PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: FIVE
PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: FIVECopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: FIVE" is taken from The Feasts of the Lord, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
The seven days of creation.
The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.
The Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The seven feasts of the Lord.
By the term redemption we are referring to God's plan in Christ for the bringing of human beings from their miserable state of sin, rebellion, corruption, and death all the way to the image of Christ and untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.
To redeem a person or a thing is to restore him or it to the original and rightful owner. The concept of redemption implies that something has been removed from its original owner by legal sale, by forfeiture, or by deceit or force.
In order for redemption to take place, someone must produce the price or the force necessary for redemption. The mortgage must be paid.
Sometimes the person holding the mortgaged property will not surrender the property even when the price has been paid. This is true of Satan concerning his continuing fight to maintain control of the peoples of the world even though the price of redemption has been paid on the cross of Calvary.
When a pawnbroker refuses to surrender the property, redemption must be brought about through the use of superior force. The kingdom-wide Day of Atonement, which will take place at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be just such a day of redemption by force and violence.
There are many similarities and parallels among the four major types of redemption, and when the types are combined we have available a helpful, enlightening picture of God's plan of redemption in Christ.
To begin with, let us take each of the four major types and enumerate the seven aspects contained in it. Then, as the Holy Spirit helps us, we shall endeavor to combine the four types so as to gain some understanding of God's working in the past, present, and future.
2. The dividing of the waters by the firmament of heaven.
3. The gathering together of the waters under the firmament, the appearing of the dry land, the creation of vegetation.
4. The creation of the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament.
5. The creation of fish and birds.
6. The creation of animals, the creation of mankind in God's image.
7. God rested from all His works.
2. Crossing the Red Sea.
3. The beginning of the pilgrimage through the wilderness.
4. The Ten Commandments, the statutes and ordinances, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the priesthood.
5. The organizing of Israel into an army.
6. The crossing of Jordan and conquest of Canaan.
7. Rest in the land of promise.
2. The Laver.
3. The Table of Showbread.
4. The Lampstand.
5. The Altar of Incense.
6. The Ark of the Covenant.
7. The Mercy Seat.
2. Unleavened Bread.
6. Day of Atonement.
An overview of the four sets of seven elements will reveal some of the remarkable parallels to be found in these four portrayals of redemption.
Let us take the first element of each of the four sets. We can look at these together as portraying the first aspect of redemption:
The creation of light and its division from the darkness.
Judgment on the gods of Egypt; the Passover; the exodus.
The Altar of Burnt Offering.
Do you see that we have taken the first element in each of the four major types of redemption?
Can you see how remarkably these agree?how each of the four teaches us something about the first aspect of redemption, the first step in God's plan of salvation in Christ?
The light of God in Christ shines in our sinful heart and mind. Then we repent of our past life of sin. This is the beginning of the division between the light and the darkness in our personality.
Unlike our previous condition in which we thought we were doing fairly well, we have begun now to realize we actually are unacceptable to God. We may have thought that God was accepting our malice, our profanity, our lying, our stealing, our gossiping, our violent ways, our deceitfulness, our willingness to trample on our fellow humans, our grasping, our covetousness, our lusting. Now the Holy Spirit has revealed to us we are in spiritual chaos. We are heading straight toward the wrath of God because of our sin and rebellion.
Our conscience has been a light trying to shine in the darkness of our sin. Now God through Christ has divided that light from the darkness that is in us so we can begin to distinguish between right and wrong. This may be the first time we have realized we are a sinner in the sight of God.
The gods of the world were judged at the cross of Calvary. When we accept the crucifixion of Christ as the atonement for our sins the Spirit of God brings us from Egypt, from the malice and wickedness of the world. The legal hold of Satan on us is destroyed. Our reborn inner nature (Christ in us) is raised to sit at the right hand of the Father. The blood of God's Lamb covers us and our household so the judgment of God passes over us when God executes His wrath on the lawlessness in the earth.
The bronze Altar of Burnt Offering portrays Christ on the cross. The bronze Altar, by its size, odor, location, and accompanying activity, dominated the outer area of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. So it is that the crucified Christ dominates the Kingdom of God. God meets man at the door of the Tabernacle, at the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver. Here we wash away our sins by the atonement made by God's Sin-offering. We enter the Presence of God through the doorway of the cross.
