Times of Refreshing

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Times of Refreshing

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Although we live in an agitated, fearful time, God's annual Feast of Tabernacles proclaims a soon-coming, peaceful new age.

Transcript

 

[Gary] Judy is lost, and hungry, and terrified. Her lips are parched and all she longs for is a sip of cool, refreshing water. At this moment, she has no hope for the future. Who is Judy and what does she have to do with you? I'm going to explain. 

And along the way, we'll help you find some spiritual refreshment in your spiritually exhausting and parched life.

On Beyond Today, we're going to tell you about the prophesied "times of refreshing"--involving what Jesus Christ is going to do when He returns to the earth. And how you can experience spiritual refreshing in your life today.

[Announcer] Join our host, Gary Petty and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today!

[Gary] I know you could use some spiritual refreshing. We all live in an emotionally, physically and spiritually parched and exhausting world. 

Well, don't despair! God has a plan for quenching your spiritual thirst.

The apostle Peter summed up God's plan this way: "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come...that He may send Jesus Christ...whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things" (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.
American King James Version×
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Peter said that these "times of refreshing" and "times of restoration" are descriptions of when God sends Jesus Christ back to this earth.

Well today, we're going to look at the "times of refreshing" in a new and enlightening way.

I think most Christians anticipate the time when Christ returns, but have you ever wondered what it will be like when Jesus actually stands on the Mount of Olives and takes charge of human affairs? What kind of world will He create?

You know, to really understand the kind of world Christ is going to create, we must first visualize what it will be like when He returns.

Now you've probably read or heard descriptions in the book of Revelation about the prophecies of mass destruction caused by war, diseases and natural disasters that precede Christ's return.

Well let's take a minute here and bring these descriptions down to a personal level, by taking an imaginary flight in time with a family who experienced what the Bible calls the Tribulation.

So, let's visualize a family of four--father, mother, two daughters. They can live anywhere--a farm in Iowa, U.S.A.; Sydney, Australia; a small town in Saskatchewan. It could be your family. Tom and Judy are educated; own a nice home; live close to a Walmart. Life is sort of hectic, but it's the price you pay for success, right?

They weren't prepared for when times got hard. They began to notice the price of bread and vegetables going up, but they still could afford their smartphones and car payments. When Tom lost his job, it felt like he'd lost his legs and he started to slip into depression. Judy had to pull double shifts to keep it up. But in spite of the difficulties, their children still made it to soccer practice, and Tom and Judy still hoped the government would find ways to stop the economic slide.

Well, they ignored the decaying morals of the society around them, and the distant conflicts that were now unraveling the rest of the world. As long as they had air conditioning, a supermarket filled with processed food, and could watch the latest "reality show," things weren't really that bad.

And then it started. An epidemic caused by a viral mutation took their first child. They saw their home value and their retirement wiped out when the economy collapsed and food riots broke out. A new attempt at a world government seemed to stem the tide for a while, but it failed. Nations revolted, and a new world war brought a breakdown in basic medical care, even electricity and water. Tom, he was killed by some thugs who stole their last can of gasoline. Judy's remaining little girl died of malnutrition and dehydration when the sun's heat became so intense that it scorched the plants. Judy ended up sitting in the ruins of her once beautiful home, waiting for death and wondering, "Is there a God?"

The horrors she had read in Revelation weren't something Judy saw in a movie's special effects, read in a novel about the "end times," or heard her minister talk about. It happened to her--in all of its real, ugly, dirty, horrible tragedy.

Then Judy heard about amazing events happening in Jerusalem. Just when it seemed that humanity was about to destroy itself, there was a blasting sound of a trumpet, and a Being shining like the sun touched down on the Mount of Olives. Some people thought that the earth was being invaded by aliens from outer space, but this woman remembered that Jesus Christ promised to return.

That's the world Jesus comes back to save and refresh.

What a momentous challenge Jesus will face. An environment that will no longer support life and people who are either so numb or driven mad by what the Bible calls the Tribulation. Our fictional Judy will be just one of untold millions of violated, starving, masses of humanity existing without hope.

In this burned out world and mass of hopeless people, how will Christ begin to create what Peter called the times of refreshing?

The prophet Isaiah wrote one of the most enduring descriptions of Christ's reign on earth in Isaiah 2. This is what he wrote: "Now 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 all nations shall flow to it" (Isaiah 2:2 Isaiah 2:2And 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.
American King James Version×
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"Mountains" is a term; it is a simile that is used in Hebrew poetry that means kingdoms. This is talking about all the peoples, all the nations, coming to the Kingdom of God. And, "Many people shall say 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..."

