Some members are wondering WHY a second place for the Feast of Tabernacles. A few are wondering HOW God placed His name in this location for brethren west of the Rockies. HOW does God place His NAME? This article will surprise you!
SOME of you brethren have read of the recent selection of Squaw Valley, California, as a second location for the coming Feast of Tabernacles. A few have WONDERED HOW God placed His name there! Some have asked: "But I thought that GLADEWATER is the place where God has placed His name."
How Did God Choose Gladewater?
But brethren — let's be SOUND! Let's not be little children in knowledge — let's come to REALLY UNDERSTAND! Did Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Hammer walk through the fields of East Texas and, all of a sudden, notice a brightly lit, shimmering, glistening area with the fiery, blazing name of GOD printed in the ground? Did a County Clerk suddenly notice an eerie, mysterious, shining light on a record page, and, upon closer investigation, find that the name of God had somehow become imprinted in his records? Did a Realtor nearly faint with surprise to find the signature of one of his land titles read "GOD"? Sound ridiculous? Well — if God didn't place His name VISIBLY, either in the GROUND, or on the DEED, or in the official tract RECORDS — then exactly HOW DID He place His name there? Many of you older brethren will remember that the Feast of Tabernacles had been held at beautiful Belknap Springs in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon for many years. Finally, Belknap Springs was completely outgrown. As if by a miracle God opened a beautiful area in North-Central California, with all the facilities necessary for the Feast of Tabernacles. A surprising, unprecedented number attended! Seigler Springs in California was outgrown in one year! Meanwhile, because of the nightly concentrated broadcasts over the superpower Mexican Radio Stations, more and more new brethren were being brought to Christ in the Southern and Mid-Western States. Baptizing teams were baptizing dozens and hundreds each year in these states. As a result, the Spring Feast of Unleavened Bread had been held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hammer, faithful brethren in Gladewater, Texas. When Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong went to the Hammer home to conduct services during the Feast of Unleavened Bread in 1952 every room and hall was jam-packed with people! The Hammers' small home was simply filled! Mr. Armstrong knew that the days of Unleavened Bread could not be observed ever again in the Hammer home! But there was nowhere else to go!
Searching East Texas
How well I remember, in the summer of 1952, when I was just barely our of the Navy, driving Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Hammer over many parts of East Texas! As a totally carnal-minded young man of 22 years of age, I had no interest nor concern about what they were doing at the time at all! I remember well how Mr. Hammer and Mr. Armstrong looked over old and dilapidated skating rinks, how they walked over acres and acres of chigger-infested East Texas woodlands and grasslands, looking for a suitable place to either lease or rent a building, erect a tent, or BUILD a suitable place for the holding of the SPRING FESTIVALS! Everything finally boiled down to only one alternative! Because of financial considerations, and because of Mr. Buck Hammer's willing and generous offer to DONATE a large tract of ground, there was only one thing that actually COULD be done! I also remember well, when Mr. Armstrong had our Architect, Mr. Norman Entwhistle, FLY to East Texas to look over the tract of ground donated by Mr. Hammer and the additional acreage purchased by the Church, for the erection of a building suitable for the Spring Feasts, that I scoffed, saying, "Dad, you don't have enough money to build a second-rate outbuilding, and here you are planning to build a huge Tabernacle building!" Little did I even BEGIN to realize then the great magnitude to which this work of God would grow — or that I would ever have a part in it! Mr. Armstrong went ahead — in spite of the scoffing — ON FAITH! The brethren responded, and the Tabernacle (now the Dining Hall) began to be erected. That first year, in the spring of 1953, only the center part of the first Tabernacle, now the Dining Hall, was erected. Its sides were not enclosed. Even though not completely "in" the building, and not totally protected from the weather, the days of Unleavened Bread were observed, ON SCHEDULE, in this new building!
What About the Feast of Tabernacles?
