Nearly 2,000 years ago this October, our Savior Jesus Christ set us an example of power and courage. Despite living in a world that rejected Him, He openly celebrated a timeless Festival that is established forever. What is this joyous event and what does it mean for you?
If one reads about an event in the Bible that all nations would one day be required by God to observe, wouldn't it make sense to find out more about it now? Here's a sometimes overlooked biblical fact: The Bible tells us in 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. See All... that everyone in the coming Kingdom of God will observe the biblical Festival of Tabernacles and worship Jesus Christ there as King.
And no surprise, as Jesus Himself observed this Festival while living on the earth nearly 2,000 years ago (John 7:2-52 Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.  His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.  For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.  For neither did his brethren believe in him.  Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.  The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.  Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come.  When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.  But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.  Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?  And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.  Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.  Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.  And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?  The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?  Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.  Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.  If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.  Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?  But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?  Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.  Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.  Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.  And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?  The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.  Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.  Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.  Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?  What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.  Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?  So there was a division among the people because of him.  And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.  Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?  The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.  Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?  Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?  But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.  Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)  Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?  They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
The biblical Festival (or Feast) of Tabernacles occurs in the fall (as reckoned in the northern hemisphere), and serves as the capstone of the seven annual Holy Days revealed by God (Leviticus 23:24Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. See All...). As the seventh chapter of John eloquently and powerfully confirms, Jesus observed this Festival Himself, setting an example for His 21st century disciples.
Jesus declared that His Church—people who actually followed His commands and example—would never cease to exist (Matthew 16:18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. See All...). That declaration continues to be fulfilled today, as a "little flock" (Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. See All...)—multiple thousands of Christians—are gathering this fall. They are assembling to observe the same biblical festival that Jesus kept in a very high profile way just a few months before His crucifixion.
Why Keep the Festival in the 21st Century?
As these Christians observe the Festival of Tabernacles today, you may wonder why this ancient event is relevant in a digital age. When the Holy Days were first openly revealed to humanity, the Israelites would take palm and tree fronds to build temporary dwellings (Leviticus 23:30And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. See All...). In Hebrew, the Festival of Tabernacles is literally called "the Festival of Booths" ( Sukkot in Hebrew).
Today, in the spirit of those temporary dwellings, Christians observe the Festival outside of their regular homes, travelling to cities and meeting places around the globe. There they celebrate the fact that our fragile lives are but temporary, and that we look to a new life of eternal service beginning in the coming Kingdom of God!
This joyous Kingdom of God, which Jesus and the apostles referred to more than 100 times in the New Testament, will be a time of great peace and prosperity. What is your priority as a Christian in your day-to-day affairs? Your Savior and future King declares to you and me: "Seek first the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. See All..., emphasis added).
So if this Festival of Tabernacles pictures the coming Kingdom of God, when Jesus Christ will have returned to this earth to rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:15-16 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
See All...), what about the other six Holy Days of God?
A personal prophecy for you
The entire seven Holy Days of God represent nothing short of God's amazing and wonderful plan for all of humanity! The incredible truth? These biblical Holy Days represent a personal prophecy for you, your family, your friends—literally all who have ever lived or who will live. (This is all explained in detail in our free Bible study aid God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for all Mankind .).
The first three—the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost—have collectively opened the door to salvation and spiritual understanding for Christians today. The four remaining Holy Days –the Festival of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Festival of Tabernacles and the celebration of the Eighth Day (also known to some as the Last Great Day) —represent an intense and happy vision for us. They picture a time of profound "gladness and joy" when God will directly intervene globally in human affairs, "and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. See All...). They represent a time of great globe-encircling peace!
No wonder Jesus was unafraid to openly keep the Festival of Tabernacles some 2,000 years ago, despite open death threats. No wonder He assertively made breathtaking declarations (John 8:58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. See All...) and performed stunning miracles (John 9:1-11 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.  When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,  And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.  The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?  Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.  Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?  He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
See All...). If you truly understand God's plan for you, then you too can say with confidence: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. See All...).
As you read this, thousands of members of the United Church of God are keeping this Festival in many locations around the world . There may be one near you. If you'd like to see what this celebration of the coming Kingdom of God is like, you are welcome to see for yourself. Jesus set an example for all of us in 30 A.D., pointing us to the final victory of God pictured in the joyous Festival of Tabernacles.
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