Onward

onwardAnd just like that, it’s over.

Again.

Seven days of rejoicing before God—a thousand years of peace and prosperity under the loving reign of Jesus Christ and His saints—finished in what feels like the blink of an eye. For seven days, we stood before God with our brethren, singing songs of worship and taking in spiritual nourishment, rejoicing before our Creator and fixing our mind’s eye on a world free of Satan and full of God.

But that’s not the point, is it? As wonderful as the past seven days have been, the Feast of Tabernacles is not the reason for God’s Holy Day plan.

The reason is today.

I think that’s easy to forget. Tabernacles is huge and fantastic and such an unmistakable, unforgettable fixture of God’s calendar that it so often feels as if every Holy Day is just one checkmark closer to leaving for “the Feast.” And that’s good! I think God wants us to be excited for Tabernacles; I think He wants us to be anticipating one of the most incredible milestones of His plan for the entire human race.

But it’s still a milestone. The millennial reign of Jesus Christ is not the culmination of God’s plan. It’s hard to imagine, but at some distance into eternity, even the Millennium we spent this week celebrating will be a distant blip on our timelines. The time pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles, however wonderful, is not the ultimate reason you and I were called to this way of life.

Today is. The Eighth Day, which so often feels like a passing afterthought tacked onto the end of Tabernacles, is the reason for all of it. It’s the reason you were born. It’s the reason the human race exists. It’s the reason God fashioned an entire universe out of nothing. God is building a family, and today, the Last Great Day, pictures the time that family will finally be complete.

As Christians, it’s easy to stop the train at Tabernacles. During Trumpets, we’re transformed into full-fledged members of the God family. During Atonement, our enemy is bound and his influence is removed from the world. And during Tabernacles, we reign alongside our older Brother as we help to rebuild a broken would into what it always had the potential to become—all while guiding the human race into the knowledge of God and His way.

But God isn’t content to stop there, and we shouldn’t be either. The Last Great Day pictures the period of time when eternity is offered to the billions and billions who have existed throughout history. It pictures the time when the family of God grows by an order of magnitude we can only begin to imagine right now.

And then? And then comes eternity. Then comes forever, filled with things “eye has not seen, nor ear heard” (1 Corinthians 2:9). And maybe that’s why Tabernacles so often feels like the star of the show: We relate to the physical. We latch onto the things we can see and hear, and the Feast of Tabernacles is full of those things. The Last Great Day points our focus just beyond the physical and into a realm where, for now, “we see in a mirror, dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). It’s harder to see. The picture is fuzzier. And yet…

And yet we know that the God of all creation set the Eighth Day at the end of the Holy Days for a reason. Since the beginning of time itself, this Last Great Day was designed to be the crowning moment of God’s plan—the moment that’s required before, at long last, that loud voice from heaven can finally shout, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

That’s the moment you and I were created for. It’s the moment the entire universe was created for, and it is coming. And that, I think, is the message of the Last Great Day:

Onward.

Soon, another Holy Day cycle will be over, and we’ll turn our attention back to Passover and the lessons it has for us. But we’re not starting over. We’re not forgetting everything we’ve learned this year or the year before. This isn’t some endless loop we’re traveling, but a spiral staircase, with each iteration bringing us one step closer to the future these days envision. We’re marching ever upward, taking the old lessons with us and learning new ones as we go.

Begin. Keep going. Do the work. The King is coming. Remember your Creator. Look ahead. The Holy Days have had so many lessons to teach us this year, just as they’ll have so many to teach us next year and every year after that. Ahead of us is an eternity too great for our minds to truly comprehend—an eternity the plan of God has been slowly marching toward since the dawn of time itself. And now, at the end of this Holy Day cycle, the Last Great Day points us toward it, fixes our eyes upon it, and hands us our marching orders for the year to come:

Onward, Christian soldier.

Until next time,
Jeremy

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