Lasting economic prosperity for any people depends on the abundance of its agricultural harvests. Our cover shows how the earth, during the 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ, will bring forth harvest wherever people learn to follow God's way of life.
But the harvest picture is dual. God used the final great autumn harvest in Palestine to illustrate the final great harvest of human beings in His master plan.
IS GOD trying to save the whole world NOW? HAS God, for almost 6000 years, been competing with Satan? Has He been desperately trying to wrest the world from Satan's control?
This is the common teaching today. It makes Satan appear to be winning!
But what does the Bible say?
When God sets His hand to save the world HE WILL SAVE IT! God is not competing with Satan! He is not trying to save the whole world Now! Long ago Jesus Christ foretold that His gospel message would be preached IN THIS AGE merely as a WITNESS to all nations -- not to CONVERT them (Matt. 24:14).
In preceding lessons of the Ambassador College Correspondence Course, you have learned what it means to be saved. Salvation is a PROCESS of repentance, forsaking sin, receipt of the Holy Spirit and subsequent growth toward the spiritual "stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13)
At His return Jesus Christ will give you, if you have qualified, authority as a king, ruling with Him over the whole world.
Satan will be kicked out! Then there will follow ONE THOUSAND YEARS of peace and prosperity. We who are firstfruits of God's harvest -- firstborn into God's family, co-heirs and brothers of Jesus Christ -- will join Him in ruling this earth. We will be given the privilege of bringing saving knowledge to every human then alive. New generations will be born in the Millennium, and humans will soon again number BILLIONS!
These COULD BE called "second fruits." Each will live a life of overcoming as Christians today will have lived.
This happy Millennium is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles -- next in God's annual Holy Day cycle.
The New Testament Church taught the meaning and observance of God's Holy Days far and wide. Even the early Catholic Church dared not dispense with the "doctrine" of the Millennium -- the 1000-year rule of Christ (Rev. 20:1-5). The Catholic Church admitted the fact of the Millennium for HUNDREDS OF YEARS -- long after the death of the Apostles.
Notice these surprising confessions from the writings of leading Catholic "church fathers."
In the second century, Papias of Hierapolis (in Asia Minor) said, "There will be a period of some thousand years after the first resurrection of the dead, and the Kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth" (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., Book 3, Chapter 39).
Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, France, wrote in the latter half of the second century: "For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded."
Then he continues: "These (rewards) are to take place in the times of the kingdom, that is, upon the seventh day ..." -- the Millennium ("Against Heresies", Book 5, Chapters 28, 33).
The early third century produced the same testimony. From Carthage, North Africa, Tertullian acknowledged the possibility of a promised Millennium upon the earth ("Against Marcion", Book 3, Chapter 25).
In the fourth century the Book of Revelation was removed from the general reading list of Catholics. Why? Because it plainly stated the Millennium. "Thus the troublesome foundation on which chiliasm (a Greek word for the doctrine of the Millennium) might have continued to build was got rid of" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, article "Millennium").
After Constantine's time the Catholic Church began to look upon the Roman Empire as the Kingdom of God. They didn't want to hear of any Millennium of God's rule!
Present-day Catholic leaders even go so far as to claim that the doctrine of the 1000-year rule of Christ is not to be found in either the New Testament gospels or epistles or even in the traditions of the apostles ("The Question Box", by William N. Emch, p. 380).
But now turn to the Bible itself, THE SOURCE OF TRUTH, and see the truth for yourself.
1. Does the Bible really say there is only one "day of salvation"? Isa. 49:8.
COMMENT: Today is not the only day of salvation. Today is "a" day of salvation for those few who are being called to repentance now. The original Greek words in II Corinthians 6:2 should also be translated "a day of salvation," not "THE day of salvation." The original Hebrew is the same. Today is A day of salvation for the "firstfruits" -- the few God is now calling to rule in the World Tomorrow!
2. Now consider the prophecies about fleshly Israel. Israel will return from her final captivity in a repentant attitude (Jer. 31:8, 9). Does God PROMISE something when people repent? Acts 2:38. Doesn't this mean that the Millennium will ALSO be a day of salvation?
3. Doesn't Paul say that "ALL Israel shall be saved"? Rom. 11:26. When? At the Second Coming of Christ? Same verse.
COMMENT: The word "all" should be translated idiomatically "as a whole" -- meaning the vast majority.
4. Will the Gentiles, too, become converted? Isa. 2:3.
5. Doesn't Luke 14:23 show that the time comes when every individual on earth is to be "called" by God? Note the word "compel." And, in fact, doesn't Joel 2:28 say that God's Spirit is to be given to "all" flesh -- not meted out sparingly, but "poured" out freely? Be sure to read this whole chapter, noticing especially Joel 2:12-13 and 22-27.
COMMENT: The rain spoken of in verse 23 is dual -- a spiritual as well as a physical rain which produces great physical abundance. God is now giving the former rain of the Holy Spirit "moderately" -- producing the small harvest of firstfruits. There is to be a correspondingly larger "latter rain" of the Spirit to produce the greater spiritual harvest of souls (lives) in the Millennium (Acts 2:16,17).
6. Isn't it clear from Isaiah 32:14, 15 that a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit -- and hence, of salvation -- is typified by and associated with increased rain on desert areas during the Millennium? Compare also Isaiah 44:3 and John 7:37-39.
1. Immediately after bringing His people out of Egypt, did God inaugurate a fall HARVEST festival? Ex. 23:16.
COMMENT: All seven of God's Holy Days picturing His plan were given to His congregation at the very time the congregation (church) of Israel was first formed. The fall harvest festival was to be a time of great rejoicing and thankfulness for God's abundant blessings. It was to also picture the future gathering in of a great harvest of human beings into God's Kingdom for a thousand years.
2. What other name does the Bible use for this feast? Deut. 16:13.
3. Is it a commanded assembly -- whether one wishes to assemble or not? Verse 16. (Also Ex. 34:22-23 and 23:17.) Must it be held only at a certain God-appointed place? Same verse. Only God can choose this place or places (Ex. 20:24), and only God can change it to another place as circumstances warrant.
4. What is the divinely set theme for this Feast of Tabernacles? Deut. 16:14 and 15. Notice the words "surely rejoice." Other translations render this "be altogether joyful."
COMMENT: This, too, is a command. For it pictures a phase of God's dealing with man when man will be forced to be happy -- practice the way of life that brings happiness -- whether man wants to or not. Compulsory joy!
5. Does this annual feast last more than one day? Verse 15. Why?
COMMENT: To portray His plan, God took the material harvest seasons around Jerusalem as the picture of the spiritual harvest of souls (lives). There are two annual harvests in Palestine.
The spring grain harvest which pictures the firstfruits is small compared to the great fall harvest. The firstfruits harvest is pictured by a single day, to be fulfilled like the Days of Trumpets and Atonement in a single event. But the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering demands full seven days, denoting that God's great FALL harvest must be COMPLETED over a period of time rather than at one climactic moment. Seven is a number signifying completion.
People will be born again into the God family all during "the thousand years," upon completing their life's work.
6. Does this feast begin with a holy Sabbath High Day on which all ordinary work is forbidden? Lev. 23:35, 39. When does it come? Verse 34.
7. Is this annual Sabbath and its 7-day festival commanded to be observed FOREVER? Verse 41.
1. Where was the place that God originally set His name designating it as the place the Feast of Tabernacles was to be kept? Joshua 18:1. Were some of the children of Israel obedient at that time in keeping the Feast? Judges 21:19. And in rejoicing? Verse 21.
2. Were the parents of Samuel who became one of God's greatest prophets always obedient in keeping this Feast every year? I Sam. 1:3,21; 2:19.
3. Did God later change the location for the Feast of Tabernacles and in the early years of King Solomon have a temple built there? I Kings 8:1, 2. Did Solomon call the people early to the Feast to spend a week in dedicating the newly finished temple? Verse 65.
4. But had Israel ever COMPLETELY fulfilled God's instructions concerning the Feast of Tabernacles after the death of the one generation who personally witnessed God's miracles? Neh. 8:17.
5. What did wicked King Jeroboam do after his successful rebellion against Solomon's son? I Kings 12:32. Did he assume that where God's days were kept didn't really make any difference?
COMMENT: Jeroboam's action was normal for carnal-minded people everywhere. They don't know Who or what God really is. Jeroboam's conception of how to worship the true God was merely his own man-devised idea (verse 33).
Be sure to read the whole passage from I Kings 12:26 to the end of the 13th chapter. The 13th chapter reveals how God mercifully gave Jeroboam further instruction -- backed up by a series of miracles (verses 3, 4, 6) -- and a further opportunity to repent (verse 6).
But Jeroboam did not repent of counterfeit religion (verse 33) and he suffered the penalty (verse 34)
6. Why did God finally cause Israel and Judah to be summarily deported to foreign lands? Ezek. 20:13, 16, 20, 21, 24, 34. Notice that "sabbaths" is plural, speaking of annual Sabbaths as well as the weekly Sabbath. The Bible always speaks of the weekly Sabbath in the singular.
COMMENT: For long-continued disobedience -- chiefly their utter disregard of God's weekly and annual Sabbaths -- they were transported into slavery.
It is these days that point the way to salvation. Those who refuse to keep God's Holy Days soon forget the TRUE GOD!
At length, God swore in His wrath, "With a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: and I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherin ye are SCATTERED ... And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you (again -- still today in the future) into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers" (Ezek. 20:33-34, 42).
7. Had the pitifully small remnant of Jews who returned from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah learned that He is the Lord? Neh. 8:1.
COMMENT: After 70 years of captivity, God had become real to these few Jews. They now knew He was REALLY God who had promised happiness, abundance and continual rejoicing for obedience, and had vividly pictured for them in the same Book of the Law curses and wretchedness to follow disobedience (Deut. 28).
