SYMPTOMS OF "TABERNACLES"

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Words of Righteousness)

SYMPTOMS OF "TABERNACLES" Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Pentecostal people are being called forward. A time of spiritual growth is at hand. The next great plateau of redemption is typified by the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles. If we are experiencing justification through the blood of the cross and the life lived in the Holy Spirit of God, how can we tell when God is urging us forward into the spiritual fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles? What are the symptoms we should be looking for?

SYMPTOMS OF TABERNACLES

Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (Deuteronomy 16:16—NIV)

The Feast of Unleavened Bread symbolizes the basic salvation experience through the blood of the cross.

The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) symbolizes life lived in the Spirit of God.

The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the fullness of God, a part of redemption not as yet in the possession of the greater part of the Lord's people.

The Pentecostal people are being called forward. A time of spiritual growth is at hand. The next great plateau of redemption is typified by the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles. If we are experiencing justification through the blood of the cross and the life lived in the Holy Spirit of God, how can we tell when God is urging us forward into the spiritual fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles? What are the symptoms we should be looking for?

We do not wish to imply that we "get saved," "get filled with the Spirit," and then get something else.

One of the great problems associated with today's preaching of the Gospel, from my point of view, is the formula we have derived from verses cut and pasted to form "four steps of salvation."

Without commenting on how handy a device this is or how many people have been truly brought to Christ by means of it (this author was helped by it), the truth is the four steps of salvation come far short of the glory of God and the breadth of the plan of salvation.

We ought to be exhorting people to look to Christ for salvation and then put themselves under the oversight and teaching of a pastor. The "four steps of salvation" has given rise to the notion of a "decision for Christ" and then the counting of noses to give proof of the effectiveness of our ministry or the strength of our church or denomination.

Making a decision for Christ is not a scriptural phrase and has some unscriptural implications. The fact is, it is Christ who decides for us. We do not choose Him, He chooses us. Then we make a decision to accept or reject the call of the Spirit.

Things are too man-centered today!

Salvation includes at least four million steps. We start at a decisive point when we yield to the demands of Christ, turning away from the life of the world and entering the Kingdom of God. After that we take a step each day. Every day we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Every day we renew our confidence in Christ. Every day we make a decision for Christ. Every day we press toward the fullness, enduring to the end that we may be saved.

The idea that salvation is an event we can point back to as being the point at which we "were saved" is destructive. It gives rise to such perversions as "once saved always saved." We ought to say, "on such and such a date I turned away from the world and began to look to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. At that moment I began the program of salvation from the world, from lust, and from self-will. My account is up to date. My future will be glorious when the Lord returns bringing salvation with Him."

If we are a true disciple we are always working at and out our salvation from the person and actions of Satan.

The same is true of the Holy Spirit. We of Pentecost like to talk of the time when we "received the Spirit." At that time we spoke in tongues. Today many of us are living like the devil. Yet we claim to be Spirit-filled because at some time in the past we spoke in tongues. The tongues we probably speak in now are those of slander and gossip.

God is not interested in whether you were "filled with the Spirit" yesterday. God is looking at whether you are living in the flesh or the Spirit right now!

We have said all this so you will not look at our brief essay as meaning we got saved, we got filled with the Spirit, and now we are going to get "Tabernacles" (whatever that is).

As it is true that salvation is a lifelong quest, and life lived in the Spirit is a choice we make every day of our discipleship, so it is a fact that the "Tabernacles" experience (for want of a better term) begins when we first come to Christ and then grows until we are filled with all the fullness of God.

And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19—NIV)

There are many passages in the Scriptures pointing toward the three stages of salvation: justification through the blood atonement, life lived in the Spirit, and finally the coming of the Father and the Son to take up Their eternal abode in us. We have written at length concerning the three platforms of redemption and these books and pamphlets are available.

You probably are acquainted with one outstanding symbol of the three stages. It is the water to the ankles, knees, and hips of the forty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel.

The ankles represent salvation through the blood atonement. The knees represent life lived in the Spirit. The hips experience points toward "Tabernacles," the fullness of God.

Now, what are some of the symptoms that cause us to know God is moving us from Pentecost toward the spiritual fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles?

First, we notice that God is making much greater demands on us than we thought would ever be the case. It seems He is speaking to the depths of our personality demanding a much greater consecration than required previously.

Let me explain why.

Pentecost speaks of the outpouring of the Spirit of God on all flesh. "This is that spoken by the Prophet Joel." To experience the life of the Spirit, to enjoy the blessing, requires a certain amount of consecration. However if we have been in Pentecost any length of time we know the blessing is real and wonderful but often is accompanied by fleshly behavior.

The Spirit comes down like rain on all flesh and we do prophesy!

"Tabernacles" is different and infinitely more demanding of us. The reason is, "Tabernacles" is the creation in us of a well of eternal life, not more rain but a well, a well that today can nourish other people and, when the Lord returns, will bring the Life of God to all the members of the saved nations of the earth. We ourselves, our whole personalities, are being made life-giving spirits.

So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being";  the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45—NIV)

The water of eternal life flows from only one source, and that is the Throne of almighty God. Therefore if the well is going to be established in us, then the Throne of God must be established in us.

If the Throne of God is to be established in us, then King Self must be dethroned. The dethroning of King Self is a prolonged, painful process.

Our sins are forgiven through the blood of the cross.

The power of sin over our life is broken by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The removal of King Self is accomplished by suffering.

There is no other way! We must give assent to the program of the removal of self-will, but stern obedience to the will of God can be learned only through suffering. The Son of God Himself learned obedience by the things He suffered.

The Lord gets at our self-will by putting us in some kind of prison. We are denied that which we desire fervently. We are required to stay in a situation we detest. We are brought low in humility. Our branches are pruned back. Sometimes it seems that God has forsaken us.

It is then the story of Job, the account of Joseph in prison, and the wailing of Jeremiah in the Book of Lamentations become the bread of life to us.

God is establishing His throne in us. Such periods of imprisonment and denial are symptoms of "Tabernacles."

Notice what Jesus said on the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles:

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:37,38—NIV)

The eighth day of Tabernacles is, to the present day, "The rejoicing over the Law." As we begin to grow in Christ we become more concerned with the "law," with iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father, than we are with anything else. Righteousness, holiness, and obedience become a passion with us. They bring us incredible joy. We rejoice over the law!

"As the Scripture has said" (verse above). This may refer to the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah.

The twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah was chanted during the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Jews, with their intuitive grasp of the meaning of God's symbols, recognized that the twelfth chapter of Isaiah and the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles were related—as indeed they are!

Several symptoms of the "Tabernacles" experience are mentioned in the twelfth chapter of Isaiah.

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." (Isaiah 12:1-6—NIV)

The expression "in that day" is significant. That day is the day when the Lord alone is exalted in your life. In that day you will know Jesus is in His Father, and you are in Him, and He is in you.

One of the symptoms of the "Tabernacles" experience is that we become aware as never before that we are dwelling in Jesus in the Father. This is the rest of God. The Father becomes increasingly real to us and we learn to obey Him implicitly.

In that day we praise the Lord. We are not focused on what God can or will do for us but on God Himself. Just as Jacob, who forgot about the possibility of Esau harming Leah, Rachel, and the children (and himself) and sought to know the name of his Opponent, so it is that we become occupied with God Himself.

We are much too man-centered today!

As we enter the "Tabernacles" experience we find God is angry with us. We may have been "saved" for thirty years and now we discover God is not pleased with much of our personality. This may come as a tremendous shock to us.

God declares war against the worldliness, lust, and self-will in our personality. We are baptized with the fires of Divine judgment. We are imprisoned. Sometimes we are tempted and deceived. It seems Satan is bouncing us up and down like a ball. Has God forsaken us?

He is angry with us. These are strange ashes. We have had much in our flesh and soul that has not been part of Jesus Christ. These cannot stand the Divine scrutiny.

Stone altars are being carved in us, as portrayed in Ezekiel's Temple (a representation of the inner development of the future trees of life). We never thought we would face such hardness. The altars are stone and they are altars!

We receive double for our sins until our warfare is accomplished, our iniquity pardoned.

Some of what I am saying may conflict with your theology. It may, I don't know. But I will certify that this is what takes place.

Finally there comes a time when the baby has been born, so to speak. God's anger has turned away and He is comforting us. He wounds and then binds up. This is the way God works with us. It has to be this way if we are ever going to be clothed in glory and be part of the ruling priesthood.

Surely God has become your salvation. This is one of the principal symptoms of the "Tabernacles" experience. Prior to this time you have had some aspects of salvation. Now God Himself has become your salvation. The volleyball game is over. You now are on the same side of the net with God. No more deals in which you do something so you will get something back from God.

