The Day of Atonement, the fifth feast
27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."
The day of Atonement is not a big exuberant celebration. It is a day of deep abasement. It is a day of deep sorrow. Why?
Because of all the iniquities and sins that had been done.
From the establishment of this day, the Israelites understood the abasement by fasting during 25 hours and profess their sins to the Lord.
Like all other feasts, this feast also has an forward pointing character.
And now again we will see that the feast looks at the time of unification of the two peoples of Judah and Israel, and the forgiveness of their sins by the Lord. But we will see also that this feast has had a pre-fulfillment in the life of each individual Christian.
Gradually it became clear to us that God's plans with the people of Israel have not all been met. Yes, it's even true that the main plans still need to be fulfilled.
God will bring both nations back in the land of Israel. He will bring them back to make them one people.
But there still dawns a difficult time for them, when the 'evil of the North' is coming.
But God will fight for them again, as "in the days of arms"
Jesus the Messiah will deliver them from the enemy. He will come at the last trumpet, and His feet will be on that day on the Mount of Olives.
Then they will see who He is.
They will remember what Zechariah prophetic presented. And they will know that He was Jesus, who fulfilled verse 9 of Zechariah 9, some 2,000 years ago.
"9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
But they also will see the fulfilling of the rest of this prophecy:
"I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle-bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth."
When they will see all of that, they will humble themselves. And then the famous prophecy of Jeremiah will be fulfilled.
"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.""
This is about the day of Atonement!
If we want to understand how God thinks about that day of Atonement, we must read the detailed rules, and reflect them, as described in Leviticus 16. please read in a seperate window or in your own bible).
The High priest got very specific tasks and requirements. He was told exactly how he had to appear before the Lord .
On the day that he would appear before the Lord in the Holy of Holy, he had first to take baths. Then he had to attract special white linen clothes. He showed in that way, that he was cleaned from every impurity and adorned in holiness. He was prepared to bring the sacrifice of reconciliation .
Here we see an initial resemblance with Jesus, with this difference, that Jesus did not need to clean Himself and dress himself with white linen clothes though he was clean by Himself.
By a sinless life Jesus was at any moment of his life in a position to offer the sin offering, better said: to be.
There is another difference with the high priest and Jesus: The high priest had to sacrifice for himself and his family a bull, bought of his own money, to get reconciliation for himself and his family .
The bull had to be sacrificed in place of the high priest, it was a substitute sacrifice.
There was no sacrifice to replace our High Priest. He sacrificed Himself. He was both High Priest and sacrifice.I am not talking about the sacrifice for the high priest, but about the sacrifice that had to be sacrificed for the people: the goat.
The bull for the high priest was for his own reconciliation (and that of his family), the goat for the people.
There is something remarkable in the way that goat, for the reconciliation of the people, would be elected.
Two goats were purchased from the money that came from the treasury. This money was donated by the people.
Leviticus 16:7, 8
"7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat."
The high priest bought two goats and he left it to God, which goat would be used to sacrifice, the lot for the Lord, and which goat would be sent later left in the desert, the lot for Azazel.
It is clear that this is not about goats, but the goats are symbolic, they are types.
Every Christian knows, or would have to know that Jesus Christ has become our sacrifice.
So one goat is for the Lord, and one goat for Azazel.
It seems according to the traditions that Azazel was a desert demon. The opinions of scholars about the meaning is quite different.
There are lots of scholars, who believe that Azazel is a type of the devil.
Others say thats not possible, because it is not allowed to sacrifice to the devil. These people say that the goat for Azazel, brought outside the camp, is a type of Jesus, Who had also to suffer outside the camp.
And that is one view on the role of Azazel, compared to the other. But is it really so difficult?
We always need to remember with this kind of things, that it is not about the goats, but that there is a spiritual meaning behind it.
We will now try to understand by reading the texts what the meaning is.
It is necessary to do so, because otherwise the meaning of the day of Atonement is difficult to understand.
"8 He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering."
Are both goats for the Lord?
No, there is one goat for the Lord and the other goat is for another. Let us not forget that the Matthew r is that the people will be reconciled, and that the symbolic sacrifice, that points to Jesus, is sacrificed to the reconciliation of sins.
With respect spoken: More is not necessary (except the activities that has to do with the blood.)
Why, then, a second goat? Is this, as some say, to symbolize that Jesus had to suffer outside the camp ?
But a bit further in Lev.16 we read that the same goat that was sacrificed as a sin offering, after its blood has done its work in the Holy of Holy, was placed outside the camp and burned there. (Verse 27)
Because Jesus was both offer and high priest, it is not possible make the "symbol" similar in detail to the reality .
Yet the significance of what happened in the temple service is similar to what Jesus did. He offered Himself as sacrifice for our sin, He took the blood as High Priest inside the holy of holy in heaven, but his body, which no longer had life in it, was outside the camp.
Why should there be a second goat, which was sent into the desert?
Is it true that this second goat is an offering, as some think?
Nothing is said about that! Only the goat that was slaughtered, was the sacrifice.
After everything has been done what was necessary for Aaron himself, his family and the people to be completed reconciliation, Aaron submit his hands on the head of the goat for Azazel, and puts all the iniquities and all violations and all the sins on that goat.
20 "When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert."
Again: One goat for the Lord and the other for Azazel.
The two are opposite.
We know, after the cross, that the goat for the Lord was a type of the Lord himself. If this is so, and there is no doubt about it, then the other type of goat is a person who always stands against the Lord: Satan.
In Lev.16 also talks of a goat that died and a goat who will send live to the desert.
The Lord died, that was possible because he became a human being and human beings can die.
Satan stays alive, because he is spirit, and will forever bear the punishment that is imposed on him for his sins and because of the debt he has with the sins of the people.
"22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place..."
In this text too, there are indications that this goat never can be a type of Jesus. The goat is brought to a barren land and will remain there with all the iniquities which were laid upon him. It is the desert, sometimes called wilderness.
Is Jesus after He has taken our iniquities on Him now in the wilderness, or is He brought there afterwards?
No, there is no question of it! Christ is now seated at the right hand of God in the heavens.
What is He doing there?
He is our High Priest!
"11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption."
The blood of the goat that was a sin offering, was brought by Aaron, the high priest, in the holy of holy. Both the sin offer as the high priest, are types of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is still in heaven. He still performs his duties as High Priest in the holy of holy.
When laid Aaron his hands on the live goat?
After he had done his work in the Holy of Holies!
When will our heavenly High Priest put our iniquities on the goat Azazel?
When He is ready in the heavenly sanctuary!
When Jesus returns and will be King in the Kingdom of God, he will have someone ready to remove the devil, away from his people.
"1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him..."
These are the things that happen on the day of Atonement. The day that God Himself reconciles with his people Israel. The day when Jesus returns to earth again.
This feast has a strong pointing forward character and is still unfulfilled.
As we have seen with the already dealt with feasts, it does not stop with pointing to fulfilled, or still to fulfill promises and prophecies concerning Israel.
With all feasts, we saw that what is represented with the feasts also applies to the faithful Christian.
In this feast this is the case too.
Let us look at a glance through how it all fits together.
The slaughter of the 'lamb' on Pesach and the slaughtering of the goat on the day of Atonement are sacrifices pointing forward.
On Pesach, it was very clear that substitute blood had to flow with the result the destruction angel passed. That sacrifice brought life.
After the blood was accepted as being shed for the person to whom the angel of destruction passed, it was not all what they had to do.
One had to remove all leaven radically from the house and leave Egypt behind and go with God into the desert.
These are, or should be the first steps a man takes who becomes a believer:
Believe that the blood of the Lamb is shed for you personally.
This should be made clear, against God and against people.
Then everything that is sin has to be radical discarded.
The world must left behind and then in full confidence trusting the Lord.
The feast of weeks does not only show God's plans with Israel, but also shows the effect of following Jesus.
Jesus, after his death and resurrection, presented Himself to His father. "Father, it's done!"
Because Jesus did that, we were cleansed and found mercy with God.
The result is that we, just like a harvest, are gathered
in God 'barn'. That means that every believer is placed in the heavenly regions at the time that he or she left 'Egypt'.
Then next feast is the trumpet feast.
The reign of the Messiah is thus indicated.
For us Christians, the question is: do we accept the Messiah = Christ in our hearts? Only when we do that the next feast will be there. The reconciliation.
The day of Atonement indicates that God Himself will reconcile with His people Israel.
This will be after Jesus will put his feet on the Mount of Olives, at His return. Then Israel will see who He is and they will acknowledge Him as their King and Messiah. They will humble themselves and God Himself will reconcile with them.
When a Christian sees Jesus and know that He want to be King in his heart, he will humble himself before God, and God will reconcile with him on the basis of the sin-sacrifice that is sacrificed on Golgotha.
Our High Priest became the sin-sacrifice and has taken all our sins on his shoulders. He went through the punishment we deserved.
Our High Priest will lay all our sins on the most high created creature who was the cause of all sin, the devil.
How wonderful deep is the Word of God. How big is He Who created all of this so carefully and also performs! And how much love speaks through this all. God loves us so much that He gave Himself as sacrificial lamb so that we who lived in sin, can be reconciled with him. But that's not all what God did, He wants us to know Him. He therefore has all these things written in the Bible. If you read the Bible superficial, you see only the outlines of God's love. But if you study the Bible, like you are doing now, then you will really see the love of God, but also his greatness and his wisdom.
It is like a relationship. If you meet someone once you know of his existence. If you talk with him, you know something of his interests, his work, his ideals.
But do you want to penetrate in the depths of one's thinking, you need a lifelong relationship with him or her. Only then, and if there is a full trust, it is possible to know someone really.
God has placed in his Word all you need to know Him. Only a daily relationship with Him through prayer and reading His word, makes it possible to know Him. Even His deep thinking.
People often say that this is not possible. I am convinced that it is possible. If it fails, is not to God, but to us. He has given us His Spirit and His Word. And the Spirit reveals to us by his word "even the depths of God".
1 Corinthians 2:9-12
"9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"-- 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us."
Is it not great, everything that God wants to share with us?
We will continue following the study of God's plan with men.
And we have seen that He reveals his plans by the feast of Israel.
The next feast is the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feast of Tabernacles, the sixth feast
The sixth feast is also a feast prescribed by God and is also described in Leviticus.
We start by reading an excerpt from Leviticus:
"The LORD said to Moses,
"Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD's Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. For seven days present offerings made to the LORD by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work."
Actually belongs the second part of these texts not under the 'Feast of Tabernacles'.
Because it says that the Feast of Tabernacles is a feast that lasts seven days. The eighth day is a feast, however directly following the Feast of Tabernacles, it is still a separate feast. In Hebrew we read in Lev.23:36 'Atseret', which is closing feast, but also to translate to: 'day of closure.'
Therefore we will cover this 'closing feast' as the seventh feast.
It is now about the 'Feast of Tabernacles'.
It is the third feast in the seventh Month. This feast lasts seven days.
The number seven is a recurring figure in the feasts of God.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a feast that is celebrated as the second and final harvest is achieved.
"So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest."
What would Israel do on those the festival days?
"40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths 43 so that your descendants will know that I made the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'"
The feast has to do with the last harvest of the land, and it has to do with the fact that God let live the Israelites, after their exodus from Egypt, in foliage booths, such as verse 43 says.
By living in the foliage huts the Israelites had to remember that God miraculously provided for them in the desert. Nothing had failed to them. God lived among them and He led them by his Spirit, Who was proposed by the cloud and the fire column.
As an aside:
Is it true that the cloud represent the Holy Spirit?
This is what Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 10:1-2
"1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea."
It doesn't say here that the cloud represents the Holy Spirit, but there there are mentioned two baptisms. And the New Testament speaks only of two baptisms, which apply to the Corinthians, and therefore to us too: the baptism by immersion in water, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
God has given most feast a reminder character. By celebrating the feast the great deeds of God were again reminded, and thus kept alive. But we have often seen that this is not the main target of God.
By establishing these feasts God revealed us His salvation plan.
Each feast reveals a certain part of that plan. And each feast shows outside the memory character, a pre-fulfillment and a final fulfillment.
The pre-fulfillment, as we have seen, take place in the life of every Christian individual, it's a spiritual fulfillment.
The final fulfillment is a literal fulfillment, which is intended for God's people: Israel.
The main meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles is therefore the symbolic display of a future part of God's plan.
What is God's plan after he delivered Israel from its enemies, and after the people are reconciled with God and He has forgiven their sins?
God's plan is basically the same as His plan when He led Israel out of Egypt: He want to be their God, live in the midst of them and take care of them.
That is what He did in the desert. And that is what He wanted to do uninterrupted in the promised land.
God brought them in the desert to be His people.
"4 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.""
Exactly like that God wants to have a relationship with His people, no not exactly so, He will provide a new covenant with them. The increasingly familiar part of Jeremiah 31 speaks about this.
The time when this will happen is the period of a thousand years of peace.
Then God will create a cloud again, as the cloud in the desert, and then He will distribute light again through a column of fire .
Again there will be a shelter. Again there will be a booth in which they can shelter.
"2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 3 Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. 5 Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding-place from the storm and rain."
This is what is all about when celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
Isaiah outlines clearly what the meaning is of the Feast of Booths for the future.
At that time the Lord will dwell in Jerusalem:
"This is what the LORD says: "I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.""
The city will again be inhabited, so even after the war in which Jesus is victor will Jerusalem be an inhabited city.
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there." This is what the LORD Almighty says: "It may seem marvellous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvellous to me?" declares the LORD Almighty."
But to get there a lot has to happen.
Zechariah 8:7, 8
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.""
It will no longer be necessary, that God corrects these people through attacks by an enemy, or by giving no rain to his time.
"But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past," declares the LORD Almighty. "The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. As you have been an object of cursing among the nations, O Judah and Israel, so will I save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.""
Please note that God speaks here on the remnant of the twelve tribes of Israel, which together form Israel. The house of Judah is Judah and Benjamin together, they are called Jews. The house of Israel, the other ten tribes, they are the so-called "lost tribes". No one knows with any certainty who they are or where they live. In a separate Bible study on Israel, we can see this well. For us they are lost, but not for God! He knows exactly what people are descendants of the ten tribes of Israel. When it is God's time, we have already talked about, He will bring all of the house of Judah, and the house of Israel back to the mountains of the land of Israel. Then they all will be a blessing to all the other nations.
How the Lord imagine that we will read in:
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'""
In that time Jerusalem will be the center of the world. The government on all nations will be from there. Jesus the Messiah will be King.
This government of God will bring peace, even the animals will know peace.
"1 In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more."
"6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious."
What a great time for Israel!
What a great time for the rest of the world!
Here is much more to say, but this would be too far outside the framework of this Bible study, since we were talking about the feasts of the Lord.
There is another facet to the Feast of Booths, which has not yet been raised.
We have read that this feast is celebrated in the collection of the fruits of the country. We will comply with this collection even more attention.
The first time that we talked about a harvest was in the discussion of Pentecost. The harvest which was represented there, was the first harvest, or the spring harvest.
This first harvest symbolized the gathering of the two peoples of Judah and Israel in the land of Israel.
What is the significance of this second harvest?
When the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated (in the millennium), the church is in its current state no longer on this earth, we will come back to that later. The people of Israel has also been gathered together and therefore can no longer be eligible for a harvest.
What harvest do we talk about? And who are being harvested?
The answer is not so difficult.
We just read some verses that were telling us that the people of Israel would be a blessing for the other nations.
"13 As you have been an object of cursing among the nations, O Judah and Israel, so will I save you, and you will be a blessing...."
God bestows his salvation, that is his healing, to Israel, so that others will thereby be blessed.
The Lord has also showed Isaiah that the Gentile, that is another than an Israelite, can join the Lord.
"6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." 8 The Sovereign LORD declares--he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.""
Very clearly the bible speaks about a gathering of people in addition to the aforementioned gathering of Israel.
Is this text indeed applicable to the period of the millennial kingdom?
I have heard people saying: In the millennial kingdom is not a Sabbath, for the Sabbath is a shadow of the millennial kingdom. But is that true?
Let us read what the Bible is saying about this.
Isaiah 66:22, 23
22 "As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD."
Even in that time, the Sabbath will be kept.
An even clearer Bible part of God's salvation that will extend until the end of the earth is:
Isaiah 49:5, 6
"And now the LORD says--he who formed me (Jesus) in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honoured in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength-- he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.""
Salvation is for the nations. The people who will live in those thousand years of peace in the kingdom of God.
These thousand years of peace, are those not the last years before God create a new heaven and a new earth?
We have already seen this in our studies about the Kingdom of God.
After six days of work follows a day of rest, of peace.
After the people have governed their self for six thousand years, and with what a result, comes the government of God. He will govern those seventh thousand years, and that will be a time of global peace.
But at the end of the last thousand years, what will happen?
This is shown by the day following the seven days of the Feast of Booths. That is the day of the Closing Feast.
This feast we will deal with.
We will now have a look to the side of the pre-fulfillment.
THE PRE-FULFILLMENT OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
We now have seen a number of angles, dealing with the Feast of Booths. And everything we have seen was related to a future fulfilling for the people Israel.
But we have seen before that what have to be fulfilled to the people of Israel, already is fulfilled in the life of every individual Christian.
We have also seen that this pre-fulfillment not exactly equals to the ultimate fulfillment, but of spiritual nature. It also emerged that there is an increasing form of fulfillment.
Perhaps it is not entirely clear, but it will certainly be clear when we talk about the spiritual side of the Feast of Booths.
The Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) is pointing in an outward sense to the time of tranquility and peace to the people of Israel, under the reign of the Messiah. He will take care of them, and He will live in the midst of them.
The silhouette of all this began with the exodus from Egypt. Since then God has provided for them and He was in their midst. Since then He has sheltered them, as a booth, with his cloud and fire column.
But as I said this was all just a prefiguration of a future achievement, and we have seen that the realization or the fulfillment of God's plan with Israel is still in the future.
That will be at the time that is called 'the millennial kingdom'. But how did all this pre-fulfilled in the life of a Christian?
The Israelis withdrew from Egypt, it is expected of us that we withdraw from the world, i.e. that we focus on the heavenly things. When God gave the Israelites laws on stone tablets, He expected them to live to those laws. And in that way God wanted to bless them and take care of them.
God put his laws in our minds and He wrote them in our hearts. (Hebr.8: 16)
He also expects from us obedience to that laws. If we keep His commandments, and that is not as difficult as for the children of Israel, because God has written His laws in our hearts, then God's love is perfect in us.
1 John 2:3-5
"3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:"
If we do what He asks, His love will be perfect in us.
And the result is that he takes care of us. If we need something we only have to ask Him.
1 John 3:21-22
"21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him."
Does this mean that we can 'earn' something by doing His commandments?
No, we can never be justified to God by doing things that God says.
"20 Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law..."
"21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
The Israelites were looking for justification in doing what the law said.
Doing the law, however, doesn't bring justification, as we just read. But justification is still possible and there is nothing more to be done, because everything what had to be done Jesus already did.
Does this mean that we do not have to do the laws because God wrote them in our heart? No, definitely not! God still demands that we do what He commands, we just read that in 1 John.
What is the difference?
The major difference lies here, that our justification no longer depends on whether or not doing God's will. More or less convulsive fulfillment of God's law is now over. Anyone who did this, or does, should know that through the work of the Lord Jesus and our faith in Him, we ARE justified.
We can now rest of our work because we have found peace in Jesus.
"10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, ..."
This is the rest where the Feast of Booths points to. The Sabbath rest for the people of God. The rest that is possible because God is in their midst, and provides for them.
That's the rest they will enjoy because He creates "a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding-place from the storm and rain." (Isaiah 4:5-6)
Is this not the peace that we as Christians know? Isn't it true that we came to rest? (spiritually).
And isn't it true that God provides?
But the cloud too, or the Holy Spirit, is given to us.
And isn't the word that we have a glow of flaming fire, which illuminates our path? (Psalm 119:105)
These are all pre-fulfillments of what is indicated by the Feast of Booths .
But still this pre-fulfillment is only partly, although it is much better than what the Israelites knew in the desert.
It is clear that the rest we will enjoy when we are with Jesus, is of a higher order, then the rest we enjoy now as Christians.
All we know now, even all what we experience is still only partly. (1 Corinthians. 13:12 )
We can see that fulfillments are a cascading process.
The first fulfillment of the promise (made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), is the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt and live under the leadership of God in the desert and later in the promised land.
The relationship they had with God had worked through Moses and the priest. It was a natural nation, but led by the Spirit, Who was in the cloud, but they had no resident Spirit of God.
The second fulfillment is the one, which can be seen in the life of every Christian. Exodus from the world and life under God's guidance. The relationship with God is direct, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God.
In the Spirit we can speak directly with God, but this is purely a spiritual Matthew r.
The third and fourth fulfillment are for two different groups and are both at about the same time be fulfilled.
The third fulfillment is when the people of Israel as a people will live in the land of Israel and they will be reconciled with God. At that time Israel is a natural people whom will be filled with God's Spirit, from small to large. Also, the Lord will live literally in their midst. That this fulfillment goes beyond what the Christians experience now will be clear.
The fourth fulfillment will be a higher stage of fulfillment.
It is about the fulfillment that the Christians will experience, when the Lord comes. We will no longer be 'in the flesh ', but our bodies will be changed and we will be for ever, as sons of God, with Him.
There is no higher stage of fulfillment.
It is possible to go deeper in many of the things we discussed. And often there are more aspects that could be highlighted, but it is already much we have covered. And our goal is that we obtained some insight in God's salvation plan, as He showed that in His Feasts.
We will now cover the last feast: "The Closing Feast".
The Last Day, "The Closing Feast", the Seventh Feast
The seventh feast, is the feast of the last day or the 'Closing Feast'.
Following the fullness of time, which is indicated by the seven-day feast (the feast of Tabernacles), the feast of the eighth day is celebrated.
These seven days are pointing to the time of the millennial kingdom of peace. That eighth day follows immediately, and apparently has a direct relationship with the previous time.
What comes after the millennium peace kingdom?
That is the day of the harvest.
Jesus says the harvest is the end of the age.
He speaks in a parable about the children of the Kingdom, which are the good seed, and He talks about weeds: the children of the wicked.
(please read here Matthew 13:24-32 and 36-43)
In this parable Jesus makes it clear how things stand when the end of the age is there.
These words 'end of the age' indicate that everything that has to do with this world, has had his time.
The time is full, the world is approaching its end.
God will create a new heaven and a new earth.
So what will happen on that last day is the completion of God's plan that He has with this earth and with everything living there.
We have read in Matthew 13:39b, the last thing that will happen before the time of this world is full, is the harvest.
"... the harvest is the end of the world."
What harvest is Jesus speaking about?
He talks about a harvest where weeds and corn will be harvested at the same time.
Is this as Jesus comes back on the clouds and the believers will be united with Him?
No, because in that event, only the believers will be gathered and so to speak being brought in God's barn.
When Jesus comes back there is no question about gathering the weed and less of burning the weed. The fiery furnace has to do with the final judgement. With the latter judgement, held from the great white throne, will be judged if someone's name is written in the book of life or not.
(please read here Revelation 20:11-15)
Back to Matthew 13.
Jesus says in His parable, the enemy comes, and sow weeds in the midst of the newly sown corn.
But, you may say, in Rev.20 we read the devil will be bound in those 1000 years?
That's right. The parable tells us that the enemy, after sowing leave.
This leave is in line with his thousand years of bondage. He is no longer able to seduce people that thousand years. But he has, according to the parable, had a chance to sow weed between the children of the Kingdom. And this weeds comes after the 'enemy' has left.
According to the parable the angels want to weed it out between the corn, but the Lord says in verse 29 and 30:
"No, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"
Again, the harvest is the end of the world. Never before, not later.
40 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."
That eighth day, more or less a whole with the Feast of Booths, is symbolic of the party again, the rays of the righteous as the sun in the kingdom of God.
At all feasts, we have talked about 'pre-fulfilling'.
With this feast there is no real pre-fulfilling.
There is the case of two different groups of people, which in time will receive eternal life: The Christians and those involved in the judgement from the great white throne and appear to be in the book of life. However, both receive the same eternal life. And both groups will light up like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.
So no real pre-fulfillment within the meaning of the previously discussed pre-fulfillments. They were all of a lower order than the final fulfillment.
The closing feast is not only about the end of the world, with the latter judgement, but it is also the beginning of something new.
The Jews have understood this well, because on that eighth day of the feast of booths, they celebrate the 'feast of joy of the Torah'. Usually they speak of 'Joy of the law'. Each year, the reading of the Torah is finished on the eighth day of the Feast of Booths.
But as the psalm poet says:
"To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless."
So immediately after reading the end of the Torah, they start with the beginning of the Torah.
The new beginning, starting at the day of the end, is when the new heaven and new earth are created.
"1 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 longer any sea.
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 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."
5 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."
6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son."
What a great future.
How great is God that He set this all apart for us.
What is He great that He himself has ensured that we fell not outside his plans through our sins.
With this last feast, which was established by God, we are automatically at the end of our Bible studies about the feasts of God.
There are a few things remain, such as the meaning of the offering that were brought during these feasts and what the numbers mean in these celebrations.
In a subsequent Bible study, I hope we look to this.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path"
1 Corinthians. 13:12
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Matthew 13:24-32 and 36-43
The Parable of the Weeds
Jesus told them another parable:“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from? ’ “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up? ’ “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters:First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn. ’”
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 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, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
The Dead Are Judged
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire