Revisiting the Law: Because of Transgressions…


The law containing the feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths were for the body of Christ, and will be forever part of our worship of the true God at the heavenly Sanctuary, and there are ample Scriptural supports to substantiate this fact, but if that is so, why have these things been forgotten? It is because of apostasy that truth is lost sight of always; we are told that God takes away His holy times from an unholy church: “And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.” (Hosea 2:10-11)
Yet not only so, but the claim that the “מוֹעֵד – mô‛êd” appointed times of worship were not given to Adam as part of the worship of the heavenly Sanctuary, but rather only to Israel at Mount Sinai is a common one. To this we want to understand why at Mount Sinai the law was given. Many will say God “added” the law, using the verse: “What is the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Galatians 3:19) We are told that the law was “added” because of transgressions. Many wanting to disregard the law will say that the law was given because of sin, and the law was done away when Christ, “the seed”, came. Let us consider more closely what these texts are in fact saying.

THE ADDED LAW

We are told when this law was “added” because of transgression. “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the

“Which I have written…”

promise of none effect.” (Galatians 3:17) Here, the law being spoken of which was the added law was the law given at Mount Sinai. Yet when we look at the Greek word for “added”, it is “prostithēmi”, is also used in the following verse in relation to Mount Sinai: “And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they [the Israelites] that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more (prostithēmi): for they could not endure that which was commanded…” (Hebrews 12:19) The Israelites did not desire that God would speak anymore to them because of their sins. The ten commandments had already been sufficient to show them the sinfulness of their ways; yet the knowledge of God, His manner and form of worship, and His Sanctuary were lost sight of because of compromise with the manner and practices of the Egyptians which land they were in, therefore Moses went to receive the rest of the law. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law [Torah], and commandments which I have written; that you may teach them.” (Exodus 24:12) God gave Moses the law and commandments which He had written for the purpose of teaching the Israelites who had lost sight of God’s ways, and were in need of instruction “because of transgression”. We must recognize that the law, called in the Hebrew “Torah” meaning “Instructions”, was written by God well before communicating it to Moses.

In the Torah law, the appointed times, tithing, laws of inheritance, clean and unclean meats, types of offerings [thanksgiving/praise, consecration, trespass] etc. were given. In fact, we are told that Abel offered an acceptable offering, that Noah knew the distinction between clean and unclean animals, Abraham tithed, Joseph fled fornication & adultery with Potipher’s wife, and the laws of inheritance were well-understood. We are told of Abraham: “obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My law [Torah].” The statutes contained in the Torah, which many suppose were added at Mount Sinai as a new addition, were in fact spoken because of Israel’s continual backsliding and sin. God was giving to Moses that which He had already written in heaven, and which the patriarchs of old, the faithful fathers of Israel, had observed. The Torah law in fact explains what already existed, illuminating the book of Genesis and the early history of Exodus. It was light given to cast a light upon the history given in it’s pages. The Sabbath was already given as a Torah law before Mount Sinai, when God asked Moses of Israel, “How long will you refuse to walk in My commandments and my law (Torah)?” (Exodus 16:28). So important was this law, that it was not to be simply disregarded by the Gentiles as being exclusive for Israel as many now are teaching. In fact, we are told that “one law shall be to him that is homeborn, as well as to the Gentile that journeys among you.” (Exodus 12:49) God was plain that the Gentiles were not the disregard this law as many now are teaching, but to become established in it. It was when the gospel was especially being preached among the Gentiles, that only four statutes from the Torah law were given to the Gentiles who were gathering at the synagogues every Sabbath.

“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:19-21) Notice why the four statutes were given? It was because they did not want to “trouble” them, which literally means harass them further, or pressure them overly much, overwhelm them. They would learn the rest as Moses was preached every Sabbath day. We find an early church that faithfully observed the appointed times, Sabbath, feast days, and new moons: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” (Acts 13:42)

Though not knowing the intricacies of the law, the Gentiles observing the Sabbath was just as God required as a sign of salvation: “My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.Blessed is the man that doeth this…that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it…Also the sons of the Gentile, that join themselves to the LORD…every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain…” (Isaiah 56:1-7)

Yet this quickly began to change as unconverted Gentiles began to say that the Torah law could be changed because of Christ’s death, and the authority committed to them to change the times of worship and laws; these arguments which history shows were the leading arguments away from faithful instruction in God’s law are still employed today with much success in misleading many.

Yet this law is important in explaining the historical elements contained in Genesis, without which, those things in Genesis become dark and mysterious, with no anchor points in which to define their mention in Scripture. For example, the Sabbath is sanctified for mankind on the seventh day as God rests from all of His work. Further than this, the earth is given a means of keeping the appointed times of worship at God’s throne from the creation of the sun, and moon and stars on the fourth day. We are given a record of when these portions of the law began in Genesis. which are explained in the law that God had written and communicated to Moses.

