In my town, Indianapolis, Indiana, the centerpiece of the city is a monument to the soldiers of three conflicts in the 19th century. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is a beautiful, ornate, German-designed structure, the first one, it is said, to honor the common soldier. This memorial is only one of many in our city. In fact, Indianapolis boasts more war memorials than any other American city outside of Washington, D.C.
All over the world towns of all sizes hold some type of monument to their dead from wars past. I have seen them in tiny Czech, Italian and French villages on some of my travels. I have seen a picture of my own great-grandfathers, veterans of the American Civil War, standing in front of a newly dedicated war memorial in their hometown in Georgia. It is good that people remember those who died in war. It would be even better if nations would learn the lessons that can prevent conflict from igniting into larger wars, consuming millions of lives.
I have never counted, but I think it is safe to say that war memorials outnumber memorials to peace. One of the most famous peace statues stands outside the United Nations building in New York City. It depicts the millennial scene from Isaiah 2:4 with a man beating his sword of war into a plowshare of peace. Most would agree, what a wonderful world that would be!
In America we have two days set aside each year to remember the human cost of all our wars. Veterans Day on Nov. 11 springs from the day the Great War, World War I, came to a close. Memorial Day each May remembers the fallen from all the wars. Other countries have set aside days to remember fallen soldiers. But how many days on our calendar actually commemorate and raise a memorial to peace?
God shows us in His Word, the Bible, several days set aside to teach, honor and show the way to peace among all the families of the earth. Leviticus 23:2 calls them "the feasts of the Lord." Seven annual festivals are listed in this chapter with seven "holy convocations," or Holy Days, when the people of God are to assemble and worship.
These little-understood days are the only ones mentioned in the Bible as days to be kept by the faithful who seek to support the Prince of Peace—Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:6). (Christmas and Easter, while commonly assumed to be biblical holidays, aren't part of the Holy Days God commanded.) When properly understood in the context of all Scripture, the biblical Holy Days show the way to true and lasting peace.
As you read these words, many thousands of people in all parts of the world are focusing on the true worship of God on these days. The biblical Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day are rich with meaning about key events yet ahead in the world. A full explanation of these days is available in our free booklet, God's Holy Day Plan—The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.
These Holy Days herald a time of peace at the return of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. They give a vision of hope for a time when the source of evil will be banished and the way to peace among nations will be taught. Their message shows the depth of the love of God, and the opportunity all will have to accept the saving grace of Christ. As the subject of one of this month's articles says, we need to pray, "Thy kingdom come."
You need to understand the days God commands the entire world to observe as memorials to the way of life taught in the Scriptures. They are the days that show the sequence of events in God's master plan for restoring all things through Jesus Christ. And when that occurs, it will indeed be a wonderful day! WNP