In less than ten days, we will keep the Day of Atonement, and a few days later, the Feast of Tabernacles 2007! Where did the year go since last Feast? How fast everything is passing us by! And, at the same time, how familiar might everything have become to us–especially if we have been “in the Church” for twenty, thirty or forty years, or even longer. As the old saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt!” In Old Testament times, people would refer to their prescribed service to God as “weariness” (Malachi 1:13).
In recent years, many who seemed to have understood and embraced the truth, “jumped” off the “peace train” of righteousness and climbed instead on the deceptive “bandwagon” of “the easy ride.” And what an “easy ride” it seemed to be: No more requirement to keep the Sabbath; no more need to observe the Holy Days; no more tithing and giving offerings; no more abstention from unclean foods. A sigh of “relief” was heard around the land and around the world, and the new-found “freedom” was quickly embraced by so many. It was as if they were saying the words of kings and rulers, as recorded in Psalm 2, who took council against the Lord and His Anointed, and exclaimed: “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us” (verse 3). In other words, let’s get rid of His laws and statutes, and adopt the “freedom” of licentiousness–after all, Christ loves us as we are, and He would not want us to follow the legalism of obeying Him, would He?
My dear brethren, all of this DID happen. It happened so quickly to terribly deceived people who would have NEVER thought earlier that they would end up where they did! Some of them had condemned others in the past for not following their rigid self-invented Pharisaical rules of “obeying” their concepts and perceptions of God’s instructions. They were unbalanced then, and they are unbalanced now–to put it mildly–just having exchanged the mantle of right-winged extremism for that of left-winged extremism.
God’s Spirit is a Spirit of a “sound” mind (2 Timothy 1:7), but God told us thousands of years ago, that there is no “soundness” in the people of Israel (Isaiah 1:5)–and this would include those who THOUGHT they had been converted. God gave us this warning: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Even “teachers of the Law” began to proclaim that it was EVIL to keep God’s Ten Commandments, and that it was GOOD to break them! They taught others that walking in darkness–trampling God’s Sabbath under foot (Isaiah 58:13-14)–had suddenly become a way of “light” in the eyes of God.
This should serve as a warning for all of us, not to become over-confident. We are told to beware, as many who THINK they stand MIGHT VERY WELL still fall (compare 1 Corinthians 10:12)! NOW is the time to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)– to get ready for the return of Christ (Revelation 19:7). Now is the time to prove to God out of what metal we are made. NOW is the time to look with zeal, enthusiasm and anticipation toward weekly and annual Sabbath services–expecting to be filled to the brim with God’s gracious gifts of spiritual and physical blessings. NOW is the time to do everything we can, to make this coming Feast of Tabernacles the BEST FEAST EVER–for us AND for our brethren.
Now is NOT the time to let down, to become lackadaisical, to begin to forsake assembling with our brethren on the Sabbath or the Holy Days–finding more thrilling things to do on the Sabbath–at home, or in “God’s free nature,” or with friends or relatives (Hebrews 10:25). Now is NOT the time to find excuses for not attending the Feast–excuses like, it’s too far, it’s too expensive, it’s just too much of an inconvenience, or, “I have heard it all before, anyway!”
Does anyone who knows the truth really think that ANY of those or other excuses will impress God who has ordered us to assemble before Him at the place that He has chosen, for eight days?
God says, “If anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). And even if we attend God’s commanded assemblies, unless we do so with gladness of heart, God will have no pleasure in us, either (compare Deuteronomy 28:47; 12:7).
Our salvation has drawn much nearer than when we came to the faith (Romans 13:11). And Christ will not tarry–He will come quickly–and SOON (Revelation 22:12). How foolish if we were to give up before entering just the last round–as it were–of the boxing match! As one well-known poem puts it: “Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–You may succeed with another blow… And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far, So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!”
Things in this world will get worse–which is just proof that Christ’s return is NEAR. And so, God warns us not to quit–rather, He tells us: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown!” (Revelation 3:11).