As we contemplate the wonderful prophecies of the world tomorrow in Christ's Kingdom, do we think about our preparation to make sure we will be there to take part in it? What role are you playing today? Member? Observer? Or Participant? God wants us to overcome and be participants.
These are the notes taken live during services as captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is not a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited about the Feast. It begins two weeks from today. We have memories of feasts gone by. Maybe we have a favorite site. One of our favorites was Costa Rica. They only had it there twice. The first year was affordable; the second was in a much more expensive place. They were never able to have it there again. We got to see wild monkeys and leaf-carrying ants. The brethren were wonderful; there were group activities. Maybe you go out and order a steak. It seems like the best you’ve ever had. Wonderful food. Meeting new friends. Isaiah 11:6-8 Isaiah 11:6-8  The 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.
 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
American King James Version×The context is the millennial rule of Jesus Christ. Here, we read a foretaste of what the kingdom will be like. Vs. 8 – You will hear this during the course of these eight days. This is a time off in the future that is difficult for us to wrap our minds around. We were at the zoo this last weekend and we finally got to see the grizzly bear. He has been hiding on our previous visits. He was gigantic. In the future, bears and cows will graze side by side. The viper is more poisonous than a cobra. Its eyes sparkled like jewels. Kids were attracted to them. The snake would then attack. You wouldn’t want to be on grizzly bear duty at the zoo. Here is a bucket of food; go pet him. The time will come when those animal’s natures will be changed. We will be able to interact with them. This time of year, we talk with our boys about the kingdom. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you have? A snake? A leopard? Many of those animals, we are not allowed to have by law.
Micah 4:2 Micah 4:2And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
American King James Version×At this time, everybody will be encouraged to worship God. Zechariah 14:17 Zechariah 14:17And 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.
American King James Version×This is a prophecy that will occur many times in the early years of the millennium. The rain will surround them, but they will be sitting in a desert. Amos 9:13 Amos 9:13Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
American King James Version×This time in the future will be a time of extreme abundance. A time when the harvester and the sower cross paths. It takes so long to take it all in. There is still good food out in the field. Difficult to picture, but in the future, it will be reality. God has a plan. The feast is a very visible part of that plan. We go throw the kids in the car and stay in a hotel. It is a tangible part of God’s plan. It starts with the sacrifice of Christ. Then we search for sin. We then use God’s spirit. Christ returns. Satan is locked up. There is the millennium. Then there is the Great White Throne judgment, when everyone else will know what we know. While we celebrate each of the feast days, do we understand the underlying reason we should be keeping those days? If we are not spiritually ready, we won’t be included in the fulfillment of these days. We can kiss those pipe dreams away. If we don’t focus on the preparation of the bride, it doesn’t matter that grizzly bears and cows will eat grass together. We won’t be there. If we aren’t ready for the marriage to Jesus Christ, then the Feast of Tabernacles will not come for us. It can be scary. We like to leapfrog over the fall holy days and get to the Feast. If we are not ready to meet Christ, the rest of God’s plan is not for us. Will you be a participant in the wedding with Jesus Christ? Today pictures a lot of things: Jesus Christ return.
The conclusion of the Great Tribulation. We must be careful of some of the other events pictured in this day. I have second tithe. God commands me to spend it on what my heart desires. Fun, fun, fun. Here it comes. Today is the first resurrection. The wedding of Jesus Christ to His Bride comes today. Marriage in New Testament times – Bible Manners & Customs: “The essence of the marriage ceremony consisted in the removal of the bride from her father’s house to that of the bridegroom or of his father. […] The usual duration of a marriage feast was a week.” During that week, there is dancing and music. Will you and I be there? Let’s read some heavy, sobering scriptures. Matthew 24:29-31 Matthew 24:29-31  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
American King James Version×Here, the two witnesses have preached, the Tribulation comes to an end, and Christ begins to gather His elect. The elect is the best of its kind. The choice steak. The one that melts in your mouth; you can cut it with a butter knife. Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×These are those that will be with Christ. Matthew 2:14 Matthew 2:14When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
American King James Version×Few are the elect. Not everyone is a choice steak. It is those that Christ will marry. Matthew 24:24 Matthew 24:24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
American King James Version×Satan’s primary target is us. He wants, if possible, to deceive us. He wants us to get frustrated and fall away. The elect will rise to meet Christ. They will be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye. As fast as you can bat your eye. It is not just, oh yes, we will go up and the millennium starts. Visualize this. This may occur in the twinkling of an eye, but wonder what some of those events will be like?
