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The gathering of the Hebrew males in observance of God’s command in Deuteronomy 16:16 illustrates the three platforms of the Christian salvation:
- The feast of Unleavened Bread portrays the blood atonement, repentance, water baptism, and the born-again experience.
- The feast of Weeks (Pentecost) speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit—He who in faithfulness prepares the Bride for the Bridegroom.
- The feast of Tabernacles represents the coming of the Father and the Son to take up their eternal abode in the saint.
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: (Deuteronomy 16:16)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The feast of Unleavened Bread consists of three subfeasts, each representing a part of salvation as shown below:
- Passover (Lev. 23:5) represents the blood of the Lamb.
- Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6) represents repentance and water baptism.
- Firstfruits (Lev. 23:10) represents the born-again experience.
The first feast of the convocation of Unleavened Bread is Passover. Passover speaks to us of the blood atonement made by the Lord’s Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. No one can approach God and be saved other than through the blood of Christ. The Passover Lamb was slain at twilight on the fourteenth of the month Abib.
The second feast of the gathering of Unleavened Bread is the subfeast of the same name—Unleavened Bread. This is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the same month and begins an observance that lasts for one week. The first day of the week of Unleavened Bread is an important Sabbath.
Unleavened Bread is representative of repentance, of putting away sin. Whenever the Kingdom of God is preached correctly the command to repent is included. To become a Christian we must turn away from the world, from Satan, from the lusts of our flesh, and from our self-love and self-seeking.
If we do not repent of the ways of the world and of our lustful behavior we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. God has given us water baptism as a way of expressing our death to the world and our entrance into His Kingdom.
The repentance that takes place when we first receive Christ is a turning away from sin, from the malice, envy, and evil speaking of the world. Repentance from the various aspects of the spiritual darkness of our personality does not occur until later in our Christian experience—when we are stronger and more experienced in spiritual warfare.
The tribes of Israel encountered some warfare in the wilderness but it was not until they crossed Jordan that the conflict began in earnest and they entered their inheritance.
The third feast of the convocation of Unleavened Bread is the feast of Firstfruits. The feast of Firstfruits is observed on the sixteenth day of the first month, on the second day of the week that begins with the subfeast of Unleavened Bread.
The feast of Firstfruits speaks of the born-again experience. Christ is born in us through the working of the Holy Spirit of God. Divine Life enters us—a firstfruits of what one day will fill our entire personality.
The annual convocation of Unleavened Bread begins with the Passover, which is celebrated on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month of the religious year, and concludes on the evening of the twenty-first day of the same month.
The gathering of the Hebrew males in observance of the feast of Unleavened Bread typifies the first platform of the Christian redemption, which we may term salvation.
Salvation consists of three principal works: (1) the blood atonement that covers our sins, which was made by Christ on the cross of Calvary; (2) repentance, turning away from the world, sin, and self-seeking, which we demonstrate by being baptized in water; and (3) the born-again experience—the creation of Divine Life in us that occurs when we receive Christ as our Savior.
- The blood atonement that covers our sins.
- Repentance, including water baptism.
- The born-again experience.
The Feast of Weeks
The second annual gathering of the Hebrew males is the feast of Weeks, known to us as Pentecost. The term Pentecost was derived from the Greek word meaning fifty. Pentecost is celebrated fifty days after the Passover.
Christ was crucified during the Jewish feast of Passover. Fifty days later, when Jews from all over the Roman Empire were assembled in Jerusalem to keep the feast of Weeks, the Holy Spirit was poured on the Jews who were followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Holy Spirit of God is active in every aspect of the development of the Church of Christ. The Holy Spirit gives the saints power to bear witness of the atoning death, triumphant resurrection, and soon return to earth of the Lord Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who sets aside the believers as holy to the Lord, transforming their personalities into the image of Christ.
Through the Holy Spirit we are able to share the Life of Jesus with our fellow members of the Body of Christ and also to point the unsaved to the freely given waters of Life.
Through the Holy Spirit we are able to overcome the lusts of our flesh. We are changed into the image of the Lord as the Spirit reveals Him to us.
The annual gathering of Unleavened Bread typifies salvation unto God’s righteousness based on the blood of the cross. The annual gathering of Weeks (Pentecost) portrays the work of the Holy Spirit as He bears witness to us and through us, and also transforms us into the image of Christ so that the eternal purposes of God may be accomplished in us.
What of the third annual gathering, the feast of Tabernacles? What does the third convocation represent in the Christian redemption? How is the feast of Tabernacles fulfilled spiritually?
The Feast of Tabernacles
The feast of Tabernacles also consists of three subfeasts. Each represents an aspect of God’s eternal plan for us:
- Trumpets (Lev. 23:24) represents the coming of the King.
- Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:27) represents our reconciliation to God.
- Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34) the “rest” of God.
The memorial of blowing of Trumpets signifies the coming of the King, the resurrection from the dead, spiritual warfare, and the forming of the saints into the army of the Lord.
The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets is the blowing of the seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation, which conclude with the first resurrection from the dead of the victorious saints and the coming to the earth of the Kingdom of God. At the sounding of the last (seventh) trumpet, the Lord will come at the head of His army to take possession of the kingdoms of the world.
However, in this article we are not speaking of the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feasts of the Lord but of the personal spiritual fulfillment in the life of the believer in Christ. We are addressing the spiritual resurrection that takes place in the saint as he chooses each day to die to his fleshly impulses and walk in the Spirit of God.
The King, Christ, comes to us personally. When the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven every eye will see Him. But before His visible coming to the world He comes in the Spirit to the Christian who is pressing forward in the Kingdom of God (John 14:18-23). Jesus calls forth from the dead the various aspects of the believer’s personality.
It is critically important that the Christian does not put off into some future age all the aspects of the resurrection from the dead, meanwhile living in the appetites of the flesh. We Christians already have passed from death into resurrection life. Our spiritual nature already is located in Heaven at the right hand of God because Christ is our Life. We are part of His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God. Now the Lord must perform the work of creating resurrection life in our personality so we are able to express in our thinking and actions what is true of us in the heavenlies.
After we repent of our sins and are sprinkled with the blood of atonement, Christ is born in us. From this point forward the Spirit of God seeks to gain control of our mind, our tongue, our motives, and our actions. We are exhorted to live and walk in the Spirit of God and to shun the impulses and appetites of our body and soul.
The resurrection from the dead is at work in us now, not the resurrection of our body but the resurrection of our spirit and soul. Our inner man is responding to Divine Life now. This is why Paul warns us that if we live in the appetites of the flesh we will die. If we spend our energy and time in the occupations of the body and soul, the Divine Life that has been given us upon our receiving Christ will be crowded out of our personality. We will destroy our own resurrection.
Neglecting to cultivate the Divine Life that has been born in us leaves us in a corrupt condition. We become increasingly unable to respond to the call of Christ. Our inability to hear His voice will result in our being unable to respond to Him when He appears from Heaven.
Some will be taken but others, who have neglected their salvation, will be left. It is of the greatest importance that we lay hold on resurrection life today so that when the Lord comes our lamp will be burning brightly.
After we are saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit we enter the Life of the Holy Spirit. We learn to submit to God’s Spirit. Learning to walk in the discipline and true liberty of the resurrection Life of the Spirit of God is part of the spiritual fulfillment of the blowing of Trumpets. The trumpet of the Lord sounds and the dead arise and walk in eternal life.
The Lord Jesus works with us faithfully, preparing us for our place in His Kingdom. The true saint has fellowship with his King each day (although sometimes the way becomes dark and perplexing and we must walk by blind faith). The coming of the King to us in this fashion is part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets.
