TABERNACLES AND THE TESTIMONY
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Passages of Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
God has a long-range program. Part of the program includes the perfecting of a testimony to the nations of the earth.
God has created millions of people and He loves them all. But He has no way of communicating to them His love, His Person, His way, and His will. God’s answer to His problem is His eternal witness, the Church without spot or wrinkle, the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord.
Table of Contents
TABERNACLES AND THE TESTIMONY
Since a couple of people who receive the daily essays have inquired as to my doctrinal beliefs, I am writing the following brief autobiographical sketch.
My response has been that I subscribe unequivocally to the cardinal Christian doctrines. I accept wholeheartedly the fundamentals of the Christian faith. My argument is with the current grace-Heaven-rapture error that is not scriptural, has destroyed the testimony of the churches, and kept the believers in a state of eternal babyhood.
In addition to protesting the prevailing unscriptural teaching I am presenting the work of God that is to follow the Pentecostal experience, that is, the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, and the reason for this work. I thought therefore that I would like to explain how I came to an understanding of the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles and the purpose behind the fulfillment.
I was converted to Christ in 1944, on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian chain. A year later, while stationed at Sasebo, Japan, the Lord called me to preach the Gospel.
When I was discharged from the Marine Corps, in 1946, I searched about for a seminary to attend. Since many veterans were returning there were only a few openings left. The one I located was in San Diego, an Assembly of God Bible school by the name of Berean Bible Institute.
Having been raised on the East coast I knew nothing of the Pentecostal movement or of speaking in tongues. Being of a somewhat cerebral nature it took me a year before finally breaking forth in tongues. I have been speaking in tongues ever since, with occasional lapses into English.
The Berean Bible Institute was small but mighty in its offering, because it reflected in its faculty and visiting speakers ministers who had known Pentecost in its glory.
My wife, Audrey, and I were acquainted with Stanley Howard Frodsham, the editor of the Pentecostal Evangel for many years.
My Greek teacher, Walter Harris, had been associated with Dr. Yokum (I am not positive of some of these spellings) of the Pisgah Home Movement. The anecdotes Brother Harris (a man of precise integrity and truthfulness) would tell the students, the miracles he had witnessed, were awesome.
Elmer E. Fullerton, Pastor of the First Assembly of God in San Diego during the war, came to speak at some of the chapel services. On Brother Fullerton’s suggestion Audrey and I visited Samuel S. Scull, another hero of the Assemblies.
A few years previously Smith-Wigglesworth had been to Sixth and Fir, the First Assembly of God of San Diego. Brother J. O. Dowell, the President of the Bible School and I believe founder of the Assembly of God church of La Jolla, California, told us about the ministry of Smith-Wigglesworth at First Assembly. One of my classmates, Sister Good, had worked for a season with Aimee Semple McPherson.
So you see, Audrey and I had the opportunity to become acquainted with Pentecost in its heyday.
Soon after my Pentecostal experience the Lord began to speak to me about what He intended to do after Pentecost. The emphasis was on Christ in us. Not too long after, Brother Ellenwood, a distinguished Pentecostal Bible teacher, lectured on the Tabernacle of the Congregation. It was then God spoke to me about the seven feasts of the Lord, particularly the Day of Atonement.
Finally I realized that the last three feasts of the Lord, the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, symbolized the experience of Christ in you that the Lord was telling me about.
I know all true Christians have Christ in them just as all true Christians have a portion of the Holy Spirit. But what we of Pentecost refer to as the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a greater portion of the Spirit than what we received when we first accepted Christ. In like manner, the experience of Christ in us as symbolized by the last three feasts of the Lord is a greater portion than that received at the time of our initial acceptance of Christ or when we were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
The Lord had brought Brother Fullerton past Pentecost into a greater experience of Christ, just before he died. His words were a tremendous confirmation of what the Lord was showing me at that time. Also the writings of Dr. Charles Price, a famous evangelist, revealed that God had done something new with him. It was all very exciting and inspiring to me, as you might imagine.
Then came the Hawtin party from Canada with their emphasis on laying on of hands and personal prophecy. David DuPlessis was making the rounds of the historic denominations, teaching them about speaking in tongues. Billy Graham was having spectacular revival meetings. William Branham was demonstrating the original power of miracles. Israel became a nation. What a time of change!
