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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

September 23, 2016

Rejoicing then, now and in the future

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

For the ancient Israelites the Feast of Tabernacles was the most joyful festival. Everyone's needs were taken care of – the widows, poor, Levites and even sojourners. Nothing was left undone to make sure that everyone was able to rejoice before the Lord.

Those physical aspects of joy continue today when we keep the feast, but our joy involves more than just good food, drink and fellowship. Dwelling in temporary housing reminds us that we are pilgrims and sojourners in this life. Real peace and joy will come when God's kingdom rules over this earth. Abraham, the father of the faithful, knew this as he dwelt in tents and "waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10).

The resurrected saints, as kings and priests of God, will dwell on this earth as heirs of salvation and rule with Christ (Romans 8:17; Revelation 5:10; Isaiah 9:6-7). There is no doubt that the prophetic implications of the Feast of Tabernacles are the righteous rule of Christ and the saints: ". . . in the dispensation [Greek original: oikonomeia – "administration"] of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him" (Ephesians 1:10).

The materials used by the Israelites to construct their booths has symbolic meaning for us and the future. Palm branches represent victory, willows are symbols of sadness and the olive tree a symbol of anointing.

In the time prior to the voice of the archangel announcing the kingdom of God and the sounding of the 7th trump, many of the saints will experience great trials. The symbolism of those booth materials may apply. On the one hand there will be sadness and mourning, suddenly following by comfort and joy.

Our God's day of vengeance will see the mourning of the righteous replaced with comfort: "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning . . . But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God" (Isaiah 61:2-3, 6).

We are being prepared in this life to be kings and priests in the kingdom of God. We will be made kings and priests at Christ's return and rule with Him for 1000 years (Revelation 20:4-6). Christ's rulership in the world tomorrow is a central theme of the feast!

As kings and priests we will see the nations come to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles with us (Zechariah 14:16-19). We will assist in teaching them the way of God as they learn the only way of life that leads to joy and peace. The prophetic fulfillment of the feast will be a time of great joy!

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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