The heavens and all of His creation declare the glory and the greatness of God, but the most awesome of all is God's plan for mankind. We must give tribute and thanks to our great God for His purpose for us - that mankind may become His sons and inherit all things (Revelation 21:7).
[Mr. David Mills] You know, when you come to the final sermon of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, eighth day, you wonder, what can you speak about? What do you give? And I've determined that it should be a little bit like a dessert. We've had a banquet, one of our prayers even referred to what we've been doing here as a spiritual banquet. And it has been a spiritual banquet, a wonderful spiritual banquet.
And so, I've decided that this sermon ought to be sort of like a dessert at the end of a banquet. I wish I could do a better job in presenting it as a dessert, but there are certain five-letter words that I believe govern the sermon. Number one, a dessert should be sweet, a five-letter word, S-W-E-E-T. And, of course, a dessert should be light, not too heavy, L-I-G-H-T. And there's another five-letter word S-H-O-R-T, short.
So, let me tell you where we're going in the sermon. The basic theme of this message and the title is "How Great Our God Is." I want us to focus on the Host of the Feast of Tabernacles, our great God, and just how great He is. You know, we can never hear enough about the greatness of God. The last part of the message is going to give us a few things that we can take home with us to do. Somebody said we should have some marching orders.
Well, you can call them marching orders, I guess, but some homework to do when we arrive back home. And at the very end of the message, I'd like for us to have a toast to the host of the feast, a tribute and giving of thanks to our great God. So, let's turn real quickly to a few scriptures, turn please to Romans 11:32. And it certainly ties in with the very fine message we heard this morning about the meaning of this day. I really appreciate that message.
Romans 11:32 "God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all."
That ties in very much with this day. God has not caused all of the world problems. He allows free moral agency. He allows man to learn through suffering and through making mistakes but He has allowed this to happen. And in that sense, He has committed the world to disobedience. We see that then virtually the whole world is going that way of disobedience, but why? That He might in the end have mercy upon all. And that's what this day is all about.
This ties in very much with the message this morning. God, in the end, plans to have mercy upon all. And according to Ephesians 1, He plans to bring everything together in one. That's a monumental task that will be accomplished during the millennium and also this eighth day, this final day of salvation. All mankind then has been cut off at this time, except those few that God has called out of the world. The next, the very next verse, verse 33, I'm reading from the New King James Version,
Romans 11:33 "Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out."
So, you know, God has it all worked out so that in the end, there will be billions and billions of former human beings who are now the sons of God, bringing many, many sons to glory. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. We heard this morning.
So, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. Phillips translation, I like what the Phillips translation has for verse 33. "Frankly, I stand amazed at the unfathomable complexity of God's wisdom and God's knowledge. How could man ever understand His reasons for action or explain His methods of working?"
So, we too, I hope will stand amazed at God as we leave this feast. We have feasted with Him, it has been an honor to be at this festival. How honored we would feel to have a meal with our president, President Trump. Well, we have been here for eight days at a spiritual feast with a Creator of the universe. So, let's marvel at God's greatness. Please turn to Romans 1, and we'll read verses 19 and 20.
Romans 1:19-20 "What may be known of God as manifest for since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead."
By studying God's creation, we can understand God, we can see His attributes. We can see His power.
Even as God had some of the nature or the personality of God comes out in His creation. We can see the His footprints. We can see His fingerprints, His spiritual DNA. Consider how the creation reveals God's attributes. We see a master designer. Look at some of the flowers as we drive around this island, the beautiful roses, the hydrangeas, other beautiful, beautiful plants, and flowers. God is the one who designed each and every one. And they're so beautiful.
God is a master chemist and a master physicist. He's obviously a God of beauty. He's a God of color. He's the one that makes all the color we're beginning to see in the leaves of the trees. God is also a God of law and order. We even see God's nature revealed His divine qualities and His nature. Obviously, the Creator, the Supreme being is very benevolent. He is good. Of course, we know the Bible describes God as love.
God is benevolent. He is good. He's kind. We see that He is trustworthy dependable. We can depend upon the sun rising or setting at a certain time. He obviously has a sense of humor. Look at His creation, some of the things he has made. Let's consider some of the greatness of our host and how the creation reveals His greatness. Please turn to Psalms 19:1.