The Assemblies dismissed five of us veterans from Berean and closed the school because the local pastors did not understand what we were talking about any more than we did. They also dismissed Brother Frodsham, the author of “With Signs Following.” Brother Frodsham was a man of God if there ever was one. Since laying on of hands and personal prophecy is generally accepted now in the Pentecostal churches, I wonder sometimes if the Assemblies ever have had second thoughts about dismissing Stanley Howard Frodsham because of the early Latter Rain practices.
I know there was error in the early Latter Rain movement. There was talk about the manifestation of the sons of God, for example. At that time I proclaimed as I do today that the manifestation of the sons of God has to do with the return of Jesus Christ with His saints and is not for the Church Age. It seems when the rains of revival fall they bring up more than flowers.
But it may be that a religious uproar with some questionable doctrines may be preferred to apathy. We can always chew the fish and spit out the bones.
Anyhow, I found myself as a young man preaching and teaching about Christ in you and the feasts of the Lord. My listeners used to comment that I had a good spirit but they could not understand me. Small wonder! I hardly understood myself!
Even though I had been called to preach the Gospel, no doors opened to the ministry. I decided to go into public education and so enrolled in college. I earned a B.A, M.Ed., and finally a D.Ed from the University of Rochester in New York. I spent many happy years teaching elementary school, high school music, college students, also as a supervisor of student teachers and an elementary principal.
At about the age of forty, while living in Palo Alto, California and teaching elementary school there, I was praying one morning as was my custom. I prayed, “Father, if no one ever understands me, and all you want is for me to have faith that you have these great experiences for us, I am willing to accept this role.”
Soon after, Brother Clyde Pickthorne, a local pastor, suggested to me that I write what I thought God had shown me. Truly the hand of the Lord came upon me and I began to write, and, as you can see, am still writing what I think I have been shown.
About ten years later, when serving as an elementary-school principal, the Lord spoke to Audrey and me that it was time to enter the ministry.
At the suggestion of Brother Leroy Cloud, the Pastor of the First Assembly of God of Fremont, California, we began the Fremont School of the Bible, I think it was called. One evening when I was teaching an angel rose up in the middle of the class, frowned at me, and turned his head southward. I knew then that Audrey and I were to go south to minister.
We ended up in Poway, California. The Foursquare Divisional Superintendent, Carl Purdy, asked us if we would reopen the Poway Foursquare church. We agreed to this and have been there about twenty-three years.
While in Palo Alto, about thirty years previously, I had prayed one morning that God would make it possible for me to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom wherever people breathe the air. There were no personal computers or Internet in those days so it really was a fantastic prayer.
The first opportunity I had to reach out to the nations with the Gospel of the Kingdom was as a teacher in the Morris Cerullo School of Ministry in San Diego. There I was able to contact pastors and teachers from many countries.
Today the fulfillment of that prayer does not seem impossible. We have reached upwards of eighty or ninety countries so far on our Internet site. Our books also have gone to foreign countries. The word is going out on audio and video cassette. Hundreds of people (four hundred as of today, December 7, 1998) are receiving the daily essay, which is remarkable since we are pointing out that much of what is preached in Christian churches is not found in the Scriptures.
I feel the Lord has given me a promise in the Scripture:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world… (Psalms 19:1-4—NIV)
The message of Christ in you and the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles has stood the test of time in my personal experience. I grow more convinced as the days go by that God has a third great work of grace for us, grace that will enable us to survive the age of moral horrors that is on the horizon.
Now I want to go on and describe to you a few of the aspects of the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.
The Spiritual Fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles
The first idea that must be made clear to us is that there are three great major works of grace.
The first, basic salvation, is portrayed by the week of Passover.
The second, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, is symbolized by the Jewish feast of Pentecost. This is where we get the term “Pentecostal.”
The third work of grace is new to most of us, although there is evidence that some saints of the past, such as A. B. Simpson of the Christian Missionary Alliance were enjoying such closeness to God. The third work of grace is typified by the last major convocation of Israel, the feast of Tabernacles. Included in the symbolism of Tabernacles is the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and then the feast of Tabernacles itself. These are the final three of the seven feasts of the Lord.
The Blowing of Trumpets means spiritual warfare is involved.
The Day of Atonement signifies God and His Church are to be reconciled, not just legally as in the case of the imputation of righteousness but actually, such that worldliness, lust, and self-will have been driven from our personality.
The feast of Tabernacles, during which the Israelites live in small shelters outside their homes or apartments, represents the forming of Christ in us and then the Father and the Son coming to dwell forever in that which has been formed in us.
The Kingdom of God, the fullness of salvation, occurs as we enter the final feast, the eternal residing of the Father and the Son in us. All other aspects of salvation point toward and find their significance in the final feast, the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles.
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23—NIV)
When we first are saved we place our trust in the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The atoning blood gives us the authority to become children of God.
After we have been sprinkled with the blood the Holy Spirit is given to us. The oil is placed on the blood, to use an Old Testament figure. The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom and power to move toward the fullness of salvation.
The blood provides the authority. The Spirit gives the wisdom and power. But the purpose of all this is that we might become the dwelling place of God. I did not understand many of these details to begin with. They became clearer through the years.
Over the last twenty or so years I have not been emphasizing Christ in you as much as I used to. The emphasis has turned toward righteous behavior. I have pondered why the change of emphasis but I think I have the answer now.
One of the first books I wrote is titled “The Tabernacle of the Congregation.” One day while writing a chapter on the holiness of the Tabernacle the thought flashed into my mind (I wonder where it came from!) that there was something amiss in Christian teaching.
As I stated previously, I was converted in 1944 while in the Marine Corps, stationed on Oahu. I came under the influence of strong Christians, particularly some members of the Navigators. They taught me to go by the Word of God, a lesson that has stuck with me from that time.
I also was given a Scofield Bible. I was taught the traditional Christian message, that we are in a dispensation of grace and God does not require us to keep the commandments of Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
Also in Bible school I was taught the Dispensational model of biblical interpretation along with the pre-tribulation “rapture” of the believers. Naturally I trusted what I was told by mature Christians.
I was writing a chapter of the book “The Tabernacle of the Congregation” and something struck me. I thought, “Does the New Testament teach us that we are supposed to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles or are we in a dispensation of grace such that if we strive to do what the New Testament says we are guilty of the ‘filthy rags’ of religious self-righteousness?” Do you ever ask radical questions like this? My dear wife, Audrey, says I just enjoy being different.
I had noticed a verse that implied we indeed were supposed to keep these commandments. So I began to search the New Testament to see if it emphasized salvation by forgiveness alone or if we were supposed to live righteously.
Pretty soon I stopped listing the verses that stressed righteous behavior. There simply were too many. So I looked up the verses (mostly in Chapters Four and Five of the Book of Romans) that emphasized righteousness apart from works (which I noted later were not the works of righteous behavior but the works of the Law of Moses—another tremendous Christian misunderstanding).
You can imagine my consternation to discover Christian teaching was off the track. Then I questioned the pre-tribulation “rapture” and discovered this also was unscriptural. My next move was to get rid of my Scofield Bible, which to my way of thinking should be banned from Christian bookshelves.
Then I became angry because everyone was preaching error. Isn’t this sensible? My anger and raging did not help my students in any manner. I have gotten over my anger now.
I said to the Lord one day, “They are all heretics,” referring of course to the entire church world. The Lord asked me, “What is heresy?” I responded, “A misunderstanding of doctrine.” Then I calmed down because I have always said if the student does not understand something, it is the fault of the teacher.
Since God originally had spoken to me about what He was going to do after Pentecost had been established, that is, the dwelling of Christ in us, I could not understand why I now was spending so much time talking about righteousness of behavior.
I think I see the connection. We cannot enter the feast of Tabernacles until we go through the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, until the worldliness, lust, and self-will are out of us. The Father and the Son are not going to take up Their eternal residence in us until we are keeping the words of Christ—at least that is what Jesus stated in John 14:23. All of our Christian experiences, all of the works of redemption, are bringing us toward the third great work of grace, the Tabernacles experience (to coin a term; you can call it what you like).
The main point of Tabernacles is that we become one with God. This does not mean we become the Father. It means we abide in Christ who abides in God who abides in Christ who abides in us. The wheel in the wheel, to follow Ezekiel. We become one with Christ in the Father just as He and the Father are One. This is what the Bible teaches.
God is so clever! He starts us off with the idea that if we will just accept Christ we will be forgiven all our sins and go to Heaven when we die. How marvelous!
Then He provokes us (is this the right word?) into permitting the Holy Spirit to guide what we say so our speech becomes incomprehensible to ourselves and others. Sometimes added to speaking in tongues are other manifestations of the Spirit such as prophecy or a word of knowledge.
Wonderful! All this and Heaven too!
When He gets us so far in that we cannot back out, He drops the bomb. Now He wants us to give up our old nature completely and become one with Him in all things. This sounds like more good stuff being added to us (and it really is!) but soon we discover we are going through painful (sometimes very painful) experiences that are purifying us from worldliness, lust, and self-will.
When we complain the Lord reminds us that we have been crucified with Christ and now have ascended with Him to the right hand of the Father, far above all other authority and power.
We understand this, but now God is getting practical. We are having to give up parts of our personality that we did not realize would be called for. Soon it dawns on us that God is asking for all we are that we might receive all He is.
We have a decision to make. We want to escape Hell and go to Heaven to be with our loved ones, and all that, but now the Lord is asking that we surrender our entire personality to Himself that He might make all things new in us.
Basic salvation makes some demands on us.
Being baptized with the Holy Spirit makes further demands on us.
Moving ahead to the fullness of God makes total demands on us. How many Christians are going to be willing to really be crucified with Christ so Christ may live in them?
Up to this point, God gives us strength. When we enter the rest of the feast of Tabernacles, God Himself becomes our strength.
Up to this point, God gives us peace. When we enter Tabernacles, God Himself becomes our peace.
God gives us joy. When we enter Tabernacles, God Himself becomes our joy.
Can you see the difference?
- In the first situation we are a person separate from God and so God gives us things.
- In the second situation we are not a person separate from God. We have become one with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore God does not give us anything. He Himself for eternity IS all we need and desire.
Can I invite you forward to the climax of the work of salvation? I do not claim to have arrived but, as Brother Fullerton used to sing, “I’m pressing on the upward way. New heights I’m gaining every day.”
We have titled this brief essay, “Tabernacles and the Witness.” What do we mean by this?
Let’s move on and see.
The Light of the World
If we are to understand what relationship the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles has to our witness to the world we must come to realize the difference between the Church and the world.
God loves the world, the crazy, drunken, rebellious world. God does not love the spirit of the world, the spirit of Antichrist. Rather God loves the people of the world. As Isaiah says, they grow up like grass in the field that is thrown into the fire and burned. Yet God knows each person and cares for him or her.
But God has no way in which He can communicate His love, His person, His will, His way to the average person. At one time God visited the earth in the Person of His Son, but the results were disastrous. Immediately the religious leaders were overcome with envy and sought to murder Him. Imagine! They strove to murder their Christ and Lord!
No, it is not that easy, because of our sin, for God to dwell with us.
God’s solution to His problem of communication is to call out of the world a Church. When the Church has attained the spiritual stature God is seeking, God then will be able to return to the earth in Jesus Christ and His coheirs and tell people of His love, His Person, His will, and His way.
First the Lord Jesus had to come and make an atonement for mankind. This He did through the Holy Spirit. The perfect atonement has been made, the perfect Lamb has been slain.
The next step in the program is the Church Age. I think we have misunderstood the Church Age. The Lord Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel to every creature, saying whoever believed and was baptized would be saved in the Day of Judgment.
But the main purpose of the two thousand years of the Church Age is not the salvation of the nations. I am not implying by this statement that evangelistic efforts should cease, I merely am pointing out the grand plan for reconciling God to man and man to God.
The primary purpose of the Church Age has been and continues to be the calling out of a royal priesthood whose members have been predestined from the beginning of the world. God gives specific people to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ gives them the eternal life by which they will govern the nations of saved people.
If you will take note, Paul says that the purpose of the gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit to the members of the Body of Christ is that they might build up the Body until each member arrives at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
No man can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. Jesus told us we have not chosen Him but He has chosen us and ordained us that we would bring forth fruit. It is the fruit that is all-important in God’s plan, for the fruit is the moral image of Jesus Christ; and the moral image of Jesus Christ is the testimony that God desires to present to mankind.
When we have experienced salvation we can tell others what we know about Jesus. But we ourselves are not the testimony.
When we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit we receive power to bear witness of Christ. But we ourselves are not the testimony that God wants. In fact many Pentecostal ministers, although anointed with the Spirit for the work of the ministry, are themselves a miserable, destructive testimony because of their immorality and their covetousness. Have you noticed this?
We understand therefore that basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit do not provide the kind of eternal testimony God is looking for.
But God yet will obtain the testimony He is looking for. It will be produced as we are willing to let go of our adamic nature and permit God and Christ to take Their proper place on the throne of our personality. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The Lord Jesus claims to be the Light of the world. Indeed He is!
But then Jesus said we are the light of the world. He added, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
Now think carefully about this: “may see your good works.” The light we give is not our preaching the Gospel, as necessary as that is. The light we are to give is our righteous conduct. Such righteous conduct cannot be produced by our adamic nature, our original personality. It can be produced only as the Father and the Son are tabernacling in us.
Turning to the Book of Isaiah we find the program set forth clearly.
First we see that the Lord Jesus has been anointed to transform the members of Zion, the Church, into “oaks of righteousness.” This does not mean oaks of imputed righteousness but oaks of righteous behavior.
And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3—NIV)
Next we notice how the saved peoples of the nations view the members of the Church, of the royal priesthood.
Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” (Isaiah 61:9—NIV)
Then we see the purpose of converting the members of Zion into oaks of righteousness is that the people of the world might see God’s righteousness and God’s praise proceeding from the members of His Church.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11—NIV)
God wants the people of the nations to behold and understand His righteousness and His praise. Obviously this has to be actual righteousness and actual praise because people cannot see imputed righteousness or hear imputed praise. Imputed righteousness exists only in the mind of God. He declares us righteous when we accept the blood atonement. But such righteousness is of little value as a testimony.
In fact the churches of today are under the impression the only Christian righteousness there is is that which is imputed. In this case imputed righteousness is more of a hindrance than an asset to the Divine testimony.
Remembering that Isaiah did not write in chapters, we proceed with the thought of the development of the Divine testimony to the nations of the earth.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. (Isaiah 62:1—NIV)
As we said, if the righteousness and salvation of Zion are to become the light of the world, the witness of God’s righteousness and praise, they are going to have to be actual righteousness and actual salvation. Imputed righteousness and imputed salvation do not, obviously, shine like the dawn. They are not something people can behold. If a Christian is dishonest or immoral, he may claim God is imputing righteousness to him because he trusts in Jesus. But it is certain that the people of the world cannot see the imputed righteousness, only the dishonest or immoral behavior. Can you agree with this?
This difference between imputed righteousness and its role, and actual righteousness and its role, is an error in Christian thinking so great as to stagger the mind when we consider its awful consequences. Our own government, that of the United States, is being destroyed by sinful practices on the part of the political leaders; and I attribute this moral destruction to the ignorance of the majority of Christian churches concerning the proper role of actual righteousness of behavior. The moral testimony of the Christian churches is the only light the governmental leaders have!
If Sunday after Sunday the Christian churches preach grace-rapture-Heaven, grace-rapture-Heaven, grace-rapture-Heaven, grace-rapture-Heaven, what effect do you think such preaching and teaching will have on the character of the listeners? What effect do you think such preaching and teaching will have on the people of the world who are looking to the churches for moral guidance?
Numerous Christian people are outraged over the fact that the unsaved abort their children. Why is it remarkable that the unsaved abort their children? Dogs bark because they are dogs. Sinners sin because they are sinners. The American secular populace views the Christians as hypocrites and does not want them interfering in their personal pleasures.
Meanwhile the Christian churches are filled with every form of immorality, covetousness, slander, gossip, hatred, strife, unforgiveness, pride, arrogance, haughtiness, smugness, selfishness, self-centeredness, witchcraft, unbelief, lying, indifference to the demands of Christ, and if there be anything else contrary to sound doctrine.
If the Christian churches are not to preach grace-rapture-Heaven, grace-rapture-Heaven, grace-rapture-Heaven, what are they to preach? Are there any other subjects in the New Testament? What teaching will convert the Christians to righteous behavior so the world will have a moral light to go by?
The ministers of the Gospel in America must begin to preach the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. After having declared the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord they are to emphasize that we are to present our body to God a living sacrifice. They are to emphasize that we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.
