The Feast of Tabernacles is a way of life. We are told to rejoice. That is a theme you are going to hear a lot about; it is a command.
[Fred Crow] Greetings from San Jose in Eureka, your brothers and sisters down south, and welcome to the Feast of Tabernacles. This is, if I count right, close to my 50th, my wife's 50 or 51st… wait, we lost count, but it shows that it's a way of life. It is a way of life. Welcome to the Feast of Tabernacles, quite a special occasion this is.
We're using the blessings of God that He provides. We're told to go to a place where He puts His name, and we're told to rejoice before Him. How are you doing? How are you doing? That is a theme that you're going to hear a lot about, rejoicing. It's a command. It's unique. You know, your being here is not a vacation. You're not on vacation. You're coming here to a daily seminar, an opportunity to share your life with one another on a daily basis. We have daily fellowships, daily meetings, so it's not a vacation.
You didn't come here from a job that said, "Hey, you had a good year, go have fun, take some time off." It's not that either. It's unique. Why are we rejoicing? Why are we here? I've often heard that. When I started attending church in 1968, I remember my first Feast in Jekyll Island, "Why are you here?" And somebody in the audience said, "Because we're not all there." But why are we here? Hold that thought.
Many of you have been to business seminars. I have in… in 42 years of business, I was constantly being sent to seminars, business seminars that had focused attention on specific topics and themes, managing salesforce in… Oh, you know, so I did that. I forgot to set the timer.
My congregations know I get started, and I get excited. That gives me more time, right, Mr. Richards? But business seminars, managing salesforces in a downturn economy, developing infrastructure for growth, decision making 101, the art of negotiation, I didn't do well in that class. Time management, managing your time. My company sent me to these seminars, paid my time, paid my expenses so that… my phrase, so that my skill set and my utility to the company could be increased. You're here because your Father blessed you, gave you a blessing so that you could be here learning the theme of the Feast of Tabernacles.
What is that theme? Oh, yes, we're to rejoice. We're to rejoice, and we're to attend daily meetings, and we're to enjoy daily fellowshipping, and rejoice before God and to rehearse and engage and participate in the overarching theme of the Feast. You've thought of this before you came here.
The Feast does have an overarching theme. As Christians, we are identified as having love one for another. When people see us having love one for another, we are identified as Christians. It's what the Scripture says.
What is the identifier or hallmark of the Feast of Tabernacles? Now, a hallmark is an identifying mark on an article of trade to indicate origin, purity, and genuineness. It's also a typical characteristic or feature of a person or thing. Moses, his characteristic was a friend of God, David, a man after God's own heart.
What is the hallmark of the Feast of Tabernacles? What is its distinguishing characteristic? These days that we are keeping right now represent the millennial time of Jesus Christ's reign when He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords. He has a title with Him when He arrives, it's called the Prince of Peace, Prince of Peace.
Let's go to Isaiah 9, please. Isaiah 9, we'll start in some of the prophetic statements that were made. Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
American King James Version×, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Prince of Peace. "Of the increase of His government and peace…" So often I hear that statement "Of the increase of His government will be no end,” that's true. But “the increase of His government and peace will be no end.” There will be no end upon that.
Jesus Christ has the title, Prince of Peace. Jesus Christ came teaching and preaching the gospel of peace. Jesus Christ proclaimed the message of the coming Kingdom of peace. You're going to hear me say that a lot. That's the theme. We are celebrating, rejoicing before God these days that represent the promise coming of peace to a world that is in desperate need of peace.
Now, by definition, the lack of war is not peace. The lack of armed conflict is not peace. If there was no war, how's your health? How's the family? How's the job? How's the situations? I mean, we live in unsettled times. The lack of war does not mean we're at peace. You and I are called today to demonstrate that God's way works. I love that. My wife and I have attended 27, 28 years of camp, we lost count. And each year, we show young people that God's way works. God's way leads to peace.
I forget who said it, and you'll have to forgive me I'm getting old, but I thought it was Tom Brokaw, and I can't confirm it. But some pundit who is an observer of society has said that “if the world kept the Ten Commandments, the world would be at peace.” Ten simple statements and the world would be at peace. Well, guess what? Jesus Christ is coming, and that is going to be the law upon which the land is governed. And the world is going to experience peace for the first time.
