God is Stirring “Israel’s Nest”
The events throughout the Middle East have a powerful Biblical meaning. God’s chosen Nation of Israel is yet, after 63 years, a nation riddled in disobedience. That disobedience must be broken and we are watching the early stages heading into the dark “Seven Years.” By the end of “The Great Tribulation” and the Antichrist’s sinister design, Israel will be ready to cry out to their Messiah in Repentance. Zechariah prophesied this mournful time as God’s betrothed nation returns to their birthright. “And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem…” (Zechariah 12:10-11a)
Thank God that this awesome time does not end in mourning but quickly turns to great rejoicing. “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of Hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.” (Zechariah 13:1-2)
Apostle Paul carefully documented the word of Zachariah for the New Testament saints. We must never think for one moment that we have replaced Israel. Nothing in theology is more false than to forget the Family that gave our Lord in the flesh to us. The Holy Ghost by Paul said, ”For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is My Covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.” (Romans 11:25-28)
It’s thrilling to know there are three “Feasts of Jehovah” which Israel is soon to witness and celebrate. Only the One Hundred and Forty Four thousand Jews will celebrate the “Feast of Trumpets” and even this company will miss the celebrated moment of the glorious Rapture. They will be saved and sealed in the beginning days of the “Feast of Atonement” which pre-figures the dark seven years of the Great Tribulation.
The glorious moment for all Israel will be the fulfillment of the “Feast of Tabernacles.” This great celebration will last a thousand years and all the Saints returning with Christ to reign will join this triumph. The first four feasts were perfectly completed in the death of Christ, the sanctifying period following His death, the Resurrection and the Day of Pentecost. Let’s look at the great Biblical picture of these “Seven Feasts of Jehovah.” It’s impossible to watch the world scene, especially the Middle East and not shout with anticipation.
The Seven Feasts of Jehovah! Everything that God did or revealed in the First Testament was given as a shadow or an example of His finished plan of redemption. Nothing in the Bible is an afterthought or a new thing, but all of His actions or words are the acting out of a pre-ordained drama. It can best be called the “Drama of Redemption.” Seven major feasts are the prophetic picture of Jesus Christ and His redemption accomplished. The actual feasts are the simple rehearsal of that accomplishment and were used to allow Israel to receive the benefit of the Father’s eternal plan.
Our God does nothing for its dramatic effect, but if He did, these “Seven Feasts” would transcend the greatest masterpieces of human existence. They are breathtaking in both design and message. Each feast foreshadows a unique part of God’s redemption story. Each one is a complete message in itself, yet fits into the total picture in such a way that it would be incomplete to let it stand alone. Indeed the seven feasts together are God’s redemption drama and the world will be His kingdom when the last curtain of the Feast of Tabernacles is lifted.
The Feasts of Jehovah! The seven feasts must not be called the Feasts of Israel, but the Feasts of Jehovah. Moses stated clearly what each feast was to represent. “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feast of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” (Leviticus 23:2-4).
When Jesus was present in the flesh to be the Messiah, the Jewish nation had changed the Feast of Jehovah to the Feast of the Jews. Instead of Sevens Feast of Revelation, they had become the Feasts of the People and tied to the nation, instead of the promises of God. Listen to the Apostle John speak of these feasts in the Jewish terminology of his time. “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” (John 2:13). “Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.” (John 7:2).
No wonder Isaiah had said the following when he noted the backslidden state of Israel. “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.” (Isaiah 1:4).
The First Testament Foretold God’s Plan! The New Testament writers were ordained by the Holy Spirit to simply unveil what was contained in the First Testament. Nothing in the New Testament was new. The First Testament was their tutor to enable them to see all that Jesus Christ represented. All the things of God are higher than the wisdom of the wisest. Yet, God had chosen to teach by shadows, types, and simple events so that the New Testament writer or believer could grasp the depth of His wonderful works.
Let’s look at several New Testament Scriptures that show plainly what we are saying. Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20).
Often the Word Of God fulfilled is misunderstood in the way Jesus used it. It means completed. Jesus did not fulfill to eliminate but to complete. The First Testament was the shadow and Jesus came to show that which was only dimly visible before. He eliminated nothing but the shadow and then established the finished product.
The Apostle Paul adds a beautiful dimension to this same truth. He said, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). Remember, the only Scripture that the apostle could refer to was the First Testament. The Second or New Testament was in the process of being written, but was not canonized or accepted yet as an official document. The Old (First) Testament was their only approved Scriptures. The total message preached by the early church was based on the lessons and inspiration of the Law, the Torah or prophets and writings of the Jewish Scripture. Consequently, everything in the New Testament is Jewish and based on the anointed truths of their Scripture.
The Law Was a Tutor! (School Master or Teacher) It’s amazing to see the rebellion in today’s church against the laws of God. When you begin to see that the Law was God’s ordained schoolmaster and that it was the exclusive route by which the Father would bring us to His Son, then the Law becomes beautiful rather than restrictive. Rebellion against anything is always in the mind of the rebellious. What one man rebels against is the protection of another.
Look at Apostle Paul’s description of this breathtaking truth. “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:21-26).
We are not to become disobedience and start breaking God’s Laws because the tutor finished His job. We are to move up to the higher level of the Lawgiver Himself that now abides in our life to effect the Law by grace instead of works. The Law is our teacher to bring us to Christ. The feasts were his object lessons to show us the dramatic effect of His Law. Every truth in the Law was to manifest itself in the feasts so that the Jewish people would have a witness of the fulfillment when it occurred.
The Jewish leaders and people allowed the feasts to become rituals instead of revelations and because of that they rejected the fulfillment or completion of the first four feasts. How did they miss seeing Jesus as their Passover Lamb? Everything that the Passover Lamb suggested or typified, He fulfilled. As we look at the life of Jesus Christ and His death and the numerous perfect expressions of the Passover Feast, we are amazed at such precision. But, remember they missed it because of ritualism and we see it because of revelation. This is a spiritual fact in all truth that never fails.
The Apostle Paul adds a kind of finished expression to the thought of the First Testament shadows becoming their light to the brighter day of Christ’s coming. Paul said, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17)
It would appear that the Jews were certainly free to continue their feasts days as a remembrance of God’s lessons. It is also clear that there is absolutely no spiritual life in those feasts because Christ has come. To place confidence in a communication of grace by any shadow of the First Testament is to revert back to the Law and its powerlessness to save. The glory of the shadow was only in its hope of the promise. Once the promise is completed, it is futile to trust in a shadow. The church must study the values of revelations afforded the First Testament worshipper and then quickly move into the glory of revelations fulfilled.
If the ritualism of the Jews so clouded their vision that Jesus Christ was totally rejected then for the church to return to those rituals suggest the same blindness all over again. All of us have probably heard the clear expression of how the two testaments relate to each other. I repeat it for all our benefits. The New Testament is in the First Testament concealed, while the First Testament is in the New Testament revealed.
What a glorious hour we are privileged to enjoy. Many has been the Saints in the past that longed to live in this day and yet so many among us only complain. Lift your heads my friends and see what our God is doing.