Psalms 19:1-3 "The heavens declare the glory of God." And isn't that so true at nighttime on a clear night to look up and see the stars, to see the moon? The heavens indeed do declare the glory of God. Verse 3, Psalms 19:3 goes on to say, "There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." You can go to any part of the earth, whatever language may be spoken there and you can see the glory of God, the same glory. "Their words," verse 4, "have gone to the end of the world. Truly the heavens declare God's glory without saying a word."
They silently beckon to mankind. They cry out that there is a creator, God. He has a great purpose and a great plan for mankind. You know, just to look at the heavens, man ponders the heavens, he's put the Hubble telescope up to learn more about the heavens. According to a little bit of research on the internet, the observable universe, it is called—you wonder what is not observable—but the observable universe is estimated to be 93 billion light years. Now, light travels at 186,000 miles a second. That means light, which is reflected from the moon reaches us in just over a second, the moon being 238,000 miles away.
The sun 93 million miles away takes about eight minutes for light from the sun to reach us here. But light, what is estimated as far as the universe for light to pass all the way through takes 93 billion years. I mean, we get into a figure there, there's just no way that we can begin to grasp it, but God made it, and obviously, He thinks big. A few years ago, it was thought that there were 100 billion galaxies. And, boy, we probably heard that number ourselves. But now on the internet, some think that there could be two trillion galaxies, two trillion. When we consider a galaxy, a galaxy within itself is impossible for us to imagine our Milky Way galaxy, for example, which is our neighborhood of the universe. Our Milky Way galaxy, which is not round or oval, it's more thin like a Frisbee, except it has spiral arms.
And our galaxy is between 100,000 and 180,000 light years. It takes light then 100,000 years up to 180,000 years in some cases, light traveling at 186,000 miles per second. In our galaxy, there's one star, it is 400 million miles. It is so huge that we could put our solar system and remember we are 93 million miles out from the sun ourselves and other planets are further out. We could put our solar system in the middle of this star and the earth would not even come to the halfway point. The star is so huge.
The closest star we have to here on the earth is Alpha Centauri. It is 24 trillion miles away. It takes light four and one-third years to travel here to where we are. Now, just to show the size of two stars being this close together if we were to reduce our solar system to a quarter, here's a quarter. If we put the sun in the middle as just a little spec, invisible microscopic spec, and the earth would be rotating around it, the other planets. And then we put Alpha Centauri also if we assume that Alpha Centauri has also planets, and we put the planets of Alpha Centauri within a quarter, just to show the space between the closest star and us would be the distance of two soccer fields away. And soccer fields, the Olympic size of a soccer field is 110 to 120-yards longer than a football field, longer than two football fields, and that's reducing.
Now, it shows that our galaxy and universe is made up mainly of space. And the space and the distance is just, well, impossible for us to comprehend. Truly the heavens do declare the glory of God. We come closer to where we live in the universe to our solar system. Our solar system is in the Milky Way galaxy, about 26,000 light years from the galactic center of our galaxy, 26,000 light years. We're pretty far out then from the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Our solar system is making a rotation in our galaxy and it takes 240 million years to make one orbit around the galactic center of the Milky Way galaxy. Just to get a little perspective on just how big even our solar system is, in 1977, the U.S. sent two spacecraft to explore our solar system. They sent them in different directions.
We're very familiar with Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Forty years ago, they were launched and they went out. They explored certain planets along the way. You can look into it for more detail but is only very recently that they have been able to get beyond the influence of the sun. They are now in interstellar space. I believe that's correct.
They have passed on beyond the influence of the sun, but they have traveled for 40 years at 35,000 miles an hour for 40 years. And now they have finally gotten beyond the reach of the sun. That's just a little idea of even the size of our solar system. So, truly the heavens do declare the glory of God. And I spend just a few minutes on that because I think it is very, very important. I'd like for us to turn to Isaiah 40 and read a few verses. Isaiah 40, let's begin to read in verse 12. And we'll read on down with excerpts of verses to verse 28.
Isaiah 40:12-28 "Who has measured the waters and the hollow of His hand? Measured heaven with a span, calculated the dust, and weighed the mountains. Who directed the spirit of the Lord?" And verse 13, verse 14, "With whom did He take counsel and who instructed Him?" And verse 15, "Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket and are counted as the small dust on the balance." Any of you ladies who go to buy some bananas worry about wiping off the dust first of all? All nations are like that dust on the balance in God's sight. In verse 17, "All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted as less than nothing and worthless. To whom then will you liken God? Have you not known?" verse 21, "have you not heard? Has it not been told you? Have you not understood from the foundation of the earth?"