8. Did they immediately begin to keep God's Holy Days? Neh. 8: 2, 14, 18. And did they immediately set about learning the laws of God which, if kept, would bring about peace, happiness and properity? Neh. 8:18. Compare Deuteronomy 31:10, 11.
COMMENT: Because of personal experience, the Holy Days now held graphic meaning for the few thousand Jews who returned from captivity. Their eyes were open -- symbolic of the world's people after the Second Coming of Christ.
1. During Jesus Christ's life as a man, were some of the descendants of the returned Jews still faithfully keeping the Feast of Tabernacles? John 7:2.
COMMENT: John called it the "Jews" feast because he wrote mainly for the Gentile-born. Before conversion, the Gentiles saw the feasts only as a part of the "different" religion of the Jews. Israel had lost God's Holy Days. Only Judah had preserved the Old Testament Scriptures.
2. What unmistakable command did Jesus give his half-brothers? John 7:8.
3. Did Jesus, Himself, keep the Feast? Verse 10. Did everyone know that Jesus always kept all of God's Feasts and was CERTAIN to be there? Verse 11.
COMMENT: Note that Jesus' purpose in going up to Jerusalem was not merely to preach and teach people. He had boundless opportunities to address the multitudes who followed Him continually. Rather, His problem was to find time alone! (Mark 1:35-38.)
4. Did Jesus have every reason in the world NOT to go up to Jerusalem? John 7:1, 10.
COMMENT: Jesus had been present at the feast from the first day although He did not stand up to teach until near the middle of the 7 days (verse 14). He had arrived secretly and remained out of the limelight because the established religious rulers were seeking -- out of jealousy -- to kill Him.
5. Was He merely following Old Testament practice or was He setting a New Testament example? Mat. 28:20; I Peter 2:21; I John 2:4-6.
COMMENT: With such dangerous circumstances, if ever there is an excuse not to attend one of God's Feasts, surely this was one. But JESUS WAS THERE -- boldly setting us an example that we should do likewise.
He always condemned the "tradition of the elders" (Mat. 15:2, 3, 6, 9). He always made it plain and clear that God's laws were still binding and went on to MAGNIFY them. Compare Matthew 5:21, 22 -- "You have heard ... but I SAY ...." NO EXAMPLE OF ANIMAL sacrifice was set for us, but He kept every one of God's Holy Days.
After Christ's death and resurrection, He personally taught the apostle Paul in preparation for his ministry (Gal. 1:11-12, 15-18). Had Christ done away with His Father's feast days, He certainly would have revealed it to Paul personally. Notice Paul's example.
1. Did the apostle Paul follow Jesus' example long after everything that was "nailed to the CROSS" was nailed there? I Cor. 11:1.
2. Then did Paul keep the Feast of Tabernacles? Acts 18:21, and see Comment.
COMMENT: In 50 A.D. Paul crossed over from Asia into Europe and began to preach the gospel at Philippi "on the day of weeks" -- Pentecost -- according to the inspired original Greek (Acts 16:13). Pentecost is also called the "feast of weeks" in the Old Testament (Deut. 16:10).
After a few weeks at Philippi, Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), Berea (verse 10) and at Athens (verse 16), Paul came to Corinth in the late summer of A.D. 50. After spending several Sabbaths teaching in the synagogue (Acts 18:4), he continued to hold meetings in the house of Justus (verse 7) for "a year and six months" (verse 11). This brings us to the spring of 52 A.D.
After a riot stirred up against the apostle was quelled, Paul yet "tarried there a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren and sailed thence into Syria" (verse 18).
It was now well into the summer of A.D. 52 -- the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost were past. Obviously it was nearly time for the Feast of Tabernacles. Here then was a major autumn festival (verse 21) worth going all the way to the HEADQUARTERS FEAST at Jerusalem -- the only logical reason for Paul's emphatic refusal to spend even a few days at Ephesus after long sojourns at lesser places (verse 20).
Some modern translations of the Bible omit Acts 18:21, as does the Catholic version. But 95% of all Greek manuscripts include it. The only manuscripts which leave it out are those 5% copied in Egypt and in Italy under the influence of Simon Magus' followers. They date from the days of the Emperor Constantine who forced his Sunday and Easter on the professing Christian church in place of God's Holy Days.
There would have been no reason to try to add this verse to the Bible. But there is every reason why men would like to tear it out of the inspired text!
The counterfeit church which developed within the bounds of the Roman Empire was never willing to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. It was a pagan church. But God's true people do keep it.
Still extant records from "Cox's Literature of the Sabbath Question" actually name names of individual Sabbath and Holy Day keepers who lived in England over 400 years ago. This is the Church which is really founded on the NEW Testament -- on Christ's example, and on the teaching of Christ's apostle to the Gentiles!
1. In the Millennium, will Israelite tribes other than Judah keep the Feast? Hos. 12:8, 9.
2. Will all the Gentile nations join with Israel in keeping the Feast of Tabernacles? Zech. 14:16. Will Christ start immediately to reeducate the people of the world through His Holy Days to know He is the Lord, and that His Master Plan provides for all to be saved?
COMMENT: To receive salvation even the Gentiles will have to keep this festival. Of course -- it is commanded forever! (Lev. 23:41.)
3. What will happen if they refuse to be reeducated, in their ignorance refusing salvation? Zech. 14:17. Will He have to rule at first with "a rod of iron" (Rev. 12:5) until they are convinced that their fathers' ways -- their "oldtime religions" -- are not "good enough" for them?
4. And if the nations still won't obey? Zech. 14:18-19.
COMMENT: Many in Egypt will be sure to say, "We don't care whether it rains or not! We have the Nile! We've never had rain anyway before this recent revolution in the weather!" Egypt has always been a river-made oasis in the midst of centuries-old deserts. Those that stubbornly refuse to obey will suffer from the plague until they submit.
And there will be other rebel nations, but "there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen (Hebrew: "nations") that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles." (Zech. 14:18.) After one or two years of this, all will be keeping the Feast.
There are those who think God doesn't mean THEY should keep His feasts today. They say: "Well, I'll keep the days God made holy when I have TO, BUT I WON'T KEEP THEM NOW." But God shows that only those who obey Him now will be protected through the time of trouble just ahead.
5. Where will the people of this area go to keep the festival? Will Christ make it conveniently close to home for them all, so being a Christian will not be too difficult? Zech. 14:16-17.
1. Now perceiving its meaning, did Nehemiah's company find this Feast of Tabernacles a time of "very great" gladness? Neh. 8:17.
2. Does God intend for everyone regardless of age, social strata or economic level -- to rejoice in the Feast of Tabernacles? Deut. 16:14.
3. Does this verse also show that God intends for a man to take his wife and children to rejoice with him at the Feast of Tabernacles? Same verse, and Deut. 12:5, 7, 12. Haven't we already seen that attendance of all grown males is absolutely mandatory? Deut. 16:16.
4. Does God say that good food such as sizzling steaks and expensive delicacies should be bought and eaten to multiply our joy and happiness during this feast? Deut. 14:26. Does this show what wonderful abundance there will be in the Millennium of the wonderful world tomorrow?
COMMENT: Over and over God tells us that the Feast of Tabernacles is a time of exceedingly great rejoicing!
To fleshly Israel, the Feast of Tabernacles should have been the most joyous of all God's Feasts because it was celebrated just at the season when the winter's store was in. If Israel had followed God's ways, her blessings in material things always would have been greater than other nations. She would have had abundant reason to rejoice at this season.
But the happiness and joy and prosperity pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles WILL come about universally under the righteous and enlightened rule of Jesus Christ. Obedience to the spiritual principles of God's laws and God's revealed way of life will make the World Tomorrow a deliriously, gloriously happy place!
Those striving to grow to spiritual perfection, fit to be Spirit Beings in the Millennium, can learn now to use freely, yet safely and efficiently, ALL the material blessings given them. The Feast of Tabernacles gives the opportunity to live abundantly for one week. God has COMMANDED YOU to live above what you would be nominally able to afford even to splurge, that you may learn by experience while properly picturing the wealth the whole world will enjoy.
If you are accounted worthy to be in the first resurrection, you will have all the powers and possessions of God -- the whole created universe -- to use fully.
5. When the Holy Spirit is being poured out freely, what will happen to the natures of men and animals? Isa. 11:6-9. Will God even change the digestive systems of carnivorous animals so they will be able to receive their nourishment from vegetation? Verse 7 and Isa. 65:25.
COMMENT: This coming Millennial change in the very natures of humans and animals -- no more to harm or destroy -- is CHIEF reason why the Feast of Tabernacles previews this time with such great rejoicing!
God's Government is not a democracy. Christ will RULE SUPREME. Power shall "be given" to His saints. See Dan. 7:14, 27.
Christ will be over the saints. He is in the position of the Husband. The saints -- born again, now immortal Sons of God -- together constitute the bride of Christ. They are in the position of a wife, subject to her Husband -- Christ.
1. In the Millennium, how will Christ's supreme government be administered in all parts of the earth? Luke 19:17, 19. Here are local administrative districts -- some larger, some smaller!
2. Does Luke 13:28 indicate who will have high positions under Christ in the Kingdom of God?
3. Will Christ have certain other chief assistants, each over a major nation? Luke 22:30; Psa. 122:5; Isa. 32:1. Revelation 20:4, 6 shows the time!
COMMENT: This is government from the top down -- OF the people and FOR the people but NOT by the people.
4. How much power will each subordinate ruler exercise in his own area? Rev. 2:27.
COMMENT: In one sense this government will be decentralized because there will be absolute and definite authority on the spot in all parts of the world. Yet in another sense it will be extremely centralized, having all its policies based on the over-all pattern laid down from world headquarters by Christ Himself, responsive and responsible to Him.
