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Why We Must Observe The Feast of Tabernacles
Good News Magazine
September-October 1971
Volume: Vol XX, No. 5
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Why We Must Observe The Feast of Tabernacles
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

Bigger, better, and more meaningful than ever before, the Feast of Tabernacles will soon be observed by brethren around the world! To know what is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, and how to really REJOICE in the Feast... read this important article.

   AS WE ASSEMBLE around the world, or as we look toward this Festival even in the privacy of our own homes, brethren, let's come to fully REALIZE the deep significance of the Feast of Tabernacles.
   God instituted these days, giving them to our ancient forefathers to keep His true people in mind of the GREAT PLAN He is busily working out here below!

The Real MEANING of the Feast

   God gave His great Feast of Tabernacles to PICTURE to us the conditions on this earth in the very next era now just ahead of us. The time of the reign of the KINGDOM OF GOD!
   He has commanded us to COME OUT of this world for these eight days, for the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Final Great Feast of the year picturing the great JUDGMENT to follow. He has told us to dwell in temporary domiciles, living together in peace and harmony, hearing inspiring messages from God's ministers, working, eating, listening, studying, praying, fellowshipping together so we can learn a vitally important LESSON.
   The real meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles is to portray to us the Kingdom of God the earth here below as it will be under the rule and reign of that Kingdom, which is the great ruling family of God into which we must be born.
   The Feast pictures government on earth, order on earth, system on earth, harmony, peace arid happiness on earth!

How YOU Must Take Part

   What is idolatry? Have you ever really analyzed it?
   Why did God place the first two commandments in the order He did?
   Because He knew these would be the very FIRST commandments men would tend to break! You've heard of "matinee" idols. You have heard it said that anything that gets between you and God is an idol. But how do people idolize other people?
   By MIMICKING them!
   Notice little children. They want to "act" LIKE their heroes, their "matinee idols." American advertisers, recognizing this carnal trend in human beings, try to sell certain soaps, cigarettes or cosmetics to gullible hero worshippers by assuring the public their IDOLS use this particular brand!
   That is FALSE worship!
   But we are to worship God, in spirit and in truth! True worship is also mimicking! But it is mimicking God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son! John said if we say we KNOW Jesus Christ, we should LIVE like He did! (I John 2:6.) Paul urged, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I Cor. 11:1). Peter said Jesus Christ had set us an example that we should follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21).
   God has ordained that we should, in a sense, act out a part of His plan in our observance of His Holy Days. By living in the actual conditions He shows will prevail on earth, we learn to really understand His plan what the world will be like, and our part in it in the future.
   We worship God by imitating Him. Jesus Christ is the very image, substance, nature and character or God the Father (Heb. 1:3). Jesus kept the Feast of Tabernacles! He shows whole nations will be under severe plagues from God if they refuse to keep these Festivals in the millennium (Zech. 14:17-19).
   Remember, God has ORDERED that we observe His Feasts! He will not accept weak "excuses" for staying away! God has said YOU simply MUST take an active part in these Feasts if you are at all able to do so! It is only in 'THIS way you will really learn by experience the true meaning of the wonderful plan God is working out here below.

How to REJOICE in the Festival

   God says, "But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose... thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and your flocks, and there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall REJOICE in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your household, wherein the Lord thy God has blessed thee" (Deut. 12:5-7).
   God says we are to be truly happy at the Feast. He wants us to rejoice! But in what way?
   Notice. He included the burnt offerings and sacrifices in this section, when speaking to ancient Israel. Today, as we know, Jesus Christ's ONE sacrifice has rendered these offerings those which came on the annual Festivals and those which came on every day of the year unnecessary. He caused these ordinances to cease (Dan. 9:27). They were not an original part of the annual Holy Days of God when He called His people out of the land of Egypt (Jer. 7:22).
   But sacrifices are not over! Today, God requires a spiritual, not an animal sacrifice. Notice what God inspired Paul to write in Romans the twelfth chapter: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable SERVICE" (Rom. 12:1).
   A little later in that same chapter, Paul described the attitude of a truly converted person who would be "distributing to the necessity of saints; GIVEN to hospitality" (verse 13).
   The sacrifices YOU should bring with you to the Feast, brethren, are the sacrifices God says He will not despise. Notice it: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise'' (Ps. 51:17).
   God says the way you can prove you really love your brethren is to lay down your life for them (I John 3:16).
   And you can be actively proving how much you really love God during this Feast of Tabernacles. You can do it by GIVING of yourself! By OFFERING of yourself in service, in labor, in help, in whatever your hand can find to do, as you are directed by those in positions of responsibility to make the Feast MUCH more enjoyable.