Romans 8:19 Romans 8:19For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
American King James Version×, 21, 23 This is talking about today. Adoption in Roman times was very special. When these verses were written, a man could choose to adopt a son. Regardless of where they came from, they took the name of the father. Then they were regarded in every respect as the blood born members of that family. During Roman times, there were two parts to adoption. The first part was a private ceremony. Romans 8:15 Romans 8:15For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
American King James Version×We have already received this step. We have been baptized. The second part was a public declaration. The father would publicly stand up and announce that this is now my son. For us, spiritually, it occurs in vs. 23. Romans 8:23 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
American King James Version×This part, the public declaration, is still in the future. We haven’t been publicly declared. On this day, God will raise those that have been faithful to Him. He will publically welcome them into His family. He will say, “These are my sons and daughters. These are those that have kept My commands.” We will be given all the rights and privileges of our Father. A full on adoption. Will we be there? One of the items pictured today is the marriage supper. The faithful will be added to the family of God. What is your role here today? If we are brutally honest, you will see. I have three roles.
1. Member. Being a member is kind of like that gym membership you bought. Life is busy; you don’t go that often. It is like a toy in the story. You buy it; and eventually it gets shelved. You say, if something better comes up, I’ll do that option. I’m not completely committed. The Sabbath is a time of rest. So, we shouldn’t do anything. Sleep in. Watch the birds. But we don’t keep it like God wants us to keep it. We are not to do what we want to do, but it should be a delight. Maybe we sleep in, count the popcorn flecks on the ceiling, and get ready for church. Maybe we work a little on the Sabbath. Maybe we are completely faithful with tithes.
2. Observer. Kind of like a member, in that you just go through the motions. You would rather be someplace else, but guilt brings you back every Saturday. They show up at the gym, but instead of working out, they chit-chat. They make lots of trips to the watering station. They go through the motions. I’ve spent this money on this gym membership; I have to go. They make excuses for disobedience. Things they know are wrong but do. They like the “yeah-but” phrase. Yes, I realize what God says, but it has been a busy week. Do you find yourself in the role of observer?
3. Participant. Regular Bible study. Constant prayer life. Fast more than Atonement. Meditate throughout the day. You ask God to reveal your sins. You have this battle like Paul had; what you don’t want to do, you do. You are always battling human nature trying to let godliness reign in your body. Participants don’t delay with things they know should happen in their life. They don’t make excuses. They are overcoming sins. It is kind of like Challenger II. It is a camping program for young adults that push them a bit beyond their comfort zone. We can’t grow inside our comfort zone. But if we step out a bit, that is where growth occurs. Participants like to push their comfort zone. It is difficult to follow God’s way of life. Participants strive to live God’s way, even if it brings hardships and trials. They want to grow. What is your role here today? I’ll ask myself. Are you just a member? An observer? Or a participant? If you are honest, I think we can answer that. If we are not a participant, we can still change roles. The first step is to acknowledge where we are. Tell God, you don’t like to be an observer. Let’s look at the marriage supper. Let’s see how some are allowed in and some are locked out. Matthew 22:2-13 Matthew 22:2-13  The kingdom of heaven is like to a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatted calves are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage.
 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
 Then said he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
 Go you therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, bid to the marriage.
 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
 And he said to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
American King James Version×Vs. 7 – The word goes out; the king sends out invitations. No response. Vs. 8 – They are members; they are observers. Vs. 13 – The invitations have gone out. You have answered that call. But are you living a life that is worthy to be in that wedding?
Matthew 25:1 Matthew 25:1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
American King James Version×, 10-13 Vs. 1 – Traditionally, the friend of the bride would meet and join the procession. All ten of the virgins slept, but when the call went out, some were ready. Vs. 10 – This portrays a sobering phrase: “The door was shut.” Matthew 25:10 Matthew 25:10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
American King James Version×- Bible Manners & Customs: “At all formal banquets the invited guests presented their cards to a servant stationed at the entrance door for the purpose… to keep out uninvited spectators. When the company were assembled the ’master of the house’ shut the door, and after that the servant was not allowed to admit any one, not matter how great [their importance].” A person attending the wedding – you could be the most important person in the region – but when the door was shut, you were not allowed in. Matthew 25:14-15 Matthew 25:14-15  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods.  And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
American King James Version×, 19-20, 22, 24-30, 41-46 Vs. 22 – These are the faithful servants. The participants. They went out and actively grew. They had a relationship with God. Vs. 24 – This man was taken off guard. I was planning to beef up my relationship with You. Can you give me another hour? Matthew 25:32 Matthew 25:32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
American King James Version×Matthew 25:32 Matthew 25:32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
American King James Version×- Bible Manners & Customs: “Sheep and goats are allowed to mingle during the day while at pasturage, but at night are separated”. Nighttime comes; the shepherd goes out and divides the sheep from the goats. Skip down to vs. 41. Vs. 46 – These are sobering parables that apply to us today. What role do we have?
