Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve] Did you know there’s a biblical festival that Jesus Christ celebrated in the first century and even today, thousands of Christians still look forward to it each year?
> I think the greatest benefit of the Feast of Tabernacles is spiritual energy.
» I love it! I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
> Yes! Yes! I’m going to the Feast of Tabernacles!
[Steve] From a biblical perspective, is there significance to the Feast of Tabernacles? What does this seven-day festival picture in God’s plan? What does it mean for us today?
Could this festival that Jesus observed unlock a secret for your life?
Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we discuss why you should: “Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Today’s World.”
[Announcer] Join our hostSteve Myers and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Steve] What is the Feast of Tabernacles? Could there be a spiritual significance to the Feast of Tabernacles that you may have overlooked? Why do Christians from around the world take time away from their jobs and schools to attend this seven-day celebration?
I had the opportunity to talk to Christians who celebrate this special biblical festival called the Feast of Tabernacles.
> I”m excited about the Feast because there are so many people here of like mind, you know everybody’s got the holy spirit and when you’re out in the world, I guess doing battle in a sense on a day-to-day basis, it’s just good to come somewhere and I guess, spiritually recharge.
» God’s Kingdom—it’s gonna be so awesome, we can’t imagine what it’s like.
[Steve] Well, let’s try to imagine it from another perspective for a moment.
There was a life-changing event in the New Testament that most don’t realize has everything to do with the Feast of Tabernacles - the transfiguration.
Notice the details. Jesus said, “‘I tell you, there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Kingdom of God come with power.’ Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain…a change came over Jesus, and his clothes became shining white… There the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents…’ he and the others were so frightened that he did not know what to say” (Mark 9:1-6).
Now what an amazing event! Exactly what was that all about? Well in a vision, the men were suddenly whisked into the future to see Jesus Christ in His glory in His Kingdom!
Now don’t miss Peter’s reaction. What did Peter associate with this vision? Remember he said: “We will make three tents.” Peter connected tents with this event!
Now in the Bible, another name for a tent is a tabernacle. The disciples foresaw the return of Jesus Christ in all his glory—in the coming Kingdom of God! And what came to mind? The thought of making a tent.
Now you might think, what does that have to do with anything? Well Peter related the Feast of Tabernacles to that very event. So, does it matter—as a modern day Christian—does that matter to me?
Well let’s think about that for a moment. We’ll get a little bit of background.
When God spoke to Moses, He said: “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation…’” (Leviticus 23:34-35)
Tabernacles are just that - tents - temporary dwellings. This festival is also called sukkot in hebrew and the feast of ingathering.
What was the focus of this feast? It was a celebration of the large autumn harvest in the holy land. God blessed them with abundant crops. But there’s more to it than just plentiful good crops and tents. It symbolizes so much more today. There is spiritual meaning in this physical event. It foreshadows a large spiritual harvest. God has given us physical lessons to teach us spiritual truth. It’s the same with this festival, the Feast of Tabernacles.
> Annually we come here to recharge in a sense, but also to get that vision renewed. To really look at it in greater detail and to envision what God has for us.
» The largest benefit Iget out of the Feast of Tabernacles is the rejuvenation of my spiritual life. It gives me better direction for the next year.
> The Feast of Tabernacles is a time to look forward to the future, to the guiding vision that we need to have.
[Steve] Now you may think, okay, that’s well and good—but are you sure it’s not an Old Testament thing? It’s not. Do you realize that your savior, Jesus, in the New Testament, set the example for you and me?
The book of John records: the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. Jesus said to his brothers ‘You go up to this feast…’ but when his brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, ‘Where is He?’ …Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught” (John 7:11).
Well did you notice that people expected Jesus to be at the Feast of Tabernacles? Why? Because it was His lifelong practice to celebrate God’s festivals. Even when His life was threatened, He went to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles!
You see, Christ knew that this was a special yearly celebration and it wasn’t intended just for the Jews. Leviticus 23:2 rightly calls them “feasts of the Lord.” They weren’t just feasts for Israel or celebrations just for the Jews, but Jesus set the example showing they were for everyone and they continue to be God’s festivals.
When God says we should celebrate the feasts, he uses a Hebrew word that means “appointed times” or “appointments.” Do you realize that God has set up an appointment with you? They are also called “holy convocations” or “sacred assemblies.” Jesus knew that we can learn valuable lessons by meeting, fellowshipping and observing the feast together.
> Well I guess growing up, my mother always told me to stand up for God’s ways and His beliefs, no matter what. So, with the feast we’re where we’re supposed to be. You know, we have an appointment with God, we’re supposed to be here.
»I’m here because God commands it and I take it very seriously, and I know I’m supposed to be here. I don’t have an option. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. It’s wonderful to have God’s knowledge and his truth.
[Steve] In order to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, God told the people at that time, to do something that may seem strange to us. They were to “tabernacle.” But what are tabernacles today, what do they symbolize, and how does it relate to your life?
Well hold on to that thought for just a moment. As you can tell, there is a lot to take in about this biblical Feast of Tabernacles. That’s why I’dd like to offer you a free copy of our Bible study aid: God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind. Order your free copy of this easy-to-read booklet. It will introduce you to the details of the Feast of Tabernacles and guide you through all God’s annual festivals that are described in scripture.
To request your personal, free copy of God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind simply call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Or, go online to beyondtoday.tv to read or download this highly-informative study aid. Or, you can write us at the address on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
I mentioned a moment ago that Jesus knew this special yearly celebration wasn’t just given to the Jews. Jesus set an example for all Christians by showing they continue to be God’s festivals.
God’s word tells us that we have a special appointment with God at the Feast of Tabernacles. Now imagine that! God has given us all a unique invitation to a personal meeting with him!
Now all of you on social media would say: hcit. Now that’s an abbreviation that means “how cool is that!” It’s the way to say, that is amazing, it is awesome! And it seems well, that the word “cool” never goes out of style and neither do God’s feasts.
> It’s fantastic!
» You’ll definitely have an enriching experience spiritually and you’ll definitely get a very wonderful insight into what the future will be after Jesus Christ comes back.
> We compare things later on and say, wow! This is really great!
[Steve] If you’re a Christian, the Feast of Tabernacles is for you. It’s not just an Old Testament thing. Jesus taught that right from the start, even the temple itself was supposed to be a “house of prayer for all nations.”
Now back in time, God told people that when they celebrated the feast, they needed to do something that may seem a bit odd to us. They were told to tabernacle. Now, as unusual as that may sound to you, does it have meaning for today?
Well God told them: “dwell in booths for seven days.” In other words, they were to live in temporary shelters—like tents. Why? Well he said: “…so that generations to come may learn how I made the people of Israel live in booths (or tabernacles) when i brought them out of Egypt” (Leviticus 23:42-43)
Have you ever seen the small huts that religious Jews build even today? They build booths—sometimes on their patio, balcony, or even in their yard. They feel it’s in keeping with the command to stay in temporary dwellings during the feast.
So, is that what we as Christians should do today? At the Feast of Tabernacles, are we required to build a tent or a hut on our deck?
> We do things like rent a hotel room for the week or stay in a tent or at a resort, you know, some place that’s temporary for us.
» …and so sometimes we stay in motels or hotels.
[Steve] So, you can see, today, we stay in modern temporary dwellings. We don’t have to live on our deck or balcony.
Physically we stay in temporary dwellings but more importantly, the spiritual significance looks forward to another lesson. It reminds us—life is fleeting. We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. Now that’s powerful symbolism. It points out that our temporary, physical lives are like a temporary dwelling.
Peter used this analogy when he thought back to that glimpse of Jesus Christ in his spiritual glory in the Kingdom of God at the transfiguration: “I consider it my duty, as long as I live in the temporary dwelling of this body, to stimulate you by these reminders” (2 Peter 1:12)
Peter made the connection between the kingdom of God and temporary dwellings. The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us of the temporary nature of our physical life, and it helps us to focus on what’s permanent—our goal for eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
> If you realize your life on earth is temporary… and so my life is temporary and so God realizes that our whole being is going to be temporary because God is going to eventually going to usher in His Kingdom.
[Steve] Another lesson that comes to mind when thinking back to Israel wandering in the desert was, you know, it was an extreme situation. In those harsh conditions they had to totally depend on God. So what did God do? The book of Exodus tells us, he was faithful to provide all of their needs: quenching their thirst with clean water, feeding them with manna from heaven, even giving them quail to eat, and it all showed his love and concern while they were in that barren wilderness.
Now today, we realize there’s even more. We have the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe. We have a Provider—and not one that just provides food and water—but he provides the best: a Savior for our salvation. So today, all of us as Christians should celebrate and honor our faithful God, who provides everything that we need.
