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The Feast of Peace

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Many people have attended church services all their lives and never heard of the Feast of Tabernacles . The festival is seldom mentioned in churches, although it is mentioned prominently in the Bible. Jesus Christ observed this festival, as did His apostles long after His death and resurrection.

What is the meaning of this feast, and why don't we hear more about it?

Of those who have heard of it, most think of it as Jewish, if they think of it at all. The notion that the Feast of Tabernacles was only for Old Testament Jews is not only wrong, it is dead wrong.

Answers to big questions

You and I live in a world largely devoid of the knowledge of God's plans for mankind. Most don't know why human life exists. We don't understand what lies ahead for us.

Although the answers to these questions have long been available, most people haven't known where to look for them, or they've ignored the source where they could find the answers. God's festivals, including the Feast of Tabernacles, can help answer such timeless questions.

God set in place His carefully designed system of feasts in Old Testament times. He commanded the Israelites to keep His days even though they didn't grasp their deep spiritual symbolism and significance at the time. Among the many reasons to observe them is their depiction of God's plan to save mankind.

On the surface this might sound odd. But God has a reason and design behind everything He does. The feast days He spelled out for ancient Israel represent aspects of His master plan for mankind's redemption. They reveal not only our potential but how we can attain it.

The Feast of Tabernacles depicts how a major piece of the puzzle-how man will finally find peace-will fall into place.

God's promise of peace

At the time of Jesus' birth God sent an angel to announce it to shepherds. While the angel was conveying the divine message, God revealed a heavenly host praising God: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14 Luke 2:14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
American King James Version×
). This verse is often spoken or sung during the Christmas season, but it wasn't intended for that man-made holiday. In truth, God's peace on earth will be realized only with the ultimate fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus' birth set in motion a series of events that eventually will lead to true peace on earth. That peace didn't come in Christ's lifetime. As He told the Roman governor Pontius Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world … You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world …” (John 18:36-37 John 18:36-37 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.
American King James Version×
).

He knew He would come again-the second time to transform the world and establish the kingdom over which He will reign (Isaiah 11:1-5 Isaiah 11:1-5 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
American King James Version×
; Zechariah 14:9 Zechariah 14:9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
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; 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.
American King James Version×
). Only then will mankind enjoy God's blessing of peace.

To understand how that peace will come, we first need to understand why the world suffers from so much anger and violence.

From the beginning God instructed Adam and Eve in His way of truth and peace. But an interloper appeared on the scene-Satan the devil, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
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). He deceived Eve, who in turn convinced her husband that he and she should disregard God's instructions not to take of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-17 Genesis 2:15-17 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
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).

This event changed the course of human history. From this point on every human being has relied on his own judgment rather than God's instructions. This situation strikes at the heart of man's lack of godly peace, his continual conflict and wars.

What is behind humanity's endless wars? In a word, Satan, the god of this world, is the unseen but powerful instigator behind war.

He is also the original sinner and rebel against God. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel make it clear that Satan, once a powerful angel at God's throne, was the first to rebel against his Creator and Maker (Isaiah 14:12-15 Isaiah 14:12-15 12 How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
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; Ezekiel 28:13-17 Ezekiel 28:13-17 13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were on the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16 By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the middle of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the middle of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.
American King James Version×
). This powerful spirit being was so industrious and effective in his deception that a third of the angels bought into his perverted notions and became demons (Revelation 12:3-4 Revelation 12:3-4 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
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, 9).

Later, when God created Adam, Satan was lurking about, hoping to instill his evil notions of pride and arrogance into Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-5 Genesis 3:1-5 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.
American King James Version×
). He succeeded. They accepted his subtle and persuasive arguments, and the results were disastrous. They disobeyed their Creator, who then expelled them from Eden. Later Cain, their firstborn son, murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-12 Genesis 4:1-12 1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bore his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect to Abel and to his offering: 5 But to Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the LORD said to Cain, Why are you wroth? and why is your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 9 And the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And he said, What have you done? the voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground. 11 And now are you cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand; 12 When you till the ground, it shall not from now on yield to you her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shall you be in the earth.
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).

These events show the deceptive and deadly fruits of Satan's frame of mind. Christ identified Satan as “a murderer from the beginning” and “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×
).

Satan is the author of war and indeed all anger and hostility. In his arrogance he attempted to overthrow his Maker. Isaiah records his misguided thinking: “… You have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:13-14 Isaiah 14:13-14 13 For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
American King James Version×
). But God defeated him and consigned him to earth, where he reigns as “the ruler of this world” (John 16:11 John 16:11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
American King James Version×
). He will remain in control until Christ incarcerates him at His second coming (Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×
).

