Peace! It’s the eternal dream of humanity. Everyone says they want it; yet no one can really find it. The 20th century was the bloodiest 100 years in human history, with estimates of war dead ranging between 150 and 200 million human beings! Some died in the two world wars; others, in conflicts between nations; and still others, in internal strife and oppressive actions by bad governments.
Since the 1940s, humanity has had to live with the most horrifying of threats: first the atomic bomb, then the hydrogen bomb, and later biological and chemical weapons. And as we move through the early stages of the 21st century, these threats are even more real, with fears that such weapons of mass destruction may fall into the hands not just of rogue states, but even of terrorists and nongovernmental organizations.
Everyone says they want peace, yet no one is able to get us there. We greet each other with phrases that conjure peace: “Salaam alaikum!” “Shalom!” “Peace!” Negotiators attempt to bring long-sought peace to places where conflicts simmer and sometimes boil over, like the Middle East, parts of Africa and Latin America. Sometimes a temporary calm sets in, only to erupt in bloody conflict at a later date.
“Wars and rumors of wars” is a phrase aptly coined by Jesus Christ to characterize our age. Yet in the midst of these wars and rumors of wars, there is hope—real hope—for true, lasting peace. It’s symbolized in an eight-day festival described in the pages of the Bible.
In the autumn of the year in the northern hemisphere, thousands of people will pack their bags and travel away from their homes for a celebration that foreshadows a time of real peace. That celebration is the biblical Festival of Tabernacles! [See our “Festival Calendar” for dates.] These folks—ordinary folks from all walks of life—will congregate at many sites around the world for eight wonderful days that look forward to a time of real peace that is sure to come. They will worship God, listen to biblical discourses about the peaceful Millennium and enjoy time spent with family and friends. It’s a time for rejoicing—not just for a religious vacation, but because of what it means and what it points to. Those who go to the Feast declare by their actions that they look forward to that time of God-given peace: the reign of God on earth, the Kingdom of God.
If you’ve never heard of the Feast of Tabernacles, you should. It’s mentioned in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures of the Word of God. Ancient Israel kept it, as did Jesus Christ, His disciples and the early New Testament Church. It’s still kept today, by people who know that only the Creator Himself can bring true peace—and that this He will do—and soon!
“The way to peace they know not” is what the prophet Isaiah foretold. Centuries ago, he was right on the button! Humanity cannot, and will not, bring true, lasting peace to this war-weary world.
But God can and will. He will send His Son back to this earth, to usher in a time of joy and peace for all. This is all depicted in the Feast of Tabernacles, a wonderful foretaste of what’s to come.
Peace! Paz! Shalom! Salaam alaikum! It’s really coming!
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Ralph Levy.