THE FEASTS OF THE LORD
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Levitical feasts are one of the four major types of the Christian salvation. The Feasts of the Lord explains the plan of redemption, how we move with the Holy Spirit to the rest of God, to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, to the fullness of the salvation that is in Christ.


Table of Contents

PREFACE

PRELIMINARY

Two Guidelines for Interpreting Scripture Types

Enumeration of the Seven Levitical Feasts

Four Areas of Interpretation of the Feasts of the Lord

The Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ

The redemption of the believer

The perfecting of the Church

The setting up of the Kingdom of God

DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVEN FEASTS

Passover

Unleavened Bread

Firstfruits

Pentecost

Trumpets

Day of Atonement

Tabernacles

Three Convocations

Proclaim in Their Seasons

The Agricultural Year

The Best Is Yet To Come

FOUR MAJOR TYPES OF REDEMPTION

The Seven Divisions of the Four Types

The days of creation

The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan

The vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation

The feasts of the Lord

The First Aspect of Redemption

The Second Aspect of Redemption

The Third Aspect of Redemption

The Fourth Aspect of Redemption

The Fifth Aspect of Redemption

The Sixth Aspect of Redemption

The Seventh Aspect of Redemption

THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Passover

Unleavened Bread

Firstfruits

Pentecost

Trumpets

Day of Atonement

Tabernacles

Three Holy Convocations

THE REDEMPTION OF THE BELIEVER

Passover

Unleavened Bread

Firstfruits

True faith versus mental belief

Preparation for the new age

Sanctifies the entire harvest

Pentecost

The law of the Spirit of life

The former and the latter rain

The history of the Pentecostal "rain"

The pattern of the outpouring

The significance of "tongues"

Loaves offered with leaven

A "halfway point"

Anointing for priestly service

The promise of the Father

Heavenly dynamite

Turn you northward!

Trumpets

Spiritual warfare

Rebels from Heaven

Judgment

Obeying the Lord’s trumpet

A double wielding

A warlike attitude

Moving on

The Spiritual New Year

Overcoming sin

The Day of the Lord

Day of Atonement

Day of Atonement placed in the latter working of redemption

Christians do sin

A misleading assumption

God’s provisions for the sins of Christians

Confessing sins

A misunderstanding of Divine grace

I John 1:9

Deception

Overconfidence

Passivity

Christian judgment

Wary attitude toward "voices"

Forgiving others

Continuing confession

The "sixth" and "seventh" experiences

Judgment of rebellious spirits

The source of sin

The knowledge of the Lord

Year of Jubilee

Two overlapping years

Another beginning

A new creation

Confession of sins is not new

Judgment begins with the house of God

Lazarus, a type of the Blowing of Trumpets

Judgment liberates Christians

Purging the House of God

Tabernacles

The feast of Tabernacles typifies perfection

Redemption has a definite completion

God, the master Builder

The finish line

Paul’s attitude toward perfection

The goal of the Christian discipleship

The first resurrection

The cross and the crown

Isaiah, Chapter Twelve

The Law of God

Completion of the harvest season

An increase in available glory

Three Holy Convocations

The first reaping

The second reaping

The third reaping

THE PERFECTING OF THE CHURCH

Three Holy Convocations

Passover

Unleavened Bread

Firstfruits

Pentecost

Trumpets

Day of Atonement

Tabernacles

THE SETTING UP OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Three Holy Convocations

Passover

Unleavened Bread

Firstfruits

Pentecost

Trumpets

Day of Atonement

Tabernacles

REVIEW


PREFACE

What can we expect after we have experienced Pentecost?

Toward what, precisely, do we press after Pentecost, after we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit?

The Jews under Moses were given seven holy convocations to observe annually. Do you know what they were? Do you know how they apply to our Christian walk?

Pentecost (the feast of Weeks) was the fourth observance. Have you been as far as Pentecost? There were three feasts after Pentecost revealing that the Lord has more for us. Christ does not want us to stop at Pentecost.

The Feasts of the Lord explains the plan of redemption so we may move with the Holy Spirit to the rest of God, to the feast of Tabernacles, to the fullness of the salvation that is in Christ.

And the Lord spake unto me, saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. (Deuteronomy 2:2,3)

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)


PRELIMINARY

The feasts of the Lord are listed in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament and in other passages as well. There were seven observances. We may refer to them as the "Levitical feasts," or "convocations," or as the "feasts of the Lord." However, they were not all feasts as we think of the term feast.

However, all of them were convocations that is, observances in which the people of Israel were called together by the Lord.

Two Guidelines for Interpreting Scripture Types

Before we go further let us mention two rules for interpreting Scripture symbols, or "types" as they are called. Types, such as the seven feasts of Israel, help us understand the Lord Jesus and His plan of salvation.

The first rule of interpretation is this: study the symbol and then ask the Holy Spirit to cause the main truth to rise to the surface. Do not attempt to carry every aspect of the symbol through to its logical conclusion—logical after the reasoning of the human mind.

The Holy Spirit always interprets His own statements and illustrations.

We see through a glass darkly, as Paul mentions in I Corinthians, Chapter 13. The Holy Spirit must be the One who throws light on the passage of Scripture we are studying. Usually a type presents one truth or line of truth, and the Spirit will give us the understanding.

For example: Christ is the "Lamb" of God. The truth rising to the surface is that Christ was led away as an offering for our sins, and we eat His body and drink His blood as our Passover.

We cannot pursue the symbol further and claim Christ today is led around helplessly and is a prey for every wolf that appears.

Again: in one setting leaven is a type of sin. In another context leaven is a type of the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a flexibility of application showing that we must not create a rigid system of interpretation of the Scriptures based on types. If we do, we will miss the point of what the Holy Spirit is revealing to us.

Still another example is this: the Christian Church is referred to in the New Testament as the Bride of the Lamb. The symbol of marriage indicates we are to enter spiritual union with Christ, becoming one with Him. We cannot infer from this that Christians are feminine because they are termed the "Bride," and that the Bride is a different group from the sons of God who are male because they are "sons."

Every aspect and detail of a Scripture type or parable does not reveal spiritual truth.

The second guideline for interpreting Scripture symbols is this: the interpretation of symbols must be taught in the New Testament.

For example, repentance from our sinful ways is portrayed by the removal of leaven during the feast of Unleavened Bread. The New Testament teaches us to put away sin (II Corinthians 7:1). Our adamic personality is to be brought down to death by entering the death of Christ on the cross. Our new sin-free personality is now qualified to rise from the dead and enter the resurrection of Christ. This death and resurrection is represented as we are baptized in water.

Also, we have the provision of confessing and receiving cleansing from the sins we practice as Christians, as taught in I John 1:7-9.

If we claim the putting away of leaven during the feast of Unleavened Bread portrays the putting away of sin from the Christian, we must be able to turn to the New Testament and find written there that God indeed has provided grace through the Lord Jesus Christ by which we are enabled to put away sin from our life, and that we are commanded to do so.

Christ has made it possible for us, and has commanded us, to put away the old leaven of the world, of Satan, of our bodily lusts, and of our self-will and self-love.

If we are to make a success of interpreting Scripture types we must look to the Holy Spirit for the main idea and not attempt to force an interpretation that does not fit. We are not to press a meaning into each detail.

Also, there must be New Testament teaching for applications we make.

The purpose of types is not to teach doctrine, it is to provide a depth of understanding that does not always come to us when we read the bare statement of doctrine in the New Testament. A richness of perception comes to us when we read of Noah and his family being saved in the ark and employ this story as a picture of the Christian salvation.


Enumeration of the Seven Levitical Feasts

1. Passover—"In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s passover" (Leviticus 23:5).

2. Unleavened Bread—"And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread" (Leviticus 23:6).

3. Firstfruits—"Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When ye be come into the land that I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest" (Leviticus 23:10).

4. Pentecost—"And ye shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:15,16).

The King James translation of the Scriptures uses the term "feast of weeks" or "feast of harvest" for what we would call the feast of Pentecost.

"Pentecost" is derived from a Greek word signifying the number fifty. The feast of Weeks, of Pentecost, is celebrated fifty days from the feast of Firstfruits.

5. Trumpets—"Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation" (Leviticus 23:24).

6. Day of Atonement—"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:27).

7. Tabernacles—"Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:34).


Four Areas of Interpretation of the Feasts of the Lord

There are at least four areas of interpretation of the seven feasts of Israel:

The Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The redemption of the believer.

The perfecting of the Church, the Body of Christ.

The setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Although there are many points in common among these four areas of interpretation it may be helpful to look at them separately.


The Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will require the next several thousand years in order for us to begin to understand a fraction of the grandeur, the authority, the power, the love, the holiness, the beauty, the wisdom, the knowledge, the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus—the living Word of the Father from eternity.

All the types of the Scripture add to our understanding of the greatness of Christ, of His love, of His work of atonement and redemption on the cross, of the unlimited authority and power of His endless and indestructible resurrection life.

Truly, the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, and he who has seen Christ has seen the Father. The Father has given of Himself without measure to the Son.

The redemption of the believer. The fact that there were seven feasts reveals to us an important aspect of the plan of salvation. It shows that the redemption in and through the Lord Jesus Christ is a perfect work. Salvation has a specific beginning, a specific process and program, and a specific fulfillment, maturing, completion.

No part of the Divine redemption has been left to chance or to our own ideas or creativity. Redemption is of God through Christ from start to finish. Christ is the "Alpha" and the "Omega." Christ finishes what He starts. Christ is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.

Salvation commences with our Passover experience, when we accept the blood of the Lamb of God. By faith we sprinkle that blood on our own life and on our household as the protection against the judgments of the Lord God. The blood of the Passover is our covering when the Lord "passes over" and strikes the gods of the present evil world.

Salvation is brought to completion as we enter the fullness of the indwelling of the Father and the Son through the fullness of the Holy Spirit, as Paul prayed (Ephesians 3:19).

The beginning of our salvation is of God, the completion is of God, and all the experiences and workings are of God. Salvation is the Divine plan of redemption through Christ.

When we state the fullness of salvation is portrayed by the feast of Tabernacles we are not claiming we cannot grow in Christ after that. It seems we shall grow in the image of Christ for eternity as we stand before the Throne of God Almighty, behold His glorious face, and serve Him throughout His creation.

By teaching that the Christian salvation has a specific beginning and ending we mean the Divine plan of redemption takes us where we are, in chaos of spirit, soul, and body and brings us all the way to the fullness of the image of God, and to reconciliation and union with the Father through Christ.

If we follow on to know the Lord the point will be reached where we are reconciled perfectly to God in spirit, in soul, and in body.


The perfecting of the Church. The third area of interpretation of the seven feasts of the Lord is that of the growth to maturity of the Body of Christ.

The Christian Church commences as relatively loose groups of believers in Christ. It comes to maturity as the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb.

The seven feasts portray in symbolic form the development of the Body of Christ from undisciplined groups of believers into the army of the Lord. The army of the Lord will be revealed with Christ at His appearing, bringing judgment and deliverance to the nations of the earth.

The setting up of the Kingdom of God. The fourth way in which we can interpret the seven feasts concerns the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary was the great kingdom-wide act of God in which the legal basis for the Kingdom was established. At the cross the price of redemption was paid for all people, although some reject God’s salvation and are lost to God’s purposes as a result.

The authority of judgment and the ownership of the earth and its peoples were given to Christ, being purchased by His blood. The mortgage was paid for every person, for every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth. Whoever will choose to do so can now pass from the authority of Satan to the authority of Christ by receiving the blood of the cross by faith.

The seven feasts speak of the Lord Jesus, of the growth of the Christian disciples, of the perfecting of the Church, and of the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The Lord Jesus began His work of redemption as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. When God is finished, Christ will be seated on His throne in Jerusalem.

The Christian begins on the cross with Christ. When God is finished, the Christian will be one in the Father and the Son, being filled with the love and the Glory of God.

The Church comes into being as Christ is born in the hearts of the believers. When God Almighty has completed His work, the Church will be the holy city, the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem.

The Kingdom of God was preached by Christ for three years but actually began when Christ rose from the dead. When God proclaims "It is done" there will be a new heaven and a new earth and sin no longer will keep the saved people in bondage.

Christ in His Church shall rule, under God, to the ages of ages, world without end.


DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVEN FEASTS

In our book much is said about the fulfillment of the types of the Old Testament. The people, things, and events of Israel are seen as symbols of spiritual realities, as being prophetic of people, things, and events of the future—particularly in the spirit realm.

Because of the heavy emphasis on these types and shadows it is helpful to keep in mind that the people and events of the Scriptures were physical people living and behaving in the material world. There was a nation of Israel that came from Egypt and wandered in an inhospitable desert for forty long years. There was an actual Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The feasts of the Lord actually were practiced by the Jews and with some modifications are observed to the present day. Although the people, things, and events reveal spiritual truths to us, and in some cases portray happenings yet in the future, we must keep firmly in mind that they are facts of history, having taken place among flesh and blood human beings.

Our study takes us back in time beyond 1400 B.C. to the land of Egypt where a prophet named Moses, and Aaron his brother, were proclaiming the Word of the God to Pharaoh. Egypt was in the process of being destroyed by dreadful plagues. The worst was yet to come.

Passover

The story of the first Passover is fairly well known to Christians besides being of the greatest importance to the Jews. The Passover still is celebrated throughout the world by people of the Jewish race.

Let us begin reading in the twelfth chapter of Exodus:

And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, (Exodus 12:1)

The first Passover marked the only occasion on which any of the seven feasts was celebrated in Egypt (a type of the world). The lambs were killed. The blood was sprinkled on the doorposts of the houses. The meal was eaten with unleavened bread. All this took place in Egypt.

The first observance of each of the remaining six feasts took place after Israel left Egypt; except that unleavened bread was eaten during the first Passover meal, and the Hebrews were still in Egypt for the first few hours—until midnight—of the first observance of the second feast, the feast of Unleavened Bread. It is believed that the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai occurred on the fiftieth day (the first Pentecost) after the first Passover.

It should be noted from the beginning of our study that several of the feasts of the Lord were agricultural festivals. Although the feasts were given to Israel in detail during the wilderness wandering they could not be celebrated until Israel entered the land of promise.

The Jews could not plant crops in the wilderness, and Firstfruits, Pentecost, and Tabernacles celebrated the ingathering of barley, wheat, grapes, and the remainder of the yield of the land. The fact that the feasts were instituted in the wilderness and their observance enjoined on the Hebrews, and yet could not be practiced until the people had taken possession of the land of promise, has prophetic significance for the Church of Christ. It is informing us that what we are experiencing now is in preparation for our future life.

This month [Abib] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:2)

Prior to this time the month Abib was the seventh month of the year. Now, however, Abib was being established as the "beginning of months," marking the beginning of the sacred year. Abib overlaps our March-April.

The seventh month (Tishri ) of the sacred year, the year that began with the month Abib, remained as the first month of the civil year. Tishri overlaps our September-October.

This may seem a bit confusing but actually it is quite simple.

The Jews have two overlapping years as is true also of the United States. We have a calendar year that begins with the month of January. We have a fiscal (business) year that begins with the first day of July (the seventh month of the calendar year).

The Jews have a sacred year that begins with the month Abib—the month in which the Passover is celebrated (the fourteenth of Abib ), and a civil year, the official calendar of kings and of contracts, that begins with the first day of Tishri.

The two overlapping years of Israel, as is true of some of the other customs of the Jews, are of prophetic significance for the Church of Christ. The first day of Tishri is the Blowing of Trumpets. It is New Year’s Day, Rosh Hashanah of the Jews, and typifies the beginning of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The Christian Church began its sacred year with the crucifixion of Christ, the fulfillment of the Passover. Now we have come to the beginning of the civil year, the year of kings and of contracts. We are entering the spiritual fulfillment of the memorial of the blowing of Trumpets. We are approaching the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The seven feasts of the Lord typify the Divine plan of redemption in Christ. The plan of redemption commences with the blood of the Passover Lamb. John the Baptist cried: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

The primary significance of the Passover is not the movement of people from the bondage of Egypt but that which the Passover lamb portrays. The Passover lamb reveals Christ, and Christ is the important aspect of Passover.

No human being can approach the Lord God of Heaven until he or she has received by faith the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as the atonement for his or her sins.

Therefore the Lord announced to His servant, Moses, that the month Abib, which in pre-exodus times had been the seventh month of the year, would from this time forth be the head of the year. God was about to perform one of the most extraordinary acts in the history of the peoples of the earth, an event that portrays the atoning (reconciling) death of the Lamb of God. He was slain for our sins but one day will reign in glory with His Wife whom He has redeemed with His blood.

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: (Exodus 12:3-5)

Notice how careful the Lord is that enough lamb be provided so everyone may eat. It is God’s will that all be saved and come to repentance. There is enough of Christ so everyone in the world may partake.

"A lamb for a house." When one person of a household receives Christ the blessing of the Lord abides on that home. It often happens that the other members of the family come to know the Lord through the faithful life and prayers of the one who has chosen to serve the Lord.

The lamb was selected on the tenth day of the month Abib and was observed until the fourteenth day to make sure there was no blemish in the animal, no defective limb or other imperfection. Our Lord Jesus Christ was examined carefully by the leaders of Israel and by Pontius Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem. They could find no fault in Him.

Christ is God’s Lamb.

And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (Exodus 12:6,7)

The expression "in the evening" (between the evenings) appears to indicate the period of time between sunset and dark—at dusk. The blood shielded the entrance of the houses in which the Israelites ate the Passover lamb. This was the first Passover.

The last Passover was attended by the Lord Jesus. He Himself, the revelation of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was pointing the disciples toward the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood. From this point forward the blessing of the Lord rested on the Christian communion service rather than on the Jewish Passover (although God has never forsaken His people, Israel!).

What more need is there of a Passover lamb? God’s Lamb has come and has given us to eat of His broken body and to drink of His shed blood.

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. (Exodus 12:8-10)

The Passover lamb was not to be undercooked or cooked by boiling in water. The lamb was to be roasted with fire. What was not eaten was to be burned in the fire.

This is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured the judgment of God (the fire) until His entire Personality was part of God’s holy Fire. There was no part of Jesus that did not endure the trial by God’s fire. He had to suffer the full penalty of the Law in order to be an entirely suitable redeemer for every person. Christ was made perfect through suffering so He would be able to lead many sons to glory.

The burning of that which was not eaten reveals to us that the entire Passover lamb was holy to the Lord and not to be treated as garbage.

The Passover lamb was eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, signifying that we must put away the evil (leaven) of the world when we come to Christ. All malice and insincerity must be removed from us if we are to partake properly of God’s Lamb.

The bitter herbs remind us of the suffering of the Son of God, of the suffering of Israel, and also of the fact that a saint may be called on at any time to suffer tribulation and persecution for Christ’s name. There have been many instances in history when the people of the Lord—Jews and Christians alike—have had to suffer for their faith in the one true God.

Numerous Christian believers are suffering tribulation in our own day. We must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom of God.

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover. (Exodus 12:11)

Perhaps most of us have experienced the sense of haste, of pilgrimage, of leaving the world in search of the city of God, when we first receive Christ as our Savior. What happens after a while? Do we lose sight of the fact that we are pilgrims and strangers looking for the city that has foundations? Do we keep our love for Christ burning fiercely with the expectation of His glorious appearing?

The Israelites, several million strong, were preparing to evacuate the land where they had lived since the day when Jacob and his eleven sons had come to Egypt, seeking relief from the famine that was ravaging Canaan. In those days Joseph had stored a supply of food in the warehouses of Egypt.

Some four hundred years later the descendants of Jacob were being visited by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They bowed their heads and worshiped.

The Hebrew slaves had seen the Lord smite Egypt in accordance with the word of His servant, Moses. Still, the Jews had no idea of the terror that was to reach into every home in Egypt excepting the houses having blood sprinkled on the doorposts.

It is true today that God requires of people that they apply the blood of His Lamb to their lives as a protection against the Divine judgment. Had we any idea of the extent of the calamity that will fall on the earth we Christians would have a deeper appreciation for the blood of Christ that is our protection against the judgments of God.

The Lord was getting His people ready to move. God desires of us today that we maintain the same sense of urgency and expectancy, always looking toward the Day of the Lord, always hastening the coming of Christ by our godly living and prayers to Him.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. (Exodus 12:12)

The Passover was a time of redemption for the Israelites but a nightmare of horror for the Egyptians. The firstborn of people and of animals died. Yet the judgment was against the gods of Egypt. The people suffered because of the sentence executed against the gods.

So it is today. The coming Day of the Lord will be a period of horror for the peoples of the earth, especially for those who are living in sin and rebellion. The judgment is against the demon gods of the world. This same Day will be a season of redemption for every man, woman, boy, and girl who is protected by the blood of God’s Lamb.

The battle always is between the Lord God and the rulers of spiritual darkness. The peoples of the earth either are redeemed or destroyed depending on how they receive the grace of God. The destruction comes from God. He is the Lord. He executes the sentence of judgment against the gods of the present evil age.

Let us take care we are on the Lord’s side against His enemies (Exodus 12:12, 13, 23, 27, 29; Psalms 136:10).

The Lord God singled out the firstborn of Egypt for death because Pharaoh was holding the Lord’s firstborn in captivity (Exodus 4:22,23).

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)

The blood of the lamb was for a sign on the houses. No mention is made of the sins of the Israelites. The Lord God was about to pass through Egypt executing judgment against Ptah, the fire God, Neith, the cow, Re, the sun God (you may remember that Joseph’s father-in-law was Potipherah, the priest of On, where Re was worshiped), and the rest of the many gods and goddesses of nature that the Egyptians worshiped.

It is not stated, in the account of this first most important Passover, that the blood of the lamb covered the sins of the Israelites. The blood was a sign on the houses so when the Lord judged Ptah, Neith, Re, Kneph, Amon, and the other gods the plague would not be on the people of Israel.

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. (Exodus 12:14)

The only true Passover was the first one, for on that night God brought His elect from the land of Egypt, from the chains of slavery. Every subsequent Passover observance has been conducted in remembrance of the first Passover. So it is true that Christ was crucified once for all time. When we celebrate the Communion service it is in "remembrance" of God’s Lamb. We are announcing the Lord’s death until He comes (I Corinthians 11:24-26).

The redemption of God’s chosen servants meant liberty for them but destruction for the people of Egypt. So will it be when Christ returns to liberate His elect from the chains of slavery of the present age. The saints will be released to glory, but the sinners and rebellious of the earth will be destroyed as God pours out His wrath on the gods of the world.

And it came to pass, that at midnight [the fifteenth of Abib] the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. (Exodus 12:29,30)

It never has been true before or since that God has gone into the midst of a nation and brought a group of people from its midst, destroying that nation in the process. No matter how much thought we give the first Passover the importance of what happened here scarcely can be grasped.

The exodus of Israel from Egypt is on the same level of significance as Noah’s flood, and the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. The crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus are even greater in importance. The next event of such universal significance will be the return of the Lord with His saints and elect angels to execute judgment on the ungodly.

It is the Lord’s will that all His elect, Jews and Christians alike, frequently bring to mind the story of the first Passover. There is no clearer picture of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. (Exodus 12:26,27)

A person today partakes of the Lord’s Passover by receiving Christ as his Lord and Savior, believing in His atoning crucifixion and bodily resurrection, being baptized in water, and emerging from death as part of Christ’s resurrection. Repentance, faith in Christ, baptism by water into His death and resurrection, and the new birth bring the believer into the new covenant. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved in the Day of Wrath.

True faith, including conversion to Christ, is a circumcision of the heart, a cutting away of the malice and lust of the present age. In order to partake of the Christian "Passover," of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus, a person must repent, being circumcised in his heart.

And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. (Exodus 12:48)


Unleavened Bread

The Passover lamb was slain in the late afternoon of the fourteenth of Abib, between sunset and dark. The Passover meal was eaten during the opening hours of the fifteenth of Abib. "They shall eat the flesh in that night" (Exodus 12:8) refers to the evening hours, the beginning, of the fifteenth of Abib. The Israelites made their exodus at midnight of the same night, the fifteenth of Abib. The fifteenth of Abib was the first day of the week of Unleavened Bread.

The first day of the week of Unleavened Bread is, as we have stated, the fifteenth of Abib, commencing at sundown of the fourteenth. The week of Unleavened Bread is of seven days duration, beginning on the fifteenth day of the month and extending through the twenty-first. The first day of Unleavened Bread, the fifteenth of Abib, is a high (important) Sabbath.

Let us continue with Exodus, Chapter 12:

Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:15)

The term leaven, as used here, is a type of wickedness—the wickedness of the spirit of the world.

Leaven is a fermenting dough that raises bread. Without the addition of leaven the baked bread is flat in shape. For one week, under penalty of being cut off from his people, no Hebrew was to eat leavened bread.

If we stop to think about it, this was a remarkable prohibition. Bread is a food and leaven makes the bread palatable. The sternness of the prohibition had to do with what leaven typifies: the malice and wickedness of the world (I Corinthians 5:8).

God is saying to us, through the feast of Unleavened Bread, that every human being who comes to Him for salvation must put away his former way of life and not cling to one particle of the spirit of the present age.

It does not require much leaven in order to leaven a whole ball of dough. A little sin in a person’s life keeps working until the whole personality has been poisoned. "Put sin away," God commands. "Do not let it be seen in your house. Keep away from sin. Remove it from your presence forever."

And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day [fifteenth of Abib—a high Sabbath] have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. (Exodus 12:17)

It can be seen that the separation of leaven from the camp of Israel is symbolic of the separation of Egypt from Israel. It is the dividing of the light from the darkness.

Notice, "I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt." The term armies reminds us that the peoples of the earth must be redeemed by blood, and then by war. The blood of God’s Son, Christ, pays the full price for our redemption. But Satan will not let his slaves go. Therefore, Christ shall come and take them from him by force, by war.

The redemption by force takes place as the devil is cast out. In the future the army of the Lord will descend upon the earth in tremendous power, at the return of Christ to the earth, to cast out all the workers and works of darkness.

The feast of Unleavened Bread is identified with water baptism. It is in water baptism that we first put away our sins. We leave our old sinful nature in the water and then arise in newness of life in the resurrection of Christ.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:6)

The Lord was emphatic concerning the removal of leaven during the observance of Passover and the week of Unleavened Bread:

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even [that is, at the conclusion of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth, as we understand it], ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:18-20)

Blood was shed at each of the seven feasts. Notice, in the following passage, that animals were sacrificed during the observance of Unleavened Bread:

And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. In the first day shall be an holy convocation [this is the high Sabbath, the first day, the fifteenth of Abib]; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein: But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the Lord; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish: (Numbers 28:17-19)

The first and last days of the feast of Unleavened Bread (fifteenth and twenty-first of Abib) were especially important:

In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:7,8)

The expression, "ye shall do no manner of servile work therein" appears several times in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus in connection with the feasts of the Lord. This injunction teaches us there are times when we are to look up from what we are doing and give the Lord our complete attention.

There is more to life than the constant struggle for food, clothing, shelter, and pleasure, or even the endless drudgery of faithful ministry. Man does not live by bread alone or by human effort alone. God wants us to devote some of our time to the undistracted adoration and seeking of Him.

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. (Psalms 27:4)

Zealous Christian workers often fall into the trap of neglecting to keep in step with the Spirit of God. After a period of time of the Lord’s working at one level, the cloud and the fire move forward. When that happens it is time for the workers to look to the Lord carefully to hear what He says, keeping in readiness to move forward with Him to the next phase of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

On many occasions the diligent Christian workers refuse to move forward with God. They have become rooted in one aspect of spiritual development or ministry and they will not consider any change. "It is of the devil," they cry, as they see the new thing God is doing. They continue with their "servile work" and close themselves off from the Spirit.

The resisting of spiritual change has happened many times in Church history. The most recent has been the reaction against "tongues." At the beginning of the twentieth century the Lord began to emphasize the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost with the accompanying (and eminently scriptural) speaking in tongues. Numerous pastors and teachers, apparently being threatened by change, announced without any basis that "tongues is of the devil." Were it not for the goodness and mercy of the Lord they would be held guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit of God.

When the Lord God brings into view a feast He desires that we cease what we are doing long enough to listen carefully to what He is saying. If we do not it often becomes necessary to the Lord to bring us into a hard place in order to get our attention.

Today the Lord is moving past Pentecost to the feast of Tabernacles and is emphasizing the nature of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is being stressed. We can expect to witness the same disruption as Pentecostal leaders cling to Pentecost, working their familiar works and refusing to move forward with the Spirit of God.

One would think the leaders of the churches would recognize that every move of God has been accompanied by vicious persecution of their fellow Christians who are listening to God and moving forward with Him. But the lesson never seems to be learned. The pattern is repeated with every generation.

Spiritual change requires humility and openness, whereas positions of church leadership and preeminence foster spiritual pride in those who hold the positions. Spiritual pride is a problem in the Christian ministry.


Firstfruits

The feast of Firstfruits is to be celebrated on the sixteenth day of the first month, on the second day of the week of Unleavened Bread.

As we have stated, the first day of Unleavened Bread (fifteenth Abib ) is a high feast day, an important Sabbath. It is felt that the expression in Leviticus 23:11, "on the morrow after the Sabbath," refers to the day after the high Sabbath—the day after the first day of the week of Unleavened Bread (fifteenth through the twenty-first of Abib ).

We have three important days in a row:

Passover—the slaying of the lamb, occurring on the late afternoon (evening) of the fourteenth.

The high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread on the fifteenth—the lamb being eaten during the beginning of this day, at night just after the conclusion of the fourteenth.

Then the feast of Firstfruits on the sixteenth of Abib.

The feast of Firstfruits was celebrated by the bringing of a sheaf of barley to the priest to mark the beginning of the harvest of grain—barley being the first grain to ripen.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord. And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:10-14)

Notice the expression, "when ye be come into the land that I give to you."

Several of the seven feasts of the Lord had to do with the land of promise. Yet, the feasts were enjoined solemnly on the Israelites while they still were making their way through the wilderness.

Today the Church of Christ is making its way through the wilderness of the world. Many aspects of the spiritual life in Christ have been brought to our attention and enjoined on us. Each of us has been charged to lay hold on the Divine grace that is in Christ our Lord, and by the virtue, power, and wisdom that are in that grace to glorify God by our deeds, our speech, and our motives and imaginations.

Yet the fullest glory of our redemption is not here yet but will be brought to us in the ages to come (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 2:7).

Our treasures are in Heaven. Our true life is in Heaven. We are being trained carefully now so when Jesus returns to the earth, bringing our life and our treasures with Him, we shall be able to conduct ourselves properly in our land of promise.

As soon as the harvest commenced, the first sheaf of barley to be reaped was brought immediately to the priest. The priest waved the sheaf of barley before the Lord, giving thanks to God for His goodness and acknowledging the Lord’s ownership of the earth and the fullness thereof.

None of the harvest was to be eaten until the sheaf of Firstfruits was presented to the Lord. God intends to be first in our lives in everything we do.

As we noted previously, animal blood was shed during each of the seven feasts. In the case of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits, a ram, two young bulls, and seven first-year lambs were offered as burnt (ascending) offerings for a sweet savor to the Lord.

The whole burnt offering typifies the consecration of the Lord Jesus Christ. The burnt offering also reminds us that we too must present our bodies a living sacrifice. Consecration must be true of us from the moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior on through to mature sainthood.

We never are to grow careless in our daily walk of cross-carrying, self-denying obedience to our Lord, Christ.

The meal and drink offerings that accompanied the offering of the animals speak of the fact that the works of our hands are to be offered to the Lord. It is not enough that we consecrate our person to the Lord. In addition, all that we do in our daily life must be presented to God.

It cannot be true of a Christian that his life is divided into what is sacred and what is secular. There is to be nothing in the saint that is outside Christ. Everything that the disciple does, says, and thinks is to be performed to the Lord, offered to the Lord. The believer himself and all his talents and abilities are to be held perpetually in trust for the Master’s use. No lesser dedication is acceptable under the new covenant.

The person and behavior of the believer is to be the visible expression in the earth of the Person and resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ—the shining of His Presence and Glory.

The concept of the firstfruits is an important one in the working of God. The term "firstfruits" appears several times in the New Testament. The idea of the firstfruits is that of the first part of a larger amount that is yet to come. The sanctifying (setting apart to God as holy) of the firstfruits sanctifies the remaining greater part of the harvest from which the firstfruits was taken.

Christ Himself is the greatest of all firstfruits. Because God has accepted the Firstfruits, Christ, the Body of Christ has been accepted and abides under the blessing of God.

It is true also that when we accept Christ, part of Him is born in us and ascends immediately to the Throne of God. A firstfruits of our personality has been reaped and sanctified, and so the remainder of our being has been accepted of God and abides under the blessing of God.

The Holy Spirit then works in us until our entire personality, spirit, soul, and body, becomes permeated with Christ in preparation for the Day of Redemption that is to come with the appearing of Christ from Heaven.


Pentecost

The word Pentecost is related in meaning to the number fifty. It comes from the fact that this observance was celebrated on the fiftieth day, counting from the day of Firstfruits (sixteenth Abib ) as day number one. The celebration of Pentecost occurs during our month of May.

Pentecost was termed the "feast of weeks" because it took place seven weeks (a week of weeks) from the feast of Firstfruits.

It is believed that the first fiftieth-day observance (fifty-two days from the first Passover) was the day on which the Lord gave the Ten Commandments.

To this day the feast of Pentecost is associated in Jewish thinking with the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.

The convocation of Pentecost signaled the conclusion of the wheat harvest. Two large loaves baked with leaven were waved before the Lord by the High Priest of Israel.

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: (Leviticus 23:15)

The "sabbath" was the first day of the week of Unleavened Bread. The "morrow after the sabbath" was the feast of Firstfruits. The "sheaf of the wave offering" was the first sheaf of the barley harvest.

"Seven sabbaths" is forty-nine days, the fiftieth day being Pentecost. The disciples of Jesus had to wait until the day of the feast of Pentecost (fifty days from the resurrection of Jesus), and then "the promise of the Father" was poured on them.

Seven Sabbaths is a Sabbath of Sabbaths, indicating that Pentecost indeed was a high holy day. Pentecost was the only one of the seven feasts standing by itself, the first three being observed together and the last three being observed together.

The extraordinary importance of Pentecost is due to the fact that this feast represents the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The Person and work of the Holy Spirit are to be dominant in all areas of the Christian Church until the Church is presented to the Lamb as His wife.

The Holy Spirit is of far greater importance in the life and ministry of the Christian Church than ordinarily is believed to be true—believed in the sense that the Christians actually look to the Holy Spirit for the wisdom and power to bear witness of Christ’s perfect atonement and triumphant resurrection and for the wisdom and power to lead a holy life.

We are convinced that it is time now for Christians to realize the tremendous importance of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ. While we never are to pray to the Holy Spirit, He is the One who gives gifts and ministries according to His own will and who directs their use. The Holy Spirit is God in our midst.

Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:16,17)

The two large loaves were waved before the Lord by the anointed priest. It seems strange that they were baked with leaven after the stern injunction concerning the removal of leaven during the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

Some Bible teachers hold that the leaven in the two wave loaves of Pentecost portrays the fact that at the time of their baptism with the Holy Spirit the believers still have a sinful nature. We do not receive the Spirit because we are perfect but in order to make us perfect.

This certainly is a defensible point of view. The oil of the Holy Spirit comes on the blood, not on any holiness that has been achieved by the believer (Leviticus 14:17). All of us—Spirit-filled or not—still are pursuing complete redemption, the rest of God, in which the world, Satan, and our own fleshly nature do not influence our behavior.

The leaven put away during the week of Unleavened Bread typifies sin. All "sin" was to be removed from the camp of the Israelites, symbolizing the removal of the sin of Egypt (the world) from Israel.

The fact that the Holy Spirit came as "cloven tongues like as of fire" during the first Pentecost reinforces the interpretation of the Pentecostal leaven as the body of sin dwelling in the believers. The Spirit came as a Dove on the Lord Jesus because there is no warfare in His personality. In our case, however, even though the Holy Spirit has come upon our flesh, our warfare against sin and self-love has not as yet been accomplished. Therefore the Holy Spirit comes on us in the form of fire.

It is not until we pass through the final three feasts that we are fully in the rest of God and the Spirit can rest as a Dove upon us.

Another interpretation of the leaven in the Pentecostal loaves is that it represents the new leaven of the Kingdom. The two loaves symbolize the anointing of the power of the Holy Spirit on the Church of Christ. The leaven signifies the Substance of Christ Himself that would be born in the disciples as the Holy Spirit came upon them.

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

The disciples did not attain perfection at once, but Christ had been born in them. Slowly, just as a little leaven works through the whole ball of dough, the Substance of Christ would influence their deeds, words, imaginations, and motives.

Both interpretations of the leaven are true. There still was sin in the one hundred twenty on whom the Spirit fell in the beginning. The Bride was not as yet without blemish. The coming of the Spirit gave birth in them to the new leaven of the Kingdom, which is the living Word—Christ.

The two loaves were a "firstfruits to the Lord." So it is that our baptism with the Holy Spirit does not signify that we have arrived at the fullness of God. At Pentecost the leaven of sin is still present but the new leaven of the Kingdom, the firstfruits of Christ, has been conceived in us. If we remain faithful to God, the Holy Spirit will remove all the leaven of sin and the new leaven of Christ will grow to maturity in us.

Pentecost, being the fourth of seven feasts, is a midpoint, so to speak. After we are baptized with God’s Spirit we either go backward and allow the leaven of sin to expand in us or we go forward and allow the leaven of Christ to expand in us. It is important that the believer in Christ understand both kinds of leaven are in him. If he devotes his life to the leaven of sin he will reap corruption. If he devotes his life to the leaven of Christ he will reap eternal life.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the first of the firstfruits of the Kingdom of God, being the firstborn from the dead. Next will come the victorious saints, the hundredfold, the attainers to the first resurrection from the dead.

After the victorious saints will appear the remainder of the elect, as we understand the Scriptures.

The Christian Church is a firstfruits of the earth to the Lord God, paving the way for the reign of the Kingdom of God over all the saved nations of the earth. The Church of Christ is a firstfruits of the harvest of mankind. Christ yet will receive the nations for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession.

The two wave loaves of Pentecost were of fine flour and were baked. The fine flour portrays the unblemished nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that the loaves were baked speaks of the fires of Divine judgment that fell on Christ and fall on every true saint as he presses forward in the Lord.

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11)

Many of the events of our life, although we may not appreciate them at the time, are for the purpose of purifying the "flour" of our nature, separating the wheat from the chaff. Then the fires of tribulation "bake" us until we are tasty bread—fit for the consumption of God and man.

And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the Lord. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (Leviticus 23:18-21)

Again, we have the shedding of blood. God can be appeased concerning the sins of people only by the offering of innocent blood. Included were the burnt (ascending) offering, the sin offering, and two one year old lambs for peace offerings.

Notice also the drink offerings. Wine was poured out in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, evidently on the floor (bare ground) next to the Table of Showbread, whenever there was a nationwide observance such as the feast of Pentecost. The wine represents the blood of Christ that was shed for the sins of the world.

Some aspects of the Divine redemption are ever with us, from the time of our new birth until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Two of these constant companions are the blood of Christ and our own consecration to the will of God. If you add to these two the anointing of the Holy Spirit you have the three factors by which we overcome the accuser:

The blood of the Lamb.

The word of our testimony, which is the work of the Holy Spirit in us and through us.

The loving not of our lives to the point of death (see Revelation 12:11).

The sixteenth chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of the joy that always accompanies the celebration of Pentecost:

Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn [from the feast of Firstfruits]. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks [Pentecost] unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: And thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the Lord thy God hath chosen to place his name there. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes. (Deuteronomy 16:9-12)

Every Israelite male was to come before God on the feast of Pentecost with an offering taken from that with which the Lord had prospered him. From these offerings the priest was able to perform the ceremonies according to the statutes.

Every man was to give a "freewill offering." What we give to the Lord must be offered freely and with joy. God loves a cheerful giver—him who rejoices and practices righteousness. What is extorted or forced is not acceptable. We should give our all to the Lord Jesus with the greatest abandonment and joy, breaking the bottle of the perfume of our life on His feet and counting it not wasted.

Notice the spirit of generosity, goodwill, and thankful rejoicing that went along with the celebration of the end of the wheat harvest. Have you experienced Pentecost yet? If you have you will agree that it was one of the most satisfying experiences of your life.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on us brings joy indescribable and full of glory. Yet, through all the glory we are to keep in mind that we had been slaves to the Pharaoh of this age until the Divine Redeemer, Christ, came and set us free.


Trumpets

The Blowing of Trumpets (Yom T’ruoh—the day of the blowing of the Trumpet) occurs on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew religious year—the year that begins with Passover (Pesach ). Today the observance is termed Rosh Hashanah.

The memorial of the blowing of Trumpets calls attention to the nearness of the solemn Day of Atonement (the sixth of the seven feasts), which takes place on the tenth day of the same (seventh) month.

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippor, sometimes Yomim Kipporim—the Days of Atonement) is the greatest and holiest day of the Jewish year.

The week of Tabernacles (Succoth ), the seventh and last of the feasts of the Lord, also occurs during the seventh month, the month of Tishri (the fifteenth through the twenty-first of Tishri ).

Trumpets (Yom T’ruoh—there are variant forms of these Anglicized Hebrew terms) falls on the first day of the seventh month, which is the month of Tishri. Tishri is the seventh month of the Hebrew year that begins with Nisan. Nisan is the post-exilic name of the month Abib.

The sacred calendar begins with Nisan (Abib ) and goes through Adar, with Tishri being the seventh month.

The civil calendar begins with Tishri and goes through Elul, with Nisan being the seventh month.

Tishri, the seventh month of the year that begins with Nisan, is the first month of the agricultural (civil) year.

Since the Blowing of Trumpets falls on the first day of Tishri, and Tishri is the first month of the agricultural year, the Blowing of Trumpets celebrates New Year’s Day of the agricultural, civil year.

The first of Tishri is New Year’s Day. The Jews do not refer to it as Yom T’ruoh, the day of the blowing of the Trumpet, but Rosh Hashanah (head of the year). During Rosh Hashanah the trumpet (shofar ) is blown in the synagogues.

It appears in Jewish thinking the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are considered together (Hayyim Schauss, The Jewish Festivals. New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, translated by Samuel Jaffe, 1938).

The Jewish New Year’s celebration is Rosh Hashanah, which corresponds to Yom T’ruoh, the day of the blowing of the Trumpet.

It should be kept in mind that trumpets were blown on numerous important occasions. But the trumpets were blown "especially loudly and alarmingly on the first day of the seventh month" (Schauss, op. cit., p. 159).

The familiar Yom Kippor is the Day of Atonement. The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippor are known as the "Days of Awe."

The Hebrew year that commences with Yom T’ruoh (Rosh Hashanah) corresponds to the natural cycle of agriculture.

The concept of the blowing of the trumpet seems to be an important idea in the mind of God, if frequency of mention in Scripture is an index of importance.

Trumpets (shofar, yobel, and hasosera are the Hebrew terms employed in the Scripture) were sounded to announce significant events (Leviticus 25:9); to assemble Israel (Numbers 10:2); to obtain God’s help against the enemy (Numbers 10:9); to call God’s attention to an offering (Numbers 10:10); to announce the Presence of God (II Samuel 6:15); to warn of war and danger (Jeremiah 4:19); and to play music (II Chronicles 5:13,14).

Trumpets are mentioned in the New Testament writings in connection with the return of Christ and the gathering to Him of His elect (Matthew 24:31); with the resurrection from the dead (I Corinthians 15:52; I Thessalonians 4:16); and with significant announcements and events (Revelation 1:10; 8:2).

The Rabbis state the trumpets ordained by the Lord had three purposes:

To raise the dead to newness of life through repentance from sin.

To bring to the Lord’s mind His covenant with Israel.

To confound the accusations of Satan against the Jews (Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel in the Feasts of Israel. Philadelphia: The Friends of Israel, 1954, p. 23).

Trumpets were blown on the first day of the ancient civil year. Tishri, the first month of the civil year, coincides with the latter part of September and the beginning of October. We Gentiles may get our practice of blowing horns on New Year’s Day from this old custom.

And in the seventh month [Tishri—the first month of the civil, agricultural year], on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. (Numbers 29:1)

Here again we see the expression, "you shall do no servile work." The idea of a Divinely appointed Sabbath is that we refrain from occupying ourselves with the numerous and varied tasks of our existence, with our own purposes and pleasures, and turn our thoughts and attention toward the Lord God and His purposes and pleasures.

The person who keeps plenty of time in his or her life for undistracted, intense worship and seeking of the Lord, and who practices the Presence of the Lord in all areas of living, is the one who is keeping the spirit of the Sabbath commandments.

And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the Lord; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram, And one tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. (Numbers 29:2-6)

The Blowing of Trumpets was accompanied by the shedding of blood and by the burnt (ascending) offering of a sweet fragrance to God. The poured-out wine of the drink offering was included, reminding us of the offering of the blood of God’s Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ.

What God is saying is this: as you come into each new season of experience with God, do not forget the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, do not forget that you yourself are an ascending offering, a whole burnt offering to the Lord (Romans 12:1,2).

Do not forget your priestly ministry to God, your service as a member of the Body of Christ (the ram, which is the animal used in the consecrating of the priests).

Do not forget the meat (meal) offering, the presenting of all the works of your hands to the Lord. Do not divide your life into the sacred and the secular, into what God will accept and what God will not accept.

Do not forget the sin offering, do not forget to confess your sins to Christ as the Holy Spirit brings you into further light each day (I John 1:7-9).

The following passage contains an important principle of the victorious Christian discipleship:

And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. (Numbers 10:9)

The concept is that of blowing an alarm so God can hear it. The Lord has written many promises to us. Has He forgotten? It seems so at times. Is He aware of the details of our needs? Oftentimes it appears He is not aware of all the things that are troubling us.

God always remembers His promises and He always is aware of our needs. He is not asleep. He is not careless and forgetful.

Yet, God is waiting for us to remind Him of what He has stated. God is waiting for us to state our needs in His Presence. Christ continually asks each of us: "What is it that you wish Me to do for you?"

The passage above declares (concerning the blowing of the trumpet) "then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies."

What would happen if Israel did not sound the alarm in God’s Presence? God would not remember them and they would not be saved from their enemies. This is what happens to us when we do not pray.

We have a wealth of promises in the Scriptures. Yet in some instances we do not have solutions to our many problems. Why not? Because we do not remind God who we are and what He has promised concerning us. We bear needless pain because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

In many cases we are too passive about the promises of God. We need to start blowing the trumpet of prayer in God’s ears loudly enough that He can hear and be sure of what it is we really desire. When God has been persuaded we are sincere in our request, and believe what He has promised, the answer will be forthcoming.

We have not because we ask not.

The following passages may give the reader some small concept of the many times the trumpet is mentioned in the Scriptures:

And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. (Exodus 19:19)

Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. (Numbers 10:2)

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God. (Numbers 10:10)

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)

And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. (Judges 7:20)

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (II Samuel 6:15)

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God. (II Chronicles 5:13,14)

And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. (Ezra 3:10)

God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. (Psalms 47:5)

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Corinthians 14:8)

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians

4:16)

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10)

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2)

The preceding verse marks the beginning of the blowing of the trumpets that herald the Day of the Lord. The seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation are the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets.

It can be seen from the above passages that there are many varied references to the trumpet in the Scriptures.

One of the most significant trumpets of the Scripture is that which announces the Year of Jubilee.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)

The Year of Jubilee is a type of the Day of Redemption that is to come at the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Christ. The thousand-year period known as the Kingdom Age, or Millennium, is this Sabbath of Sabbaths, when that which has been forfeited, stolen, or wrested by force will be restored to the rightful owners.

The trumpet of the Jubilee is to be blown on the Day of Atonement because it is through the atonement, the reconciliation to God, that people are released from the chains of slavery to sin.

The follower of Christ can enter now into the Jubilee by confessing his sins and forsaking them and by pressing into the eternal Life that Christ Is. The Lord Jesus is the Jubilee of God. In Him there is release from all the works of Satan.


Day of Atonement

Now we come to the sixth of the feasts of the Lord, the most solemn day of the Jewish year. It is observed on the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri ).

The Day of Atonement was the only day of the year when the High Priest of Israel was allowed into the Most Holy Place. The anointed priest went in before the Mercy Seat (Propitiatory; Lid of Atonement; Lid of Reconciliation) and sprinkled blood for his own sins and for the sins of the people of Israel.

Also, a scapegoat bearing the sins of the people was led away into a "land not inhabited."

The term atonement contains several concepts, especially the idea of complete reconciliation to God. There are the concepts of covering over sin, of appeasing the wrath of God, of forgiveness, of annulment of debt, of remission of sin, of reconciliation, of healing—in short, all that is needed for bringing a human being from a state of unfitness for the Divine Presence all the way to the Throne of Glory.

There is no lack in God’s plan of atonement and redemption in Christ. Every need for body, soul, and spirit is included in the atonement made by Christ. There is no person who has a need, as far as reconciliation to God is concerned, that has not been met in the Divine atonement.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

The term Mercy Seat does not communicate the whole meaning of the golden lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant. The lid should be termed the Propitiatory Cover or Lid of Atonement or Lid of Reconciliation.

Far more than the merciful waiving of guilt is involved here. We have not only mercy and forgiveness but also power, authority, healing, wisdom, imparted Divine virtue, reconciliation—every aspect of the grace of Almighty God needed to conform us to the image of Christ and to bring us into perfect fellowship with the Father.

The Mercy Seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, was not a seat as though God needed to rest. God dwelled between the wings of the cherubim, He did not sit on top of the Ark. God covered the Ark with His Divine Presence just as He covers the Lord Jesus Christ, and also those who are abiding in Christ.

There was no other day of the Jewish calendar equal in importance to Yom Kippor, the Day of Atonement. The success of the religious year hinged on whether or not the Anointed Priest was received of God when he entered behind the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place.

The people were aware of the possibility that the Glory (Shechinah ) of God would flare out and the High Priest would be slain, as were Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1,2). Therefore the nation of Israel waited with trembling to see if the Lord God would be pleased to accept the sprinkling of the blood on behalf of their iniquities of the past year. If the entrance of the High Priest into the Most Holy Place was accepted the whole nation rejoiced.

Let us turn now to the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus. In this chapter the procedures for the Day of Atonement were presented carefully by the Lord so there could be no chance of an incorrect observance.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)

Aaron had just lost his two sons because they offered incense in a rash manner before the Lord, perhaps being drunk at the time. Now the Lord was warning Aaron that the holy veil that concealed the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat was to remain undisturbed, except for the solemn occasion each year when the Anointed Priest was directed to sprinkle blood upon and before the Mercy Seat.

The penalty for rashness was death. Let us not become overfamiliar with the things of God!

God Himself appeared from time to time in the cloud of glory on the Mercy Seat. The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was not an area for the exaltation of proud flesh.

Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. (Leviticus 16:3,4)

The beautiful, gleaming ephod (jacket) of the Anointed Priest was not to be worn on this solemn occasion. Instead, Aaron was to put on the sparkling white linen garment that symbolizes righteous conduct. The white linen caused a minimum of perspiration and portrayed the purity and holiness of the occasion. The priest had to wash in the bronze Laver at the door of the Tabernacle before he was allowed to enter.

And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. (Leviticus 16:5,6)

Here is one of the differences between Christ and the Levitical priesthood. The High Priest of Israel, being a sinful man like the rest of us, had to make an atonement for himself and for the other priests. Christ was offered for the sins of the whole world, not for His own sins. He needed no atonement for Himself, being born without sin and living His life without any trace of sin in His Person.

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:7,8)

If there had been only one goat it would have signified that Jesus came only to forgive our sins. Because there were two goats, one being slain and the other left alive, we realize Jesus not only forgives our sins but also removes our sins. Jesus saves His disciples from their sins, not in their sins (Matthew 1:21).

And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:9,10)

One goat was slain and one lived. The Lord’s goat was slain and its blood shed. It was a sin offering. Christ was offered for our sins. The scapegoat lived; yet, an atonement (reconciliation) was made with it also. The scapegoat was let go into the wilderness.

Letting go the scapegoat into the wilderness reveals that Christ not only forgives our sin, canceling the guilt, but also removes from us our sins and rebellions. The scapegoat demonstrates that Christ makes it possible for us to live a righteous life in the world. Christ will remove our sins so we are not required to keep sinning.

The following is a portrayal of the removal of our sins.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)

Although Zechariah prophesied under the old covenant it was not until the new covenant that our sin and rebellion actually can be removed from us.

And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: (Leviticus 16:12,13)

The High Priest took one of the golden censers from the Lampstand, filled it with coals of fire from the Altar of Incense that stood before the holy veil, and then picked up some incense from the cups on the border of the Table of Showbread. Passing behind the veil he threw the incense on the glowing coals, causing the holy perfume to fill the Most Holy Place.

Every element of the ceremony of the Day of Atonement, including the composition of the incense, was prescribed in statute. The atonement had to be made exactly as the Lord commanded Moses. The penalty for carelessness was death.

A Gentile upon accepting Christ now has the marvelous privilege of coming boldly before the throne of almighty God. Only an Israelite who had waited in fear and trembling to see if God accepted the Anointed Priest could appreciate what it means for us to rush into the Most Holy Place with our needs and desires any time we please (Hebrews 4:16).

There is only one reason we now possess such an extraordinary privilege. It is that the offering of Christ and the interceding Presence of Christ are so totally pleasing to the Father. Through Christ we now can come into the Holiest of all, a place that once was open only to one man in the world, the High Priest of Israel; and to him during but one day of the year.

Our right to enter the Most Holy Place gives us some idea of the authority and power of the atonement (reconciliation) made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Could any person be so foolish as to refuse the gift of God’s grace in Christ?

And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: (Leviticus 16:14,15)

The blood of the bull was for Aaron and the other priests, and the blood of the goat was for the people of Israel. The blood was sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat—perhaps on the ground in order to sanctify the steps of the priest as he approached God.

The blood was sprinkled seven times, signifying that God’s redemption will continue working in the earth until God’s elect have been fully redeemed from the hand of the enemy.

The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was not sprinkled in any earthly tabernacle. The blood of Christ was brought into Heaven and there presented to the Father before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.

The blood of Christ still is atoning, both for the sins confessed by Christians and also for the sins of the newly saved. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Life of the Christian and it is through His holy blood that we overcome the accuser.

And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:20-22)

What a wonderful sight for the Israelite to behold as he witnessed his sins being carried off into the wilderness, never to be remembered against him again! By this ceremony he could understand God not only forgave his sins but also removed them from him.

The removal did not actually take place at that time because only the blood of the Lord Jesus can remove sin. What took place under the old covenant was a prophetic portrayal of what one day would be reality. The devout Israelite obeyed God in the hope of the Day of Redemption to come in the future, although he did not realize this at the time.

When we of the new covenant confess our sins, Christ not only forgives our sins but also cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The atonement includes both forgiveness of sins and removal of sins. However, we too are looking toward the Day of Redemption in the future.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

It is the will of God in Christ that through His grace we live a righteous and holy life on the earth, not continuing in lust, idolatry, malice, filthiness or any other evil work. We who belong to Christ have put on Christ. We do not make provision for our flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. This privilege is ours through the atonement that was made on the cross by Christ and through the Divine grace that is given to us under the new covenant.

We obey Christ in all things today, overcoming sin as He enables us to do so. If we are faithful in doing what is in our power to do, He will come to us and put to death the sin and rebellion in us. The final work of redemption will take place, for the faithful, at His appearing. In that day even our sinful flesh will be made new by the Spirit of God so there is no sin whatever in our personality.

Christ was "led from the camp" just as the scapegoat of old, bearing our sins on Himself. He descended into Hell. There the Spirit of God raised Him in power, free from the load of sin and death He bore away on our behalf.

And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. (Leviticus 16:29-31)

The feasts of Pentecost and Tabernacles were seasons of rejoicing. The Day of Atonement was a time of fasting, of repentance, of humiliation of soul. The Christian discipleship is made up both of rejoicing and of the enduring of hardness and suffering. There is milk and honey but also the bitter herbs.

A balanced experience in Christ must have its blessings and its troubles, its rain and its sun, its glory and its tribulations. It requires both rain and sun to bring wheat to maturity.

Again we find (above) the injunction to "do no work at all." It is important that we interrupt our busy lives on a regular basis and devote time to waiting on God and meditating in His Word. The person who becomes so busy there is no time left for waiting on the Lord is heading toward destruction.

One thing in life is needful—that we seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we do not, God has His own effective ways of slowing us down. Then we learn to communicate with God and to receive from Him the wisdom and strength we must have if we are to survive. We destroy ourselves when we do not take time to seek the Lord.

The expression "that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord" is enlightening. Sometimes we are taught that the only good accomplished by the Levitical sacrifices, ceremonies, and ordinances was that of pointing forward to Christ—that there was nothing of immediate effectiveness in them. It seems, however, that such was not the case.

Of course, there is no comparison between Christ and the Law of Moses. Christ is the Lord Himself come to earth. The Law of Moses is but a servant that brings us to Christ. Only the blood of Jesus can remove our sinful nature.

Nevertheless there are numerous passages in the Old Testament that reveal that if an Israelite walked blamelessly in the Law and in the ordinances, making the appropriate sacrifices for sin, for thanksgiving, for consecration, paying tithes, keeping the Sabbaths, circumcising his sons, the worshiper was blameless before God and accepted of Him.

The worshiper under the old covenant did not have the Holy Spirit or the body and blood of Christ as we do; nor was he born again; nor was the sinful nature removed from his personality. But the love and blessing of God was upon him if he acted righteously, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God. He was forgiven his sins by the atonement made with the slain bulls, goats, and birds.

And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses. (Leviticus 16:32-34)

The priest "whom he shall anoint" refers to the High Priest.

The atonement was made for the holy sanctuary, for the Tabernacle of the Congregation, for the Altar, for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. Christ has made an atonement for the spirit, soul, and body of the believer, for the Church, which is the Body of Christ, and for the entire Kingdom of God.

Christ made an atonement for the whole world. He paid the mortgage for every person. The only souls who are lost are those who refuse the love of God in Christ. It is a tragedy when a man or woman, boy or girl, turns away from God’s salvation. The Divine redemption is available to everyone who will receive. Some prefer to live to themselves, not accepting the lordship of Jesus over them. They prefer to ignore their Creator and follow their self-centered desires.

God has made provision for every person. Our part is to believe, receive, and then press forward to the rewards that will be given to each Christian who lives the life of victory in Christ.

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:11,12)


Tabernacles

The celebration of the feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous occasion of the year. For seven days the Israelites were to sleep out under the stars in booths made of branches. Tabernacles marked the end of the harvesting and processing of all the grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts farmed by the Jews. The Law was read. Water from the Pool of Siloam was poured on the Altar of Burnt Offering. It was a time of the most extreme rejoicing.

One can imagine an Israelite coming from his house each year and living for a week in a booth made from the branches of trees. This was the Lord’s way of repeatedly bringing to the attention of the Jews that their most important contribution to the nations of the earth is not to be in the area of government or economics or in the arts and sciences, as significant as their contributions in these realms may be.

The most important gift that Israel brings to the family of mankind is the Presence and Law of God.

Also, living in the booths points to the day when God dwells in Israel and Israel dwells in God; God rests in Israel and Israel rests in God. The Prophets testified of that Day to come, and Jesus and the Apostles taught us how God is bringing His plan to pass in human beings. God’s plan is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

The three great symbols of Israel are the Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth. These correspond to the three great platforms of the Divine redemption: salvation through the blood of Jesus; the Presence of the Holy Spirit; and the dwelling of the Father and the Son in the hearts of God’s people.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:34-36)

The Blowing of Trumpets was observed on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri. The Day of Atonement took place on the tenth day of Tishri. The feast of Tabernacles lasted seven days, from the fifteenth through the twenty-first of Tishri.

Notice the expression, "the eighth day (twenty-second of Tishri ) shall be a holy convocation unto you" (Leviticus 23:36). The eighth day is a high Sabbath celebrated with extraordinary rejoicing. The eighth day of the observance of Tabernacles typifies the first day of the new week of eternity, the week that has no end. The eighth day will find its most complete fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (Revelation 21:3).

Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles are observed during the seventh month of the religious year, the year that begins with Passover.

The seventh month (Tishri ) of the religious year is the first month of the agricultural year, agriculture being a chief occupation of the people of Israel.

The last three feasts, beginning with Trumpets, typify the beginning of doing business in the Kingdom of God.

The "religious" year, which occurs approximately from March through February of our calendar, represents the plan of salvation—our personal redemption through Christ. Our personal redemption commences when we are in chaos of personality and attains maturity when we are at rest in the state of perfect reconciliation with the Father.

The religious year speaks also of the creating of the spotless and unblemished Bride of the Lamb from His body and blood.

The farming year, which begins with the month Tishri, occurs approximately from September through August of our calendar. The farming (civil) year portrays the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Continuing to read in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus:

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

As we mentioned before, the observances of the seven feasts were taught to the Israelites and enjoined on them while they were wandering in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. The Jews could not celebrate Firstfruits or Pentecost or Tabernacles while they were in the wilderness because these feasts have to do with the harvesting of crops. They could not gather in "the fruit of the land" until they were in Canaan. The feasts were given to them in preparation for the time when they were in possession of the land of promise.

This kind of training-in-advance takes place also with us Christians. God is teaching us many lessons in the present hour. We are to learn our lessons carefully now for they will be necessary for us in the ages to come. Much of what God is commanding today will have increasing significance throughout our lifetime on the earth and even more in the future beyond that.

... but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)

We must, as the Holy Spirit directs us, apply the lessons we are learning each day. Yet our instruction and preparation are for the Kingdom Age (Millennial Jubilee) and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. We shall bear much responsibility throughout eternity as God’s kings and priests. Is it any surprise, therefore, that we must be trained so very carefully in the present life during our wilderness sojourn?

The celebration of Tabernacles signifies the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of the next. All that has been sown in the land has by this time been reaped and processed. The "fruit of the land" includes wheat, barley, lentils, peas, beans, onions, millet, grapes, cucumbers, melons, citrus fruits, and nuts.

And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord. (Leviticus 23:40-44)

It was the Lord’s intention that the feast of Tabernacles be a season of rejoicing over the goodness of the Lord.

Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. (Deuteronomy 16:13-15)

Sometimes the feast of Tabernacles is referred to as the feast of Booths or the feast of Ingathering.

The feast of Tabernacles is associated with the reading of the Law of Moses to the congregation of Israel in solemn assembly:

And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: (Deuteronomy 31:10-12)

The feast of Tabernacles is associated also with water. By the latter part of our month of September and the beginning of October (the time of the feast of Tabernacles) the dry season (May through August) has about ended. The early (former, planting) rains soon are to fall. The rivers will begin to flow.

The hard clods of earth baked by the summer sun will be moistened so they can be plowed in preparation for the sowing of the seed of the upcoming farming year. During the celebration of Tabernacles the Jews were rejoicing, not only because of the abundance of the preceding year but also in expectation of the coming of refreshing rains and the hope of the satisfying blessings that the new year might bring to them.

Tabernacles is celebrated for seven days; and then comes the eighth day, a high Sabbath, the "great day of the feast" (Simchat Torah ). It was the practice at the time Jesus was on earth for water to be brought in golden vessels from the Pool of Siloam. Then the high priest poured the water into a basin on the Altar of Burnt Offering.

On the eighth day trumpets were blown and Isaiah 12:3 was sung: "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. " It was on this occasion of fervent thanksgiving and jubilation that Jesus stood in the midst and cried: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37,38).

When we read the twelfth chapter of Isaiah, remembering that this passage was closely connected with the celebration of Tabernacles, we realize the Holy Spirit is teaching us that the feast of Tabernacles concerns the abiding of God in Christ in us and that out from the Throne of God established in us shall pour rivers of living water. These are waters of eternal life that one day will flow from the members of the Body of Christ to the farthest reaches of the earth.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3)

The fact that God required His people to live in booths for one week out of the year had to do with the special history and mission of the nation of Israel, and particularly with Israel’s unique relationship with God. The Jews were not like the Egyptians, the Babylonians or the Philistines. They were a special called-out nation, a kingdom of priests, the elect of the Lord God Almighty, the recipients of the Divine Testimony—the Ten Commandments.

If an Egyptian or an Amorite or a Hittite went out to live in a booth for a week there was little of national history and significance he could reflect on other than the accomplishments of the wisdom and energy of his race.

But the Jew could meditate on the dealings of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; on the provision God had made through Joseph for the perpetuation of Israel; on the revelation to Moses and the judgments of the Lord on the gods of Egypt; and then on the unparalleled miracles that brought them safely from Egypt and through the wilderness region.

Why would God lay His hand on one nation of all the nations of the earth and deal with that nation in such a remarkable manner? It was something to think about at night under the stars as one lay in his little booth of palm and willow branches.

On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:35)

Again we see the directive of God concerning the Sabbath day and the other holy days, that the people cease for a time their grubbing in the earth and look up in adoration, worship, and thanksgiving to the God who is interested in and provides for His people.

One of the most important celebrations of the feast of Tabernacles recorded in Scripture can be found in the eighth chapter of the Book of Nehemiah.

It is significant that the occasion was associated with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. It is our understanding that the greatest fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will occur at the descending of the perfected holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, on the great, high mountain of the new earth. At that time there will be the fullest expression of the Law of God (the beauty of holiness); eternal water in abundance (the River of Life); and the fullness of light (the Glory of God shining from the Throne of God and of the Lamb).

This will be the descent of the Tabernacle of God to dwell among the nations of saved people so God may dwell among them and wipe away all tears.

Reading in Nehemiah:

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. (Nehemiah 8:1)

Each of the gates of the walls of Jerusalem that were rebuilt under the administration of Nehemiah the governor is a prophetic symbol of the establishing of the Kingdom of God. In the above verse we see the "water gate," a symbol, or type, of the Holy Spirit who will flow from the saints and cover the earth during the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

It is true of us today, on a scale more limited than will be true during the coming thousand-year Kingdom Age, that as Christ is formed in us and dwells in us the Glory of God flows to other people.

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. (Nehemiah 8:2)

The reader may recall that the first day of the seventh month was the memorial of blowing of Trumpets. Again, we have the prophetic symbolism of the Day of the Lord. The trumpet of God will sound, the Glory of God will flow forth (the water gate), and the laws of the Kingdom of God will be renewed in God’s people.

Then through the saints the Divine laws will be carried to the ends of the earth until the Kingdom from Heaven rules the peoples of the earth.

... and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. (Nehemiah 8:7,8)

As the feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled in us, as Christ is formed in us and dwells in us, we gain increased ability to walk in the ways of the Holy Spirit of God. Our conduct becomes increasingly righteous.

The next passage (in Nehemiah) presents a concept that is important to us if we are endeavoring to live a victorious life in Christ. The concept is this: if we are to pursue holiness and righteousness of personality and conduct under the guidance and enabling power of the Holy Spirit we must learn to do so, not in grief and gloom but in the greatest joy.

We confess our sins before the Lord and embrace His righteous ways with joy and gladness of heart. We rejoice in the Lord. With this attitude of joy we become strong in the Lord and are enabled to go from step to step in the ascent toward holiness of deed, word, motive, and imagination.

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha [governor], and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:9,10)

As the people who had determined to restore the glory of Jerusalem studied the Scripture they discovered they were obligated to observe the feast of Tabernacles.

And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. (Nehemiah 8:14-17)

The feast of Tabernacles is associated with rest in the land of promise.

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

The feast of Tabernacles was not celebrated under Moses but under Joshua. The reason was that Tabernacles can be celebrated only in the land of promise ("when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land").

That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:43)

The passage above sounds as though the Israelites lived in booths in the wilderness or celebrated the feast of Tabernacles in the wilderness. We have not found this to be the case in the account of the wilderness wandering. Perhaps the meaning is that the feast is in remembrance of the forty years during which the Israelites lived in tents in the wilderness. Or it may signify merely that the Israelites dwelled in booths in the land of promise after God had delivered them from Egypt.

And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:8)

"Every man at his tent door." Perhaps this is the meaning—that the Israelites lived in tents during the wilderness period.

The feasts were designed for the land of promise. Notice the following concerning the feast of Firstfruits:

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)

"When ye be come into the land."

To continue in the Book of Nehemiah:

Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (Nehemiah 8:18)

During the time of Jesus on earth it was a custom for the Jews, during the feast of Tabernacles, to come in procession to the Temple carrying torches. The combined light from the processional torches and the lampstands of the Temple lit the area in and around the Temple.

To the Israelites, who were familiar with this custom, Jesus taught:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

When one studies the traditions that have accumulated around the Jewish celebrations, of which the lights of the feast of Tabernacles are an example, one can see the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. The Jews are so close to the truth of Christ that when God opens their eyes they will move into the worship of God through Christ in such power and glory that Jerusalem truly will be the joy of the whole earth.

Let us never forget, however, that the inheritance of the saints is available today—now—to whoever will move forward in faith and grasp the fullness of God in Christ. The inheritance is open to all—Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old.

Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation.

The saved nations of the earth will be required to come up to Jerusalem and receive the Glory of God, who in that Day will be tabernacling in His saints:

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)

Since the feast of Tabernacles is the seventh feast, is in the seventh month, and lasts seven days—a trinity of sevens, we are led to believe Tabernacles typifies the consummation and perfection of redemption.

The spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles is the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing. Tabernacles speaks of our rest in Christ in God and is associated with the resurrection from the dead of the victorious saints—the clothing of us with our house from Heaven (II Corinthians 5:4). The spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles is "that which is perfect," of the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians.

The glorious fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles in the Kingdom of God was illuminated in the mind of Christ when He stood and cried:

. . . If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is described in the Book of Revelation:

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)


Three Convocations

The seven feasts of Israel are grouped into three annual observances:

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee. (Deuteronomy 16:16,17)

The above are the three holy convocations that occur annually.

Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits are termed the feast of Unleavened Bread.

Pentecost is referred to as the feast of Weeks.

Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles compose the feast of Tabernacles.

Every Hebrew male without exception was to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem three times in the year. He was to come with something in his hand to give to the Lord: an animal from his flock or herd, some oil or wine, some grain or money—something taken from the riches with which God had blessed him.

The feast of Unleavened Bread, consisting of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, takes place in April of our calendar. These three ceremonies suggest to us the first aspect of the process of Divine redemption:

Accepting the Passover blood shed by Jesus.

Entering water baptism for the washing away of our sins.

The born-again experience of being made alive by the Spirit of God and having the Firstfruits, Christ, born in us.

The feast of Pentecost, occurring approximately in May of our calendar, brings to mind the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that causes us to grow strong in Christ, bear witness in power, lead a holy life, worship God in Spirit-filled adoration, be ministered to and minister, and serve as a priest of God by bringing the blessing of Christ to the peoples of the earth.

The convocation of Tabernacles, consisting of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the seven days of the week of Tabernacles, and the high Sabbath of the eighth day, takes place in September-October of our calendar.

The Blowing of Trumpets speaks to us of God’s New Year’s Day, of war, of rejoicing, of the redemption of the Year of Jubilee, of victory, of the entering of the King through the everlasting doors of our heart to drive the sin and self-will from us, of the glorious appearing of our Lord, Christ, and of the redemption of our mortal body.

The Day of Atonement calls to mind our continuing need to bring our sins to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Day of Atonement is the Day of Reconciliation, the day of our warfare, the marriage of the Lamb.

Tabernacles portrays the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us forever; and also the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth, including the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles signifies the first day of the new week of eternity—the week that has no end. Complete fulfillment of the eighth day will occur during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The beginning of the fulfillment takes place at the moment of our believing in Christ: "Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25,26).

In terms of our present calendar, the three annual celebrations were arranged as follows:


1. Passover

2. Unleavened Bread   FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD  (April)

3. Firstfruits


4. Pentecost                           FEAST OF WEEKS  (May)


5. Trumpets

6. Day of Atonement      FEAST OF TABERNACLES  (September-October)

7. Tabernacles


We are including the blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement as part of the feast of Tabernacles because the three observances are associated in spiritual fulfillment. The Warrior-King comes to us in the blowing of Trumpets. He wages war against the enemy in our personality in the Day of Atonement. Then the Father and the Son are able to find rest in our personality in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

"Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God" (Deuteronomy 16:16). The third time included Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles. It appears, therefore, that the Lord would have us consider the last three observances, Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, as one convocation.


Proclaim in Their Seasons

God has a present, burning truth for particular people at particular times. The current truth varies from generation to generation, from period to period, from circumstance to circumstance.

In one place at one time the present truth may be the good news of salvation through faith and of being born again. In another place at another time the good news may be that of Divine healing, or repentance, or holiness, or the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit, or evangelism and missionary work, or the fullness of God.

One of the principal differences between babylonish and true, Spirit-filled Christianity is the willingness to seek God’s timing. Sometimes Christians rush forward in their personal ambition and human wisdom to accomplish what they believe to be the will of God. They understand mentally what Jesus has said but they are not always willing to die to their self-will to the extent they can hear and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit-filled saint carries his cross behind Jesus. His discipleship has prepared him to hear the voice of Jesus and to obey what he hears in the Spirit. The Spirit-filled saint walks at midnight on the stormy waters.

The Spirit-filled saint is blind and deaf to the world. He does what he sees Jesus do. His judgment is righteous because he seeks not his own will but the will of Him who has sent him.

Sometimes the Spirit of God will move in blessing on a city or in warning just before some calamity. Many of the writings of the Prophets of the Old Testament were warnings of impending disaster. The servant of the Lord is not to be speaking what he "thinks" is appropriate or effective or attractive or "positive." The saint is to know what God is speaking to that people at that time in history and to deliver his soul in faithfulness—at the cost of his own "success" or even of his life.

The present truth may be different for the same people at different points of time. At the turn of the twentieth century the Holy Spirit was poured out in the Los Angeles, California area and the gift of tongues was restored to the Church of Christ. (We are not discounting the manifestation of tongues that came forth in several other places during the same general period of time.)

In the latter part of the 1940s there was another powerful move of the Lord. Israel became a nation. The gifts of healing were in evidence in some instances. The Spirit of God came on an evangelist conducting a revival meeting in Southern California and Billy Graham began to see people converted by the thousands.

Throughout the twentieth century the gifts of healing have appeared in the ministries of such evangelists as Aimee Semple McPherson, Dr. Charles Price, William Branham, Smith-Wigglesworth, and Kathryn Kuhlman.

Through prophetic utterance, given in many places in the late 1940s and early 1950s, we learned that the Holy Spirit is to be poured on the churches in greater measure. The message of revival to come was contrary to the teaching from the pulpit, which often was that the great falling away was upon us and spiritual life would grow weaker and weaker until finally the Lord would remove His spotted and distraught bride before her final collapse.

Evidently the prophetic messages were of the Lord because the charismatic awakening has taken place since then along with outpourings of God’s Spirit in various places of the world. An extraordinary restoration of signs and wonders accompanying the Gospel has occurred in Indonesia, also in Nagaland and in several other places.

The Lord has a present truth for each believer. What is fresh and challenging for a person today will not be as wholesome tomorrow. Yesterday’s manna is not suitable for consumption today.

We never are to alter the Gospel message. However, each day offers new opportunities for us to increase our spiritual life with fresh manna from the Throne of God, to take more ground in the Kingdom of God, to lay hold on Christ with ever-increasing faith and trust.

It always is the will of the Lord that our contact with Him be current, fresh, warm, living, full of power, glory, peace, and joy. He is present even in seasons of fiery trials when it seems to us He has departed. In the darkest of nights the Divine Fire leads us onward toward the land of promise. He is "I Am"—the God of the "now." Today is the day of salvation, of healing, of miracles. There is a present truth for us today.

This does not mean we receive everything we desire the moment we ask for it. Not at all. It does mean God hears us every time we pray in Jesus’ name and He then works to make it possible to give us the desires of our heart. Let us faithfully guard the Word of His patience. We shall emerge into the light in God’s time, and He will guard us during the hour of temptation.

Each of the feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, must be proclaimed in its season. The minister of God must be aware of the mind of the Holy Spirit so he will know the present burden. If the Holy Spirit is pressing for Passover the preacher should not be stressing Pentecost. The Holy Spirit will anoint what is His will for the listeners at a given time and place.

These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. (Leviticus 23:4)


The Agricultural Year

The agricultural year of the Israelites begins in our September-October period with the early (former) rains. This is the time of the memorial of blowing of Trumpets, of the Day of Atonement, and of Tabernacles. The moistened ground is plowed and prepared for the seed during October-November. Then the seed is sown in November-December.

The winter rains fall in December-January. In January-February the almond trees blossom. Citrus fruits are harvested in February-March.

The period of March-April is the time of the spring (latter) rains. The barley and flax harvest occur. Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits are celebrated. Most ground moisture of the area comes from the winter rains, but the spring (latter) rains bring the grain to maturity.

In April-May the six-month dry season begins, which lasts until the fall rains of September-October. Pentecost is celebrated in May-June at the time of the conclusion of the wheat harvest. The threshing of the wheat could last to the end of August or later.

June-July is the time of the grape harvest, July-August, the olive harvest. August-September brings the harvest of dates and summer figs. By the September-October period the harvest had been completed. The feast of Tabernacles is celebrated with thanksgiving and rejoicing because of the abundance that the land has brought forth, and also in joyful anticipation of the fall (early, former) rains that are at hand, renewing the earth after the half-year drought of summer.

In some parts of the Holy Land, grapes, cucumbers, and melons can be cultivated during the long drought of summer, the moisture coming from the subsoil and from heavy summer dew.


The Best Is Yet To Come

We have just described briefly the actual celebration of the seven feasts of Israel. Some of these occasions still are prominent among Jewish people. The shofar (ram’s horn trumpet) is blown in the synagogues on the Day of Atonement. Passover is kept by the faithful.

We have mentioned the astonishing spiritual truth that emerges as soon as we commence the study of the seven feasts of Israel. This truth has significance for the whole perspective with which we view the meaning of our life in Christ.

The truth is as follows: the seven feasts, along with the Law, the Levitical statutes, and the ordinances of the Tabernacle of the Congregation were given to Israel with solemnity. The Lord spoke to Moses in detail and Israel was commanded to keep the feasts faithfully.

The extraordinary fact associated with the feasts is that they were to be observed in Canaan, in the land of promise, but they were taught to the Israelites while they yet were in the wilderness.

The seven feasts were described in detail while the former slaves of Egypt were wandering in the Sinai wilderness where not a farm was in sight. The people were being given elaborate ceremonies to observe in a land they had not seen.

How would you feel if you had just come from Egypt and had never seen the land of promise. Yet you were being instructed in detail concerning the correct method for worshiping God and for offering to Him the best of the products of your farm? You possessed no land, no crops. You were wandering in a barren desert, eating manna that came down each day from the sky.

In order to survive you would be required to continue pressing forward in faith and hope in the promise of God!

This situation is true of the Christian salvation. Much of what has been given us in Christ we cannot realize as yet. We still are in a wilderness. We are making our pilgrimage through the barren desert of the present world. The day of redemption, of our release from the presence of sin and death, still is ahead of us.

Paul informs us, in the Book of Ephesians, that we have been "sealed unto the day of redemption." What we have in the present hour is an "earnest," a down payment, a first installment of the Holy Spirit of God.

Please do not misunderstand us at this point. The promises of God are for today. We can push on and scout out the land of promise while "Israel" is wandering about in unbelief.

Many Christian people, it appears, are not laying hold on the fullness of the grace of God available to the believer now. God provides for each step of our journey through the wilderness of the world just as He provided so faithfully for the Israelites in the desert. God always is encouraging us to press forward in Christ.

There is a concept here that must be grasped by hope and faith. The working of God in you and me is for our "real life" that yet is to come. We still are being created, so to speak. We are struggling in the night as we are being formed by the Spirit of the Lord in the "lowest parts of the earth." In one sense of the word we have not even seen the light of day as yet.

The Day of Redemption is ahead of us. As we witness the creation groaning and travailing in pain let us realize these are the pangs of birth. When we behold the earthquakes, wars, famines, disasters of all kinds, men’s hearts failing them for fear, we are to lift up our head for our redemption draws near. Our inheritance is just over the horizon. We shall look back on this brief experience of pain and pressure as a dark mold in which we learned to lean on the Lord, became aware of the trustworthiness of God, and were tested in the areas of faith and obedience.

The Lord labors over each of us in loving care as He enables us to work through the trials that come our way each day. He is preparing us for a far better existence. The real meaning of our life scarcely is evident. How can we compare our sixty or seventy years with the scope of eternity? Christ came from eternity in order to bring us into His Kingdom where we shall begin a fuller, more significant career.

Israel was destined to serve the Lord in the land of promise. As real and true as were the lessons of the wilderness the wilderness was, nevertheless, a preparatory school. If one stops to think about it, it would be ridiculous to state God brought Israel from Egypt so His people could inherit the wilderness.

The wilderness of sand and rock was one of the greatest schools in the history of mankind, just as our pilgrimage through the world is for the purpose of our training. A school must train us in the area of survival, in the area of worship, and in the area of achievement, for these are the three aspirations of the human personality.

We Christians are destined to serve the Lord during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and especially throughout eternity in the new heaven and earth. The present life is a preparatory school, a probationary period, nothing more and nothing less. Let us make certain we learn our lessons well now. We shall be profiting from them forever.

As we have indicated, there is a great Day of Redemption coming in which the last vestiges of sin and death will be removed from us. But please note carefully that such release is for those who have served the Lord diligently in the present hour. Sin will be removed from us in that day only if we have been faithful in putting sin to death throughout our pilgrimage!

If we have not redeemed the time, have not obeyed the Lord diligently, then we have wasted our "talent." Our reward will not be deliverance and glory but the outer darkness. Let the reader take heed because Christian doctrine is in error, not portraying correctly the severity as well as the goodness of God.


FOUR MAJOR TYPES OF REDEMPTION

It appears there are at least four major types of redemption outlined in the Scripture. The four types are as follows:

The seven days of creation.

The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The seven feasts of the Lord.

By the term redemption we are referring to God’s plan in Christ for the bringing of human beings from their miserable state of sin, rebellion, corruption, and death all the way to the image of Christ and untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.

To redeem a person or a thing is to restore him or it to the original and rightful owner. The concept of redemption implies that something has been removed from its original owner by legal sale, by forfeiture, or by deceit or force.

In order for redemption to take place, someone must produce the price or the force necessary for redemption. The mortgage must be paid.

Sometimes the person holding the mortgaged property will not surrender the property even when the price has been paid. This is true of Satan concerning his continuing fight to maintain control of the peoples of the world even though the price of redemption has been paid on the cross of Calvary.

When a pawnbroker refuses to surrender the property, redemption must be brought about through the use of superior force. The kingdom-wide Day of Atonement, which will take place at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be just such a day of redemption by force and violence.

There are many similarities and parallels among the four major types of redemption, and when the types are combined we have available a helpful, enlightening picture of God’s plan of redemption in Christ.

To begin with, let us take each of the four major types and enumerate the seven aspects contained in it. Then, as the Holy Spirit helps us, we shall endeavor to combine the four types so as to gain some understanding of God’s working in the past, present, and future.


The Seven Divisions of the Four Types

The days of creation.

1. The creation of light and its division from the darkness.

2. The dividing of the waters by the firmament of heaven.

3. The gathering together of the waters under the firmament, the appearing of the dry land, the creation of vegetation.

4. The creation of the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament.

5. The creation of fish and birds.

6. The creation of animals, the creation of mankind in God’s image.

7. God rested from all His works.


The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.

1. Judgment on the gods of Egypt, the Passover, the exodus.

2. Crossing the Red Sea.

3. The beginning of the pilgrimage through the wilderness.

4. The Ten Commandments, the statutes and ordinances, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the priesthood.

5. The organizing of Israel into an army.

6. The crossing of Jordan and conquest of Canaan.

7. Rest in the land of promise.


The vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

1. The Altar of Burnt Offering.

2. The Laver.

3. The Table of Showbread.

4. The Lampstand.

5. The Altar of Incense.

6. The Ark of the Covenant.

7. The Mercy Seat.


The feasts of the Lord.

1. Passover.

2. Unleavened Bread.

3. Firstfruits.

4. Pentecost.

5. Trumpets.

6. Day of Atonement.

7. Tabernacles.

An overview of the four sets of seven elements will reveal some of the remarkable parallels to be found in these four portrayals of redemption.


The First Aspect of Redemption

By combining the four sets of seven elements we may gain some understanding of the Divine plan of redemption that is in Christ.

Let us take the first element of each of the four sets. We can look at these together as portraying the first aspect of redemption:

The creation of light and its division from the darkness.

Judgment on the gods of Egypt; the Passover; the exodus.

The Altar of Burnt Offering.

Passover.

Do you see that we have taken the first element in each of the four major types of redemption?

Can you see how remarkably these agree?—how each of the four teaches us something about the first aspect of redemption, the first step in God’s plan of salvation in Christ?

The light of God in Christ shines in our sinful heart and mind. Then we repent of our past life of sin. This is the beginning of the division between the light and the darkness in our personality.

Unlike our previous condition in which we thought we were doing fairly well, we have begun now to realize we actually are unacceptable to God. We may have thought that God was accepting our malice, our profanity, our lying, our stealing, our gossiping, our violent ways, our deceitfulness, our willingness to trample on our fellow humans, our grasping, our covetousness, our lusting. Now the Holy Spirit has revealed to us we are in spiritual chaos. We are heading straight toward the wrath of God because of our sin and rebellion.

Our conscience has been a light trying to shine in the darkness of our sin. Now God through Christ has divided that light from the darkness that is in us so we can begin to distinguish between right and wrong. This may be the first time we have realized we are a sinner in the sight of God.

The gods of the world were judged at the cross of Calvary. When we accept the crucifixion of Christ as the atonement for our sins the Spirit of God brings us from Egypt, from the malice and wickedness of the world. The legal hold of Satan on us is destroyed. Our reborn inner nature (Christ in us) is raised to sit at the right hand of the Father. The blood of God’s Lamb covers us and our household so the judgment of God passes over us when God executes His wrath on the lawlessness in the earth.

The bronze Altar of Burnt Offering portrays Christ on the cross. The bronze Altar, by its size, odor, location, and accompanying activity, dominated the outer area of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. So it is that the crucified Christ dominates the Kingdom of God. God meets man at the door of the Tabernacle, at the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver. Here we wash away our sins by the atonement made by God’s Sin-offering. We enter the Presence of God through the doorway of the cross.

Some people are unwilling to receive salvation because the cross is an offense to them. However, the cross does not hinder a little child. Children enter the Kingdom freely and gladly while the proud flesh of adults keeps them outside.

The feast of Passover brings to our mind that in order to please God we first must sprinkle the blood of God’s Lamb on our own life and on the lives of the members of our household. We do this by faith. Then we must eat of Christ’s body and drink His blood.

The Communion service, the Lord’s Table, represents our partaking of the body and blood of Christ. Our actual receiving of the body and blood of Christ occurs in the spirit realm as we keep ourselves in the place where Christ can commune with us in prayer, obedience, confession of our sins and repentance, in reading the Scriptures, in gathering together with other fervent disciples of the Lord for a sharing in Spirit-filled ministry.

As we study the first element of each of the four major types of redemption we gain insight into the first aspect of salvation. We say aspect rather than step because redemption has many aspects—like the several facets of a diamond. The seven aspects of redemption are more like the several facets of a diamond than they are like rungs on a ladder or grade levels in an elementary school.

As the diamond turns we see one facet, and then another, and another. Soon we return to the first facet but this time we may see more light and color in it.

The several aspects of redemption, the aspects typified by the seven elements of each of the four major types, can be compared to points of the compass on a spiral staircase. As we ascend a spiral staircase we move toward the north, the south, the east, the west. Each time we move toward the east or the south it is on a higher level.

Salvation in Christ is a perfect work and we receive the whole grace and blessing as we press forward in faith. The "facets" of redemption are revealed again and again to us as our knowledge works together with the grace of God and our experience.

The grace of God in redemption actually changes us from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord until we have been transformed into the image of Christ. We "ascend the circular staircase" until each of the seven aspects of redemption has attained maturity in our personality.

As we have stated, the first element of each of the four major types of salvation is as follows:

The creation of light and its division from the darkness.

Judgment on the gods of Egypt; the Passover; the exodus.

The Altar of Burnt Offering.

The feast of Passover.

Taken together these four elements form one type of the beginning of our salvation in Christ.


The Second Aspect of Redemption.

The dividing of the waters by the firmament of heaven.

Crossing the Red Sea.

The Laver.

Unleavened Bread.

These are the second element in each of the four major types of redemption.

Isn’t it interesting that three of the four involve water?

The new covenant counterpart of the four elements is water baptism. How perfect is the working of God! Since the feast of Unleavened Bread speaks of the putting away of the filth (leaven) of the world and the flesh we gain the general idea that God intends to wash the pollution of the world from us, in the second aspect of redemption.

From our point of view, the dividing of the waters by the firmament means there is water surrounding outer space. It appears the firmament of heaven, mentioned in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, is space, commencing at the surface of the earth and extending to the terminal point of outer space.

All water was divided, on the second day of creation, into two parts: the water that is under the firmament, that is, water in the earth and water on the surface of the earth and in the immediate atmosphere of the earth; and water that is beyond outer space—water above the firmament.

The Scripture states that there are waters above the heavens:

Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. (Psalms 148:4)

From the time of the Greeks, scientists have speculated as to the nature of the boundary of outer space. Some day the scientists will discover there is evidence of an ocean of water that encompasses all outer space. They will be surprised but the saints who know the Scripture will not be surprised at all.

What is the spiritual interpretation of the division of the waters? Keeping in mind that all the people, events, and things of the Scripture were actual people, actual events, and actual things, let us remind the reader that the heavens and the earth were created by the invisible, nonmaterial Word of God and that they were created in response to situations existing in the spirit realm.

Much of the account of the creation, in addition to being a literal, factual account, is also an allegory, the meaning of which is understood in the spirit realm. Notice, for example, in the story of Joseph, the manner in which the sun, moon, and stars are employed as prophetic symbols, and again in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

Often, in the Scriptures, God is speaking not only to people on the earth but also to His creatures in the heavenlies. The account of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, is one canvas that portrays the redemption that is in Christ—a redemption that is necessary because of the sin and rebellion that originated in the spirit realm.

How great is our God! How great is His power and foreknowledge that He could conceive such a plan and then carry it through to consummation! Our God is a master builder and His workmanship is perfect.

The writer’s understanding of the spiritual application of the dividing of the waters is as follows: when the plan of redemption begins its work in us we are without form, an empty waste, so to speak. The "waters" of our life, speaking symbolically of all the elements of our personality—spirit, soul, and body, are mixed together. Spiritual darkness covers the "deep" of our being.

Then Christ on the cross enters our consciousness and a difference comes into existence between the light and the darkness that are in us and around us.

When we become willing to receive God’s atonement for our sin, which is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God separates our spiritual life from our soulish life by removing our born-again spiritual life to Heaven.

Our soulish, natural life is assigned to the cross of Christ. A new man is born in our spiritual nature and raised with Christ to the right hand of the Father, to the "waters that be above the heavens."

Before this division occurs we are a whole person, although lost in sin and spiritual death. After the division takes place in our personality we are as a house divided against itself. Our reborn spiritual nature longs after the will of God. Our soulish nature attempts to pull us back into the world and the lusts of the flesh. The battle is joined each day.

Before the exodus was complete, Israel had to go across the Red Sea. Water stood between the Israelites and their freedom. Egypt and the land of promise are separated by two bodies of water: the Red Sea and the Jordan River. Both bodies of water must be parted before the saints can enter their inheritance in the land of promise.

God divided the waters of the Red Sea, and Israel crossed without harm. The Egyptians could not cross over. As we go down into water baptism we are entering the death of Christ on the cross. Satan attempts to follow us down into the water. The world follows hard on our heels. But Satan and the world cannot come up on the other side.

The enemy hates to lose a valuable slave but he cannot stand on resurrection ground. The water returns to its place and the enemy is destroyed. The water seals off Egypt, the world, at our back. Before us is the wilderness, the school of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the wilderness of testing is the final river of death to self-will, and then the fullness of the inheritance.

Do you desire to keep pressing toward that mark?

The bronze Laver located at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation speaks to us of the washing of water by the Word of God. God’s Word teaches us concerning righteousness and holiness.

Righteousness is just and merciful living between person and person. Holiness is the embracing of God, of His Spirit. Holiness is union with God’s Person and separation from all that is of Satan, of the world, of the flesh, of the self-love of man. Holiness is the absence of unclean spirits and the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

Righteousness is upright, honest dealing with other people. Holiness is spiritual cleanliness.

If we will listen to God’s Word and do what it commands we will behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. We must wash our personality constantly by the authority of the blood of Christ and by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, keeping ourselves clean from the defilements of Satan, the spirit of the present wicked world, and the filthiness of our flesh and spirit.

The feast of Unleavened Bread teaches us to put away the leaven of the world—sin, malice, wickedness. We are to put away sin with fervor, with diligence, with unrelenting determination.

Through the Holy Spirit we are learning to love righteousness and to hate lawlessness. We are becoming resolute about what we are doing in the areas of righteousness and holiness of behavior. It is a determination to please God and to be redeemed from sin in spirit, in soul, and in body.

We have just discussed the first two aspects, or facets, of God’s plan of salvation in Christ. In order to gain insight we have examined the first two elements of each of the four major types of redemption. Does the study of these types increase your understanding of the plan of salvation?


The Third Aspect of Redemption

The gathering together of the waters under the firmament; the appearing of the dry land; the creation of vegetation.

The beginning of the pilgrimage through the wilderness.

The Table of Showbread.

Firstfruits.

Do you notice that in each of these four we have the beginning of something? The Table of Showbread is the first piece of furniture that one encounters when entering the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The third aspect of redemption is the born-again experience. It is the beginning of the Life of Christ in us. Whereas the first two aspects are concerned with judgment and division, the third aspect concerns the beginning of new life, the positive side of redemption.

The waters of our life gather together, as it were, and we begin to feel in ourselves that Christ has been born in us. Christ is being formed in us (Galatians 4:19). The "dry land" of the new creation appear. The newly born Divine nature gives rise in us to the desire to become a servant of righteousness.

The new Christian shows in himself a love for God and a turning away from the malice and wickedness of the world. The beginning of Divine Life is typified by the appearance of "vegetation" (righteous behavior) during the third day of creation.

We stand now on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, ready to begin our pilgrimage to the land of promise. We are moving toward resurrection ground. Egypt is walled off behind us by the Red Sea, a portrayal of our death to the world and the things of the world.

Doubts concerning our security may confront us as we start to journey toward the wilderness of Sinai. We proceed anyway and begin to experience the miraculous provisions of the Lord.

Wasn’t it that way when you first received Christ? Didn’t you wonder if you would be able to stand? if you would be able to make a success of the life of faith in Christ? It was that way with me.

The Table of Showbread of the Tabernacle of the Congregation represents the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The body and blood of Christ are the tree of life. There is no other true life.

Whoever has never eaten of the Lord’s body and blood is dead spiritually. He has no life in him. The only eternal life is the body and blood of God’s Son. The older we get in the Lord the more conscious we become of this fact.

We partake of eternal life for the first time the moment we eat of the body and blood of Christ. He is our eternal Life. We are born again by partaking of Him.

We are born of the waters of baptism, escaping the authority of Satan and entering the authority of the Kingdom of Christ. We are born of the Holy Spirit in that the Spirit is the eternal Life that flows from God in Heaven through Christ.

What is formed and grows in us is neither the water nor the Spirit. It is Christ Himself who is born and grows in us. Christ is the living Word. The Word of God is being written in us. We are becoming the Word of God. This is the new covenant.

The Life of Christ is in His body and in His blood. As we eat His body and drink His blood we have eternal life in us. This eternal life is His Life. As we partake of Him we live by Him as He lives by the Father.

The Church of Christ is the Wife of the Lamb. She is the Wife of the Lamb because she partakes of the Passover Lamb. She eats Him and becomes one with Him. He is the living Bread. His flesh is meat indeed and His blood is drink indeed.

We are born again "by the word of God, that liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:23).

The feast of Firstfruits adds to our understanding of the third aspect of redemption by reminding us that when we are born again a firstfruits of our personality, our reborn inner man, is harvested in Christ.

There still is much our personality yet to be harvested. The reaping has commenced, and now the firstfruits has been waved before the Lord God in joy and thanksgiving. God, with a joy to match our own, graciously accepts the firstfruits of our life. The harvest of our whole personality now has been accepted because the firstfruits has been accepted. The blessing on the firstfruits falls on the harvest of which the firstfruits is the representation.

We may be a newly saved person but God beholds us in Christ as being justified and glorified.

The first three aspects of redemption, which are the blood atonement, water baptism, and the new birth, constitute what we refer to as "being saved." They are the basic salvation experience.

The first three Levitical feasts were grouped together in one week showing that we are to consider them as belonging together.

The first two of the seven vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation were placed together in the outer court of the Tabernacle, and the third stood inside the Holy Place. The movement from the Laver in the outer court to the Table of Showbread in the Holy Place teaches us that the Lord adds "to the church (the Holy Place) daily such as should be saved" (by the judgment and blood of the outer court) (Acts 2:47).

Being born again brings us into the Holy Place, into the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned [condemned]" (Mark 16:16). The salvation experience is the first of the three areas of redemption. The three areas of redemption are as follows: (1) basic salvation; (2) the entering of the Holy Spirit into us; and (3) the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us for eternity.


The Fourth Aspect of Redemption

The creating of the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament.

The Ten Commandments, the statutes and ordinances; the Tabernacle of the Congregation; the priesthood.

The golden Lampstand.

Pentecost (the feast of Weeks).

The fourth aspect of redemption is the creation of God’s priests, prophets, and kings. The priests, prophets, and kings of the Lord live and rule by the eternal, indestructible life and power of the Holy Spirit of God.

God’s priests are those who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, separate the day from the night, the light from the darkness, in their own personalities, and then in the personalities of those who hear them, as God enables. The Holy Spirit will keep working with the members of the Body of Christ until what is of Christ in them has been separated from what is of Satan, of the world, of the flesh, of self-will.

The members of the Body of Christ are God’s priests who are, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, to keep working until what is of Christ in the creation has been separated from what is of Satan and of self-will.

God’s prophets are those who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." The Holy Spirit anoints the members of the Body of Christ so they can work the signs and wonders that are the tokens of God’s approval on Christ and indications of the nearness of the coming of the Kingdom of God.

The testimony of Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. The saints are to know by the Spirit the "seasons" of God’s working and are to proclaim to the heavens and the earth these seasons, as the Lord directs.

God’s kings are those who rule in righteousness through the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s royal priesthood rules over the day and over the night, and divides the light from the darkness. We are to show forth the praises of Him who has called us from darkness into His marvelous light. This is the responsibility and task of the royal priesthood.

Before we come to the fourth day of creation our "firmament" is present, so to speak, but there is nothing in it. It is a "clear blue." On the fourth day God puts in our firmament the sun, the moon, and the stars.

The first spiritual consciousness we have is that of the "sun." The sun represents the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him is life, and His Life is the light of men.

The second spiritual consciousness we have is that of the "moon." The moon represents the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has no light of its own but reflects the Glory of Christ. The Church is the light in the darkness of the present age, revealing in itself the light of Christ.

The third spiritual consciousness we have is that of the "stars." The stars represent the victorious saints. They are the saints, the conquerors—the Lord’s "mighty men." The Church of Christ is to travail in birth until the members of the Body are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever (Daniel 12:3).

Throughout history travelers at night have been guided by the stars. The moon may illumine the pathway but the stars point the way.

The Old and New Testaments are records of God’s "stars." We do not obtain spiritual guidance from the record of the churches but from the accounts of Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul. Even today we speak of the Protestant Reformers, of Wesley, of Moody. We are inspired by individuals whom the Lord has chosen and anointed to perform His work in the earth.

The Ten Commandments and the remainder of the ordinances that the Lord commanded through Moses serve to separate the "day from the night and the light from the darkness." By the Law we have the knowledge of righteousness and of sin and are able to distinguish between what is righteous and what is unrighteous, what is holy and what is unholy, what is pleasing to the Lord and what is not accepted of Him.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation is one of the clearest Divinely ordained "lights" that we have. The Tabernacle portrays the Person and redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the growth to maturity of the believer, the perfecting of the Wife of the Lamb, and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle typifies the revelation of God’s Person, power, will, and way through the Head and Body of Christ. Christ is the Anointed Deliverer, God’s Vine, the Servant of the Lord. Christ in the Church is the Light of the world. We notice that He walks "in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks [lampstands] (Revelation 2:1).

"Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment" (Isaiah 32:1). This is the fourth aspect of redemption.

Of the seven feasts of the Lord, Pentecost is number four.

Pentecost was the only feast that stood by itself. The remaining six feasts were divided into two groups of three each. The Lord teaches us by this that Pentecost (the feast of Weeks) is especially important.

Four is midway between one and seven. Pentecost truly is a turning point in our life. It is at Pentecost that we can choose to press forward to the fullness of redemption and become part of the Servant of the Lord. Because the golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle is number four of seven furnishings, the Lampstand is associated in prophetic meaning with the fourth feast—Pentecost.

During the feast of Pentecost, two large loaves of fine flour were waved before the Lord. The two loaves represent the outpouring of the double portion of the power of the Holy Spirit on the Church of Christ. The number two, in the symbolism of Scripture, portrays the power of the Divine witness. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you." It requires the power of the Holy Spirit of God in order for us to bear witness of God’s will and to reign in righteousness.

The two large loaves of the feast of Pentecost reveal the fact that just before the coming of Christ there will be an outpouring of Kingdom glory and power that never before has been seen on the earth—not even during the early Church. The Lord has kept the good wine until now. The two loaves of the feast of Weeks are the "two witnesses," the double portion, "Elisha," by which God will prepare the way of the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The mission of the Holy Spirit in the earth is to bring to perfection the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb; and also to reveal to all persons everywhere the redeeming mercy of God that has been extended to us through Christ.

Hopefully in the near future we will be able to work with the Holy Spirit much more successfully than has been true in the past. Men are apt to grasp what they think belongs to them and wreck the working of the Lord. We must sincerely take this to heart and remember that the responsibility for creating the Church of Christ belongs to the Holy Spirit alone.

The only permanent contribution that any individual can make to the Kingdom of God is what has been accomplished through him or her under the direct wisdom and enablement of the Holy Spirit. The Temple of God is not built by the efforts and resources of people but by the Spirit of God.

Each of us needs to learn to walk more in the Spirit of God, not only with respect to our ministry in the Body of Christ but also in every detail of our daily life.


The Fifth Aspect of Redemption

Now we have come to an aspect of redemption with which we may be unfamiliar. We may understand quite well the first three aspects, the basics of salvation, for they have been taught clearly and thoroughly by godly men and women.

We also may be familiar with the fourth aspect, the "Pentecostal" or "charismatic" experience. The Holy Spirit is moving and blessing today wherever individuals will receive Him.

What, then, is the fifth aspect? The fifth aspect is the trumpet that announces the coming of the King and the forming of His army.

The creation of fish and birds

The organizing of Israel into an army.

The Altar of Incense.

The Blowing of Trumpets.

The fifth aspect of redemption should be of interest to charismatic worshipers because it is the part of the Divine program that immediately follows the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

The fifth aspect is "New Year’s Day" of the calendar of events that ushers the Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will, into the earth. It is the heralding of the fullness of Christ, the fullness that is at hand.

The creation of fish and birds was the beginning of animal life on the earth. Prior to this, vegetation had come into existence but no animal life of any kind.

On the fifth day God created animals on the earth, preparing the way for the creation of man.

The creation of "fish" is symbolic of the fact that as the Kingdom of God approaches the earth (as announced by the trumpets of the Lord) there will be a tremendous gathering of souls ("fish") into the Kingdom (Ezekiel 47:9,10).

The creation of "birds" indicates that after the Holy Spirit has been poured on us and we begin to walk in the Spirit we become increasingly conscious of God, of Heaven, of the things of Heaven. The Presence and role of angels become known to us.

Paul the Apostle was aware of the role of angels in God’s working in the earth and made references to them. The Lord Jesus alluded to the importance of angels. The Book of Revelation, which describes the Day of the Lord, contains many references to angels.

It appears as we grow closer to the coming of the Lord we shall become much more knowledgeable of the part that angels, cherubim, and other nonhuman creatures of God play now and will play in the ages to come.

After the Israelites had constructed the Tabernacle of the Congregation and had left the Sinai region on their journey toward Kadesh Barnea, they began to march as an army. The tribes had left Egypt in martial array, but their discipline and their marching order had not been established. However, as soon as the Tabernacle had been constructed, and the Aaronic priesthood set in order, the twelve tribes were organized into a battle formation with the Ark of the Covenant in the center of the line of march.

The organization of Israel into an army at this point teaches us that one of the major preparations for the return of the King, Christ, to the earth will be the organizing of the members of the Body of Christ into the army of the Lord.

The Hebrews learned to go out and come in at the sound of the silver trumpet. The nearer they came to the land of promise the more threatening became the environment. Soon they would be fighting their way into the land that God had given to them. Victory in war would not be possible as long as the people of Israel remained disorganized and undisciplined.

The trumpet of the Lord is sounding in the churches in the days in which we are living. The time is near for the Lord’s vengeance on His enemies.

The Altar of Incense, the fifth of the furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, represents man’s communication toward God, just as the golden Lampstand, the fourth furnishing, portrays God’s communication toward man.

The holy incense of the Altar speaks of the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ worked into the fiber of every saint until fervent prayer, thanksgiving, and praise begin to ascend before the Throne of God. The Altar of Incense is the voice of Christ calling out in constant adoration and supplication to the Father in Heaven.

The Altar of Incense portrays the finish of the Moses-type ministry. The Altar of Incense stands just before the holy veil of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The veil is associated in symbolic meaning with the Jordan River. Both the veil and the Jordan symbolize death to our self-will and self-centeredness. Moses cannot cross over Jordan or pass through the veil, to speak figuratively because of the presumption of the flesh.

When we arrive at the Altar of Incense we have come to a new power in righteousness. It marks the beginning of our life as a king and priest of the Lord God of Heaven.

Just before Christ returns, the Spirit-empowered prayer of the Body of Christ will attain such intensity that the plea that ascends to God will bring back the Lord Jesus. The Bride will cry, Come! So intense, so single-minded, so holy, so loving, so powerful will be that supplication in the Spirit that Heaven no longer will be able to hold the Lord Jesus. He will return to the earth.

The Altar of Incense and the Blowing of Trumpets (both number five in a series of seven elements) go together, as we may notice in the eighth chapter of the Book of Revelation. The six trumpets of God must sound, and then the Lord will return at the last (seventh) trumpet.

It is the holy incense coming up from the prayers of the saints that causes the seven trumpets to begin to sound. The coals from the Altar of Incense before the Throne of God in Heaven are thrown into the earth. Wherever the fiery coals touch the world there will be judgment and destruction. When they touch the incense of Christ, which is in the saints, the holy perfume will come up before the Lord God as a pleasing fragrance.

And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (Revelation 8:5,6)

The Blowing of Trumpets, as we have stated previously, marks the beginning of the new agricultural year. The religious year begins with Passover. The religious year is symbolic of the redemption that is in Christ, of the program of removing from the believer every trace of what is satanic so he can be reconciled to his Father in Heaven.

The agricultural year, which begins with the Blowing of Trumpets, represents the coming of the Kingdom of God, and of the King of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God, the observance of His laws, the performance of His will in the earth.

The Kingdom of God will attain completion in four stages: (1) in Christ Himself who is the King of the Kingdom; (2) in the victorious saints of the Lord who press forward in Christ until they, through His virtue, are able to rule in righteousness; (3) in the whole Church of Christ; and (4) in the performing of God’s will throughout the earth.

The coming of the Kingdom of God is announced by the blowing of the trumpet of God.

We noticed before that the first three of the seven feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, are grouped together in a period of seven days. They are a unit and represent the basic salvation experience.

Pentecost stands by itself, symbolizing the work of the Holy Spirit in perfecting the Wife of the Lamb, and in bearing witness of Christ throughout the earth.

The three concluding feasts, Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, also are grouped together. They portray the entrance of the power of Divine Presence into us to such an extent that we are able to reveal God and perform His will throughout the universe, ages without end.

When we receive salvation our sins are forgiven and we commence the journey to eternal life, having been accepted of God through the blood of Christ. As we enter the last three feasts we begin actually to leave all that is satanic and enter the Presence of God. Through the Holy Spirit’s enabling wisdom and power we learn to conquer the accuser, the world, and our own fleshly lusts and self-will.

Now we are on our way toward full victory in Christ, which includes being saved in the Day of Wrath, entering glory when we die physically, and gaining increased ability to attain joy and liberty in the presence of our enemies.

The Blowing of Trumpets announces the last two feasts—the Day of Atonement and the feast of Tabernacles. These two follow the Blowing of Trumpets in the same month.

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets will occur at the return of our Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven with His holy angels. As far as the saints are concerned, the trumpet of the Lord is sounding in the present hour in the spirit realm.

The Church has tarried at the "tongues" experience long enough. It is time now to pack up the Tabernacle and move forward with God. The Ark of the Covenant is in its place in the middle of the column, being wrapped in the veil and in its cloth of blue. It has been placed on the shoulders of the Kohathite Levites.

The cloud has lifted from the Most Holy Place. The Lord God of Hosts is taking His journey northward, toward the land of promise. Let us press on behind Him. There is nothing here that interests us after God has moved forward.


The Sixth Aspect of Redemption

It was on the sixth day that man was created in the image of God. Therefore we may expect that the sixth aspect of redemption would be especially significant. So it is. It is on the sixth day that the crowning work of God is performed, a work for which the preceding five aspects have served as the foundation.

The creation of animals; the creation of mankind in God’s image.

The crossing of Jordan and the conquest of the Canaanites.

The Ark of the Covenant.

The Day of Atonement.

There were three types of animals created on the sixth day: (1) domestic animals; (2) creeping things; and (3) the wild beasts. After these three kinds of animals had been created, God turned His attention to the creating of man in God’s image.

The animals and mankind were created precisely and literally as described in the first chapter of Genesis.

However there is some interesting symbolism here. A human being, before he is reborn in Christ, has much in common with the animal kingdom. In the science of zoology He is classified as a mammal.

Each human being possesses the characteristics of the three types of animals. He (or she) has the capacity for being "domesticated," for serving and loving a master, whether the master be the Lord God or Satan.

He has the tendency to "creep on the earth," to bury himself in the tasks of survival and in the filthiness of the flesh, almost forgetting he has been destined to become one of the stars of God.

Also, every human being has a wildness of nature. We can observe this in the wildness and rebellion of our own nature, and also in the unending wars of mankind as people slay each other in rage.

Each healthy person has the capacity for loving and serving someone, has part of his nature that "creeps on the earth," and has in himself a streak of savagery.

God has in Himself the burden-bearing nature of the ox and the savagery of the lion. We are in God’s image. We always shall have both a burden-bearing nature and a savage, conquering nature. Redemption does not remove these from us but brings them to peace so one does not destroy the other and so they can be led by a little child.

There is no place in God, in His children, or in the Kingdom, for "creeping things." Creeping things are necessary for the ecological functioning of our present earth but may be needed no longer when the Kingdom comes.

All of this is in preparation for the creation of mankind. From the members of mankind will be formed the Wife of the Lamb and also the rulers of the world to come. The sons of men can become, through Christ, the sons of God.

The Wife of the Lamb is to be a helper suited to God’s only begotten Son. She cannot be an animal. She must be a Divine creation possessing the many varied attributes and characteristics of the Son of God Himself. She must be in His image and of His nature and Substance. Then she will be able to become one with Christ in God.

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13)

The sixth aspect is a time of war, of the Presence of Christ the King, and of the forming of the sons of God into the image of Christ.

"Moses," to speak figuratively, can bring us through only five of the seven aspects of redemption. "Joshua" must take us past this point. Moses represents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd, leading His flock through the tribulations and dangers of the wilderness. Joshua represents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lord of Hosts.

As we have known the Good Shepherd, Christ of the Twenty-third Psalm, so also shall we come to know the Lord strong and mighty in battle, Christ of the Twenty-fourth Psalm.

We find in the Twenty-fourth Psalm that the earth belongs to the Lord and that if we are to ascend into the hill of the Lord (Mount Zion) and stand in His holy place we must have clean hands. It is time now for the Lord to come to us and give us clean hands.

Our hands have been clean by imputed (legally given) righteousness, but imputed righteousness is not the Kingdom. The Kingdom includes hands that practice clean behavior. Hands that practice clean behavior are the hands of the Lord Jesus being formed and dwelling in our hands.

The King of Glory desires to enter through the everlasting doors of our personality. Let us lift up those doors in preparation for His conquest of us, and through us His conquest of the whole earth.

Between the fifth and sixth aspects of redemption, between the Altar of Incense and the Ark of the Covenant, an ornate veil was hung that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The symbolic counterpart of the veil is the Jordan River, which separates the wilderness from the land of promise.

Before we can pass from the fifth aspect of redemption to the sixth aspect we must proceed past the veil; we must cross over the River Jordan. Both the veil and the Jordan symbolize our death. Resurrection always must be preceded by death, and the land of promise is resurrection ground.

What kind of death? There are at least six deaths mentioned in the Scriptures:

Physical death, the separation of our spirit and soul from our body.

Spiritual death, the separation of the Life of Christ from our personality.

The "second death," the eternal separation of God from our personality and the casting of our personality into the Lake of Fire.

The death of the cross, the initial separation of our reborn inward personality from the world and from our adamic nature, dramatized by faith as we enter water baptism.

Death to sin, the separation of our personality from the lusts of the flesh, as we walk in the Holy Spirit

Death to our self-will, the final separation of our personality from our personal hopes and ambition so the will and purposes of God may be carried out in us without distraction. This is the separation of our reborn spiritual nature from our soul so we are able to deny and put to death, through God’s Personality and Virtue, the deepest springs of our adamic personality. It is the final crucifixion of the "I" that was begun in water baptism.

Since the first three deaths (cessation of breathing, the absence of spiritual life, and the Lake of Fire) are understood fairly well by Christian people, let us dwell for a moment on the remaining three deaths. The final death of the remaining three, which is death to our self-will, is the one typified by the veil of the Tabernacle, and by the Jordan River.

The three deaths now under discussion are symbolized by the three hangings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The gate leading into the Courtyard.

The door leading into the Holy Place.

The veil leading into the Most Holy Place.

The first hanging was the gate of the linen fence. It led into the Courtyard area in which were located the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver.

The "death of the gate," which is our initial acceptance of the atonement in salvation, can prove to be a difficult step for the person who has struggled, whether in observance of Jewish law or in conscience and personal code of morality and honor, to lead a life pleasing to God and worthy of His acceptance and eternal life.

To be required to forsake of all one’s attempts at righteousness in order to embrace the blood of the cross, putting one’s self down on the same level with thieves and prostitutes (who also are required to embrace the cross), is more than some people can bear. Their personal pride prevents their coming to God by way of the cross.

So they plow onward in life attempting to please God apart from Christ, which is a hopeless endeavor.

Every human being is in need of redemption because of the sin of Adam and Eve. No human being possesses the price with which to pay the mortgage that Satan holds on him because of the original sin of Adam’s disobedience.

No person possesses enough spiritual wisdom and power to overcome the wiles of the devil. Only the Holy Spirit can conquer Satan, and the Holy Spirit is given only to individuals who obey God by believing in Christ and being baptized in water. The "oil" is put on the "blood."

Coming to Christ and forsaking one’s own righteousness is death to our first personality, death to the world, death to all our attempts to save ourselves by our own righteousness. The cross is death for the well educated, death for the ignorant, death for the wealthy, death for the poor, death for the black person, death for the white person.

There is a resurrection that follows the death of the gate. It is the freeing of one’s soul from the guilt of sin and a joyous welcome into the Presence of the Father, into His Kingdom. If we do what God has commanded we do not have to worry any longer whether or not we have been pleasing to the Father. Christ has pleased the Father by His obedience. We stand before God clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

The gate of the Courtyard symbolizes death to our old life, as our first personality by faith is assigned to the death of the cross of Christ. The death of our old life is explained in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans. It is death to our self-righteousness, death to the Law of Moses, death to the first creation.

In water baptism we demonstrate that by faith we are sharing in the death of Christ and sharing in His resurrection from among the dead. The death of the cross is the Divine sentence executed on the god of the world, on our past, ignorant actions in the darkness of the present evil age.

At this point we place our entire adamic personality on the cross so the "body of sin," which is part of our first personality, may be rendered incapable of successful resistance to our reborn nature.

By assigning our old self to the cross of Christ we become legally and actually free, through the authority of the redemptive blood and the power of the Holy Spirit, to choose to serve righteousness. Our spirit comes under subjection to the Holy Spirit. Our new Christ-filled nature rises to be hidden with Christ in God.

This is real death and real resurrection. It is portrayed in our water baptism, and then fashioned in actual experience as we live each day in the faith that we were buried with Christ and have risen with Him and in Him.

The death represented by the gate of the Courtyard of the Tabernacle is our crossing of the Red Sea. The armies of Pharaoh, attempting to follow us, are destroyed by the judgment that closes in on them.

The death of the gate results in our being raised with Christ. It is an instant death and resurrection that are accomplished through our faith. We are lifted up to be "hid with Christ in God." Egypt, the world, forever is behind us. We have been separated from Egypt by the "Red Sea" of water baptism, so to speak. The light of Christ in us has been divided eternally from the darkness of the world.

The death of the gate is associated with the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver—the receiving of the blood of the Lamb and water baptism.

The end result of the death of the gate is that we walk in the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to us, receiving eternal resurrection life. We now are free from condemnation through accepting Christ by faith.

The second hanging was the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The door was a curtain which covered the eastern end of the Tabernacle building. The priests of Israel stepped through the door into the Holy Place.

The door of the Tabernacle typifies death to the deeds of the body. We are baptized into the working of this death when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit we are to put to death the works of the flesh (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:16; I John 1:7-9; 3:3; II Corinthians 7:1).

When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit we come under the law of the Spirit of life. Through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and the authority of the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are enabled to sit in judgment on the sins of our personality.

We judge our own actions so we should not be judged. We judge the sins of deed, word, imagination, and motive that we are committing as Christians. We do so, not in self-accusation and gloom but in joy and strength as the Holy Spirit leads us into such judgment.

The purpose of the death of the door is the destruction of the power of sin over our members, the breaking of the hold of sin on us. It is a step-by-step overcoming of sin, and a step-by-step march into a progressively greater freedom in the Holy Spirit.

The end result of the death of the door is the conquest of evil spirits by the power of the Spirit of God. It is a throwing off of every chain which compels us to worship Satan in the committing of sinful deeds.

The third hanging of the Tabernacle was the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. The veil typifies death to our own will and obedience to God’s will. When we pass through the veil we become the servant of the Lord.

Coming through the veil into the Most Holy Place results from our dying to the opinions of our own proud mind, a mind that is the enemy of God and cannot be made subject to the Law of God. By faith we bring down our natural, soulish self-centeredness and carry our cross after the Master.

It is amazing how effective our personal cross is in dealing with our self-love and self-will. Crucifixion is the best antidote in the world for the poisonous self-seeking of our original personality. We struggle, kick, and complain as our cross works death in us. The end is death to the desires of our soul, and growth in Christ’s Life that is coming to maturity in us.

It is through the cross we carry that we share in Christ’s sufferings and also in the power of His eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

Coming through the door to the Holy Place speaks of death to the commonly committed sins of the believers, such as spiteful words, unforgiveness, unclean deeds, filthy words, jealousy, pride, wrath, and so forth. The Holy Spirit points out to us the sins we are practicing in action, in words, and in thought.

Through the Spirit we learn to deal with the specific deeds, words, motives, and imaginations that the Scriptures term sin. We are to confess our sins in a specific manner and bring the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Spirit of God against them.

One by one our sins of conduct and imagination are brought to our attention by the Holy Spirit. One by one we confess our sins to the Lord and repent of them, obtaining His forgiveness and cleansing. Through the Holy Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). In this manner we overcome our sins through the Spirit of God.

Going through the veil is the deepest death of all. The goal of the death of the veil is to make us a servant of the Lord, one of Christ’s warriors.

The purpose of the death of the gate is to turn our minds toward God’s salvation and to divide the light from the darkness that is in us. The death of the gate destroys the ability of the natural man to force us to live according to the spirit of the present age.

The purpose of the death of the door is to enable us, through the Holy Spirit, to gain victory over the sins we commit. Deliverance from sin is part of our personal transformation into the image of Christ.

The purpose of the death of the veil is to enable us to serve God and to see Him. Even the most righteous person, such as Job, could not see God and have full fellowship with Him when that individual, though righteous, still was filled with his own ways.

The death of the veil is death to serving Christ in our own wisdom and power. It is death to self-achievement, including self-achievement in the work of the Kingdom of God.

The fourth chapter of Second Corinthians relates how Paul continually was pressed out of measure and struck down as he attempted to serve Christ. Paul had the sentence of death in himself that he should not trust in himself but in God who raises the dead (II Corinthians 1:9).

The death of the veil gives us the heart of a servant and the willingness to be God’s "worm." The death of the veil results in our resurrection into the flowing of the glorious Person, will, way, and purposes of the Father.

Part of the death of the veil is the coming of judgment upon us as a person, a stern and exacting measurement of all that we are, a chastening according to the will of God. As many as the Lord loves He rebukes and chastens.

After we have been judged to God’s satisfaction and have been brought more fully into the image of Christ we are raised into His Presence and experience joy. A personal knowledge of God and union with Him are our chief rewards.

The death of the veil is a protracted death as God brings us into the sufferings of Christ. We are being transformed into His Glory. We proceed from death to life, death to life, death to life, day by day, week by week, year by year.

To enter the work of judgment with Christ, destroying sin and rebellion from the earth and installing the Kingdom of God, requires that we enter the death of the veil. The death of the veil is symbolized in the Old Testament by the crossing of the Jordan River. It occurs just prior to the destruction of the Canaanites and the possessing of the land of promise.

The death of the veil brings us into what is typified by the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. It is fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Christ. It is a walk in triumphant, glorious victory as an obedient king of righteousness, and as the Lord’s servant in intercession and ministry as a priest. It is full participation in the rest of God.

To stand eternally in the Presence of the Almighty requires more than righteousness and holiness, although these are necessary. It demands further death to our original personality. It requires the work of Divine fire that burns to the core of our being.

The death of the veil penetrates the deepest areas of who we are and what we are, and there it transforms and transfigures. God cuts and burns His way into every atom of our personality—spirit, soul, and body. The result is pure, refined gold—transparent through and through. The Divine fire leaves nothing but the finest, purest gold.

The believer who has pursued this final route with God cannot be hurt of any further death. He is dead. He is alive eternally because it is Christ, the Fire of God, who is living in him. This is the final death, and beyond the veil is a resurrection in God Himself so glorious, so holy, so wonderful, so eternal, so incorruptible, that the believer will be able to stand in the Presence of the Father forever, to see His face and to serve Him.

The privilege of standing before the Father and seeing Him is so far beyond our comprehension that we can do no less than offer our body as a whole burnt offering, an ascending sacrifice, in the certain knowledge that what God has promised He will accomplish in us.

Paul states: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:.. ". (Galatians 2:20). Paul was a living dead man, one might say. Yet Paul was marvelously alive because Christ was in every part of Paul’s deeds, Paul’s words, his motives, and his imaginations.

In order for us to enter what is beyond the veil, into the fullness of service as a king and priest of Christ, we must meet the qualifications for the overcomer (Revelation, Chapters Two and Three).

We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb (the gate of the Courtyard of the Tabernacle).

We overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony, by conformity to the Word of God that has been wrought in us by the Holy Spirit (the door of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle).

We overcome the accuser by loving not our life to the death (the veil leading into the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle).

The crossing of the Jordan River under the leadership of Joshua speaks of our final death—our final separation from the world, from sin, and from self-will and rebellion against God.

As soon as Jordan had been crossed the new generation had to be circumcised (Joshua 5:2-7). The reason for our circumcision and death at the time of the climax of the work of redemption is that we are being prepared for the battle of the ages, for Armageddon. Armageddon is the war between Christ and Antichrist.

The Battle of Armageddon is waged around one issue: obedience to the will of God versus disobedience to the will of God. When there is disobedience in the camp we lose our power against the enemy. We possess the strength of the Holy Spirit only as long as we are separated to God and obedient to God.

If we have received Christ as our Savior but never have gained victory over worldliness, sin, and disobedience, we may be saved in the Day of the Lord by the mercy of God. But we are worth nothing in the battle against God’s enemies until we are strong and skillful in the ways of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father.

The war of God concerns righteousness, holiness, and obedience. The Lord will not send immature believers into the warfare that involves the control of the earth and its people. The weaker believers must be kept safe somewhere and nourished by God’s goodness until they grow stronger in the Lord and in the power of His might.

By the term "weaker believers" we do not mean the careless or lukewarm. They will be chastened severely by the Lord. We mean those who have obeyed the Lord in all that they know and understand but to whom much of the Kingdom has not been entrusted.

In the meantime, Christ’s mighty men, His conquerors, His saints, are preparing to wage war against the armies of Antichrist. Christ is ready to assume His rightful throne as King of kings and Lord of lords over the whole earth.

Up to the present hour we have been required to take a defensive position, to a certain extent, while we learn to stand and hold our ground against the forces of Hell. When Jesus returns we shall change from defensive holding to offensive invasion and destruction of the enemy.

We now are being prepared for the battle and are learning to be obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Commander in Chief of His army.

The Ark of the Covenant represents the coming of Christ as the Lord strong and mighty in battle. The Ark of the Covenant typifies Mount Zion—the Lord’s stronghold against the enemy.

If you wish, you may be in the Lord’s army. Just give yourself to Him in unreserved discipleship. Follow Him in all the ways that He leads you. Love not your life to the death. Present your body to Christ as a whole burnt offering and He will do the rest.

Whoever chooses to do so may press toward the first resurrection from among the dead. We must become strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might if we expect to attain to the first resurrection and rule with Him in the present life and throughout the ages to come.

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippor) is the most solemn day of the Jewish year. The Day of Atonement concerns sin—its forgiveness and its removal from God’s creation, beginning with the victorious saints.

When the sixth element of each of the four major types of redemption are put together we gain an overall concept of the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. By means of war the Lord Jesus Christ will redeem (deliver) the peoples of the earth from sin.

The guilt of sin was forgiven on the cross of Calvary. The Lord Jesus now owns the earth and its peoples. Jesus holds the keys of Hell and death. All authority and power in Heaven, on the earth, and under the earth’s surface, are His.

Satan, even though he has no more legal claim on the earth or on anyone in it, still keeps the nations in bondage. The mortgage has been paid in full but the mortgage holder will not let his prisoners go. Therefore the earth and its peoples will be taken from him by force. This is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

The complete fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Day of Reconciliation) will take place during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and is, according to our understanding, the reason for and meaning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

There will be no further need for redemption after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, as symbolized by the lack of silver in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Silver symbolizes redemption. There is much gold (Deity) in the holy city but silver is not mentioned (Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22).

"When these things begin to come to pass," Jesus exclaimed, "then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).

We understand from this saying redemption (deliverance from all the works of the devil) is yet ahead of us. This means the fullness of the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is yet to come.

Paul refers to the coming day of redemption, in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans (verses 21 and 23).

We are being kept by the power of God through faith unto the redemption that will come to us with the return of Christ to the earth. In that day, all the traces of Satan’s works will be removed from our personalities. Then from us the deliverance will spread to all Israel and finally to the saved nations of the earth.

We understand also that the Day of Atonement, of Redemption and Reconciliation, is operating among us now. Every time an unsaved person receives Christ the atoning blood begins the work of redemption in him. Every time a believer gains victory over sin he is better prepared to enter the Presence of God. Every time a saint gives over the desires of His life to the will of Christ he is brought further into the Presence of God.

As we Christians follow the Lord Jesus each day we must learn to walk in the open confession of our sins before the Lord (I John 1:9). If we are sensitive to the will of God and are walking in the light of His Presence the Holy Spirit will point out to us the sins of deed, word, motive, and imagination we are committing.

As the Holy Spirit makes us aware of specific sins in our behavior we are to confess them as sin. By confession, repentance, forgiveness, and cleansing, the Day of Atonement is at work continually in the Christian disciple.

It is through the blood of Christ that we are able to wash ourselves from the sins we practice. We keep obtaining forgiveness and cleansing. As we steadfastly draw near to God, the Lord helps us to resist the enemy and to quit our sinning.

Through the authority of the blood and the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit of God we are able to gain victory over sinful behavior. This is the individual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

The Day of Atonement will have a kingdom-wide fulfillment, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which the whole earth will be delivered from sin. Also there is a current, individual fulfillment taking place now as we receive the blood of atonement in initial salvation, and then as we confess our sins throughout our Christian discipleship as the Holy Spirit points them out to us.

The Day of Atonement, by its eternal authority and power in destroying the sinful practices and the self-will and self-centeredness from our life, is contributing to our transformation into the image of Christ. Man is being created in the image of God during the "sixth day" of the plan of redemption.


The Seventh Aspect of Redemption

The seventh aspect of redemption is the consummation, the "mark," the completion of God’s work in redeeming us from the hand of the enemy. Sometimes it is assumed that redemption, or salvation, is an open-ended process that continues on and on with no specific conclusion. Such is not the case at all. God works for "six days" and then He rests.

God’s working always is clear-cut, decisive, well-planned, and carried through to perfection. God is not vague. He is forthright and precise in all He does. His way is perfect. His work is well-defined. Redemption has a specific beginning, a specific program, and a specific conclusion.

There is one area of growth in our lives that will continue for an unimaginably great period of time. As we, who are the Lord’s servants, are drawn to Him to stand in His Presence, to see His face, we will be transformed as the face of Moses was transformed. The longer and closer is our association with Him the more we shall become like Him.

Because of the indescribable, indefinable greatness of God, we can state the process of transformation will continue throughout eternity as we become more and more like our heavenly Father in every way. However, such eternal transformation is our growth as sons of God; it is not the process of redemption, of deliverance from the control of the enemy.

As we have pointed out, there is no "silver" in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The absence of silver indicates that redemption has ceased and the status and role of each of the creatures of God has been determined.

Let us review the four illustrations of the seventh aspect of redemption:

God rested from all His works.

Rest in the land of promise.

The Mercy Seat.

The feast of Tabernacles.

The "rest of God" is the subject of the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews and the four great Bible types speak to us of progress toward the rest of God.

The rest of God is the mark, or goal, of the plan of redemption.

The rest of God is the "mark" toward which the Apostle Paul was pressing. The knowledge that there indeed is a goal at which we can aim strengthens our desire to press forward in Christ. There is a finish line. We are pressing toward a specific objective.

We find after God had created the heavens and the earth, the vegetation, the heavenly bodies, and the inhabitants of the earth, He pronounced them to be "very good"—a fine, acceptable piece of work. God approved of His creation.

Then God set apart the seventh day as belonging especially to Himself and He sanctified that day. His work was ended. God rested from all His work of creation.

There were no evening and morning of the seventh day because the seventh day represents the day of eternity that has no end.

On the sixth day of creation, God created man in His own image. Adam and Eve were in the image of God in the sense that they had been formed by the Lord and portrayed in their personalities the characteristics of God, particularly the faculty of intelligent moral judgment.

Of supreme importance was their ability to be in union with God and with one another, a characteristic possessed, apparently, by no other creature of God. Adam and Eve had the ability to love God, to communicate with God, and to feel, think, and act like God to an extent true of no other creature—angelic or animal.

However, Adam and Eve, as they existed in the garden of Eden, were a rudimentary, weak reproduction of the Lord God of Heaven. There is an infinitely greater fulfillment of the work of the sixth day that is yet to come.

