Jesus Christ compared His work with us to planting and harvesting (Luke 8:11-15 ). He plants the truth that leads to salvation in our hearts at the right time, and He gives us the help to grow and eventually receive the gift of salvation.
The gift of salvation
What is that gift? Salvation means being saved from eternal death (the penalty for our sins) and instead being given eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
How does God plan to offer this priceless gift to everyone? What are the steps in God’s plan of salvation—His “harvest” of human beings?
God’s harvest festivals remind us of His plan of salvation
Interestingly, we find in the Bible seven annual harvest festivals that God wanted His people to keep in their memory as part of their worship. Most people today don’t even know the names of many of these days, but God called them “holy”—He said they are His days!
They deserve careful examination, especially when you discover that Jesus Himself, His disciples and His Church actually celebrated these same festivals!
Is it possible that these ancient festivals are actually a blueprint outlining God’s grand plan of salvation, showing us what the future holds for the entire world and the children of God? It’s time to understand the astounding meaning of God’s holy days!
Many of the articles in this section are written to explain how the festivals picture the plan of salvation. Each festival has great meaning, and as a whole they give insights into the past as well as future events yet to be fulfilled. Now is the time for you to explore this wonderful plan in your own Bible and gain the incredible hope and direction that God’s plan of salvation has for you.
Here is a brief summary of the plan of salvation. Many more details are available in the articles below.
God’s plan of salvation for Christians today
When God calls someone today, there are three major steps God uses in bringing him or her to salvation. These are reflected in the first three festivals.
First, Jesus Christ gave His life as our Passover sacrifice to pay for our sins (1 Corinthians 5:7), so we are to repent and be baptized, accepting His sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. Christians are to commemorate this and remember this New Covenant in His blood through the annual Passover festival (Luke 22:15, 19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Second, true repentance is a continuing process of change, compared in the Bible to coming out of slavery to sin (Romans 6:16-18) and becoming servants of God and of righteousness. It is also compared to putting out leavening. This process is central to the observance of the annual Feast of Unleavened Bread that the apostle Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:8:
“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.”
Third, God enables a Christian to make these changes through the power of the Holy Spirit, which was given on the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 38-42). This marked the beginning of the New Testament Church of God, and God is adding to the Church those who are being saved now (verse 47).
The gift of the Holy Spirit is a down payment or guarantee of eternal life—of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22).
God’s plan of salvation for all of humanity
The last four steps in God’s plan of salvation picture future events.
Fourth, Jesus Christ will return with the sound of a trumpet, resurrecting the “dead in Christ” to eternal life—salvation (1 Thessalonians 4:16). These momentous events occur after the seven trumpet plagues of Revelation and are commemorated by the Feast of Trumpets.
Fifth, the devil, who is the adversary of God and who seeks to thwart His plan of salvation, will be bound for 1,000 years and prevented from deceiving the nations (Revelation 20:1-3). This is commemorated by the Day of Atonement.
Sixth, during that 1,000 years, Christ will reign on earth, offering the way to salvation to all alive during that Millennium of peace (Revelation 20:4; Isaiah 2:2-4). This is celebrated in the Feast of Tabernacles.
Seventh, “the rest of the dead” will be resurrected (Revelation 20:5, 11-12). Ezekiel records that God will offer His Spirit to those resurrected (Ezekiel 37:14), giving a first chance to those who never had a chance before. This much-misunderstood time is actually the capstone of God’s plan of salvation. It explains how those who have never been called to salvation through the ages will be able to fulfill what God desires for all people:
- “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).
- “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
This period—referred to as the Great White Throne Judgment—is pictured by the Eighth Day or Last Great Day.
If this quick summary seems new and different to you, please take the time to study it in more detail with the linked articles and your own Bible. What God is doing—His plan of salvation—is the most exciting and important plan in the universe!