It's that time again — to begin plans for the most joyous time of the year — the 1983 Feast of Tabernacles. Once again we're going to say — "Best Feast ever!" For truly, each Festival seems to become better, happier, more invigorating and inspiring than the year before. This year we shall be one year NEARER to the glorious Kingdom of God, with Christ here in person, and Satan BANISHED!
I am writing high over the Atlantic Ocean, 39,000 feet up, in my office section of our G-II aircraft, returning from Amman, Jordan, and Jerusalem. We have a TV set on board, equipped to play TV tapes. I have just finished viewing and hearing once again, the 1982 Festival "Young Ambassadors" film — for perhaps about the 10th time. I never tire of it. I hope you all enjoyed it at last fall's Feast. Jordan TV is going to broadcast both the Festival 81 and Festival 82 films. They will be viewed all over Jordan, Israel, and even into Egypt and Cyprus. Our students who, with our TV crew, produced it seem so wholesome, clean cut, intelligent and talented — I feel no other college or university could produce such fine entertainment.
This year, because of budget expansions in greatly increased TV and radio coverage and vastly increased PLAIN TRUTH circulation, we shall not produce another completely new Festival film, but will combine some of the best of the 1981 and 1982 films, with some needed update material. If you enjoy these as I do, you'll look forward to a most enjoyable evening's entertainment again this autumn. I played the 1982 film for a very distinguished small audience of Israeli leaders in my hotel suite while in Jerusalem, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
Brethren, WHY shouid we look forward so eagerly to this coming Feast of Tabernacles? And, even more eagerly to the coming of Jesus Christ, and Kingdom of God? WHY has he called us OUT of this world, to be separate in the way we live?
The answer lies in the answer to another question: "DO WE REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS NOT GOD'S WORLD?" It is SATAN's world. But have we not, most of us, let so much Protestantism rub off on us that we just sort of take for granted that this is GOD's world — GOD's civilization? But it is SATAN's civilization, and always has been. I think we are the only church that knows that TRUTH. God is NOT trying to save this world — NOT trying to make it a better world.
Rather, Jesus came to start a NEW, a DIFFERENT world — an entirely NEW civilization that will be GOD's world.
Long before MAN was created, God put angels on earth, with the superarchangel, the cherub Lucifer, on earth's throne to administer GOD's government based on GOD's WAY OF LIFE — God's LAW! Lucifer rebelled and became Satan the devil. His angels followed him and became demons.
Then, with SATAN on earth's throne, ruling the earth CONTRARY to God's Law, God created MAN in his very image — capable of being begotten and then BORN into the very GOD Family.
But to be born into the GOD Family, man had to acquire the very righteous and holy CHARACTER of God — to live like God lives. And God's LAW is simply God's way of life — the way of LOVE to God and to fellowman.
But the first created man, Adam, had to make a choice — to follow GOD's way of LOVE, or Satan's way of rebellion, competition, animosity. Adam allowed his wife Eve to lead him into rebellion, SELF-centeredness, instead of LOVE and GOD-centeredness.
On Adam's decision for his human family, God CLOSED OFF the tree of LIFE from humanity — until Christ, the "SECOND ADAM," should come. God delivered humanity over to Satan's ways of SELF-motivation, UNTIL man would learn by experience that such ways lead ONLY to sorrow, pain, suffering, unhappiness, frustration, agony and DEATH!
At the same time God closed off eternal LIFE, he also decreed that the "Word" — the Logos, who also was God (John 1:1-4, 14) should come as man's SIN-BEARER — the "Lamb [of God] slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8) When Adam made his fateful decision and God shut off the Holy Spirit, that was the "foundation of this world" — Satan's world. Also at that time, God decreed that it is appointed for all men once to die, BUT, after that death, a resurrection to JUDGMENT (Heb. 9:27). At the same time, it was decreed, from that foundation of this world — Satan's civilization — that, as in Adam all die, SO in Christ shall the same ALL be made alive in a resurrection — to judgment (I Cor. 15:22).
So this world was founded in Adam — Satan's world. More than 1,959 years ago, Jesus Christ came — GOD in human flesh. As Satan's world was started, by one man, Adam, so God's world was started in embryo, by one man, Jesus Christ. Satan's world consists of the children of Adam, starting with one man. Jesus called them the children of Satan the devil (see John 8:30-45, especially verse 44).
JESUS DID NOT SET OUT TO CONVERT THIS WORLD OF SATAN's. He CHOSE — virtually DRAFTED — 12 disciples, and taught them GOD's LAW and GOD's WAY of life. He ANNOUNCED the GOOD NEWS of the coming Kingdom of God — to be composed of the BORN children of God. He said NO ONE could come to him, except such as GOD chose and drew (John 6:44). The promise of the Holy Spirit, even now, is ONLY to as many as the Lord our God shall call (Acts 2:39).
JUDGMENT is on us in God's Church TODAY (I Pet. 4:17). All still living after Christ comes will be judged during the Millennium. All others, who shall have died, will be resurrected to judgment later.
So, brethren, Christ came to call us out from among them of the world, to live according to God's LAW — as a holy and righteous people. We are the START of a NEW WORLD — the WORLD TOMORROW — the KINGDOM OF GOD.
For eight days next autumn we shall be separated from the world, among ourselves, enjoying a FORETASTE of the WORLD TO COME, of which we are pioneers.
This year we shall have 25 Festival sites in the United States and Canada, including new sites in Johnson City, Tennessee; Eugene, Oregon; and Victoria, British Columbia. Worldwide, there are 84 sites in 46 countries. More information will be sent to you shortly in The Worldwide News and a Festival Planner sent to members in the United States and Canada.
Brethren, as God shows us the importance of attending the Feast, it is equally important that all have been saving the second tithe to pay your own expenses and enjoyment at the Festival.
Of course, part of that expense is for rental of auditoriums or halls or convention centers and other expenses the Church must pay. So, as always, be sure to send in a tithe of your entire year's second tithe by return mail. Mark or list it separately from your regular first tithe or offering.