PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: SEVENTEEN (EXCERPT OF THE FEASTS OF THE LORD)
(“Pressing Past Pentecost: Seventeen” is taken from The Feasts of the Lord, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
Day of Atonement
The Setting up of the Kingdom of God
Three Holy Convocations
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. “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you shall be witnesses to 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 special 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 oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge 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, says 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.
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 who commits 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 your voice like a trumpet; tell 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.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 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.
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 to 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 may 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:
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion [body of Christ] 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.
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. (I Corinthians 15:23-25)
Notice the phrase, “afterward those who 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.
“You have a few names even in Sardis who 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 which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will 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.
(“Pressing Past Pentecost: Seventeen”, 3066-1)