Three Compulsory Feasts

When Jesus visited the synagogue in His home town of Nazareth, 'He was handed the scroll of Isaiah to read aloud (Luke 4:16-21).

Turning to chapter 61 He read, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek; He's sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord". (In short, I'm your Messiah!) And He closed the Book, gave it back to the minister, and sat down. And the whole congregation gazed upon Him intently. And He began to say unto them, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears".'

Oh, can you imagine the tension in that assembly? Here was Messiah in their very midst! Yet they did not have faith or understanding in Isaiah's prophecy to enable them to recognize His vindication according to the Word of God.

Do you know why they were unable to recognize prophecy, manifested before their eyes and ears? These were God-fearing people who read their Bibles, believed the prophets, obeyed the law, paid their tithes, and they never missed service. Unfortunately, they were following the denominational teachings of their ministers, without proving them in God's unchanging Word.

Oh, they were looking for Messiah. But they were looking through the eyes of the denomination; not through the eyes of God. They were looking for the wrong Coming of Messiah, and knew nothing of His first Coming, born of a virgin.

All their church attendance, all of their obedience, all of their sacrifices, prayer and tithes had been in vain. Jesus said, '"In vain do you worship Me, teaching for faith the commandments of men..." Not every one that says unto Me, "Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven".' And without faith or understanding, which is the mind of Christ, it is impossible to please God.

These good people loved God but they knew Him not. All they knew was what their denomination had taught them. They had learning and knew the Bible backwards, but were without faith! They knew what It said, but not what it meant! They had the LETTER - without the SPIRIT.

How about you, today? Do you have the Letter without the Spirit? What are you looking for in this day? Are you looking for Christ's return. If the answer is "yes", that's excellent, but how do you expect Him to return? And are you aware that the denominations of this day will not recognize, and will reject Him, because they're looking for Him to fulfill their program instead of Bible prophecy just as Israel's denominations failed to recognize Him back then?

Do you realize that Jesus said, the Gentile denominations end in apostasy... "materially rich and in need of nothing, but naked of the blood, blind to His Word, spiritually wretched, miserable and poor in His sight! And know it not!" Just like this congregation Jesus was reading to in Nazareth.

Jesus foretold the time would come when He'd send another prophet, before the end of the Gentile dispensation, anointed in the Spirit of Elijah just like John the Baptist, whose ministry would RESTORE the apostolic faith, FINISH the mystery of God and call HIS people (not everyone) OUT from denominational teachings, into Christ, the FULLNESS of the anointed Word, for the manifestation of the Sons of God, and the translation. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 17, Matthew 25, and in Revelation 3 and 18. It's later than you think.

So Jesus stopped reading Isaiah halfway through the verse, because the rest of the verse spoke of His parousia in our day, and of the Message of the angel or prophet-messenger to the Laodicean Church Age warning His people, "Come OUT of Babylon and be filled with the Spirit"!

This was the late William Branham who was anointed by the Spirit: 'To proclaim the day of vengeance of our God."

Jesus admonished us in THIS day to seek after the gold of God, and anoint our spiritual vision with eye salve, that we may SEE, or UNDERSTAND the PRESENT Truth. What Jesus is doing NOW.

***

Now let's review the Hebrew sacred feasts of Leviticus 23, because these natural feasts, when Israel assembled before the Lord, were emblematic of future Spiritual events.

The Hebrew sacred year began with the Passover. It signaled a new beginning, both in the course of the year, and in the life of the people as separated from the nations (Numbers 23:9). The Passover lamb was to be slain and eaten on the fourteenth of Nissan, in the evening (Leviticus 23:5-8).

Passover commemorated the solemn circumstances under which Israel commenced their national life - their exemption from the plague of death upon the first-born in Egypt, through the blood of the lamb, and their Exodus in prepared haste such as to deny themselves time to leaven their bread (Leviticus 23:1-8).

Christ is that true Passover Lamb Who died in our stead, exempting Spiritual Israelites, or Christians, who are under His blood, from the plague of spiritual death, which falls on all who reject their Kinsman Redeemer. Jesus came to His own who received Him not, but said, "His blood be on us, and on our children" (Zechariah 13:6-7; Matthew 27:25). It has been ever since. Thus Israel rejected the real Passover, the first compulsory feast, and Christ turned to the Gentiles, to take out from them a people for His Name, a Bride (Psalm 2:8; Amos 9:12; Malachi 1:11).

The next seven-days, was the Feast of Unleavened bread. UNLEAVENED bread represented Christ, the unadulterated Word-Bread from heaven which, if a man eat, he shall never die (John 6:47-63; Revelation 22:17-19).

On the third day after the Passover, the sheaf of the firstfruits of the barley harvest was waved by the priest. By this act, Israel consecrated the whole of the harvest unto the Lord, and were only permitted to use it when they received it back as a Gift from Him. This wave sheaf represented Christ Who was lifted up on the Cross, as Moses raised up the serpent before the Lord in the wilderness - showing sin was judged (Numbers 21:8-9). He was waved before the Father and accepted in that God raised Him from the dead. Like the first-born Son, the firstfruits of the harvest was considered the choicest. Their acceptance consecrated the WHOLE of the harvest.

Jesus was the firstfruits of the OLD Testament saints that SLEPT - who were resurrected after Him; and the NEW Testament saints who are His at His parousia - that's NOW (I Corinthians 15:23). We receive the Bread of Life or finished product of the wheat, as the gift of the Holy Spirit in a NEW birth, and we ourselves become LOAVES. Soon there'll be another resurrection - the NEW Testament Church will be raised - and we which are ALIVE shall be changed in the atoms to meet Christ in the air.

The Sheaf Wave Offering introduced the Feast of Firstfruits, or Weeks: commonly known as Pentecost. Whereas the former festival marked the absolute beginning of the grain harvest, with barley, and the first ripe wheat sheaf; the Pentecostal Feast marked its completion with the reaping of wheat. Pentecost was divided into nine divisions, beginning with the last six days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which represented the early Church who held and understood the pure Word of God undefiled. Seven rests or sabbaths followed, representing seven different baptisms of the Holy Ghost, or new birth, that distinguish the Seven Church Ages, and finally, the holy convocation of this present day, wherein: 'the mystery of God is finished', the apostolic faith is restored, and God's elect are called out from all man-made systems, into oneness with the fullness of the Word. It's called an holy convocation. UNlike the Church Age saints, who presumed to interpret God's Word, we do no servile work, because we have the true sayings of God, Who sent us a prophet with Thus Saith The Lord, FINISHING the mystery of God in the revelation of the Seven Seals.

As we study the TYPES in Leviticus 23(:15-22), we discover that in the fiftieth day after the presentation of the Wave Sheaf offering (which was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ), 'a new grain offering of two loaves baked with leaven' was to be waved before the Lord. One loaf represents that which is perfect - made manifest in his living Bride, the other represents the Church Age saints - who manifested that which was in part, back in the days when Christ was a Mediator.

The end-time Bride, under pre-eminence to the Fullness of the Word by her revelation of the Seven Seals will be waved before the Lord at the manifestation of the Sons of God, in behalf of our brethren who fell asleep since Pentecost. We are all one body, and without us, the sleeping saints cannot be made perfect, or glorified. Together we're the finished product - grain, as prepared for food, and waved before the Lord. The Church is symbolized as two loaves baked with leaven, on account of our sinful flesh.

Because of the Eve's sin, all are born in sin, shaped in iniquity, and come into the world speaking lies. On account of the leaven we cannot be offered on the altar. This proves the true Church does not go through the Tribulation. Because Christ is accepted, we are accepted. When we change in the atoms, this corruptible flesh puts on incorruption, mortality puts on immortality, and we lose the leaven.

Pentecost typed the firstfruits of the harvest of the elect of all nations. The firstfruits of the Gospel sowing is the harvest of the true Church.

Three times in the year every adult male Israelite must present himself before the Lord in the place He chose to put His Name. For orthodox Israelites claiming the Old Covenant of Moses, that place is Jerusalem, which God ordained for His sacrifice. God only meets man under the shed blood of the Lamb (Deuteronomy 16). Although Moses' Covenant is truly fulfilled - (Jeremiah 31:31-34), anyone claiming to be under that Covenant and not living in Israel has no part with God under the Law.

Those three Feasts of meeting were: Unleavened Bread and Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Israel rejected the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed their Messiah, the real Pascal Lamb. That did away with their temporary covering of animal blood. As Israel has not come under the blood of their Redeemer, they could not attend the Pentecostal Feast, which is the building of Christ's Church, and the Gentile dispensation.

In the Bible, trees symbolize people. The last Feast was the Feast of Tabernacles, or Ingathering at the end of harvest, when fruit, vintage, and Olive were gathered. God said, 'whosoever does not keep the Feast of Tabernacles is lost' (Zechariah 14). And Jesus said, 'an unfruitful tree should be cut down' (Luke 13:6-9).

If the firstfruits of the Gospel sowing is the harvest of the true Church, the Feast of Tabernacles typifies completion of that final and universal harvest of souls. But we'll restrict our study to this side of the Millennium, before the White Throne Judgment, and therefore, to the 144,000 elect Israelites.

The WISE virgin, who are the true Church, are translated, and the Church Age saints resurrect before the Tribulation period when God turns back to Israel.

The Feast of Tabernacles is Israel's final opportunity to receive redemption. Only those who are blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom the Covenant pertains are considered (Ezekiel 37, 48; Revelation 7:1-8). Not the descendants of _MRS._ Abraham, _MRS._ Isaac, or _MRS._ Jacob, for the lineage is counted from the FATHER, not as some falsely claim, from the mother. Any Jew living outside the promised Land is outside the Covenant.

Tabernacles was observed in Tishri, the seventh month. Before the 144,000 Israelites can attend the Feast of Tabernacles, they must observe the Day of Atonement. Then they'll recognize Messiah, and mourn because the forefathers crucified Him. The first day of the seventh month, is an holy convocation, a Feast of Trumpets. This is a memorial from God to Israel by two prophets in the Office of Moses and Elijah. They announce that the glad sabbatic month has begun, and the great Day of Atonement is at hand (Leviticus 23:23-25). Jesus said, their Message gathers the elect Israelites from the four winds, to the Day of Atonement, for the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 4; Matthew 24:31). It unfolds the Seven Trumpets of Revelation, expounding Israel's history since Calvary and their rejection of the Gospel throughout the Seven Church Ages, as they fought a spiritual war against God, bringing natural war upon themselves.

The Day of Atonement was Israel's only prescribed fast. It marked the complete removal of all the sins of the nation which stood between them and God, hindering complete restoration to His favor. The sin of the whole nation, all 144,000 of them, is removed by their new-birth, when by faith they recognize Messiah and mourn.

The Feast of Tabernacles occupied a week from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of Tishri. The first day was a holy convocation, and the eighth, or 'great day of the Feast', was an holy convocation. The first six days of the Feast represent the 6,000 years man has laboured against sin, since Eve shattered the holy convocation of God's rest, following Creation. The seventh is the Millennium, or sabbath, the honeymoon of the heavenly Bridegroom with His earthly Bride. Whilst the eighth represents eternity, and the new heaven and new earth. 'For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea'.

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