Table of Contents

 

97. Tabernacles: World without End

98. Tabernacles: The Opposite of Empty

99. Tabernacles: Deep Calling to Deep

100. Tabernacles: Completion = Safety

101: Tabernacles: Completion = Unity

102. Tabernacles: The Path to Unity

103. Tabernacles: The Path to Unity (2)

104. Tabernacles: The Path to Unity (3)

105. Tabernacles: The Path to Unity (4)

106. Tabernacles: The Path to Unity (5)

107. Tabernacles: The Path to Unity (6)

108. Tabernacles: God Dwelling (Tabernacling) with and in His People

Chapter Ninety Seven

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

World without End

 

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)

 

Trumpets and Atonement are a prelude to Tabernacles, which must be a prelude to the ages to come.

 

I’ve heard sermons and even songs about the end of time and the end of the world, but saints of God, I can assure you, it ain’t gonna happen.

 

The more I see of the coming fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, the more I don’t see my life as ever ending.  Whether I go by way of the grave or whether my mortality simply puts on immortality (see 1 Corinthians 15:53-54) is irrelevant.  My life will never end.

 

We are eternal beings and the world was created to last forever.  If you think Heaven is your home and you are going to play a harp on a cloud and walk on streets of gold forever, you had better think again. 

 

We were not made to retire.  We were created with purpose and that purpose is eternal just like we are.  We have things to do that we haven’t even yet begun to imagine.

 

The world as we know it began with God (see Genesis 1:1).  Initially it was formless (without form) and empty (void) (see Genesis 1:2).

 

Why was it formless and empty?  Because it was still in God.  It had not yet manifested in the physical realm.

 

Like Eve had to be taken out of Adam in order to complete Adam, the world had to be taken out of God to complete God.  God wanted a family.  To live without a family is a lonely existence.  It is the process of becoming one with a wife and producing a family that completes a man.

 

The volume of the Book (see Psalm 40:7/Hebrews 10:7) tells the story of God’s family.  Today we are seeing another manifestation of that family as the Remnant Bride of Christ is being taken out of the Body of Christ in order to complete the Body of Christ, which will ultimately manifest as the Sons of God.

 

While we are just beginning to get a glimpse of the next thing on God’s timeline of history, which is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles as recorded in the volume of the Book (Bible), I can assure you there is much more to follow what we now understand and are coming into a better understanding of in the volume of the Book.  Perhaps it is hidden in the prophetic layers of the volume of the Book, or perhaps it will take another book (possibly many others) to record the ages and eons to come.

 

If the world is without end as Paul taught, then time must be without end.  The concept of endless time is closely related to eternity.  In essence, as we accept the endlessness of time; time itself takes on an eternal quality and in a sense becomes one and the same with eternity.  Hence, in a sense time will be no longer (see Revelation 10:6) because it will be incorporated into, swallowed up and overwritten by eternity.

 

The difference is that while eternity is an ever present now, time plays out in chronological order.  Time is eternity played out in a progression of events.  Hence, we have a world with end.

 

About now you may be thinking, “What is the importance of all this knowledge?”

 

It is important because it rights wrong thinking we have embraced for centuries concerning Christian concepts such as Heaven, Hell, life and death plus our understanding of Biblical prophecy. 

 

I can tell you from experience that coming to a better understanding of time and eternity will open up the meaning of scripture to you in an amazing way.  Things that have seemed to be a contradiction in our past understanding begin to make perfect sense, and questions about certain scriptures just get cleared up.

 

Looking beyond Tabernacles as we study Tabernacles will give us better insight into Tabernacles.  However, we only have a hint of what lies beyond Tabernacles.

 

I find studying Tabernacles extremely exciting.  But we must realize we only have a glimpse of the coming prophetic fulfillment of Tabernacles.  There is much more to know than we can see at the present time.

But it is of great importance that we look (see) into Tabernacles as much as is possible as we continue on the journey into the prophetic fulfillment of Tabernacles.  We are pilgrims and trailblazers, and no one has traveled this way before on the timeline of history.

 

Surely we were born for such as this!

Chapter Ninety Eight

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

The Opposite of Empty

 

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:1, 3 (emphasis added)

 

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11 (emphasis added)

 

The earth did not come into existence until God spoke it into existence.  It was in Him; literally in His mouth and when He spoke it out of His mouth, it manifested in the physical realm.

 

You could say it was an idea or thought God had.  Ideas and thoughts are without form and empty (void), until they become reality in the physical realm.

 

Thomas Edison had an idea for a light bulb, but that idea had no form and was empty of reality.  Some five hundred tries later, his idea took on form and produced light, no longer just an empty idea but a reality in the physical realm.

