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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAY OF ATONEMENT – Day of Judgment or Jubilee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, the people were persuaded by the negative report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAY OF ATONEMENT – Overall Meaning and Blueprint

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

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

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

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

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

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, 

Consecrate a fast, 

Call a sacred assembly; 

Gather the people, 

Sanctify the congregation, 

Assemble the elders, 

Gather the children who are nursing and babes; 

Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TISHRI FIRSTFRUITS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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