And verse 22, "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in." And verse 25, "To whom then will you liken Me? And to whom shall I be equal, says the Holy One." Verse 26, "Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number. He calls them all by name."
And as was mentioned this morning, it's thought that there may be more stars in the universe than grains of sand on the earth. And God calls them all by name because He made them all. By the greatness of His mind and strength of His power, not one is missing. Have you not known? Have you not heard the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. There's no searching of His understanding.
Brethren, this is the one who is our Father and who wants us to His son forever in His family. We see then the glory of God, certainly, the heavens do declare the glory of God. Just to say a little bit more of the glory of God, let's turn to Genesis 1. Genesis 1 and we'll read verses 14 through 18. Something very important happened on the fourth day of the creation week.
Genesis 1:14-18 "Then 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.’ Then God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night." Verse 17, "God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth."
So, on the fourth day, God set the... He did some adjusting here, it appears. Already He had created day and night the first day, but He seems to here be getting things fine-tuned, just the way it needs to be for human life and just the way it needs to be for mankind to have a calendar and for mankind to be able to measure time. So, He began with the sun and the earth and the sun is so much larger than the earth. In fact, it's about 1.3 times larger than the earth. The earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter and the sun is 865,000 miles in diameter. Well, God took the sun, that much larger than the earth. He put the earth 93 million miles out, just right. If they were just a little bit closer, it would be too hot. Everything would burn up on the earth. Just a little bit farther and it would be too cold. Just right, just the right distance.
God put the earth, which was already spinning on its axis once every 24 hours creating a day. God put the earth going in orbit around the sun once every year. The earth travels at about 66,000 miles an hour, a little bit over 66,000 miles an hour. Right now we're moving along at 66,000 miles an hour, but we don't realize it. Do we? Not at all. And we make a complete orbit around the sun once every 365 and one-quarter days.
Our journey around the sun is 584 million miles every year. I've made almost 78 of these trips myself. How many have you made? We had one lady at the senior activity that I believe was it 94, 94 trips then around the sun. God also created months. Man needed... You know, months are a very nice way of measuring time. It'd be very different if we didn't have months to measure time.
Even though man doesn't use the lunar calendar now, it's an artificial calendar, not based on the moon at all, but the word month goes back to moon. And so, God made months. He put the moon 238,000 miles out from the earth, rotating around the earth, orbiting around the earth every 29 and one-half days, approximately, creating months. So, God made the year for man to measure time.
He made the month also as a way of measuring time. And then God made seasons, we read in these verses. How did He do that? Apparently, on that fourth day, He also set the earth at that 23-degree angle on its axis, as it spins around, it's on this 23-degree axis in relationship to the sun. And as it goes around the sun, then it creates the four seasons of the year.
Six months ago, we were on the opposite side of the sun. We didn't realize it, but we were. And it was springtime. Now, six months later, we're on this side of the sun and is the fall of the year, and we're moving along. As far as measuring time, it'd be good to throw in one more way that we measure time, the seven-day week. What is the seven-day week based on?
It's based on that God has ordained that there would be a measurement of time, seven days long, and that six of those days work would be permitted, but the seventh day would be a day of rest and worship. And the week is a very nice length of time. It's just right. It's so right that man has not really ever changed it. There's been talk of changing it to a 10-day week, but how would it be if a week were 10 days or maybe 25 days go to work for 24 days and then have one day off? Be too long.
What if a week were about only three days long? You work two days and then you'd have to rest. You barely get into your work before you'd have to rest again. So, God has made the week to be just right. Perfect for man. So, we look at that and we also see that the heavens declare the glory of God. The way God has made the earth and the sun and the moon to have years and months and weeks and days, ways of measuring time is set certain holy days, like the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, and also like the annual days that come up during the year.
How great is the host of our feast? He is so great. In a more awesome than anything in the universe though, that declares the glory of God or thanks right here closer to home right here on the earth. Look at all the plants and the animals. One of my favorite places to pray at home is our guest bedroom that has a window that opens up onto our backyard and I can look out and see squirrels scampering around. And I think, "There's the glory of God. These little acrobats that jump around in the trees."