Luke 13:23-27 Luke 13:23-27  Then said one to him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said to them,
 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
 When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not from where you are:
 Then shall you begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you have taught in our streets.
 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not from where you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.
American King James Version×Every wonder why many will seek but not be able to enter? Why would you seek and be unable to enter. Vs. 25 – This is the same custom of closing the door. Vs. 27 – Sobering. What role do we have? Let’s summarize the fate of members and observers: Bind them hand and foot. I do not know you. Cast the unprofitable servant away. These will go away into everlasting punishment. I do not know you; depart all workers of iniquity. Are we a member or a participant? God wants you in His family. He has given us His holy spirit so we can overcome and change the role we find ourselves in. He wants us to sit down at that wedding supper. If we are not a full participant, we must pray. Then change. It is not good enough to recognize that you are going through the motions, and ask for forgiveness, and then do the same thing. We must change. Hebrews 12:1-2 Hebrews 12:1-2  Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
American King James Version×, 12-18, 22-24 Vs. 12 – This idea of woe is me; I’m not worthy. Vs. 17 – We will come back to the story of Esau in a moment. Vs. 18 – There were two mountains in Israel; one for blessing and one for cursings. Vs. 22 – We have access to Jesus Christ. Vs. 24 – “You have come to.” Have you come to this place, to reap these blessings? It is these people that will be allowed into the marriage supper. Let’s review the story of Esau.
Genesis 25:21 Genesis 25:21And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
American King James Version×, 24-26, 29-34 Vs. 26 – Esau and Jacob were born. The custom was that the oldest would receive the birthright. You are familiar with the story. A trade went on. The brother was hungry. He traded something very special for a bowl of food – something very special for something that was very common. He traded that preciousness for food. Birthright – Bible Manners & Customs: “Great respect was paid by the household to the first-born son. He had headship over his brothers; he succeeded to the father’s official authority; he had special claim to the father’s [divine blessing]. Under the Mosaic Law he received a double portion of the father’s goods. This birthright could be transferred to another for a [trade], or withheld by the father for cause.” This birthright could be traded or sold. That is what Esau did; he sold it for some stew. Stew/Pottage – Bible Manners & Customs: “Pottage was often made of lentils [beans]…. This sort of food is considered so cheap and common that it represents, in proverbial speech, anything that is worthless. This illustrates the despicable conduct of Esau, who sold his priceless birthright for a [bowl] of [common] food, the emblem of worthlessness.” Here Esau took something so special – his birthright – and traded it for something so cheap and common it was worthless. What are we trading our birthright for? Convenience? Ease? Relief from a pressure cooker life? God has promised us something fantastic. To be participants in the kingdom. To live and reign with Christ. Christ is the firstborn; He will return and bring our reward with Him. Do we have our eyes fixed on that reward? Or do we look past it to the millennium, and just assume we will be there?
Hebrew 12:16 Being a member or an observer is being an Esau. It is playing on the ease of life factor. It is a scary idea. There are numerous scriptures about watching our spiritual readiness. From now to the last great day, we have 24 sermonettes and sermons. That is equivalent to a quarter year of messages. We long for a day when the prophecies will come to pass. When God’s plan plays out for real. But we must not forget what God is doing in each of us. He is changing our character to be part of His family. We must be participants in this plan of His. We must be ready when it unfolds. Let’s read about this day, the Feast of Trumpets. Revelation 19:6-8 Revelation 19:6-8  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.
 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready.
 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
American King James Version×The Feast of Trumpets, among other things, is a wedding day. With God’s help, we need to make ourselves ready. Let’s recommit to God. Let’s be reenergized and come home with renewed zeal to be participants in God’s plan. To be part of God’s family. "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×). "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth" (Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×New Revised Standard Version). "Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Daniel 7:27 Daniel 7:27And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
American King James Version×). “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19:9 Revelation 19:9And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
American King James Version×NKJV) Have a happy feast. We will see you at the marriage supper.