The Feast of Tabernacles portrays a time soon when all humanity will properly reverence and fear the only true God. True Christians are learning to do so now.
"Well, I hear what you're saying, but in my opinion we Christians are all alike. God wouldn't discriminate toward one particular Christian group, would He? I think not," he said. I was talking to a man who, though he meant well, was totally ignorant of the plain truth of God. "The God I like is the one who allows all Christians to follow him in whatever way they choose," he continued. My first inclination was to shout a loud warning to him, hoping to wake him up. I felt like grabbing him and shaking him, if that would have helped. But I realized that neither course of action would work. I could not give him spiritual understanding. That is God's responsibility (John 6:44). As true Christians it is not our job to convert others. We can't, anyway. Only God can open a person's mind. But I did politely disagree with my friend and waited for him to ask a reason of the hope that lies within me (I Peter 3:15). He didn't. I held my peace. What about it? Can you worship, revere, venerate and adore God according to your opinion? Absolutely not! Don't think for one moment you can — unless, of course, you desire to follow the god of this world, which we all have in the past. But how does one learn to properly fear God? If there is any activity God commands of true Christians that secures this lesson of honoring God as He has carefully designed, it is the Festival of Tabernacles. You may be keeping the Feast as God directs for the first time this year, or perhaps you have kept the Feast for many years. But do you know why?
Humanity fears Satan
Think for a moment. Didn't you, like most professing Christians, once believe the satanic lie that if you didn't "get saved" (whatever that meant), you would end up somewhere in this earth's bowels, engulfed in flames, suffering excruciating pain but never being consumed? Really! The Bible teaches no such doctrine. If you want to know the truth, read our free reprint article "Is There a Hell?" Satan the devil, through people claiming to be the ministers of God, has foisted upon the world many diabolical deceptions, including this one about hell (Revelation 12:9). But here is the truth: These same people have a stern judgment from God coming — death in an unquenchable lake of fire, if they knowingly and willingly deceive others and refuse to repent. Read Jeremiah 23 and see exactly what God says. God does not take this lightly. Back to humanity's fear. It is not fear of God. It is unfounded fear of Satan the devil's deceptions! And Satan's ministers, palming themselves off as ministers of righteousness, have perpetuated his lies (II Corinthians 11:13-15). It is God's great purpose to free people from this wrong fear: "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He [Jesus] Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15). God is fully aware of Satan's insidious lies to keep humanity in his clutches. Paul told true Christians, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption [or sonship]" (Romans 8:15). And Jesus Christ said that we are to be treated as sons who know what the Father has in store for us (John 15:15, I John 3:1). Meanwhile, thousands of professing Christians labor under the bondage of satanic fear of the future. But how does God want His true people to react? Fear is good if one exercises it for the right reason. Deuteronomy 14:22-23 commands us as God's people to learn to fear God always, and especially during the Feast of Tabernacles. Why? Simply put, so we as weak, physical humans will not forget who is in control of all things, why God is and how this will save us.
Jesus feared God
Jesus knew who, why and how, and that's why He, while in the flesh, learned to fear God (Hebrews 5:7). Godly fear taught Jesus obedience — perfect, steady, unflinching, unswerving, constant obedience to the only true God who could save Him from the wiles of Satan. God is in charge, period (Psalm 24:1). He is eternal, immortal, omnipotent and holy. God upholds or sustains all things through the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus knew this, not only through faith in God based on God's Word, but because Jesus had been God and was commissioned to create and sustain the earth and the universe (verses 1-2). Yet Jesus, as God before He became Jesus the man, had never experienced the inherent weakness of human flesh (Philippians 2:5-8). He willingly gave of himself to experience what we experience, resist the temptations of the flesh and learn perfect obedience to His Father through His human sufferings (Hebrews 2:14-18). Had Jesus not feared God Almighty, which is to say reverenced Him or deferred to Him, He could not have been sufficiently convicted in perfectly obeying Him. Thankfully, Jesus did fear and reverence His Father, obeyed His laws and became our Savior because of it.
We must learn proper fear
We must learn what Christ learned in the flesh (Hebrews 5:8-9). Which brings us to the life-giving, sustaining words found in Deuteronomy 14:22-23, and to the necessity of our obeying them this 1984 Feast of Tabernacles: "You shall truly tithe all the increase... year by year. And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide... that you may learn to fear [to revere, to defer with tenderness of feeling] the Lord your God always" (Deuteronomy 14:22-23). If the fear of God were not in our minds, we wouldn't even keep a tithe to attend this Feast. We wouldn't be able to come and learn to fear God even more deeply. This glorious seven-day Feast can help save your life!
Sermons to reverence
For all who have feared God enough to save their tithe to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, God provides an extra spiritual feast through His inspired messages. And that's the point of this written message for you. We need constant reminders from God to help us stand in awe of His greatness, so we may acknowledge the need to obey Him! You don't honor what or whom you don't respect. Satan wants us to honor and obey him, and in a sense he has time in his favor. For most of each year we are left to ourselves, except for weekly Sabbaths and annual single-day festivals. But God annually provides a seven-day festival, the joyous Feast of Tabernacles, when we can be fed daily through His ministry glad tidings of good things (Romans 10:14-17). Every single message is carefully designed to specifically teach us to learn to fear God always. Without this prod and encouragement, we would spiritually die off the vine (John 15:5). Not only do we learn to fear our great God, but we portray a time coming soon now when, at Jesus Christ's return, all people everywhere on earth will do the same — or cease to exist (Zechariah 14:16-19)! Enjoy this Feast of Tabernacles from the right perspective by learning to fear the Lord your God always. It's the way to eternal life.