In the meantime, Mr. Armstrong was wondering WHERE they were going to hold the Feast of Tabernacles that fall. Mr. Armstrong and the other ministers began to realize most of the college students should be able to attend, and most of them could not afford to go any long distances. Hence, it was felt that the Feast of Tabernacles HAD to be observed somewhere close enough to the COLLEGE, to permit all the students to attend — as well as all the other brethren! During this time, even though the Tabernacle building was being erected near Gladewater, Mr. Armstrong didn't have the faintest idea that Gladewater was the place for the Feast of Tabernacles! NO PLACE ever opened on the Pacific Coast! Even though looking up and down the lengths of Southern California, there was no place opened! God had closed all doors! The realization began to dawn that there WAS — even though it seemed difficult to travel that far — a PLACE for the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles! God began to reveal to His servants that this place, on our own grounds, which had already been DEEDED in the very NAME of God, was in the EXACT geographical center of God's membership! Through the impact of nightly broadcasts, and the baptizing of new members, God began to make plain that the Tabernacle grounds near Big Sandy, Texas, were, at that time, right in the heart of the most thickly populated area of God's own people! It would be the EASIEST place for the MAJORITY of God's people to reach! It was far enough SOUTH that there would be comparatively GOOD WEATHER during this season of the year! There was already a building big enough to house a LARGE CROWD for the feast — and the building could be ENLARGED! There were adequate hotels, motels, and, with almost unlimited camping facilities on the grounds, adequate housing for all! God had closed every other door. He had flung open this one! There was nothing else God's ministers and people COULD do! God was plainly "placing His name" for the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles on HIS OWN GROUNDS, DEEDED in HIS OWN NAME, near Big Sandy, Texas! All this is now history. But do you begin to see, brethren? God WORKED OUT CIRCUMSTANCES to make His will plain!
How God Reveals His Will
There are several direct ways by which Almighty God makes His will known to His faithful servants. Either God shows His servants by direct, SPECIFIC SCRIPTURES — in the Bible — of His direct will, or, He shows His will by a scripture which, even though it does not directly speak on a particular circumstance, nevertheless APPLIES IN PRINCIPLE! Finally, God can reveal His will THROUGH CIRCUMSTANCES!
Before the Bible was Written
Almighty God walked and talked with Adam, Enoch, and Noah. The God of the Old Testament, which is your very Saviour, the Jesus Christ of the New, talked PERSONALLY with Abraham. Before the Old Testament was written, the Eternal dealt with men DIRECTLY. Notice how God told Abraham to go to a SPECIFIC PLACE to offer Isaac. "And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of MORIAH; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of" (Gen. 22:2). Abraham COULD have begun to REASON. He could have begun to DOUBT, become skeptical, to say, "Well, I don't see any reason in making such a difficult trip for such an unpleasant duty — ANY mountain or hill RIGHT NEAR HERE is good enough — and after all, nearly all these mountains look exactly alike, anyhow!" We can be eternally grateful to God that Abraham was NOT as STIFF-NECKED as some of US TODAY — or we just wouldn't BE here! But Abraham was OBEDIENT! "And Abraham rose up early in the morning... and WENT unto the place of which God had told him" (Gen. 22:3). What an example! But what of some of YOU? Mr. Armstrong's letter asked for advance information about attendance, about central registration, for part of your second tithe in advance to pay as a deposit. Did you brethren on the West Coast "rise up early" to SEND what you were asked by God's ministers? Yes — a shameful, pitiful FEW! Brethren — HOW MANY OF US ARE GOING TO BURN IN GEHENNA BECAUSE WE JUST CAN'T SEEM TO HAVE OUR CARNAL, HOSTILE, SUSPICIOUS, REBELLIOUS NATURES CRUSHED OUT OF US? May God FORGIVE some of us — and make us more like Abraham, like David, like Christ Himself! Yes, God talked directly to Abraham and His servants in the Old Testament. Today, He does not speak to men directly, but through His WORD. Later, God spoke to kings through His prophets, making plain what He required by messages inspired through dreams, visions or speaking directly to His own prophets.
What About the Apostles?