It will be perfectly organized, devoid of useless "red tape," bumbling, stumbling excess-baggage bureaucracies.
This divine government will be permanent (Dan. 7:14, 18). It will not need to cater to special organized groups or classes to get votes. No elections, no campaigning, no politicians squandering money, wasting months of their tenure seeking re-election!
No demented, fanatical, vicious assassin can then kill a ruler. They will be immortal, not subject to death.
There will be no insurrections, no rebellions -- God can't be overthrown. Satan proved that! Nor will any member of the God Family ever turn into another Adversary. Every member will have been proved in advance. Each will SERVE -- in genuine love and concern for his subjects, never acting selfishly (Mat. 20:26).
Are you preparing to exercise that kind of rulership?
5. How will these immortal spirit rulers serve the people? Rev. 1:6; 5:10; I Cor. 6:2.
COMMENT: To curb tyranny, rulership exercised by mortal men is necessarily divided up into separate functions. America has today separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. In addition, the teaching field is completely apart from government in "democratic" countries. These are all respectively the functions of "kings and priests."
The four functions will be UNITED in God's Kingdom. Government will be in the hands of a "Spirit race." From the God Family originate the laws -- the legislative function. The God Family will enforce the laws -- the executive function. It will also interpret them and adjudge guilt -- the judicial function. The Father is, and always will be, chief King and LAWMAKER! He has laid down, eons ago, the basic principles that will continue to govern the universe. We, as members of His family, will teach and judge. This was the pattern established in ancient Israel. The Eternal was King (I Sam. 8:7), but the human rulers under Him were "judges" and "priests."
6. How successful will the priest-teachers be? Hab. 2:14; Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34. Will even the blind and the deaf be able to know the Bible? Isa. 29:18. What does this kind of education bring? Verse 19, also Prov. 29:2.
7. Will God do more than merely make knowledge available? Isa. 25:6, 7 compared with Isa. 29:10-12 and Rom. 11:7, 8. Note the words "spread over ALL NATIONS."
COMMENT: "And in this mountain" -- the government of God -- He will make the Millennium one great feast of rejoicing -- the Feast of Tabernacles in antitype!
He will destroy the covering of spiritual blindness that has hidden the truth from all nations. Every mind will be opened. Even the dense and self-deceived will begin to understand (Isa. 32:3, 4; 26:9, last part). No one then will "kid himself" he is righteous. None will vainly assume he is a spiritual giant when the Spirit of God has never yet come inside him to change his human nature.
8. Will re-born Spirit Teachers take an active down-to-earth part in bringing about complete comprehension and causing people to take right action? Isa. 30:20, 21.
COMMENT: Sudden materialization as if from nowhere, a spoken word -- potential lawbreakers will freeze in the act. Sinful acts will be prevented before they occur. Human minds will be shown their real motivation.
John 21 shows how a resurrected Spirit can live the part of a human being and serve those still mortal.
9. Will this present evil world's wrong sense of values be turned right side up? Isa. 32:1, 5, 6. Notice how verse 6 exposes human nature. THIS world believes "the inherent good in human beings will ultimately bring worldwide peace and happiness"! What nonsense!
The Feast of Tabernacles pictures an auspicious time when people will not have the influences of Satan's demons and the false glitter of "this present evil world" to distract them from overcoming their human nature.
God's way will become the popular and broad way. It will be the way society in general will be going.
Pressures that now urge toward conformity to this present evil world will then be working toward conformity with God's standard, toward overcoming the self and building true spiritual character.
1. When Christ has forcibly put down those who fill the earth with violence, will He abolish for all time fear of war? Isa. 2:4. How? -- by exercising tremendous authority to "rebuke" many? Same verse.
COMMENT: Imagine! Never again any destruction of the fruit of years of labor! No more waste of human life! No young men drafted from their homes, their lives upset, to have their minds warred with hate!
2. Will there be any reason to fear that Christ will be a tyrannical ruler? Psa. 72:1-4,8, 12-14; Isa. 11:5. Will His decisions be unerring? Verses 2-3. Will the poor receive righteous judgment at His hands? Verse 4. Is this why by contrast Paul wrote disparagingly of the judgment of "man's day"? I Cor. 4:3 (see margin).
3. Will there be any fear of wild animals? Hos. 2:18 and Isa. 11:6-9. What about wars will the weapons of war be abolished from the earth? Hosea 2:18.
4. Will unarmed men, women, or children be afraid to be out on the streets even at night? Isa. 32:2.
COMMENT: A strange man in a lonely place at night will be a source of help, not someone to fear! Under the right system of government and education, human beings will become worth something.
5. In the secure, rejuvenated World Tomorrow, will it be said to them: "Be strong, fear not ... God will save you"? Isa. 35:4. And will miracles of healing be performed on those who are deformed? Isa. 35:5, 6; 33:24.
COMMENT: Physical deformity is simply the penalty of physical sin. Years of wrong eating, drug taking, general dissipation, parenthood before complete physical maturity, radiation -- causing genetic damage to reproductive germ cells -- mean deformity for future generations.