Now comes trust in God. It is trust rather than faith. Faith is the victory. Trust is helpless reliance on God. God's cripples trust in Him, like Jacob. Those whom God has lamed are infinitely stronger than the strongest of those who are still under the rain of Pentecost.

We trust now and will not be afraid as we enter the age of moral horrors on the horizon. In fact, it is the "Tabernacles" experience that will bring us through the tribulations of the future, not escape to Heaven but the fullness of God. The fullness of God is the best protection from danger, don't you agree?

We trust and are not afraid because God Himself has become our strength, our song, our salvation. Here is another principal symptom of "Tabernacles." We no longer are able to hang on, to work the moves, to trust our familiar cues that we think are saving us.

Now we are held in the hand of the Almighty. He is our Strength. What can I say? Tabernacles has to be experienced if it is to be understood. No longer are we holding God's hand. He is holding our hand. Much, much safer!

The wells of salvation are in us. We draw water from them with joy. The water slakes our thirst and the thirst of those who come to us. If they drink from our well they never will thirst again because that water is springing from God Himself.

In that day, the day when the Lord alone is exalted in our life, the day when we know Jesus is in the Father and we are in Him and He in us, we will give thanks to the Lord. We will call on His name. We will proclaim to all people, as God enables, what God has done. We will exalt Him.

We will sing of the glorious acts of God so others may come to the water of life. The Spirit and the Bride say "Come!"

If we are faithful to the point of death while we are being tested, not seeking to save our life, not compromising our integrity, we will sing and dance in the heights of Zion when the world is in flames. The prisoners will hear us and many will be released.

What we have described above is the fullness of the Christian salvation.

We referred previously to the forty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. There we find the Spirit of God to the ankles, to the knees, to the hips, and finally as waters to swim in, a river that cannot be crossed.

It is our destiny as saints to press forward in the Spirit of God until we cannot touch bottom any longer. There is no more walking in the flesh. We are living in the fullness of God. We have been made a life-giving spirit.

We now are a tree of life growing from the roots of that Greatest of the trees of life, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And then what happens? God makes us available to meet the needs of mankind, to awaken the nations to eternal life in Christ.

When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah,   where it enters the Sea.  When it empties into the Sea,  the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. (Ezekiel 47:7-9—NIV)

The above is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ returning with those whose life He is. They have gone through the water—water to the ankles, to the knees, to the hips, and finally a river that cannot be crossed.

Out from them flow rivers of living water. With joy they bring forth eternal life from the Throne of God now established in their personality.

Their fruit brings eternal life to the inhabitants of the earth.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30—NIV)

When we become righteous because of Christ being formed in us our personality becomes a tree of life for other people, now and especially at the return of the Lord. Our personality and behavior turn people to God. They see our good works and glorify God. When we convert a sinner from the error of his ways, particularly a sinning brother or sister in the Lord, we save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

God loves people who turn other people to righteous behavior. God regards them as wise. They will shine like the stars forever.

The sea of mankind is dead in sin. When the water of life flows from those in whom the Throne of God has been established, then the inhabitants of the sea come to life. This is true today. It will be true in the time to come.

There have been marvelous revivals throughout Church history. But the main purpose of the Church Age is to call out the elect and conform them to the image of Jesus Christ, building them up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

When the members of the Body of Christ, the Body of the Servant of the Lord, have thus been brought to maturity, the Lord will return with them. The waters of life flowing from them will cover the dead sea of mankind. The Glory of God will fill the earth.

It appears Christians have the idea that somehow the Glory of God will descend from Heaven and the earth will enter the Millennium. It will be a giant Pentecost.

It is true that there will be the greatest of all outpourings of the Spirit at the close of the Church Age. This is the promised latter rain. The purpose of the latter rain is to bring the Lord's wheat to maturity.

But the Kingdom Age will commence with the return of the Lord and His saints. Then the Glory of God will not descend like rain but will come from within those who have been made trees of life. The creation is waiting for the unveiling of the sons of God, not for the Spirit of God to be poured from Heaven. The creation will be released from futility and corruption by the ministry of the sons of God.

Notice in the following passage that the nations of the earth will come to the saints in order to receive the blessing.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come." (Isaiah 60:1-5)

Can you see that the glory that will be given at the beginning of the Kingdom Age will be entrusted to the saints? Then the peoples of the earth will come to the saints. They actually are coming to the Glory of Christ in the saints. He and we are coheirs of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.

