In previous issues we have covered all of the spring feasts in the New Covenant and now we will look at the fall feasts. The first one was the feast of trumpets. Trumpets were used in the Old Covenant to announce and summon people to important events. It was most important that the trumpet not give an uncertain sound (I Corinthians 14:8). The trumpet in prophecy has special reference to events in the last days (e.g., Joel 2) and the messages of the book of Revelation are given as with a trumpet (Revelation 1:10; 4:1). The feasts of the spring prefigured events associated with the first advent of Christ, but the feasts of the fall prefigured events associated with the second advent of Christ. This feast of trumpets was announced ten days before the coming Day of Atonement, the most solemn day of all the year in the Old Covenant. During the ten years preceding 1844, the announcement that the Day of Judgment was at hand was sent with trumpet tones throughout the world, reaching every civilized nation and mission station worldwide. Just as with the spring feasts, this feast in the New Covenant could only occur once for all time. Today we are not announcing anymore that the Day of Judgment is at hand—we have to say that it has been in progress for over 160 years; and no longer are we preaching just the first angel’s message which was the original message of the Second Advent Movement, but rather the third angel’s message—the last message of mercy that God has sent for a dying world. (The third angel’s message includes the first and the second.) The feast of trumpets summoned the people of God to appear before the Lord. Nobody will experience the feast of the trumpets in the New Covenant who is not actively working to spread the Three Angels’ Messages to the world.
The fifth feast of the year was the feast of the Day of Atonement. This was the typical Day of Judgment. In the Old Covenant, this occurred every year because the blood of bulls and goats could not really take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). But in the New Covenant it occurs just once in the end of the ages (Hebrews 9:25, 26) and is the Day of Atonement, or cleansing of the sanctuary, or time of investigative judgment. This is called the investigative judgment because all court trials even in this world have three phases: an investigative phase in which, if you are acquitted, the judgment then is over for you; a sentencing phase; and an executive phase, which is the execution of the sentence. God’s judgment also has three phases. To see the sentencing phase in Scripture, look at Revelation 20:4. To see the executive phase, see Revelation 20:11–15. The investigative phase occurs while the gospel is still being preached in the last days. See Revelation 14:6, 7.
This service or feast in the New Covenant results in the complete removal of sin from all of God’s people so that they are just the same as if they had never sinned!