Now just ahead, in cataclysmic, age-ending, searing hydrogen war, are the most massive doses of radiation of all time. Scientists believe radiation to be the most damaging of all to reproductive cells.
6. What about fear of accidents? See COMMENT. COMMENT: When the Law goes forth from Zion (Isa. 2:3) the principle of personal responsibility will be taught worldwide (Ex. 21:29, 33-34, 22:6). Yes, we ARE "our brother's keeper"!
There will be few accidents. But if someone should occasionally be careless and God allows an accident to teach a lesson, the miraculous healing power of Christ will be ever available.
7. Will the fear of food shortage spectre that continually haunts most of the world -- be gone? Isa. 30:23, 24. Will even the steep and rough places produce food abundantly? Amos 9:13.
8. What about that nameless fear, timidity -- lack of confidence that plagues so many? Will those who REALLY "know the Lord" dwell with confidence? Ezek. 28:26. Re-education will take care of that. They won't be taught self-confidence, but confidence in Christ dwelling within them.
9. What kind of fear will remain? Isa. 59:19; Jer. 32:39, 40 COMMENT: This fear is not terror and misery, but mature, sound-minded realization that disobeying laws God has set for our good leads to nothing but wretchedness, filth, and deprivation.
The Feast of Tabernacles was given that we might "learn to fear God always" (Deut. 14:23). We SHOULD fear to disobey. Most people have NEVER HAD a right kind of fear.
1. Will the remnant of Israel alive at Christ's coming be eager to enter into the New Covenant with Him? Jer. 50:4, 5. Will Christ's blood cleanse all Israel so that in serving and living for others -- a converted, truly Christian life this nation shall reach the very apex of joy and gladness and material prosperity? Jer. 33:7-9.
COMMENT: Return from captivity of a very few -- nearly all from Judah, only one tribe -- could not fulfill this prophecy. They never attained great prosperity. Nor did they even approach the degree of wealth Israel had possessed under David and Solomon. When THIS IS fulfilled, "ALL Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:26)! What a WONDERFUL time that will be!
2. At that time, will Israel be God's delight, married to Him? Isa. 62:4, 5. "Beulah" means "married."
COMMENT: Verse 5 is mistranslated in the King James or Authorized Version. Here is how the Smith-Goodspeed translation renders it: "As a young man marries a maiden, so shall your Builder marry you: And as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."
3. Was Israel to set an example of obedience to God's statutes and laws so all nations might see the wisdom of living the way that produces success? Deut. 4:5, 6. When God's ways are fully practiced will people have to admit they are the right ways to live? Verse 6.
COMMENT: They will be coming to Israel saying, "You are an amazing nation! How do you do it!" or "These laws are astounding! What makes them work?" "Teach us your ways and your laws" (Isa. 2:3; Micah 4:2).
4. Will Israel then fill the world with "fruit"? Isa. 27:6. This indicates not only vast worldwide population, but spiritual fruit -- righteous spiritual character produced from all nations by the example of Israel's obedience.
5. Were Abraham's offspring to become extremely numerous? Gen. 13:16. Will Israel's population reach its highest point in the Millennium? Ezek. 36:10-11; Isa. 60:22.
6. Did God set the bounds of all nations with Israel in mind? Deut. 32:8.
COMMENT: God knew from the beginning the number of Israelites that would ultimately spring from the seed of Abraham. He reserved the mineral and agricultural wealth He meant for them to have. After setting aside the areas they were to occupy, giving them the largest portion of any race, He divided up the remainder among all the rest.
Gentiles who first occupied land reserved for Israel were permitted to dominate it only until Israel had multiplied sufficiently to fill it.
7. Were the descendants of Jacob to be a blessing to all nations? Gen. 28:14.
COMMENT: Just as blowing dust where it comes to rest, fertilizes (blesses) the soil, so the racial descendants of Israel were to bless all lands where they would settle. God designed to bring through them superior prosperity, technical know-how and inventiveness to all continents.
The richest fulfillment of this prophecy is yet future reserved for the Millennium.
8. How does God describe this future explosive spread of Israelites into every part of the globe? As a "breaking forth"? Isa. 54:2, 3. The United States' population explosion is only a type of the population boom to occur in Israel during the prosperous Millennium. What inheritance is promised Israel? The whole world? Same verse.
9. Will all nations either serve Israel or perish? Isa. 60:12. Who will possess the wealth of the world? Verses 5, 11, 16-17.
COMMENT: In verses 5 and 11, the word should not be "forces" but "wealth" -- as is shown in the margin of most King James Bibles. Israel will inherit the world's wealth. Obedience to God's laws will cause it to multiply again and again.
The whole world will become an Israelitish colonial system. Israel, under the guidance of her Spirit Rulers, will rule the world. The British Empire, on which the sun never set, only weakly foreshadowed the destined world power of Millennial Israel under the Kingdom of God.
If you have not already read it, be sure to write immediately for Mr. Armstrong's free 240-page book, "The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy."