It is Christ and His brothers who are the fulfillment of the declaration of the sixth day. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Person who has lived on the earth in the fullness of the image of God. All the rest of the descendants of Adam were and are weak, undeveloped images of the Lord.

Christ is the image of the Father. He who beholds Christ beholds the Father, not because Jesus is the Father, but because He is the image of the Father and the Father dwells in Him.

When God declared that His work was completed, and He sanctified the seventh day and rested in it, being pleased with His work, He was working, speaking, and resting in a timeless vision.

God’s way is to speak of things as being accomplished when they have not been accomplished from our point of view. God has pronounced us glorified in Christ (Romans 8:30). We do not see ourselves in a glorified state. God has envisioned great glory for us but we do not see the fulfillment as yet.

God’s sends forth a creative Word and then rests while the Word is being carried out. When we learn to believe in the working of God in us as He conforms us to the image of Christ, we enter God’s rest. He who believes enters rest.

We behold Jesus. He is the only Person the world has ever seen who is in the image of God. But there is more to come. God created "them" male and female in His image.

"Male and female created He them." The Divine work of creating man in God’s image has not been completed as yet. In the sense in which we now are speaking, Christ will not be complete until His Bride has been created in the image of God and brought into union with Him. Jesus and His Wife are one "man." "Male and female created He them."

Christ came to the earth and was made perfect through the things He suffered. Then God caused a "deep sleep" (Calvary) to fall on Christ. God is drawing out from the Person of Christ His body and blood. On this body and blood the Lord God is creating the Wife of the Lamb.

The Wife of the Lamb is being taken from the saved people of the earth. What is being created is not a shaping, a disciplining of our flesh-and-blood earthly life. What is being created is from God just as Christ is from God.

The Church is not being born from human blood or from the will of the flesh or from the wisdom and energy of men. The Church is being created by the Holy Spirit from the body and blood of Christ. The Church is of God because the Church is being formed from the Substance and Nature of Christ.

It is the Lamb and His Wife who are the fulfillment of God’s edict: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."

The work of building the Church into the Wife of the Lamb is taking place now. When it is finished, at the commencement of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, God will rest in His love. It is true also that as an individual believes in God, and works with the Holy Spirit in the transforming of his personality into the Substance, nature, and image of Christ, God rests in His love in him or her.

We understand, then, that the sixth work of creation is continuing. We are being fashioned into the image of God.

Sometimes problems of Scripture interpretation arise when we attempt to place physical limitations of time and place on the spiritual working of God. Let us remember that God always is with us, always present, calling things that are not as though they are, bringing His purposes to pass in the earth without any power being able to prevent His doing do. He is God.

The "rest" of the land of promise is discussed in the Book of Hebrews, Chapters Three and Four. The possession of the land of promise, of Canaan is symbolic of our rest in God—the rest that comes as we enter what God has spoken concerning us from the beginning of the world.

Israel entered Canaan by warfare. We also enter our land of promise by warfare. God "gives" the land to us as soon as we leave Egypt, as soon as we turn away from the spirit of the present evil world.

Before we can inherit the "gift" of the land of promise we must go to school in the wilderness of trials and temptations. Then we must follow the Ark of God (the Lord Jesus), fighting our way into the possession of the land of promise so we can obtain rest in our inheritance. The difficulty is that our land of promise, our inheritance, is occupied by formidable forces. We must fight our way in under the guidance of the Lord of Hosts.

It appears down through the centuries the Christian churches have assumed that Heaven is the land of promise and that crossing the Jordan River symbolizes physical death.

Certainly the hope of going to Heaven when we die has served as an inspiration and goal to countless saints as they have made their way through the wilderness of the world, bearing their cross, following the Lord Jesus Christ. Paradise is a real place in the spirit realm, and every true saint looks forward to going home to be with the Lord.

Now, as we draw near the closing of this age, we are beginning to understand the land of promise is the glory of Heaven brought down into the earth. It is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth that is the Gospel message. The inheritance of Christ is in the earth and earth’s peoples (Psalms 2:8).

Who is the "Canaanite enemy" against whom we are to fight? It is Satan, the god of the world. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the wicked lords of darkness who influence the actions of people on the earth.

God’s will has been established forever in Heaven. Now it is God’s time for His Kingdom, His rule, His will, to come to the earth, and for God’s King—Christ—to receive authority and power over the earth and to rule throughout the earth (Revelation 12:10, 11:15).

The earth and its peoples are the land of promise. The earth has been promised to the meek, to those who receive God’s will in Christ. The invasion of Canaan and the destruction of the Canaanites represents our invasion of the spirit realm and the destruction of the wicked spirits in heavenly places who seduce and urge earth’s inhabitants into sin and rebellion against God. Included in the fulfillment of the type is the consequent manifestation in the earth, beginning in Jerusalem, of this spiritual victory.

The earth is the land of promise. We are being prepared to serve God as kings and priests in the earth. The thousand-year period, in particular, will be a step toward the establishing of the Kingdom of God in the earth.

Finally, when all sin and rebellion have been dealt with according to the Lord’s satisfaction, the new heaven and earth reign of Christ will commence. In that day the Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the earth rather than in Heaven. The Divine Throne will be established for eternity in the new Jerusalem, which is the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the Christian Church.

Our immediate concern is our own flesh. We have problems overcoming the enemy in our own "house"—our own body and personality. Our first battle is with the lusts of our body and mind, with Satan and the world acting to intensify the lusts against which we are fighting.

We learn the way of the Lord by going to war against our own nature. The Battle of Armageddon will be nothing more than an earth-wide expression of the individual battle between God and Satan, Christ and Antichrist, good and evil, light and darkness, life and death, that goes on continually in the personality of the disciple of Christ.

If, through the ability that God gives, we make a success of gaining victory in our personal warfare, we will enter God’s rest—into our own Canaan, so to speak. Then, when God gets ready for His kingdom-wide moves we will be prepared to enter that major confrontation in order to assist numbers of people as they make their own attempts to enter the rest of God.

If we are not diligent and successful in our personal battles it is a deception to believe we will arise as one of God’s mighty men in the Day of the Lord. This is not the way of the Kingdom. Our time of preparation is now.

If we go to battle in the Lord now, today, and gain victory by the blood of the Lamb, by our Spirit-guided faith in the Word of God, and by loving not our life to the death, we will be one of the Lord’s mighty men, His victorious saints. We will be glorified together with Him at His appearing in glory with the holy angels.

There is no way to enter the land of promise, the rest of God, other than through war. The enemy is powerful, cunning, and fierce. God is immeasurably more powerful, cunning, and fierce. If we follow the Spirit of the Lord we have no need to fear.

Our biggest problem is not Satan or the lusts of our flesh but our lack of faith and obedience. If we will read the Scriptures, mix faith with what God has declared in the Scriptures, and obey the Spirit of God each day, we will find that Christ is wiser and more powerful than the enemy. We do not gain all our victories in one moment. Even Christ waits for God to make His enemies His footstool.

There is victory available for the individual Christian and for the Church of Christ—victory over the world, the flesh, and Satan. In the six days of creation God established the earth as the area of His working. The earth remains to this day as the place where God is working. In no manner has God altered what He set out originally to accomplish.

From the foundation of the world God beheld the finished work—all the way to the glorification of the new Jerusalem and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Then God declared: "It is good. It is acceptable to Me, a very good work." Then God rested.

We humans are not able to behold the finished work. We do see the Lord Jesus, the chief Cornerstone of the new creation. Our responsibility and task is to follow the Holy Spirit each day, pressing ahead through the challenges and lessons being set before us. By so doing we are entering ever more perfectly into the Divine rest.

The term Mercy Seat is somewhat misleading. The word mercy should be "propitiation" (appeasement, conciliation, satisfaction) or "atonement" (reconciliation). The word seat should be "cover" or "lid."

It was the Propitiatory Cover or Lid of Atonement. It was the lid, the cover of the Ark of the Covenant. God did not sit on it. God dwelled between the wings of the golden Cherubim of Glory. Sitting implies the human characteristics of weight and tiredness. Antichrist one day may sit on the Mercy Seat in a reconstructed temple because Antichrist is a man. God has no weight, no attraction toward the earth. God is not tired.

God did not rest on the seventh day because He was tired. God rests in order to contemplate and enjoy His handiwork and to allow the power of His Word to accomplish what He has declared.

The Lid of Atonement, of Reconciliation, was solid gold, symbolizing the fact that the seventh aspect of redemption is the possession of God Himself.

The goal of the Christian redemption is God Himself—nothing less. Although God gives us joy indescribable and full of glory in all that He does in and for us, yet it is He Himself who is the best gift. The closer we draw to God the more we realize the deepest desire of our soul can be satisfied only by the possession of Him. The Lord Himself is the goal of our redemption. His rest is in us and our rest is in Him.

The Lid of Reconciliation and the two covering cherubim were beaten from one mass of pure gold. God dwelled between the Cherubim of Glory. The two golden cherubim represent the fullness of God’s power and glory and also the fullness of His justice and mercy. The number two is associated with the power of the witness of the Spirit of God. Also, both fiery judgment and reconciling mercy flowed from the Lid of Reconciliation located in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

In order for us to come into the image of Christ we must have three Divine elements developed throughout our personality. The three Divine elements are typified by the three objects that were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant:

The tables of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments (these were the Covenant, the Testimony,, from which the Ark derived its name).

The jar of memorial manna.

Aaron’s rod that budded.

The righteousness and holiness of the Divine Law must be created in us.

The Personality and Nature of Christ must be created in us. The Substance of Christ comes to us in His body and blood, the Bread from Heaven.

The eternal, incorruptible resurrection Life of the Holy Spirit must dwell in each member of the chosen priesthood.

The above three elements are the necessary spiritual fulfillments in us of what the Ark of the Covenant typifies. The elements must have been created in us if we are to be ready to participate with Christ in the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth and in all the other areas of the inheritance that will be given to those who have been brought to the "perfect man," to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

If we are lacking in any of the three Divine elements we will not be prepared for the glorious appearing of the Lord from Heaven. We will not participate in the first resurrection from among the dead. We must have a righteous, holy nature. We must have Christ formed in us. We must be acting, speaking, and thinking in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

As soon as we have been fashioned into the Ark of the Covenant, the eternal testimony, the dwelling place of the Lord of Hosts, we are ready for the Glory of God to settle down to rest in us. The Glory of God is represented by the solid gold Propitiatory Cover (Mercy Seat) with its two winged cherubim.

As soon as the moral nature of Christ has been developed in us, we are of the essence of His Being and in union with Him, and we are being moved by the same Holy Spirit that moves Him and are one with that Spirit, we then will receive as a crown of glory upon us the abiding Presence of God in Christ.

The Ark of the Covenant must be built in us, so to speak. The Ark will not be complete until the Glory of the Lord settles down to rest upon it. When God in Christ has come to rest in us, the fullness of the Divine redemption has been brought to pass in us.

The seventh of the feasts of the Lord is the feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles represents the fullness of the Glory of God in and upon us. It is God’s eternal purpose to dwell (tabernacle) among the peoples of the earth. God is creating the Church, the Body of Christ, for this reason—that He may have a dwelling place, a tabernacle in and through which He can abide among the nations of the earth.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

The week of Tabernacles is a season of the greatest joy. The Israelites are commanded to dwell in booths. Their dwelling in booths typifies the dwelling of God in His people and their abiding in Him.

"Abide in Me," the Lord Jesus invites His disciples. If we abide in Him and He abides in us we will bring forth much fruit. Abiding in Christ and He in us is the spiritual fulfillment of God’s people dwelling in booths in observance of the feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Tabernacles is the celebration of the conclusion of the harvest season. When we come to the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, every particle of our personality will have been harvested (redeemed) to the Lord—spirit, soul, and body.

There will be no part of us that has not died and been resurrected by the Spirit of God, by the Life of Christ. Nothing of the old creation will remain. Every element of our personality will be able to dwell in the fire of God without harm, just as was true of Moses’ bush, and of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.

The term resurrection indicates that something has died and God has raised it up. So it will be true of every aspect of our personality that it has died in the Lord and has been raised into newness of life by, in, and with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The feast of Tabernacles reminds the Jews that they lived in tents during their forty years in the wilderness. We Christians are made aware, from the symbolism of the booth of Tabernacles, that we are strangers and sojourners in the world and our true home is in Christ.

After the seven days of the feast of Tabernacles there is an eighth day, a holy Sabbath. The eighth day (Simchat Torah ) is the climax of the thanksgiving and rejoicing of the feast of Tabernacles. Simchat Torah is the "Rejoicing Over the Law," revealing the profound respect and love the devout of Israel have for the Torah—the Law given through Moses.

The eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles typifies the first day of the week of eternity—the week that has no end.

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, just as the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the Millennial Jubilee, the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

At the beginning of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ there will be a season of thanksgiving and rejoicing, for He will have made all things new. (Revelation 21:5).

All things will be of God in that day. After the season of rejoicing and thanksgiving before the Lord we shall call to mind the years of our old life during which we were strangers and sojourners with God. Then the "eighth day" the week of eternity, will begin. The week of eternity has no end. It extends into the fullness of God throughout endless eons.

There are several concepts included in each of the seven aspects of redemption which we have just studied. The following seven phrases are our attempt to focus on the central spiritual concept of each of the seven aspects of redemption:

First aspect—separation of the light from the darkness.

Second aspect—death of the old creation.

Third aspect—birth of the new creation.

Fourth aspect—power to rule in righteousness.

Fifth aspect—preparing the coming of the King.

Sixth aspect—the marriage of the Lamb.

Seventh aspect—the victorious rest of God.

There are some interesting similarities between the seven aspects listed above and the letters to the seven churches of Asia of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.

The emphasis on Divine light appears in Christ’s message to the angel of the church in Ephesus: "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." The Christian churches are "the light of the world."

The separation of the light from the darkness is brought to mind as Christ speaks of His hatred for the "deeds of the Nicolaitans." Some scholarship suggests the Nicolaitans were the followers of Nicholas of Antioch. It is believed that Nicholas attempted through philosophy to reconcile Christianity to the pagan culture of the Roman communities so the differences between Christianity and the surrounding culture would be minimized.

Another school of thought suggests "the deeds of the Nicolaitans" is speaking of antinomianism. Antinomianism is the teaching that no moral law governs the believers in Christ However the Christian behaves has nothing to do with his salvation. No commandment is binding upon him or her. Salvation is by grace (forgiveness) alone.

The concept of antinomianism is that Christ performs a complete redemptive work apart from any effort on our part. The concept of "Jesus did it all" and there is nothing we do but believe He did it all is preached strongly today.

The idea that "Jesus did it all" is not scriptural and creates moral desolation. Unless the believer mixes faith with the Word of God and acts upon that faith, no moral transformation will occur. He or she has received the grace of God in vain.

The Nicolaitans preferred to keep the light mixed with the darkness.

The death of the old creation is indicated in the message to the angel of the church in Sardis. "Be thou faithful unto death," Christ advises, "and I will give thee a crown of life." It is at Sardis that we die with Christ and are raised into victorious life.

The message to the angel of the church of Pergamos reminds us of the birth of the new creation in that the "hidden manna" is mentioned. The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John associates manna with the body and blood of Christ. The new creation is born and formed from the body and blood of Christ.

Also, at Pergamos there is given the white pebble signifying acceptance into the new creation (the "stone" is a voting pebble, a counter in an election). In addition, a "new name" is assigned to the new creation.

The overcomer of Thyatira is given power to rule in righteousness: "He that overcometh, and keepeth my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he will rule them with a rod of iron,...."

The fifth church of Asia is Sardis. The name Sardis means remnant. Sardis is the church of the remnant who will be used of the Lord to prepare His coming. Elijah, the herald of the Lord, is associated with the remnant (Romans 11:2-5).

Sardis had a name among Christian people that it was alive, but it was a corpse propped up and animated by the wisdom, talents, and energies of the flesh.

There were a "few names," a purified remnant, in Sardis who were bearing a true witness of Christ in the power of the anointing of the Spirit of God. They are worthy to walk with Him in white when He appears. The Hebrew Prophets are clear that there will be a holy remnant in the day when Christ returns (Isaiah 4:3; Zechariah 13:9). They will prepare the way for the coming of the King.

The marriage of the Lamb takes place in the church in Philadelphia. It is here that we are made part of the eternal Temple of God. In Philadelphia we come into a full reconciliation to God through Christ and "will go no more out."

The victorious rest of God is revealed in the church of Laodicea in the words: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

Thus the several concepts of the seven aspects of redemption can be discovered in the messages to the angels of the seven churches of Asia.

We have just discussed the four major types (symbols) of redemption, which are as follows:

The seven days of creation.

The journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The seven feasts of the Lord.

The remainder of our book consists of four areas of interpretation of the seven feasts of the Lord. The four areas of interpretation are as follows:

The Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The redemption of the believer.

The growth to maturity of the Church, the Body of Christ.

The installing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.


THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Passover

Of the seven feasts of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ is seen most clearly in the Passover lamb. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed for us.

In the Book of Revelation, Christ is presented as the slain Lamb and the Church is spoken of as the Wife of the Lamb. We partake of the Lamb in the Communion service, and we drink His blood, just as the Jewish family partakes of the lamb of Passover.

By faith we sprinkle the blood of the Lamb of God on ourselves and on our households. Therefore, God passes over us when judgment comes upon the sin in our land.

Christ is our Lamb of protection and also our atonement, our reconciliation to God. We are to partake of His body and drink His blood. The depth and intensity of our relationship to Christ and His relationship to us is revealed in the fact that we partake of Him to the extent of eating and drinking Him.

The Christian is related to Christ as student to teacher, as disciple to master, as redeemed to redeemer, as friend to friend, as sheep to shepherd. But our most significant relationship to Christ concerns our eating Him and drinking His blood—our receiving of Him into our spirit, into our soul, and into our body. We become one with Him in the truest, fullest sense of the word.

Because of this supremely profound relationship, the Church of Christ is referred to as the Wife of the Lamb, never as the wife or bride of Christ, of the Word, of the Lion of Judah, or of any other aspect of Christ.

The Church is the Wife of the Lamb because she becomes one with Him through the eating and drinking of Him. Christ is our Passover Lamb.

It was during the Passover meal that Jesus declared, "This is my body," and, "This cup is the new testament in my blood." By faith we eat the Body of Christ in the Communion bread, and by faith we drink His blood in the Communion cup.

While we are receiving the Communion elements our minds and hearts turn back two thousand years to that dark—and yet gloriously lighted—hour when the Lamb of God was slain for our sins. If it were not for the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood, no person on the earth could hope to escape the wrath of an angry God whose laws and ways have been violated and perverted on every side.

Let us eat of that flesh and drink of that blood, and praise the Lord for His everlasting mercy and His goodness to us.

The Passover lamb was slain in Egypt, typifying the world. Our Lord Jesus Christ was taken outside the city of Jerusalem and crucified at the hands of the Roman soldiers.

Revelation 11:8 mentions "the city, that spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." Sodom represents the lust of the flesh. Egypt portrays the lust of the eyes. Jerusalem signifies the pride of life—the spiritual pride and envy that crucified Christ.

We Christians are to flee from the spirit of the world. The world is no friend of Christ. The spirit of the world crucified the Lord Jesus Christ and the same spirit will slay the testimony of the saints in the last days. But God finally will raise the saints in the fullness of the power of eternal, indestructible life, just as He raised His Lamb—Christ.

The feast of Passover was celebrated on the fourteenth day of the month Abib. Therefore God made Abib the chief of the months—the first month of the religious year. So it is that the Lord Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, is the beginning of the redemption of the world. The calendar used by several nations is dated from His birth.

The Passover lamb was selected on the tenth of Abib, giving the family who chose it an opportunity to examine it for blemishes. It was not lawful to offer a Passover lamb that had any kind of blemish.

Christ, God’s Passover Lamb, was observed by the common people and by the priests. Yet they could find no fault in Him. Pilate, the Roman governor, could find no blemish in Him. Neither the priests of Israel nor the worldly judge could discover any blemish, any fault, any cause of blame in Him.

Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. (Luke 23:4)

The Passover lamb was not to be undercooked or boiled in water. The lamb was to be roasted with fire. The Lord Jesus went through the fire of God until there was nothing left in Him that had not been purified by the Divine judgment. Every desire, every ambition, every thought of self, every feeling of sentiment, of the need for vindication, was touched by the refining flame.

Personal desires, ambition, hopes, thoughts of self and so forth are not sin. Christ was not tempted by sin. These feelings and attitudes are not unrighteous, not unholy. Neither are they refined gold. Until they have been through death and resurrection they cannot abide in the fire with which God baptizes His choicest servants.

Every dimension and factor of Christ’s Person was "roast with fire." Christ arose from the dead after He had been consumed in the fire of God. All our sins and sicknesses that He bore on Himself also were consumed in the burning flame of Divine judgment.

The bitter herbs of the Passover meal speak of the suffering of Christ in the world. Truly, He suffered more than any other man. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The one righteous man who ever lived was treated the worst of all—so great is the wickedness of the world!

The only actual Passover was the Passover of the exodus. The Passover meals that have been celebrated each year since the exodus are memorials of the first Passover when Moses, the man of God, led Israel from Egypt. In another sense, the Passover is repeated each time God shields from judgment those who are under the protection of the blood of His Lamb.

Christ is our Passover Lamb and also our heavenly Moses. His blood was shed and sprinkled on each person who will receive Him by faith.

Just before Christ returns, the judgments of God will begin to fall on "Egypt," on the world system. Christ will proceed to chastise the present world system with destructive plagues. Satan, the Pharaoh of the world, and his followers, will become increasingly hardened. The wrath of Christ will mount in fury until men begin to cry for the mountains and rocks to fall on them and hide them from the anger of the Lamb of God.

Then, in a spectacular demonstration of Divine glory and power, the heavenly Moses, Christ, will appear to remove His people from the slavery of Egypt. Pharaoh and his servants will fight and attempt to resist the departure of their slaves, of Christ’s people who have had to endure the cruel bondages of the present life.

The peoples of the world, and numerous believers along with them, labor in the fire for vanity, in the hopeless bondage in which Satan keeps his subjects. Human beings drive themselves into anxiety and nervous breakdowns, attempting to achieve goals that always are just out of reach. Satan is a cherub, not a human being, and an unbelievably cruel, harsh, wicked taskmaster.

The Lord Jesus will appear, and lead from their miserable servitude to the evil lords of darkness all who by faith will sprinkle His blood on their lives and on their households. In so doing, the Lord will leave the present world system in a shambles, in turmoil, in ruins, and the power of Pharaoh (Satan; Antichrist) destroyed.

The day of redemption from the hand of Satan is yet ahead of us. When the judgment falls, the true Church, the true saints, the holy remnant, will be protected just as Israel was protected in the land of Goshen. No matter how the plagues and curses fall on the world, every member of the true Israel of God, the Body of Christ, will be covered by the hand of God Almighty.

No part of God’s wrath will touch the believer who keeps himself and his loved ones under the blood of Christ.

What we have just described is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the prophetic symbolism associated with the exodus from Egypt. Each of us as an individual has his or her own "exodus from Egypt" when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Passover Lamb.

We come out of the malice and wickedness of the world, applying the blood of Christ by faith to our life and the lives of our household. We partake of the body and blood of the Lord, along with other Christians. We remember the death of the Lord on the cross of Calvary.

We look forward with thanksgiving and rejoicing to the Day of Redemption that is ahead of us when the Lamb of God, the heavenly Moses, will appear and bring His people out of Egypt, out from the bondages of sin and death of the present world spirit.

Then the God of the spirit of the age will be destroyed utterly and not a hand can save him. His end is written in God’s Word.

It is interesting to note the many instances in which the Book of Revelation refers to Christ as the Lamb. This is because His appearing will be the fullness of that which was begun so long ago in Egypt, and also because of His oneness with His Wife as she partakes of His body and His blood.

It pleases God to reveal His Son as the avenging Lamb because an avenging lamb is a paradox. A lamb is a meek animal, not an avenger. It is God alone who is able to exercise wrath and vengeance through a lamb.

"Behold the Lamb of God," John the Baptist cried, "who takes away the sin of the world."

In the days ahead, frightful curses and plagues will be poured out because of the wrath of God against those who are destroying His way on the earth. All who would be saved must be protected by the blood of God’s Lamb, Christ.

Let us be faithful in holding up Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth must be given the opportunity to be sprinkled with the blood of God’s Lamb. When the Divine destroyer comes through the earth he will pass over every person who is covered by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Unleavened Bread

Christ is our unleavened Bread. Christ came down from the Father without inherited sin. There is no leaven of sin in His Divine nature. Of all the billions of people who have lived on the planet Earth, the only One who was born without the authority or power of sin over His life is Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus’ Father is God Almighty. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus lived a life on earth free from the leaven of sin. Then He was offered as a sacrifice to God.

If Christ had been guilty of one sin, of even the smallest transgression of Divine Law, He could not have qualified as our redeemer, our lamb.

If Christ had sinned even once He then would have had to die for His own sin and we would have to die for our many sins. If He had sinned He would need a redeemer. But Christ remained free from the leaven of sin. Therefore He is able to redeem every person who comes to God through Him.

Christ is the unleavened Bread from Heaven who gives life to the world. There is no leaven of sin in Him. He Himself is our feast of Unleavened Bread. During the Passover week there was to be no leaven at all seen among the families of Israel. Anyone found with leaven was to be cut off from among his people. The curse of God was on him if leaven was found in his home.

By this strict ordinance God was portraying His abhorrence of sin and His determination to cleanse all wickedness from His people. Christ came without sin, without leaven, so through Him we can become free from sin in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body.

In Christ there is no leaven of sin. When Christ is finished redeeming His Church, which is His Body, there will be no leaven of sin in it. The Body of Christ is the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb. The Wife of the Lamb will be perfect, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish of any kind.

The first three acts of redemption performed by the Lord Jesus Christ took place over a short period of time. The feast of Passover, the feast of Unleavened Bread, and the feast of Firstfruits, were fulfilled when Jesus was crucified, descended into the realms of the dead, and then was reunited with His body in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.

Christ appeared before the Father in Heaven, bringing His own blood to sprinkle upon and before the Cover of Reconciliation (Mercy Seat) in Heaven. As soon as the true tabernacle in Heaven had been cleansed (Hebrews 9:23), the fulfillment of the first three feasts in the Person and work of Christ was completed.

The departure of Christ into Heaven forty days after His resurrection is not, to our knowledge, portrayed in the feasts of the Lord. The lack of emphasis, in the typology of the feasts, on Christ’s departure into Heaven is due to the fact that His ascension merely was a temporary change in His location rather than an integral aspect of redemption.

Although the ascension of Christ into Heaven was a demonstration of Kingdom power, and He now is interceding for us in the Presence of God, it is helpful to realize this was a temporary return into the spirit realm and not part of His redemptive resurrection. The spirit realm is the area of preparation for the resurrection and the Battle of Armageddon.

Redemption is the act of freeing a person from the guilt, authority, power, and effects of Satan, sin, and death. Ascension is an act of Kingdom power in which an individual is lifted bodily from the earth and carried into the clouds, and possibly into Heaven, into the area of preparation for the subjugation of the earth.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9,10)

"We shall reign on the earth"!

Redemption has been completed when we have been reconciled to God in spirit, reconciled to God in soul, and reconciled to God in body. The fullness of redemption is possible apart from ascension into Heaven and has little or nothing to do with ascension into Heaven.

Sometimes it is useful to distinguish between resurrection, which is an act of redemption, and ascension, which is nothing more than a change in location.

When a person dies and his soul is carried to Heaven, he or she has not been fully redeemed. The individual passes into the spirit realm because the physical body, which is part of the personality of man, has succumbed to the power of sin and death, not because spiritual maturity has been attained..

In the resurrection day, at the last trumpet, the bodies of the saints will rise, from their places of burial in the fullness of redemption glory. This is the destruction of the last enemy and the climax of the Divine salvation that is in Christ. Then the saints will be caught up from the earth to meet the Lord in the air and to receive their rewards from Him. The ascension of the saints is one of the initial expressions of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The resurrection of the physical body, which is an important part of redemption, signifies that the believer, having first been brought down to death by the judgment of God, has now been lifted into lifeóinto eternal life. The new eternal life cannot die again. It has been sanctified and empowered by Divine Substance and Nature.

Bringing down to death is in fulfillment of the feast of Unleavened Bread. The purpose of our death with Christ is that the body of sin, the leaven that is in us, may be destroyed. In order to destroy the sin in our personality the Lord has condemned our entire adamic personality, the good and the bad of it, to the death of the cross. Our being raised from the dead is in fulfillment of the feast of Firstfruits, the feast that follows Unleavened Bread.

Do not be confused by the fact that there was one day, the fifteenth of Abib, that was termed "the feast of Unleavened Bread," and that the seven days that commenced with the fifteenth of Abib also were referred to as the feast of Unleavened Bread. The day of Firstfruits, the sixteenth of Abib, was celebrated on one day during the week of Unleavened Bread that lasted from the fifteenth to the twenty-first of Abib.

Redemptive resurrection does not take place in us all at once. First Christ, the firstfruits, is born in us. Our new reborn inner man, which is of Christ and is Christ, ascends immediately in the spirit realm to be hidden with Christ in God. Resurrection and ascension, in the spirit realm, take place in us. Then the Spirit of God begins the work of bringing the remainder of our personality down to the death of Unleavened Bread and up again into the fullness of Firstfruits—into resurrection life as part of the Life of Christ.

There always is part of our personality that the Spirit of God is bringing down to death so He may bring it up again in newness of life. The working of death and life, death and life, takes place continually in us Christians. We continually are being pressed into Christ’s death on the cross and into the fullness of His resurrection Life.

Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits are major Scripture portrayals of death, judgment, and resurrection. Bodily ascension into the air appears to have no place among these major types because bodily ascension is a work of power of the Kingdom of God rather than a renewing of our personality in God.

We ascend in spirit to the Father in Heaven when we enter Christ’s resurrection because that is where Christ is, not because the ascension itself is an act of redemption. When Christ returns to earth we shall return to earth, for He Himself is our Life, our Resurrection.

The reason we are stressing this point is that Christian theologians have been drawn into the concept that the Christian redemption is a change of location from earth to Heaven. This is not true. The Christian redemption is a change from the life of Satan to the Life of Christ.

The eternal life is not in Heaven, it is in Christ. Our thoughts are heavenward in the present hour, not because residence in Heaven is the goal of salvation but because that is where our Life, Christ, is abiding. When Christ returns in His Kingdom, our Life will return to the earth. The types of the Old Testament do not portray the ascension of Christ or of the saints.

To emphasize the ascension of the saints rather than their resurrection from the dead is to put the wagon in front of the horse.

The harm in stressing the instant bodily ascension rather than the protracted resurrection, which is the bringing of each element of the personality down into death and then up again in union with the Life of Christ, is twofold:

The believer proceeds in the delusion that the adoption of a set of beliefs will serve as a key that will admit him, when he dies, to an external Paradise, and that such residence in Paradise is the goal of the Christian redemption.

The believer is looking for something to take place instantaneously that will make him acceptable to God. He is ignorant of the fact that resurrection, which is release from Satan and union with God through Christ, must take place in the human personality one step at a time.

The spirit must experience separation from Satan and union with Christ. The soul must experience separation from Satan and union with Christ. The body must experience separation from Satan and union with Christ. When these three separations and unions have been developed completely, the last separation and union being the overcoming of physical death, then the believer has been totally redeemed.

It can be understood, therefore, that those saints who ascend to meet Jesus when He next appears have been through the process of resurrection. They have come to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and have shared His suffering. They have been resurrected in spirit, in soul, and, at the appearing of the Lord, will be spiritually prepared for the resurrection of the body.

After their body has been redeemed from the hand of Satan and filled with the Life of Jesus they will be caught up to meet the Head—Christ. They are a firstfruits to the Lord. They are the holy remnant, the army of the Lord, the Body of Christ, the firstfruits of the Wife of the Lamb. They are judges, kings, and priests of God (Revelation 20:6).

The remainder of the dead will not be resurrected until a thousand years have passed.

To teach that the lukewarm believers of today, who have problems with any part of Christianity that is not pleasing to their flesh and self-will, will ascend to meet the Lord when He appears, is an invitation to chaos. They would be ascending into the consuming Fire and they, being arrogant, unbelieving flesh, would be consumed.

The churches are in a pitiful state of fleshly self-will. They are not prepared for the coming of the fiery Lord from Heaven.

We understand, therefore, that bodily ascension is not part of the program of redemption, of delivering human beings from the hand of Satan and bringing them into union with God. The bodily ascension described by the Apostle Paul in First Thessalonians is for those whom Jesus brings with Him, and also for the victorious saints who are alive on the earth when the Lord returns.

The resurrection and ascension of the saints at the next coming of the Lord is not part of the general resurrection of the dead. It is a special movement of resurrected saints from the earth to the Presence of Christ so they can descend with Him and destroy all sin and rebellion.

The rest of the dead will remain in the spirit realm until after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, at which time the nations will be raised: some individuals to life and some to the second death. The perfected Israel, the Wife of the lamb, will then descend from Heaven to the earth.

At the first resurrection, in full view of the world, the Body of Christ, God’s witnesses, will be caught up into the air. The Body of Christ will be caught up to the Head—Jesus, just as Jesus was caught up into the air while His Apostles watched.

We pass from Unleavened Bread, to Firstfruits, to Pentecost. This is to say, the feasts of the Lord portray our death with Jesus, our resurrection in Jesus, and then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Not major scriptural type portrays the so-called "rapture," the catching up of the believers that follows the first resurrection from the dead. No feast was observed forty days after the feast of Firstfruits, on the day when Christ ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:11). The angels bore witness of the temporary aspect of the ascension. They did not stress that the ascension of the Lord Jesus was a significant event. They pointed out to the disciples that Jesus will return in like manner. The emphasis is not on His going but on His returning.

It is important for us to keep in mind that the prize toward which we are pressing is not ascension but redemptive resurrection (compare Philippians 3:11). We cannot set the prisoners of the earth free by leaving the earth and ascending into Heaven. We will, however, set the prisoners of the earth free when we return to the earth with Jesus, having been redeemed in spirit, soul, and body.

God’s will already is being done in Heaven. The responsibility and task of the Body of Christ is to cause God’s will to be done in the earth.

We already possess ascension in the spirit realm. We already are at the right hand of the Father in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-7; Colossians 3:1-4).

What we are pursuing is the resurrection of our entire personality. The route to resurrection is through death and judgment. Only as we allow God to bring down our personality into death and judgment are we able to be raised again by God’s power and set free from all of our bondages.

The Lord Jesus entered the scene of history so He might fulfill the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. He was selected by God, slain, and then "roasted" in the fires of judgment.

Then the Body of Christ was broken on the cross and His blood shed so we may eat and drink thereof and receive eternal life. Also, by the sprinkling of the blood we have protection from the wrath of God when God executes judgment against the gods of the world.

As soon as Christ had drunk the cup of suffering and death for every man, He died. It is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment. At the moment Christ died the veil of the Temple was ripped open, the earth shook, the rocks were split. It was an awesome moment in history.

Just prior to this, from noon until three in the afternoon, darkness had fallen on the land.

The crucifixion of Christ was the method by which the Lord God of Heaven destroyed the authority of the God of the world and established the legal basis for the redemptive release of the peoples of the earth.

There was a period of three days and three nights, according to Jesus (Matthew 12:40), during which He was to be in the "heart of the earth." Jonah, who was in the belly of the fish, was a type of the Lord while He was in the heart of the earth.

Jesus in the heart of the earth was the fulfillment of the feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits were on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth of Abib (Nisan ), with the week of Unleavened Bread lasting for seven days (fifteenth through the twenty-first of Abib ).

If these events in the life of Jesus followed the feasts precisely, He would have been slain in the evening of the fourteenth of Abib, would have been in the heart of the earth on the fifteenth of Abib, and would have risen from the dead on the sixteenth of Abib.

Christian church tradition holds that Christ was crucified on Friday afternoon, lay in the grave on Saturday, and rose from the dead early Sunday morning.

Scholars do not agree on the manner in which the type of Jonah was fulfilled—how Jesus spent three full days and three full nights in the heart of the earth or in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea. Friday to Sunday, or the fourteenth through the sixteenth Abib in accord with, does not allow for three full days and three full nights as people of Western civilization reckon time.

There are at least three possible explanations for the seeming discrepancy:

Christ was crucified in the afternoon on Wednesday and rose from the dead at the beginning of Sunday, after sundown Saturday night. This would have given Him three full days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), and three full nights (Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night), in the regions below the surface of the earth.

In accordance with the Hebrew idiom and Jewish law, a fraction of a day is reckoned as a twenty-four hour day. A fraction of Friday, all Saturday, and a fraction of Sunday is reckoned as three twenty-four hour days—that is, three days and three nights.

Christ’s descent into the heart of the earth commenced in the spirit realm prior to His actual death on the cross (compare John 17:11; Matthew 26:38).

Christ fulfilled the feast of Unleavened Bread during the time He was in the heart of the earth. It is appointed to men once to die, and after death comes the judgment. As soon as Christ died the judgment fell on Him. He had to drink the cup of Divine wrath. He was separated spiritually from the Father. He was mocked and scorned by evil men and by the hordes of Hell (Psalms 22:13).

Some are teaching today that Christ did not die spiritually, only physically. They point out that it is impossible for resurrection Life to perish.

If Christ did not taste of spiritual death He did not taste of the eternal fate of those who sin against God.

The agony of Gethsemane did not arise from the fact that the Lord was near to physical death but that He was facing becoming sin and the consequent removal of the Presence of the Father.

Bearing the unimaginable burden of the sins of the world, He—Christ, the Living Word—was cast down to Hell. He became sin for us.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Corinthians 5:21)

What a test of faith and obedience this was! Only the faithfulness of God’s Word stood between Christ and eternal separation from God.

We humans may understand something of the physical suffering of Christ because we know what it is to suffer in the flesh. But we understand little or nothing at all of the spiritual anguish that Christ endured at that time.

No other person who has ever lived could have sustained the smallest part of that load of spiritual darkness, oppression, and death. We never will be able to grasp what the Son of God experienced in Gethsemane because we are not as great as He.

Christ carried a burden known only to the Father and Himself. An angel was sent down from Heaven in order to strengthen Him in Gethsemane. The angel may recount to us one day the role he played in assisting the Son of God in His hour of terror.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. (Psalms 22:14,15)

The responsibility and task of the Son of God during His fulfillment of the feast of Unleavened Bread, during His hours in the heart of the earth (especially His time in Hell—see Acts 2:27), was to drink the cup of judgment on behalf of all who would put their trust in Him and be saved through Him. Christ had to remain steadfast in faith, keeping Himself as a whole burnt offering to the Father until the time came for the Holy Spirit to lift from Him the terrible weight of the sin and rebellion of the world.

If the Son of God (and Son of Man) had wavered in His faith and obedience all would have been lost. Christ Himself would have been saved but we surely would have been doomed forever. He had to bear the sentence imposed on every sinner; for the justice of God must be satisfied.

Christ carried away our sins into the spiritual areas in the earth. The leaven had to be removed from the camp. Christ Himself became the leaven and was led away from the city of Jerusalem, from the midst of Israel.

The concept of spiritual areas under the earth’s surface suggests a relationship between the material realm and the spirit realm. Our initial perception may be that there is no connection between the spirit realm and the material realm. The two, we imagine, are unrelated.

However, the facts that Jesus, like Jonah, was in the earth; that Heaven is "up" and Hell is "down"; appear to be more than symbolic or mythological concepts.

While we may not understand the relationship between the material realm and the spirit realm, there is no doubt the two realms will converge in the last days. Heaven will come to earth in the form of the new Jerusalem. People will be raised from the dead and will enter eternal life or eternal death while in their physical bodies.

If we study the prayer of Jonah we may notice that his supplication is a prophecy. It is the Spirit of Christ in Jonah describing the suffering of Christ in the spirit domain within the earth.

And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. (Jonah 2:2,3)

Notice that the second aspect of salvation often refers to water, which is symbolic of the death of the old creation. Do you remember the four major types of the second aspect (the dividing of the water by the firmament, crossing the Red Sea, the bronze Laver, and the feast of Unleavened Bread)?

Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. (Jonah 2:4)

Now we come to the part where the almighty Christ attained the climax of His act of redemption, bearing on Himself the horrible burden of the leaven of the sin and disobedience of the peoples of the world:

The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. (Jonah 2:5)

What a picture of Christ descending into spiritual darkness under the load of sin! He was entering Sheol, the dread regions in the depths of the earth where the spirits of the dead were being held, awaiting the judgment of God: some to redemption and life, some to eternal separation from their Creator in the tormenting flames of the Lake of Fire.

The only assurance Christ had of ever returning from the darkness and terror of Sheol was the Word of the Father.

Going down into the heart of the earth (if we were not carrying the sin and rebellion of the world on our spirit) might be bearable to many of us because we live so much of the time in spiritual darkness and death.

The difference between the dens of lawlessness of the world and the chambers of the sinful dead may not be great. Whatever punishments there may be in Hell, one torment seems to stand out above the rest: never again shall we have the opportunity to dissociate ourselves from our foul companions and their vicious, filthy practices. Never again shall we be able to enjoy the Presence of the Spirit of God or of the saints. We have of our own will refused to serve God and have chosen the kind of environment and companions we prefer. It and they will be our possession forever—ages without end.

We of our own choice often live in the spiritual environment of Hell and are not bothered overmuch by the presence and actions of demons. The rebellious against God fear Hell, not because of the presence and actions of demons or because of the absence of God’s Spirit or the saints, but because they want to enjoy a pleasing material environment. (They are ready and willing to bring their hellish lusts into the most pleasing of environments!) However, the environment of Hell is more painful than the worst possible earthly setting. At least on earth we can lose consciousness, or sleep, or die.

The suffering that such a change of spiritual companions and environment, in particular the absence of the Presence of the Father, caused the Son of God we never shall understand.

As for us, the closer we draw to God the more the sin and darkness of the world depress us, pain us, and cause us to long to go home to be with Jesus and the saints in glory.

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. (Jonah 2:6)

It is written of Christ that He would not see corruption. This was true even to the extent His earthly flesh, which was in repose in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea, did not experience the ordinary processes of decay and death. The body of the Lord was preserved to the moment of resurrection.

As Jonah prayed in the whale so Christ continued to pray while He was in the earth’s interior.

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. (Jonah 2:7)

At some point in the heart of the earth, as Christ went down to the bottoms of the mountains, as the floods of dread and terror smothered Him, as the earth with its bars closed about Him, as all the waves and billows of God’s judgment passed over Him, at the given moment, the fragrance of righteousness, holiness, and obedience that came up before the face of the Lord God Almighty attained the level of satisfaction required for the redemption of mankind.

God was satisfied. The cup of judgment had been drunk fully. Through His obedience Christ had made an atonement, a reconciliation for the disobedience of Adam and Eve and of all other human beings. The Father was pleased. Every Divine requirement had been met completely.

The Father’s heart of love and mercy cried out, "It is finished! My Son has wrought redemption in the earth."

The elders and elect angels answered, "Amen. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed and is able to open the book of the hearts of men. Worthy is the Lamb to receive honor and glory and dominion forever."

The Holy Spirit of God, observing the scene intently, awaiting the judgment of the Father, invaded the domain of darkness. There the Spirit found Jesus abiding in hope and trust, with the bars of the earth closed round about Him. The "weeds" of futility and loss of all things were "wrapped about" His head. Satan, other lords and dignitaries of the fallen angels, and the host of demon hordes, were breathing on Him the foul odors of their obscenities.

Christ is the brightest jewel of Heaven, the glory of the ivory palaces, the light and joy of the Father and of the holy angels. Now there was nothing left for Him but unending torture at the hand of fallen angels and filthy, disobedient spirits. Their tender mercies are sharper and more ugly than the most hideous of the nightmares that pierce men until they scream in the night.

In this most oppressive and blackest of darkness the fullness of the Glory of God Almighty entered the Lord Jesus and clothed Him in heavenly light. The legions of uncleanness fell back in dismay and terror. The nightmare was over for Jesus but just beginning for the wicked spirits. The Son of God—and of man too, let us remember—was filled with the unconquerable, indestructible resurrection Life of the Spirit of God.

The significance of the moment for Christ Himself, for all people past and present, and for the elect angels, will not be understood by us in its entirety until we have had a few thousand years in which to grow in spiritual wisdom and knowledge.

None of us ever has been brought so low, and none of us ever will be raised so high. No other person will be assigned so much glory, although Christ has invited us to sit with Himself on the supreme throne that governs the creation of God.

In that moment of all moments, that turning point of history, Christ was changed from the most crushed of all men to the one Person in the universe, under the Father, possessing all authority and all power in Heaven and on the earth. The sudden, dramatic ascent from prison to the throne of glory is typified by Joseph, who one day was in prison and the next day was lord over Egypt.

Christ possesses authority over all creatures—human and angelic, and over the heavens and the earth. He is Lord of all.

Satan and his followers were defeated at that point, and the subsequent history of the world—although it seems as though Satan still is in control—is the working out of the absolute victory that was performed in the interior of the earth.

The leaven has been removed from the loaf of the creation. The sting of death is sin, and the sin has been removed forever from each individual who walks in hope and trust in Christ. We understand the sin has not actually been removed as yet; but the legal basis for the removal has been established, and we who believe have been sealed by the Spirit to the great Day of Redemption—the time when the sin will be removed and cast into the Lake of Fire.

The Man of God, now in possession of all persons and things, moved out quickly, issuing commands to the legions of Heaven—the angels who excel in strength, doing the will of God.

Christ went to the place where a multitude of people had been confined since the time when God destroyed the earth in the days of Noah. Christ brought the good news of the Kingdom of God so those people might have the opportunity to hear and believe, being judged by the Lord as though they were alive in the flesh but living in the spirit domain in the earth.

The moment was now at hand. Christ heard the Word of the Father directing Him to take up His body, just as Christ had promised His disciples that He would do when the three days had been fulfilled.

Christ came to the cave of Joseph of Arimathea and stepped back into His body. Eternal life poured into the flesh that had been so weary, trudging faithfully along the dusty paths of the Holy Land. The earth and its peoples are Christ’s land of promise.

The whole Man now stood up, leaving the graveclothes neatly in place. He was returning the borrowed tomb of Joseph in the same condition in which he had found it—a tomb that can be visited today.

Christ walked to the massive stone, several tons in weight, that sealed off the tomb. An angel rolled the stone away. It is fitting that the servants of a king prepare the way before him. Christ could have passed through the stone, but it was rolled aside as a testimony. It was God’s will that the disciples go inside and bring back to us the report of what they saw.

The promise of the Father to Christ (Psalms 2:8) is that He will receive the nations for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession.

Of all the earth, whom did God choose to be the person who would be the first to greet the Master of Heaven and earth? Mary. Why Mary?

What a moment this was for Christ! What a moment this was for Mary! Will there ever again be a similar event? In this scene is contained the wonderful story of redemption.

God did not choose one of the Apostles to be the first to behold Christ, as we would have done. God did not make this moment an institutional, ecclesiastical event in which the Apostles of the Church laid the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God.

We might have picked Peter or maybe John. Why Mary?

He who understands why God picked Mary has insight into the Kingdom of God.

Mary represented all that for which Christ died. The story of redemption is not one of institutionalism, ecclesiasticism, theology, church government, creeds. Redemption is a love story, a romance (we are not speaking in terms of physical love).

The story of redemption is a song, a love song, the winning of a bride. Christ loves people. He has friends. Christ is not the founder of a religion, an organization. He is our Creator. He is a Person who is interested in and loves other people.

Christ possesses so much power, so many resources, that His main interest is in us ourselves rather than in what we think we will accomplish for Him.

All the previous Divine workings, commandments, and revelations of God had been means to an end. The end was the Man, coming forth from death in the fullness of glory and victory, receiving the inheritance from His Father.

Do you know why God chose Mary to be the one to greet the resurrected Lord? The answer is simple: she loved Him. Mary did not see Christ as a means of obtaining the things she desired in life. She was content in Him Himself. God made certain His Son was met with love at the point of His greatest triumph. Mary represents all of us who love the Lord Jesus.

Isn’t it wonderful that God is this way? The story of Christ is the greatest story ever told, and it is a love story. After we journey through the miserable wilderness of the world, with its complications and endless problems, we shall find that the end of the matter is that Jesus loves us and is bringing us to the place where we can be with Him forever. It is because He loves us—nothing more, nothing less. It is just that!

When Christ stepped into His fleshly body and His body became eternally alive, the feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled in His Person. He is the firstborn from the dead, the beginning of the harvest of the earth. Because God has received Him, the harvest already is sanctified in Him and through Him—set apart to God as holy.

Many bodies of the saints who were asleep, arose and came forth from their graves after the resurrection of Jesus and appeared to many people. These also were a firstfruits to the Lord.

In three momentous days and nights the Lord Jesus fulfilled in His own Person the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits.

It is an interesting fact that Christ, after His resurrection from the dead and before He ascended to the Father, spent forty days somewhere, doing something. Where did He go and what did He do during those forty days? The Scripture describes a few incidents, but the greater part of the time is not accounted for.

Christ may have spent those days going through the earth and looking over His inheritance. It may be recalled that Satan had tempted Him by showing Him the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them. The obedient Christ would not partake of Satan’s disobedience and rebellion against God.

The Father may have given the resurrected Christ the opportunity to visit those same kingdoms, to observe their glory, in the realization now they all belong to Him to do with as He chooses. In the Father’s time, Christ will descend to claim the kingdoms of the world as His own. Meanwhile, the Body of Christ must be created so Jesus can be greatly enlarged in His Glory.

Perhaps those forty days were a vacation and rest for the Man who had been so faithful, so successful in pleasing His Father.

Can you imagine the Lord relaxing by the Mediterranean, enjoying the beauties of the snow at the poles of the earth without feeling the cold, looking at and enjoying the peoples of the remote areas of the earth, realizing that all this now is His?

Have you noticed that when the Lord brings us through particularly trying times He provides us with opportunities for rest and relaxation? Perhaps this took place for the Lord Jesus during those forty days. I hope so.


Firstfruits

Christ Himself is the firstfruits of the creation of God:

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Revelation 3:14)

All things were made by Christ, and all things are being made new in Christ. All things begin and end in Christ and are of Him and through Him:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)

The Lord Jesus Christ is first in all things:

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18)

The Christian Church is referred to as the "church of the firstborn":

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the sons of God:

And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Hebrews 1:6)

Christ is the firstborn among many brothers:

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. Christ is particularly preeminent in the resurrection, being the Firstborn from the dead:

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Revelation 1:5)

Death, resurrection, and judgment constitute the program by which God is bringing to an end His first creation and constructing His new creation. At some point in ages past, sin came into being in Heaven. At that moment, God resolved to terminate His initial creation and to make all things new.

When the Lord Jesus walked from the borrowed tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea and spoke eternal words to the weeping Mary, He was the first Person of the new creation. What Mary beheld was something that never again can be witnessed in quite the same way—the emergence of the Alpha of the Kingdom of God.

The importance of the resurrection of Christ cannot be overstated.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:20-23)

The concept of the firstfruits is that if God will accept the waving of the first sheaf of the barley harvest or the two loaves of Pentecost, the balance of the harvest is holy. The firstfruits represent before God the whole harvest. When the Lord God accepts the firstfruits He is signifying His acceptance of the whole.

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. (Romans 11:16)

Because Christ has been accepted so completely by the Father, every person who abides in Him and becomes part of Him is accepted by the Father. He, the Firstfruits of the harvest, represents us before God. What He is we are, in the mind of God. God has received us in Christ.

Our resurrection is tied to His. He arose, and we arose in Him. He ascended, and we ascended in Him. He is the firstfruits and we are the balance of the harvest.

Christ fulfilled the Passover in His crucifixion. He fulfilled the feast of Unleavened Bread by bearing away the sins of the world into the spirit domains in the earth, removing the leaven of the world from the lives of those who will accept Him.

Then the Son of God fulfilled the feast of Firstfruits by returning to His body and coming forth from the tomb as the Firstfruits of those who sleep in physical death.

On the third day of creation the "dry land" appeared. Christ is the first appearance of "land" in the new creation of the Lord God. The "seas" (turbulence of life) were gathered together and Christ appeared in the midst as the foundation on which all men must build.

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalms 24:1,2)

The material creation, including the nations, has been founded on nothing more stable than the seas and the floods. But there is a city that has foundations. The foundations of the city have been established for eternity, and they are Christ.

Also, on the third day of creation, vegetation and fruit trees appeared for the first time. We see in these first signs of life the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the beginning of all life. He also is the Tree of Life, the eating of whom brings eternal life to those who are dead in sin.

The third piece of the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle was the Table of Showbread. The Table of Showbread portrays the body and blood of Christ (wine was poured out in the Holy Place next to the Table of Showbread).

The body and blood of Christ enter us as the beginning of eternal life. The swirling waters of the turbulence of our adamic life part and the firm ground of Christ appears in us. We are born again by partaking of Him.

Christ is born in us. He, the firstfruits of God’s new work, becomes the firstfruits of our own new personality.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God,...; (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

All things of the Kingdom of God are measured from the Lord Jesus.

Every structure, every institution, every military engagement or business venture, must have a point of reference. There must be a cornerstone, an anchor, a standard, a fixed point that is true and immovable.

Everything being constructed refers back to the point established originally. If it is not referred back, the builder can become confused in the undertaking because of lack of alignment and integrity in what has been put together. It is subject to malfunction and collapse.

Christ Himself is our Cornerstone. He is our anchor, our fixed point of reference, our standard. When we become confused or get into difficulties we draw back to our original position in Him.

God has set Christ first. He is the Word of God. Christ has overcome the world. Through His obedience we have been made righteous.

God has founded all His efforts on Christ. Christ is the beginning, the firstborn of every creature, the Alpha. He also is the ending, the Omega. All things originate in Him, refer back to Him, and will conclude in Him.

God’s re-creation of the heavens and the earth rests solidly on Christ as on a mountain of rock, an immovable foundation established so firmly and securely that no power in the heavens or on the earth can budge it in any manner.

Christ is perfect, true, faithful, without sin, righteous, holy, and obedient to the Father. The heart of the Father abides in undisturbed contentment in His beloved Son because the Son meets every requirement of the Father. No other person could ever begin to meet every requirement of the Father. Christ has met every standard and always pleases the Father.

Christ is the Firstfruits of the new creation. When Christ died on the cross He did not say, I am finished; He declared, "It is finished." Every person and every thing in the universe of God died, in God’s mind, when Christ expired. Now the old creation is awaiting the Day of Judgment.

Then Christ rose from the dead, the firstfruits of the Church and of all saved peoples. From that point onward, every person and thing in Heaven and on the earth must be measured from Him and have Him as the Center. Christ is God’s Benchmark, God’s eternal Standard. What has not been measured from Christ and does not have Him as its center will be shaken and removed.


Pentecost

Christ Himself is the fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost. The title Christ (Christ) means "anointed with oil." The Lord Jesus was anointed with the Oil of the Holy Spirit by the Father, signifying that He is to serve as King and High Priest before God.

In the Old Testament we learn that the priests and the vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation were required to be anointed with the holy oil. Also, it was the custom to anoint each person whom God had chosen to be king over Israel.

The Lord Jesus is the One who possesses the seven Spirits of God. He has the Spirit of God without measure. By this anointing, which is the power of endless, indestructible life, God has established the Lord Jesus Christ as King and Priest above His brothers.

The Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Through Christ the Spirit of God brings the revelation of God to mankind. Christ is the Light of the world.

The oil of the Lampstand of the Congregation had to be renewed by the priest once each twenty-four hour period. The Lord Jesus Christ has a never-ending supply of the Holy Spirit. This is revealed in the Lampstand of the fourth chapter of Zechariah, in which the oil is supplied continuously from the two olive trees.

One of the main purposes of the hundreds of years that have passed since the resurrection of Christ is the creating and building of the Body of Christ, the fullness of Christ. The Lord Jesus is the Head of Christ, of the Anointed Deliverer, the Servant of the Lord.

By partaking of His broken body and shed blood we Christians are being built up in the Body of Christ, greatly enlarging the Presence of the Lord Jesus. Christ is in us, therefore we are the enlargement of Him, the "fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:23).

Just before Christ returns, the second Lampstand, which is His Body, His Wife, His Complement, will be fashioned. As it is being built up it will bear witness to every nation of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. It too will receive the Spirit of God from the two olive trees that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. In the last days there will be two lampstands and two olive trees (Revelation, Chapter 11).

When the Lord Jesus stood before John the Baptist, the Spirit of God came down like a dove upon Him. The Spirit of God never has come down to rest as a dove on anyone other than the Lord Jesus. When the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, the Spirit was not in the form of a dove but as "cloven tongues like as of fire."

The reason for the difference is that the peace of God is on Christ and in Christ because He is without sin or rebellion. Therefore the Holy Spirit can rest as gently as a dove on Him. The Holy Spirit comes down as tongues of judgment on the Church because the Church is full of sin and rebellion and must undergo the judgment of the Lord (Malachi 3:3).

When the Lord Jesus stood up in the synagogue to read He opened the scroll of Isaiah to one of the most pointed references to Christ in the Scripture. Today we refer to the section as Chapter 61. He began to read:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)

"This day," Christ declared, "is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears."

The Spirit of the Lord God rests on Jesus as on no other person because He loves righteousness and hates lawlessness.

Christ is the Son of David, the Anointed Deliverer (the meaning of Christ ) who is to deliver Israel. He will sit on the Throne of David and establish the Kingdom of God in the earth. The Jews expect Christ to restore the glory of the kingdom of David.

Some of the rabbis of today teach that Jesus is not Christ because He was not the son of Joseph and therefore not the son of David. The Scripture teaches that Christ is the son of David.

One wonders why such rabbis would accept one part of the New Testament, that Jesus was not the blood son of Joseph, and then disbelieve the New Testament assertions that He is Christ. If the New Testament is a book of lies, why is it necessarily true that Jesus was not the son of Joseph? Their reasoning is not sound in this respect.

Do the rabbis truly believe liars clever enough and blasphemous enough to fabricate such a work as the New Testament would overlook such an obvious problem? Do they think the New Testament is the product of fools?

The Prophets show that Christ is the Son of God, being begotten of God (Psalms 2:7). Also, Jesus is the son of David legally, having been born into Joseph’s household.

It was not possible for Christ to be born of the bloodline of Adam because then he would be a self-seeking sinner like the rest of us. No mere human being can fulfill the prophecies concerning Christ. To attempt to do so would be to usurp the Glory of God.

It is not unlikely that there will arise an outstanding rabbi—perhaps a worker of miracles—and that many of the Jews will accept him as Christ, the son of David. In that case, they will have rejected Jesus of Nazareth, the true Christ, the Son of God and Son of David, and will have accepted a self-seeking human being.

We say "self-seeking" because no matter how humble a human being appears to be, in his heart is adamic pride. No one understands this better than the truly humble. To set up the proud flesh of Adam as Christ would be true blasphemy. But to worship the Lord Jesus is not blasphemy because God the Father has made Him both Lord and Christ.

Whenever men do not do what they have been commanded, they proceed to do what they have been commanded not to do.

No human being ever will be permitted by the Father to fulfill Isaiah, Chapter 53 or the other prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah. Jesus alone has fulfilled them to the letter, and He alone is Christ.

Antichrist is a man but Christ is God.

But, the Jew protests, the Lord is One.

Indeed, the foundation of all truth is that God is One.

God is One. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are One.

The reason we cannot reconcile the fact that God is One with the fact that Jesus comes from the Father and is Divine, is due to the limitation of language and the limitation of our experience. Our experience in the physical world teaches us that one cannot be two or three or four. However, the limitations of the physical world are not necessarily the limitations of the realm of spirits.

We know God is One. The demons understand this thoroughly. We know also that Yeshua is that Holy One who has come from God. The demons understand this also and cried out in terror.

We know the one God has exalted Yeshua to His own right hand and has seated Him on the throne of glory.

Antichrist covets the Glory of Christ. For any man to aspire to the inheritance of Christ is a very great blasphemy.

Because the Jews believe Christ will be nothing more than a gifted human they are preparing themselves for deception. Antichrist will come, will be extraordinarily gifted, and will work miracles. The Jews may receive him as Christ and begin to rebuild the Temple. After Antichrist has consolidated his position he will claim to be God.

It is not unusual for an individual who has gained spiritual prestige to begin to show signs he is becoming confused about who he is and who God is.

It is the reign of Antichrist, a Satan-filled human being (probably a deceived "Christian"), in the Temple in Jerusalem that will cause God to pour out on the world the chastisement known as the great tribulation.

Antichrist also, in his blasphemy, will ascend into the heavenlies and challenge the position of the Lord Jesus.

And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. (Daniel 8:10,11)

If a Jew will read carefully the fifty-third chapter of the Book of Isaiah he will learn that Christ must come first as a man of sorrows and be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. God will make Christ’s soul an offering for sin. He will bear the iniquities of His people.

When Christ returns He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords. He will establish His Kingdom in visible power and glory in the earth.

The most important ceremony of the feast of Pentecost was the waving of the two large loaves of bread before the Lord. The bread was baked from the finest of flour, and the waving of the loaves marked the completion of the harvesting of the wheat.

Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:17)

The number two in Scripture stands for power, in particular, power to bear witness. Pentecost is the feast of power to bear witness. The double portion of the Holy Spirit of God rests on Christ, giving Him power over men and over unclean spirits and enabling Him to be the true and faithful Witness of God.

Christ is the finest of the flour of the wheat harvest, so to speak. He was "baked into a loaf and waved before the Lord"—a figurative way of referring to His consecration to God.

The fact that there were two loaves used in the ceremony of Pentecost speaks of the fullness of the power of almighty God resting on Christ. The testimony of Christ always must be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me." We are reminded also of the fact that before the Lord returns there shall be two witnesses of the coming of the Kingdom: Christ, and then the members of His Body who also will be anointed with a double portion of the Spirit of God.

Where Christ is there is power to release people from the bondages of Satan in spirit, soul, and body, thus bearing a true witness of the Kingdom of God that soon is to come to the earth.

The Spirit of Christ spoke through the Hebrew Prophets. Then Christ Himself came to be with us, bringing in Himself the fullness of God’s Spirit. When Christ ascended to the Father He poured His Spirit on the waiting disciples so they may bear witness of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection.

When the Lord took of the Spirit who was on Moses and gave of Him (the Spirit) to the seventy elders, they "prophesied, and did not cease" (Numbers 11:25).

When the Holy Spirit came down from the ascended Jesus to the waiting disciples they also prophesied and did not cease. When we Christians receive enough of the Holy Spirit of God we will prophesy and not cease.

Christ possesses the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He walked among men for a season. Now He has ascended to the Father and the Holy Spirit has been shed on all who have received the atonement made through the blood of God’s Lamb and who have entered the waters of baptism in His name. By the one Holy Spirit we all are baptized into the one Body of Christ.

The feast of Pentecost is associated with the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. It is believed that the first feast of Pentecost, the fiftieth day counting from the sixteenth of the month Abib, the month of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, was the day on which God gave to Moses the Ten Commandments.

The feast of Pentecost could not be observed at that time because Israel was in the wilderness and had no wheat to harvest. It is believed, therefore, that God gave the Law as an observance of the date.

To this day the Jews associate the giving of the Law with the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is known to Jews as "The Season of the Giving of the Law"; and the birthday of Judaism, because Judaism is founded on the Law, the Torah.

The new covenant fulfillment of Pentecost, as recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Acts, marks the birthday of the Christian Church. The giving of the Holy Spirit to the Christian Church is the giving of God’s law to the Christian Church, the Torah written in the heart.

The Holy Spirit is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ. It is God’s will that every Christian walk in the strictest obedience to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Christian counterpart of the Law of Moses.

Nowhere is the association between the Holy Spirit and the Law of God seen more clearly than in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ observed perfectly every aspect of the Law of Moses.

The law of the Spirit of life, which is the rule of the Holy Spirit in the sanctified human being, is the law of the Kingdom of God. The commandments of Christ can be kept only through the ability that the Spirit Himself gives.

The law of the Spirit is much more penetrating and demanding than the Law of Moses, as anyone can observe by reading the fifth through the seventh chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. Under the law of the Spirit of life, anyone who entertains lust in his heart toward a member of the opposite sex is guilty of adultery, whereas the Law of Moses deals only with the act itself.

Christ lived a righteous, holy, obedient, blameless life. He did so in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore Christ is the fulfillment of the giving of the Law on Sinai.

The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit. He always leads us into holiness. The new Jerusalem is the holy city. The new Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the Law of God. The beauty of the new Jerusalem is the beauty of God’s holiness filled to the brim. Christ lives in the beauty of holiness.

Pentecost is a season of rejoicing. There is joy and happiness associated with the Lord Christ. There have been few men who have had to live with the continual obstinacy and perversity that Christ endured. No other man has had to bear the load of responsibility and oppression that was carried by Christ. He lived with the cross always before His face.

Yet there is very great joy where the Lord Jesus is.

Jesus is a Person of the greatest, purest, strongest, peace, joy, contentment, and gladness of heart. To be around Jesus is a time of uplift and delight. Have you ever noticed that when He draws near you His coming is a joy and a blessing?

We are invited to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ. But the denials and tribulations are as nothing when Christ is near. He is God’s joy, God’s song, God’s season of rejoicing.

Sin always is accompanied sooner or later by gloom, despair, and the cruel pangs of remorse and grief. The Lord Jesus always is accompanied by uplifting joy—a song of the spirit and soul that lifts us until we are walking in days of Heaven on the earth.

The Lord Jesus is our joy. He breaks every chain that keeps us in discouragement and dread. In Him we mount up and soar with eagles’ wings. We walk with deers’ feet. In the darkest of nights, on the stormiest and deepest of turbulent waters, we dance on, singing in happy trust, skipping like a child toward the city that radiates light in a rainbow of heavenly colors.


