In 1 Kings 19 we read that Elijah thought he was the only person left in the whole nation who was still striving to obey God, and he was going to be killed because of his obedience. He was so convinced he told this to God twice (1 Kings 19:10 1 Kings 19:10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
American King James Version×, 14). Yet in verse 18 God tells Elijah He has 7,000 (!) who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Sometimes we may feel similar to Elijah—that we are the only ones left in the whole world who are striving to obey God in this day and age. But just as in the days of Elijah, God is more active than we may think.
Each year we have individuals contact us that are looking for a place to come and keep God’s Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day. They have read about the Holy Days in the Bible and have decided they need to do what God has commanded. They are looking for a place to keep them. Some may have never kept the Feast before in their lives. Others may have tried to keep it on their own or in a small group with family or others in their own area. Some may have kept the Feast in the past and feel compelled to keep it again. Maybe they are “waking up” from having fallen asleep spiritually and they want to once again obey God. There are many reasons and ways God works in people’s lives.
As they search the Internet they find our website and see that they are welcome to keep the Feast of Tabernacles with us—the members of the United Church of God. In fact, on the second page of our Feast registration page where it asks which local congregation they attend, there is a box they can check that says “I don’t normally attend with UCG.” And directly under it the following appears, “Even if you don’t attend with UCG, we would love to host you for the Feast of Tabernacles this year!”
What an exciting opportunity it is to have those new (or coming back) to God’s way of life attend the Feast of Tabernacles. What a wonderful way for them to see us as God’s children anticipating the coming Kingdom of God and living in peace and harmony for eight days, just as we look forward to in the Kingdom. Coming to the Feast allows them to be exposed to our core teaching of the coming world tomorrow: the Millennium, the soon-coming return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. They also hear messages of God’s purpose for us and all mankind.
We may think of the Feast just as a time when we focus on how this world is temporary and what it will be like for us and our families to experience a wonderful foretaste of the coming Kingdom, but it is more than that. It is also a time when we can fellowship with others, including those newer to this way of life and God’s plan, and in a very natural manner teach them more about God’s way and how to live it. It is an opportunity for all of us to share the wonderful good news of the Kingdom of God. It is an opportunity for us to gently and meekly help others to become disciples of Christ by sharing God’s Feast with them. It is also a time for others to witness first hand our love one for another (John 13:35 John 13:35By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×). And it is very possible, by their exposure to you and others at the Feast, that they may decide they want to continue to fellowship with us in their local area after the Feast.
We all long and yearn for the time described in 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×, when all the nations from year to year will go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. As in the days of Elijah, there are many that God is calling and preparing for His use . . . and He may be calling them to attend the Feast with us.
Let’s be sure that we make a special effort to welcome them and include them as we rejoice before God. Recognize this special opportunity God is giving us to share His way of life, His plan and His purpose with those He is calling and inspiring to attend the Feast of Tabernacles with us. Let’s seize the opportunity to proclaim and model the coming Kingdom of God at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles.