Letter to the Brethren: September 20, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Serbia.

We arrived at our hotel in Belgrade on Tuesday, and had the Day of Atonement there.

We also plan to have Sabbath services here in Belgrade.

On Sunday we are to head to Novi Sad, Serbia for the Feast of Tabernacles.

We trust you all did well on the Day of Atonement.

Before leaving California, we videoed the recommended sermon for this week. This is the tenth part of our ten part series on the Book of Proverbs. The Book of Proverbs seems to be the right place to have sermons related to how God’s people should live and we have now covered that entire book.

Malawi and Mozambique

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following report last Friday:

Pastor Dr Bob,

The trip to Malawi and Mozambique was very excellent.  This time the weather was good for both going and come back.
I kept the feast of Trumpets in Malawi. The brethren from Mozambique also came to Malawi for the feast. It was a happy day for the brethren because this is their first time to keep the feast of Trumpets in Malawi in a good way. I supported the feast financially, spiritually and physically. So it was enjoyable. I met the leaders in Malawi and Mozambique after the services that goes up to very late. We planning how they will have a fine, organized Feast of Tabernacles. We planned well and when they get money, they know how to keep the feast.
After, we took a long time talking with {Radson} Molozwa about the work in Malawi and Mozambique.
The next we visited the brethren in Sunuzi. This is the congregation that works well in physically and spiritually. I love this congregation because it is a hard working congregation with a total of 106 members. Our host here Mr. Wahera is a very humble man who put much effort in God’s work. I found if they are building a hall because the first one was small. The brethren couldn’t fit in it. So they decided to make bricks and put a good one with enough space for the brethren. The things that they are lacking are just iron sheets and cement. I am asking the brethren to support them to get iron sheets and cement so that they can have a good hall. Please pray for them. Most of members in Malawi and Mozambique are in need of Bibles. So I am happy if you sent them the money to buy Bibles. It will be a great help to both Malawi and Mozambique. I bought Passover cups to them which I hope will help them during the Passover ceremony.
Since Malawians are having a bad tradition of divorcing, the DATING booklet is a great help to both Malawi and Mozambique. Even by the time I was in Malawi, there was a member who wanted to divorce his wife and forced me to spend much time with them to solve the problem. We solved the problem and left Molozwa to do the remaining part. I took many copies of these books to Malawi. DATING, CHRISTIANS AMBASSADORS , AND IS GOD’S EXISTENCE LOGICAL?.
On my way back to Kenya, we visited the printing company in Malawi with Molozwa to see how they can help us to print our magazines and books in Malawi. They are a little expensive compared to Kenya. But I think it will be good if we print magazines and books in Malawi.
I arrived Kenya on Thursday night and spent night in Nairobi.  Yesterday I was in Rift valley.  I had meeting with leaders in Rift valley till late. Now I want to go back home to prepare for my trip to Tanzania. I will travel on Sunday. I am planning to keep Atonement in Tanzania.
Evans

It is good that the booklets are helping. I certainly did not have divorce in Malawi in mind when I felt led to write the dating booklet. As far as funds go, we sent funds to Malawi last Thursday, but there was some type of delay, and they did not get them until after Evangelist Ochieng sent his report. And yes, that included money to buy Bibles in Chichewa–which are much more expensive than buying Bibles in English.

Rift Valley

Pastor Sawek sent me the following emails:

Receive greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. Churches in Rift valley
region are doing fine and greeting you.
On 13/9/2018, church leaders from Rift valley met with Pastor Ochieng
to plan on the oncoming feast of tabernacle. Davi Cheruiyot from Njoro
was present, Mau was represented by Pastor Stanley Kibet, Bomet was
Pastor Koskei, Pastor Kurui from Takitech and myself from Chilani
region.
Ochieng briefed us on his visit to Malawi and we also briefed him
about Rift Valley churches and its challenges like like of shelter.We
asked him to visit Rift Valley after the feast of tabernacle and we
reached an agreement , pray for us so that it will go as planned.
I also talked to Ochieng about the challenge of Mau brethren who were
evicted from their homes to create room for government afforestation.
I am one of the victims who were evicted; I have lived there from 2001
where i have successfully installed five churches there. I am going
back to Chilani where i still had a small portion of land but without
houses so I am hereby requesting you to help me re-establish some
temporary buildings from next month since i am migrating back with my
family.
Also pray for the son of our brethren called David XXXXX who ran
mad and currently hospitalized in Kapkatet and the daughter of
William Kirui who is sick of Malaria.
May God bess you.
Pastor Sawek