The only Scripture that we are given that described any cessation of any point of the law were the sacrifices and offerings when the Messiah was sacrificed as the true sacrifice and offering by which our forgiveness, praise, thanksgiving, and consecration were secured (See Daniel 9:27). This brings clearly to view the heavenly sanctuary; Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood, and taken away the ceremonial elements contained in the law, to elevate the mind in a clear manner from the earthly service to the purity of heaven’s worship. Yet if some go to the extreme position of saying that the appointed times in the law were done away with when Christ died. However, we are told that this law was to be remembered before Christ returned, and obeyed to restore the blessing of God (Malachi 4:4-6); and that it was to be a sign upon the hand and forehead (in thought and in deed- Exo. 13:9), and a token that a man is walking in the Spirit of God (Ezekiel 36:27).

UNTIL THE SEED SHOULD COME

We are told that the this law was added because of transgressions- in being added, it means it continues to be spoken further “until the seed should come to whom the promise was made”. That means that the law is still being spoken today because of man’s transgressions; it means that it will continue to be spoken to convict of sin so long as there is sin to be convicted of until “the seed should come”. Who is that seed? “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) That seed is definitely Christ, without a doubt. Yet what promise was made to Abraham and to Christ? “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13) The purpose of the law being spoken is because sin exists. Paul said “I would not have known sin but by the law…” (Romans 7:7). The law reveals sin, for “the strength of sin is the law”, and this declares condemnation to death. And “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.” It is saying that the purpose of the law being “added” was to reveal transgression, that we might be led to faith in Christ, that the promise of being an heir of the world to come might be given to us also. That law must be spoken until transgression and sin has led all who will receive it to faith in Christ, the seed to whom the promise was made, that sin may cease forever, and we might partake of that promise also through Him. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29) If we are Abraham’s seed through faith in Christ because of the law, then we are heirs of the world to come. Therefore, when Christ comes the second time, it is for all of Abraham’s seed in Him who will be joint-heirs with Him.

The law must fully do it’s work that Christ our high priest, by faith, may fully finish the transgression, make an end of sins, and bring in everlasting righteousness in us, that we might be the seed that is counted worthy of obtaining a share of His throne at His return. “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behpoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:16-17)  “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren…” (Hebrews 2:10-13)

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”(1 John 3:2-5) When it can be said of us that there is “no sin”, and we are pure, “even as He is pure”, then will “the Seed come to whom the promises are made.” Then will Christ say, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion…To the law [Torah] and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:18-20) Far from taking away the law, with it’s appointed times, at Christ’s first coming, He establishes it, that we may abide in it at the wedding reception of His inheritance as king of the world to come, when the Lamb stands upon Mount Zion with the faultless 144,000 before the throne (Revelation 14:1-4, Daniel 12:1).




Pentecost 2017- The Marriage Supper: An Invitation To Blessing


“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

The call to come and “take the water of life freely” was the invitation given by Jesus on the last great day of the feast of Tabernacles to partake of His Spirit in a deep measure. Christ was shadowing forth the final call to salvation before the time was past forever; these invitations to the marriage are always given inoutpouring-spirit2 connection to the great festivals of the Bible. In the beginning, God made the heavens, with it’s great calendar for “signs and for seasons, for days and for years” (Gen. 1:14); the sun to rule from one day to another, and the moon to reveal one month to another. The sun was the greater light, and the moon (literally “month” in the original Hebrew) the lesser light, from which the light of the sun came.

THE SABBATH FEAST- “My Sabbaths”

The feast of the Sabbath, as revealed in the weekly 7-day cycle, which is ruled by the daystar (the sun) was the first feast spoken of expressly in the Bible. It was given in memorial of creation (Gen. 2:3, Exodus 20:8-11), and declared the Creator’s power to create & sanctify and His authority to make time holy. It was on the Sabbath, that the first marriage given to man was especially enjoyed in the presence of God; His presence alone, visible or invisible, can constitute a true feast. Man, both male and female, had been made in the image of God and His Son (Gen. 1:1, 26-27, Prov. 30:4, Heb. 1:1-2); they were to reveal the covenant relationship that existed between the God & Christ, and between God and creation. Moreover, the word “Sabbath” comes from it’s Hebrew root word, “shâba”; which means perfect completion with an oath (a promise); or to commit oneself fully by promising seven times. This time was a promise that God’s presence was to abide with His creatures by sealing it with the Sabbath as a sign of His marriage to His people.

“Verily, My sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you…Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” (Exo. 31:13)

Sanctification is holiness; just as God sanctified the Sabbath, that the creation by His own hand may abide complete and entire in that Sabbath, He weilds in His creative hand the holy power of sanctifying His people. Furthermore, this sign of sanctification was “for a perpetual covenant” between God and His people. His sanctification is always enjoined to the marriage covenant, revealing the wonderful purpose of marriage is truly to be holy unto Jehovah. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word…” (Eph. 5:25-26) When the presence of the husband abides with his wife in marriage union, he is to be a reflection of what the presence of Christ is to His church.

THE TIMES OF REFRESHING

The Sabbath was the first feast. “Concerning the feasts 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.” (Leviticus 23:2-3) Unlike the Sabbath which is contained in the seven-day cycle, governed by the sun (Psalm 136:8), the rest of the feasts were united to the moon, which is the same word in Hebrew for “month”. God thus showing that the light of the Sabbath (like the sun) being the greater light crowns it’s light upon the other feasts (like the moon) as the lesser light; the light of the Sabbath was to be the head of the other feasts, and give them sanctity and honor, like a husband in covenant with his bride. Each of His feasts were sanctified time; they declared God’s redemptive power to create all things new; they also wonderfully illustrate the marriage covenant as a beautiful story of redemption that reveals the love of God for His church.

eden-homeThe Sabbath was a time where God Himself rested, giving those made in His image a pattern to reflect His glory. “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17) When we look at this description, it tells us that the Great I AM is “refreshed” by the Sabbath. What does this mean? It means something for us, His people, who keep the sign of His rest. Just as He rested and was refreshed on the Sabbath, so are we to rest after His likeness, and be refreshed. The refreshing literally means “enlivened, taking in the breath of the soul. The Hebrew word is “nâphash” which means “to be breathed upon”; it is the parent word of “nephesh”, which means soul: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed (nâphach-the act of kindling or breathing into) into his nostrils the breath (neshâmâh- vitalizing breath) of life; and man became a living soul (nephesh- a breathing creature).” (Gen. 2:7) God being refreshed means He took in the breath of His life. On the Sabbath, and the feasts, this spiritual breath of life, which carries the presence of God enters and communes in our soul temple; it is the time of taking spiritual breath into the soul.

These promised times came with the promise of the presence of the Lord: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ…” (Acts 3:19-20) When we gather at a feast, it truly means we are feasting on the spiritual presence of the Lord; the life-sustaining bread from heaven, and being refreshed; it means spiritual mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Even so, during these feasts, all who knew the voice of God’s Spirit would gather “unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even unto His habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come…” (Deut. 12:5) The children of Israel were divided into a number of companies of tribes, each were a part of Israel, yet each had it’s own characteristics, qualities, and purposes which God would fulfill by them. To one of these companies of Israel, the rest of Israel were to gather; thus God shows that He would have His people, though they may be divided, united in one body; in one Spirit; by the presence of God breathing newness of life into their souls, and thus bringing the divided tribes into closer communion and worship than was possible at other seasons. As a great King, so the divine presence comes before His people who direct their worship toward His throne.

THE PRESENCE OF GOD- “My Feasts”

The presence of God has always been manifested, physically and spiritually, in greater measure during the feasts than at any other time. It was at Passover, where the protective presence of God, by faith in the blood of the lamb, spared Israel who were in Egypt, but not of Egypt. Likewise, spiritual Israel has a better Passover Lamb with a better celebration than the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; let us therefore keep the feast” (1 Cor. 5:8), because we are being saved from the death of this world, as Israel was saved from the death of Egypt; the blood’s protection was symbolic of the covering presence of Christ overshadowing their souls. Moreover, we are in the world, but not of it (John 17:13). Then Israel left their lives, their idols, their former practices in Egypt, and had participated in the feast of Unleavened Bread; signifying the removal of the leaven of sin and death in their lives (1 Cor. 5:9).

pillaroffireGod’s presence especially overshadowed His people during the feast that followed Passover in their deliverance, “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” (Lev. 23:5-6) Notice that it is the Lord’s passover that was manifested in a special way to God’s people on the fourteenth day of the first moon of the year; Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Beginning on the fifteenth day, the seven day feast of Unleavened Bread was observed, the first day being a feast Sabbath rest, called “a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.” God’s presence guided them further from Egypt; He manifested His Presence in another special manner to them. “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night…” (Exo. 13:21) Thus showing His protective covering and lighting the way by His own presence toward His people. There are many who are still so absorbed in Egypt’s thinking, who know not the time of God’s worship, that all they see is darkness rather than light at these times; they do not discern the presence of God where it seems dark, and thus, they receive none of the promised blessing. “And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” (Exo 14:20) Yet there were Egyptians who left Egypt with the Israelites; those who forsook all, were numbered with Israel.

That same Presence promises to be in the sacred assemblies of the remnant of “Mt. Zion, the city of the living God: the heavenly Jerusalem…whose names are written in heaven” (Heb. 12:22-23): “It shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remains in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:…And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.” (Isaiah 4:2-3) It was the next day, after the first day of Unleavened Bread, on the 16th of the month, after the feast Sabbath, where the firstfruits feast day was held (Lev. 23:11); where the high priest would present the sacrifice before God, and the firstfruit harvest of the land. This was the day when God opened the red sea as a symbol of fully dying to the old life of Egypt, and rising to a new life on the other side of the red sea in Arabia, as heirs of the promised land. It was also the day when Christ resurrected, and presented His sacrifice before the Father to be accepted, but not presenting Himself alone, but also other saints with Him: “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matt. 27:51-53) These firstfruits of the harvest were presented by Christ, the high priest before God the Father, and were the first to enter into the promised land of the rest of the harvest still to come. Thus we can see illustrated, God’s special blessings bestowed at these times.

THE SPECIAL PENTECOST

While the above is illustrating God’s acts of love towards His people on His feasts, this next point is the focus of our illustration, so pay special attention to the parallels which shall be drawn here.