Trumpets

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Trumpet of God. Through Christ, God has announced His purposes in the earth. Men behold their sins because in Christ, God has sounded the trumpet of the Divine warfare against unclean spirits.

Christ is the King of the Kingdom of God, the Commander in Chief of the armies of Heaven. He is the Lord of two Armies: the army of powerful angels and the army of obedient saints.

When Christ moves, true Israel moves. He announces the Presence and will of His Father, who is revered and blessed by all.

The coming of Christ proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, and also the coming of the Day of Judgment. Men never can claim to be ignorant of the will of God once they have seen the works of Christ and have heard His Word. God has revealed His will through the Lord Jesus.

The advent of Christ heralds the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Jubilee, in which all who obey God will be redeemed and enabled to return to their inheritance in the earth. Christ is the Trumpet of God. He is drawing near the earth in the days in which we live and is warning us to prepare for the conflict of the ages—the confrontation between Christ and Antichrist.

Christ is the Day Star (II Peter 1:19). He rises in our heart, announcing the Day of the Lord—the Kingdom Age that is just over the horizon.

The trumpet is found in the Scriptures in a variety of usages. One of the major usages is in war. The trumpet must give a clear call so we can prepare ourselves for the battle (I Corinthians 14:8).

The greatest war of all times is just ahead of us. It will result in the driving of Satan and his hordes from the earth. One of the predominant burdens of the Holy Spirit is—and will continue to be—that of warfare. It is only through war that the Lord Jesus Christ can come into His inheritance in the earth, and we with Him.

The Lord Jesus is waiting until His enemies have been made His footstool.

The Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Psalms reveal two aspects of the Personality of the Lord Jesus.

In the familiar Twenty-third Psalm we see the Lord as the gentle Shepherd who leads His lambs beside the still waters. If we never have come to know the Good Shepherd, if we never have followed Him through the valley of the shadow of death, or had Him lead us in paths of righteousness or prepare a table for us in the midst of our enemies, we have not been made ready for His revelation to us in the Twenty-fourth Psalm.

In the twenty-third Psalm, Christ is our heavenly Moses. He, the Shepherd of the flock, leads us through the wilderness. However, Moses never can lead us across Jordan and into the land of promise. This requires the leadership of Joshua. In the Twenty-fourth Psalm, Christ comes to us as Joshua, as a commander of battle.

The Twenty-fourth Psalm begins with a reference to the earth because the Kingdom of God is to be set up on the earth. Christ has come in the fullness of the anointing of the Holy Spirit with the intention of breaking the bondages of sin and death in the earth. The creation awaits His revealing. The creation itself is to be released into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

God has founded the earth "on the seas, and established it on the floods"—which is no foundation at all. Therefore, the peoples of the earth find themselves in slippery, shaky, uncertain circumstances. The present world is not built on a rock. It has turbulent water as its foundation.

We look for a city that does have a foundation (Hebrews 11:10). This foundation is not Heaven but the Lord Jesus Christ. When God shakes the earth and the heaven (Hebrews 12:27), only that which has been built on Christ will remain.

After remarking about the seas and the rivers the Twenty-fourth Psalm begins to emphasize standing before the Lord in righteousness. Today, as the Holy Spirit is bringing to us the good news of the coming Kingdom of God and its establishment in the earth, the central issue (not so much in the world at this time as in the Christian churches) is that of righteous and holy behavior and obedience to God. It is impossible to ascend into the holy hill of Zion, the fortress of God, with unclean hands and an impure heart.

In order to obtain clean hands and a pure heart we must lift up the everlasting doors of our heart to the Lord. How does He come to us? As the Good Shepherd? Not only that, but now as the Lord of Hosts, as the Lord strong and mighty in battle, as the King of Glory.

The blowing of Trumpets, the fifth of the seven feasts of the Lord, announces the new year of the Kingdom of God. Since the Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth (compare the Lord’s Prayer), the Twenty-fourth Psalm commences with a reference to the fact that the Lord owns the earth and its inhabitants.

Before the Lord Jesus, the Lord of Hosts, appears to the world in His second advent, He first will come to His elect. He will come to His saints to judge and purify them.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

John the Baptist prepared the way before the King and Judge. The King and Judge died for our sins and has been raised to the right hand of God in Heaven. Now He is coming through the Spirit to His people to judge their sins. Judgment has begun in the house of God.

The King, Jesus, enters us in fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets. He drives out the money changers. He lays the axe to the roots of the trees. He sends fire on us until every sin in us is revealed and cast out. The judging and casting out of the sin and self-seeking that are in us is the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Day of Reconciliation).

The Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement work together. Trumpets announces the King. He enters our personality and reconciles us to the holy Father.

The Blowing of Trumpets is followed by the Day of Atonement and announces the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement is the sixth feast. The issue of the Day of Atonement is that of sin, of reconciliation to God. Therefore, the Twenty-fourth Psalm speaks of "clean hands, and a pure heart."

As soon as the rebellion of the believer’s heart has been overcome, then the "warfare of Jerusalem" has ended, so to speak. The saint has been reconciled to the Lord. The blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement have attained their goal.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (Psalms 24:7)

The Lord Jesus Christ enters our personality as the "Lord mighty in battle."

As soon as the heart and hands of the saint have been made pure it is the Lord’s intention to establish His residence and His fortress in this newly cleansed temple, just as King David established Zion as soon as he had captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites. From here the Lord Jesus will go forth to battle against Satan and all his works.

The Lord Jesus and His saints will continue to wage war, under the anointing of the Spirit of God, until every breath that is drawn in the earth is proclaiming the praise of Christ, the Son of God. To Him every knee shall bow. Every tongue shall confess that Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

We have known the Lord Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Now it is time to learn of Him as the Lord of Hosts, the Commander in Chief of the armies of God. There is a war to be won before peace can be established in the earth. The warfare begins in the Church. Sin and rebellion must be removed from the Church. There is a war to be won before peace can be established in my heart and your heart (Isaiah 40:2).

The Lord of Hosts, the Lord mighty in battle, will descend from Heaven with a war cry, with the voice of the chief angel, and with the trumpet of God. This is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets.

Paul informs us that our bodies will be clothed with immortality at the sounding of the last trumpet. The word last implies that there are trumpets preceding the trumpet that announces the changing of our mortal body and the raising of the saints into incorruptibility (I Corinthians 15:52). There are, in fact, seven trumpets.

The sounding of the seven trumpets is described in the Book of Revelation, Chapters Eight through Eleven. We will be raised when the seventh trumpet sounds, as Paul teaches.

We find, in Revelation, Chapter Eight that the Altar of Incense is associated with the sounding of the seven trumpets.

The reader may recall that the Altar of Incense is number five of the seven holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The Blowing of Trumpets is number five of the seven feasts of the Lord. The number five is symbolic of the beginning of the Kingdom of God and of the resurrection of the dead (Lazarus was raised on the fifth day).

The last kingdom-wide act of God was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Pentecost is feast number four. Four is the number of God’s communication to men of the wisdom and power to keep His righteous ways.

Five represents the coming of the King and the subsequent raising of the dead to be judged by Him. The resurrection and judgment will result in the establishing of the Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will, in the earth.

When the "seventh seal" was opened (Revelation 8:1), the seals being the concealing of the wisdom and purposes of God, there was silence in Heaven for about half an hour. The silence will result from the solemnity of the occasion. What is about to happen is the beginning of the Day of the Lord—the Day that struck terror into the unclean spirits whenever Christ approached. It is the Day of which the Hebrew Prophets spoke.

Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. (Isaiah 13:6)

And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: (Malachi 4:5)

The seven angels were given seven trumpets. Still another angel came and began to minister at the Altar of Incense that stands before the Throne of God Almighty in Heaven. It is interesting that an angel should minister here because the offering of incense in the Tabernacle of the Congregation was one of the most important and distinguishing acts of the high priest of Israel. Perhaps this angel (messenger) was one of the saints in glory.

The ministering angel was given "much incense." The holy incense of the Tabernacle was compounded from stacte, onycha, galbanum, and frankincense, the whole seasoned with salt. The incense typifies the Essence of Christ, who is the Substance and Nature of God. The holy incense must be pounded together with the personality of the saint until the two are one.

When some of the holy incense was poured on the glowing coals in the Altar of Incense, in the days of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the holy perfume came before the face of the Holy One of Israel who dwelled between the wings of the cherubim covering the Seat of Reconciliation.

And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. (Exodus 30:7)

In the account in Revelation, Chapter Eight the ministering angel held a golden censer (a pan for holding hot coals) in his hand. He poured the holy incense over the coals. Then the angel brought the prayers of all saints mingled with the holy perfume and offered the blend before God Almighty. The blend is the Essence of Christ mingled with the supplications and thanksgivings of the saints.

Before the face of the Almighty now arise two things: the fragrance of His beloved Son and the fervent supplication of the saints, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven."

The Bride is calling, "Come, Lord Jesus." God hears the pleas of His holy ones. He "smells" the fragrance of His beloved Son. The spiritual darkness and oppression in the earth have attained such proportions that the prayers of God’s saints have grown in strength and insistence. The Nature of Christ has been "beaten into" and "salted together with" the personalities of the saints.

The combination of the supplication, intercession, praise, adoration, combined with total righteousness and obedience, mingled together with the fragrance of Christ, reaches the level at which the Father in His boundless love is moved to respond.

He gives the awful Word. He authorizes the blowing of the seven trumpets, the last of which will change the bodies of the saints and bring them into perfect, eternal union with the Lord Jesus. The end of the present wicked world system is at hand. There shall be delay no longer.

The almighty Lord of Hosts, the Lord Jesus Christ, is ready to assemble with His men of war in the air—the region of spiritual dominance over earth’s peoples. The kingdoms of the world are about to become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, the kingdoms that are governed by the spiritual thrones in the air.

Then the ministering angel filled the censer with fire from the heavenly Altar of Incense and cast the fire into the earth. The result was exceedingly great turmoil on the earth: "voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." It always remains true that the same fire that purifies and blesses the saints creates havoc when it is poured on sin and rebellion. The judgment of God liberates the godly but destroys the sinful and rebellious.

The seven angels lifted their trumpets. These angels are the heralds of the King of Glory. The first angel sounded, and the result was terrible destruction on the earth. This is the beginning of the plagues on Egypt, so to speak.

By the time the last angel sounds, Egypt (the world) will be reeling under the great tribulation that will come from the hand of the Lord God. Then will take place the kingdom-wide exodus of Israel (the Seed of Abraham—those who belong to Christ) from the bondage of Satan, who is the pharaoh of the world system.

The fire that the ministering angel casts into the earth accomplishes two things: it brings forth the holy perfume of Christ from the saints who are in the earth; it also causes judgment and destruction on those who are sinful and rebellious in the earth.

God’s fire brings righteousness, blessing, and eternal life to the saints, and destruction and death to those who hate God. The same fire that burned up Nebudchadnezzar’s warriors burned away the bonds of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The jawbone of Samson slew the enemies of Israel but provided refreshing for Samson.

The same cloud that protected the fleeing Israelites confused the Egyptians. The same waters that buoyed up Noah and his household killed every other human and animal on the earth.

The saint who is walking in Christ will find only profit in the fire of God’s Presence, the fire that comes from His altar in Heaven. The same fire is terror and judgment to the enemies of the Lord.

God’s saints never have been, are not now, nor will they ever be destroyed by the wrath of God. But the saints often must go through the fire of God. Every believer must be baptized with fire.

The fire of God redeems and liberates the elect no matter how much it may seem to hurt them. Children scream in fright when Mother comes with the antiseptic or the doctor with an injection. These are temporary hurts that are administered in love. They are a protection against far greater pain.

We saints must be "vaccinated with fire" until we become "fireproof." The same fire is destruction and eternal death to those who are sinning and rebelling against God. The mercy of God brought Israel into the land of milk and honey and at the same time killed the Canaanites.

But think how the mercy of God appears when seen from the point of view of God’s enemies:

To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever: But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever: And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever: (Psalms 136:10, 15, 17-20)

The fire from the Altar of God brings voices, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. In that day there will be two kinds of voices crying in the land, as there are today: one voice will be preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom with unprecedented power; the other voice will be advocating the rule of the wisdom and energy of mankind, sometimes in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Christian emphasis today is on how Christ benefits people. The Lord has become a psychologist who meets each need of the family until every person is fulfilled and receiving all he or she desires in the world. This is the False Prophet—the attempt of the soul of man to utilize the things of God for its own benefit.

It is a good thing to be psychologically whole. A person who has severe emotional and social problems might find it difficult to follow Jesus as a disciple. Nevertheless the Lord did not come to meet all of our needs and desires but to destroy the works of the devil. The objective is not self-fulfillment but the doing of God’s will in the earth.

The accent on personal fulfillment and the "whole person" sounds so godly, so righteous. But the true vision of the Lord, the vision of fire, glory, the Kingdom of God, the army of the Lord, is not in evidence. There are no seraphim crying holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. There is no rainbow throne. Neither is there a bloody cross except as the cross benefits self-centered mankind.

When the judgment of God comes upon us there are two voices that call to us: one instructs us to put our faith and trust in the Word of God; the other voice invites us to flee from the Divine fire and to trust in a sympathetic god who will keep all harm from us and help us have pleasure and fun in the world.

At the time of testing we are exposed to "thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." Have you ever experienced these? Everything in our life that can be shaken is shaken and removed and only the work of Christ stands.

As for the works of Satan, unclean spirits, the spirit of the world, and our own flesh and self-will, the voices, thunderings, lightnings, and the earthquake create confusion and tear down what has been constructed.

The falling of the Divine fire into the earth is the beginning of the end for the works of lawlessness. The seven trumpets will sound one at a time. During the sounding of the seventh trumpet the Lord Jesus will descend with a word of summons and with the voice of the chief angel.

"Come up here," the Lord will command. We will be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air and will be with Him forever.

Then will be poured on the inhabitants of the earth the frightful wrath of God that has been reserved from eternity for this Day.

The seventh angel sounds the trumpet that heralds the coming of the King of Glory, and of that most solemn of all days—the Day of Atonement.


Day of Atonement

Christ is seen most clearly in the Passover and in the Day of Atonement.

First, Christ is our High Priest. He entered past the veil and stood before the Seat of Reconciliation in Heaven. Unlike the high priest of Israel, Christ did not offer the blood of a young bull for Himself and then the blood of a goat for the sins of the people of Israel. Christ entered Heaven itself and with His own blood, through the Holy Spirit, purified the true Tabernacle of God in Heaven. The heavenly things were purified by the sprinkling of His own blood (Hebrews 9:23).

It is not possible that the blood of young bulls and of goats could remove sin from the presence of the Church. But through the offering of the body and blood of Christ we have been made holy forever, provided we truly apprehend the grace of God and do not neglect our salvation.

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission, no cancellation of sin. Life must go for life. By the blood of Christ, and only by His blood, the mortgage that Satan holds on us has been paid in full. Christ’s blood now has been sprinkled before the Father. Atonement has been made, and the atonement is sufficient for every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth if he or she will accept it.

The guilt of sin was canceled by the blood of Christ and now He holds the keys of Hell and of death. He alone possesses the authority and power of God Almighty. Christ is the eternal Judge whom God has appointed.

When Christ declares us guiltless and legally free from the kingdom of darkness, it is His blood that validates the declaration. God has stated that the blood of Christ has paid the price for sin. There is no other payment that God will accept for our redemption.

During the Day of Atonement, the iniquities of Israel were confessed by the High Priest and put on the head of a living goat (the scapegoat—Leviticus, Chapter 16). The living goat then was led away, by a waiting and prepared man, into the wilderness. Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us and was led away from Israel, bearing our sins and rebellion on Himself.

Christ was made to suffer the death of the cross, the turning away of the face of the Father, and the oppression and mockery of the unclean spirits of Hell. Christ was burdened beneath the unimaginable load of the sins of mankind. He carried away our sins into the heart of the earth. He became our scapegoat. Through His actions our sins of unrighteous and unholy conduct and attitude were separated from us.

One may ask, "Isn’t this the same thing that happened during the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Unleavened Bread?"

The difference is, the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Unleavened Bread concerns the division between the Christian and the world. It is not dealing so much with forgiveness and deliverance from sin but removal from the spirit of the world. The leaven portrays the spirit of the world.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement concerns the forgiving and removing of sin from human beings, beginning with God’s elect.

Unleavened Bread has to do with the separating of the Christian from all that Satan has put into the world. The Day of Atonement signifies the destruction from the personality of the Christian of all the guilt, power, motives, works, and effects of sin, and the bringing of him into union with God through Christ.

Unleavened Bread is an initial separation and is represented in water baptism. The Day of Atonement speaks of the redemption of the human personality and the filling of it with Divine Life. The Day of Atonement is performed in us as we confess our sins, repent of them, receive the Life of Christ into our personality, and resist the devil.

In the feast of Unleavened Bread Christ enters the heart of the earth and wrests the authority of Hell and death from Satan so we may follow Christ through death to the world and on into the promised land of resurrection life.

In the Day of Atonement, Christ appears first as the slain Goat and the Scapegoat, and in the latter days will come as the King of Glory who will redeem the purchased possession from the hand of the enemy.

Christ’s sufferings on the cross are finished. Now it is the responsibility of human beings to please God and Christ by receiving God’s gift, by accepting the atonement, the reconciliation that Christ has achieved for us.

Could any person be so foolish as to throw away this opportunity for reconciliation with God? The price has been paid in full for each of us. Now we have only to accept our redemption and enter eternal salvation.

On the sixth day of creation, God made man in His own image—male and female. Adam was in the image of God and was fashioned from the dust of the ground. Eve was fashioned from the substance of the man, being herself in the image of God. Adam and Eve taken together are the "man" whom God created in His image.

Christ, the second Adam, is the only Person who has ever appeared on earth in the full image of God. Adam was a rough and immature image of God. Christ is perfectly in the image of God.

The Church, the Bride of Christ, is being fashioned from the Substance of Christ. The Church is being created from Christ just as Eve was created from Adam. The members of the Body of Christ as individuals are in the image of God. The Lamb and His Wife, taken together, are the complete fulfillment of the declaration of the sixth day: "Let us make man in our image."

In the Day of Atonement, Christ ministers as the heavenly counterpart of Joshua. He brings His saints through Jordan, through the final death to self-will required for successful participation in spiritual warfare.

Also, as Jordan is crossed, each member of the Body of Christ must go through a new circumcision of heart because the war of God against His enemies requires absolute holiness and consecration on the part of each member of His army (Joshua 5:2).

Christ at Calvary paid the full price of redemption. He paid off the mortgage. Satan, the "landlord," will not release his slaves. Therefore Christ will go forth as the Lord of Armies to seize His inheritance by force. The battle will be joined. Every person who resists the rule of Christ will be destroyed. This is the Day of Redemption of which Christ spoke (Luke 21:28).

Redemption is past in that we were forgiven our sins at Calvary. Redemption is yet ahead of us in the sense of total deliverance from the bondages and effects of sin.

The Christian discipleship will continue to be a battle because the wicked inhabitants of our land of promise, speaking figuratively of Satan’s control over the peoples of the earth, must be overcome and cast out by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility and task as saints is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in the conquest of the powers of darkness.

The Ark of the Covenant was the sixth of the seven holy vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The Ark of the Covenant represents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Commander in Chief of the armies of Heaven.

The golden Altar of Incense stood directly in line with the Ark signifying that as soon as the prayers of the saints attain the required strength, having been tempered together with the Substance and Nature of Christ, the Lord Jesus will return. He will appear as the Redeemer. "To them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).

What a time of glory! The coming of Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom of God were typified by the Tabernacle of David. The Ark was brought to the city of Jerusalem and placed under a tent in Zion. The Ark under the tent in Zion, which constituted the Tabernacle of David, speaks of the time of the end when the Lord Jesus returns with His warriors to bring the kingdoms of the world under the rule of Christ.

The Ark represents war against God’s enemies. When the Ark goes forward it is God arising and scattering His enemies before Himself. The Ark leads the way across Jordan. The Ark brought down Jericho to destruction.

The Ark is the Presence of God. When Israel moved, the Ark moved in the center of the marching columns—always toward the land of promise. This was God moving toward His enemies. When we Christians lift up the everlasting doors of our heart and allow the Lord of Armies to have His way in us, we enable the Lord God to move toward His inheritance, toward His enemies.

Man cannot be in the image of God until the last traces of sin and rebellion have been removed, the last bondages broken. Christ will accomplish these final acts of redemption at His appearing.

When Christ appears we shall see Him as He is and be like Him. This is "that which is perfect." The Lord Jesus Christ will appear in order to perfect His work of reconciliation in us so we are in His image.

Christ Himself is our Day of Atonement. All that the term atonement signifies is found in Christ Himself. Atonement means propitiation, appeasement, covering, reconciliation, release, remission, forgiveness—in short, everything that is required to bring us from chaos of personality and slavery to darkness all the way to perfect reconciliation to the Father.

The complete redemption of our spirit, soul, and body is included in the atonement made by Christ. Let us not be like unbelieving Israel. Let us have faith in Christ, our Commander in Chief, and follow Him into our land of promise until every enemy, great and small, without exception, is completely, totally, demolished.

Every trace of evil, its power and its results is to be destroyed completely—even the name of it being blotted out from under the heavens.

But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven:... (Deuteronomy 7:23,24)

The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be a consuming fire on all works of sin and rebellion:

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (Malachi 4:1)

The same Day will bring blessing and edification to everyone who fears the Lord:

But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

The same Day, the Day of the Lord, the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the thousand-year Kingdom Age, will be a time of joy and gladness, and of restoration, for God’s Israel. God’s Israel consists of every person who is part of Christ whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.

Also, the thousand-year era, the Kingdom Age, will be the Jubilee of deliverance and restoration for the nations of the earth that do not resist Christ and His saints when they are revealed.

The trumpet announcing the Year of Jubilee was blown on the Day of Atonement, prophetically proclaiming the fact that in the atonement made by Christ there is not only forgiveness of sins but also deliverance from the power and effects of sin.

The concept of deliverance from the power of sin is of the utmost importance in our day because the pardon of God has overshadowed, in Christian teaching, the truth of deliverance and restoration. "Grace" has come to mean only forgiveness instead of the Presence of Christ that enables us to escape from Satan and come into total, untroubled union with God, which is its true definition.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)

Christ Himself is all that is true of the thousand-year period, which is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. He is the victorious peace of God, the rule of God, the King of the Kingdom of God.

As Christ grows in us and brings into subjection every one of our deeds, words, motives, and imaginations, we may say that the Day of Atonement, the Kingdom Age, is being formed in us. It is a personal millennium, a personal day of atonement. The kingdom-wide Day of Atonement, which will commence with the appearing of Christ from Heaven, will be an outward expression of what is being formed in the saints in the present hour.

As Christ is formed in us it becomes true of our personality that the tame beast can lie down in safety with the wild beast; the small child can play on the adder’s den. Each person in whom such inner righteousness, peace, and joy have been established is a firstfruits, an advance guard of the thousand-year Kingdom period.

Satan, with God’s permission, is able to stir up the peoples of the earth so they consistently refuse to accept the peaceful ways of the Lord. Therefore Christ is coming in the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement to crush Satan under the feet of the Church and to destroy sinners from the earth.

No power in Heaven or on the earth can prevent Christ from seizing control of the earth at the hour appointed by the Father. God is in the process of bringing into subjection to Christ all His enemies.

The work of conquest is taking place now in the hearts of the saints. When the saints have been made willing to do the will of the Father rather than their own will, the Lord Jesus shall descend from Heaven in such an awesome display of God’s power and wrath that no creature—spiritual or physical—will be able to resist His coming.

Christ will return at the head of His army (Joel 2:11). The defenses of devils and men will evaporate like water in an oven. The Lion of the tribe of Judah will appear in frightful wrath. Those who are in rebellion against His will shall be sought out and destroyed.

The Head of the Church will make His appearance as King of kings and Lord of lords. The evildoers will scream in terror and anguish for the mountains and rocks to fall on them and hide them from the anger of God’s Lamb. Every particle of wickedness will be crushed under the feet of the Church, which will glow as bronze in the furnace.

Christ is Lord. He has made an atonement for every person. All who choose to do so may come under His protection. For those who refuse His rule there is a fate far worse than physical death. It is eternal separation from the Creator in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

The Lord Jesus is the Lord strong and mighty in battle of the Twenty-fourth Psalm. As we have known the Good Shepherd we shall know also the Lord of Armies.

The Good Shepherd exemplifies all we look for in a shepherd. He is gentle, kind, watchful, wisely guiding us into green pastures and beside quiet waters.

The Lord of Hosts exemplifies all we look for in a commander of armies. He is powerful, cunning, fierce, tireless, and a terror to His enemies, whom He destroys until every trace of resistance to His will has been demolished.

In the Lord Jesus Christ is contained all that is signified by the Day of Atonement—the sixth of the feasts of the Lord.


Tabernacles

Finally, Christ is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. He is the feast of rejoicing and fulfillment. Christ is the "booth" (tabernacle) of the Father. The Father dwells in Christ in His fullness. Christ eternally is in God and God eternally is in Christ.

Christ is the temple, the dwelling place, the tabernacle, the booth of God. He who has seen Christ has seen the Father because the Father dwells in His fullness in Christ.

During the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles the Temple area in Jerusalem was filled with light from the torches of the worshipers. Christ is the Light of the world.

Also during Tabernacles, water from the Pool of Siloam was poured on the Altar of Burnt Offering by the priest, while the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah was chanted. Christ is the Water of Life.

The Law was read during the feast of Tabernacles. Christ is the Law of God, the holiness and righteousness of God brought to absolute perfection and beauty.

All of the harvesting and processing of the foods grown by the Israelites had been completed by the time of the feast of Tabernacles. In Christ we can see what we shall be like when the Spirit of God has completed His work in us. All the glorious joy and blessing of the feast of Tabernacles is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The feast of Tabernacles was a season of the most outstanding rejoicing and thankfulness for the goodness of God during the past year. Christ is our praise and thanksgiving before God. As we adore the Father, the Lord Jesus adds His own praise and thanksgiving to ours. The whole chorus ascends to God as a holy perfume. Christ sings praise to the Father in the midst of the Church.

The arrival of the feast of Tabernacles means the long summer drought is concluded and the fall (former; early) rains are at hand. The fall rains soften the clods of dirt baked hard by the summer sun, preparing the ground for the plowing and planting of the next harvest. Christ is our hope of a new planting, a new life, a glorious fulfillment in the ages to come.

God made man in His image on the sixth day. On the seventh day He rested. God rested because His work was finished and it was very good. In Christ, God’s work is finished. It is very good.

Christ is the rest of God. As we enter Christ we enter God’s rest. The creation of God commenced, proceeds, and will be completed in Christ. When we enter Christ, making such entering and abiding the first and most important business of every day of our life, we enter into that finished work—into the rest of God.

We must labor to enter the finished work of God in Christ, as the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews informs us. Why must we labor to enter that rest? Laboring to enter rest sounds like a contradiction in terms.

We must labor because of the opposition of our own flesh and self-centeredness, because of the opposition of Satan and his accomplices, and because of the wickedness of the age in which we live. These three forces, self, Satan, and the world, do everything in their power to keep us from the rest of God in Christ; to keep us in a confused uproar in body, soul, and spirit; to keep us in a desert wilderness where we cannot enjoy the good things God has promised us.

There are enemies in our rest, in our land of promise. We must cross over Jordan, under the leadership of our heavenly Joshua, and drive them out. There are enemies in your inheritance and in my inheritance. It will require the Lord’s leadership and assistance in order for us to drive them out.

Satan and his demons are situated comfortably in the peoples of the earth and they do not intend to release their hold on mankind. It is helpful to understand our enemies are also God’s enemies. If we follow the Holy Spirit, God will enable us to drive every trace of the enemy from our inheritance. Christ appeared for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil (I John 3:8).

It is impossible to tabernacle in peace with the Lord God while there is a "Canaanite" in our land. Sooner or later trouble comes and our rest is destroyed.

The righteous ways of the Lord often are difficult to pursue because of the continuing opposition presented by our fleshly lusts and by the cunning wiles of the forces of evil. As we overcome this resistance, through the Holy Spirit, we enter the rest of God in Christ.

Sin often is attractive, "fun," and easy to fall into. But sin always brings unrest, grief, despair, dread, and every other imaginable kind of pain and wretchedness. Where there is sin, confusion is not far away. God’s ways are ways of peace, love, joy, and gladness of heart.

The seventh Levitical feast is Tabernacles. The seventh of the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was the Mercy Seat. By comparing these two we understand the feast of Tabernacles is associated with holiness, with the law of God, in that the Mercy Seat was located in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. He who would dwell eternally in Christ in God must be living a sanctified life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Mercy Seat was beaten from pure gold, teaching us that in order to tabernacle with God we must have the "Gold" of His Nature "beaten" into shape in us by the pressures of life.

It is not our adamic nature that is beaten into shape, for there is no way in which the corruption of our first personality can be made acceptable to God. It is the Gold of Christ in us that is made perfect through suffering.

God required that the Mercy Seat be fashioned from pure gold beaten into shape. The Israelites were skilled in the art of casting metal and perhaps could have cast a hundred mercy seats in the time required to fashion one by beating it into shape with a hammer.

So it is today that people are hoping for a sudden experience, at the coming of the Lord, that will "cast" them in the image of Christ. There is no way this can be done. The only manner in which the Mercy Seat, the dwelling place of the Glory of God in Christ, can be formed in your life and in my life is by multiplied thousands of precisely aimed hammer blows.

Have you been "hammered on" lately? It is not a pleasant experience. We are being fashioned into the eternal dwelling place of the God of Heaven.

Some aspects of deliverance can come instantly, as a change of clothing.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)

But character must be formed through suffering.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

The two covering cherubim that overshadowed the Mercy Seat with their wings represent the Presence and Glory of God Almighty. The only way to the Presence and Glory of God is by abiding in Christ.

We do not gain the Presence and Glory of God, His Person, by any amount of striving no matter how well intentioned. The path to the Presence and Glory of God is through the rest of God—rest in His finished work in Christ. As we labor to enter that rest, and tabernacle with Him, absorbing His righteousness and holiness into our personality and actions, we are conformed to the image of Christ. Then the Presence and Glory of God can abide on our life.

Entering the rest of God, into abiding in Christ, is not an exercise in passivity. We must press forward each day, applying prayer and faith in order to overcome the problems at hand. The believer must be full of faith, hope, love, and the Spirit of God in order to be able to press through into the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is entered by the diligent efforts of those who are single-minded. It is not a wrenching of things and circumstances, or personal ambition, of which we are speaking. God soon will burn up false motives with His fire. Yet we are commanded to covet earnestly the best gifts.

We find God only when we seek Him with our whole heart. As we move toward God with all the concentration of which we are capable, God Himself teaches us how to rest in His working. In this manner we labor to enter the rest of God.

The most complete fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will occur in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22). The Tabernacle of God, who is Christ, Head and Body, will be the "booth," the eternal dwelling place of God among the peoples of the earth.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

Christ is the eternal Temple of God. We are being created part of that holy Temple.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Christ is the chief Cornerstone of the Temple of God. The Bride of the Lamb is the remainder of the building.

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)

Perhaps the greatest expressions in the Scripture concerning the tabernacling of God in Christ are to be found in the Gospel of John. We find such statements as the following:

If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:37,38)

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)

We find also in John that through Christ we too shall become part of the eternal Tabernacle of God:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe thou hast sent me. (John 17:20,21)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the full expression of the feast of Tabernacles. Christ Himself is the seventh aspect of redemption, the Omega of salvation. Christ is the end of our quest, the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing with such single-mindedness of purpose and concentration.

Salvation is not a thing, salvation is a Person. Jesus is the resurrection. Jesus is the way. Jesus is the life. He not only brings these blessings, He Himself is them.

Christ brings Himself in answer to all our needs and desires. Christ is healing, eternal life, peace, joy, revelation, wisdom, righteousness, power, knowledge, atonement, redemption—all that people need, desire, hope, and can imagine. Christ Himself is all these realities and blessings to us.

Divine grace is the Lord Jesus dwelling with and in us, enabling us to work out our own salvation.

The following passage was chanted by the Jews during the feast of Tabernacles. Can you see why the Holy Spirit would inspire them to do so?

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)

The Lord Himself is our strength, our song, and our righteousness.


Three Holy Convocations

We mentioned previously that the seven feasts were divided into three groups:

Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits

Pentecost

Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles

The three groups correspond, in Scripture symbolism, to the three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation:

Courtyard

Holy Place

Most Holy Place

The division into three groups, or three areas, provides insight into the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The first group, or area (Passover, and the Courtyard), represents Christ as the High Priest of God who ministers at the Altar of Burnt Offering, so to speak. Through His atoning blood He forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

Whoever would approach God must come by means of the priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus. Only Christ can present a person acceptably to the Father. After the Father receives us in Christ, our Priest in Heaven continues to make intercession for us. There only is one Priest, only one Mediator between God and men—the Man Christ.

The second group (Pentecost, and the Holy Place) represents Christ as the Prophet of God. First through His own personal ministry, and then through the Church that is His body, He testifies to the world of the will of God.

When the saints are preaching the true Word of God, the Lord Jesus works with them bearing witness with powerful signs and wonders. The Lord works with the Church confirming the Word with signs following. Christ in and with the Church is the Light of the world.

The Holy Spirit empowers the disciples to bear witness of Christ: Christ of Calvary, the present Christ, and the coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom on the earth. Every true prophet of God will speak these things for they come from the mouth of the great Prophet in Heaven.

Christ serves God as a priest by reconciling men to God and by teaching them the laws of the Kingdom of God; and as a prophet by announcing the salvation and judgment of God and the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The third group (the last three feasts, and the Most Holy Place) speaks of Christ as King of kings. The Christian Church is familiar with the priestly role of Christ, somewhat less familiar with the role of Christ as God’s Prophet, and quite ignorant concerning the role of Christ as the Ruler of the rulers of the earth.

The third role of Christ, that of King of kings, still is ahead of us in its kingdom-wide aspect. When the last trumpet sounds the Lord Jesus will descend in flaming power with the holy angels, taking vengeance on His enemies and bringing righteousness and eternal life to His elect.

Although the fullness of the role of Christ as King of kings is yet ahead of us, it is time now for the saints of God to begin to lay hold on His kingly power and majesty.

The saints are a firstfruits of God’s Kingdom and we are not required to wait for Christ’s coming in order to begin to enter the knowledge of Him as Lord and King. The scope of the experience is not as great as that which will be true at the last trumpet. However, the quality of the experience is present now.

A large part of the responsibility for moving into the third area is ours. If we choose to come as far as the Pentecostal experience and stop, we limit the Glory of God in our life. We cease to grow, to mature in the life of victory. Spiritual decay sets in.

But if we, like Paul, choose to press forward into the third role of Christ, that of King and Lord, the Lord Jesus will assist us and be greatly pleased with us. It is a matter of learning to be obedient to Him.

It is in the third aspect that the Lord Jesus is vindicated in all that He has accomplished thus far in the earth. It is in the demonstration of Kingdom authority, power, and glory among the nations of the earth, as well as in the perfecting of His Bride, that Christ will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.

If you have received Christ as your Savior you have some acquaintance with the priestly role of Jesus. He has washed you from your sins in His own blood.

If you are learning to walk in the Spirit and minister under the anointing of the Spirit of God you are gaining some acquaintance with the prophetic aspect of Christ’s ministry. The burden of the Word of the Lord is upon you.

Each day the truth is driven into your heart, as it is in the heart of all true prophets of the Lord: "It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit." Your eyes are being opened concerning the things of Heaven and future events because the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. You "stand before the Lord God," as do Elijah and Elisha.

Now the Holy Spirit is inviting you to begin to know the Lord Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. To know Christ in this way you must offer your body as a whole burnt offering in the service of the Kingdom of God. You must receive Christ, not only as your personal Savior but also as your personal Lord.

Are you willing to forsake all, to take up your cross daily, to deny yourself what you desire intensely as the Lord leads? To follow the Lord Jesus into service—into physical death if need be? It is only in total consecration to God’s will, in dedication to the service of the Gospel, that the believer achieves perfect reconciliation to the Father.

If we are willing to follow the Lord Jesus wherever and however He leads us, loving not our own life to the death, He will bring us against the enemies who hinder us from achieving a greater grasp on our inheritance in Him.

All sin must be destroyed from us, as the Holy Spirit brings us against our sins one at a time. When the Spirit points out a sin we are committing, whether in deed, in word, or in continual daydreaming and imagining, we are to confess our sin and—through the wisdom and strength the Holy Spirit provides—cease practicing it.

We are to draw near God and to resist the devil.

The same thing is true of physical sickness. We cannot heal ourselves no matter how much positive thinking we practice. But we can take a hostile attitude toward our sicknesses instead of passively accepting them. We can stand on God’s Word that He will "put none of the evil diseases of Egypt" on us (Deuteronomy 7:15).

Christ is our Physician. Christ heals all our diseases.

Let us believe Christ for the healing of our bodies with the same fervency and assurance with which we approach Him for forgiveness. Let us approach moral healing, the healing of our sins and self-will, with the same fervency and assurance. Forgiveness, physical healing, and sanctification are all part of the one redemption from the hand of the enemy.

Christ came to destroy the works of the devil.

As we, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, adopt the attitude of militancy and conquest toward every spirit that would hinder our possession of the good things of God, the Lord Jesus will become to us the Lord of Armies (Hosts). He will lead us forward to total victory in every area.

Christ loves those who are intense in their love of righteousness and intense in their hatred and rejection of all the works of the devil. The Lord loves those who fight the good fight of faith against the enemy.

The Day Star (Christ) is rising in our hearts and we are preparing ourselves for His coming as King of kings and Lord of lords. If Satan, the world, and our own flesh are overcoming us at every turn, this is evidence that we are weak. We are not prepared to ride under the banner of Him whose appearing strikes terror into the hearts of the enemies of God.

Christ is King. In the present hour we are being formed into His army. Do you hear the trumpet of God sounding in your spirit?


THE REDEMPTION OF THE BELIEVER

We have discussed the literal observances of each of the seven feasts as they were (and still are in some instances) observed by the Jews.

Next we have shown that the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, are present in each of the seven feasts.

Now we have come to another application of the symbolism associated with the feasts of the Lord. We shall apply the feasts to the redemption of the believer.

The redemption of the believer includes the development of the individual Christian from his initial reconciliation to God through the blood of the cross, all the way to his becoming one in Christ in the Father, being filled with all the glory and love of the Father.

The feasts of the Lord portray also the development of the Christian church from a relatively disorganized group of believers all the way to the mature Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the Servant of the Lord, the Judge and Deliverer of God’s creation, the Wife of the Lamb.

The development of the individual saint and the development of the whole Church are closely related in that the Church is composed of individual Christians. The perfection of the whole depends on the perfection of each part, obviously.

However, the growth of the individual saint, the overcoming disciple, may not be on the same time schedule as the Church.

The Church is advancing along many fronts today and a number of people have come as far as the feast of Pentecost; although a much larger number are still milling around in the first principles of salvation.

It is possible for the individual Christian today to move ahead with God whatever the churches may do. We find this to be true in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three where Christ addresses the angels of the churches of Asia, and then speaks to each overcomer as a single person: "to him that overcometh."

The overcomers, the victorious saints who serve the Lord Jesus Christ in dedication of life and purpose, will be used of God to assist the weaker members of Israel. God chooses from among His people those He intends to use as teachers and helpers. He draws them to Himself and makes demands on them. He gives them an extra portion of grace and glory. He will use them in the future, we believe, to bring all Israel to Himself in perfect reconciliation. However, those with such insight must be tested rigorously.

And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. (Daniel 11:33)

The seven feasts of Israel are an Old Testament portrayal of God’s plan of redemption through Christ. God’s plan of redemption is based on and always works through Christ—the slain Lamb of God who was raised from the dead.

To redeem is to buy back or to seize by force some person or thing that has been brought into bondage and to restore that person or thing to his or its original inheritance or place.

Satan has brought every person, and the whole earth as well, into the bondage and darkness of sin and death. Christ leads out of bondage and darkness every person who comes to Him and guides the believer into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

As we outline the fulfillment in the individual Christian of the seven feasts of Israel, please keep in mind that God’s love has directed that we are to look steadfastly to Christ, walking before Him continually so the Holy Spirit may bring us to maturity in Christ.

The role of the Holy Spirit is similar to that of Eliezer of Damascus, who brought the fair Rebecca from her home and took her on a journey through territory unknown to her until finally she arrived in the presence of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Isaac is a figure of the Lord Jesus who Himself is the end of our quest.

The pattern of the seven feasts indicates that the Christian redemption is not a single happening. Although the beginning of salvation in a person’s life takes place in a moment and is a decisive, clear-cut act, the work of redemption includes a continuing development, a growth to maturity.

The covering Passover blood is the initial gift of redemption, the acceptance of which is the first step of the person entering salvation. The feast of Tabernacles, the last of the celebrations, is the fullness, the dwelling in us of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

Salvation has a definite beginning and a definite ending, an alpha and an omega. Redemption has an ending in the sense of a coming of age, a maturing, including total freedom from all the works and ways of Satan. Maturity in Christ is a goal worth pressing toward (Ephesians 4:13).

Now, let us briefly associate the seven feasts of the Lord with their New Testament counterparts:

Passover—Christ on the cross, eating the Lord’s Supper, protection from judgment through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, the slain Lamb of God.

Unleavened Bread—Christ in the heart of the earth, water baptism, death to the world, crucifixion with Christ, sincere repentance.

Firstfruits—Christ raised from the dead, our resurrection with Christ, the born-again experience.

Pentecost—Christ sends to us the Holy Spirit, the former and latter rain, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the law of the Spirit of life, mighty signs and wonders accompanying the preaching of the Word of God, the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.

Trumpets—Christ, the King, returns, the Day of the Lord, rulership of Christ over the earth, the emerging spiritual life of the saint, Christ declares war on the wickedness in the Christian, the New Year of the Kingdom of God, the forming of the army of the Lord.

Day of Atonement—Christ reconciles the believer to God’s Person, Christ forgives and cleanses all who come to Him, the Holy Spirit deals with sin in the disciple, the saints confess and forsake their sins under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the body, victory over self-will, eternal judgment of evil spirits, the saint is transformed into the moral image of Christ, Year of Jubilee, the cleansing of God’s Temple—the Body of Christ.

Tabernacles—Christ and the Father dwell in the Christian, the "rest" of God, the redemption of the mortal body, the completion of the work of redemption, the new Jerusalem, the fullness of the Presence and Glory of God in Christ in the saints, the Kingdom of God.

The Pentecostal, charismatic, speaking-in-tongues experience is at the halfway point, so to speak. Pentecost is number four of seven feasts. This fact may inspire those of us who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit to press forward to the fullness of the inheritance.

Perhaps we have been camping at "tongues." We need to get back up on our spiritual feet and begin to fight onward toward the good things God has for us.

The following spiritual application of the seven feasts of the Lord suggests they are types of the progressive nature of the working of God in the Christian discipleship. However, the seven feasts should be considered as portraying seven dimensions of the one redemption that is in Christ, not as seven ordered steps that God follows precisely and in sequence with each believer.

The fullness of the Divine redemption and inheritance is received when the individual receives Christ, because He is the fulfillment of the seven feasts. Yet we must press into and lay hold on the fullness of the inheritance, on that for that we have been grasped by the Lord Jesus. This was the Apostle Paul’s attitude throughout his Christian discipleship (Philippians 3:12).


Passover

This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: (Exodus 12:2,3)

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:11-13)

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: (Luke 22:15)

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (I Corinthians 5:7)

Passover symbolizes the protection from God’s judgment and wrath that is given us through the blood of Christ. Because the sentence of death overshadows the gods of the world, we apply by faith the blood of Jesus to ourselves and our household.

When the destroyer approaches us he sees the blood of the righteous Jesus which, in obedience to God, we have sprinkled by faith over our life. The Divine executioner, recognizing we have appropriated the blood of Jesus, "passes over" us without harming us and continues on his way carrying out the judgments of God.

In the same spirit of obedience we eat of God’s Passover Lamb (I Corinthians 5:7).

The feast of Passover teaches us of the importance that God places on the blood of Christ as the covering for our sinful and rebellious personality. We can witness in our own day the judgments of God in the land—the turmoil, and the distress of nations. Our refuge from the destroying storm is the blood of Jesus applied to our household by faith in obedience to the Word of God.

The Passover marks the "beginning of months" to the Christian. When an unsaved person approaches God he is confronted with Christ on the cross. God meets man only at the cross of Christ.

Just as the Hebrew approaching the Tabernacle of the Congregation encountered first the Altar of Burnt Offering, so the man or woman, boy or girl, who would enter the Christian salvation must first accept God’s offering—the Lord Jesus Christ.

The point in time at which we accept by faith the blood of Calvary’s cross becomes to us the start of a new life. Our existence before the cross is of little consequence. Our true life begins the moment the Lord Jesus Christ becomes our personal Passover.

Notice that it is a "lamb for a house" (Exodus 12:3). The words of Paul are brought to mind: "Thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31).

When a person accepts Christ his whole household comes under the protection of the blood (I Corinthians 7:14). The believer then should pray that God will grant each family member repentance unto life, that each individual will receive Christ for himself or herself.

The Passover was to be eaten "in haste." The Lord Jesus commanded us to "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:13). In like manner, the Passover is to be eaten "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand" (Exodus 12:11). We work diligently and conscientiously while we are in the world but in our hearts we are strangers and pilgrims. We always are ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever He leads us.

The Passover blood was for protection during the judgment of "all the gods of Egypt." So it is today. The Holy Spirit reproves (convicts) the world of judgment "because the prince of the world is judged."

The Lord will not tolerate the worship of demons. In His own time and manner He will destroy the demons and those who worship them. The Passover blood is our protection during the period that God executes judgment on the works of Satan.

"No uncircumcised person shall eat thereof" (Exodus 12:48). Only Christians can take advantage of the protection from judgment provided by the blood of Christ.

No person can escape the judgments of God merely by associating himself with the Christian churches. One’s name on a church roster, while it may be useful in the administration of the church, is of no value when we are speaking of protection against the judgments of God. A person must be "circumcised," that is to say, he must through faith obtain a work of Christ in his own heart. Otherwise he cannot avail himself and his household of the protection of the Passover blood of God’s Lamb.


Unleavened Bread

Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:15)

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. (Exodus 12:18)

Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. (Deuteronomy 16:3)

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (I Corinthians 5:6-8)

Paul anchors our interpretation of the feast of Unleavened Bread with his words in I Corinthians 5:6-8 (quoted above). Leaven is portrayed as "malice and wickedness," and unleavened bread is shown to be "sincerity and truth."

Leaven, in the Scriptures, often symbolizes sin. Just as a little yeast affects a whole ball of dough, so a little sin affects a whole human life.

God issued a clear command concerning the use of leaven during Passover Week: "There shall no leavened bread be seen with thee" (Exodus 13:7). This command is repeated in the Old Testament until the spiritual message is clear: "Purge from yourself the spirit and ways of the present evil age."

Sincere repentance, which is a forsaking of the spirit of the world (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life), must accompany the acceptance of Christ, our Passover Lamb. If there is no sincere repentance on our part, no turning away from our former manner of living, we have not come to Jesus with the right attitude.

The act of being baptized in water represents the fact that the believer has turned his back on the present world, that he has died to the world and the lust thereof. A gospel that does not require the convert to turn from sin and lead a new life of righteousness is not the Christian Gospel.

The "feast" (accepting the Lamb of God as our personal Passover) must be kept with "unleavened bread" (sincerity and truth).

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3,4)

The phrase "newness of life" is associated with the meaning of unleavened bread. Paul commands: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump." The new life in Christ is free from the leaven of sin.

In water baptism the leaven of our old nature is portrayed as dying with Christ on the cross of Calvary.

The crucifixion of our soulish nature is, as we know from Scripture and experience, a position which we are to grasp by faith and work out in our daily life. The adoption of this attitude—that our entire first personality died with Christ and we now are walking in resurrection life—is the manner in which we regard our own state of being, and is the necessary point of view for the saint.

One hardly can overemphasize the importance of considering ourselves to be crucified with Christ and risen with Christ. To make a success of victorious Christian living we must remind ourselves every day that we have come out of the world, have died with Christ on the cross, and have been raised to live in the heavenlies in Him at the right hand of the Father.

The necessity for remembering who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going, is enjoined on us in both the Old and New Testaments:

. . . that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. (Deuteronomy 16:3)

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

There always must be a remembrance, a calling to mind, a reckoning that we have left the world and are following Christ. The believer who does not make a conscious daily effort to call to mind that he has left the world and now is living in Christ, wanders in confusion, not understanding why he cannot occupy himself with this or that part of the world.

If we keep remembering we have died with Christ on the cross, having made our exodus from the world, and that our goal is the fullness of His Presence, we do not have nearly as much trouble maintaining our consecration to His will.

If we do not maintain each day the overcoming point of view, which is that our soulish natural man is crucified with Christ and our new spiritual man is in the heavenlies with Christ, either we will slip back carelessly into a sinful life or else we will wrestle ineffectively with sin in order to gain a position that Christ already has secured for us and that we are to seize by faith and maintain by faith.

If our faith is from God and of God, and not just a mental understanding and agreement with theology, we will begin to witness our scriptural position of crucifixion and resurrection transformed into living reality here in the present wicked age. Our faith, which is a gift from God, transforms the promises of the Scriptures into solid fact.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

Water baptism is the provision God has made so the believer may portray the fact that by faith he is putting from his life the old corrupt nature. Here is the new covenant fulfillment of Passover Week, the Week of Unleavened Bread.

Water baptism depicts burial and resurrection, the beginning of the new life for each person who receives God’s Passover Lamb, Christ, who was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).

The feast of Unleavened Bread means every trace of the old life, the old "leaven" of the world, is to be removed from us. Every "Egyptian," to speak figuratively, is to be "left in the Red Sea." To repent is to turn away from the old leaven of sin, of malice and wickedness, and to enter the Kingdom of God as a little child.

In water baptism we enter the death of the cross and we enter also the resurrection Life of Christ. We enter the death of the cross so every trace of Satan’s authority over us may be terminated. From this point forward we are free to choose to serve God.

Before entering the death of Christ we were not free to choose to be servants of righteousness. We were bound in the kingdom of darkness and were compelled to obey the spirit of the world, of wickedness.

Now we are loosed legally from the power of darkness, through the authority of the blood of Christ. Now we are free to choose to obey the Spirit of God and to act, speak, and think in a righteous and holy manner. This is the meaning of the sixth chapter of Romans and the fulfillment in the Christian of the feast of Unleavened Bread.


Firstfruits

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (I Corinthians 15:20)

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:23)

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

The feast of Firstfruits portrays the resurrection of Christ and our entrance into His resurrection life. We are born again, meaning that a new life, the Life of Christ, has been born in us.

This is the beginning of the harvesting of our personality. Our new spiritual nature is raised to sit with Christ in the heavenlies. Our new nature, Christ born in us, is the firstfruits to God of the new creation.

There is part of our personality that has not been harvested as yet, as we can tell by the way we act, the things we say and think, the battles we have.

The unharvested part of us, the part that still rebels again God, has been accepted of God even though it has not as yet been redeemed from the hand of the enemy. It has been accepted because part of us has been presented before God (our reborn inward nature) as a firstfruits. We are without condemnation although we have not been perfected as yet.

Our spirit and soul must go through many experiences with God before they are cleansed, changed into the image of Christ, and reconciled to God. Last of all our physical body will be harvested.

We rejoice in God because we know what He has begun in us He will finish. The Lord has accepted our new nature as a firstfruits of the finished work of redemption. As soon as God has created Christ in every area of our personality, the harvest of our life will have been completed.

True faith versus mental belief. There is an extraordinary fact associated with the seven feasts. It is that the ordinances governing their celebration were issued in detail while the Hebrews were wandering in a desert. Yet some of the feasts were agricultural festivities.

Firstfruits, Pentecost, and Tabernacles were associated with distinct phases of the harvest season. They were enjoined on the Israelites when they had no farms.

That they were harvest ceremonies is interesting in itself because it reveals that God regards the Christian Era, commencing with Christ’s death and resurrection during Passover Week, as a harvest of what previously had been sown in the earth by the Lord (John 4:35).

For example, the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in the Book of Acts, symbolizes the end of the wheat harvest. We ought to give more thought to the concept that the Christian Church is the fulfillment of that which began with Abraham (Galatians 3:6-29). The "Dispensational" model of Scripture interpretation is flawed seriously, in our opinion, in that it severs the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, from Israel.

The type of the former and latter rains is applied also to the concept that the Book of Acts portrays the former rain, while the latter rain will fall at the end of the present age, just prior to the revealing of Antichrist. This concept would place the fulfillment of Pentecost at the close rather than at the beginning of the Christian Era, in that the observance of Pentecost, the end of the wheat harvest, came several weeks after the latter rain had fallen.

First will come the latter rain revival. Then, the burning sun of persecution. After that, the Lord’s wheat will be harvested. The perfected Bride of the Lamb, having in herself the leaven of Christ, will be received by Him.

Then the greatest of all Pentecosts will take place as the Spirit of God glorifies the saints and all the saved nations come to them to receive healing and blessing.

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)

The extraordinary fact to which we referred previously is that precise regulations for harvest rituals were given to former slaves who did not own a square foot of land (except by faith in God’s promise).

At the time the seven feasts of the Lord were enjoined on the Israelites they were wandering in the Sinai Desert. They were following a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night through as barren and desolate a furnace of a countryside as can be imagined. Yet the Lord insisted on furnishing them with a list of detailed instruction for the observance of ceremonies celebrating the ingathering of barley, wheat, olives, nuts, and so forth.

This way of doing things is characteristic of God who "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17). Does the Holy Spirit do that to us—speak to us about spiritual realities (and sometimes physical realities) before they become a fact in our physical and spiritual environment?

Indeed He does. We live by hope and faith in the promise of God. It is the grasping of the promises of God by resolute, unswerving faith that brings victory in the Christian discipleship.

Notice the following:

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)

"When ye be come into the land which I give unto you."

Many of the ordinances given to the Israelites in the wilderness were for the day when they entered their inheritance:

And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; (Deuteronomy 26:1)

The concept is, "I am preparing you in advance so you will know what to do when I fulfill My Word to you."

We Christians need to understand we are in a "present distress." The world is not our home. The earth is our home, but the spirit of the present age is the enemy of God and His Christ.

The Lord has promised many things to us and has commanded us how to live. When we keep His commandments we reap the rewards to the overcomer. Those who overcome will be priests, kings, teachers, and judges in the age to come.

Those who believe in Jesus but who do not keep His commandments will be judged. Some will be saved but they will be rewarded according to their behavior. Others are in danger of the Lake of Fire.

One day, all that God has spoken concerning us will be our possession in solid reality. If we do not obey the Lord in the present hour we will be judged concerning our lack of obedience and faith.

The current definition of living by faith is in error. "The just shall live by faith" does not mean we will go to Heaven if we maintain a correct theological position concerning Christ. Living by faith means obeying the revealed will of God in the hope of coming into glory at His appearing. The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is a definition of what it means to live by faith.

Our death with Christ on the cross and our ascent with Him into the heavenlies are two examples of God speaking in advance concerning perfection we do not as yet possess in a mature state. As we maintain by faith a positive assurance that what God has spoken He will perform in us, we move toward the fulfillment of the promise.

The promises of God’s Word provide an anchor and direction for our faith and create the substance of the reality when we mix faith with the Word. We lay hold on our land of promise and live as though we already were there, to the extent we are able; although the physical evidence testifies that we have not as yet received the fullness.

When the Holy Spirit makes a promise of God real to us, or even if we just read the promise in the Scriptures (taking note of the attendant conditions), we then can lay hold on that promise by faith.

We gain possession of various aspects of our land of promise by seeking them out by faith: a holy, obedient personality, physical healing, the indwelling of the Father and the Son, the gifts and ministries, peace, wisdom, joy, and every other desired blessing. Faith in God’s promises creates value where none exists or where evil exists.

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11,12)

"Who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

A warning may be necessary at this point. There is a trap into which we can fall concerning the use of "faith" to get what we want.

There is a light head-belief that is not victorious faith. We may know of someone who prayed a brief prayer or who strove in prolonged prayer, and who then claimed he had the answer because of his mental grip on the letter of the Bible promise. Yet, nothing appeared to happen.

There is a bottomless gulf between making plays mentally or metaphysically on the promises of Christ, compared with gaining ground with God through victorious patience, hope, and faith.

We cannot force God to do anything no matter how much we "believe." We cannot walk on a broken leg until God provides evidence to us that He is cooperating with us in the act of faith. It requires experience in the ways of the Spirit of God before we are able to walk successfully on the line drawn between presumption and aggressive faith. Aggressive faith sometimes is necessary. Presumption is always wrong.

The challenge and the ability to act in faith come from the Lord. The challenge to act in presumption comes from Satan (Luke 4:9-12).

The Israelites would have been regarded as demented by the surrounding tribes if they had gone through the motions of reaping nonexistent crops in the desert, thinking they were honoring the God who had given them agricultural holidays to celebrate.

True faith gains a vision of God’s promise, lays hold on God through prayer in the Spirit and through obedience, and is sensitive to God’s schedule. Faith eventually obtains the knowledge of the mind of the Spirit of God. Faith is a real walk in the Spirit and produces concrete results in both the spiritual and the physical worlds.

We secure our inheritance by maintaining unswerving faith in the promises of God, and some of these promises nearly are incredible. The performing of "greater works," the resurrection of the physical body into immortality, rulership over the nations—these are glorious hopes.

These wonders and others like them will one day be solid reality for the Christian who maintains to the end an unchanging faith in and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In God’s time the Hebrews had to fight bloody wars to obtain their land of milk and honey. In God’s time we Christians shall be required to fight fierce spiritual battles if we intend to transform our spiritual hopes into permanent possessions.

Let us lay hold on the promises of Scripture. Let us maintain in rock-like faith that we "have" the promises. Then let us follow the Spirit of Christ as He leads us in spiritual warfare to accomplish the dislodging of Satan from our inheritance.


Preparation for the new age. The history of the tribes of Israel making their pilgrimage through the wilderness to the land of promise helps us understand the purpose for our wearying—oftentimes painful—discipleship during our present life on the earth.

God understands well that it is necessary to teach us many lessons in the arena of earth’s problems before we can be entrusted with the glory and responsibilities of the sons of God during the ages to come. Seen from this light, the faithfulness and perseverance we exercise in learning the lessons presented to us by the Holy Spirit have eternal rewards. The eons of the future attach eternal significance to every one of today’s decisions, actions, words, thoughts, imaginations, and motives.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

Our present life on the earth is a humbling process. It also is a school in which we learn to look to God rather than to our own abilities and self-will. Think about the meaning of the following passage:

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Is God utilizing the resources of Heaven and earth so we may lead a happy and successful life on the earth during the present wicked age? Not so. God is preparing kings and priests who will rule and serve with Christ in the fullness of the glory and power of an endless and indestructible life. Therefore their happiness and success is measured in the terms of Heaven, not of men on the earth.

Every challenge, every trial, every lesson, every humiliation, every pain we are enduring has as its purpose our preparation for eternal service in the Presence of Almighty God.

When we pass from the earth into Heaven, and then into the Kingdom Age on the earth, we shall bring with us all we have learned from the Spirit of the Lord. What we have become through the Word of God, through the body and blood of Christ, and through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit will determine the nature of our reception upon our physical death, the quality of our fellowship with God and the saints, and our opportunities for service (II Timothy 4:8).

The New Testament teaches that we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and be rewarded or punished according to our actions on the earth (II Corinthians 5:10).

The saints who have had visions of Heaven report consistently that the surprise on entering the spirit realm is that we are unchanged and that we are gathered to the spiritual area for which we have allowed the Holy Spirit to prepare us.

The Gospel of the Kingdom teaches us how to please God in the present life. However, the Gospel places greater emphasis on our preparation for the Kingdom that is coming to earth with the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Believers who become occupied with the affairs of the present world are running the risk of selling their vast, eternal inheritance for a "bowl of lentils."

The concept of the firstfruits is prominent in God’s plan of salvation. For example, Romans 8:23 informs us that we Christians possess "the firstfruits of the Spirit." We have a firstfruits, or first installment, of the Holy Spirit at the present time. (Can you imagine what the receiving of the balance of the Holy Spirit will be like?)

If we "hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14) we will come to the day when we reap the remainder of the harvest—the fullness of the Holy Spirit permeating every part of our personality, just as is true of Jesus, our elder Brother.


Sanctifies the entire harvest. Another dimension of the feast of Firstfruits is that the sanctifying of the firstfruits sanctifies the entire harvest. "If the firstfruits be holy, the lump is also holy" (Romans 11:16).

This principle explains how it can be true that we are without condemnation in Christ even though we still may observe sinful tendencies in our body. Our will already has been reaped (Romans 7:18) and our spiritual inner man delights in the law of God (Romans 7:22).

Our "members which are upon the earth" (Colossians 3:5) are sanctified through the fact that our inner born-again spiritual life is holy to the Lord. Our spiritual life is holy because Christ has been born in us.

Our personality is under the covering of the Passover blood because we have received the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Also, the justice of God has been appeased because by faith we have received the benefits of the atonement made by Christ as our sin-offering.

Our eternal life (the inner spiritual life) is "hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). A firstfruits of our life already has been "waved" before the Lord (Leviticus 23:11).

The day will come when our mortal body also will be harvested (Romans 8:23), completing the reaping of our personality by the Spirit of God unto everlasting life (I Corinthians 15:54).

We see the principle of the firstfruits operating in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (I Corinthians 15:20).

Because He (Jesus) was "waved" as a holy offering before God, we also—the harvest of the earth—are holy in the sight of God.

We too shall be raised from the dead. "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming" (I Corinthians 15:23).

James 1:18 presents an interesting thought: "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

The concept of a group, a firstfruits, selected from the totality of God’s creatures, which is the meaning of the term church, can be observed in Romans 8:19: "The earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God."

The sin and rebellion of the old creation were illustrated by the inability of Adam and Eve to obey one simple restraint on their behavior. The old creation was judged and finished on Calvary. The new creation began with the resurrection of Christ. He is the Firstfruits of the new creation—a new working of the Lord God of Heaven.

The saints of God, since they are one with Christ in His death and in His resurrection, also may be considered a firstfruits of the new creation. The world of nature, including the nations of the earth, is waiting expectantly for the revealing of the sons of God who already possess in themselves the firstfruits of the Spirit of God—the substance of eternal life (Romans 8:19).

Revelation 14:4 refers to those who are the "firstfruits to God and to the Lamb." Let us, like Paul, "follow after" so we may grasp that for which we have been "apprehended" (grasped) by the Lord Jesus. Let us press toward participation in the first resurrection so we too may become a firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

Notice how the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits portray the crucifixion, descent into Hell, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The seven feasts of Israel are symbolic of events in the life of Christ, and therefore have direct application to our own spiritual experience because of our oneness with Him in His crucifixion and resurrection.

Our book to this point has been reviewing doctrine fairly well known to Christian people. The remainder of the text brings us into waters that may be unfamiliar to some of us; although the next feast, Pentecost, is becoming much more widely received through the current Charismatic movement.

With the enablement of the Holy Spirit we will follow the Divine pattern of the feasts of the Lord through to the climax of the Christian salvation—the fullness of the redemption that is in Christ the Lord.


Pentecost

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:15,16)

Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: (Deuteronomy 16:9,10)

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

There are amazing differences between the feasts of the Jews and their new covenant counterparts. The old covenant celebration of Pentecost (feast of Weeks) was an important annual agricultural ceremony. The new covenant fulfillment of the feast of Weeks is an extraordinary spiritual occurrence that has affected the course of mankind on the earth.

The record of the Book of Acts speaks for itself concerning the meaning of the feast of Pentecost.

Jesus had said, "Wait for the promise of the Father"; and again, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me."

"Ye shall receive power." The Book of Acts is a record of Divine power working in the lives of Christians. Speaking in tongues and the miraculous healing of the sick are two of the outstanding results of the outpouring on all flesh of the Holy Spirit of God.


The law of the Spirit of life. Pentecost (feast of Weeks) is associated with the giving of the Law of Moses on Mount Sinai. It is believed that the Law was given on Sinai fifty days after Israel left Egypt (Pentecost means "fifty").

It is true also under the new covenant that the law is given at Pentecost, for the law of the Christian is the "law of the Spirit of life" (Romans 8:2).

We Christians are not under the Law of Moses unless we choose to live in the flesh. We are free from the Law on the basis that we have been crucified with Christ and now are living in newness of life. The Law of Moses governs us when we are living "in the flesh." By "living in the flesh" we mean behaving in the understanding and appetites of the body, soul, and mind of the natural man rather than behaving under the guidance, discipline, power, and life of the Holy Spirit of God.

When we choose to "die" to the lusts of the flesh, and to live instead in the power and life of the Holy Spirit, we come under a law different from the Law of Moses. Our new law is the law of the Spirit of life. It is the law that rules Christians who are "not in the flesh, but in the Spirit" (Romans 8:9).

We are not "adulterers" although we have left the Law of Moses to be married to Christ, because we have been released from the Law of Moses by our death with Christ on the cross (Romans 7:2-4). Death releases us from the Law of Moses.

We Christians are not without law. We are living under a different type of governing principles. We are to be ruled by the Spirit of God whose voice we are to obey at all times.

In our day there are numerous Christians who are spiritual "singles." They are married neither to the Law of Moses nor to Christ. They are lawless. Their end will be according to their works.

Living in the appetites of the flesh, obeying the lusts of the body and soul, brings some gaiety and satisfying of fleshly desires accompanied by an enormous amount of mental and bodily grief, remorse, confusion, sickness, spiritual death, punishment, and eventually, eternal separation from God.

Obedience to the law of the Spirit of life brings self-denial and delayed gratification, accompanied by peace, health, certainty, and eventually release and glory and the fullness of the Presence of God in Christ throughout eternity.


The former and the latter rain. The rain cycle of the land of Palestine consists of a fall planting (former) rain, sporadic winter rains, and a heavy (latter) rain which falls in the spring and brings grain to maturity.

One application of the type of the former and latter rain would be to consider the work of the Holy Spirit in Israel of the Old Testament as the former rain, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Christian Church as the heavier, latter rain. This point of view is reinforced by the fact that the series of the seven feasts began at the time of the harvesting of the grain, not at the time of planting seed.

Another prophetic application of the type of the former and latter rain would be that the former (seed; planting) rain fell on the original Day of Pentecost, and the latter (harvest) rain is reserved for the days just prior to the return of the Lord from Heaven. This alternate point of view is supported by the Lord’s parable of the wheat and tares that grow to maturity side by side until the end of the age.

As is true of Scripture symbolism generally, the Holy Spirit can apply the type of the former and latter rain in more than one way depending on the particular spiritual truth being emphasized.

In any case, the Pentecostal "rain" of the Holy Spirit has been available to all Christian people since the days of the first Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is regrettable that as soon as the original Apostles passed from the earth the early believers rejected the leadership and manifestation of the Holy Spirit in favor of a human-directed church. There is evidence in Paul’s writings that while he yet was ministering, his own converts were rejecting the teaching that the Spirit was presenting through him. The text of the Book of Galatians suggests doctrinal confusion erupted as soon as Paul left Galatia and went to another area.

People find it difficult to be willing to live under the rulership of the Holy Spirit of God. This was true under the old covenant and it is just as true today.


The history of the Pentecostal "rain." The history of the outpouring of Pentecostal "rain" on mankind is an inspiring story. The miraculous effects of the working of the Holy Spirit are described in the Book of Acts. Since that time there have been powerful manifestations of the Spirit of God whenever and wherever Christians have met the Divine requirements of faith, holiness, obedience, unity, and prayer, and also in times and places selected sovereignly by the Lord Jesus according to His own purposes.

Some of the outpourings of the Spirit are on record. there were many of which we are ignorant. The names of Wesley, Fox, Finney, Howells, for example, are associated with manifestations of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost.

If it is true, as we have suggested, that the Pentecostal "rain" has been available throughout the Christian Era, we would expect similar manifestations during the period. A study of past revivals indicates that this indeed has been the case.

The confessing of sins on the part of the believers often has been practiced in times of spiritual awakening. Also, speaking in tongues and miraculous healing, two prominent characteristics of the outpouring of the Spirit of God recorded in the Book of Acts, consistently have followed the anointed preaching of the Gospel from the first century to the twentieth (see, for example, Chapter XXIII, "Pentecostal Outpourings in History," Stanley Howard Frodsham, With Signs Following. Springfield, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1946, pp. 253-62).

Speaking in tongues and miraculous healing are important elements of Divine grace that every believer in Christ should expect to accompany his discipleship. Both of these blessings are readily available to each true Christian.

It does not require a profoundly mystical experience in order for the believer to speak in tongues, to be healed by the Spirit of God, or to pray with success for the healing of others. These are the normal privileges of everyone who follows Jesus. Tongues and healing both are at hand. They are close to the saint who is pursuing the life of victory in Christ. The power and glory of the Kingdom of God abide on us when we accept the Lordship of Christ over our life and obey His will in all matters, great and small.

If we, as a Christian, ask the Lord for the ability to speak in tongues, and thank Him in advance for the answer, it is likely that we soon will find ourselves speaking in tongues. We do the speaking, under the gentle guidance and prompting of the Spirit, and the Spirit gives the words.

The same is true of Divine healing. If we ask the Lord to heal us or to heal another person, and thank Him in advance for the answer, He will come and heal us. How could it be otherwise? The Scriptures are the Word of God and God does not and cannot lie.

If the healing is delayed for some reason, the believer is not to give up. It is God’s will to heal His saints and the healing will come in God’s time and God’s way. Our part is to abide in faith and obedience in God’s Word, trusting in His many promises concerning healing.

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Psalms 103:3)

Sometimes it is the Lord’s will to take the individual home. In that instance, no tragedy has occurred. The person is far better off being with the Lord, and it is not reasonable or proper for us to attempt to force God to do differently.

Praying in tongues and supernatural healing are as natural to the spiritual man as breathing and eating are to the physical personality. When we are following the Lord Jesus in a devout and obedient manner, praying in tongues and Divine healing follow us because they are part of the goodness and mercy of God extended to us in Christ.

At this point, someone may object that he has not been healed or that someone he prayed for was not healed. Let us remember we are in a spiritual battle. The Gospels declare firmly that Jesus healed all who came to Him. He never once stated that it was not God’s will to heal some member of the multitude that surrounded Him.

Let us be scriptural. Let us be full of faith in God.

The reason we do not possess all the blessings of the Kingdom of God, including tongues, healing, miracles, holiness of behavior, peace, and so forth is that our entrance into our inheritance is being contested. In some instances, God is working out certain factors in our life. In other instances Satan is making a determined effort to discourage us.

All of this opposition is beside the point. God has given us a marvelous inheritance in Christ. Many aspects of the inheritance are for now while other aspects are reserved until His appearing. We are to press forward in faith, following the vision God has given us as an individual.

Our physical death has little to do with our pursuit of the promises of God. We are to press forward in the full assurance that what God has spoken concerning us He shall perform. There is no doubt about it.

All things are ours in Christ. It is God’s will to give us the Kingdom of God, including the redemption of our spirit, soul, and body. Our spirit, soul, and body are to be preserved blameless in Christ (I Thessalonians 5:23).

The promises of Scripture are not denied to some of the believers and then given to others. Every believer will be challenged at some point during his entrance into his inheritance in Christ. When he is challenged and resisted by the enemy let him reaffirm his faith. Let him obey God to the point of denying himself. Let him continue to look to God for victory in Christ throughout his days on the earth and then during the Kingdom Age.

The saint dies in faith, meaning that his pursuit of God continues beyond the grave, as we understand it. We never, never, never cease pressing forward in Christ. Physical death is of little significance when we are speaking of reaching forward in faith to the full achievement of our inheritance in Christ.

One of the indications we are growing spiritually is that our vision no longer is limited by what is accomplished in the present life. Just as our Lord Jesus has had to wait in faith at the right hand of the Father until His enemies become His footstool, so shall we continue to live by faith. The righteous always have lived by faith in God and always will live by faith in God.

The fullness of our entrance into the land of promise will take place after Christ returns. As in the case of Israel we will need faith, hope, trust, patience, courage, knowledge, wisdom, obedience, and all the other characteristics that the Holy Spirit so patiently has wrought in us if we are to ride with the Lord Jesus in the Battle of Armageddon and then rule with Him over the nations of the earth.

This does not mean we are to assign our victories to our life beyond the grave. If we are not learning to press forward in faith now we will not press forward in faith then. If we are faithful in the present we will be faithful in the future. God knows this and deals with us accordingly.

We never are to compromise with the enemy in our land of promise. We are to meditate in the Scriptures daily, laying hold on the promises with unrelenting, unswerving faith. Every blessing of Heaven and earth already has been given us in Christ.


The pattern of the outpouring. A study of Christian revivals from the time of the Protestant Reformers to the present day points up some facts about the outpouring of the "harvest rain." The promises of the Scriptures plus the historical pattern of the giving of God’s Spirit prompt us to believe there has been a gradual increase of the Spirit during the period of time from the Protestant Reformers until now, and that the "latter rain" will increase in volume until there is a worldwide downpour of glory.

One of the features of the moving of the Spirit of God has been a restoration of understanding of the Scriptures.

The Book of Joel has some important things to say about the feast of Pentecost. On the day of the beginning of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit announced through Peter: "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16).

The message of Joel is that there is to be a time of desolation and famine followed by restoration and fruitfulness. This, we believe, is to be the pattern of the Pentecostal "rain"—a period of desolation followed by an abundant restoration of the blessings of God.

It appears the Dark Ages of Western civilization were paralleled by a dark age of the Christian churches in which, with some notable exceptions, the Presence of the Spirit of God and the understanding of the Scriptures were diminished greatly from what had been true of the ministry of the first Apostles. These were the days of the "palmerworm," the "locust," and the "caterpillar."

There appears to have been since the time of the Reformers an incoming tide of restoration of the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Of particular interest here is Joel 2:21-27, which suggests the end of the Christian Era will experience a visitation of God’s Spirit on the earth, the like of which has never been witnessed from the time of Adam to the present hour.

During the last three hundred years there have been powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit in Europe, Asia, America, and in other places throughout the world. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in America during the opening years of the twentieth century has been of particular interest to the writer because of his having been acquainted with people who either were active during the early days or were associated with Pentecostal pioneers of that period. Their testimony carried a savor of Divine grace and power that could not be denied.

One of the American Pentecostal pioneers of the early twentieth century was Frank Bartleman. A book written by Bartleman describes the Azusa Street (Los Angeles) outpouring (Frank Bartleman, What Really Happened at Azusa Street. Northridge, Calif.: Voice Christian Publications, Inc., edited by John Walker, 1962).

Bartleman’s account is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in examining the nature of the new covenant counterpart of the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and in seeking to understand the significance of the Azusa Street outpouring in its relationship to the whole of church history (see also Carl Brumback, Suddenly . . . From Heaven. Springfield, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1961).

Frank Bartleman’s narrative abounds in inspirational moments. However, some disquieting facts emerge. As one reads the book the impression is gained that the church leaders and people were so anxious to return to a conventional form of worship that they fairly drove the Holy Spirit of God from their midst.

Bartleman’s account of people driving away the Holy Spirit by resisting the patterns of worship, prayer, and ministry taught to them by the Spirit saddens those who understand the Holy Spirit is God and is to be obeyed implicitly and in detail. One need look no further than Holy Writ to discover Israel always resists the Holy Spirit. The actions of the Christians at the time of Bartleman is a dreadful commentary on the actual state of multitudes of church-attenders.

The writer believes that the Pentecostal "rain" has been available throughout the Church Age, and that the Holy Spirit of God is present in small amounts in our assemblies because that is the way we want it.

Perhaps it is not that we do not want the Spirit Himself. The problem is that walking in the Spirit requires moment by moment cross-carrying obedience to Christ. Men insist on retaining control of the activities of the Church of Christ. The Lord’s people never have been content to trust Him and lean not to their own understanding. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel, and of the Christian Church also, the leaders have refused to allow the Spirit of God to direct the building of God’s Temple.

The eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, by its symbol of the two olive trees and the two lampstands, reveals that in the days just prior to the appearing of Christ the work of God will be accomplished, not by man and his devices but by the Spirit of the Lord (see Zechariah, Chapter Four).

It is possible that our concept of the Christian discipleship and church services do not coincide with the desires and actions of the Spirit of God.

It is the writer’s conviction that an abundant, continual outpouring of glory is available to every group of Christians who will allow the Holy Spirit to rule their activities. It is useless, we believe, to pray for and expect an outpouring of God’s Spirit until we are willing, under the guidance of the Spirit of Christ, to change the patterns of our individual and group behaviors so they correspond to the wishes of the living and present Christ.


The significance of "tongues." The Divine meaning and intent of Azusa Street, and similar outpourings, have not been understood clearly. What is the purpose of "tongues," for example? Since speaking in tongues is associated in Scripture with the outpouring of the Pentecostal "rain," what significance does it have for us Christians other than the fluency it gives our worship and supplications?

Speaking in tongues is more than an interesting phenomenon to append to our business-as-usual church life. Speaking in tongues signals a new way of obeying God—the way of the law of the Spirit of life.

"Tongues" is the key that opens the door to a new life for the Christian. It appears the churches involved in the Azusa Street outpouring, not understanding the significance of what was taking place in their midst, moved off the course the Holy Spirit was setting for them.

The following passage aids our understanding of the significance of the speaking-in-tongues experience:

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:9-13)

The meaning of speaking in tongues, its role in determining our Christian experience, is contained in this passage from Isaiah. Tongues, the Holy Spirit is stating here, is a means God has selected to guide us into the life in the Spirit.

Speaking in tongues builds us up and helps us toward the "rest" of God, toward the refreshing for those who are weary from attempting to please God in their own strength. Notice in Isaiah 28:11 that the stammering lips and other tongues are presented in context with growth in the understanding of doctrine and the receiving of knowledge.

The emphasis is on "command upon command, rule upon rule." The purpose of it all is that "they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

The passage portrays the taking captive of the person by the Spirit of God. A Christian is the flesh being made the Word of God just as Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. The process of transforming the Christian into the Word of God proceeds command upon command, rule upon rule, a little here, a little there. It is a daily transformation as we keep our eyes steadfastly on Christ.

Little by little the strength of the believer’s self-life is destroyed and Divine resurrection life takes its place. Here is a picture of the rulership of the Holy Spirit gradually increasing in the life of a Christian.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

This, then, is the purpose behind speaking in tongues. It is a means through which God brings people from the power of the rule of the flesh and mind to the power of the rule of the Spirit of life. Speaking in tongues teaches the Christian how to yield to the dominion of the Holy Spirit instead of acting according to the lusts of the flesh and soul and the imaginations, motives, and schemes of the mind.

The end result of the Pentecostal experience, and of all other Divine programs, is the perfecting of Christ in the believer. Perfecting Christ in the believer results in the perfecting of the Divine testimony that shines to the nations of the earth. It is Christ in us who is the Testimony, the Light of the world.

At Azusa Street the Holy Spirit was ready to instruct the churches in the doctrine of the Lord: the life in the Spirit, the oneness of the Body of Christ, the need for righteous conduct and heart holiness.

The Christians, after having experienced some of the manifestations of the Spirit of God, returned to their denominational practices and forms. They reconvened in the Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist manners. Those who did so named themselves "Pentecostal," since speaking in tongues had been added to the basically unchanged church activities.

It appears the "Pentecostal" people are not as yet ready to be ruled by the Spirit of God, to be led wholly by the Spirit in the work of the churches and in their individual lives.

"To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." Speaking in tongues teaches us how to rest in the Lord—how to cease from our own works (Hebrews 4:10).

The life in the Spirit is a rest and refreshing for those who have become worn out trying to please God by their own fleshly methods and strength (Matthew 11:28-30). The greater part of the anointed people of God, from the time of Joshua to the present day, have not been able because of unbelief to enter the "rest" of God, into the victory and inheritance promised them by the Lord.

Therefore, there remains a rest to the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).

An allegorical portrayal of a believer entering the life in the Spirit of God can be found in the Prophet Ezekiel:

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:3-5)

When we first come to Christ it is as though the waters of the Holy Spirit are "to the ankles." This is to say, we can still walk according to our own will although we have been saved from wrath and are in contact with the Life of God.

If we go a bit deeper into the things of Christ the waters of the Holy Spirit’s rulership come up "to the knees." The "water" is not as easy to run or walk through. It slows us down. More of our personality is in contact with and affected by the Spirit of God. The powers of our natural self-life are diminished and the resurrection power of God is commencing to influence our thoughts, words, and deeds.

We can, at this point, turn around and walk back to dry land, back to the life lived in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Or we can choose to go yet deeper with God in the process of death to self and laying hold on resurrection life.

"Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through, the waters were to the loins [hips]." By now our walk has been influenced greatly. We are controlled in our motions by the water to a much greater extent than was true when we were splashing about in ankle-deep water.

Notice how the illustration of Ezekiel’s "river" parallels the prophecy of "command upon command, rule upon rule." The Spirit of God, always with our consent and eventual cooperation, gradually extends His holy rulership over our deeds, words, and thoughts.

Speaking in tongues, which once was merely a phenomenon which we attached to our regular church life, now has become an important part of our Christian discipleship. Speaking in tongues is a help in learning to pray and live in the Spirit. Giving our life to the Spirit of God gradually has become a joyful attraction to us.

"Afterward he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over." The death and life, death and life, death and life, processes now have resulted in our turning back to God all that He has created in us so our spirit, soul, and body are one with God and in God through Christ.

It is an unsettling day for the fleshly nature of the believer when he finally comes to an experience that is too large for him to understand or control. The fullness of the life in the Spirit is as a river that can be neither defined nor controlled.

The personality of the Christian—his imaginations, motives, words, and deeds—is to come under the dominion of the Spirit of Christ. The believer’s life is to be given to God without reservation. In the words of Isaiah, the Christian must be "broken, and snared, and taken [captured]." He is to press forward until he experiences the knowledge of Christ, the power of the resurrection of Christ, the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ.

At the coming of the Lord the sufferings will cease and the faithful disciple will be immersed in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the River of God, forever. Indestructible resurrection life will extend into the spirit, soul, and body of the saint.

We humans are unable to measure the quality or the quantity of the Spirit of God. Mankind has witnessed one Person who walks eternally in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The Son of Man possesses the Spirit without measure. Will we, as Esau, trade the inheritance of the life lived in the fullness of the Spirit of God for the fleshly pleasures of the present wicked age?

Here then is the significance of speaking in tongues. As we continue to pray in the Spirit we are being brought under the governing power of the Spirit of God. We are entering the "rest" of God. All the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are means given by God to bring us to the goal of redemption, which is conformity to the image of the Lord Jesus and unblemished union with Him.


Loaves offered with leaven. The feast of Pentecost came at the end of the wheat harvest. Two large loaves made from wheat flour were "waved" before the Lord. The harvesting of grain had been completed.

The wave loaves contained leaven. (Leviticus 23:17).

We have noted previously in our study that the feasts of the Lord commenced with Passover, during which unleavened bread was eaten. There was to be "no leaven found in your houses" throughout Passover Week (Exodus 12:19).

The prohibition was strict: "for whoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger or born in the land" (Exodus 12:19).

Leaven typifies sin, in the symbolism of Passover Week. The stern prohibiting of leaven teaches us that God is exceedingly strict concerning the sincerity of our repentance, our turning away from the world, when we accept Christ and are baptized in water. The disciple must enter the crucifixion of Christ so the old leaven of sin can be destroyed out of him (Romans 6:6).

Now we find the Pentecostal bread—loaves waved before the Lord as an indication they were intended for His use alone—being baked with leaven. The Pentecostal experience is holy. The priestly anointing is intended for those people whom God has reserved for Himself among the nations of mankind.

When we first come to Christ we must repent and turn away from all sin (leaven) of which we are aware. We identify ourselves with Christ on the cross in order that the body of sin in us may be rendered powerless.

At the same time, we identify ourselves with Christ’s resurrection so we can give undistracted attention to walking in newness of life with Him. By this dual identification (with His death and His resurrection) we become free to choose to be a servant of righteousness, to act, speak, and think in a righteous manner.

We are to consider the old leaven as being gone permanently, having been left by faith in the waters of baptism with everything else of the world and of our first personality. Such is our position in Christ.

In actual experience we must deal with the actions of our flesh. The Holy Spirit leads us in putting to death the deeds of our body (Romans 8:13). The Day of Atonement, the sixth of the seven feasts of the Lord, portrays the provision God has made for forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Now there is a new leaven working in our life. The new leaven is the Substance of Christ in us.

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

A little leaven will work in a loaf of bread until the whole has been affected and rises into the shape and texture the baker desires. When we first come to Christ a Piece of Him is placed in our nature (Luke 8:15). As we move along in our discipleship we come into situations where it seems we are surrounded by never-ending problems and getting nowhere. Yet, though we are not always aware of it, the Substance of Christ is working as leaven in us and governing the "shape and texture" of the new creation being formed in us.

Some scholars teach that the leaven in the waves loaves of the feast of Weeks typifies the fact that there still is sin in Christians even though we have been filled with the Spirit of God. This is true and is, we believe, a proper application of the type. The sin which is in us is not purged from us until we pass through the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, which comes after the feast of Pentecost.

There are two leavens at work in the Spirit-filled Christian. The leaven of sin still is present and the leaven of Christ is present. It is the responsibility of the believer to make sure that the leaven of Christ is nurtured and that the leaven of sin is put to death by the Spirit of God. Our eternal destiny depends on our diligence in supporting the leaven of Christ and, through His Spirit, destroying the leaven of sin.

The two wave loaves of the feast of Pentecost represent the Church of Christ, which is a firstfruits to God of the harvest of the earth. The loaves are two in number because the Church will receive a double portion of His power and glory before the Lord returns, as symbolized by the two golden lampstands of the Book of Revelation (Joel 2:23-32; Revelation 11:3).

The resurrected Christ is the first of the firstfruits. Then follows the Church, which is His Body. The Body of Christ is leavened with Himself. Next will come the "nations of them that are saved" (Revelation 21:24). This pattern is revealed in the three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation: the Most Holy Place, the Holy Place, and the Courtyard.

There also is a "firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb," a "Tabernacle of David," that is being born through the travail of the Church in the present hour (Acts 15:16; Revelation 12:5 and 14:4). The holy remnant is associated with the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle, according to our understanding.

Pentecost was not the last feast of the harvest season. There was more to the agricultural season after the grain had been harvested. The oil, nuts, fruits, and wine still had to be gathered and processed. It was the feast of Booths (Tabernacles) coming at the end of the agricultural year that announced the completion of the harvest season.

The believer who has received the baptism with the Holy Spirit has been partially harvested, so to speak. There remains much of his personality, including his mortal body, that has not as yet been harvested by the Lord.


A "halfway point." Of the seven feasts of the Lord, Pentecost is number four. Since four is halfway between one and seven we may conclude that the person who has "arrived" at Pentecost is at a critical point in his or her spiritual journey. He is about to pass the "point of no return" (Hebrews 6:4-6).

The believer at Pentecost still feels the world attempting to pull him back, and he always must keep his body under discipline and guard himself with vigilance against deception.

Now there is an ever-deepening yearning in his heart to pass on to the richer joys of the Spirit of God. God has spoken plainly concerning His will for us to press forward to the fullness of our inheritance: "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38).

Anointing for priestly service. Another aspect of the outpouring of the Pentecostal "rain" is the anointing for priestly service to the Lord:

And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. (Exodus 30:30-32)

There are spiritual responsibilities attached to the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the Christian disciple. Note the importance of the ideas contained in the following statements:

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:21-23)

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ [Messiah, the Anointed One]? . . . (I Corinthians 6:15)

The baptism with the Holy Spirit anoints the Church, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer, for its priestly service to God. The saints are to bring the words and graces of God to mankind. They are the "seed of Abraham" through whom all the nations of the earth are to be blessed (Genesis 22:18).

The Presence of God, healing for the body, the knowledge of how to receive forgiveness of sins through the offering of Christ on the cross, moral direction, peace, wisdom, the remission and retention of sins—all these Divine blessings, guidances, and judgments come to the nations of the earth only through the priestly services of Christ, usually working through Christian believers.

The baptism with the Holy Spirit sanctifies (sets apart as holy) the believer for his priestly service and endues him with the wisdom and power to bring the Presence, power, love, mercy, and judgment of God to people who are bound by the fear and power of the devil.


The promise of the Father. The word Pentecost is more familiar to us than are the names of the other feasts of the Lord, with the possible exception of Passover.

Pentecost is an Anglicized form of a Greek word referring to the number fifty. The feast of Pentecost is observed on the fiftieth day after the feast of Firstfruits.

The Lord Jesus rose from the dead during Passover Week. He visited the earth for a period of forty days after His resurrection. Then He ascended into Heaven. Following His ascent was a period of ten days of waiting.

The Lord Jesus had commanded His apostles to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the "promise of the Father." Finally the fiftieth day arrived, the day of the Jewish feast of Weeks.

There were present in Jerusalem thousands of devout Jews from different parts of the Roman Empire who, in obedience to the Law of Moses, had come to the holy city to observe the feast of Weeks (Pentecost).

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

It was on this never-to-be-forgotten day, while the faithful of Israel were gathered together by the word of the Lord, some in obedience to Moses and some in obedience to Jesus of Nazareth, that the promised anointing of the Holy Spirit of God fell as a hurricane from Heaven, filling with the Glory of God Almighty the room in which the one hundred twenty disciples of Jesus were sitting.

Suddenly from Heaven the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Weeks came down upon them bringing the virtue, energy, and wisdom necessary for bearing witness of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The course of world history was changed on that day of days.

How Abraham must have rejoiced to see God fulfilling magnificently the promise made to him two thousand years before, as he held the knife over his "slain and resurrected" son: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."


Heavenly dynamite. Pentecost! The term draws our spirits to the Spirit of God. The word inspires to the core the true saint. On the Day of Pentecost the dynamite of the Spirit of God was given to the followers of Jesus so a witness may be borne to every nation of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Here is the baptism with dynamite for service. The tongues of flame abiding on the waiting believers signified that the word of judgment had been put into the mouths of Christ’s heralds.

We see the effects of the word of judgment in the ministries of anointed saints, whose words caused people to be gripped in an agony of conviction as the Holy Spirit spoke of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

Smith-Wigglesworth of England, Aimee Semple McPherson, Dr. Charles Price—these saints and others who have borne the harvest-rain anointing encourage us by their example to turn away from the useless strivings of the flesh and to wait on the Lord for the enduement of power from on high.

Pentecost! Pentecost! Pentecost! How desperate is the need for Pentecostal power in the world today. Sin-burdened, sick, frustrated people need the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ—the Gospel of power that brings miraculous healing and other supernatural working of the Spirit of Christ.

Let us cry unceasingly to the Lord for "bread" to feed the friends who have "come to us in their journey." Harvest time is here now.

In the present hour there is a widespread moving of the Holy Spirit among the members of the historic denominations. Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics—all are experiencing the speaking in tongues and miraculous healing. The current moving of the Spirit has been termed "charismatic." Speaking in tongues is a help to our individual and collective praise and supplication.

The Christian "in the Spirit" speaks directly to God (I Corinthians 14:2). Speaking in tongues makes possible an ease and fluency in worship. There are times when spiritual pressures become greater than the ability of the disciple to frame and utter words sufficient for the burden. How blessed it is to be able to yield to the Holy Spirit so He can take up the burden and carry it through to the answer.

Speaking in tongues always remains subject to the judgment and will of the saint. The Christian himself always remains subject to the judgment and will of the Lord Jesus as given through the Holy Spirit of God.

There is a grievous error creeping into Pentecostal thinking. It is that Christ has given to His disciples the wisdom and authority to administrate the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of the prophet indeed is subject to the prophet, but it is not true that to man has been given the administration of the ministries and gifts of the Spirit of God.

It is the Holy Spirit who gives the gifts.

It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the administrator of the ministries and gifts. It is the Lord Jesus who alone decides when, how, where God is to be served. He, not, man organizes the ministries of His Body (I Corinthians 12:5).

It is God the Father who gives the power to operate the gifts, to perform the miracles.

It is not up to us to organize the Body of Christ. Those who attempt to do so will bring confusion into the Kingdom of God.

It is Jesus who is Lord and Administrator. The historical error of Christendom is to put a human being (ultimately Antichrist) in the role of administrator. The error is more dangerous today than in time past because of the spiritual enablements available now.

Let us flee from all who are attempting to organize the Body of Christ. Only Jesus is authorized to do this. Let us wait on Him and receive His directions through the Holy Spirit.

And then we come to the other side of the coin.

The Lord Jesus gives various administrations through men. There are God-given elders whose responsibility it is to oversee the Christian assemblies.

It is never proper for a meeting of Christians to engage in manifestations of the Spirit of God apart from the diligent supervision of godly elders. Sometimes there are a great number of manifestations of the Spirit in a given service. As soon as this occurs Satan will stir up the fleshly nature of immature believers. Then there will be a mixture of true manifestations of the Spirit and manifestations of the flesh.

The elders will perceive beneficial things taking place but also be uncomfortable with other aspects. They will be reluctant to step in because they do not wish to offend the Holy Spirit.

The elders must step in and stop those actions with which they are uncomfortable. All manifestations of the Spirit are to be under the control of the saints. The Spirit is God. The manifestations are separate from Himself.

If the elders do not prevent Satan-inspired flesh from expressing itself the meeting itself will "take over." Pretty soon the people will "sit down to eat and drink and rise up to play" as they did when Aaron made the golden calf.

Whenever those in authority of an assembly become uncomfortable with what is taking place they should stop the proceedings until they are certain the Lord is present. They may have to tell one brother to proceed and another to sit down and be quiet. This is perfectly proper. We are commanded to test the spirits. If we do not, things soon will get out of control and bring reproach on the Gospel.

We realize by teaching spiritual oversight we are opening the door for a fleshly elder to drive the Presence of God from an assembly until there are only human activities that please those who do not know the Lord. However, the greatest revival of all time is at hand. During the outpouring to come the elders must take charge of the assembly of saints; otherwise strange and unfruitful manifestations will occur simultaneously with the genuine demonstration of the Holy Spirit.

It is the responsibility of the leaders of the assemblies to pray until they know the mind of the Spirit! They will be held accountable to God for the administration of their office.

Antichrist and the False Prophet will seek to persuade the believers to use their ministries and gifts to better the condition of mankind. The ministries and gifts are not given by the Holy Spirit to better the condition of mankind but to bring to maturity the Body of Christ.

The true, cross-carrying saint will resist all pressure, whether from the outside or from his own ambition, to use his gifts to support a humanly-organized endeavor, even though the objectives of the endeavor may be worthy and honorable, or even religious in character. The ministries and gifts are always to be administrated by the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The saint can continue to move under the administration of the Lord Jesus by continually presenting his body as a whole burnt offering to God.

If we have experienced speaking in tongues and other spiritual enablements, and have learned to yield to the gentle influences of the Holy Spirit at all times and in every instance, in matters great and small, listening for the voice of the Lord Jesus, let us press forward. A door has been opened before us that leads into the place where the Holy Spirit does not come occasionally but is an abiding Presence, an eternal fountain of resurrection Life.

Let us go through the door that has been opened before us by the Pentecostal experience and enter the life lived in unhindered communion with and absolute obedience to God through Christ.


Turn you northward! The person who has come to Pentecost is neither in Egypt nor in the land of promise. He ought not to look back toward Egypt (life in the spirit of the world). He must press toward maturity in Christ. The land of promise has been attained when our whole personality is in accord with the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have discussed the protecting blood of Passover, the repentance of Unleavened Bread, the inner rebirth of Firstfruits, and the spiritual law and power of Pentecost.

Three more feasts are ahead of us, three observances that stand between us and the fullness of redemption. Most of us have not passed this way before. Christ surely has been in all that we have experienced to this point, and Christ surely is in that which lies ahead.

We never are to stop in our pilgrimage until maturity has been attained. There remains much land to be possessed. There remains a spiritual rest for the people of God.

"Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward."


Trumpets

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)

And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God. (Numbers 10:9,10)

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (II Samuel 6:15)

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)

Spiritual warfare. It is our understanding that Joel 2:1 (quoted above) describes the burden of the Lord in the heart of the Christian who has experienced Pentecost and who now is ready to move on with God. "Sound an alarm in my holy mountain."

The blowing of the trumpet is associated with warfare. As we press forward with the Lord we enter an understanding of Him as the "Lord of Hosts." The Old Testament in numerous passages speaks of God as the Lord of Hosts. The warrior is one of the most important roles of God, according to the Scriptures.

There is a fighting aspect of God’s nature. God is the Lord of tremendous forces. The Day of the Lord is a military engagement, a battle involving many personages and that will be fought with terrific fury until the Lord Jesus has destroyed His enemies totally.

At Passover we are spiritual babies, just having been born again. At Pentecost we may have gone a step further. When we come to the Blowing of Trumpets, God shares with us His concern for spiritual warfare and the destruction of His enemies. The Spirit of the Lord of powerful forces cries war! war! war! in our soul.

My bowels, my bowels. I am pained at my heart, my heart maketh a noise in me, I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war

(Jeremiah 4:19).

Rebels from Heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ always is a fighter against evil forces. One of the outstanding characteristics of His ministry is the casting out of devils. The unclean spirits, who were so upset by the Presence of the Lord Jesus as He ministered on the earth, are God’s enemies against whom God wages war.

The Scriptures do not go into detail concerning the rebellion of spirits in the heavenlies. There is enough said in the Scriptures for us to understand there was a revolt against the authority and will of God. How and when the rebellion took place is not made clear to us.

As soon as Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden a personality appeared, counseling them to have no faith in God’s Word. It is not true that sin commenced in the garden of Eden. From the account, we know sin existed already in the life of a person or persons who were in rebellion against God. The deceptive counsel given to the two babes in Eden assuredly was a cunning temptation—one that to this day is leading people away from God’s will.

There is a kingdom of wicked personalities. Paul teaches us that we "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places" (Ephesians 6:12).

The wicked lords of darkness in heavenly places are God’s enemies. At the present time they are active among people on the earth, counseling them and urging them to defy God, to lust, to murder, to lie, to take part in occult practices, to idolize things and people, to steal.

The actions, words, and imaginations of the peoples of the world are one mammoth illustration of the nature of the evil lords of sin and rebellion against the most High. It is these same evil lords against whom the Church is to wrestle in the Spirit.

Why hasn’t God destroyed the rebels long ago? He has not destroyed them because he is using them to test and perfect the victorious saints whom He is preparing to be rulers of the ages to come.

The Scriptures inform us that God has determined to destroy the lords of darkness through Christ—Head and Body—during a period called the Day of the Lord. This destruction will be accomplished as soon as the Body of Christ has been brought to the required level of maturity, and union with the Head.

God has not forgotten one rebellious thought, imagination, motive, word, or deed that has been formed against Him. In His wisdom He has established a specific manner and time in which he will execute His judgment.

God never is slack, never careless. He is infinitely wise, infinitely patient, infinitely good, infinitely merciful. Sometimes people mistake God’s compassion and patience for indulgence or forgetfulness. This error can be fatal.

The trumpet of the Lord is sounding an alarm in the churches in these days. God is calling His people to war. The warfare is not against human beings. The warfare is against wicked spirits in the heavenlies. The warfare is not against our personal human enemies, it is against God’s enemies.

The unclean spirits are God’s enemies. They despise Christ. They despise the Word and will of God. They despise the image of God in mankind and they pervert that image in every conceivable manner. The Christian churches must be alerted to the fact that the Spirit of God is preparing for the Day of Vengeance.

The Lord Jesus appeared for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil (I John 3:8). He cast out many wicked spirits as He walked back and forth throughout the land of Israel. Casting out devils is the first sign that is to follow Christian believers (Mark 16:17).

We Christians must prepare ourselves for spiritual warfare. Our attention must be shifted away from purely human activities and centered on the things of the Spirit, such as fervent prayer and worship, and continual study and meditation in the written Word of God.

Social gatherings, musical performances, athletic competition between churches—all may have their place from time to time as the occasion indicates. Good works of all kinds are essential to healthy church life. However, it is not the purpose of the Body of Christ to operate or succeed in the realm of human activities.

The call of the Body of Christ is to God’s war of judgment against the armies of darkness. The destruction of the works of the devil is the purpose for the revealing of the Son of God. The destruction of the works of the devil is the purpose for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).

The burden of God’s war against the kingdom of Satan, in many instances, is nearly absent from the Christian churches. Pleasant, entertaining music is sounding in the assemblies in place of the trumpet of God.

However, the trumpet is sounding in the spirit realm. The trumpet of God is sounding in the heart of Christ. He is God’s Commander in Chief. The trumpet of God is sounding in the hearts of the members of the Body of Christ who are growing toward spiritual maturity.

The alarm is sounding. Violent trumpet blasts reverberate throughout the spirit realm as the Lord of Armies prepares His saints for the fierce conflict of Armageddon, for the Day of the Lord.

The Christian churches of the wealthy nations slumber on. A little slumber. A little folding of the hands. Be sure and maintain our customary way of living. Don’t rock the boat or the membership will fall out. Will the membership fall out of the boat when the Day of the Lord dawns in fire? If so, the sleepers should fall out now in preparation for the Day of spiritual battle that even now is coming upon us.

The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name. (Exodus 15:3)

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:8)

The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. (Isaiah 13:4,5)

Sometimes such passages as the one above (Isaiah 13:4,5) refer to a historical invasion of Israel by a foreign country. Often there is a double reference, one natural and one spiritual.

In this instance, the immediate application of Isaiah may have been to the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. However, the language of the context suggests the Holy Spirit of God, as is true in many other Old Testament passages, is speaking here not only of an immediate physical conflict but also of the ultimate spiritual conflict that yet is ahead of us.

The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13)

And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. (Habakkuk 3:11)

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Revelation 19:11)

It is impossible to understand the purpose and working of the Christian salvation, to comprehend what God is doing and intends to do through the Body of Christ, without understanding the warrior dimension of God’s Personality. God’s attention is focused on the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is the day of spiritual battle, as may be seen by the Scripture passages that deal with this subject.

The sum of what we are teaching is that the Christian assemblies must become much more aware of one of the most important of the roles, responsibilities, and purposes of the Body of Christ. This role, purpose and responsibility is the waging of war against the spiritual enemies of God.

The spiritual enemies of God are the wicked personalities who dwell in the heavenlies at the present time. They are the rulers of the darkness of the age in which we are living. God has had a controversy with them for a greater period of time than we know.

It is they against whom God’s anger burns. It is they for whom the Lake of Fire has been prepared. God, the Man of war, acting through the Body of Christ, will break the chains of bondage that these rebellious spirits have wrapped around the inhabitants of the earth.


Judgment. The days from the Blowing of Trumpets to the Day of Atonement (from Yom T’ruoh to Yom Kippor) are celebrated by the Jews in a mood of introspection and contrition. The other feasts have a more joyful tone. Because these observances announce a time of heart searching they are known as Yomim Noroim, the "Days of Awe."

The Days of Awe are concerned with the personal moral condition of the individual Jew. Yom Kippor (the Day of Atonement) is the day on which, in Jewish tradition, sin is removed from the heart.

The ten days from Yom T’ruoh (Trumpets) to Yom Kippor (Day of Atonement) were designated as days of penitence. The Days of Awe are associated in the devout Jewish mind with the day when God judges the earth—Judgment Day.

"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion. Sound an alarm in my holy mountain." We don’t know how to blow the trumpet. We are not people of war. We would rather think of peaceful things and assure our hearts that all is well.

"Blow it! Blow it! Blow it! Sound the alarm!" commands the Spirit of God. "Sound the alarm of war!"

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. (Ezekiel 33:6)

The Holy Spirit of God is sounding the alarm of judgment to come: judgment against the world, against the sins and rebellions hatched from the spirit of the present wicked age. Also—and primarily—against the wickedness that can be found in the churches.

Where lust, the love of money, murder and violence, sorcery, and riotous living are practiced in the churches they will be judged as sin by the Lord of Hosts. Any disciple who is practicing murderous rage, hate, backbiting, jealousy, adultery, fornication, or other wickedness in his deeds, words, motives, or imaginations can expect to be hearing soon from the Holy Spirit.

Today, judgment is being exercised in the house of God. All the actions of the saints are being screened carefully one at a time. The Bride of the Lamb must put away every action and motive that comes from or is in any way associated with Satan.

Every manifestation of the spirits of lust, of the love of money, of hatred, for example, must be driven from the saint, from the Kingdom of God, from the Temple of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is coming now to cleanse His Temple. How shall we receive Him? Shall we allow Him to purge from us the adultery, the murder, the superstition, the riotous living, the covetousness, the foolishness, the unclean speech, the spite, the gossip?

As far as covetousness is concerned, can it be stated truly of us that we are not too involved with the things and spirit of the world? Are we indeed "strangers and pilgrims" on the earth?

God in His kindness has given us all good things to enjoy. But immersion in the things and activities of this present world is not of the Father. Are we bound by the spirit of the age in which we live or are we following in the steps of the Man of Galilee, of Paul, of James, of John, of Peter?

No man or woman, boy or girl, can be a Christian without putting his or her hand to the plow and walking straight on in the path set before him by the Holy Spirit. No person can be a Christian without taking up his cross and following Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the same "yesterday, and today, and forever." The standards of discipleship also are true yesterday, today, and forever.

Sometimes we claim, "We must have beautiful surroundings to demonstrate the beauty of the Gospel. We must adorn the house of God."

Is the place where Christian assemble actually the house of God? The record shows that Christ was born in a stable. Had the Lord God of Heaven wanted His only begotten Son, Jesus, to be born in surroundings befitting His kingly Person, Christ would have been born in a royal palace, not among the animals of the stable.

God is infinitely more concerned with the condition of the hearts of the saints than He is with the buildings in which they assemble. We are not advocating here that Christian people should meet in a dirty building when there is something they can do about it. (It would not injure the Gospel of the Kingdom if Christians met in a dirty shed.) We must be diligent in everything we put our hand to, and taking adequate care of the place in which we assemble is no exception.

It appears, however, that we continue to refer to the buildings in which we assemble as the "house of God." We teach our children in Sunday School that the building is the house of God. We attempt to glorify God by decorating and enlarging the assembly halls.

Yet the hearts of the believers, in many instances, remain boarded-up, cobwebbed shacks, hiding places for snakes and spiders, strongholds of stubbornness, rebellion, and gossip.

It is time now for the Lord Jesus to come and cleanse His temple.

Sometimes there is an inverse relationship between the appearance of the assembly building (church) and the condition of the hearts of those who assemble in it. The grander the building the more spiritually destitute the worshipers. This is not always true, but it occurs commonly as we know.

Consider, for example, the Azusa Street mission. Compare the appearance of this former stable with the beautiful contrition and consecration of the hearts of the recipients of the early Pentecostal outpouring. The beauty of holiness and of the Holy Spirit were theirs as they sat on the makeshift pews.

Look at the Lord of Hosts being born among the patient beasts, an environment that would cause our dainty church attenders to shriek with dismay rather than to worship God in Spirit and in truth. Those who are in the flesh covet the things of the flesh while those who are in the Spirit covet the things of the Spirit.

Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways. (Ezekiel 33:20)

The trumpet of the Lord is sounding the alarm in Zion, in the Church of Christ. God has come to judge His people wherever there is sin, idolatry, coldness of heart, and rebellious self-will.

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

The Spirit of the Lord is sounding the alarm of danger and spiritual warfare. Let us of the churches beware of desiring to hear smooth things, comfortable things. Let us not require of the prophets that they prophesy deceits and tell us how pleased God is with our lukewarmness and our love of the things of the world.

If we are cold and backslidden we want to know about it and not be deceived with lies and hypocrisies. Our eternal destiny is at issue.

We may be waiting for God to pour out His Spirit at some vaguely defined future date, not realizing it is the sin and indifference in the churches that has cut off the flow of the Holy Spirit of God. Now is the time for revival.

Occasionally we have "mercy drops" of blessing in our midst. Thank God for the mercy drops and thank God for the ministries and gifts of revelation and power that are being raised up in these days.

It is the will of the Father that the authority, power, and blessing of the Spirit come upon us every time we gather together. It is now that we are to be beseeching the Father in the name of Christ for "rain in the time of the latter rain" (Zechariah 10:1).

It is God’s intention that we respond to the present-day alarm of the trumpet by getting ready to fight. The battle is against wicked spirits, the armies of darkness, who are the enemies of God. Their unclean nature is exhibited not only in the world but also at times in the hearts and behavior of Christian people.


Obeying the Lord’s trumpet. Exactly how does one obey the trumpet of the Lord? Since the fight is a spiritual one—we are not warring against human beings— we must learn to walk in the Spirit and fight in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit is a way of living that appears to be scarcely understandable to many believers. It is time now to pray in the Spirit, live in the Spirit, act in the Spirit, and to put to death the deeds of the body through the Spirit of God.

Unclean spirits use human weaknesses as beachheads, as vantage points from which they can fulfill their evil inclinations:

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14)

The preceding passage describes the correct response to the trumpet call of the Lord. We are to be led by the Spirit of the Lord in combat against the works of the devil in the earth, particularly against the "deeds of the body"—the lusting, coveting, murdering, and other satanic actions that we Christians practice.

When we are led by the Holy Spirit we can overcome the law of sin that binds our mortal body. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves" (I John 1:8). Sin dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:20). We practice sinful acts to which we do not consent and of which we do not approve (Romans 7:19). Such is the condition of the worshiper under the Law of Moses, and of the beginning Christian.

However, according to Scripture the Holy Spirit is ready to go to war against the evil in our life and to remove it from us.


A double wielding. We must cooperate with the Spirit of God in the battle for the control of our sinful flesh and our self-will. It is "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon" It is the Lord’s sword and also Gideon’s that drive the enemy from our land.

The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, it is true, but it is wielded in the hands of the Christian.

This double control and responsibility (the Spirit and the Christian) is an important principle of living and fighting in the Spirit. It is a principle that sometimes is rejected by Christians in favor of, "The Lord will do it (or has done it) by Himself"; or, "The Lord depends on us to do it."

Listen to the Spirit of God speaking through Gideon:

When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. (Judges 7:18)

The Lord would not do it alone and Gideon could not do it alone. The Lord will not overcome sin in our life by Himself alone and we cannot overcome sin in our life by ourselves alone.

Although in the final analysis it can be shown that in reality God is the One who begins and carries out the plan of redemption in an individual, yet in the day-to-day working out of righteous and holy behavior a great deal depends on the will and efforts of the Christian believer.

We overcome our sins "through the Spirit." We must learn to live, walk, and fight in the Spirit. It is we who do it, but we do it through the Spirit.

A declaration of faith that we are sanctified by grace is part of the answer to the power that sin has in our life. But after we have declared ourselves crucified with Christ and free from the law of sin and death we keep right on with our coveting, hatred, and backbiting.

Human will power against sinning is part of the answer, and through will power we attempt to resist temptation. However, since will power depends on human efforts to overcome evil spirits, and since our will power may not be coupled with Divine grace and power, we may continue with our adulterous imaginations, hatreds, and covetousness.

It requires an unceasing yielding to and cooperating with the Holy Spirit of God if the Christian is to gain enough wisdom and strength to drive the sin from his or her life.

Anxious struggling on our part will not overcome sin. Christians maintain their spiritual poise and deeply settled peace in the midst of the spiritual conflict by abiding in Christ.

Christ reigns in majesty, having overcome the authority of Satan. Christ is working in us each day to bring all of God’s enemies into subjection under His feet. The victory of Christ is total! final! absolute! We are to rest unflinchingly, consistently, courageously, hopefully, faithfully in that fact. As we do, and walk in the light of God’s will for our life, we are without condemnation.


Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:12,13)

A warlike attitude. When the Spirit of God blows the trumpet it is time for us to follow Him into battle. He is ready to wage war against the sins that dwell in us. He is prepared to enable the church to invade "the land of promise." The promised land of the Christian is whatever God has given him to possess, particularly his own personality (I Thessalonians 5:23).

If we are unwilling to respond to the trumpet of the Lord with a readiness to fight we will come under the curse on Meroz:

Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. (Judges 5:23)

The attitude of God is revealed in Deuteronomy:

Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee. (Deuteronomy 9:3)

The Lord does all the fighting when we come out of "Egypt," although we by faith must sprinkle the Passover blood on the "doorway of our house" and then get up on our feet and move out of the world spirit as the Lord leads us. However, when it comes to entering our land of promise, we must fight. The Lord guides and helps us, but we have to do the fighting.

God is a commander of armies and a God of judgment. We must adopt the attitude of war and of judgment against sin if we hope to press forward with God past the Pentecostal experience of speaking in tongues and prophesying. If we are to possess the riches of God we must be willing to be judged by the Lord and to fight against the spiritual enemies that dwell in our inheritance.

If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. (Deuteronomy 32:41,42)

We may be comfortable and at ease in Zion (in our church routines) and would rather flee to Egypt (back into the world) than to hear the sound of the trumpet, the sound of alarm (Jeremiah 42:14).

If we are to go on from Pentecost we must arm ourselves for spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12-18). We must be ready to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ, not entangling ourselves with the "civilian" pursuits of the world. Woe to us if we "hold back our sword from blood" in the day of the Lord’s battle (Deuteronomy 7:2; I Kings 20:42; I Samuel 15:8-23)!


Moving on. As we are proceeding in our study past the feast of Pentecost and are beginning to think about the final three feasts, we may be traveling on ground that is new to the reader. Many of us have not passed this way before.

However, it is not a new way to some of the saints of old, just new to our generation perhaps. Surprisingly, it does not require years and years for the believer to move through these experiences in Christ. A pioneer in a wilderness territory may take five months to travel the same distance that a person two hundred years later can cover in five hours.

We do not mean to imply that redemption works in a human life in a series of neatly placed, separate steps typified by the seven feasts of Israel. Rather the seven observances may be thought of as being seven dimensions of the one salvation in Christ.

The working out of redemption in human beings does not proceed in an ordered sequence of grade levels. The feasts portray seven aspects of the one salvation. The order can be switched around. The experiences are elaborated in each believer somewhat differently depending on the Lord’s working with him or her as an individual.

The feasts are woven into the fabric of our lives piecemeal, all at once, hourly, yearly, in small increments, in unfathomable crises. There is no way in which to organize the spiritual fulfillments of the feasts of the Lord into a system of theology, into a constitution on which to build a new denomination, a new division in the Body of Christ. Today is the day to strive for unity, not division, in that "seamless robe"—the Church of Jesus Christ.

Let us remember also that the saints can experience the spiritual counterparts of the feasts without understanding the doctrinal implications—in fact, while rejecting the doctrine. The love of Jesus rather than doctrinal accuracy, is the most important quality of the Christian discipleship.


The Spiritual New Year. We have mentioned that the blowing of trumpets heralds the Jewish New Year celebration. The trumpet of the Lord that is sounding today in the spirit realm is announcing triumphantly that a new year is at hand, the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9), the era of the Kingdom of God.

Now is the time for deliverance from the oppressor and a returning to what has been lost. Christ on the cross destroyed every scrap of Satan’s legal rights to us and to the remainder of the creation. The mortgage has been paid to the penny. Jesus holds the title to the creation and has the keys of Hell and of death. It remains for the Church to take possession. The eviction papers are in legal order. The old landlord and the old tenants must be thrown out by force.

Overcoming sin. There may be those who will question our position that overcoming sin is a process wrought over a period of time in the Christian believer and with his cooperation.

They will maintain that the sin question was settled once for all time on the cross, and that if the believer takes a proper attitude toward the finished work of Calvary, sin as a result will no longer be a force in his life. Or if it is a force, God no longer sees or regards it.

There is truth in this doctrine. Christ on the cross did conquer Satan (Colossians 2:15) and our old man (first personality) was and is crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6). Clearly, this is scriptural.

Continuing along the same line we would caution against the believer’s wrestling with the sin in his personality. It is impossible for us by our own will power, even our will power in prayer, to master the sinful tendencies that we observe in our behavior.

It is godly to use self-control in all things as much as we are able and to resist our fleshly lusts and appetites. If we do not we never can make a success of the Christian discipleship.

However, struggling against sin may result in the resurrection of our old nature rather than its death. The cross and the resurrection of Christ are God’s remedy for our sinful, self-centered nature. We reckon (count) that we are crucified and resurrected with Christ, and by faith we are to rest securely in this established fact.

There are two realities that cause us to believe reckoning ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11) is not the entire answer to the fact of sin in the acts, words, and thoughts of the believer in Christ.

First, we Christians who believe wholeheartedly in Romans 6:11 still find ourselves committing sins, and God is concerned about sin and judges it whether practiced by believer or nonbeliever (Romans 8:13).

Second, there is Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments to indicate the overcoming of the enemy, of sin, is a continuous process in the life of the saint (Deuteronomy 7:22; Romans 8:13; I Corinthians 15:25; II Corinthians 7:1; 10:5; Galatians 5:16,17; Ephesians 4:22-32; and many more).

A substantial portion of the texts of both the Old and New Testaments is an exhortation to righteous, holy, and obedient behavior. The New Testament passages that exhort us to holy living would be vain and misleading if upon the adoption of an attitude of reckoning, sin ceased to be an active force in the believer’s life or God ceased regarding with concern the sin in His people.

If sin were not a problem with the saved peoples of the Christian churches, no doubt the letters of the Apostles would be quite different in content from what they are.

The fact is, a major part of the New Testament writings is devoted to exhorting the Christian people to overcome sin, to put sin from their lives because of and by means of their relationship with Christ. The penalty for not doing so is expressed as (spiritual) death—separation from Christ.

It appears, from what we can observe today, that a scriptural, workable, practical, effective process for the development of righteousness has not been widely understood nor used by the majority of the believers in Christ. By righteousness we mean doing the things pleasing to Christ, and not doing, in imagination, motive, word or deed, the things displeasing to Christ.

The things displeasing to Christ are the thoughts and actions of the flesh and of unclean spirits. We have not understood the provisions Christ has made for the development of righteous and holy behavior in us, and many have given up trying to overcome sin because of the seeming impossibility of doing so.

As we press forward through the last three feasts we will discover God indeed has included sufficient power and virtue in the Christian redemption to enable us to overcome the world, Satan, the lusts of our flesh, and our rebellious self-will and self-centeredness.


The Day of the Lord. There are two aspects of the Day of the Lord, as far as the saints are concerned. The first aspect is the coming of the Lord to the individual saint in a personal fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets.

The second aspect is the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven such that every eye can behold Him. According to our understanding of the Scriptures, there is no other coming.

The second aspect is fairly well understood by many Christians. The blessed hope of the Church is the appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven to raise His victorious saints and witnesses from the bondage of physical death and to call them up to Himself in the sight of Antichrist and the nations of the earth.

The first aspect, that of the personal coming of the Lord to cleanse His saints, is not nearly as well known. The personal coming is, as we have stated, an individual experience that follows Pentecost.

The blowing of the trumpet announces the coming of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ. We lift up the everlasting doors of our heart and the Man of War enters and deals with His enemies:

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:7,8)

Now we shall learn how to fight in the spirit realm. Now the enemies of God will be cast from our personality in an act of eternal judgment. Now we shall be prepared by the Spirit of God to ride with the Lord Jesus in the Battle of Armageddon.

There is a coming of the Lord to His royal priesthood that will take place before He appears to the world. It is for the purpose of creating righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God in the personalities of God’s saints:

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:1-3)

Notice that when the King, Jesus, entered Jerusalem in His Glory, He immediately went into the Temple of God and began to cast out that which does not glorify the God of Heaven:

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, (Matthew 21:12)

The Lord Jesus is coming to us today in just this manner. Judgment has begun in the house of God (I Peter 4:17). All that is not of God must be purged from every individual who would be part of the godly remnant of the last days, who would escape the deceptions of Antichrist.

The Gospel of John describe several aspects of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The Lord tells us there are many dwelling places in the Father’s house (which is Christ—Head and Body), and that He will come to receive us after He has gone to the cross and then has ascended to God with the atoning blood, thus preparing a place for us in Himself in God:

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)

Again:

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18)

The context of these two verses, particularly John 14:18, reveals that the Lord is not referring to His coming in the clouds of glory. He is speaking of His coming to the individual believer in the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

"We will come." this is not the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven but is an individual coming to the disciple in order to make of him a tabernacle, an abode (a "mansion," in archaic usage) for the Father and the Son.

The Day of the Lord rises in the heart of the conquering Christian:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

There is a personal day of the Lord, a personal Presence of Christ, that comes to the believer who is keeping Christ’s Word (John 14:23). The personal revelation, or coming, of Christ is announced by the trumpet of the Lord "blowing" in our heart. The King comes, we pass through the cleansing of the spiritual fulfillments of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, and then the Father and the Son settle down to rest in us in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

Christ appears during the last days, the time of the church of Laodicea, and expresses His desire to enter the saint:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

If we open the door, Christ enters and establishes the Throne of God in us. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles makes of us the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the eternal Throne of God and of the Lamb. We sit with Christ in His throne as He sits with His Father in His throne—in our heart.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

When the rule of God, the Kingdom of God, has been established in our heart, the Day of the Lord, the Kingdom Age, has come to pass in us. When the holy remnant, the firstfruits of the Body of Christ, has become the Throne of God, Christ will appear in the clouds of heaven, bringing with Him the entire company of the firstfruits—those who stand with Him on Mount Zion.

It is the worldwide appearing of Christ—Head and Body—that results in the Kingdom Age in the earth. The Kingdom Age comes in Christ and His Body. Therefore it is useless to discuss the possibility of the Lord’s return until the firstfruits have grown to maturity and are in union with the Head and with one another.

The worldwide appearing of Christ will occur at the sounding of the last trumpet (Revelation 11:15). The coming (parousia ) of the Lord will include the first resurrection, of which Paul speaks in Philippians 3:11 and I Corinthians 15:52. It is the Day of the Lord: the return of Christ to the earth and the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:28-30; Colossians 3:4).

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

The trumpet of the Lord announces a personal day of Christ in our hearts, which is the absolute dominion of Christ over our thought, motives, imagination, deeds, and words. Also there will be an earth-wide blowing of the trumpet of God—the sounding of the seventh angel, at which time Christ will return to the earth, glorify His Body, and extend His rule from the hearts of the saints until His will and glory cover the creation.

There is a personal day of the Lord, a spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets, when Jesus comes to us in the Spirit, judges us, drives the enemy from us, and then, with the Father, settles down to rest in us. The ministries and gifts given by the ascended Christ are for the purpose of creating the saint as the place of God’s rest (Psalms 68:18). Every eye will not see Him at the personal coming, only those who are looking for Him.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

Then there will be a historical, worldwide Day of the Lord in which every eye will behold Christ.

There is a personal kingdom age in the individual believer, and then there will be a worldwide Kingdom Age. The persons who will rule with Christ during the worldwide Kingdom Age are those who establish a personal kingdom age, a rulership of Christ over their own personalities, in advance of His worldwide appearing (I John 3:2,3).

The section we have just completed is the fulfillment in the Christian of the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets, as we understand it. Trumpets is number five in the series of seven feasts.

Now we have come in our study to the sixth feast of Israel, the most sacred day of the religious year, the Day of Atonement.


Day of Atonement

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:27,28)

And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)

For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. (Leviticus 16:30)

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. (Leviticus 25:9)

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:11)

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:22-24)

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Hebrews 10:19,20)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:7-9)


Day of Atonement placed in the latter working of redemption. The feasts of Israel are seven in number. The Day of Atonement, the observance having to do with the purging of sin and self-will from God’s people, was placed sixth in order.

If we are following a logical pattern, why wasn’t the Day of Atonement placed first or second in the order of the feasts? It seems reasonable that the first thing to occur in the plan of redemption should be that our sins are taken care of completely.

The blood of Passover, the first feast, is not a removing of sin from Israel but a protection from the judgment that falls on the gods of the world. The Passover blood is a shield, a wall of protection from the judgment of God. The first and true Passover was celebrated in Egypt.

The Day of Atonement, the feast having to do with the purging of sin from God’s people, was never celebrated in Egypt. The Day of Atonement could not be conducted until the Tabernacle of the Congregation had been erected and the priesthood anointed.

Isn’t this order of placement of the Day of Atonement somewhat out of line with our traditional concept of the relationship between the Christian and sin? Wouldn’t we expect the feast that represents cleansing from sin to come at the beginning of the seven feasts?

God’s remedy for the sinful condition of His people is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has made an atonement for us, just as He covered Adam and Eve with coats of skins (Genesis 3:21). God has covered us with the blood of Christ so the shame of our nakedness does not appear when we come into His Presence (Revelation 3:18).

The blood of Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God, is applied to our lives in five different ways:

As the Passover blood that protects us from the judgment of God as it falls on the gods of the world.

As the blood of appeasement that cancels the debt of guilt incurred because of our sins.

As the blood of deliverance and restoration, through which the Holy Spirit of God is enabled to remove the tendencies and repair the consequences of the sin in us, to give us the strength to resist sin, and to fill us with the indestructible resurrection Life of Christ so we are lifted above the realm where sin abounds.

As the blood of the covenant that we drink when we receive the body and blood of Christ in the Communion service, the Lord’s Table.

As the blood of union with Christ so we live by Him as He lives by the Father.

The atonement that God made for us by the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is so comprehensive that it is difficult to describe in a few words. One definition of "make atonement" would be: restore to Divine favor. We think the word that comes the closest to summing up the various shades of meaning is reconcile.

The Day of Atonement (Reconciliation) is the sixth of the seven feasts. The seven feasts do not proceed in order in our lives like the grades of an elementary school. The spiritual fulfillments of the seven feasts are experienced by us at the moment of receiving Christ into our life and then should be working in us each day of our discipleship.

The several facets of the Divine Atonement, which include the Passover protection, the canceling of guilt, the washing away of unrighteous tendencies, the restoration of what was destroyed by sin, the partaking of the body and blood of Christ, are ours at the moment of receiving Christ as our Savior and Lord.

As we move along in the plan of God for our lives the feasts are fulfilled in our personalities to an ever greater degree. The full weight of authority and power contained in the body and blood of Jesus becomes increasingly manifest in our lives.

Our day-to-day Christian walk brings to us an enlarging consciousness of what the blood of Christ really can do concerning the grip that sin and self-will have on us. We become better able to appropriate the body and blood of the Lamb and thereby overcome the accuser (Revelation 12:11).

At this point in our book we will dwell for a bit on the need for us who have been Christians for awhile to learn to draw on the authority and power of the atonement made by Christ so we can fight our way through to greater freedom from the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (Hebrews 12:1).

The "living bird" of Leviticus 14:7 and the "scapegoat" of Leviticus 16:10 show us that God intends that our sins not only should be forgiven but also removed from us. We Christians need to learn more about how to have our sins removed from us so we can be made perfect in the sight of God (Hebrews 10:1).

Perhaps it is the reader’s understanding that sin is purged from our personality at the time of our initial experience in the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that belief actually borne out in our own experience and in the lives of the Christian people whom we know?

We may have started out on our Christian pilgrimage many years ago. Is it true that we now are free from the bondages of lust, of the love of money, of murderous hatred, of deceit, of occult practices, of the love of pleasure more than the love of God, of backbiting and gossiping, of pride, of haughtiness, of jealousy, of foolishness, of lying, of boasting, of stealing, of divisiveness, of fear, of self-pity, of complacency?

If we still are behaving in these ways, the redeeming authority and power contained in the atoning blood of Christ have not as yet completed their work of cleansing and reconciliation in us. But there is no doubt about the fact that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have been baptized in His name.

There is a reason why the Holy Spirit placed the Day of Atonement, the observance having to do with the committing of sins by God’s people, as number six in the series of seven feasts. A person must receive Christ and then walk with Christ for a season before God is able to destroy the many bondages of sin and rebellion—to root out the tares from among the wheat, so to speak.


Christians do sin. Two facts seem evident:

The cleansing of the Tabernacle and of the priests and people occurs toward the end of the series of seven feasts, coming just before the observance of the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus, Chapter 16).

The longer the fervent disciple walks with Christ the more conscious he becomes of the problem of sin in his own life, showing that righteousness, holiness, and obedience of behavior are not achieved at the time of our first acceptance of Christ. An increasing consciousness of sin and in some cases an increasing ability to overcome sin have been the testimony of the sincere disciples of Christ throughout church history.

When a Christian sins the wickedness may not be of the gross, obvious nature of drunken brawling, robbery or selling drugs. The wickedness may be of a more deceitful quality. The sinfulness of the house of God tends to be that of the heart, the murderous hardness, jealousy, stubbornness, pride, spitefulness of the heart.

Such is the heart-sin of Israel, the murderer of God’s prophets and witnesses from ancient times. Whenever Israel sees her Beloved she is apt to cry, Away with Him! Crucify Him! Let the guilt of His murder fall on us and our children!

Perhaps we shouldn’t blame the Pharisees too much for the murder of Jesus Christ. It is possible that the leaders of the churches of today would resist Christ were He to appear. We might find fault with His words or deeds or have Him discredited in some manner or put out of the church while we are singing "Have Thine Own Way, Lord."

If someone thinks we are being too harsh, please refer to the manner in which some of the churches greeted the early proponents of the gift of tongues—a gift that was restored to the Body of Christ only after prolonged intercession had been made by burdened saints.

"It is the devil," some proclaimed, knowing nothing of what they affirmed, having no consciousness of the fact that they were attributing to the devil the gift of Christ, caring little for the fact that they willingly were relegating to Satan their brothers and sisters in the Lord. It was confusion.

Jeremiah may be as current as the morning paper when he warns, "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars" (Jeremiah 17:1).

It may be quite difficult for us Christians to believe there actually is a great amount of sin and rebellion in the churches, when the Church of Christ is God’s own institution in the earth. A review of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation will emphasize the fact that the golden lampstands of God contain much sin and rebellion. Only a few of the believers are fit to walk in white with Christ.

Perhaps we Christians do not understand God continues to work with us and among us even though we are not seeking His holiness and righteousness.

Think about the implications of Leviticus 16:16, for example:

And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

"That remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness"!


A misleading assumption. A misleading assumption sometimes made by us is that the Presence of God in our midst means we are holy. The Christian churches are of God, we reason, are of Divine origin; and if we are aware sometimes of the Presence of God it must be true we are accepted of Him. It seems the tribes of Israel often thought in this manner.

A good way to test the accuracy of this concept is to ask the people of the world their opinion of the holiness of the Christian church people, as far as can be determined by their actions and words. Another way to test the idea is to look about us or—better yet—to examine our own deeds, words, motives, and imaginations.

"And so will he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness." If God refused to have anything to do with His people until they were holy there would be little of the Presence of God in most of our churches.

God does not come to us and bless us because we are holy but to make us holy. The Holy Spirit is not given to us because we are holy but in order to make us holy.

The manifestation of the Spirit is not given to a believer because he is righteous but to create righteousness in him and in those to whom he ministers. A person does not receive an apostleship or a gift of teaching the Word or the working of miracles because he is unusually holy but in order to create holiness in him and in those who receive of the grace given to him.

It is not unusual for Christians to confuse ministry, especially highly visible ministry, with holiness and spirituality. Then if the highly regarded, sometimes idolized minister should sin in some manner, neither he nor his followers can admit the sin and treat it in a scriptural manner. The preacher and his followers had supposed that God had revealed Himself through his ministry because he was especially holy and righteous or particularly loved of God.

The sinning minister may be destroyed and some of his followers with him because of his and their inability or unwillingness to deal with sin according to the grace of God given us under the new covenant.

God has given us, through Christ, the means to turn away from our sins and be delivered from them. The new covenant is not the Divine apology for the sins of God’s people. It is the dynamite from Heaven so we can destroy the works of the devil.