But how did God reveal His will in the New Testament times? How did the early apostles really come to KNOW God's intentions for THINGS NOT SPECIFICALLY DEFINED IN SCRIPTURE? Remember, God makes known His will in various ways. He speaks DIRECTLY as He did to some of the Old Testament Patriarchs, or He causes an inspired servant of His to APPLY a written PRINCIPLE. Notice a remarkable example in the New Testament! Turn to Acts chapter 1. Peter is speaking. He has been explaining the necessity of ordaining another to apostle rank, to fill up the vacancy left by Judas Iscariot. After quoting several SCRIPTURES in his verbal discussion with the other ten apostles, Peter said, "For it is written in the book of the Psalms, 'Let his habitation be desolate and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick (overseer-ship) let another take'" (Acts 1:20). After apparently quoting a literal passage, Peter then went on to say, "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, MUST ONE BE ORDAINED TO BE A WITNESS WITH US OF HIS RESURRECTION" (Acts 1:21-22). But wait! Did Peter understand the scripture correctly? TURN right now, in your own Bible, to the scriptures in the Old Testament Peter used so long ago. They read, "Let THEIR habitation be desolate 109:8). Let's understand! Not in years of reasoning and study would it seem LOGICAL for any person to derive the MEANING from these scriptures just quoted that Peter did! Would YOU have known these verses referred to Judas? No! Of course not! But Peter DID! The MEANING of these verses LITERALLY has to do with David's personal sufferings. But his sufferings were prophetic of those of Christ during His crucifixion. Peter was directly inspired by God's Holy Spirit to apply the PRINCIPLE to a new and different set of circumstances! God does NOT inspire LAY-MEMBERS through His Holy Spirit to directly USE the Holy Scripture to APPLY certain scriptural PRINCIPLES to new and different sets of circumstances for the whole Church! But this is EXACTLY what God DOES inspire His true ministers to do! Do you fully grasp the significance of this marvelous passage? The same Jesus Christ who had caused the Scriptures to be written by His prophets was now directly PERSONALLY — INSPIRING one of His top ministers to see the application of the PRINCIPLE of these scriptures. Peter did NOT have to contend with endless arguments from carnal-minded, doubting brethren! Even such an application of a scriptural principle as this was immediately accepted, because none of the apostles questioned the government of Almighty God, or the direct guidance and leadership of Jesus Christ, the true head of His Church! Brethren! Let's begin to realize — once and for all — that Jesus Christ IS ALIVE THIS MOMENT! He is RISEN from death! His constant, diligent, active JOB is that of guiding, controlling, leading, RULING HIS CHURCH! He does it THROUGH human instruments! WHY do some seem to doubt! Why do some — who really down deep KNOW where the very work of Christ is being carried out today — begin to believe God's Church is the government of MEN whenever that government doesn't satisfy their own PERSONAL desires. It is because many are still carnal! Many are not really submissive to the government of their ruler, their master, their boss — Jesus Christ!
God Does Work Through Circumstances!
Mr. Armstrong has already explained, at length, how the many circumstances forced a decision on a second location for the Feast of Tabernacles this year. We were faced with an unbelievable project. A project involving the largest, hugest building of its type ever to be erected by man. A project of housing, of feeding, providing water, electricity, sewage and transportation for a HUGE CITY! ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE IS ENOUGH TO POPULATE A LARGE CITY! Yet, God in His love and careful guidance showed us another way! Think, brethren. Just a few weeks ago it looked like we were going to have to spend multiple, untold millions of dollars on buildings and facilities of a permanent nature, to be used only eight days per year. We had totally outgrown ALL facilities at Gladewater. We were going to have to provide a much larger auditorium to be begun immediately. Or at least, we were going to have to add a huge "T" on the present structure. We were going to have to provide giant wells, water tanks, fixtures, plumbing, sanitary buildings, housing, electricity, sewage and drainage — enough for a huge CITY! We were going to have to provide additional expansive dining facilities, with a giant new kitchen, huge walk-in freezers capable of holding the hundreds of slaughtered animals such a crowd could consume in eight days. We should have had to build wide one-way roads, spacious parking lots, broad walkways, many escalators and stairways to provide quick road and foot traffic for such a giant project! And this would only have been the beginning! Brethren, we were facing the IMMEDIATE building of MANY hundreds of additional booths, OR the purchase of many hundreds of costly permanently fixed trailer houses BEFORE THIS FALL FEAST! You can not BEGIN to realize the vast expenditure which would have been necessary for such a huge project. These things HAD to be done.
God Showed Another Way
But God opened another way. He closed one door, and flung open another one! It wasn't Mr. Armstrong's doing, it wasn't mine. God worked through several individuals to bring about CIRCUMSTANCES to LEAD us to the beautiful location of Squaw Valley California for the Feast of Tabernacles. Mr. Armstrong was skeptical. He was VERY reluctant to see the Feast of Tabernacles observed in two locations! So was I! So were all of God's ministers! We could see many problems arising from having to split the Feast of Tabernacles in the U.S.A. for the first time! We didn't WANT to see it work out this way! But God did! He opened a way so that we do not have to build a single booth more this year! Not a single new sanitary building will be desperately needed this year! Not one foot of space for seating, no new roads, no additional housing will have to be provided near Gladewater. Had we WANTED to, we couldn't have, anyhow! The brethren of God's Church even though doubled in membership from a little more than two years ago, were simply not responding with liberal offerings for the building fund. At the same time, we were beginning on two giant-super-power radio stations, and each greatly increased operating expenditure. We simply could not take one dollar out of operating expenditure for the preaching of the Gospel to build huge, permanent fixtures to make all of you brethren comfortable for eight days. Mr. Armstrong told me it was not "his decision" when I inadvertently used that term in talking to him long distance. Of course I KNEW whose decision it was, and merely expressed myself inadequately. I mention this here to show you, once again, that God's true ministers do NOT make their OWN PERSONAL head-strong self-WILLED decisions through human vanity, or some personal desire! Mr. Armstrong wanted to know what is GOD'S Will. Yes, God closed all other doors, and opened the door to Squaw Valley! EVERY desirable facility is there. A huge auditorium, capable of seating 8,000 and more people without a pillar or a post! More than our tabernacle in Texas! Large, top-class dormitory buildings, hotels, lodges, motels, camping space. Swimming, water-skiing, boating, fishing, hiking, riding, ski-lifts up to soaring peaks with breath-taking views, horse back riding, and many other activities! Spacious social rooms for Bible studies, for group meetings, spokesmen's club meetings, social activities. Outdoor ice skating! Days of peace and QUIET, with GOD'S OWN PEOPLE, in a fantastically beautiful, refreshing mountain setting — all this open to the people of God JUST in time to solve the seemingly insurmountable problem! Yes — brethren — GOD HAS PLACED HIS NAME IN SQUAW VALLEY FOR BRETHREN WEST OF THE ROCKIES FOR THE FEAST THIS FALL! God his worked directly through circumstances!
Are We Truly Obedient?
Even as the Feast of Tabernacles was held in Paul's day at Antioch, at Ephesus, Phillipi, Corinth and Rome as WELL AS JERUSALEM, so today, God is showing His people where they should meet in Africa, Australia, England, the Philippines, the British West Indies and here in the United States. Even as the Feast of Tabernacles HAS BEEN OBSERVED first by Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong in their own home alone, and then later with a FEW brethren in the little church building on West Eighth Street in Eugene, then at Belknap Springs, then Seigler Springs, then Gladewater, so God has NOW made known another location in the United States for brethren west of the Rockies — Squaw Valley!
HOW Does God Place His Name?
Brethren! God Almighty is to be IN us! He is to DWELL within our very bodies by the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit. A woman once began laying stress on a GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION as a place of worship. She was talking to Jesus. "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain," she said: "and Ye say, that IN JERUSALEM is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus sayeth unto her, woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither IN THIS MOUNTAIN NOR IN JERUSALEM worship the Father... but the hour cometh and NOW IS, when the TRUE worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him"! (John 4:20-23.) Jesus revealed that the ATTITUDE is even more important than the PLACE. Did he mean to say the place is NOT important? No, of course not! He also said, "For where two or three OF YOU are gathered together in my name [after His authority, in His way, according to His will] THERE AM I in the midst of them"! (Matt. 18:20). Notice, however, that Jesus was speaking to His apostles, to His ministers, not to individual lay-members who may wish to meet in small groups by themselves! God's ministers are going to be gathered together, in the NAME OF CHRIST, at the Tabernacle near Big Sandy, and at Squaw Valley this autumn! That's where God has placed His NAME by revealing it to His Servants! That's where CHRIST will be! Will you?