Receive greetings,
Attached are pictures of the houses which were torched in Mau as i
told you early.
There are pregnant others who delivered in the bushes. More than 45
brethren were affected from different local churches in Mau.
I will continue updating you.
I am grateful to Pastor Ochieng for he sent me there with some little
support and I reported to them that he shall visit there himself.
Continue praying for the two hospitalized children i told you
yesterday.
May God bless you.
Pastor Sawek

 

 

We mentioned the problem in this region a while back (see Letter to the Brethren: August 2, 2018) and sent funds then as well (see Letter to the Brethren: August 9, 2018).

We have basically sent everything we have to try to reduce the sufferings of the brethren in Africa, while also trying to feed them spiritually.

Feast of Tabernacles

The next holy day this autumn is the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It starts sunset September 23rd.

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures a culminating event in God’s plan. After Jesus died for our sins to redeem humankind, and after He sent us the Holy Spirit and picked out a people for His Name to become kings and priests to reign with Him on earth (Revelation 5:10), and after His Second Coming, and after He has finally placed all the sins upon the head of Satan separating both him and the sins from the presence of God and His people (making us finally joined at-one with Him, atonement), then we are ready for that final series of events, the commencement of the establishment of the millennial Kingdom of God on earth.

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the spiritual and material abundance that will occur during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ when people will keep God’s laws without Satan’s deceptions (Revelation 20:1-6). This is in contrast to what is happening now in a world deceived by Satan (Revelation 12:9). Satanic deception, which will be gone then (Revelation 20:1-3), is part of why most who profess Christianity have been misled by ‘nice’ false ministers as well as why many of those ministers have been misled (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Jesus himself, kept the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day, and also taught it per John 7:10-37.

Here are some instructions about it from the Hebrew scriptures:

33 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. 35 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.

41 You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, (Leviticus 23:33-35,41-42)

13 “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, … 14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. 15 Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.

16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (Deuteronomy 16:13-17)

God had ancient Israel dwell in booths/tabernacles (‘sukkos’ in Hebrew) in the wilderness for decades before they entered the promised land. Those booths, in a sense, pictured that they were only heirs to the promised land. Even during the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is ruling over mortal nations, the mortal people will be only heirs to the Kingdom. They must overcome and grow in knowledge and wisdom to inherit the promises.

God says of Ephraim (sometimes portraying a type of all Israel in scripture) that they will “dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the feast” (Hosea 12:9, Douay-Rheims). Israel, in the wilderness, was a type of all people who must go through trials and tribulations to inherit the promises (1 Corinthians 10:11). They were sojourners, waiting to inherit the promises of God.

We Christians are to realize that we have no permanent city in this age and look to the one to come (Hebrews 13:14). The staying in temporary dwellings during the Feast of Tabernacles helps remind us of that.  Christians should attend church services, if possible, each day of the Feast of Tabernacles to learn (Deuteronomy 31:10-13; Nehemiah 8:17-18) being living sacrifices, which is our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

The Feast of Tabernacles is a time to rejoice (Deuteronomy 14:26; 16:15). The use of the related tithe (commonly called “second tithe”) shows that this is to be a time of abundance (Deuteronomy 14: 22-26), but also that the ministry should be taken care of in this age (Deuteronomy 14:27). The Feast of Tabernacles helps picture the time of millennial abundance.  This gives us a glimpse into the time after Jesus returns.