From the time of the firstfruits, 50 days were to be counted, in which seven seventh-day Sabbaths would be found. At the fiftieth day, the Feast of Pentecost was observed. This was always in the first days of the third month; depending on whether the month was 29 days or 30, it would differ up to two days. It was the time the beginning of the third month when Israel reached Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1). God was placing His name there to worship Him on the feast of Pentecost and to proclaim His love to His people, as a bridegroom to his bride on the day of a wedding.

bride“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will hearken diligently unto my voice, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4-6) God here shows how He lovingly sanctified His people apart from the world, that they might enter into His marriage covenant. Like the Sabbath and the marriage union in the beginning, God unites this sanctified time with a sanctified union between Him and His people. He calls them to “hearken diligently unto My voice”; which is more appropriately spoken in the Hebrew “Hear” twice, or in Hebrew “shâma, shâma”, meaning “Hear intelligently from your heart.” It is the same word for the great love we are to have when in marriage covenant with God: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” (Deut. 6:4-6) In beholding His love, like a bridegroom, His love was to speak new life into their hearts, returning back to Him their love by submissive obedience to His commandments.

For this cause, they were called to wash their garments and sanctify themselves three days for this great festival. “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God…And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire…and the voice of the trumpet sounded long…” (Exo. 19:16)
The voice of the trumpet was to be sounded every feast day (Num. 10:1,2), and God’s presence was enthroned upon the mountain in fire. It was on this very day, that God spoke the law of His covenant from the mountain to His people, which were written on “the tables of the covenant”, which by His own finger (Exodus 31:18). It was on the following day, that the blood of the covenant was placed upon them (Exodus 24:8). Yet for disobedience to the covenant, 3000 perished, because they worshipped the gods of the land they had just come out from (Exodus 32:28).

THE PROMISE OF THE LATTER RAIN

Yet God promised that those who would keep His ways would be blessed with rain in due season. “These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel… beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb…Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do…That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day:” (Deut. 29:1,9,12) The promise of the covenant was clear: “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God… The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season.” (Deut. 28:1-2,12)

holy-spirit-fire2The rain was given for the ripening of the harvest, as symbolized in the feasts. The prophet Hosea recognized the rain as being God’s presence in the feast days: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hos. 6:3) When the apostles were gathering together on Pentecost to keep the feast, the spiritual presence of God came down in fire upon them, as it did physically in Sinai (Acts 2:3) with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. What happened there when the apostles were baptized with the Spirit was entering into a marriage covenant. Few have realized this in it’s significance.

Christ had visited them on the day of resurrection, the firstfruits feast day, at the beginning of the count to Pentecost. Before departing, He promised “ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5) It was that same Spirit that casted out devils in the name of Christ, which Spirit was said of Christ to be “with the finger of God” in Luke 11:20, and “with the Spirit of God” in Matthew 12:28. The physical finger wrote upon the tables of the covenant, but the spiritual finger which casts out devils and sin writes the law of the covenant “in fleshy tables of the heart.” The words so long commanded to them finally understood as seen in the love of Christ’s blood; finally, it penetrated their minds in a way that would reach the heart. Instead of 3000 souls lost through disobedience to the covenant, 3000 souls were converted when they received the blood of the covenant. Lastly, the outpouring of the Spirit was a marriage union between Christ and His church: “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor. 6:16-17)
Thus this Pentecost was a marriage covenant that the church was “joined unto the Lord”, partaking of His Holy Spirit. God’s presence was manifested wonderfully at the feast, just as at Sinai in a special manner.

And the prophet Joel spoke about the outpouring of the Spirit of God in the former and latter rain as revealed at these sanctified times, as the apostle Peter boldly proclaimed: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:16-18)

THE INVITATION

There remains an invitation to be given to receive the blessings of the latter rain; times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord are still necessary for the spiritual life of the people of God today, and especially more now as we enter into the closing scenes of man’s probation. The call from the Spirit and the Bride who is joined to that Spirit, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” This water of life is the Spirit that Christ promised at the feast of tabernacles, bringing the spiritual presence of Christ into the soul to prepare people for the great wedding feast in heaven. These feasts are to receive the breath of God for souls that are spiritually dead in their walk, and need to be joined in Spirit to Christ.

We are told to ask rain in the time of the latter rain (Zechariah 10:1), “which is rain in due season;” it is a call to come up from the Egypt of the world, wherever God’s people are scattered, and to gather together where He chooses to place His name for a large outpouring of His Spirit. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast… And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King… even upon them shall be no rain.” (Zech. 14:16-17) This is that spiritual Jerusalem, that is spiritually present wherever God’s people gather together in heeding the call of the voice of the Spirit to “come”. But many will not come. They make excuses. They won’t receive the rain. Like the Egyptians who only saw darkness where the Presence of God was as a dark cloud to them, the Israelites saw most precious light in the feast. Even so, it is now. Christ gave a parable about the marriage feast.wedding-feast-1

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.” (Matt. 22:2-3)

“And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
(Luke 14:17-20)

Instead of being in one accord to come and receive the blessing of God’s presence at the feast; the men are in one accord to make excuses why they do not come. Many do the same thing today for not coming to the feast gatherings. For example:

1) A piece of land was purchased- Merchandise, non-essential priorities
2) Oxen being proved- Work
3) Married a wife- Church/doctrinal excuses- a covenant relationship with a church but not with God.

