Posted by: Michael Stevenson on Tue, Oct 4, 2011
IN his first inspired sermon after the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peter had summed up God’s instruction to mankind by saying that man needs to “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began”—Acts 3:19-21.
But, just what are the “times of refreshing” and the “times of restoration” of which Peter has spoken?
God’s whole plan for redemption is that which actually involves restoration. The Feast of Tabernacles which symbolizes for us the restoration process, which will start at the return of Jesus Christ—being pictured by the Feast of Trumpets and then of course Satan’s banishment which is pictured for us by the Day of Atonement. Once these events have occurred, as is shown by the previous Holy Days, the foundation is in place for the restoration of the creation to peace and harmony with God.
The seven day Feast of Tabernacles, which starts with an annual Holy Day (Leviticus 23:34-35) shows to us the one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth after His second coming (Revelation 20:4). This time period is what we call the Millennium, which means 1,000 years.
That age which is yet to come, is the wonderful “rest” which follows the hardships of this present age, which is shown every seven days by the weekly Sabbath (Hebrews 4:1-11) and every year through the Feast of Tabernacles. Further called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16), it observes the great harvest of mankind when all people who are alive on earth will then learn the ways of God. Mankind will finally be restored to a right king of relationship with God (Isaiah 11:9-10).
In the creation week, God had formed man to cooperate with Him in a great relationship shown to us by love, peace and real obedience to His laws. At the completion of His creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good”—Genesis 1:31. This time of peace and of harmony which abruptly ended by Satan’s deception and man’s disobedience (Genesis 3:1-6). Disobedience has cut mankind off from God’s ways (vs. 21-24). The Bible then tells us about the tragic result of this when we read that “Then the Lord saw that the wicked of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”—Genesis 6:5.
This broken relationship between God and man has thus went on through history to our time. Paul had reflected upon this when he wrote that “Through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned”—Romans 5:12.
Paul had known that the breach that was created by the disobedience of man is healed through Jesus Christ. “For since by man [Adam] came death, by Man [Christ] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive”—1 Corinthians 15:21-22.
The Restoration of the World Prophesied by Isaiah
God had used the prophet Isaiah to give to us certain parts of His awesome plan that He has for restoring the world. Written during a time which Israel had faced great punishment for our continued disobedience, the book of Isaiah was thus inspired by God to give to the nation encouragement and great promise of a world which would be much better which is yet to come about.
Jesus Christ, after therefore reading in the synagogue one of Isaiah’s prophecies which had acknowledged the special understanding which is given to the prophet. “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke to Him”—John 12:41. Isaiah had prophesied not only of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but further wrote of Christ’s return in power and glory (Isaiah 66:15-16).
The very basis for the messianic rule of Jesus will be the true laws of God. Again, just as Isaiah has foretold that “it shall come to pass be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem”—Isaiah 2:2-3.
A True World with Great Peace and Abundance
After His return, Jesus will bring the creation in its fullness into harmony with God and thus, peace will not be an exception—but will be established. King David has said “Great peace have those who love Your law”—Psalm 119:165. Now, think about what the world will be like when all people will truly know the law of God and will live by the law.
Of course, more than just knowledge will be needed to bring about this awesome transformation of the world. There will also have to be a spiritual change that will take place among people. God, speaking the prophet Ezekiel has told us that this will also happen. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them”—Ezekiel 36:26-27.
God’s Spirit will influence people to willingly and with excitement, choose to obey God from their hearts. People will begin to place the interests of others before their own selfish wills. They will start thinking of others as “better than themselves”—Philippians 2:3, KJV. Instead of self-concern, their goal will be to help and to assist their fellow humans. There will be no stealing, disregard for other’s property, feelings will no long be hurt. Because the world will finally be at total and real peace, nations will finally “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”—Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3.
Can you imagine how awesome that will be that there will be such peace, such awesome desire in the hearts of man not to learn war anymore—for man not to ever want to steal or do wicked?
During the Millennium, God is going to change even the very nature of the animals, causing them to also reflect peace that will come upon society. Isaiah has said for us that “The cow and the bear shall grave; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain…”—Isaiah 11:7-9.
The Effects of Sin Will be reversed
Right now in this present age, people must endure illnesses, sickness, disease and all types of infirmities. In the Millennium, people will be healed. God is going to heal infirmities. We find a very awesome prophesy that tells us that “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing…”—Isaiah 35:5-6.
Of even far greater importance will be the spiritual healing which will take place upon the world. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion…”—Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-19. Jesus Christ is going to complete the healing that He began during His ministry on the earth when He was in the flesh on earth. The accumulated results of generations of people who have followed Satan’s sinful ways will then finally begin to be reversed and no more will be people living in sin—they no longer will feel the effects of sin upon them.
As already stated, the Feast of Tabernacles is further called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16). This name shows to us the completion of Israel’s annual harvest. In this, we find that we are told by God that “You shall rejoice before the LORD your God”—Deuteronomy 12:12, 18; 14:26. So then, this feast is going to be a great time of real celebration for the abundance that God has poured out.
The same great and most bountiful harvest theme then continues on into the future fulfillment of the festival. Through Isaiah, God has chosen to reveal that “For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water”—Isaiah 35:6-7.
At this time, the earth is going to bring about the most awesome abundant harvests. We will no longer have famine and hunger because “Behold, the days are coming”—God reveals that “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it”—Amos 9:13.