Some people are unwilling to receive salvation because the cross is an offense to them. However, the cross does not hinder a little child. Children enter the Kingdom freely and gladly while the proud flesh of adults keeps them outside.
The feast of Passover brings to our mind that in order to please God we first must sprinkle the blood of God's Lamb on our own life and on the lives of the members of our household. We do this by faith. Then we must eat of Christ's body and drink His blood.
The Communion service, the Lord's Table, represents our partaking of the body and blood of Christ. Our actual receiving of the body and blood of Christ occurs in the spirit realm as we keep ourselves in the place where Christ can commune with us in prayer, obedience, confession of our sins and repentance, in reading the Scriptures, in gathering together with other fervent disciples of the Lord for a sharing in Spirit-filled ministry.
As we study the first element of each of the four major types of redemption we gain insight into the first aspect of salvation. We say aspect rather than step because redemption has many aspectslike the several facets of a diamond. The seven aspects of redemption are more like the several facets of a diamond than they are like rungs on a ladder or grade levels in an elementary school.
As the diamond turns we see one facet, and then another, and another. Soon we return to the first facet but this time we may see more light and color in it.
The several aspects of redemption, the aspects typified by the seven elements of each of the four major types, can be compared to points of the compass on a spiral staircase. As we ascend a spiral staircase we move toward the north, the south, the east, the west. Each time we move toward the east or the south it is on a higher level.
Salvation in Christ is a perfect work and we receive the whole grace and blessing as we press forward in faith. The "facets" of redemption are revealed again and again to us as our knowledge works together with the grace of God and our experience.
The grace of God in redemption actually changes us from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord until we have been transformed into the image of Christ. We "ascend the circular staircase" until each of the seven aspects of redemption has attained maturity in our personality.
As we have stated, the first element of each of the four major types of salvation is as follows:
The creation of light and its division from the darkness.
Judgment on the gods of Egypt; the Passover; the exodus.
The Altar of Burnt Offering.
The feast of Passover.
Taken together these four elements form one type of the beginning of our salvation in Christ.
Crossing the Red Sea.
These are the second element in each of the four major types of redemption.
Isn't it interesting that three of the four involve water?
The new covenant counterpart of the four elements is water baptism. How perfect is the working of God! Since the feast of Unleavened Bread speaks of the putting away of the filth (leaven) of the world and the flesh we gain the general idea that God intends to wash the pollution of the world from us, in the second aspect of redemption.
From our point of view, the dividing of the waters by the firmament means there is water surrounding outer space. It appears the firmament of heaven, mentioned in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, is space, commencing at the surface of the earth and extending to the terminal point of outer space.
All water was divided, on the second day of creation, into two parts: the water that is under the firmament, that is, water in the earth and water on the surface of the earth and in the immediate atmosphere of the earth; and water that is beyond outer spacewater above the firmament.
The Scripture states that there are waters above the heavens:
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. (Psalms 148:4)
From the time of the Greeks, scientists have speculated as to the nature of the boundary of outer space. Some day the scientists will discover there is evidence of an ocean of water that encompasses all outer space. They will be surprised but the saints who know the Scripture will not be surprised at all.
What is the spiritual interpretation of the division of the waters? Keeping in mind that all the people, events, and things of the Scripture were actual people, actual events, and actual things, let us remind the reader that the heavens and the earth were created by the invisible, nonmaterial Word of God and that they were created in response to situations existing in the spirit realm.
Much of the account of the creation, in addition to being a literal, factual account, is also an allegory, the meaning of which is understood in the spirit realm. Notice, for example, in the story of Joseph, the manner in which the sun, moon, and stars are employed as prophetic symbols, and again in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.
Often, in the Scriptures, God is speaking not only to people on the earth but also to His creatures in the heavenlies. The account of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, is one canvas that portrays the redemption that is in Christa redemption that is necessary because of the sin and rebellion that originated in the spirit realm.
How great is our God! How great is His power and foreknowledge that He could conceive such a plan and then carry it through to consummation! Our God is a master builder and His workmanship is perfect.
The writer's understanding of the spiritual application of the dividing of the waters is as follows: when the plan of redemption begins its work in us we are without form, an empty waste, so to speak. The "waters" of our life, speaking symbolically of all the elements of our personalityspirit, soul, and body, are mixed together. Spiritual darkness covers the "deep" of our being.
Then Christ on the cross enters our consciousness and a difference comes into existence between the light and the darkness that are in us and around us.
When we become willing to receive God's atonement for our sin, which is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God separates our spiritual life from our soulish life by removing our born-again spiritual life to Heaven.
Our soulish, natural life is assigned to the cross of Christ. A new man is born in our spiritual nature and raised with Christ to the right hand of the Father, to the "waters that be above the heavens."
Before this division occurs we are a whole person, although lost in sin and spiritual death. After the division takes place in our personality we are as a house divided against itself. Our reborn spiritual nature longs after the will of God. Our soulish nature attempts to pull us back into the world and the lusts of the flesh. The battle is joined each day.
Before the exodus was complete, Israel had to go across the Red Sea. Water stood between the Israelites and their freedom. Egypt and the land of promise are separated by two bodies of water: the Red Sea and the Jordan River. Both bodies of water must be parted before the saints can enter their inheritance in the land of promise.
God divided the waters of the Red Sea, and Israel crossed without harm. The Egyptians could not cross over. As we go down into water baptism we are entering the death of Christ on the cross. Satan attempts to follow us down into the water. The world follows hard on our heels. But Satan and the world cannot come up on the other side.
The enemy hates to lose a valuable slave but he cannot stand on resurrection ground. The water returns to its place and the enemy is destroyed. The water seals off Egypt, the world, at our back. Before us is the wilderness, the school of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the wilderness of testing is the final river of death to self-will, and then the fullness of the inheritance.
Do you desire to keep pressing toward that mark?
The bronze Laver located at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation speaks to us of the washing of water by the Word of God. God's Word teaches us concerning righteousness and holiness.
Righteousness is just and merciful living between person and person. Holiness is the embracing of God, of His Spirit. Holiness is union with God's Person and separation from all that is of Satan, of the world, of the flesh, of the self-love of man. Holiness is the absence of unclean spirits and the Presence of the Holy Spirit.
Righteousness is upright, honest dealing with other people. Holiness is spiritual cleanliness.
If we will listen to God's Word and do what it commands we will behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. We must wash our personality constantly by the authority of the blood of Christ and by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, keeping ourselves clean from the defilements of Satan, the spirit of the present wicked world, and the filthiness of our flesh and spirit.
The feast of Unleavened Bread teaches us to put away the leaven of the worldsin, malice, wickedness. We are to put away sin with fervor, with diligence, with unrelenting determination.
Through the Holy Spirit we are learning to love righteousness and to hate lawlessness. We are becoming resolute about what we are doing in the areas of righteousness and holiness of behavior. It is a determination to please God and to be redeemed from sin in spirit, in soul, and in body.
We have just discussed the first two aspects, or facets, of God's plan of salvation in Christ. In order to gain insight we have examined the first two elements of each of the four major types of redemption. Does the study of these types increase your understanding of the plan of salvation?
The beginning of the pilgrimage through the wilderness.
The Table of Showbread.
Do you notice that in each of these four we have the beginning of something? The Table of Showbread is the first piece of furniture that one encounters when entering the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The third aspect of redemption is the born-again experience. It is the beginning of the Life of Christ in us. Whereas the first two aspects are concerned with judgment and division, the third aspect concerns the beginning of new life, the positive side of redemption.
The waters of our life gather together, as it were, and we begin to feel in ourselves that Christ has been born in us. Christ is being formed in us (Galatians 4:19). The "dry land" of the new creation appear. The newly born Divine nature gives rise in us to the desire to become a servant of righteousness.
The new Christian shows in himself a love for God and a turning away from the malice and wickedness of the world. The beginning of Divine Life is typified by the appearance of "vegetation" (righteous behavior) during the third day of creation.
We stand now on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, ready to begin our pilgrimage to the land of promise. We are moving toward resurrection ground. Egypt is walled off behind us by the Red Sea, a portrayal of our death to the world and the things of the world.
Doubts concerning our security may confront us as we start to journey toward the wilderness of Sinai. We proceed anyway and begin to experience the miraculous provisions of the Lord.
Wasn't it that way when you first received Christ? Didn't you wonder if you would be able to stand? if you would be able to make a success of the life of faith in Christ? It was that way with me.
The Table of Showbread of the Tabernacle of the Congregation represents the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The body and blood of Christ are the tree of life. There is no other true life.
Whoever has never eaten of the Lord's body and blood is dead spiritually. He has no life in him. The only eternal life is the body and blood of God's Son. The older we get in the Lord the more conscious we become of this fact.
We partake of eternal life for the first time the moment we eat of the body and blood of Christ. He is our eternal Life. We are born again by partaking of Him.
We are born of the waters of baptism, escaping the authority of Satan and entering the authority of the Kingdom of Christ. We are born of the Holy Spirit in that the Spirit is the eternal Life that flows from God in Heaven through Christ.
What is formed and grows in us is neither the water nor the Spirit. It is Christ Himself who is born and grows in us. Christ is the living Word. The Word of God is being written in us. We are becoming the Word of God. This is the new covenant.
The Life of Christ is in His body and in His blood. As we eat His body and drink His blood we have eternal life in us. This eternal life is His Life. As we partake of Him we live by Him as He lives by the Father.
The Church of Christ is the Wife of the Lamb. She is the Wife of the Lamb because she partakes of the Passover Lamb. She eats Him and becomes one with Him. He is the living Bread. His flesh is meat indeed and His blood is drink indeed.
We are born again "by the word of God, that liveth and abideth forever" (I Peter 1:23).
The feast of Firstfruits adds to our understanding of the third aspect of redemption by reminding us that when we are born again a firstfruits of our personality, our reborn inner man, is harvested in Christ.
There still is much our personality yet to be harvested. The reaping has commenced, and now the firstfruits has been waved before the Lord God in joy and thanksgiving. God, with a joy to match our own, graciously accepts the firstfruits of our life. The harvest of our whole personality now has been accepted because the firstfruits has been accepted. The blessing on the firstfruits falls on the harvest of which the firstfruits is the representation.
We may be a newly saved person but God beholds us in Christ as being justified and glorified.
The first three aspects of redemption, which are the blood atonement, water baptism, and the new birth, constitute what we refer to as "being saved." They are the basic salvation experience.
The first three Levitical feasts were grouped together in one week showing that we are to consider them as belonging together.
The first two of the seven vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation were placed together in the outer court of the Tabernacle, and the third stood inside the Holy Place. The movement from the Laver in the outer court to the Table of Showbread in the Holy Place teaches us that the Lord adds "to the church (the Holy Place) daily such as should be saved" (by the judgment and blood of the outer court) (Acts 2:47).
Being born again brings us into the Holy Place, into the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God.
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned [condemned]" (Mark 16:16). The salvation experience is the first of the three areas of redemption. The three areas of redemption are as follows: (1) basic salvation; (2) the entering of the Holy Spirit into us; and (3) the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us for eternity.
The Ten Commandments, the statutes and ordinances; the Tabernacle of the Congregation; the priesthood.
The golden Lampstand.
Pentecost (the feast of Weeks).
The fourth aspect of redemption is the creation of God's priests, prophets, and kings. The priests, prophets, and kings of the Lord live and rule by the eternal, indestructible life and power of the Holy Spirit of God.
God's priests are those who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, separate the day from the night, the light from the darkness, in their own personalities, and then in the personalities of those who hear them, as God enables. The Holy Spirit will keep working with the members of the Body of Christ until what is of Christ in them has been separated from what is of Satan, of the world, of the flesh, of self-will.
The members of the Body of Christ are God's priests who are, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, to keep working until what is of Christ in the creation has been separated from what is of Satan and of self-will.
God's prophets are those who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." The Holy Spirit anoints the members of the Body of Christ so they can work the signs and wonders that are the tokens of God's approval on Christ and indications of the nearness of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The testimony of Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. The saints are to know by the Spirit the "seasons" of God's working and are to proclaim to the heavens and the earth these seasons, as the Lord directs.
