The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the time when you will begin experiencing sonship in God's Family. Here is a glimpse at that everlasting, joyous life.
You, if you are a truly converted Christian, have chosen a unique and difficult course to follow. You have separated yourself from the way of this sinful world to go the way of God's righteousness. That choice is not easy. You have turned your back on this topsy-turvy civilization, and that brings isolation and hardship upon you (John 15:19). So why strive? Why endure? Because the end result is worth the effort! "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:29-30). The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the time when you will begin experiencing eternal life in God's Family (Rev. 20:4). It will actually be the first time you have experienced real life, for, as Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong has explained, this human plane is only a physiochemical existence. God alone has life, but He wants to share it with mankind (John 10:10). What will eternal life be like? What is it about this God-plane life that is so encouraging to think about — just how will it bring you everlasting joy?
A perfect body
Your body is a marvelously designed mechanism, its complicated systems providing you the gift of physical life. But your body is subject to disease, injury and aging and these conditions can greatly reduce the joy of living. And death, inevitably, ends everyone's life altogether. In the resurrection, you will be given eternal life in a spirit-composed body, and that life will be far more fulfilling! Try to imagine being transformed from physical to spiritual. All illnesses, injuries and effects of aging will disappear. No more will you fear these conditions. Your body will be like God's body (I Cor. 15:49). God has given us a sneak preview of what our resurrected bodies will be like, in the description of Jesus Christ's present body. You can read about it in Revelation 1:13-16. Christ's body never never grows old, wear) or unattractive (Isa. 40:28, Heb. 13:8). God, the Creator and Master of all the invisible laws of physics, can journey throughout the universe at will (Ps. 68:32-33) and pass through solid objects and manifest Himself in the flesh (John 20:26). You will share these same powers. Right now, you are stimulated through the five senses of sight, smell, taste, touch or hearing. You love to see beautiful sights, smell pleasing aromas, taste delicious foods, touch exquisite things, listen to pleasurable sounds. So does God! The finest things in the universe surround Him at all times. Imagine having your spiritual senses function on the God plane. For now, you simply aren't capable of drinking in all the pleasures God can!
The mind of God
Your mind is a masterpiece of God's creation. God has imparted to you, through the human spirit (Job 32:8), the ability to think, reason and understand. No animal has that — you are unique. But your mind is imperfect. Satan constantly, relentlessly, bombards it with the elements of his perverted nature (Gal. 5:19-21). The pulls of the flesh lead you to suffer the anguish of sin. Wouldn't you like to exercise perfect character all the time — never sin? As a spirit-being you will be perfect (I John 3:9). Your mind will be filled with knowledge as God unveils the secrets of the universe to you. Life's unanswered questions will be answered. Why did such and such happen in my life? What are the explanations to the questions asked by science? Do you have a problem remembering things? God doesn't. He can name the billions of stars (Ps. 147:4). Your mind will become extremely efficient. Beyond that, you'll not miss a thing. A sparrow cannot fall on the ground without God knowing (Matt. 10:29), and your mind will be like God's. Your mind will be filled with wisdom — the ability to make right decisions at the right time in harmony with the right laws. You will be like Jesus Christ, who properly evaluates situations and applies the right principles to produce righteous judgments (Isa. 11:1-4).
A position of rulership
How does it feel to rule today? Is it deeply satisfying? It seems that this world's rulers, even if their intentions are good, are frustrated in their ambitions. They live in a sea of instability, constantly fearing overthrow or ruin, and they lack the wisdom and power to effect positive changes. And most rulers, filled with the get philosophy that Satan has injected into the world (II Cor. 4:4, Eph. 2:2), only make their own rules more difficult by constantly seeking their own selfish desires. But Satan will be put in a place of restraint at Christ's return (Rev. 20:1-3). No longer will his broadcasts bombard humanity. God's government will be far different from today's governments. You will have no fear of being unable to maintain control — you will have the necessary authority to carry out your responsibilities (Rev. 2:26, 3:21). Human rebellion will be dealt with firmly (Zech. 14:17-19). God's rule will bring an end to the evils plaguing mankind. Prosperity will replace poverty. Peace will eliminate warfare. God's way will become the dominant interest in tomorrow's world (Mic. 4:1-4). What a contrast with today's sin-sick world!
Much of your happiness or sorrow as a human being depends on the quality of your relationships with other people. Sin is the enemy of happy relationships. It causes strife, backbiting, distrust and separation. And man, under Satan's influence, sins — constantly (Rom. 3:23). As a Spirit-filled child of God in God's Kingdom, you will not be under this curse. With sin eliminated, relationships will flourish (I John 3:9). Ideal human relationships will become reality in God's Kingdom (John 17:20-21 ). Oneness. Unity. Truth, not deception. Respect, not ridicule. Concern, not neglect. Happiness will permeate all our associations. We'll be able to rise above selfishness to express love in all our actions. This is the way God conducts Himself (I John 4:8).
Eternity is forever. What will you be doing? How will you stay happy? God keeps Himself happy. He surrounds Himself with enjoyable activities. "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). God's desire is to share this pleasure with you (Matt. 25:21). What does God enjoy? Family life, for one thing. God is expanding His Family (1 Thess. 4:13-17). Together, as family members, you will worship God, rule, talk and, yes, even play. What satisfaction this will bring when you are filled with love. Your work will be exciting as you help direct the rebuilding of cities and the revitalization of farming. You will enjoy teaching people God's law (Isa. 30:21) and the words you offer will bring them real life (John 6:63). Their success will be your success. There will be opportunities to learn, create and invent. Recreational games and some form of athletics will probably be played. Remember, this physical world is patterned after the spiritual. Travel will not be a burden. Christ ascended to heaven and returned to the earth on the same day (John 20:17, Luke 24:39). Imagine being able to travel at the speed of thought. The emphasis throughout eternity will be on constantly producing greater accomplishments and achievements, and positive achievement is the key to happiness (Ps. 16:11). God is a doer!
It will never end
Everything in this physical world is temporary — clothes wear out, homes deteriorate and you, eventually, will die. "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity" (Eccl. 1:2). Life in this world is vain — transient. Man struggles desperately to grab at fleeting moments of physical pleasure, fixing his eyes only on himself. But death sweeps all his accomplishments and joys away. But you can conquer death. You have, as a begotten child of God, departed from the ways of this world to go the way of God. And you can be given eternal life — life that will be forever joyous. You are awaiting the greatest event that could ever take place in the life of a human being — birth into God's Family. That knowledge should strengthen and motivate you. It should cause you to rejoice during the Feast of Tabernacles and throughout your life (Rom.8:18-19)! Ponder this: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (I Cor. 2:9, Isa. 64:4).