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The Feast of Tabernacles

Jesus Christ Reigns Over All the Earth

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In his first inspired sermon after receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the apostle Peter summed up God’s instruction for mankind: “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, who 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 Acts 3:19-21 19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
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But what are these “times of refreshing” and “times of restoration” of which Peter spoke?

God’s plan for mankind involves restoration. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process, which will start with the return of Jesus Christ, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, and the banishment of Satan, depicted by the Day of Atonement. Once these events have taken place, as represented 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 begins with an annual Holy Day (Leviticus 23:34-35 Leviticus 23:34-35 34 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
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), pictures the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ over the earth after His second coming (see Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
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). This period is often called the Millennium, which simply means “1,000 years.”

This feast also reflects the “rest” symbolized by the weekly Sabbath (Hebrews 4:1-11 Hebrews 4:1-11 1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For to us was the gospel preached, as well as to them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
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) that celebrates the great harvest of humanity when all people then alive will learn God’s ways. Humanity will at last be restored to a right relationship with Him (Isaiah 11:9-10 Isaiah 11:9-10 9 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. 10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
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In the beginning, God created mankind to cooperate with Him in a beautiful relationship characterized by love, peace and 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 Genesis 1:31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
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This time of peace and harmony abruptly ended because of Satan’s deception and man’s disobedience (Genesis 3:1-6 Genesis 3:1-6 1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. 4 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die: 5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.
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). Disobedience cut mankind off from God’s way (Genesis 3:21-24 Genesis 3:21-24 21 To Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from from where he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
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). The Bible describes the tragic result that later followed: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 Genesis 6:5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
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This broken relationship between God and man has continued through history to our time. Paul reflected on the human condition: “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 Romans 5:12Why, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned:
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Thankfully, as Paul also knew, the breach created by man’s disobedience 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 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
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Isaiah prophesied the restoration of the world

God used the prophet Isaiah to reveal parts of His magnificent plan for restoring the world. Written at a time when Israel faced punishment for continued disobedience, the book of Isaiah was inspired by God to give the nation encouragement through the promise of a better world ahead. After reading in the synagogue one of Isaiah’s prophecies, Jesus acknowledged the special understanding given to the prophet: “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him” (John 12:41 John 12:41These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.
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). Isaiah prophesied not only of Christ’s earthly ministry, but also wrote of His return in power and glory (Isaiah 66:15-16 Isaiah 66:15-16 15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
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The basis for the messianic rule of Jesus will be God’s law. Again, as Isaiah foretold, “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall 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 Isaiah 2:2-3 2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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A world of peace and abundance

After Jesus Christ’s return, He will bring the creation in its entirety into harmony with God, and peace will no longer be the exception. King David said, “Great peace have those who love Your law” (Psalms 119:165 Psalms 119:165Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them.
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). Imagine what the world will be like when everyone knows God’s law and lives by it!

At that time the earth will produce abundant harvests. “Behold, the days are coming,” God says, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper …”

Of course, more than just knowledge is needed to bring about this amazing transformation. A spiritual change must take place among people. God, speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, describes how it will 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 Ezekiel 36:26-27 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.
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The Spirit of God will influence people to willingly and enthusiastically obey God from their hearts. People will begin to place the interests of others before their own. They will start thinking of others as “better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3 Philippians 2:3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
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, KJV). Instead of exclusive self-concern, their goal will be to help their fellow human beings. Theft will cease. Disregard for others’ property and feelings will be eliminated. With the coming of world peace, countries will “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 Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and 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 any more.
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; Micah 4:3 Micah 4:3And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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).

During this 1,000-year period, God will change even the nature of wild animals, reflecting the peace that will descend upon society. Describing this idyllic time, Isaiah 11:7-9 Isaiah 11:7-9 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 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.
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says: “The cow and the bear shall graze; 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 . . .”

Reversing the effects of sin

God also will heal people’s physical infirmities. Isaiah 35:5-6 Isaiah 35:5-6 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
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prophesies of this time during which “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy” (ESV).

Of even greater importance will be the spiritual healing that will take place. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus Christ will complete the healing He began during His ministry on earth: “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 Isaiah 61:1-3 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
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; Luke 4:18-19 Luke 4:18-19 18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
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). The accumulated results of generations of people following Satan’s sinful ways will begin to be reversed.

The Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16 Exodus 23:16And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field.
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). This name signified the completion of Israel’s annual harvest. In this setting, God said, “You shall rejoice before the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 12:12 Deuteronomy 12:12And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; for as much as he has no part nor inheritance with you.
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, Deuteronomy 12:18 Deuteronomy 12:18But you must eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God shall choose, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that is within your gates: and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all that you put your hands to.
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; Deuteronomy 14:26 Deuteronomy 14:26And you shall bestow that money for whatever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household,
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). So this feast is a time of celebration for the abundance God has given.