It will not be an exploiting colonialism, but rather a cooperative association of all races. Each people will do that for which it is best suited.
10. Will the Gentiles do her physical work while Israel devotes her main effort to teaching? Isa. 61:5, 6. Compare also Isaiah 49:22, 23. Combine the best abilities of all races and you will finally have a civilization worthwhile!
We can draw some interesting parallels between the Feast of Tabernacles and the coming marriage of Jesus Christ to His Spirit-born Church. Let's notice.
1. When will the marriage of the Lamb take place? Will it follow Jesus Christ's return? Rev. 19:6-7. Will it be an occasion of great rejoicing? Same verses.
COMMENT: Notice how Christ's marriage, like the Feast of Tabernacles, is a time for great rejoicing after the war, darkness and trouble pictured by Christ's return -- the Day of Trumpets!
2. In biblical pattern, how long does a marriage feast last? Judges 14:2, 10, 12. Does the Feast of Tabernacles span the same length of time? Lev. 23:34.
COMMENT: These are the days God set aside to be kept perpetually as a TYPE of the marriage state of Christ and His Bride -- the Church.
3. Is a wife bound to obey her husband as long as he lives? Will the Bride of Christ obey Him forever? I Cor. 7:39 and Eph. 5:22-27, 32. Did Nehemiah read the Law to the people every day of the Feast of Tabernacles? Neh. 8:18. Compare Deuteronomy 31:10, 11. Those who then will compose the Bride must learn the law in this life -- and learn it well -- to teach it then.
4. Does Christ emphasize in the New Testament the necessity of an inner change brought about by the Holy Spirit to enable one to take part in the Marriage of the Lamb? Matt. 25:6-10.
5. Did Israel in the beginning have the heart to fear and obey Him? Deut. 5:29; 29:4. But once added, will the Holy Spirit enable them to obey? Isa. 59:21; Jer. 32:39, 40.
COMMENT: The Old Covenant was a marriage contract. When Israel broke the terms of the contract -- committed spiritual adultery -- her sins divorced her from the Person who became Jesus Christ (Jer. 3:8, 14; 31:32; Isa. 59:2).
Unfaithful Israel committed adultery (Jer. 3:8), but the great false church, the Gentile whore of Revelation 17 and 18, commits FORNICATION. That one was never married to Christ and was NEVER God's Church.
God's true Church is not a Gentile church. It is an Israelitish church. A Gentile-born person enters into it only by becoming a spiritual Israelite (Eph. 2:11, 12; Rom. 9:4, 5; John 4:22).
Christ will not marry another. He will remarry Israel. Note that the Bride is already -- before the marriage -- His "wife" (Rev. 19:7).
But the Lamb is Spirit. His wife must also become spirit, if it is to be a lasting congenial marriage. A man could not marry an animal or anything less than human. Neither can Christ's wife be less than fully God.
She must be a REBORN Israel (II Cor. 11:2), who has "made herself ready" (Rev. 19:7).
Spiritual Israel will constitute the ruling echelon of the fleshly nation Israel. Israelites of the flesh who become qualified, as well as Gentiles, will be added to God's ruling family all through the Millennium as they are born again.
The whole 54th chapter of Isaiah is devoted to describing spiritual Israel now remarried to Christ, in contrast with the physical nation Israel during the preceding 3000 years. Notice especially the first 6 verses. The church has been desolate -- the truly converted few -- until the making of the New Covenant -- a marriage covenant. But Israel of the flesh never multiplied as fast as the church of converted Israel will multiply at Christ's return and during the Millennium.
The God Family is getting set for the greater things still future. The Millennium is yet only the beginning of eternity -- of happiness and accomplishment.
1. Did God decree that all Israelites live in booths -- that is, temporary dwellings, during the Feast of Tabernacles? Lev. 23:42. What is a booth? Verse 40.
COMMENT: A booth (or tabernacle) is a temporary shelter. Its essential characteristic is its temporary nature. A tent or a one-room house of leafy boughs would not be suitable for continual habitation.
God directed the use of trees in ancient Israel because these were then the most plentiful and convenient material. But a temporarily occupied dwelling, such as a tent or camper, made of any material would qualify as a "booth."
2. Was this manner of keeping the Feast of Tabernacles to be a continual reminder of Israel's 40-year sojourn in the wilderness and deserts south of Palestine? Lev. 23:42, 43. Why? Because Israel lived in temporary dwellings during that time? Verse 43.
3. Let us understand why God wants those 40 nomadic years remembered.
What is the real significance of dwelling in booths? I Chron. 29:15; Heb. 11:9, 13.
COMMENT: The dictionary defines "sojourn" as "a temporary stay." Abraham was a stranger or alien in the Promised Land, living in a temporary fashion all his days. God had not yet given him any inheritance there. Canaanites occupied the land.
Dwelling in booths pictured that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were yet only heirs -- not yet inheritors -- to eternal life and eternal possession of the land.