And then he says this, and "He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords in plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn way anymore. (Isaiah 2:3-4 Isaiah 2:3-4 [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. [4] And 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.
American King James Version×
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When Jesus Christ comes back, there is a lot of things He has to do. You know one of the first things He must do is heal the environment that has been ruined by pollution, nuclear war, volcanoes and even the earth being struck by meteors. In Isaiah 11, we have another one of the great prophecies about the times of refreshing. Now listen to this partial description because this is very exciting: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6 Isaiah 11:6The 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.
American King James Version×
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Now I want you to think about that for a moment. Jesus Christ has to heal the world of the destruction it has gone through and the environment, but He also is going to change the nature of animals. Human beings will no longer be afraid that predators are going to track them down. Everything is going to begin to change.

Isaiah continues, "The nursing child shall play bt 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, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters of the sea" (Isaiah 11:8-9 Isaiah 11:8-9 [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.
American King James Version×
).

These prophecies give us a wonderful glimpse into what the times of refreshing will be like.

You know, this can be your future. It can also be part of your present daily life. Now to realize this future time of restoration you will have to take action now. If you want to be part of that in the future, you are going to have to change your life now. You must discard the worn-out, empty platitudes that pass for religion and become a true disciple of Jesus Christ who will be reigning on earth at that time.

Now learning about the return of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God will help you understand the times of refreshing. To help you realize that future that is promised by God, we're offering the free study guide: The Gospel of the Kingdom.

Now you can read The Gospel of the Kingdom online at BeyondToday.tv. Or request your free copy to be sent to your home by calling: 1-888-886-8632. That's, 1-888-886-8632.

Can you imagine turning on your computer and reading headlines like these?

New Government Program: All Military Armored Vehicles Will Be Turned into Farm Machinery and Road Graders.

Or how about this?

God Heals the Earth. Food shortages disappear on all continents as crop growth outstrips ability to harvest.

Or…

Peace Talks between Israelis and Arabs Reach Final Peaceful Solutions Under the Direction of Jesus the King.

You know these made-up headlines actually portray events predicted in prophecies about the times of refreshing.

Zechariah 14 is another of the great prophecies of Christ's return. The prophet describes how when Jesus touches down on the Mount of Olives there will be a great earthquake and a river of living water flowing outward to begin healing the earth.

Then Zechariah adds this rather curious statement: "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.
American King James Version×
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Well this would be expected. Everybody is now going to worship Jesus Christ. But notice what it says, "and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

You might be surprised but one of the first religious requirements Jesus establishes for all humanity is the Feast of Tabernacles. Now, let me talk with you about this for just a few minutes because this is probably something completely new to you. The biblical Feast of Tabernacles is centered on the autumn harvest season of Jerusalem. Also, known as the Feast of Ingathering, it is a celebration of the abundant blessings of God.

How important is the Feast of Tabernacles during Christ's reign here on this earth?

Well Zechariah continues, "And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feasts of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:17-19 Zechariah 14:17-19 [17] And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even on them shall be no rain. [18] And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, with which the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. [19] This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
American King James Version×
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Do you grasp what this prophecy is actually predicting?

Not just Jews, but all nations--yes, even the Egyptians--will be required to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This isn't some historical account. This has never happened. This is a prophesied future event having to do with the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Christ will not only require the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles, He will--now listen to this, what did we just read? He will punish people who refuse to obey! One aspect of Christ's spiritual refreshing of humanity will be the celebration of the annual biblical Holy Days. Unfortunately, as usual, some people will stubbornly resist the very goodness of God.

Observing the Feast of Tabernacles is one of the keys to understanding the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. For Christians who anticipate Christ's return, it is a celebration of this spiritual harvest when Jesus Christ gathers all people to Himself and to His Father.

Let's look at another of Isaiah's prophecies about the Messianic Kingdom. He writes, "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!" (Isaiah 42:1 Isaiah 42:1Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit on him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
American King James Version×
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Now this is God the Father talking about the Messiah--Jesus the Christ. He says, "I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentile."

That means everybody, all nations, not just one group of people. And "He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law" (Isaiah 42:3-4 Isaiah 42:3-4 [3] A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment to truth. [4] He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
American King James Version×
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Do you desire to make a positive impact on the world? Have you ever wanted to change things and help people, make it a better place?

You know, that is exactly what Jesus Christ is doing now in the lives of individuals and going to do on a global scale when He returns. He will restore the wastelands. He will have the power to stop war and violence, establish one faith centered on the worship of the One God, set up a new government based on laws of fairness and justice, develop an economic system that eradicates poverty. I mean just think about that. No child will ever starve again. He will produce educational programs and health care programs for the good of all.