We have birds, beautiful blue birds, blue jays, cardinals, brilliant red cardinals. And I think, "Here's the glory of God." And these birds fly around. I've never seen any crash, not even one. Those little birds are smart. They have sharp eyes. They know all the laws of aviation and that little bird brain is pretty smart to be able to fly without any crashes at all. So, I don't know if anybody calls you a bird brain, maybe you should thank them and say, "Well, birds are pretty smart."
But you can look at any aspect of God's creation. We have a fig tree in our backyard. That tree is smart. It knows how to produce figs. It does not know how to produce apples or oranges, but it knows how to produce figs. It knows when to produce them, and just how that is done. God has programmed that then into that fig tree. But we look at all the vastness of the creation that God has made, we see His wisdom, we see His greatness, but, you know, the greatest of all the creations that God has made is us. We humans.
Psalms 139:14 says, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
And human life is fearfully and wonderfully made. Think a human life, look into it, study into it just a bit. How can two tiny cells, one from a female human being and one from a male human being, the female ovum and the male sperm, how can these two tiny cells unite into one and grow and multiply into 30 trillion cells of the human body? How does that happen?
This fertilized ovum after one month, the embryo already has a circulatory system after 30 days. At the end of the second month, this little embryo is already an inch long. The end of the third month, a bone-ish structure is beginning to form. The end of the sixth month, the fetus now is around 10 to 14 inches long. During the seventh month, the baby begins to move about. And after nine months, the baby is born.
How did one fertilized cell become muscle, nerve, blood, bone? How did it develop a digestive system, a respiratory system, a central nervous system? How did eyes develop, able to see? Of course, the baby doesn't see very much at first, but that comes on before too long. Ears to hear, how did that form? A nose and sense of smell. A tongue to taste. A sense of feeling in touch. It's a miraculous thing to even look at human life. It declares the glory of God.
Yet, there are many that believe that just happened, they evolved. But this human life, you know, is nothing compared to what God has in mind. The question was asked in Psalms 8, "What is man that you are mindful of Him?" And goes on to say, "You've made him to have dominion over the works of your hands." But God hasn't given that dominion yet. Hebrews 2 clarifies that "Now we do not yet see all things put under man, but God plans to put all things under man when man becomes a son of God." Let's turn to Revelation 21:5. God has great plans for His children.
Revelation 21:7 "He who overcomes shall inherit all things. And I will be His God. And he shall be my son."
The overcomers become sons of God and they will inherit all things. I believe the Greek on that is the all, that he who overcomes shall inherit the all. All those vast holdings that we were talking about, all the galaxies and planets and things out in the universe, all this is going to be given to man once man becomes a son of God. Man will inherit the galaxies and the planets. And then in verse 5, our Father says,
Revelation 21:5 "Behold, I make all things new. I make the universe new."
He's going to adorn and beautify the universe. It's going to be exciting. And man will inherit all the vast holdings. All the vast holdings God is going to share with His children. Anyone interested in space travel at that time, you know, right now the universe we look out, they declared the glory of God, but man could never get up.
We can't even figure out getting to Mars. We ponder if that's humanly possible to get out to this planet that is close to Mars. But what about getting on out into, you know, beyond our solar system? No. Only when we become sons of God will that be possible. But sons of God, former human beings, will help make the universe new and beautiful. God will share all of His vast creation with His sons and daughters.
Well, we've heard a lot about these things during the feast, how marvelous God's purpose and God's plan is, He does want everyone. The sermon title again is "How Great Our God Is." And in the remaining time I want give us some things that we can do as we go home. You might say these will be our marching orders and they're not new, there are things we have heard already.
Number one—as we head home—that we walk close to our great God in these evil times that we are living in, just as Noah walked with God before the great flood. What does it mean to walk with God? To walk with God means to be obedient to God. Means to seek God's will. It means to have a close relationship with God. Abba, Father. On that night before he died Jesus said those words, "Father, Father, Abba, Father." Paul would later use that expression twice.
Abba, Father shows a close and intimate relationship with God. How about you? Do you feel or sense a close relationship with God? What about to be a man after God's own heart like King David? Are you a man after God's own heart? To walk with God means to keep the first great commandment, "To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul." And the opening night, this scripture was read from the book of Mark.
And Matthew's account does not include that expression, "And with all your strength." That's interesting. And Luke's account also adds that, "To love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, and soul, and all your strength, all of your energy then, to love the Lord your God." Is that the way we love God? I do want to turn real quickly to Deuteronomy 28:7. Deuteronomy 28:47, I'm sorry.