God's kings are those who rule in righteousness through the power of the Holy Spirit. God's royal priesthood rules over the day and over the night, and divides the light from the darkness. We are to show forth the praises of Him who has called us from darkness into His marvelous light. This is the responsibility and task of the royal priesthood.
Before we come to the fourth day of creation our "firmament" is present, so to speak, but there is nothing in it. It is a "clear blue." On the fourth day God puts in our firmament the sun, the moon, and the stars.
The first spiritual consciousness we have is that of the "sun." The sun represents the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him is life, and His Life is the light of men.
The second spiritual consciousness we have is that of the "moon." The moon represents the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has no light of its own but reflects the Glory of Christ. The Church is the light in the darkness of the present age, revealing in itself the light of Christ.
The third spiritual consciousness we have is that of the "stars." The stars represent the victorious saints. They are the saints, the conquerorsthe Lord's "mighty men." The Church of Christ is to travail in birth until the members of the Body are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever (Daniel 12:3).
Throughout history travelers at night have been guided by the stars. The moon may illumine the pathway but the stars point the way.
The Old and New Testaments are records of God's "stars." We do not obtain spiritual guidance from the record of the churches but from the accounts of Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul. Even today we speak of the Protestant Reformers, of Wesley, of Moody. We are inspired by individuals whom the Lord has chosen and anointed to perform His work in the earth.
The Ten Commandments and the remainder of the ordinances that the Lord commanded through Moses serve to separate the "day from the night and the light from the darkness." By the Law we have the knowledge of righteousness and of sin and are able to distinguish between what is righteous and what is unrighteous, what is holy and what is unholy, what is pleasing to the Lord and what is not accepted of Him.
The Tabernacle of the Congregation is one of the clearest Divinely ordained "lights" that we have. The Tabernacle portrays the Person and redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the growth to maturity of the believer, the perfecting of the Wife of the Lamb, and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle typifies the revelation of God's Person, power, will, and way through the Head and Body of Christ. Christ is the Anointed Deliverer, God's Vine, the Servant of the Lord. Christ in the Church is the Light of the world. We notice that He walks "in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks [lampstands] (Revelation 2:1).
"Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment" (Isaiah 32:1). This is the fourth aspect of redemption.
Of the seven feasts of the Lord, Pentecost is number four.
Pentecost was the only feast that stood by itself. The remaining six feasts were divided into two groups of three each. The Lord teaches us by this that Pentecost (the feast of Weeks) is especially important.
Four is midway between one and seven. Pentecost truly is a turning point in our life. It is at Pentecost that we can choose to press forward to the fullness of redemption and become part of the Servant of the Lord. Because the golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle is number four of seven furnishings, the Lampstand is associated in prophetic meaning with the fourth feastPentecost.
During the feast of Pentecost, two large loaves of fine flour were waved before the Lord. The two loaves represent the outpouring of the double portion of the power of the Holy Spirit on the Church of Christ. The number two, in the symbolism of Scripture, portrays the power of the Divine witness. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you." It requires the power of the Holy Spirit of God in order for us to bear witness of God's will and to reign in righteousness.
The two large loaves of the feast of Pentecost reveal the fact that just before the coming of Christ there will be an outpouring of Kingdom glory and power that never before has been seen on the earthnot even during the early Church. The Lord has kept the good wine until now. The two loaves of the feast of Weeks are the "two witnesses," the double portion, "Elisha," by which God will prepare the way of the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The mission of the Holy Spirit in the earth is to bring to perfection the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb; and also to reveal to all persons everywhere the redeeming mercy of God that has been extended to us through Christ.
Hopefully in the near future we will be able to work with the Holy Spirit much more successfully than has been true in the past. Men are apt to grasp what they think belongs to them and wreck the working of the Lord. We must sincerely take this to heart and remember that the responsibility for creating the Church of Christ belongs to the Holy Spirit alone.
The only permanent contribution that any individual can make to the Kingdom of God is what has been accomplished through him or her under the direct wisdom and enablement of the Holy Spirit. The Temple of God is not built by the efforts and resources of people but by the Spirit of God.
Each of us needs to learn to walk more in the Spirit of God, not only with respect to our ministry in the Body of Christ but also in every detail of our daily life.