CHESHVAN FIRSTFRUITS

At sundown on October 7th, the eighth month of the Hebrew Calendar, known as the month of “Cheshvan,” begins.  Eight is the number for new beginnings, and perfectly describes the events associated with this month in biblical history.

Cheshvan’s name stems from the word “flood.” During the days of Noah, the flood began on the 17th of Cheshvan and ended the following year on the 27th of Cheshvan. Although Cheshvan marked the execution of God’s judgment and hardship, it was also a significant month of new doors opening to a shifted landscape!  When Noah opened up the door and left the ark, he began the same covenant mission of multiplying and fulfilling the earth in a world that was completely different!

This month is also associated with the tribe of Manasseh; which was one of sons of Joseph.Joseph’s sons were grafted in to Jacob/Israel’s Covenant blessing. “Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them. And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Gen. 48:16)

Manasseh means, “one who makes to forget, one who forgets the toil.” The character of Manasseh was to forgive and not carry a grudge. The forgiving nature gave Manasseh the ability to fulfill their calling. This tribe shows us the character of forgiveness to the point of forgetting the wrong, and it is this character trait that brings healing to the nations.

The prophetic blessing given to Joseph (which would now go to his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim) was the crowning best! “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall.” In Genesis 49:22-26 and Deut. 33:13-17, God declares that the sons of Joseph will have hidden resources, rich heritage with God’s favor and blessing upon the land given with rain and produce. In addition, these two tribes would push the peoples to the ends of the earth.

Manasseh’s prophetic destiny in the latter days resembles the nation of America. Manasseh was the thirteenth tribe grafted in by Jacob to the family inheritance of Israel (Gen. 48), and America began with thirteen colonies, she has 13 stripes in her flag, and has 13 identified in many of her symbols on the Presidential Seal. This month is connected to America and her destiny in fulfilling her role in God’s kingdom redemption plan.

In studying Manasseh, there was a pivotal time in their history in which there were no men to carry on the inheritance of the tribe according to the laws that had been set forth (Numbers 27:1-11). But there were five single women of Manasseh who dared to believe God for a new thing! They petitioned to Moses to take possession of their inheritance so that their tribe would not be wiped out or their inheritance lost.

Moses took their request to the Lord, and the Lord made an amendment to the law and granted their request. I think this story is so relevant that is tied to women stepping through doors of leadership like “Deborah.” Women sometimes need to fight for their portion of the inheritance given to them by the King that is challenged by culture and tradition. They will be granted access to places the “legalistic law” wouldn’t let them go to before. Women will find their biggest battle will be in breaking through religious traditions.

In the Old Testament, we read one hero from the Tribe of Manasseh named Gideon, a “mighty man of valor. (Judges 6:12.) At the time Gideon is “chosen” by God to do a mighty work, he was threshing wheat to hide from the Midianites who were impoverishing and oppressing the Israelites and destroying their produce and livestock.

The Angel of Lord appeared to him. Gideon asked, “Why are all these things happening to the children of Israel?” He was looking to the Lord for answers, and the Lord’s answer was to use Gideon.  And the Lord said to Gideon, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:14)

Gideon didn’t believe God had the right guy, because the odds were against him and he didn’t “appear” to be the best candidate. (Even today, some of us can believe we disqualify to do God’s work because we aren’t “schooled” to share God’s message or are equipped to minister). ”O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

But the Lord replied, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

When God finally convinced Gideon He was chosen, Gideon did the logical thing and gathered as many resources as he could to fight the Midianites. The Lord instructed Gideon that he had too many resources…too many soldiers to go to battle. This was key to God’s strategy in turning the hearts of His people toward Him. The children of Israel needed to see His sovereignty to cut to their heart and depend on the resources “flooding” forth supernaturally.

God is preparing a remnant of Gideon’s today that understand they cannot have victory in their own strength or resources, but in God alone! God will choose these Gideon’s as His Firstfruits to enter into the fullness of His glory so that the nations can experience righteousness and justice; placing people in government, business, education, finances, arts, etc. who He has prepared for such a time as this.

Today’s “Gideon “Firstfruits” Army” has been hidden much like Gideon was until the Lord called upon him to step out.   This “remnant army” has learned through tests and trials to surrender to the Lord’s command, and the least likely to be chosen to rule in positions of prominence both in and out of the Church according to our “worldly standards.” They will be chosen to be “kings and priests” in the Age of Tabernacles when Jesus returns as King (Rev. 5:9).

It is no coincidence that Gideon was threshing wheat when He was called upon.  God’s role for this Gideon army He is raising up today will have the wisdom to discern between the wheat from the tares that have grown in the field (world). This wisdom will even plumbline the Church in establishing His Kingdom here on the earth. Over these past 2,000 years, the Church at large has produced wheat (good) and tares (bad), and she doesn’t look like a unified body at all.  The “Gideon army” will be the ones God equips to bring the body together to look like His Bride.

The month of Cheshvan is associated with the Lord’s flood that brings death and life.  When the Lord flooded the earth in the days of Noah, there was death that resulted. Death always proceeds God’s resurrection power and new beginnings. Even before the children of Israel were getting close to the time when the Lord would finally take them out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land, Moses died first.  The Lord then said to Joshua, “MOSES IS DEAD!” (Joshua 1:1). “Be Strong and of Good Courage!”

Moses was a great leader, and God used him to move His Covenantal purpose forward.  But when it was God’s timing, Joshua was chosen to pick up the baton and move the Covenant forward differently than his predecessor. God created Joshua with the purpose in mind to lead and conquer the Promised Land.  He didn’t create Joshua to replicate Moses, but only to glean from Moses the wisdom, knowledge, and leadership of God’s heart, plan and character.

We are about to see a new generation who will take the deposit of the “Pentecostal (church) Age” and move it forward into the “Age of Tabernacles.” They will take the wisdom and truth we have gained in advancing the Kingdom of God these past 2000 years, but will move God’s Covenant plan ahead differently.  The “old wine skin” will die.  The “traditions of old” will die.  The flesh will die.  But His Spirit will flood the earth and bring newness of life.  The Gideon’s will advance into the “Promised Land” with the King leading them and establish His government in the land.  It is an exciting time we live in!

In order to experience “newness of life,” we have to close doors to open new ones. We have to let go of old ways and mindsets that aren’t producing life any longer. We need to let go of past successes as well so we can embrace the newness of the season ahead. Ask the Lord, “What door do I need to close so I can enter in the new door ahead?” Enjoy the flood of His Spirit bringing new life!

FEAST OF TABERNACLES – The Feast Pattern Foreshadowed through Jacob’s Sons

The Jacob/Israel’s story continues mirroring the Feast pattern through his family after Jacob becomes “Israel.” The name “Israel” had been sealed over Jacob’s forehead after wrestling with God, landing him in the city of Succoth, which means, “booth/dwelling/tabernacle.” 

It was after Jacob crossed into the Promised Land, in Succoth, that he built his first house (Gen.33:17). Up until this time, Jacob had lived in temporary dwellings.  This “permanent house” was a prophetic picture of Jacob receiving his promised “permanent house;” i.e., glorified body, that would never be removed from the Lord’s presence:

“For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor.5:4)

Having met God face to face at Peniel, the transformation process began for Jacob/Israel. This encounter was symbolic of the process that will occur for the “Firstfruits” remnant during the first resurrection when Christ returns: 

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.  Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).

The Firstfruits remnant is mentioned again:

“They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders, and no one could learn that son except the 144,000 who were REDEEMED from the EARTH.  …These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  These were redeemed from among men, being FIRSTFRUITS to God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:3,4).

Jacob’s life mirrors the pattern and purpose of the Millennium reign, and the role of this “Firstfruits” remnant, as the Lord’s “priests” as He rules over the nations (Rev. 5:10).

“But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God” (Is. 61:6).

After Succoth, Jacob/Israel led his family to the city of Shechem, where he purchased land for the first time. This is significant, because when Christ comes back to earth, He takes dominion over the LAND (kingdom) as King, with His “Firstfruits” remnant assisting Him (Gen. 33).

The name Shechem has two meanings; one means, “shoulder” as in the “responsibility or right to rule.” In Isaiah, God uses a verse to describes the government (leadership) upon the Lord’s “shoulder.”

“And the government will be upon His shoulder.” 

Shoulders are also used to describe the governmental authority of those God chooses to reign with Him: 

“The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one will shut…” (Is. 22:22).

Shechem was the first place God put His mantle of authority upon the shoulders of Jacob/Israel to carry out the Abrahamic Covenant.

Shechem’s name also means “unity.” Shechem was the place God established His Covenant (UNION).  For example, Shechem was the first place the Lord appeared and spoke to Abraham after he entered the land of Canaan for the first time.

“There Abraham built an altar and called on the name of the Lord” (Gen. 12:7,8; 13:4).

In Joshua’s farewell address, Joshua gathered all the leaders in Israel in Shechem and made a Covenant (UNION) with the people that day, representing the multiplicity of the Abrahamic Covenant (Joshua 23:2).

“So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem” (Josh. 24:25).

In the story of Jacob/Israel, it was at Shechem that his family would be tested to rule in God’s righteousness, or rule recklessly; to be in UNION with God’s character or not (Gen. 34). 

How did this test come about? Shortly after arriving in the city of Shechem, the prince, whose name was Shechem, raped Dinah, the daughter of Jacob.  Jacob’s sons were outraged, and decided to take revenge.  So they tricked the men of Shechem, and killed them all when they were unable to defend themselves.

This vengeance was led by two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi.  Afterwards, all the brothers joined the “evil” deed and plundered the city, stealing the possessions of the people because they felt justified (Gen. 34:25-29).

These actions did not represent the righteousness of God, but resembled the sinful actions and character of their earthly father, Jacob.  Jacob had been a schemer, and one who took possessions unlawfully.  Jacob had never gone so far as to kill anyone, but sins left un-dealt with can lead to death. (Today, our nation has become a divided nation, which has produced death to our Christian foundation.  Because our nation has compromised and not dealt with the iniquity, it is hard to distinguish who is right (good), and who is wrong (evil).  By the actions and words presented by both sides, ALL look evil because of their retaliation and “justification,” much like the Jacob’s sons do at Shechem).

Jacob/Israel, now transformed as a “priest unto the Lord,” knew these actions would open the door for the Lord to raise up an adversary against them as well:

“…You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land…” (Gen. 34:30). 

So Jacob spent time interceding and communing with God. The Lord said to Jacob/Israel:

“Then God said to Jacob, ‘ARISE, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God’…” (Gen. 35:1). 

Jacob/Israel is being used to awaken the family to righteousness because the government of God rested on his shoulders.  His job was to help prepare the family, lead them through a sanctification process, so that they were in right standing with God.  This is the same blueprint that resembles God’s purpose of His “Firstfruits” remnant in preparing the Bride throughout the Millennium.

The “wake up” call to arise is also a picture of the BRIDE’S FEAST OF TRUMPET “awakening” (Rev. 20:11).

God then instructed Jacob/Israel to have the family (Church) examine their sin, to get rid of their idols, and to repent and cleanse their hearts. He commanded them to “change their garments” that were filthy rags (sins) to garments that were symbolic of the “righteous acts of the saints” (Rev.19:8).

This is a similar blueprint of the BRIDE’S TEN DAYS OF AWE before the Day of Atonement.

“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments” (Gen. 35:2).

Afterwards, God appeared to Jacob again.  Given that the family had repented wholeheartedly, they were about to enter into their DAY OF JUBILEE instead of DAY OF ATONEMENT.

“Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but ISRAEL shall be your name” So He called his name Israel” (Gen. 35:10).

In Revelation, this moment is spoken of at the Great White Throne of Judgment:

“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:12).

God had already changed Jacob’s name to Israel back in Peniel. So why did he come again and say the same thing?  This always nagged me before I understood the Feast’s blueprint and the fulfillment of the first and second resurrection.  This second time God came to Jacob and told him that his name was no longer Jacob but Israel wasn’t to once again seal Jacob’s identity.  God was calling forth the identity change for the UNION of the whole family/nation. 

Now the whole family/nation/bride became God’s double witness of His Covenant promise, following the first witness of the “Firstfruits” remnant.

Jacob set up a pillar of stone in the place where God talked to Him, and poured a drink offering and oil on it (Gen. 35:14,15). This was symbolic of the blueprint up ahead, of the 1st Day of the Feast of Tabernacles for the Bride, when the 7-day cleansing process begins, as represented by the drink offering.  The water represents purification.  The oil represents the bodies being transformed into His glory.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

The place in which this occurs is called, “Bethel” which means “House of God.

“For we know that if our earthly HOUSE, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).

This happens to be the same place Jacob met God for the first time.  Coincidently (not really), the Covenant promises were now being extended to His family as well (Gen. 28:19).  

In addition, this event symbolically confirms the blueprint of the beginning of the transformation process of the Bride’s members being removed from death (which is the wages of sin), and glory dwelling in the corporate body (city), which the Bible refers to as the New Jerusalem:

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the TABERNACLE of God is with men, and He will DWELL with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God”(Rev. 21:1-3).

Jacob’s story mimics this death/life purification process.  

Shortly after Jacob/Israel and his family left Bethel, Rachel (Jacob’s wife), went into labor.  This was going to be Jacob/Israel’s 12th son, and the ONLY one to be born in the Promised Land.

“…And when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor”(Gen. 35:16).

Rachel dies giving birth. Upon Rachel’s death, she confesses a secret sin that she hid from Jacob and her father.  Rachel had stolen her father’s idols and took them with her when they departed from Laban’s home.  Even when Laban caught up to Jacob and accused him of being a thief, Rachel said nothing, and continued to hide the idols (Gen. 31:14-37).

When Rachel died, this hidden sin became exposed as she confessed when she named her newborn:

“And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called name “Ben-Oni,” but his father called him Benjamin”(Gen. 35:18).

Rachel’s death represented the finality of the struggle with our Adamic sinful nature that produces sorrow.  Rachel named her child “Ben-Oni,” which is translated, “son of my sorrow.”  Rachel’s death marked the end of the 7-day cleansing process of the Feast of Tabernacles, described in Scriptures as “death swallowed up in victory” (1Cor. 15:54).  Her death was the final cleansing of the “sins of the family” before “immortality.”

Jacob would have probably honored his wife’s dying wishes and agreed to name the newborn “Ben-Oni.”  Most men would in that situation.  But, JACOB/ISRAEL could not honor his wife’s dying wishes.  Jacob/Israel had the government of God’s rulership on His shoulders and was directed by God to rename the child according to who the child represented in the Covenant blueprint.  So Jacob/Israel named his son, “Benjamin,” which means, “son of light!”

“While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them”(John 12:36).

Benjamin was the ONLY son born in the Promised Land. He was the fulfillment of the Promise of God for the “sons of God” to arise and be seen in the earth as God’s light (glory) (Rom. 8:19).

Keeping in mind what we have already learned about the Feast of Tabernacles blueprint, which is 8 days long, 7 of those days were set aside for “cleansing.”  But, the 8th day was a “sacred assembly.”

For the Bride, the 8th day is the revealing of God’s glory dwelling amongst a corporate people with incorruptible bodies.  Having finished the cleansing process, the Bride is able to rise and stand before His throne.   

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).

The Bride is also now able to fulfill the vision of “Jacob’s Ladder” as well as being able to go from being in the presence of God’s throne and transported back to the earth as “sons of His light.”

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9).

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits each tree yielding its fruit every month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.    And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads” (Rev. 22:1-4).

Incidentally, all the disciples of Christ came from the tribe of Benjamin, called the Galileans in the New Testament because they settled in Galilee after being released from the 70-year Babylon captivity. They received only a deposit of God’s glory, so the manifestation of the “sons of light” could not be FULLY seen in the earth until the Lord fulfills Tabernacles up ahead.

Benjamin’s birth prophesies of the promise of the NEW JERUSALEM, the Body of Christ, transformed into His glorious bride, full of His glory where His presence dwells:

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).

 “I am God Almighty.  Be fruitful and multiply; a NATION and a company of NATIONS shall proceed from your and kings shall come from your body.  The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land” (Gen. 35:11,12).

FEAST OF TABERNACLES – The Feast Pattern Foreshadowed through Jacob

During the week of the Feast of Tabernacles, reflecting (dwelling) upon the Lord and His Covenant promises were a part of the fabric of what God’s people did each year.  

Let’s take time to do the same by reviewing Jacob’s family’s history and journey with the Lord and identify the pattern and purpose of the seven Feasts reflected in his own life.

BIBLICAL HISTORY PRIOR TO JACOB

After the flood of Noah’s days, wickedness began spreading throughout the earth once again with the help of Nimrod’s reign that birthed the “anti-Christ” government (Gen. 10,11). The Lord decided to choose one of Noah’s great, great grandsons to establish the next covenant with that would usher in the solution to stop the cycle of evil (sin) that was separating mankind from the Lord (Gen. 12).   

God determined that this next covenant could not be dependent on man’s ability to keep his promise to the Lord in order to fulfill the covenant.  God would not only initiate the covenant, keep it and perfect it in Himself, but also “set apart” a people to perfect the process that would bring forth the “Son of man” in the earth.  The person God chose to initiate this plan through was Father Abraham:

“I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.  And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant…” (Gen. 17:6,7).

It was through Abraham’s lineage that God would multiply His people to the ends of the earth like the sand of the sea and the stars in the sky. Abraham later gave birth to Isaac, the chosen “Seed” used to fulfill the Covenant promise.

“And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your SEED all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 26:4).

In a moment that did not make sense to the fulfilling of those Covenant promises, Abraham was commanded by God to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:2).  Of course, we know the story of how God stopped Abraham and provided a ram, but I am pointing out this part of the story to show how Isaac was a symbol of Christ, offered up for our sins.

Afterwards, Isaac had two sons: Esau and Jacob. Jacob, the younger son, would end up being the son who would inherit the Abrahamic Covenant promise, multiply it, and through his family, form a nation. When it was time for Isaac to bequeath the inheritance of the Covenant, Isaac blessed Jacob and charged him:

“May God Almighty bless you, And make you fruitful and multiply you, That you may be an assembly of peoples; And give you the blessing of Abraham, To you and your descendants with you, That you may inherit the land In which you are a stranger, Which God gave to Abraham”(Gen. 28:3-4).

Through Jacob, the Covenant would multiply into an “assembly of people.” Given that Isaac represented a foreshadowing of Christ, Jacob represented a foreshadowing of the Early Church (Christ-ians), that would multiply to the ends of the earth.

Jacob’s family, who become known as the Israelites, were a nation “set apart” for the Lord as God prophesied.  Likewise, the Church has been chosen to be a “set apart” people to be witnesses for Christ.

“Therefore may God give you Of the dew of the heaven, Of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you.  And nations bow down to you…”(Gen. 27:28,29).

IDENTIFYING THE PATTERN OF THE FEASTS IN JACOB’S LIFE

Now that we have a little background of Jacob, let’s identity the pattern we have learned of the Spring and Fall Feasts fulfilled in Jacob’s life, starting when he received the Covenant blessing from his father Isaac.

At the place that Isaac was going to pass the covenant blessing to Jacob, the Bible says that this occurred in the city of Beersheba, which is translated to mean, “well of the oath.” This blessing was Jacob’s “PASSOVER” experience because he inherited the covenant blessing of his father and great grandfather, Abraham, and was “set apart” and “justified” to carry it forward.

Jacob’s name means “deceiver,” which was inherent in his character.  Jacob received the birthright by tricking his brother Esau as well as his father Isaac (Gen. 27).  Once that blessing was given, it couldn’t be revoked.  This deception didn’t surprise the Lord, for he understood Jacob’s weakness.  Jacob’s motives at the time were seemingly based on self-gain rather than service to the Lord.  Esau hated his brother for stealing the birthright and wanted to kill him.  But God had a redemption plan that included working through these issues in Jacob’s life.

In the Book of Jasher, one of the lost books of the Bible that is mentioned in Joshua 10:13, we learn that Jacob spent much of his time feeding the flock and learning “the instruction of the Lord and the commands from his mother and father” (Jasher 26:17) There is no mention of Jacob having a personal encounter with God as a child, but rather, taught about the God of Abraham.  We could surmise that Jacob desired the benefits of the birthright because he understood its inherent value, or he wouldn’t have taken advantage of his brother’s weakened state to seize the opportunity to take it (Gen. 25:31).

Most of us today have a similar story.  We hear and learn about God, but we don’t necessarily have a personal relationship with Him. When we do accept Christ as our Savior, many are motivated out of desperation, afraid of hell, or wanting the benefits of eternity.  Rarely do we first come to the Lord to lay our life down for servant hood, becoming a “bondservant of Christ.”  This heart change comes through a process of tests and trials for the purpose of sanctification.

Not long after receiving the birthright, Jacob had an encounter with God through a dream, which most refer to as “Jacob’s ladder.”  In the dream, he saw a ladder that was set up on earth and its top reached heaven.  Angels were ascending and descending on this ladder, and then the Lord stood above it and spoke to Him:

“…I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.  Also, your descendants shall be spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed ALL the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 28:13,14).

This was Jacob’s “PENTECOST” experience, with the promise revealed of “Tabernacles” to come.  Jesus Himself mentions this same “Tabernacles vision” that He Himself would experience after His resurrection:

“And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (John 1:51).

Jacob’s vision happened at a place called “Luz,” which means, “the place of almonds.”  Almonds in the Bible represent “awakening.”  There were 22 almonds on the lampstand in the Holy place of the tabernacle.  Jacob was “awakened” in his spirit, and then renamed the place of his encounter with God “Bethel,” which means “house of God.”  This name change was a foreshadowing of the deposit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the house (tent/body) of a believer after encountering (accepting) Christ.  

Jacob encounter with God empowered (awakened) him to believe in the God of Abraham, and to begin trusting for the promises that came with the birthright.  Jacob made a vow:

“…IF God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, THEN the LORD shall be my God” (Gen. 28:20,21). 

Notice that this vow was conditional on God meeting Jacob’s needs.  It was topped off with this understanding as well:  IF God does such and such…THEN Jacob would believe God for His Word.  Most Christians are no different than Jacob when we first come to Christ.

Jacob’s “Pentecost experience” lasted 21 years. Working for Laban was training to learn how to become an obedient servant while living in a place not his home.  Jacob married Laban’s daughters, Leah and Rachel, and had 11 children while working for Laban.  Through it, God was working on Jacob’s character that was prone to deception, as well as taking things into his own hands to make things happen (Gen. 28-31).

Jacob was close to the finality of his “Pentecost” testing time when the Lord spoke to him through an angel to leave Laban’s and begin the journey back to the land he was called to, which was Jacob’s Feast of Trumpets call:

“I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me.  Now ARISE, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family”(Gen. 31:13).

Jacob obediently left, but his sinful nature led his actions once again. Instead of being upfront with Laban of his departure, he left deceptively, taking the whole flock and possessions he had gained, as well as his family with him (Gen. 31:18-20).

Jacob left in fear of Laban taking all he had worked for. God had to work out this root issue in Jacob so that he would fear the Lord more than the people or about the possessions he had.  Jacob had learned much from being Laban’s servant, but the gain was still self-serving.  God had “proven” His word faithful as Jacob was blessed during this time with great wealth.

A final process of sanctification was needed in Jacob so he could rest in the knowledge of who God was in order to carry the Covenant forward, much like that of the “Firstfruits” remnant today.  God Himself raises up adversaries to get our attention when we stray from His ways, or when we rely on ourselves instead of the Lord’s leadership.  BUT, God will also cause our adversary to be subdued when we turn from our wicked ways:

“But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries” (Ex. 23:22).

“When a man’s way pleases the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov. 16:7). 

God wasn’t going to allow Jacob to return home without giving him an opportunity to confront his sin. This is the pattern of occurrences during the “ten days of awe” that follow the Feast of Trumpets, when we are examining and preparing our hearts to come face to face with the Lord. In Jacob’s case, he had to enter into Esau’s territory (literally let go of everything he had acquired working and what he stole), and make things right with his brother.

Esau had been angry, revengeful and willing to kill his brother for stealing his birthright. The Bible says he had a great army of 400,000 men ready to confront Jacob to take him out. And so the story goes, the night before this encounter, Jacob got on his hands and knees and prayed with all his heart, wrestling with an Angel until the breaking of day.

“And He said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks.’  But he said, ‘I will not let You go unless You bless me!’  So He said to him, ‘What is your name?’  He said, ‘Jacob.’  And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but ISRAEL; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed'” (Gen. 32:26-28).

Jacob had finally come to a place that all his tricks, all his strength, and all his planning couldn’t get him out of a position of losing everything he worked for.  But instead of scheming out a plan, He cried to the Lord for help.  This caused Jacob to wrestle with the Lord to contend for the promise.

As Jacob wrestled the angel, the angel asked him what his name was. It seems like a strange thing to ask since the angel obviously knew who he was.  But God set Jacob up to give him an opportunity to come clean, repent, and to confess his sin.  By telling the angel his name, Jacob was confessing that he was a deceiver.  This was Jacob’s DAY OF ATONEMENT.

In the midst of the wrestling, Jacob let go of the fears He was holding on to so tightly.  He was ready to exchange the old identity of being a thief and deceiver and submit to the Lord’s leadership.

Because Jacob allowed the sanctification process to work in his heart, this day became Jacob’s Day of JUBILEE because it was God’s set time to birth the new man in Jacob.  This was when Jacob became a “Firstfruits” remnant set apart to do the Lord’s work in the earth, meeting God face-to-face.

“They shall see His face, and HIs name shall be on their foreheads’ (Rev. 22:4).

God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (which means “God rules”).  Jacob/Israel understood he did not rule over his life anymore…God did.   Jacob/Israel understood that he was chosen to carry forth God’s inheritance, serving a greater purpose beyond his comfort or will, which required him to become a “bondservant” of the Lord’s.

Jacob/Israel then called the name of his wrestling place “Peniel,”

“For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Gen. 32:30).

Peniel comes from the root word Panah-el which means “face” or “presence,” which is why Jacob called the wrestling place Peniel.

Just as Jacob/Israel crossed over Peniel, the sun rose on him. This was the first sign of the “TABERNACLES” transformation process for Jacob.

Jacob/Israel then “bowed himself to the ground seven times” before meeting Esau.  This represents the 7-day “cleansing process of TABERNACLES” that purifies our body from “the wages of sin.”

As a result, instead of attacking Jacob/Israel, his enemy was subdued, and healing took place.

“But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept”(Gen. 33:4).

Jacob/Israel offered Esau a “firstfruits” offering of his possessions to Esau.  This act confirms that Jacob/Israel’s heart had changed.  Jacob no longer held on to his possessions in greed or self-gain.  Now he was stewarding his possessions with the Lord’s principles of blessings, and truly, this offering was “unto the Lord.”

Afterwards, Jacob/Israel stopped in Succoth, which is translated as “tabernacles/booths.” There he built himself a house and made booths for his livestock (Gen. 33:17).  This was the FIRST permanent house that Jacob/Israel had build since his “Passover” experience, representing the new glorified bodies we receive after the “purifying process” so we can permanently “tabernacle” with the Lord.  

“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation”(Heb. 9:11).

Notice this first permanent house was in the Promised Land here on the EARTH.  This also represents the work of the “Firstfruits” remnant, serving as a “priest” for the King and His Kingdom on earth during the Millennium.

“…You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9,10).

FEAST OF TABERNACLES – The Blueprint that Foreshadows the Temple “Cleansing”

We have learned that on the Day of Atonement, the ceremony of the two goats reveals a blueprint of the purpose of the first and second coming of Christ (Lev. 16,17).  The 1st goat is symbolic of a death work, prophesying of the death work of Christ who became our sacrifice for sin.  The 2nd goat is symbolic of a living work, when Christ comes back, and sin is removed so we can LIVE eternally.  

There is another prophetic blueprint of the “cleansing” purpose of Christ’s first and second coming revealed through the Laws of Leprosy in Leviticus 13 and 14 that are tied to the Feast of Tabernacles.

When Christ overcame death at His first coming, the Lord sent forth a “firstfruits” of cleansing for those who believed that He was the Savior. Believers were given a deposit of the gift of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of a greater cleansing to come.  

The completion of the cleansing in our bodies from death to eternal life is patterned to occur during the Feast of Tabernacles when Christ returns.  Believers will mimic the blueprint of the seven-day Laws of “purification.”  The Feast of Tabernacles, requiring a drink offering each of day for seven days, foreshadows the seven-day final “cleansing process” (Lev. 23:36-38).  

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest.  And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper,  then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop.  And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water.  As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water.  And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field” (Lev. 14:1-7). 

The Scriptures spell out specific signs that determined if a person had leprosy, as well as the process for the “sanctification” guidelines in Lev. 13.  Simply put, when the priest determined the leper was “clean,” the Law required the priest to perform a sacrifice that was an announcement to all that the leper was “clean” (Lev. 14:10).  

Jesus Himself followed the Laws of Leprosy when he told the man whom he healed to go present himself to the priest.  

And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them” (Matt. 8:2-4).

Once the leper was considered “clean,” the priest would take two living doves (birds) for an atoning offering.  

The first dove was killed in an earthen vessel over running water (symbolic of Christ coming in the form of man in an earthen body and is the ONLY way man can be “clean” before the LORD).  The word for running in Hebrew is “chay” and means “living.”  Jesus is our “living water,” and cleanses our sins, and in Him we triumph over death.   

“For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17).

The second dove was then dipped in the blood of the first bird that had been killed in “an earthen vessel under running water,” and then sprinkled seven times over the leper in order for him to be declared purified.  Seven is the number for completion, and coincidently, follows the same pattern with the Law of Purification: 

“He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days.  He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean” (Numbers 19:11,12).

The second dove foreshadows the purpose of the second coming of Christ, when believers receive their glorified bodies and enjoy the freedom of eternal life with Christ.  The glorification is a process of purification that coincides with final following steps of the Law of Leprosy and the drink offerings of Tabernacles:  

After the two-dove sacrifice offering, the priest pronounces the leper clean, and then the living bird is let loose into the open field.  The pronounced “clean” person returns back into the camp. However, the “clean” person cannot be loosed into the “open field” for another seven days.  The clean person must stay outside of his tent for seven days.  Even though the priest declared the leper purified with the sprinkling of water, it takes seven days for the Law of Purification to be complete. 

On the seventh day, the “clean” person is completely bathed, shaved, and given new clothes to wear in preparation for the 8th day.  And on the 8th day, the priest presented him to the Lord as “clean” at the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting, making atonement for him before the LORD (Lev. 14:8-20). 

When presented at the door of the Tabernacle of meeting (Throne), the offering for atonement is a lamb, fine flour, oil, and a log of oil:

“And on the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish, one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and one log of oil.  Then the priest who makes him clean shall present the man who is to be made clean, and those things, before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.  And the priest shall take one male lamb and offer it as a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them as a wave offering before the LORD” (Lev. 14:10-12).

Let’s summarize what we learn from the Law of the Leprosy as it pertains to the second coming of Jesus Christ:

When the Lord returns, the Day of Atonement will be the day the High Priest (Jesus Christ) judges who is His remnant (sons of God) and pronounces them “clean.” The purification process of transforming their bodies from the death to eternal life, to be clothed in God’s glory, mimics the purpose of the second dove.  The “sons of God” who have been chosen to reign with Jesus in the Millennium (Firstfruits Remnant), are those who begin the purification process of transforming their incorrupt body into the glorious body the Lord has promised:

“…For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor. 15:52-55).

Lev. 14 also reveals that the second dove, which is still alive, is released into the open field after it is dipped in blood and sprinkled on the leper. From Matt. 13:38, we learn that “field” is symbolic for the world, so the purpose of releasing the remnant (sons of God) is so they assist King Jesus in establishing His righteousness in the earth (world) the Millennium after they are completely “cleansed.”

“He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13).

“And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and CLEAN, followed Him on white horses” (Rev. 19:14).

Before the remnant can assist the King of kings in the Millennium, they must first be presented before the throne.  So the final offering, given at the door of the Tabernacle is symbolic in itself as follows:  Jesus, the Passover Lamb, and the “lambs” who know Him (Bride), along with the oil (deposit of God’s glory through the gift of the Holy Spirit), and a log of oil (which the full measure of God’s glory), are presented on the 8th day before the throne (Tabernacle of meeting). The fine flour represents His pure righteousness.  

The following Scriptures in Lev. 14 are a foreshadowing of God’s house (Temple, New Jerusalem, Bride of Christ) that is mentioned in Rev. 22, whom are “living stones” that are cleansed, brought together as ONE, and in whom God’s glory can fully dwell:

But if the priest comes in and examines it, and indeed the plague has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.  And he shall take, to cleanse the house, two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. Then he shall kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water;  and he shall take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times.  And he shall cleanse the house [tabernacle’s] with the blood of the bird and the running water and the living bird, with the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet.  Then he shall let the living bird loose outside the city in the open field, and make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean” (Lev. 14:48-53).

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:2-4).

Finally, it is not a coincidence that the dove was also used in Noah’s days to signify the time of “new life” after the floodwaters of God’s wrath had dried up, and when they were able to leave the ark (Gen. 8:8-12).  The pattern is similar to the “Laws of Leprosy” in that Noah sent a dove out every 7 days, and when the dove finally didn’t return any longer, it was a sign of new beginnings (a CLEAN start as evil was wiped out with the flood).  Eight in the Bible is the number for new beginnings.

FEAST OF TABERNACLES – The Meaning of the 1st and 8th Day

During the eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, the first and the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles are said to be “HOLY.” What is their significance?

God declared that the first and eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles were both “Sabbath rests.”  However, there is a notable difference between the two Sabbath’s.  The first day was more like a “firstfruits” offering to the Lord.   The head of the family gave the firstfruits of their harvest, and no one was supposed to work.

“On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it (Lev. 23:35).

As a reminder, the three corporate gatherings God commanded all the heads of the household to attend and contribute their firstfruits harvest was Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14-17). 

But the second “Holy Day” was a “sacred assembly,” and was corporate in nature celebrated on the 8th day with ALL celebrating with joy, much like a wedding reception.

“For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a SACRED ASSEMBLY and you shall do no customary work on it (Lev. 23:36).

The first and eighth day of the Tabernacles celebration were “HOLY DAYS,” and confirm the blueprint found in the New Testament of how the Lord will redeem His corporate covenant blueprint through the two resurrections written in Rev. 20:4-12. One is at the beginning of the Millennium that calls forth the Lord’s “Firstfruits” remnant, and the second at the end of the Millennium that calls forth His “Bride.”

When it is the Lord’s time to fulfill these Fall Feasts, the first day of Tabernacles will commence the “promise of our glorified bodies” for those chosen to be His “Firstfruits” remnant.  This includes the “dead in Christ” and those alive during this time who are chosen to reign with Christ in the Millennium (1 Cor.15:52-54).

God’s Word instructs how our bodies will go from corruptible to incorruptible. According to the Law in Numbers 19, while we are in our mortal bodies (which the Lord symbolically refers to as “tents” to describe our bodies), we are “unclean.” This is because we have inherited the sins of Adam, which is why believer’s bodies still get diseases and die (Rom. 6:23).

But during the fulfillment of Feast of Tabernacles, the process of “death being swallowed in victory” begins with the “Firstfruits” remnant (1 Cor. 15:54; Rom. 8:19; 2 Peter 3:13). In order for the “Firstfruits remnant” to receive immortality, they must go through a lawful “purification process:”

“This is the law when a man dies in a tent; All who come into the tent and all who are in the tent shall be unclean seven days”(Num. 19:14).

God required a 7-day cleansing period, which is the same length of time of the Feast of Tabernacles before the 8th day of the “sacred assembly.” On the 3rd and 7th day, the “clean person took hyssop and dipped it in water and sprinkled it on the tent.” Afterwards, the body was considered “purified.”

When this Feast is fulfilled, Christ, as our High Priest, will be the One who is “clean” and able to cleanse us (Num. 19:11,12).  On the 8th day, the remnant will be able to lawfully present themselves to the Father:

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb”(Rev. 7:9)!

During His ministry on earth, Jesus appeared at the Feast of Tabernacles in the middle of the week, perhaps the 3rd day as it would then coincide with the Law of Purification” (John 7:2-14;37-39; Num. 19). 

A blueprint that coincides with this “cleansing” and ready as one “set apart” is found in the laws concerning circumcision.  Circumcision was a SIGN of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 17:10-12).  On the 8th day, every male was circumcised (set apart).   In the New Testament, this is a circumcision of the heart (Gen. 17; Rom. 4:11,12).  In the Millennium, it will be a complete body circumcision (set apart from death):

“For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor.5:4).

The 8th day was also the “law of presentation of the “firstborn” (Ex. 22:29.30).

“They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim (whose name means fruitful which is the “Firstfruits” remnant) is Myfirstborn” (Jer. 31:9).

And finally, the “law of the priesthood” required 7 days to consecrate a priest before they could go before God on the 8th day:

“And you shall not go outside the door of the tabernacle of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are ended.  For seven days he [the priest] shall consecrate you (Lev. 8:33).

Through the order of Melchizedek, Christ was confirmed as our “High Priest,” sitting on the right side of the throne next to His Father, making a way for us to become “priests.” Christ was not born of the tribe of Levites, who were assigned the priesthood. He was born of the tribe of Judah (Heb. 7).  However, Melchizedek sets the example of the ability to enter into a “Holy” priesthood that did not come through the Adamic lineage, but a holy lineage of the Father and His firstborn:

And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood, Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us KINGS and PRIESTS to our God; And we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9,10).

EZEKIEL 44 gives us a clue to the difference between the holy “Melchizedek” priesthood, and the sinful “Levite” priesthood that continues to wrestle with sin because of our Adamic nature.  Ezekiel describes the “idolatrous” priests who are limited to minister to man in the outer court.

But Ezekiel also describes the priests called the “sons of Zadok,” who could minister to man in the outer and inner court, as well as the “Holies of Holy” (Ez. 44:15-20; 48:11).  These are the “priests” of the Melchizedek order, who are “set apart” first, and chosen to be a part of the first resurrection. They have access to minister to God in heaven and earth, going back and forth as Jesus did after His resurrection.

The wool and linen garments written in Ezekiel 44 are symbolic of the garments made of the flesh (earth) and the spirit (heaven). The wool garments come from animals and signify the flesh, or earth. Wool makes the body sweat, which is a sing of labor.  Linen is made from plants and signifies the spiritual realm.  Linen does NOT cause sweat, thus symbolizing a rest from labor.

Having the ability to go from heaven and earth, with “linen garments,” as well as “wool garments,” is the fulfillment of the dream of Jacob’s Ladder in Gen. 28, and later fulfilled through the resurrection of Christ (Acts. 1:3; Luke 24:37-39; 2 Cor. 5:1-5; 1 Cor. 15:35-50).

On the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the “Firstfruits” Remnant will be “caught up” or “Harpazo” and presented to the Father.  This will be a firstfruits “sacred assembly.”  The Firstfruits Remnant (overcoming “body” of believers described in Rev. 2, 3, and 14:4), will be joined to the “Head,” Jesus, and become united.  The  “Firstfruits” Remnant will have the ability to go back and forth from heaven to earth as Jesus did after His resurrection in linen and wool garments.  Why?  So they can “reign as priests” with Christ in the Millennium (Rev. 5:9,19;Rev. 20:6).

FEAST OF TABERNACLES – An Overall Look at the Blueprint and Meaning

Five days after the Day of Atonement, the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles commences.  Tabernacles is the seventh and final Feast of the Hebraic Covenant Calendar. The number seven means blessing and completion and is so fitting that this Feast is all about celebration, joy, and “REST from works.

“Speak to the children of Israel, saying, “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.  On the first day there shall be a holy convocation [dress rehearsal].  You shall do no customary work on it.  For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.  On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation (dress rehearsal), and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. (Lev. 23:34-36)”

The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the “Feast of Ingathering,” as it is celebrated at the final gathering of the harvest season, signifying the mark of the end of the agricultural year (Ex. 23:16). Whereas the Passover offering is associated with the barley harvest, and Pentecost is associated with the wheat harvest, Tabernacles is associated with the grape harvest.  Since Tabernacles concludes the “blessings of the land” to be reaped for the year, God’s people can REST from their labors and REJOICE, which is the heart of this Feast.

“And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall REJOICE before the LORD your God for seven days” (Lev. 23:40).

Historically, on the first day of Tabernacles, the Israelites sang Psalm 105 when the priests poured their offerings of water and wine on the altar.  Psalm 105 is a brief history of how God redeemed the children of Israel from Pharaoh and slavery.  This kicked off the celebration.

The Israelites were also instructed to take fruit of beautiful tress, branches of palm trees, willow, and rejoice before the Lord 7 days, which is why the Feast of Tabernacles is referred as a season of joy (Lev. 23:40).

The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as “Sukkot,” which when translated means, “Feast of Booths.” This is because the Lord commanded the children of Israel to live in temporary houses, or “tents/booths,” during the Feast so that they would remember how the Lord provided covering and dwelt with them, even in their 40 years of testing through their wilderness wanderings.

“You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 23:42.43).

The “temporary tent/booth” today is symbolic of a New Covenant believer’s mortal (temporary) body, where God’s presence dwells because of the Holy Spirit deposited in us. 

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

This deposit is a guarantee until we receive our immortal (permanent) bodies. 

“who [speaking of the Holy Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:14).

The Tabernacles blueprint also required drink and wine offerings to be given 7 days of the Feast of Tabernacles.  The drink offering was symbolized as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (water) that prophesied of the manifestation of the promised inheritance.   At God’s SET TIME, our mortal bodies will be free from death and we will be clothed in God’s glory.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9).

The wine represented fruitfulness, but also the overthrow of evil because of the wrath of God that produces righteousness in the earth.  A similar pattern is found in Revelations 16, as the “7 bowls of wrath” are poured out, confirming this transformation process of light overcoming darkness.  

“Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth” (Rev. 16:1).

God warns in Rev. 14 that those who worship the beast will be affected by God’s wrath:

“If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation” (Rev. 14:9,10).

In addition to the offerings, at the end of every seventh year, the Lord commanded the Israelites to read the LAW each day of the Feast:

 “And Moses commanded them, saying: ‘At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing” (Deut. 31:10,11).

By opening up the Law and reading what God spoke in His Tablets of Covenant, the hearts were reminded of God’s love and promise for each of them.  

It is interesting to note that the Feast of Tabernacles was not properly celebrated for over 900 years between Joshua and Ezra (Neh. 8:17).  But just one week after the completion of the wall of the second temple in Jerusalem, the people gathered together for the Feast of Trumpets and stayed through the Feast of Tabernacles.  They re-established reading the Law so their hearts could hear the Law, His Promise, and respond to the Word and worship Him (Neh. 9:3; Rom. 4:15; 7:7).

“Therefore, by the deeds of the Law, no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:21).

In reading through Jewish Feast history, the Jewish people mark the 7th day as “Hoshanah Rabbah, which means, “The Day of the Great Hosanna.”  The name translates, “save now” or deliver us,” because the Israelites would pray during this time for God to send the latter rain so that the ground would be ready for the spring season.  They also prayed for Messiah to deliver them.  Today’s Jewish traditions include reading 7 liturgical poems. and beating willows on the ground to get rid of sin. However, these traditions are not found in Scriptures.

The eighth day of Tabernacles was “set apart” and is much like a wedding celebration, in which the bride and groom are united as ONE, and because of the Covenant made, ALL rejoice, dance, and toast to NEW BEGINNINGS.  

The Feast of Tabernacles blueprint primarily focuses on God perfecting His promise of immortality, through His Son returning to the earth as our Kinsmen Redeemer and releasing us from the debts of sin (Book of Ruth). The 7 days of the Feast of Tabernacles fulfills the laws of cleansing (Lev. 13,14).  This lawful process of purification rids us of our sinful flesh so we can receive our “immortal and glorified body (a permanent dwelling) and fully “tabernacle with God (Num. 19).”

“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body [inheritance of a glorified body]” (Romans 8:23).

Until Christ returns, we celebrate like our forefathers, with great anticipation of the “promises” to come.  And like the children of Israel in the days of the Old Testament, who were known as a “Church in the wilderness” (Acts. 7:38), the “Church at large” for the past 2,000 years has been living in temporary booths (bodies), with the presence of God (deposit of the Holy Spirit), hoping to enter into the Promised Land (“New Jerusalem” which is an immortal corporate body).

“For we know that if our earthly house, this TENT, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.  If indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.  For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:1-5). 

The fulfillment of this Feast will mark the beginning of the New Millennium reign of Christ here on the earth.  The Church at large will then be able to “REST” from the war with Satan as He is “bound” for a thousand years while Christ judges the nations and restores the earth with His righteousness.

“He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished….”(Rev. 20:2,3). 

DAY OF ATONEMENT – Day of Judgment or Jubilee

When Jesus Christ returns, Christians will see Him face to face on the Day of Atonement.  There will be a separation within the Body of Christ for those who will enter into promises of Jubilee, and those whom will wait until the end of the Millennium.

How does the blueprint of the Laws of Jubilee, found in the Old Testament, have anything to do with the Day of Atonement?

“And you shall count seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years.  Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land.  And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.  That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine.  For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field. In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession” (Lev. 25:8-13).

First, we need to understand the “land laws” that tie into the Sabbath rest, which will then lead us to an understanding of “Jubilee.”

In the “land” law concerning the Sabbath, God commanded the land to rest every seventh year, known as the Sabbath rest for land. The children of Israel were not allowed to sow or reap in fields in that seventh year.  

During the seventh year Sabbath rest, all debt “rested” as well, but resumed on the eighth year.  This gave the people a break for a year, BUT the debt didn’t get removed.

But on the 49th year (seventh times seven years), the trumpet was blown on the Day of Atonement, as it was considered the announcement of the coming Year of Jubilee. The Jubilee year was when all debts were released PERMANENTLY, or in other words forgiven, and land was returned to its original owner (Lev. 25:8-13). In the Jubilee year, all those who lost land could reclaim their inheritance (Promised Land).

So according to the Law, the year of the Sabbath land “rest” and the Year of Jubilee were both announced on the Day of Atonement.  

The typical Day of Atonement was celebrated each year through “an affliction of soul,” which required fasting, prayer, repentance and offerings.  But when the Year of Jubilee came around, this Feast was different.  Instead of “affliction of soul,” it was joyful as it celebrated freedom, liberty, and release to return to family and it’s inheritance.

Let’s go back in biblical history, to the story when the nation of Israel was about to enter into the “Promised Land” and these “Sabbath” land laws would go into affect.

On the first day of the month (Abib/Nisan), a year later after arriving at the base of Mt. Sinai, the building of the Tabernacle was completed (Ex. 40:2). Each leader of the twelve tribes took part in the dedication, offering sacrifices, one tribe each day.  By the 14th day, the Tabernacle was completely dedicated and the nation could rest and celebrate the Passover Feast.

Then later toward the end of the second month, God began to lead the children of Israel toward the land He had promised “His Bride:”

“Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the Tabernacle of Testimony”(Num. 10:11).

This journey was supposed to bring them to the edge of the Promised Land in 11 days (Deut. 1:2). But because the children of Israel grumbled and complained about only eating manna (which sent a plague), and Miriam challenged the qualifications of Moses being their leader (which sent a plague upon her), the journey took longer.

Finally, the day came when Moses picked a leader from each tribe to go and spy out the land of Canaan to gather information. They were also instructed to bring back fruit of the land to taste and see that this was God’s “Promised Land.”

“…’Be of good courage.  And bring some of the fruit of the land.’  Now the time was the season of the first grapes”(Num13:20).

Forty days later, they arrived with a cluster of grapes, pomegranates, and figs from the Valley of Eschol. When they arrived, they gave their report that indeed the land was plenty fruitful.  However, 10 of the leaders, whose hearts were focused on the power of the enemy, produced a report of fear and unbelief.  This isn’t surprising after reading how they handled adversity up to this point:

“Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Num. 13:28)

Two of the leaders, Joshua and Caleb, were focused on the Promise of the Lord. They tried to persuade the people to remember who was with them (the Lord), and to go in faith:

“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Num.13:30).

Unfortunately, the people were persuaded by the negative report.

“The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature.  There we saw the giants [the descendant of Anak];and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight”(Num. 13:33).

Not only did the people weep through the night, but they all banded together to blame Moses for bringing them there, and while having a pity party, they wished they had died in the wilderness. This thinking then prompted them to try and elect a new leader (Num.14:1-4).  

Moses and Aaron interceded for the people’s sin, and thank God they did. If they hadn’t, God would have wiped them all out in His anger.  But Moses reminded the Lord of His promise of Covenant, and so He pardoned the people.  However, God did NOT allow them to enter into the Promised Land.

“Then the LORD said: ‘I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD – because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test these ten times and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall NOT see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.  

BUT My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed me FULLY, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it” (Num. 14:20-24).

Later on, God declared that only Joshua and Caleb would get the privilege of entering into the Promised Land, and not those who voted against their initial report (Num. 14:30). Unfortunately, they had to wait for 40 years and go through the wilderness experience as well.

Of course, after the Lord delivered this judgment and closed the door for the children of Israel to enter into the Promised Land, ALL the tribes mourned and repented, and afterwards, presumed that they could resume with Plan A of conquering the Promised land. 

“…Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised, for we have sinned”(Num.14:40)!

But God did NOT change His mind.  The Day of Judgment had come, and the door was closed.  Instead of entering into the blessings of Jubilee, which is what this day should have been if they had listened to Joshua and Caleb’s report, they were all now mourning.  The land/property (which was rightfully theirs because the Lord was “their Groom”) was given over to the Canaanites to continue ruling over for 40 years.  The children of Israel entered into God’s judgment, and now had to live in a land that was not their own, consequence of their sin.

When the Lord had the children of Israel move out toward the Promised Land, God’s timing to fulfill His prophetic promises were lining up even with the timing of the “Year of Jubilee.” God had prophesied to Abraham of the land that He would give His descendants.  He even declared how long His descendants would be strangers in a different land:

“…Know certainly that our descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.  And also nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions……But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Gen. 15:13,14,16).

If the children of Israel would have trusted the Lord and believed, they would have entered into the “Year of Jubilee” and seen those promises fulfilled.  They would have reclaimed the place of their inheritance as prophesied by the Lord in Gen. 15:16, as well as promised to Abraham in Gen. 17:8.  But because they didn’t trust Him, it turned into a “Day of Judgment.”

This is one story that illustrates how there are two outcomes on the Day of Atonement, at God’s “SET TIME,” that God established in His blueprint:  One of judgment, and one of Jubilee:

Today, believers can come before the Lord on the Day of Atonement and judge themselves and repent for anything that doesn’t line up with God’s word. This “dress rehearsal” is probably the greatest one to practice, because it causes us to stop and examine our hearts and ask, “Are we ready to see the Lord face to face?”

Someday, when Christ comes back, we will be judged on the Day of Atonement.  Some believers, who are like Joshua and Caleb, will enter into “Jubilee.” This will be the “remnant” who allowed the sanctification process to take hold of their souls, making them “forgivers” and “overcomers” who choose God’s faithfulness.  They will be used like Joshua and Caleb to lead the rest into the “Promised Land” and subdue the enemies. They will “rest” in their glorified bodies because the debt incurred (death) will be removed and their body redeemed from the earth (1 Cor. 15:51-58).

“They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were REDEEMED FROM THE EARTH”(Rev. 14:3).

The rest will be judged by “fire” on the Day of Atonement. The “fire” is God’s “fiery law”(Deut. 33:2), which will judge those who have been “lawless,” or have despised God’s laws, or have become bitter and unforgiving. They will continue on in the Lord’s sanctification process throughout the Millennium until the end when they too will receive their Jubilee reward.

“And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deut. 8:2).

The ultimate reward is the full redemption promise that will be realized through the Laws of Jubilee on the Day of Atonement. To have access to heaven and earth in a glorified body and to live eternally is the hope that is in every believer and will happen for ALL in God’s time (Eph. 1:10).

But the Jubilee of all Jubilees will be when ALL of creation is removed from sin, AND, the land is restored to the KING OF KINGS!

“ Behold, the LORD GOD shall come with a strong hand, with His arm ruling for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him” (Is. 40:10).

DAY OF ATONEMENT – Two Goat Sacrifices Pattern the Two Comings of the LORD

A symbolic blueprint of the first and second coming of Jesus Christ can be seen in the ceremony of the two-goat offering on the Day of Atonement found in Leviticus 16.