Deuteronomy 28:47 "Because you did not serve..." And this is what happened to ancient Israel, "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things." Wouldn't that be a shame if we also fell short like the Israelites of old, and they went into national captivity because of it. "You did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things."
So, I've been trying to think about my joy level and my gladness of heart level. Do I serve the Lord my God with just full of joy and gladness of heart, praising, honoring, giving glory to Him? So, as you go home, do some self-examination this fall and winter. Ask yourself, "Am I walking with God? Am I a man or woman after God's own heart? Do I love God with all my heart and mind and soul and being and strength? Is my relationship with my Father, Abba Father?"
The second thing that we should do as far as marching orders, remember the second great commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself?" So, the second marching order is to have fervent love for fellow man and especially for brethren in the church. Now, we should love all of mankind, help any way that we can. Always do what is right and what is good. Treat everyone right. But we should have that special love for our brethren.
Peter wrote that we are to love as brothers and that we are to have fervent love. And the Apostle Paul, let's turn to Philippians 1 and read verses 3 and 4.
Philippians 1:3-4 "I thank my God in every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine, making request for you all with joy." Now, actually, you all is better translated y'all. That is the proper translation down here.
Philippians 1:6 goes on to say, "Just as it is right for me to think this of y'all because," and that is the last part of verse 6, "because I have you in my heart."
I like that. There's been a lot of love and a lot of smiles and friendliness here. There's a connection with each other that is just so obvious. I think we do have each other in our heart, and that's the way it should be. I have you in my heart. Look at Philippians 4, the book of Philippians 4:1. Look how intimate this is. Our relationship then is to be a close and a fervent love for each other.
Philippians 4:1 "Therefore my beloved and longed for brethren, my joy and crown so stand fast in the Lord beloved." Brethren, this fall and winter, will we have that fervent love for beloved brethren? Will our brethren be our crown and our joy and crown? And like Paul, will we have each other in our heart?
Well, the third thing, as far as marching orders is that we have our hearts in what God will be doing this fall and winter and beyond. And what will God be doing? He's going to be running the universe, I don't know all that's involved in that. He's going to be directing myriads of angels. He keeps all of them happy and busy. And the biggest thing is God is going to be working with the salvation of mankind right here on the earth. That's what God is really doing.
And so, there will be. He will use His church, His people to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God and prepare a people. Our Father and Jesus Christ are going to be busy every day proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom to the world and preparing chosen ones to reign with Jesus Christ. So, as we go back home, let's fully commit to what God is doing, have our hearts in the work of God. God's called us to be a part of it.
Like Jesus at the age of 12, we can be busy about our Father's business, seeking God's kingdom and proclaiming it to the world, and praying Thy Kingdom come. So, as we go back home, our spaceship earth will continue at over 66,000 miles an hour, spinning on its axis every 24 hours. Our moon will circle the earth every 29 and one-half days. Six of those orbits of the moon, and we will be on the opposite side of the sun, and it will be springtime and time for Passover, Thursday night, March 28, 2018.
So, we have some marching orders. Let's walk with God as we head home. Evaluate our own personal relationship. Nothing is more important that we walk with God and be close to God. Number two, that we have fervent love for our brethren, our beloved brethren, and that we have our hearts in the work that God is doing.
Brethren, for one shining concluding moment, let's end the Feast of Tabernacles, and Last Great Day, and the Holy Days for 2017 with a toast, a tribute to our great God, to our Father. The words that I'll be reading are actually taken from the scriptures. They're my toast to my Father. I hope they will be your toast as well. Let me read them. They're all scriptures, many of them from the Psalms.
"O Lord, my God, You are very great. You're clothed with honor and majesty. O Lord, how manifold are your works, in wisdom You have made them all. All Your works shall praise You, o Lord, and your saints will bless You.
They will speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Your dominion endures throughout all generations. O Lord, You are on high forevermore. How lovely is Your tabernacle, o Lord of hosts? For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth? You have set Your glory above the heavens. How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You?
Blessed are You, Lord God, our Father forever and ever. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory, the victory, and the majesty for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, o Lord. And you are exalted as the head overall. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. And Your hand is power and might. And Your hand it is to make great. Therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name."
I hope these words reflect the thanks and praise we feel in our hearts toward our great and wonderful God. Brethren, it has been wonderful feasting together. May God's richest blessings be on y'all. And godspeed until we meet again.