Can we afford not to receive the latter rain blessing to fit us for the marriage feast? To receive as much of the presence of God as we can receive? Will we let excuses keep us from the refreshing that God wants to give to us to prepare us for Christ’s return? This is an invitation to enter into a most precious marriage union with God. “The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pen­tecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant” (Christ Object Lessons, pg. 121)

In 1888, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists were given light from heaven that they rejected from the messengers: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world….When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapo­lis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard…” ( 1888 Materials, 348) The light from heaven was the beginning of the marriage covenant message of the manifest presence of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, but because there was prejudice in the minds of the conference leadership because they held different beliefs on the covenants.

Night before last I was shown that evidences in regard to the covenants were clear and convincing.  Yourself and…others are spending your investigative powers for naught to produce a position on the covenants to vary from the position that Brother Waggoner has presented. Had you received the true light which shineth you would not have imitated or gone over the same manner of interpretation and misconstruing the Scriptures as did the Jews… The covenant question is a clear question and would be received by every candid, unprejudiced mind, but I was brought where the Lord gave me an insight into this matter. You have turned from plain light…” (Ellen White, Letter to Uriah Smith, March 8, 1890)

“Now I tell you here before God, that the covenant question, as it has been presented, is the truth.” (Sermon Transcript, March 8, 1890, Battle Creek.)

 Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit [i.e. the “latter rain”] that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in car­rying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world (1888 Materials, 1575)

“They said, This is only excitement; it is not the Holy Spirit, not showers from heaven of the latter rain. There were hearts full of unbelief, who did not drink in of the Spirit, but who had bitterness in their souls. On many occasions the Holy Spirit did work, but those who 1479 resisted the Spirit of God at Minneapolis were waiting for a chance to travel over the same ground again, because their spirit was the same… Afterward, when they had evidence heaped upon evidence, some were convicted, but those who were not softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit’s working, put their own interpretation upon every manifestation of the grace of God,and they have lost much.” (1888 Materials, 1479)

The evidences were beautifully realized for the truth about the marriage covenant; light was to come to God’s people if they would receive it. The invitation to receive the Spirit was there, but the “latter rain” message was called only excitement. Reasons were given to make of no effect all of the evidence God was supplying to the leadership, and the message was never received, and never advanced further. This time of the latter rain… what was it? When calculated according to the calendar God gave in creation, the 1888 message of the latter rain came exactly at the time of the feast of Tabernacles! It was the time of the feast, it was the message of the covenant, and God’s presence was coming to them in a special manner at the time of the latter rain! Yet it was rejected… they did not obtain the blessing God wanted them to receive.

Shortly after this time, in 1893, Ellen White was in Australia, where the work was beginning through campmeetings. She wrote about the campmeetings, calling them the feast of tabernacles, and in 1895, urged them to come to the feast “for all things are ready”. W.W. Prescott began sharing messages which Ellen White endorsed highly. With Jones and Waggoner of 1888, she said Prescott was also presenting the messages of the covenants, showing he was one of the few who received the message when others were rejecting it. “I am much pleased to learn that Professor [W. W.] Prescott is giving the same lessons in his class to the students that Brother [E. J.] Waggoner has been giving. He is presenting the covenants. John thinks it is presented in a clear and convincing manner.” (Letter 30, 1890) The messages he shared by Prescott was declared to be a feast with vitalizing power by the Spirit of God: “We are at this time in our camp-meeting having a feast of precious things. The word is presented in a most powerful manner. The Holy Spirit has been poured out upon Brother Prescott in a great measure…. Brother Prescott has been bearing the burning words of truth such as I have heard from some in 1844. The inspiration of the Spirit of God has been upon him. Unbelievers say, “These are the words of God. I never heard such things before.” We have had the truth presented in clear lines. Bro. Prescott has never had such power in preaching the truth as he has had since coming to this meeting. The unbelievers sit with their eyes riveted on him in amazement, as the truth comes forth from his lips, vitalized by the Spirit of God. When I consider the responsibility resting upon all who hear this heaven sent message, I tremble at the word of the Lord. Who will receive the message sent to them?” November 6, 1895 (Letter 25, 1895 to S. N. Haskell, unreleased). When the time is calculated, this too, was the Feast of Tabernacles; the printing of the messages in America from the General Conference headquarters was resisted because they believed it taught doctrinal error regarding the law of God and what was nailed to the cross.

Yet in all of this, they did not see that it was the time of the feast; the light on the law of statutes containing the feasts were covered by the hand of God until the marriage covenant message was received and studied out. This would open up the sacrifice of Christ more fully in the feasts, pouring out more of His spiritual life on His believing people. When Christ is in His rightful place, and as we stand in living connection with Him, then-and only then- can we safely be opened up to more light on the feasts divested from powerless ceremonies, and lifeless observances of the law.

