PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: THREE (EXCERPT OF THE FEASTS OF THE LORD)
“Pressing Past Pentecost: Three” is taken from The Feasts of the Lord, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries.
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets. (Numbers 29:1)
The seventh month is Tishri—the first month of the civil, agricultural year. 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.
‘You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the LORD: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, without blemish.
‘Their grain offering shall be fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram,
‘and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs;
‘also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, to make atonement for you;
‘besides the burnt offering with its grain offering for the New Moon, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to their ordinance, as a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to 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:
“When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will 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 you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and you 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 blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. (Exodus 19:19)
“Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps. (Numbers 10:2)
“Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the LORD your God.” (Numbers 10:10)
So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)
Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—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)
indeed it came to pass, when 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 music, and praised the LORD, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,
so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. (II Chronicles 5:13,14)
When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. (Ezra 3:10)
God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. (Psalms 47:5)
“Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)
O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)
Blow 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 is coming, for it is at hand: (Joel 2:1)
“And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle? (I Corinthians 14:8)
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (I Thessalonians 4:16)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10)
And I saw the seven angels who stand 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 you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land.
‘And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to 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.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at 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 to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above 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 Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.
“He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be a red. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and 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 from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.
“Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make 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.
“He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
“Then Aaron shall cast lots for 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 on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.
“But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the 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.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” (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.
“Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil.
“And he shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die. (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?
“He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on 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 has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.
“Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.
“The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release 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 do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for 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.
“This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.
“For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
“It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. (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 you 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, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments;
“then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.
“This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make 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 “who is anointed” 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 came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (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 to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.
‘On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.
‘For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. (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 on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. (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.
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for 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 you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.
‘You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
‘You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,
‘that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.’”
So Moses declared to 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.
“You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.
“And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates.
“Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you 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, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles,
“when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
“Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe 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 you 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 believes on me, as the scripture has 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 YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”
Therefore with joy you will draw water from 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 there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. (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:
Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded 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.
So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on 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.
Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place.
So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped 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, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, 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 during the feast of the seventh month,
and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, “Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written.”
Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim.
So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not 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 on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest. (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 you have gathered in the fruit of the land”).
‘that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel 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.
So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:8)
“Each man stood 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 to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. (Leviticus 23:10)
“When you come into the land.”
To continue in the Book of Nehemiah:
Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed 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:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father 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 whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will 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 goal that Paul was pressing toward (Philippians 3:14). 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:
On the last day, that great day of the feast [Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because 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 loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [the Church] is with men [the saved nations], and He will dwell with them, and they [the nations] shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their [the nations] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things [sufferings] have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3,4)
(“Pressing Past Pentecost: Three”, 3546-1)