Table of Contents

87. Atonement: The Power of an Endless Life

88. Atonement: No More Sin Conscientiousness

89. Atonement: Shared Suffering

90. Atonement: Obedient Unto Death

91. Atonement: No Contest

92. Atonement: The Unveiling

93. Atonement: Clarifying an Uncertain Sound

94. Atonement: A Nehemiah Company

95: Tabernacles

96. Tabernacles: According to the Power that Works in Us

Chapter Eighty Seven

The Feasts of God

Atonement

The Power of an Endless Life

 

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

Hebrews 7:1-3

 

And it is far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

Hebrews 7:15-16

 

The Day of Atonement observed under Old Testament law and the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in the New Testament, are two very different realities.  The observance of the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament is but a type and shadow of the power of an endless life, realized by those who are experiencing the fulfillment of the Feasts of God in the New Testament Church, during this new day (millennium) we have now crossed the threshold of.

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this.

 

Melchizedec is an interesting fellow.  Who do you suppose he was and still is?  He had no ancestry.  He had neither beginning of days nor end of life.  He was and is an eternal being.

 

Was he an appearance of Jesus long before Jesus was born of a virgin or was he perhaps even more than that?

 

In Ephesians 1:4, we are informed that we were in Christ before the foundation of the world.  This being true, in a time/space world, we are predestined to walk the walk we are walking.  Our destiny has been predetermined because it has already happened.

 

Like Melchizedec, we are eternal beings.  In a time/space world we have ancestry and unless we are of that generation that will simply put on immortality, we will eventually die physically.  However, in eternity we have always been and always will be.

 

We tend to think of eternity as going on forever into the future, but eternity is not only without end, it is without beginning.  Perhaps the best way to wrap our minds around the concept of eternity is to say it is an ever present now.

 

Someone has said that time was created to keep everything from happening at once.  I believe time is but a confirmation of what exists eternally in eternity.

 

As eternal beings we walk in the power of an endless life.  That power supersedes anything happening in the physical realm or in a time/space world.

 

We are not subject to the world system or to the religious systems of the world.  We are only and completely subject to the King of kings and Lord of lords, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, and our destiny is to reign with Him as the kings He is King of, and the lords He is Lord of.

 

We are being prepared for this role as a bride was prepared for her bridegroom in ancient Hebrew culture, and we are becoming the Sons of God.  In the Hebrew culture of the Bible a son was a mature child, ready to receive all his inheritance and use all the authority of his father’s name.

 

Hence, we have dual roles.  We are not only the Bride of Christ being prepared for our Bridegroom, we are also becoming the Sons of God, birthed by the Bride of Christ.  The Bride of Christ is that woman clothed with the sun, spoken of in Revelation 12:1 and the Sons of God are the man-child caught up to God’s throne of authority in Revelation 11:5.  You see, this has nothing to do with gender.  Rather it has to do with our destiny and how we get from where we are to where we are going.

 

The fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is about God changing us into His likeness, not instantly and supernaturally like those who hold to the doctrine of the rapture believe, but through the process of dying to self and allowing Christ to live His eternal life in and through us.

 

Likewise, the kingdoms of this world will not become the kingdoms of our Lord after Jesus touches down physically on the Mount of Olives.  The fulfillment of Revelation 11:15 has already begun and will accelerate as the so called second coming of Jesus takes place in a people, as He is fully developed in them.

 

Atonement in the Old Testament was about covering or hiding the people’s sins.  Atonement in the New Testament is about becoming a new people, walking in the power of an endless life, which is the Christ life.

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Absolutely we were born for such a time as this!

 

Chapter Eighty Eight

The Feasts of God

Atonement

No More Sin Conscientiousness

 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord;

I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.

Hebrews 8:10

 

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.  For then would they not have ceased to be offered?  Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Hebrews 10:1-2

Every year Israel observed the feasts we have been studying.  In the first month they killed the Passover lambs and painted the blood of the lambs on their doorposts, signifying God’s acceptance of them as His people; sanctified (set apart) from all the other nations of the world.

 

Six months later they observed the Day of Atonement; a time of repentance preparing them for the soon coming Feast of Tabernacles.

 

Is this any less than a type and shadow; a picture of the New Testament Church and the Kingdom of God coming in and on Earth as in Heaven?

