling the first three “days” of God’s plan, He would concentrate all of His efforts on building His Church and preparing mansions for us to live in His Father’s house after He comes back for us. See Matthew 16:18 “And I say to you that you are Peter (Gk. ‘petros’ a living stone[See 1Peter 2:4-5], and on this rock (Gk. ‘petra’ a great massive Rock [see 1Cor. 10:4]) ‘I will build my church [Gk. ‘ekklesia-a group of called ones (see Rom. 8:29)] ‘and the gates of hell [Gk. ‘hades’-the same as sheol in Hebrew, the grave] shall not prevail against it.”
Therefore, for us-the Ekklesia-it’s “Wednesday” morning in the Plan of God. We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and re-born as citizens of the Kingdom of God, aka children of God Philip. 3:20-21 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior our Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
Col. 1:13-16 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.
All things were created through Him and for Him.”
1John 3:1-4 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God. Therefore, the world does not know us. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
So, here we are on Wednesday morning in God’s plan. We have been beat and scourged by the circumstances, challenges and conditions of living under the control of the sinful nature. We have been convicted by people controlled by the sinful nature of being a strange and peculiar people. We are challenged to take up our personal and collective cross daily and follow Christ. Each day, the standards of our new life challenges us to crucify some aspect of our former existence on this cross we carry. We confront an abundant harvest of “living stones,” who were selected, as were we, before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. Without consciously realizing it, they are waiting for the revelation of the children of God (See Rom. 8:18-23).
Next: What the Ekklesia must do to get ready for the next step in God’s plan-The Feast of Trumpets