Paradise Found!: A Feast for the Ages

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A Feast for the Ages

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Paradise Found!: A Feast for the Ages

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Wouldn’t you love to live in paradise? For a lot of people this evokes images of a tropical beach or some other beautiful, lush setting with perfect conditions—the word paradise having come to mean an ultimately pleasurable environment. Others think of an idyllic pastoral life of plenty, safety and contentment. A great many apply the term to a place of future happiness, typically thought of as an afterlife in heaven.

Some envision having all their questions answered and curiosities satisfied. Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges said, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Still others hearing the word might imagine a manmade utopia on earth—a perfect civilization of harmony and peace that, as many have dreamed, people will somehow bring about.

The various conceptions of paradise have their roots in man’s first home in the biblical Garden of Eden. The word paradise is of Persian, or ancient Iranian, origin— pairi-daiza meaning a walled-in area and used to describe an enclosed garden or royal hunting ground.

The Old Testament Hebrew word pardes, referring to an orchard or park, came from the Persian language. Both this word and the Hebrew gan, meaning garden, were rendered in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament with another derivative of the Persian word, the Greek paradeisos. This word entered Jewish and Christian usage for the Garden of Eden. It also occurs in the New Testament.

Throughout history man has yearned to recapture what was lost in Eden. Will that desire ever be realized? As we will see, God has given a powerful reminder that reaffirms the answer to this question every year.

Paradise lost

Adam and Eve were placed in the luxuriant garden in the land of Eden with work to do, to tend and keep it. The first human beings were, in the beginning, at peace with nature, evidently not fearing bad weather or wild animals. However, something happened in that garden that forever changed the course of human history!

The garden had trees of all kinds, including two that were real fruit-bearing trees but also symbolic. One was the tree of life, the means to human beings’ ultimate destiny of eternal joy as spirit beings in the family of God.

The other was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which symbolized human beings determining right and wrong for themselves rather than according to what God said. The first man and woman tragically listened to Satan and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. They were banished from the garden and cut off from the tree of life. Mankind has followed in wrong ways ever since.

The 17th-century epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton, first published as 10 books and soon after arranged as 12, recounts the sin of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the garden. It also focuses on the rebellion of Satan and the demons, which eventually led to the temptation in Eden. Milton presents Satan as an ambitious and proud being who defies his Creator, the omnipotent God, and wages war in heaven, only to be defeated and cast down.

In the opening of Book 1, a long, twisting sentence mirroring the epic poetry of ancient Greece invokes the “Heavenly Muse” (the Holy Spirit), presents the author’s theme of “man’s first disobedience” and the “loss of Eden,” and states that his aim is to “justify the ways of God to men.” Satan and the other rebel angels are described as lying on a lake of fire, from where Satan rises up to claim hell as his own domain, delivering a rousing speech to his followers declaring, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in heaven.”

In Book 12, at the very end, the angel Michael leads Adam and Eve from the garden. Paradise has been lost. The poem ends, “The world was all before them, where to choose their place of rest, and Providence their guide: They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow, through Eden took their solitary way.”

Many religious people have looked on this epic poem as approximating in certain regards what actually happened in the temptation and sin of man. And in spite of a number of serious misconceptions, there is a lot of truth and remarkable insight in what Milton wrote.

Just before the poem’s ending, reference is made to the Messiah, “the Promised Seed [who] shall all restore.” Indeed, Scripture speaks of paradise being restored to the earth, with conditions similar to what the Garden of Eden was meant to be.

The plan of restoration and God’s festivals

Does God plan for a return to paradise? Will man be brought back to close fellowship with God in an Eden-like setting? Will the devil’s corruption of man be overturned?

God’s plan for the redemption and salvation of mankind is revealed through a series of festivals and Holy Days He commanded His people to observe. These are listed in Leviticus 23.

First is the weekly Sabbath, which itself pictures a time of spiritual rest and rejuvenation at the end of thousands of years of toil. God also gave seven annual festivals—starting with the Passover, which pictures Christ’s sacrifice to free us from death, and culminating later in the year with the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles and the following Eighth Day, which together point to a true paradise to come.

In supreme love, God wants to rescue us from our corruption and restore us to the joy He intended for us—that of paradise.

