PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: THREE (EXCERPT OF THE FEASTS OF THE LORD)
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
(“Pressing Past Pentecost: Three” is taken from The Feasts of the Lord, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries)
Table of Contents
Day of Atonement
The Blowing of Trumpets (Yom T’ruoh—the day of the blowing of the Trumpet) occurs on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew religious year—the year that begins with Passover (Pesach). Today the observance is termed Rosh Hashanah.
The memorial of the blowing of Trumpets calls attention to the nearness of the solemn Day of Atonement (the sixth of the seven feasts), which takes place on the tenth day of the same (seventh) month.
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippor, sometimes Yomim Kipporim—the Days of Atonement) is the greatest and holiest day of the Jewish year.
The week of Tabernacles (Succoth), the seventh and last of the feasts of the Lord, also occurs during the seventh month, the month of Tishri (the fifteenth through the twenty-first of Tishri).
Trumpets (Yom T’ruoh—there are variant forms of these Anglicized Hebrew terms) falls on the first day of the seventh month, which is the month of Tishri. Tishri is the seventh month of the Hebrew year that begins with Nisan. Nisan is the post-exilic name of the month Abib.
The sacred calendar begins with Nisan (Abib) and goes through Adar, with Tishri being the seventh month.
The civil calendar begins with Tishri and goes through Elul, with Nisan being the seventh month.
Tishri, the seventh month of the year that begins with Nisan, is the first month of the agricultural (civil) year.
Since the Blowing of Trumpets falls on the first day of Tishri, and Tishri is the first month of the agricultural year, the Blowing of Trumpets celebrates New Year’s Day of the agricultural, civil year.
The first of Tishri is New Year’s Day. The Jews do not refer to it as Yom T’ruoh, the day of the blowing of the Trumpet, but Rosh Hashanah (head of the year). During Rosh Hashanah the trumpet (shofar) is blown in the synagogues.
It appears in Jewish thinking the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are considered together (Hayyim Schauss, The Jewish Festivals. New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, translated by Samuel Jaffe, 1938).
The Jewish New Year’s celebration is Rosh Hashanah, which corresponds to Yom T’ruoh, the day of the blowing of the Trumpet.
It should be kept in mind that trumpets were blown on numerous important occasions. But the trumpets were blown “especially loudly and alarmingly on the first day of the seventh month” (Schauss, op. cit., p. 159).
The familiar Yom Kippor is the Day of Atonement. The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippor are known as the “Days of Awe.”
The Hebrew year that commences with Yom T’ruoh (Rosh Hashanah) corresponds to the natural cycle of agriculture.
The concept of the blowing of the trumpet seems to be an important idea in the mind of God, if frequency of mention in Scripture is an index of importance.
Trumpets (shofar, yobel, and hasosera are the Hebrew terms employed in the Scripture) were sounded to announce significant events (Leviticus 25:9); to assemble Israel (Numbers 10:2); to obtain God’s help against the enemy (Numbers 10:9); to call God’s attention to an offering (Numbers 10:10); to announce the Presence of God (II Samuel 6:15); to warn of war and danger (Jeremiah 4:19); and to play music (II Chronicles 5:13,14).
Trumpets are mentioned in the New Testament writings in connection with the return of Christ and the gathering to Him of His elect (Matthew 24:31); with the resurrection from the dead (I Corinthians 15:52; I Thessalonians 4:16); and with significant announcements and events (Revelation 1:10; 8:2).
The Rabbis state the trumpets ordained by the Lord had three purposes:
- To raise the dead to newness of life through repentance from sin.
- To bring to the Lord’s mind His covenant with Israel.
- To confound the accusations of Satan against the Jews (Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel in the Feasts of Israel. Philadelphia: The Friends of Israel, 1954, p. 23).
Trumpets were blown on the first day of the ancient civil year. Tishri, the first month of the civil year, coincides with the latter part of September and the beginning of October. We Gentiles may get our practice of blowing horns on New Year’s Day from this old custom.
And in the seventh month [Tishri—the first month of the civil, agricultural year], on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you. (Numbers 29:1)
Here again we see the expression, “you shall do no servile work.” The idea of a Divinely appointed Sabbath is that we refrain from occupying ourselves with the numerous and varied tasks of our existence, with our own purposes and pleasures, and turn our thoughts and attention toward the Lord God and His purposes and pleasures.