The millennium represents the seventh day of God’s 7,000 year plan. Interestingly, every seven years, the book of the law was commanded to be read at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 31:10-13). This helps picture that the law, including the Ten Commandments, will be kept in the millennium, as the Bible shows the law will be taught then (Isaiah 2:2-3; more on the commandments can be found in our free online booklet The Ten Commandments). It is living according to God’s laws that will bring blessings and abundance during the millennium.

We Christians now await the coming millennium and the change that occurs at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52), which is also called the first resurrection:

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

The Bible show that after Jesus gathers the Church to Himself, and after He is seated on His throne where we will be ruling with Him, He will gather the nations before Him and say to the Christians:

34 Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34).

Now, those who keep the Feast of Tabernacles look forward to this as it helps picture the millennial kingdom.

In the early second century, Papias of Hierapolis said:

[T]here will be a period of some thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth.

The observance of the Feast of Tabernacles is a shadow of the coming millennial kingdom of God that faithful Christians have kept since New Testament times.

The Feast of Tabernacles is essentially a ‘pilgrimage’ (Psalm 84:1-5) period, meaning it usually involves travel outside of one’s normal community. Jesus ‘tabernacled’ with humans when He was here (As the Greek word ἐσκἠνωσεν in John 1:14 can be translated per Green JP. Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. Baker Books, 1996, 5th printing 2002, p. 282).

While some falsely claim that the Feast of Tabernacles from the past through current times must only be kept in Jerusalem, this is in error. The children of Israel were not even in Jerusalem for centuries after the commands for its observance in Leviticus 23 were recorded—hence Jerusalem was not an initial option for them. The Bible shows the Feast of Tabernacles can be kept in cities other than Jerusalem (Nehemiah 8:15; cf. Deuteronomy 14:23-24). During the second temple period (530 B.C – 70 A.D.), Jews often kept it elsewhere (Hayyim Schausse noted, “Sukkos was a great festival even outside of Jerusalem.” Schausse H. The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to Their History and Observance, 1938. Schocken, p. 184).

It may also be of interest to note Polycarp of Smyrna in the 2nd century (Life of Polycarp, Chapter 19.) and certain others in Asia Minor in the late 4th century kept the  Feast  of  Tabernacles  in  Asia  Minor, not  Jerusalem.  This is confirmed by sources such as the Catholic saint Jerome (Patrologia Latina Volumen MPL025 Ab Columna ad Culumnam 1415 – 1542A) and research done by the 20th century Cardinal Jean Danielou (Danielou, Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964, pp. 343-346).

A nineteenth century anti-millennial scholar named Giovanni Battista Pagani wrote the following about the Egyptian Bishop Nepos of the third century and those who supported the millennium:

…all those who teach a millennium framed according to Jewish ideas, saying that during the millennium, Mosaic law will be restored…These are called Judaical Millenarians, not as being Jews, but as having invented and upheld a millennium according … The principal authors of this error were Nepos, an African Bishop, against whom St. Dionysius wrote his two books on Promises; and Apollinaris, whom St. Epiphanius confound in his work against heresies. (Pagani, Giovanni Battista. Published by Charles Dolman, 1855, pp. 252-253)

It should be of interest to note that neither Bishops Nepos nor Apollinaris were Jews, but were condemned for having a religion that had “Jewish” beliefs. And since Apollinaris is called a Catholic saint, it should be clear that the respected non-Jewish Christian leaders in the early third century clearly did hold to ideas that were condemned by the allegorists. The fact that they held to “Mosaic law” is evidence then that they both understood the meaning of and kept the Feast of Tabernacles, but with a Christian emphasis.