 

However, when Edison produced light from a glass blub, the physical realm already existed.  But before God spoke the earth into existence and it manifested in the physical realm, there was no physical realm. So in essence, when He said. “Light be,” in order for that light to manifest, the physical realm had to come into existence.  So He not only spoke light into existence, He spoke the physical realm into existence, which includes the entire universe and whatever is beyond that, if in fact there is anything beyond it.

 

And not only did He speak the earth, the physical realm and the entire universe into existence, He spoke time into existence.  In order for light to grow in intensity until it fully enveloped creation, there had to be a timeline, so the progression of the growth of light intensity could play out chronologically.

 

Time is often measured in days.  I believe the creation was measured in literal twenty-four hour days.  But the history of mankind is measured in thousand year days.  That’s why the apostle Peter placed great importance on the truth that a day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day (see 2 Peter 3:8).

 

So when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (water having to do with life/there is water in every living thing) and He said, “Light be (see Genesis 1:2-3),” He set in motion not only the creation of all things but the process of all things playing out on a timeline of history.

 

When something comes to light, it is revealed.  When God spoke, He revealed what was already inside Him.  He wanted a family and creation was the vehicle to give Him that family.  However, like most if not all families that have graced the timeline of history, God’s family has at best been dysfunctional to some degree, if not completely most of the time.

 

God is love (see 1 John 4:8, 16).  Love desires a person and/or a people to bestow love upon. 

 

For those of us who have been exposed to at least some revelation of the love of God in our lives, no matter how dysfunctional our families are, we love them.  We may not like them and at times we may even become very angry at them, but there is a force deep within us that still loves them.

 

That force deep within us is the love of God.  However, we must understand the love of God in the context that God does not practice love, He is love.  The practice of love is simply an expression of who He is.  So if we have been exposed to at least some revelation of the love that God is, He is somewhere deep within our being, at least in a measure.  And like all creation and the family He desired was deep within Him before He spoke it out of His mouth, He was deep within us before we confessed Him in the person of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  It was in the confessing of Him that we birthed Him out of us at the time we were born again (born from above, see John 3:3), or in essence began to manifest His love in our lives; that love having been hidden deep within us.

 

There are those who are manifesting His love in a very small measure, having been exposed to or at least living in a society where there is known revelation of His love.  However, because they are not born again, that measure of love they are manifesting is only in part, probably more emotional than real and possibly perverted in some way.

 

I have heard it said there is a God shaped void within each of us.  It is only as God himself fills that void that genuine love can manifest out of us.

 

For those who are not born again, that small measure of God’s love hidden deep within them cries out for more, even though they may be unaware of what it is they desire.

 

For those of us who are born again, that greater measure of God’s love deep within us pants after more of Him, passionately desiring the fullness of everything He is.

 

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

 

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

Psalm 41:7

 

(Where water is mentioned in each of the above scripture references, think of water as being synonymous with life.)

 

There is a remnant on Earth today that is experiencing this more intensely than any generation before, because of where we are on God’s timeline of history.  This remnant is beginning to experience the ultimate fulfillment of Trumpets and Atonement as we are getting a glimpse and taste of Tabernacles.

 

God’s Word is not empty.  God’s Word is full of everything that God is.

 

To give one’s word is to guarantee that word by one’s character.  One’s character is the manifestation of all the goodness in that person. 

 

When God spoke His Word in the beginning He said, “Light be.”  Light invaded the darkness.  Darkness is any place that is void of the Light that God is.  The Light has been invading the darkness ever since.  This is why Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (see Matthew 24:14, Mark 16:15).  When we speak the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is the blessing of Abraham, into the lives of people and even into entire nations, the Word we speak will not return to us or to God empty (void).  It will accomplish all it is sent to do.  This is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, when God tabernacles with His creation, ultimately becoming one with it.  He was one with it before He spoke it out of His mouth, and He will once again be one with it on the timeline of history.  This is when the kingdoms (nations) of this world will become the Kingdom of God (see Revelation 11:15).

 

When God became a man, born as Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem at the time the Feast of Tabernacles was being celebrated, He tabernacle with mankind.  But that first tabernacling with mankind, which the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Old Testament pointed the way to, was but the door into the ultimate fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, which will take place during this seventh day (millennium) of/since creation, which is the third day (millennium) of the Ekklesia (Church), when Jesus will be fully developed in a people, perfecting His body (the Body of Christ).

 

Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.

Jesus in Luke 13:32 (The third day (millennium) in this scripture reference referring to the third day (millennium) of the Church.)