Not JUST a Vacation

   Many find God says to REJOICE in the Feast. So they decide to be obedient. They decide to really REJOICE! Some have said, "No, thanks! Not me volunteer for some job this is my vacation time!" But what a totally WRONG attitude, brethren!
   Let's really get it straight! God did not say He calls you to His Festival to sit down and let others wait on you! He does want you to rejoice to get a real thrill out of the Feast, to be truly HAPPY there! But the way to happiness is through giving.
   What YOU ought to be doing is seeing how much you can contribute to the enjoyment and well-being of others!
   See how much of your interest, your time, your energy, your concern, your warm smiles and words of encouragement you can sprinkle through the Feast. See if you can make it a point to MEET more of your brothers and sisters than you did last time really get acquainted with them have and show more love than last time. See if you can do more good working at straightening chairs, sweeping, dusting, cleaning, serving in ANY capacity than you did last time.
   But suppose there are enough laborers in different jobs? Suppose YOU are not really needed in a particular duty to help serve, after all? What then?
   Why, that's where the really BIGGEST responsibility for ALL of us comes in. You can really serve by MAKING AS LITTLE WORK AS POSSIBLE FOR OTHERS! If you are clean, neat, orderly, and follow directions faithfully, you will be doing a real SERVICE to your brethren!
   You would be surprised how much dirt, trash and litter volunteer Feast of Tabernacles crews have to clean up from the floors and walkways every Feast. You'd be surprised at how many man-hours and how much special attention is required just to collect, keep track of and return lost and misplaced items. Why not do your part to make some of your brethren "unemployed" at the Feast?
   And there is one other very, very big thing you can do. If you are cheerful, cooperative, humble, easy to be led, easy to be directed, always following suggestions and instructions from the deacons and their assistants, and if you are always really illustrating the very fruits of a totally changed, converted life, it will make your Feast immensely more enjoyable. And that joy will not only be yours, but that of your brethren as well.
   Do you see? That's a very important way YOU can serve! By being as cooperative YOURSELF as Christ in you would be, and by offering to HELP others wherever possible you will have a tremendously enjoyable time! I absolutely guarantee it! God proves to us we are far happier when we're DOING, WORKING, ACCOMPLISHING, GIVING, SERVING, than when we're being served!

What Is Your GOAL at the Feast?

   There is something else which also has to do with your basic attitude toward the Feast.
   Think carefully. Why are you going to the Feast?
   Certainly not just for the scenery alone, are you? Are you going to the Feast to go hunting, fishing, boating or horseback riding? Are you so looking forward to some of these activities that they are becoming your primary goal in attending the Feast?
   What about fellowship? Are you so eager to renew old acquaintances, and make new friends, that you are just excited about it? Are you making this your primary goal at the Feast?
   God HAS given us FINE facilities. He has added many additional attractions in the form of beautiful scenery along the way and while we're attending, and in the form of fine recreational facilities. But these things are very much secondary! These things are just a few of the added little "fringe" benefits that God gives us as an ADDITIONAL blessing!
   The really BIG REASON for your being at the place God has placed His name should be, first of all, because God COMMANDS you to be there and you desperately want to be OBEDIENT to Him!
   In explaining the place where your second tithe is to be spent, God says, "And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there..." But why? What is the purpose? What is your goal in obeying this command? God answers "...THAT THOU MAYEST LEARN TO FEAR THE LORD THY GOD ALWAYS" (Deut. 14:23).
   Let's face it, brethren. We don't learn to really FEAR God if we're spending too much time on mere recreational activities if those activities are keeping us from our primary purpose in being at the Feast in the first place!
   You will learn to fear God by being obedient to His commands and by hearing of Him and from Him as He inspires His own chosen servants to talk directly to you!
   THINK of it in that way! If you knew that GOD ALMIGHTY, and CHRIST HIS SON, were going to be ON THE PLATFORM personally speaking with you would you be out in the camping area? Would you be boating, swimming, or fishing? Would you be horseback riding during services if you KNEW GOD would be there? If you have any shred of respect and awe for God if you are even remotely converted you certainly would NOT! Rather, you would make it a special, vital important point to be in EVERY service ahead of time! You would be quiet, attentive, eager to learn!
   PLAN to attend EVERY SERVICE, brethren! THAT is the reason you are GOING to the Feast, isn't it? And, frankly, brethren and I do write with the authority of Jesus Christ if you do not intend to be in the services you should NOT COME to the Feast! YOU should STAY HOME SO YOU do not set the wrong example for others who may be weak, and may be led off by a wrong influence!
   Make it your aim to be in the services! Each one will be totally different from the one before! What a shame if the only sermon preached on child rearing, or family problems, or prayer, or prophecy would be just the exact one you needed so badly and you missed it because you let the cares of this physical world get in your way!
   So let's show our Heavenly Father we all really MEAN it this year. Let's not miss a service unless it is because of sickness or some genuine exception. We will fellowship together, but remember our FIRST fellowship is with God the Father, through Christ His Son, and then with the brethren, but only in and through Christ! (I John 1:3.)