The Greco-Roman bishop & saint Methodius of Olympus in the late 3rd or early 4th century taught that the Feast of Tabernacles was commanded and that it had lessons for Christians:

For since in six days God made the heaven and the earth, and finished the whole world, and rested on the seventh day from all His works which He had made, and blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, so by a figure in the seventh month, when the fruits of the earth have been gathered in, we are commanded to keep the feast to the Lord, …it is commanded that the Feast of our Tabernacles shall be celebrated to the Lord … For like as the Israelites, having left the borders of Egypt, first came to the Tabernacles, and from hence, having again set forth, came into the land of promise, so also do we. For I also, taking my journey, and going forth from the Egypt of this life, came first to the resurrection, which is the true Feast of the Tabernacles, and there having set up my tabernacle, adorned with the fruits of virtue, on the first day of the resurrection, which is the day of judgment, celebrate with Christ the millennium of rest, which is called the seventh day, even the true Sabbath. (Methodius. Banquet of the Ten Virgins, Discourse 9)

The Catholic priest and scholar Jerome said that Nazarene Christians kept it and that they believed that it pointed to the millennial reign of Jesus Christ (Patrologia Latina Volumen MPL025 Ab Columna ad Culumnam 1415 – 1542A). This keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles by Nazarene Christians in the late fourth century was also confirmed by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox saint Epiphanius of Salamis.

Mainly based upon New Testament scriptures, Christians keep the Feast of Tabernacles a bit different than the Israelites did.

Records indicate that the Feast of Tabernacles seems to have been kept in Europe during the Middle Ages (Ambassador College Correspondence Course, Lesson 51.  “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place …” Rev. 12:6. 1968) as well as specifically in Transylvania in the 1500s (Liechty, pp. 61-62), at places without palm branches. There is some evidence to suggest that it was kept in the Americas in the 1600 and 1700s. It was kept by the old Radio Church of God and Worldwide Church of God all around the world in the 20th century.

We in the Continuing Church of God continue to keep it in places around the world and we also teach that the Feast of Tabernacles points to the millennial reign of Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God.

The Feast of Tabernacles has been observed by many modern Christians in either tents or motel/hotel rooms functioning as “tabernacles”—temporary dwellings— and not just in palm-branch huts that the Israelites normally used. The New Testament shows that Christians have a different tabernacle (cf. Hebrews 8:2; 9:11-15), which is consistent with not having to personally to build a palm-booth. The Bible shows that the children of Israel dwelt mainly in tents per Exodus 33:8 (and sometimes other apparently temporary, per Deuteronomy 4:45-49, homes) while they were in the wilderness for forty years and that God considered those as “tabernacles” per Leviticus 23:43. Living in tents or motel rooms is a similar type of temporary dwelling/tabernacle today.

The Bible shows Christians need not make animal sacrifices/offerings (Hebrews 9:9) like the burnt offerings which the children of Israel used to provide during the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:36-37). Instead, we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, which is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1)—which normally includes regularly attending church services during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Some may wonder why attending services is done for all the days at the Feast of Tabernacles, yet this is not required for the Days of Unleavened Bread. The basic scriptural reason is that the command says, ”You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days … Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses” (Deuteronomy 16:13,15), but that is not so stated related to the Days of Unleavened Bread—the commands for it says to eat unleavened bread for seven days in Leviticus 23:6 and Deuteronomy 16:3, as opposed to observe the feast for seven days (we make a ‘sacrifice’ the seven days of unleavened bread by eating unleavened bread on each of the days). The Bible also says to be in temporary dwellings during the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:42), but does not state this related to the other Holy Days.

Since Satan will be bound for the millennial reign (Revelation 20:1-2), there will be less deception then. Going away for the time of the Feast of Tabernacles and meeting daily helps picture a time when the world will be quite different than it now is.

“Your Kingdom Come!” (Matthew 6:10).

Bible prophecy shows that the Feast of Tabernacles will be kept in the millennium:

16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16-19).

So the Bible teaches that God will expect all to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the future. Even Catholic commentators recognize that God’s plan includes the Feast of Tabernacles. A Catholic commentary on passages in Zechariah 14 states:

In the mean time such as before persecuted the Church shall be converted, & with great devotion will celebrate the festivities, and exercise religious rites to Gods honor: and shall merit great rewards. (The Original And True Douay Old Testament Of Anno Domini 1610 Volume 2, p. 824)

The kingdom of God will replace all the kingdoms of this world (Revelation 11:15), and this festival helps picture this by separating (cf. Revelation 18:4; 1 John 2:18-19) Christian pilgrims (1 Peter 2:1-12) from their usual routine.

The keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles gives us a glimpse in this age of what will happen in the future millennial kingdom. The Bible also shows that later, “the tabernacle of God” will be on the earth “and He will dwell with” us (Revelation 21:3).

Keeping the Feast of Tabernacles now is a foretaste of things to come in the Kingdom of God.

Here is a link to: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2018.

Do not be lukewarm. If at all possible, try to attend. If it is not possible, check out the article: How to Keep God’s Festivals.

Young Singles Activity: Alexandria site

As mentioned last week, our son Brian has come up with a couple of possible ideas for a singles’ activity for Sunday afternoon, September 30th for those attending the Feast of Tabernacles site in Alexandria, Virginia. Singles can speak with him after he (and the rest of our family) arrives at that site (we are scheduled to be at service there on September 28th).

World News Items

We continue to see some Jewish rabbis claim that one thing or the other is a sign that the time of Messiah is near (e.g. see Rebuilt ‘Arch of Palmyra’ claimed to be a Messianic sign). Of course, Jesus already came, but was rejected by most. To prove Jesus was the prophesied Messiah, Jews and others should check out our free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah.

There is a type of rift going on in the Eastern Orthodox world essentially because the Russian Orthodox Church tends to be supportive of Moscow’s policies related to Ukraine. While a threat from the Russian patriarch (the largest group of the Orthodox) to number one patriarch (Bartholomew of Constantinople) suggests a serious split (see Russian Orthodox Church cuts ties with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople over Ukraine), the time will come when the ‘Orthodox’ will cooperate more in the future and with Europe. But, later, I believe that the Russian Orthodox will split from that and support Russia when it leads an attack near the time of the gathering of Armageddon.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p. If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options. Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the Bible News Prophecy online radio channel.

IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Feast of Tabernacles Service and Messages

We have an opening night message for those who will not have live speakers that would be intended to be watched September 23rd, sometime after sunset.

Here is a link: Feast of Tabernacles 2018 Opening Night Message.

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles this year:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Offertory, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one from Bill Wedekind: Offertory – Feast of Tabernacles. For those wishing to send offerings in accordance with biblical commands, there are several options listed at the following link: Donating to the Continuing Church of God.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. One suggested for today is: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel, especially if you wish two services today.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Here is a link to another sermon message made to be watched during this Feast of Tabernacles (sunset September 23 to 30th): Behind the Work 2018: New Door and More!

We expect to upload sermons from various sites, so hopefully for those of you without live sermon speakers, you will be able to have some of those to watch. Once uploaded, they should be available at the ContinuingCOG channel.

Additionally, or as a backup, here are links to sermons given in 2017 at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand and two from San Diego:

Here are links to three sermons given during the Feast in Gouda, Netherlands in 2016:

Here is a sermon by Steve Dupuie in Aurora, Illinois: Feast of Tabernacles 2016.

So, messages are available.

Concluding Comments

The Apostle Paul, after the Christ’s death and resurrection indicated that it was important to keep the Feast–and this may have been the Feast of Tabernacles. As it is noted in Acts 18:21:

21 I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.

So, Paul traveled to attend the Feast.  Jesus also kept God’s Feasts (Luke 22:8,14-16) and traveled to do so (John 7:11-39).

Some have questioned which Feast was being discussed in Acts 18:21, but the late evangelist Dr. Herman Hoeh felt that this was a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles:

Paul Kept the Feast of Tabernacles

Paul followed Jesus’ example and not only kept the Feast of Tabernacles, but kept it after the New Testament manner long after what was “nailed to the cross” was nailed there. And notice Paul’s command that we follow his example as he followed Christ’s: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1).

That is very plain.

We follow Paul in keeping the New Testament Feast of Tabernacles as he followed Christ.

Notice now the sequence of events in the book of Acts which clearly indicate that Paul kept the Feast of Tabernacles. God used Paul to reach the Gentiles with the gospel. In A.D. 50, Paul crossed over from Asia into Europe and began to preach the gospel at Philippi (Acts 16:11-13). After a few weeks at Philippi, Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), Berea (verse 10) and Athens (verse 16), Paul came to Corinth in the late summer of A.D. 50 (Acts 18:1). After spending several Sabbaths teaching in the synagogue (verse 4), Paul continued to hold meetings in the house of Justus (verse 7) for “a year and six months” (verse 11).

This brings us to the spring of A.D. 52. After a riot stirred up against the apostle was quelled, we read the following about Paul: “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria” (Acts 18:18). It was now well into the summer of A.D. 52. The Feast of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost — the two festivals near the beginning and end of spring — were now past.

To continue with Paul’s journey, on his way from Corinth to the port of Syria, “he came to Ephesus” and “entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; but bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus” (Acts 18:19-21). Was Paul planning to keep the feast with the Headquarters Church at Jerusalem? Indeed! Which feast? The spring festivals were already past.

The two late summer or early autumn holy days, the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, were held at any of the local congregations. Yet here was a major festival being held at Jerusalem in the autumn. The one big major festival that occurs in the autumn is the Feast of Tabernacles! Paul told the Ephesians that he “must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem” — with the Headquarters Church. (This was long before A.D. 70, at which time Jerusalem fell to the Roman General Titus and the Temple was destroyed.)

Paul had just completed his first journey into Europe with the gospel and undoubtedly felt he had to report the progress of the work to the Headquarters Church and the brethren (verse 22). What better time to do so than while keeping the Feast of Tabernacles! Here is the example of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. After years in the New Testament ministry he is still keeping the Feast of Tabernacles!

Why Verse Left Out in Corrupted Manuscripts

Acts 18:21 appears correctly in the King James Version of the Bible. But numerous modern translations leave out that portion of the verse which tells of Paul’s intention to keep the Feast. This verse, in its entirety, belongs in the Bible. It has always been 100 percent a part of the inspired Greek text handed down to the Greek-speaking world by the original true Church of God. The only manuscripts which leave it out are those copied in Egypt and in the Latin-speaking portions of the Roman Empire.

There would have been no reason to add this verse to the Bible if it were not there originally. But there is every reason why men would like to remove it from the inspired text! The Catholic version of the Bible leaves it out as do almost all modern Protestant translations of the Bible. These churches do not want to keep this feast. (Hoeh H. The New Testament FEAST OF TABERNACLES. Good News, July-September 1973)

The Protestant Thomas Lewin, and he extensively studied the chronology of the New Testament, also concluded that Acts 18:21 was a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles (Lewin T. Fasti Sacri, Or A Key to the Chronology of the New Testament. Longmans, 1865, p. 300; Lewin T. The Life and Epistles of St.Paul, Volume 2. G. Bell and sons, 1878, p. 343).

Notice some statements from the Apostle Paul:

17…Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers (Acts 28:17)

4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3:4-6)

Since Paul kept the customs of his people, he, too, kept all the Fall Holy Days including the Feast of Tabernacles. If not, he could not have made that statement which is in Acts 28:17 nor the one being blameless in the law in Philippians 3:4-6.

Paul taught Gentiles to follow him as he followed Jesus:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Jesus and Paul kept the feasts. Are you following their example?

Notice that Paul does commend those in Thessalonica for imitating the church in Judea:

13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

The church in Judea kept the Feast of Tabernacles, etc. And those in Thessalonica were commended for receiving the word of God and imitating the practices of the church in Judea. Thus, the Gentile Church of God in Thessalonica kept the Feast of Tabernacles.

Properly keep the Feast of Tabernacles and learn from it.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer