When Jesus visited the Synagogue in His home town of Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21), He was handed the scroll of the Book of Isaiah to read aloud. And turning to Isaiah 61, He read the first one and a half verses: 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek [or elect, who'll inherit the earth as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ]; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound [by Satan in man-made traditions. Ephesians 4:8 informs us He led the Old Testament saints from their captivity in chains of death to liberty through a resurrection to glorified bodies. And He anointed a five-fold ministry to bring the New Testament saints to maturity in the liberty of His Own Life]; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,' [which was the Jubilee or release. And Jesus stopped there, for the rest of the chapter could not be fulfilled until His parousia in this day indicts the world and brings it to judgment], 'and the day of vengeance of our God.' That's Jacob's trouble—the great tribulation after the Gentile Dispensation—soon to come on the earth.
Brother Branham's ministry proclaimed 'the day of vengeance,' the 'great and dreadful day of the Lord,' as also foretold by Malachi 4:5-6. His proclamation is the 'Shout' of I Thessalonians 4:16, fulfilling Jesus' prophecy by crying, 'Come out of Babylon and be filled with the Spirit' (Matthew 25:6-7; Revelation 18:4).
This 'Shout' continues in the ministry of the end-time evangelism of Christ's Bride as declared in Revelation 10:8-11. We know that John represented the end-time Bride because it is only to the end-time Bride that the mystery of the Seven Sealed Book is revealed. Like Daniel, John was told to seal-up the Words of the seven thunders until the time of the end when they would be revealed by the Angel or prophet-messenger to the Laodicean Church Age, William Branham (1909-1965). This revelation brings us into oneness with the Fullness of the Word for the manifestation of the Sons of God and the translation.
'And the Voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again, and said, "Go and take the little Book [the Book of Life, the Holy Bible, or Book of Redemption] which is open in the hand of the Angel who stands upon the sea and upon the earth." [Since the Seven Seals are revealed we know that Angel is Christ, the Chief Messenger or Archangel, who was the only one worthy to open, read or even look upon the Book (Revelation 5:3-8)].
And I went to the Angel, and said, "Give me the little Book." [It's the Bride's Book, our right, our Birthright and the Title Deed to our inheritance]. And He said, "Take it, and eat it up; and it will make your belly bitter, but it will be in your mouth sweet as honey".
[Christ is speaking metaphorically when He tells us to 'eat' the Book just as He was speaking metaphorically in the institution of the Lord's Supper, and as God spoke metaphorically when He told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (That Tree was Lucifer). The end-time Bride is to eat the Book or partake of and become one with the fullness of the Word and Life].
And I took the little Book out of the Angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.' [Oh, the stimulation of the revelation of the Word is truly sweet upon our lips and able to defeat the enemy but It's a strong sword with two edges that cuts away the senses of our flesh and mortal spirit that the Token may be seen in us. In order to become one with It in our inner-most being, we have to die to self].
And He said to me, "You must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings".'
Once the Bride is truly one with the Word, the 'little Book', we're to wield that strong sword fearlessly. This is precisely the ministry of Christ's end-time Bride. We have a tremendous Message, but It's bitter because It is so contrary to the world and the world church system.
The final part of the proclamation of Isaiah 61:2 and 3 is, 'to comfort all that mourn; To grant consolation and joy unto those who mourn in Zion, to give them the overcomer's prize instead of ashes—the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of a burdened heart; that they might be likened to lofty oak trees in their righteous stand before God, His Own planting, that He might be glorified'.
This speaks of Christ's parousia to the 144,000 elect Israelites during the tribulation. It speaks of their Day of Atonement when Israel will 'finish the transgression, and make an end of sins, and make reconciliation for their iniquity' in killing Messiah as Joseph's brothers betrayed him to death (Daniel 9:24). This is when Israel is born in one day (Isaiah 42; 66:8; Revelation 7:1-8). This is the atonement or Christ's parousia to Israel.
Zechariah 12:10 - 13:6: 'And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon [over the death of their beloved king Josiah who was mortally wounded, and for whom the people's grief was extraordinarily deep]. That's how the Land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family and their wives shall mourn with an overwhelming individual sorrow for their blindness in not recognizing Messiah (II Chronicles 35:22-25; Lamentations 4:20).
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the Land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the Land.
And it shall come to pass, that when any shall impersonate a prophet, his father and his mother who begat him shall say to him, "You shall not live; for you speak lies in the Name of the Lord: and his father and mother who begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesies."
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the false prophets shall all be ashamed their vision when they prophesy; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: But he will deny his identity and say, I am no prophet, I am an bondsman; I was sold as a bond slave in my youth.
And one shall say to Him, "What are these wounds in your hands?" Then He will answer, "Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends." [The prophets always used symbols and could only declare the Words God put in their mouths. Of course, only the elect could receive their import].
The Hebrew sacred year began with the Passover, signalling a new beginning, both in the course of the year and the life of the people as separated from the nations (Numbers 23:9). The Passover lamb was to be slain and eaten on the fourteenth of Nissan, in the evening (Leviticus 23:5-8); and thereafter for seven-days they were to eat unleavened bread. The first and seventh days were 'holy convocations' in which no servile work was done.
Now we shall review the Hebrew sacred feasts of Leviticus 23 because we are going to study the Feast of Tabernacles in the coming weeks and the natural feasts were emblematic of future Spiritual events.
The Passover commemorated the solemn circumstances under which Israel commenced their national life; their exemption from the plague of death upon the first-born in Egypt through the blood of the lamb, and their exodus in prepared haste such as to deny themselves time to leaven their bread (Leviticus 23:1-8).
Christ was the true Passover Lamb who died in our stead, exempting the Christian, or Spiritual Israelite under His blood from the plague of death which comes upon all who reject their Kinsman Redeemer. The Feast of Unleavened Bread represented Christ, the unadulterated Word-Bread from heaven, which if a man eat he shall never die (John 6:47-63; Revelation 22:17-19). There once again is the metaphorical application of the word 'eat'.
If you recall the story of Ruth—Boaz, being a type of Christ, had to redeem Naomi the Israelite before he could marry the Gentile Bride. Two days after the Passover lamb was killed and offered to God in Israel's place, a type of Christ's death on Calvary, the sheaf of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest was waved by the priest, on the 16th of Nissan. (As with the first-born son, the firstfruits of the harvest was considered the choicest). By this act, Israel consecrated the whole of the harvest to the Lord, and were only permitted to use it when they receive it back as a gift from Him.
This wave sheaf represented Christ Who was lifted up on the Cross, like Moses raised up and waved the serpent before the Lord in the wilderness, showing sin was judged (Numbers 21:8-9). His acceptance consecrated the whole of the harvest. He was the firstfruits of them that slept, the Old Testament saints who were resurrected after Him, and the New Testament saints who are His at His parousia—now (I Corinthians 15:23). And we receive the Bread of Life as the Gift of the Holy Spirit in a new birth. Soon there will be another resurrection. (That covers Leviticus 23:9-14).
Next was the Feast of Weeks, or Firstfruits, commonly known as the Feast of Pentecost. Jesus came to His own who rejected Him and said, "His blood be on us and on our children" (Zechariah 13:6-7; Matthew 27:25). And it has been ever since. Thus Israel rejected the real Passover, the first compulsory feast, and Christ turned to the Gentiles to take out a people for His Name, a Bride (Psalm 2:8; Amos 9:12; Malachi 1:11).
Whereas the former festival marked the absolute beginning of the grain harvest with the first ripe barley wheat sheaf; this marked its completion with the reaping of wheat. It was divided into nine divisions beginning with the final six days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which represented the early Church of Pentecost that held and understood the pure Word of God undefiled. Seven rests or sabbaths followed, representing the seven different baptisms of the Holy Ghost (or new births) that distinguish each of Seven Church Ages, and finally, the holy convocation of this present day wherein 'the mystery of God is finished,' restoring the apostolic faith, and calling God's elect out of all man-made systems into oneness with the fullness of the Word. It's called an holy convocation because we do no servile Work like the Church Age saints, for God's sent us a prophet with THUS SAITH THE LORD to expound the Seven Seals.
As we study the type in Leviticus 23:15-22, we discover that in the fiftieth day after the presentation of the Wave Sheaf or resurrection of Jesus Christ, 'a new grain offering, baked with leaven, and a seven-fold burnt offering' was to be waved before the Lord. One loaf represents the living Bride—manifesting that which is perfect, and the other, the Apostolic saints. The end-time Bride with her revelation of the Seven Seals will be waved before the Lord at the manifestation of the Sons of God in behalf of the brethren who have fallen asleep since Pentecost. We're all one Body, and without us, the sleeping saints cannot be made perfect, or glorified. Together we're the finished product—grain as prepared for food and waved before the Lord. On account of the leaven of our unredeemed flesh and mortal spirit we cannot be offered on the altar. But as Christ was accepted, we are accepted also, and when we change in the atoms, we lose the leaven when our corruptible flesh puts on immortality and our mortal spirit puts on immortality.
