FEAST OF TABERNACLES: PART 4

Let’s continue following the life of Jacob/Israel.  As we pick up the story, the name “Israel” was sealed over Jacob’s forehead after his wrestle with God, landing him in Sukkoth, which means, “booth/tabernacle.”  

It was in the Promised Land, at Sukkoth, that Jacob built his first “house” (Gen.33:17). This was a prophetic picture of Jacob receiving his immortal/permanent house (body):

“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 in the Lord’s presence. This encounter was symbolic of the process that will occur for the “Firstfruits” remnant during the first resurrection when Christ returns (Rev. 20:6):

“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).

In this next portion of Jacob’s life, we get a glimpse of the blueprint of the Millennium reign, and the role of this “Firstfruits” remnant as the Lord’s “priests” to sanctify the nation (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).

So let’s pick up the story where we left off in the last blog.

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

The name Shechem has two meanings; one means, “shoulder” as in the “responsibility or right to rule.”  In Is. 9:5, God uses the 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 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, Schechem 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).

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.

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 undealt 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 bad (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:

“ARISE, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God” (Gen. 35:1).

Jacob/Israel in this scene 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 Harvest Bride throughout the Millennium.

The “wake up” call to ARISE is also a picture of the HARVEST BRIDE’S FEAST OF TRUMPET “awakening” (Rev. 20:4-12).

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 HARVEST 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).

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.  God called forth the identity change for the WHOLE FAMILY/NATION, not just the “Firstfruits” remnant, and both became a double witness of the Covenant promise:

“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).

Jacob set up a pillar of stone in the place where God talked to Him, and poured a drink offering as well as oil on it (Gen. 35:14,15).  This was symbolic of the blueprint of the 1st Day of the Feast of Tabernacles for the Harvest Bride, when the 7-day cleansing process begins, representative of the water (see last blog for details of this cleansing process), and the bodies being transformed in His glory (oil).

“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 happened to be the same place Jacob met God for the first time, and now the Covenant promises were extending to His family as well (Gen. 28:19).  

In addition, this would symbolically confirm the blueprint of the beginning of the FULL transformation process of the Lord’s glory dwelling in a 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).

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 Harvest Bride, the 8th day was the revealing of God’s glory dwelling amongst a corporate people with incorruptible bodies, birthed forth into the new beginnings of having the ability to go up the “spiritual ladder” to God’s throne, and back to the earth as “sons of His light!”

Now let’s continue on reading how Jacob’s story mimics this death/life 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 they were 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 his 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, ISRAEL could not honor his wife’s dying wishes.  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 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).

“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).

Incidentally, all the disciples of Christ came from the tribe of Benjamin.  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 represented 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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEAST OF TABERNACLES: PART 3

Since the Feast of Tabernacles is a time to “dwell” in the Lord’s Covenant promises, I thought I would write about the life of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, and identify the pattern of the Feasts fulfilled in his own life.

Let’s go back in history when the Lord decided to choose a people He would “set apart” to fulfill His redemption plan, making way for Christ to enter into the earth as the “son of man.”  That moment in time came through 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. 17:7).

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 star 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 would end up being the son who would inherit the Covenant promise, multiply it, and through his family, form a nation. When it was time 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).

The blueprint that resembles these Fall Feasts has to do with an “assembly of peoples.” We see the corporate/national fulfillment through Jacob (the Firstfruits Remnant” in our blueprint), and Jacob’s offspring, who represent the Harvest Bride. This family would become a nation “set apart” for the Lord as God prophesied.

“Therefore, may God give you of the dew of the heaven, and 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).

So let’s keep following Jacob’s story, keeping that in mind:

Isaac blessed Jacob in Beersheba, which translated means, “well of the oath.”  This is the place Jacob had his “PASSOVER” experience, because he inherited the covenant promises of his father and was “set apart” and “justified” to carry them forward.

Jacob’s name means “deceiver,” which was inherent of his character.  Jacob received the birthright by tricking Esau and 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, and knew his motives were based on self gain rather than service to the Lord.  But God had a redemption plan He could work through Jacob’s life.

Jacob at this point in his life had heard about the God of Abraham and was raised in the blessings Isaac had received. But Jacob really didn’t know God or seek a personal relationship with Him.  For the most part, Jacob just liked the benefits of the birthright!