PERSONAL TESTIMONY

The invitation must go forward. I (Christian Israel) am about to take my ministry to Portugal, where I will enter into solemn covenant with my bride-
ruxandra-christian2to-be in the presence of God. We had decided that June 4th would be the date, as so many things pointed to this date as being the one God was directing us to; suggested by my fiance also out of a few conveniences, to which I agreed. The thought kept pressing itself upon my mind, the desire for us to hold a two-day campmeeting on marriage and the image of God in the place where we would be married, two days before the actual wedding. She agreed to this; it would be how we would begin our married life- united in setting Christ before the people, and uniting our lives in Him together in this way.

Going to Europe in late February, I endeavored to find where the feast gatherings were being held. I messaged one sister from Germany, who said there was nothing really established there. As I looked at the times for the feasts and when they would be, so I might plan accordingly, I found something that caused great anticipation and joy. The day we had set to begin the marriage meetings, the meetings of the marriage covenant, where we desired the presence of God was promised to us. It was Pentecost. The promise of the presence of God; of a large outpouring of His Spirit; of power. We’re believing He has chosen to set His name there; His presence promised as we enter into ministry together, approving of our union. It was not uncommon for the days to extend themselves in the feast gatherings when it was a joyous assembly. Pentecost will fall on June 2nd this year. It is followed by the seventh-day Sabbath, and the marriage ceremony shall be on Sunday.

The church was not aware when setting the dates for their conference, that God would provide such great messages of truth, or at just such a perfect timing for the latter rain. Likewise, my bride-to-be, when suggesting the time, knew nothing of the time where Pentecost would fall, nor did I when I suggested the two day extension. We are fully believing God for a wonderful manifestation of His Spirit, but who will come to this marriage feast to partake of the blessings our heavenly Father is eager to pour out on us all? Come to the marriage feast! Come partake of the light of heaven! Come and bring your influence to the Lord’s side, to aid in establishing the work in Europe! Come and receive the living waters from heaven; a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord!

“Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. All should feel that God requires this of them. If they do not avail themselves of the privileges which He has provided for them to become strong in Him and in the power of His grace, they will grow weaker and weaker, and have less and less desire to consecrate all to Him. Come, brethren and sisters, to these sacred convocation meetings, to find Jesus. He will come up to the feast; He will be present, and will do for you that which you need most to have done. Your farms should not be considered of greater value than the higher interests of the soul. All the treasures you possess, be they ever so valuable, would not be rich enough to buy you peace and hope, which would be infinite gain at the cost of all you have and the toils and sufferings of a lifetime. A strong, clear sense of eternal things, and a heart willing to yield all to Christ, are blessings of more value than all the riches and pleasures and glories of this world.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pg. 600

It is with an earnest longing that I look forward to the time when the events of the Day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion. John says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” [Rev. 18:1]. Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue.”  Bible Commentary Volume 6, pg. 1055 (1886)

***Confirmed languages and available translators at this feast will be in English, German, and Portuguese.

For more information and to confirm plans, please contact me at 352-208-6079, or better to e-mail me at Christian_isr@live.com.
Let him who has an ear heareth the invitation of the Spirit….

pentecost-invitation




The Gospel Invitation: Ellen White’s Call During the Feast Pt. 2


In the Review and Herald, only 8 days later, another article regarding the call inviting them to keep the feast was written. This was concerning the series of meetings endorsed by Ellen White at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. Of the meeting, she said:
“We are at this time in our camp-meeting having a feast of precious things. The word is presented in a most powerful manner. The Holy Spirit has been poured out upon Brother Prescott in a great measure…. Brother Prescott has been bearing the burning words of truth such as I have heard from some in 1844. The inspiration of the Spirit of God has been upon him. Unbelievers say, “These are the words of God. I never heard such things before.” We have had the truth presented in clear lines. Bro. Prescott has never had such power in preaching the truth as he has had since coming to this meeting. The unbelievers sit with their eyes riveted on him in amazement, as the truth comes forth from his lips, vitalized by the Spirit of God. When I consider the responsibility resting upon all who hear this heaven sent message, I tremble at the word of the Lord. Who will receive the message sent to them?” November 6, 1895 (Letter 25, 1895 to S. N. Haskell, unreleased)

The first part, given on October 28th can be read here. The November 5th article of the Review and Herald, 1895, is as follows:

“A man who had been invited to the feast with Christ in the house of one of the chief Pharisees, and who heard Christ declare what was the duty of those who had God’s bounties, had exclaimed in self-satisfied complacency, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” He had designed to draw away the minds of those at the feast from the subject of their practical duty; but instead of this he furnished an occasion for the utterance of a parable that had still deeper significance, and that more plainly opened before the company the character and value of their present privileges.

Jesus said: “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many; and sent his servant at supper-time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” Christ had sent out an invitation to a feast that he had provided at great cost. He had sent the Holy Spirit to move upon the minds of prophets and holy men of old to invite his chosen people to the rich feast of the gospel. The man who had sought to turn the attention from the practical duties that Christ presented, thought to carry the minds past the present life to the remote time of the resurrection of the just; but the Lord Jesus unveiled the deceptive utterance, and by means of the parable of the supper he showed that they had a part to act in that very time if they should ever have a part in the blessedness which should come in the future. They were despising the present invitation to the gospel feast. Christ had been invited as a guest to the house of the Pharisee, and he did not excuse himself. He respectfully responded to the invitation, knowing it would furnish him an opportunity to enlighten the minds of the people. The man who had sought to divert the attention of the company, spoke with great assurance, as though he thought he would certainly eat bread in the kingdom of God. But Jesus warned him and all present against the danger of rejecting the present invitation to the gospel feast. Those who refuse the invitation will never taste of the marriage supper.

He gave them the result of refusing the first invitation. He said, “So that servant came, and showed his Lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” The servant had shown him that those to whom he had sent his invitation had rejected his message. The manner of excuses they offered, showed the selfish nature of their refusals. The Lord’s messengers in every age have given the gospel invitation. The Lord had brought Israel as a favored nation out of Egypt, he had manifested great love and compassion, and had freed them from a life of servitude to become a holy and happy people. Of them it could have been said, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous 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.” The Lord had first sent his invitation to his chosen people, but they had slighted and rejected his messenger. How vain, how needless, were the excuses they offered; but are the excuses that men give in this age any more sensible than those offered in the time of Christ?

Some who are invited exclaim, “I beg thee have me excused. If I should come, my neighbors would jest at and ridicule me, and I cannot bear their scorn. I have lived among them a long time, and I do not want to displease my neighbors. If they would all come, I would be very thankful to accept this invitation; but because they refuse the message of God, I beg thee have me excused.” Others are desirous of paying for their lands and of building up their temporal interests, and the powers of mind and soul and body are absorbed in their earthly affairs. They are deceived in the same manner as was Eve, who was allured to do the very thing that the Lord told her not to do. Satan suggested to her that the Lord was keeping her from great and high enjoyments by unnecessary prohibitions; but the higher good could only be received by a course of disobedience to God by which she would lose the blessedness of the favor of God, and forfeit her beautiful Eden home. When the Lord speaks, will men act as did Adam and Eve, and follow their example of disobedience? Which voice shall we heed, the voice of God, or the suggestions of the great destroyer? When God commands, it is for our present and eternal good to obey. When he presents our dangers, it is safe to reverence every injunction. Voices will sound in every direction, bidding us to turn from the plain commandments of God. The pleasure-loving, the unbelieving, the disobedient, the traitorous, will present pleasing, fictitious promises of permanent exaltation that they will claim as sure to us if we will follow the course that God has forbidden. With flattering lips they will present peace and safety when destruction is at hand. Deceived themselves, they will view things of eternal interest in a false light, and will cry peace to those who choose their own way and follow their own imaginations in daring to transgress God’s holy requirements. The invitation to the gospel supper will have no charm for them, though the message is, “Come; for all things are now ready.

Shall we venture to turn from God’s word? Every excuse that is offered is a falsehood of Satan, a seduction by which he would draw the human mind from God. But the Lord, who holds our eternal destiny in hand, will not always be mocked. The loving and compassionate Jesus declares that there is a greater sin than that for which Sodom was overthrown. It is the sin of those who, after hearing the gospel invitation to come to the marriage supper of the Lamb, turn away, and refuse to respond to the heavenly invitation. The invitation to the gospel feast is often rejected with apologies; but those who do this show themselves to be the very actors whom the Lord saw, and presented in his message while at the house of the Pharisee.

O what senseless excuses are made for refusing to accept the conditions upon which salvation is promised! The excuses are varied that men offer to God for refusing his invitation, but they have no weight with God. The Lord has provided the feast at infinite expense, at a cost beyond all human computation. Who can comprehend the fact that God humbled himself to bear the transgressions of a fallen world? We despise Esau for selling his birthright for a mess of pottage; what about your own case? Has not your reason been convinced that you should accept the gospel invitation? Has not the Holy Spirit done its office work upon your heart and convinced you of sin, and you have thought you would repent and be ready when the messengers came to bid you to the wedding? The invitation has come to you, but when the final message reached your ears, and you heard the voice saying, “Come; for all things are now ready,” were you ready to respond? When Esau sold his birthright, he thought he could easily win it back; but he found no place for repentance. Take heed lest you too long slight the heavenly invitation.

The servant who first presented the invitation, represents those who proclaimed to the Jews the advent of the Son of God, and who pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of the world. The priests, rulers, and religious teachers, who should have been the first to receive Jesus, ignored the message and hated the messenger. They not only refused to go to the feast themselves, but as far as possible hindered all others by misrepresenting and misinterpreting the word of God, while teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. They had slain the prophets, and at last thought they were doing God service by taking the life of his Son.

The rejection of light leaves men in darkness, so that they know not at what they stumble. The invitation which the Jews refused, was sent to the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind. The terrible denunciation was pronounced that none of those who had refused the invitation should taste of the marriage supper. They had listened to the suggestions of Satan, and had made excuses, and under his leadership they would be left in the darkness of unbelief. They intrenched themselves as did Pharaoh in stubborn resistance against the Lord Jesus and his disciples; they chose Barabbas instead of Christ.

