In the time of ancient Israel, there were three great annual festivals celebrated by God’s people: the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
These were special occasions when God’s family had the opportunity to commemorate the great deliverance God had provided them when they were suffering from slavery in Egypt. God planned that His people should always remember the great blessings bestowed upon them during their entire history.
The first celebration of the Passover happened on the same night when the firstborns of the Egyptians died, while the firstborns of God’s people were spared because they had placed the blood of the sacrificial lamb on their doorposts. This commemoration was observed on the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan (March/April). The word “Passover” means that on that day, the “angel of death” would pass over the houses of God’s people that had the sign of blood–the sign of deliverance–on their doorposts. The Passover was a symbol of the deliverance that Christ was to perform in behalf of the believers when He died on the cross of Calvary. The apostle Paul explains that “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”.
Pentecost, (Greek “fiftieth”) is a word that designates of the “feast of weeks” (; Deut. ), which comes between Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, the fiftieth day after Passover.
“Fifty days from the offering of first fruits, came the Pentecost, called also the feast of harvest and the feast of weeks. As an expression of gratitude for the grain prepared as food, two loaves baked with leaven were presented before God. The Pentecost occupied but one day, which was devoted to religious service.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 540.
About the third feast, that of the Feast of Tabernacles, we read:
“In the seventh month came the Feast of Tabernacles, or of ingathering. This feast acknowledged God’s bounty in the products of the orchard, the olive grove, and the vineyard. It was the crowning festal gathering of the year. The land had yielded its increase, the harvests had been gathered into the granaries, the fruits, the oil, and the wine had been stored, the first fruits had been reserved, and now the people came with their tributes of thanksgiving to God, who had thus richly blessed them.
“This feast was to be pre-eminently an occasion of rejoicing. It occurred just after the great Day of Atonement, when the assurance had been given that their iniquity should be remembered no more. At peace with God, they now came before Him to acknowledge His goodness and to praise Him for His mercy. The labors of the harvest being ended, and the toils of the new year not yet begun, the people were free from care, and could give themselves up to the sacred, joyous influences of the hour. Though only the fathers and sons were commanded to appear at the feasts, yet, so far as possible, all the household were to attend them, and to their hospitality the servants, the Levites, the stranger, and the poor were made welcome.
"Like the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles was commemorative. In memory of their pilgrim life in the wilderness the people were now to leave their houses and dwell in booths, or arbors, formed from the green branches ‘of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook.’, , .” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 540.
Our spiritual feasts today
God’s plan to have His people gather today has the same purpose: to remember the great blessings received from the Lord through the plan of salvation and to strengthen them through association with each other.
In our days we have local camp meetings and spiritual conferences. These are held at least once a year and are great blessings for God’s people, and, at the same time, they have an evangelistic purpose since many visitors come to hear God’s Word.
Every four years, our people around the world are invited to attend the General Conference public meetings. After the delegation session, brethren from various countries around the world enjoy a special occasion of fellowship, during which they receive good news from our worldwide representatives and hear the wonderful experiences of God’s children.
During the delegation session, vital points of our faith are considered and important decisions are made. During this General Conference session, which is only a few weeks ahead of us, we need the participation of all believers around the world. How is this possible?
Over two hundred delegates coming from nearly every continent will be gathered during the three first weeks of September, but besides them, thousands of brethren and visitors will be gathered for the public meetings.
It is a pity that not all our members will be physically present, as it used to occur in ancient Israel. However, considering the weighty importance of these meetings, all our members and their families can and should participate with their fervent prayers wherever they are.
I remember that when I used to attend these public meetings in my younger years in Brazil, our leaders used to say: “We do not know if we will have another General Conference session.” When we consider the terrible conditions on our planet, we are sure that the end of all things is at hand. Although we cannot set dates for the end and the second coming Christ, we feel that great things are going to happen very soon.
I strongly urge all our members around the world to fervently pray in behalf of this major gathering soon to take place in Brazil. We need to be prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Latter Rain and for the soon coming of Christ.
"We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. Christ has said, 'Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.' The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.
“But let none think that in attending these gatherings, their duty is done. A mere attendance upon all the meetings that are held will not in itself bring a blessing to the soul. It is not an immutable law that all who attend general gatherings or local meetings shall receive large supplies from heaven. The circumstances may seem to be favorable for a rich outpouring of the showers of grace. But God Himself must command the rain to fall. Therefore, we should not be remiss in supplication. We are not to trust to the ordinary working of providence. We must pray that God will unseal the fountain of the water of life. And we must ourselves receive of the living water. Let us, with contrite hearts, pray most earnestly that now, in the time of the latter rain, the showers of grace may fall upon us. At every meeting we attend our prayers should ascend, that at this very time God will impart warmth and moisture to our souls. As we seek God for the Holy Spirit, it will work in us meekness, humbleness of mind, a conscious dependence upon God for the perfecting latter rain. If we pray for the blessing in faith, we shall receive it as God has promised.” Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 508, 509.
“Come, brethren and sisters, to these sacred convocation meetings, to find Jesus. He will come up to the feast. He will be present, and He will do for you that which you most need to have done. Your farms should not be considered of greater value than the higher interests of the soul. All the treasures which you possess, be they ever so valuable, would not be rich enough to buy you peace and hope, which would be infinite gain, if it cost you all you have and the toils and sufferings of a lifetime. A strong, clear sense of eternal things, and a heart willing to yield all to Christ, are blessings of more value than all the riches, and pleasures, and glories of this world.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 575, 576.
Are you willing to join us in this plan? May the Lord bless us richly during this upcoming gathering!
Your brother in the blessed hope,
Davi Paes Silva
SDARM GC President
The GC Public meetings will be live-streamed and accessible to all at home who desire to watch. Follow along on the GC Facebook page for updates and live streaming links. Access the registration website for event registration and more.