Most of us today have a similar story.  We hear about God, but shrug it off.  Then, when we do accept Christ as our Savior, we do so because we are desperate, afraid of hell, and want the benefits of eternity.  But rarely do we first come to the Lord to lay our life down for servanthood, becoming a “bondservant of Christ.”  This heart change comes through a process 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 of “Tabernacles” to come.  Jesus Himself mentions this same “Tabernacles vision” that He Himself would experience up ahead after His resurrection in John 1:51:

“And He said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

This encounter Jacob had with God empowered him to believe for himself 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). 

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 they 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.

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.

“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 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.

This 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 still have confidence in ourselves over the Lord.  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).

God wasn’t going to allow Jacob to return home without giving him an opportunity to confront his sin. In Jacob’s case, he had to enter into Esau’s territory 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 a plan, He cried out 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!

“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).

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 his brother.  This represents the 7 day  “cleansing process of TABERNACLES”  that purifies a 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. 33:3).

Jacob/Israel offered Esau a “firstfruits” offering of his possessions to Esau.  This act confirms that Jacob/Israel’s heart had changed.  He no longer held onto his possessions in greed or self-gain.  Now he was stewarding them 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).

Join me in the next blog to finish Jacob/Israel’s story, mirroring the blueprint of the Millennium reign and the second resurrection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEAST OF TABERNACLES:PART 2

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, and was an individual rest with the Lord in nature.   The head of the family gave the first fruits 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).

But the second was a “sacred assembly,” and was corporate in nature, which is why it required an annual pilgrimage to celebrate (Ex. 23:14).

“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).

Both of these “HOLY DAYS” confirm the blueprint found in the New Testament of how the Lord will redeem this corporate covenant blueprint through the two resurrections written in Rev. 20:4-12;  one at the beginning of the Millennium that calls forth the Lord’s “Firstfruits” remnant, and one at the end of the Millennium that calls forth His “Harvest 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 the “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 us on 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 believers bodies still 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. clothes with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and bring 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). This may be when the “Head” (who is Jesus), is joined to the “Body” (Body of Believers).

A blueprint that coincides with this “cleansing” 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 My firstborn” (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 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 an understanding of 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.”  These are the “priests” of the Melchizedek order, who are chosen to be a part of the first resurrection, and have the ability 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 flesh and the spirit. The wool garments come from animals and signify the flesh, or earth. Linen is made from plants and signifies the spiritual realm.  Having the ability to go from heaven and earth, with “linen garments,” and then “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 Bride will be “caught up” or “Harpazo” and presented to the Father.  This will be a “sacred assembly.”  This Firstfruits Bride 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).

At the end of the Millennium, at the second resurrection, the “Harvest Bride” will go through this same cleansing process, and set apart on the 8th day.

 The heart of God is for His physical creation to manifest His glory.  The inheritance of the “sons of God’ is a glorified body that was lost in the Garden of Eden, but redeemed through Christ. God created a redemption plan that is divided into three stages:

First, JUSTIFIED through the Passover experience as we accept Christ and our Spirit is reunited with the Lord, producing PEACE.

Secondly, SANCTIFIED through the Pentecost experience as we receive a deposit of His glory through the Holy Spirit, working  out our salvation through fear and trembling, producing POWER.

Thirdly, GLORIFIED through the Tabernacles experience as we receive our incorruptible bodies, producing REST.

This process of the Lord’s glory covering the earth will continue to go from “glory to glory” until ALL creation submits to Christ’s authority.  The Millennium will begin the process of entering into the fullness of “rest.”  It will produce a harvest at the end of the Millennium, the “New Jerusalem.” Then ALL of creation will enter into REST and redemption in His time.

“And I heard a 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.  

Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’  And He said to be, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful””(Rev. 21:3-5).

In the next blog, I will present the story of how Jacob’s life confirms the process and the stages of the Lord’s covenant blueprint that ends with the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

FEAST OF TABERNACLES: PART 1

The Feast of Tabernacles begins this Sunday evening, September 23rd, and is celebrated for eight days through September 30th.  So what is the basic understanding of the Feast of Tabernacles?

