Sunset tonight starts the Last Great Day, the last of God's yearly festivals and holy days, a festival separate from the Feast of Tabernacles, yet connected with it. It has an individual meaning, and is technically not part of the Feast of Tabernacles, because the Feast of Tabernacles is called a seven day Feast (Leviticus 23:34). Yet it is closely associated with the Feast of Tabernacles because it is called the "eighth day" and the "last day" of the Feast (Leviticus 23:36, John 7:37-38).
Like all of God's annual festivals, it has great meaning in the true gospel, meaning which the Church of God understands because we believe and obey God by keeping these festivals, but the world and traditional churches do not understand because they do not believe and obey God by keeping these festivals and instead keep pagan, worldly holidays like Christmas and Easter.
The Last Great Day represents a time and an event, which can be called the white throne judgment or the general resurrection of the dead, when all the billions who have lived and died without an opportunity to hear the true gospel and to have their minds opened to be able to understand and believe the gospel and to repent, will be brought up out of their graves and given their first real chance to be saved (Ezekiel 37:1-14, Revelation 20:11-15).
Except for the few that God calls to salvation in this 6,000 year age of man (John 6:44, 65, Acts 1:16), the world is blinded by Satan and is not able to understand and believe the gospel and to repent and be converted even if they hear the true gospel (Matthew 13:10-17, Mark 4:11-12, Luke 8:10, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Revelation 12:9), and most of the world has not heard the true gospel.
Yet, it is not God's will that only the few be saved, but all of mankind, the majority, except for the few who knowingly and willfully reject the gospel. God will offer salvation to everyone. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Yet, only by the true gospel and through Christ can anyone be saved (Acts 4:10-12).
This is something the world of traditional, mainstream Christianity does not understand. Many traditional Christians think that the billions who have lived and died in the past without hearing the true gospel are condemned to be lost in the Lake of Fire. Compounding their error, they also believe men have immortal souls and will suffer in pain forever.
Thus they paint a picture in their minds of a harsh, unjust God who tortures people forever, never having given them the opportunity to avoid such torture. They paint God as a monster, in other words. But they don't acknowledge that outwardly. They call God good, but believe He practices cruel injustice.
For this very reason, some atheists and agnostics reject religion. They see the error of the mainstream churches, but they don't see their own error.
Yet both atheists and traditional religious people are deceived. This illustrates one of Satan's strategies. He deceives both groups (and many other groups) into accepting extreme positions, then he plays one group against the other to reinforce each group's belief that they are right and the other group is wrong. The truth is lost in-between.
The truth is, God will give everyone a chance for salvation. The Last Great Day and its meaning complete God's plan for the salvation of all mankind. This day represents the resurrection of the billions who lived and died without a chance for salvation before. This includes the people who lived before the flood, the people who lived from the flood to the time of Christ, and the people who have lived from the time of Christ till now who never heard the true gospel or never had a chance to escape Satan's deception and believe the gospel and repent. They will all be brought back to physical life, not immortal life, and will stand on the earth again, alive as they were before.
They will be brought back to life at a time when Christ and the saints are ruling the earth and Satan will be put away, and for the first time they will hear the true gospel without being blinded by Satan. They will be able to hear, understand, repent, and be saved.
"Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it," says the Lord' " (Ezekiel 37:12-14).
"The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works" (Revelation 20:13).
These people will be judged for what they have done in their past life. They will be pronounced guilty, for all have sinned (Romans 3:23). But then they will learn that they can be forgiven, if they repent, because Christ died to pay the penalty for their sins. I am sure that with Satan put away and Christ and the saints ruling the earth and teaching the true gospel, the majority will believe the true gospel and repent and accept Christ as their savior and be saved.
Both the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day represent periods of happiness and peace on the earth. Both represent times when Christ and the saints rule the earth. Both represent the great harvest of souls, compared to the harvest of crops that takes place in the fall. The white throne judgment period follows the millennium as the Last Great Day follows the Feast of Tabernacles.
The peace and happiness that exist on the earth during the millennium will also exist during the white throne judgment period. It will exist during both periods because righteousness and the knowledge of God will fill the earth. "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9). "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).
That righteousness will come three ways. First, Christ and the saints will rule the earth in righteousness. They will teach the right way of life. Peace, truth, and justice will be enforced. "He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Micah 4:3).
"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations - 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels' - as I also have received from My Father" (Revelation 2:26-27). "And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left" (Isaiah 30:20-21).
Mankind will live righteously because righteousness will be taught as a way of life all over the earth. Peace and justice will be enforced, and rebellion, war, and false teaching will not be permitted.
Under Christ, we will teach the people the true gospel and God's law and way of life directly. We will be able to teach it because we will have learned that way of life ourselves, now, and have lived it.
Secondly, the people will be taught that they are to live by every word of God, and the people will be able to read their Bibles and learn from God's word directly, as we do today. Satan will not be around to deceive them about the Bible, nor will false teachers twist scriptures anymore, but they will be taught the true meaning of the scriptures, and without Satan around they will be able to see the truth of what the Bible says without being deceived, and they can learn righteousness that way.
Thirdly, God's Holy Spirit will be made freely available to all who repent. The vast majority of mankind will probably choose to believe and obey God and be converted, and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help them understand spiritual knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). The Holy Spirit will enable the people to live righteously (2 Timothy 1:7).
These three things, the direct rule and teaching of Christ and the saints, the Bible correctly taught, and the Holy Spirit, will teach and empower the human race to live righteously. The earth will be filled with God's righteousness, and that righteousness will produce peace, justice, and happiness all over the earth.
What a time to look forward to!
Here are links to posts in this blog that are also related to the meaning of the Last Great Day:
"A Stumbling Block - The Fate of the Billions Who Never Heard of Christ", dated May 21, 2008, link:
"Why God Is Not Trying to Save Everyone Now ", dated October 26, 2008, link:
"God Is Not Trying to Save Everyone in this Age", dated November 8, 2008, link:
"The World's Loved Ones Are Not Lost", dated September 29, 2010, link:
"The Millennium Prepares for the White Throne Judgment", dated October 17, 2011, link:
"The Last Great Day Shows God's Mercy and Justice", dated October 18, 2011, link:
"Learning Love by Doing in the Millennium - Preparing for the White Throne Judgement", dated October 5, 2012, link:
"The White Throne Judgement Is a Blessing for the Church of God", dated October 8, 2012, link:
"The Bible's Main Readership", dated September 22, 2013, link:
"The Feast of Tabernacles, the Last Great Day, and the Kingdom of God", dated September 25, 2015, link:
Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:
The Last Great Day - the White Throne Judgment, Chapter 2