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.
American King James Version×
; Exodus 34:22 Exodus 34:22And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
American King James Version×
). On a physical level this signified rejoicing in the abundant agricultural harvest in Israel in late summer and early fall. But on a spiritual level, we celebrate God bringing in a great harvest of human beings (see Luke 10:2 Luke 10:2Therefore said he to them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
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; John 4:35 John 4:35Say not you, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
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)—people who will become part of His spiritual family. Following Christ’s return will come the greatest time of salvation harvest ever, with blessings and abundance overflowing.

After a terrible time of devastation will come a time of peace, joy, abundance and restoration under the rule of Jesus Christ—a time of paradise. Notice: “So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited’” (Ezekiel 36:35 Ezekiel 36:35And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

This restoration will begin at Jerusalem: “For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in it” (Isaiah 51:3 Isaiah 51:3For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
American King James Version×
).

Many other Bible passages show that these wonderful conditions will be extended around the globe—“a wonderful feast for all the people of the world” (Isaiah 25:6 Isaiah 25:6And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make to all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation). Mankind will then experience “the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21 Acts 3:21Whom 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.
American King James Version×
).

You are living on the very edge of events that will usher in the development of a true, godly paradise for the entire world! The stage for paradise is being set.

In fact, the setting of the stage has long been underway. God’s plan to save mankind through Christ was laid out “before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9 2 Timothy 1:9Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
American King James Version×
). God’s festivals, which picture His plan and its culmination, were even an integral part of His setting in order the very heavens.

These festivals are a powerful reminder of the awesome plan God is working out. And the culminating fall festival season especially reminds us of the future paradise of the Kingdom of God on earth.

God wants us to have this reminder, and throughout biblical history He repeatedly affirmed its importance. To see that, we will now look in chronological order at distinct periods of observance of the Feast of Tabernacles, along with the Eighth Day, as pointing to future paradise. Recognize that rejoicing in these days affords a small foretaste of the paradise ahead.

The Feast of Tabernacles observed by Moses and Israel

In Leviticus 23, we see God outlining His festivals to be observed annually, culminating with the Feast of Tabernacles and Eighth Day:

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: “The fifteenth day of this seventh month [corresponding to September-October] shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation [or commanded assembly] … [And] on the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation …  It is a sacred assembly’” (verses Leviticus 23:33-36 Leviticus 23:33-36 33 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 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. 36 Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein.
American King James Version×
).

They were to use tree branches to construct tabernacles or booths, temporary structures, to stay in during these days to picture when the Israelites left Egypt (Leviticus 23:40-43 Leviticus 23:40-43 40 And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. 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.
American King James Version×
). This time of great rejoicing each year was sometimes just called “the feast of the Lord” (Leviticus 23:39 Leviticus 23:39Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
American King James Version×
) or more simply “the Feast.”

Note that all the festivals here are “the feasts of the Lord” (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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, Leviticus 23:4 Leviticus 23:4These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
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, Leviticus 23:44 Leviticus 23:44And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
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). God declares, “These are My 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.
American King James Version×
). As His festivals, they are intended for all humanity, not just Israel or the Jews, as many now think. Yet Israel, chosen to set an example for the nations, was specifically directed to keep these festivals.

The Israelites afterward observed the Feast of Tabernacles for centuries, though with varying degrees of faithfulness. The temple in Jerusalem was even dedicated when the Israelites assembled with Solomon at the Feast in the seventh month (1 Kings 8). And it didn’t stop there.

Let’s now move forward in time.

The Feast observed after the Jewish return from Babylon

Long after the Israelites split into two nations, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, both nations ended up being deported, the southern Jewish nation taken to Babylon. Then after Babylon was conquered by the Persian Empire, a remnant of Judah returned to the land and continued to keep God’s festivals.

The Persian king Cyrus gave the Jews permission to go back and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1). On arriving, “They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written” (Ezra 3:4 Ezra 3:4They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;
American King James Version×
).

Another group returning decades later discovered that they “should dwell in booths [or tabernacles] during the feast of the seventh month” (Nehemiah 8:14 Nehemiah 8:14And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:
American King James Version×
), and so they kept the Feast more fully, “and there was very great gladness” (Nehemiah 8:17 Nehemiah 8:17And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
American King James Version×
, see also Nehemiah 8:13-18 Nehemiah 8:13-18 13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, to Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. 14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth to the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one on the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. 17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. 18 Also day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according to the manner.
American King James Version×
).

