What’s the Last Great Day All About?
Jack M. Lane
At the conclusion of the annual fall Feast of Tabernacles, there is another festival, an eighth day convocation. We think of this as the final day of the Feast, or as a one-day festival tacked on at the end of the Feast week. But in the grand plan of God, in the picture of salvation and God’s plan for humankind, as demonstrated by the annual holy days, what does this last day, the eighth day, represent? Do we play a part in it?
We can read about the eighth day in Leviticus 23:33-43 (scriptures quoted from the NIV):
33 The LORD said to Moses,
34 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.
35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work.
36 For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.
37("'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the LORD by fire--the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day.
38 These offerings are in addition to those for the LORD's Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD.)
39 "'So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest.
40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.
41 Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month.
42 Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths
43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of
. I am the LORD your God.'" Egypt
What’s to become of them?
I was reading a Bible-based magazine not too long ago, and I noticed that there was a letter from a reader asking what was going to happen to his unsaved loved ones, and to the Jews, and to the people who had never heard about Jesus. The editor of the magazine, by way of reply, talked around the issue for awhile, but finally had to admit he did not have a good answer to these questions. He asked the readers of the magazine if they might like to try to answer this question. In a subsequent issue of the magazine, I noticed that the editor had printed part of a letter that I had sent in. Here is what was printed:
Do the scriptures pronounce condemnation on those who refuse to believe in Jesus? Yes. Do they condemn all who never heard about him? No. Consider Enoch, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, David, and others who never knew of Christ, but Hebrews 11 says they will be perfected with us, not tormented.
God created humanity to offer salvation and eternal life to all. How can He do that if Jesus, the only Savior, didn’t come along until two-thirds of the way through history? The solution is that all humans must live again. Revelation 20:1-12 teaches a general resurrection of the dead after the Millennium. This passage suggests that mankind will be assembled at the great white throne, where the books of the Bible will be opened and people can accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Armed with this new knowledge of God’s holy laws and the memory of their past sinful lives, many may come to their senses, repent, and enter the fellowship of the saved – a choice they never had.
This scenario is in line with the love of God. Everyone will be able to hear, believe, and be saved. The God of the Bible personifies happiness and joyous success, not fiendish delight in lost souls. …”
I hope my contribution to the discussion helped the person who wrote in to ask the question. But I hope this also may help you to understand more of the meaning of this last day, the eighth day, the final day of rest in the annual pageant of holy days.
Some background history
For many of us, the Feast of Tabernacles is a time of fun, food, fellowship, music, dancing, food, activities, discussions, and more food. For many of us it’s a vacation, a time to recharge our batteries, to drink from the well, to gain strength from being together. But these days should not be all physical. We should also remember the rich meanings behind these holy days. That’s what we need to take home with us.
Consider the ancient Israelites, in the years “B.C.,” when they considered the holy days – if they considered them at all. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave
rest from their enemies, peace and tranquility in their land, and abundant crops. So, whenever they got a crop harvested, they would go to the place where God placed His name, and they would party. Israel
Fast forward now to the years “A.D.,” after the beginning of the New Testament church. The church continued to observe the holy days, but with new meaning. Paul wrote that there were mysteries that God had kept hidden until that time. There were aspects of God’s plan He hadn’t shared with the Bible writers before. This was, in effect, a new religion, built on a new covenant, and that new covenant was made with better promises.
And along with the new way of doing things, there came new understanding of things like the holy days. Now Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread not only pictured the death of the Egyptian firstborn and the escape from slavery in Egypt, but now these days also represented the death of God’s firstborn and our own escape from slavery to spiritual Egypt. And the greatly expanded meaning for the holy days continued right through the series of holy days, right up to the Feast of Tabernacles, and right up to the Last Day, the eighth day solemn assembly.
What does the eighth day represent?
Some years ago, one of the men we were Feasting with gave a presentation about the eighth day. He simply looked up the eighth day wherever it occurred in scripture. That seemed simple enough. It hadn’t occurred to any of us to do that, so we were glad he thought of it.
He found that, whenever the eighth day was mentioned, it was after the completion of seven days of consecration, or seven days of preparation, or seven days of isolation. If it was a priest or a Levite, or if it was a building or a tabernacle, it took seven days to get it ready, pray over it, burn incense, whatever it took, and then on the eighth day, the priest or Levite was ready to start serving the people, or the building or tabernacle was ready to be put into service.
Following childbirth, the mother was ceremonially unclean for seven days, and then the boy babies were circumcised on the eighth day. If you wanted to sacrifice a newly born goat or lamb from your flock, you had to wait until it was eight days old. Then you could sacrifice it. As you can see, the eighth day was rather important to God.