The same bountiful harvest theme continues in the future fulfillment of this festival. Through Isaiah, God spoke of the desert becoming productive land: “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 Isaiah 35:6-7 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
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At that time the earth will produce abundant harvests. “Behold, the days are coming,” God says, “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 Amos 9:13Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
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The significance of tabernacles    

The name of the Feast of Tabernacles derives from God’s command to ancient Israel to build temporary “tabernacles,” sometimes called “booths,” to live in during the festival. The Israelites left their houses and built temporary dwelling places (the Hebrew sukkah denoted a “hut of woven boughs”) to live in while rejoicing before God. These reminded them of their release from slavery and their dwelling in booths when God brought them out of Egypt (Leviticus 23:34 Leviticus 23:34Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.
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, Leviticus 23:41-43 Leviticus 23:41-43 41 And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
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). In stark contrast to the hardship of slavery, this festival emphasizes rest, peace and prosperity as it meets the needs of all people, including strangers, widows and the poor.

The Bible emphasizes that, as with booths or temporary dwellings, our physical life is transitory. The apostle Paul’s writings reflect this theme: “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 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 1 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. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed on with our house which is from heaven:
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, KJV).

Hebrews 11 recounts the examples of many of God’s faithful servants down through the centuries. It then concludes 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 Hebrews 11:13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
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The Feast of Tabernacles is an annual reminder of our temporary state and that we also “seek a homeland” (Hebrews 11:14 Hebrews 11:14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
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). This lesson is reinforced when we travel to a site of the Feast of Tabernacles and stay in temporary dwellings such as hotels and campgrounds.

This festival reminds us that, in spite of our material possessions, we are still physical, mortal human beings in need of a literal transformation so we may possess eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:50-54 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
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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 appeared in glory and was talking with Moses and Elijah. Peter’s immediate response was to suggest that they quickly construct three tabernacles. He seemed to understand the important connection between tabernacles and the future age of God’s Kingdom (see Matthew 17:1-9 Matthew 17:1-9 1 And after six days Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, and brings them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear you him. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
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; Luke 9:27-36 Luke 9:27-36 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. 28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spoke, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
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The role of the resurrected saints in the Millennium

The judgment of the inhabitants of the earth who live during the 1,000 years as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles (Isaiah 2:4 Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and 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 any more.
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; Isaiah 51:4-5 Isaiah 51:4-5 4 Listen to me, my people; and give ear to me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. 5 My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and my arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait on me, and on my arm shall they trust.
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) begins in earnest as Christ brings “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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). These scriptures show that this judgment is a time of universal opportunity for salvation. For this purpose God has allocated 1,000 years during which the resurrected saints, the firstfruits of God’s harvest from this age, will reign with Christ on earth as kings and priests, leading the way for many others to enter God’s Kingdom (Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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; Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
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).

Jesus promised, “He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26 Revelation 2:26And he that overcomes, and keeps my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
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). People whom Christ resurrects at His return will experience the unparalleled opportunity to work with Him to help all nations build a right relationship with God. (For more details, be sure to read the Bible study aid booklet What Is Your Destiny?  )

The foundation for this relationship begins with instruction in God’s law, including the observance of these very festivals we are now studying. Notice the words of the prophet Zechariah: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came 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 Zechariah 14:16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
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). Other prophets described this future time as an era when God’s law will cover the earth “as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
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; Habakkuk 2:14 Habakkuk 2:14For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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).

Many will assist Jesus Christ in this universal educational program of helping others understand God’s way. Speaking of this time, Isaiah says 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 Isaiah 30:20-21 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers: 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
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The opportunity to help others understand and be reconciled to God is a wonderful calling. Each who serves in this way will be called “the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In” (Isaiah 58:12 Isaiah 58:12And they that shall be of you shall build the old waste places: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
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God calls people out of the world at this time to become His chosen people, sanctified and redeemed by Him (2 Corinthians 6:16-18 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
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, 2 Corinthians 7:1 2 Corinthians 7:1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
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). They are to live exemplary lives as God prepares them for service during Christ’s millennial reign and beyond.

“Beloved,” the apostle Peter wrote, “I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 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 1 Peter 2:11-12 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
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One final conflict

All through God’s plan for saving humanity, He never forces anyone to obey Him. Every person is free to choose what he or she will do and whether to accept or reject God’s way of life.

After the 1,000 years, God will allow Satan to test the spiritual convictions of the earth’s inhabitants. Revelation 20:7-10 Revelation 20:7-10 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
describes this time. God will release the devil from his place of restraint and allow him to deceive those who are not convicted of the perfect righteousness of God’s way. God will destroy by fire those who follow Satan in this rebellion. The devil’s futile efforts will be thwarted. This final, tragic rebellion against God will come to nothing, and Satan’s destructive, deceitful influence over humanity will finally draw to a close.

The stage will then be set for the events depicted by yet one more Holy Day. The Feast of Tabernacles offers a marvelous opportunity for salvation to those left alive at Christ’s return, as well as their physical descendants during the Millennium. But what about the thousands of millions of people of past generations who have lived and died without ever understanding—or even hearing—God’s truth? And what about those who will die in the cataclysmic upheaval preceding Christ’s return? How will God offer them salvation? The next chapter provides the answer.

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