Monday 1st October –tomorrow, is the 8th or last day of the Feast of Tabernacles which is the Third great Feast instituted by God in the Old Testament. It is the day on which Jesus stood up in the Temple and cried out in a loud voice “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Jn 7:37,38
How does this talk of Jewish feasts relate to us today?
As you probably are aware the Old Testament is full of types and shadows pointing to spiritual realities in the New Covenant and new Man that we are in Christ Jesus. Therefore understanding the Feast days of Israel even at a basic level teaches and reveals many things to us as believers in Jesus.
At a basic level God gave Moses instructions for three different Feast days that Israel were to keep from year to year. They are mentioned in different places in Scripture. In Leviticus 23 we see all of them together.
Firstly God declares these Feasts to be MY FEASTS. ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. Lev 23:2
In Lev 23:3 God says the seventh day is the Sabbath- a holy convocation. As I have written before God’s rest is found through the faith of Jesus Christ. Coming to Jesus, believing in Him, is entering His rest–His Sabbath. The believer is not bound to keep and day as a literal rest day. We can if we choose to, but we are not obligated to do so. For he that believes HAS ENTERED HIS REST. Hebrews 4:1-3
After declaring the need for resting on the Sabbath God told Moses about three(3) Feast days…He said…
Lev 23:4 ‘These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.
The First Feast is Passover(Pesach). The Second is the feast of Weeks(Shavuot) or Pentecost and the third is Tabernacles(Sukkot) or the feast of Ingathering.
We are all familiar with Passover which we mostly call Easter in the west. Easter is not a Godly term but a Pagan festival to do with Ishtar the goddess of fertility etc. We do not get our type and shadow from her! But when we study the Hebrew Feast of Passover and the associated feast of unleavened Bread we see clearly how it relates to us spiritually. Again I stress!!…no Christian believer has to keep these Feasts literally as in eating certain foods and doing something on a certain day of the year….if you want to, then do it, but in Christ you are free from any obligation to these things.
At the first feast which is Pesach(Passover) each family had to sacrifice an unblemished male lamb or goat and sprinkle the blood of that sacrifice upon the door posts and lintel of their home.(Ex 12:7) This was so that the angel of death did not alight upon any of their first born sons or animals and they perish. (Ex 12:13) They were required to eat the flesh of the Lamb and to pour out its blood.
Of course this feast symbolises for us the BORN AGAIN experience. Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God. We take Him by faith –which God gives us- and trust Him as the only payment for sin–He is our sacrifice offered upon the altar. His blood is upon us and we have been redeemed from our old slave master(Pharoah/Satan) and are now owned by a new master–Jesus Christ/The Father. Christ has redeemed us to God by His own blood and we eat of Jesus and drink of His blood/Spirit.
This Feast of Passover and unleavened bread is symbolic of coming to Jesus and personally entering into His sacrifice for us. When He died we died thus setting us free from Satan’s ownership upon us.
They were required to eat the passover seder/meal in haste because they would immediately be led by God to the Red sea where they all went down into the sea on dry ground and crossed over. Paul says all were
1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,
1Co 10:2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
Thus we see that believing into Jesus is associated with Passover and the Red sea event. Real historical events which are a ‘type and shadow’ of spiritual experiences that anyone anywhere can enter into in God’s timing for their life. For me that happened April 20th 1989 when I first believed in Jesus and all things were made new.(Amazingly to me, I just now discovered that that date was the first day of Passover that year!) Anyway that night in 1989 was when I called upon the Lord Jesus and His presence was so real to me. I knew in that moment that I was loved and forgiven by God and that He was real! I immediately had a hunger to know God. I went to a local Christian church bookstore the next morning and bought my first ever Bible(NKJV) Later that night the only Born again people I knew gave me a Good News Version. So that marked my conversion to Jesus who I had resisted all my life running the other way every time I encountered believers. That was my Passover —when I was REDEEMED out of the hand of Satan and purchased by God through Jesus death.
The Israelites were to keep the feast unleavened bread 7 days after sacrificing the lamb or goat. Of course leaven represents sin and 7 is the number for completion. Thus we are washed clean from sin completely through the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Passover Lamb. (Tit 3:5,6)
The Israelites were straight away led to the Red Sea and crossed over to the other side —which speaks to us of being conveyed out of the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son. Their enemies lost their power and hold over them.
Then they were led to Mount Sinai arriving there 5 weeks later spoken of in Exodus 19. This event at Sinai when Moses went up into the cloud on the mountain and received the Law inscribed with the finger of God on tablets of stone is Pentecostal type and shadow which all believers are meant to experience after first believing in Jesus.
Passover then Pentecost
Even though Israel took weeks to go from Passover to the Red Sea and then on to Pentecost these 3 events which happened in the leading of God are wonderful types and shadows of our journey with God as believers in Jesus. For me, I was born again(Passover), then baptised in the Holy Ghost(Pentecost) then baptised in water (Red Sea). The Baptism in water event is a part of the Passover experience. It reinforces the same victory that God had done for them through Passover. The blood separated them from the judgement upon the enemy. In the same way the water separated them from the enemy. They may not have understood what Passover and a lamb and blood meant except that if they didn’t do it then the angel of death would kill their first born sons and animals. But later at the Red Sea they got to see in a different way the power of God at work saving them from the cruel master that had ruled them for over 400 years.
Getting born again is our Passover experience as I said. Scripture shows us that the normal pattern after first believing is to be baptised in water. I like to use the book of Acts to see this.
In Acts 8 we see Phillip preaching at Samaria and all the city believed upon Jesus when they heard the good news and saw the miracles and signs Phillip did.
Act 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
Act 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip(Passover), hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
Act 8:12 But when they believed Philip(Passover) as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized(a part of Passover-ie Red Sea).
Act 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed(Passover); and when he was baptized(Red Sea–a part of Passover for him) he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
We are told that after they believed in Jesus they were all baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Apostles heard that the people had believed so they went down to Samaria to check things out. What happens next should forever stand as testimony of the possibility of believing in Jesus BUT not receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God,(Passover) they sent Peter and John to them,
Act 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.(PENTECOST)
Act 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (PENTECOST)
Now I am aware of course that many people today who have only been baptised in water will argue and say that they received the Holy Spirit at that time. But it is inescapable in reading the New Testament that speaking in tongues is an initial sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Otherwise how would Simon , who was observing these things know anything had happened?
Act 8:18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
Act 8:19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
It is plain to see unless you are stubborn, that these believers who had been baptised in water ONLY now RECEIVED the Holy Spirit and something about them receiving the Spirit was VISIBLE OR AUDIBLE OR BOTH!! Not later on …to see whether they bore good fruit as proof of having the Spirit….nope…RIGHT THEN AND THERE…something was visible or audible to Simon as the Scripture tells us they received the HOLY SPIRIT.
Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:17
They had not the Spirit before this, but were ONLY baptised in water.
What I am showing here is that we are to experience the three feasts in our journey through the wilderness. Passover with it’s baptism in water…next we are to come to the mountain which was completely covered with smoke and fire came down upon the top of the mountain….just as the fire came upon the heads of each baptised believer in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. And they all spoke with other languages and prophesied.
Okay Passover–that is, being born is the prerequisite for being baptised into the Holy Spirit. We know that these events occurred in history. In Egypt…and then thousands of years later in the upper room in Jerusalem.
What of the third feast–Tabernacles?
It has been 2000 years since the Upper room event in Jerusalem when 120 believers in Jesus were baptised in the Holy Ghost and fire. Since that time countless people all over the world have had their own Passover experience with it’s associated baptism in water…..and many of them went onto have their own Pentecostal experience with it’s associated power and gifts of the Spirit.
Act 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Act 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Do you see it? John ONLY baptised with water……BUT JESUS baptizes with the HOLY SPIRIT AND WITH FIRE! And that baptism is so you receive POWER…so that POWER COMES UPON YOU. Without this experience there is NO POWER to witness.
So that is Pentecost. There is a third feast….TABERNACLES.
If we see that just believing and water baptism(Passover) in Jesus is something Luke said WAS NOT ENOUGH (Acts 8:16)…and then by being baptised in the Holy Spirit is that enough? Yes and no.
Because the Feast of Pentecost experience is to save a first fruits people for Jesus before His return.Since the first Pentecost, Spirit baptised people have gone out to the end of the world to preach the Gospel with signs following. Great numbers have believed and been baptised. But these believers, as we are as well, are only a first fruits offering to God. God has been saving only the first fruits of a GREATER HARVEST STILL TO BE GATHERED IN. The POWER of the Holy Spirit has been given to us through the baptism of the Holy Ghost to win souls and destroy the enemies grip on people.
But the Feast of Pentecost is the only feast that incorporates leaven in its rituals. Passover and Tabernacles are leaven free feasts. But Pentecost contains leaven. That correlates to the fact that we are still in bodies of sin even though Passover HAS CLEANSED US in our spirit and made us new creatures in Christ. We have been given the HOLY SPIRIT and gifts of power and wisdom to win the lost and edify the body of Christ…..yet we still dwell in bodies which are subject to death. This is the Age of Pentecost…..and it precedes the AGE OF TABERNACLES.