Pentecost typed the firstfruits of the world's harvest of an ingathering of an election from all nations in Adam's race, so the Feast of Tabernacles must typify the completion of that final and universal harvest. We'll restrict our study to this side of the Millennium, and therefore to the 144,000 elect Israelites.
Three times in the year every adult male Israelite must present himself before the Lord in the place God chose to place His Name in. For blood Israelites claiming the Old Covenant of Moses, that place is Jerusalem which God ordained for His sacrifice (Deuteronomy 16). Anyone claiming to be under that Covenant and not living in Israel has no part with God under the Law—a Covenant that is truly fulfilled (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
The three times of meeting were the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover, Feast of Firstfruits or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Because they rejected the real Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, Israel could not attend the Pentecostal Feast which is the Gentile dispensation. The last Feast is the Feast of Booths, Tabernacles or Ingathering at harvest end. 'And whosoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to keep the Feast of Tabernacles is lost' (Zechariah 14).
The Feast of Ingathering is Israel's final opportunity to receive redemption. And only those who are blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to whom the Covenant pertains are considered (Ezekiel 37; 48; Revelation 7:1-8). Not Mrs. Abraham, Mrs. Isaac, or Mrs. Jacob, for the lineage is counted from the male and not, as the non-Semitic self-styled Jews claim, from the mother. And a Jew living outside the promised Land is outside the Covenant.
Before Israel can attend the Feast of Tabernacles the 144,000 must observe the Day of Atonement when they will recognize and mourn for Messiah whom their forefathers crucified. The first day of the seventh month, Tishri, is an holy convocation, a Feast of Trumpets. A memorial from God to Israel by two prophets in the Office of Moses and Elijah. They will announce the glad sabbatic month has begun and that the great Day of Atonement is at hand (Leviticus 23:23-25). Jesus said their Message will gather the elect Israelites from the four winds (Zechariah 4; 6; Matthew 24:31; Revelation 7:1-8). It will reveal the Seven Trumpet Mysteries that followed Israel's rejection of the Gospel Message in each of the Seven Church Ages and brought a natural war upon them as they waged a spiritual war against God.
The Day of Atonement was Israel's only prescribed fast and marked the complete removal of all the sins of the nation which stood between them and God, hindering complete restoration of His favour. The sin of Israel, all 144,000 of them, being removed by their new-birth, the Feast of Tabernacles occupied a week from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of Tishri.
The first day was an holy convocation and the octave (corresponding to Sunday) was an holy convocation called 'the great day of the Feast.' On each day water drawn from the Pool of Siloam was poured on the sacrifice in memory of the rock at Rephidim where Israel murmured against God. He commanded Moses to smite the rock on their account and it brought forth water for life. This ceremony was added in later times. Water was drawn from the fountain of Siloam (which means 'sent') and poured on the sacrifice, together with wine, amid shouts of joy. We can now in some measure realise the event recorded in John 7:37-38. The festivities of the Week of Tabernacles were drawing to a close. 'It was the last day, that great day of the feast,' after the priest had returned from Siloam with his golden pitcher and for the last time poured its contents to the base of the altar; after the 'Hallel' had been sung to the sound of the flute, the people responding and worshipping as the priests three times blew the threefold blasts from their silver trumpets—just when the interest of the people had been raised to its highest pitch, that, from amidst the mass of worshippers, who were waving towards the altar a forest of leafy branches as the last words of Psalm 118 were chanted—a raised voice which resounded through the temple startled the multitude, and carried fear and hatred to the hearts of their leaders. It was Jesus, who 'stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink.' Then by faith in Him should each one truly become like the Pool of Siloam, and from his inmost being 'rivers of living waters flow' (John 7:38). 'This He spoke of the Spirit, which they who believe on Him should receive.'
Thus the significance of the rite in which they had just taken part was not only fully explained, but the mode of its fulfilment pointed out. The effect was instantaneous. In that vast assembly, so suddenly roused by being brought face to face with Him in whom every type and prophecy is fulfilled, there would be many who, 'when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ.' Even the Temple-guards, whose duty it would have been in such circumstances to arrest one who had so interrupted the services of the day, and presented himself to the people in such a light, owned the spell of His words, and dared not to lay hands on Him. 'Never man spoke like this man,' was the only account they could give of their unusual weakness, in answer to the reproaches of the chief priests and Pharisees.
The rebuke of the Jewish authorities, which followed, is too characteristic to require comment. Only one of their number had been deeply moved by the scene just witnessed in the Temple. Yet, timid as usually, a type of the foolish virgin, Nicodemus only laid hold of this one point, that the Pharisees had traced the popular confession of Jesus to their ignorance of the Law, to which he replied, in the Rabbinical manner of arguing, without meeting one's opponent face to face: 'Does our Law judge any man before it hears him, and knows what he does?'
How blind was Israel that they failed to see Jesus as that Rock smitten so that the waters of Life could flow to save Israel, and later poured upon the sacrifice amid rejoicing in the feast of tabernacles to signify they were anointing Him with the joy of their salvation.
But matters were not to end with the wrangling of priests and Pharisees. The proof Nicodemus had invited them to seek from the teaching and the miracles of Christ was about to be shown before the people and their rulers in the healing of the blind man. Here also it was in allusion to the ceremonial of the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus, when He saw the 'man blind from his birth,' said: 'As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world,' and having 'anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,' told him, 'Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam (which is, by interpretation, Sent)' (John 9). The words, 'I am the Light of the world,' are the those He had just spoken to the Pharisees in the Temple after He had pardoned the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-12). In all probability they had been intended to point to the extinguishing of the artificial lights, two colossal candlesticks that had burned in the Temple court throughout the feast of Tabernacles.
These recalled the pillar of Cloud by day and Fire by night that had led Israel in their journeyed through the wilderness. Tishri 15 was also the day on which Moses with shining face came down from the Mount and informed Israel that the Tabernacle of God was to be raised among them. On this day the Shekinah appeared at the dedication of Solomon's Temple (I Kings 8), and according to Revelation 7:9-10, on this day the Bride of all Ages will rejoice in Israel's birth, the dedication of the Millennium Temple, "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb".
In John 6, when Jesus had identified Himself in the synagogue at Capernaum as the bread of Spiritual Life of which the manna that had sustained Israel's natural life had been a type, this was more than the seventy apostles could receive, and they departed from Jesus Who knew beforehand those that were without faith, and who would betray Him. John 7:1-44, 'After these things Jesus walked in Galilee [a district in which dwelt many Gentiles and persons of mixed race. Isaiah 9:1 called it 'Galilee of the Gentiles']: He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him.
Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. [At which every adult male Jew must present himself]. His brethren therefore said unto Him, "Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You do. For no man does anything in secret who seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world." For neither did they believe in Him.
Then Jesus said to them, "My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but Me it hates, because I testify of it, that its works are evil. You go up to this Feast: I go not up yet unto this Feast; for My time is not yet full come."
When He had said these words unto them, He abode still in Galilee. But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up to the Feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the Feast, and said, "Where is He?"
And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, "He is a good man:" others said, "Nay; but He deceives the people." Howbeit no man spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.
Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, "How does this Man know letters, having never learned?"
Jesus answered them, and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, He shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory: but he who seeks His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you keep the Law? Why do you go about to kill Me?"
The people answered and said, "You have a devil: who goes about to kill You?"
Jesus answered and said, "I have done one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and you on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath so that the law of Moses should not be broken; are you angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge according to righteousness."
Then said some of them of Jerusalem, "Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? How is it we know this Man whence He is: but when Christ comes, no man will know whence He is."
Then cried Jesus in the temple as He taught, saying, "You both know Me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, whom you know not. But I know Him: for I am from Him, and He has sent me." Then they sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come.
And many of the people believed on Him, and said, "When Christ comes, will He do more miracles than these which this Man has done?" The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning Him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.
Then said Jesus unto them, "Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go to Him that sent Me. You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither you cannot come."
Then said the Jews among themselves, "Whither will He go, that we shall not find Him? will He go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What manner of saying is this that He said, 'You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither you cannot come'?"
In the last day, that Great Day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (But this He spoke of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified).
Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, "Of a truth this is the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hasn't the Scripture said, That Christ comes of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"
So there was a division among the people because of Him. And some of them would have taken Him; but no man laid hands on Him.'
John 7:37 was a reference to what had taken place on the previous days, and of which there was a marked absence on this day. In Him was to be fulfilled the reality of the symbolical services of the previous days.
Jesus' brethren urged Him to manifest Himself openly to the world at this Feast. But His time was not yet fully come and He had first to be lifted up on Calvary to redeem Israel before He could woo His Gentile Bride.
However, after His brethren had gone up to the Feast, He also went up, but secretly. And there He regarded the uncertainty or lack of faith in the hearts of the people. About the fourth day of the Feast, He went up to the Temple and taught. The Jews marvelled at His knowledge of letters rather than the depth of the revelation He sought to impart. In vain He tried to direct them to the revealed Word.
The Man of sorrows discerned beneath the seeming prosperity and gladness around Him, empty, dissatisfied hearts. The last Feast under the Law, with its 'Great Day' had given no lasting peace or joy. The booths once green and fresh were now withered and dead.
The Feast of Tabernacles, instead of being the crowning Feast, was but, 'a feast of the Jews'.
The week was a memorial of Israel's wandering in the wilderness and dwelling in booths. Read Leviticus 23:33-44. It was:-
1). The Hebrew harvest thanksgiving (Leviticus 23:39).
2). The most joyous of festivals (Leviticus 23:40). 'A man had never seen sorrow who never saw the sorrow of that day', the Day of Atonement. 'And he had never seen joy who saw not the joy of Tabernacles.' So the Jews used to say. Sadly they knew not the true import of their remarks (Zechariah 12-13).
On its observance after the Babylonian exile we are told, '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 Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness' (Nehemiah 8:17). Can you imagine a nation that had been led from captivity for forty years across desert country, fed, healed, witnessed the Pillar of Cloud and Fire, wonderful miracles and received first hand a covenant and ordinances, yet fail to observe a compulsory Feast of the Lord for a thousand years almost from its inception?
The spirit of Tabernacles is reflected in the rejoicing of the New Testament Church, following the redemption and harvest home of the 144,000 Israelites (Revelation 7:9-17). They have 'palms in their hands.' 'They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes' (Revelation 7:9, 16-17; John 7:37-38). The joy of Tabernacles is theirs.
3). It commemorated the tent life of 40-years in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43) when God led, saved, sustained and covered His redeemed people by the Cloud and Pillar of Fire. Accordingly it was calculated to remind them of their pilgrim life on earth. It taught them that this world is not their home and to look for a City which has foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.
The True Church, the Bride of Christ is that City which comes down from God out of heaven in the Millennium (Revelation 21:2). We are God's Building. Paul laid the foundation by expounding the Word which was made flesh to redeem us. We are pillars in the temple of God, a part of the foundation that supports the rest of the building (John 14:20; 17; I Corinthians 3:10-11; Revelation 3:12).
In their wanderings, their homes were perishable and quickly dissolved. But God's people 'know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens' (II Corinthians 5:1). 'In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And whither I go you know, and the way you know' (John 14:2-4).
Though the Israelites in their journey were not aware of it, the City of Gold Abraham sought was in another Dimension about fifteen feet above them. That City is the glorified bodies of the Old and New Testament saints and can never see corruption (I Corinthians 15). It is dwelling place Israel will enter after the final ingathering of the vintage (Revelation 14). So we see the place of the 144,000 with respect to the Feast of Tabernacles.
Whereas the seventh day spoke of completion, the eighth day speaks of eternity, rest and restoration that follows the mourning of Atonement. The feast of Tabernacles closes on the eighth day, placing God's children back in Edenic perfection.
4). The sacrifices offered during Tabernacles were remarkable both for their number and their manner of presentation (Numbers 29:12-38). They were so arranged that one less each day was offered. The sin offering was a single goat as on other feast days. But the burnt offering of rams and lambs was double the usual number—two and fourteen instead of one and seven.
On the first day of the Feast thirteen bullocks were offered, on the second twelve, and so on; decreasing until the seventh day when seven were presented. The whole number offered during the Feast was seventy, (being the number of Israel preserved in Egypt from the famine, Genesis 46:8-27; Exodus 1:5; Ruth 4:11. And there is a famine for hearing the Word of God today—Amos 8:11).
As this was the last Feast of the year, it signified the decay and termination of the whole system. When Moses descended the Mount with the second tablets of the Law, his face was veiled so that they could not look beyond the letter to the glorious end of the Law in Christ, and His Kingdom on earth. But whenever an Israelite catches the revelation, and turns to Christ in repentance, the vail is taken away (II Corinthians 3:13-18).
Judaism was temporary, preparatory and intermediate. Paul said, 'the Law was a schoolmaster to bring Israel to Christ' (Galatians 3:24; Luke 16:16). It was to excite in Israel the deep desire after Him Whom it foreshadowed, in Whom every promise is fulfilled, and to prepare Israel for His advent.
By their feasts the Hebrews taught that all time is sacred and broadly prefigured the course of time as it relates to redemption. They began with the Passover that is redemption by blood prefigured by God's sacrifice for Adam when His first Sabbath was broken, and end with the Feast of Tabernacles which restores the Sabbath with the Millennium on seventh day when the glad shout shall ring over the earth, '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).
'. . . it shall come to pass, that all the saved shall . . . worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and keep the feast of tabernacles . . . In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar . .. ' (Zechariah 14:16-21). Yes, we'll be restored to that rest from which Eve departed when she stepped into time to partake Satan's knowledge.
The annual celebration of Tabernacles which put Israel in remembrance of their transition from Egyptian bondage to their inheritance of blessing, was a type of their transition from bondage to the commandments of men and rejection of Messiah, to redemption of the nation—all 144,000 of them.
Since Calvary, Israel has been in a Spiritual wilderness, without God. Wandering, dwelling in booths, as it were, kicked from pillar to post as Moses foretold in Deuteronomy 28. God's made them repeat their wilderness journey for the same reason He caused them to wander the first time.
Deuteronomy 8:2-5, 'And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments, or not. And He humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord does man live. Your raiment waxed not old upon you, neither did your foot swell these forty years. You shall also consider in your heart, that, as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you'.
This alternating process of want and supply, of great and appalling danger, ever ready to be met by sudden and extraordinary relief, was the grand testing process in their history, by which the latent evil in their hearts was brought fully to light, that it might be condemned and purged out, and by which they were formed to that humble reliance on God's arm, and single-hearted devotion to His fear which alone could prepare them for taking possession of, and permanently occupying, the Promised Land.
In the outcome it proved too severe for the greater proportion of the original congregation. For the evil in their natures was too deeply rooted to be effectively purged out and they could not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So it is with their present generation.
During their journey through the wilderness the Lord came near and revealed Himself to them, pitching His own tabernacle in the midst of theirs, communicating to them His Law and testimony—just as He dwelt among men and communicated His Word in the Tabernacle of Jesus Christ.
Hence the Feast of Tabernacles refreshed the account of Israel's espousal and reinforced upon their minds the formative years of the nation's history.
In the year of release, every seventh year, the whole Law was to be read to all of the people (Deuteronomy 31:9-13). The Law was given them in the wilderness in this transition time, on their way to the land of Canaan, as the Law by which all things were to be regulated when they were settled in the Land, and on the faithful observance of which their continued possession of it depended. Fancy their failure to observe the Feast of Tabernacles for one thousand years.
They were thus encouraged perpetually to connect the present with the past. Learning the lesson of history with the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience, at the close of every season renewing their religious youth. Hence we read in Malachi 4:4, 'Remember ye the Law of Moses . . .' Only by making the moral lessons of the past their own, could they look forward to another season of joy and plenty.
The fullness of supply and comfort amid which the Feast was held as contrasted with their poor and unsettled condition in the wilderness, called Israel to rejoice. The solemn respect it bore to the desert life taught them to rejoice with trembling and reminded them that their delights were all connected with a state of nearness to God and fitness for His service and glory. It was also a warning that if they forsook Him, or looked merely to material gratifications, they should inevitably forget all title to their inheritance. Hence when this actually became the case, when the design of the Feast had utterly failed its purpose, when Israel forgot 'I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal,' God resolved to send her again into the rough and sifting process of youth (Hosea 2:8).
'For they are gone up to Assyria, like a wild ass wandering alone by himself: Ephraim has hired lovers. Although they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall soon sorrow for the tribute of Assyria, the king of princes.
Because Ephraim has made many altars but not to worship Me, altars to sin. I detailed for him ten thousand things of My Law, but they were counted as a strange thing.
They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of My offerings as meaningless ritual, and eat it; but the Lord accepts them not; now will He remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt. For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and builds idol temples; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities and it shall devour the fortresses' (Hosea 8:9-14).
Not that these literal scenes were to be enacted over again, but a like process of humiliation, trial, and improvement had to be undergone—the severe training of the past 2,000 years, and then the earnest spirit of the past would be revived under the ministry of the two prophets of Zechariah 4, that they might be fitted for redemption. bb951017.htm
The Feast of Tabernacles, Part II
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