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God promises permanent peace for all humanity through Christ Jesus. At His birth the multitudes of angels praised God and emphasised our Creator’s desire for peace: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).
This far-reaching angelic proclamation is an incredible promise of permanent peace, but mankind’s history is a chronicle of wars. Some researchers have concluded the world has experienced only about 30 years of “peace,” when no war was being waged somewhere on earth.
In addition to the greed, jealousy and selfishness inevitably leading to conflict between human beings, Satan the devil constantly incites human warfare, with Jesus Christ describing him as “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).
This influence and the selfish, carnal hearts of human beings is why Christ foretold increasing wars and rumours of wars (Matthew 24:6-7), culminating in the time just before He returns when humanity will come to the very brink of extermination: “Unless that time of calamity is shortened [cut short from running its course], not a single person will survive …” (Matthew 24:22).
The way to eternal peace is explained in Scripture and also revealed through the symbolic meanings of four biblical festivals—the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the final Eighth Day, sometimes called the Last Great Day.
The Feast of Trumpets proclaims the return of Christ to reign over the entire earth, at the blowing of the seventh trumpet after a time of terrible calamity and war on earth: “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever’ ” (Revelation 11:1). At this time the saints of God will also be resurrected as spirit beings to reign with Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 5:10).
Preventing humankind from going to war is not enough. God must also deal with the unseen source of war operating behind the scenes—Satan the devil, the enemy of humanity (1 Peter 5:8). The Day of Atonement pictures Christ binding Satan and his demons for 1,000 years, during a time known as the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3)
—when people at last accept Christ as their Saviour and receive His atoning sacrifice.
The Feast of Tabernacles, following a few days later and lasting for seven days, depicts the peace and prosperity humanity will experience during the Millennium, with Christ, lovingly teaching them so they can receive God’s gift of eternal life (Micah 4:3-4).
At the end of this glorious time, Satan will be released for a brief period to deceive the nations anew—and, sadly, he will succeed in leading a great multitude into a final battle against Christ and His saints. But this will be short-lived. Satan and his demons will be taken out of the picture for good (Revelation 20:7-10), and peace will be restored.
God has planned a much greater harvest of human beings beyond the Millennium, a second resurrection following the first resurrection of the saints at Christ’s return (Revelation 20:4-6; 11-13). This great harvest of human lives will include all who have ever lived and died from the time of Adam to Christ’s return.
Those who never understood God’s truth will have the opportunity to make the choice to follow Christ and be saved. God reveals aspects of the fulfilment of this Holy Day in Ezekiel 37:1-14, describing ancient Israel’s resurrection to physical existence, and Revelation 20:11-13, which shows that they, along with those resurrected of all nations, will be judged from God’s Word.
God is all about peace (Romans 15:33; Philippians 4:9), and Jesus Christ is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Christians who observe these Holy Days today look forward to Christ’s return and the establishment of peace throughout the earth, and the chance every human being who has ever lived will have to turn to God and follow His ways.
The Good News Magazine