You and I are called to demonstrate that God's way works, that God's way leads to peace at home, at school, on the job, in the grocery store, on the roads as you travel, dealing with your housing. We are to show evidence of God's way that leads to peace in all things.
Matthew 5:9 Matthew 5:9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
American King James Version×, you put that in your notes, it's very simple. That if you want to be called a child of God, you will be, will be a peacemaker. You will look how to be a peacemaker, how to bring about peace. Now, the world believes it's got it. "We can make peace. We've got this together. We know how to do that." But the world, sadly, is incapable of achieving peace. Einstein was quoted as saying, "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding."
Samuel Colt, he invented the Colt .45, you might recall in your history. This is a six-shooter weapon that was called “The Peacemaker.” It was called the Peacemaker. He was quoted in 1852 as saying, "The good people in this world are very far from being satisfied with each other and my arms are the best peacemaker." Now, he enjoyed selling his arms to both sides in the Civil War, and anyone who was interested in buying his weaponry.
The League of Nations in 1919 and 1920… I don't think I was around at that time. The League of Nations was developed to stop war. World War I was the war to end all war. How successful was it? It wasn't. They had a charter, and I forgot to write it down. But the charter was written in 1923, given to the League of Nations, and 65 nations signed it. It wasn't quite the success that they hoped for because even after they signed it, Japan invaded Manchuria, Italy invaded Abyssinia. There wasn't any peace, even though everybody agreed to it. They found out that the only way to bring about peace was through force, and the only force that was available to the League of Nations were those nations that were victors in the last war.
I'm leading up to something. In September of 1938, Neville Chamberlain, you've probably seen this. This newsreel is flapping a piece of paper before the newsreels because Britain was in great fear of going to war with Germany. He had just returned from Munich having visited with Mr. Hitler. And he said, "I have a paper here. We're reaffirming, "the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another." And they proclaimed in the newspapers, "Peace in our time." Shortly thereafter, Hitler annexed all of Czechoslovakia, entered Poland, and the world was at war.
You know what this points out? Isaiah 59. The path to peace in society is crooked and unsuccessful. Isaiah 59, covering a brief commentary. The way for peace in society is convoluted, emotionally-based, ego-driven, human nature-dripping, especially for the desire for power. Isaiah 59, well, just verse 1. Start there. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from God;” so you're on your own. You're separated from God, the constant in all of the universe, the One who understands all things, you have separated yourself from Him, "your iniquities have separated you from God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear."
Verse 4, "No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth." You've been watching the news, reading the papers? There is no justice in this world. Verse 7, "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there was no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace."
The world has taken themselves crooked paths looking for peace. And I'm going to try and quote Jimi Hendrix. He said, "Until the power of love overcomes the love of power, we won't have peace." This is Jimi Hendrix, but it's true. “Until the power of love,” the power of God “overcomes the love of power,” which all society loves, “we will not have peace, we will not have peace.”
Well, man has taken crooked paths to peace without success. Historian, Will Durant has informed us, I think his book was in 1968, that “268 years out of 3500 years of recorded history, there were no wars.” Two hundred and sixty-eight years out of 3500 plus. That's only 7.5% of recorded history where there was peace… sorry, where there was no conflict. Because even if there was no conflict, not necessarily being at peace.
The hallmark of the Millennium, these days, we are celebrating is peace. A true peace being brought to mankind for their benefit brought to us by the Rescuer, Jesus the Christ. Trumpets when Jesus Christ's feet touched the Mount of Olives. The Rescuer has arrived. Man needs rescue. On Atonement the cause of evil is going to be removed, and then mankind can seriously experience peace, real peace, a lasting peace. The road is going to be made straight by Jesus Christ, by the Prince of Peace.
Let's take a look at some prophetic statements that are yet to come, Ezekiel 34. You know, of the joys, I think, of speaking early is I have all the Scriptures to play with. And if you're sitting there and you're speaking later, you're going, "That one's covered, that one's covered." But Ezekiel 34, a brilliant statement here that I look forward to. Ezekiel 34:25 Ezekiel 34:25And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
American King James Version×, "I will make a covenant of peace with them,” a covenant is an agreement, a pledge, a promise, a guarantee.
