THINK OF IT! Less than two weeks, until we should all be gathered together in God's huge new Tabernacle!
I shall certainly expect to see you there! Remember God commands our presence there, unless we are prevented by circumstances beyond our control.
I believe the big new aluminized-steel Tabernacle will be completed on time. It is proving to be a race against time. At best they will get it completed only on the very last work day before the Festival opens.
The entire aluminized-steel building is now completed, and scores of workmen are working ten hours or more a day to finish up all the interior conference rooms, restrooms, speaking platform, mothers' room, children's room, and acoustical insulation on the inside walls of the large auditorium. Other workmen are hard at work completing two new sanitary buildings in the enlarged camp- site area. A whole car-load of new folding chairs is on the way from the factory. Bricklayers are now starting to lay the face- brick facade over the front of the Tabernacle.
Our own electrician from Ambassador College has arrived at the Tabernacle grounds to supervise final electrical work. The dozens of big light fixtures in the big auditorium are about half installed. Great progress is being made. Work proceeds at a fast pace.
Rains would have caused delay and prevented completion on time. But this is GOD'S Tabernacle! God controls the weather. There were rains to the north of them—rains to the south of them. There were rains to the east and the west of our grounds. BUT NO DELAYS BECAUSE OF RAINS ON OUR GROUNDS!
There was one terrible tragedy—but God's healing power is rapidly rectifying that. One of our own church members, who was working for the Behlen Manufacturing Company on the building, fell off a movable scaffold 30 feet to the cement floor below. At first they thought he could not live. The first report to me was that he had almost exactly the same injuries my son Dick had—fractured pelvis, right arm broken at the elbow, head concussions, possible internal injuries. But now it is turning out that there is no fractured pelvis, no major break in the arm, but only some splintered small pieces of bone broken which will heal, and the same condition on one heel; and apparently no internal injuries. He is able to eat food and smile. Many have been praying for him, and he was anointed by our local minister.
Brethren, I have to send another big check, this time for $24,000, to the Behlen Manufacturing Company on Friday of this week. So far we have been able to meet every payment promptly as agreed, and more than $100,000 has already been paid on this big project. DON'T NEGLECT YOUR PLEDGES AND SPECIAL OFFERINGS for this Tabernacle! So far the members of God's Church have stood loyally back of me—but we must KEEP IT UP for about another year. We must raise a $30,000 payment at the Festival. Be sure to pray about it, and plan so you can make extra generous offerings on the two Holy Days.
I think you are going to be surprised at the size of this huge Tabernacle. Latest calculations are that the big auditorium room will seat between 7,000 and 7,500—all on one floor, and without a single pillar or post. It is 250 feet wide. By ordinary construction methods with cheapest materials this building would have cost not less than $650,000. Actual cost, with this new-type aluminized-steel construction, about $335,000.
If we built it like God's Temple at Jerusalem which He had Solomon build, with costliest fine woods, marbles, stone, and embellished with gold and silver and precious stones, a building this size could cost fifty or a hundred MILLION dollars or more. But we are having to build this in the most economical possible manner. Still I think it will look good, and it will provide all the necessary facilities for God's great Festivals.
There will be members present from Canada, England, Germany, and more than 40 states. It will be the greatest Feast of Tabernacles since Apostolic days! It will be a great outpouring! Also, this year, our brethren in England and Europe will hold the Festival in London, and those in the Philippines are also holding the Festival there. So, from these three far-flung corners of the earth, God's people this year, probably for the first time in history, are holding His Festival AROUND THE EARTH! It's some- thing to praise God for!
When Solomon completed God's great Temple at Jerusalem, which was only 30 feet wide and 90 feet long, but thousands of times costlier and finer than the Tabernacle God has called us to build for Him, "all the community of Israel ... walked in front of the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen past all counting and numbering" (II Chron. 5:6). Brethren, what little WE are sacrificing in money, for the building of God's Tabernacle today, is paltry compared to what those carnal-minded Israelites sacrificed in those days!
Let us thank and praise God that He has made all this possible for us today! Let us praise and thank Him that He has kept circumstances from preventing its completion—that it is being completed on time! How MUCH we have to thank and praise our God for!
Now a last reminder—once again. DRIVE CAREFULLY to the Feast! Above all, DO NOT keep driving too long hours. Do NOT drive when too tired, or sleepy. Keep within speed limits or reasonable speed. KEEP ALERT every second you drive. Do NOT get into conversation with others in the car until your mind is off your driving. Remember to keep at least one car-length for every ten miles-per-hour speed BEHIND the car in front of you! At sixty miles-per-hour that means SIX CAR LENGTHS between you and the car ahead of you! PRAY, not only for God to send angels along to protect you (and all OTHERS enroute to the Festival), but also that He will restrain Satan and his demons from striking at you or any others of God's people! SATAN IS WROTH WITH US NOW! He will attack us and this work any way he can! But he cannot do one thing God does not allow. So let's constantly pray for God's protection —and BE CAREFUL!