“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. 23:33-35)”

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.  Whereas the Passover offering was associated with the barley harvest, and Pentecost was associated with the wheat harvest, Tabernacles was associated with the grape harvest.  Since the “blessings of the land” had been reaped for the year, the people could REST from their labors and REJOICE, which is the heart of this Feast!

“And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the [a]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).

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 and was present with the them, even in their 40 years of testing through their wilderness wanderings.

“You shall dwell in [a]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, in which God’s presence dwells in through the deposit of the Holy Spirit given to us at Pentecost. 

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

The Feast of Tabernacles blueprint primarily focuses on the promise coming when Christ returns, and we receive our “immortal and glorified body (a permanent dwelling) which is when we can fully “tabernacle with Him.”

“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 (to get the 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 living in temporary booths (bodies), with the presence of God (deposit of the Holy Spirit), hoping to enter into the Promised Land (New Jerusalem).

“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.  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). 

Tabernacles was the seventh and final Feast of the Hebraic calendar.  The number seven means blessing and completion, and is so fitting that this Feast is all about celebration and joy, and “REST from works.”

At the end of every seventh year, which was also the end of the Sabbath land rest year, the Lord commanded them 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).

 The Feast of Tabernacles was not properly celebrated for over 900 years between Joshua and Ezra.  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 instituted a new tradition of reading the law every year so their hearts could hear the law and respond to the Word (knowledge of sin or revelation) (Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 7:7). 

The Feast of Tabernacles 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 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 ad 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).

In my next blog, I will explain why the Lord called the first and eighth days of this celebration, “Holy.”

 

 

DAY OF ATONEMENT – FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS DAY

I wanted to sum up these thoughts about the Day of Atonement and keep clear the purpose of this day concerning us individually, collectively as a Church, and as a nation.

Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts as the sacrificial lamb on Passover.  You can read earlier blogs about the Spring Feasts to understand fully this point.  This sacrifice made way for us all to be “holy” before God as it atoned for our sins INDIVIDUALLY.  We now have access to become “priests” unto the Lord because Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father as our “High Priest” under the Order of Melchizedek (Read Hebrews 6-8 to further understand what that means). These Spring Feasts fulfilled the requirements for personal SALVATION.

But the Fall Feasts are a corporate fulfillment of the body of Christ of GLORIFICATION.  Their purpose is to establish the “kingship” of Christ here on the earth.  They have everything to do with establishing and multiplying the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, the Day of Atonement’s purpose isn’t necessarily for personal repentance per say, but for national repentance.  The corporate “CHURCH” is judged, but given that we all are “body parts” of the Body of Christ, taking time for personal repentance helps the “whole body.”

By God’s providence, America was the only nation in it’s inception that chose to declare Jesus as KING.  This is why we don’t have earthly kings like England and other countries.  It was a nation that was established from it’s foundations with Christ as Head, honoring His Word, and establishing our Constitution and other governmental foundations according to the word of God.  Our Founding Fathers wrote about how God’s providence made a way for this land to become a “Promised Land” for the oppressed Christians to live in a land that they could freely worship the Lord.   This is why America has been blessed.

This nation began with prayer.

Unfortunately, we as a nation adopted iniquitous foundations along the way, and ideology in our government, culture, and religious organizations that have been outside of God’s truth and righteousness; thus dividing our nation because of these “anti-Christ” compromises.

In Joshua’s farewell address in Joshua 24, Joshua warned the children of Israel NOT to adopt the ways of the “ites.”  He warned that a little compromise here and there will lead a nation of people astray from God’s grace and blessings.  He also warned of the judgments that would follow for choosing iniquitous ways.  This chapter is where we get the famous scripture, “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord,”  because Joshua was sharing with everyone that He made the decision long ago to “choose life” by following God’s ways.

We as a nation are so divided because we compromised and have now strayed from our destiny to be a “light to the world.”  We are no different than the product of the choices the children of Israel made when the Lord caused the enemy to rise up against His people because they were rebellious and stubborn; choosing their own ways that led the nation to sin.

Christians cannot blame people in politics, our President, the media, or any other mountains of influence that have put America in a state of crisis today.  

THE CHURCH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS MESS WE ARE IN!  

God gave the Church at large the responsibility to establish His Kingdom here on the earth.  That includes His government, His authority, His truth, His ways, His justice, and His blueprint of how to be in community.

WE CHRISTIANS SHOULD ALL BE ON OUR KNEES TODAY BEGGING FOR GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE!

Today is the day to call out to the Lord for a corporate awakening, and to ask for God’s mercy for our shortcomings. We are the one’s who should be setting the standard of what is right and wrong that produce blessings, not cursing (Deut. 28).

It is time that the Church at large awaken and walk in truth and love, and to step into their role as God’s priests and kings in their jobs, family, and community.  But we must take on HIS WAYS, which we learn by the Holy Spirit, His Word, and our obedience through the things we have suffered.

Having said all that, God has reserved a remnant that He has been training to step into this authority and positions of influence with His anointing, truth, and boldness.  This is the year that God’s eye is on His remnant, so expect the remnant to find their feet to walk and run again the race set before them; especially after these Fall Feasts.

It will be a new season of release I believe, so for those who have been crying out for God to use them, for those have said yes to the Lord’s sanctification process no matter how painful it’s been, expect to emerge stronger and wiser….but also with God’s increase and enlarged places of influence.  These past years have taught the remnant that in themselves they can do NOTHING!

It will also be a season that the schemes of the enemy will be exposed, and strongholds will crumble.  I keep seeing God dealing with “The Mystery of Babylon” which won’t be a mystery after she is exposed and the people can see her workings behind the scenes.  The Lord gives us a command we should take heed:

“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities (Rev. 18:4,5).

I exhort each of you to pray for God’s mercy to cover us, the Church at large, and to ask forgiveness for aligning ourselves with falsehoods, slumbering, or not being bold to stand for righteousness.

Pray for the Body of Christ to come into alignment with God’s truth to work together as ONE NATION UNDER GOD.  

“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).

DAY OF ATONEMENT: PART 3

So how does the blueprint of the laws of Jubilee that are written 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.”

Let’s break down the “land laws” that tie into the Sabbath rest, which will ultimately lead us to “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, BUT the debt didn’t get removed.

But on the 49th year (seventh times seventh year), the trumpet was blown on the Day of Atonement, as it was considered the beginning of the Year of Jubilee. The Jubilee year was when all debts were released PERMANENTLY, or in other words FORGIVEN, and land was returned to it’s 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 Sabbath “rest” for land and the Year of Jubilee had their calendar begin on the Day of Atonement.  The 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 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 (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 with 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 giants; 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 banned 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 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:

“The 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 said that only Joshua and Caleb would get the privilege of entering into the Promised land.  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 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.  Meanwhile, the children of Israel entered into God’s judgment, and now had to live in a land that was not their own to “pay the debt” of their sin.

This story illustrates how there are two outcomes to the Day of Atonement that God established in His blueprint:  One of judgment, and one of Jubilee:

God has a calendar in which ALL things are redeemed in HIS TIME, and they all revolve around His Sabbath Calendar.  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 call come out with great possessions….But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Ge. 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, it turned into a “Day of Judgment.”

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,”  “OVERCOMERS.” 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 will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him” (Is. 40:10).

 

 

DAY OF ATONEMENT: PART 2

The ceremony of the two goats for the Day of Atonement is given in Lev. 16, and reveals a blueprint of the first and second coming of Christ.  

As I shared in my last blog, 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 lead into the wilderness as the “scapegoat.”

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

The first goat was killed and it’s blood was brought into the Holy of Holies, sprinkled on the Mercy Seat by the High Priest.

The first goat was symbolic of Christ, our High Priest, who atoned or COVERED our sins before a Holy God, yet does not REMOVE the sinful nature inside us.  This explains how sinners, who then accept Christ as Savior, can be reunited with the Lord through His atoning sacrifice, 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 Bible is clear that Christ the King eradicates the wages of death at His second coming.  The first sign is when we get our glorified bodies:

“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).

The second goat the High Priest used was not killed, and was called “the scapegoat.”  The High Priest would lay his hands on the goat’s head, confess the sins of the people, and “put their iniquities on the goat’s head” and send it away.   The goat was then escorted about 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 REMOVES our sins, sending them away permanently so there is no need to keep working at fighting against our sinful nature. This is the fulfillment of the second coming of Christ, and the Bride getting her glorified body (incorruptible) is the inheritance of that promise (Heb. 9:7,12).

“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).

After the Millennium,  when the “new earth” is revealed, the glory of God will be covering the earth. Jesus will have come back with His remnant to lead the nations in establishing His righteousness, justice and truth, which will manifest the “Kingdom of God” here on the earth.

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 2:13).

It is written in Jewish history records, that as far back as Solomon’s Temple, there was a ritual of the High Priest tying a crimson wool thread around the throat of the goat that was to be sacrificed, and around the horns of the scapegoat.  A portion of the same crimson thread was also attached to the door of the temple.

The red strip represented the sin of the people which were atoned by the blood on the Mercy Seat. The crimson thread wrapped around the door of the sanctuary was said to turn from red to white once the goat was released in the wilderness.  This was a divine sign to the people that God had accepted their sacrifice and the sins of the nation were forgiven.

Many bible scholars believe that Isaiah referred to this event when he wrote, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

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). 

The religious leaders considered it a good omen if the lot for the goat marked “for the Lord” was drawn by the priest in his right hand.  But according to this Jewish history record, for 40 years prior to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, the lot “for the Lord” appeared in the priest’s left hand.

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.

The Talmud also spoke of the temple gates opening by themselves each night between 30 and 70 AD. Jewish leaders knew this was a sign of impending doom for the temple.  

Jesus had prophesied that the temple’s downfall would take place in His own generation (Matthew 24:1-34). Scripture also reveals that God’s temple is Jesus and His followers, both individually and corporately:

“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).

“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).

Believers in Christ are the “New temple” as the Lord’s presence dwells in us individually through the Holy Spirit.  But 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 is the purpose of the blueprint of the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the Feast that follows the Day of Atonement.

“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” (Rev3:12).

I will share in the final blog on the Day of Atonement of how the law of Jubilee ties into our inheritance to receive our gloried bodies.

 

 

DAY OF ATONEMENT: PART 1

The Day of Atonement is the next Fall Feast to honor which begins this year at sundown on Tuesday, September 18th.  

“Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement.  It shall be a holy convocation (dress rehearsal) for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.  And you shall do not 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.  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, fasting, and prayer so that the MERCY of God would accept their 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 so that 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 reveals 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).  They will then be joined together with the “dead in Christ” remnant who have risen from the graves.

“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 in whom 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'” (Ge. 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 kill Abel, and put him and his family in a different land.

Likewise, Esau’s anger and bitterness toward Jacob caused him to leave a legacy of people who’s 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 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. 7:22,23)!

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” (Acts 5:3)?

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.  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 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).

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 that bears the fruit of rewards for following the Lord, 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 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, but the following scripture tells believers what qualities to adopt to become an overcomer:

“Therefore, as an 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 daily for the purpose of maintaining fellowship with Christ.  As we see through the above examples, Cain, Esau, the Jewish leaders, and later some Christians, 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 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 still up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as in 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 the after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Heb. 10:19-25,35).

The next blog I will share about the ceremony of the two goats as it relates to the Day of Atonement and their blueprint to the fulfilling of Christ’s first and second coming.

 

FEAST OF TRUMPETS: PART 4

We have established that the one of the signs of the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets is that the “dead in Christ” will rise, those chosen to be a part of this FIRST resurrection to reign with Christ in the Millennium.  

“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).

The next scripture is key for the order of events for all those who are alive when this event happens which is what I want to share in this last blog on the Feast of Trumpets.

“THEN we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:17).

So let’s take unpack this scripture, starting with the word first word, THEN.  Then indicates that the next event will happen after the dead in Christ are raised, but it is not clear WHEN.

Most Christians assume that after the dead in Christ resurrect that those who are alive are “caught up” with them immediately.  BUT, this is because most Christians aren’t familiar with the blueprint of the Feasts and how they are fulfillment of these scriptures that are about Christ’s return.

THEN indicates afterwards.  This coincides with the Fall Feast blueprint, because there is an appointed period of time of ten days that elapses between the Feast of Trumpets and the next Fall Feast, which is the Day of Atonement.  It is on the Day of Atonement that the Lord sifts out those believers who are alive to be His overcomers; for it is the day of reward/judgment of the Church.