On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:10—NIV)

All depends (for us as an individual) on our faithfulness in following the Lord each day, on our willingness to let Him deal with the worldliness, lust, and self-will in our personality. The great worldwide fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles will come through those who have lost their life in Christ, who have permitted Christ to take His rightful place on the throne of their heart.

Today the Lord is bringing many saved people into the life lived in the Spirit. He also is drawing Pentecostal people into a fuller experience of Christ in us.

We can tell if this is happening to us because the demands being made on us are far greater than before. There may be a season of very difficult, very hard trials.

We may feel within ourselves that stone altars are being created in our inner being. Guardhouses are being established in us. There is a hardness we have not known previously. We are being faced with spiritual war, with Divine judgment, with the baptism with fire.

We are accustomed to the gentle Shepherd. Now the Lord of Hosts has come to us, the Lord strong and mighty in battle.

I do not say that all who are called to the walk of total faithfulness are going to respond as they should. We see people start and then slide back, start and then slide back.

Why is this? It is because they are struggling over the choice to save their life or lose it in Jesus. They are afraid there are some pleasures that will be lost to them, or some coveted ambition, or dream, or hope.

Sometimes a person feels like shaking the liver out of them and warning them that they are turning away from the fullness of joy, from the fullness of the inheritance. They are not going to inherit anywhere near that which would have been theirs had they trusted God and plunged ahead into the darkness of His will.

But we simply can't do it for them. We grieve, and then turn our attention to someone who will choose to go all the way with God.

What an opportunity is ours today! The drums of Hell are beating to the attack. The drums of El Shaddai are also beating to the attack. The battle lines are being formed. God against Satan. The Holy Spirit against the False Prophet. Christ against Antichrist. We human beings are but grains of dust and less than that. Our only hope of survival is to become part of Christ. To not become part of Christ is to default to Antichrist. Whoever does not gather with Christ scatters. There is no middle ground, no place of neutrality. We may desire a position of neutrality and hope for one but there absolutely is no place where we neither are of Christ or Satan. To not be of Christ is to be of Satan during the conflict at hand.

One symptom of "Tabernacles" is a discontent within yourself. All of a sudden your church services do not satisfy. You feel the need for something deeper. If you enter an assembly where judgment is being preached, sins are being confessed, where the talk is about taking up your cross and following Jesus, about presenting your body a living sacrifice, about the need for iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to God, you will sense that something deep within you is being fed.

All of a sudden the choir anthems seem out of place, empty of meaning. They still are beautifully sung but somehow they seem to be an exercise in futility, a weak endeavor, as you think about what is happening in the world. They are lacking something!

Then you enter an assembly where the people are marching with the great banners portraying the ramping lion, the Rider on the huge white stallion. The little children are waving flags. The young people are acting out the words of the hymns and choruses as they are sung.

Much of the music is militant, being about war and conquest.

There are men involved in Jewish-type dancing, and also women in other routines; not men and women together for this is unseemly and unproductive, sometimes leading to immorality.

There is an atmosphere of holiness, of war, of the coming of the King in His Kingdom. The service has become a grand welcome for the approach of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the Spirit of God comes upon people they sometimes behave in unfruitful manners. The elders lovingly and firmly make allowances for their inexperience and gently lead them to more constructive behavior. If someone roars like a lion it is not the end of the world, neither is the person to be shamed before everyone. Let us all roar with him or her and then get back to more edifying activity. The mistake is when we make a doctrine out of someone who acted out in the flesh and our assembly has roaring, barking, neighing, and God only knows what else at every service.

If someone is "moved" to roll on the floor, then let him alone if he is not destroying what the Spirit is doing. He will outgrow such behavior soon enough if the elders are wise and patient, knowing it is their responsibility to bring about decency and order in the house of the Lord.

When you enter such an assembly you will feel deep within yourself that this is what you have been hungering for—reality, the Presence of God, the Lord of Hosts leading His people forward toward their inheritance.

The above are some of the symptoms that God is bringing you past Pentecost and into the Feast of Tabernacles. The rain is falling from Heaven today. Some are jumping into the pool headfirst without regard for anything. They will be sent home. They are immature.

Others also drink the water but they keep their head up, watching for the enemy. It is through this minority of diligent saints that our Gideon will bring the victory.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, not after spiritual experiences but after righteousness. It is a time for Simchat Torah, for "rejoicing over the law."

If you want God, His righteousness, His Kingdom, you will receive it. Go after the fullness of God, the "Tabernacles" experience. It is available today.