By George H. Warnock
We believe the hour has come when the saints should know and understand, at least in part, the meaning of Israel's annual Feasts, for they constitute a very beautiful type and pattern for the Church. There is a time and a season for the proclamation of every Biblical truth, and when God's hour of revelation has struck, the Spirit of God is gloriously present to remove the veil from God's secrets and initiate His people into the mysteries of God. Such is the office work of the Holy Spirit, to lead and guide the saints into all truth, and to reveal the things which are to come. (Jn. 16:13). A consecrated and holy walk in the Spirit, therefore, is the only genuine basis we have for a proper understanding of the Scriptures. Without that consecration and that walk in the Spirit we might acquire a considerable understanding of theology, but it will be theology devoid of Truth. After all, theology is the study about God and about Truth; whereas Truth is a living, vital, powerful demonstration of the Spirit of God, pulsating with Divine life and power and wisdom and knowledge.
JESUS HIMSELF, THE TRUTH
When Jesus declared so emphatically, "I am the Truth," He there and then completely demolished the idea the Truth has anything in common with creeds and doctrines and theories about God and spiritual things. And not only so, for if Christ is Truth, then Truth comes to us in garments of humility and meekness and will find little acceptance at the hands of the learned or the ecclesiastical. It is strange but true that those who lead the masses in the religious realm are those who cast the Truth aside when He knocks at their door and asks for admission. There is only one answer to this strange state of affairs, and it is this: Ecclesiastical success has developed into pride of heart, and with that pride has come that Laodicean spirit so prevalent in all evangelical circles today: "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing..." (Rev. 3:17). Instead of hungering and thirsting after God and righteousness, we find on every hand the boastful claims of various sects as to how much Truth they have, and how much knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures. Perhaps it is needless to say that such boastful claims merely establish their Laodicean condition, and hinder them from taking their places as overcomers on the throne of Christ. The people of God have yet to learn that the Kingdom belongeth to those who are and have nothing, those who are poor in spirit, and such as hunger and thirst after righteousness. God exalteth the meek and lowly to inherit the throne of princes, and the lofty and noble He sendeth away with empty hands. May God help us each one, as His people, to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face--and above all things to recognize how little we have of Truth and Righteousness, that we might be prepared to receive bountiful spiritual blessings at the hand of Him who giveth liberally to all men and upbraideth not.
GREAT THINGS AHEAD
Truly the Lord hath prepared great and mighty things for His people: things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man. (1 Cor. 2:9). If God's true children would only believe this one Scripture with all their hearts, how greatly it would help to release the riches of Heaven, and unlock the flood-gates of Glory! We know, of course, that Christians everywhere loudly profess to believe this, as well as the rest of the Bible; but in actuality they do not believe it. Yes, they will acknowledge that God has some great and mighty things prepared for us when we get to Heaven, but Paul declares in the following verse that these unseen, unheard-of, and unthought-of things are "revealed... by the Spirit," and not by way of rapture or death. (vs. 10).
Let us, therefore, give all diligence to enter into the realm of the Spirit, which realm constitutes the real heritage of the saints. Truly the heritage is ours for the possessing. And if no man from the ascension of Christ until now has entered into it, it still does not make any difference. The fact remains, it is ours for conquest if we can believe for it and receive it. The universal Church has rejected the possibility of possessing it; that is true; but the history of the Church is by no means the pattern of spiritual attainment. Paul did not fully apprehend it either; that is true. But he beheld the glory of it, nevertheless, like Moses who stood on Mount Nebo and viewed the promised land. And furthermore, he pressed forward with all diligence by the Spirit "if by any means" he could apprehend it, and confessed that he had not done so. (Phil. 3:12, 13).