The person who keeps plenty of time in his or her life for undistracted, intense worship and seeking of the Lord, and who practices the Presence of the Lord in all areas of living, is the one who is keeping the spirit of the Sabbath commandments.
And ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the Lord; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram, And one tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you: Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. (Numbers 29:2-6)
The Blowing of Trumpets was accompanied by the shedding of blood and by the burnt (ascending) offering of a sweet fragrance to God. The poured-out wine of the drink offering was included, reminding us of the offering of the blood of God’s Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What God is saying is this: as you come into each new season of experience with God, do not forget the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, do not forget that you yourself are an ascending offering, a whole burnt offering to the Lord (Romans 12:1,2).
Do not forget your priestly ministry to God, your service as a member of the Body of Christ (the ram, which is the animal used in the consecrating of the priests).
Do not forget the meat (meal) offering, the presenting of all the works of your hands to the Lord. Do not divide your life into the sacred and the secular, into what God will accept and what God will not accept.
Do not forget the sin offering, do not forget to confess your sins to Christ as the Holy Spirit brings you into further light each day (I John 1:7-9).
The following passage contains an important principle of the victorious Christian discipleship:
And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. (Numbers 10:9)
The concept is that of blowing an alarm so God can hear it. The Lord has written many promises to us. Has He forgotten? It seems so at times. Is He aware of the details of our needs? Oftentimes it appears He is not aware of all the things that are troubling us.
God always remembers His promises and He always is aware of our needs. He is not asleep. He is not careless and forgetful.
Yet, God is waiting for us to remind Him of what He has stated. God is waiting for us to state our needs in His Presence. Christ continually asks each of us: “What is it that you wish Me to do for you?”
The passage above declares (concerning the blowing of the trumpet) “then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.”
What would happen if Israel did not sound the alarm in God’s Presence? God would not “remember” them and they would not be saved from their enemies. This is what happens to us when we do not pray.
We have a wealth of promises in the Scriptures. Yet in some instances we do not have solutions to our many problems. Why not? Because we do not remind God who we are and what He has promised concerning us. We bear needless pain because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
In many cases we are too passive about the promises of God. We need to start blowing the trumpet of prayer in God’s ears loudly enough that He can hear and be sure of what it is we really desire. When God has been persuaded we are sincere in our request, and believe what He has promised, the answer will be forthcoming.
We have not because we ask not.
The following passages may give the reader some small concept of the many times the trumpet is mentioned in the Scriptures:
And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. (Exodus 19:19)
Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. (Numbers 10:2)
Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God. (Numbers 10:10)
So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)
And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. (Judges 7:20)
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (II Samuel 6:15)
It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God. (II Chronicles 5:13,14)
And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. (Ezra 3:10)
God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. (Psalms 47:5)
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)
My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Corinthians 14:8)
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10)
And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2)
The preceding verse marks the beginning of the blowing of the trumpets that herald the Day of the Lord. The seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation are the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets.
It can be seen from the above passages that there are many varied references to the trumpet in the Scriptures.
One of the most significant trumpets of the Scripture is that which announces the Year of Jubilee.
Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)
The Year of Jubilee is a type of the Day of Redemption that is to come at the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Christ. The thousand-year period known as the Kingdom Age, or Millennium, is this Sabbath of Sabbaths, when that which has been forfeited, stolen, or wrested by force will be restored to the rightful owners.
The trumpet of the Jubilee is to be blown on the Day of Atonement because it is through the atonement, the reconciliation to God, that people are released from the chains of slavery to sin.
The follower of Christ can enter now into the Jubilee by confessing his sins and forsaking them and by pressing into the eternal Life that Christ Is. The Lord Jesus is the Jubilee of God. In Him there is release from all the works of Satan.
Day of Atonement
Now we come to the sixth of the feasts of the Lord, the most solemn day of the Jewish year. It is observed on the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri).
The Day of Atonement was the only day of the year when the High Priest of Israel was allowed into the Most Holy Place. The anointed priest went in before the Mercy Seat (Propitiatory; Lid of Atonement; Lid of Reconciliation) and sprinkled blood for his own sins and for the sins of the people of Israel.
Also, a scapegoat bearing the sins of the people was led away into a “land not inhabited.”
The term atonement contains several concepts, especially the idea of complete reconciliation to God. There are the concepts of covering over sin, of appeasing the wrath of God, of forgiveness, of annulment of debt, of remission of sin, of reconciliation, of healing—in short, all that is needed for bringing a human being from a state of unfitness for the Divine Presence all the way to the Throne of Glory.
