Is there hope for a better world?...

A Preview of The World to Come

From Jerusalem, a report just in:

In his annual State Of The World message the President summarized present conditions as:

He concluded: "Twenty-five years after I returned as King of kings, we are on course to fulfill our grand design to bring about 'the restoration of all things' and 'the regeneration of all mankind.'"

The World Today

Wake up to that news report one morning and you will believe you have been abducted to another planet!

Yet it will come to pass!

For Jesus Christ will return as President of a world government, ushering in a millennium of peace and security for all mankind.

In our six thousand years of recorded history, the human race has accomplished magnificent structures, material and cultural. Yet we cannot seem to hang on to our best achievements. At the core of the human heart is a self-destruct button which, with time, destroys the institutions that make for human happiness.

In reality:

Divine Remedy

Man's works perish. But God has a plan that will usher in a thousand years of peace, prosperity, joy, health - all that our heart desires.

God's grand design for human happiness has long been blueprinted in the Bible. In fact, this plan has been written into the times for worship which God instituted shortly after man's first breath. It underlies many of the annual festivals celebrated by worshippers of all creeds. Even the much maligned Canaanite "pagan" observances derived from the original form.

That Bible stalwart Moses - revered across religious divides - had revealed to him the foundation of religious worship, recorded for us in the "Book of Beginnings" - Genesis. Indeed God designed His plan as a reflection of the natural order of recurring seasons, the result of interaction between earth, sun and moon (Genesis 1:14). The sun and moon were intended to mark the passage of time - days, months, years. But also to guide mankind regarding "seasons".

This latter expression signifies "an appointed time" - i.e., a time for worship, translated elsewhere in the Bible text as feast and many times as congregation, referring not so much to the people as the fact of their assembling together.

These appointed times for worship reflected the agricultural year - spring, summer, autumn, and many ancient nations had festivals at just such times. Easter had its roots in this agricultural round. So, too, Pentecost and the mid-summer festivals. The modem autumnal "harvest festival" also stems from the same source.

it is this last festival - at the closing of the agricultural year - which, along with the weekly sabbath of rest, portrays the coming high point of the divine plan.

The Bible is sketchy in regard to the manner of worship for the first two thousand plus years of human civilization. Since Moses' era we have a clearer picture God spelled out to him the manner of worship He requires. They are packaged in the same three festival seasons, and in seven annual holy days within those seasons. Each season, each "holy convocation", sheds light on the divine plan for mankind.

The seven-day autumn festival - termed in the Scriptures Festival of Tabernacles [or Booths] - refers to the reign of Jesus Christ as King of kings. The prophets detailed this thousand years of peace, abundant health, prosperity. Zechariah tells us that when Jesus returns he will literally force all nations - including the Gentiles - to observe this festival (ch. 14)! The prophet links it with the blessing of rain in due season (v. 17f), with one pure religion (v. 9), with even Jerusalem being in permanent security (v. 11) after its millennia of wars and spiritual desecration.

The reign of Messiah will be universal (v.9). Other prophets expand on the effects of His reign: "in the latter days ... out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and shall rebuke many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:14).

Look at that again. All of mankind will look to Jesus Christ - to his seat of government in a renewed Jerusalem - for instruction in how to live, and His instruction will be based on the now despised Law of God (Exodus ch. 20)! Disputes between nations will be settled according to that Law backed up by divine power. All armaments will be destroyed and, where possible, used for peaceful purposes. Military academies, the pride of nations, will become derelict.

And as we saw, God's form of worship will alone be permitted. The round of Festivals (Leviticus 23) will replace the multitude of forms of worship we see today even Easter, Christmas, etc. - those humanly-devised substitutes for true worship - will be abandoned. The seven annual holy days, coupled with the understanding that Jesus is the Messiah and the only way to eternal life - facts already understood and practiced, though still imperfectly, by the Churches of God today - will be universal (Ezekiel 45-46). Even the seventh-day Sabbath will be the rule during that thousand-year reign. Those who observe it today are despised by Christians - who will, at that future time, have no choice, then, but to observe it (Isaiah 66:23)!

You are urged to search out from the Scriptures whether your own worship is right before God. If you would like a taste of the Bible festivals, you are invited to worship with the Churches of God at any of our various sites.

The Seven Annual Holy Days of the Scriptures

in spring

Traditional Jewish unleavened bread, called Matzoh

Feast of Unleavened Bread: This is a seven-day festival, the first and the last days being annual holy days. The festival follows on from the annual Lord's Supper ("Christian Passover") which commemorates the suffering and death of Jesus.

During The Days of Unleavened Bread, Christians refrain from all yeasted bread products. Yeast (leaven) symbolizes hypocrisy, false teaching, sin in general. Christians eat unleavened bread, symbolizing taking into ourselves the "Unleavened Bread of sincerity and truth", Jesus Christ.

Those seven days include remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus, which happened during the Festival.

in summer

Feast of Pentecost: Commemorates the giving of the Holy Spirit and the beginnings of the church, but also, in earlier times, the promulgation of God's law, introduced by the 10 commandments.

in autumn

Feast of Trumpets: illustrates the culmination of the prophetic events prior to Christ's return, his return and the resurrection of the saints "at the last trump(et)".

Day of Atonement: an annual fast referring to the opening up of salvation to all mankind after Jesus returns and the restrain of Satan, but reminding us now that we daily need God's deliverance, through Jesus, from "the world, the flesh and the Devil".

Feast of Tabernacles: a seven day festival - focusing on the "times of restitution" following Messiah's reign as King of Kings - the world to come. But also signifying that we are now "strangers and pilgrims" on a journey to our true spiritual home.

Last Great Day: follows at once on Tabernacles as an eighth day - a day of new beginnings, of "a New Heaven and a New Earth". God's plan never ends. We are just aware of a small, but vital, part of it. There are wonderful things ahead that are beyond mankind's understanding.

He concluded: "Twenty-five years after I returned as King of kings, we are on course to fulfill our grand design to bring about 'the restoration of all things' and 'the regeneration of all mankind.'"

The World Today

Wake up to that news report one morning and you will believe you have been abducted to another planet!

Yet it will come to pass!

For Jesus Christ will return as President of a world government, ushering in a millennium of peace and security for all mankind.

In our six thousand years of recorded history, the human race has accomplished magnificent structures, material and cultural. Yet we cannot seem to hang on to our best achievements. At the core of the human heart is a self-destruct button which, with time, destroys the institutions that make for human happiness.

In reality:

Divine Remedy

Man's works perish. But God has a plan that will usher in a thousand years of peace, prosperity, joy, health - all that our heart desires.

God's grand design for human happiness has long been blueprinted in the Bible. In fact, this plan has been written into the times for worship which God instituted shortly after man's first breath. It underlies many of the annual festivals celebrated by worshippers of all creeds. Even the much maligned Canaanite "pagan" observances derived from the original form.

That Bible stalwart Moses - revered across religious divides - had revealed to him the foundation of religious worship, recorded for us in the "Book of Beginnings" - Genesis. Indeed God designed His plan as a reflection of the natural order of recurring seasons, the result of interaction between earth, sun and moon (Genesis 1:14). The sun and moon were intended to mark the passage of time - days, months, years. But also to guide mankind regarding "seasons".

This latter expression signifies "an appointed time" - i.e., a time for worship, translated elsewhere in the Bible text as feast and many times as congregation, referring not so much to the people as the fact of their assembling together.

These appointed times for worship reflected the agricultural year - spring, summer, autumn, and many ancient nations had festivals at just such times. Easter had its roots in this agricultural round. So, too, Pentecost and the mid-summer festivals. The modem autumnal "harvest festival" also stems from the same source.

it is this last festival - at the closing of the agricultural year - which, along with the weekly sabbath of rest, portrays the coming high point of the divine plan.

The Bible is sketchy in regard to the manner of worship for the first two thousand plus years of human civilization. Since Moses' era we have a clearer picture God spelled out to him the manner of worship He requires. They are packaged in the same three festival seasons, and in seven annual holy days within those seasons. Each season, each "holy convocation", sheds light on the divine plan for mankind.

The seven-day autumn festival - termed in the Scriptures Festival of Tabernacles [or Booths] - refers to the reign of Jesus Christ as King of kings. The prophets detailed this thousand years of peace, abundant health, prosperity. Zechariah tells us that when Jesus returns he will literally force all nations - including the Gentiles - to observe this festival (ch. 14)! The prophet links it with the blessing of rain in due season (v. 17f), with one pure religion (v. 9), with even Jerusalem being in permanent security (v. 11) after its millennia of wars and spiritual desecration.

The reign of Messiah will be universal (v.9). Other prophets expand on the effects of His reign: "in the latter days ... out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and shall rebuke many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:14).

Look at that again. All of mankind will look to Jesus Christ - to his seat of government in a renewed Jerusalem - for instruction in how to live, and His instruction will be based on the now despised Law of God (Exodus ch. 20)! Disputes between nations will be settled according to that Law backed up by divine power. All armaments will be destroyed and, where possible, used for peaceful purposes. Military academies, the pride of nations, will become derelict.

And as we saw, God's form of worship will alone be permitted. The round of Festivals (Leviticus 23) will replace the multitude of forms of worship we see today even Easter, Christmas, etc. - those humanly-devised substitutes for true worship - will be abandoned. The seven annual holy days, coupled with the understanding that Jesus is the Messiah and the only way to eternal life - facts already understood and practiced, though still imperfectly, by the Churches of God today - will be universal (Ezekiel 45-46). Even the seventh-day Sabbath will be the rule during that thousand-year reign. Those who observe it today are despised by Christians - who will, at that future time, have no choice, then, but to observe it (Isaiah 66:23)!

You are urged to search out from the Scriptures whether your own worship is right before God. If you would like a taste of the Bible festivals, you are invited to worship with the Churches of God at any of our various sites.


The Seven Annual Holy Days of the Scriptures

in spring

Feast of Unleavened Bread: This is a seven-day festival, the first and the last days being annual holy days. The festival follows on from the annual Lord's Supper ("Christian Passover") which commemorates the suffering and death of Jesus.

During The Days of Unleavened Bread, Christians refrain from all yeasted bread products. Yeast (leaven) symbolizes hypocrisy, false teaching, sin in general. Christians eat unleavened bread, symbolizing taking into ourselves the "Unleavened Bread of sincerity and truth", Jesus Christ.

Those seven days include remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus, which happened during the Festival.

in summer

Feast of Pentecost: Commemorates the giving of the Holy Spirit and the beginnings of the church, but also, in earlier times, the promulgation of God's law, introduced by the 10 commandments.

in autumn

Feast of Trumpets: illustrates the culmination of the prophetic events prior to Christ's return, his return and the resurrection of the saints "at the last trump(et)".

Day of Atonement: an annual fast referring to the opening up of salvation to all mankind after Jesus returns and the restrain of Satan, but reminding us now that we daily need God's deliverance, through Jesus, from "the world, the flesh and the Devil".

Feast of Tabernacles: a seven day festival - focusing on the "times of restitution" following Messiah's reign as King of Kings - the world to come. But also signifying that we are now "strangers and pilgrims" on a journey to our true spiritual home.

Last Great Day: follows at once on Tabernacles as an eighth day - a day of new beginnings, of "a New Heaven and a New Earth". God's plan never ends. We are just aware of a small, but vital, part of it. There are wonderful things ahead that are beyond mankind's understanding.

To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.

For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Issue 11, September-October 1998. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.


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