How does this relate to us? How does this correspond to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Day? Well, the Feast of Tabernacles represents the idea of tabernacling in our temporary dwellings, tenting in these mortal bodies of ours. In the first chapter of John’s gospel, it says that the Word came and tabernacled among us. He came unto his own, and he camped out with us, in a human body, then he went on to live forever in his immortal spirit body. He’s alive today, on the job for us today, in heaven, as God’s high priest.
With that in mind, we can see how fasting on the Day of Atonement, and then feasting for a week, can remind us of our mortality, and it can also remind us of our appetites for some of the good things of life.
Another possible understanding of the Feast of Tabernacles is that this week represents a long period of time – say about a thousand years – when Messiah is ruling the earth. Our understanding is that we will be ruling with him during this time, as resurrected children of God.
Let’s look at a few of the scriptures that lead us to believe this. In Matthew chapter 24, Messiah has been telling his disciples some of the things that will happen on the world scene leading up to his return.
Prophecies of the second coming
Matthew 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” This is describing the Great Tribulation, which is the fifth seal of Revelation, then the sixth seal, which is the heavenly signs.
Continuing in Matthew 24, verses 30-31: “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 [that’s the seventh trumpet, part of the seventh seal], and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Christ is coming, and the saints are gathered. Paul gives us some more information in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. [At the what? At the last trumpet! The seventh trumpet of the seventh seal.] For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Verse 58: “Therefore [as a result of this, because of this], my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
As long as we know that our labor, our work, our struggle, our fight to hang on is not in vain, not useless, not empty, we will be steadfast and immovable. As long as we remember.
1 Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on
and with Him 144,000, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. ... Mount Zion
3 And they sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth.”
What’s the song? Their song tells a story that only they could know, based on the experiences they had, the things they suffered, the persecutions they endured, the trials they lived through, the hope that kept them going, the strength and deliverance they received from God, the joy they felt in their hearts, the willingness to give up their lives rather than their crowns, the excitement that permeated their being, their assurance in their hope of the resurrection, the comfort they felt knowing God’s Spirit was in them and around them, and, of course, the knowledge that they had finally triumphed.
Verse 4: “These are the ones who were not defiled with women [symbolically, other churches, other religions], for they are [spiritually] virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4).
This is what we’re waiting for. We’re waiting for Christ to return and “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).
How do we know that’s us standing with Christ on the earth? 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, [There’s that trumpet again!] and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
The far-flung future
In Revelation chapter 19, Messiah returns from heaven in triumph, in power and glory, to put down all human rulership and take His place as King of kings and Lord of lords on earth. In Revelation chapter 20, Satan is chained for 1,000 years. The saints come to life and rule with Christ for 1,000 years. Then Satan is released for a little while, and finally defeated permanently. Following this, we see the great white throne. In Revelation 21, we see a new heaven and a new earth, and the New Jerusalem descending from heaven, in a time when there will be no more tears, and God will dwell with men.
In Revelation 21 and 22, we read about the wonderful attributes of this amazing, breath-taking kingdom, with an invitation to join both the Lamb and Him who sits on the throne, for a marvelous eternity and a happy ending to the story of mankind’s struggle through the ages.
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss [a great pit of some kind] and holding in his hand a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
We know what the dragon and the chain and the big pit and the key represent. Satan will be isolated – somewhere, somehow – for 1,000 years.
We now find ourselves at the point in the story where the devil is gone, the beast power is vanquished, and peace will finally break out over the earth. The day we have so long waited for, the peaceful and happy time of the Millennium, will at last dawn on the earth. We look for the return of the glorified Christ, and we look to our own resurrection to join him in administering God’s way of life to the world during the Millennium. This is the way Yahweh will be King over the earth – through us. Why doesn’t He just do it Himself? Well, that’s part of the story. I’ll get to that in a few minutes.
Verse 4: I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
What’s this about souls? The word “soul” here comes from the Greek psuche, which corresponds to the Hebrew word nephesh. Both of those words refer to something mortal. It’s the same word used in Revelation 6, concerning the souls under the altar. What are souls doing under an altar? Are there people hiding under a table until they’re told it’s safe to come out? The Western mind might conjure these pictures. The Hebrew mind, however, would immediately recognize what this pictures.
Anciently, in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and in the
Templein , animals were sacrificed to God on the altar, and their blood ran down to the ground under the altar. The sacrifices were holy to God, and so was the blood. “The life is in the blood,” God says in Leviticus and in Deuteronomy. “Life” is translated from nephesh, just as the word “soul” is, so we could just as easily say “The soul is in the blood.” God told Moses to instruct the priests to let the blood go into the ground, and that Israelites were not to eat or drink blood. Jerusalem
We are to be living sacrifices, and some of us throughout the ages have been honored to be martyrs, shedding their blood for the sake of Christ. Unfortunately, it’s still going on today. The souls under the altar represent the accumulated blood of God’s martyrs throughout the ages.
The account in Revelation 20 skips the details about the Millennium. The story flow goes directly to the end of the Millennium.
Revelation 20, beginning in verse 7:
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore.
9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades [which simply means the grave] gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.
What should happen next? Everyone sins. We know that. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But let’s not overlook the next verse, Romans 3:24: “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” That’s what’s different for the saints. The saints are justified freely by God’s grace because of the sacrifice of our Savior.
What about the vast majority of mankind, those who never received Christ as their savior? What should happen at this point, when all men, women, and children are found guilty of living lives of sin? Should they all be thrown into the lake of fire, where the devil, the beast, and the false prophet were cast? That would be justice. That would be the logical outcome of being found guilty of sin.
But look what happens next. Revelation 20:14: “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.”
Do you see that? The people of earth are not thrown into the lake of fire. Death is thrown into the lake of fire. The grave is thrown into the lake of fire. These sinners were facing sure punishment at the hands of an angry God. But praise God, their sentences were commuted! They were forgiven! And the bottomless pit of death was taken away! The open jaws of the grave are done away!
How is this possible? Isn’t God a God of law? Didn’t He put those laws into effect to begin with? And no matter how much people believe those laws were done away, we know that they weren’t. So why are these same laws, which accuse and convict a world full of sinners – why aren’t these laws able to claim their lives?
Grace. God’s amazing grace.
You’ve probably heard a lot of discussion about “law versus grace.” But in the great card game of life, grace trumps law every time. Isn’t that nice? That’s why we have a hope. You’re familiar with Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
At the great white throne, the Judge has them all, dead to rights. They are guilty of sin and deserving of death. But what an act of grace – death itself is put to death, instead of the human race! Instead of universal death for the human race, instead of an overflow crowd in a burning, fiery furnace, the grace of God provides for the substitution of Christ’s sacrifice for their sins.
This is the message of the gospel. But it’s also in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, the writings of Moses. The whole concept of substitutionary sacrifice has been around since God killed an animal to cover Adam and Eve’s naked bodies because they were ashamed – because they had sinned!
The reason God had Abraham almost sacrifice Isaac on a hill somewhere in the promised land was to picture how God was going to sacrifice His own Son later on. (Some think it might possibly have been on that very same hill!)
The whole system of animal sacrifices in ancient
was to picture the sacrifice of our Savior, which would not simply cover our sins, as the animal sacrifices did, but remove them completely! And the sacrifice was not just for the Jews, not just for Israel , not just for your favorite church denomination. Israel
The apostle John wrote, in 1 John 2:1-2:
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
You know John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
Let’s take a look at Deuteronomy chapter 12 for a minute. I want to point out something I found interesting.
1 These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess – as long as you live in the land.
2 Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods.
3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.
4 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way.
5 But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;
6 there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.
7 There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.
8 You are not to do as we do here today, everyone as he sees fit,
9 since you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance the LORD your God is giving you.
10 But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety.
11 Then to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name – there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the LORD.
12 And there rejoice before the LORD your God, you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns, who have no allotment or inheritance of their own.
13 Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please.
14 Offer them only at the place the LORD will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you.
Have we crossed our
Jordan Riveryet? No? Then we “have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance the LORD your God is giving you.” We are still in the wilderness. Some of us are closer to crossing the than others, but we who are here have not yet made that final portion of our journey. Jordan
What’s the result of our still being in the wilderness? It says that when we get there, to our resting place, “You are not to do as we do here today, everyone as he sees fit.” But what are we to do now? What can we do? We have to do what we think is the best thing. Now we see through a glass, darkly; later on, we’ll be able to see the King face to face. But for now, we’re still in the wilderness. It’s like it says in Judges: “In those days
had no king; everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 21:25). For now, that’s what we have to do. Israel
Starting to put it together
But let’s not just think about us. What about the eighth day? What about the Great White Throne? If we, the firstfruits, are still in the wilderness, that means that everyone else, all the people of the world throughout all ages, haven’t even left
yet! The rest of the dead, who come to life after the thousand years are over, died in Egypt . They died in their sins. They have yet to be led out of Egypt . They still need to be freed from their slavery to sin. Egypt
If the Feast of Tabernacles pictures the Millennium, then the eighth day represents the Great White Throne. If the children of God are going to be raised to life at Messiah’s coming at the beginning of the Millennium, and the children of God are going to join Messiah in ruling the nations for that 1,000 years, that suggests that the Millennium will be the period of time we will be trained, consecrated, and sanctified, the time during which we newborn baby children of God will grow, and learn, and mature, and make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes, and continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge, ruling over the people who live during the Millennium.
And then, after the Millennium, we will be graduated to the level of proficiency where we can be trusted with all the billions of people who will come up from their graves and hear the gospel message for the first time. We will be fully trained and mature, ready to help people see the benefits of living this way, instead of scaring them off, as we often do now.
The period of the Exodus was when
Israelleft their slavery in and finally entered the promised land. We are now, in this Christian era, a kind of firstfruits, led out of our slavery in spiritual Egypt , hoping to enter the promised rest and gain our inheritance. Egypt
But it doesn’t stop there. During the Great White Throne judgment, the rest of the dead, both small and great, will hear how they, too, can be delivered from their slavery to sin and also enter the same rest that we enjoy.
We’re just the firstfruits. We’re not the whole harvest. We’re called ahead of the rest, not instead of the rest.
What’s the point of our wilderness wandering? You may know the old expression, “You can take the Israelites out of
Egypt, but can you take the out of the Israelite?” That’s why we’re still wandering in the desert. That’s why we come to the Feast. It’s to give us every opportunity to get the Egypt out of our systems. Egypt
Some day we’ll go into the land and take possession. Some day we will enter God’s rest and obtain the prize, our inheritance, eternal life as God’s children. At that time, we will become instruments in bringing the rest of mankind out of their
and into their own personal wilderness, with the goal of having them enter their rest, God’s rest, along with us. Egypt
That’s the plan of God. That’s the picture these holy days paint for us. It’s not for us. It’s not for our salvation. It’s not to give us all the goodies. It’s so we can become useful tools in the hands of Yeshua, who is ruling the earth at that time, administering the kingdom and government of our Father.
The New Covenant
31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of
Israeland with the house of . Judah
The scriptures plainly show that
Israeland will be brought back to their ancestral homeland and reunited as a single nation in God’s hands. During the Millennium, and during the Great White Throne judgment, God will be extending an open hand and an open invitation to the reunited nation of Judah to join Him in this new covenant, and at last become the nation of kings and priests He had originally envisioned. And this time, the stakes will be higher: Israel
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of
, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. Egypt
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of
after that time," declares the LORD."I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Israel
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD, 'because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
Scriptures show that all the nations of the earth have an opportunity to join us in this holy family throughout eternity if they enter it through faith in Messiah. That’s the only way in. Messiah said, in John chapter 10:
1 "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.
3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."
6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. …
Skipping to verse 14:
14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me –
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Who are the other sheep? The Gentiles! Let’s look in Galatians chapter 3:
16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.
17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.
18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. …
26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Paul reminds us that salvation is not just for the Jews, but for all people. God’s plan is not just for the Jews, but for everyone! Paul says in Ephesians chapter 2:
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men) –
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in
and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. Israel
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one [made the Jews and the Gentiles into one body, one church, one bride of Christ] and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations [not God’s torah, but the man-made laws which kept Jews and Gentiles apart and hostile toward each other]. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
The New Jerusalem
What holy temple is this, comprised of both Jew and Gentile? What building is being joined together into a place where God can live? John saw it in vision and recorded what he saw for us in the book of Revelation.
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2 I saw the
, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Holy City
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." …
9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the
Holy City, , coming down out of heaven from God. Jerusalem
11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
The bride of Christ, the church founded by God through the life and work and legacy of Jesus Christ, is shown to be the holy city, like a very precious jewel.
Peter, too, understood in his vision that we should not think of certain people as being unclean, simply because they are not of our race, or nation, or religion (see Acts chapters 10 and 11). They, too, can come into the fellowship of faith. So it is that entire nations can come into fellowship with
, if they become Christ’s, if they become Abraham’s seed and heirs of the promise, through faith in God’s only-begotten son. Israel
That’s what the eighth day is all about. Our preparation is over, and we are ready to go forth to serve the vast numbers of humans who will come to life and stand before the Great White Throne.
What a picture! Universal salvation to anyone who wants it!
And we will be there, to take them by the hand and lead them into the kingdom and family of God, forever.