PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: FOUR

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PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: FOURCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

("PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: Four" is taken from The Feasts of the Lord, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)

Three Convocations

Proclaim in Their Seasons

The Agricultural Year

The Best Is Yet to Come

Three Convocations

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

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

The above are the three holy convocations that occur annually.

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

Pentecost is referred to as the feast of Weeks.

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

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

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

Accepting the Passover blood shed by Jesus.

Entering water baptism for the washing away of our sins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Passover

2. Unleavened Bread FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (April)

3. Firstfruits

4. Pentecost FEAST OF WEEKS (May)

5. Trumpets

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

7. Tabernacles

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

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

Proclaim in Their Seasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Agricultural Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Best Is Yet To Come

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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