The Awesomeness of Tabernacles
But, why is tabernacles so very important to the Church of God? Well, first off, the name of the Feast of Tabernacles comes from God’s very command to ancient Israel to build temporary “tabernacles,” sometimes named the “booths,” which is to live in during this awesome festival. The Israelites had literally left their homes to dwell in such temporary dwellings. The Hebrew succah means “hug of woven boughs” which were to be lived within. Today, we in the Church of God or modern “Israel of God” is to also leave our homes and dwell in temporary dwellings, dwelling in them which reminds us that we are released from slavery and our dwelling in booths when God had brought ancient Israel out of Egypt just as we are brought forth from sin (Leviticus 23:34, 41-43. In our day, we have this showing to us the lesson of hardship of slavery, and this festival showing great rest, peace, and awesome prosperity as we have not ever before known—that which will meet our needs and those of all people, including strangers, widows, the orphans, the poor and all people.
The Bible further goes on to emphasize that, just as with booths, or the temporary dwellings, our own physical life is just in transitory. The apostle Paul has written that “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven”—2 Corinthians 5:1-2, KJV.
We are further reminded that “these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth”—Hebrews 11:13 which his telling to us that all the faithful who have died on down through the ages will be resurrected at that very return of Jesus and will rule and reign with Jesus in the Kingdom of God.
This Feast is an annual reminder of our temporary state and that we also “seek a homeland”—v.14. This lesson is reinforced as we travel to one of the many sites each year for the Feast of Tabernacles, staying in temporary dwellings such as hotels and campgrounds.
This Feast also reminds us that, in spite of our material wealth and possessions, we are still mortals who are still in great need of a literal transformation so that we can gain eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
In the accounts of the vision that has come to be called the “transfiguration,” Jesus gave a glimpse of the Kingdom of God to Peter, James and John, Christ had appeared to be in great glory and talking with Moses and Elijah. Peter’s immediate response was to suggest that they quickly had constructed three tabernacles. He then seemed to understand the important connection between these and the future age of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 17:1-9; Luke 9:27-36.
When we prepare for the Feast each year, we need to always include our temporary dwellings in preparation such as a hotel or a campground so that we can be keeping in harmony with this—for the truth will become even more eye-opening when we stay in those temporary dwellings each year.
The Resurrected Saints in the Millennium
The judgment of the inhabitants of the earth who live during the one thousand years as is shown to us by the Feast of Tabernacles (Isaiah 2:4; 51:4-5) always begins in earnest as Jesus brings “many sons to glory”—Hebrews 2:10. This very judgment is a time of great universal opportunity for salvation. And to this very end, God has therefore allowed one thousand years in which the resurrected saints, the firstfruits of God’s harvest will then reign with Jesus Christ on earth as kings and priests, leading the way for others to enter into the Kingdom (Revelation 5:10, 20:6).
Jesus has promised that “he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations”—Revelation 2:26. People whom God resurrects at the very time that Jesus returns will then experience the awesome opportunity that they will have to work with Him to help all the nations build a righteous relationship with God.
The very foundation for this will begin with instruction about God’s true law; including the very observance of the Holy Days and the seventh-day Sabbath. Zechariah has said that “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which come against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles”—Zechariah 14:16. Other prophets further talked of the time as an era of God’s law covering the whole earth “as the waters cover the sea”—Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14.
Many then will aid Jesus in this awesome educational program of helping others to come to understand God’s true way. Speaking of this, Isaiah has said that 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.
The chance for us to help others to come to understand and to be finally reconciled to God is an awesome calling that we are being given now, in this present age. Each one who will serve in this way will be called “the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In”—Isaiah 58:12.
Don’t you want to take part in having a hand in helping others in the Millennium to come to a real and true knowledge of God, helping them to decide to obey God and His laws? This is the work of those who are now being called into the Church today have in that day if they are faithful!
“God has called people out of this world in this present age to become His chosen people, having made them holy and redeemed by Him (2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1. They are to live lives of example as God is preparing them for future service to rule and reign with Jesus Christ at that Millennial day.
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” the apostle Peter further said that “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation”—1 Peter 2:11-12.
There Will Be ONE FINAL Conflict
All through the awesome plan of redemption, God never forces anyone to obey Him. Every person is always free to choose what he or she will do and whether or not they will accept or reject God’s way of living. This freedom of choice is something that is essential to our willingness to obey God.
After the one thousand years, God is going allow Satan to test the spiritual convictions of the early inhabitants. Revelation 20:7-10 has described for us this time. God is going to loose the devil from his place of restraint and will allow him to deceive those who are not convicted of the perfect righteousness of God’s own way. God will then destroy by fire those who will follow Satan in this rebellion. The devil’s efforts will then be thwarted. This final rebellion against God will come to nothing and Satan’s destruction, deceitful influence over mankind will then come to a close.
The stage then will be set for the events of what will be pictured by yet, one more Holy Day on the Holy Day calendar. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures for us the awesome opportunity for salvation to those who are left alive at the return of Jesus Christ, as well as all the physical descendants during the Millennium. But, just what about all the billions of people of past generations who have lived and died without a chance for understanding? Are they lost? What about those who have died in disasters before Christ’s return, those who have not heard? Just how is it that God is going to offer them salvation? The Last Great Day, also known as the Eighth Day will show us this very awesome reality.
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