You know this isn't a fairy tale. It is the future times of refreshing the apostle Peter predicted ("...that times of refreshing may come..." Acts 3:19 Acts 3:19Repent 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.
American King James Version×
)

So what about today? I know that in the face of today's problems, this wonderful future can seem far away. You believe it, but it just seems so far off. How can you begin to experience the times of refreshing right now?

God wants to bring spiritual refreshing to your life. But you know, it is going to take some action on your part.

Let's go back to what Peter said. Remember we read this at the beginning of the program.

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come...and that He may send Jesus Christ...whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things" (Acts 3:19-20 Acts 3:19-20 [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:
American King James Version×
).

You must take the action of crying out to God to convict you of your need for this refreshing. You know all too many Christians are unaware of their own spiritual thirst. They are just happy to go along thinking that they have a real relationship with God, but they don't.

You then need to learn about the annual, biblical Holy Days. You know most people believe that these are Jewish observances and have little meaning to Christians. What a tragic misunderstanding of God's purpose and the gospel itself! The Holy Days have profound meaning for Christians in revealing God's plan for salvation through Jesus Christ.

Now think about--let' just take a second here, I want you to think about what we just read in Zechariah. If Jesus will require people to observe the biblical Holy Days during His future reign on earth--then shouldn't those who are now submitting to His reign in their lives also observe those days?

Now if you believe you are submitting to the reign of Jesus Christ in your life, if you say He is my Lord and my Master, then you need to seriously ask yourself that question. So let's think about it. If Jesus will require people to observe the biblical Holy Days during His future reign on earth--then shouldn't those who are submitting to His reign in their lives now also observe those days now?

Jesus Christ reigning on earth is the future. Do you want to be part of His future? If your answer is "yes" then Jesus Christ must reign in your life now.

Before going on to our panel discussion, let me make two offers to help you understand today's subject.

The first is our free study aid: The Gospel of the Kingdom. The subject of the Kingdom of God is one of the primary themes of the Bible and what will truly bring a "time of refreshing" to our world. Call us at 1-888-886-8632 for a free copy of The Gospel of the Kingdom. Or, go online to BeyondToday.tv and download a free copy.

The message of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is the core of what we discuss here on Beyond Today. We are looking at today's world and your life from the perspective of the world to come--beyond today. We offer you advance understanding of how you can access God's Kingdom, the power of that world to come, in this life. Get help through all the stresses and challenges that seem to come at you from all angles.

Christ and His message, the hope of the Kingdom, is what you need to hear. In the midst of all the bad news that you hear today--all the time, you need this positive, focused message of the Kingdom of God. Order our free Bible study aid, The Gospel of the Kingdom.

Please also request our free magazine, The Good News. It will help you accelerate your Bible study as you prepare for the coming Kingdom of God. With it, you can gain insight into the Bible, and learn to use Scripture as a guide to the challenging issues you face everyday.

In addition, The Good News will help you clearly see where world events are taking us--through the lens of the Bible. It is a magazine of understanding and you can get a free subscription. It is also available free as an iPad app for those who prefer to read it on their tablet.

Call: 1-888-886-8632 or go online at BeyondToday.tv for the study aid, The Gospel of the Kingdom and our magazine, The Good News.

And, let me mention that Beyond Today television programs and BT Dailies can be viewed on-demand, anytime--day or night, on dedicated Beyond Today television channels on streaming devices like Roku or YouTube.

We've been talking about what the world will be like before Christ returns and what He will do to create the times of refreshing. We've also looked at the Feast of Tabernacles as a Christian celebration of the gospel message of Christ's return to reign on the earth.

I'd like to welcome fellow Beyond Today hosts, Darris McNeely and Steve Myers.

How does the Feast of Tabernacles reveal the plan of God and the gospel of the Kingdom?

[Darris] Well Gary, the gospel of the Kingdom is about a coming Kingdom--a government of God, the family of God--to this earth with the return of Jesus Christ. Christ returns--in so many scriptures in the New Testament that talks directly about that. And it is a matter of connecting those scriptures and that coming of Christ, with statements that not only He made, but also prophecies from the Old Testament that really flush out the fullness of the subject of the gospel, and what it means for that Kingdom to be established upon this earth. And so, when one begins to really understand that Christ then is at the center of that understanding and of that message, and it ties beautifully in with His second coming.

[Steve] And part of the representation in celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles and following the guidelines that the Bible gives is the fact that it is representative of what God is going to do. That the world is not going to end in annihilation. That ultimately, Christ is going to return--which most people, most Christians, understand that He is going to return, but then they don't know what is going to happen after that.