There is no lack in God’s plan of atonement and redemption in Christ. Every need for body, soul, and spirit is included in the atonement made by Christ. There is no person who has a need, as far as reconciliation to God is concerned, that has not been met in the Divine atonement.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)
The term Mercy Seat does not communicate the whole meaning of the golden lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant. The lid should be termed the Propitiatory Cover or Lid of Atonement or Lid of Reconciliation.
Far more than the merciful waiving of guilt is involved here. We have not only mercy and forgiveness but also power, authority, healing, wisdom, imparted Divine virtue, reconciliation—every aspect of the grace of Almighty God needed to conform us to the image of Christ and to bring us into perfect fellowship with the Father.
The Mercy Seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, was not a seat as though God needed to rest. God dwelled between the wings of the cherubim, He did not sit on top of the Ark. God covered the Ark with His Divine Presence just as He covers the Lord Jesus Christ, and also those who are abiding in Christ.
There was no other day of the Jewish calendar equal in importance to Yom Kippor, the Day of Atonement. The success of the religious year hinged on whether or not the Anointed Priest was received of God when he entered behind the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place.
The people were aware of the possibility that the Glory (Shechinah) of God would flare out and the High Priest would be slain, as were Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1,2). Therefore the nation of Israel waited with trembling to see if the Lord God would be pleased to accept the sprinkling of the blood on behalf of their iniquities of the past year. If the entrance of the High Priest into the Most Holy Place was accepted the whole nation rejoiced.
Let us turn now to the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus. In this chapter the procedures for the Day of Atonement were presented carefully by the Lord so there could be no chance of an incorrect observance.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)
Aaron had just lost his two sons because they offered incense in a rash manner before the Lord, perhaps being drunk at the time. Now the Lord was warning Aaron that the holy veil that concealed the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat was to remain undisturbed, except for the solemn occasion each year when the Anointed Priest was directed to sprinkle blood upon and before the Mercy Seat.
The penalty for rashness was death. Let us not become overfamiliar with the things of God!
God Himself appeared from time to time in the cloud of glory on the Mercy Seat. The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was not an area for the exaltation of proud flesh.
Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. (Leviticus 16:3,4)
The beautiful, gleaming ephod (jacket) of the Anointed Priest was not to be worn on this solemn occasion. Instead, Aaron was to put on the sparkling white linen garment that symbolizes righteous conduct. The white linen caused a minimum of perspiration and portrayed the purity and holiness of the occasion. The priest had to wash in the bronze Laver at the door of the Tabernacle before he was allowed to enter.
And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. (Leviticus 16:5,6)
Here is one of the differences between Christ and the Levitical priesthood. The High Priest of Israel, being a sinful man like the rest of us, had to make an atonement for himself and for the other priests. Christ was offered for the sins of the whole world, not for His own sins. He needed no atonement for Himself, being born without sin and living His life without any trace of sin in His Person.
And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:7,8)
If there had been only one goat it would have signified that Jesus came only to forgive our sins. Because there were two goats, one being slain and the other left alive, we realize Jesus not only forgives our sins but also removes our sins. Jesus saves His disciples from their sins, not in their sins (Matthew 1:21).
And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:9,10)
One goat was slain and one lived. The Lord’s goat was slain and its blood shed. It was a sin offering. Christ was offered for our sins. The scapegoat lived; yet, an atonement (reconciliation) was made with it also. The scapegoat was let go into the wilderness.
Letting go the scapegoat into the wilderness reveals that Christ not only forgives our sin, canceling the guilt, but also removes from us our sins and rebellions. The scapegoat demonstrates that Christ makes it possible for us to live a righteous life in the world. Christ will remove our sins so we are not required to keep sinning.
The following is a portrayal of the removal of our sins.
And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)
Although Zechariah prophesied under the old covenant, it was not until the new covenant that our sin and rebellion actually can be removed from us.
And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: (Leviticus 16:12,13)
The High Priest took one of the golden censers from the Lampstand, filled it with coals of fire from the Altar of Incense that stood before the holy veil, and then picked up some incense from the cups on the border of the Table of Showbread. Passing behind the veil he threw the incense on the glowing coals, causing the holy perfume to fill the Most Holy Place.
Every element of the ceremony of the Day of Atonement, including the composition of the incense, was prescribed in statute. The atonement had to be made exactly as the Lord commanded Moses. The penalty for carelessness was death.
A Gentile upon accepting Christ now has the marvelous privilege of coming boldly before the throne of almighty God. Only an Israelite who had waited in fear and trembling to see if God accepted the Anointed Priest could appreciate what it means for us to rush into the Most Holy Place with our needs and desires any time we please (Hebrews 4:16).
There is only one reason we now possess such an extraordinary privilege. It is that the offering of Christ and the interceding Presence of Christ are so totally pleasing to the Father. Through Christ we now can come into the Holiest of all, a place that once was open only to one man in the world, the High Priest of Israel; and to him during but one day of the year.
Our right to enter the Most Holy Place gives us some idea of the authority and power of the atonement (reconciliation) made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Could any person be so foolish as to refuse the gift of God’s grace in Christ?
And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: (Leviticus 16:14,15)
The blood of the bull was for Aaron and the other priests, and the blood of the goat was for the people of Israel. The blood was sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat—perhaps on the ground in order to sanctify the steps of the priest as he approached God.
The blood was sprinkled seven times, signifying that God’s redemption will continue working in the earth until God’s elect have been fully redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was not sprinkled in any earthly tabernacle. The blood of Christ was brought into Heaven and there presented to the Father before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.
The blood of Christ still is atoning, both for the sins confessed by Christians and also for the sins of the newly saved. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Life of the Christian and it is through His holy blood that we overcome the accuser.
And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:20-22)
What a wonderful sight for the Israelite to behold as he witnessed his sins being carried off into the wilderness, never to be remembered against him again! By this ceremony he could understand God not only forgave his sins but also removed them from him.
The removal did not actually take place at that time because only the blood of the Lord Jesus can remove sin. What took place under the old covenant was a prophetic portrayal of what one day would be reality. The devout Israelite obeyed God in the hope of the Day of Redemption to come in the future, although he did not realize this at the time.
When we of the new covenant confess our sins, Christ not only forgives our sins but also cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The atonement includes both forgiveness of sins and removal of sins. However, we too are looking toward the Day of Redemption in the future.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
It is the will of God in Christ that through His grace we live a righteous and holy life on the earth, not continuing in lust, idolatry, malice, filthiness or any other evil work. We who belong to Christ have put on Christ. We do not make provision for our flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. This privilege is ours through the atonement that was made on the cross by Christ and through the Divine grace that is given to us under the new covenant.
We obey Christ in all things today, overcoming sin as He enables us to do so. If we are faithful in doing what is in our power to do, He will come to us and put to death the sin and rebellion in us. The final work of redemption will take place, for the faithful, at His appearing. In that day even our sinful flesh will be made new by the Spirit of God so there is no sin whatever in our personality.
Christ was “led from the camp” just as the scapegoat of old, bearing our sins on Himself. He descended into Hell. There the Spirit of God raised Him in power, free from the load of sin and death He bore away on our behalf.
And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. (Leviticus 16:29-31)
The feasts of Pentecost and Tabernacles were seasons of rejoicing. The Day of Atonement was a time of fasting, of repentance, of humiliation of soul. The Christian discipleship is made up both of rejoicing and of the enduring of hardness and suffering. There is milk and honey but also the bitter herbs.
A balanced experience in Christ must have its blessings and its troubles, its rain and its sun, its glory and its tribulations. It requires both rain and sun to bring wheat to maturity.
Again we find (above) the injunction to “do no work at all.” It is important that we interrupt our busy lives on a regular basis and devote time to waiting on God and meditating in His Word. The person who becomes so busy there is no time left for waiting on the Lord is heading toward destruction.
One thing in life is needful—that we seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we do not, God has His own effective ways of slowing us down. Then we learn to communicate with God and to receive from Him the wisdom and strength we must have if we are to survive. We destroy ourselves when we do not take time to seek the Lord.
The expression “that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord” is enlightening. Sometimes we are taught that the only good accomplished by the Levitical sacrifices, ceremonies, and ordinances was that of pointing forward to Christ—that there was nothing of immediate effectiveness in them. It seems, however, that such was not the case.
Of course, there is no comparison between Christ and the Law of Moses. Christ is the Lord Himself come to earth. The Law of Moses is but a servant that brings us to Christ. Only the blood of Jesus can remove our sinful nature.
Nevertheless there are numerous passages in the Old Testament that reveal that if an Israelite walked blamelessly in the Law and in the ordinances, making the appropriate sacrifices for sin, for thanksgiving, for consecration, paying tithes, keeping the Sabbaths, circumcising his sons, the worshiper was blameless before God and accepted of Him.
The worshiper under the old covenant did not have the Holy Spirit or the body and blood of Christ as we do; nor was he born again; nor was the sinful nature removed from his personality. But the love and blessing of God was upon him if he acted righteously, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God. He was forgiven his sins by the atonement made with the slain bulls, goats, and birds.
And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses. (Leviticus 16:32-34)
The priest “whom he shall anoint” refers to the High Priest.
The atonement was made for the holy sanctuary, for the Tabernacle of the Congregation, for the Altar, for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. Christ has made an atonement for the spirit, soul, and body of the believer, for the Church, which is the Body of Christ, and for the entire Kingdom of God.
Christ made an atonement for the whole world. He paid the mortgage for every person. The only souls who are lost are those who refuse the love of God in Christ. It is a tragedy when a man or woman, boy or girl, turns away from God’s salvation. The Divine redemption is available to everyone who will receive. Some prefer to live to themselves, not accepting the lordship of Jesus over them. They prefer to ignore their Creator and follow their self-centered desires.
God has made provision for every person. Our part is to believe, receive, and then press forward to the rewards that will be given to each Christian who lives the life of victory in Christ.
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:11,12)
The celebration of the feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous occasion of the year. For seven days the Israelites were to sleep out under the stars in booths made of branches. Tabernacles marked the end of the harvesting and processing of all the grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts farmed by the Jews. The Law was read. Water from the Pool of Siloam was poured on the Altar of Burnt Offering. It was a time of the most extreme rejoicing.
One can imagine an Israelite coming from his house each year and living for a week in a booth made from the branches of trees. This was the Lord’s way of repeatedly bringing to the attention of the Jews that their most important contribution to the nations of the earth is not to be in the area of government or economics or in the arts and sciences, as significant as their contributions in these realms may be.
The most important gift that Israel brings to the family of mankind is the Presence and Law of God.
Also, living in the booths points to the day when God dwells in Israel and Israel dwells in God; God rests in Israel and Israel rests in God. The Prophets testified of that Day to come, and Jesus and the Apostles taught us how God is bringing His plan to pass in human beings. God’s plan is Christ in us, the hope of glory.
The three great symbols of Israel are the Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth. These correspond to the three great platforms of the Divine redemption: salvation through the blood of Jesus; the Presence of the Holy Spirit; and the dwelling of the Father and the Son in the hearts of God’s people.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:34-36)
The Blowing of Trumpets was observed on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri. The Day of Atonement took place on the tenth day of Tishri. The feast of Tabernacles lasted seven days, from the fifteenth through the twenty-first of Tishri.
Notice the expression, “the eighth day (twenty-second of Tishri) shall be a holy convocation unto you” (Leviticus 23:36). The eighth day is a high Sabbath celebrated with extraordinary rejoicing. The eighth day of the observance of Tabernacles typifies the first day of the new week of eternity, the week that has no end. The eighth day will find its most complete fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (Revelation 21:3).
Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles are observed during the seventh month of the religious year, the year that begins with Passover.
The seventh month (Tishri) of the religious year is the first month of the agricultural year, agriculture being a chief occupation of the people of Israel.
The last three feasts, beginning with Trumpets, typify the beginning of doing business in the Kingdom of God.
The “religious” year, which occurs approximately from March through February of our calendar, represents the plan of salvation—our personal redemption through Christ. Our personal redemption commences when we are in chaos of personality and attains maturity when we are at rest in the state of perfect reconciliation with the Father.
The religious year speaks also of the creating of the spotless and unblemished Bride of the Lamb from His body and blood.
The farming year, which begins with the month Tishri, occurs approximately from September through August of our calendar. The farming (civil) year portrays the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Continuing to read in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus:
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)
As we mentioned before, the observances of the seven feasts were taught to the Israelites and enjoined on them while they were wandering in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. The Jews could not celebrate Firstfruits or Pentecost or Tabernacles while they were in the wilderness because these feasts have to do with the harvesting of crops. They could not gather in “the fruit of the land” until they were in Canaan. The feasts were given to them in preparation for the time when they were in possession of the land of promise.
This kind of training-in-advance takes place also with us Christians. God is teaching us many lessons in the present hour. We are to learn our lessons carefully now for they will be necessary for us in the ages to come. Much of what God is commanding today will have increasing significance throughout our lifetime on the earth and even more in the future beyond that.
… but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)
We must, as the Holy Spirit directs us, apply the lessons we are learning each day. Yet our instruction and preparation are for the Kingdom Age (Millennial Jubilee) and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. We shall bear much responsibility throughout eternity as God’s kings and priests. Is it any surprise, therefore, that we must be trained so very carefully in the present life during our wilderness sojourn?
The celebration of Tabernacles signifies the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of the next. All that has been sown in the land has by this time been reaped and processed. The “fruit of the land” includes wheat, barley, lentils, peas, beans, onions, millet, grapes, cucumbers, melons, citrus fruits, and nuts.
And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord. (Leviticus 23:40-44)
It was the Lord’s intention that the feast of Tabernacles be a season of rejoicing over the goodness of the Lord.
Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. (Deuteronomy 16:13-15)
Sometimes the feast of Tabernacles is referred to as the feast of Booths or the feast of Ingathering.
The feast of Tabernacles is associated with the reading of the Law of Moses to the congregation of Israel in solemn assembly:
And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: (Deuteronomy 31:10-12)
The feast of Tabernacles is associated also with water. By the latter part of our month of September and the beginning of October (the time of the feast of Tabernacles) the dry season (May through August) has about ended. The early (former, planting) rains soon are to fall. The rivers will begin to flow.
The hard clods of earth baked by the summer sun will be moistened so they can be plowed in preparation for the sowing of the seed of the upcoming farming year. During the celebration of Tabernacles the Jews were rejoicing, not only because of the abundance of the preceding year but also in expectation of the coming of refreshing rains and the hope of the satisfying blessings that the new year might bring to them.
Tabernacles is celebrated for seven days; and then comes the eighth day, a high Sabbath, the “great day of the feast” (Simchat Torah). It was the practice at the time Jesus was on earth for water to be brought in golden vessels from the Pool of Siloam. Then the high priest poured the water into a basin on the Altar of Burnt Offering.
On the eighth day trumpets were blown and Isaiah 12:3 was sung: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. “ It was on this occasion of fervent thanksgiving and jubilation that Jesus stood in the midst and cried: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37,38).
When we read the twelfth chapter of Isaiah, remembering that this passage was closely connected with the celebration of Tabernacles, we realize the Holy Spirit is teaching us that the feast of Tabernacles concerns the abiding of God in Christ in us and that out from the Throne of God established in us shall pour rivers of living water. These are waters of eternal life that one day will flow from the members of the Body of Christ to the farthest reaches of the earth.
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3)
The fact that God required His people to live in booths for one week out of the year had to do with the special history and mission of the nation of Israel, and particularly with Israel’s unique relationship with God. The Jews were not like the Egyptians, the Babylonians or the Philistines. They were a special called-out nation, a kingdom of priests, the elect of the Lord God Almighty, the recipients of the Divine Testimony—the Ten Commandments.
If an Egyptian or an Amorite or a Hittite went out to live in a booth for a week there was little of national history and significance he could reflect on other than the accomplishments of the wisdom and energy of his race.
But the Jew could meditate on the dealings of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; on the provision God had made through Joseph for the perpetuation of Israel; on the revelation to Moses and the judgments of the Lord on the gods of Egypt; and then on the unparalleled miracles that brought them safely from Egypt and through the wilderness region.
Why would God lay His hand on one nation of all the nations of the earth and deal with that nation in such a remarkable manner? It was something to think about at night under the stars as one lay in his little booth of palm and willow branches.
On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:35)
Again we see the directive of God concerning the Sabbath day and the other holy days, that the people cease for a time their grubbing in the earth and look up in adoration, worship, and thanksgiving to the God who is interested in and provides for His people.
One of the most important celebrations of the feast of Tabernacles recorded in Scripture can be found in the eighth chapter of the Book of Nehemiah.
It is significant that the occasion was associated with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. It is our understanding that the greatest fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will occur at the descending of the perfected holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, on the great, high mountain of the new earth. At that time there will be the fullest expression of the Law of God (the beauty of holiness); eternal water in abundance (the River of Life); and the fullness of light (the Glory of God shining from the Throne of God and of the Lamb).
This will be the descent of the Tabernacle of God to dwell among the nations of saved people so God may dwell among them and wipe away all tears.
Reading in Nehemiah:
And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. (Nehemiah 8:1)
Each of the gates of the walls of Jerusalem that were rebuilt under the administration of Nehemiah the governor is a prophetic symbol of the establishing of the Kingdom of God. In the above verse we see the “water gate,” a symbol, or type, of the Holy Spirit who will flow from the saints and cover the earth during the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
It is true of us today, on a scale more limited than will be true during the coming thousand-year Kingdom Age, that as Christ is formed in us and dwells in us the Glory of God flows to other people.
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. (Nehemiah 8:2)
The reader may recall that the first day of the seventh month was the memorial of blowing of Trumpets. Again, we have the prophetic symbolism of the Day of the Lord. The trumpet of God will sound, the Glory of God will flow forth (the water gate), and the laws of the Kingdom of God will be renewed in God’s people.
Then through the saints the Divine laws will be carried to the ends of the earth until the Kingdom from Heaven rules the peoples of the earth.
… and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. (Nehemiah 8:7,8)
As the feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled in us, as Christ is formed in us and dwells in us, we gain increased ability to walk in the ways of the Holy Spirit of God. Our conduct becomes increasingly righteous.
The next passage (in Nehemiah) presents a concept that is important to us if we are endeavoring to live a victorious life in Christ. The concept is this: if we are to pursue holiness and righteousness of personality and conduct under the guidance and enabling power of the Holy Spirit we must learn to do so, not in grief and gloom but in the greatest joy.
We confess our sins before the Lord and embrace His righteous ways with joy and gladness of heart. We rejoice in the Lord. With this attitude of joy we become strong in the Lord and are enabled to go from step to step in the ascent toward holiness of deed, word, motive, and imagination.
And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha [governor], and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:9,10)
As the people who had determined to restore the glory of Jerusalem studied the Scripture they discovered they were obligated to observe the feast of Tabernacles.
And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. (Nehemiah 8:14-17)
The feast of Tabernacles is associated with rest in the land of promise.
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)
The feast of Tabernacles was not celebrated under Moses but under Joshua. The reason was that Tabernacles can be celebrated only in the land of promise (“when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land”).
That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:43)
The passage above sounds as though the Israelites lived in booths in the wilderness or celebrated the feast of Tabernacles in the wilderness. We have not found this to be the case in the account of the wilderness wandering. Perhaps the meaning is that the feast is in remembrance of the forty years during which the Israelites lived in tents in the wilderness. Or it may signify merely that the Israelites dwelled in booths in the land of promise after God had delivered them from Egypt.
And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:8)
“Every man at his tent door.” Perhaps this is the meaning—that the Israelites lived in tents during the wilderness period.
The feasts were designed for the land of promise. Notice the following concerning the feast of Firstfruits:
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)
“When ye be come into the land.”
To continue in the Book of Nehemiah:
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (Nehemiah 8:18)
During the time of Jesus on earth it was a custom for the Jews, during the feast of Tabernacles, to come in procession to the Temple carrying torches. The combined light from the processional torches and the lampstands of the Temple lit the area in and around the Temple.
To the Israelites, who were familiar with this custom, Jesus taught:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
When one studies the traditions that have accumulated around the Jewish celebrations, of which the lights of the feast of Tabernacles are an example, one can see the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. The Jews are so close to the truth of Christ that when God opens their eyes they will move into the worship of God through Christ in such power and glory that Jerusalem truly will be the joy of the whole earth.
Let us never forget, however, that the inheritance of the saints is available today—now—to whoever will move forward in faith and grasp the fullness of God in Christ. The inheritance is open to all—Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old.
Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation.
The saved nations of the earth will be required to come up to Jerusalem and receive the Glory of God, who in that Day will be tabernacling in His saints:
And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)
Since the feast of Tabernacles is the seventh feast, is in the seventh month, and lasts seven days—a trinity of sevens, we are led to believe Tabernacles typifies the consummation and perfection of redemption.
The spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles is the “mark” toward which Paul was pressing. Tabernacles speaks of our rest in Christ in God and is associated with the resurrection from the dead of the victorious saints—the clothing of us with our house from Heaven (II Corinthians 5:4). The spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles is “that which is perfect,” of the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians.
The glorious fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles in the Kingdom of God was illuminated in the mind of Christ when He stood and cried:
… If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is described in the Book of Revelation:
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)
(“Pressing Past Pentecost: Three”, 3546-1)