With this source of bitterness, hostility and deception removed from influencing humanity, the world will at last begin to experience peace, contentment and joy.

The meanings of God's feasts

This is where the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles comes to light.

It's important to briefly preview all of God's feasts to better understand the significance of the Feast of Tabernacles. God's seven festivals are laid out in Leviticus 23: the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks or Firstfruits (Pentecost), the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day of the feast. These feasts show how God works to bring about the salvation of mankind.

The Passover represents Jesus' sacrifice for mankind (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
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; 1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
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). The seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread represents the unleavened life of Christ and shows the need for His disciples to “be holy, for [He is] holy,” by ceasing to sin (1 Corinthians 5:7-8 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
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; 1 Peter 1:16 1 Peter 1:16Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.
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). Pentecost shows the need for us to receive God's Spirit to empower us to become like God the Father and His Son, Jesus (Acts 2:1-4 Acts 2:1-4 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
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; Romans 8:9-19 Romans 8:9-19 9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
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).

The Feast of Trumpets depicts Christ's return to earth “at the last trumpet,” at which time God will resurrect His faithful followers to immortality in the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 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.
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; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
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; Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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). The symbolism of the Day of Atonement represents Satan being shackled for 1,000 years, allowing mankind to at last be reconciled-at one-with God (Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
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).

We then come to the symbolism of the Feast of Tabernacles. Next in God's plan is 1,000 years of unprecedented peace and unparalleled prosperity (Revelation 20:4-6 Revelation 20:4-6 4 And 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. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed 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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; Zechariah 14:3-4 Zechariah 14:3-4 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
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, 8-9).

Finally, the Last Great Day signifies the second resurrection, when all who have lived and died without ever knowing God and His plan will have their opportunity to be saved. God will resurrect them from their graves and give them temporary physical life along with revelatory knowledge of God, His truths and their part in His master plan (Revelation 20:11-12 Revelation 20:11-12 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
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; Ezekiel 37:1-14 Ezekiel 37:1-14 1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the middle of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, see, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, you know. 4 Again he said to me, Prophesy on these bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, see, the sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall you know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, said the LORD.
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).

These feasts- God's feasts (Leviticus 23:2 Leviticus 23:2Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
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, 4)-represent the steps in His plan for salvation.

The feast of peace

If one thing is sadly lacking in the world, it is peace. In several thousand years of history our planet has experienced only a few isolated years of peace between wars raging somewhere on the globe.

The Feast of Tabernacles, however, shows how history will change. It symbolizes 1,000 years of uninterrupted peace and prosperity when people will learn cooperation rather than confrontation.

God has in store for mankind a millennium of unbroken, unbridled and unpolluted peace. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, He says of this time: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9 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.
American King James Version×
).

Jeremiah also helps us understand how mankind will at last find peace. People will at last learn God's ways. “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34 Jeremiah 31:34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, said the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
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).

God's instruction will include the imparting of understanding of His feast days, including the Feast of Tabernacles. “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 [Jesus the Messiah], 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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, emphasis added).

For the first time in history, peace will break out over the earth. There will be no more locked doors or windows, no more muggings, no more crimes, no more murders, no more wars.

The prophet Micah tells us that “out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken” (Micah 4:2-4 Micah 4:2-4 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And 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. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
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). This is the world Almighty God has in store for mankind-including  you.

You can have a foretaste of the coming time of peace. The members of the United Church of God, publisher of The Good News , will gather in dozens of locations around the world in October in obedience to God's command to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. There they will observe this Feast, worshiping God and hearing more about the meaning of His plan explained from the Scriptures. Visitors are always welcome. GN

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    Comments

  • RICO

    What is one to do if they are financially UNABLE to keep the feast in the customary manner?I wonder if I am the only one who cannot free up any funds (I mean really cannot muster up any funds)to rent hotels,fly to exotic locations,or do those things that the rest of the congregation is able to do?
    I prayed over this for the last 6 months,though,the Father put offering money in my hands YESTERDAY NIGHT!
    I mail it out today,and spend the day in the Word,using the site sermons,and I know the Father knows the heart,but I cant help feeling downcast that I am unable to participate.

  • Skip

    Hi Rico,
    Most of us had no money the first year & therefor could not go.
    And then some need help to be able to go — forever.
    If you have a congregation that you can attend regularly things can be worked out. If you are totally isolated then we need to work something else out.

  • katbird_27

    Have you been saving 10% of what you earn/receive? That is also part of keeping the feast, to save the money to enjoy it. (deut. 14:22-26)

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