Thank God, however, for the assurance that some are going to possess the land! God is not going to close this dispensation until some really enter in and possess their heritage in Christ Jesus. Paul declared, "Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein." (Heb. 4:6). The first generation that came out of Egypt by Moses failed to enter in because of unbelief, and God decreed that they would die in the wilderness. However, He had already sworn that Abraham's seed would possess the land, and therefore He raised up a new generation who should go in and possess what their fathers saw but refused to appropriate. And they did. God's purposes cannot miscarry. He will have a people who shall believe their God and possess their possessions. The early generation of Spirit-filled people at the turn of the century took their journey from the blighting wilderness of denominationalism and encamped at their Kadesh-Barnea on the every doorstep of Canaan--but they too failed to enter in because of unbelief. Some saw the vision; the majority did not; and they perished in the wilderness. True, there were a few Calebs and Joshuas who rested in the promises of God and continued to look forward to better things--and God will certainly vindicate His word and His oath, and cause them to possess the land with the new generation that God is now raising up. But as a whole, the people whom God chose from amongst the denominations and called apart into a new fellowship in the Spirit and baptized with the Holy Ghost--they failed to enter into the land, denounced those who exhorted the people to do so--and turned back into the wilderness like their predecessors in Israel.
As surely, therefore, as God's Word is true and His oath immutable--so surely is the Lord now raising up a new generation who shall be empowered to take the promised land of spiritual power and authority, and enter into the realm of the Spirit of God. "Some must enter therein..." If this new generation withdraws from the promises in the face of violent opposition, it too will perish in the wilderness, and God will wait for still another generation to take the land. Because, "some must enter therein..." His Word has declared it, and it must come to pass. We feel confident, however, that this time God's people will not fail; that in this great hour God Himself will intervene in wonderful sovereignty on behalf of those who see the vision, and will take them through to complete and glorious victory. We cannot help but believe that this new generation will, by God's Grace, cross over Jordan and possess the Kingdom prepared for the "little flock" from the foundation of the world. The powers of heaven are being shaken, according to the prophetic Word. Great and momentous spiritual battles are being fought and won in heavenly places. Spiritual hosts of wickedness are beginning to feel the impact of the saints who are pressing in by the Spirit and beginning to possess their possessions in "the heavenlies." And above all, the saints of God are receiving gifts of the Spirit, the gifts are developing into ministries of the Spirit--and these ministries constitute God's only method "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:12, 13).
Thank God for that inborn confidence and assurance in the hearts of His people that the "hour has come" for the unveiling of the Sons of God; that the eternal purposes of God in the Church are about to be revealed; that we stand now on the brink of Jordan prepared and ready to follow the priests of the Lord and the ark of the covenant into a new experience in Christ; down into death and humiliation and abasement in Jordan, but up on the other side into life and victory and authority in Canaan. Let us constantly bear in mind the rules and principles of Christian warfare; namely, that we conquer by yielding, we receive by giving, we overcome by being defeated, and we live by dying. There is no other way except the way of the Cross. The Cross of Christ stands out on the horizons of time and eternity, not only as the means of pardon from sin and the gateway to Eternal Life--but as the one and only principle of Christian conduct. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:24, 25).
THREE GREAT FEASTS FOR THE CHURCH
We are confident that the hour has come in the history of the Church when Israel's annual cycle of Feasts is about to be fulfilled in the midst of the saints. And inasmuch as the natural observance of the Feasts constitutes a type and pattern of great and momentous spiritual events, it is vitally important that we should understand their meaning. The Scriptures reveal the fact that there were three annual festival seasons in Israel's worship. Other days were added in later years to commemorate certain events, but according to the original Levitical pattern there were three occasions during the year when all Israel was called upon to observe a national religious festival. And inasmuch as the Church of Christ is the true spiritual Israel (a fact which we will establish from the Scriptures later.) and what happened to natural Israel constituted merely a type and shadow of what should happen to spiritual Israel--we can derive great spiritual benefit and comfort by studying the types in the Old Testament, and then discovering by the Spirit wherein they apply to us on a higher and vaster spiritual plane. For the scriptures make it very clear that "all these things happened unto them for ensamples (as a figure, or type): and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (1 Cor. 10:11).
And not only so. For we have abundant evidence from the New Testament to establish the fact that two of the three annual Feasts of Israel's worship have already been fulfilled in Christ and His Church: fulfilled, moreover, in a way so manifestly clear from the Scriptures that we do not hesitate to declare that we are now on the verge of the fulfillment of the last annual Feast of the Lord. If God declares that the Old Testament is to be fulfilled in Christ and His Church, that is certainly sufficient for us. Buy when we can actually look into the New Testament and see the manner in which two of the three Feasts have already been gloriously fulfilled, what great consolation and comfort it is for the saints who are looking forward to the fulfillment of the last Feast, the Feast of Tabernacles.
