The feeling starts when you wake up in the morning. Looking out your hotel window, you know it will be your last day in a beautiful location—you will soon leave behind mountains and fall-colored forests or palm trees and beaches. It will also be your last day to spend with some of your closest friends, most of whom you will not see again for another year. All of the special fellowship, fine dining, and events will come to a close in the next few hours.
It is the Last Great Day, the seventh annual Holy Day commanded by God. The seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles ended the night before. These two events are detailed in Leviticus 23: “In the fifteenth day of the seventh month [this falls between September and October on the Roman calendar], when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath” (vs. 39).
You prepare for morning Holy Day services knowing this special time will soon end.
Fast-forward to afternoon services: the last sermon comes to a close, the last hymn sung, the last closing prayer delivered. Thoughts of packing up the car or having one last meal before retiring to your hotel room for a final evening start to come to mind.
Making your last trip around the hall, passing out hugs and handshakes and saying your goodbyes, you reluctantly pull away from another “just one last” conversation. You cannot help but think of all the new friendships made, with older bonds strengthened. Gathering your belongings for the last time seems somewhat odd.
You had settled into a comfortable—and inspiring—routine the past eight days: Church services in the morning and inspiring fellowship and activities in the afternoons.
What you just experienced is unlike any other time of year. All the activities, brethren and fine meals have to be stored away in your memory until next year. This period of time has changed you in ways yet undiscovered. The experience is more than you could have imagined—and now it is all over.
Yet how should we really feel during this entire process? Great!
Humanly, it is understandable to miss the Feast of Tabernacles when it comes to an end. The special memories created from this time cause a tug-of-war of emotions. It is a feeling that is somewhat hard to explain, an uneasy transition of sorts.
When this day is fully understood, however, the reason it is a great, joyous event comes clear.
The name of the Holy Day comes from the book of John, which calls it “the last day, that great day of the feast” (7:37).
As with all feast days, the Last Great Day is “a shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1), which means it foreshadows future events.
While the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles picture 1,000 years of peace and prosperity during the millennial reign of Christ and His saints in the newly established kingdom of God, the Last Great Day pictures a period after the Millennium. It is the pinnacle of God’s plan of salvation when the vast majority of mankind will be given 100 years (Isa. 65:20) to learn His Way and be offered eternal life.
This glorious picture is just the first of many “good things” the Last Great Day has to offer. When you delve into the meaning of this day, the list of reasons it is truly great grows even more.
Go Home Energized
Rather than putting a dark cloud over the Last Great Day, the fact that you are heading back to your regular life should excite you.
Consider that you just received three months of messages in just eight days! This means you are now equipped to go home energized and apply what you have learned. Problems and trials may await you back home, but you can now face them head-on with a new perspective. The Last Great Day can be the springboard for you to take what you have learned from Jesus Christ through His ministry and apply those lessons.
Imagine if the Feast continued indefinitely. It might be enjoyable for a time, but you would pile up sermon notes and never really have time to review them—or even apply them.
Because of this, heading home is important. It means you can live James 1:22, which states, “Be you doers of the word, and not hearers only…”
This verse never applies as much as when we leave the Feast. Christians are doers!
Back home, each of our prayers should have a deeper, richer context when we ask “Thy kingdom come.” Every time we open our Bibles to better learn how to qualify to be part of that kingdom, it should be done with greater concentration and focus. Every time we meditate on these wonderful prophecies and godly principles, it should be quality time that is eagerly anticipated. A desire to fast more often and to put into practice what we are learning should now be done with a greater urgency. Not only should we desire to go back home to our lives, we should also relish every opportunity to serve and show brotherly love to others.
With the meaning of the fall feasts firmly in mind, you can more fervently train now for what you will be doing later—to “reign on the earth” as “kings and priests” (Rev. 5:10).
During the Millennium and Last Great Day, we will work with and teach people of every personality type. We should be ready to work with someone who is jovial and eager to learn—or someone who is more curt and stubborn.
Strive to “live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). Grow in empathy and learn to see others’ points of view. Apply this everywhere, including home and work.
To be part of God’s kingdom, we must learn to obey those who have authority over us. This means everyone in charge. Even if you have a boss that is a little hard on you—take it in stride and employ Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Do everything as if you are doing it to Jesus Christ Himself, and He will give you “the reward of the inheritance.”
1,000 Years of Preparation
Another way to know that the Last Great Day is truly great is by looking at how long it takes to prepare for it. As with any event, a person can know how large and important it is by examining how long it takes to get ready for it.
The Olympics are one example of this. A host city is selected at least seven years prior to the games. Sochi, Russia, was chosen in 2007 as the host for the 2014 winter Olympics (and this was after a years-long selection process).
The Russian government spent over $50 billion to prepare the city, the most ever spent on any Olympics. This not only included building the game venues, but also the infrastructure needed for the event such as increasing the power supply to the city by two-and-a-half times, building dozens of new bridges and tunnels, 228 miles of road, and several new airport terminals, railway stations, hotels and telecommunications systems.
This was all done to support an incredible population influx—one million spectators, over 13,000 athletes, 10,000 security personnel, and thousands of other performers, administrators and support staff.
It took nearly eight years to prepare a city of nearly 350,000 citizens for an event that only lasted 17 days!
Compare this to the Last Great Day. We need the 1,000 years of the Millennium to prepare for this time.
The Greek word for “great” in John 7:37 is megas. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon of the New Testament states that one meaning is “splendid, prepared on a grand scale, stately.”
In order for the Last Great Day to be a “mega” day, it will require much preparation on a grand scale. The Earth will need to be ready to receive billions of people coming to life in a very short period of time.
At the outset of the Last Great Day, an astonishing event will occur. God promises to all those who have died, “I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live…” (Ezek. 37:6).
This is the Second Resurrection (Rev. 20:12) and will include almost everyone who lived before—all at once!
Suddenly, tens of billions will need clothing, food and shelter. The face of the Earth will have to be reformed to accommodate living space for everyone.
Preparing for an event on such a massive scale will require centuries of work. There will be many changes to the Earth for this to successfully occur, but the most important preparation is training more God beings. It will take 1,000 years to develop additional hundreds of millions of members of the God Family for that coming time period!
This process will not just happen overnight. It will take time for the survivors in the Millennium to learn God’s ways, then teach them to their children, generation after generation after generation.
During the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ, human beings will be able to accept and live God’s Way. If they grow and overcome, they will eventually be born into the God Family at the end of their physical lives. With a larger God Family—and all of the physical preparations in place—the Earth will be ready to sustain the billions resurrected after the Millennium ends.
The Last Great Day will also be extraordinarily great because it will be the biggest family reunion of all time!
All who have ever lived, all the way back to Adam and Eve, will have the opportunity to awaken from death—what the Bible calls sleep—and live again under the just, merciful and watchful rule of the Family of God. This will be diametrically opposite from the failed 6,000 years of man attempting to live his own way apart from His Creator.
There are few things more exciting than planning for and enjoying a family reunion. The Feast of Tabernacles is a spiritual family reunion. Once a year we are able to see our spiritual family at various Feast sites around the world. This is a unique time that is greatly anticipated.
The Last Great Day is the ultimate family reunion. Virtually all human beings who have died over the course of 6,000 years—everyone—will be brought together all at once! Imagine the complete shock and excitement this will cause.
Think of family members who have died over the years. Think of all your past friends from your earliest memories. Think of all the people you have seen in airports, sports stadiums, shopping centers, newspapers and on television. Everyone will live again and have ample time to learn to live the right way—all so they can be born again as a spirit member of God’s Family.
This coming family reunion will be unlike anything anyone has ever experienced! The best part will be that all people at that time will have God’s Spirit (Joel 2:28).
In addition, the Earth will be full of the knowledge of the one true God (Isa. 11:9 and 54:5). There will be no more confusion as all knowledge will come from one source. There will no longer be a devil to deceive unsuspecting people into doing the wrong thing.
More awesome details of this time include…
- The Earth will no longer be divided in terms of communication. There will be one pure language that will allow all to communicate freely (Zeph. 3:9).
- People will finally respect each other and the environment (Isa. 65:25).
- Everyone will be healed (33:24; 35:5-6).
- All sorrow will cease (25:8; 30:19; 35:10; 60:20) and happiness will break out (51:11).
- There will be no more violence (60:18), terror or fear (54:13-14).
- Great joy will cover the Earth (Jer. 31:12-14).
This will be a family reunion that will be talked about forever! God’s Family will grow and prosper as they ready for the next phase of His Plan.
Finally, the Last Great Day will be great because it marks the fulfillment of God’s Plan for mankind. God will have successfully reproduced Himself, yet the Bible shows that we will remain busy. As Mr. Herbert Armstrong, the leader of the 20th-century Church, stated at the end of his book Mystery of the Ages, the events surrounding the Last Great Day are only the beginning.
At this point, one can wonder, “Only the beginning?” With billions of members of the God Family all in unity of purpose, filled with the love of God, and now fully having the mind of God, the possibilities are staggering.
A clue of what we will do next is found in the book of Isaiah: “Of the increase of His [Christ’s] government and peace there shall be no end” (9:6-7). Luke also confirms this, stating that “of His kingdom there shall be no end” (1:33).
But how and where will God’s kingdom and government increase?
Romans 8:19 begins to explain what will happen next: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Revised Standard Version).
Creation is waiting for the time when God’s Family expands. In a small way, this will be fulfilled when Christians today are turned into spirit beings at Christ’s Return. The ultimate fulfillment of the “revealing of the sons of God” will be when all who have ever lived and qualified for salvation become members of the God Family.
Verse 21 reveals why Creation “waits” for this time: “Because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (RSV).
Look at the vast universe. It is not now capable of sustaining life—rather it is filled with decay. Our job as a member of the God Family will be to bring life, order and beauty to the approximately 100 billion galaxies in the universe.
Such understanding should leave you speechless!
Keep this entire picture in your mind when you keep the Last Great Day this year. You are privileged to be called now, and can grow and prepare to be a part of the God Family. You understand that you will be working with millions during the Millennium in preparation for the fulfillment of the seventh Holy Day.
Realize that you will have the opportunity to be a unique part of the great family reunion ahead. Every life will have tremendous potential. It pictures just the start of an eternal future.
When the sun rises on the Last Great Day, when you have to say goodbye to your friends, when you are driving away from the Feast site—do not be sad or downcast. Instead, set your mind on the “good things” this day represents.
Determine to make this Holy Day great!