God says, "I will make a [guarantee, a covenant, an agreement, a pledge, a promise] of peace with them, and cause the wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods." Anybody want to go sleep in the woods? Say the weather was good, would you sleep in the woods today? Probably not. I'd have to know what's out there, badgers, bears, lions, tigers, you know, things that go growl in the night. "I will make a covenant of peace… and you'll dwell safely in the wilderness… I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing;”
You remember that Abraham is a blessing to the world. You and I are to be a blessing to the world. He's going to make the whole environment a blessing, "and I will cause showers to come down in their season; and there shall be showers of blessings." In California, we just went through five years of drought that was devastating, and there was no peace, there was no safety until the recent storms that came through.
"I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessings. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who have enslaved them." Satan is going to be put away, he is the enslaver. We will be free to worship God in sincerity and truth. They will be safe and at peace.
Wow. But we're not done. Let's go to Isaiah 11. This is very typical for the Feast of Tabernacles to read this, Isaiah 11. I love the illumination of what this represents and to try and put myself in the vision of this. 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×, talking about the millennial setting. 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×, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lions and the fatling together;” that's incredible.
I've been with goats and knocked over. I've seen lions, but they're behind the cages. Calves, they're rambunctious little things and weigh about as much as I do, and so, I try and stay away from them. But the setting here is extraordinary. It says, "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb."
Just as an aside, my brother who's a little shorter, but has a whole lot more hair, and it's gray, white and gray. He had an opportunity to snuggle up next to a timber wolf. And there's a photo of him with his arm around the wolf, the wolf loved him for some reason, and I think it's because the hair look very similar. So the photo is them together and the hair kind of blended together. And I was amazed that he could sit there with this animal that could end his life. That's extraordinary.
In the Millennium, the lion's going to lie down…the wolf will lie down with the lamb, the Leopard will lie down with the goat, “and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." There's going to be a change in the physiology of our animals. "The nursing child shall play at the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den." Don't do that today. "They shall not hurt nor destroy in My holy mountain anymore, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Peace is going to be all over this world. That's what the Millennium is all about. That is the theme of why we're here. We're rejoicing before God, and the theme of our learning today is peace.
The earth is going to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, filled with the knowledge of the Prince of Peace. How awesome it's going to be when the world is going to be following the Ten Commandments? You won't have giant buildings filled with laws to manage a… I'll get it. You won't have a giant building needed to house the books of law to operate a society. You'll have 10 simple statements. That's awesome. That's awesome.
Let's jump over to Isaiah 40, a few pages over in my Bible. Isaiah 40, continuing this theme. Isaiah 40:1 Isaiah 40:1Comfort you, comfort you my people, said your God.
American King James Version×, helps if I started there. Isaiah 40:1 Isaiah 40:1Comfort you, comfort you my people, said your God.
American King James Version×, "Comfort, yes, comfort My people! Says your God." When we're at peace, we're comforted. It is relaxing. We can enjoy and meditate and focus. "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her, warfare is ended,” no more sending off young people to war. No more sending people to the academies of war education. "Her warfare has ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all of her sins. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'"
Mankind's way to peace is a crooked path. We're going to straighten the road. "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight" people are going to be guided to God's law to where there is true lasting peace, "the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Wonderful prophecies. Wonderful prophecies.
The kingdoms of this world, all of them, the weak, the powerful, the rich, the poor, now belong to Jesus Christ to be led to peace. And Jesus Christ has the power and the ability to bring about peace. There are individuals in society today who believe through their government and management they can bring peace, but they don't have the ability. Jesus Christ coming has the power, the authority, and ability to bring about peace. This is great news, powerful news, profound and encouraging news for us.
So I'll ask the question, but what of today? How do we apply this hallmark today? How do we apply this identifier today? We share love one for another, and that's identifier of being a Christian. Well, what about the identifier of the Feast of Tabernacles? Glad you asked. Glad you asked. We do come into a community, and people do notice us. They notice how we treat one another, how we treat our children, and how we treat the locals, those who live here.