 

We become the people of God by accepting the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus (the Lamb of God) (see John 1:29) at the time of the crucifixion; individually entering into that group through the blood of Jesus.  At this point in the history of our lives we are born again (born from above) (see John 3:3) and become new creatures in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17); like Israel, a chosen people and a holy nation (see 1 Peter 2:9).

This is our position.  This is who we are.  However, our experience doesn’t ever seem to measure up to our position.  Why do you suppose this is?

 

Could it be that we continue to focus on the sin in our lives that we seem to be powerless to overcome, rather than on who we have become and are becoming because of the shed blood of Jesus?

Could it be that we keep trying to overcome sin in our lives by changing our behavior, rather than fully and completely realizing who we are in Christ Jesus and allowing that knowledge and experience to change our behavior?

 

Could it be that we haven’t yet been able to fully enter into rest (ceasing from our own labor) (see Hebrews 4:10), and enter into the rest that remains for the people of God (see Hebrews 4:9)?

 

Could it be that on God’s timeline of history in a time/space world, where the Feasts of God are playing out in chronological order, it just hasn’t been time for this truth to become our experience?

 

As you contemplate these questions, let me interject this thought/reality/truth:

 

Saints of God, this is a new day.  It is the seventh day (millennium) of/since creation when we, the people of God, will enter into the same Sabbath rest that God entered into when He created the world.  This Sabbath rest is different from the Sabbath rests of the law.  The Sabbath rests of the law were temporal.  This Sabbath rest is eternal.  It is a once and for all rest.  It is a never ending rest.

 

Under the law there was a priesthood.  The Levitical Priesthood were the keepers of the law.

 

Today there is a new priesthood. 

 

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (emphasis added)

 

The Levitical Priesthood was a priesthood of the law and under the law.  Long before the law was given, there was another priesthood; the Melchizedek Priesthood.  The writer of Hebrews makes mention of this priesthood.

 

Now if perfection (a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper) had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood-for under it the people were given the Law-why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron?  For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well.  For the One of Whom these things are said belonged [not to the priestly line but] to another tribe, no member of which has officiated at the altar.  For it is obvious that our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and Moses mentioned nothing about priests in connection with that tribe.  And this becomes more plainly evident when another Priest arises Who bears the likeness of Melchizedek, [Ps. 110:4.]  Who has been constituted a Priest, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement [an externally imposed command concerning His physical ancestry], but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life.  For it is witnessed of Him, You are a Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek. [Ps. 110:4.]  So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness-for the Law never made anything perfect- but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God.

Hebrews 7:11-19 AMP

 

So, we are part of a priesthood that exists separate from the law, having been instituted before the law and being fulfilled after the law.  In the scope of eternity, Jesus (who was of the tribe of Judah rather than the tribe of Levi) was crucified long before the law was given; from the foundation of the world (see Revelation 13:8).  His crucifixion in a time/space world fulfilled the law.  Hence, we are no longer under the law but instead are under grace (see Romans 6:14).

 

Grace is not only unmerited favor, it is God’s empowerment.  Grace empowers us to overcome sin in our lives, not by changing our behavior but by a changing of the priesthood.  We are of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is not of the law but of an endless and indestructible life (see Hebrews 7:16).

 

To view sin from the perspective of the law produces in us a sin conscientious, which keeps us focused on sin rather than on the righteousness of God.  Jesus has made us the righteousness of God.

 

For he hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

 

We are becoming the righteousness of God if we are focused on His righteousness rather than on sin.  To focus on sin is to focus on the law and focusing on the law puts us under the law, negating the effect of grace in our lives.

 

To focus on the grace of God and His righteousness is to see from the eternal perspective; the perspective of an endless life.

 

Saints, we are not of the Levitical Priesthood.  We are of the Melchizedek Priesthood and as such we are entering into the Sabbath rest that God entered into on the seventh day of creation.  We have ceased from our own labor and are becoming what He has already made us to be.

 

Just as He was slain from the foundation of the world (see Revelation 13:8), we have been saved from the foundation of the world.

 

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.

Ephesians 1:4-9

Chapter Eighty Nine

The Feasts of God

Atonement

Shared Suffering

 

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

1 Peter 4:12-13

 

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

Romans 6:5

 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Philippians 3:10

 

Suffering has a purpose.  That purpose is our destiny.  Like patience, suffering is not to be embraced as a way of life but rather as the means to our destiny.  Our destiny will be fully realized when His glory is fully revealed in us and then to the Church and the world, making us glad with great joy that exceeds anything we have experienced so far in our walk with Him.  Then we will fully know and experience the unlimited power of His resurrection, glory to God!

 

Is this any less than Christ in us, the hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27)?

 

In Romans 6:5 the word planted is not so much about being placed in the ground as a seed would be planted, but rather is about the growth process that takes place after a seed is planted and has germinated.  The Amplified Bible makes the meaning a little clearer:

 

For if we have become one with Him [permantly united] in the likeness of His death, we will also certainly be [one with Him and share fully] in the likeness of His resurrection.

Romans 6:5 AMP

The growth process we experience is born out of suffering.  That process brings us to being one with Him in the likeness of His resurrection, which is the power of His resurrection; that resurrection being the limitless power of an endless life (see Hebrews 7:16).

 

By sharing His suffering and death we also share His resurrection and ascension.  Forty days after the resurrection Jesus ascended into Heaven.  Ten days later the Holy Spirit descended on the believers assembled in an upper room in Jerusalem.  The numbers forty and ten in Scripture are both representative of tests and trials.

 

We tend to think of tests and trials as they relate to suffering but suffering is only one aspect of being tested.  How we walk in the power of Jesus’ resurrection is also a test that proves His character in us, which is developed in us during times of suffering.  As His character is proved in us, determining the implementation and display of His power in our lives and ministries, the two working in concert with each other (character and power) bring us to maturity, enabling us to fully operate in all the authority of His name.

 

When this destiny is fully reached, we will not only experience and be recognized as the Bride of Christ, we will be revealed as the Sons of God.  This will be the culmination of Atonement in Tabernacles.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Romans 8:18-19

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Chapter Ninety

The Feasts of God

Atonement

Obedient Unto Death

 

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

 

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.

Job 13:15

Pride and humility are opposites. 

 

Jesus was God.  He left Heaven to come to Earth as a man.  He had every reason to be a very proud man considering where He came from and who He was.  Instead, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 

Not only was He the firstfruit of many more to come, He was the example for all those that would follow.

 

Having said that, it seems evident to me that the criteria for being a follower of Jesus is obedience unto death.

 

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 16:24-25 (See also Mark 8:34-35, Luke 9:23-24)

 

Following Jesus is a faith walk.  To walk in faith is to trust Him completely.  We have been taught to and perhaps practiced operating in faith to get what we want in life.  But seeking what we want is not important and it is not following Jesus.

To follow Jesus is to be humbled by dying to self, which is sharing in His suffering and death (see Romans 6:5, Philippians 3:10), allowing and enabling Him to live His life in us and through us.

 

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

 

You see, this faith walk we are on is not even our faith.  It is by the faith of the Son of God.  It is His faith we are operating in as we follow Him.

 

Are you seeing that it is not in any way, shape or form about us?  It is all about Him!  Following Him is actually about our getting out of the way so He can live His life in and through us.

 

The wonderful result of this is that we no longer have to perform.  All we have to do is get out of the way (die to self).  Dying to self takes all the pressure off us to perform. 

 

It is a place of complete rest and total trust.  It is a place of zero strife.  It is the place where we begin to share in the power of His resurrection and operate in all the authority of His name, because we have completely surrendered to Him and abandoned all our wants and desires to Him.

 

It is the place where His thoughts become our thoughts; where we only see what He sees and only hear what He hears, literally having the mind of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16).

 

For most if not all of us who are beginning to experience this place of complete rest and total trust, getting there has not been due to a decision on our part.  We have been presented with tests and trials in our lives, driving us to desperation with no other choice than to totally surrender; ceasing from our own labor, completely dying to self and accepting the walk we have been given to walk.  Just as He walked that path to Golgotha, carrying His own cross, so must we.

I am convinced that until we can say with Job, “Though he slay me yet will I trust in him,” we don’t really trust Him.  But I also know that because I have come to the place that Job did, I can now say with David, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (see Psalm 23:4).

Chapter Ninety One

The Feasts of God

Atonement

No Contest

 

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested [revealed], that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8

 

Have you ever watched the replay of a sporting event, knowing the outcome?  While there may be some enjoyment in reliving the outcome of the game, especially if your team won, the excitement you experienced the first time you watched the game, rooting for your team (uncertain of the outcome) is no longer present.