After we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit the spiritual warfare begins. The further we go in discipleship the more intense the battle becomes.
The unsaved human being is a cavern of spiritual darkness. Whether or not the lusts and self-seeking are evident, they are present. The “cavern” of the human personality is filled with bats and creeping things, so to speak. In addition there is a powerful “leviathan” residing in the cavern and guarding it against invasion. The leviathan’s name is King Self.
After we receive Christ and are baptized in the Spirit of God, the Light of God begins to enter our cavern. The bats and creeping things are exposed and driven out, although not all at once. King Self retreats as the Light advances. He may even give his approval to the cleaning out of his cave. He may become religious.
God has His means of dealing with King Self. God employs our sharing in the sufferings of Christ as the means for bringing King Self down to death. Our personal cross is the mechanism of destruction that attacks and destroys King Self.
The blowing of Trumpets signifies the coming of Christ to us in the Spirit, the resurrection from the dead of our spiritual nature, and warfare against the sin that dwells in our flesh and against our self-will, self-centeredness, and self-love. It is at this point that we learn to be a part of the army of the Lord or we are rejected. We are rejected if we refuse the discipline under which the Lord is seeking to bring us.
The Day of Atonement (Day of Reconciliation), the second of the subfeasts of the convocation of Tabernacles, speaks of our reconciliation to God. Our reconciliation to God begins with the sprinkling of the blood of Christ on us, continues with the removal from us of sin and self-will, and attains perfection and completion through our ever-increasing union with Christ. The Day of Atonement results in the marriage of the saint to the Lamb.
We begin the Day of Atonement, and each of the other six feasts, when we acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Savior and are baptized in water. At this point we are to separate ourselves from the world and begin our pilgrimage toward the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
However, the bulk of our personality has not as yet been reconciled to God. Our flesh is filled with sins of every description. Worse than that, our self-love is firmly entrenched as lord of our personality. King Self has no intention of allowing the Lord Jesus to interfere with the source of our will and imaginations.
During the Levitical Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16), the high priest entered the Most Holy Place and sprinkled blood in front of and upon the Mercy Seat (Lid of Reconciliation). After that, the high priest confessed the sins of Israel, laid them on the head of a living goat, and sent the goat away into an uninhabited area.
Each of us who would press into the rest of God, into the fullness of Christ, must go through the reconciling processes of the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. We must be willing to confess our sins when the Holy Spirit points them out to us. Also we must be ready to endure months and years of testings and tribulations as the Lord Jesus brings down and eventually slays King Self who sits on the throne of our personality.
We pass through many works of grace, many Divine dealings, as we journey toward the fullness of redemption—that “rest” of God typified by the feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles, the third subfeast of the annual gathering of Tabernacles, portrays the union of the saint with God and Christ through the Holy Spirit.
At the beginning of the salvation experience the believer is sprinkled with the blood of Passover, having repented of his or her former life in the world. Water baptism is a step we take in obedience to God as we seek to enter the Kingdom of God. God responds to our repentance and obedience by forgiving our sins and giving us the born-again experience—the implanting of the Divine Nature in the human personality.
The Holy Spirit, the Member of the Godhead who has been in the world since Jesus ascended to the Father, enters the saint to abide with him forever. The Holy Spirit empowers the Christian to bear witness of the death, resurrection, and return from Heaven of the Lord Jesus.
Then the King, Christ, comes through the Holy Spirit and commences the work of eternal judgment on the sin and self-will resident in our personality. This is holy warfare, a miniature Armageddon in which Satan (lust, lying, and murder), Antichrist (man making himself God), and the False Prophet (self-fulfilling religion) are driven out of the saint of God.
It is impossible for perfect, restful reconciliation to God to be established until every trace of lust, self-aggrandizement, and self-fulfilling religion has been conquered and driven from the spirit, the soul, and the body.
The feast of Tabernacles portrays the coming of the Father and the Son (the way having been prepared by the Holy Spirit) to dwell with us for eternity. This is the consummation of the work of salvation in us, the final result of the preceding works of redemption.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)
The Scriptures point toward the building of the eternal Temple of God. The hidden God is willing to be revealed to the heavens and to the earth. How will He reveal Himself? He will reveal Himself through man, for man is His image. Male and female make up the image of the invisible God.
Adam and Eve were the beginning, the faint outline of the coming revelation of who and what God is. Christ is the full revelation of who and what God is. Christ is the Word, the Logos, the Expression, the Incarnation, the visible Person who proclaims to the heavens and the earth the Being, the words, the way, the works, the purposes of the almighty God of Heaven and earth.
Is Christ, who is the revelation of God, to remain as the only revelation of God?
Yes, and no. Yes, in that the members of His Body always will reveal Jesus as Jesus always reveals the Father. It is always the Lord Jesus who is the revelation of God. No, in that Christ is being enlarged through the members of His Body.
The Lord Jesus Christ remains unique as the only begotten Son of God, the Word from eternity. God has determined to bring many sons to glory—many sons but never separate from the one Son. The many sons will be branches springing from the one Son. Christ remains central and Lord of all.
There will be many rooms in the one house of God. Christ is the only true and eternal House of God. God dwells only in Christ. However, Christ is in the process of being enlarged (Ephesians 4:12-16).
If the Lord Jesus were destined to remain as the only expression of God He would have informed us of this fact. He would have set up His Kingdom at His first appearing for all would have been in order.
The mystery of God is that Christ will be formed in many people causing them to become an enlargement of Himself, to become additional rooms in the eternal house of God.
Jesus has had to give up the nation of Israel, and His rightful throne, until His Body has been formed. As soon as His Body has been brought to God’s standard of perfection there will be many places of abode in which the Lord God can rest and through which He can express Himself to His creatures.
It is not possible for the children of Adam to become the dwelling place of the Father. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption. Therefore the Lord Jesus had to return to the Father so that through the distribution of His Divine Nature we can become new creations, life-giving spirits (I Corinthians 15:45).
The Lord Jesus and the Father can dwell in the life-giving spirits for they have been fashioned from the incorruptible Life of God. The Lord Jesus prepared a place for us in Himself, and is preparing a place for God and Himself in us by removing our sin and slaying our self-seeking nature. Jesus is the only true house of the Father, and the rooms in the Father’s house are rooms in Christ.
A place in Christ is being prepared for us.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
A place in us is being prepared for Christ.
Now he that hath wrought [prepared] us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [pledge] of the Spirit. (II Corinthians 5:5)
“He that hath prepared us.”
Notice that the “house from heaven” is not a mansion in Heaven to which we go but a house from Heaven, formed by the resurrection life that lifts us from our afflictions and that will envelop us in the day of resurrection.
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
What has Christ done to prepare a place for us in Himself, and Himself in us, so we may become glorified rooms in the eternal house of God?
The Lord Jesus has given us the gift of repentance, enabling us to turn away from the enticements of the world and to seek the Presence and blessing of God.
He has shed His blood on the cross. His blood has been sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven, and also upon each person who receives Christ by faith. We now can come boldly before the throne of grace in order to gain God’s help in our hour of need. Also, we have been and yet are being cleansed from sin as the Spirit of God and the blood of Christ work together to accomplish our sanctification (make us holy).
The Lord Jesus has given us His body to eat and His blood to drink. As we share His sufferings and are changed into His death we learn to live by Him as He lives by the Father. His body and His blood are our eternal life. If we live by the body and blood of Christ He will raise us up to Himself at His appearing.
Christ has given us the ordinance of water baptism. By being baptized in water we proclaim and demonstrate to Heaven and earth that we no longer are part of Satan’s kingdom but have died to the world and have risen with Christ into the eternal Kingdom of God.
