Today is the Feast of Trumpets, the New Moon Day of the 7th month of Torah’s festival calendar (which started around March with Passover). The sound of the trumpet is to go out to remind the people that this is the most important month of the year.
The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.
On the first day of the appointed month in early autumn [literally, the 7th month],
you are to observe a day of complete rest. It will be an official day for holy assembly, a day commemorated with loud blasts of a trumpet. You must do no ordinary work on that day. Instead, you are to present special gifts to the Lord.”
(Leviticus 23:23-25 NLT)
In 10 days it will be the Day of Atonement, and then the Feast of Tabernacles. Then it will be a full year before another annual Sabbath. I am convicted that we need to take this seriously. We need to take advantage of these times to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. God wants us to honor Him at the times He has appointed, so that He can protect us from disease and war – notice:
Then Moses and Aaron went to the king of Egypt and said,
“The Lord, the God of Israel, says,
‘Let my people go, so that they can hold a festival in the desert to honor me.’”
“Who is the Lord?” the king demanded. “Why should I listen to him and let Israel go?
I do not know the Lord; and I will not let Israel go.”
Moses and Aaron replied, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us.
Allow us to travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.
If we don't do so, he will kill us [permissive will] with disease or by war.”
(Exodus 5:1-3 GNT)
Pharoah here represents Satan. He is unwilling to let us go from the control system he is setting up through his use of the Covid crisis. He doesn’t want there to be any travel, so the gospel cannot be taken to the world. He doesn’t want any gathering of people, so our Father will not be worshipped. He doesn’t want any spirit-filled dialogue on differences of opinion, so that his evil, angry, self-righteous spirit continues to seep throughout all of our current discourse. The nations are seething and ready to boil over; and as more people accept his spirit, Satan demands that he be allowed to rule the people according to his destructive will.
Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so they did not blow on the earth or the sea, or even on any tree.
And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given power to harm land and sea,
“Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.”
There is an interesting parallel for us to take note of. In 1889, in the aftermath of the church’s rejection of 1888, a great epidemic of a disease remarkably similar to coronavirus happened – known as the Asiatic Flu. It was among the deadliest pandemics in history. It is called the 1889-1890 Pandemic, but there were continuing reoccurrences over the next 7 years. I believe how we react to this crisis will define how bad the next few years will be.
“Throughout New South Wales we have been tested and tried with the influenza epidemic. Nearly every family has been afflicted in the cities and country towns. Some are now very, very sick. Their lives are hanging in the balance. We pray for the sick, and do what we can financially, and then wait the result. When patients are under the doctor’s care we can do little by way of treatment, for should the case prove unfavorable, we should be charged with taking life. One day last week there were eleven funerals. Those who eat meat do not recover from the attack as readily as those who do not eat meat. Children do not seem to suffer so much as the adults and the aged. I have been severely attacked, and have not been able to attend meetings for four weeks; but have not given up to take to my bed one day. I have written my number of pages nearly every day, though I have been coughing and sneezing and bleeding at the nose. Bro. Rousseau has been sick, and for some weeks Bro. Colcord has been confined to his bed.
Nearly every one around has suffered but I thank the Lord I am improving and am of good courage in the Lord. We shall do all we can in the name of the Lord. I am full of thankfulness to the Lord that I do not have to look on helplessly, and groan and pray in seeing my brethren and sisters in distress for want of food and clothing. I do not need to say simple, Be ye warmed and be ye clothed, and yet do nothing to relieve them. I have experienced the truth of God’s word, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35.] God’s people are being tried and tested, and may God grant that I may be able to help them through the trial they have to endure for the truth’s sake, and by so doing be able to cling to Jesus more firmly than ever.” (Lt 30, 1894)
The rejection of 1888 by Adventism was also a rejection of the Feasts (See Ceremonial Diving Line, Stand By the Landmarks, etc.). I remember reading the book Diamondola, a biography of a young lady who was formerly Greek Orthodox and became a translator and a great church worker during the founding of the Adventist Church in Turkey. It was an amazing story of courage, but it was marred by her determinedly driving out messengers to her church who wanted to share about feast-keeping. Such a tragedy! And this was in the 1890’s in Turkey, where there was barely any Protestantism, let along 7th Day Adventism – yet still the message of the festivals came to them. In how many other places did such events happen? How often has it happened over the last one hundred years? There are stories of many people who followed the logic of Jones and Waggoner and saw the appointed times as a blessing from God, and were rejected by their church.
In the time of Exodus, Pharoah didn’t allow the Israelites to worship – but in our time now, we still can. “God’s people are being tried and tested,” Ellen White said of that time of sickness. How hard it must have been for her, knowing that so much hardship had come upon them because of their refusal to accept 1888. But we, like her, hope that all our hardships and experiences will cause us to be able to help the brethren more, leading all of us to learn how to “cling to Jesus more firmly than ever.”
If we are serious about spreading the gospel to all the nations, truly teaching them the principles of the goodness of God and how He values liberty of conscience, God will continue to hold the four winds of Revelation 7. If we keep this feast, remembering Him at the times He has set even if we are alone, God will grant us victories. I know what it is like to celebrate feasts alone in a country without feastkeepers. But we can still pray. We can still reach out to our brethren all over the world through letters or calls. We can still join our fellow countrymen who are Christians, though not knowing all the truths we have, and fellowship with them, bringing out principles of the Character of God. We can spend it writing out our testimonies to the glory of God. Let us believe that there is blessing in the Feasts, even if we have never kept it before, even if we are alone.
The crucial thing is for us to REMEMBER and BE AWARE of these times. It is all too easy to forget, instead becoming focused on our bondage (like ancient Israelites Exodus 6:9). This causes all the angels to cry - why oh why, having had so much light about the law of God, the goodness of His character, and the outpouring of His Spirit, do God’s people let these times pass by as if they are nothing, when our Commander is suffering in His efforts to draw near to them? Just as the farmer knows when the season of physical rain is to come, so must we know when the spiritual rain is to come, and allow that time spent with God to blossom into the fruit of good work.
Ye shall keep my sabbaths [SABBATHS!], and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due seas…the trees shall yield their fruit…ye shall eat bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid…
I will rid evil beasts out of the land, and neither shall the sword go through your land.
Ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
And five of you shall chase an hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight…
Does our voice seem small? Does it seem like our message will not cut through the roar of the world, where man’s interest is dragged this way and that? How can our message overcome the theology of all the mighty teachers of doctrine in the world? See what Moses said above: Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight. Though we are small in number, following what God has laid out for us, 5 of us can overcome a hundred. That is 20x increase. But notice the power we have when more gather together to fight the Christian’s battle of study, prayer, repentance, overcoming and praise – “a hundred shall put ten thousand to flight” – that is a 100x increase!
I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
Jerusalem fell to Babylon because they would not honor the Sabbaths of God. Just as in their day, the land groans under the weight of sin. Let us be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, doing what God has called us to do in the spirit of the New Covenant, rather than struggling about in the dark trying to find our own saltiness to salt the earth and making our own light to lighten the world. Let us learn the lessons of our forefathers. It took the human race 2520 years to get back to this point where we once again actually realize what God is promising to do for us. Let us take hold of those promises.
And yet for all that [for all our evil], when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.
But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors,
whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen,
that I might be their God: I am the LORD.
These are the statutes and judgments and laws,
which the LORD made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations;
and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”