PREPARE Your Offering Ahead of Time

   Remember, also, brethren God commands us NOT TO COME EMPTY to His Festival, but to plan ahead, and be prepared to give a generous offering, according to the BLESSING He has given us.
   "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks {Pentecost}, and in the feast of tabernacles, and they shall not appear before the Lord empty" (Deut. 16:16).
   God says each is to GIVE, as he is able (verse 17).
   But frankly, brethren, many of you have been putting into the special annual offerings at the Feast what you would have sent in if you had remained at home, in the first place!
   Each year, Mr. Portune notices a sharp decline in tithes and offerings just before and during the Feast! This period of about one month becomes one of the most severely difficult times for God's Work! Many, anticipating giving a large offering at the Feast, are saving money they would have given as offerings anyway, even if they could not have attended! So even though we make a truly fine showing with our offerings these special offerings, instead of bringing up the normal income merely BRING INCOME UP TO NORMAL!
   Let's NOT let this happen this year! Where OUR TREASURE IS that is where our HEARTS will be! Where is YOUR heart in your own personal interests and pleasures? Or in the Work CHRIST is doing?
   If you leave home, temporarily discontinuing your normal tithes and offerings as you journey to, attend, and then return from the Feast then you have temporarily severed that vitally needed, constant flow of income that MUST keep coming in to keep this great and growing Work going!
   Even a sizeable offering if that offering only represents what you would have given anyway, with just a little over will just barely help us struggle through another financial bind but it will NOT give us the big extra BOOST we ought to have at this time of the year!
   So THINK about it, brethren. Remember that "God loves a "cheerful giver" (II Cor. 9:7). PLAN to give as generous an offering as you can possibly afford according to the blessing God has given you but send in your regular offerings besides. Surely we are God's people. Let's keep proving it to Him!

Don't Miss the Experience of a Lifetime!

   Perhaps some few of you reading this are planning NOT to attend. Maybe there is a valid reason. Perhaps you are a newcomer to God's Church, and, even though now faithfully saving your second tithe, you simply have not had enough time to save enough since you learned of this principle of God. Perhaps you are a widow who has been counseled not to attend this year so that others may come.
   But if there is NOT a really valid reason then you should RECONSIDER very seriously!
   Brethren, if Almighty God were to APPEAR before you, and COMMAND you to do something would you no it? Think about it for a moment! Would you, really?
   Some of you simply have not traveled much before. You are FEARFUL of circumstances you might encounter at "faraway" places. Some have never been on a bus, or a train, or an airplane. Some have older cars, and think they may not make it. Others need tires, or parts, or perhaps are fearful of traveling ALONE.
   Brethren whatever your problem think it through! Make sure your reason for thinking you might miss this glorious Festival is a really VALID one!
   Perhaps some of you, if you do not have enough second tithe or other money to get to the Feast, and RETURN HOME should not come. But be sure to check with your local Festival Advisor; or if you are one of the few scattered brethren, write to Headquarters (or the overseas office closest to you) about your circumstances immediately and get wise counsel concerning your problem.
   It would be a real SHAME for anyone in God's Church to miss these wonderful days of preaching services, special activities, and all the jam-packed, fun-filled days of RE JOKING together, as God's own people away from the cares of this sin-sick world!
   Brethren, pray about the Feast. PLAN to come if necessary ask God to make a way for you to attend and come prepared to serve, to give, to rejoice before your Creator!

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Good News MagazineSeptember-October 1971Vol XX, No. 5
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