Can You Know God's Plan?

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In early October my wife and I will join thousands of other Christians in a weeklong celebration. We'll gather at locations from Argentina to Australia, from Canada to Cameroon, from Malawi to Mexico, in a biblical observance that's been around for at least 3,400 years.

Although it will be a family time, with lots of family activities, greeting old friends and making new ones, our primary focus will be on learning more about God. We'll hear a number of biblically oriented messages and presentations addressing what God is doing—right now, in the near future and throughout the history of mankind.

The celebration in which we'll be participating is the biblical Feast of Tabernacles. Most who identify themselves as Christian have never heard of it. Although this feast is mentioned several times in the Bible, many have probably read right over the words with it never registering.

Yet Jesus Christ Himself observed this Feast, even risking death at the hands of His enemies to travel to Jerusalem to keep it (John 7:1-14). The apostle Paul thought God's festivals so important that he left the fledgling church in Ephesus, telling them, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem" (Acts 18:21).

So why has so much of Christianity ignored the biblical festivals? Most take the position that these celebrations were only for the Jewish people or ancient Israelites—though God Himself proclaimed them "the feasts of the Lord" and said, "These are My Feasts" (Leviticus 23:2, emphasis added throughout). God tells us they are His feasts, not those of some particular cultural, religious or ethnic group.

Some think these have no relevance at all to Christians. Yet the apostle Paul, using language plainly showing he was referring to another of God's biblical feasts, told the mostly non-Jewish Christians in Corinth, "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Are we missing out on a message from God? Yes. By ignoring His biblically mandated celebrations and observances, we have lost sight of what God is doing.

Only a few realize that these biblical festivals are a teaching tool God uses to reveal the great plan He is working out with human beings here below. For example, the first of God's annual festivals is the Passover, when God directed that a lamb be slain (Exodus 12:3-14; Leviticus 23:4-5). What did this signify?

John the Baptist recognized that Jesus was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)—making it possible for us to be saved from eternal death. Paul understood that Christ was "our Passover, [who] was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).

The first and most foundational step in God's plan of salvation, "foreordained before the foundation of the world," was that we could be redeemed by "the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-20). Similarly, God's other festivals go on to reveal the other major steps in His great plan through which He is working with mankind.

In this issue we examine how God's feasts reveal how He will at last bring about the kind of world for which man has always hoped and dreamed—a world in which suffering will be no more.

Visit our Web site at if you'd like to learn more about the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles. Perhaps we'll see you there! GN