Christ has shed on us the Holy Spirit, giving us the power to bear witness and to overcome the world, Satan, and our lusts and self-seeking. In addition, the ascended Christ has entrusted ministries and gifts to His Body so it may be brought to the fullness of unity and maturity.
Jesus has raised us from the dead spiritually so we may walk in newness of life. Now we are spiritually alive before God and accepted of Him. All these redemptive works have been for the purpose of preparing a place for us in the Father’s house, which is Christ—Head and Body.
The Lord told Peter and the others that they were to abide in Him. As they stood there talking it was impossible for one man to dwell in another. The Lord Jesus had to go to the cross, and then to the Father, and then be greatly glorified, before it became possible for His followers to abide in Him.
The way has been prepared gloriously for each of us. What is left to do?
It remains for Christ, the King of Glory, to come to us through the Spirit (John 14:3,23) and to personally remove from us all that remains of Satan, the former occupant of our personality. The Lord comes and works to ensure that our entrance into Himself is perfect and that we are completely prepared for the untroubled occupancy of our personality by the Father and Himself. The work of reconciliation, of eternal judgment, of uncompromising warfare against unclean spirits, takes place in each of us who has been washed in the blood and filled with the Spirit of God.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)
The context of John 14:3 is not the coming in which every eye will see Him, but the coming to His disciples in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:42).
Notice the “coming” of the Lord set forth in the following passage, which is in context with John 14:3:
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [same Greek word translated “mansions” in verse 2] with him. (John 14:22,23)
When Christ was with us on the earth there was no means by which any person could approach God and become a room in the house of God. Now the way has been prepared for us to become part of the Body of Christ, the eternal house of God. The blood has been sprinkled. The body has been broken. The Spirit has been sent down to us. All has been made ready and is in order.
The Lord of Glory stands and knocks at the door of the heart of each believer. Christ desires to enter us and to give us to eat of His body and to drink of His blood. If we allow Him to do so He will judge and render powerless all that remains of Satan, of the world, and of self-centeredness.
It is not possible for any member of God’s elect to find the fulfillment of his personality and destiny until God in Christ is at rest in him and he in Christ.
Christ came from the Father and returned to the Father. Christ abides eternally in the Father and the Father in Him.
Now Christ has come to the churches to receive us to Himself. His love commands that where He is (in the Father) there we also are to be.
Christ is the Way of the Father and the Way to the Father. Christ is the Truth of the Father and the Truth from the Father. Christ is the Life of the Father and the Life from the Father.
The image of a man is what he thinks, what he does, what he says—what he is in personality. The image of God is what He thinks, what He does, what He says—what He is in Personality. Christ Himself is what God thinks, what God does, what God says—what God is in Personality.
When Christ and the Father through the Holy Spirit dwell in any human being, that person begins to be fashioned into the image of the invisible God. He thinks the thoughts of God. He works the works of God. He speaks the words of God. His life becomes one with God’s eternal Life. The Morning Star, Christ, rises in his soul. The eternal Day of the Lord dawns in him. He becomes the witness, the image of God.
The feast of Unleavened Bread typifies the blood covering, repentance, water baptism, and the born-again experience.
The feast of Weeks (Pentecost) signifies the work of the Holy Spirit—He who in faithfulness prepares the Bride for the Bridegroom.
The feast of Tabernacles portrays the fullness of redemption—the coming of the Father and the Son to take up Their eternal abode in the saint. This is “that which is perfect,” of I Corinthians 13:10.
The way has been opened for us in Christ. The blood has been sprinkled. The Holy Spirit has been sent down from Heaven. The body and blood of Christ are available to enable us to partake of the Divine Life. The truth is written in the Word and embodied in Christ. Also, we have a High Priest, the Lord Jesus, who ever lives to make intercession for us.
A place has been prepared for us. Let us now allow Christ to come with the Father and make Their everlasting abode with us.
(“Deuteronomy 16:16”, 3212-1)