With all the deep spiritual meaning to the Feast of Tabernacles, it’s no wonder that God makes it more than just a suggestion to celebrate it.
He tells us: “You shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days” (Deuteronomy 16:13).
And again, “Three times you shall keep a feast to me in the year… and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field” (Exodus 23:14-16).
You see, God says we shall gather to worship him - for our own benefit. After all, he says: “the feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”
In the New Testament, Jesus knew that we can learn valuable lessons by meeting, fellowshipping and observing these feasts together. So it’s more than just a nice idea, it’s more than an option, more than just good advice—God actually commands us to observe his feast.
Think of it this way: isn’t it a blessing for God to give us a wonderful spiritual celebration that pleases and honors him?
There is so much more to the biblical festivals for Christians, so I’d like to remind you to request your free copy of our helpful study aid, God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind. In this free study aid, you’ll learn how God has illustrated his plan of salvation through his Holy Days—so you can better understand your ultimate destiny and how you can attain it!
And when you order God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind, we’ll also send you a free subscription to our bi-monthly magazine. This publication will give you solid insight into the practical teachings of the Bible. It will also help you grasp the meaning of Bible prophecy so you can better prepare for the challenging times that lie beyond today.
To order your free copy of God’s God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind and receive your free subscription to our magazine, call: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv. You can also write to us at the address on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
We provide all of our literature entirely free of charge as an educational service. So, request yours today!
We’ve been discussing how God gave the biblical Feast of Tabernacles for all Christians.
Now many don’t realize that Jesus himself set the example and observed the feast. On the last “great day of the feast” (John 7:37) Jesus even stood up at the temple courts and taught the people.
Shouldn’t we all be committed to follow the example of Christ and the first century church? It shouldn’t matter if a religious organization overlooks the feast or that some might even call it nontraditional or maybe even something worse.
But it brings up the question: how should I observe and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles today?
> For the Feast of Tabernacles I’ve been to all kinds of places. I have been to Oregon. I have been to British Columbia. I love seeing different places, places that I’ve never been.
» My wife and I, we’ve been to Hawaii. We’ve been to Alaska. I’ve been to Bahamas. I’ve been to Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve been to Branson.
> We’ve been going to Guatemala—the feast site over at Lake Atitlan which is surrounded by volcanoes.
» But the big thing is, is where God sets his name.
[Steve] Since proper observance of the seven days of the feast means residing in temporary dwellings, families gather in centralized locations for the entire festival. The United Church of God members and their families travel to sites around the world to take part in the celebration. Large conference centers and facilities accommodate everyone so they can assemble together for daily worship services.
> The spiritual meat. I love coming here and I love getting the really juicy sermons. And I take a lot of notes and stuff to take back home with me so I can do like mini-Bible studies off of that.
» So I learn from not just the people who speak but from the people I meet.
> It gives them a time to see that there are hundreds of other kids that are all keeping the feast just like them. But we meet lots of new friends and we discover people are going through the same troubles that we are, or the same blessings that we’ve been given. And it’s just a great time to share with each other.
[Steve] the Feast of Tabernacles focuses on a great time of spiritual renewal and a time of enjoyment with something for everyone.
> Wherever you go, they have got all kinds of activity. The church sets up things like for the children, they’ll have a special night. The teens have a special night and the older people have a special night.
» It’s also nice, once in a while, to get off from that daily routine—be it work or school—and to dedicate more time to learn God’s word.
> Some of the really exciting memories that I have of the feast were doing things like holding baby sea turtles or crossing a bridge over a canyon, snorkeling in mexico and seeing tropical fish, and going to hidden beaches, or climbing mountains and seeing the landscape.
[Steve] Because the Feast of Tabernacles occurs when vacations and school absences may not be common, members and family notify employers and schools well in advance of their plans.
> You can let your boss know, that hey, I would like to be off this time. Or maybe to keep from having a hardship, I’d like to take my vacation at that time.
[Steve] you can expect that the vast majority of teachers and employers are very cooperative and accommodating the observance of the biblical festivals. But you know, there are times as Christians we have to take a stand for what’s right. We know it’s only through trusting God that we experience the best blessings he has for our lives.
The feast is a special blessing that’s celebrated with great rejoicing. God even commands everyone today to rejoice and celebrate. We’re told: “You shall rejoice before the lord your God for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40). You could say the Feast of Tabernacles is a feast of joy.
> It’s just a spiritual high.
» It’s like going on a spiritual vacation.
> I love getting together with my family.
» You get to be with your family, your spiritual family, it’s never ending.
> It builds every day and every day by adding to our knowledge and understanding.
» The services and everything are just uplifting. So you have to be on a high and it’s just a wonderful, wonderful experience.
> Yes! Yes! I’m going to the Feast of Tabernacles!
[Steve] It is exciting. I hope you are thinking about celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. Learn more about it from our free literature, or if you’d like, go to our beyondtoday.tv website. Contact a United Church of God minister in your area and find out more about the Feast of Tabernacles. Find out where you can celebrate the Feast nearest you.
It is a joyous time. A time that brings honor and praise to God, not only for physical blessings, but more importantly for His spiritual blessings. Now we know, this life—it’s short. It’s not going to last. We know this world around us, it’s temporary. Don’t you look forward to rejoicing when all of it will be replaced by the prophesied Kingdom of God?
> If you were thinking about keeping the Feast but you think it might be too difficult, too difficult to save up money or to take the time off, I would say, try it! And God tells us to try His way, try Him. Do what He wants you to do and see how good it is—the Feast is wonderful if you just try it.
» It’s very complementary because you have the lessons from the church services, plus you have the interactions with the people, with the brethren of the church. So everything I do at the feast, it’s all significant to me.
> I’d say for their own improvement, for their own spiritual well-being, they need this Feast of Tabernacles because it is a joyous time. And hey, in the world that we live in, we need all the joy that we can get. And being with fellow Christians, it’s just uplifting and I can guarantee they will have a wonderful time.
[Steve] Jesus taught extensively about His Kingdom during his earthly ministry. Now when He returns, there will be a time of great spiritual harvest from every corner of the world right into the Kingdom of God. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes that time when Jesus returns to directly rule the world for 1,000 years. That will be a time of unparalleled peace and harmony. That’s another wonderful reason to celebrate.
Prophecy tells us in the future, “It shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against jerusalem 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).
Imagine that - God tells us that the time is coming when the whole world will celebrate the Feast!
> Ithink of how beautiful, how wonderful, how peaceful, how lovely it’ll be. Everybody will be in unity together.
» All of this that God shows us is our future. Without this, there would be no guidance for the rest of the year. We would be kind of lost, and so to me the Feast is essential.
> It’s coming. You know, the new Jerusalem is going to be here. And this is rehearsal. And I’m so excited every single year it keeps getting better and better and better so, I love the Feast of Tabernacles. It’s amazing.
[Steve] The foundation will be in place for the restoration of all things to peace and harmony with God. The Feast of Tabernacles foreshadows a changed world—when people will 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… 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 anymore” (Isaiah 2:3-4).
At that time everyone, all nations, will join in this yearly festival gathering. All people will learn God’s way of love. Through God’s Holy Spirit, people will be able to internalize God’s perfect way. Humanity - at last, imagine it! - they’ll be restored to a right relationship with their creator.
The Feast of Tabernacles pictures that incredible time. The symbolism in this unique Christian festival, it’s astounding. Celebrating the Feast gives us a glimpse Beyond Today - an incredible preview of the age to come. Take the time to learn more about it. Don’t miss out on this wonderful spiritual opportunity. I hope you will make celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles a powerful statement of your faith.
Now here’s how you can learn more about the biblical feasts. Order our free offers today. They include the Bible study aid: God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind, and our bi-monthly magazine. Both are yours free of charge. It’s a free call to order your free publications: 1-888-886-8632 or go online to beyondtoday.tv. Or you can write us at the address on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
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The Feast of Tabernacles is a wonderful celebration that God gives to all Christians.
The New Testament shows that after the crucifixion, the first century Christian church continued to observe the festival. They followed Jesus’ example. He celebrated the feast and He taught about its great significance. Scripture instructs us, that as His followers we are to walk as He walked—to live as He lived (Isaiah 25:6-7)
I hope you won’t underrate the significance of this festival in your life. You can begin to live that way today. That veil can be lifted now. Take this opportunity to be empowered—starting at the Feast of Tabernacles and continue to live life in harmony with God’s way as you prepare for eternal life.
That’s our program for today. Thanks for joining me. Don’t forget our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week for another edition of Beyond Today and join me in praying, “thy kingdom come.”
For Beyond Today I’m Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today’s program, go online to beyondtoday.tv. Please join us again next week on Beyond Today !