They are to emphasize moral purity, truthfulness, freedom from the idols of America such as covetousness, violence, and the love of pleasure. They are to warn the believers about being entangled in the world. They are to stress the importance of hard work, of honor, of faithfulness, of absolute integrity, of friendliness and kindness.
They are to teach the believers to seek the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit so they may build up themselves and their fellow members of the Body of Christ until all of us attain the stature of the fullness of Christ.
They are to pray without ceasing, especially for the leaders of government and all those in authority. They are to meditate each day in the Scriptures. They are to assemble with fervent believers, serving in the assembly, sharing their material means as they are able, always remembering the poor.
There is a New Testament full of commandments and exhortations. All of these are to be taught and emphasized. By so doing we will convert the believers to the righteous ways of the Lord. Then, and only then, will the unsaved have an understanding of what God requires of people—not just of Christians but of all people on the face of the earth.
How dreadful the Christian bias against righteous behavior actually is can be seen in the translation of Isaiah 62:1 found in The Amplified Bible (The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, seventh printing, August, 1970.)
“For Zion’s sake will I [Isaiah] not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until her imputed righteousness and vindication go forth as brightness, and her salvation radiates as does a burning torch.”
I doubt seriously that it was Isaiah who was speaking but rather the Spirit of Christ in Isaiah. But this is not the point.
Look at the expression “until her imputed righteousness.” I have found no other translation that inserts the adjective “imputed.” Also I have checked reference works. I am not a Hebrew scholar but I do not see that this is a specialized Hebrew employment of “righteousness” such that a supporting adjective is required for elucidation.
If any of my readers knows a lexical basis for the insertion of “imputed” I would greatly appreciate the information. Until I become acquainted with data to the contrary I am assuming that the editor of The Amplified Bible has taken an unwarranted liberty.
To make matters worse there are no brackets or parentheses to indicate the term “imputed” was added by the editor. The ordinary believer will assume the only righteousness God can produce in His Church is that which He ascribes.
If I am correct in assuming there is no lexical basis for the term “imputed” but that it was added because of the personal belief of the translator, then we can see the enormous error existing in the minds of Christian people.
An engine of enormous power can be stopped by clipping a small but vital electrical wire. So it is true that the power of the Kingdom of God can be stopped by an error such as the belief that the only righteousness of the Kingdom of God is that which is ascribed to people who are continuing to sin, who have never undergone moral transformation. It truly is a deplorable situation.
The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. (Isaiah 62:2—NIV)
In the above verse we have the fulfillment of that which Jesus spoke: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God.”
We are a city set on a hill, the Lord said. That hill is Zion, the holy hill of God.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14—NIV)
In Jesus Christ is eternal life. This life is the only light of men. When the Life of Christ is in us, then we radiate the love, Person, will, and way of almighty God.
We do not have enough of the Life of Christ when we first are saved.
We do not have enough of the Life of Christ when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit.
We do not have enough of the Life of Christ to be the light of the world until we move past Pentecost and permit God and Christ to rule in the throne room of our personality. This means being crucified with Christ that He may live in us.
Now can you see how the feast of Tabernacles and the eternal Divine witness are related?
The purpose of the ministries and gifts given to the Body of Christ is that the members of the Body may come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. It is then, when we have come to maturity, that God and Christ can dwell in us. When God and Christ dwell in us, we being one with Them and in Them, the nations of saved people of the earth will come to experience the love, Person, way, and will of God. This is the goal toward which everything is working.
The Lord Jesus told us of the plan.
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so the world may believe you have sent me. (John 17:21—NIV)
The world will believe God has sent Jesus Christ when the members of the Church are one in the Father and the Son.
We see, therefore, that the purpose of the present age is to perfect the Church so throughout the ages to come the Church can bear witness of God.
It is not unusual for us Christians to desire to go forth and tell the world about the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation. This is a worthy ambition. However, the world will not believe that God has sent Christ until the Church is one in the Father and the Son.
Today the Spirit is calling us to the fullness of union with God through Christ. Sometimes ambitious believers view our efforts toward a closer walk with God as being an undesirable introspection. “You should be out saving souls! You are sitting in the pews getting fat while the world is dying without Christ.!”
The spirit that is criticizing those who are seeking more of God may be well-meaning but it is not of God. I do not believe God is speaking to most Christians today to go out and try to bring the world to Christ. I think the Lord is knocking on the door of each Christian heart, asking for admittance.