We Christians must understand God has set His holy tabernacle, so to speak, among us in the midst of our uncleanness. Then we shall be able to view our sins honestly and to confess and turn away from them from a victorious position of strength, faith, and stability, rather than to hide them, pretend we are not practicing them, or become unduly alarmed or fall away in dismay, shame, or despair when our sin is revealed.

Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people. (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)

Can we face the possibility that the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, has members who sin? It may help us to remember that a large fraction of the Scriptures is directed toward the problem of the sins of Israel, of the elect, of God’s people.

Much of Isaiah, of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Micah, and so forth is addressed to the "sinners in Zion." The Lamentations of Jeremiah resulted from the judgments of God on His called-out people, His Church.

A substantial percent of the New Testament writings is concerned with sin in the lives of the Christians: for example, Romans 13:9-14; I Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-5; 5:1-13; 6:1-20; II Corinthians 12:20,21. Galatians 5:12-26; 6:8; Ephesians 4:22-5:7; Philippians 3:18,19; Colossians 3:5-10; I Thessalonians 4:4-8; I Timothy 6:3-11; II Timothy 3:1-9; Titus 2:1-15; Hebrews 3:12-19.

James 3:1-5:20; I Peter 1:13-15; 2:1; 4:1-4; 4:15-19; II Peter 1:4-10; 2:1-22; 3:11; all I John; III John 9-11; Jude 1:7-19; Revelation 2:14; 2:20-22; 3:15-17; 21:8; 22:15. The above list is not complete.

In the light of the apostolic emphasis on putting sin out of our lives, how can we account for some of the present-day teachings of "grace"?

Perhaps one of the roots of our misconception concerning the relationship of the Christian believer to sin is that we have assumed that the greater part of the scriptural admonitions regarding sin are addressed to people outside the churches. By so misdirecting the intent of Paul and the other writers we have made the apostolic instructions ineffectual as to their purpose of promoting spiritual growth in the believers, of developing godly behavior and change into the image of Christ. The Apostles of the Lamb wrote to the saints.

Two examples are as follow:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)

If you will think about the context of the above two verses you will notice that they are directed toward Christians. Why are we preaching them to the unconverted?

The Scriptures are directed toward God’s people. The exhortations to righteousness are addressed to God’s people. The Prophets spoke to Israel about sinful behavior among the tribes, and the Apostles wrote to the Christian churches about sinful behavior among the saints.

If there were not one Scripture reference to sin in the Christian disciple we would know, nevertheless, that sin indeed is a problem because of what we find in our own heart, because of the vigilance we must maintain with respect to our own motives and deeds.

Every experienced Christian knows of the spiritual deadness of the churches, the complacency and indifference toward the things of Christ, love for the world, the slothfulness, the obstinacy, the pride and haughtiness, the backbiting and gossiping, the hardness of heart and lack of forgiveness, the desire to seek the approval of the world more than the approval of God.

One piece of evidence that testifies in thunderous tones to the inner spiritual condition of God’s people, a fact that nullifies the edicts of the churches and eclipses the world’s view of Christ on the cross, is the existence of division and competition among the multitude of denominations, sects, and private empires of Christianity.

Denominational pride and loyalty give the final proof of self-love, self-interest, self-ambition (I Corinthians 1:12). Denominational emphasis and loyalty is childish, self-centered, self-willed behavior.


God’s provisions for the sins of Christians. We have written the truth as we see it in the Scriptures and in practical Christian living. We sincerely believe the sin is as dreadful and prevalent as we have set forth. We believe just as sincerely that there is a remedy portrayed by the Day of Atonement that is more than equal to the task of purifying the Church perfectly.

The Day of Atonement is the time of reconciliation to God, of our marriage to the Lamb, of the removal of our "spots and wrinkles."

During Israel’s observance of the Day of Atonement the reconciliation was accomplished by the sprinkling of animal blood and by the public confession of the sins of God’s people by the High Priest. In the case of the Christians, the atonement was accomplished by the offering of Christ on the cross and by the daily application of His blood to our lives.

Also involved in the Christian practice of the new covenant counterpart of the Day of Atonement, and essential to it, is the confessing of their sins by Christ’s disciples; sometimes confessed to God in private, and sometimes to another Christian for counsel or prayer or because the other person is implicated.

Ordinarily it is not a good idea for us to confess our sins openly in the church assembly. There are pitfalls in this practice. The church elders should decide when such an extreme step is necessary.

Confessing sins. Many Christians never have been taught to confess their sins specifically and to repent of them. They do not name their sins before God and obtain the Divine grace that is available and necessary for the overcoming of their sins. They keep the sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, and rebellion buried in their heart. However, the sins continue to publicize their presence in their private thoughts, in their words, and in their deeds.

From the saved, born-again person proceed adulterous thoughts, spiteful words, and acts of lust and hatred.

Sins—every one of them—must be confessed as soon as they are pointed out to us by the Holy Spirit. A believer must tell the Lord, and sometimes other people, exactly what it is he or she has done, said, or thought.

We may be in too much of a hurry to start naming our sinful deeds, words, motives, and imaginations one at a time to the Lord. However, God is not in that much of a hurry. He will take the time to listen now or He will take the time to listen during the Day of Judgment. As it is written: "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).

Only a Christian living in victory, and one with experience, can engage in this kind of judging of his actions and motives without falling into gloom and introspection. Confessing one’s sins with authority and power is the action of a conqueror, not of a halfhearted Christian who continually is falling away from his state of obedience to the Master.

Perhaps this is why the judgment on sin in the life of the believer is delayed symbolically (as in the type of the feasts of the Lord) and actually until the Christian has experienced both initial salvation and Pentecost (baptism with the Holy Spirit).

Some Christian teachers have maintained that it is necessary only to confess that we are "dead to sin," according to the sixth chapter of Romans and then to more or less ignore the problem of sin in our lives. To do otherwise, they counsel, will result in the resurrection of our sinful nature.

Maintaining that we are dead to sin is part of the answer given in the Scripture. It solves the problem for some believers, at least for a season. It can be helpful to the saint who is vainly struggling against the adversary, against the spirit of the world, and against his own fleshly lusts and self-will.

It assuredly is true that the virtue and will of a person struggling "in the flesh" cannot overcome the power of sin. If, on the other hand, the disciple is under the impression sin cannot affect him because he has accepted Christ, how then can the Spirit of God point out to him the acts of sin he is committing? Why would it ever be necessary for him to repent?

Also, why would such a large part of the apostolic writings be devoted to the putting away of sinful behavior on the part of the believers? If the Christian is supposed to forget about his sinful nature, why did Paul, Peter, Jude, and John write as they did concerning sin in the life of the believer?

Anyone who studies the revivals of the past can notice that the outpourings of God’s Holy Spirit have been accompanied by repentance and the confession of their sins on the part of God’s people. The Presence of the Spirit of God encourages us to confess our sins because such confessing is a necessary part of Christian discipleship.

The Scripture teaches us (Romans 8:1) that we must walk each day in Christ by faith, being without condemnation in the sight of God. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and we are to avoid gloom and self-condemnation as much as possible.

However, we must always be ready to hear the rebuke of the Holy Spirit and to bring the offending act, word, or thought immediately to the Lord for forgiveness. If we are walking in the Spirit of God the act of confessing our sins will not depress us but will enable us to live the life of victory in Christ.

Why is it that we do not include the practice of confessing our sins as part of our discipleship? We may have supposed that the exhortations of Scripture against sin are directed toward the people of the world rather than toward the people of God. Or perhaps we are ignorant of what the Scriptures actually teach.

Both the Old and New Testament writings are explicit as to what constitutes sin in the sight of God. Many of the biblical pronouncements against sin can be categorized under lust, murder, or idolatry.

Mankind has not changed since the days of Noah and Lot. Lust, demon worship, and violence filled the earth in those days. Lust, demon worship, and violence fill the earth in our day.

The nations of today resemble Sodom and Gomorrah. They are hurtling toward destruction with express-train speed. God always will exercise His wrath on sexual lust in all its perverted forms, on demon worship, and on violence. This equally is true in the churches and in the world.

Perhaps we Christians interpret God’s long-suffering and forbearance as an acceptance of our sins, a Divine resignation concerning the behavior of mankind. If so, we have no conception of the smoking wrath of God that forever is directed toward sinful practices. We are not aware of the maelstrom of destruction that surrounds us.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:17,18)

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;... (II Corinthians 5:11)


A misunderstanding of Divine grace. One of the more important reasons for not confessing our sins may arise from a misunderstanding of the manner in which Divine grace operates.

The term grace, it appears, frequently is understood to mean only the forgiveness of sins that occurs at the time of the believer’s initial acceptance of the atonement made by the blood of Christ. The application of Divine grace to the older Christian’s life often is limited to the idea that God forgives our stumblings and shortcomings. Such seems to be the customary understanding of the grace of God in Christ.

The writer holds firmly to the understanding that salvation is the gift of God that comes to us when we accept by faith the blood atonement made by Christ. However, the doctrine that maintains that an initial acceptance of the atonement made by Christ is the believer’s only encounter with the problem of sin in his life, or that there is no provision in Divine grace for the overcoming of the sin in us, cannot be supported by the New Testament writings.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come into the world to forgive the sins of the world. The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to take away the sins of the world. He came to remove sin from the world, beginning with His saints. The misunderstanding of Christian theology is that the Lord Jesus came to forgive us and bring us to Heaven to live forever. This is not what the Scriptures teach, either the Old Testament or the New Testament.

Christ did not come to make peace with sinners. He came to bring sinners to repentance and to break the chains of sin that bind them. God is not interested in bringing sinners into Paradise. God is interested in saving people from their sins so they can enter Paradise lawfully.

The Lord is gentle and forgiving toward every person who repents and asks His forgiveness. Christ’s Words to the seven churches of Asia reveal with clarity that He is exceedingly strict with the members of His Body. He is training us to enforce the laws of the Kingdom of God on the earth, and He permits no filthiness, rebellion, foolishness, or carelessness to exist among the members of the royal priesthood.

The love of God has been overemphasized today to such an extent that a false witness of God is being borne. God’s wrath against sin must be brought to the front. Numerous Christians, if they continue in their present state of indolence and sin, are heading toward a furnace of chastisement. The ministers who are cajoling them, speaking "positive and refreshing" things to them without warning them of the danger they are facing, are false prophets indeed.

The first people, Adam and Eve, were driven from Paradise. Jesus has not come to forgive Adam and Eve and bring them back into Paradise. He has come to destroy sin, rebellion, and unbelief from their personalities by filling them with His own virtue and Life. As soon as Adam and Eve have been conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus they will be permitted to eat of the tree of life. Paradise will be regained. This is the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It is the way to eternal life.

The Christian discipleship, as the Epistles teach us, is occupied with our being brought to spiritual maturity, and to unity with God and our fellow members of the Body of Christ. The disciple must be alert continually to the leading and working of the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God as He guides us in the conquest of the spirit of the world, of the nature and works of Satan, of the lusts of our flesh, and of the rebellion, pride, and stubbornness of our self-will, self-love, and self-centeredness.

We are in a war although we may not realize it. The Christian Church is God’s holy instrument for judging rebellious spirits, not a social club or fraternal order.

Satan, in many instances, has the Christian churches bound hand and foot with love for the world to the extent we no longer actually believe many of the facts, demands, and promises of the Old and New Testaments. Yet we may be picturing ourselves as the Church triumphant against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.

Perhaps it is closer to the truth to state the Christian churches have been as the blind Samson making sport for the Philistines. We may have been making boasts while lying in the lap of Delilah.

Where is the power of God? Paul declares: "I... will know, not the speech of those who are inflated with pride, but the power" (I Corinthians 4:19).

It is time now for us to confess our sins. "If we (Christian disciples) confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

As we "walk in the light" (walk in the will and Presence of God as revealed to us continually by the Holy Spirit and proved by the offering of ourselves as a living sacrifice), the Spirit of God points out to us specific sins of action, of word, of motive, of imagination.

Sometimes it is difficult for us to perceive the will of God. During such seasons of bewilderment we are to remain steadfast and to keep our behavior in line with the teachings of Scripture as much as possible.

We are to follow the cloud of blessing by day and the fire of the judgments of God’s Word throughout the nights of testing.

The distinction must be maintained between accusations of Satan and the pinpointing of sin by the Holy Spirit. Satan constantly is planting guilt and suspicion in our mind and accusing us of things Christ already has forgiven, or sins we have not actually committed and have no intention of committing.

The disciple through experience learns to recognize Satan and to resist his accusations. Such accusations are not sin and do not need to be confessed. Sometimes we must pray for faith and strength in order to overcome the depression, gloom, and fear that such accusations produce.

The sins of imagination, motive, word, and deed pointed out to us by the Holy Spirit, and that therefore must be confessed and forsaken, are those behaviors we accept and practice that we dwell on, that we do not firmly disown and thrust aside. These actions and imaginations are sins and must be named as such before the Lord.

It is important that we confess our own sins and not those of others. The Scripture teaches us to confess our own sins one to another, especially if we are ill and need healing from the Lord.

Confess your faults [sins; offenses] one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

It is not unheard of for people to get together and confess their sins in such a manner as to judge other people. They are using the occasion to accuse the other of sin.

For example, "I want to confess that I have hated you for a number of years because of the way you behave."

This may appear to the unlearned to be what James 5:16 is referring to, but it is not. James tells us to confess our own sins, not those of someone else.

One should say, "I am troubled with a spirit of hatred and would like to confess it as sin."

If your brother offends you, go to him in private and tell him of the offense. If he will not hear you, take the matter to the elders of the church. If he will not hear them, seek the counsel of the elders in order to know how to proceed. But do not attack him in public under the guise of confessing your sins.

If someone asks your forgiveness, being genuinely repentant, forgive him. If you do not, God will not forgive you. If you are unable to forgive, ask God’s help. It is extremely important that we do not allow bitterness, hatred, and a spirit of revenge to dwell in us. Such bring about spiritual death.

God has forgiven us much. He expects us to forgive those who sin greatly against us.

Our deeds, words, motives, and imaginations must be brought under the absolute domination of Christ. Bringing our personality and behavior under the lordship of Christ requires experience, prayer, faith, a knowledge of God’s Word, and a strong determination to gain victory through Divine grace.

The subjection of the believer’s deeds, words, thoughts, and whole personality to the rule of Christ is the forerunner of the Day of the Lord when every creature in the universe willingly and joyfully, or in a spirit of rebellion and terror, will bow in subjection to Christ. All resistance to the rule of the Lord Jesus is sin.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (II Corinthians 10:3-5)


I John 1:9. The Day of Atonement, the sixth of the seven feasts of the Lord, concerns God’s provision for the sins of Israel.

Three events that occurred on the Day of Atonement were as follows:

The blood of a young bull and the blood of a goat were sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat to make an atonement for the Holy Place, for Aaron and his household, for the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and for all the congregation of Israel, "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins" (Leviticus 16:14-17).

The sins of the children of Israel were confessed by Aaron and laid on the head of a living goat (Leviticus 16:21).

The scapegoat was removed from the camp, bearing away "all their iniquities to a land not inhabited" (Leviticus 16:22).

The provision for the sins of God’s people, portrayed in the Day of Atonement ceremony, included confession, forgiveness, and removal.

There is a similar pattern in I John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

When the believer maintains he has no sin he is deceiving himself. There is a possibility he is misapplying the teachings of Paul (II Peter 3:16; I John 1:8).

Most of us Christians, if we will think about our deeds, words, motives, and imaginations, must acknowledge there are occasions when we do exhibit a sinful disposition. The question is: Is there provision in the Christian salvation for actually cleansing human nature? We believe there is.

The Christian counterpart of the Day of Atonement works each day in our life as we confess our sins. It is not a case of examining our motives until we turn ourselves into gloomy, despairing souls. Rather it is a matter of living joyously in the knowledge that Christ has forgiven our sins and that we are without condemnation while the process of deliverance is continuing (Romans 8:1).

We are not to refer back to sins we committed before we received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. All of that guilt has been cast behind God’s back and we have been washed as white as snow in the blood of the Lamb.

It is the sins we are practicing now, as Christians, that we must confess. If we will bring our bondages to our Lord He will break them by the authority and power of the Word of God, by the Virtue of His own body and blood, and by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit of God.

The tendency today is to view deliverance from sin as psychologic healing. The idea is that we have emotional problems of one sort or another and if we will confess them and get rid of them we will have a happier and more successful life.

It is true that if we get rid of our sins we will profit, although not always in a material sense or even in this present world. But sin needs to be treated as sin, as the breaking of God’s commandments. We are not in a self-improvement course but in a program of salvation from sin.

When we seek deliverance from sin we do so in order to please God. God will bless us and be pleased with us if we lead a holy and righteous life. But if we as a Christian continue in our sins we are facing the possibility that we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

It is being stated today that we ought not to threaten people with Divine punishment because to do so brings condemnation. It is not condemnation that is brought when we preach the Word of God, but conviction. Conviction of sin is to be desired because apart from it we continue on, supposing Christ is pleased with us. Any sensible person would certainly want to know if Christ is displeased with him. Ministers of today who are not warning their followers of the terror of the Judgment Seat of Christ will answer to those same followers, in the Day of Christ, for their reluctance to tell their listeners the whole truth of God.

It never is God’s will for the disciple to continue in known sin. We are not debtors to our flesh that we are compelled to live according to its dictates (Romans 8:12).

Christ continues to loose us so we are free to worship God in the Spirit and according to truth.

The Christian experience is one of power, of love, and of a sound mind. We are not to remain in guilt and defeat. Spiritual strength and courage are founded on the sure knowledge that in Christ we are without condemnation before the Throne of God. Such assurance is necessary if we are to stand up successfully under the searching and cleansing of the Spirit of God, and under the stress of the warfare against Satan.

When the Holy Spirit points out to a Christian a sinful thought, word or deed, the disciple is to name it specifically, acknowledging it to be sin. Ordinarily confession is to be made to God alone.

However it often is helpful (and it is scriptural) to confess our sins to a fellow member of the Body of Christ.

Confession to a group of people may be made if they were injured or misled by our actions. Sometimes the Lord leads and enables us to make restitution, to repair the damage we have done.

When we confess the sin, as the Spirit directs us, the Lord is faithful and righteous to forgive the sin and to purge it from us. The forgiveness and cleansing is the new covenant fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement.


Deception. Many sincere disciples will not sin knowingly and willfully even though they are tempted sorely. Satan’s approach to such a believer may come in the realm of deception and delusion.

For example, let us imagine that a voice speaks to you and tells you that you are especially chosen of the Lord and that all Christians in the city in which you live are supposed to obey you and give reverence to you. You are "The Apostle," or "The Prophet" of your area, singled out by the Lord to have spiritual oversight of the particular geographical region.

Another of Satan’s commonly-employed snares is in the realm of sexual conduct. You are supposed to have relations with a particular man or woman because in so doing you are illustrating the love between Christ and His Bride. Or, you finally have found the "one" who is meant for you and your present mate was a mistake on your part.

These are fantastic suggestions but they are characteristic of the snares with which Satan fills the spiritual environment. Notice how the one is aimed toward the spiritually ambitious believer, not the disinterested or lethargic. The other is pitched toward the romantic believer who would never seek out a prostitute but who can be snared by "romantic" forms of lust.

The watchful, overcoming disciple will reject the voices at once, since the teachings of Jesus forbid the elevation of a member of the Body of Christ over his brothers in the Lord; and the Lord’s rules governing sexual conduct and marriage are explicit and are not to be violated.

Let us imagine further that instead of resisting the voice on the basis of Scripture you entertain the notion. It is possible, in spite of the Scripture, that God indeed has chosen to exalt you over your fellow members of the Body of Christ or to make an exception for you in the area of sexual conduct. You always have had the feeling you have a special destiny, that God loves you in a special way and intends to treat you differently from other believers.

Your common sense may hold you back for awhile from overt acts but in your heart the concept is growing that you are especially favored of the Lord and cannot be deceived. Even though Christ has warned us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one," you cannot be deceived because you are one of God’s favorites.

You will not ask your husband or wife or a fellow disciple to help you judge the voice because this would ruin it all for you—"they" never would understand.

Now Satan has brought you quite a way into deception. Satan has no power over a Christian unless he can persuade the believer to cooperate with him, to listen to his suggestions. If Satan can persuade the disciple to disobey the Word of God he can bring him under his power. This is how Satan destroyed Adam and Eve.


Overconfidence. The Christian believer is mistaken if he thinks that Satan will not lie persuasively to him. The overcoming disciple is mistaken if he believes that he cannot have dreams, visions, premonitions, fleeting glimpses into the supernatural, which are not of God.

The dedicated saint is mistaken if he believes that because he has surrendered to God he will not receive all kinds of pleasurable satanic sensations calculated to appeal to his individual personality. His consecration to God makes him the prey of the forces of darkness.

Passivity. The disciple is making a mistake if he throws his personality open, saying in effect, "I am without a will of my own. I will move however God moves me."

The believer who adopts this attitude will be moved by a spirit, true enough. But it will not be the Spirit of God. He now is open to every spiritual "revelation" that the cunning forces of darkness can manufacture. This deception has arisen in part from the teaching that the Lord is looking for "empty vessels."

We wonder how many Christians there are in the world who believe God will not allow them to be exposed to the counterfeit revelations of Satan. Whatever the number is, that is the number of Christians who are living in deception.

Instead of believing himself to be immune to deception or presenting himself as a puppet for the Spirit of God to move in the manner of a puppeteer, the Christian must judge all things through the Scripture, through prayer, through ministry and help from fellow members of the Body of Christ, through the counsel of devout and experienced elders of the church, and through a consistent life of cross-carrying obedience to the Spirit of God.

The Christian always must be cautious concerning any "voices" that speak to him. He must "try the spirits" (I John 4:1). He must use his will and judgment in doing God’s will and avoid any tendencies toward passive, undisciplined yielding.

Never does God take away the believer’s will. It is with the will that man chooses continually to obey God’s Word rather than the flatteries or threats of Satan. The will is associated with the power of judgment and choice in man. Our will is guided by the Scriptures and strengthened by constant prayer and by being decisive concerning the doing of God’s will in every matter.

We will serve the Lord. We will follow the Lord Jesus. We will read the Word of God and we will be guided by it. We will resist the devil. We will turn away from temptation.

How many would-be disciples of today are losing their crown of glory because they cannot make up their mind to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus?

We are not teaching that a person can save himself through his willpower. We are saved by faith in Christ. We are teaching that the will of man is of importance in the plan of redemption and that it is impossible to pursue the overcoming life until the will is strengthened in prayer and is razor-sharp.

"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." If Adam and Eve had used their wills and served God in the manner He commanded, they still would be enjoying the garden of Eden. God wants sons, not puppets.

Now back to the believer who is entertaining the suggestion that he is especially favored of the Lord. As we said, your common sense will keep you from rash behavior at first. The thrilling concept of spiritual preeminence or of sexual adventure and indulgence is germinating in your heart. Sooner or later the forces of wickedness by which you have been deceived will express themselves and you will say or do something that will shock your Christian sensibilities. The shock may cause you to enter a state of confusion.

Satan may move in at this point with powerful pressures of guilt and fear. You may feel forced to continue in the delusion because of the incorrect notion that since you are yielded to God’s will it is impossible for you to be deceived.

If you submit to the fear and confusion and continue to assent to the deception that you are an especially chosen person in the realm of authority or sexual license, although this deception already has borne evil fruit in your life, you are starting down the long dark road to total deception and demonic bondage.

Rather than submitting to the fear and confusion you may wish to be delivered. Deliverance from the power of demons always is available to people through the blood atonement that Christ has made on the cross. Humble yourself before God and confess with your mouth that you have believed yourself to be especially chosen and now you doubt that the voice that told you this was of God.

Confess to the Lord Jesus every aspect of the problem, from the moment that you first began to entertain the spirit of preeminence or of favoritism in the area of sexual behavior. Ask the Lord to judge the situation. Ask Him to show you the truth, and believe He will do it.

Do not be proud of your spiritual discernment, experience or abilities. Never fear that you will lose something of God by asking the Lord Jesus to judge your deeds, words, imaginations, and motives. God will not be insulted and draw away from you even if the word and desire you thought you received actually was from Him. Remember, Satan wants you to keep away from the light, away from Christ’s judging and delivering power.

It often is true we are attacked in the area that in the future will prove to be our destiny, the destiny for which our personality is best suited. The appeal may be to the strongest part of our personality. The temptation comes as a warped, perverted form of what some day will be our inheritance. All elements of our personality, the great and the small, must first be brought down to the death of the cross before they can be elevated to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

The Lord Jesus was tested by Satan in the three areas that today are His inheritance in the Presence of the Father.

When you confess your sins, doubts, fears, or questions, God will receive you. He understands all about the battle.

Anything God has given to you can stand any reasonable examination to which you wish to subject it.

The wisdom that comes from above is gentle, always willing to be questioned and investigated. Righteousness always runs toward the light that its deeds may be shown to have been performed in God.

It is Satan who desires that ideas be buried in the darkness of your mind and heart, and who floods you with fear when you attempt to bring your imaginations and motives out into the open. Satan cannot stand the light but God dwells in the light. When you confess your deeds, words, motives, and imaginations, you are bringing them to the light of God so they can be judged.

Confess the thoughts and deeds of preeminence, lust, hatred, or whatever you are suspicious of and troubled about in your heart and life. Ask God to judge your behavior. Be specific when you name the behavior in question. Beseech God to put His fire on the questionable thoughts or actions.

If you are troubled and bound, filled with guilt and fear, confess your problem to a mature Christian of the same sex as yourself. Ask him or her for prayer and counsel. "Confess your faults (sins; offenses) one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed" (James 5:16). God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, as well as to heal us physically.

From this point onward, resist the wicked thoughts and deeds, resting in the strength of Christ as you do so, and Satan will flee from you. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Never, never, never give up! God does not change His mind. We are in a warfare.

Keep walking in righteousness, remembering that God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1:13).

If you are bound tightly and "hopelessly" in the realms of darkness, why don’t you try laughing at Satan and at the forces that bind you. Jesus possesses far more authority and power than is necessary to set you absolutely free in your spirit, in your soul, and in your body.

If you have not as yet realized that Christ possesses all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth, please be assured that such is the case. All that remains for the accomplishment of your deliverance is the exercise of your faith in Christ according to God’s Word. If you just can’t seem to bring enough faith to bear on your problem, ask Jesus to give you some of His faith.


Christian judgment. If you are in confusion, confess your confusion to a mature Christian of your own gender. As the two of you pray together, any working of Satan will be brought to the light and shown for what it is. The gender lines can be crossed if the person praying with you is your husband or wife. Otherwise, pray with someone of the same gender as yourself that Satan not take advantage of your emotional vulnerability.

The Church, the Body of Christ, has been designated by the Lord as the instrument He will use to judge angelic and human sin (I Corinthians 6:1-3). Whenever two or more Christians assemble and pray concerning sin, the authority of Divine judgment is present. The Spirit of Christ will discern the origin of the action in question and forgive and remove all evil associated with it.

The blood of Jesus is the basis for the legality of all Divine forgiveness and cleansing, the written Word of God is the Law, and the Spirit of God is the Power who executes the sentence whether to life or to death.

There is, in the spirit realm, weighty significance attached to the judgments and decisions of Spirit-filled saints as to the righteousness or sinfulness of a motive or deed. Whatever Christians, who are walking in the Spirit, bind on the earth is bound in the heavens. Whatever Christians loose on the earth is loosed in the heavens. Sins are forgiven, and sins are retained, according to the prayers of Spirit-filled saints.

Christian elders, when they are acting in the Holy Spirit, possess the authority to remit and to retain sins (John 20:22,23).

Wary attitude toward "voices." Let us suppose a "voice" tells you that you are a prophet. You cannot from the Scriptures judge this statement as being from a righteous source or from an unclean source. It could be from God. However, it tends to exalt you. Therefore there is a possibility that it is not from the Lord.

Put such a word "on the shelf." Ask the Lord Jesus to prove it. Do not accept or reject it. If it is the Lord, sooner or later other people will testify that you are a prophet because they know you are godly and are speaking from the mouth of the Lord. You are not required to make any claims for yourself. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" is a folk saying applies in this case. Your godly life and your prophetic word will speak for themselves.

Forgiving others. Perhaps a member of your church acts spitefully toward you. In revenge you speak a word to him or her that is loaded with venom. Then the Spirit of the Lord reproves you for acting vengefully. You must confess immediately to the Lord the words that you spoke and the manner and spirit in which they were spoken.

Do not attempt to gloss over the sinfulness of your act or to justify yourself or your words. You have sinned, and there is no way to make the deed acceptable to God.

The fact that the other person "deserved" your spite is beside the point. Not for one minute will God accept our judging of another individual. We think, speak, and act in a holy manner because we are God’s children, not because other people treat us fairly.

When you confess your vengeful words and motives to Jesus He may or may not require that you ask the other person’s forgiveness. The requirements for release vary with the individual circumstance. We always must be led by the Spirit of God when we are judging the sins in our life (Romans 8:13).

Sometimes it is better to say nothing than to confess to people that we have hated them. On other occasions, asking a person’s forgiveness and making an effort to obtain peace and reconciliation is the surest road to happiness and blessing for all individuals concerned.

If neither side can forgive the other it is impossible for the unforgiving persons to have their sins forgiven. They have cut themselves off from the benefits of Calvary. They are walking in darkness.

Their load of oppression and bondage will increase as the cancer of hatred eats into their spirit, soul, and body. The end result will be death and Hell. The same kind of venom that we give out returns to us in increased measure. "If ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses" (Mark 11:26).

Continuing confession. We cannot make a blanket confession of how wicked we are and put away our fleshly sins all at once. It would be a relief if we could. Moral deliverance is a continual cleansing as the Holy Spirit probes the recesses of our heart.

The Spirit of God leads us in such a manner that specific sins are brought to our attention one or two at a time, similar to the manner in which the Spirit of God led Joshua against the cities of Canaan.

Confess the that you are aware of now and obtain victory over them through God’s grace. Then the Holy Spirit will direct you to another "city," so to speak. Your sins must be forgiven and cleansed through Spirit-led confession and repentance.

We are not teaching that repentance and confession is the only manner in which we are released from our bondages, or that we are to make a ritual of confessing our sins each day, or that the Holy Spirit will reveal a new sin each day.

The point being emphasized is that spiritual cleansing is a continuing process in the life of the overcomer, and when sin in one’s life has been revealed it is to be dealt with promptly and specifically. The process requires a period of time to accomplish.

Having dwelled on the need for our cleansing, it may be necessary to remind us that the Christian walk is a way of joy and confidence. Romans 8:1 is a good reference to keep in mind: "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Depression and gloom are not gifts from the Father. He commands us to "rejoice in the Lord alway" (Philippians 4:4). We may have one or two "Gethsemane" experiences along the way, but these are rare. Ordinarily, the Christian discipleship is one of proceeding with strength and confidence into the battle against the works of the enemy in our life.

If the believer is in a "valley" experience, do not let the preceding paragraph bring guilt or discouragement. There are prolonged seasons of weary, sometimes boring, seemingly endless, confusing, painful, plodding along. These are expected normal aspects of the Christian discipleship.

The saint always is to look up to Jesus, no matter how strenuous the particular battle and burden may be, and know there will come an end. We are more than conquerors through Christ. Our expectation and hope will not be cut off. We will dwell in joy and peace one day.

"This day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).


The "sixth" and "seventh" experiences. The Day of Atonement is the sixth of the feasts of the Lord. It is significant that it was on the sixth day of creation that man was made in the image of God.

The image of God is a holy, compassionate moral character. Holy strength of character has not been the image of the Christians, in many instances. As we begin to confess our sins, and as we behold the Glory of God in the face of Christ, a strong, holy, compassionate character in the likeness of the strong, holy, compassionate character of the Father and Christ is formed in us.

The saints are destined to be in the image of Christ in spirit, in soul, and in body. God never will cease working until the molding has been accomplished.

Perhaps it is significant too that of the doctrines mentioned in Hebrews 6:1,2, the last-mentioned doctrine, the one we leave to "go on to perfection," is the doctrine of eternal judgment.

We believe the "perfection" of Hebrews 6:1 is the "rest" discussed in Chapters Three and Four of Hebrews. The doctrine of eternal judgment corresponds to the Day of Atonement, and "perfection," or the "rest" of God, corresponds to the feast of Tabernacles that follows the Day of Atonement.

This would make perfection the seventh doctrine, and Tabernacles is the seventh feast. Students of the Scriptures believe the number seven denotes perfect redemption, in the numerical symbolism of the Scriptures. Also, it was on the seventh day that God "rested" from His work.

Judgment of rebellious spirits. It is helpful for us to keep in mind, as we are allowing the Spirit of God to deal with the sin in our life, that the judgment of God is against evil spirits. The Lake of Fire has been "prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

We are not implying that some people also may not finally arrive at the place in the everlasting fire. It appears some certainly will. But only those who cooperate with Satan and refuse to accept the forgiveness and lordship of Christ.

Nevertheless, God’s judgment is directed toward evil spirits and it is they, not people, for whom the Lake of Fire has been prepared.

There is a profound spiritual significance associated with confession and atonement. Every act of rebellion, of sin, of confession, of repentance, and every application of the blood of Jesus, echoes between Heaven and earth. It appears the unfolding plan of God directly affects Heaven as well as earth. Whatever makes an impact on one world sends reverberations throughout the other (Matthew 16:19; John 20:23; Luke 10:18,19; Ephesians 3:10; Hebrews 9:23,24; I Peter 1:12; Revelation 12:5-12).

Remember that the Most Holy Place, as well as the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, was cleansed during the Day of Atonement. Since the Ark of the Covenant portrays, among other things, the heart of the victorious saint, one could state the cleansing of the Most Holy Place symbolizes the cleansing of the heart of the Christian—the heart of the Christian being, in a very real sense, a mercy seat from which God reigns.

It appears the Tabernacle in Heaven was cleansed through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus:

It was therefore necessary the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:23,24)

Moses saw the design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation when God called him up into the mountain (Hebrews 8:5). Perhaps Moses also beheld what is true in Heaven now, and what will be fulfilled in the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, the eternal Tabernacle of God.

All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ. His Body, which is the Church, is the completeness of His Being. Christ is the Temple of God. His Church is the fullness of Him. John saw no temple in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22) because the Bride of the Lamb is the true Tabernacle of God, the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2,3,9,10).

There is no temple in the new Jerusalem because the members of the Wife of the Lamb see God face to face. There is nothing between them and God, no temple to conceal His Glory.

Whatever else had to be cleansed in Heaven by the blood of Christ, one fact is certain: Christ—Head and Body—is the eternal dwelling place of God Almighty. Therefore the Body of Christ, being created from sinful human beings, must be cleansed from its innermost parts to its outermost parts.

The blood of Christ must be sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat, meaning that the blood of Christ must be brought into the innermost depths of the heart of the Christian believer, and also sprinkled on his actions. Otherwise he cannot be part of the Body of Christ, the Temple of God.


The source of sin. Sin came fully developed into the garden of Eden. It did not enter in the form of a human being but as a serpent. The rebels from Heaven possessed ancient cunning when Adam and Eve were innocent children fresh from the creative hand of God.

Adam was not the father of liars nor was Cain the first murderer. Jesus informed the Jews:

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

If we would recognize that it is the ancient rulers of darkness rather than mankind who are the authors of sin in the world and in the churches, we might take a more compassionate attitude toward people and also act more effectively when dealing with sin.

This is not to excuse people from the responsibility for their actions because every person is obliged to accept Christ and to resist the devil. It is to localize and focus on the root of the problem so we may be able to attack the source rather than the symptoms.

Our purpose also is to explain that God’s wrath is against rebellious spirits and that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, as Paul points out, but against the lords of darkness in the realm of spiritual personalities.

The Scriptures do not portray the details of the rebellion in Heaven. Ezekiel, Chapter 28 and Revelation, Chapter 12 are two passages that mention the dreadful revolution in Heaven.

Notice in Revelation, Chapter 12 that the removal of the dragon from Heaven is associated with his being overcome by the "brothers." Satan’s power is being destroyed both in the heavenlies and also in the personalities of the Christians. It appears the doing of God’s will in the earth is related to victories gained in the spirit realm. We cannot bring people into the liberty of the glory of the children of God until the strong man, Satan, has been bound.

The blood of the Lamb and the Spirit-directed testimony of the saints are a powerful force in Heaven and on the earth. We believe Heaven listens intently as the saint passes judgment on his own actions, measuring them against the written Word of God and declaring them to be righteous or sinful, as the evidence may testify.

If the saint judges an action to be sinful, then he can depend on the atonement made by the blood of Jesus to forgive and to remove that sin. He can go free, and the Holy Spirit can judge the prince of the world (John 16:11).

It is interesting to note the thinking of the Jews concerning their "Days of Awe." This is the term used by them to describe the serious nature of the ten days from Rosh Hashanah (modern equivalent of the Blowing of Trumpets—Yom T’ruoh ) to Yom Kippor (the Day of Atonement).

The Jewish belief, which dates back to the second century, is that God judges the world on Rosh Hashanah, and the fates of all men have been decided by the time of Yom Kippor. These two observances are the days of judgment.


The knowledge of the Lord. A primary concept of "atonement" is reconciliation. The human personality is in the image of Satan and in union with Satan, performing Satan’s works. It is alienated from God. The Divine redemption restores it to friendship (reconciles it) with God.

But the Divine atonement, or reconciliation, goes beyond the restoring of friendship. The atonement has not been fully wrought until perfect union with God has been accomplished. The Divine redemption removes the individual from Satan and Satan’s works, changes his image to that of God’s image, and brings him into perfect, complete union with God through Christ so the works of God are performed through him.

When we are considering reconciliation to God there are three areas of concern, three issues that must be dealt with thoroughly if we are to enter the rest of God.

Our choice of environment.

Our personality.

Our knowledge of the Lord

Of the three aspects, it is gaining the knowledge of the Lord, including faith, trust, and hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word, the conversion of our will to perfect rest in God’s will, humility, total dependence on the Lord, and joyous obedience to the Lord, that is the unique purpose of life on earth.

Our personality can be transformed in the spirit realm or on earth, apparently, as we obey the Lord’s commandments. But God uses the dark scenes and problems of earth to teach us how to please God and walk with Him.

We are not speaking of the guilt associated with our choice of environment, with our personality, or with our lack of walking with God; for the guilt was taken care of on the cross of Calvary. We already have been reconciled perfectly to God as far as guilt is concerned, provided we continue to abide in Christ.

It is that which is satanic and self-willed in the three aspects that must be completely converted until the Father through Christ is All in all.

Our choice of environment has to do with our willingness to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness and our rejection of the holy, peaceful Presence of God and His angels. We are not referring to our rejection of the ways of the local churches, for they often are social clubs and abound in the works of the flesh. The Christian churches sometimes repulse people who have the potential for becoming servants of God.

As we pray to the Lord He gives wisdom and grace so we may be able to come out from the devilish frenzy of the world and lead a holy, meek, quiet life, separated to God. We prepare ourselves for life in the spirit Paradise and in the Kingdom of God.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (II Corinthians 6:17)

Notice that God does not receive us until we take the step of coming out from the uncleanness of the world. The true saint is not at home in the world. He prays, meditates in the Scriptures, and has fellowship with diligent disciples.

Numerous would-be Christians of our day cannot bring themselves to turn away from worldly companions and practices. They are not reconciled to God in this dimension of their personality. It would be cruel of the Lord to bring them to the spirit Paradise for they would be uncomfortable with the kinds of creatures they would find there.

We reveal whether we are candidates for salvation or for Hell by the choices we make concerning our environment. It is folly to speak of being "saved by grace," with the idea of being accepted in the spirit Paradise when we die, while we still love the way of sinners.

Many today receive Jesus only because they desire to escape torment when they die, not because they love the Lord or His environment. Salvation is not meant to be a ticket by which we escape torment, it is a conversion of our choice of environment, our personality, and our knowledge of the Lord.

Watching the television may be the greatest stumbling block in the area of choice of environment. Television watching can be a curse, a bondage. The true saints of the Lord do not sit in front of the television and gaze at the antics of the demons of covetousness, lust, murder, drunkenness, and sorcery.

The true saint does not fear the torment of Hell as much as he does the environment of Hell. No individual who dwells in joy in the Paradise of God would watch television if it were brought to him. He would recognize immediately that Hell had been brought into Paradise and he would flee from the ugliness, the demonic frenzy, of the sights and sounds.

If we love what we see on the television we do not love God or the environment of God. We still are filled with Hell. We have not been reconciled to God. We are not in the rest of God in this aspect. We still love what God despises. An atonement, a reconciliation, has not occurred in our choice of environment.

If you are bound by television watching, ask God for the strength to turn away from this source of demonic bondage.

We can escape worldliness as we pray to God for help, make the effort to turn off the television, and turn away from worldly friends. If God sees that we truly desire His environment He will take us to the spirit Paradise when we die. Also, He will assist us with our earthly environment, although much of it will remain unchanged because His purposes are being accomplished in the midst of the darkness and oppression.

Our personality also is in need of reconciliation to God. The indwelling sin of which Paul speaks is the satanic nature that dwells in the members of our body.

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:17)

Indwelling sin must be removed by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we obey the Word of the Lord, praying without ceasing, meditating in the Scriptures day and night, doing what we feel God would have us do, assembling with fervent saints on a regular basis (if we can find any fervent saints to assemble with), giving, ministering with the gifts God has given us, repenting of our sins and confessing them, then the Lord from time to time will remove part of the garment of sin, part of our fallen nature, and replace it with a robe of righteousness.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)

"I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee"!

As the indwelling sin is removed, part by part, the pure Nature and Substance of Christ can be formed in us. We keep on being born again, in this sense. Step by step the Divine Nature replaces the fallen adamic nature.

Replacing with the Divine Nature is symbolized as follows:

And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre [turban] upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. (Zechariah 3:5)

The "fair mitre" speaks of the renewing of our mind in the Lord, and the "garments" are the robe of righteous conduct placed on our personality.

... be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; . . . . (Revelation 3:5)

Deliverance from indwelling sin is our reward for serving the Lord faithfully. The crown of life and robe of righteousness are the rewards that will be given to the overcomer.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)

Only the Lord Jesus by His authority and power is able to deliver us from indwelling sin. We always are to resist sin with the strength God gives us, but the change of raiment must come from the hand of the Lord.

One of the greatest misunderstandings in Christianity has to do with the very nature of redemption. The believers are under the impression they are supposed to go through life trying to be like the Lord Jesus even though they know they will keep on failing to meet His standard.

Since we are unable to keep the Lord’s commandments, it is reasoned, the purpose of God’s grace is to bring people to a godly environment on the basis of forgiveness. As soon as they arrive in the godly environment, Heaven, the spirit Paradise, they will be able to keep God’s commandments.

But God is able to do more than this. Through Christ we can obtain a change in personality even though we still are living in the valley of the shadow of death—the present world.

We must understand God does not expect our adamic nature to meet the standard set by the Lord Jesus. God has assigned our adamic nature to the cross of Calvary, to extinction. God is giving us a new nature, the Nature of Christ, that meets God’s standards because it is Divine and not human.

If we would qualify for the removal of the sins of our fallen nature we must pray, read the Scriptures, assemble with fervent saints, obey the Lord, give of our material substance, minister with the gifts we have, and do all else the Scripture commands. We are to do this in our fallen, adamic nature. We are to keep on serving God to the best of our ability even though God as yet has not redeemed us totally from the chains of lust and self-seeking.

To actually meet God’s standards of righteous, holy, and obedient conduct is not possible to our adamic nature but we are to keep on serving God with the strength we do possess. We can refuse to sin. We can and we must strive diligently and consistently against the desires of our flesh, soul, and fleshly mind.

If we pray consistently, meditate in the Scriptures, do what God has said to the best of our ability, then God will, from time to time, remove from us some of the aspects of our fallen nature and replace them with the Divine Nature of Christ. The redemption of our personality consists of removing sin and rebellion and replacing it with Christ’s Personality.

However, such transformation will take place only as we obey God diligently. It will not take place if we are not faithful with all the opportunities, knowledge, gifts, and spiritual strength with which the Lord has entrusted us.

Our adamic nature can never be reconciled to God. Only Christ in us is accepted of God. If we wish to possess our souls, then we must faithfully do what God has instructed us. Only as we obey the Lord in our present difficulties will He come and give us a change of raiment.

Righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God come to us from Heaven as we faithfully keep the Word of the Lord.

We can be delivered from indwelling sin as the Lord hands us a change of garment. If we are faithful with the righteousness the Lord gave us upon receiving Christ, striving to obey the words of the Apostles, the Lord will keep removing our worldliness, our indwelling sin, and our self-will. He will give us a new heart.

Finally, when He comes, He will review our faithfulness. If we have sought continually to do His will, making full use of the Kingdom life and ability He has given us, He will complete the work of removing the flaws in our personality. He will crown the work of redemption by clothing our resurrected frame with a body of life, a body that seeks continually to walk in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

To the person who loves God and seeks Him will be given righteousness, holiness, and an obedient heart. To the person who rejects God and His ways will be given delusion, uncleanness of heart and hands, and a spirit of rebellion.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (II Thessalonians 2:11)

The Divine justice of God requires that those who refuse to accept the Divine transformation be brought into the spirit realm in their untransformed condition. The holy will be holy and the filthy will be filthy.

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11)

While we are on the earth we can hide our motives, and also our deeds to some extent. But in the spirit realm our motives as well as our deeds shall be open for all to see.

If we are a liar the lying nature will be clearly visible. If we are scheming to gain advantage over others, our motives and deceits will be apparent to everyone, including ourselves.

People are seeking to use the name of Jesus to escape the torment of the flames of Hell. But even more to be feared is to enter the spirit realm dressed in our laziness, our lust, our backbiting, our sorcery.

Perhaps the contempt of other people and of the angels of God, is more to be feared than the torments of Hell.

Notice carefully the following:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

What would it be like to come forth from the grave and be regarded with shame and everlasting contempt?

God is giving us every chance to repent and experience the Divine change of raiment. If we do, our reward will be great in the Kingdom. If we do not, we will experience shame and reproach. The expression "everlasting contempt" implies we never again will have an opportunity to be redeemed from our corrupt personality.

God has placed us on the earth in order that we might gain the knowledge of the Lord. As we stated previously, the knowledge of the Lord includes faith, trust, and hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word, the conversion of our will to perfect rest in God’s will, humility, total dependence on the Lord, and joyous obedience to the Lord. The unique goal of life on earth is to acquire the knowledge of the Lord.

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed already for they will be filled. Those who hate God and His ways will be given their desire—an eternity without God or His saints. Let the holy be holy and the filthy be filthy—this is God's edict.

The wise person will put seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness above every other interest and pursuit in life.

A change in environment can be accomplished by a sovereign act of God, as we are brought from the darkness of earth to the light of Glory.

The transformation of our personality also is accomplished by a sovereign act of God, as the garment of sin and rebellion is removed from us and the Life and Nature of Christ are given to us.

However, as we understand it, it is the third area of reconciliation, the knowledge of the Lord, which is the unique purpose of life on the earth. We are placed on the earth so we might understand man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Apparently, the knowledge of the Lord, in particular humble dependence on God and stern obedience to God, cannot be learned in the spirit realm to the extent they can in our sin-cursed world.

We know the Lord Jesus was perfect in character. Satan could find no flaw in Him.

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (John 14:30)

The Lord Jesus was the Passover Lamb. As such, there could be no blemish in him.

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: (Exodus 12:5)

Pilate testified to this fact:

Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. (Luke 23:4)

Yet, the Scripture states that Christ was made perfect through sufferings.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

In what aspects was the Lord Jesus made perfect through sufferings?

First of all, He became better able to help us when we are tempted.

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)

Second, He learned perfect obedience to the Father. Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered while serving God in human flesh on the earth.

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (Hebrews 5:8)

Let us consider this. The perfect Lamb of God, Christ, The Word of God from eternity, became better able to help those who are tempted, and He also learned obedience to the Father.

We know the Old Testament Prophets spoke first to Christ and then to the members of His Body. From the statements of the Prophets we believe Christ gained in the knowledge of God, including faith, trust, and hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word, the conversion of His will to perfect rest in God’s will, humility, total dependence on the Lord, and joyous obedience to the Father.

Christ, the Lord of Glory, was perfect in His Character. But, like all the sons of God, of whom He is the older Brother, He learned to trust God.

Some of the Psalms give insight into the agony of Jesus as He experienced the buffetings we also endure, especially as He hung on the cross.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (Psalms 22:1)

What is being put to the test here? What area of personality is being perfected so Christ could be the Captain of our salvation?

Faith, trust, and hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word. God had said, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalms 16:10).

The faithfulness of God’s Word was all that stood between the Lord Jesus and everlasting torment at the hands of Satan. This was a terrible trial—far beyond our ability to comprehend.

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. (Psalms 22:2)

Hear the sufferings of Christ! We are to share His sufferings, for through them we are made perfect in the knowledge of God.

When we cry to God day after day, night after night, and our prayers are not answered, we learn to hope in God, to trust in God, to rest in God.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalms 22:3)

The Lord Jesus learned, as we also learn, to glorify God even when in an agony of doubt and dread. How could such knowledge be gained in the Paradise of God? How could the everlasting Word, the eternal Logos, have had an opportunity to experience the majesty of praising God when all hope is gone, while He still was the Light of the ivory palaces of Glory?

Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. (Psalms 22:4,5)

The patriarchs have provided us with an example of suffering and patience, and faith in God. Christ and His Body have gained the Kingdom by witnessing the travail of the patriarchs just as the patriarchs gained the Kingdom by receiving the atonement, and the Glory of the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus; and also as they gain the Kingdom by witnessing the proof of God’s faithfulness in us.

But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. (Psalms 22:6)

Jesus grew in humility by His life on earth. We too, the members of His Body, must be humbled. Through the Lord Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, our proud nature is brought down to the dust of the ground. We finally come to realize, like Job of long ago, that we are worms.

The Lord Jesus was brought lower than any man; therefore God has highly exalted Him and has given Him a name above every other name. If we are willing to learn humility we too will be exalted according to the will of God.

All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. (Psalms 22:7,8)

Part of the suffering of Christ is rejection by people, even by our brothers and sisters in the Lord. As we share the suffering of rejection we learn to find our hope and joy in doing the will of the Father.

Trust in the Lord is learned as we are confronted with danger and dread. The Lord learned to trust God and we learn to trust God. When we call on the Lord in the midst of terror, the confidence and courage in God that He gained during His dark hour is given to us. Then we know no power in the heavens or on the earth can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ.

But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. (Psalms 22:9)

The Lord Jesus hoped in God from the time of His birth. Some of us may learn to hope in God late in our lifetime. But hope in God saves us. As long as we are alive on the earth we know God loves us and is providing an opportunity for us to grow in the knowledge of the holy One.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. (Psalms 22:14-16)

We shall never experience the agony that the Lord suffered. We are not strong enough for such tormenting oppression. But if we have been called to rule with Christ we will share His suffering according to our measure. It is only as we suffer with Christ that we can rule with Him, because it is through our suffering on the earth that we gain the necessary knowledge of the Lord.

The majestic Christ, the Commander in Chief of the sons of God, went before us. He endured pain we never could bear. But each of us must share Christ’s suffering. As we do, we learn the trustworthiness of God’s Word as He also did. We learn obedience to the Father as He also did. We learn humility to God as He also did.

We are able to learn these lessons because His Life is in us. The Gold of His Divine Nature is given to us. Then it is hammered into shape, like the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, by the pressures that only life on earth can put on us.

Were it possible to learn faith, trust, and hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word, the absolute conversion of our will from self-will to rest in God’s will, humility, total dependence on the Lord, and joyous obedience to the Lord, while dwelling in the spirit realm, there would have been no area of personality in which the Lord could have been made perfect. But only in the valley of the shadow of death that the world is could He, and we, gain these aspects of the knowledge of the Father.

The pressures and problems of life are designed to teach the sons of God to cease seeking their own will, to cease relying on their on wisdom, understanding, knowledge, talents, and strength, and to commit their way to the Lord. The things that come upon us press us until we turn to God, until we learn to lean on the Lord in every matter, great and small.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)

It appears to be assumed in numerous Christian churches that there is no spiritual counterpart of the wilderness wandering of the Israelites. The idea seems to be that we sprinkle the blood of Jesus on our personality while we are in Egypt, in the world, and immediately we are ready for Heaven, for the land of promise (as we understand the land of promise).

However, such is not at all the case. If we are to learn of God, if we have been called to rule in His Kingdom, we must experience the school of the wilderness. It is in the wilderness of life that we learn the knowledge of the holy One of Israel.

When we come home to be with the Lord, and forever after, we are to remember the lessons we learned while enduring the battles and anguish of life on earth in a sinful body. We have been taught these lessons because one day we will be in a place of great responsibility.

Satan was created a perfect being in the hand of Christ. But Satan fell through pride. Christ is calling us to the highest throne in God’s creation. Therefore He is making sure we will be humble of heart and keep all of God’s commandments.

The Lord God has led us through the problems and pains of life in order to humble us. We must come to realize we are worms in God’s sight. Until we do, we cannot be trusted with the powers of the age to come.

The Lord God has led us through anguish and tests of all kinds to see what is in our heart, whether or not we will keep His commandments.

Doesn’t God know what is in our heart? Yes, He does. But it is our actions that God judges. We are judged according to what we do in our body.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

"According to that he hath done."

Many of us might prefer that God would judge us according to our intentions, but this is not what takes place. Our actions prove what is in us. God and we learn what is in our personality when we are in the fire of pain, dread, and perplexity.

The current overemphasis on imputed righteousness has caused a withdrawal from reality of many churches. They no longer are lamps of righteousness. The light of the testimony has been extinguished by sin and self-seeking.

Only the good works of the saints can serve as the light of the world.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Since God judges our heart by our reactions to the pressures and pains of life on earth, it is of great importance that we do not overemphasize imputed righteousness (righteousness ascribed through faith apart from our behavior). There is a place in the plan of redemption for imputed righteousness.

But if imputed righteousness is carried to the point that we do not learn to serve the Lord in the problems of life, preferring instead to act as any unsaved individual, not growing in faith, trust, and hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word, the conversion of our will to perfect rest in God’s will, humility, total dependence on the Lord, and joyous obedience to the Lord, then we have missed the whole purpose of our life on earth.

The testimony of Jesus is something God and men can see.

God humbles us and causes us to hunger and thirst after things or relationships or circumstances. He may deny our most intense desires for a season, giving only what is necessary for the moment. This too is part of the curriculum. God may keep us doing that in which we take no joy. These two arms of the cross, the delay in granting our desires and requiring us to continue in unpleasant circumstances, shape our attitude toward God until it is acceptable to the Father.

Neither we nor our fathers have experienced previously the "manna" with which God nourishes us and keeps us moving forward. God is God and He always is doing a new thing.

We eventually come to understand no person can truly live only by the things of a material environment. We are to live by every Word that comes from God’s mouth. We are to be humbly dependent on God every moment of every day from now through eternity.

We can learn humble dependence on the Lord only in the valley of tears, of bitterness, through which we are passing.

It is important that we seek a holy environment. If we do, God finally will bring us to the spirit Paradise to be with the Lord, the saints, and the holy angels.

It is important that we keep the Word of the Lord, persevering until He grants us a change of raiment. If we are faithful in the work of sanctification now, then at His coming He will complete our transformation and we will be in His image and in complete union with Him.

Environment and transformation will be perfected in the spirit realm for those who have pleased the Lord by their conduct in the earth, who have shown themselves to be worthy of the Kingdom of God.

Our life on earth especially is for the purpose of giving us the knowledge of the Lord. It is here, by means of the problems and pressures of the world, that our proud strength is broken and we learn to depend totally on the Lord for every aspect of existence.

Our environment, our personality, and our knowledge of the Lord must be perfected before the Day of Atonement has accomplished its intended work and we have been reconciled fully to God.


Year of Jubilee. I John 2:2 teaches us that Jesus "is the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." The revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:18-21) will bring the blessing of the atonement to the whole earth. This is not to say that all persons eventually will be reconciled to God, for it appears some will reject the salvation that is in Christ, sealing their own eternal doom.

The earth-wide deliverance that now is at hand is portrayed in the Jewish celebration of the Year of Jubilee.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)

"In the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land." The jubilee of release results from the judgment of the Day of Atonement.

Two overlapping years. The Year of Jubilee, which was announced every fiftieth year on the Day of Atonement, typifies the day of deliverance for the earth at the appearance of Christ and His Body.

The Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement mark the beginning of the new agricultural year (as well as the end of the old). The feast of Passover begins the religious year.

The Jews have two overlapping years, just as the United States has a calendar year and fiscal year that overlap. The Jews today seem to regard the new year that occurs at the time of the blowing of trumpets (Rosh Hashanah ) as being the New Year, just as the United States regards the calendar year that commences on January 1 as the New Year. July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year, is not as widely celebrated.

So it is with us Christians. We have a "year" that begins with "Passover" (our first approach to Christ) and a "year" that begins with the Blowing of Trumpets (the time when Christ the King comes to us to judge our sins). These both occur as part of the one redemption that we have in Christ.

We commence a new way of life at our "Passover" when by faith we sprinkle the blood of Jesus on our life and flee from "Egypt" (the world, the spirit of the present wicked age). We receive Christ and are baptized in water. Our "Passover" experience begins our life and walk with God.

Another beginning. When we come in our experience to the Christian counterparts of the Jewish Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement it is as though we have arrived at another beginning.

It is not that we have come to a new Christ or a new cross or a new Holy Spirit. A Christian never should "remove the old landmarks" no matter how advanced in God he thinks he may have become.

Passover is supposed to be repeated annually. Today, thirty-five hundred years after the exodus from Egypt, the Passover is observed by the faithful of Israel. God’s method of teaching is to have us do a thing again and again and again until it becomes part of our personality.

The Communion service is our equivalent of the Jewish Passover. At the Lord’s Table we bring to mind the death of our Lord on the cross and our union with Him in His death and resurrection. The repetition of the Communion service implants the death of Christ on the cross in our personality and also imbues us with the concept that we continually must eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood.

By talking about a "New Year" with Christ we are not suggesting that we are to forget or forsake our experience in Christ up to this time.

The original Passover occurred on the last day the Jews spent in Egyptian bondage. The first week of Unleavened Bread was observed during the first seven days of the Exodus (the Israelites left at midnight of the fifteenth of Abib, which is the high Sabbath, the first day of the week of Unleavened Bread). The remaining feasts took place at a later time because the celebration of them depended on the existence of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the Levitical priesthood, and farms—none of which the Israelites had at the time they departed from Egypt.

The land of Egypt is symbolic of the spirit of the age in which we live, and Pharaoh typifies Satan. We observe Christ, our Passover, on the last day of our bondage to Satan and his kingdom of darkness. Then we "come out of Egypt" under the mighty hand of God. Therefore, Passover begins the "first month of the year" to us (Exodus 12:2).

The year that begins with Passover contains the seven feasts, the last of which (Tabernacles) takes place in the middle of the seventh month. The year commencing with Passover is the year of redemption, of salvation. It is the period, symbolically speaking, during which the Lord God brings the believer all the way from the bondage of Satan and personal corruption to a wholly transformed creature in Christ, having been re-created in spirit, soul, and body—a perfect redemption.

There is another year, the year of kings, contracts, and birthdays. This year begins on the seventh month of the year that commences with Passover.

This new year does not go from Passover to Passover but from the Blowing of Trumpets to the Blowing of Trumpets. It follows the cycle of agriculture. It is oriented toward life on the earth rather than religious observances.

Whereas the year that begins with Passover symbolizes the redemptive revealing of God in Christ, the agricultural year, the year that commences with the Blowing of Trumpets, with Rosh Hashanah, portrays the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

So it is that we Christians begin a new year, so to speak, when we come to the Blowing of Trumpets. This new year begins with the culminating feasts of the work of redemption (Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles). Instead of being a year wholly devoted to the redemptive acts of God toward men its emphasis is the installation of the Kingdom of God in the earth—the year of "doing business" through and with Christ.

As we start our "observance of Trumpets" we can begin actually to conquer our environment through Christ. We can begin to become a new creation in our daily living. We can begin to enter the rest of God. It is the start of our conquest of the land of promise and our rulership with Christ that extends into eternity.

We believe in the complete transformation of our spirit, soul, and body into the image of Christ. We believe in the fullness of the indwelling of the Father and the Son in us through the Holy Spirit. We believe it is God’s will to pour out on the saints the fullness of the anointing of the Holy Spirit so we can bear witness of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Christ to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth.

In time past we have been bound by the world, sin, and self-will. God has proclaimed the Year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee occurs every fiftieth year, the number fifty speaking of Pentecost, of the outpouring of God’s Spirit on us.

The trumpet of the Jubilee sounds on the tenth day of the seventh month, on the Day of Atonement. The coming of the King to judge and cleanse us, in the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, proclaims a jubilee of release to us. We are set free by the judging and casting out of the sin that is in us.

Because of the work of judgment of the Day of Atonement we now can look steadfastly toward God until total transformation, total indwelling, and total anointing are in our possession and operate in our daily lives.

Our progress toward absolute victory, toward absolute redemption, toward union with God through Christ, toward the doing of God’s will on the earth as it is in Heaven, is as the light that shines more and more to the perfect day. Our service to Christ will continue throughout the ages of ages, world without end.

Passover is the beginning and Tabernacles is the ending of the plan of redemption. All redemption takes place through Christ and is Christ. Such is the "year" of redemption. Redemption is the bringing of us all the way from union with Satan to total, restful union with God through Christ.

The Blowing of Trumpets, the feast that begins the year that corresponds to the cycle of agriculture, portrays the beginning of our role as the servant of the Lord. Throughout eternity we shall be kings and priests of God through Christ. Only Christ will have dominion over us.

One of the major purposes of the working of God in us is to bring us to the place where only Christ has dominion over us. Many idols must be torn from our heart before we are ruled by Christ alone.


A new creation. As soon as we begin to confess our sins (Christian counterpart of the Day of Atonement) we notice that a transformation actually is taking place in our personality. It is not the same old hoping somehow, someday, God will do something about the imperfections of our nature. A difference in our personality is becoming evident to us and to those around us.

Gradually a reshaping of our deeds, words, motives, and imaginations occurs. We can observe the difference in ourselves. The Holy Spirit of God takes the blood of the cross into the depths of the deceit of our being, bringing the judgment of God on the evil nature that has roots and branches throughout the infinitely convoluted core of our personality.

We are astonished at the intricate maze of subtleties that can be uncovered in the "desperately wicked" heart of a believer. We realize in our spirit that this is the beginning of the Year of Jubilee for the earth. The Kingdom of God has come to the earth and it has begun in us.

It is not a new gospel, as we said before. The foundation of Christianity is the Rock, Christ, Jesus, and Him crucified and resurrected. The foundation has been laid well by the Christian ministry.

The experience of confessing sins under the direction of the Holy Spirit comes to us with the force of uplift of a "new year." Victory in spiritual warfare transforms our doctrines we have upheld so faithfully into the flesh and bone of reality.

Confession of sins is not new. We do not intend to leave the impression that the Christian churches never before have experienced the confession of sins under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Just as speaking in tongues has been in evidence throughout church history whenever Christians have come before God in sincerity, so it has been true that conviction of sin in the believers also has been in evidence.

The writings of the Christian saints will demonstrate, we believe, that their individual histories illustrate the kinds of relationships with God we are suggesting in our book. The Holy Spirit made them aware of the condition of their hearts and of their words and deeds, just as He is making us aware of our sins and rebellions in the present hour. There is nothing new about the confession of their sins by Christian believers.

The fullness of God has been available to every believer since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the first century. The churches have gone through dark and troubled days since then. It is time now to turn to the Lord and seek Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength until He comes and rains righteousness on us (Hosea 10:12).

Judgment begins with the house of God. We must purify ourselves through the authority of the blood of Jesus and the power of the Spirit.

... but we know, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:2,3)

We Christians hope to be like the righteous Jesus when He appears. This is a vain hope unless we obey the Spirit now. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." The Lord cannot be much clearer than that.

Judgment always begins with the house of God. The nearer we are to the Lord the stricter the judgment is. We of all people shall be examined concerning every one of our sins. The prophets never can speak comfortably to Jerusalem until "she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins" (Isaiah 40:2). Jerusalem, the family of God, receives the double portion of blessing and anointing and also the double punishment for her sins.

On occasion the Lord may wink at the ignorance of the world. But God never overlooks one spot or wrinkle in His Church. The Lord will present to Himself a glorious Church, "not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing" (Ephesians 5:27).

Any teaching contrary to this may entice the disciple into the delusion that practical, daily holiness of life is not a necessary part of Christian discipleship. Such a concept of the Gospel can lead only to destruction.

Lazarus, a type of the Blowing of Trumpets. The Christian who has accepted Jesus as his Lord, has been born again, and has been baptized with the Holy Spirit, but who has not had the opportunity to confess his sins under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may be compared to Lazarus, the friend of Jesus.

The raising of Lazarus on the fifth day is a picture of the personal "Trumpets" experience, of spiritual resurrection from the dead. Lazarus was raised from the dead by the Spirit of the Lord but he came forth bound hand, foot, and face with graveclothes.

We too have been raised from the dead by the Spirit of Christ. But the graveclothes of the sins of the flesh are hindering us from acting as we would. Now Christ commands: "Loose him, and let him go" (John 11:44).

It may be noticed that Lazarus had received new life from Jesus. Yet, his hands, feet, and face were bound, preventing him from conducting himself as he wished. Jesus had the power to strike off the graveclothes with a word, just as He did the chains of Peter in jail (Acts 12:7). However, Jesus commanded the people standing nearby to untie Lazarus.

So it is with us. Jesus possesses the power to cast off all our bondages with the Word of His power. But in His own wisdom He directs people to remove our bondages from us. Sometimes we become quite upset at this process.

Judgment liberates Christians. We do not have to be afraid of God’s judgment on our life. Daniel tells of three Hebrew men who were thrown into a furnace that had been fired up until it gave off terrific heat. When the three emerged from the furnace the only change in them was that their bonds were gone.

