PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: NINE
PRESSING PAST PENTECOST: NINECopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("Pressing Past Pentecost: Nine" is taken from The Feasts of the Lord, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
Christ is the temple, the dwelling place, the tabernacle, the booth of God. He who has seen Christ has seen the Father because the Father dwells in His fullness in Christ.
During the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles the Temple area in Jerusalem was filled with light from the torches of the worshipers. Christ is the Light of the world.
Also during Tabernacles, water from the Pool of Siloam was poured on the Altar of Burnt Offering by the priest, while the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah was chanted. Christ is the Water of Life.
The Law was read during the feast of Tabernacles. Christ is the Law of God, the holiness and righteousness of God brought to absolute perfection and beauty.
All of the harvesting and processing of the foods grown by the Israelites had been completed by the time of the feast of Tabernacles. In Christ we can see what we shall be like when the Spirit of God has completed His work in us. All the glorious joy and blessing of the feast of Tabernacles is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The feast of Tabernacles was a season of the most outstanding rejoicing and thankfulness for the goodness of God during the past year. Christ is our praise and thanksgiving before God. As we adore the Father, the Lord Jesus adds His own praise and thanksgiving to ours. The whole chorus ascends to God as a holy perfume. Christ sings praise to the Father in the midst of the Church.
The arrival of the feast of Tabernacles means the long summer drought is concluded and the fall (former; early) rains are at hand. The fall rains soften the clods of dirt baked hard by the summer sun, preparing the ground for the plowing and planting of the next harvest. Christ is our hope of a new planting, a new life, a glorious fulfillment in the ages to come.
God made man in His image on the sixth day. On the seventh day He rested. God rested because His work was finished and it was very good. In Christ, God's work is finished. It is very good.
Christ is the rest of God. As we enter Christ we enter God's rest. The creation of God commenced, proceeds, and will be completed in Christ. When we enter Christ, making such entering and abiding the first and most important business of every day of our life, we enter into that finished workinto the rest of God.
We must labor to enter the finished work of God in Christ, as the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews informs us. Why must we labor to enter that rest? Laboring to enter rest sounds like a contradiction in terms.
We must labor because of the opposition of our own flesh and self-centeredness, because of the opposition of Satan and his accomplices, and because of the wickedness of the age in which we live. These three forces, self, Satan, and the world, do everything in their power to keep us from the rest of God in Christ; to keep us in a confused uproar in body, soul, and spirit; to keep us in a desert wilderness where we cannot enjoy the good things God has promised us.
There are enemies in our rest, in our land of promise. We must cross over Jordan, under the leadership of our heavenly Joshua, and drive them out. There are enemies in your inheritance and in my inheritance. It will require the Lord's leadership and assistance in order for us to drive them out.
Satan and his demons are situated comfortably in the peoples of the earth and they do not intend to release their hold on mankind. It is helpful to understand our enemies are also God's enemies. If we follow the Holy Spirit, God will enable us to drive every trace of the enemy from our inheritance. Christ appeared for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil (I John 3:8).
It is impossible to tabernacle in peace with the Lord God while there is a "Canaanite" in our land. Sooner or later trouble comes and our rest is destroyed.
The righteous ways of the Lord often are difficult to pursue because of the continuing opposition presented by our fleshly lusts and by the cunning wiles of the forces of evil. As we overcome this resistance, through the Holy Spirit, we enter the rest of God in Christ.
Sin often is attractive, "fun," and easy to fall into. But sin always brings unrest, grief, despair, dread, and every other imaginable kind of pain and wretchedness. Where there is sin, confusion is not far away. God's ways are ways of peace, love, joy, and gladness of heart.
The seventh Levitical feast is Tabernacles. The seventh of the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was the Mercy Seat. By comparing these two we understand the feast of Tabernacles is associated with holiness, with the law of God, in that the Mercy Seat was located in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. He who would dwell eternally in Christ in God must be living a sanctified life under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Mercy Seat was beaten from pure gold, teaching us that in order to tabernacle with God we must have the "Gold" of His Nature "beaten" into shape in us by the pressures of life.
It is not our adamic nature that is beaten into shape, for there is no way in which the corruption of our first personality can be made acceptable to God. It is the Gold of Christ in us that is made perfect through suffering.
God required that the Mercy Seat be fashioned from pure gold beaten into shape. The Israelites were skilled in the art of casting metal and perhaps could have cast a hundred mercy seats in the time required to fashion one by beating it into shape with a hammer.
So it is today that people are hoping for a sudden experience, at the coming of the Lord, that will "cast" them in the image of Christ. There is no way this can be done. The only manner in which the Mercy Seat, the dwelling place of the Glory of God in Christ, can be formed in your life and in my life is by multiplied thousands of precisely aimed hammer blows.
Have you been "hammered on" lately? It is not a pleasant experience. We are being fashioned into the eternal dwelling place of the God of Heaven.
Some aspects of deliverance can come instantly, as a change of clothing.
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)
But character must be formed through suffering.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)
The two covering cherubim that overshadowed the Mercy Seat with their wings represent the Presence and Glory of God Almighty. The only way to the Presence and Glory of God is by abiding in Christ.
We do not gain the Presence and Glory of God, His Person, by any amount of striving no matter how well intentioned. The path to the Presence and Glory of God is through the rest of Godrest in His finished work in Christ. As we labor to enter that rest, and tabernacle with Him, absorbing His righteousness and holiness into our personality and actions, we are conformed to the image of Christ. Then the Presence and Glory of God can abide on our life.
Entering the rest of God, into abiding in Christ, is not an exercise in passivity. We must press forward each day, applying prayer and faith in order to overcome the problems at hand. The believer must be full of faith, hope, love, and the Spirit of God in order to be able to press through into the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is entered by the diligent efforts of those who are single-minded. It is not a wrenching of things and circumstances, or personal ambition, of which we are speaking. God soon will burn up false motives with His fire. Yet we are commanded to covet earnestly the best gifts.
We find God only when we seek Him with our whole heart. As we move toward God with all the concentration of which we are capable, God Himself teaches us how to rest in His working. In this manner we labor to enter the rest of God.
The most complete fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will occur in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22). The Tabernacle of God, who is Christ, Head and Body, will be the "booth," the eternal dwelling place of God among the peoples of the earth.
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. (Revelation 21:3)
Christ is the eternal Temple of God. We are being created part of that holy Temple.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
Christ is the chief Cornerstone of the Temple of God. The Bride of the Lamb is the remainder of the building.
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)
Perhaps the greatest expressions in the Scripture concerning the tabernacling of God in Christ are to be found in the Gospel of John. We find such statements as the following:
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:37,38)
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)
We find also in John that through Christ we too shall become part of the eternal Tabernacle of God:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe thou hast sent me. (John 17:20,21)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the full expression of the feast of Tabernacles. Christ Himself is the seventh aspect of redemption, the Omega of salvation. Christ is the end of our quest, the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing with such single-mindedness of purpose and concentration.
Salvation is not a thing, salvation is a Person. Jesus is the resurrection. Jesus is the way. Jesus is the life. He not only brings these blessings, He Himself is them.
Christ brings Himself in answer to all our needs and desires. Christ is healing, eternal life, peace, joy, revelation, wisdom, righteousness, power, knowledge, atonement, redemptionall that people need, desire, hope, and can imagine. Christ Himself is all these realities and blessings to us.
Divine grace is the Lord Jesus dwelling with and in us, enabling us to work out our own salvation.
The following passage was chanted by the Jews during the feast of Tabernacles. Can you see why the Holy Spirit would inspire them to do so?
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. (Isaiah 12:2)
The Lord Himself is our strength, our song, and our righteousness.
Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits
Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles
The three groups correspond, in Scripture symbolism, to the three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation:
Most Holy Place
The division into three groups, or three areas, provides insight into the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first group, or area (Passover, and the Courtyard), represents Christ as the High Priest of God who ministers at the Altar of Burnt Offering, so to speak. Through His atoning blood He forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Whoever would approach God must come by means of the priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus. Only Christ can present a person acceptably to the Father. After the Father receives us in Christ, our Priest in Heaven continues to make intercession for us. There only is one Priest, only one Mediator between God and menthe Man Christ.
The second group (Pentecost, and the Holy Place) represents Christ as the Prophet of God. First through His own personal ministry, and then through the Church that is His body, He testifies to the world of the will of God.
When the saints are preaching the true Word of God, the Lord Jesus works with them bearing witness with powerful signs and wonders. The Lord works with the Church confirming the Word with signs following. Christ in and with the Church is the Light of the world.
The Holy Spirit empowers the disciples to bear witness of Christ: Christ of Calvary, the present Christ, and the coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom on the earth. Every true prophet of God will speak these things for they come from the mouth of the great Prophet in Heaven.
Christ serves God as a priest by reconciling men to God and by teaching them the laws of the Kingdom of God; and as a prophet by announcing the salvation and judgment of God and the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
The third group (the last three feasts, and the Most Holy Place) speaks of Christ as King of kings. The Christian Church is familiar with the priestly role of Christ, somewhat less familiar with the role of Christ as God's Prophet, and quite ignorant concerning the role of Christ as the Ruler of the rulers of the earth.
The third role of Christ, that of King of kings, still is ahead of us in its kingdom-wide aspect. When the last trumpet sounds the Lord Jesus will descend in flaming power with the holy angels, taking vengeance on His enemies and bringing righteousness and eternal life to His elect.
Although the fullness of the role of Christ as King of kings is yet ahead of us, it is time now for the saints of God to begin to lay hold on His kingly power and majesty.
The saints are a firstfruits of God's Kingdom and we are not required to wait for Christ's coming in order to begin to enter the knowledge of Him as Lord and King. The scope of the experience is not as great as that which will be true at the last trumpet. However, the quality of the experience is present now.
A large part of the responsibility for moving into the third area is ours. If we choose to come as far as the Pentecostal experience and stop, we limit the Glory of God in our life. We cease to grow, to mature in the life of victory. Spiritual decay sets in.
But if we, like Paul, choose to press forward into the third role of Christ, that of King and Lord, the Lord Jesus will assist us and be greatly pleased with us. It is a matter of learning to be obedient to Him.
It is in the third aspect that the Lord Jesus is vindicated in all that He has accomplished thus far in the earth. It is in the demonstration of Kingdom authority, power, and glory among the nations of the earth, as well as in the perfecting of His Bride, that Christ will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.
If you have received Christ as your Savior you have some acquaintance with the priestly role of Jesus. He has washed you from your sins in His own blood.
If you are learning to walk in the Spirit and minister under the anointing of the Spirit of God you are gaining some acquaintance with the prophetic aspect of Christ's ministry. The burden of the Word of the Lord is upon you.
Each day the truth is driven into your heart, as it is in the heart of all true prophets of the Lord: "It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit." Your eyes are being opened concerning the things of Heaven and future events because the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. You "stand before the Lord God," as do Elijah and Elisha.
Now the Holy Spirit is inviting you to begin to know the Lord Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. To know Christ in this way you must offer your body as a whole burnt offering in the service of the Kingdom of God. You must receive Christ, not only as your personal Savior but also as your personal Lord.
Are you willing to forsake all, to take up your cross daily, to deny yourself what you desire intensely as the Lord leads? To follow the Lord Jesus into serviceinto physical death if need be? It is only in total consecration to God's will, in dedication to the service of the Gospel, that the believer achieves perfect reconciliation to the Father.
If we are willing to follow the Lord Jesus wherever and however He leads us, loving not our own life to the death, He will bring us against the enemies who hinder us from achieving a greater grasp on our inheritance in Him.
All sin must be destroyed from us, as the Holy Spirit brings us against our sins one at a time. When the Spirit points out a sin we are committing, whether in deed, in word, or in continual daydreaming and imagining, we are to confess our sin andthrough the wisdom and strength the Holy Spirit providescease practicing it.
We are to draw near God and to resist the devil.
The same thing is true of physical sickness. We cannot heal ourselves no matter how much positive thinking we practice. But we can take a hostile attitude toward our sicknesses instead of passively accepting them. We can stand on God's Word that He will "put none of the evil diseases of Egypt" on us (Deuteronomy 7:15).
Christ is our Physician. Christ heals all our diseases.
Let us believe Christ for the healing of our bodies with the same fervency and assurance with which we approach Him for forgiveness. Let us approach moral healing, the healing of our sins and self-will, with the same fervency and assurance. Forgiveness, physical healing, and sanctification are all part of the one redemption from the hand of the enemy.
Christ came to destroy the works of the devil.
As we, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, adopt the attitude of militancy and conquest toward every spirit that would hinder our possession of the good things of God, the Lord Jesus will become to us the Lord of Armies (Hosts). He will lead us forward to total victory in every area.
Christ loves those who are intense in their love of righteousness and intense in their hatred and rejection of all the works of the devil. The Lord loves those who fight the good fight of faith against the enemy.
The Day Star (Christ) is rising in our hearts and we are preparing ourselves for His coming as King of kings and Lord of lords. If Satan, the world, and our own flesh are overcoming us at every turn, this is evidence that we are weak. We are not prepared to ride under the banner of Him whose appearing strikes terror into the hearts of the enemies of God.
Christ is King. In the present hour we are being formed into His army. Do you hear the trumpet of God sounding in your spirit?
Next we have shown that the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, are present in each of the seven feasts.
Now we have come to another application of the symbolism associated with the feasts of the Lord. We shall apply the feasts to the redemption of the believer.
The redemption of the believer includes the development of the individual Christian from his initial reconciliation to God through the blood of the cross, all the way to his becoming one in Christ in the Father, being filled with all the glory and love of the Father.
The feasts of the Lord portray also the development of the Christian church from a relatively disorganized group of believers all the way to the mature Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the Servant of the Lord, the Judge and Deliverer of God's creation, the Wife of the Lamb.
The development of the individual saint and the development of the whole Church are closely related in that the Church is composed of individual Christians. The perfection of the whole depends on the perfection of each part, obviously.
However, the growth of the individual saint, the overcoming disciple, may not be on the same time schedule as the Church.
The Church is advancing along many fronts today and a number of people have come as far as the feast of Pentecost; although a much larger number are still milling around in the first principles of salvation.
It is possible for the individual Christian today to move ahead with God whatever the churches may do. We find this to be true in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three where Christ addresses the angels of the churches of Asia, and then speaks to each overcomer as a single person: "to him that overcometh."
The overcomers, the victorious saints who serve the Lord Jesus Christ in dedication of life and purpose, will be used of God to assist the weaker members of Israel. God chooses from among His people those He intends to use as teachers and helpers. He draws them to Himself and makes demands on them. He gives them an extra portion of grace and glory. He will use them in the future, we believe, to bring all Israel to Himself in perfect reconciliation. However, those with such insight must be tested rigorously.
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. (Daniel 11:33)
The seven feasts of Israel are an Old Testament portrayal of God's plan of redemption through Christ. God's plan of redemption is based on and always works through Christthe slain Lamb of God who was raised from the dead.
To redeem is to buy back or to seize by force some person or thing that has been brought into bondage and to restore that person or thing to his or its original inheritance or place.
Satan has brought every person, and the whole earth as well, into the bondage and darkness of sin and death. Christ leads out of bondage and darkness every person who comes to Him and guides the believer into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
As we outline the fulfillment in the individual Christian of the seven feasts of Israel, please keep in mind that God's love has directed that we are to look steadfastly to Christ, walking before Him continually so the Holy Spirit may bring us to maturity in Christ.
The role of the Holy Spirit is similar to that of Eliezer of Damascus, who brought the fair Rebecca from her home and took her on a journey through territory unknown to her until finally she arrived in the presence of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Isaac is a figure of the Lord Jesus who Himself is the end of our quest.
The pattern of the seven feasts indicates that the Christian redemption is not a single happening. Although the beginning of salvation in a person's life takes place in a moment and is a decisive, clear-cut act, the work of redemption includes a continuing development, a growth to maturity.
The covering Passover blood is the initial gift of redemption, the acceptance of which is the first step of the person entering salvation. The feast of Tabernacles, the last of the celebrations, is the fullness, the dwelling in us of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
Salvation has a definite beginning and a definite ending, an alpha and an omega. Redemption has an ending in the sense of a coming of age, a maturing, including total freedom from all the works and ways of Satan. Maturity in Christ is a goal worth pressing toward (Ephesians 4:13).
Now, let us briefly associate the seven feasts of the Lord with their New Testament counterparts:
PassoverChrist on the cross, eating the Lord's Supper, protection from judgment through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, the slain Lamb of God.
Unleavened BreadChrist in the heart of the earth, water baptism, death to the world, crucifixion with Christ, sincere repentance.
FirstfruitsChrist raised from the dead, our resurrection with Christ, the born-again experience.
PentecostChrist sends to us the Holy Spirit, the former and latter rain, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the law of the Spirit of life, mighty signs and wonders accompanying the preaching of the Word of God, the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
TrumpetsChrist, the King, returns, the Day of the Lord, rulership of Christ over the earth, the emerging spiritual life of the saint, Christ declares war on the wickedness in the Christian, the New Year of the Kingdom of God, the forming of the army of the Lord.
Day of AtonementChrist reconciles the believer to God's Person, Christ forgives and cleanses all who come to Him, the Holy Spirit deals with sin in the disciple, the saints confess and forsake their sins under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the body, victory over self-will, eternal judgment of evil spirits, the saint is transformed into the moral image of Christ, Year of Jubilee, the cleansing of God's Templethe Body of Christ.
TabernaclesChrist and the Father dwell in the Christian, the "rest" of God, the redemption of the mortal body, the completion of the work of redemption, the new Jerusalem, the fullness of the Presence and Glory of God in Christ in the saints, the Kingdom of God.
The Pentecostal, charismatic, speaking-in-tongues experience is at the halfway point, so to speak. Pentecost is number four of seven feasts. This fact may inspire those of us who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit to press forward to the fullness of the inheritance.
Perhaps we have been camping at "tongues." We need to get back up on our spiritual feet and begin to fight onward toward the good things God has for us.
The following spiritual application of the seven feasts of the Lord suggests they are types of the progressive nature of the working of God in the Christian discipleship. However, the seven feasts should be considered as portraying seven dimensions of the one redemption that is in Christ, not as seven ordered steps that God follows precisely and in sequence with each believer.
The fullness of the Divine redemption and inheritance is received when the individual receives Christ, because He is the fulfillment of the seven feasts. Yet we must press into and lay hold on the fullness of the inheritance, on that for that we have been grasped by the Lord Jesus. This was the Apostle Paul's attitude throughout his Christian discipleship (Philippians 3:12).
And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:11-13)
And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: (Luke 22:15)
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (I Corinthians 5:7)
Passover symbolizes the protection from God's judgment and wrath that is given us through the blood of Christ. Because the sentence of death overshadows the gods of the world, we apply by faith the blood of Jesus to ourselves and our household.
When the destroyer approaches us he sees the blood of the righteous Jesus which, in obedience to God, we have sprinkled by faith over our life. The Divine executioner, recognizing we have appropriated the blood of Jesus, "passes over" us without harming us and continues on his way carrying out the judgments of God.
In the same spirit of obedience we eat of God's Passover Lamb (I Corinthians 5:7).