The scripture does say, “we who are alive AND REMAIN.”  The word “remain” defines those saints whose hearts “abide” in the Lords, so this defines those who are “caught up.”

“He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruits; for without Me you can do nothing”(John 15:5).

Next, the purpose of the “dead in Christ” being raised from the grave is to inherit God’s promise of their “glorified body.” They need to first be above ground, “in the air,” where the Lord can breathe new life into them:

” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army” (Ez. 37:10).

These will then join those “overcomers” who are “alive and remain” who are called to reign with Christ in the Millennium.  But this won’t happen until after the Day of Atonement.  They will also inherit the promise of their gloried body.

“..who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself”(Phil 3:21).

The two will come together with Christ and begin the glorification process during the Feast of Tabernacles, until the 8th day when they are ready to ascend to the throne and descend to the earth as Christ did.

Now let’s briefly take a look at the words “caught up” in 1 Thes. 4:17.  These words have produced the word “rapture” in the modern Christian theology.  The greek word for “caught up” means “harpazo” which is translated “caught away or seized.”

Indeed, all believers can be “caught up” in the Spirit with the Lord when His presence is amongst us and heaven’s reality seems to be larger than earth’s reality.  But we can also be “seized” by the Lord when the Holy Spirit is calling us forth (trumpet/voice) and we draw ourselves toward Him in our hearts.  Moses gave us that example at Mt. Sinai when He went up to be in the thick could-like presence of God (Ex. 19:18-20).

Whether we actually lift off the ground like Jesus did when He walked on water and was transported from the place He and the disciples  were in the boat to the land across the sea,

“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum.  And i was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.  Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.  So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.  But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’  Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going” (John 6:16-21).

or translated like the disciple Phillip,

“Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.  But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:39,40).

or we get “caught up” sitting in our living rooms worshipping and the fire, wind, and rain of the Holy Spirit “seizes our hearts,”

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2),

I really can’t say for certain.

But I do know that the union with Christ is for the purpose of escorting the KING (Commander in Chief) to His kingdom here on the earth to reign….Not to go away with Him to stay in heaven.  

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and TrueNo, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp work, that with it He should strike the nations.   And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev. 19:11,13,14)

Many misinterpret this “caught up” or rapture idea thinking we are to escape and live in heaven eternally and miss the “days of tribulation.”  But this contradicts the Lord’s prayer, which IS THE BASIC BLUEPRINT OF GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION (Matt. 6: 9-13).

“Thy kingdom COME, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”  

God’s heart is to bring His kingdom to earth to rule, redeem, and multiply His goodness, not destroy it.  Anyone who has embraced the Lord’s sanctification process has NOT been trained by it to run away from the Lord’s battle, or to hide from the battle we are going to win.  It has trained us to follow our Commander in Chief!

God is also NOT taking us away so He can destroy the earth.  The earth will go through tribulation due to God’s judgment in correcting the choices we have made to sin.  But this will lead creation through a process that produces healing, life, and His love! God and His army are coming so that the earth can be restored back to His glory through righteous leadership.  This is why the Bible says  that “creation early waits for the revealing of the sons of God”(Rom. 8:19).

Jesus informs us that the “last days,” before the Fall Feasts begin to go “live,” are going to be similar to the days of Noah.

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37).

Noah was never taken from the earth.  He was divinely protected through the flood of judgment.  Lot was removed from Sodom, and taken to another city on the earth so he would be spared from the Lord’s judgment.  In both instances, the WICKED were removed from the earth, not the righteous.  The Lord even tells us in the Beatitudes in Matt 5:17 that the meek (gentle) will be blessed and inherit the earth, not be removed from it.

“For as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took THEM away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left..(Matt. 24:37-40).

The “THEM” in the above scripture was the WICKED, not the righteous!

Jesus is coming back to judge the nations, and there will be consequences for those who oppose Him.  But God promises us protection, as He declared in Psalm 91, and showed us that same pattern of protection for His people in Egypt when the 10 plagues were released.

“And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land.  I will make a difference between My people and your people.  Tomorrow this sign shall be” (Ex. 9:22-24).

Finally, let’s unpack the word “clouds” in 1 Thes. 4:17.  Clouds represent both literal and figurative in the Bible.  In the literal sense, God’s presence comes like a cloud at Mt. Sinai, and the cloud covered the children of Israel by day when they were in the wilderness.

“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way”(Ex. 13:21). 

Clouds are also figuratively used in referring to the list of the “heroes of faith” in Hebrews 11 as the great cloud of witnesses.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1).

Jesus speaks of the day He comes back “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and glory” (Matt. 26:64).  I think these clouds are again those “witnesses” who are a part of the Lord’s army escorting Him here to earth.

John also begins the book of Revelation with this statement in the first chapter of how Christ is coming with clouds (witnesses):

“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen”(Rev. 1:7).

I believe the sign of the “dead in Christ” rising from the graves, and the sound and sign of Christ and His army coming will cause an alarm to ALL Christians who will then mourn.  This is because the “fear of the Lord” will be upon us, and we will understand our frailty in the presence of the Lord and recognize our need to repent. This is why the next ten days before the Day of Atonement are called the “Ten Days of Awe,” as Christians are in awe that the time is at hand for the Millennium reign to begin.

We will all be in a state of reflection:  Are we ready?  Will we be like the 5 wise Virgins in the Parable of the 10 Virgins, who had oil? Or will we be like the 5 foolish Virgins who didn’t have oil and the door was shut joining those in the First resurrection (Matt. 25:1-13)?  These Fall Feast “dress rehearsals” each year helps us examine our hearts so we are ready.

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:13).

In the next blog, I will write about the the Day of Atonement.

FEAST OF TRUMPETS: PART 3

As the Feast of Trumpets is almost upon us, we can refer to the prophet Joel who said it best:

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;  For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand” (Joel 2:1)

The Feast of Trumpets is a “blast of the horn” that signals an awakening of God’s people to remembrance and readiness:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”(Psalm 18:2).

It is also an announcement that the King is coming to gather His army to wage war against the enemy and to establish His reign on earth:

“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God”(Rev. 19:15).

These Fall Feasts are honored and celebrated as “dress rehearsals” so our hearts are in sync with the Lord’s redemption plan.  So what happens when the Feast of Trumpets goes “live” after the sound of the trumpet?

“For the Lord Himself will descend form 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).

One of the most remarkable signs that will happen when this Feast is fulfilled is that the dead in Christ will rise from the grave.  Most Christians assume ALL those who are believers that have died will rise at this resurrection. But after studying scriptures, I see a different pattern to examine as we define the purpose of the two resurrections the Bible refers to:

“Blessed and holy is he who has a 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 fact that the scripture indicates there is a first resurrection mandates that there is a second.  God has a trumpet call for two occasions, and it is clear from Rev. 20 that the FIRST is for those who will reign with Him during the Millennium.

Let’s go back in the Bible and find the purpose of the blowing of the silver trumpets and see how it ties into these two resurrections.  In Numbers 10, God instructed Moses to make two trumpets from hammered silver: 

“Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you call make them of hammed work; you call use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps.  When they blow both of these, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.  But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you”(Numbers 10:2-4).

Notice that when the Lord said to blow ONE trumpet, He was calling forth the HEADS (those chosen for rulership) to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. But when the two trumpets were blown, it was to gather ALL.

1 Cor. 15:51,52 shares scriptures that reveal some details of Christ’s return, and the unfolding events after the trumpet is sounded:

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Notice it doesn’t say trumpets.  This is because the purpose of this first resurrection is to call forth those who have been chosen as “HEADS” to reign with Christ in the Millennium.   This is also confirmed in 1 Thes. 4:16.  Both scripture references say one trumpet is blown when the dead in Christ rise.  Therefore, all those who are dead in Christ won’t arise in this first resurrection.  Those who remain dead will rise and get their glorified bodies in the second resurrection.

The bible makes it clear that God has set aside a “remnant” of 144,000 who are chosen to reign with Him in the Millennium.  This number is not actual, but symbolic, and makes it clear that ALL aren’t chosen to reign with Him.

“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads”(Rev. 14:1).

In John 5:28,29, Jesus did however talk about a general resurrection in which ALL who were dead, both good and evildoers, will be raised at the same time and hear His voice – NOT just those who are “dead in Christ” as the previous scriptures indicated.  

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which ALL who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation”(John 5:28,29).

The above scripture is a picture of the SECOND resurrection that includes both believers and unbelievers.

Looking at all these scriptures, it is safe to say that the FIRST resurrection is NOT the time for the resurrection of salvation. It is the time Jesus is coming back, with the 144,000, to rule over the nations and to secure and establish His governmental authority in the earth.  The issue of salvation is the purpose of the SECOND resurrection, which is explained in Rev. 20:

“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 (The law).  

And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.  And they were judged, each one according to his works.  

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:12-15).

So again we can see that the sole purpose of the FIRST is to call forth those believers who are “rewarded” with the responsibility to reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 7; Rev. 20:6).

When talking to the disciples about the rewards of leaving all to follow Him, Jesus said to the disciples that they would be repaid at the “resurrection of the just.” We can further conclude that Christ is referring to the FIRST resurrection since there is no reference of the second, and the “just” can ONLY signify believers since no one outside of faith in Christ alone are “just” (Rom. 5:1).

“And you (disciples who gave ALL) will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14).

This reward given at the FIRST resurrection that Christ was referring to doesn’t equate to be a more “powerful or important position” in the body of Christ.  That kind of thinking is what our world thinks, so it’s hard to grasp that this doesn’t mean a person chosen that is “special” or “better than” other Christians.

On the contrary, these who are rewarded are “bondservants of Christ” like our example of the Apostles Paul and Peter, who laid their lives down to serve Christ (Rom. 1:1). 

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2Cor. 4:5).

In humility of heart, they followed His voice out of obedience to serve and faithfully steward the talents God had given them. “Bondservants” of Christ have allowed the sanctification process to crucify their flesh so that they think and act like Christ. Christ can then entrust them with His authority of rulership which is His reward:

“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).

In the letters to the 7 Churches in the Book of Revelation, God first praises and acknowledges each Church for the things they were doing well. But He goes on to  chastise each church in the areas they were in error or had veered off course.  In every letter the Lord addresses, He states that those who had an ear to hear would be rewarded when He returned for following His instruction.  These would be known as His  “Overcomers;” the one’s who embraced the sanctification process. Here is a list of rewards for those who OVERCOME:

  1.  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from he tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God”(Rev. 2:7).
  2. “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (Rev. 20:2:11).
  3. “He who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.  And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it”(Rev. 2:17).
  4. “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations- He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’- as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star”(Rev. 2:26-28).
  5. “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels”(Rev. 3:5).
  6. “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).
  7. “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. 3:21).

If you read the entire chapters of Rev. 2 and 3, the Lord makes a distinction between those Christians who will overcome, and those who don’t repent.  It is important to emphasize that becoming an “overcomer” has nothing to do with salvation, for the letters were addressed to ALL who were saved by grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8,9).

But Christ does lay out the rewards for those who overcome through this sanctification process.  They enter into the FIRST resurrection, while the others continue on with the sanctification process until the SECOND resurrection.

In the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus shares how rewards, concerning the kingdom of heaven, have to do with rulership.  The man traveling to a far country in this parable is symbolic of Jesus.  He gives to each servant (Christians) talents according to their ability to steward them until He comes back.  What does He say to the servant who gained from the talents given:

“Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you RULER over many things.  Enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matt. 25:21).

Rulership is a product of faith, obedience, and the sacrifice of self.  No one bi-passes this sanctification process.   Even Christ couldn’t bi-pass the process that led Him to the cross.  But there are a “firstfruits” remnant whose hearts will be ready first at the time of Christ’s return.

Think about the difference between King Saul and King David.  Both kings served the Lord.  Both weren’t perfect leaders, nor perfectly obeyed the Lord’s commandments.  But Saul never fully surrendered his heart to the Lord. Instead, he was led more by his own ambitions, needs, and pride. David however was on his knees asking for the Lord’s help. David was one in whom God could entrust with His anointing of rulership.

Kingship “rewards” are a product of our choices whether we lean into God’s voice as Moses did, in obedience to His commandments, or run away and do our own thing.  Those who have learned obedience by the things they suffer will find their reward as Christ did (Heb. 5:8).

“And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his work” (Rev. 22:12).

In the final blog on the Feast of Trumpets, I will finish sharing about what transpires when the “dead in Christ” rise.