Dear Brethren, Let us rejoice as we remember God’s wonderful plan of salvation as pictured during the seventh month of God’s sacred calendar. While many Americans look forward to a three-day weekend celebrating Labor Day in early September, and many in nations around the world celebrate the weird holiday called “Halloween” at the end of October, we in God’s Church keep the Feast of Trumpets, celebrating the end of mankind’s misrule. At Atonement we delight over the soon-coming removal of the prince of the power of the air, who directs the course of our present evil world. We rejoice during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, rehearsing the meaning of those Festivals that mean so much to us—and eventually to all mankind, even those who died without ever having been introduced to the Truth.
There is the story, whether true or not, of Christopher Columbus discussing his “discovery” of the “new world.” Many at his table dismissed the adventurous discovery as something they all could have figured out for themselves. At that point, Columbus picked up an egg that was on the table and asked each of them to stand it on its end. Each tried, but—of course—failed. When it came back to Columbus, he gently tapped the end of the egg on the table—breaking it, but gently enough that it did not spill its contents. He then stood it on end with the flat surface. “Oh, we could have done that,” the men protested. “Yes,” Columbus replied, “once you’ve been shown how.”
You and I have been shown how God is working out His great and glorious plan. This knowledge, so easily taken for granted, was lost for many years until God used a man to open up the Bible and reveal it—knowledge that we now see as so obvious that we may wonder why everyone cannot see it. And we should remember: not only did that knowledge—those scriptures—have to be pointed out to us, but a miracle also had to take place. God had to open our minds to recognize the profound message that was right before our eyes.
As we know, and as we celebrated earlier this year at the Feast of Pentecost—the last of the annual Festivals so far to have had its historical fulfillment in this age—God is not calling everyone to salvation at this time. I have previously asked the simple question, “If God is not calling everyone, why is He calling anyone?” As a member of God’s Church, you should know the answer. He is calling some—that is, you and me—to do a Work now. If we fail to do that Work, we fail to fulfill the incredible calling we have been given. We dare not do that. Seeking only personal salvation and neglecting the Work for which we’ve been called will end in disaster (Ezekiel 33:1–7; Proverbs 24:11–12).
When Jesus walked the dusty trails in Israel, He worked through the physical body given Him. Now He is at the right hand of the Father, and it is abundantly clear that the Church is now His body (Colossians 1:18, 24; 2:17; Ephesians 1:22–23). This is vital knowledge we must deeply understand. It is part of the big picture that both Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and Dr. Roderick C. Meredith passed down to us. We lose sight of it at our own peril.
God made us with the potential for incredible variety. Some are tall, some are not so tall. Some are slender, some are not. Some are light-skinned and blond, some are darker and have black hair. More than outward appearance, though, we all have varying degrees of abilities. A brilliant computer programmer may know nothing about plumbing or electrical work. A gifted engineer may be lost when it comes to surveying land, running an earth mover, and mixing concrete. It is obvious that we need them all: computer programmers, plumbers, electricians, engineers, and construction workers. It is a beautiful thing when everyone knows his part and plays his part.
In the same way, the Apostle Paul explains that the body of Christ is made of many different parts (1 Corinthians 12), and we know it is human nature to desire to be one of the comelier parts of the body (1 Corinthians 12:22–25). How many men have striven to hold an office in Spokesman Club or to be in front of the congregation leading hymns or speaking? And it’s not just the men. We’ve seen ladies get into what we sometimes call “coffee pot wars,” fighting each other over where best to place the pickles on the serving table. This may sound humorous and even preposterous, but those of us who have been around for any length of time know that these things really do happen!
Notice that Paul tells us it is Christ who determines where each of us fits within the body (1 Corinthians 12:11, 18). A body will not function properly with two mouths and one ear. As Paul explains, “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body?… If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?” (vv. 15–17).
As Paul explained, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:4). Then, one of the clearest passages of Scripture—yet one of the most difficult for most people to accept—is found just after that. Christ has placed in the body positions of responsibility so we can have unity and, “speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (vv. 15–16).
To those who really get the big picture and faithfully hold on to it until the end, God will give a great reward. The current spirit ruler who directs the course of this world, along with the angels who fell with him when he “got the big head” and thought he knew better than God, will be removed and replaced (Revelation 12:4; 20:1–4). His removal is emphatically shown in the Day of Atonement. And the fact that we will replace him and his minions is stated in numerous scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments (Daniel 7:27; Matthew 19:27–29; Luke 19:16–19; Revelation 20:4, 6).
Further, we are not to become angels or some kind of super-humans in the resurrection, as so many professing Christians mistakenly believe. You do not need me to remind you that we in God’s Church have been called to become sons and daughters of God, the very children of the living God—brothers, sisters, and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14–21; Hebrews 2:10–18; 2 Corinthians 6:18). Can there be a more glorious future for such flawed beings as we now truly are?
Thank God that He is a loving Father, “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7). But there is even more to the big picture. Those called in the first resurrection will collectively be the bride of Christ—getting in on the “ground floor” of the Kingdom of God (Revelation 19:7–9; Ephesians 5:30–32)!
These truths are there for anyone to see, but we understand God must open the minds of those who may see. He must call us. When we respond, He chooses us—and we must be faithful to the end (Revelation 17:14). Even though this has been a very strange and trying year, let us focus faithfully on the big picture—doing the Work of God as one unified body and fulfilling God’s eternal calling that we’ve so graciously been given!