Sunday, June 21, 2015

TEXT: Leviticus 23:34-43
SUBJECT: The Feast of Tabernacles

In this message we conclude our teaching on the Seven Feasts of God. As we have learned, God’s Feasts were actually rehearsals carried out at appointed or set times by His chosen nation Israel. The Feasts begin with Passover and end with Tabernacles.[1] And it is The Feast of Tabernacles that will be our final subject in this series on God’s redemptive plan and purpose.

The Hebrew word “sukkot” can be translated as “tabernacles” or “booths.” As with the other feasts, this feast is found in the Book of Leviticus. From the fifteenth day of Tishri to the twenty second day of Tishri—the Jewish seventh month— (our September or October) the nation of Israel was to dwell in “booths” to remind them that God had brought them out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt and into freedom! It was actually a week-long celebration of their deliverance from slavery and bondage. This was to be a joyous feast and celebration!

Deuteronomy 16:16 says “Three times a year all of your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place He will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread/Passover, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and at the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. They shall not appear before me empty-handed.”

Keep in mind that each of these feasts had to do with the harvest. Unleavened Bread/Passover was the barley harvest; Pentecost or Shavu’ot (weeks) was the wheat harvest; and Tabernacles was the fruit harvest—pomegranates, olives, and grapes.

Exodus 23:16 refers to the Feast of Tabernacles as the feast of ingathering at end of the Jewish religious year. The point is this: The Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled at the end of the age with the final harvest. I’ll say more about this a little later.

1. What is the context for The Feast of Tabernacles or where does it all begin?

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 “The Word became flesh. . .” God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ.

Concerning the birth of Jesus, we read in Luke 2:22-24, “When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

But when you look back to Leviticus 12:6 we read, “When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.” Verse 8,
“But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering.”

Luke 2:22-24 tells you that Joseph and Mary were not a wealthy family. Yet here is Mary with this unique experience with the Holy Spirit and this powerful Word from the angel Gabriel about her son and who He was! Don’t you know that in her heart she wished that she could afford to offer a lamb to God on such a special occasion?

Actually she did have a lamb to offer: Jesus The Lamb of God!

This is the place where I want to begin my message on this seventh and final feast—The Feast of Tabernacles. Back to John 1:14 “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Greek word for “dwelling” is “eskeenoosen,” from the root word “skenoo” which means to “tent” or “tabernacle” as God did in the Old Testament Tabernacle.

In Jesus, God was tabernacling among us![2]

The question is this: to what end? Why was God tabernacling among us in Jesus? Why did the Son of God become a man? I believe the answer to that question is found in the Seven Feasts of God. The Seven Feasts tell His story. God revealed the feasts in the Old Testament and chose Israel to rehearse the feasts at set or appointed times each year with types and symbols. But only God could fulfill the feasts! And that is why Jesus—God in the flesh—came and pitched his tent among us—to fulfill the Feasts of God! 

1. First there was Passover.

God laid the foundation for this feast through the blood of the Passover Lamb that was to be taken into Jewish homes on the tenth day of Nisan (our March or April) and inspected for four days to make sure that the lamb had no blemishes or imperfections. On the fourteenth day of Nisan, the Passover Lamb was to be killed and its blood applied to the top and two side posts of the doors of each Jewish home.

At midnight when the destroyer came into Egypt to kill the firstborn, the homes that had applied the Lamb’s blood were “passed over.” They were delivered from judgment.  It was in this way that God broke the power of Pharaoh and set His people free from bondage and slavery. This deliverance was to be rehearsed by Israel each year.

Then two thousand years ago on what is called Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the tenth day of Nisan and the Jewish people chose Him as their Lamb when they welcomed Him by waving palm branches and saying “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

He was inspected by the Jewish religious leaders as they asked him questions. And they could find no fault in Him.

But then on the fourteenth day of Nisan they killed their lamb when they turned him over to Pilate and said “crucify Him.” At 9am on Nisan fourteenth, the same time the High Priest bound the Passover Lamb to the altar as he had done for hundreds of years, Jesus the Lamb of God was crucified.

Then at 3pm, after all of the other Passover Lambs had been slain for the Jewish people, the High Priest went to the last lamb to be sacrificed—the lamb that had been bound to the altar at 9am—and he cut its throat and said, “It is finished.” Sovereignly, also at 3pm, Jesus the Lamb of God said, “It is finished,” and gave up His spirit!

Jesus, the last lamb to be sacrificed, had once and for all taken upon Himself the sins of the world—your sins and my sins. To what end? To the end that the obstacle of sin that stood between God and His people was eternally removed.[3] Jesus died so that a holy God could now dwell and tabernacle among us and with us—forever! Let me ask you friend, have you accepted Jesus as your Passover Lamb?

Are you trusting in His blood alone that you might have fellowship with a holy God?

2. Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread began at sunset on Nisan 15. The Israelites were to eat unleavened bread as a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt. They left Egypt in such haste that the bread did not have time to rise. No leaven (a type of sin) was added to the bread.

More importantly, this unleavened bread pointed to the pure, spotless bread that came down from heaven—even Jesus the sinless Son of God. And because His body was pure, spotless and sinless, when they put Him into the tomb death had no power over Him. He suffered no decay or corruption even as David prophesied in Psalm 16:10 and Peter preached in Acts 2:27.

The question is why? Because this was all part of God’s plan to tabernacle, to dwell, to live among us. And that naturally leads to the next feast—the third of the Seven Feasts of God.

3. The Feast of First Fruits.

On Nisan 17, sometime before sunrise, Jesus arose from the dead with a resurrected body—the first wave offering to God—the First to rise from the dead with a new body!

As I Corinthians 15:20-23 says, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection from the dead comes also through a man. But each in turn: Christ the first fruits; then when He comes, those who belong to Him.”

Can you see it? The only way God could tabernacle with us forever was for Him to become a man and defeat death by rising from the dead with a human body. In this way, the resurrected Christ becomes our guarantee that as He was raised up as the first fruits, so too will we be raised up with Him. As I have said many times, Jesus did not die and rise again to just save us for a day, a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime. Rather, He died and rose again so that we could be with Him forever! That requires new and resurrected bodies!

4. The Feast of Pentecost.

Fifty days from the The Feast of First Fruits was the The Feast of Pentecost. The resurrected Jesus who had ascended back to Heaven poured out the Holy Spirit on those who had been cleansed by His blood shed at the cross.

He wrote the new law of the Spirit on their hearts as God had written the Ten Commandments on stone tablets at Mount Sinai.

At the same time the Priest was waving the two loaves of leavened bread—representing both Jew and Gentile, who are sinners—God had come to tabernacle and dwell in the hearts of sinful men and women who had been cleansed from their sins through faith in Jesus. The true harvest of the New Creation had begun by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And it was Jesus who had poured out the Holy Spirit, having made a more intimate fellowship with God possible by fulfilling the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits! Let me ask you friends, have you allowed Jesus to pour out the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit into your heart? Is God tabernacling/dwelling in your heart?

That brings us to the remaining feasts that are yet to be fulfilled by Jesus. They are The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles.

5. The Feast of Trumpets.

On The Feast of Trumpets Jesus will rapture the Church and return to the earth. This will most definitely happen on the first day of Tishri, our September or October. He will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.[4]

Notice that we are going to meet the Lord and be with Him forever!  God will be dwelling with us, tabernacling with us through the rapture and second return of His Son—even Jesus Christ the Lord. This will be a major upgrade in our knowing and experiencing God!

In I Corinthians 15:51-52 we read, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will we raised imperishable and we will be changed.”

Changed? Why? Because we will need new and glorified bodies so that we can live with the Lord forever as His New Creation in Christ Jesus!  We will be “partakers of the divine nature!”

The Old Testament Feast of Trumpets, fulfilled when Jesus raptures the Church and returns to the earth, allows God to tabernacle with us in a new and more dynamic way.

Revelation 11:15 “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet . . .” Verse 19 “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within His temple was seen the ark of the covenant . . .”

This is the rapture of the Church: the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet, God’s dwelling place now open or visible. And it is another step toward the fulfillment of The Feast of Tabernacles, God dwelling more fully with us and us dwelling more fully with God!

6. The Day of Atonement.

Passover is the individual applying the blood of the Lamb to his or her life in personal salvation. But The Day of Atonement is the salvation of the entire nation of Israel.

The Day of Atonement follows ten days behind The Feast of Trumpets—on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, our September or October.[5] On this day Israel’s enemies, led by the Antichrist and the Beast kingdom, will be trying to annihilate the Jews. But Jesus, having raptured the Church and having circled the globe where every eye will see Him, will have come down in Edom/Bozrah, modern day Jordan, and will have begun releasing the final seven bowls of God’s wrath killing His enemies as He makes His way to the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 63:1-4)

It is here that Jesus will kill the False Prophet and the Antichrist.[6] It is at this point, on the very day of The Day of Atonement, that the veil that has been over Israel’s eyes will be removed as she looks on Him whom she has pierced.

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

On The Day of Atonement all of Israel will be saved in one day! Her sins are atoned for as she realizes and accepts Jesus as the One who made atonement for her by shedding His blood on the cross.

And now God is dwelling or tabernacling with Israel as He promised! Israel’s willingness to repent and so fulfill Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 23:39 which says, “You (Israel) will not see me again, until you say, ‘blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,’” will literally open the door for The Feast of Tabernacles to begin—the last of God’s Seven Feasts.

All of the nations that have come against Israel during the tribulation period will have been judged by Jesus. This will also begin the millennial reign of Jesus over all the earth. Zechariah 14:16 says, “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty and celebrate THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. This feast will be celebrated year after year in the millennial reign of Jesus over the nations of the earth.

Think of it friend: we will literally be living on the earth with Jesus the Jewish Messiah for one thousand golden years of righteous rule, peace and justice. There will be no devil and no war. It will be the restoration of what was lost in Eden!

God will be tabernacling with us on a redeemed and restored earth through His Son—even the God-man—Christ Jesus!

Then after the thousand years are ended, we will then enter into the transcendent life of God Himself! You say, what is that? I truly don’t know because it will be a mystery until it actually happens.

But I do like its description in Revelation 21:1-5, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, look! God’s dwelling place is now among people, and He will dwell with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new! Then He said, write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, and Day of Atonement all lead to the ultimate fulfillment and desire of God’s heart—The Feast of Tabernacles—God dwelling with His people forever and forever in transcendent life and glory! This is the eternal plan of Almighty God! This is the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ!


Dear friends, as believers in Jesus, this is what is ours in Him:

1. Our sins have been forgiven, forever.
2. Our Savior has forever conquered death, hell and the grave.
3. We have the Holy Spirit of God now dwelling in our mortal bodies.
4. God will give us new and glorified bodies when He comes again.
5. We will live with Him in our new bodies on a redeemed and restored earth for 1000 golden years.
6. And then we will enter into the New Heavens and New Earth and know forever the transcendent glory of God!

[1] I believe that the Blood Moons that God has orchestrated over the last five hundred years on the Feasts of Passover and Tabernacles is significant. The redemption that began with Passover through the shed blood of Jesus will culminate in Tabernacles and God dwelling with His people forever—which has always been His eternal plan.
[2] Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God with us.”
[3] Hebrews 9:26
[4] I Thessalonians 4:16-17

[5] There are those who “spiritualize” The Day of Atonement saying that it will cover the seven year tribulation period. But this would be completely contrary to how Jesus fulfilled the other feasts on the very day. I do not see how that God could or would change the way the feasts have been and will be fulfilled—literally to the day!

[6] Revelation 19:19-21

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

One way that you can recognize Satan's strategy against you is when you suddenly "feel something" that is not "normal." For example, if you are suddenly hit with lust, you can know that it is a demonic attack or strategy. The next step in that attack is for the devil to attempt to work in your thoughts, "has God said?" "If this is wrong, then why do I feel these things about this person?" If those thoughts become action--if you act on those thoughts--then that sin becomes a habit and that habit becomes an addiction, which means that the devil has enslaved you to do his will and not God's will. The devil desires to build this kind of stronghold in your life to prevent you from knowing and loving God as you should, and from building the Kingdom of God. Friend, it would be wise if you very seriously and prayerfully considered what you have just read. Spiritual warfare can mean life and death.

Monday, May 18, 2015

TEXT: Leviticus 16:29-34
SUBJECT: “The Day of Atonement”

I want to begin our subject today by making a foundational statement that I believe is essential in properly understanding the end times: all seven of the Feasts of God involve the nation of Israel! A failure to understand this basic but essential truth has led to much error and confusion about God’s end time plan.  This truth is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in our subject, “The Day of Atonement,” also known as Yom Kippur.

Let’s pray: Father God, we humbly ask that you would open the eyes of our heart and give us revelation and understanding of Your Divine Word. In the all-powerful name of Jesus the Messiah we pray. Amen.

In Leviticus 16:6ff, after the High Priest had made atonement for himself and his family, he would then take two goats and present them before the Lord. Lots were then cast for the two goats: the goat whose lot fell to the Lord was sacrificed as a sin offering while the other goat became the scapegoat. The Priest would then lay hands on the scapegoat, confess Israel’s sins, and then the goat would be led away into the wilderness. The purpose of this ceremony involving the two goats was to demonstrate that Israel’s sins had not only been forgiven but had also been taken away so that the favor of the Lord might rest upon them as a nation.[1]

The Day of Atonement occurred on the tenth day of Tishri[2] and was the most solemn day of the Jewish year.[3] The Israelites were to afflict their souls by fasting a full twenty four hours. This would be from the evening of the ninth day and continue until the evening of the tenth day.

With this much understood about the basics of The Day of Atonement, let’s now begin to add more context to this amazing truth of God.

In our message on The Feast of Pentecost, we showed you how that Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. But when he came down with the two stone tablets written by the finger of God, the people had made a golden calf! And God was angry with the nation for their idolatry! So Moses went back up the mountain for another forty days.

In Exodus 32:30 we read, “The next day Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a terrible sin. But now I will again go up the mountain to the Lord; perhaps I can obtain forgiveness (or make atonement for your sin).’”

According to Rabbinic tradition, on Elul one (September 1st), Moses went back up the mountain for the second time. If Elul one occurred on September 1st, then forty days later would be October 10th. Keep in mind that all Jewish months are thirty days. That would mean that at the end of these second forty days, it would be the tenth day of Tishri and The Day of Atonement!

When Moses came down on the tenth day of Tishri, all of Israel would be wondering if God had forgiven their national sin of idolatry when they had made the golden calf. That is why that the forty days between Elul one and Tishri ten are known as the days of repentance. This is known by the Jews as the season of Teshuvah (repentance).

So Moses actually came down on The Day of Atonement letting the nation of Israel know that atonement had been made for them. This was the first Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in which God had forgiven Israel as a nation.

In Exodus 34:29-35 we see that when Moses came down from the mountain with the tablets in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had been with the Lord. And when Aaron and Israel saw Moses’ face shinning with the glory of the Lord, they were afraid to come near him. But then he called to them and they came near him and he gave them the commandments the Lord had given him. When Moses would finish speaking to them, he would put a veil over his face. That’s why that The Day of Atonement is also known as “Face to Face.”

Just a quick aside here: On the very first Day of Atonement Moses came down and said, your sins are forgiven; atonement has been made for you. Following that atonement, instructions were given to begin collecting the materials for the Tabernacle. (See Exodus chapter 35)

God was in essence saying, now that atonement has been made for you (Israel), I want to come down and “tabernacle” among you. This is when the Tabernacle was built! I’m going to get a little bit ahead of myself here, but I want you to understand that this all points to The Day of Atonement at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation Period at the end of the age when all of Israel will repent and be saved! The result will be Jesus living (tabernacling) among them in the millennial reign.[4] He returns on The Feast of Trumpets, He saves Israel on The Day of Atonement, and He begins His millennial reign on The Feast of Tabernacles!

The Day of Atonement was to be a great day because it was to be the day of new beginnings—it was the day that the nation’s sins were atoned for by the power of the shed blood.

Try and envision what this will be like on that day when all of Israel is converted and receives a new beginning as a nation through Jesus their Messiah! Jesus, Israel and the Church ruling and reigning over all the earth in righteousness and peace!

One quick note here about the difference between Passover and The Day of Atonement. Whereas Passover speaks of individual salvation, The Day of Atonement speaks of national salvation for Israel. In individual salvation we as individuals make the choice to be saved. We, by faith, apply The Passover blood of The Lamb to our lives. But when we get to the ultimate fulfillment of The Day of Atonement, God says that all Israel will be saved and restored back to Himself.[5] It is the salvation of the whole nation!

That leads us now to look at how the Old Testament Day of Atonement is fulfilled in the Book of the Revelation at the time of the end by the Lord Jesus.

On The Day of Atonement the High Priest would only have on a white linen garment (Keep in mind that white speaks righteousness). But what would happen to that white linen garment when he was carrying out the bloody sacrifice required of him?

The High Priest was required to put his finger in the blood of the sacrifice and with a whipping motion he would apply the blood seven times to the altar. His garments would then be covered in blood. Stay with me here because I am laying the foundation for something that is yet to come in the New Testament. There is a Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement service in the Book of The Revelation!

But let’s go back for a moment to the white linen garment. Today in a synagogue service, on The Day of Atonement, everyone dresses in white. Again, white stands for righteousness.
However, although everyone dresses in white, they do not yet understand what it means. But they will on that day! Below are the reasons why.

Let’s now go to the Book of Leviticus and compare The Day of Atonement service with what we see in The Book of the Revelation.

Lev 16:11-14

11 "Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die. 14 He is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.” The atonement cover was on the top of the Ark of the Covenant.

Rev 6:9-11

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

The Day of Judgment on the unbelievers begins on the Feast of Trumpets with the rapture and the Lord’s second coming to the earth. But that judgement is intensified on The Day of Atonement when the Lord destroys the Antichrist and False Prophet, kills his armies, and saves all of Israel!

Rev 8:3-5

3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and
hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

Does that not sound familiar to what the High Priest did on The Day of Atonement? You have the incense and the golden altar!

Now let’s look at Isaiah 63:1-4 (The return of Jesus to judge to the world!)

Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." 2 Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? 3 "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. 4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come.

Revelation 11:15-19

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever.’ And the twenty four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One Who is and Who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.’ Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within His temple was seen the Ark of the Covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.”

The Day of Atonement language is obvious!  “The temple in heaven is opened.” The High Priest only went into the temple one time each year on The Day of Atonement! “The Ark of the Covenant was seen.” Again, the High Priest saw the Ark of The Covenant only once a year—on The Day of Atonement!

Jesus is the Greater High Priest conducting the ultimate Day of Atonement at the end of the age!  This is what God is revealing through John in the Book of The Revelation.

I trust that you are beginning to see that The Day of Atonement is about God’s judgement. It will be good for those who belong to God but bad for those who do not belong to Him!

Let’s continue to develop this theme of judgment by looking at the fall harvest in Israel. You will remember that Passover was the barley harvest; Pentecost was the late spring harvest of wheat; but the fall harvest was fruit—particularly the harvest of grapes.

Exodus 23:16

“. . . Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather your crops in the field.”

Matt 13:38-39

38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

Jesus is referring to the feast of end gathering—the end of the year harvest at the end of the age.

The whole concept of the end of the year harvest is about harvesting not barley or wheat, but rather grapes. And remember that this harvest, as is true of the other harvests, is a rehearsal for something yet to be fulfilled by Jesus. This is the final harvest of the year in Israel.

Rev 14:17-20

17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. (About 200 miles!)

This is referring of course to the end of the age and it will happen in the Jewish month of Tishri or our September or October.

Rev 15:8

8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

This is a direct correlation to The Day of Atonement service in Leviticus 16:17!

Rev 19:2   (God will destroy all of the nations that are attempting to destroy Israel!)

“. . . He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants."

V.13 “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.” “Dipped in blood” is Day of Atonement language.

V.14 “The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.”  Day of Atonement language: “linen, white and clean.”

V.15 “Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike the nations. . .” Notice that He is dealing with the nations and not just individuals. “. . . He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of Almighty God.”

The winepress is made up of grapes—the end time harvest of the fall feasts.

Beloved, can you see the similarity of the language in Revelation with The Day of Atonement? I gave you a good number of scriptures so that you could clearly see that The Day of Atonement would have its ultimate fulfillment at the end of the age—in the final harvest.

As I move this message to a conclusion, I will show you the connection with modern day Israel. When Jesus fulfills The Day of Atonement as He did Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost and Trumpets, Israel is going to recognize Jesus as their Messiah! It will mean the national redemption of the nation of Israel.

2 Corinthians 3:13-18

13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Moses put a veil over his face right after The Day of Atonement and just before the Feast of Tabernacles. But on this future Day of Atonement, prior to the Feast of Tabernacles, the veil will be taken away from the face of Israel and they will see the truth!

But speaking of a veil, most of the Church today has a veil over its face concerning God’s end time plan for Israel. A large portion of the Church is failing to recognize God’s purpose for the Jews in the end time, and most of the Church is failing to see its role in helping to remove that veil that is on the Jews.

However, in the Tribulation period, God will remove the veil from both Israel and the Church. But something significant must happen first. Remember, The Day of Atonement was the only day that the High Priest could speak to God face to face. “Face to face” is a Jewish and Biblical idiom for The Day of Atonement.

Ezekiel 20:34-35

34 I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered — with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. 35 I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you.

During the last three and one half years of the Tribulation[6] God is going to take Israel into the “wilderness”[7] and there break off their stubborn pride and unbelief. He is going to remove the veil that has blinded their eyes from the truth. This will be the most difficult time that Israel has ever gone through. But the result will be, on The Day of Atonement, the entire remnant that survives this purging will accept Jesus as their Messiah and be saved!

Zechariah 12:10-11

10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” This of course is referring to the day that Israel recognizes Jesus as Messiah.

Matthew 23:39

39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

Perhaps these verses should motivate the Church to pray for the national redemption of Israel, if we truly desire to see the rapture and second coming of Jesus!

Romans 11:25-27

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion;
He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

“All Israel will be saved when I take away their sins.”  And when does God take away the sins of the nation? On The Day of Atonement!

God will keep His promises to Israel—all of them! And one of those promises is to take away their sins as a nation on The Day of Atonement. This will happen when He removes the veil from their eyes—as a nation—and they recognize Jesus as their atoning sacrifice!

I will close this message with Acts 3:17-21

17 "Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ (Messiah) would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

This scripture is making it clear that Jesus will not return until Israel is ready to receive Him as a nation. This means that the Feast of Trumpets—the rapture of the Church and second coming of Jesus; The Day of Atonement—the judgement of the nations and the national salvation of Israel; and the Feast of Tabernacles—the millennial reign of Christ, are all tied to the literal, physical nation of Israel!

Friends, this is how the all wise and all powerful God planned it, and it is going to happen in just this way—regardless of what the White House may say or do, or Islam may say or do, or Vladimir Putin may say or do, or what the atheist may say or do, or what anyone else on this planet may say or do! God’s Word—all of it—will literally be fulfilled!

That is why that we as a Church continually pray for and support the nation of Israel. To do so is to be in the perfect will of God now, and also as the pages of prophecy continue to turn with God moving everything to its conclusion and new beginning!

Beloved, I believe, we are living in the days of the return of the King!

Let’s pray.

[1] Although The Day of Atonement is directly connected to the nation of Israel, it is also a powerful illustration of what Jesus has done for believers. In Jesus, our sins have not only been forgiven but have also been taken away—as far as the East is to the West! And the East and West never meet! Our sins are gone!
[2] This is the Jewish seventh month and occurs on the Gregorian calendar in either September of October.
[3] Leviticus 16:29-31
[4] Jesus will be King over all the earth for one thousand years. His capital will be in the literal, physical city of Jerusalem, Israel.
[5] Romans 11:26-27
[6] The Tribulation period will be the final seven years of this age before we enter into the millennial reign of Christ.
[7] I believe the “wilderness” to be the nations of the world into which many Jews will again be scattered.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

TEXT: Leviticus 23:23-25
SUBJECT: The Feast of Trumpets

Let’s begin with a quick review of the Spring Feasts and how Jesus fulfilled them:

1. The Feast of Passover: Jesus, who is our “Passover Lamb,” was crucified on the day of Passover, Nisan 14th on the Hebrew calendar and March or April on the Gregorian calendar. Because of His death our sins have all been forgiven.

2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread:  Jesus was the perfect Unleavened Bread Who came to earth from heaven. After being crucified, His body was lying in the tomb or the grave on The Feast of Unleavened Bread. And because He was sinless, He experienced no decay or corruption. He alone is our hope of overcoming the grave!

3. The Feast of First Fruits:  Jesus arose on Nisan 17th, the day of First Fruits, as the first to rise from the dead and receive a resurrected body. Beloved, His empty tomb is the starting point of our eternal hope!

4. The Feast of Pentecost: Having been raised up and ascended back to glory of the Father, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon the 120 in the upper room in Jerusalem and so began His Church—the New Creation of God.

Amazingly, these feasts which were recorded in Leviticus 23 and observed by Israel for hundreds of years were fulfilled to the very day by Jesus as He carried out the redemptive plan of Father God!

In Jesus, the only begotten Son the Father, we have been redeemed—saved and brought back to God by His extravagant grace and mercy.[1] How great is our God!

Before moving to the Fall Feasts, let’s take a quick look at the time lapse between the Spring Feasts and the Fall Feasts. Many refer to this time lapse as a “gap.” And that time or season is of course summer.

In the context of the Feasts, this “summer gap” symbolizes the span of two thousand years that began at The Feast of Pentecost and continues to this present day.
This time period, or “summer gap,” represents the harvest of the Lord’s Church—all of those who have been redeemed and made a part of God’s New Creation in Christ Jesus. This particular season of harvest will continue until the Lord’s Second Coming.
And that brings us to the Fall Feasts which are yet to be fulfilled: The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and The Feast of Tabernacles.
Together with the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews in 1967, the foundation has been laid for the next three Feasts of God to be fulfilled! It is my personal belief that these feasts will be fulfilled in this generation.
The first of the Fall Feasts to be fulfilled will be The Feast of Trumpets, and that will be our subject today. 
Let’s pray: Father God, we ask that you would open our eyes that we my behold the revelation of Your Divine Word. In the Name of the Coming King, Jesus Christ, we pray.
 The Feast of Trumpets, also known as Rosh Hashanah, occurred on the first day of the Hebrew seventh month of Tishri, our September or October.
It is important to note that between The Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement there are ten days which are known as “The High Holy Days,” or “The Days of Awe.” The Sabbath that falls within this ten day period is called “Shabbat Shuv‘ah,” or “The Sabbath of Return.” Consequently, several important themes related to the Second Coming of Jesus are associated with The Feast of Trumpets. We will look at each one individually.
Also in this message, instead of beginning with the Jewish context or Old Testament background of this feast, I will instead weave them in as we consider the various themes that have to do with the Second Coming of Messiah Jesus.
1. First, The Feast of Trumpets is the sounding of the shofar.[2]
According to scripture, the sounding of the shofar is associated with the rapture/resurrection of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth.[3]
In I Corinthians 15:51-52 we read, “Listen, I tell you a mystery;[4] we will not all sleep, but we will be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
Also in the Torah, this feast is referred to as “The Day of the Sounding of the Shofar” or “Yom Teruah. “Teruah” is translated as “an awakening blast,” or “The Day of the Awakening Blast.”
In Isaiah 26:19 we read, “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to departed spirits.”
The word “Teruah,” is also translated as “shout.” And in I Thessalonians 4:16-17 the word “shout” is used in connection with the rapture/resurrection of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command or shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
It is clear that both the shout and the trumpet (shofar) announce the rapture/resurrection of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus.[5]
2. Secondly, The Feast of Trumpets is connected to the wedding of the Messiah. 
The Jews considered marriage to be the ideal model for the relationship between God and Israel. That theme is found many times throughout the Old Testament. It is particularly prevalent in the Old Testament book of Hosea.
Consequently, the Jewish wedding ceremony was clearly understood by early Jewish Christians to be a picture of the joining of Christ with His Church. This is made clear in the book of Ephesians where the Jewish Apostle Paul compares the marriage relationship with that of Christ and His Church. [6]
Then in Matthew 25:1-13, in the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus is pictured as the Bridegroom returning for His Bride, the Church, at the end of the age: v.6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’” V.10 “. . . The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet (marriage). And the door was shut.”
Also in Jewish culture it was customary that after a bride had accepted the groom’s proposal for marriage, he would go back to His Father’s house to prepare a bridal chamber. It was understood to be the man’s duty to go be with his father, build a house for his bride, and prepare for the eventual wedding.

Before he departed, however, he would make the following statement to the bride, “I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go, I will return again to you.” If those words sound familiar, it’s because they were spoken by Jesus in John 14:1-3 just before returning to His Father in Heaven! Beloved, Jesus has gone to prepare a place for His Church, and He will come again to receive her as His Bride at The Feast of Trumpets!
And here is where things get really interesting theologically. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, or the Son, but only the Father.” This of course is referring to the Lord’s Second Coming.
Notice in the above verse, “but only the Father.” According to Jewish tradition, the timing of the wedding was contingent upon the Father’s approval of the groom’s preparation of the bridal chamber. So when someone asked as to when the wedding would take place, the groom would answer, “only my father knows!”
Therefore, in the above wedding terminology, when Jesus said that “no one knows of that day or that hour but the Father only,” He was actually telling us that He is coming on The Feast of Trumpets!
We will try and make this a little more clear in our final point.
3. The Feast of Trumpets is also known as “The Hidden Day” or Yom Hakeseh.
The term “keseh” is derived from the Hebrew root word “Kacah” which means “to conceal, hide or cover.”
Part of the reason why that The Feast of Trumpets is considered a “mystery” or “hidden” is due to the fact that there was a fair amount of uncertainty with regard to observing this feast on the correct calendar day.
Let me explain. The Feast of Trumpets fell on Rosh Chodesh or the new moon. And because the commencement of the feast hinged on the sighting of a tiny sliver of the moon, just in the city of Jerusalem alone, it would be difficult to let everyone know that the feast had actually begun!
To solve this problem a two day Feast of Trumpets was observed. In the Rabbinic view, these two days are regarded as “yoma arikhta” or “one long day.” For this reason, when speaking of the timing of The Feast of Trumpets, the Jews would typically say, “Of that day or hour no one knows.”
Therefore, what we have here is another Jewish and cultural context for Jesus’s words in Matthew 24:36 “Of that day and hour no one knows.” Again, this is referring to the timing of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus.
This reference along with the previously mentioned Jewish wedding reference, “only my Father knows,” leaves no doubt that what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 is a revelation and confirmation that He will indeed Come again on The Feast of Trumpets![7]

As we conclude, we can be sure that just as Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts—Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost—to the very day, so too will He fulfill The Feast of Trumpets to the very day! The Lord Jesus will rapture the Church and return to the earth on the day of The Feast of Trumpets. For those who are “watching and praying” that day will not take them by surprise!
How great is our God and how precise is His mighty Word?
The prophetic Word of God is your invitation to put your trust in Him as your Savior and Lord.
God’s plan for your life is as sure as His plan in His Seven Feasts. All your days were written in His Book before there was one of them![8]
All that He needs from you is for you to surrender your life to Him and allow Him to bring you into the fullness of the destiny that He has planned for you.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Do not fear little ones. God is perfecting the image of His Son in you; He is directing you in His ways; and He is protecting you from all evil and harm!
Remember, God’s Son shed blood for you. He invested the best He had to save you, not just for a lifetime, but forever and ever!
Be at peace.

[1] II Corinthians 5:19
[2] Shofar is another name for trumpet.
[3] In His First Coming, He came as a baby in a manger. But in His Second Coming He is coming as the conquering King of Glory!
[4] A mystery in the Greek New Testament is not something “spooky,” or “superstitious;” rather, it simply means that something that has been unknown is now being made known.
[5] See also Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 20:1-6 as to the timing of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus.
[6] Ephesians 5:25-27
[7] See further I Thessalonians 5:1-4, especially verse 4. The watchful Church will not be caught unaware.
[8] Psalm 139:16