Pentecost is not the feast that shall be characteristic of the next AGE. Tabernacles is the Next great FEAST EXPERIENCE AWAITING ALL BELIEVERS who have been made ready by first experiencing Passover—then Pentecost.
The NEXT AGE will see people come into a Tabernacles experience where God dwells in them and they in Him. The message of UNION in Christ based around Gal 2:20 and John 14:20 is the message of Tabernacles. But just as the feast of Passover and Pentecost had FULLY CAME to be, that is they actually happened in history….so to must there come a day when God shall manifest His glory on what will be the FIRST TABERNACLES event in history.
When Jesus stood up in the Temple on the 8th day, the last great day of the Feast of Tabernacles and shouted in a loud voice…
If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water….He was speaking prophetically of the fulfillment of the third feast in a believers life. No one who has NOT been baptised in the holy Ghost and power can claim this promise from Jesus. There are no short cuts to Tabernacles. One must allow God to take him or her through each feast experience. First Passover—then Pentecost—then Tabernacles.
Passover happened in Egypt…..but then came to it’s full spiritual fulfillment when Jesus died on the cross and rose again up on the other side of the Red Sea so to speak.
Pentecost happened at Sinai 5 weeks after they left Egypt long long ago….but then came to complete fruition 5 weeks after Jesus arose on the day of Shavuot–Pentecost.
Tabernacles has been kept by Israelites and Jews over the years and as a nation in Hezekiah’s days, but has NOT YET come to completion since Jesus poured out the Spirit at Pentecost.
Yet even though the actual Feast of Tabernacles has not happened spiritually as the other two have…it has always been available for any Spirit filled believer to enter into by faith.
Tabernacles by faith
And so there are many who preach and live in a tabernacles revelation. Let me also say that those who have ONLY been baptised in the name of Jesus have the view that they are going to heaven when they die. Fine. But we were saved and called out for a purpose greater than that by far! Our purpose is not to die and go to heaven. This is not what Paul was pressing on to be a part of. He wanted to be a part of the Age of Tabernacles when the GREAT INGATHERING —the great harvest shall be brought in for the glory of the Father.
Php 3:11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Think, dear one…Paul was a believer, baptised in water and baptised in the Holy Ghost….yet he says he pressed on to lay hold of the resurrection from the dead. Not heaven…but the resurrection! And then he tells us he had not yet attained to it….
Php 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
Php 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The upward call of God is the FIRST resurrection at the BEGINNING of the Age of Tabernacles….called the 1000 year reign. It is not dying and going to heaven…but being a part of that immortal group who live and reign on earth and in heaven during the reign of Jesus Christ.
Being baptised in the Spirit is preparatory for coming to the place Paul speaks of here. The Holy Spirit teaches us and schools us and brings us to the place of accepting Tabernacles –ie COMPLETE AND PERFECT UNION WITH GOD. We accept God’s word on this perfect union by faith….calling those things that be not as if they are….until the day comes when this mortal puts on immortality.
That may be possible this side of Tabernacles. In my first few years as a believer I read a book Sadhu Sundar Singh known as the Apostle of the Bleeding Feet, how in one of his many treks across the Himalayas to preach the Gospel in Tibet he was overcome by a blizzard and buried in the snow. He awoke in a cave and was tended to by a man that had lived in that cave in the Himalayas and claimed to be over 300 years old.
That first year, 1912, he returned with an extraordinary account of finding a three-hundred-year-old hermit in a mountain cave—the Maharishi of Kailas, with whom he spent some weeks in deep fellowship (LINK)
When Jesus said that anyone who believes in Him would do greater works than He because He was going to the Father –I believe He was speaking of those who come into this marvelous third feast experience as reality. It is where Jesus lived all the time of course. IN THE FATHER! And where is the Father? In Jesus!! And where is Jesus? In your heart!! And where are you? In Jesus!! In Father, In YOU!!
When Paul says one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead I see him speaking of the old creation that he left behind and the putting on of Jesus COMPLETELY as His new self. And as we dwell in that message and practice by faith we are Tabernacling with God until the DAY OF TABERNACLES FULLY COMES. Even the Feast of Pentecost had to FULLY COME …so we are living in days before the Feast of Tabernacles has fully come. It is the Day when we are changed in the twinkling of an eye, when we are made fully into His likeness…when we go forth with Him to gather into the Father’s house all who have not yet been gathered in. That is the Day when all the earth shall be covered with the glory of God and all men shall come to Jesus.
Oh what a day!!!