When Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the world is going to be in rough shape. Even after Satan is bound, things won’t be perfect. The planet itself will be a wreck, with ecosystems in shambles and populations decimated. Everything the human race has spent the last 6,000 years building will be in ruins, and a small remnant of survivors will be without direction and without hope. They’ll have witnessed an incredible amount of death and destruction. Friends, family, strangers, world governments—all gone. All claimed by the single greatest catastrophe the human race will ever know.
There will be pain. There will be suffering. There will be a world crying out for help and healing, and Jesus Christ will be there to provide both. The world will be broken, but it will finally—finally—be ready to listen to the God who can heal.
For a thousand years after Satan is bound, Jesus Christ will reign on earth—and not by Himself either. The Feast of Trumpets pictures the day when all of God’s people from all of history will be transformed into members of the God family, and the Feast of Tabernacles pictures the thousand years that those saints will live and reign with Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:4).
Some of the Bible’s most beautiful prophecies are set during this millennial period. Under the leadership of Christ, the human race will begin to grow and blossom—and this time, they’ll have the divine guidance they rejected in the past. “Your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:20-21).
The result? “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). During the thousand years of Christ’s leadership, people are going to get to know God. They’re going to learn His laws and His way of life. And they’re going to live by those laws, and that’s going to change everything.
“Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths’” (Micah 4:2). God will take a hands-on approach to governing the world: “He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken” (verses 3-4).
That is not the world we live in today. Today there is violence and fear and a great many people who couldn’t care less what the God of Jacob has to say about anything—and that’s why the Feast of Tabernacles matters so much. It pictures the time when a bruised and broken human race will begin to rebuild under the guidance of a God who loves and cares for them, who knows what’s best for them and who seeks their good.
There will be resistance, of course. Even with Satan out of the picture, human nature is still human nature, and some people will still refuse to obey God’s commands. They’ll realize the error of their ways in short order, though: “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. 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” (Zechariah 14:16-17).
No rain means no crops. No crops means no food. No food makes it extremely difficult to ignore God’s role as Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and even harder to insist that He has no right to tell us what to do. As the thousand years continue, more and more people will come to see that God’s way works—that it really is the only way to lasting peace and a life full of meaning.
For the first time in human history, mankind will live life as it was always meant to be lived. They will know peace, they will know their purpose, and they will know their Creator: “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were commanded to observe the Feast of Tabernacles by traveling to “the place which the Lord your God chooses” (Deuteronomy 12:18) and then building a temporary dwelling (or “tabernacle”) to “rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 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” (Leviticus 23:40-41).
Today, God’s people continue to observe the Feast of Tabernacles by gathering together in hotels and other temporary dwellings, spending seven days worshipping and rejoicing before God. The temporary nature of these dwellings reminds us that we are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” who “seek a homeland” (Hebrews 11:13, 14). That homeland is pictured in part by the Feast of Tabernacles—a time when all the world will come to know and be led by the God who made the universe.
And yet, even with everything that the Feast of Tabernacles pictures, we haven’t reached the end of God’s plan just yet. Tomorrow, we’ll bring this Journey to a close as we explore the final entry of God’s holy day plan.