MiniStudy (Good News Magazine)
MINISTUDY: God's Great Master Plan - Part 2
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MINISTUDY: God's Great Master Plan - Part 2

The Good News, in conjunction with the Correspondence Course Department, presents brief monthly excursions into the study of the Bible, delving into topics relevant to the development of future members of the God Family. Bible study is one means by which Christians are renewed daily (II Cor. 4:16), so let's refresh ourselves with more of the precious truths of God's Word!
   Instructions: The format of these ministudies is similar to that of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. Look up• and read in your Bible the scripture references given in answer to the questions. Comments following the questions elaborate on the scriptures just read. That's all there is to it! (These studies are based on the King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.)

   12. What is the next festival, or annual Sabbath, of the seven described in Leviticus 23? Verses 23-24.
   The Day of Trumpets depicts primarily the triumphant return of the powerful living Christ to set up the government of God on earth and to rule as King of kings (Rev. 11:15; 19:16) — You will remember that the first resurrection also occurs at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which is announced by the blast of a mighty trumpet (I Thess. 4:16-17; I Cor. 15:52). Yet the overall meaning of the Feast of Trumpets encompasses even more.
   Notice that it is the Feast of Trumpets, plural (Lev. 23:24), not the "Feast of the Last Trump." When ancient Israel was wandering in the wilderness, they became accustomed to the blowing of trumpets for many purposes: the calling of assemblies, the signal to march or halt, officer's call or as a warning. Much like the use of bugles in modern military history, Israel recognized various sounds as having specific meanings.
   13. What do Revelation 8:1-2, 6 and 10:7 have to say regarding the blowing of trumpets shortly before the return of Christ? There is a parallel between trumpets sounding
   alarms of warning in ancient Israel and the warning I witness message of the Work of God today (Isa. 58:1). There is also a similar relationship between the angelic trumpet blasts of Revelation signaling the imminent return of Jesus Christ and the continual warning and witness conducted by God's Work today as it prepares the way for the return of Jesus Christ. The successive angelic trumpet blasts and accompanying catastrophic events on a worldwide scale just prior to Christ's return will serve as final warnings to a heedless, sin-ravaged world!
   14. What annual Sabbath follows only nine days after the Feast of Trumpets? Lev. 23:26-32; 16:2-34, especially verses 29-31 of chapter 16. Also notice Revelation 20:1-3 in connection with Leviticus 16:21-22.
   The rituals required of the Old Testament Levitical ministry on the Day of Atonement are described in great detail in the 16th chapter of Leviticus. Suffice it to say here that the live goat, upon whom all the sins of Israel were to be confessed and which was led into the desolate wilderness, represents the devil, upon whol11.the guilt of all the sins of mankind will be laid by Jesus Christ after He returns.
   Satan, who is called the " god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4), and is described as the "prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2), being the father of sin (John 8:42-44), will be restrained by Christ from further leading mankind into sin. No longer will he be able to "broadcast" his attitudes of vanity, lust and greed.
   At the devil's " chaining" (Rev. 20:1-3), the symbolism of Leviticus 16 will become reality. The minds of men, formerly kept tightly closed by Satan and his demon cohorts, will now at last be opened by the Spirit of God. For the first time they will be able to understand God's master plan of salvation for mankind, and humanity will readily accept and receive forgiveness of their sins through Christ. Then, and only then, will man become at one with Christ and the Father, as symbolized by the Day of At-one-ment.
   15. How are we to specifically observe the Day of Atonement? Lev. 23:32.
   The Day of Atonement is perhaps the most unusual Holy Day as far as what God expects us to do during this 24-hour period. For it is the one day on which God has commanded us to fast - to "afflict your souls" or bodies. (For biblical proof that afflicting one's soul means fasting, compare the following passages: Ps. 35:13; 69:10; Isa. 58:3; Ezra 8:21.)
   Fasting on the Day of Atonement means denying oneself food and water for 24 hours — from sunset to sunset ("even[ing] unto even[ing]" — Lev. 23:32). Fasting is not penance — not a hunger strike to try to get one's way with God. Whenever a Christian fasts, it should be for the purpose of humbling his or her own fleshly mind with its carnal will, and to draw closer to God and His righteous way (Isa. 58:6-11).
   Thus fasting on the Day of Atonement is a vivid reminder of the state of mind necessary for salvation — of the humility, the godly sorrow, the earnest seeking for God's way — a condition to which this world will have been brought by catastrophic events culminating in Christ's return!
   16. What important seven-day Festival and integral annual Sabbath day occurs soon after the Day of Atonement? Lev. 23:33-35; Deut. 16:13.
   The Feast of Tabernacles was also called the "Feast of Ingathering" (Ex. 23:16; 34:22) because this seven-day Festival " began just after the autumn harvest season. The whole nation observed this Feast after the final, main harvest was in (Lev. 23:39).
   17. Did Jesus Christ keep the Feast of Tabernacles? John 7:2, 8-11, 14. Did, everyone know that Jesus always kept God's feasts and was certain to be in Jerusalem for its observance? Verse 11.
   Because of continually mounting persecution, Jesus wisely chose not to travel openly in Judea (verse 1). However, verses 1-10 show that He did risk His life to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Even though He went secretly, He openly taught in the temple during the middle of the Feast.
   18. What is the divinely set theme for the annual observance of the Feast of Tabernacles? Deut. 16:14-15. (Notice the words surely rejoice. Other translations render this " be altogether joyful.") Does God intend for everyone — regardless of age, social strata or economic level — to rejoice in this Feast? Verse 14.
   19. Does God intend for a man to take his wife and children to rejoice with him at the Feast of Tabernacles? Deut. 16:14; 12:5, 7,12. Are they to live in " booths" — temporary dwellings (roughly corresponding to motel rooms, hotel rooms and lodges of today) — at the place designated for the observance of this Feast? Lev. 23:42.
   The Feast of Tabernacles is full of spiritual meaning for Christians today. Simply put, the Feast of Tabernacles portrays the wonderful world tomorrow under the righteous rule of Jesus Christ — 1,000 years of peace, prosperity and joy for the billions of mankind who will live in this utopian age. It is during the Millennium that the great "autumn harvest" of human lives will begin to be gathered into the Kingdom of God — born again as divine members of the Family of God.
   Just think of it! Satan will have been immediately deposed at Christ's return. Then 1,000 years of peace and prosperity will follow. Those who are the "firstfruits" of God's spiritual harvest — first born into God's Family and coinheritors with Jesus Christ — will join Him in ruling the earth. They will be given the privilege of bringing saving knowledge to every human then alive and those born during the ensuing Millennium!
   Over and over God tells us that the Feast of Tabernacles is a time of exceedingly great rejoicing. For ancient Israel it was a time of rejoicing because the abundant winter's store was taken in just before the Feast. But in the Millennium, the happiness, joy and prosperity pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles will exist worldwide under the enlightened rule of Jesus Christ. Obedience to the spiritual principles of God's laws and God's revealed way of life will make the world tomorrow a literal utopia.
   Today, God's great Fall Festival gives His Spirit-begotten children a special time and setting in which to think about His purpose for life and the way to attain it. The Feast of Tabernacles is intended to change their routine and separate and free them from the world. Dwelling in temporary habitations for an entire week away from their everyday surroundings, away from their jobs, their customary thoughts and most negative influences, they picture by their observance of these seven days the universal freedom and peace that will exist in the Millennium.
   The Feast of Tabernacles as observed today is actually a tiny, but happy, foretaste of the joyful world tomorrow when the Spirit of God will lead humanity. These are days of concentrated teaching by God's ministers — days of continuous, genuine Christian fellowship and just plain good fun! Christians at the Feast demonstrate now, by the way they live together in harmony, what this entire sin-sick, unhappy world could and will be like!

(This subject to be continued.)

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Good News MagazineJune-July 1980VOL. XXVII, NO. 6ISSN 0432-0816