United Church of God

Letter From William Bradford - August 10, 2023

Letter From William Bradford

August 10, 2023

The Blessed Hope

It's hard to believe we were celebrating Passover and Spring Holy Days just a few months ago. Now, in just over a month, the fall Holy Day season will begin with the Feast of Trumpets at sunset on Friday, September 15th.

With the inclusion of Pentecost, the Spring and Fall Holy Days provide an annual reminder of the sequences of events in God's plan of salvation.  As we read God's Word, we see passages embedded with the incredible steps of God's plan that we also see through the sequence of God's Holy Days.   One example is an encouraging set of scriptures at the beginning of Paul's letter to Titus.

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  (Titus 2:11-14, NKJV)

These three verses represent many of the critical elements of God's plan of salvation that the Holy Days represent.  During the Spring Holy Days, we focus on Christ our Passover, the Word that became flesh that gave Himself that He might redeem us from every lawless deed. The grace of God brought salvation and taught by both word and deeds how to live a righteous life.  Denying ungodliness is a life absent of the leaven of this world. These are all critical themes within the Spring Holy Days.

At Pentecost, we focus on God's church and those that have responded to God's calling and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Those who have God's Spirit are God's own special people who are zealous for good works being purified, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish to be presented to Christ. (Eph 5:27)

On the first Holy day of the fall season, the Day of Trumpets, we look forward to what Paul calls our blessed hope and glorious appearing; the return of our Savior Jesus Christ.  At this time, we focus on this momentous seventh blast of the trumpet ushering in God's rule and government.

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (Rev 19:11-13, NKJV)

In verse 16, we learn that name "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" written on His robe and thigh. This is our blessed hope pictured riding a white horse with eyes like a flame of fire, called the Word of God.   This future event fulfills what Daniel interpreted for King Nebuchadnezzar thousands of years earlier with a stone cut out, not with human hands striking the image and becoming a great mountain that filled the whole earth representing a kingdom that shall never be destroyed.

44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold--the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure." (Daniel 2:44-45, NKJV)

The Holy Days are incredible blessings as we are able to see forward,  looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who will usher in a new age, with the government on his shoulder, there will be no end to the increase and peace of the Kingdom of God. (Isiah 9:7)

As we approach the Fall Holy Days, may the feast enthusiasm for what these days picture fill your hearts and mind with hope and enthusiasm for the soon-coming Kingdom of God.

I hope you all have a rewarding and enriching Sabbath Rest!