In this study, therefore, we wish to present some of the fundamental principles concerning the great events transpiring at this present season, and mention other events that are yet to transpire, by way of fulfilling the Old Testament Feasts. We appeal entirely to the Word of God and the Spirit of God; for it is evident that the natural man cannot receive, much less teach, the things of the Spirit of God. If it is God's Word, then it is infinite and eternal, and far beyond any human understanding; and only the Spirit can reveal and quicken it to us.
We are aware that we have only touched the fringe of Truth relative to this great subject which we have undertaken to explore; and we know that when the Scriptures are openly and manifestly fulfilled before our very eyes--the unveiled Truth and Glory of the Feasts of the Lord shall far transcend anything that we have ever imagined in our contemplation and meditation of the Word. But this, indeed, is cause for great encouragement--knowing that in the hour of the great Unveiling of the Sons of God we shall see and hear and perceive and experience a power and a glory such as we have never imagined to be within the realm of possibility.
May God, therefore, give us guidance by His Spirit to see and understand and contemplate wondrous things out of His Word--the entrance of which giveth light to such as are in darkness, and the appropriation of which giveth understanding to the simple, wisdom to the foolish, and illumination to the blind. We care not for established creeds or doctrines or theological disputes, nor for the marginal notes we find in our various expository and reference Bibles. God has spoken, and that is sufficient. If Christians are content to abide by the revelation they have received at the hands of great men of the past--let them be content. But God is now leading His people onward and upward to higher heights, to greater depths, to vaster expanses of Truth and Glory than the saints have ever enjoyed or appropriated in the past. Therefore we fix our hopes and our eyes upon the God of increasing revelation, even on Him who is ...Able to do ...Exceedingly ...Abundantly ...Above all ...That we ask ...Or Think ...According to the power ...That worketh in us.
Let others look at the apostasy of a corrupt church system; but let us behold the unfolding glory of the true Church, and exult with the Apostle Paul, in the face of all opposition; "Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus through all ages, world without end. Amen." (Eph. 3:20, 21).
MANY GROUPS IN THE CHURCH
We make no particular attempt in this study to distinguish between the Church, the Body, the Bride, the Sons, and so forth. That there are many different groups which may be included in the word "Church" is quite evident from the Scriptures, and from Creation itself. But the Lord knoweth them that are His in each particular group, and in His own good time it will be manifest. A building in its formative stages appears to be but one vast conglomeration of scaffolds, framework, brick and steel--and it is not too evident how many rooms there will be, and for what purpose the rooms are intended. But in the day of its completion it is all quite evident. So shall it be with the Church of Christ. For there are celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; one glory of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars--and even one star differeth from another star in glory. So shall it be in the day of Christ, when each man is revealed in His own order according to the plan and purpose of God.
THE CHURCH IN OLD TESTAMENT TYPE AND PROPHECY
Before we begin to deal with the typical significance of the various Feasts of the Lord, it will be necessary for us to establish the fact that the Old Testament, in type and prophecy, is applicable to the Church of Jesus Christ on a spiritual plane. It is quite common among all evangelical circles to hear sermons which are based upon the Old Testament and expounded in the light of the New; but there are so many who would insist on a literal and natural interpretation if and when a spiritual interpretation would conflict with their theological views.
For example, there is no question as to the meaning of the Passover. It is established beyond all question that Jesus Christ is our Passover, who has been sacrificed for us. Then we have the type of the Unleavened Bread--and Paul exhorts the saints to keep this Feast, "not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor. 5:8). All Christians are agreed on this interpretation. Next in order is the waving of the Sheaf of Firstfruits before the Lord. That too, is generally recognized as having been fulfilled in Christ on resurrection morning: "Christ, the firstfruits..." Then comes Pentecost, occurring fifty days after the Passover sabbath--and the typical significance of this Feast is definitely established in the New Testament, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the waiting disciples to bestow upon them the promise of the Father. (Acts 2). But for some strange reason this pattern of Biblical exposition is forsaken, and men seek to postpone the last three events comprising the Feast of Tabernacles to some future age, and to a people other than the Church. And whereas the first four events are generally taught as being applicable to the Church in a spiritual way, the last three are given a most literal and natural and earthly interpretation, and consequently the real spiritual meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles is completely obscured and lost. It is essential therefore that the saints know for a certainty that the Old Testament was written for us, and that the truths which once applied to an earthly and natural Israel, are now gloriously applicable to a heavenly and spiritual Israel, only on a much higher and much more glorious spiritual plane. Much could be said concerning this, but we believe a few Scriptures will suffice for the purpose of this study:
Rom. 4:13-16. Here it is clearly and emphatically declared that the Abrahamic promises were not only to the circumcision, but also to the uncircumcision; and in either case to men of faith. Neither the circumcision nor the uncircumcision had any share in the promises of the Old Testament, except they were men of faith: "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law; but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all."
Rom. 9:6-8. Again the apostle stresses the fact that it is the children of promise, not the children of the flesh, who constitute the promised seed to whom the covenants apply. "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."
Gal. 3:22. "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."
Eph. 2:12-14. "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us."
Eph. 3:3, 6. "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery: (as I wrote afore in few words...) that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel."
1 Pet. 1:9-12. This is a most conclusive passage as to verifying what we have said concerning the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the Church. Here Peter plainly declares that the prophets wrote primarily of the grace that was to come unto us, and the glory that was to follow Christ's sufferings. He goes so far as to say that the prophets were not ministering to their day and age, but "unto us..," and that the things they prophesied are now proclaimed unto the saints under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. This is what he says, "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it (he) testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven: which things the angels desire to look into."
HOW THE APOSTLES ESTABLISHED CHURCH TRUTH
Many, many more scriptures could be quoted to confirm what we have been saying. But perhaps the most conclusive evidence of all is the fact that the apostles, in their writings, refer constantly to the Old Testament to prove the truths they are declaring to the Church, and make innumerable quotations from all portions of the Law and the Prophets to confirm their doctrines of Christ and the Church. Nor do they make any apologies whatsoever, or even intimate that they are taking an Old Testament Scripture out of its context. Therefore if it should seem strange to some that we should quote from the Law and the Prophets to confirm some spiritual truth concerning the Body of Christ--let the reader take careful note when reading the New Testament, as to how the apostles applied the Old Testament to the Church which Christ built, and applied to spiritual Israel what the prophets originally prophesied concerning natural Israel.
THE TRUE ISRAEL
The whole New Testament is literally filled with direct quotations from the Old, by way of establishing Church truth, and the saints of God as the true Israel. Notice this remarkable passage in Romans: "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God." (Rom. 9:24-26). Paul has just referred to Jews and Gentiles alike as being the "vessels of glory," and then he quoted this passage from Hosea to prove what he said. Bear in mind that Paul referred to them as the "vessels of glory" taken from Jew and Gentile alike. Then let us refer to the passage he quoted from in Hosea. Here we discover that the people Hosea wrote about constituted the true Israel. Without the further revelation given to the apostle Paul, one would never have discerned that Hosea was actually including the Gentiles in his prophecy concerning Israel's blessedness. First of all he declares God's displeasure with Israel, and affirms that God will not be their God: "Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God." That seems to be conclusive: natural Israel is rejected, and they are no longer God's people. However, in the very next verse the prophet declares: "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered: and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God." (See Hos. 1:9, 10). How could Hosea declare Israel had been rejected in vs. 9, then in vs. 10 affirm that the children of Israel should become as the sand of the sea? The apostle Paul quotes this passage from Hosea, and explains why the apparent contradiction. The answer is clear: God had now received the Gentiles into the Olive Tree of Israel. "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles... As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people..." This clearly explains why Israel could be rejected on the one hand, and at the same time become as measureless as the sands of the sea. The natural branches were broken off, but spiritual branches were grafted in from the Gentile wild-olive--and the tree of Israel retained its glory. In fact, it became even more glorious as a result of Israel's rejection--it brought to pass even "the reconciling of the world." (Rom. 11:15).
Let us bear these truths in mend, therefore, as we study the various types and prophecies of the Old Testament--for unless we understand that the Bible, the whole Bible, was written for us, we are bound to deny ourselves the glory which God intended we should derive from the Word. "Unto us," the prophets ministered (1 Pet. 1:12). The history of Israel constituted them as "ensamples (or types)" for us, and the records "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor. 10:11). The Law, we are told, expressed "a shadow of (the) good things to come, and not the very image of the things." (Heb. 10:1). And the saints of the New Testament are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people... which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God..." (1 Pet. 2:9, 10). Here again a simple reference to the Old Testament shows us clearly that the apostle was referring to the true Israel. (See Ex. 19:6; Hos. 2:23).
That God will yet restore the natural Israel that was cast off, and graft back into the Olive Tree the branches which were cut off in unbelief--that is true, and the glory which shall accompany such a transformation is beyond words to express. The apostle simply describes this revival in four brief words: "Life from the dead..." (Rom. 11:15). When and in what manner this shall be fulfilled, God shall manifest in His own good time, and it does not concern us so far as this study is concerned. But the fact remains, Israel never was completely cast off, for "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew." (Rom. 11:2). Only this disobedient were cast off; the believing Gentiles in turn were grafted into the same Olive Tree, and became "with them" partakers "of the root and fatness of the olive tree." (Rom. 11:17).
Let us glory in our heritage, therefore, and in the fact that we who once had no share in the covenants of promise, and were without God and without hope in the world, are now "fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." (Eph. 2:12, 19, 20).
In the following pages, therefore we have no hesitancy what-so-ever in quoting profusely from the Old Testament and New, by way of establishing these glorious Church truths. If the apostle Paul was "rightly dividing the Word of truth" when he made some eighty-five references to the Old Testament in the one letter he wrote to the Romans, by way of establishing the Gospel of the Grace of God and the doctrines of the Church; and at least eighteen such references in the short letter he wrote to the Galatians; and well over one hundred such references in the epistle to the Hebrews; and if Peter would dare make some thirty references or quotations from the Old Testament in his first epistle; and if the beloved John should make direct quotations from, or references to, practically four hundred Old Testament Scriptures in the Book of Revelation: then we care not in the least if orthodox theology forbids us to take Old Testament type and prophecy and apply them to the Church. The apostles have already done so under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and that is sufficient for men who believe in the verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.
THE OLD, THE PATTERN OF THE NEW
There is a simple order that God has established relative to the progression of Truth and to the creation itself, and it is this: "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual." (1 Cor. 15:46). This principle is evident everywhere in the Scriptures. First the old creation, then the New. First darkness, then light. First a garden in Eden and the tree of life, then the Garden of God and the real Tree of Life. First Adam, then the Last Adam. First the Passover, then the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. First Law, and then Grace. First the typical Feast of Tabernacles, then the unveiled glory of God in the spiritual Feast of Tabernacles. And the wonder of it all is this, that the end of the Old is the beginning of the New; and out of that which is destined to pass away there cometh forth that which is destined to remain.
And so it was that God called light out of darkness. It came to pass also that from the first Adam there came Christ, destined not only to become the Last Adam (the last of Adam, the last of the old race), but the Second Man (the beginning of the second creation). Likewise, the Last Passover was the occasion of the true Passover that was sacrificed for us. And when Christ died on the Cross, and the veil of the temple was rent in twain--that was the end of the Law, but it was also the beginning of Grace. God always "taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." (Heb. 10:9).
It is important, therefore, that we should always observe that which is first, and natural, and from the natural learn to discern in what way it typifies the spiritual. If we read of the natural Passover, God intends that from the various circumstances and rituals connected with the natural we should hear what He would say to us concerning the spiritual Passover, even Christ. If it is the Feast of Weeks, then in this God would teach us concerning the true Feast of Weeks, even Pentecost. If it is the Day of Atonement, then let us learn to discern the pattern of the true Atonement. And so likewise, if the Feast of Tabernacles is being observed, it is for the purpose that we might learn great and mighty spiritual truths from the natural circumstances and events transpiring at the Feast. If we bear this in mind we will receive a mine of wealth from the various occasions in the Old Testament and New when the Feast of Tabernacles was observed. There are three occasions in particular that we shall refer to, as having a most remarkable application to the spiritual Feast of Tabernacles which lies just ahead of us. These three occasions are: the dedication of Solomon's Temple, the restoration of the temple following the captivity, and the presence of Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles in the time of His earthly ministry. These three observances of the Feast will be dealt with in detail in the last three chapters of the book. The particular characteristics of all three events must find their glorious fulfillment, only on a much higher and vaster spiritual plane than when they were first observed--in this great hour in which we live.
THE ORDER OF THE FEASTS
As we begin this study, we would exhort the reader to carefully read all that we have to say in this first section of the book, for it is written to form a foundation, as it were, for some of the glorious truths which are to follow. We realize that much of the information that is given concerning dates and seasons may appear insignificant and unimportant, but they are necessary, nevertheless, in order that the reader may more readily appreciate the glorious truths concerning the third and last Feast, the Feast of Tabernacles.
The three great annual Feast of the Lord in Israel's worship are set forth in considerable detail in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. In a very real sense these Feasts prefigure and typify the whole Church age beginning with the Cross and consummating in the manifestation of the Sons of God and the glorious display of God's power and glory. It is, of course, this great unveiling that we are chiefly concerned about--for the eternal purposes of God begin to be accomplished in that glorious event. But we cannot have a proper understanding of the end, unless we know somewhat of the beginning. We cannot appreciate the Glory, unless we learn about the Cross. We cannot enter the Kingdom, unless we first learn obedience by the things which we suffer. The Feasts therefore begin with the Passover, and end with the Feast of Tabernacles; and in between we have the various steps and degrees by which the Church is brought out of death and into life, out of rejection and into exaltation, out of suffering and into the Kingdom. The three Feasts in Israel's annual cycle of religious ceremonies were:
1. The Feast of the Passover.
2. The Feast of Pentecost.
3. The Feast of Tabernacles.
These three Feasts, moreover, consisted of seven major events, three of which comprised the Feast of the Passover, then one stood alone--Pentecost, and then the remaining three events comprise the Feast of Tabernacles. A brief summary of the Feasts with their various festival events may be helpful:
I The Feast of the Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
This Feast consisted of:
1. The Passover. (See Ex. 12:1-23; Lev. 23:4, 5; Deut. 16:1-3).
2. The Unleavened Bread. (See Ex. 12:18; 23:15; Lev. 23:6-8; Deut. 16:3-4).
3. The Sheaf of Firstfruits. (See Lev. 23:10-14).
II The Feast of Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, of Harvest, of Firstfruits.
(See Ex. 23:16; Lev. 23:15-21; Deut. 16:9-12; Acts 2:1).
III The Feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of Booths, or of Ingathering.
This Feast consisted of:
1. The Blowing of Trumpets. (See Lev. 23:24-25).
2. The Day of Atonement. (See Lev. 16; 23:27-32).
3. The Feast of Tabernacles. (See Ex. 23:16; Lev. 23:34-44; Deut. 16:13-15).
All Israel's worship seemed to center around these three great annual Feasts. They were the occasions of great convocations, the keeping of sabbaths, the eating of certain foods, the performance of certain ordinances and rituals, and a time of great consecration and sanctification: "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty." (Deut. 16:16).
It is our intention to deal at some length with each of the seven festival events comprising the three Feasts, and to show in what manner they have been fulfilled, or shall yet be fulfilled, in the Church of Jesus Christ. Our primary purpose, of course, is to present the last great Feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, in the light of the New Testament--and especially in the light of what God is now doing in the formation of His Body, the Church. For truly the Lord is moving by His Spirit, moving o'er all the earth--brooding dovelike over the distressing state of affairs existing in the Church today, that He might bring order and harmony and peace out of chaos and darkness. And as surely as the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep in the beginning, and commanded light to shine out of darkness, and life to spring up out of the place of death--so surely will the voice of God once again in the ends of the ages restore the glory of Zion, and give unto her "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."