4. Was Israel's 40 years of wandering meant from the beginning to be only a temporary state of affairs? Deut. 8:2. Just until all that rebellious generation were dead? Num. 14:29, 33, 34.
COMMENT: The rebellious generation in the wilderness is a type of all carnal rebellious people as long as there are MORTAL beings left on earth. And as long as men are still mortal beings, human life and society will still be only temporary. This will be the case all through the Millennium.
This then is the lesson that God wanted ancient Israel -- and us today -- to learn when He ordained living in booths or temporary dwellings during the Feast of Tabernacles. With all this in mind, we now can draw further analogies, comparing Israel's 40 years of wandering with the coming Millennium.
Just as ancient Israel, on escaping from Pharaoh -- a type of Satan -- was given in the wilderness a temporary period of comparative isolation from Satan's influence, so will the whole world enter 1000 years of rest from Satan's rule. During that 40 years Israel was welded into a nation completely organized under God's government. During the Millennium the whole world is to be similarly organized under God's government.
Forty is the number of trial and test. Israel in the wilderness was a type of all people who will go through trials and tests in overcoming their human nature during the Millennium.
5. How will God draw the 1,000-year period of testing to a close? Rev. 20:3, 7-9.
6. Is a condition of permanency finally reached in the plan revealed in God's Holy Days of this seventh month? I Kings 8:2. "Ethanim" means " (the month of) PERMANENT things."
COMMENT: Next month's lesson will show how and when God's plan leads to permanency -- eternal inheritance instead of "sojourning."
7. Is there to be any end to the increase of God's kingdom? Isa. 9:7.
COMMENT: It begins like the proverbial grain of mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when grown becomes the greatest of all things and fills the whole earth (Mat. 13:31, 32). Throughout the Millennium, population will increase rapidly. Millions will be converted and born into the Family of God.
By the end of the thousand years, the Family will be ready for the final step in the Holy Day Plan. Until that step, too, has been made, only a foundation has been prepared for the great things yet in store. Even greater joy and accomplishments lie ahead after the Millennium!
The universe will no longer be subject to destruction, sin or death. Revelation 21 gives us just a hint of this new universe. A new heaven and a new earth inhabited solely by Spirit Beings! "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (verse 4).
1. Is Jerusalem again to BE CHOSEN as the center of worship? Zech. 2:12. Then Jerusalem is not now the place for all people to go to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, is it? John 4:21.
COMMENT: Jerusalem was rejected in 69 A.D. and turned over to the Romans and destruction after exactly two 19-year cycles allotted to the headquarters New Testament Church. God withdrew His name He had placed there. But Jerusalem will again in the Millennium be the place God's people will keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
2. Does God STRONGLY intend His people be free from this world's system? Ex. 10:7 and Ex. 15:1, last part. Was the drowning of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea a type of the future destruction of the chief instruments of Satan the Devil? Rev. 19:20.
COMMENT: God wants you that free NOW! Free to meditate on His purpose and on how to fulfill it! The Feast of Tabernacles is intended to separate and free us from the world.
Dwelling in booths -- temporary habitations -- away from our everyday surroundings, away from our jobs, our customary thoughts, influences and personal contacts, we picture by our thoughts and actions the freedom and peace of the Millennium.
We get away from the world at this season to typify that we don't belong in this world's society any more.
We MUST keep the Feast of Tabernacles now to become really separate -- free from the flesh and its nature then.
Do you want with every fiber of your being to do something about this rotten world? To help set it right? To rule with a rod of iron? Your salvation depends on you! Do you sigh and cry for the abominations this world has to suffer?
God's people keep the Feast of Tabernacles with a purpose. They are preparing now for the job they will have to do during the Millennium.
Being physical, we learn by that which is physical. Just as God -- His character, His power -- is made evident to us through the created material universe (Rom. 1:19, 20), so we must learn to be ruling Gods by learning to rightly use the physical things God gives us.
By practicing God's laws and experiencing the result -- peace, harmony and joy -- of group living at the Feast of Tabernacles, we learn the value of obeying. The Feast of Tabernacles as carried out TODAY is actually a tiny but happy foretaste of the happy World Tomorrow when the Spirit of God will lead EVERY human. We show now by the way we live together IN HARMONY what this whole sin-sick, unhappy world COULD and WILL be.
Even those, who, because of distance or finances, cannot attend a local meeting of the Worldwide Church of God every week, CAN KEEP THE ANNUAL CONVOCATIONS with the rest of God's people. God has made a way because He knows it is absolutely necessary. Write and ask about it.
There are lessons to be learned by LIVING and WORSHIPPING with others of God's people that simply would not be learned any other way. There are days of concentrated teaching by God's ministers -- days of continuous genuine Christian fellowship. And for some, individual counsel and PERSONAL instruction from God's true ministers, is available ONLY at these Festivals.
No CONVERTED person should remain home from the Feast of Tabernacles except on the advice of a true minister of God. No child of God has authority to except himself from God's blanket command: "Attend!"