The three saints did not come from the furnace naked, everything of value to them destroyed. They came out clothed—not a hair of their heads singed (Daniel 3:19-27).

They had been bound and thrown into the furnace by heroes of Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Because the furnace had been heated excessively, and the warriors had to approach close enough to cast the three Hebrews into the flames, the fierce flames and blistering heat given off by the oven killed Nebuchadnezzar’s men. But the saints walked out as though they were going for a stroll in the park.

No fire can harm the faithful saint who is willing to be taken by the Lord through the fires of judgment. We know Christ was present in the furnace because four men were seen walking about in the flames.

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Daniel 3:25)

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (I Peter 4:12)

The Lord Jesus never forsakes us no matter how hot the fire gets (Matthew 28:20; Romans 8:38,39; Hebrews 13:5). "They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, that cannot be removed, but abideth forever" (Psalms 125:1). "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber" (Psalms 121:3).

Purging the House of God. The Christian Church is the new- covenant counterpart of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. God’s throne (the Ark of the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle) is being created in the hearts of the believers (II Corinthians 6:16).

God has no intention of making a sinful, self-willed heart His eternal home (I Corinthians 6:15-20; II Corinthians 6:16-7:1). The Christian, therefore, should be diligent in confessing his sins as they are revealed to him by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13).

We have come now to the time in our Christian experience when the Lord desires to drive the money changers, so to speak, from the house of God (the hearts of the believers, not the buildings in which they assemble).

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)

John the Baptist said concerning Jesus: "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he shall throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but he shall burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:11,12).

We are to be baptized not only with the Holy Spirit but also with the fire of God’s judgment on the sins we are practicing. We can stand in the Day of Judgment if we will anchor our hope inside the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 6:19). If we choose to do so, we can avail ourselves of the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, in this manner cleansing ourselves from our sins.

The following passage describes the Christian Day of Atonement:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:7-9)

We are of the opinion that the above-mentioned confession, forgiveness, and cleansing is the Christian fulfillment of Israel’s Day of Atonement.

John the Baptist commanded the people of Israel to repent, to confess their sins, and to be baptized. The Holy Spirit brought forth the ministry of John just before it was time for the Lord Jesus to be revealed.

In the same manner the Day of Atonement comes just before the feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles typifies, we believe, the coming of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit to dwell forever in the believer (John 14:23).

In concluding our study of the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement we would like to add two more concepts.

The first concept is that the reconciling of the believer to God through Christ, which is the meaning of the term make atonement, includes more than casting out the sins of the flesh. In addition to our fleshly sins we have inherited a self-seeking, self-centered, self-willed, rebellious nature.

The lusts of the flesh are alien to us. They are residues of Satan that continue to cling to our flesh because they draw nourishment from us.

However, self-will is not alien to us. It is our own corrupt personality. We are to confess our pride, self-centeredness, and rebellion in the same manner in which we confess the lusts and hatreds of our flesh.

The process of deliverance from the rebellion of our personality includes the sufferings of the cross. Our personal cross is the remedy for our rebellious personality. It is only as we suffer that we are permitted and enabled to reign with Christ, because it is our cross that slays the pride, stubbornness, rebellion, and self-centeredness in us.

God develops and proves our obedience to Himself by requiring us to bear our cross after the Lord Jesus. He who is not willing to obey God in all that God requires of him can never be reconciled completely to God.

The second concept is that of the program of reconciliation. First, the Lord Jesus was made perfect in obedience through the things He suffered.

Next, the members of the holy remnant that God is calling are being reconciled to the Father by deliverance from bodily lusts, and from rebellion of personality.

After the warrior-remnant has been purified, all of the elect, the true Israel, will be reconciled to God.

Finally, every member of the saved nations will be reconciled to God.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is for the purpose of reconciling all Israel and the saved nations to God. There then will be one last testing and purging. After that, the Father will remove the earth and the heaven that now exist and replace them with a new heaven and a new earth. On the new earth will be placed the Wife of the Lamb and the saved nations.


Tabernacles

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:34)

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. (Leviticus 23:39,40)

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:42,43)

And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. (Deuteronomy 31:9-11)

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3)

In the last day, that great day of the feast [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)


The feast of Tabernacles typifies perfection. The feast of Tabernacles portrays God resting in us and our resting in Him. Tabernacles is the seventh feast, the last feast, and—as we might expect—points toward the fullness of redemption.

If one believes in the symbolism of numbers in the Scriptures it is interesting to note that Tabernacles, a festivity lasting seven days, is the seventh feast and was observed in the seventh month. Seven is the number of perfect redemption. There seems to be no doubt God intends for the feast of Tabernacles to be associated in our minds with perfect, complete redemption.

Redemption has a definite completion. Salvation, the redemption of the human being, has a definite commencement, a definite program, and a definite completion. Jesus is the Finisher as well as the Author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). God declares: "It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end" (Revelation 21:6).

There is no part of the plan of salvation that is vague. It is well for us that salvation does have a definite fulfillment and that we do have something specific, a mark, at which to aim. Sometimes the race becomes strenuous indeed (Hebrews 12:12)!

It is the writer’s point of view that the concept of redemption having a definite consummation needs the careful attention of the Body of Christ. We are not teaching that Christians will not discover new wonders in the depths of God forever. Neither are we suggesting that our growth in Christ ceases when we pass into the spirit realm or even after the Day of Resurrection.

Our God is so much greater than all our visions of greatness that there are no words in any language that can convey to us an idea of the extent of the Glory of God. We know we have been born of Him, are His sons, and are in the process of being created in His image.

The definite completion and fulfillment of which we are speaking has to do only and specifically with the plan of redemption, with the removing of us from all that is of Satan and the uniting of us with all that is of God.

The seven feasts of the Lord seem to reveal that God’s working in the creation of the Church, His living temple, starts in a definite manner and attains completion in a definite manner.

A specified completion of salvation may be a new idea to many of us. The Christian experience is one of the growth of a seed to maturity, deliverance from the hand of the enemy, and union with God through Christ. If there were no point of maturity, deliverance, or resurrection and union, no point at which the saint is redeemed, some of the passages of the Scriptures would not admit to a simple, direct interpretation.

Example:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

"To a perfect man." "To the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." There is nothing vague about these words, no uncertain drifting, no aimlessness. This is the expression of a builder who has seen the blueprint.

The redemption that is in Christ has a specific Divine beginning, a specific Divine completion, and a specific Divine process and program from start to finish. The work is of God. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end."


God, the master Builder. God is a builder, a creator. Any person who has ever built or created anything knows that every bit of effort and material that goes into the work takes its significance from the completed piece. The builder works on and on with the finished product in his imagination. His motivation arises from his anticipation of the joy and satisfaction he will derive from possessing and sharing his creation.

The process of creating is altered if the piece never can be completed, if the parts never can be shaped and put together so there is function and beauty in the product.

The finish line. What joy can be had from knowing that no matter how hard or how long one perseveres at something he can never complete it? He can never arrive at the goal?

One of the strongest motivations of the victorious saint is that he indeed can complete what God has given him to do:

... I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4)

... I have finished my course,... (II Timothy 4:7)

What runner can drive his body to the last searing thrust when he knows there is no finish line?

It is no marvel that numerous Christian believers do not become enthusiastic over the concept of the perfecting of the Church, and of themselves as individual members of the Body of Christ. They do not believe the goal actually is attainable. Why try?

Paul’s attitude toward perfection. Paul does not speak as though the goal of the Christian discipleship is unattainable:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philippians 3:12-15)

These are not the words of a builder with no product in mind. These are not the words of a runner on a track with no finish line. These are not the words of a man with no attainable goal.

Nor are these the words of most of our churches. One is more likely to hear, "Do your best, but everyone knows that no person in this world is perfect." With our mouth we confess defeat rather than the Divinely given victory that is in Christ our Lord.

It is a fact that no one except God and His Christ is perfect. At the same time, it is possible and expected that we attain the goal God has set for us as an individual. If we do not, we are courting the outer darkness. The Lord takes no pleasure in laziness and disobedience.

Sometimes we seem to believe the goal of the Christian discipleship is an external event in time or place, such as the coming of the Lord Jesus or our going to Heaven when we die. The Jews missed their Christ by expecting Him to appear in an outward display of physical power. It is possible to have an incorrect hope and goal.

Perhaps if we would note carefully the words of Paul in Chapter Three of Philippians we would gain understanding concerning the goal of the Christian discipleship. Since the feast of Tabernacles portrays the fullness of redemption, we might, by studying Philippians Three, gain insight into this last and most joyous of the feasts of the Lord.

The goal of the Christian discipleship. In verses four through six of the third chapter of Philippians, Paul recites his background and accomplishments as a Hebrew. Then he declares, "Those I counted loss for Christ" (verse 7).

Right here is the goal of redemption. It is right at this point that we can miss the logic, sequence, and scope of God’s plan of redemption.

The goal of the Christian discipleship is not an external event in time or place, such as the second coming of the Lord or our going to Heaven. These two events assuredly will occur literally, and many Christian churches regularly and in good faith present these as the goals of the Christian discipleship.

They are not.

The fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, the fullness of redemption, is the winning of a Person—the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our confusion may arise over the location of the point in our Christian experience at which we believe we possess Christ in His fullness, or at least in the only fullness possible before we die or before the Lord returns.

Some set the point of maximum attainment at the born-again experience. Paul had been born again at the time of the writing of Philippians.

Some set the point at speaking in tongues. Paul was speaking in tongues more than anyone else before he wrote Philippians (I Corinthians 14:18).

Paul had known to the full all our fundamentalist and Pentecostal experiences, some others besides, and was able to look back on many years of fruitful ministry—all before he took pen in hand to write to the saints in Philippi.

Well then, what does Paul mean, "That I may win Christ"? (Philippians 3:8).

In terms of the doctrines commonly taught in our churches, Paul’s words are mere platitudes—the sort of well-intentioned but largely meaningless religious "talk" one hears so commonly in the Christian churches. Paul’s words do not fit with the current understanding and teaching of the Christian plan of salvation.

Either Paul’s concept of the Christian discipleship is incorrect or our concept is incorrect.

Some of the terms Paul uses are repeated by us. However, the background of understanding and experience in which he uses them and the background of understanding and experience in which we repeat them do not always agree. The voice is Jacob’s but the hands are Esau’s. We use Paul’s words to support our notions and practices.

When we bring our doctrines in line with the burden of the Holy Spirit, the writings of Paul will be comprehensible to us and will flow naturally and in an unforced manner in the course of our teaching. We will not have to bend Paul’s words around our doctrines, taking favorite verses from their context and using them in a cut-and-paste, promise-box fashion. We need the whole counsel of God.

God has placed a goal before us Christians. The goal is the full possession of Christ. We should be directing our attention toward the Divinely ordained goal. We may be stagnating in a lagoon of doctrinal "correctness" when the Lord Jesus is saying to us, "Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward."

If we are genuine Christians we possess Christ in a measure. But there is more of Christ that is available to us, a definite more, not a vague, try-to-do-good, never-get-there kind of more, that we are to gain here and now.

The Holy Spirit is encouraging us to press forward and possess the good land, the definite, attainable land He has promised in His Word.

Back to Philippians 3:8:

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord:... (Philippians 3:8)

"Excellency of the knowledge." We Christians know about Christ, but do we know Him ? Have we set knowing Jesus—really knowing Him—as the goal of our discipleship?

It is possible for a church-attender to know all about the ways of the "house of God," about the vocabulary and customs of his or her group, and still not know the God of the house of God.

One may become well acquainted with Bethel (the house of God) and still not be acquainted with El-Bethel (the God of the house of God).

There can be a wide gulf between people who are active in a church and people whom God has called to His side, even though both groups attend the same worship services and are faithful, dependable members.

God comes to a person as to Abraham of old. God calls him or her out of much that is familiar. God reveals Himself in one manner or another, and then tests, prods, and deals with His saint seemingly endlessly.

The disciple is drawn to the limits of consecration many times. God is in all his thoughts. He may become an enigma, a "speckled bird," to the other church people. They in turn are little comfort to him in his quest for God. Their church routines may seem trivial to him, and at times, abominable.

When the Holy Spirit moves in a church the whole assembly may be brought closer to Christ. Or a few fervent believers may find it necessary to leave the group even though they suffer inconvenience and loss of fellowship from having to do so.

Those persons who are more involved in the church than they are in Christ may remain with the organization because it is more understandable and significant to them than is the invisible Kingdom of God. At such a time of tearing apart there may be much grief of mind and heart on both sides, and sometimes misunderstanding and bitterness for a season.

The separating of the Bride from her family is inevitable because it is a necessary part of the plan of the Father to draw out for His beloved Son a holy and devoted bride from the peoples of the earth (Psalms 45:10; Song of Solomon 6:9).

"For whom I have suffered the loss of all things," Paul continues. The "all things" is referring to Paul’s religious accomplishments that were the chief joy of his life as a Pharisee. "And do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," he exclaims.

Let us repeat this idea because we hold that it is the concept of the feast of Tabernacles. Winning Christ is our goal, not things, not experiences, not secrets of a successful Christian experience, not ways of manipulating God to do what we wish, not religious accomplishments, not what we can get from God, not spiritual power, not power in prayer, not a big church, not going to Heaven, not coming down from Heaven, but Him! Him! Him! Him!

Every other affection and pursuit may lead to idolatry. It is God Himself who is our Goal. Christ is being formed in us so we can receive the fullness of the Lord God of Heaven. It is God in Christ who is the Goal of the Christian discipleship.

When we possess Christ we possess everything God ever has been or has done. We possess everything God ever will be or will do. It has pleased the Father to include in Christ all the Substance and Nature of His own holy Being. Christ is the perfect and complete revelation and fulfillment of all that God Is.

It is not, as some have supposed, that Jesus and the Father are the same Person. It is that the Father, because of His unfathomable love for His Son, has given all of Himself to His Son. He who possesses the Son possesses everything of value including the fullness of the Divine Godhead.

He who does not possess the Son is void of eternal life. He is an intelligent animal, made in God’s image, with the potential for becoming a child of God. Without Christ he is not a child of God. The Spirit of God is not in him. If he resists the Son there is nothing left for him but "a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation" that will destroy those who oppose the Presence and will of the Son, Christ.

The reason why it is so difficult for us to follow Paul’s thinking in Philippians, Chapter Three is that we believe we already possess Christ. We have been born again so we possess Christ. We have spoken in tongues so we possess Christ. We have attended church all our life so we have Christ. We have experienced marvelous answers to prayer so we have Christ.

If a person believes he already has attained something or is in possession of something he is not going to lay all else aside and, at the expense of considerable inconvenience and self-denial to himself, devote his time and strength to seeking it.

The confusion concerning the goal of the Christian discipleship may be part of the explanation why Christians come to a halt in their spiritual progress.

The truth of the matter is that we do not possess Christ in the measure indicated by the Apostle Paul in the third chapter of Philippians, in the measure typified by the feast of Tabernacles.

There remains much of the promised land to be possessed. Let us press forward in the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit of God. Let us march on to the fullness of the rest of God. Let us not be unbelieving, fearful of heart, always ready to compromise and share our inheritance with the world, the flesh, and Satan. Our goal is the possession of Christ. The world, the flesh, and Satan have no part in Him.

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, . . . . (Philippians 3:9)

Notice that Paul, in the third chapter of Philippians, contrasts the possession of Christ with his former life as a "Pharisee of the Pharisees," a keeper of the Law of Moses.

This contrast brings to mind a conflict that exists in the Christian churches of today, a division that can be observed from the time of Abraham. We are referring to the difference between people who are seeking the Kingdom of God by their own works, and people who are seeking the Kingdom of God by faith in God’s working.

These two approaches are in opposition to each other. They cannot be reconciled. Spiritual fellowship is impossible. To use a figure of speech, there are two nations struggling in the womb of the churches. One group is attempting to make spiritual progress and to build up the church in numbers by human wisdom and effort. The other group is an elect, a remnant whom God has called from the world and whom the world despises.

The two groups are intermingled in the pews of our churches. They are the modern counterparts of Ishmael and Isaac, Hagar and Sarah, Esau and Jacob. They both are of the family of Abraham. One is of the earth and emphasizes earthly things. The other is being drawn eternally toward the heart of God. One group understands only the visible world of flesh and blood. The other is endeavoring to learn to live and act in the Spirit.

It is not that one group is always wicked and the other is always righteous. It may be recalled that Esau in some respects was a more honorable man than Jacob, although Esau despised his birthright. Jacob lied and stole under the supervision of his mother, Rebecca, who, under other circumstances, is a type of the Bride of the Lamb.

There is a distinct difference between the good people of the earth and the elect in whose hearts God has placed the Divine calling. There will be a continual stress and tearing as long as the fabric of the churches has been woven from these two kinds of material (Revelation 3:4).

"But that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness that is of God by faith: that I may know him."

"That I may know him," Paul cries, after his years of Christian discipleship and ministry.

Hopefully, God will give many of us Christians such single-mindedness of purpose, such a burning desire, such a well-defined goal. Each of us can choose to be among God’s elect, if we wish. We can choose to be one who seeks Christ with a whole heart (Joshua 24:15; Jeremiah 29:13).


The first resurrection.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

Paul sought the fullness of the knowledge of Christ. The knowledge of Christ is not merely a mental understanding of a Person. It is an embracing of the Person, a knowledge that is union with the Substance, nature, and all other elements of Christ’s Personality.

Such union with Christ results in resurrection to eternal life. Christ is the Resurrection and the Life.

There is a resurrection and ascension that will take place at the appearing of Christ. But that resurrection and ascension is not the general resurrection of the dead, the time when all come forth, some to the resurrection of life and others to the resurrection of judgment.

The resurrection and ascension that will take place when Christ returns is the resurrection of the firstfruits of His Body, of those whose life He is (Colossians 3:4).

It is an "out-resurrection," a resurrection from among the dead, from among those who are waiting for the Day of Resurrection.

The goal of the Christian discipleship is to enter Christ’s Life and sufferings until they become our life and our sufferings. We cannot do this of ourselves Such identification and union can be accomplished only by the Holy Spirit of God.

We must attain to the first resurrection now—while we are living in the world. The resurrection and ascension that will take place when Christ appears will be the outward manifestation of an inner, spiritual resurrection that had taken place previously.

If it is your desire to be part of the appearing of Christ you must become one with Him in His life now. You must eat his flesh and drink His blood until you are living by Him as He is living by the Father. Those who live by Christ now are the eagles who will be gathered to the slain Lamb, the Carcass, when He appears in the heavens.

It is not possible that a believer who is not living by the life of Jesus can be raised in the first resurrection. The first resurrection is not for doctrinally correct believers, it is for those whose life Christ is.

Paul continually was seeking to know Jesus in the sense of becoming one with His Life, so when the members of Christ’s Body are raised to meet Him at His appearing, Paul will be among them. Attainment to the first resurrection must be accomplished now, during our discipleship.

It appears we have a point of doctrine turned upside down. We think of Heaven as something to be attained and the first resurrection of the dead as being an external event that will provide all believers with a body like the Body of Christ whether or not they have lived as a saint in the world.

The truth, as we understand it, is the reverse. Going to Heaven after physical death is the birthright of all sincere believers in Christ. Unless we fall away from our faith in Him and go back into sin, into a rejection of Christ, we will go to a holy part of the spirit realm when we die.

We do not have to fight our way into Heaven. Heaven is not the land of promise. Heaven is a wonderful Paradise in the spirit realm—a real place. It is a change of environment for us while God is preparing His temple and His Kingdom. Heaven is a staging area for the army of the Lord, a place of waiting for the future kings of the earth.

The out-resurrection from the dead, of which Paul spoke in Philippians, Chapter Three, is something to be attained. Indeed it is! "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:6). These are God’s rulers, the victorious saints, the all-powerful royal priesthood whom God is preparing to rule with Christ.

These are the judges, the sons of God whose coming the Hebrew Prophets have foretold (Isaiah 53:12; Joel 2:2; Micah 5:3; Obadiah 21; Zechariah 14:5).

Revelation, Chapter Two mentions that the victorious saints will rule the nations of the earth with a rod of iron. There is a spiritual law that dictates as follows: "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." We learn to suffer with Him now, in this life. We learn to overcome and to govern our own heart with a rod of iron now, in the present life.

The burden of the Lord today concerns the sons of God and their ministry of judgment during the Day of the Lord. If we would be on solid scriptural ground it would be a good idea to use the term first resurrection or out-resurrection, rather than rapture. The term first resurrection brings us into the mainstream of the concepts present by Paul and John, and by the Hebrew Prophets as well.

The Day of the Lord, the return of Christ to the earth in the same manner in which he departed, will be accompanied by maturity and overcoming strength on the part of the disciples. Both the wheat and the tares will have come to maturity in that day.

The coming of the Lord is a revolution and spiritual triumph that is related to the birth of the ruling Son, as described in Revelation, Chapter 12. The ruling Son represents Christ who is being formed in the saints in the present hour.

The teaching of the "rapture" is leading the believers into a false sense of security regarding the events of the Day of the Lord. Because of this unscriptural doctrine the saints are not growing in spiritual maturity nor are they prepared for the persecution and tribulation that are at hand.

Earth’s problem is the sin of its inhabitants. The earth is a beautiful place in which to live. The purpose of redemption is not to pull people away from man’s God-given home!

Earth’s problem is not physical, it is spiritual. The spiritual problem arises from the fact that the spirits of the nations come from fallen angelic rulers who are enthroned in the air above us.

The spiritual bondage will continue until the members of the Body of Christ overcome the accuser. As soon as they overcome the ancient dragon, he and his followers will be hurled down from their thrones.

When Jesus appears, those who are part of His Life will receive their bodies from the dead. Then their bodies will be transformed by the flowing of power from His body. After that they will rise to meet him in the air, there to be seated on the thrones recently vacated by Satan and his followers.

The essential action that will change the present age into the Kingdom Age is the seating of Christ and the members of His Body on the thrones that govern the earth. They are the kings from the East, as we understand it.

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (Revelation 16:12)

The coming of the eternal, righteous rulers cannot take place until we have attained the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Christ must enter us, cast out all that is of darkness, and take His rightful place on the throne of our personality. Only then will we be eligible and capable of being raised at His coming.

Have you stopped at the born-again experience? Have you stopped at the "tongues" experience? To do so is not wise. We must press forward until we are "filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).


The cross and the crown.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)

If we would reign with Christ we must accept the suffering that God sends to perfect us.

Wasn’t one of the sources of Jesus’ suffering summed up in these words, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not"? We have stated that the feast of Tabernacles represents perfection—the fullness of redemption. Whoever would press through to God’s mark of perfection may not always be surrounded with admirers. He or she may walk alone for a season.

The cleavage between Joseph and his brothers represents the separation that occurs between the multitudes of Israel and those whom God calls to Himself in a special manner.

They are dreamers of dreams, these called-out ones, and sometimes they are foolish enough to believe their brothers will listen gladly to their dreams of glory and authority. They may finally end up in a pit, cast out by their own (church) families.

Sometimes the world, as in the case of Joseph, is quick to perceive the gifts and abilities of the cast-out ones. In the end, the called-out victorious saints will serve to sustain the family of God (and the world also). These are the hundredfold Christians and they are a firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

(Make sure that you do not separate yourself from your brothers in Christ through your foolishness and pride. It probably is true that Joseph could have handled his revelations more wisely than he did.)

The rejection by one’s spiritual family (Israel) occurred in the life of Jesus. The common people heard Jesus gladly. They always do. The world to this day recognizes the extraordinary gifts of Jesus of Nazareth. But His peers in Israel, those who should have embraced Him as the Israelite of the Israelites, cried for His blood. Here is a cruel cross—to be cast out by your own.

It is not that your gifts and ministries are to become inaccessible. Your service must remain fruitful for those people for whom it has been designated. Jesus’ ministry brings salvation to all people to whom He has been sent by the Father.

It is you yourself, the way you do things, that may be incomprehensible—therefore suspect—to your brothers.

You may walk alone some of the time. Yet you are not alone. You are sharing the sufferings of Him who rose early to be with His Father, who listened always to the voice of the Spirit rather than to the world, Satan, His own desires for pleasure or comfort, or the self-seeking elders of the Jews.

Jesus, like Paul, was free from all men. Suffering and rejection accomplish that for us.

If we would obtain resurrection life we must learn what it means to share in the sufferings of Christ. The cross and the crown always go together. There is a daily crucifixion of our self-life, and sometimes physical suffering and mental and emotional distress, as we follow Christ to the place of victory.

In the fourth chapter of II Corinthians, Paul describes the continual crucifixion and resurrection of the disciple:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 8-11)

The above passage is a description of the manner in which resurrection life is created and developed in us while we yet are in a mortal body. It is to the process of continual dying and continual living brought to the full that Paul is referring when he teaches concerning knowing the fellowship of His sufferings and attaining to the resurrection from among the dead.

When resurrection life has been developed in us, and we have learned to live in it, move in it, obey it, rest in it, be empowered and guided by it, then—and only then—will we be ready to be clothed with our "house which is from heaven." Isn’t this what Philippians 3:9-11 is declaring?

The fullness of the "Tabernacles experience" includes the eternal indwelling of the Godhead in us, we having been clothed with a righteous, powerful "house" possessing incredible abilities and energies.

The indwelling of the Godhead, the spiritual renewal of our mortal body, the clothing with our house from Heaven, and the ascent to the throne in the air, constitute the first resurrection.

Movement to and from Heaven, from the material realm to the spirit realm and back again, is no more essential to the first resurrection than driving across town is essential to owning an automobile or flying to Alaska is necessary for owning an airplane.

Movement into the air is associated with the first resurrection from the dead only because the Body is being joined to the Head, and because the vacated spiritual thrones located in the air are to be occupied by Christ and His saints. Otherwise ascension has nothing to do with resurrection.

The nature of the first resurrection is the development of the Life of Christ in us and, when this has been accomplished, the extension of that Life into our mortal body. Attaining to the out-resurrection is equivalent to attaining the fullness of eternal life (Romans 8:11).

Back to Philippians 3:10,11:

. . . being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead.

"Paul, you have attained. You are the Apostle to the Gentiles. You, of all people, are part of the resurrection from among the dead."

Paul responds, "Like you, I must press forward until the resurrection life in me has filled every aspect of my personality. The resurrection body will clothe only a resurrected personality.

"The Lord God of Heaven has no intention of clothing an infantile, self-centered, fleshly self-life with an eternal house having the capability of transcending all limitations of space and time. Let us not deceive ourselves along this line. What a believer sows he shall reap.

"I do not count that I have attained as yet."

"Paul, you are just being modest. You can’t mean what you are saying. If you are pressing forward to attain Christ, to arrive at the resurrection from among the dead, where does that leave us? You are just saying the platitudes we have come to expect from religious leaders."

"No, I am not speaking platitudes. The fact is, I am not as yet perfect!"

Notice that resurrection and perfection are linked together in Paul’s mind

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:11,12)

God has called us to a glorious resurrection rest in Him, both in our inner man and in our body as well—the two eventually must and shall go together. We must fight our way by faith into our possessions under the leadership of the Spirit of God. The fullness of the "Tabernacles experience" is the perfecting of the resting of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit in a transformed Christian personality.

The mortal body then will be "eternalized," shall we say, by being clothed with a heavenly body of truly magnificent capabilities. The heavenly body will have desires toward holiness rather than toward sin.

The inner perfecting and clothing-over is the true nature of the first resurrection from the dead. It is the reward of the overcomer. Changing one’s location is of little spiritual significance. The royal priests, being clothed in immortal, glorified bodies, will be able to appear and disappear, and go from one point to another with the speed of thought. We shall have a body like that of the Lord Jesus.

The members of the Body, of the Wife of the Lamb, will be raised from the dead at the appearing of Christ. Then they will be caught up to meet Him at His coming. The resurrection and the ascension are a witness to the nations of the earth that the true government, the Kingdom of God, finally has come to bring righteousness, peace, and joy to the earth. The wicked nations will be destroyed. The righteous nations will enter eternal life.

The Lord Jesus is the Firstborn from the dead, the Beginning of the new creation. Our resurrection will be patterned after His.

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus was characterized by the rejoining of His spiritual Personality with His flesh and bones, and then by the clothing of His flesh and bones with the most extraordinary capabilities. It is to the earlier resurrection, the out-resurrection of the royal priests that precedes the general resurrection of the dead, that the Apostle Paul was seeking to attain.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (Philippians 3:13)

What could a man with the background of Christian experience and ministry of the Apostle Paul have been striving to reach? Whatever it was, it remains as the goal of the Christian discipleship. Since the feast of Tabernacles typifies the fullness of salvation, we may say that Paul was seeking to attain the "Tabernacles" fulfillment.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. (Philippians 3:14)

Perhaps the most important idea contained in the thoughts we have presented on the last few pages is that there is a definite, attainable "mark" toward which the Christian is to be pressing. We are to be awaiting with joyful expectancy the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. But at the same time we must be pressing toward that mark, as Paul teaches. The mark is the fullness of the indwelling of Christ in us. He Himself Is the Resurrection and the Life.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philippians 3:15)


Isaiah, Chapter Twelve. In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of John we find these words:

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37,38)

What connection does the statement about "rivers of living water" have with the feast of Tabernacles, for it was during the "great day" (the eighth day—Simchat Torah ) of Tabernacles that Jesus spoke these words?

Perhaps the connection is that the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the setting up of the Throne of God in the heart of the Christian. The Holy Spirit flows as a river from the Throne of God, from nowhere else (Ezekiel 47:1; Revelation 22:1). When God is enthroned in the heart of the saint, the River of Life will flow forth for the healing of the nations.

The concept of the inner River of Life is found in Isaiah, Chapter 12, a passage of Scripture that the Jews associate with the feast of Tabernacles.

"Behold, God is my salvation;"

Let us repeat the message of the feast of Tabernacles. The fullness of salvation is not another spiritual principle or secret to add to our collection. God Himself is our goal. God is our salvation. Every other goal is in danger of becoming idolatry.

"I will trust, and not be afraid:"

The word trust is significant here. The experience of Tabernacles is characterized by a restful trust in the Lord, an abiding in Christ, a fearless, secure repose on the Rock of Ages. This kind of calm resting in the strength of Christ is an important part of the daily life of victory in Jesus.

"For the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song;"

It is not that the Lord merely gives us strength or gives us a song. He Himself is the strength. He Himself is the song.

Marriage to Christ, the possession of God Himself, is the greatest attainment of the Christian discipleship. All the other aspects of salvation are means toward this supreme end. He who is married to the Lord Jesus Christ has inherited all things. He who has rejected Christ has lost all things.

"He also is become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."

What or who, are the "wells of salvation"? Consider the following:

. . . out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

. . . and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)

From the above passage it sounds as though the Christians are the "wells of salvation." The feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled when God and Christ take up their abode in the heart of the Christian saint.


The Law of God. The feast of Tabernacles is associated with obedience to the written Word, the Law, of God. Notice that John 14:23, a statement referring to the Christian fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, shows us that there is a relationship between obeying the Word of Christ and the dwelling of the Godhead in us: "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

In Deuteronomy 31:10,11: ". . . in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he will choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing" (see also Nehemiah 8:13-18).

The hearing and keeping of God’s law is linked with the feast of Tabernacles. The ultimate expression of the Law of God occurs when the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit rule in the heart of the saint.

Completion of the harvest season. The feast of Tabernacles signals the completion of the harvest season: ". . . And the feast of ingathering (Tabernacles), which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field" (Exodus 23:16).

The completion of the harvesting of the Christian personality by the Lord is the redemption of his mortal body. The redeeming of our body is an important part of salvation by faith in Christ:

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

There is coming an adoption of the physical body. Our inner, spiritual nature is born of God. Our mortal body has not been born of God although it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the tabernacle of God. The adoption of the body, its redemption to eternal life, is the consummation of the Christian salvation.

From our point of view, the churches have not paid nearly enough attention to the redemption of the physical body as part of salvation by faith. We have not always explained the close relationship and interaction between the pursuit of the overcoming life now and the receiving of bodily redemption at the appearing of the Lord Jesus (Romans 8:11; II Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 3:11; I John 3:3; for example).

The redemption of the body (remember that the Spirit of God dwells in our physical body—I Corinthians 6:13-19) has not been pointed to as the climax of the maintenance of victorious faith in Christ.

It appears the redemption of our body (when it is given any thought at all) is regarded by the churches as being an external event over which we have little or no control, such as the planet Earth slowing down and finally falling into the sun.

Such inevitability is not the case at all. Physical death is not a "natural" state of man although Satan would enjoy having us think so.

Physical death is a major part of the original curse on mankind and is the perpetual, direct, and certain consequence of sin and rebellion.

Death, physical and spiritual, is an enemy that is to be destroyed on the basis of Jesus’ finished work on Calvary. Physical death shall be destroyed as soon as the faith and holiness of the Body of Christ reach the required level (in association with the return of Christ to the earth).

Neither spiritual nor physical death are "natural" states of being. Death is the product of the work of the enemies of God and man. Death (separation from the eternal Life of God) was destroyed legally on the cross of Calvary and is destroyed actually as the Spirit of Christ works through the joyous obedience and faith of the members of His Body.

Begin to get in your personality a spirit and attitude of war, of faith, of courage, of casting out the devil, that our mighty Christ maintains toward death—the archenemy of mankind.

May we add that we do not support those who allow themselves to be deceived to the point where they claim to have redeemed bodies now. Even to suggest such a thing is to be deluded and snared. Anyone who thinks he possesses a redeemed body now can prove it easily by passing through the wall of a house or by flying through the air.

It is equally a snare and a delusion to relegate the redemption of the body of the saint to an external event that will include all believers regardless of their state of spiritual maturity—an event unrelated to the maturing faith of the victorious saints.


An increase in available glory. The writer subscribes to the teaching of I Thessalonians 4:15-17 and to everything else the Apostle Paul wrote. We know the Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven with the shout of war. We know the dead in Christ will rise and the purified remnant left on the earth will be transformed into immortality and caught away in clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air.

We know this event will take place literally at the coming of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is warning us that many church members of today are not prepared spiritually for the coming of Christ. They are not living victoriously in Christ. They will not be entrusted with roles of responsibility and power in the Kingdom Age that is near at hand.

They will not receive a glorified body. Only the victorious saints, the overcomers, those who, like Paul, have attained to the earlier resurrection by coming into union with the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, will be raised, caught up to meet the Lord, and clothed with a body like the body of the Lord. These are the members of the royal priesthood. They have overcome the world, Satan, Antichrist, and their own lusts and self-will.

Today is a time of preparation. We are to be prepared by receiving an ever-increasing amount of virtue and strength from the living Lord, Christ. Such virtue and strength is available now to the seeking disciple.

It appears to be true that the majority of the Christian people will continue in deception until the coming of the Lord.

When we halt for a moment our many activities and pray sincerely enough and long enough to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, we may discover He is commanding us to wash our garments in the blood of the Lamb and to prepare ourselves for an increase in spiritual strength and victory. He now is ready to lead us into the fullness of God, into the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Tabernacles of the old covenant will have been fulfilled in the new covenant when our physical body has been redeemed and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are abiding in Their fullness in our whole personality—spirit, soul, and body.

The redemption of our mortal body by a fullness of the resurrection life being developed in us now, plus the donning of the heavenly body that has its rise before the Throne of God as our mortal body is sown to death in the present hour, plus the coming to dwell in us of the fullness of God, compose the consummation—the completeness and perfection of the Christian redemption.

The feast of Tabernacles, marking the completion of the harvesting of all the fruits of the earth, was celebrated by the Hebrews with the greatest joy and rejoicing. When God and Christ through the Holy Spirit come to us in Their fullness in the Day of the Lord we will experience such joy, peace, and rest—the fullness of the Divine Glory—that it will require a redeemed body to contain it all.

Our many possessions and activities shrink in value in our eyes when compared with His Presence. Our idols are placed in perspective and we can see them for what they truly are. He is God and must be the focus of our attention at all times. He will be the focus at all times if we love and serve Him as He deserves to be loved and served.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:21-23)

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)


Three Holy Convocations

We have mentioned before that the seven feasts were divided into three major convocations:

Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits.

Pentecost (the feast of Weeks).

Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles.

When we were describing the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ we stated that the first convocation (Passover) portrays Christ as the High Priest of God; the second major convocation (Pentecost) portrays Christ as the Prophet of God; and the third convocation (Tabernacles) portrays Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

Now that we are discussing the redemption of the individual believer, let us look at the three major convocations as representing three reapings of the believer’s personality.

It may be somewhat enlightening to think of the three reapings as three deaths and three resurrection which the saint experiences. We may think of the three deaths as the death of the gate (leading into the Courtyard of the Tabernacle of the Congregation), the death of the door (leading into the Holy Place), and the death of the veil (leading into the Most Holy Place.


The first reaping. Although the Godhead is One and acts as One, it appears the Lord Jesus Christ is especially prominent in the first reaping, the death and resurrection typified by our entrance through the gate of the Courtyard of the Tabernacle. The first death and resurrection are typified also by the first of the three major convocations of the feasts of Israel (the feast of Unleavened Bread—Deuteronomy 16:16 above) and by the exodus from Egypt and crossing of the Red Sea.

We experience the first reaping, so to speak, when we accept the Lord Jesus as the atonement for our sins and put no confidence in our own ability to satisfy God by our righteous behavior. We no longer trust in our self-righteousness or our keeping of religious laws, and cast ourselves on the righteousness that is of God by faith in Christ.

The first death is death to the world. It is followed by the judgment of God on the gods of the world who have kept us in bondage. Calvary is the judgment of God on the gods of this age. The first death is followed by a first resurrection—a resurrection to the righteousness of God through Christ.

We walk from darkness into the light of God’s Presence. We now are legally members of the Kingdom of God and eligible to press into the Kingdom. We are born again of God. We are baptized in water in obedience to God’s command, portraying the fact that the authority and power of the kingdom of darkness have been left behind and we now are God’s servants.

The first reaping occurs instantly. By faith we reckon ourselves dead with Christ and by faith we reckon ourselves alive with the resurrected Christ. Our new born-again personality is raised to sit with Christ in God. It is an instant death and an instant resurrection. From this time forth we walk in the righteousness of Christ that has been assigned freely (imputed) to us. We are clothed with His own righteousness.

The second reaping. The second reaping is to the Holy Spirit. It is typified by the door of the Tabernacle. It is typified also by the second major convocation—Pentecost (the feast of Weeks), and by the giving of the Law on Sinai.

We experience the second reaping as we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit and set out to walk in obedience to the law of the Spirit of life. We forsake our fleshly lusts and seek to live in the discipline of the Spirit, putting to death the deeds proceeding from the lusts of our physical body, as the Spirit enables us.

The death of the door includes confessing and resisting our sins. It is the judgment of God coming on the sin that is in us. The second reaping results in a second resurrection—the resurrection of the power of the Holy Spirit working in our life. It is life lived in the Spirit.

We come to know the Holy Spirit in two ways: first, as the One who gives us gifts and ministries so we can contribute, and also receive from fellow saints, the grace of Christ. Christ’s grace comes through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, building us up into the unity of the faith, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Second, we come to know the Holy Spirit as the One who brings forth in us the fruit of Christ-likeness: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. The Spirit who dwells in us yearns over us with a godly jealousy. He wars against Satan, against the spirit of the world, and against our fleshly lusts.

The second reaping occurs progressively, taking place over a period of time as the Holy Spirit leads us into various circumstances. We do not obtain release from our sinful tendencies in a moment. In actual experience, our release from the bondages of evil is a daily dying and a daily renewing of life as the Holy Spirit brings us down to the death of the cross and then imparts Divine Life to us so we can overcome evil with good.

The Holy Spirit keeps bringing to us the virtue of the broken body and shed blood of Christ so we can keep overcoming the wickedness that is in us and surrounds us. The second reaping occurs slowly, proceeding from our daily dying to the lusts of our flesh. Death, life! Death, life! Death, life! Will it never end? Yes it will, if we do not cease pressing forward but remain faithful to the dealings of the Lord with us.


The third reaping. The third reaping brings us into a clearer knowledge of the Father. The third reaping is typified by the veil of the Tabernacle, the division between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. It is typified also by the third major convocation (Tabernacles) and by the crossing of the Jordan River.

We experience the third reaping when we press past Pentecost, coming to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. We determine that we want to become the servant of the Lord. We present ourselves before Him so He may use us as He will in His Kingdom for eternity.

The third reaping concerns the death of our self-will. It is accompanied by the judgment of God on us as a person. The third reaping will be climaxed by the resurrection of our mortal body to glory at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds with the saints and holy angels.

Having pressed into the third area we are walking more in the image of Christ. We are fighters against the enemies of the Lord. We are part of God’s "Servant" who is described in the Book of Isaiah. We are becoming one of God’s kings, ruling over our allotted portion of God’s creation. We are becoming one of God’s priests, interceding before Him and bringing the knowledge and Presence of the Lord to those in need.

The third reaping occurs over a period of time as we are brought into the death and resurrection of Christ. This is the suffering of the righteous person being made perfect. The suffering creates in us obedience to the Father.

For example: the good we do is said to be evil; our justice is taken away; we are humiliated without reason; we suffer wrong at the hands of our brothers; God deals with us endlessly, night and day, testing every thought, every word, every motive. We behold wrong and are forbidden by the Lord to criticize. We become blind and deaf in the Lord. All our "springs" arise in Him. He becomes the source of our life. We no longer are permitted to indulge in the self-seeking that other believers practice.

The ability to obey the Father in every situation grows in us over a period of time. The fullness of the reward that results from the third reaping is instantaneous. Glory will be given us in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

If we are willing to allow the Father to conduct this final reaping of our personality according to His own satisfaction, our reward that will come from Heaven will be beyond our ability to conceive in the present hour. The sufferings may be prolonged and, at times, intense. Compared with the glory that will be revealed in us the sufferings are not worthy of mention. Let us press forward to the fullness of Christ.

The idea of the three major reapings is important. The concept appears many times in the Scriptures, such as in the three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; the three convocations of Israel; the thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold of the parable of the sower in Mark, Chapter Four; the fruit, more fruit, and much fruit of John, Chapter Fifteen; the three levels of Noah’s ark; the three anointings of David; and in several other biblical illustrations and incidents.

Paul was caught up to the third heaven. Hosea declares: "After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:2).

The three reapings are seen most clearly in the design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, where we have the Courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place. Notice that the three areas are levels of holiness. We are to be growing in holiness every day of our Christian discipleship.

The first area is that of initial salvation. Everyone at this level has been washed in the blood of the Lamb and will be saved from destruction in the Day of Judgment.

The Courtyard was surrounded by the linen fence of righteousness. It was lighted by the sun, indicating that Christ was crucified out in the open where He can be seen plainly by the lost. The sunlight reveals also that this area is for the saved nations of the earth, whereas the Holy Place and Most Holy Place typify the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the royal priesthood, the Kingdom of God.

The second area is that of the ministry of the Church. This is a priestly level. It is the place where the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit are causing Christ to be formed in the Body of Christ.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle speaks of the Church partaking of the broken body and shed blood of the Lamb of God, of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and of the Spirit-filled prayer and worship that ascend from the Body of Christ to the Father in Heaven.

The purpose of the Holy Place is to bring us to the God of the Most Holy Place.

The second area was lighted at night by the Lampstand. This signifies the ministries and activities of the Holy Place will be directed by the Holy Spirit during the evening of the Day of the Lord. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit cannot be understood or appropriated by any individual who is not a member of the royal priesthood. All that is conducted here is to be under the supernatural guidance of the Spirit.

The third area, the Most Holy Place, is that of perfected holiness and obedience, of the fullness of God’s Glory, of the fullness of authority and power, of the image of Christ created in the saints, and of the disciple’s union with the Persons of the Father and the Son through the Person of the Holy Spirit.

The third level is lighted neither by the sun nor the Lampstand but by the Glory of God shining from between the cherubim that overshadow the Mercy Seat. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is here, having been established forever in the heart of the saint.

The first area leads into the second. The second area leads into the third. We finally will arrive at the fullness of Christ if we follow on to know the Lord.

At this time God is establishing in His Kingdom ranks of authority and power. In order to attain to and remain in the first rank we must agree to all God demands of us. At each point of challenge we must relinquish our grasp on survival, security, pleasure, and personal ambition and commit our welfare to Christ. There can be no area of our thinking, speaking, and doing that is not completely submitted to Christís will for our life.

Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)

And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)


THE PERFECTING OF THE CHURCH

To this point in our study we have discussed the physical description of the seven feasts of the Lord, how they were observed literally. Then we mentioned the way in which the feasts portray the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Next, we stated that the seven feasts typify the process of redemption working in the life of the individual Christian as he or she is brought from the lowest pit of bondage all the way to the Throne of God and of the Lamb.

The remainder of the study addresses the manner in which the feasts of the Lord symbolize the perfecting of the Christian Church, the Body of Christ; and finally how they typify the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The process of the redemption of the believer, and the perfecting of the Christian Church, are closely related. The perfecting of the Church depends on the perfecting of each member of the Body.

There are some thoughts, however, we may wish to consider. Individual disciples are free to press into Christ and to work with the Holy Spirit on their own time schedule. Meanwhile the Christian Church as a whole is moving ahead on many fronts.

It is our point of view that all true Christians are members of the Christian Church, the Bride of the Lamb. We believe also that before Jesus returns there will take place a worldwide revival in which multitudes of people will believe and be baptized, and after that there will be a reduction in number of those who profess faith in Christ and only a purified remnant will be ready to meet the Lord when He comes. It may be true that the majority of believers will not be raised until the end of the thousand-year period. The Bride finally will be without blemish. Many are called but few are chosen.

As we look about us we can observe Christians making headway as they progress toward maturity in Christ. Not all groups of Christians are at the same point, some are further along in holiness and spiritual understanding. The Holy Spirit is working with each group that will cooperate with Him.

When we are discussing the Church of Christ we of necessity are discussing the Temple of God. The Church of Christ is being created by the Lord as a dwelling place for God Almighty in the earth.

It is impossible, in the present hour, for God to live among men—God being who He is and what He is, and we being who we are and what we are. Nevertheless, it is God’s intention to live and rule in the earth among His creatures. His purposes and workings are directed toward this end (Exodus 25:8).

God is perfectly at rest in His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, because Christ is righteous, holy, and obedient to God—always doing the things that please the Father. God wants more "living stones" in His Temple. Therefore He has "broken" Christ, so to speak, and shed His blood, making possible the creation of a bride for the Lamb and also an enlargement of God’s Temple, His dwelling place in the earth.

The Church begins as assemblies of believers. These are the local churches. When God is finished, every believer will have been created in his individual place in the Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the holy city, the new Jerusalem. This is the destiny of the Church and of the individual disciples as well.


Three Holy Convocations

We have mentioned previously that the seven feasts of the Lord were grouped into three major gatherings or convocations: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The three gatherings portray symbolically the development of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Passover and the Week of Unleavened Bread emphasize the Church as assemblies of the redeemed, covered with the blood of God’s Lamb, baptized in water, and basking in the light of His acceptance. God’s righteousness has been assigned to each member on the basis of his or her receiving the atonement made by Christ on the cross.

The assemblies of the redeemed are the first stage of the development of the Church of Christ. There are hundreds of thousands of such assemblies of God’s people throughout the earth today of various persuasions and backgrounds.

The second gathering was Pentecost, the feast of Weeks. The corresponding area of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was the Holy Place. The Holy Place was dominated by the golden Lampstand. If the seven lamps of the Lampstand ceased to burn, the other two furnishings of the Holy Place, the Table of Showbread and the Altar of Incense, could not be seen.

We understand from the first chapter of the Book of Revelation that the Lampstand represents the Church:

. . . and the seven candlesticks [lampstands] which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:20)

The feast of Pentecost and the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation both portray the Christian Church at its second stage of development. At this level the Church no longer consists only of assemblies of believers covered with the Passover blood. There now is the beginning of the transformation into the Body of Christ.

The Lampstand, with its two sets of side-branches, represents the twofold aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ:

The manifestation of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit.

The fruit of holy moral conduct grows in each member of the Body of Christ as the result of the Holy Spirit abiding in him.

Gifts of power and revelation added to righteous and holy conduct constitute the light of the world. All proceed from Christ who is being formed in the members of the Body of Christ.

During the celebration of Pentecost two large loaves of the finest wheat flour, baked with leaven, were waved before the Lord. The two loaves represent the double portion of the Holy Spirit that is to be poured on the Church just before the coming of the Lord.

The outpouring of the Spirit that will accompany the transition from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age is typified also by the two sets of fifty clasps, one gold and one bronze, that were located over the veil of the Tabernacle—the point at which the Holy Place passed into the Most Holy Place. A Pentecost of glory and a Pentecost of judgment will come upon the Church as it moves from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place, from the Church Age to the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The fine flour represents the righteousness and purity of Christ that have been wrought in the substance of the Church. The leaven speaks of the sinful nature that still is in us and also of the new leaven of the Kingdom of God that is expanding in us.

The third major gathering was the feast of Tabernacles. When the Church has attained the desired level of maturity, the Father and the Son through the fullness of the Holy Spirit will establish Their eternal residence in the Church.

The union of Christ with His Church will take place in a firstfruits of His Church at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, when the Lord descends from Heaven. By the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, as we understand the Divine plan, the entire Church, the Wife of the Lamb, will have been reconciled to the Lord. Then the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will descend from the new heaven and be established for eternity on the new earth.

We now shall review the seven feasts as they portray the maturing of the Church, keeping in mind that the perfecting of the Church requires the perfecting of each member of the Church in that the Church is composed of the redeemed believers.


Passover

When we consider the exodus of Israel from the land of Egypt we see a picture of the Church of Christ coming out of slavery to the God of the present wicked age. The blood of the Lamb covers the Church. Therefore, the judgment of God "passes over" the Church as the Lord God executes judgment on the unclean evil lords of the darkness of the world.

Although such an escape occurs every time an individual cleaves in faith to Christ, the most complete fulfillment of the symbolism of the exodus will take place as the Lord Jesus sends the great tribulation on the earth and then gloriously removes His Church from the cruel bondage of the Satan-controlled spirit of the world.

It is helpful to realize Israel is one, whether we are studying the Old Testament or the New Testament. The called-out people of God, the Seed of Abraham, God’s kings and priests, are one Church. The new covenant always is addressed to "Israel," the people of God whether the individual believers are Jewish or Gentile by natural birth (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Hebrews 10:15-17).

The things that happened to Israel are for our instruction and admonition on whom the end of the age has come. The coming out of Israel from Egypt under the hand of God was our coming out. First, the Church came out of Egypt physically, as a figure of the spiritual exodus that was to come. Now the Church is coming out of the spiritual bondage of darkness, out from the authority and power of the Pharaoh of the world (Satan). Under the old covenant the Church was protected by the blood of carefully chosen lambs. Under the new covenant the Church is protected by the Lamb whom God has chosen—Christ.


Unleavened Bread

When Israel followed Moses through the Red Sea the authority and power of Egypt were left behind. Pharaoh and his army attempted to pursue God’s servants. The Egyptians were drowned in the process. The "leaven" of Egypt, to speak in a figure, was destroyed by the power of God’s judgment.

The Church today follows Christ through the waters of baptism. Water baptism is a portrayal of the destruction of the authority and power of the spirit of the world, as far as the individual being baptized is concerned.

The Church takes its place with the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, and also is raised spiritually to sit with Christ in the heavenlies at the right hand of the Father. Satan attempts to pursue the Church, but Satan never can follow the Church through the cross of Christ. The cross is Satan’s end.

The authority of Satan was destroyed in the heart of the earth as God’s chosen Conqueror, Christ, became the Redeemer of mankind—the One who, through the enabling wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, paid the full price of redemption for every human being.

Satan cannot destroy the validity of that transaction by any means whatever.


Firstfruits

The Church of Christ comes up from the waters of baptism, as did Israel from the Red Sea, and stands at the beginning of the "wilderness area. The wilderness area is a place of purification for the Church (reminding us of the purification of Queen Esther).

The Church is "born again" into the Kingdom of God by the Spirit of God. At this point the Church is legally free from the bondage of the spirit of the world. However, the process of separating the Church from every trace of the power and influence of Satan has just commenced.

The Church is the firstfruits, after Christ, of the earth. It is God’s first reaping of mankind. The Church has access to the heavenlies and holds the keys of the Kingdom of God.

Through the Holy Spirit the Church is seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ. Whatever the Church binds on earth is bound in the heavens. Whatever the Church looses on the earth is loosed in the heavens.

The Church, when it is living and acting in the Spirit of God, possesses the full authority of Christ. The Church is the light of the world, the ambassador of Christ, Jacob’s ladder, the Body of Christ on earth and in Heaven.

The Church is the Kingdom of God. It is in the victorious saints of the church that the laws of the Kingdom will first be kept in the earth. The Church is the beloved of the Lord Jesus and is the center of His attention. The Church is Mount Zion, the holy dwelling place of God in Christ.

The life of the Church is the broken body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The body and blood of Christ are the food and drink by which the Church lives.

There is a tremendous amount of evil in the world, evil that the Church cannot overcome by its own goodness. When enough evil encompasses the Church, the Church becomes bowed in bitterness and discouragement. The body and blood of Christ is the "good" by which the Church is able to shake off the darkness and overcome the evil that is in the world.

Although the Church on earth is made up of saved flesh-and-blood people, there yet is another aspect of the Church.

The Church begins as the assemblies of the redeemed. Because of the continual eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ, and through many additional services of the Spirit of God, a miraculous transformation take place in the Church. It becomes Divine in Substance and nature, being filled with the Person of the Lord God of Heaven.

The Church is created on the Substance of Christ just as Eve was created on the substance of Adam. The new creation that is fashioned is not adamic flesh and blood; rather it is of the Substance of Christ Himself. The true Church, that which is created from the body and blood of Christ, is born of God.

The true Church will emerge from the assemblies of the redeemed just as a beautiful butterfly emerges from the cocoon. The true Church is without spot or wrinkle. The true Church is without blemish of any kind whatever.

There are two aspects of Christendom. There are the assemblies of the believers on the earth, and then there is the one true Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb. The Church is the Wife of the Lamb because the food and drink of the Church is the body and blood of God’s Lamb. The Church is born from above, not from the earth.

Although the Church begins as groups of saved people of various beliefs and cultural backgrounds and practices, the true Church is not the gathering together of these diverse groups of the saved. The true Church is created from the believers by the working of the Holy Spirit, employing the substance and nature of Christ.

When God has completed the fashioning of the Bride of the Lamb, the heavenly Eve, she will be a marvelous creature indeed. She will be in the image of her Lord, Christ. She will be beautiful, holy, righteous—a perfect helpmate for Christ in every detail.

The Church, the Bride of the Lamb, will not have been made perfect until the thousand-year Kingdom age has been completed, according to our understanding. It is at the time of the creation of the new heaven and earth, the Scripture informs us, that the Bride will descend from God from the new Heaven. Until that moment she is being made ready.

It is our interpretation of the Scriptures that only part of the Wife of the Lamb, a firstfruits of the Church, will be ready when the Lord appears. There is a first resurrection from among the dead. Those who attain to the first resurrection are blessed and holy, being filled with the Life of Christ. They will be raised and will ascend to meet Him in the air. They will be revealed together with Him.

Perhaps the remainder of God’s elect, of true Israel, will be taught and strengthened by the initial company until all Israel is ready for resurrection and glorification. The concept of the part coming out until the whole has been reconciled to God follows the type of the two anointings of David: first, as king of Judah; second, as king of all Israel. Another type is the separation of the Ark from the Tabernacle of the Congregation until the Ark and the remainder of the Tabernacle were brought together again in the Temple of Solomon.

There is no question that there will be levels of attainment in the Kingdom. It may be true that at the coming of the Lord those who have borne fruit to the hundredfold level will sit on the highest thrones. Other believers will also be of the royal priesthood but not endued with the total authority assigned to those who have given all to Christ.

The idea of there being ranks in the Kingdom of God has much support in the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments. The hundredfold saints will be rewarded according to their attainment in Christ.

The fact that only Peter, James, and John, were permitted to view the transfiguration of Christ adds support to our view that the Lord will bring in the Kingdom with a warlike remnant of believers.

The days of tribulation that even now are upon us will result in the dividing of the Church into a holy remnant and the balance of professing Christians. There will come forth a Gideon’s army, and through this small number of "Israelites" the armies of darkness will be put to flight. Then all Israel will join in the triumph over the enemy and the victory celebration.

Christ is so extraordinarily vast and perfect—far, far more so than any of us have the remotest conception—that the Bride, in order to be the helpmate of the Lord Jesus, cannot consist of groups of imperfect flesh-and-blood people. The Bride is a spiritual creation, fashioned from the body and blood of Christ. The Bride is of His Being, of His nature, of His Substance, of His wisdom, of His Spirit, of His flesh, of His bones, of His Life. He is our Life.

The first three feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, bring the Wife of the Lamb to the school of the wilderness. She now is ready for the working of the Holy Spirit that will result in her transformation into the image of Christ.

Her transformation into the image of Christ is in preparation for the entrance into her of the Father and the Son through the Spirit in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.


Pentecost

The Church of Christ was born in Pentecostal fire and power. The feast of Pentecost represents the Holy Spirit coming upon the Church, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.

The two loaves of fine wheat flour waved by the anointed priest during the feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:20) portray the double portion of the Holy Spirit on the Lord’s witness in the earth, which is His Church. The two lampstands of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation are a similar figure. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . ."

(Acts 1:8).

The greatest witness ever to be given to the world during the Church Age will take place just before the Lord returns. The end-time witness will be a revelation of Divine Glory, and also of Divine judgment. This is the witness that will prepare the way for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The two olive trees symbolize the extraordinary anointing of the Holy Spirit for the worldwide witness. The two lampstands speak of Christ, Head and Body, who will bear the witness to "many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (Revelation 10:11; 11:4).

One of the most important types of the Holy Spirit found in the Scripture is Eliezer of Damascus (Genesis, Chapter 24). Abraham sent this man, his chief steward, to obtain a bride for Isaac. Here is a portrayal of the Holy Spirit obtaining a bride for Christ, the Son of the Father.

The Holy Spirit has been charged by the Father in Heaven to create the Bride of the Lamb. The Holy Spirit has been given complete responsibility for the fulfillment of this mission. It is time now for Christian people to begin to realize the authority of the Holy Spirit and to obey Him. Creating the Church is the responsibility and task of the Holy Spirit. We only hinder the work unless we are directed by the Spirit.

It is the writer’s point of view that the Holy Spirit must be given much more prominence in the Church of Christ. It appears sometimes that we do not understand the role of the Holy Spirit. We seem to view Him as some kind of spiritual phenomenon which we should attempt to manipulate in order to accomplish our notions of what is good for our local church or for our own Christian experience.

That is not the manner in which authority and power are arranged in the spirit realm. The Holy Spirit has been charged by the Father with the building of the Body of Christ. Our task is to become responsive to the will of the Holy Spirit. His task is to present the Bride without spot or wrinkle to the Son. This is the Spirit’s charge from the Father. The Spirit never will rest until the Bride is perfect.

In line with His commission to create the Bride, the Holy Spirit of His own wisdom and will assigns gifts and ministries to the members of the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit works unceasingly with the goal in mind of bringing the Bride to maturity.

It is our understanding that in the days to come the Holy Spirit must become increasingly prominent, because the latter stages of the maturing of the Bride cannot in any manner be touched by the efforts of the flesh of men no matter how well intentioned those efforts may be. The Ark is coming down the road, so to speak, and there are times when human beings are to keep their distance (II Samuel 6:6).

The Holy Spirit has been given absolute authority and power over the Church to bring it to Christ as a helpmate. The Holy Spirit is active in all that the Church is and does.

The Holy Spirit enables the Church to pardon or retain sins (John 20:22,23). It is the Holy Spirit who gives the Lord’s apostles the power to bear witness of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:8).

The Holy Spirit directs the work of the ministry (Acts 13:2). The Holy Spirit informs the churches of things to come (Acts 20:23). The Holy Spirit appoints the overseers of the churches (Acts 20:28). We Christians are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). The Holy Spirit assists us in prayer (Romans 8:26; Jude 1:20). We are born of the Spirit (John 3:6). The Holy Spirit is a well of living water in the Christian (John 7:38,39).

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17). The Holy Spirit exercises judgment through the churches (Acts 5:9). The Holy Spirit is the law of the Body of Christ, the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2). The Holy Spirit who dwells in us is the One who will make alive our mortal body at the appearing of Christ from Heaven (Romans 8:11).

The Holy Spirit enables us to put to death the deeds of our flesh (Romans 8:13). The Holy Spirit leads the sons of God (Romans 8:14). The Holy Spirit is a pledge on the greater glory that is to come to the saints (Romans 8:23). The Holy Spirit helps us overcome our weaknesses (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit gives to every believer the gifts of revelation and power appointed to him (I Corinthians 12:11).

The Holy Spirit is the Substance of the new covenant (II Corinthians 3:6). The Holy Spirit is the One who transforms the believer into the image of the Glory of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18). It is the Spirit of God by whom we Christians minister to people (Galatians 3:5).

The fruit of the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us is righteous, holy, and obedient conduct (Galatians 5:22,23). Godly Christian behavior is possible only through the abiding of the Spirit. It is through the power of the Spirit that we are able to gain victory over the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16). Christ-likeness is the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the well-intentioned efforts of the believer.

If we sow to the Holy Spirit, obeying Him in all things, we will reap everlasting life (Galatians 6:8). God dwells in us through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). The Holy Spirit strengthens the inner man of the believer (Ephesians 3:16). The Holy Spirit seals the Christian to the Day of Redemption (Ephesians 4:30). The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It is the Spirit who wields the Word of God in judgment (Ephesians 6:17).

It is through the Holy Spirit that each believer is baptized into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13).

The preceding references may give us some small idea of the extent to which the Holy Spirit is to be prominent in the creating of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the Church of God, the new Jerusalem.

The Holy Spirit is the One who has been charged by the Father with obtaining a bride for the Lamb of God, Christ. The Holy Spirit will take the lead in the affairs of each assembly if we will allow Him to do so. Otherwise, nothing of eternal value will be achieved through our efforts.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation portrays the Church of Christ—the individuals who have been called out of the world in order to be made a kingdom of priests. The Holy Place represents Israel, the people of God, the holy nation, the peculiar treasure to God of all the peoples of the earth.

During the present age the Holy Spirit is adding people to the Church, the Body of Christ. After the called-out have been added to the Church it is the intention of the Holy Spirit to build them up into perfected saints, into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

There are three areas of the work of the Holy Spirit in building the Body of Christ. The three areas are portrayed in the three furnishings of the Holy Place:

the Table of Showbread

the Lampstand

the Altar of Incense

Previously we noted that none of the three furnishings could be seen at night if it were not for the light proceeding from the seven lamps of the Lampstand.

The light from the seven lamps was created by the burning of olive oil contained in the lamps. The olive oil is a type of the Holy Spirit. We learn from this that the three areas of building the Body of Christ depend on the Holy Spirit for their work of ministry.

The Table of Showbread, with its twelve loaves of unleavened "Presence Bread," represents the Body of Christ. The light from the Lampstand illumines the Body of Christ on the Table so the Church may eat the Life Substance of her Lord. In this way the Church receives the eternal Divine Life and then is able to share this Life with the peoples of the earth as the Christians provide ministry, prayer, counsel, deliverance, and fellowship for those in need.

The saints are able to impart the Life of Christ to the extent they themselves possess it, just as Jesus Himself gives His Life, the Life of God, to those who come to Him and ask.

The Lampstand represents the light that the Church shines abroad on the nations of the earth. The light is nourished by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who is the "oil"—the fuel of the light that shines from the Church.

The term Messiah or Christ refers to "the One anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit."

The "oil" of the Spirit flows down from the Head and covers the Body of Christ:

It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (Psalms 133:2)

The ointment is "life forever." "Aaron" is mentioned because it is the Lord’s royal priesthood that is anointed with oil. The Body of Christ is the Body of the High Priest of God—Christ.

The Holy Spirit is as seven lamps that burn brightly before the God of the whole earth. The Holy Spirit shines from the Body of Christ bringing wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, the obedient fear of the Lord, judgment, righteousness, justice, power to break every bondage of sin and corruption, to every person on the earth who is willing to receive the Divine redemption that is in Christ.

When the Holy Spirit shines through the Church the Life of the broken body and shed blood of Christ is in the shining. There is Divine Life. There is all the power and wisdom the oppressed need in order to be set free.

Christ—Head and Body—is the Lampstand of God. The Holy Spirit is the oil, the fuel, by which the Lampstand burns, giving light. When the double portion of the anointing of the Holy Spirit abides on the Body of Christ, the wisdom and power of darkness must retreat. When the darkness is overcome by the anointing the peoples of the earth will be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The Altar of Incense, the third furnishing of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, portrays the prayer and worship of the Body of Christ. More than that, the Altar of Incense speaks of death to self-will. The holy incense can arise only from the cross.

Until the self-life of the believer has been crucified with Christ, true prayer and worship cannot come forth. When the believer participates in the death of the cross, giving God (as He calls for them) the dearest possessions of his or her soul, acceptable prayer and worship go up to the Father in Heaven.

The burning incense of the Tabernacle yielded a holy perfume. As the Substance of Christ is worked into the nature of the Church, and the fire of God’s judgment comes down on the Church resulting in the "death" of the saints, the holy perfume arises, a sweet savor of Christ coming up before God.

The holy incense "smells" of Christ. It is the Spirit-filled adoration and petitions of the members of the Body of Christ. The adoration of the Church and its supplications and intercessions must proceed from the righteous, holy, and obedient Divine nature of Christ that has been pounded into every fiber of the Church.

Prayer and worship that come from the unsaved, or from the fleshly nature of the immature believer, may serve some good on occasion. The ever-merciful God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every creature. But the prayers and adoration ascending from a Spirit-anointed, Christ-filled Church are an awesome power in the universe. They move the heart and hand of the almighty God.