The feast of Passover teaches us of the importance that God places on the blood of Christ as the covering for our sinful and rebellious personality. We can witness in our own day the judgments of God in the landthe turmoil, and the distress of nations. Our refuge from the destroying storm is the blood of Jesus applied to our household by faith in obedience to the Word of God.
The Passover marks the "beginning of months" to the Christian. When an unsaved person approaches God he is confronted with Christ on the cross. God meets man only at the cross of Christ.
Just as the Hebrew approaching the Tabernacle of the Congregation encountered first the Altar of Burnt Offering, so the man or woman, boy or girl, who would enter the Christian salvation must first accept God's offeringthe Lord Jesus Christ.
The point in time at which we accept by faith the blood of Calvary's cross becomes to us the start of a new life. Our existence before the cross is of little consequence. Our true life begins the moment the Lord Jesus Christ becomes our personal Passover.
Notice that it is a "lamb for a house" (Exodus 12:3). The words of Paul are brought to mind: "Thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31).
When a person accepts Christ his whole household comes under the protection of the blood (I Corinthians 7:14). The believer then should pray that God will grant each family member repentance unto life, that each individual will receive Christ for himself or herself.
The Passover was to be eaten "in haste." The Lord Jesus commanded us to "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:13). In like manner, the Passover is to be eaten "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand" (Exodus 12:11). We work diligently and conscientiously while we are in the world but in our hearts we are strangers and pilgrims. We always are ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever He leads us.
The Passover blood was for protection during the judgment of "all the gods of Egypt." So it is today. The Holy Spirit reproves (convicts) the world of judgment "because the prince of the world is judged."
The Lord will not tolerate the worship of demons. In His own time and manner He will destroy the demons and those who worship them. The Passover blood is our protection during the period that God executes judgment on the works of Satan.
"No uncircumcised person shall eat thereof" (Exodus 12:48). Only Christians can take advantage of the protection from judgment provided by the blood of Christ.
No person can escape the judgments of God merely by associating himself with the Christian churches. One's name on a church roster, while it may be useful in the administration of the church, is of no value when we are speaking of protection against the judgments of God. A person must be "circumcised," that is to say, he must through faith obtain a work of Christ in his own heart. Otherwise he cannot avail himself and his household of the protection of the Passover blood of God's Lamb.
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. (Exodus 12:18)
Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. (Deuteronomy 16:3)
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (I Corinthians 5:6-8)
Paul anchors our interpretation of the feast of Unleavened Bread with his words in I Corinthians 5:6-8 (quoted above). Leaven is portrayed as "malice and wickedness," and unleavened bread is shown to be "sincerity and truth."
Leaven, in the Scriptures, often symbolizes sin. Just as a little yeast affects a whole ball of dough, so a little sin affects a whole human life.
God issued a clear command concerning the use of leaven during Passover Week: "There shall no leavened bread be seen with thee" (Exodus 13:7). This command is repeated in the Old Testament until the spiritual message is clear: "Purge from yourself the spirit and ways of the present evil age."
Sincere repentance, which is a forsaking of the spirit of the world (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life), must accompany the acceptance of Christ, our Passover Lamb. If there is no sincere repentance on our part, no turning away from our former manner of living, we have not come to Jesus with the right attitude.
The act of being baptized in water represents the fact that the believer has turned his back on the present world, that he has died to the world and the lust thereof. A gospel that does not require the convert to turn from sin and lead a new life of righteousness is not the Christian Gospel.
The "feast" (accepting the Lamb of God as our personal Passover) must be kept with "unleavened bread" (sincerity and truth).
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3,4)
The phrase "newness of life" is associated with the meaning of unleavened bread. Paul commands: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump." The new life in Christ is free from the leaven of sin.
In water baptism the leaven of our old nature is portrayed as dying with Christ on the cross of Calvary.
The crucifixion of our soulish nature is, as we know from Scripture and experience, a position which we are to grasp by faith and work out in our daily life. The adoption of this attitudethat our entire first personality died with Christ and we now are walking in resurrection lifeis the manner in which we regard our own state of being, and is the necessary point of view for the saint.
One hardly can overemphasize the importance of considering ourselves to be crucified with Christ and risen with Christ. To make a success of victorious Christian living we must remind ourselves every day that we have come out of the world, have died with Christ on the cross, and have been raised to live in the heavenlies in Him at the right hand of the Father.
The necessity for remembering who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going, is enjoined on us in both the Old and New Testaments:
. . . that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. (Deuteronomy 16:3)
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)
There always must be a remembrance, a calling to mind, a reckoning that we have left the world and are following Christ. The believer who does not make a conscious daily effort to call to mind that he has left the world and now is living in Christ, wanders in confusion, not understanding why he cannot occupy himself with this or that part of the world.
If we keep remembering we have died with Christ on the cross, having made our exodus from the world, and that our goal is the fullness of His Presence, we do not have nearly as much trouble maintaining our consecration to His will.
If we do not maintain each day the overcoming point of view, which is that our soulish natural man is crucified with Christ and our new spiritual man is in the heavenlies with Christ, either we will slip back carelessly into a sinful life or else we will wrestle ineffectively with sin in order to gain a position that Christ already has secured for us and that we are to seize by faith and maintain by faith.
If our faith is from God and of God, and not just a mental understanding and agreement with theology, we will begin to witness our scriptural position of crucifixion and resurrection transformed into living reality here in the present wicked age. Our faith, which is a gift from God, transforms the promises of the Scriptures into solid fact.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
Water baptism is the provision God has made so the believer may portray the fact that by faith he is putting from his life the old corrupt nature. Here is the new covenant fulfillment of Passover Week, the Week of Unleavened Bread.
Water baptism depicts burial and resurrection, the beginning of the new life for each person who receives God's Passover Lamb, Christ, who was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).
The feast of Unleavened Bread means every trace of the old life, the old "leaven" of the world, is to be removed from us. Every "Egyptian," to speak figuratively, is to be "left in the Red Sea." To repent is to turn away from the old leaven of sin, of malice and wickedness, and to enter the Kingdom of God as a little child.
In water baptism we enter the death of the cross and we enter also the resurrection Life of Christ. We enter the death of the cross so every trace of Satan's authority over us may be terminated. From this point forward we are free to choose to serve God.
Before entering the death of Christ we were not free to choose to be servants of righteousness. We were bound in the kingdom of darkness and were compelled to obey the spirit of the world, of wickedness.
Now we are loosed legally from the power of darkness, through the authority of the blood of Christ. Now we are free to choose to obey the Spirit of God and to act, speak, and think in a righteous and holy manner. This is the meaning of the sixth chapter of Romans and the fulfillment in the Christian of the feast of Unleavened Bread.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (I Corinthians 15:20)
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:23)
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)
The feast of Firstfruits portrays the resurrection of Christ and our entrance into His resurrection life. We are born again, meaning that a new life, the Life of Christ, has been born in us.
This is the beginning of the harvesting of our personality. Our new spiritual nature is raised to sit with Christ in the heavenlies. Our new nature, Christ born in us, is the firstfruits to God of the new creation.
There is part of our personality that has not been harvested as yet, as we can tell by the way we act, the things we say and think, the battles we have.
The unharvested part of us, the part that still rebels again God, has been accepted of God even though it has not as yet been redeemed from the hand of the enemy. It has been accepted because part of us has been presented before God (our reborn inward nature) as a firstfruits. We are without condemnation although we have not been perfected as yet.
Our spirit and soul must go through many experiences with God before they are cleansed, changed into the image of Christ, and reconciled to God. Last of all our physical body will be harvested.
We rejoice in God because we know what He has begun in us He will finish. The Lord has accepted our new nature as a firstfruits of the finished work of redemption. As soon as God has created Christ in every area of our personality, the harvest of our life will have been completed.