But that He is literally going to establish a government. He is going to set up His Kingdom. And it is going to be beautiful. It is going to be a time of refreshing. He is going to restore things back to where they are supposed to be in a beautiful Kingdom, right government. And so, the Feast of Tabernacles is representing that time when Christ establishes this Kingdom and things are set right.

[Darris] The scripture that you read about the refreshing, the times of refreshing tie in with another scripture that talks about the restoration of all things. And, that restoration is to a time of God's rule, God's kind grace upon this world and upon this earth; with an opportunity for mankind to achieve his fullest potential.

[Gary] Well you know, all three of us don't adhere to the sort of Christian mainstream calendar. We keep the biblical Holy Days throughout the year including the Feast of Tabernacles. And I have to say, one of the things that the Feast of Tabernacles has helped me in my life, is to realize that the Kingdom of God may be in heaven but right now, Satan is ruling on this earth. And Christ is brining that Kingdom back, but right now I can participate in that Kingdom by having Jesus Christ as my King and my Lord, and turning to God the Father, and looking forward to that time when He returns. So, observing the Feast of Tabernacles, how has that affected your relationship with God as your Father and with Jesus Christ?

[Darris] When I began to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, now some fifty years ago, it was a gradual process of learning what this festival was all about. I remember getting off from school, because the Feast of Tabernacles falls in the September-October period, and it is a time when school is getting back in. I would have to get out of school.

I remember going back in one day after going to the Feast of Tabernacles and telling my teachers where I had been, and they thought I was keeping a Jewish-festival. That's all they associated it with. And, I never really learned it that way even though it certainly, it is taught in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. It was explained and lived out among those that were keeping it where I was, that this was a Christian festival with Christ right in the center of it, picturing a time of Christ's reign upon the earth for a thousand years, as the book of Revelation talks about.

And that message really opened up a whole understanding of hope amidst a world that was uncertain. When I was growing up the Cold War was going on. The threat of nuclear war was hanging over everyone, and the idea and the understanding that this world was not going to end in the chaos of a nuclear genocide opened up to a me an avenue of hope of where this world was going, even though there were some bad times. And it really kept me from getting into a scenario like your Judy did of fear. But to understand that there is going to be a time beyond the chaos at the close of the age.

[Steve] Yeah it is an interesting aspect when you understand what the Bible really teaches about days that God set aside to celebrate and to worship Him on. And so God specifically tells us to do that and in my life I grew up in a religious family. I grew up in a family where my mom taught me: Jesus loves me, this I know. And I understood that God really cared about me. What I came to understand later was the fact that God had a purpose in my life. It wasn't just that He loved me, but there was also a purpose. And the Holy Days spell out the purpose, not just for me personally, but for all of mankind. And I came to understand that on a different level, a deeper level, and it gave me perspective in my life. And it really taught me to worship God the way that He really wants to be worshipped. And so it changed everything in my life.

[Gary] You know that's interesting. I was thinking about how people think it's a Jewish holiday and say it is a Jewish observance, not a Christian observance. If you realize that the fall Holy Days, the autumn Holy Days were built around the harvest…

[Darris]…harvest season…

[Gary] …the harvest season, and what we are looking at is Jesus Christ has a spiritual harvest season. And so what they did physically, for the Christian, has a deep, deep spiritual meaning that is just not understood or can't be as understood in its fullness without these Holy Days. Why should a Christian keep them?

[Steve] One of the things is if we do claim to be Christians, we need to be Christ-centered. And if we are Christ-centered that means we are going to follow Him and do the things that He asked us to do. And the biblical Holy Days are our good example of that--they were commanded to keep. You mentioned Zechariah 14, where it talks about they are going to be kept in the future, so what should be keeping us from observing those days right now?

[Gary] And the thing you mentioned is, it is Christ-centered.

[Darris] Yes.

[Gary] The Holy Days are not somehow opposed to Christ or totally fulfilled by Christ. They are fulfilled in the work that He is doing throughout history including the future!

Remember our free offers today. You'll want to order your copy of our Bible study aid, The Gospel of the Kingdom. It gives you foundational information on the times of refreshing that will come and happen in the future and in your life now. And, ask for your free subscription to The Good News magazine. Call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read both The Good News and The Gospel of the Kingdom online at BeyondToday.tv.

In today's spiritually parched world, don't despair. The times of refreshing are coming.

God wants to begin to refresh your life right now. Will you diligently seek His ways?

The Feast of Tabernacles is a wonderful celebration of Christ's reign on earth. Celebrate the gospel by observing this biblical festival.

Join us next week on Beyond Today as we continue to discover the gospel of the Kingdom. We also invite you to join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today I'm Gary Petty. Thanks for watching.

[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv. Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!