In 2010… I have time, 2010. It was early in the Feast and a large group of us went to a very local restaurant. And there was only one waitress on duty. They didn't know about all of us and we come waltzing in and her whole countenance just crashed. And the kitchen was being backed up because there was a group in front of us already. And I called her over and I said, "It's okay, relax. We're here to enjoy our time together, take your time. We understand you didn't expect us." And the relief on her face was huge. We have that opportunity to bring peace to people by such a simple thing, by such a simple thing.
How well do we deal with stress and disappointment is evidence of peace in our life. How was your trip here? Pretty good? No problems, no flat tires, no running out of gas, no lines at the airport? If you were coming up from Eureka, there were five places that went down to a single lane and you were stuck… One family here was stuck an hour waiting for that lane to open up. You just learn patience. You just learn patience.
How was your trip here? With stress, without stress? Did you fly? Did you drive? Did you leave work issues? Are you stressed about going back home and you have work issues? Is your housing just right? Is your housing just right?
My wife and I, we… okay, it was my ego. In Sacramento, I felt, "Yeah, I'll just rent the presidential suite." I had a few extra dollars, and it was a Hilton Hotel. I was traveling, and my company would send me to the Hilton. And okay, great. So it's a new Hilton, great. And we booked the room and I called, "Yes, you still have the room." And I called, "Yes, you still have the room." Two weeks before arrival, I made sure, because I had planned parties and going to be a big deal. We arrived. You know how your room may not be made up and you have to wait? The top two floors were not built. So how do we handle that?
Obviously, I could, well, there was just no fighting it and you just smile and go, "Okay, what do you have?" And they have set aside a very smaller room for us, and, you know, we attended the Feast, that's the whole goal. We fellowshipped, that was the whole goal. And how we deal with situations in our lives, that's the identifier, that's the hallmark.
Peace should be part of our life. Peace should be a part of our lives and our homes. Peace should be a part of our lives in our jobs. Peace should be part of our lives in us going to school, whether we're on the road, whether we're dealing with people, in grocery stores and gas stations, wherever we are. We should be the hallmark of peace because that's why we're here. We're showing the peace that is yet to come.
Every day at the Feast, we'll have opportunity, opportunity to evidence the hallmark of the Prince of Peace. We represent Jesus Christ. I don't have it in my head right now, but it says, "Whatever you say or do, do in the name of Jesus Christ." That means the Prince of Peace. We represent Him in everything we say and everything we do.
John 14, John 14, usually coming from a time of dealing with the Passover and Unleavened Bread. We have been given special peace. John 14:25 John 14:25These things have I spoken to you, being yet present with you.
American King James Version×, Jesus Christ talking to His disciples before He was murdered for all mankind was giving last instructions. He said, "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I've said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives it."
The world gives you a crooked path. It looks good, but it doesn't get you there. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
We can go through great difficulties in life, and we will. Situations in life are very difficult. The song that was sung said that “I know My thoughts that I have for you… thoughts of peace… to give you a future and a hope.” This is what God thinks of us individually. That's how He looks upon us. And while we may go through a difficulty and a trial, we're still to have His peace in us. And that is the peace that God has given to us. That is His Holy Spirit.
In Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×, it talks about the fruit, the evidence of God's Spirit in us, love, joy, peace. Love, joy, peace. We're to have an attitude of peace in our lives that is evidence of God's Holy Spirit in action. Peace of mind is evidence of Jesus Christ in us.
It's very interesting that James points out that the wisdom of God and he says, "My thoughts are higher than your thoughts," in Isaiah 55. He's talking about the wisdom of God. James 3. James 3. It was here this morning. You ever get that moment when… never mind. I'm good on asides. James 3:17 James 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
American King James Version×, here we just talked about the wisdom of the world. “This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” And then he says, verse 17, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,” first pure. That means it's without guile. It's without deceit. It's not trying to take advantage. God's Word is that way — it is pure. And then it says, "then peaceable,” the wisdom from God starts it with purity, and then goes to peace, “…willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
“Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” The hallmark of your being here is to be a peacemaker, Matthew 5. You're a child of God. You are to be a peacemaker. You're to evidence God's Spirit in action by being a peacemaker, showing that peace works, that God's way works.
