I always looked forward to and enjoyed the Feast of Tabernacles when I was a kid. But I remember one year it hit me in a special way, when I really began to understand and appreciate it more deeply—not only because of the time with family and friends, and the unique opportunities—but also because of the messages I heard.
What the Feast pictures is so awesome! The problems in our world that are getting worse and worse are about to be solved and wiped out! This wonderful festival gives you an opportunity to see beyond those problems that saturate life around us—and to fire your imagination to see just how much better the world can be. It gives us all a foretaste of this fantastic future. At the Feast, we study the vision of that world to come, we talk about this vision, we rejoice in this vision.
And something else: We live this vision! We actually strive to bring the vision to life right there at the Feast site!
Have you ever thought about that? God wants you personally to experience a taste of what life during the Millennium will be like!
Let’s talk about what you can do to make that happen at this Feast.
A Family Feast
Zechariah 8:4-5 portray a beautiful scene. You’ve probably read these verses before—but really think about them. They give us a glimpse of what city life in the Millennium will be like. “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets” (Revised Standard Version).
What a contrast to our world today—especially in cities!
Tomorrow’s streets aren’t congested with honking, exhaust-belching vehicles—they’re filled with playing children!
And notice: These young people respect their elders; there is no arguing or talking back.
Everywhere you go, you see strong families , with parents who love each other and love their children, and children who love their parents. Grandparents will be properly honored, respected and relied upon for counsel.
These strong families will build the society of the World Tomorrow. The Millennium will be a time of family. God will at last have the Family He has always desired, and they will dwell together in safety, peace and unity.
Now, think about this. God wants you teenagers to live this vision at the Feast. (Don’t go running out into the street for a quick game of field hockey. The Kingdom isn’t here yet.)
By that I mean, God wants you to treat your parents—and all other adults—the way everyone will treat adults in the Millennium. In fact, He wants you to treat them the way people will treat God beings in the Millennium!
Does that sound crazy?
Read verse 23 of Zechariah 8. In the Millennium, people will grab the clothing of anyone who knows God, and beg to learn the true way of how to live. They’ll say, “We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you”! God’s truth will be valued as the precious resource it is.
Try this with your parents a time or two at this Feast. Grab Mom by the skirt and say, “I will go with you, I’ve heard God is with you!” It might get a few chuckles—but it will also help you remember this prophecy that you’re going to witness will be fulfilled in just a few years.
Verse 21 of this same chapter speaks of the time when people will seek God and desire to be with Him. Do you desire to be with your family at the Feast? Do you seek them out the way you would your friends? If so, you’re putting that millennial vision into action!
Part of God’s command to rejoice at the Feast of Tabernacles includes rejoicing with our families (Deuteronomy 16:14-15). Be generous with your family—give yourself to them! Laugh with them—tell jokes—be positive and upbeat—really have fun. Don’t miss this opportunity to get to know them better.
In addition to spending time with your physical family, reach out to your spiritual family, too. Don’t limit yourself to those of your own age group—spread yourself around to both old and young alike. Try setting small goals like; I’ll talk to a minister, a small child or an elderly person today. Seek out widows, fatherless or anyone else who looks like he or she could use a smile or a word of encouragement. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible!
But don’t stop there—get to know them and appreciate their unique personalities. After all, they are your family! Talk about Feast activities, the sermons, the Work. Above all, talk about this vision. Fellowship with the Family of God is a huge part of what makes the Feast so special.
It takes courage to step out and meet someone new, but remember, no one is a stranger at the Feast of Tabernacles—everyone there is family.
It Takes Work
Picture what the world will look like at the start of the Millennium. The ravages of war will still be evident—ruin and decay polluting the land, heaps of scrap and rubble stretching for miles. It will take several years to clean everything up. Humanity will have to work hard to make the Earth a beautiful, habitable place once more.
Though far easier by comparison, the Feast also requires work to run smoothly. The help and support of volunteers in preparation, organization and administration is vital to its operation.
How can you as a teen help? First of all, if you’re given a responsibility, rejoice in that and find out exactly how to do the best job possible. But if you don’t have a specific job, volunteer! Ask around. Be observant and look for needs you can fill. Pray that God will open your mind to the needs of others and provide you with the opportunities to fill them. Write a card for someone who is sick; purchase or make a simple gift for an elderly person. Simply giving of your time and company is one of the best ways you can serve.
Offer to babysit for someone with small children. When I was single, one thing I did every year at the Feast was organize a night off for parents. I’d get a handful of young adults to help and then offer to babysit several families’ children for an evening. We’d take the kids to the hotel pool, then move up to a couple of hotel rooms for a pizza party and some simple games. I’d always end the night with a game of “Silent Ball”—where we’d sit cross-legged in a circle, passing a ball around; if anyone made a bad throw, dropped a pass, or made even a peep, they were out of the game; the last one left won. When the parents walked in and their children were all gathered around in absolute silence, they were overjoyed!
It’s a law: It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). If you roll up your sleeves and help out at the Feast, you are guaranteed to have a better Feast yourself! And again, in doing so, you will be living the vision of the World Tomorrow!
Also, don’t neglect your personal Bible study and prayer time each day—that takes work, too. Get plenty of rest at night so you will feel refreshed each day and better able to serve God and His Family. This is a major way you can bring the Millennium to life at the Feast of Tabernacles.
Prosperity and Peace
The Millennium will be the time of refreshing the world has been waiting for. As God blesses His people, the entire Earth will overflow with rich fruit and abundance. Crime, poverty, heavy taxes, medical bills, military spending will all be eliminated. The prosperity that will result from the application of God’s laws will be distributed fairly among all men.
At the Feast, thanks to the second tithe God commands us to save, we have the opportunity to know what it’s like to be a little rich. We can look forward to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines “ (Isaiah 25:6; New International Version). Soon all men will prosper as they obey the laws of God. This chapter goes on to explain that soon, the entire world will live the way of life we enjoy at the Feast of Tabernacles today!
You can experience this vision now by bringing it to life at the Feast! What a blessing. Make this Feast as much like the Millennium as you possibly can, and taste the good life!