Ellen G. White Writings

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Beginning of the End, Page 270

Annual Feasts of Rejoicing

This chapter is based on Leviticus 23.

The people of Israel were surrounded by fierce, warlike tribes, eager to seize their lands, yet three times every year all the people who could make the journey were directed to leave their homes and travel to the place of assembly near the center of the land. What was to keep their enemies from sweeping down on those unprotected homes to destroy them with fire and sword? What was to prevent an invasion that would bring Israel into captivity?

God had promised to be the protector of His people. “I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.” (Exodus 34:24).

The first of these festivals, the Passover, occurred in Abib, the first month of the Jewish year, corresponding to the last of March and the beginning of April. The cold of winter was past, the later rains had ended, and all nature rejoiced in the freshness and beauty of springtime. The grass was green on the hills and valleys, and wild flowers brightened the fields everywhere. The moon, almost full, made the evening delightful.

Throughout the land, groups of pilgrims were making their way toward Jerusalem. The shepherds, the herdsmen, fishers from the Sea of Galilee, farmers from their fields, and sons of the prophets from the sacred schools—all turned their steps toward the place where God’s presence was revealed. Many went on foot. The caravans often became very large before reaching the Holy City.

Nature’s gladness awakened joy in the hearts of Israel. The people chanted the grand Hebrew psalms, exalting the glory and majesty of Jehovah. At the sound of the signal trumpet, with the music of cymbals, the chorus of thanksgiving arose, swelled by hundreds of voices:

I was glad when they said unto me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

Psalm 122:1

As they saw around them hills where the heathen had long kindled

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