 

I suspect if we knew the outcome of sporting events before the game was ever played, there wouldn’t be many fans in the seats or viewers watching the TV.

 

I suppose the way the conflict between good and evil has been conveyed and perceived for the past six thousand years of mankind’s history on Earth and more specifically for the past two thousand years of Church history, makes a more exciting and entertaining story than the reality that there is really no contest between God and Satan.

 

For most of my life as a believer, I have had the perception that Satan is almost as powerful as God.  While I knew that in the end God would be victorious, I thought the daily battles of life were not only undecided but that Satan actually won many of them.

 

As God continues to bring me to that place of peace that passes all understanding (see Philippians 4:7), trusting in Him more than ever before and resting in the knowledge that He is totally in control, not only of my life but of the past, present and future history of planet Earth; I am coming to the realization that there is no contest between good and evil or between God and Satan.

 

Satan is a defeated foe with no power and no authority.  He is not a problem for the Church unless the Church perceives him to be a problem.  In reality, the greatest and actually the only problem we as believers have is sitting on our shoulders.

 

The mind that is not completely renewed to the Word of God is a mind that is focused (at least to some degree) on self.  The enemy that Christians so often blame for their problems is not the devil but instead is self.  We are our greatest enemy, which is why we must die to self, being crucified with Christ (see Galatians 2:20), sharing in His suffering and death, enabling us to not only know Him but to know the power of His resurrection (see Philippians 3:10)!

 

Jesus holds the keys of Hell (Hades) and death (see Revelation 1:18).  The devil doesn’t even have any power or authority there.  Jesus is in control of Hell, which the Amplified Bible defines as the realm of the dead, and death.  Only Jesus can lock or unlock those doors.

 

Keys are not only instruments that give us access to locks.  A key can be that which enables us to understand something.  I am convinced we have had a misunderstanding of the concept of Hell and death.

 

The meaning and purpose of Hell and death can only be found in Jesus as he is revealed to us in the Scriptures and by the Holy Spirit.

 

I could do much teaching on the truths I have mentioned here but that would take many pages of writing.  Perhaps at some point I will write a book on these subjects but for now, I encourage you to study all this out for yourself.

 

We have believed much that is just not right.  As a result, we have had a distorted view and understanding of the battle between good and evil/God and Satan.  Can a battle that is already won even be a battle at all?  And if there is no battle, why do we fight as if we are in a life and death struggle?

 

I am not trying to minimize the devil.  He is real.  He definitely exists.  But he only has power and authority over us if we give it to him. Actually, all the evil he is inflicting on mankind is about to come to an end because God is raising up a people that are coming to a complete understanding of who we are and the power and authority we possess.

There is no contest!  The devil is defeated and we are the victors. 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Chapter Ninety Two

The Feasts of God

Atonement

The Unveiling

 

The Revelation [manifestation] of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Revelation 1:1-3

 

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation [revelation] of the sons of God.

Romans 8:19

 

Saints of God, I submit to you that the revelation of Jesus Christ and the manifestation of the Sons of God are very closely related, and in the fullness of time actually are one and the same.

 

In the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus we find God’s instructions to Moses concerning the High Priest going into the Holy Place (Holy of Holies) behind the veil in the temple once each year on the Day of Atonement, to make sacrifice for the sins of the Israelites. 

 

God’s presence resided in the Holy of Holies and the High Priest had to follow God’s instructions precisely or he would die while in the Holy of Holies.  While other priests could enter the Holy Place only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and only on the Day of Atonement.

 

While in the wilderness at Mount Sinai, God had wanted to communicate directly with the entire nation of Israel, but the people became afraid and insisted on a separation between God and them, with Moses as the mediator.  God gave them what they wanted.  Hence, the separation between God and the people in the temple, with the High Priest as the mediator.

 

At the time of the crucifixion, the veil in the temple was rent in two from top to bottom (see Matthew 27:50-51, Mark 15:37-38, Luke 23:44-46), unveiling the presence of God, signifying that He no longer dwelt in a building made by the hands of men, but would now reside in a people.

 

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament [Covenant].

Hebrews 9:11-12, 15

 

Moses was the first mediator between God and His people.  Then the Levitical Priesthood, specifically the High Priest beginning with Aaron became the mediator.

 

Moses gave Israel the law and the Levitical Priesthood was established under the law.  The law could not bring men to perfection but could only cover (atone for) their sin, so they could be forgiven by God. 

 

Long before the Levitical Priesthood, God had established another Priesthood.  The Levitical Priesthood was temporal.  The other Priesthood is eternal.  The Levitical Priesthood could not bring perfection.  The other Priesthood can.  The Levitical Priesthood came about because the people didn’t want to know their God; they only wanted to associate with Him from a distance through a mediator.  But Jesus changed all that.  Jesus was not of the Tribe of Levi.  Jesus was of the Tribe of Judah.  Jesus became the eternal High Priest, whose blood did away with sin rather than just atoned for sin, now enabling man to reach perfection through an intimate relationship with Him.  As the mediator of the New Covenant, He doesn’t stand between the believer and God.  Rather, He bridges the gap, enabling the believer to come boldly before the Throne of Grace (see Hebrews 4:16) and have a face to face encounter with God!

 

Jesus is a High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec (see Hebrews 5:6, 6:20, 7:17).  The Melchisedec Priesthood is the Priesthood that was established long before the Levitical Priesthood.      

 

And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 7:15-16, 19

 

Moses the mediator and Aaron the mediator put distance between God and the people.  Jesus the mediator has bridged that gap enabling the people to become one with Him and with God.  As a result, not only is Jesus able to enter into that which is behind the veil; we are able to enter into that which is behind the veil (see Hebrews 6:19-20).  And what is behind the veil.  The very presence of Almighty God and everything His presence entails!

Even though the veil separating the people from God was rent in two, signifying that God no longer dwells in a building but in a people, He is still veiled from much of the Church and the world, hidden in a remnant of believers that carnal Christians and the world do not understand.  Hence, He must be revealed.  To reveal something is to unveil it.  When something is revealed or unveiled it is manifested.

That’s what took place that day on Patmos when John experienced The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  But it will find its fulfillment in the unveiling/revelation/manifestation of the Sons (mature believers) of God.

 

As a remnant of believers find themselves in an accelerated journey into maturity/perfection, the rest of the Church and the world will take notice.  The distorted view most Christians and non-Christians alike have of God will begin to clear up, as they witness genuine and unadulterated love being revealed in and through a people who have become selfless; filled with the fullness of the Godhead (see Colossians 2:9).

 

This is no less than the fulfillment of the Day (Feast) of Atonement.

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Chapter Ninety Three

The Feasts of God

Atonement

Clarifying an Uncertain Sound

 

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

1 Corinthians 14:8

 

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3

 

The gift of tongues has different purposes or uses.  On the day of Pentecost, as recorded in the second chapter of Acts, when about 120 believers first received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, there were Hebrews from different countries visiting Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.  Many of these Hebrews spoke the languages of the nations they resided in.  As those being baptized with the Spirit were speaking in tongues that day, those visiting Jerusalem heard the Gospel being preached in their native tongues.  Those speaking in tongues probably didn’t realize they were speaking in the native tongues of the visitors.  To those speaking it was an uncertain sound, but to those hearing it was a very certain sound.

 

This was a fulfillment of what took place on the day the Ten Commandments were given to Israel in the Saini wilderness, according to Jewish tradition.  The Jews taught that when God spoke the Ten Commandments, the sound waves from his voice left the mountain and traveled through the whole Israeli camp, enabling all the Israelites to hear the Ten Commandments simultaneously.  Not only did Israel hear the Ten Commandments, the surrounding seventy nations heard them in their native tongues.  Interesting!

 

So, as God spoke in the language of Heaven, the Israelites heard the Ten Commandments in Hebrew and the nations heard the Ten Commandments in their native tongues.  In both cases we have an uncertain sound becoming a certain sound when heard.

 

In 1970 God sent a young man from Indonesia to the United States to inform us of a revival taking place on the Island of Timor, which had, by the way, staved off a Communist takeover of Indonesia.  This young man, Mel Tari, spoke little English.  The Lord told him not to worry but that as he spoke those hearing would understand.

 

I heard Mel speak High Point, NC not long after he came to the United States.  For the first ten minutes or so I couldn’t understand a word he said.  Then, suddenly, I understood every word.  I don’t know if Mel started speaking good English or if I just heard English.  But this I do know: an uncertain sound had become a certain sound.

 

So it is with the Church.  For most of the past two thousand years since the Church was born on the Day of Pentecost, we have been speaking an uncertain sound.  It is a sound that has come out of much division and many doctrinal differences; confusing to those needing to hear the Gospel.  In spite of the preaching of the Gospel being an uncertain sound, miraculously many have responded to it, being genuinely born again (born from above).  But many more have not.

 

In this new day (millennium), as God is refining a remnant of believers, separating the dross from the gold within them and accelerating the process of maturation in them both individually and corporately; a small part of the Church is beginning to sound a much clearer call to the world, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom with much more authority than preachers of the Gospel in the past.

 

As a result, the true Church is growing faster than at any time in history.  James Rutz, in his book, “Megashift”, estimates there are 175,000 new believers being added to the Church every day throughout the world!

As this clear sound is heard by more and more people, I believe we will begin to see entire nations change for the better.  Like the revival in Indonesia saved that nation from Communism, I believe the Church in this new day (millennium) is going to bring about the fulfillment of Revelation 11:15:

 

The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

 

As this refining process brings believers into the unity of the faith (see Ephesians 4:13), the world will not only hear a clear sound being proclaimed by the Church, they will see it being demonstrated by the Church; not only by the power of the Holy Spirit but also by the fruit of the Spirit (which is the character of God) manifesting and being revealed in and through believers.

 

We will literally become that living epistle, read by all.

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Chapter Ninety Four

The Feasts of God

Atonement

A Nehemiah Company

 

So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.  And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.

Nehemiah 2:11-12

 

There it is again; three days.  There are so many threes in Scripture pointing to this third day (millennium) of the Church, which we are now entering into.

 

I find it interesting that Nehemiah arose at night.  On God’s timetable and the Jewish calendar, the day begins at evening, so the first part of the day is shrouded in darkness.

 

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Isaiah 60:1-3

 

Nehemiah is a type and shadow of the Remnant Bride of Christ that is arising under a blanket of darkness in the early hours of this third day of the Church, becoming a beacon to any who will follow and rebuild that which has been destroyed and lay in ruins.

 

Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time was a type and shadow of the Church, which has been destroyed by ideas and traditions of men and for most of the past two thousand years has not been the Church at all but only religious organizations void of life, where the Spirit for the most part has not been welcome and unable to have much influence.

 

Judah was first attacked by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 597 BC and captives were taken to Babylon.  In 586 BC Nebuchadnezzar attacked again, destroying Jerusalem for the most part, including the Temple.  More captives were taken leaving only a remnant of Jews in Judah.

 

Babylon was later conquered by Persia and in 445 BC Artaxerxes, King of Persia permitted Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and begin the rebuilding of the ancient city and the temple.

 

Artaxerxes sent army captains and horsemen with Nehemiah, plus letters for the governors beyond the Euphrates River, ensuring Nehemiah safe passage and supplies needed to rebuild Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 2:7-9).

 

The letters Artaxerxes gave to Nehemiah are a type and shadow of the authority the Remnant Bride of Christ is beginning to experience as we undertake rebuilding the Church in this third day (millennium), building in the pattern of the first century Church as it was founded by the Holy Spirit.

 

Like those that rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, we are being opposed by those who don’t discern God’s presence with us and His authority invested in us (see Nehemiah, chapter 4).  But, like those who rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls, our God is with us and we will prevail.

 

In order for Nehemiah to travel from Persia (modern day Iran) to Judah (modern day Israel) he had to cross two rivers; the Euphrates (in modern day Iraq) and the Jordan (the border between modern day Jordan and Israel) in order to enter the land with shores on the Mediterranean Sea.

 

I find the wording of Nehemiah 2:9 interesting, where Nehemiah is speaking of coming to the governors beyond the river, referring to the Euphrates. 

 

You may be aware of the River of Life movement that has swept through the Church in recent times.  While it may be hard to pin down what movements such as this actually represent, the River of Life movement seems to place great emphasis on experiencing God’s presence during times of worship with signs, wonders and miracles following.  Today there are numerous churches that incorporate some form of River of Life into their name, signifying they adhere to the River of Life concept.

 

I am a worship leader and as such I have witnessed and been a part of this River of Life experience and I can assure you, it is a wonderful place to be.  But as wonderful as it is, saints of God, I can also assure you there is more!

The river flows to the sea and it is the depths of the sea that are calling to me.

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Psalm 42:7

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14

 

God is taking me beyond the river to a deeper intimacy with Him, resulting from a much deeper trust in Him than I have ever known.  It is the place of perfect peace and total rest.  While I have not yet arrived, I am beyond the river and on my way, excited about reaching my destination (destiny), glory to God!

 

Nehemiah had been in the area of Jerusalem for three days when he surveyed the situation during the night with a few men (see Nehemiah 2:11-12).  We of the Remnant Bride of Christ (a few men) (Bride and men being gender neutral) are surveying the situation (seeing the failures of the Church Age but visualizing and beginning to experience the Kingdom Age).  We have come to this place riding a beast (the self-life we have been accustomed to).

 

As Nehemiah surveyed the situation, the first place he came to was the Gate of the Valley (see Nehemiah 2:13).  As we ride the beast of the self-life (carnality) we have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death (see Psalm 23:4), dying to self and the carnal nature.

 

Near the Gate of the Valley was the Dragon Well and the Dung Port (see Nehemiah 2:13). 

 

In scripture Satan is sometimes referred to as a dragon.  As the accuser of the brethren (see Revelation 12:10) it is his job to reveal and expose the carnal nature in us, which is the purpose of the tests and trials we endure in life.  Satan is God’s agent, presenting us with tests and trials, which we must inevitably overcome in order to progress beyond the carnal nature we inherited from Adam.

The Dung Port is representative of the religious ideas and traditions we thought were spiritual but in reality are not.  The apostle Paul spoke of this in Philippians 3:8-9:

 

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung [manure], that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

 

Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.

Nehemiah 2:14

 

To continue on into the things of God (the Gate of the Fountain/the King’s Pool) in this third day of the Church, we must lose the beast (carnal nature) we have ridden to the Gate of the Valley by the Dragon Well and the Dung Port.

 

And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.

Nehemiah 2:16

We of the Remnant Bride of Christ are a Nehemiah Company.  As we have been surveying the situation with a vision for rebuilding, most of the Church (especially the leaders in the Church) have no knowledge or understanding of our survey of the situation or of our vision to rebuild.

 

But they will.  We are a firstfruits company, a prophetic people, the last trump of God sounding a clear call and in the fullness of time many will rise up with us.

 

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 

 

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me.  And they said, let us rise up and build. 

 

So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Nehemiah 2:17-18

 

We will advance and build in the pattern of the first century church, established by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

 

Our journey began with Passover, Unleavened Bread and the Sheaf of Firstfruits.  We have traveled through Pentecost and are now experiencing Trumpets and Atonement.  Soon we will enter Tabernacles, knowing as we are known (see 1 Corinthians 13:12), seeing the Kingdom in fullness with all its glory!

 

The first six feasts have given and are giving us a glimpse of Tabernacles.  We have spied out the land and tasted of its goodness.  We are about to cross the Jordan and take possession of it.

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Chapter Ninety Five

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. 

 

And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.  And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. 

 

It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.  Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. 

 

And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord.

Leviticus 23:39-44

 

Tabernacles was to be celebrated in the midst of the seventh month for seven days.

 

Seven in Scripture is the number for completion and perfection.  Tabernacles is about completion and perfection.

 

The first prophetic fulfillment of Tabernacles took place when Jesus was born.  The second prophetic fulfillment of Tabernacles will take place in this seventh day (millennium) of/since creation.

 

Tabernacles, like Passover, is a three part feast.  Passover began with the Feast of Passover, followed by Unleavened Bread and the Sheaf of Firstfruits.  However, Tabernacles begins with Trumpets, which progresses into Atonement with Tabernacles being the end of the three part feast.

 

I believe that as we are crossing the threshold of this seventh millennium, a remnant is experiencing the fulfillment of Trumpets, becoming a Trumpet People, prophesying the coming Feast of Tabernacles.  Likewise, we are beginning to experience the fulfillment of Atonement, having been subjected to an intense and severe process of dying to self, not only being forgiven but becoming like God in nature and character.

 

This experience of Trumpets and Atonement is opening the door to Tabernacles

 

I think it is interesting to note that the Feast of Tabernacles was to be observed in the midst of the seventh month.  Perhaps it will be in the midst of this seventh millennium that we will come to a full understanding and working knowledge of Tabernacles.  I would hope it will be sooner but I know it will play out on the timeline of history just as God has purposed and planned.

 

I think we should also note that while Tabernacles lasted seven days, beginning with the Sabbath, it is spoken of as being between two Sabbaths, with the second Sabbath being the eighth day. 

The Bible goes into great detail concerning the first seven days (millennia) of mankind’s existence on earth.  We know little beyond that but here is a hint (a teaser if you will) of the eighth day (millennium).

 

That stirs an incredible excitement within me.  I think Tabernacles will be beyond anything we can ask or imagine but I am absolutely sure the eighth day will be far beyond anything we can ask or imagine.

 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

 

While many in the Church today are focused on so called end times or the end of time, Paul speaks of more ages to come and a world without end.  The eighth millennium, which Tabernacles hints of, is a new beginning, not an end. 

The books of Enoch, which Jude quoted in his epistle and the first century church believed to be truth, speaks of ten thousand years of history on planet Earth. 

 

The Kingdom of God is coming in/on Earth as in Heaven, and there will be no end to that Kingdom, glory to God!

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:7

 

Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Psalm 145:13 

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

 

Hallelujah! 

So be it.

Chapter Ninety Six

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

According to the Power that Works in Us

 

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (emphasis added)

 

What is the power that works in us?  Is it any less than the fullness of Christ (see Ephesians 4:13)?

 

Often we speak of believers who have been baptized with (immersed into) the Holy Spirit as being Spirit filled but technically it is not the Holy Spirit that indwells us, it is Christ that indwells us.

 

If it is Christ that is living in us and it is, then this life we are living in our physical bodies is not in any way about us.  No, it is all about Him.  It is about Him living His life in us and through us.  This is what the apostle Paul was talking about when he penned these words:

 

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

 

You see, it is not even our faith that enables us to live the Christ-life.  It is His faith.  Does that take the pressure off us or what!?

 

Realizing this truth is what enables us to enter into His rest.

 

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Hebrews 4:9

 

It is no longer about us performing.  It is no longer about what we can accomplish.  Rather, it is about our getting out of the way and letting Him do what only He can do.  It is His life that sustains our life.

 

Now let me take this a step further.  It is His living His life in us that enables us to live our lives in Him.  If He is in us and we are in Him, and He is living His life in and through us, then we are no different from Him.  We are one and the same with Him (see John, chapter 17).  As He is, so are we in this physical body, and so are we in the world (see 1 John 4:17).

 

So the power that works in us is the same power that is in Him.  Just how powerful is He?  Just how much power works in Him?  Of course these are rhetorical questions because there is no limit to the power that He possesses.  Hence, there is no limit to the power we possess.

 

So it is limitless power working in us enabling Him to abundantly exceed anything we can ask or imagine.

 

Saints of God, this is not about us getting our needs met.  Our needs have already been met if we are truly in Him and He is in us.  This is about the ages to come.  This is beyond the restitution of all things (see Acts 3:21).  This is beyond the perfecting of the saints, bringing us into the unity of the faith and to a complete, intimate knowledge of the Son of God (see Ephesians 4:12-13).  This is even beyond the need for the five-fold ministry (see Ephesians 4:11).

 

This is beyond the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.  As we have studied, Tabernacles was sandwiched between two Sabbaths, with the second Sabbath being the eighth day of the seven day feast.  Eight in Scripture is the number for new beginnings.  Our imagination is not big enough to even ask God for anything beyond the seventh day (millennium).

Think about all this.  Does it not leave you in awe of the God we serve and His incredible and unimaginable plan for mankind and planet Earth?  The volume of the Book (Bible, see Psalm 40:7/Hebrews 10:7) gives us a clear picture of the first seven days (millennia) of creation, but I suspect the glory that lies beyond the seventh day is so wonderful that our minds at the present time just couldn’t handle it.

 

We have just barely crossed the threshold of the seventh day and the prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles (which will come to fruition in this day), with the prophetic fulfillment of Tabernacles being almost more than we can imagine.  But having begun to experience the prophetic fulfillment of Trumpets and Atonement, I can assure you my imagination is running wild.  I can’t begin to express the excitement and anticipation I am experiencing just from getting a glimpse and taste of that which is coming.

 

Surely we were born, not only for such a time as this but for the ages to come! 

 

All glory to God!

 

The Feasts of God (11)