I always enjoyed work. I’m… yeah, two years ago, I retired. But 42 years, I was part of the workforce. Not that this isn't work. And people would wonder why was I okay with the way the world was going because they would get stressed out about situations all around the world and I was at peace. One, we know the end of the story, we know the end of the book. Two, we know that God is working with us and allows things in our lives for our benefit. Three, we know that He says, "I know my thoughts that I have towards you, thoughts of peace, to give you a hope and a future." And we know that all that we see isn't all that there is.
There's a phrase that I picked up at work, and I used in quite a number of times, and that is, "Everything's going to be all right in the end. And if it's not all right, it's not the end because everything will be all right in the end." And that's where the peace of God comes in. We have this understanding. And this knowledge, this understanding is going to sweep the world when Jesus Christ comes. How exciting is that?
Romans 14, I got to keep watching my timer here. Romans 14:17 Romans 14:17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×. Romans 14:17 Romans 14:17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×. Here, we are talking about the Kingdom of God, we're talking about the millennial setting, the 1,000 years of peace that's going to be on this earth. I want to add this, verse 17, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,” it's not the physical attributes. Oh, don't get me wrong. We need to rejoice in eating and drinking together and sharing, that's part of rejoicing before God. But that doesn't make up the Kingdom, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another."
We're here to celebrate the Millennium. We're here to celebrate and rejoice before God, and to be an evidence of peace that is coming to this world. We are to pursue. That means alter course, track down, steer to intercept, do whatever is necessary to be a peacemaker. And we do that through humility and kindness and gentleness and acceptance so that we can help others. We do everything to help others.
Why mention all these at the beginning of the Feast? Because right now, you and I have the opportunity for the next eight days to be peacemakers in this room, in your hotel, with the local businesses that you deal with. And then for the next year, two years, await for eternity, for eternity.
Paul was encouraging those who followed the Prince of Peace to truly engage in peace. Romans 12, back up a page. Here he says that to do whatever is necessary for peace, that the Kingdom of God is righteousness and peace. Then he adds some encouragement so that we truly engage in peace. Romans 12:17 Romans 12:17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
American King James Version×, "Repay no one evil for evil."
There were times that someone went after my shoulder blades behind me with an imaginary knife trying to get their way. And my co-workers would counsel me to retaliate. And my words to them were… well, almost these words, "God knows and He'll take care of it." And in 42 years, He always took care of it. "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you," and it does, "live peaceably with all men."
We're to be peacemakers. Everyone here is to be one of peace, sharing the peace of God in us. And I love that phrase, "as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." And it does. We can hold on to peace. We can hold our tongue. We can manage our attitude. We can stop inappropriate action. Wherever we are, and however we're dealing with individuals and situations, we are to remain at peace. It doesn't mean things are going perfect, but how we deal with them, how we deal with them. To make this work, as Mr. Richards pointed out last night, his first point, that God comes first. And we pick up our Bibles and we go down on our knees to make this work.
There is a scripture I go to. You know, it's hard to have a favorite scripture, but I got one, Isaiah 26, Isaiah 26, Isaiah 26:3 Isaiah 26:3You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
American King James Version×. Isaiah 26:3 Isaiah 26:3You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
American King James Version×, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You… You will keep him in perfect peace,” when our focus is on God and the situations are not to our liking, we can still be at peace. When our focus is on the plan of God and His promises and things aren't going the best, we can still be at peace. When our focus is on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, who is coming as the rescuer on the Day of Trumpets and things aren't going the best, we can still be at peace. When we focus on God's power, might, and majesty, and greatness, our days will be at peace, and we will lead to peace, and we will be identified by peace.
Feast of Tabernacles is identified by the hallmark of peace, the peace of God that goes beyond understanding. If you were to do a study, as I did, when I was cutting out 100 scriptures, easily a 100, that dealt with peace, Mr. Richards only gave me a short amount of time, you'd be astounded by how often peace is involved in our life, in our Christian life. These days are identified by peace.
Enjoy the Feast. Rejoice before God at this Feast. Live in peace today, and demonstrate that the peace of God that is coming tomorrow is still here with you today. Enjoy the Feast.