The Feast of Tabernacles, Part III

Seasons and Times

Our texts for tonight are Ecclesiastes 3:1, 'To everything there is a SEASON, [Heb. 'zem-awn' a set or appointed time], and a time to every purpose under the heaven'.

And Genesis 1:14, 'And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for SEASONS, and for days, and years'. We'll be studying this word, 'seasons'.

Every human action and effort is subject to the law of time and temporal change. Concerning God's Word, Brother Branham said there are three 'must nots.' We 'Must not misinterpret or mishandle it, misinterpret or mislocate it. It must be kept just exactly the way God said it was'.

God's Word is creative and It must manifest what was spoken in its designated, decreed season and time. It matters not whether It's spoken through our mouth, the mouth of Jesus, or one of the prophets. Provided It's spoken in context and in the right season, It cannot fail to bring into being what was said.

This-evening, we'll be speaking about seasons and times, and with Israel as our natural type, we'll examine their feasts and fasts, applying them to understand the Spiritual antitype.

The word SEASONS, (Heb. 'mow'adhim') means, 'appointed time or assembly.' These seasons were NOT climatic but seasons for worship. The word 'moed' occurs 219 times; in 149 it is translated 'congregation,' and in 50 other instances by 'solemn assembly' or some equivalent expression. Thus, before man was created, God had provided for him times to worship and had appointed two great lights to serve as signals to call it.

The SUN alone indicated the hours for DAILY WORSHIP—at sun rise when the day began, there was the morning sacrifice; at sunset when the day closed, there was the evening sacrifice.

The MOON indicated the time for MONTHLY WORSHIP, and trumpets were blown when the crescent of the new moon was first seen in the western sky.

SUN and MOON together marked the times for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the bright part of the year when the moon was in full orb in the midst of the first month of Spring. Hence Jesus truly is the Light of the world. He was born into the world about the full moon in the month of Nisan, was crucified at the same time thirty three years later, and He brought 'Light to the Gentiles' after the day of Pentecost was fully come, in mid-summer, at the brightest part of the month in the brightest part of the year. The Pentecostal Feast represents the Gentile dispensation. Then, at the end of the bright part of the year, at full moon in the first month of Autumn, the Feast of Tabernacles fell.

So we have worship at the beginning and close of the BRIGHT part of the day, month and year.

The sun alone indicated the SABBATH day by multiplying the DAY by seven. The same principle was applied to the year with every seventh YEAR set apart as a period of rest—the SABBATIC YEAR (Leviticus 25).

Every seventh day, every seventh year was thus observed. But for the week and the month, the principle of hallowing the seventh came into operation only once a year. Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks was held at the close of the seventh week from the day after the 16th Nisan; and the new moon of the seventh month was held as a special feast—the Feast of Trumpets.

The weekly sabbath, Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Trumpets and Booths with the Day of Atonement are prescribed 'mow'adhim' (or appointed SEASONS) of the Lord.

The seventh day was especially the DAY of worship, and to correspond, the seventh month was especially the MONTH of worship; it furnished the culminating ceremony of the entire Jewish system, the Day of Atonement, held on the tenth day of the seventh month, and therefore not marked by any phase of the moon. This day purged away the offenses of the past year, and restored Israel to full enjoyment of the Divine favour.

The JUBILEE was a luni-solar cycle.

The Jewish month was a natural month based on the actual observation of the crescent. The Jewish year was a natural, or solar tropical year, based upon actual observation of the ripening of the grain.

The number of days in a lunar month and the number of months in a solar year vary. So that in three years the error would amount to more than a complete month. As the months were determined from actual observance, and as observation would be interrupted from time to time by unfavourable weather, it was necessary to have some means for determining when intercalation would take place, irrespective of it. And this was provided by hallowing the seventh one stage further. Not only was the seventh of the day, week, month and year distinguished, but the seventh week of years was marked by the blowing of the trumpet of the Jubilee on the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement meant the 'RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS'.

Acts 3:13-25, 'The God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom you delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And His Name through faith in His Name hath made this man strong, whom you see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given Him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

And now, brethren, I know that through ignorance you did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing (or the new birth, Isaiah 28:12; Hebrews 4) shall come from the Presence of the Lord;

And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. [First the revelation of the Word must be restored and this places the end time bride, shows her her part in the living Body Word, and brings her to maturity for the manifestation of the Sons of God and the translation. The ministries of two prophets with the anointings that were upon Moses and Elijah will restore the elect 144,000 Israelites and set them in their part of the Word. Finally that Word will manifest the physical restoration of all things in the Millennium].

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall you hear And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people". [However the faith of that Prophet, Jesus Christ, was lost through martyrdom by the Roman Catholic church and the only way we could HEAR Him was for His faith to be RESTORED through the ministry of the Elijah of Malachi 4:5-6 and Revelation 10:7 (the late William Branham). Likewise, the 144,000 elect of Israel could not 'HEAR Him' without receiving their two witnesses].

Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. You are the children of the prophets, and of the Covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, "And in thy Seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed".' [And we learn from Galatians three this spoke of Abraham's Royal Seed, singular, Jesus Christ].

When that JUBILEE Trumpet sounds and Israel come to their day of atonement, all Israel shall be saved. All 144,000 of them will be born-again in one day. In the natural, every Hebrew SLAVE IN SERVITUDE RETURNED TO FREEDOM; ALL LAND MORTGAGED OR SOLD, RETURNED TO ITS ORIGINAL OWNER. We found last week this was the promise Israel rejected, so God turned from them to we Gentiles.

Isaiah 49:8-9, 'Thus saith the LORD, "In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the people, TO RESTORE THE EARTH, TO CAUSE TO INHERIT THE DESOLATE HERITAGES; That thou mayest say to the PRISONERS, 'Go forth'; to them that are in DARKNESS, 'Show yourselves.' They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places".'

This period of 49 solar years was astronomically a period of restitution, for the sun and moon returned nearly to their original positions relative to each other, since 49 years are 606 lunar months with an error of only 32 hours. So although the lunar period is not a perfect lunar cycle, it was sufficiently exact to guide the Jewish priests in drawing up this calendar in cases where the failure of observation had given rise to some doubt.

The beginning of each month was marked by the blowing of two silver trumpets. Numbers 10:2, 10, 'Make you 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 . . . Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you 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'.

The beginning of the civil (i.e. agricultural) year was marked by a special blowing of trumpets—known as the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24; Numbers 29:1). Distinct from the other new moons and more sacred than they, was that of the seventh month, Tishri, partly on account of the symbolical meaning of the seventh or sabbatical month, in which the great feasts of the Day of Atonement and of Tabernacles occurred, and partly perhaps, because it also marked the completion of harvest and the commencement of the civil year. In Scripture this feast is designated as the 'memorial blowing,' or 'day of blowing,' 'seasons'.

The cycle of the Jubilee was sufficient for the purposes of the religious calendar—so long as the nation inhabited its own land—since from its small extent there would be no conflict of time reckoning and it would be easy to notify the appearance of the new moon from one end of the country to the other. The temple at Jerusalem was their standard observatory.

The pre-exilic annual pilgrimages of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles were holy convocations (Leviticus 23; Numbers 28) on which there must be a complete suspension of work. Special sacrifices were offered in addition to the daily offerings. On all of them trumpets were blown while the burnt offerings and peace offerings were being sacrificed (Numbers 10:10).

These sacrifices were mainly communal meals eaten with great joy. The eating of meat was a relatively rare occurrence in ancient Israel, and originally always having a religious significance, coupled with the drinking of wine, gave the feast both its festive and sacred character. The great feasts were occasions of Covenant renewal at which the bonds that held Israel together as a people were re-knit.

Israel was an agrarian society. The feasts God prescribed them through Moses were of agricultural significance as well as commemorative of past events. A FEAST (Heb. 'chag' or khawg) means, a festival-gathering or PILGRIM-feast. Thus the Passover is connected with the BARLEY harvest as well as recalling the Exodus. Pentecost celebrates the WHEAT harvest and the giving of the Law (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:10-14; Numbers 28:26-31). The Feast of Tabernacles is at once the general harvest festival and the anniversary of the beginning of the wanderings in the wilderness (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:33ff; Deuteronomy 16:13-15). The eighth day of assembly immediately following the last day of Tabernacles and closing the long cycle of Tishri festivals, was a holy convocation and final day of rejoicing before the pilgrims returned to their homes, and it represents eternity.

New Year, or the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1-6), and the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:1ff; 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7-11) marked the turn of the year, both in the natural phenomena of Palestine and the inner life of the nation and the individual. It also marked the change of seasons, the approach of rain and of the winter equinox, and determined alike the commencement and the close of a sabbatical year (Deuteronomy 31:10). The significance of these days as days of judgment, penitence and forgiveness, overshadowed its natural significance.

The Day of Atonement is the only pre-exilic FAST—'a day of affliction' but it also becomes a day of rejoicing.

During the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles 'all native Israelites shall dwell in booths; that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when l brought them out of the land of Egypt' (Leviticus 23:42-43). This was to remind Israel of their being 'strangers and pilgrims in the earth.' These booths and not their houses were to be the regular dwelling of all in Israel during the week. 'Ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees and willows of the brook'. (Leviticus 23:40).

At the time of Christ, the direction on the first day of the feast to 'take the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook,' was applied to what the worshipers were to carry in their hands. Every worshiper carried the aethrog (or citron) in his left hand, and in his right the lulav or palm, with myrtle and willow branch on either side of it, tied together on the outside. There can be no doubt that the lulav was intended to remind Israel of the different stages of their wilderness journey, as represented by the different vegetation—the palm branches recalling the valleys and plains, the 'boughs of thick trees,' the bushes on the mountain heights, and the willows those brooks from which God had given His people drink; while the aethrog was to remind them of the fruits of the good land which the Lord had given them. The lulav was used in the Temple on each of the seven festive days, even children, if they were able to shake it, being bound to carry one.

On the day before the Feast of Tabernacles, the 14th Tishri, the festive pilgrims had all arrived in Jerusalem. The 'booths' on the roofs, in the court-yards, in streets and squares as well as roads and gardens within a Sabbath day's journey, must have given the city and neighbourhood an unusually picturesque appearance. Thus did the people gather in the Presence of God. The preparation of all that was needed for the festival—purification, the care of the offerings that each would bring, and friendly communications between those who were to be invited to the sacrificial meal—no doubt sufficiently occupied their time. When the early autumn evening set in, the blasts of the priests trumpets on the Temple Mount announced to Israel the advent of the feast.

We can now in some measure realize the event recorded in John 7:37. The festivities of the Week of Tabernacles were drawing to a close. It was seventh and 'the last day, that great day of the feast.' Although it was not a holy convocation, it obtained this name, partly because it closed the feast and partly from the Rabbinical writings which designated it the 'Day of the Great Hosanna,' on account of the sevenfold circuit of the altar with 'hosanna'; and 'Day of Willows,' and 'Day of Beating the Branches', because all the leaves were shaken off the willow boughs, and the palm branches beaten in pieces by the side of the altar. It was on that day, 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 worshiping as the priests three times drew the threefold blasts from their silver trumpets)—just when the interest of the people had been raised to its highest pitch, that, as the last words of Psalm 118 were chanted: "Blessed be He that comes in the Name of the Lord: we have blessed You out of the house of the Lord. God is the Lord, who has shown us Light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise You: You are my God, I will exalt You. O give thanks to the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endures forever"—from amidst the mass of worshipers, who were waving towards the altar a forest of leafy branches a voice was raised which resounded through the Temple. It 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 unto Me, and drink".'

On the afternoon of the seventh day of the feast the people began to remove from the 'booths.' The beating of palm and willow branches was a custom connected with their dismantling (Leviticus 23:40-43). For at the Octave, on the 22nd of Tishri, (i.e. after sunset on the 21st), they no longer lived in booths nor did they use the lulav. But it was observed as 'a holy convocation.'

The first six days of the Feast of Tabernacles represent the journey of the saints on earth, labouring against sin for 6,000 years. The seventh day types the millennium when we have ceased our journey. This is shown by Revelation 7:9-10, '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 (i.e. Hosanna) to our God who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb".' John sees the Bride, already resurrected, after he saw the sealing of the 144,000 elect Israelites. This shout of 'Hosanna' was raised in the Temple on the seventh or last day of the Feast.

We see this word used in relation to Israel by the Old Testament saints, already in heaven at the close of the Gentile dispensation in Revelation 12:10, 'And I heard a loud voice saying IN HEAVEN, "Now is come SALVATION and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night".'

Revelation 19:1, 'And after ROME IS DESTROYED, I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, "Alleluia; SALVATION, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God":'

A clue to identifying these with palm branches in their hands, and the shout of 'Hosanna!' ascribing SALVATION to God and the Lamb, is the word 'tabernacle' in verse 15 (see also Psalm 118:25, 27 LXX). 'Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in his temple and He that sitteth on the throne will DWELL (or tabernacle) among them.' They are in His temple, Greek 'naos' means the central sanctuary, the Holy Place and Holy of Holies, or place of the Presence, where only the Bride and the Old Testament saints have entered. The same word's applied potentially in Revelation 11:1-2 to the 144000; all outside their number are excluded.

These are Gentiles observing a Tabernacles feast—the seventh day (Zechariah 14:16-21). Revelation 7:9-17 represents the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, 'that great day' is identified by the ceremony of palm leaves, the pouring of water, and the blessings of verses 9-12, praising God that their pilgrimage is over, and soon they'll enter the eternal Land of the Millennium. From among the Gentiles, only the Bride goes into the Millennium.

Throughout the reign of Christ, we '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 7:16-17; Isaiah 25:6-9; 49:8-10; 51:11). Our joy and blessing foreshadows that of the 144,000 who will rejoice in their joy at deliverance, and preservation and assurance for the future.

Our palms are waved in victory, the 144,000 must yet seal victory with their own lives, even as their palms are smashed on the altar. Unlike Israel, the Bride did not dwell in booths. But GOD will dwell among or 'tabernacle' over us for we are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, the New Jerusalem. We are in His temple for we are the temple of God.

Now the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles types the millennium but it is not a holy convocation, because the Bible says we will work during the millennium. We will build houses and live in them, we'll plant and eat the fruit of our labours. 'Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands' (Isaiah 65:21-25). The Millennium is a rest from our labour against sin. We will no longer need to fight against sin and sinners. Then, after the millennium, comes the eighth day of the new heavens and new earth—eternity where seasons and time shall be no more. bb960410.htm

The Feast of Tabernacles, Part IV

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