On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would present two goats before the Lord. The High Priest would then cast lots to determine which goat he would sacrifice to the Lord, and which goat he would set free into the wilderness as the “scapegoat.”

“Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.  And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell and offer him as a sin offering.  But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness” (Lev. 16:8-10).

The first goat was killed, and its blood was brought into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled eight times on the Mercy Seat by the High Priest as a sin offering.

The first goat was symbolic of Christ, our High Priest, who atoned (COVERED) our sins before a Holy God. This did not REMOVE the sinful nature inside a believer YET.  This explains how sinners, who accept Christ as Savior, can be reunited with the Lord through His atoning sacrifice, and yet still continue to contend with the wages of sin working in their soul and body even after they are saved.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Rom. 6:23).

The Scriptures state that through the sacrifice of Jesus, His righteousness is imputed upon us.The first goat symbolizes how Jesus’ sacrifice imputes (attributes or changes a person because of an act of another) righteousness to us.  

“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” (Romans 4:8).

This means we are righteous before God because of Christ, and our faith in Him as the Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of the world.  Faith allows us to enter into His righteousness.

“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also… Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom. 4:11,23-4).

Believers are still dealing with mortality (sin) in our bodies while we remain on the earth, working out our sanctification with fear and trembling UNTIL Christ returns.  

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, 

but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).

In between the 1st and 2nd coming, Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father and is making intercession for us until He returns. 

“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34).

The Bible is clear that when Christ returns as King, His rulership will eventually eradicate the wages of sin, which is death.  Receiving our glorified bodies will be the first sign of accomplishing this purpose:

“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

Therefore, the second goat used by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement was not killed.  Instead, it was set free in the wilderness, which is why it was called “the scapegoat.”

 “Scapegoat translates the Hebrew word azazel.  The meaning of this word is far from certain … The word may perhaps signify ‘removal’ or ‘dismissal’ … Probably the best explanation is that the word was a rare technical term describing ‘complete removal.'” (David Guzik: Study Guide for Lev. 16., Blueletterbible.org)

The High Priest would lay his hands on the second goat’s head, confess the sins of the people, and “put their iniquities on the goat’s head.” Afterwards, the goat was then escorted about 10-12 miles away by a “suitable man,” who would release the goat into the wilderness in a place uninhabited by people (Lev. 16:20-22).

The second goat is symbolic of how Christ REMOVES our sins, sending them away permanently so there is no need to keep working at fighting against our sinful nature.  This is the blueprint of the prophesied promise of the sons of God receiving their glorified body (incorruptible “temple”) as part of their inheritance. This promise begins fulfillment at time of Christ’s second coming (Heb. 9:7,11-12).

“For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.  Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:4,5).

There is an incredible reference in the Jewish Talmud that verifies that after Jesus was crucified, the Lord no longer accepted the goat sin offering and the scapegoat offered by the High Priest:

“Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the Lord always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the Temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open” (Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, p.156-157). 

It makes sense that God would confirm what He had accomplished, fulfilling His word through Christ as “He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). There was no more need for a goat to “cover” their sins to make a way for their relationship to be restored with God since Christ had fulfilled the offering.  God was trying to get their attention.

Jesus also prophesied that the temple’s downfall would take place in His own generation (Matthew 24:1-34).  

“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days? But He was speaking of the temple of His body’” (John 2:19-21).

Scripture reveals why the Lord prophesied the downfall of the temple in Jerusalem because the new temple wouldn’t be created by hands, but built by the Lord’s Spirit in man, both individually and corporately.

“For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make My dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people ‘” (2 Cor. 6:16).

Each believer in Christ is a “temple” for the Lord’s presence to dwell in through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5,8).  Furthermore, the “New Jerusalem” the Lord speaks of in Scriptures, is the manifestation of the corporate promise to the Body of Christ receiving their glorified bodies and becoming one united temple under His headship (Rev. 21:2,3). The blueprint of the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the Feast that follows the Day of Atonement, is the fulfillment of the completion of this transformation. 

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name” (Rev. 3:12).

DAY OF ATONEMENT – Overall Meaning and Blueprint

The Day of Atonement is the next Fall Feast to honor that is celebrated ten days after the Feast of Trumpets:

“…Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement: It shall be a holy convocation [which means dress rehearsal] for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.  And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.  For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.  And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.  It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath” (Lev. 23:27-32).

This “Appointed Day” is also known as “Yom Kippur,” which literally means “Day of Coverings.” This was the only day of the year in the Old Testament that the High Priest was able to go behind the veil in the Tabernacle and enter into the “Holy of Holies” to pour the blood of a goat over the Mercy Seat to atone (cover) for the sins of the nation.

“Then he [High Priest] shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat” (Lev. 16:15).

The overall purpose of this Feast was a call for a corporate (national) day of repentance with fasting, and prayer so that the MERCY of God would accept the nations offerings (Read Is. 58; Joel 2).  This is the ONLY fast God required each year.

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, 

Consecrate a fast, 

Call a sacred assembly; 

Gather the people, 

Sanctify the congregation, 

Assemble the elders, 

Gather the children who are nursing and babes; 

Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, 

And the bride from her dressing room” (Joel 2:15,16).

As the children of Israel cried out for the mercy of God to cover their shortcomings for not upholding His commandments, the High Priest would take their offerings of sacrifice to atone for their sins. If the Lord accepted their offerings, the nation could rest in the presence of the Lord and continue to receive His increase in the land.

“For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year” (Ex. 34:24).

When the Day of Atonement ceases to be a “dress rehearsal” and goes “live,” it will be a day that judges the Body of Christ and unveils the Lord’s “Firstfruits” remnant that are chosen to reign with Him in the Millennium, to bring “rest” to the earth (Rev. 14:1-5).  

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations”(Rev. 2:26).

The Day of Atonement is NOT the day of judgment for the sinners who don’t know Christ, as so many of us have been led to believe.  Keep in mind that all of these appointed Feasts are set dates to fulfill the purpose of the Covenant promises God made with those He chose to know Him. These “divine appointments” are not to judge those who don’t know the Lord and are ignorant of His Covenant promises.  “The books” that judge both the believers and unbelievers are opened up at the end of the Millennium, at the second resurrection.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:12).

In every book of the Bible, God shows a comparison between those who are in Covenant with Him, and those who aren’t. And within each generation of those IN Covenant with Him, there is a division in the family between those who humble themselves and obey, and those who don’t.

There are well known examples in the Bible where we see this distinction and division between “brothers” such as Cain/Abel and Jacob/Esau (Gen. 4 and 27).  Let’s take a look at Cain and Abel’s story:

“…And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.  And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.  So the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry?  And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.  And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it'” (Gen. 4:4-7).

As we can read in Gen. 4, God reached out to Cain to give him Fatherly advice.  God was extending His hand of mercy to give instruction to Cain to save his soul and the life of Abel.  It was Cain’s job to rule over his soul.  Cain made the choice outside of God’s advice, which caused him to choose to kill Abel.

Likewise, Esau’s anger and bitterness toward Jacob caused him to leave a legacy of people whose souls despised the children of Israel and wanted to kill them.  God then hated the actions of Esau that mimicked the devil:

“As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated”(Rom. 9:13).

In the New Testament, Christ Himself shared that many may call on the Lord, but there is a distinction made in the family of God:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'” (Matt. 7:21-23)!

The Apostles were also used to rightly divide those Christians who were “abiding” in the Lord and those who weren’t:

“But Peter said, ‘ Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own?  And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?  Why have you conceived this thing in your heart?  You have not lied to men, but to God ” (Acts 5:3-4).

The outcome of that story is intense. Ananias, a Christian, died after being confronted with truth. The Lord separated Ananias and Sapphira from those who were birthing the Church “in one accord” with the Lord.

Even the letters to the Churches in Rev. 2 and 3 divides the “family of God” into overcomers and those who chose NOT to abide in God’s word.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore, be zealous and repent. …To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev. 3:19,21).

In Lev. 23:29, concerning the Day of Atonement, God declares that “anyone who is not afflicted in soul is CUT OFF from his people.”  This does NOT mean cut off from God’s love.  God is love, and can NEVER stop loving His people.  It also does NOT mean that believers who continue to live their lives “lawlessly” lose their salvation, for ALL have been saved by grace, which is a gift.  It DOES mean that God will not strive with men, and so they end up being “cut off” from His presence when they grieve the Spirit of Truth (Gen. 6:3, Eph. 4:30; John16:13).  And finally, it DOES mean that they are cut off from the “REWARD!”

“He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded” (Prov. 13:13).

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).

Jesus made a way for ALL debt to be paid for breaking the law. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t need that sacrifice of atonement.  BUT, even in the New Testament, God divides the Body of Christ with His Word of instruction, which bears the fruit of rewards for following the Lord’s leadership, or the consequences of living our life in rebellion to God’s instruction:

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.  But now you yourselves are to put off all these:  anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Col. 3:4-8).

The above Scripture tells believers what they need to crucify in their flesh.  However, the following Scripture tells believers what qualities to adopt to become an overcomer:

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Col. 3:12-14).

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (Col. 3:23-25).

There is NO way any of us can become “more holy” because Christ has made us so through His sacrifice and has given us a guarantee by sending us the Holy Spirit:

“who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Cor. 1:22).

However, our soul (mind, will and emotions) continue to go through a sanctification process to crucify our flesh so that Christ is the Head of our soul.  We must judge our sins for the purpose of maintaining fellowship with Christ.  As we see through the above examples, (Cain and Esau), they rebelled against the Lord, refused His correction, and were separated from His presence.

Through Christ’s atonement as High Priest, our willingness to go through the Lord’s sanctification process, and Christ’s leadership (High King) on the earth, we can all enjoy the REST of Jubilee and the goodness of creation without sin.  However, one part of the family will arrive FIRST (144,000 remnant) at the “tabernacle of meeting” so they can help the rest of the family enter into HIS TABERNACLE OF REST.

“…These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb’ (Rev. 14:4).

We can be assured we are prepared for the Day of Atonement through our willingness to be obedient to God, honoring His commandments, serving with a broken and contrite heart, examining our unbelief with a response of repentance, and quickly forgiving offenses and injustices. (Matt. 5:9-15; Col 3:12-17).

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the DAY approaching.  For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. ….

“Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great REWARD.  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Heb. 10:19-25,35).

TISHRI FIRSTFRUITS

On September 7th this year, we begin the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar known as “Tishri.” Tishri is the first of the three months of the autumn season that produces a harvest. “Tishri” means “reflected light” and reveals God’s heart that His Bride would be a “reflection of His light.”

It is believed that Adam was created in the month of Tishri. The heart of God in creating man was given in His Covenant: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). 

It is evident God’s desire from the beginning was to create man for “son ship” with Him to take dominion of the earth and multiply His goodness. This is a month set aside to reflect His glory seen through His people!

There will come a day when Jesus will return as King during this same month as the “last Adam” to restore the birthright (His name, dominion, blessings, land, and possessing the gates of the enemy) back to a people in “son ship with Him” (1 Cor. 15:45; Gen. 28). Why do I say that? Because Jesus will Himself fulfill the pattern established through the Fall Feasts just as He did in His first coming through the Spring Feasts. These Feasts reveals the blueprint of God’s plan of Redemption.

Jesus spoke in Matt. 25:13, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”This scripture has led people to believe we will never know when Jesus is coming back, but in actuality, the Feasts reveal the month.  The day and hour were unknown to the Hebrews back in biblical days because they relied on the priests to spot the new moon to sound the alarm, and some days the weather prevented them from seeing. The new moon was never on the same day each month as well, so Jesus was telling us to be in a state of READINESS and have ears to hear!

This month is associated with the tribe of Ephraim, the youngest son of Joseph. Ephraim means; “Be fruitful and multiply.” Ephraim was born during Joseph’s reign as Pharaoh’s “governor.” At the time of his birth, Joseph was enjoying God’s redemption and great blessing after having suffered as a slave and a prisoner of Pharaoh’s. Therefore, Joseph said when he named Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen.41:52).

When Jacob was nearing his death, Joseph visits his dad with his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. When Jacob saw them, he was strengthened by the Lord and prophesied over the boys that they would be grafted in to the Abrahamic Covenantal inheritance along with his own 12 sons (Gen. 48).

Remarkably, God gave Joseph’s sons a double portion of blessings that came with that covenant for the latter days, along with the ownership of the birthright. Even though Ephraim was the younger one, he was given the firstborn blessings instead of his brother Manasseh. “He shall be greater than he (his older brother Manasseh), and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” (Genesis 48:19). God chose Ephraim and Manasseh to be a “reflected light” of the “Good News” to the four corners of the earth in the latter days. England and America have been fulfilling those prophetic words.

The prophetic blessing given to Joseph (which would now go to his two sons) was the crowning best! “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall.” In Genesis 49:22-26 and Deut. 33:13-17, God declares that the sons of Joseph would have hidden resources and rich heritage with God’s favor and blessing upon the land given with rain and produce. In addition, these two tribes would push the peoples to the ends of the earth. Joseph’s obedience to “walk with God” throughout all his hardships ends up paying off with great blessings for his sons!

Later in history, Joshua was raised up to be a great leader who was from the tribe of Ephraim.Because of his complete obedience to the Lord, God prospered everything he did. He is the one leader we read in the Bible who defeated every enemy and took possession of all the land. Obedience to the Lord without compromise is Ephraim’s key to seeing the great harvest of blessings.

The month of Tishri is God’s timing to complete/fulfill the Covenant He established with Abraham with the return of Jesus to the earth along with His Saints in “son ship” (Rev. 4,5).Even though it is a time of great celebration for those who are walking in faith and obedience with God, it is also a time of judgment for those Christians who are “lukewarm.”

“I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Rev. 3:15,16).

God’s appointed three of the seven feasts known as the Fall Feasts to be celebrated in this month. Jesus fulfilled the first four feast’s covenantal purpose of salvation, redemption, and provision through His death, resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit. The last three feasts, Jesus will fulfill upon His return in the month of Tishri as judge, conqueror and King.

Tishri is special because it is the only month that a Feast is appointed on “First fruits” which is called the Feast of Trumpets. When the Feast of Trumpets arrives each year on the first day of Tishri with the witness of the new moon, there is a “blowing of His trumpet” to signify God’s harvest season has begun (Lev. 23:24).

The meaning as it relates to Jesus coming as King is that the shofar is blown as the “final trump” or warning before the Lord returns. A sign of this final trump will be that the dead in Christ (not all, but those chosen) will rise from the graves. (1 Thes.5:14-17).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise FIRST” (1 Thes. 4:16).  

This is the first resurrection. The Bible talks about TWO resurrections and makes a distinction in Rev. 20 as the first resurrection is ONLY believers, and does not say ALL believers. The second resurrection does not happen until AFTER the Millennium reign.

“…and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the FIRST resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-6).

The Feast of Trumpets sounds off the harvest season as well.

The blessing we receive from God when we understand the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets, also known as “Yom Ha Teruah,” and the blowing of the trumpet (shofar) is found in Psalm 89:15, as it is written, “How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound [blast of the shofar]…” The shofar is the physical instrument that God instructed us to use to hear the sound to awake from spiritual slumber (1 Corinthians 15:46).

When it is God’s time to put into action His finale with the return of Jesus, those in Covenant with Him will recognize the sound of the trumpet. There will be significant events in the world that will signify the leading up to this trumpet and for those who have been practicing this dress rehearsal, the signs will be evident of God’s coming judgment of the nations and fulfillment of His coming.

God has always had a heart to warn people before He proclaims judgment. God warned the people before the Flood of Noah’s days. He warned Nineveh before it was to be ruined as well. The Ninevites repented, and it changed the outcome of judgment for them. 

God does not want anyone to receive the wrath of His judgment (Zephaniah 2:1-3; 33:1-7; 2 Peter 3:9). God is warning us today through world events that line up with the Word, the Blood Moons falling on the Feast days, and the prophets of today that He is bringing forth correction FIRST to the body of Christ: those in Covenant with Him.  Then He will deal with the nations that come against His people.

We are seeing that heaven and earth are coming together for this covenantal shift, and it will not be the end of the world as some people think. Jesus is coming to reign here, so the world will NOT be destroyed but redeemed. He is coming and all the earth shall be filled with His glory (Numbers 14:21).

Joel 2:15-19 lays the blueprint of the fall feasts:

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babies; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, “Where is their God?’”

Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, ”Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.”

Joel 2 gives us the blueprint of the main purposes of the three Fall Feasts; blow the trumpet (Feast of Trumpets), fast and repent for those Christians who lack faith and obedience to the Lord (Day of Atonement), and celebrate dwelling in the fullness of His glory (Feast of Tabernacles)!

Until the actual year God chooses to blow the trumpet for the real deal, we are called to continue these “dress rehearsals” to get ready. The trumpet sounds the warning for us to examine our heart… Are you ready for His return? Is our nation ready for His return? He is coming back to judge the nations and for the great harvest of souls.

When Jesus looks at the gifts and talents that had been distributed to each of us individually, will He find us using them for His glory? This question leads then into the corporate calling: Are the gifts and talents of God’s people working together in unity to bring glory and honor to His name so that the world can see He is the only True God? Are we a people who are “bondservants” of Christ, willing to surrender all to take up the cross?

Finally, the big question arises: Is this nation in which we live fulfilling its covenant plan and giving of its gifts and talents to serve the nations to honor and glorify Him by abiding in His ways? The nations will be judged, and only as believers unite in Him can we fulfill that call of one nation under God. God’s people have to be linked together to see this come to pass. This is why God is raising up a remnant to equip and unify His army for the days ahead. And this remnant is going to arise and be seen!  

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).