One of the hardest decisions a zealous Christian makes is to let go of his plans to build the Kingdom of God and turn to Jesus and wait to hear His voice. So many doubts assail us. “Are we in deception, in passivity? What if it is true that God has commanded us in the Bible to preach the Gospel to every creature, while here we are, waiting for instructions and not just doing what the Bible says?”
Yet there is no way to move past Pentecost into the feast of Tabernacles, into the rest of God, until we let go of our own plans and ambitions and look to the Lord for His directions.
Those who today are at Pentecost are shooting off in numerous directions. But how many really have heard from the Lord? How many of these enthusiastic leaders really know what they are doing? The Pharisees were ambitious religious leaders but they murdered Christ, the one Person who really knew what He was doing; who really was hearing from God.
During the feast of Tabernacles the Jews chanted the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah. We can tell when we enter the experience of Tabernacles because the following is true of us.
In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. (Isaiah 12:1—NIV)
Our attention is turned away from ourselves and focused on the Lord.
There always has to be a period of anger, of tearing, before we can enter the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles. This is because God goes to war against those aspects of our personality that are not reconciled to Himself.
When God wounds, He heals. When He tears, He binds up. Until the Lord injures us in this fashion we remain strong in our own strength. But after the Lord wounds us we come up out of the wilderness of judgment leaning on our Beloved.
Jacob fought with God and won. Israel came forth with a limp. We cannot have eternal strength unless God has first caused us to limp.
As many as Jesus loves He rebukes and chastens. Only through the chastening of the Lord can we become a partaker of His holiness. The Divine fires cause us to cease from sin. There is no other way. Even the Lord Himself learned obedience to the Father by the things He suffered.
You want to enter Tabernacles? Then prepare yourself to dwell with the devouring Fire of Israel.
The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil—This is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him. (Isaiah 33:14-16—NIV)
Do you desire such an intense relationship with God Almighty? If you do, lay hold on it!
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2—NIV)
The Lord God Himself becomes your salvation. Your response is to trust Him. Learning complete trust in God takes a while but it is the best antidote for fear.
The Lord Himself becomes our strength. The Lord Himself becomes our song. The Lord Himself becomes our salvation. The Lord Himself becomes our resurrection and our life.
This is to be with Jesus where He is.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3—NIV)
We have an eternity of joy facing us because we forever will be drawing water from the well of salvation within us. Pentecost is the rain from Heaven. Tabernacles is the water flowing from the Throne of God created in the human personality. We shall be drawing water for those of mankind whom God has given to us for our inheritance. There is no joy like this!
In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim his name is exalted.” (Isaiah 12:4—NIV)
“That day” is the day of the Lord. It is the day when every one of our idols has been cast down and the Lord alone has been exalted. In that day we will understand fully that we are in Christ and He is in the Father.
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. (Isaiah 12:5—NIV)
Gone are the plans and schemes of man. We have ceased from our own works and entered the rest of God. We look to Him to do glorious things. We sing of His wonders, and the prisoners of the earth hear us. Then everyone’s bondages are broken. The whole world realizes that God has sent Jesus Christ as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. The perfect Ruler has come and all of nature breaks forth into singing along with the Church.
“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” (Isaiah 12:6—NIV)
All flesh is dust. The flesh profits nothing.
When we are first saved we still are dust, but dust that has been touched with eternal life.
When we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit we still are dust, but we are walking in water to the knees.
God is calling us on to a river that cannot be crossed, to the fullness of life lived in the Spirit of God. Then we are returned to the bank and stand as a tree of life. The dead sea of mankind will be touched with the river of life flowing from the innermost being of those who are celebrating the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles, the beginning of the new week of eternity—the week that has no end. There will be a multitude of fish in that day. Never-ending joy will be the portion of those who are sharing the inheritance with Jesus—the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
Would you like to be an eternal witness of God? Would you like to bring life and healing to people for eternity? Then turn away from the attractions of the American way of death and present your body a living sacrifice to God.
You will be everlastingly glad you did, and Jesus will rejoice, and your Father in Heaven will call together His holiest angels to welcome you home.
When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.” (Ezekiel 47:7-9—NIV)
On the last and greatest day of the Feast [the eighth day of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37,38—NIV)
(“Tabernacles and the Testimony”, 3168-1)