Letter to the Brethren – October 20, 2010
Dear Brethren and Friends,
We have concluded this year’s observances of God’s annual Holy Days. Some among us have experienced their very first attendance of the Feast of Tabernacles, while most have been faithfully keeping all of God’s commanded Feast Days for many years.
The Bible both records God’s revelation and His instructions for His special Feasts. We also find the results that came about when His people walked faithfully before Him and observed these times set aside by God: Hezekiah kept the Passover and turned the people back to God (compare 2 Chronicles 30)—as did Josiah (compare 2 Kings 23); Ezra and Nehemiah taught those returning from captivity in Babylon to keep God’s laws—including the Feast of Tabernacles (compare Nehemiah 8).
Hand-in-hand with keeping these designated observances has come the knowledge of God’s plan of salvation and how He is making it possible that all of mankind will have an opportunity for eternal life! This is what Jesus spoke of when He taught the people who were at Jerusalem keeping the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day (compare John 7).
We read in 1 Kings 12 of the terrible consequences for the ten tribes of Israel who chose to follow Jeroboam when he not only changed the place of worship but the times of worship:
“(28) Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!’ (29) And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. (30) Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. (31) He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi. (32) Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made. (33) So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense.”
We further note that Jeroboam’s disobedience of God’s instructions violated the role of the Levitical priesthood, and they were forced to make a stand for the true knowledge of God:
“For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the Lord. Then he appointed for himself priests for the high places, for the demons, and the calf idols which he had made. And after the Levites left, those from all the tribes of Israel, such as set their heart to seek the Lord God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 11:14-16).
Now, in our own time, there are those who also devise from their own heart their own choices of when and how to keep what only God can reveal. Doing so will lead to a darkening of and loss of understanding—just as has always occurred when people depart from the truth of God. Unfortunately, some give lip service to the Holy Days of God, but they do not obey what only He has established.
In the face of this, we can truly rejoice in the knowledge God has revealed to us!
Not only are we growing in our understanding of God’s Will, but we are strengthened “…to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude, verse 3). By keeping all of God’s Holy Days at the right time and in the right way, we serve as witnesses to this world and as shining lights in the spiritual darkness. Note how our faithful obedience concerning the Passover is used by God to proclaim His gospel:
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Now, we offer the following reports from our Feast sites in North Wales and California for 2010:
“This year, the Global Church of God in the UK held the Feast of Tabernacles at Deganwy near Llandudno in North Wales. In the last 11 years, the Feast had been held at Chatsworth House in beautiful rural Derbyshire on no fewer than 10 occasions. It was felt that, perhaps, a new venue for 2010 might be appropriate.
“One of the concerns was that after the truly millennial setting that is the Chatsworth area, it might be difficult to find a venue that would be appropriate. However, after much investigation and prayer, God provided a site at the Quay Hotel. This proved to be an excellent venue, with views across the harbour. Set in the idyllic waterside location, the Quay Hotel is situated overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Conwy Castle. It is peaceful, tranquil and very uplifting and is a fitting replacement for Chatsworth House. The hotel was warm and inviting and was ideal for our purposes.
“New visitors were warmly welcomed along with many who have become regular attendees. Everyone enjoyed and appreciated outstanding messages from Evangelist Norbert Link as well as from Brian Gale, Andrew Burns, Bill Koeneke and Douglas Mitchell. In addition, to the delight of all, Norbert Link and Brian Gale baptized two new members from Germany during the Feast (Mr. Link had also baptized one member in Germany before the Feast). There was also the blessing of one child at the Feast.
“Messages included such topics as Purpose, How to Observe God’s Holy Days, Trial and Tribulation, God Will Dwell With Us, No-Go Areas in the Millennium, Living Waters, My City, Let There Be Light, Current and Future Practice, The Second Resurrection, The Mighty Power of Leverage, A Service Attitude and a number of other interesting subjects.
“Whilst the spiritual food is the most important reason for attending the Feast, many other activities were arranged and enjoyed by all. A church social was arranged and enjoyed by all as well and the Feast dinner was again a highlight as in previous years, with everyone delighting in good food and great company. An organised coach tour visited a number of places in the Snowdonia region, which is a beautiful part of the British Isles.
“The Feast was over all too soon and time to return home. Those who attended will remember a Feast in an area of beauty, peace, serenity and camaraderie with others of a like mind. We are all now waiting for the reality of what the Feast pictures!
“The Church of the Eternal God in the USA and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada were privileged to meet in Pismo Beach on the central coast of California. The Mission Inn of Pismo Beach served both as our meeting location and the lodging facility for most attendees.
“We experienced ideal, sunny weather throughout our stay, and the local area provided exceptional eating establishments along with opportunities for a beach party, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rides, an excursion into Morro Bay to view sea life, attending the farmers’ market in San Luis Obispo and wine tours in Paso Robles.
“Being able to really spend quality time fellowshipping with one another highlighted this Feast. Breakfast was included as a part of the extremely reasonable room rates, so we could visit informally—adding to time together!
“Two young children took part in the blessing of little children. Additionally, we enjoyed a Hawaiian themed dinner-dance evening and a very entertaining fun-talent show.
“The sermons and sermonettes were well prepared and given, and they all projected the positive hope of the future God has in store when His government is established on this earth through Jesus Christ. Many commented that theirs was a very spiritually fulfilling Feast! Speakers included Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Bill Grams, Terry Grade, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Eric Rank, Kalon Mitchell, Bob Bourque and Joe Bourque, addressing a variety of topics, including Joy and Rejoicing, Why Are We Here, The Thousand Years, God’s Plan and His Tools for Us, Caring for the Poor, Perfection and Completion, Statutes and Judgments, the King of Kings, Becoming God, The Last Great Day, Forward Even Forever, and additional interesting subjects.
“We also note that Lois Bargar, who died on October 13, 2010, was able to attend the Feast of Tabernacles. However, she became sick and had to leave on the Last Great Day. All of us are deeply saddened by her death, and we know how valiantly she endured much personal suffering in order to set such an example of zeal in her calling. She will be greatly missed! Information regarding a Memorial Service will be announced soon.”
Brethren, although God’s annual Feast Days have been completed for this year, God continues to provide the weekly Sabbath for us! The deep meaning of this seventh day, as well as God’s annual Festivals, are lost to this age. We would like to encourage you to read or re-read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days,” which explains in detail the real purpose of God’s weekly and annual Sabbaths, and WHY God commands us to observe them properly.
As prophecy marches forward in its fulfillment, our obedience will stand in greater contrast to those around us, but we are challenged to continue to grow in God’s knowledge, to zealously overcome and to endure what we will face!
We are assured that God will never leave us, and we will always have His help!
Jesus Christ has left us an example in this regard—and so have those faithful brethren who, with us, are promised to be among the firstfruits of salvation and who will all receive life evermore!
In Christ’s Service,