 

This is the fulfillment of all He sent His Word forth to do.  This is the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah 55:11, because when Jesus is perfected in the Body of Christ, creation will experience the restitution of all things (see Acts 3:21), completing and bringing to perfection all of creation, glory to God! 

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this.

Chapter Ninety Nine

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

Deep Calling to Deep

 

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

Psalm 41:7

 

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

 

The hallmark of the Remnant Bride of Christ, currently being taken out of the Body of Christ in order to complete the Body of Christ, just as Eve was taken out of Adam in order to complete Adam, is worship.

 

And much more than what traditional church has called worship for most of the past two millennia.  The hallmark of the Bride of Christ is intimate worship born out of a passion for our creator unlike anything experienced before on planet Earth, except perhaps by a few, at least in some measure.  David comes to mind.

 

In the spring of 2000 the Lord spoke to me and said, “I am now anointing you to lead praise and worship.”  With no real desire to be a worship leader, I said, “Okay.”

 

I had been a musician, singer and entertainer most of my life but when it came to worship, I preferred to be in the audience rather than on the stage.  However, on that spring morning when he anointed me to lead praise and worship, how could I say anything but, “Okay?”

 

In the time that followed I began to get prophetic words, mostly from strangers, which basically said that I am a David.

 

I knew David was a worshipper, so naturally these prophetic words excited and inspired me.  But what I failed to realize was the price David paid to become a worshipper.  I didn’t know that being a David would take me through a season of severe tests and trials in my life unlike any I had ever experienced before.

 

Neither did I consider that being a worshipper was only part of David’s anointing.  He had been anointed by Samuel to be King of Israel, and ultimately the tests and trials he endured in concert with his passion for his God, would lead to the throne.

 

Add to all this that he was not only a worshipper, he was a prophet. 

 

Saints of God, this is a picture, a type and shadow of the fulfillment of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles.

 

As a worship leader my job is to lead people into the presence of God.  But as worshippers, we of the Remnant Bride don’t need someone to lead us into worship or into His presence.  The passion we have for Him is enough and our entire lives are lived in pursuit of Him. 

 

If you’ve ever been in love, you know what I am talking about.  You become obsessed with that person.  All you think about is that person.  You passionately desire that person.

 

So it is with the Remnant Bride of Christ.  We are obsessive about our Creator.  We think about Him all the time and love to talk about Him.  We desire Him more than we desire life itself.

 

The deep within us calls to the deep within Him and vice versa.  We will not be satisfied until we receive and know all there is of Him, completely losing our identity in Him.

 

This is why in western culture the wife takes the name of her husband.  She loses her identity in him just as we lose our identity in our Lord.

 

This deep intimacy that we passionately seek is the beginning of the fulfillment of Tabernacles.  Those of us of the Remnant Bride are the firstfruits of many more to come.  We are pilgrims and trailblazers, no longer content with where we are as we are in hot pursuit of all He is.

Surely we were born for such a time as this!  All glory to God!

Chapter One Hundred

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

Completion = Safety

 

For I shall cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.

Exodus 34:24

 

It is not enough to accept and have an understanding of Passover, nor is it enough to accept and have and understanding of both Passover and Pentecost.  We must accept and have an understanding of all three feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles

 

God promised Israel that if they would keep these three feasts each year he would protect them from other nations and from thieves within their nation.  They would not have to be concerned about their property or possessions while they were away focusing on the feasts.

 

The feasts are a picture, a type and shadow of not only the New Testament Church but of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus told us that to seek the Kingdom is to have all our needs met (see Matthew 6:33).  Not only will God provide everything we need, He will protect the supply He gives us, including our property.

 

That’s why as I have begun to experience the three part Feast of Tabernacles, I have come to a place of rest in the knowledge that I don’t have to worry or be concerned about things.  If I will but seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, giving that pursuit first place in my life, all the things I need will be added to me.

 

Another way of saying it is that we are to seek His face instead of His hand.  Pentecost has focused on seeking His hand but in Tabernacles we will come to know Him as we are known by Him, communing with Him face to face as a friend to a friend (see 1 Corinthians 13:12/John 15:15).

 

That kind of relationship produces in us a deep trust that He will not only provide all we need but protect all we have.  Should it appear otherwise, we rest in the knowledge that we are still in His protection and provision regardless of what the situation looks like.

 

Understanding and having a working knowledge of the prophetic significance of the feasts, with Passover and Pentecost coming to fullness/completion in Tabernacles, is a place of safety. 

 

As we begin to live and walk in eternity as a result of our experiencing the reality of the feasts, we become less concerned about the present, physical realm we have been born into and find our safety in the eternal realm, experiencing the power of an endless life (see Hebrews 7:16), having been born again.

 

Tabernacles is our place of safety.  Tabernacles is our place of fullness, completion and perfection.  And Tabernacles is our destiny, glory to God!

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Chapter One hundred One

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

Completion = Unity

 

And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

Unity in the Body of Christ looks impossible.  For most of the past two thousand years God has had a dysfunctional family.  The Church has been ravaged by heresy and division.  While there have been pockets of revival throughout the Church’s history, those revival movements were but stepping stones to the full restoration and completion of the Church.

 

Looking at the organized church, including denominations and independent churches, one could question if those stepping stones of revival have taken us anywhere.  There still appears to be much heresy and division.

 

But a look beyond the organized church reveals a much different picture. 

 

James Rutz has written a book, entitled Megashift, in which he documents the world-wide house church movement.  According to Rutz, there is possibly as many as 175,000 new believers being added to the Church every day!  Even more amazing than that, these house church networks are meeting together in unity, being built up and are growing into the fullness of Christ.

 

Today God is re-establishing a true five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) and those ministry functions are doing their job, which is motivating believers in their journey toward perfection, equipping them for ministry, thus building up the Body of Christ; until we all come into the unity of the faith with a complete knowledge of (an intimate relationship with) the Son of God, ultimately being perfected with that perfection being measured by the full stature of Christ!

 

Saints of God, this is our destiny!  This is where we are headed.  This is who we are, glory to God!

 

However, at the present time we are in a state of transition.  I don’t think God is going to suddenly and completely do away with the old and start over with the new.  I am realizing we are in a process of change.  While that process appears to be sudden for some, for others it seems to be gradual. 

 

But whether sudden or gradual, change is taking place.  We are in the beginning stages of entering the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, and Tabernacles is about completion and unity, when Jesus is fully formed in believers to the point that we look, think and act just like Him, with Him living His life in and through us!

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Chapter One Hundred Two

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

The Path to Unity

 

And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith…

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

What is often referred to as the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are not offices to be held or titles to put in front of someone’s name.  They are services to the Body of Christ.

 

In ancient Greek there was no punctuation so it was added by the translators.  Often where a comma is placed can change the meaning of a sentence, which I believe is the case with the above scripture.

 

The way it is written in the KJV implies that some believers were given apostles, some prophets etc.  Remove the commas, replace the semicolons with commas, and I think a truer meaning of the text can be understood:

 

Jesus gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, implying that all believers are not called and anointed for these specific areas of service but some are and they are given to the entire Body of Christ, not just to some of the Body of Christ.

 

Now, let’s look at each of these services to determine how they are to serve the Body of Christ.

 

The Greek word for apostle is apostolos and literally means one sent forth, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. 

 

Before the Day of Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension, Peter, obviously having an understanding of the prophetic significance of the Psalms, determined someone should take Judas’s place as an apostle and overseer (bishoprick in Greek) (see Acts 1:16-20).  He then determined that this person would be qualified because he had been with the original twelve apostles from the beginning, when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan (see Acts 1: 21-22).

 

Two men were then chosen as candidates by the remaining eleven apostles: Barsabas and Matthias. They prayed that God would show them which one was His choice and cast lots to determine God’s choice.  The lot fell on Matthias and he officially became Judas’s replacement.

 

It is interesting to me that there is no more mention of Matthias in the Bible. 

 

We know that Peter by nature was rather impulsive and quick to act, often without much if any reasonable thought.  Could it be he got ahead of God in choosing Judas’s replacement, understanding the prophetic nature of Psalms but trying to implement the prophecy himself, rather than waiting on the Lord to choose the apostle that would fill Judas’ position? 

 

Remember, this was before the Day of Pentecost, when the baptism with the Holy Spirit was introduced and the Church was born.  To cast lots to determine God’s choice was an Old Testament practice.  In the New Testament, believers are to be led by the Spirit, enabled by being baptized with the Spirit; not by the casting of lots or any other method.

 

Not only was Peter getting ahead of God, he was using an outdated method to determine the will and direction of God.

 

In the ninth chapter of Acts is the narrative of Saul, later named Paul, who was on the road to Damascus with orders to find Christians, take them prisoner and bring them to Jerusalem, probably to stand trial.  This was a time of great persecution for the Church. 

 

You probably know the story of how Saul (Paul) fell to the ground as a bright light from heaven illuminated him, and how Jesus spoke to him in an audible voice, commissioning him as an apostle.

 

I think there is a real possibility that Paul was God’s replacement for Judas.

 

In 1 Corinthians 3:10 Paul called himself a wise master builder.  In the KJV master builder is one word.  The Greek word for masterbuilder is architekton, from which we get the English word architect.

 

So, in addition to being one sent forth, an apostle is also the architect of the Church.  An architect is the person with the blueprint, knowing how something is to be built.

 

True apostles have an understanding of the structure and function of the Church, which is a people and never a physical building.  The blueprint Paul used to establish the Church in the nations he visited was basically the same blueprint the apostles used in Jerusalem.  It was house churches connected into networks.  In Jerusalem they came together in the Temple.  In other places they evidently came together from time to time in facilities that were possibly rented or borrowed.  We find an example of this in Acts 20:7, when Paul was in Troas.  However, it seems the basic assembling together of the Church was in small groups in homes.  The idea of church buildings didn’t come into play until about the fourth century and was instituted by a spiritually dead, religious organization known as the Catholic Church.

 

The idea of church buildings was then carried on during and after the Protestant Reformation, right on up until the present day.  It was unscriptural then and it is unscriptural now.

 

In Galatians 4:19 we find another function of an apostle:

 

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…  (see also 1 Thessalonians 2:9, 2 and Thessalonians 3:8).

 

An apostle is an intercessor, travailing as in giving birth in order that Christ be formed in those he is ministering to and overseeing in an apostolic capacity.

 

I know from experience this travailing is not an enjoyable experience but rather a burdensome one.  However, it is necessary and required of a true apostle.

 

I hope you are beginning to see why and how an apostle is part of the foundation the true Church is built upon (see Ephesians 2:20).

 

Apostles have been non-existent or ignored by Christianity for most of the past two thousand years.  Today, I suspect most so called apostles are self-appointed or man-appointed individuals, seeking notoriety rather than the true servants we find in the pages of the New Testament.  However, there are those truly appointed apostles who understand the nature and function of their servitude. 

 

Without them the Body of Christ will never grow to maturity or come into the unity of the faith.  But God has established modern day apostles for that seemingly impossible task and I can assure you, the Lord Jesus will have a glorious Church to present to Himself (see Ephesians 5:27).

 

Apostles definitely have a part to play in the until of Ephesians 4:13:

And he [Jesus] gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [Un]till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-15  (Change of punctuation to give a clearer meaning.)

In our next reading we will look at the function of prophets is the New Testament Church.

Chapter One Hundred Three

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

The Path to Unity (2)

 

And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith…

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

In our last teaching we began to study what is often referred to as the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers).  We established that these are not offices to be held or titles to put in front of someone’s name.  They are services to the Body of Christ.

 

In ancient Greek there was no punctuation, so it was added by the translators.  Often where a comma is placed can change the meaning of a sentence, which I believe is the case with the above scripture.

 

The way it is written in the KJV implies that some believers were given apostles, some prophets etc.  Remove the commas, replace the semicolons with commas, and I think a truer meaning of the text can be understood.

 

Jesus gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, implying that all believers are not called and anointed for these specific areas of service but some are.  Those who serve in these various functions are gifts to the entire Body of Christ, not to just some or a few.

 

We briefly looked at the function or service of an apostle.  Now let’s consider the function or service of a prophet

 

The Greek word is prophetes.  According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, it means one who speaks forth or openly; a proclaimer of a divine message.  The Greek for prophecy is propheteia and signifies the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God.

 

Webster says prophecy is a divinely inspired prediction, instruction, exhortation, utterance or revelation.

 

So, while prophecy can predict the future it is also simply the Word of the Lord for a specific time, situation, person or people.

 

In my experience, New Testament prophecy is usually for encouragement and guidance.  However, there is also prophetic teaching, which deals with revelation, which should always be in line with scripture and usually is received in conjunction with studying scripture.

 

While all of these prophetic gifts or exercises can be experienced and utilized by any believer as that believer is inspired by and led of the Holy Spirit, there are those anointed to operate in the ministry of prophet.  While all can prophecy, there are those who are prophets.  It’s not really clear what identifies one as a prophet, considering that all believers have the ability to prophesy, but I think it is safe to say that a true prophet more than likely prophesies more frequently than other believers and hopefully is more seasoned and experienced at prophesying, with perhaps a better understanding of utilizing the gift of prophecy.

 

Without prophetic words spoken to me over the past several years, often by believers that didn’t know me, I might have given up on the call of God on my life.  The tests and trials I experienced for several years were so intense that I probably would have despaired and quit.  It was the encouraging words I received that encouraged me to continue.

 

Before we move on I should point out that all prophecy should be judged (see 1 Corinthians 14:29).  Never accept a prophetic word just because someone said, “Thus saith the Lord” or “The Lord says” etc.  If a prophetic word does not bear witness with your spirit, don’t accept it as being from the Lord.  I would encourage you to not immediately dismiss it either.  Rather, put it on a shelf in your mind, so to speak, and if it is of the Lord, in time you will come to realize it.  If it is not of the Lord, eventually forget it.

 

At times I have received prophetic words that were true in part (see 1 Corinthians 13:9).  I had to discern what part of the prophetic word was actually a word from the Lord and which part was not.

 

We also must realize that sometimes prophetic words are conditional.  They will only come to pass if we do what needs to be done to bring them to pass.

 

At other times there are prophetic words that are a warning of impending doom unless intercession is made, which can change the outcome of the prophetic word.

 

In his second letter to the Church at Thessalonica Paul admonished us to:

Despise not prophesyings.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

2 Thessalonians 5:20-21

 

The New Testament Church will not come to maturity/fullness/completion/perfection without the ministry of prophets.  Apostles and prophets are the foundation of the Church (see Ephesians 2:20), often working together, and without a proper foundation the Church will remain weak and possibly fail in its purpose.

 

But that’s not the case as we enter this new day (millennium) on the timeline of history.  God is restoring true apostles and prophets to the Church and they are learning to function as He has purposed they should.

Chapter One Hundred Four

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

The Path to Unity (3)

 

And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith…

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

In our last two teachings we have been studying what is often referred to as the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers).  We established that these are not offices to be held or titles to put in front of someone’s name.  They are services to the Body of Christ.

 

In ancient Greek there was no punctuation so it was added by the translators.  Often where a comma is placed can change the meaning of a sentence, which I believe is the case with the above scripture.

 

The way it is written in the KJV implies that some believers were given apostles, some prophets etc.  Remove the commas, change the semicolons to commas, and I think a truer meaning of the text can be understood:

 

Jesus gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, implying that all believers are not called and anointed for these specific areas of service but some are.

 

We have briefly looked at the function or service of apostles and prophets.  Now let’s consider the function or service of an evangelist.

 

The Greek word is euangelistes.  According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, it literally means a messenger of good.

 

Webster says that an evangelist is, among other things, an itinerant or special preacher; a revivalist; a person marked by evangelical enthusiasm for or support of any cause.

 

In recent times the Church seems to have defined an evangelist as one who travels and preaches the Gospel of Salvation.  Their primary ministry has not been to the Church but to the lost.  However, this is not in line with Ephesians 4:11-13, which clearly states the evangelistic ministry is primarily for and to the Church.

 

Looking at Vine’s and Webster’s definitions of an evangelist in light of Ephesians, it becomes clear that an evangelist is first of all an encourager and then one who stirs up or sparks enthusiasm among believers.  While this is part of the job description of apostles and prophets, it must be the primary function of the evangelist.

 

My friend, Miguel Escobar, who ministered in over ninety nations and recently transitioned to Heaven, was considered to be a revivalist.  When Miguel ministered, the presence and power of God manifested in such a way that believers were stirred and inspired, leaving the meeting with a renewed or new found excitement and enthusiasm to live and preach the Gospel.  I think Miguel fits the description of an evangelist.

 

Smith Wigglesworth was considered by some to be a healing evangelist.  His message was one of God’s goodness in the area of physical healing and he demonstrated it with many miraculous healings in his meetings.

 

The leaders of great revival moves such as Evan Roberts (the Welsh Revival beginning in 1904) and William Seymour (The Azusa Street Revival in Los Angles, California beginning in 1906) also fit the description of evangelists since they were messengers of the goodness of God and demonstrated it with signs and wonders.

 

I could name many others but I think you get the point. 

 

Jesus didn’t preach the Gospel of Personal Salvation.  He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom.  The personal salvation gospel seems to focus on getting people to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can escape Hell and go to Heaven when they die.  It is based on a misconception of Heaven and Hell and for the most part ignores God’s perfect (good) plan of restitution for all of His creation.

 

The Gospel of the Kingdom is more about the here and now and focuses on becoming overcomers in this life on Earth rather than waiting for some pie in the sky.

 

So, while the evangelist may get some people born again (born from above), the primary job of the evangelist is to help believers stay the course and overcome, experiencing and living the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Personal salvation or being born again is necessary to see and experience the Kingdom (see John 3:3), but it’s not about going to Heaven when you die.  It’s about bringing Heaven to Earth. 

When we fully realize that we passed from death to life (not future but a present event) when we were born again, we will stop looking for everything to be made right when we die and go to Heaven or when we suddenly disappear in a so called rapture.  Rather, we will begin to live and bring about the convergence of Heaven and Earth.

 

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21:1-3

Chapter One Hundred Five

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

The Path to Unity (4)

 

And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith…

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

We have been studying what is often referred to as the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers).  We established that these are not offices to be held or titles to put in front of someone’s name.  They are services to the Body of Christ.

 

Because there was no punctuation in ancient Greek, I think removing some of the commas and adding commas where there are semicolons in the above scripture reference gives us a better understanding of what the apostle Paul was saying when he penned these words.

 

Jesus gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, implying that all believers are not called and anointed for these specific areas of service but some are.

 

We have briefly looked at the function or service of apostles, prophets and evangelists.  Now let’s consider the function or service of pastors.

 

According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words the Greek word for pastor is poimen.  It means a shepherd; one that tends herds or flocks (not merely one that feeds them) and is used metaphorically of Christian pastors. 

 

A thorough study of the New Testament makes it clear that pastors were also referred to as elders, bishops and overseers (see Acts 14:23, 20:17 and 28/Titus 1:5/1 Peter 5:1-2).  Vine’s also makes this clear.

 

In modern English, I think overseer best describes the function and service of a pastor.  A pastor is not to be the CEO of the local church and is in no way to control those he/she ministers to.  The pastor simply oversees the local assembly as it is led by the Holy Spirit.  He/she is to lead by example for the most part, rather than by function.  The only time a pastor’s function becomes that of a leader is when it becomes necessary to bring an out-of-order meeting back in line with the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Even when this becomes necessary, whenever possible it should be undertaken in a subtle way so as to not embarrass or offend the one or ones hijacking the meeting, if possible.

 

We should note here that the local church meetings are to be conducted in small groups in homes, for the most part.  Pastors being over large so called churches meeting in church buildings is totally unscriptural.  It is the product of ideas and traditions of men rather than according to God’s blueprint for the Church, and while God has blessed that model during the prophetic fulfillment of Pentecost, He will not bless it during this ultimate and final prophetic fulfillment of Tabernacles.

 

A common and widely accepted mindset that was and is practiced in the Catholic Church, was carried over into the Protestant Reformation and which continues to be prevalent in most independent churches is the clergy/laity system, which gives man-ordained pastors a position of prominence over their congregations and authority that is not only unscriptural but dangerous.  This practice has not only stunted the growth of believers, it has kept them functioning as workers in the church rather than ministers.  Scripture makes it clear that we are all to minister to one another as we are led by the Spirit to do so.

 

The clergy/laity system is the practice of the Nicolaitans spoken of in Revelation 2:6 and 15, which Jesus said he hated.  Evidently this practice had crept into the church long before the Catholic Church made it a major part of the foundation of their denomination.

 

This practice has given so called pastors, who go by different titles in different denominations (father, reverend, rector, etc.) a position of prominence and power, elevating them above apostles and prophets and usually in the absence of apostles and prophets. 

 

When is the Church going to realize there is no other way but God’s way and that to practice any other way is sin?  When are believers going to realize that to practice anything other than that which Scripture reveals as truth is to set themselves up for failure?  Why do Christians think they have a better way than God’s way?  To do so is not only arrogant, it is extremely dangerous!

 

It is time we divorce ourselves from ideas and traditions of men and make a quality decision to build only in and upon the pattern established by the Holy Spirit in the first century.  Those that refuse to are going to be left behind in this new day (millennium) we are now entering, as Jesus is building His glorious Church that He will present to Himself without spot, wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish (see Ephesians 5:27)

 

.

Chapter One Hundred Six

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

The Path to Unity (5)

 

And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith…

Ephesians 4:11-13

 

We have been studying what is often referred to as the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers).  We established that these are not offices to be held or titles to put in front of someone’s name.  They are services to the Body of Christ.

 

In ancient Greek there was no punctuation so it was added by the translators.  Often where a comma is placed can change the meaning of a sentence, which I believe is the case with the above scripture.

 

The way it is written in the KJV implies that some believers were given apostles, some prophets etc.  Remove the commas and I think a truer meaning of the text can be understood:

 

Jesus gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, implying that all believers are not called and anointed for these specific areas of service but some are.

 

We have briefly looked at the function or service of apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors.  Now let’s consider the function or service of teachers.

 

According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words the Greek word for teacher is didaskalos.  In the Jewish culture of the Bible the word rabbi was used to describe a teacher as is still the case among Jews today.

 

In Jewish culture it was used as a title and considered to be a position of prominence.  It also meant master.   Hence, Jesus put rabbis in their place in the twenty-third chapter of Matthew (see Matthew 23:1-12) and told His disciples they should not take the title of Rabbi because there is only one Master, which is Christ.

 

He made it clear that in the New Testament Church those with the greatest functions should consider themselves servants.  He went on to say that whoever exalts himself will be abased but the humble will be exalted.

 

The function or service of a teacher is simply to teach.  While anyone can teach in the right situation as they are led of the Spirit to do so, there are those anointed teachers with an ability to articulate scripture in such a way that it is hopefully better understood by other believers.

 

While there are those who function primarily as teachers, I think most apostles and pastors are also teachers, as may be the case with evangelists and even with prophets.

Teaching can be general or on a specific subject.  Where the prophetic is concerned, there is prophetic teaching, shedding light on prophetic scripture.

 

Teaching is listed last in Ephesians 4:11, but is in no way any less important that the function of apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors.  It will take all five of the so called five-fold ministry to bring the Church to completion/maturity/perfection.

Chapter One Hundred Seven

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

The Path to Unity (6)

 

And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto itself in love.

Ephesians 4:11-16

 

Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25

 

Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are to serve the Body of Christ until…  Until we all come into the unity of the faith, being completely perfected with a full knowledge or revelation of the Son of God.

 

Are we there yet?  Of course not.  But we will get there, glory to God!  And the purpose of the five-fold ministry is to assist us in getting there.  It is their job to work themselves out of a job, always moving toward the time when they will no longer be needed because the Body of Christ will have grown up into Christ in everything, fully recognizing Him as our only Head, with the Body being properly fitted together, functioning as one unit, increasing and building itself up in love.

 

Wow!  I don’t know about you but I can hardly wait.

 

That’s why Hebrews 10:24-25 is so important.  This scripture is not about going to church.  It is about being the Church.  It is about assisting each other as we grow into the unity of the faith.  It is about serving and ministering to one another.  It is about walking in the covenant we share with all believers.

 

We’ve got to stop dividing along doctrinal lines and start allowing each other room to grow.  We are all in the process of maturing.  We just happen to be at different places or levels of maturity.  As a result we are not seeing the Kingdom from the same vantage point, resulting in doctrinal differences.  And that is okay, for now.  If we will accept each other with our differences, we will continue to grow into the unity of the faith, until…

 

This must become our position because the day, which the writer of Hebrews saw approaching, is no longer approaching.  Saints of God, it is here!  It is the third day (millennium) of the Church and the seventh day (millennium) of/since creation.  It is the day when we will come into the unity of the faith,  seeing exactly what our Lord is seeing, hearing exactly what He is hearing and as a result, doing exactly what He is doing.  We will fully and completely become the extension of Him.  We will fully and completely recognize Him as our Head and we will fully and completely function as His Body.

 

This is what the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles is about.  God is beginning to tabernacle with His people in such a way that there is becoming no difference between us and Him. 

 

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

1 John 4:16-17

This is our position becoming our experience.  Glory to God!

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

Hallelujah!

Chapter One Hundred Eight

The Feasts of God

Tabernacles

God Dwelling (Tabernacling) with and in His People

 

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21:1-3 (emphasis added)

 

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22 (emphasis added)

 

Revelation 21:1-3 is a prophetic picture of Ephesians 2:19-22.  It is the fulfillment of the prayer Jesus prayed for all believers in the seventeenth chapter of John’s account of the gospel.

 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

John 17:21

 

God has dwelt with and in His people since the first person was born again (born from above) but Revelation 21:1-3 is about a greater manifestation of this reality than has been known and experienced during the Church Age, as the Church has experienced the prophetic fulfillment of Passover and Pentecost.

 

Tabernacles is about God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit being fully developed in a people; not only taking up residence in His people, but actually living His life in and through them.

 

Unity will not and cannot become a reality for the Church until this truth becomes a reality.  When God fully indwells His people they will look, act and be just like Him.  They will see only what He sees and hear only what He says.  They will be of one mind because they will literally have the mind of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16).

 

And what is ultimately the mind of Christ?

 

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. 

Philippians 2:5-8

 

Only those who have died to self will experience Tabernacles.  During the Church Age we have only partially died to self, thus requiring us to die daily as the apostle Paul said he did (see 1 Corinthians 15:31).  The fulfillment of Tabernacles (God dwelling fully in His people) will remove the need to die daily.  We will once and for all time have died to self, enabling God to continually live His life in and through us.

 

Saints of God, this is our destiny.  This is our future and what a glorious future it is!

 

While none of us has yet arrived at this destiny, some of us are beginning to taste of it.  Some of us are getting a glimpse of it. 

 

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

 

Surely we were born for such a time as this!

The Feasts of God (12)