The Feast of Prosperity

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The Feast of Prosperity

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King Solomon was one of the richest and, during his younger years, one of the wisest men in history. He prospered because He obeyed God and promoted peace through his wisdom. In fact, his kingdom had so much gold that ‘silver was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon” (1 Kings 10:21 1 Kings 10:21And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
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The Queen of Sheba paid a visit to Solomon to verify what she had heard about him, his wisdom and his wealth. These were her parting words: ‘It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw it with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard … Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness” (1 Kings 10:6-9 1 Kings 10:6-9 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in my own land of your acts and of your wisdom. 7 However, I believed not the words, until I came, and my eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: your wisdom and prosperity exceeds the fame which I heard. 8 Happy are your men, happy are these your servants, which stand continually before you, and that hear your wisdom. 9 Blessed be the LORD your God, which delighted in you, to set you on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he you king, to do judgment and justice.
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Wisdom, wealth and peace abounded in Solomon’s early reign. But his time was only a foretaste of an era of unprecedented peace and unparalleled prosperity that God promises will in time envelop the earth!

A feast of abundance

Wealth and affluence abound in the Western nations. Yet simultaneously millions suffer grinding poverty and thousands die every day for lack of food and malnutrition-related illnesses.

But it need not always be this way. At a time yet ahead of us, all human beings will have the opportunity to enjoy a prosperity unequaled in history.

Let’s take a closer look at why and how this transformation will take place.

God outlined the major steps in His plan for mankind through a series of festivals, recorded in Leviticus 23, that He revealed to the ancient Israelites. (To understand the significance and symbolism of these observances, or ‘feasts,” as they’re called in the Bible, be sure to request your free copy of the booklet God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.)

In this article we focus on the meaning of one of the commanded observances, the Feast of Tabernacles. This one is kept in the autumn of the year (in the northern hemisphere) and is based on the agricultural seasons of the Promised Land. The Feast of Tabernacles coincides with the final ingathering in the final months of the year, marking an end to the harvest of all the bounty God has given His people and figuratively picturing a future harvest of human beings for God’s Kingdom during Christ’s reign on earth.

Also called the Feast of Ingathering, this festival was to be observed ‘when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field” (Exodus 23:16 Exodus 23:16And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field.
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) and ‘when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress” (Deuteronomy 16:13 Deuteronomy 16:13You shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that you have gathered in your corn and your wine:
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). This festival was meant to be a time of great abundance.

God commanded the Israelites to save a tithe—a 10th—of their ‘increase” during the year and, at His festivals, to ‘eat [it] before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses … that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always” (Deuteronomy 14:23 Deuteronomy 14:23And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of your corn, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herds and of your flocks; that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
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God’s feasts were a time of celebration and abundance. He instructs His people in how to observe them: ‘And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household” (verse 26).

We see from God’s instructions that this feast was to be an observance that involved whole families so each family could ‘learn to fear the LORD your God always” (verse 23). He commanded that the Israelites were to generously share in their abundance with the less fortunate and to make offerings in recognition of God’s blessings (Deuteronomy 16:13-17 Deuteronomy 16:13-17 13 You shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that you have gathered in your corn and your wine: 14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within your gates. 15 Seven days shall you keep a solemn feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD your God shall bless you in all your increase, and in all the works of your hands, therefore you shall surely rejoice. 16 Three times in a year shall all your males appear before the LORD your God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.
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Sharing the wealth

The kind of abundance Israel enjoyed during the Feast of Tabernacles helps us understand what God has in store for all mankind—a blessing for all humanity characterized by peace and prosperity. God— who is infinitely generous and wealthy— promises mankind will share in His wealth.

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.
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reveals that Jesus Christ, at His return to earth, will begin a 1,000-year reign, an era commonly known as the Millennium (from the Latin words for ‘thousand years”). For 1,000 years the inhabitants of earth will live in unprecedented peace.

This is not the kind of peace that human beings in the present age can experience. Our kind of peace simply means an absence of war. But God’s peace far eclipses man’s peace.

Godly peace means safety, a well-being characterized by happiness, friendliness and cooperation. Through the prophet Micah, God describes the kind of peace Christ’s reign will bring to earth: ‘… Everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid …” (Micah 4:4 Micah 4:4But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
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). God’s peace means no fear. It promotes good health, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Through the prophet Amos, God fills in the picture even more. ”Behold the days are coming,’says the LORD, ‘when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them’ ” (Amos 9:13-14 Amos 9:13-14 13 Behold, 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. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
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Ezekiel shows that the earth will again become like the Garden of Eden: ‘So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited’ ” (Ezekiel 36:35 Ezekiel 36:35And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
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Isaiah adds that ‘the wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them. And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing … They shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God” (Isaiah 35:1-2 Isaiah 35:1-2 1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
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A dramatic change

Ironically, for Christ to institute this time of peace He must first put down, by force, the armies—led and peopled by misguided human beings—that will resist Him (Zechariah 14:1-4 Zechariah 14:1-4 1 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the middle of you. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
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, 12; 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.
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; 19:11-21).

The prophet Isaiah tells us that when Jesus returns He will forcefully subdue all opposition to Him, His government and God’s Kingdom (Isaiah 11:4 Isaiah 11:4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
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). To institute this time of peace, God will incarcerate Satan and the demons for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:7 Revelation 20:7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
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). Even wild animals will manifest a tame spirit (Isaiah 11:6-9 Isaiah 11:6-9 6 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. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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When Christ initiates this millenniumlong era with His second coming, the earth will have already been reduced to shambles (Isaiah 24). The prophets’words make this clear in this and other predictions of divine intervention.

From Christ’s arrival onward will come a great time of restoration and renewal that He will lead while supported by God’s faithful and obedient followers. At Christ’s second coming God will have given these followers immortality (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.
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; Acts 3:19-21 Acts 3:19-21 19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
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; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
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). The survivors of this period of ‘great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
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) will begin a monumental process of rebuilding the world (Isaiah 58:12 Isaiah 58:12And they that shall be of you shall build the old waste places: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
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With no devil and demons around to spread satanic attitudes of hatred, war, corruption and greed, a time of unprecedented prosperity will break out on earth. When no corruption or violence pollutes the planet, God’s peace and prosperity will fill the earth.

In Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
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God promises of this wonderful era: ‘They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Inhabitants of the earth at last will learn and remember God’s ways and put them into practice—the key to a long-awaited world of peace. In this peaceful and prosperous setting children will play in the streets without fear of accident, injury or abduction (Zechariah 8:3-5 Zechariah 8:3-5 3 Thus said the LORD; I am returned to Zion, and will dwell in the middle of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. 4 Thus said the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
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). Parents will sit and visit with each other without fear of muggings or any other unwanted intrusion. Families can grow old together, and grandparents can enjoy their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

‘Now it shall come to pass in the latter days,” reveals the prophet Micah, ‘that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

‘He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Micah 4:2-4 Micah 4:2-4 2 And 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. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
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). This is the world God has in store for us!

The Feast of Tabernacles today

Members of the United Church of God, publisher of The Good News , will gather in dozens of locations around the world in October in obedience to God’s command to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. There they will observe this feast by worshiping God and learning more about the age when Christ will rule the earth. The Bible reveals that eventually all nations ‘shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16 Zechariah 14:16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
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If you would like to observe this festival with us, we’d be delighted to have you join us. Visitors are always welcome at services of the United Church of God. To learn more about this annual feast and the sites of its observance, see the information below.

To learn more about God’s feast days in general, be sure to request your free copy of the booklet God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind. GN