It was important that the people continued in keeping this great celebration that gives a foretaste of rejoicing with God in paradise. But did this end with the ancient Israelites? Let’s move forward in time again.

The Feast observed by Jesus

In the Gospel of John we see that Jesus Christ observed the great fall festival days: “Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand … Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught … [And] on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink …’” (John 7:2 John 7:2Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand.
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, John 7:14 John 7:14Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
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, John 7:37 John 7:37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.
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).

Jesus referred here to God’s Spirit as “living water,” anticipating this pathway to eternal life, the fruit of the tree of life, becoming available to all mankind (John 7:38-39 John 7:38-39 38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spoke 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.)
American King James Version×
).

Christian believers clearly have a connection to this festival and its meaning. So did its observance end with Jesus and His crucifixion? Many will tell you that it did! They will say the biblical festivals are no longer required to be observed. But let’s keep moving ahead in time.

The Feast observed by the New Testament Church

The New Testament Church has a rich heritage of faith in observing these days—for the past 2,000 years even to our time! The example left by Jesus and the first-century Church of God is our model. We must do likewise.

The apostle Paul, in a hurry to travel, had to leave from synagogue discussions in Ephesus to keep the Feast. He said,

“I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing” (Acts 18:21 Acts 18:21But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that comes in Jerusalem: but I will return again to you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
American King James Version×
).

While many claim the italicized phrase should not be here, as some of the ancient New Testament manuscripts don’t have it, the words do appear in the majority, and many scholars agree that Paul went to Jerusalem in verse 22, likely for a feast. Many reckon the feast here to have been Tabernacles, although others think it was the spring feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread.

In any case, we do know that Paul was observing the biblical feasts in general. Several chapters later we see that he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 20:16 Acts 20:16For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hurried, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.
American King James Version×
). And He told Christians in Greece to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread along with the Passover with understanding of their spiritual meaning (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 6 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 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.
American King James Version×
).

As The Encyclopaedia Britannica confirms, “The first Christians … continued to observe the Jewish festivals [actually God’s festivals], though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed” (11th edition, Vol. 8, p. 828).

In celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day that follows, the Church pictures the future time of prosperity, hope, peace, abundance, beauty, calm, joy and salvation for all mankind—paradise on earth under Christ’s coming reign. So will the observance end when He returns?

The Feast will be observed after Christ’s return

The prophet Zechariah foretold a time when all nations will observe the Festival of Tabernacles:

“And in that day His [Jesus’] feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two … And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem … And the Lord shall be King over all the earth … And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations … shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:4 Zechariah 14:4And 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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, Zechariah 14:8-9 Zechariah 14:8-9 8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And 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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, 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.
American King James Version×
).

Yes, most definitely, the festivals of God will be kept after Jesus Christ’s return. And this will continue through His thousand-year reign over the nations (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.
American King James Version×
), also known as the Millennium.

The last chapters of Ezekiel describe a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and its service during that future age. Ezekiel 45 speaks of priestly duties then during Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ezekiel 45:21-24 Ezekiel 45:21-24 21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. 22 And on that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering. 23 And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering. 24 And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah.
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), as well as at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles: “In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month, at the feast, he shall do likewise for seven days” (Ezekiel 45:25 Ezekiel 45:25In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.
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). We learn in these chapters that God’s Sabbaths and feasts will be observed under Christ’s reign during the Millennium.

Imagine a time when everyone is keeping the Feast of Tabernacles! Imagine a time when all nations eventually repent and turn to God.

John Adams, America’s second president, wrote in his diary on Feb. 22, 1756: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be” (quoted by William Federer, America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, 1996, p. 5).

This will happen when Jesus is ruling from Jerusalem! Humanity will experience a thousand years of peace and prosperity. All nature will be at peace (Isaiah 11:6-9 Isaiah 11:6-9 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatted calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 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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). And we’ve already seen how the world will be returned to an Eden-like state. It will truly be paradise on earth!

And it will not end with the Millennium. This time will be followed by the last judgment period, when all who have ever lived without sufficient understanding of God’s truth will be resurrected in the flesh to be given their first opportunity for salvation.

This future world of new opportunity is what Jesus referred to in answering the thief who was crucified next to Him. The dying man “said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today [that is, today I’m telling you] you will be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:42-43 Luke 23:42-43 42 And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. 43 And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, To day shall you be with me in paradise.
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).

The Eighth Day that follows the Feast of Tabernacles looks forward to this very time—and to the eternal future that follows.

God will bring ultimate paradise from heaven to earth

In God’s Kingdom, His people will tabernacle or dwell with Him. But it doesn’t end with the Millennium and the last judgment period. It projects beyond that into the time of a new heaven and new earth.

The apostle John writes in Revelation 21: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away … Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.

“God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:1-4 Revelation 21:1-4 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
American King James Version×
).

In this wonderful city that will descend with God from heaven will be, as in the Garden of Eden, the tree of life, then available to the repentant nations (Revelation 22:1-2 Revelation 22:1-2 1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
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, Revelation 22:14 Revelation 22:14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
American King James Version×
). “And there shall be no more curse” (Revelation 22:3 Revelation 22:3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
American King James Version×
). The expulsion from paradise will be over.

Paul locates “Paradise” as currently in heaven, to where he was caught up in vision (2 Corinthians 12:4 2 Corinthians 12:4How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
American King James Version×
). But clearly this paradise will be brought to earth—in part during the Millennium and in full when the New Jerusalem at last comes down. This is the true paradise of God—of which the ancient Garden of Eden was only a physical type or model.

Here we see the full breadth of God’s master plan as revealed in His festivals. The Feast of Tabernacles memorialized dwelling with God while in this world from ancient to present times, yet as a small foretaste of a much greater fulfillment to come—in the Millennium and, in an ultimate sense, beyond into eternity.

Thus, the meaning of this great festival persists throughout all time—even after the present earth and heaven have passed away. The tabernacle of God will dwell eternally with God’s immortal children. This is when the ultimate paradise is found!

Paradise regained

John Milton wrote a follow-up to Paradise Lost called Paradise Regained. It centers on the temptation of Christ, showing how Christ’s victory over sin and the devil restored opportunity to again be in a relationship with God.

This presents the pathway of Christ’s work toward redemption of mankind—repeated word play on reversals reinforcing the idea that everything lost in the first epic is going to be regained. But beyond this poem, the full picture—as revealed in Scripture and as truly understood only by God’s faithful followers who keep His festivals—is that paradise truly will be regained!

The holy festivals of God, ordained from the beginning of time and observed for all history—past, present and future—give us the amazing outline. This is why we are to observe the Festival of Tabernacles today. It’s our lifeline to understanding the plan of God. We are on the cusp of a great new age. We are forerunners in the life of paradise soon to come to the earth!

Over the centuries God’s faithful people have been exercising faith, looking forward to being made perfect and immortal when Christ returns—to being ultimately at one in paradise with God the Father and the Son forever.

As the risen Jesus proclaims: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7 Revelation 2:7He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God.
American King James Version×
).

Why not join with us in keeping the Feast of Tabernacles today as a wonderful foretaste of that paradise that awaits?

 


 

God’s Festival Times Marked Out From Creation

In the biblical account of creation in Genesis 1, we are told that “God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years’” (Genesis 1:14 Genesis 1:14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

This might seem to only concern general timekeeping, but the Hebrew word rendered as “seasons” here, mo‘edim, is often translated as feasts or appointed times. Other Bible versions render the word in Genesis 1:14 Genesis 1:14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
American King James Version×
as “religious festivals” (God’s Word Translation), “special days” (Contemporary English Version), “special meetings” (Easy-to-Read Version) and “sacred times” (New International Version).

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible notes on verse 14: “For seasons … moadim; For the determination of the times on which the sacred festivals should be held. In this sense the word frequently occurs; and it was right that at the very opening of his revelation God should inform man that there were certain festivals which should be annually celebrated to his glory.”

And so we see the very first chapter in the Bible pointing to the way the heavens are set up to designate the appointments, or sacred festivals, of God. The very orbits of the heavenly bodies were established to enable all people to reckon the times of God’s festivals! The fact is, God intended all humankind to observe His festivals. They portray His plan of salvation for all.

To learn more, download or request our free study guide God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind .

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