The feast of Pentecost represents the second stage in the perfecting of the Church. First came redemption from the hand of "Pharaoh" (Satan). The second step is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in building up the Church to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

There are at least three major works of the Holy Spirit taking place in the earth today:

Judging the members of the Body of Christ in preparation for the last (and greatest of all) preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation on the earth as a witness, thus preparing of the way of the Lord in His Kingdom (Matthew 24:14).

Calling out the Bride and purifying her by a baptism of fire (Isaiah 4:3,4).

Bringing back from the north country, and from all other countries, the seed of the house of Israel, and establishing them in their own land (Jeremiah 23:8).

Each of the three works shall be accomplished. There is no power in the heavens, in the earth, or in the realms under the earth, that in any manner can prevent any of the three from taking place perfectly and completely. They will take place, "not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."

For two thousand years the leaders of the Christian churches have had their hands on the Ark, so to speak. In the last days the true works of God will be accomplished by the Spirit of God. The remainder of the Christian activity (and there will be an abundance of "Christian" activity throughout the reign of Antichrist) will proceed from the wisdom, talents, and energy of flesh and blood.

There is coming in our day a division between babylon, flesh-directed Christianity, and the holy remnant. The Spirit of God will abide on the remnant. In babylon will be neither the Spirit of God, nor the voice of the Bridegroom, nor the voice of the Bride. Let the reader make sure that his decisions from this point forward are made in the Spirit of God.

We have come now to the third and final stage in the development of the Church into the complement of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Trumpets

When we come to the fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets, in the perfecting of the Church, there are two aspects that must be considered carefully. One aspect concerns the part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets that is occurring now. The other aspect has to do with the part of Trumpets that will take place when the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven.

It is a mistake to assign the fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets in its entirety to a later date and to remain in the belief that there are no significant experiences of redemption after speaking in tongues.

Surely the testimony of Paul in the third chapter of Philippians reveals that speaking in tongues is not the last experience before the historical first resurrection from the dead. Paul’s attitude was not only one of expectant waiting (although expectant waiting for the return of Christ is a proper attitude for the saint) but a vigorous pressing toward the mark of the fullness of the knowledge of Christ.

As we have stated, there are two different aspects of the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets. One fulfillment is yet to come—the heralding of the appearing of the Lord Jesus with the holy angels. This event will take place at the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age rule over the earth of Christ and His saints.

It is the other aspect of the Blowing of Trumpets that we want to be certain we do not miss. It is the part of the fulfillment of Trumpets that is occurring now.

Some of the saints of Christ of every age have pressed through into all the experiences of redemption we are describing in our book. But now a large part of the Church has partaken of Pentecost and is ready for Trumpets. What part of redemption is available to the Church today as it presses past Pentecost?

The trumpet of God is sounding in the Church, announcing to us that God is ready to go to war against the sin in the Body of Christ. The trumpet prepares the Church for spiritual warfare, for gaining total, complete victory over Satan, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Little by little the Holy Spirit is revealing to the Church the nature of spiritual warfare. Sin is becoming more sinful to us and we are receiving strength to resist sin. We are coming to understand all sin is a worshiping of Satan, that "he that committeth sin is of the devil" (I John 3:8).

We are becoming acquainted with Christ of the Twenty-fourth Psalm, the Lord strong and mighty in battle.

The Body of Christ is crying out to God, "Your Kingdom come. Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven." We are growing past being concerned solely with our own plans, our own salvation, our own experiences, our own ministry, to being concerned with the purpose and will of God. We are receiving the desire to become part of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1).

The burden of the Lord Jesus for the possession of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth is becoming our burden. We are much more conscious of the relationship of the Church to the spirit realm and to the creatures of the heavenlies. The Church is beginning to be aware of its Divine origin and Substance, having previously considered itself to be an earth-bound, social organization in the local community.

Under the impetus of "Trumpets" the Church is beseeching the Lord to make Jerusalem a praise in the earth and to fill the whole earth with the Glory of God, as God promised Moses.

We are aware of our need for a much deeper death in Christ than we have experienced before and a much greater participation in His eternal, incorruptible Life. Our chief desire is to know Him—the power of His resurrection, the sharing of His sufferings.

Our burden is to attain to the first resurrection from among the dead, the resurrection that will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year period (Revelation 20:4-6). We groan for the redemption of our mortal body so we may serve the Lord in the fullness of righteousness, power, and liberty.

Our highest desire is to receive the fullness of the Father and the Son into our personality. We long for complete transformation into the image of Christ and to be filled with Him.

The trumpet of the Lord heralds the coming of the King to us, a personal, inner resurrection of our soul. The result is the awakening of spiritual life in us with the resulting burdens and understandings described above. Since the "Trumpets" experience is a true resurrection (although not the resurrection of the body, which will occur at the return of the Lord from Heaven), it is followed by an eternal judgment on our personality. This is why the Day of Atonement follows the Blowing of Trumpets.

Our spirit is raised in the feast of Firstfruits. Our soul is called up for judgment in the Blowing of Trumpets. Our body will be raised in the feast of Tabernacles.

Pentecost is a turning point. Before Pentecost the chief occupation of the members of the Church is with ourselves: how God saves us, what benefits will come to us from being saved, how we shall build the Kingdom of God, and so forth.

As we receive and then press past Pentecost, entering the spiritual fulfillment of the last three feasts, we become much more occupied with God’s purposes, not only in us but also in all the peoples of the earth.

Our own sins of deed, word, motive, and imagination come to our attention and, through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, we confess them and then resist the enemy.

We follow Christ into death, loving not our own lives to the death. We choose each day to live only in and for His Glory. Christ Himself becomes our Way, our Truth, and our Life.

There will be a second, future aspect of Trumpets. Christ will descend from Heaven. Those who are asleep in Jesus will be raised from the dead. Then we who yet are alive on the earth will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. From this moment onward we shall be with the Lord Jesus.

Our bodies will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The present wicked and rebellious age will be finished. The new age of the Kingdom of God will commence. The faithful will receive their rewards and the righteous will shine in the Kingdom of their Father.

As we understand the Divine plan, not all believers in Christ will be raised at the next coming of the Lord Jesus. The first resurrection is for the royal priesthood. It is a resurrection that must be attained. It is for the hundredfold, for those who are not dead but asleep in Jesus. They already have attained to the first resurrection. When Christ is ready to appear, the eternal life that is in them will be extended to their bodies. The eternal life in them is the "oil" referred to in the parable of the ten virgins.

In order to participate in the first resurrection the individual must first have passed through judgment with the Lord. It is not possible to have any element of the personality with which the Lord has not dealt successfully, and still participate in the first resurrection. Participation in the first resurrection is an indication that the individual has passed from death to life. The Lake of Fire has no authority over any person who is eligible to be revealed in the first resurrection.

The Church will rule all nations, under Christ, with the rod of absolute authority and power. The Church will be the light of the world. The peoples of the earth will come of their own will to learn from the Church concerning the Father and His Christ (Isaiah 2:3). The wolf will dwell in peace with the lamb. There will be nothing that hurts or destroys throughout all the earth.

The Wife of the Lamb will be learning of her Lord and growing in His Virtue and Character. We understand, however, that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will not be a perfect age. Although Satan has been bound, the nations still will remain susceptible to temptation. As soon as Satan is released he will be able to persuade the nations to rebel against God, even though they have been instructed by the Church for a thousand years.

There is an immediate aspect of Trumpets and a future fulfillment, both of which have significance for the building of the Church, the Body of Christ. We must pay close attention to the purposes that the Holy Spirit has in the fulfillment of Trumpets in the present hour if we hope to be ready for the earth-wide blowing of the trumpet of God at the appearing of the Lord from Heaven.

If we are not faithful in the lesser we will not be entrusted with the greater. If we are not faithful in responding to the blowing of the trumpet now we will not be prepared for the blowing of the trumpet of God in the great and terrible Day of the Lord to come.


Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement has a past, a present, and a future fulfillment in the Church of Christ. The past fulfillment was the redemptive death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The present fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is our dealing with the sins and self-will in our life, as the Holy Spirit enables us to do so.

The future fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the Kingdom Age reign of Christ, the thousand-year period.

To correctly perceive the meaning of the Day of Atonement we must understand its two dimensions: the forgiving of the guilt of sin and the destroying of the hold of sin upon us.

We have discussed previously in our study how the slain goat of Leviticus, Chapter 16 concerns the forgiving of the guilt of our sins, and the living scapegoat concerns the removal of our sins from us.

The first dimension, the forgiveness of our sins, was accomplished on the cross. The second dimension, the removal of our sins from us, will have its greatest fulfillment during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, when the power of Christ redeems the earth from the bondage of sin. This will be the fullest expression of the Levitical Year of Jubilee.

What about now? Do the Scriptures indicate there is deliverance for us now? Or do the Scriptures condemn us to keep sinning and rebelling against God until Jesus returns and sets us free?

Romans 8:13 informs us that if we continue to live according to our fleshly lusts we will die spiritually. We cannot live in the appetites of the flesh and attain to the first resurrection from the dead. If we will put to death the deeds of our body we will live spiritually.

The task of the Church is to be receptive to the leading and energizing of the Holy Spirit as He mounts the attack against the sins that we believers are committing.

As soon as the Holy Spirit makes known to us where the problems are, we are to confess those sins. The response of Christ is to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Book of I John, as do many other passages of the New Testament, exhorts the Church to gain victory over sin, to cease committing sin. We must wash our robes continually, keeping them clean and white in the blood of the Lamb.

It is the responsibility and task of the Holy Spirit to give the

Church the wisdom and strength to put to death the sins of the flesh.

To grow in grace means to grow in the ability to discern between sin and righteousness, and to be able to choose the righteousness and to resist and reject the sin (Hebrews 5:12-14).

The Church faces the Day of Atonement as a creature that has been redeemed through the blood of Christ, has partaken of His broken body and shed blood, and has received the Holy Spirit.

Now the Church must come face to face with the Holy Spirit in the matter of the sins of deed, word, motive, and imagination. The Lord of the Church, Christ, has made an atonement for her by the shedding of His own blood. Now she must avail herself, not only of the forgiveness of the guilt of her sins but also of the Divine power that seeks to destroy sin’s power over her.

The Bride of the Lamb must overcome every aspect of Satan’s personality. Both the Lamb and His Bride must love righteousness and hate lawlessness. The Church is not at that point as yet, but she will be brought there through the provision God has made in the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. The Bride must be purified, as typified by the story of Queen Esther.

The counterpart of the Hebrew Day of Atonement is occurring now in the Church of Christ. It is being announced by the trumpet of the Holy Spirit sounding in the churches:

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

As soon as the Church has been made ready, the authority and power of the Day of Atonement will be brought to the earth. The creation will be redeemed from the horrible bondage of sin and death and released into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

When the marriage of the Lamb comes, the Bride will have made herself ready in advance. The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the making ready of the Bride. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the bringing into union of the Bridegroom and the Bride and the manifestation of the marriage.

The main purpose of the thousand-year period, as we understand it, is to make the Bride perfect. After the thousand years has been completed, all the tools that God has used, including the earth and all the heavenly bodies, will pass away. A new heaven and a new earth will come into view. Then the Glory of God will fill the Bride and she will be presented to the saved nations of the earth at the beginning of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

It is our opinion, as we stated previously, that there will be a firstfruits of the Bride. The firstfruits consists of those who are willing to be united with Jesus now. They will walk with Him in white when He appears. The wise believer "sells all" so he may "buy" the first resurrection.


Tabernacles

As is true of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, there is part of the feast of Tabernacles into which the Church may press now. Then there will be a future, glorious fulfillment of Tabernacles that will exceed in joy, magnificence, glory, and beauty anything the disciple of Christ can imagine in the present hour.

Let us think for a moment about the current fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:23).

If we have been alerted by the trumpet of the Lord sounding in the spirit realm, and we proceed to the Day of Atonement by confessing our sins and overcoming them through the assistance the Holy Spirit gives, we will begin to experience a much fuller abiding of Christ in us than we have known.

The more we press into the overcoming of sin and into obedience to the Father, into the death to our self-life that the Lord requires, the more we will be blessed with His abiding Presence.

Paul had set his hand to knowing the Lord in His fullness. This must become our goal also—to come to possess Christ in a greater way than ever before. God through Christ desires to live and move and have His Being in us. We must be prepared and strengthened if we are to receive the fullness of the indwelling of God. The Holy Spirit performs the work of preparation in us (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles are at hand, ready now for careful attention and acceptance by the Church. This is the first time in history when such a large part of the Church is at the place where this kind of progress in Christ can be made.

In time past there have been individuals who have pressed through to the fullness of Christ. Today there are many believers who are ready to move ahead in God’s plans and purposes. God always is ready. It is we Christians who must address ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s will in a diligent, faith-filled manner so we may move ahead in and with Christ.

What of the future fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles? It is so wonderfully glorious that we possess only hints of what it will be like. It is the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The Bride, the Church of Christ, will be as a city surrounded by a wall constructed from precious stones. The wall of the holy city represents the resistance to sin being developed in the Church. The all-important resistance to sin and rebellion is created in the hearts of the saints.

The street of the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, is transparent gold, symbolizing the absolute clarity and transparency of the refined nature of the members of the Body of Christ. In the city is the Throne of God and of the Lamb. From the throne flows the Holy Spirit in depth and width that cannot be crossed. Along the banks is the tree of life, which is the Substance of Christ in the Church.

The holy city, as well as Ezekiel’s Temple, finds its truest and highest spiritual interpretation when it is applied to the heart of the believer.

In the new Jerusalem there will be no need for the light of the sun or the light from a candle, "for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." The saints will behold the face of the Father—wonder of wonders!—and will minister before Him.

God’s servants will rule forever over the kingdoms of the earth (Revelation 22:5). The nations of the saved will walk in the light of the new Jerusalem, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honor to the city in respectful homage.

There will be no unclean thing in the city, all sin and rebellion being kept out by the massive walls and gates. Here is the Tabernacle of God among men. Here is the final result of the work of the Holy Spirit in building the Body of Christ. Here is the eternal complement of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is the dwelling place of God and of the Lamb to the ages of ages. Here is the result of the travail of the soul of the Lord Jesus. Here is every good, every perfect, every acceptable, every righteous, every beautiful, every pure, every peaceful, every glorious thing brought to the fullness of holiness, radiance, and usefulness. Here is the complete and perfect fulfillment of all God has promised.

What a time of joy there will be when God descends from Heaven in the holy city! All the plantings of God now have been reaped and processed. It is the time for giving back all things to the Father by the Lord Jesus. Then will come the eighth day of Tabernacles, the first day of the endless week of eternity.

With such a goal in view, how can the Church of Christ do other than to cry, "Lead on, Lord Jesus, no matter what the cost!" The Christian Church still is in the early stages of perfection. God has shown us in the Book of Revelation what the Church will be like when it is completed.

All things will be inherited by those who overcome. Let us make sure we are counted among those to whom the Lord Jesus can say, Well done, good and faithful servant. You have served me with all your heart during your mortal life as a Christian. Enter the eternal joy of the Kingdom promised to you by My Father.


THE SETTING UP OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

We have mentioned the manner in which the seven feasts typify the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the redemption of the believer, and the perfecting of the Christian Church, the Body of Christ.

Now we will discuss briefly how the feasts are fulfilled in the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The Kingdom of God is the rule of the Church, of the called-out royal priesthood, over the saved nations of the earth. The Church holds the keys of the Kingdom and has the authority and power to bind and loose in the spirit realm, to pardon or retain sin, when the Church is thinking, speaking, and acting in the Spirit of God.

The Church of Christ, the Ruler over the Kingdom of God, possesses the authority and power of Divine judgment. God’s Kingdom is being established through the Church.

The Kingdom of God is the rule of God through Christ through the saints. The Kingdom of God will bring righteousness, peace, and joy to all the saved nations. God’s will shall be done in the earth as it is in Heaven when the Kingdom of God has been established in the earth.

The Church is a called-out group of people who are being fashioned into the Body of Christ. Christ has been conceived and is being formed in each member of the Body. We may say, therefore, that the Kingdom has been conceived and is being formed in each member. We are baptized by the Spirit into the one Body of Christ; but the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, is born in us. Unless a person is born again he neither can see nor enter the Kingdom of God.

The purpose of the period of time from the ascent of Christ until he returns to the earth is the creating of the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. The Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the true Israel of God, is being chosen from among the peoples of the earth—especially from among those who are of the seed of Israel by physical birth.

It appears God’s true Israel will make progress in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ during the thousand-year period, and then will descend from Heaven to serve as the ruling city of the new earth. The Law will go forth from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

"So shall we ever be with the Lord," the Scripture declares, and no doubt our constant association with Him in the work of the Kingdom during the ages to come will make us much more like Him than we are now.

The worldwide acceptance of Christ will take place when the Church has been made one in the glory and love of God. The day will come when God’s Church, which is the new Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, the Israel of God, will be exalted above the nations of the earth. This is the vision of the Hebrew Prophets. This is the Gospel preached by John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles of the Lamb. It shall come to pass, and no power can stop it.

Let us examine how the three major convocations, and then the seven individual feasts, portray the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.


Three Holy Convocations

The grouping of the seven feasts into three major convocations, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, reveal the three stages in the setting up of the Kingdom of God in the earth.

However, the three convocations must be regarded in the reverse order, Tabernacles, Pentecost, and then Unleavened Bread, if we would behold the setting up of the Kingdom from God’s point of view.

It is true also of the Tabernacle of the Congregation that the order of the holy furnishings must be reversed if we would understand them from God’s point of view. God beholds the furnishings as commencing with Himself between the wings of the Cherubim of Glory, and then working out toward the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering.

In setting up the Kingdom of God, God began with the Holy of Holies and is working toward the Courtyard, in terms of the Tabernacle.

God began His Kingdom with the holiest of all—the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is the only true Tabernacle of God.

It is interesting to note how the seven feasts of the Lord portray the work of Christ when we look at them in reverse:

Christ came to earth as the Tabernacle of God—the One in whom the Father dwells eternally.

Christ made an atonement for us.

Christ rose from the dead in fulfillment of the feast of Trumpets.

Christ shed forth the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Christ called out His Church as a firstfruits of the peoples of the earth.

Christ through the Holy Spirit is removing the leaven of malice and wickedness from the Church.

Christ, the Lamb, will pass over those who put their trust in Him when He pours out the judgments of God on the earth.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Tabernacle of God. God began His Kingdom with Christ.

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)

Next in order are the victorious saints. The victorious saints are invited by the Lord Jesus, in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, to lay hold on the prizes of life, authority, and union with God.

Those who, through the Lord Jesus, manage to overcome Satan will escape the judgment that surely shall fall on the members of the churches who continue to compromise with the world. The victorious saints will be raised to the thrones of judgment and glory that control the saved nations of the earth. Their ascent to the thrones will bring in the thousand-year period of righteousness, peace, and joy.

The saints are members of the churches. They press forward in Christ when so many of the "believers" are content to dawdle about in the rudiments of salvation. There is a reward for seeking Christ with the whole heart. The reward will be given to whoever will set his heart on God.

Christ and His victorious saints are the beginning of the feast of Tabernacles.

The second stage in the setting up of the Kingdom of God is Pentecost. God poured out His Spirit at the beginning of the Christian Era, has continued to pour it out on various occasions since that time, and in the closing days of the present age will pour out the Holy Spirit as a tremendous witness of the salvation and Kingdom that are in His Son, Christ.

The third stage in the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth is portrayed in the first major convocation—Unleavened Bread. When the Kingdom of God has had its full impact on the earth, every trace of leaven will have been removed. No wickedness or rebellion will be found anywhere.

It always will be possible for people (and angels) to rebel against God. Christ and His saints will rule with a rod of iron throughout the thousand-year period, putting down all rebellion, and cleansing the earth from sin.

The reason there will be no rebellion or sin during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ is not because people no longer will be able to rebel or sin but because the saints of God will be ruling. It is the rule of the Kingdom of God that will preserve righteousness, peace, and joy on the earth.

It is difficult to conceive of the removal of every trace of sin and rebellion from the earth. It appears at times that even God’s people are not desirous of the abolishing of all sin. Therefore God’s people still are part of the problem. They are not fit to rule with Christ because they themselves still are rebelling against God, to a certain extent. They have not as yet overcome their love for the ways of Satan.

As Christ is formed in us and we understand God’s intentions toward the earth, we begin to share with Christ a militant attitude toward Satan and an unswerving determination to bring every deed, word, and motive under the absolute lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There will be a destruction of sin throughout all the earth.

There will be no further need for redemption because the saints will not permit the entrance of sin into the creation of God, not by people or angels. Silver typifies redemption, in Scripture symbolism. We look in vain for a mention of silver in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ as it is described in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation.

There is no mention of silver because all sin and rebellion has been banished from God’s Presence by His sons.

The coming of the Kingdom of God is the coming of the Law of God to the earth.

The Lord Jesus announced the law of God when He gave the Sermon on the Mount. The law given in the Sermon on the Mount is the eternal law of God. The Divine moral law always has been in existence and always will be in existence.

The laws of the Kingdom of God (as well as the Law of Moses) were kept perfectly by Christ as He lived and ministered on the earth.

Next, the overcomers, the victorious saints, through the virtue and power of Christ, are learning to keep the eternal moral law of God.

Throughout the thousand-year period the entire Israel of God will learn to obey the eternal law of God.

Finally, all the saved peoples of the earth will be taught by the Church the eternal moral law of the Kingdom of God:

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

Notice, in I Corinthians 15:23-25, the stages in the establishing of the authority and Life of God on the earth.

. . . Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

Notice the phrase, "afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming."

We have mentioned our belief that only a firstfruits of those who are Christ’s will receive their bodies at His coming. The greater part of the elect, of the Israel of God, must be brought to perfection throughout the thousand-year period. This belief appears to be contradicted by the statement that they who are Christ’s will be raised at His coming.

We think the reason for the seeming discrepancy is that the entire thousand-year period is the Day of the Lord, the coming of the Lord. Whether the Lord’s elect are raised at the beginning of His coming or at the end of the thousand years, they still are raised at His coming.

There are too many opposing types and statements for us to accept the generally held concept that all who name the name of Jesus will be raised at His coming and clothed in the eternal robes of the royal priesthood.

For example:

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

There were many believers in Sardis who had defiled their garments. They will not walk with Christ in the white robes of the priesthood when He appears.

There are many believers today who have defiled their garments, and they will not walk with Christ in the white robes of the priesthood when He appears. It is a cruel hoax to promise the lukewarm church-attenders that they will be caught up in a "rapture." The Scriptures are opposed to the concept of the nonovercomer eating of the tree of life.

To overcome is not merely to profess faith in Jesus, it is to overcome the world, Satan, our bodily lusts, and our self-will by taking up our cross and following Jesus each day. Such are the only true Christians, the disciples, the attainers to the first resurrection from among the dead.

Our point of view is that all who are not raised as part of the royal priesthood will appear at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, there to receive their destiny at the hand of the Lord.

The thousand-year period was not as well known to Paul and Peter as it is to us. The thousand-year period was revealed to the Apostle John while he was in exile.

Notice that Peter, when speaking of the "day of the Lord," spoke only of what will take place at the conclusion of the thousand-year period:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (II Peter 3:10)

The passing away of the elements does not take place until the end of the thousand-year period. But the Apostle Paul refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus at the beginning of the thousand-year period as the "day of the Lord" (I Thessalonians 5:2). Therefore the Scripture views the "day of the Lord" as the entire thousand-year period.

The resurrection and ascension of the saints described by the Apostle Paul will include only a firstfruits of God’s Israel and is a special "first resurrection" from among the dead (Revelation 20:4-6). The remainder of the Church, the Kingdom of God, must be brought spiritually to the place where it can be glorified with Christ before it will be ready for resurrection.

As we have stated previously, David was with his heroes in the wilderness, was anointed king over Judah, and after that, king over all Israel. We think the reign of the Lord Jesus over His Israel will come in stages.

Spiritual truth usually can be ascertained by observing what is true in our midst now. It surely is true today that the reign of Jesus over His people is not completely satisfactory, except in the case of a few intense disciples. The coming of the Lord will not change this variety of subjection to the Lord’s will; rather, it will reveal it. It appears clear that a work of atonement must take place in the majority of the Lord’s elect before they are ready for the fullness of the abiding of the Father and the Son, and the fullness of resurrection glory.

Gideon’s three hundred are a scriptural portrayal of the coming of the Lord: first, victory performed by a few; later, the participation of all Israel in victory.

It is a misunderstanding of Paul’s teaching of "grace" that has given rise to the current notion that all believers will participate in the same glory, in the same rewards, at the same time, by "grace." It is a wresting of Paul’s doctrine of grace, and may lead the individual to destruction.

The three major convocations looked at in reverse order reveal the pattern of the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth. However, as we examine the kingdom-wide acts of God we will discuss the feasts in the usual order, for we can understand them best that way. They are seen from our standpoint as human beings approaching God the Father through His Christ.


Passover

The cross of Christ is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Passover. Passover marks the beginning of the work of redemption for all people, and also the end of the first creation.

The protection offered through the blood of God’s Lamb is for everyone. Whoever will accept the blood of Christ as a "token on his house" will be saved from the wrath of God when God "passes over" to destroy the gods of this age.

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). The blood-shield is placed over us when we call on the name of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that no person be destroyed but that all come to repentance and accept the protection of the blood of the cross.

Christ was offered once on the cross for all people:

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

The four horns on the four corners of the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering speak of the spreading of redemption and the Kingdom of God to the four corners of the earth. Truly, if Christ is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself. God meets mankind at the cross and only at the cross.

The Kingdom of God (past, present, and future) is founded on the cross of Christ—on the fact of the transfer of all authority and power to Him by His payment of the price of redemption with His blood. Here is the legal basis for the setting up of the Kingdom and for the exercise of the power of God in setting people free from the bondage of sin and death.

The feast of Passover will be revealed in complete kingdom-wide fulfillment, as will each of the other feasts of the Lord, during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. All the saved will be on the new earth, having received the benefits of the blood of the cross.

We are not stating everyone eventually will be saved for this is not true. It would be an ideal situation if everyone would receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. This certainly would please the Father. Unfortunately, however, some will not accept the atonement made by Christ or His Lordship over their life. Because they have rejected Christ, God has rejected them.


Unleavened Bread

The descent of Christ into death is the beginning of the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Unleavened Bread. Unleavened Bread reminds us that the leaven of the old creation was abolished in Christ. All the rebellion and pride that originated in Heaven and then came into the earth was removed through Christ for every person who is willing to receive Him.

When Jesus cried out, "It is finished," the "it" referred to the first creation with its rebellion and sin. Now there is a new creation, beginning with Christ and there is no place in it for the leaven of sin.

The physical Body of Christ lay in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea during the feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus Himself, in the Spirit, had carried away the leaven of the world into the heart of the earth. The crucifixion of Christ signifies the end of the old creation. Not just the Church, but the whole world died in Christ. Everything of the old came to an end on the cross. God is starting all over again and Christ is the firstfruits of the new creation of God.

Whoever will receive Christ will be saved, which is to say he or she will be made part of the new creation.

When the believer in Christ enters the waters of baptism he is entering by faith into the death of Christ. When he comes up from the waters of baptism he is portraying that, as far as he is concerned, the first life, the first world, is finished. All the leaven of it has been destroyed with his whole first personality.

When Christ came forth from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea the leaven of the old creation had been left in the heart of the earth, in the realms of darkness and eternal death and separation from God.

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:13,14)

The feast of Unleavened Bread will realize its complete kingdom-wide fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. There will be no leaven of sin and rebellion anywhere on the new earth or in the new heaven. Sin will have been destroyed from the earth by the Lord Jesus working in, through, and with His saints.


Firstfruits

The resurrection of Christ is the fulfillment of the feast of Firstfruits. In the death of Christ, God the Father brought to an end His creation. When Christ rose from the dead He was the first—the beginning—of the new creation of God.

The crucifixion and entombment of Christ was the crucifixion and entombment of the whole creation. The resurrection of Christ was the bringing forth of the firstfruits of the Kingdom of God in which every creature, thing, and circumstance finds its center and circumference in Christ.

Every person who rejects Christ succeeds only in cutting off himself or herself from the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God, which will endure forever, was born when Christ rose from the dead. Christ Himself is the First of the firstfruits. Then follow the saints of Christ, who are a firstfruits of the earth (Revelation 14:1-5). Next, the whole Church itself is a firstfruits of the creatures of God (James 1:18). Finally the world will be harvested (Psalms 96:13; 97:5; 98:9; for example).

The feast of Firstfruits will be expressed in complete kingdom-wide fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. There the Wife of the Lamb, who is the firstfruits to God of the peoples of the earth, will stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, having been created so through the work of the Holy Spirit of God.

The Lamb’s Wife will have been created from the body and blood of Christ just as Eve was created from the rib of Adam.


Pentecost

After having been saved and filled with God’s Spirit the believer is to move forward toward the rule of the Kingdom of God—toward keeping the laws of God and serving God’s pleasure and purposes. He is to become part of the Servant of the Lord, who is Christ—Head and Body.

We understand from the Scriptures that the ministry of the Holy Spirit will increase as we draw near the coming of the Lord from Heaven. The testimony of the two witnesses (Revelation, Chapter 11) portrays the double portion of the anointing that will come upon the Christian Church just before the appearing of the Lord Jesus.

The testimony of God will be empowered by the Holy Spirit, we believe, until every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth has both seen and heard the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the power of that Kingdom.

By speaking of seeing the Gospel of the Kingdom we mean signs and marvelous wonders will follow the testimony of the good news of the Kingdom, just as they did in the first century, except that now they will appear in greatly increased power and glory and will be more widespread (Joel 2:23-32).

The good news, concerning which the miracles of power will bear witness, is that the Kingdom of Christ is about to be established on the earth and whoever chooses to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved from the wrath of God that now is close at hand.

Although God will permit the testimony of the Church to be overcome in order to make way for the maturing of evil in the earth (II Thessalonians 2:7; Revelation 11:7; 13:7), when the Lord Jesus returns the Holy Spirit will be poured through the saints in such fullness of Divine glory that eternal resurrection life will be as a deep and wide river that will cover the earth.

We have noticed that the thousand-year Kingdom Age is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus, Chapter 25). The Year of Jubilee was instituted during the Day of Atonement, every fiftieth year.

The term Pentecost means fifty. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age, which is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the day of Atonement, the Holy Spirit will be poured on the earth to an extent that far surpasses any concept we have of revival.

During the coming thousand-year Kingdom Age (which will be a jubilee of redemption for the peoples of the earth, particularly for the Church but for other peoples as well) the Holy Spirit will be as a vast, broad, deep river of eternal life that will flood the earth with the Presence and Glory of God Almighty.

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. (Numbers 14:21)

One of the results of the unprecedented flowing of the Spirit of God will be the conversion of the peoples of the whole earth (except those who rebel against Christ). The river of eternal life will flow from the saints and the "fish" will be many.

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

The tree of life (the eternal, incorruptible resurrection Life that is in Christ and is Christ) will be growing along the banks of the River of Life. This is a symbolic portrayal of the Spirit of God proceeding from the members of the Body of Christ, from those who are "planted" by the River of Life.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)

Contained in the Holy Spirit is the Substance and Virtue of Christ, the necessary food and drink for the spiritually dead of the earth.

The "leaves of the tree," which speak of the manifestation of the Spirit in the saints, are for the healing of the nations. This is true even today as the saints pray for people, laying hands on them and bringing the healing Virtue of Jesus to them.

The feast of Pentecost will be revealed in complete kingdom-wide fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The Holy Spirit will be a "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the Throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1).

In that Day the Holy Spirit will not be given, as is true now, in small amounts—a sealing, and then a measure of the Spirit for our ministry. Nor will it be as during the thousand-year Kingdom Age when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be for the release from bondage of the spiritually dead of the earth.

Rather, during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, the Holy Spirit of God will be the River of Life that will flow pure and clear throughout eternity—world without end. Every person who is permitted to enter that city will be allowed to drink until he is satisfied and as often as he likes. The Holy Spirit will be present eternally to keep us filled with the eternal Life of the Godhead.

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Revelation 21:6)

We can see from the above how very, fragmentary and limited our possession of Christ is in the present hour. Yet we can receive much more of Christ even now if we will seek Him with our whole heart.

As we have stated previously, the Holy Spirit is our law. The giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai is a type of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church. The Holy Spirit is the law of the Spirit of life. The law of God finds its fullest expression in the holy city where the law has been developed into its highest form—the beauty of holiness. The beauty of holiness is the law of God brought to perfection.

The beauty of holiness attains its complete expression in the new Jerusalem, the new Jerusalem being the creation of the Holy Spirit.

As soon as the Law of Moses had been given to Israel there followed the directions for the construction and operation of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

So it is today. As soon as the Holy Spirit, who is the law of the Spirit of life, enters us He lead us in building the Body of Christ.

In the new heaven and earth reign of Christ the Tabernacle of God will be with men. The holy city is the Tabernacle of God. The holy city, which is the eternal Throne of God and of the Lamb, is the most sublime expression of the Holy Spirit. It is the perfect, complete fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Pentecost.


Trumpets

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets will occur during the sounding of the seven trumpets of Chapters Eight through Eleven of the Book of Revelation. The last, or seventh trumpet will herald the coming of Christ in His Kingdom.

The Divine trumpet will summon the saints to rise from the dead and then to ascend to meet the Lord Jesus in the air.

The seventh trumpet announces the ascension of Christ to the thrones that govern the kingdoms of the world.

The trumpet of God will declare to the wicked and rebellious the presence of the wrath of God. The trumpet of God will herald the onslaught of the armies of the Lord against the evil forces in the earth.

Most joyously of all, as far as the meek of the earth are concerned, the seventh trumpet will proclaim the thousand-year Jubilee. The Jubilee will bring release to the creation at the hands of the sons of God. The world of nature will be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Leviticus, Chapter 25; Romans 8:21).

When the seventh trumpet sounds, God’s Kingdom will be revealed in the earth (Revelation 11:15). When Jesus of Nazareth cast out devils in the land of Israel the Kingdom of God was among the Jews.

But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Matthew 12:28)

Today the authority and power of the Kingdom of God is working in every person in whom Christ is abiding. We can enjoy the power and blessings of the Kingdom of Heaven now as we exercise faith in the Word of Christ.

The plagues of the first six trumpets are described in Revelation, Chapters Eight and Nine. These severe plagues announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords to the earth.

It is true also of believers that the coming of the Lord to us in the spiritual fulfillment of Trumpets results in "voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake" (Revelation 8:5) followed by a severe pruning of our personality. The end product of the noise and pruning is our giving a godly witness, and then our resurrection and ascension to meet the Lord in the air (Revelation 11:11,12).

In Revelation 5:1 we notice the scroll, which is the hearts of men. It has writing on the inside and on the outside. So it is that mankind makes an alluring show on the outside but on the inside there is corruption and death. When the Lamb opens the seals the history of the world is portrayed. When He opens the seventh seal, the judgment of mankind commences.

The feast of Trumpet signifies New Year’s Day, the beginning of the civil year. Business in the Kingdom of God commences with the Blowing of Trumpets. The trumpet of the Lord announces the Day of the Lord, the period when the Lord Jesus returns to the earth to set up and operate His Kingdom.

The Blowing of Trumpets will realize its complete kingdom-wide fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the time when all things have become new and the Kingdom is handed to the Father (I Corinthians 15:28). Then the Kingdom of God will govern all the works of God’s hand unto the ages of ages.

The Blowing of Trumpets heralds the coming of God in Christ to assume control of every creature on the earth. There will not be one dissenting spirit in the universe, with the exception of those who are in eternal torment. All creatures will love God and will be at rest in love, joy, peace, and thankfulness in the will of God.

Those who have rebelled against the rule of God in Christ will be in an area of eternal torment and separation from their Creator. At that time redemption no longer will be possible.


Day of Atonement

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the Day of Redemption, which is the hope of the Church and also (although they do not realize it yet) the hope of all the meek of the earth.

The Day of Redemption will bring release to the created universe. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

You may recall that there were two goats used during the observance of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16). One goat was offered for a sin offering. Its blood was sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat to make an atonement for the children of Israel.

The slain goat portrays Christ who, through His own blood, made an atonement for all the peoples of the earth. The price of redemption has been paid in full for every man, woman, boy, and girl. It remains for the individual person to accept the blood by faith as the redemption payment for his or her sins.

Through the blood of Christ the whole creation was redeemed, was released from the ownership of Satan. The blood of Christ is the legal basis on which Christ will release the world from the bondage of sin and death.

There is more to the Day of Atonement than just the change of legal ownership. There is to be an actual deliverance from corruption, not just a removal of guilt. The actual removal of sin is portrayed by the living goat (scapegoat). The sins of the people of Israel were laid on the head of the living goat and it was led away into the wilderness.

We can witness, in the ceremony of the leading away of the living goat, the removal of sins from the Church, and finally from all God’s creation. Through the death of the Lord Jesus our sins were forgiven. Also, our sins were placed on Him and He carried them out of the camp, so to speak. Divine grace in Christ forgives our sin, removes sin from us, and then repairs the harm that sin and rebellion have done to our personality.

The deliverance that is available now to the Church will be true throughout the whole earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age that is just over the horizon. When the Lord Jesus comes He will possess the authority and power not only to forgive sins but also to remove sin itself from the earth. Every person who resists Christ and rebels against His lordship will be driven from the earth when He appears.

Christ will appear as "the Lord strong and mighty in battle." Then the nations of the earth will be glad and will break forth into singing because the kingdoms of the world have come under the rulership of our God and His Christ and He will reign forever.

During the Kingdom Age that is at hand, both aspects of the Day of Redemption will be in effect. The guilt of sin will be forgiven and the power and effects of sin (the Divine curse) will be removed from the earth.

This is what Jesus meant when He said, "Lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near." The Redeemer is coming to destroy the works of the devil from the earth. He will adopt the physical bodies of His saints by converting them to eternal life. He will bring the whole creation into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

There will be a thousand years of obedience to the laws of the Kingdom of Heaven on this earth as Christ rules with His saints.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 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 11:6-9)

"The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." The waters of eternal life will cover the dead sea of mankind. This will be the result of the kingdom-wide expression of the Day of Atonement (day of reconciliation).

Isaiah informs us, "he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). Christ is waiting patiently for His Father to make His enemies His footstool. He will not be disappointed. In the days to come the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will bring righteousness, peace, and joy to the whole earth, to all the peoples thereof.

The saints of God will be glorious in holiness. The nations of the earth will learn righteousness from the Church. Our Redeemer on the cross destroyed every trace of the authority of sin over us. In the future He will destroy every trace of the power of sin from us and from the earth. The last enemy that will be destroyed is physical death.

During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the members of the Body of Christ will cross over Jordan, to speak figuratively, and conquer the land of promise. This time Israel will make a full end of the enemies in the land.

The Christian Church will enter the promised inheritance of God, into the rest of God, by means of the conquest of the earth. Christ will change from His Moses ministry into His Joshua ministry. He will reveal Himself as the Lord strong and mighty in battle.

In that Day the "manna" will cease and the members of the Body of Christ will eat "the old corn of the land"—food that has been grown in the land of promise (Joshua 5:12). This means the gifts and ministries, "seeing through a glass darkly," no longer will be needed by the Church. The entire Church will know the Lord from the least member to the greatest (Hebrews 8:11).

In that Day we shall not need gifts and ministries because we shall be speaking to Christ face to face. We shall minister to the peoples of the earth as did Jesus: not in prophecy, tongues or the gifts of healing, but in the fullness of the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, and of judgment and dominion.

The Day of Atonement will have its complete kingdom-wide fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The Day of Atonement, being the sixth of the feasts, signifies the "day" when the Lord God makes man in His own image, in the image of Christ.

During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ we shall behold the image of God in the Lamb and in the Wife of the Lamb. "In the image of God created he him, male and female created he them." The image of God requires both male and female.

So it is that the Lamb of God and the Wife of the Lamb taken together are the fullness of the expression of the image of God in the earth. The Kingdom of God will have been completed, having found its most exalted expression, when the Lamb and His Wife are in union as the holy city, the new Jerusalem.


Tabernacles

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will be so glorious that our hearts and minds cannot begin to grasp the fullness of the Divine Glory coming to the earth. The fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, as described in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation.

The first two chapters of the Scriptures describe the creation of the heavens and the earth.

The last two chapters of the Scriptures describe the creation of the new heaven and the new earth.

We have seen that each of the other six feasts will find its highest expression in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. This is true also of the feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles is the greatest of all the feasts because it portrays the dwelling in the Church of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. There is no higher experience.

Just as the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the establishing of the Kingdom of God throughout the earth, as symbolized by the conquests of the neighboring tribes by King David, so the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the eternal reign of God in Christ in the Bride over the nations of the earth, as typified by the peaceful rule of King Solomon over Israel.

Christ is the heir of all that God has spoken concerning the kingdoms of David and Solomon.

The Glory of God in Christ in the Church will be so great there will be no more need of the sun or moon to give light to the new Jerusalem. The dwelling place of God, which is the Church, will be with the saved nations forever. God will be the God of the saved nations and He and His Church will wipe away all their tears. The Throne of God and of the Lamb will be on the new earth in the form of the glorified Church, the holy city.

The city of God, the new Jerusalem, will be the perfection of beauty and holiness. The holy city is the eternal moral law of God brought to the fullness of maturity.

The descent of the new Jerusalem will mark the end of the harvest season when all of Christ that has been sown in the earth will have been brought forth and harvested. God will have found His rest in Christ—Head and Body.

The Holy Spirit will be present as the River of Life. All who are in the city will be able to drink of the Holy Spirit as often as they desire. The tree of life, which is Christ, will grow along the banks of the River of Life. The fruit of the tree will be for food and the leaves for the healing of the nations.

The servants of God will stand in His Presence and behold His face. Can you imagine what it will be like to stand in the Presence of God Almighty throughout eternity?

There is no silver portrayed in the holy city because the work of redemption, as symbolized by silver, now is a thing of the past. The eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:36) represents eternity—the beginning of the week that never will come to an end.

Everything has been finished. The rebellion in Heaven, which was brought down to earth and spread among mankind, now has been judged and its consequences removed from the saved people. God is ready to settle down and enjoy His handiwork. All enemies have been brought under the feet of Christ and He has delivered up the Kingdom to God, His Father.

The Glory of God coming from the city is as the light of a jasper stone. The foundations of the wall of the city are set with twelve different stones. The stones in the foundations portray the resistance to sin and the godly righteousness that have been developed in the victorious saints as Christ has been formed in them.

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the Church, the Body of Christ.

On the new earth are the nations of the saved. Every member of the saved nations is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Each individual has a portion of Christ in him and the blessing of God on his life. All creatures of the new creation reveal Christ and are centered in Christ:

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)

The feast of Tabernacles is the possession of rest, peace, joy, and the abundance of all things in the land of milk and honey. Everything sown by the Lord in the earth now has been harvested and processed. It is a time of joy, of thanksgiving, of dwelling in the "booth" of the Lord throughout eternity to contemplate His beauty and to worship Him and do His will.

The land of promise is resurrection ground. The land of promise is the fullness of God in Christ in the saints made visible and expressed in the material realm through the Holy Spirit. There is a spirit realm and there is a material realm. The Kingdom of God is the Divine spirit realm given material expression.

The first creation is passing away. It is dead because of sin. The new creation is of Christ and is Christ. It is a new material creation and its life is the Life of Christ. The new Jerusalem will rule forever over the new creation of God.

The most glorious aspect of the new Jerusalem will be the eternal Presence of Him who dwells between the Cherubim of Glory. The whole Person of the almighty God will be present in the holy city for His servants to adore forever.

Because of the triumph of Christ in our life, nothing ever again will stand between us and the Father or cause His Face to grow dim. We shall behold Him as He is and become more like Him throughout the ages of ages.

It is finished. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending. He who overcomes shall inherit all things. God in Christ is at rest and we are at rest in Him forever, ages without end.

It has been finished from the beginning of the world. Our task is to cease from our own works, our own attempts to gain personal security, our own grasping at pleasure, our own striving for achievement, and to enter the finished work of God so our life becomes a developing of the perfection that had been established in God’s mind before the events of the first chapter of Genesis took place.

Each member of the elect was named and predestined from the beginning of the world. The place that each member will occupy for eternity was selected. It is the responsibility and task of each saint, each holy one, to seek God until his unique mark has been set before him. As he finds his mark he can press toward it and enter his destiny. If he is careless and chooses to create his own heaven and earth, then he will answer for his sin and self-will at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

The works were finished from the beginning of the world. Let us enter God’s rest with joy and confidence in the Lord.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)


REVIEW

We began our study of the feasts of the Lord by observing how they were celebrated literally. Then we discussed their portrayal of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Next, the seven feasts were seen as types of the plan of redemption in the life of the believer. After that, the perfecting of the Christian Church was studied. Finally we have seen that the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth is symbolized by the feasts of the Lord.

In our book we have emphasized the personal interpretation of the feasts, their portrayal of the process of the plan of salvation in the believer. We are experiencing these Divine acts and provisions now.

If we are not walking with the Lord and profiting from the current challenges and blessings, then—as far as we personally are concerned—the work of Christ is limited or in vain, the Church, the Body of Christ is continuing in imperfection, and the Kingdom of God is not being established.

Each Christian believer is of priceless value to God. God in His love has done all in His power to provide for our redemption. We ought to lay hold on God’s love and respond by giving our best to Christ so He may finish His work in us.

It was pointed out that the pattern of the feasts suggests salvation, or redemption, is not an one-time happening in the believer but is a growth to maturity. The somewhat revolutionary idea was introduced that the plan of redemption has not only a definite beginning but a definite ending as well.

The feasts of the Lord reveal the error that has destroyed the spiritual vigor of the churches. The error is the concept that redemption is a forgiving of man’s sins so he can go to Heaven when he dies. None of the feasts suggests to be saved is to go to Heaven to live forever.

The feasts portray the true redemption that is in Christ. Redemption is the removal of man from the personality of Satan and his perfect, complete reconciliation to God. Redemption is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Christ did not come to the earth in order to forgive the works of the devil or to take sinners to Heaven. The Lord Jesus came to earth to destroy the works of the devil, not forgive them. Jesus came to take away our sins and the sin of the whole world.

"Grace" is not a new way in which God relates to man. It always has been true and always will be true that God relates to man only as man practices righteousness, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God. The Divine grace in Christ changes man so he practices righteousness, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God.

The Christian salvation is not a change in God’s requirements, it is a change in man so he can meet God’s requirements.

Grace does not abolish the Law of God. Grace establishes the Law of God and emphasizes its implications. Whoever looks with lust has committed adultery in his heart. Through the Divine Virtue that is in the grace of Christ we are enabled to overcome lust.

The holy city is not holy by imputation. It is not called "holy" because Jesus is holy. The holy city is holy because the holiness of Jesus has been wrought in the saints. As we have stated before, the new Jerusalem is the law of God brought to its fullest expression.

The goal of redemption is freedom from the personality of Satan and union with God. We are able to overcome not only sin but also Satan himself. Sin proceeds from a person. This person is Satan, the devil, the accuser of the brothers.

It is true also that eternal Life is a Person. This Person is Christ. As we abide in Christ and He abides in us, Satan is cast out. The casting out of Satan is the coming of the Kingdom of God, redemption, salvation, the rest of God.

Salvation is not the forgiving of the corrupt creatures of the earth and the bringing of them into Heaven. Salvation is the coming of Heaven, the throne of God, to the earth in the Person of Christ and His saints. Flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God will come to the earth and release the material realm from the presence and works of Satan. This program is revealed in the feasts of the Lord.

Heaven is a place of rest for the righteous while they are waiting for the resurrection from the dead. Our goal is Jesus. Jesus is coming to the earth to sit on the Throne of David. When Jesus comes to the city of Jerusalem, all that Heaven means to us will have come to Jerusalem. Jerusalem then will have become Heaven, for the Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it.

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)

Our goal is to be purified through the working of the blood of Christ so we are fit to be part of the city of God.

We are not purified by ascribed righteousness (imputation), except as an initial device to get us started in the program of redemption. We are purified by the casting out of Satan, through the power of the Holy Spirit on the authority of the blood of the Lamb.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

Redemption has come in Christ; not merely forgiveness, but redemption. Redemption is not the forgiving of something and then leaving it as it is. Redemption is the regaining of what has been lost.

The Church and the remainder of the creation will be redeemed through judgment. The material creation was purchased by the blood of the cross. It remains for the Holy Spirit to enter the creation and fill it with eternal, incorruptible resurrection life—the Life that Christ Is.

Are you being redeemed today? Are you washing your robes in the blood of the Lamb? Are you gaining victory over Satan?

To state Jesus "did it all" is to miss the point. This would be to make salvation an event of the past. Salvation is always moving. The staves were never removed from the Ark of the Covenant. The Divine redemption will continue to operate in your life until you have been made pure as Christ is pure.

If you are not making progress in purity you are not abiding in Christ. You are not being redeemed. Go to the Lord and ask Him to continue the program of redemption in your life.

If you do not, through Christ, gain victory over Satan, you will not partake of the rewards to the overcomer. You will not be raised in the first resurrection from among the dead. The out-resurrection must be attained (Philippians 3:11). You can gain victory over Satan if you decide this is what you desire. The Lord Jesus has the authority and the power to deliver you from Satan. Pray. Ask the Lord to help you and guide you. He loves you and will help you if you call on His name.

The seven feasts of the Lord reveal that redemption is a progressive experience that from the beginning establishes us without condemnation before the Lord and from this point forward must be pursued just as the tribes of Israel had to pursue the cloud and the fire until they reached Canaan.

To claim "Jesus did it all," and then not to get up and follow the Spirit of God, is to sit in Egypt and claim we already are in Canaan or that one day we will be in Canaan. It is a misunderstanding of the Apostle Paul’s teaching concerning "grace."

The spiritual fulfillment of Passover marks a "beginning of months" to the Christian, being the first step of the Christian experience. The sacrament of Communion under the new covenant corresponds to the eating of the Passover lamb under the old covenant.

The feast of Unleavened Bread was presented as typifying the putting away of sin, the sincere repentance that must characterize the person who comes to Christ for salvation. The act of being baptized in water portrays the fact that the believer has died to the world and the lusts thereof. The convert by faith assigns his first personality to the cross with Christ and his new born-again nature to the Throne of God with Christ.

It was mentioned that the concept of a firstfruits is found commonly in God’s pattern of working. Christ is the Firstfruits of the dead. The Christians are the firstfruits of the harvesting of the earth.

The believers in Christ possess the "firstfruits of the Spirit." The amount of the Holy Spirit that we have at present is but a first installment of the fullness of the Holy Spirit that one day will flood our whole being—body included. We shall be abiding eternally in the fullness of resurrection life.

Pentecost is the Jewish feast that has lent its name to those believers in Christ who practice the gifts of the Spirit, particularly speaking in tongues. The Hebrew people associate the feast of Pentecost with the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. It is the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, acting on the authority of the blood of Jesus, that enables Christians to overcome the lusts of the flesh and soul, that is, to keep the moral law of God.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

If we combine the Jewish concept of Divine Law with the Christian concept of sanctification through the Spirit of God, we find Pentecost was and continues to be the bringing of the law of God to the earth.

The Law that was given through Moses was intended to bring the people of God into conformity to the will of God. The Holy Spirit in the Christian people strives to bring them into conformity to the will of God.

Speaking in tongues is an entrance into the way of life that is governed by the Holy Spirit. Christians are governed by the law of the Spirit of life rather than by the Law of Moses.

The Pentecostal experience is a central and crucial point in the redemption that is in Christ. If we have gotten as far as Pentecost (being filled with the Holy Spirit) we must never again look back toward Egypt (life under the control of the spirit of the world and our fleshly desires).

Every believer in Christ is to press forward to the fullness of resurrection life in the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is saying to the members of the Body of Christ: "There remains much land to be possessed. You have circled around your present mountain long enough. Begin your march toward your inheritance in Christ."

New adventures in Christ are before us. Let us arm ourselves under the direction of the Holy Spirit and invade the land of promise.

The various uses of the trumpet were mentioned. The use of the trumpet as an alarm for war, to form the army of the Lord, and to herald the resurrection from the dead, was stressed.

The name of God as the Lord of Hosts was pointed out. The concept of God being a commander of battle is not familiar to all Christians. Yet it certainly is a scriptural concept.

Today the saints of the Lord stand on the brink of an awful conflict in the realm of spirits. It is Armageddon—Christ against Antichrist, obedience against lawlessness. The war of God is at hand.

Each believer in Christ must gird up his mind to the fact of spiritual warfare. The enemies of God—spirits of rebellion, uncleanness, murder, perversity, sorcery—are the ones who are producing the spirit of the age in which we now are living. It is not a pleasing state of affairs, from God’s point of view, that the earth is becoming a nauseating cesspool, a vipers’ pit of lust, idolatry, sorcery, covetousness, drunkenness, and murder.

God’s terrible wrath is as a furnace that has been heated to a frightful degree. His fierce anger is ready to be poured on the world system. Woe! woe! woe to those who are found resisting Christ when the wrath of God falls on this earth!

Every Christian person by the nature of his personality and calling is involved in God’s war against evil spirits. The Holy Spirit of the God of armies is sounding the trumpet blast loudly in our time: "Prepare yourself for the Day of the Lord. Let every saint put on the Gospel armor and prepare to cast out devils, heal the sick, raise the dead.

"I issue to you authority and power over all the authority and power of Satan. Nothing shall by any means hurt you. Listen to the voice of the Spirit as He points out the sin in your heart. You cannot fight the battles of the Lord when there is an Achan’s wedge of gold hidden in your tent."

It was stated that the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are known to devout Hebrews as the "Days of Awe" because of the solemnity of their meaning. The seventh month, which contains Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, is the conclusion of the old agricultural year and the beginning of the new.

The seventh month speaks to us of the beginning of Divine conquest and the working out of God’s judgment in our life; also, the beginning of our reign with Christ over the earth. Passover, on the other hand, marking the beginning of the religious year, can be thought of in terms of our church life of faith and doctrines.

Tabernacles is associated with entering the land of promise. Passover is the beginning of our redemption. Tabernacles is the maturing of redemption and the commencing of eternal, glorious rulership in and with Christ.

The Day of Atonement represents the purging of sin from the Christian discipleship and ultimately from the creation of God. Specific confession, sincere repentance, and the blood of Christ are involved. Included in the concept of the atonement is the judgment of God against wicked spirits, against the lords of the spiritual darkness of the present age.

It was suggested that this dimension of the atonement, the cleansing of sin from our personality, is experienced after the Christian discipleship has progressed for a while rather than at the start. However it is well to keep in mind one of the principles that was presented early in this book: redemption is Christ. At the moment of receiving Christ we receive all of redemption, including all that is portrayed in the seven feasts of the Lord.

Also, there is no way in which we can make Christ predictable by a system of theology. Christ is God. He will move in the individual as He chooses—often in new and surprising ways. We know we are saved through His blood, but we cannot predict how He will reveal Himself to an individual believer at any given moment.

What, then, is the purpose of describing the several aspects of redemption as we have done in this book? The intended benefit of such an explanation is that we shall gain some understanding of the experiences in Christ that we are having. Also, that we shall come to realize redemption is not a haphazard collection of random incidents and accidents but is a carefully worked-out plan for bringing the believer from the image of Satan and bondage to Satan to the image of Christ and union with Christ.

God works differently with each person.

The humbling thought has been presented that God has not chosen us because we are holier than other people but because of His own plans and purposes in Christ. However, God has every intention of working with us until we do become holy. Of note among the uncleannesses of Christians are all forms of lust, idolatry, murder, covetousness, drunkenness, and occult practices. Denominational loyalty and factionalism weaken the testimony of the churches.

The fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippor) is a time of serious heart-searching among the Jews. However, the Day of Atonement does have one joyful feature; for the Year of Jubilee, which typifies the Day of deliverance for the earth at the appearing of the Head and Body of Christ (Colossians 3:4; II Thessalonians 1:10), was announced every fiftieth year on the Day of Atonement.

The fact that the Year of Jubilee was announced on the Day of Atonement signifies redemption and release come as our sins are forgiven and then removed from us.

The revealing of the sons of God in the Day of the Lord will result in the redemption of the material creation (Romans 8:21).

Please note we are not suggesting that the blood of Christ does not avail for our needs now, for it certainly does. Also, it is a fact that today is the day of salvation and we must, as the Lord guides us, persuade our own generation of this fact. It is time now for the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation for a witness, for the coming of the Kingdom of God is at hand.

We are entering the birth pangs of the new creation of God. In the days ahead we shall be seeing more of the power of God working through the blood of the righteous Jesus. The best is at hand.. He has kept the good wine until now.

Remember the words of the Prophet Isaiah:

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1,2)

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

The greatest days of redemption and conversion are on the horizon. All that Jesus prayed in John, Chapter 17 will be fulfilled abundantly. The world will begin to understand Christ is God’s beloved Son and that God loves the Church as He loves Christ.

The Day of Atonement comes as a "new year" to us because its Christian fulfillment, the confession of our sins and of our self-will and the gaining of victory over them through the blood of the Lamb and the Spirit of God, give us a workable method for dealing with the part of our personality that still is rebelling against God and choosing the lusts of the world.

We who have received Christ do not have to fear the judgments of God on our life. The judgments of God are directed against unclean spirits. If we cooperate with the Holy Spirit by confessing and renouncing the actions, words, and motives He points out as being unclean, then the fire of God’s judgment will not harm us personally just as the furnace of Nebuchadnezzar did not harm Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego. The consuming fire will destroy what is evil.

The feast of Tabernacles portrays perfection—the fullness of the plan of salvation, the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Scripture indicates that God is moving the members of the Body of Christ toward a specific mark. It was pointed out that it is difficult for someone to work hard at overcoming obstacles when he or she has no definite goal in mind.

Perhaps one of the main reasons why church people do not become more excited about the working out of redemption in their life, the process of spiritual development toward perfection of union with Christ, is that they do not really believe there is any goal at which to aim. Since the goal of the Christian discipleship is vague or nonexistent, why exert effort in this direction? If we make a correct doctrinal confession we will go to Heaven when we die, they believe. Because their vision of God is neither clear nor accurate the people are perishing.

We must prepare ourselves diligently and watch carefully so we may escape the spiritual death that even now is blanketing the earth.

If we keep the Word of Christ’s patience He will guard us during the hour of temptation that is at hand, the period when every lust of the flesh becomes instantly available to every person, young and old. One day we will stand in victory before the Son of Man, if we are not neglectful of the rugged life of discipleship.

(We wrote the above paragraph some time ago. Just recently some of the computer software companies began advertising the availability of erotic experiences through virtual reality programs. A person can sit in the privacy of his home in front of his personal computer and indulge his wildest fantasies, accompanied by the voice of a person on the telephone. We are in the first rumble of an incredible technological explosion in the area of multimedia pornography. There is enormous potential profit to be made.

The right of entrepreneurs to produce such moral filth will be protected by law in the United States and other "Christian" countries.

You can be sure that numerous Christians, including pastors and elders, will interact with their computer in this manner. This is because Christian teaching to this point has not successfully dealt with sin in the life of the believer.)

Multitudes of believers will be deceived in the last days because of the abundance of lawlessness and will be part of the lukewarm church. Those who are deluded into worshiping Antichrist will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the Presence of the Lamb.

As we have stated, Christ will guard us against deception if we will carefully guard the word of His patience, patiently waiting on Him for every aspect of our life.

We must prepare ourselves for participation in the first resurrection from the dead (of which I Thessalonians 4:13-18 is a description) instead of remaining spiritually indifferent and lethargic in the mistaken belief we shall be caught away from the earth before there is tribulation and shall be transformed magically into spiritual giants at the coming of the Lord.

God indeed has made provision to save us during the reign of Antichrist and the great tribulation. That provision is the "Tabernacles" experience, the filling of the saints with the Presence of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

Whatever God has ordained will come to pass. If we are wise we will live always in readiness for His appearing. We always must be prepared to meet our Maker and to give an account of our actions on the earth. Our soul may be required of us at any moment. The most important preparation we can make is to diligently abide in Christ each day, remaining sensitive and obedient to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

The possession of God Himself, rather than things, experiences, secrets of spiritual power or anything else either spiritual or material, is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Any goal we have other than the possession of God Himself is shortsighted and eventually will be changed by the Lord until we are guided toward the only desirable goal of man.

This is what Satan fears above all. Perhaps it would be a joy to Satan if multitudes of believers were carried into Heaven for they still would be carrying his image in them. Satan craves worship. He cares not whether we are in Heaven, on the earth, or in Hell, just as long as we bear his image and tendencies in us. He who commits sin is of Satan whether he is in Heaven, on the earth, or in Hell (I John 3:8).

The destruction of Satan does not come about when we die and pass into the spirit realm. The destruction of Satan takes place when Christ enters us and drives out every trace of Satan’s image and influence. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God.

To move unredeemed believers from the physical realm into the spirit realm accomplishes nothing. Sin began in the spirit realm and is perfectly at home in the spirit realm, in the heavens. Salvation is in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in the heavens.

The maturing of redemption in us brings us to the "rest of God." God rests in us and we rest in God. God enjoys our presence forever and we enjoy God’s Presence forever. The Christian salvation is an affair of the heart between God and the believer. It is the love song of the Lamb and His Bride.

God is jealous concerning idols that claim our attention. He desires to be in all our thoughts. As soon as God has set His heart on us He will act to remove any thing, person, or experience that threatens to divert our attention and love from Himself.

God wants to liberate us from our idolatrous bondages. We are foolish children indeed if we turn away from such love and choose instead to lust after the weak, foolish, corrupt, temporary, sinful things and practices of the evil age in which we are living. The Lord knows those whom He has called, and all motives and actions will be revealed clearly as to their true nature, at the coming of the Lord.

The feasts of Firstfruits and Pentecost marked certain points in the grain harvest. The feast of Tabernacles was in celebration of the completion of the harvest season. All that the Israelites had farmed, barley, wheat, grapes, olives, nuts, vegetables, figs, citrus, and so forth had been gathered and processed by the time of the feast of Tabernacles.

As far as we Christians are concerned, our lives have been partially harvested in Christ. The harvesting, the threshing, the winnowing, the grinding, still are taking place in us. The redemption of our body will be the completion of the harvesting of our personality, the culmination of the plan of redemption.

Included in the plan for the redemption of our mortal body is the preparation of our spirit and soul for the fullness of Divine revelation and power, and a clothing with a glorious body fashioned from indestructible, eternal resurrection life. As soon as we have been resurrected and glorified we shall be gathered together to be with Christ in the air.

The nature of resurrection, whether it be of the spirit, of the soul, or of the body, concerns restoring to life what is dead. What has been inert or prone is filled with Divine Life and stands back up on its feet. All persons eventually will be raised from death so they can stand before God to be judged. In that Day, some will be saved into the Kingdom of God. Others will be cast into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

The spiritual aspect of the resurrection of the members of the Body of Christ is taking place now. All that the saint is and possesses is being brought down to the death of the cross. Whatever part of what we are and possess that God chooses to bring back to life, after it has suffered the death of the cross of Christ, is of the resurrection and is our possession for eternity.

The scriptural emphasis is on resurrection. The foundation for our bodily resurrection is being laid now as the Holy Spirit brings us down spiritually to the death of the cross and then raises us up in newness of life.

We shall rise to meet the Lord in the air and shall be gathered together to be with Him forever at the time of the first resurrection from the dead. We shall be assigned to places of rulership, responsibility, and service (Revelation 20:4-6).

There is a "resurrection of damnation (judgment)" (John 5:29). It is an awakening to "shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2). It is certain every individual will reap what he or she has sown.

The redemption of the physical body is an attainment in Christ to which we Christians should be giving attention. The thought of bodily resurrection should be filling us with pure delight and enabling us to stand firm in all our testings.

The redemption of our mortal body is the fulfillment of the promise of Christ concerning eternal life (John 3:16). It is the "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Peter 1:5).

Paul wrote, "Not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23).

Why don’t we feel more of this burden? It is because we do not press toward the redemption of our mortal body. Our mortal body in its present condition is adequate to support the fleshly life we are living.

Paul died daily to the desires of the flesh and mind and was revived daily by the resurrection power of Christ. Paul’s inner life was being transformed as a result of continually beholding the Glory of the Lord, just as Moses’ face had been transformed by continually beholding the Glory of the Lord.

Paul’s mortal body no longer was adequate to support the glorious resurrection life flowing in the compassion and purposes of God toward those whom Christ was saving. The stress was increasing each day. The new wine in Paul was in an "old bottle," and the old bottle was cracking.

So Paul groaned in himself, waiting for the redemption of his mortal body. When the saint remains in the center of God’s will for his life and his spiritual personality develops, he will find himself pressing toward Paul’s "mark." Paul’s mark was the "prize of the high calling of God in Christ."

The prize includes the following: re-creation of the believer into the image of Christ in spirit, soul, and body; the eternal indwelling of the fullness of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit; authority and power over the domain assigned to the individual Christian; life without end lived in the righteousness, peace, and joy that come with the fullness of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

It is our hope and prayer that each person who reads this study of the feasts of the Lord has received from it a portion of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus in his soul, and some understanding of the Lord’s plan of redemption in his mind. In Him is Life, and the Life is the light of men. Kingdom wisdom, knowledge, and understanding come to us as the Life of Christ is formed in us.

Our desire is that the reader will be inspired to seek Christ with his or her whole heart.

The rewards for serving Christ in the present hour are so unimaginably great that each believer who is wise will at once take up his cross and follow on to know the Lord, doing so with the greatest joy and gladness of heart.

Will you do that?

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

"O God, hear our prayer as we stand in Christ before Your throne. Grant to us, as Your dear children, that we may be accepted in Your sight. Make Your face to shine on us.

"Help us to lay aside every weight, every sin, and to press forward on the upward way toward the fulness of Your beloved Son. We thank you for receiving us graciously and for forgiving our sins, as each of us from his heart freely forgives every person who has sinned against him.

"Bless this study to the reader and work Your will in him or her.

"In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen."