The Last Great Day is the final holy day of the year, and it depicts the final steps in God's plan. After this—eternity!
Rehearsing the significance of the Last Great Day, John Reid encourages us to feel encouraged and inspired as we return to our homes and jobs, realizing that our involvement in the Kingdom of God will in no way be passive, but extremely active, serving, caring for, and teaching the billions that will be resurrected within the timeframe represented by this day. As our Elder Brother Christ can empathize with our nature, having become one of us, because we have to go through our lives struggling with overcoming, we also will have a strong bond with those we will be working with. Because we have been tempted and failed many times, and had to overcome, we can encourage them, proving that it is not impossible.
Richard Ritenbaugh, realizing that some words are inadequate to describe the magnitude of certain things, ponders why the Last Great Day is called great! God's great outpouring of His Spirit will be poured out upon billions—perhaps upward of 60 billion people. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire where he will never be allowed to torment anyone again. In the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), the massive mega-miracle of Israel's resurrection occurs. Afterward, God places His Holy Spirit into them, making them inclined to follow His law, and thus to love, serve, and cooperate, and they shall truly live. At that time, the entire area of earth will be made arable. Massive food, housing, and clothing production, along with godly educational programs will be put immediately in place. In one grand-slam operation, God will have billions of spiritual sons and daughters. Yet, most important of all, it is a great day because we have a great God who will bring these things to pass.
The Eight Day (often called the Last Great Day) has little written about it. The root of the Hebrew word for "eight" connotes abundance and overabundance. On the eighth day, Israelites could abandon their temporary dwelling and return home, if that were practical. Compared to the Feast of Tabernacles, God halved the number of required offerings, and rejoicing was not explicitly commanded. Scripture contains other occurrences of seven days of one activity (related to holiness or the worship of God), followed by an eighth day capstone, such as circumcision, the dedication of firstborn animals, and laws concerning leprosy and the accidental breaking of a Nazirite vow. The Feast of Tabernacles plus the Eighth Day appears to be a strong echo of the consecration of priests in Leviticus 8-9. If Jesus were born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (as suggested by Bullinger), He would have tabernacled with His people in temporary quarters for eight days (in a manger or booth) and would have been circumcised on the eighth day, a sign of entering the Covenant as a Man.
If we do not keep God's holy days, we will deprive ourselves of the knowledge of God's purpose. Jesus and the first century church observed and upheld these days.
Richard Ritenbaugh suggests that both the time element and the significance of the Great White Throne has been lost on most of the Catholic and Protestant world because they refuse to keep God's Holy Days. Far from being the dreadful Dies Irae, not only does judgment proceed from the throne of God, but also salvation and eternal life. There is a good, perfect balance of His severity and goodness, something a perfect judge should have. Because of His perfect holiness and righteousness, every individual will receive a "fair shake."
Are millions lost because they never heard the name of Christ? What about infants who died? Are the doors forever shut on those born into false religion?
We often speak confidently of friends and relatives who will rise in the second or general resurrection to have their opportunity for salvation—but what a shame it would be if we were not there to greet them! Mike Ford, reminiscing about being there for his grandfather, urges us all to make our election sure!
In this message prepared for the Last Great Day, Richard Ritenbaugh acknowledges that it is a perfectly natural human reaction to fear death. We don't have God's mind on this subject as Christ had and the Apostle Paul had to grow into. Looking at death as "gain," Jesus and Paul calmly looked upon death as a natural part of life, as a transition to a better life, after this life, a time death would be "put to death" (Hosea 13:14,I Corinthians 15:54-55) The Great White Throne Judgment depicts a time when billions, resurrected with new bodies of God's manufacture, totally without spot of disease, full of vigor, without the hindrance of Satan the Devil, will be infused with hope and an opportunity to yield to God's purpose for their lives. In the meantime, God's called out ones must also cultivate a different, more hopeful perspective on the subject of death and resurrection.
The Eighth Day (or Last Great Day) is a separate festival from the Feast of Tabernacles, which can only derive its significance in the New Testament.
Richard Ritenbaugh, referring to the caption, "The End," suggests that "The End" may also fill our minds with prophetic symbolism at the end of the age. Noah's flood was an end, the temple's destruction was an end, Christ's second coming will be an end, and the Last Great Day will be an end as well as a beginning. The prophetic messages carry the understanding that the physical earth and the heavens will be replaced while God endures forever. Isaiah 65:17-19 describes the end as depicted by the Last Great Day, a time joy will replace weeping, and sorrow will be remembered no more, Christ will turn over the Kingdom to God the Father, death is totally destroyed, Satan is put away with no chance of parole, and billions of people will be led to salvation,a time God will be all-in-all. The only thing that will remain after the destruction of the heavens and the earth (perhaps in the Lake of Fire) will be holy righteous character. This climactic event should motivate us to overcome and grow spiritually. When we enter the golden age of God, the bad old days will be remembered no more. Only those written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be there, receiving direct access to God in a time of perpetual illumination, ushering in an endless period of creativity. God's testimonies are absolutely certain; every word He speaks comes to pass. Holiness will grace God's residence forever.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the pouring out of water as a symbol of the pouring out of God's Holy Spirit during the Second Resurrection. The vast majority of people who have lived on this earth have never heard the true Gospel of God's Kingdom. God, not willing that any should perish, has a timetable, carefully calculated to allow people to receive and respond to the truth at their maximum opportunity for salvation, each in his own order. The Judgment indicates a process, requiring considerable time, a turning point, leading to a just and equitable decision. This conversion process, requiring the use of His Spirit, symbolized by water has already begun for God's called-out ones. Without the quality of life imparted by God's Holy Spirit, eternal life is not worth living.
We each have an eternal responsibility to do the will of God, continually seeking Him. Those who do not choose God's way of life will be mercifully put to death.
John Ritenbaugh, reminding us that the scene does not change between John 7 and 8, but the location changes in chapter 9, a location where He heals a man who had been blind from his birth. This stirred up another controversy with the Pharisees. All of the events occurring in John 8-10 occurred on the Last Great Day, six months before Jesus was crucified, in the same year on the Hebrew calendar, but on two separate years on the Roman calendar (30 AD and 31 AD). Jesus Christ healed the blind man on a double Sabbath, a high day, and a weekly Sabbath. This verse proves that the seventh day of Feast of Tabernacles is not the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and that Christ was crucified in 31 AD, and that the postponement rules of the Hebrew calendar are accurate. In October 30 AD, the Feast of Trumpets and the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles both took place on the Sabbath, while the Last Great Day occurred on the Sabbath. In the spring, calculated with postponements, the crucifixion occurred on a Wednesday while the Resurrection occurred on a Sabbath. According to the scripture, the calendar has to match both years. The only calendar which will fit is the calculated Hebrew calendar using the postponements. The events of John 7:37 categorically prove the veracity of the Hebrew calendar with its postponements. In John 8, Jesus shows us the mindset of the people coming out of the grave. The blind man healed in chapter 9 represents the whole world, spiritually blind from birth. Chapter 10 indicates that there will be no shepherd except for Him. When the resurrection of the rest of the dead occurs, judgment will be rendered on the basis of a person's works. They will be resurrected, either to eternal life or oblivion. This will be a permanent change.
In this Last Great Day sermon Richard Ritenbaugh asserts that the Lake of Fire (Second Death or Third Resurrection), dreadful as it initially appears, produces both immediate as well as ultimate benefits or good. As a deterrent against sin, the Lake of Fire has an immediate benefit for those who, after having accepted Christ's sacrifice, might be tempted to sin (Hebrews 10:26-27, 12:26-29, II Peter 3:10-11). The future benefit of the Lake of Fire will be a thorough scouring of all evil, perversion and filth from the universe, ushering in an eternity without the pain or misery of sin (Zephaniah 3: 14-15,Revelation 21: 8, 27). As God's called out ones, our time of judgment (our Great White Throne Judgment) begins right now (I Peter 4:17, II Peter 1:3-11)
The world will learn that God judges—that He has the ultimate decision over everything. After Satan is bound, God will bring about seven reconcilements.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the life of Ryan Leif, an athlete who had all the advantages, suggested that his stupidity ended up mitigating his advantages and achievements. As he started his rookie year, he fumbled and made many errors, destroying his reputation as a sterling quarterback. His subsequent life went downhill, as he succumbed to controlled substances, leading to burglary and other crimes. He sits in a jail cell in Montana, deemed a failure, down in the gutter. If we do not establish a relationship with God, we will also be failures. Thankfully, in the Great White Throne Judgment, these failures will be turned into successes if those God resurrects establish a relationship with God. Access to God is made possible only through His calling. Everyone alive has sinned; without God's Spirit, it is impossible to access God. The world will be in a debased state until the time of Christ's return, when God's Spirit will be generally available, poured out on all flesh. The Great White Throne judgment will feature a mass physical resurrection, beginning with the House of Israel followed by the rest of humanity. God will convert all of humanity from all time since the Garden of Eden. Psalms 105 and 106, considered teaching Psalms, set the ambience for this time period, expressing the yearning desire to be included in His Kingdom, and declaring God's praises to everyone, exhorting everyone to seek the Lord. We are encouraged to see God at our side through our spiritual wilderness journey, a parallel to the wandering of our forebears on the Sinai. Those in the Great White Throne Judgment will undergo the same process, but will not have Satan and a corrupt world to contend with. They will have to contend with carnal nature. Priests and Levites will be reprogrammed to do their jobs right, distinguishing between the sacred and the profane. God has always been faithful
God does not like to inflict punishment on people, but because of sin, He is obligated to correct. But as quickly as God punishes, God restores and heals.
The Sabbath is an antidote to the weariness we experience. It recalls God's pausing after completing His physical creation, focusing on the spiritual creation.
Richard Ritenbaugh, exploring the different nuances of the word "according to," in the context of the expression, "according to their works" suggests that parallel expressions "depending on," "equal to," or "in the same measure," seem to have the best fit. God demonstrates rock solid consistency in His judgments to all men at all times, including the hideous pagan religious practices of the Amorites as well as the insidious, political plotting of Sanballat. God applies the same measure to all men at all times: His standard is always the same. Because God, the Perfect Judge, sees the content of our hearts, nothing ever escapes His attention. God mercifully judges us over a lifetime of behaviors, not just one or two isolated incidents. As parents, we judge our children on their works- (whether they get done or not) over a lengthy period of time. Fruits, as a metaphor for works, we also judge longitudinally, but we must also scrutinize in a plural sense because not all of our fruit come to maturity. Works, fruits, or actions are the concrete proof of our belief and our growth. We are under God's scrutiny and judgment right now. If we fail to repent, getting on the right trajectory, God will have no choice but to reject us.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the massive drought in the continental United States, observes that nothing makes one appreciate water like drought. Water has great metaphorical significance on the Last Great Day of the Feast, symbolizing God's Holy Spirit given without measure. Prefigured by the annual Jewish water ceremony, Jesus assures His followers that compared to the meager golden pitcher of water, He would provide rivers of living water. To the Samaritan woman, He suggests that Jacob's Well is paltry compared to the healing, living water of God's Holy Spirit flowing from the Rock. The water flowing from the Millennial Temple mirrors the outflowing of God's Holy Spirit, filling up the whole earth with the life-saving knowledge of God.
Christ's teachings on the Eighth Day revolved around light and darkness, and twice on that Holy Day He proclaimed that He is the Light of the World.
Mark Schindler, focusing on the seventh day, the last great day of Jesus' final Feast of Tabernacles, admonishes us to look beyond the significance of our own calling, realizing that the sacrifice of Christ was intended for all men with the hope that they also would be added ultimately to the family of God. We need to allow our Heavenly Father to infuse us with big-picture thinking, realizing that God's work is much greater than our calling, but is in fact a work enabling all of mankind to have access to God the Father. God has purposely given us, as God's called ones, the position of "trainees" as a part of the First Fruits to expedite this marvelous project. The seventh day Sabbath has always served as God's signature, a key to understanding redemption and healing. The seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles contained a traditional water ceremony, which Jesus greatly magnified, prophesying that whoever drinks of the living water (symbolic of God's Holy Spirit) will manifest rivers of living water flowing from them. . Understanding the pattern of seven, the signature of God, gives us a deeper appreciation for the God we serve, enabling us to realize that the Great God has been working to complete His plan down to the tiniest detail. From the creation of the Sabbath and the annual Holy days, including the seven Sabbaths we count to Pentecost, we see how God is working to bring all mankind into His family in systematic stages, beginning with the First Fruits and ending with a great harvest of the rest of mankind in the White Throne Period, after which God will be all-in-all. The number seven is a kind of divine motif, God's signature, a signpost for His called-out ones to build faith, whether we consider the land Sabbath, counting seven Sabbaths to Pentecost,or the 49 years followed by the Jubilee, which typifies the eighth day, contemplating a grand expansio
Satan can fine-tune the course of this world (Zeitgeist), customizing it depending on whom he may seek to murder. We need to be thinking and vigilant.