The precious message has come to us in these last days. Warnings and entreaties have sounded. The invitation has been given, “Come; for all things are now ready.” While it is called today, harden not your hearts. Shall men and women whom God has blessed with great light, permit themselves to be led astray by the flattering lies of the enemy of their souls? Shall they seek for distinction, for worldly honor and prosperity, when it involves disobedience to the commands of God? Will they yield their eternal interests and sell their birthright for a mess of pottage? Shall we not arouse, and shake off the dangerous lethargy of the world, which is lulling us to sleep in the cradle of carnal security? Will you who are intimidated with the jeers of those who trample upon God’s commandments yield to the temptation to be cowards, and to forfeit the favor of God rather than to endure the reproaches of your neighbors who laugh at your singular faith? God’s Spirit will not always strive with man. Those that slight the invitation, scorn the last message of mercy that God sends for their salvation, and they cannot taste of the blessed supper. Jesus, the compassionate Saviour, has sent to our world the general invitation, “Come; for all things are now ready.” Will you imitate the Jews, who refused the invitation? To us the invitation is given, and the Lord would have you fear and tremble at his word, that he may kindle in your heart hope and faith and holy trust. He commands you to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and promises that all necessary things shall be added unto you. He unfolds before you the glories of paradise, and the question is, Will you accept his invitation?

The angels hastened Lot out of Sodom; but the same warnings that came to Lot are now sounding to a world that is heedless and impenitent. To each of us the message is given: “Haste! escape for thy life!” Better opportunities will never come. No earthly interest is worth a moment’s consideration where eternal interests are involved.

Christ sends his messages of love, and directs the attention of men to the nobler world which they have lost from their vision. He seeks to uplift the mind of him who is absorbed in worldly enterprises, and bids him to look within the gates ajar, from which the glory of God is streaming to earth. With eternity in view, he asks the soul, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The Lord Jesus made the world and its inhabitants; but he would lift the mind from the slavery which the love of the world enforces. Christ has pledged his own life for the redemption of his people, and he would have them consider their higher, eternal claims. The duties of this life must be placed in harmonious relation to their eternal interests, or else the affections will be absorbed in earthly things, and the mind will be utterly incapacitated for the great things of the heavenly world. The perceptions will be obscured by the little worrying, perplexing things of this life; the thoughts will be engrossed by the things of earth; and the moral, mental, and physical capabilities which God claims for his service, will be dwarfed and weakened by serving self and the world. Christ assigns to the world its place, and subjects men to the will and mind of God. He would separate them from the vanities of life, and have them co-operate with God in blessing the needy, in lifting up those who are bowed down, and in inheriting the blessing which God has promised to those who are laborers together with him.”




The Law in Christ


And took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross . . . !”
Colossians 2:14

“The words ‘abolish,’ ‘take away,’ ‘destroy,’ and ‘change’ have been so persistently connected with the law by some public teachers that there exists in the minds of many people the honest conviction that all which is expressed by these words was done to the law by Christ.

It is true that He came to “abolish” something, and to “take away” something, and to “destroy” something, and to “change” something; but it is important that we-should know just what it was that He abolished, and what it was that He took away, and what it was that He destroyed, and what it was that He intended to change by His work in behalf of man. This we can easily learn from the Scriptures.

WHAT WAS ABOLISHED.

It is said of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that He “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Tim. 1:10. Death is the result of sin. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

James 1:15. But “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. Christ, therefore, came to abolish that which is the result of being out of harmony with the law (which is but the written transcript of the self-sacrificing character of God), and He did it, not by abolishing the law, but by bringing us into harmony with the law.

WHAT WAS TAKEN AWAY.

We read that Christ “was manifested to take away our sins.” 1 John 3:5. He is the sin-bearer, “Who His own self carried up our sins in His body to the tree, that we having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24, R.V., margin. Sin is lawlessness, and Christ was manifested to take away, not the law, but lawless-ness.

Note: In Jeremiah 4:4, the LORD tells us, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . .” And then in Colossians 2:11-13, this promise is fulfilled in Christ . . . “In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ !”

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; but the Last Adam was made a quickening (Life-giving) Spirit !” “For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God !”

I Corinthians 15:45 & Romans 6:10

WHAT HE CAME TO DESTROY.

The attitude of Christ toward the law is set forth in the prophecy which says: “He will magnify the law and make it honourable.” Isa. 42:21. In His sermon on the mount, which is itself but the interpretation of the princ-iples contained in the Words spoken from Mount Sinai, Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am, not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matt. 5:17. He “came to explain the relation of the law of God to man, and to illustrate its precepts by His Own example of obedience.” [Desire of Ages (DA), p. 308]

But we are taught that “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. The works of the devil are those which are contrary to God’s law. “The devil sinneth from the beginning,” and in every case “sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4-8

Furthermore, Christ came to destroy the devil himself. Satan had introduced into this world rebellion against God and His law, and Christ’s mission and work were to put an end to that rebellion and the instigator of it. In order to do that, He took our flesh, “that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” Heb. 2:14.

For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God . . . !”     Romans 6:10

WHAT HE CAME TO CHANGE.

It is a blessed thing to know that a change was wrought by Christ in giving Himself for man. There was certainly need that a change should be made. Men were far from righteousness, “being alienated from the Life of

God through the ignorance that is in them” (Eph. 4:18), “having no hope and without God in the world.” Eph. 2:12. “But God, Who is rich in mercy, … hath quickened us together with Christ, … and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-6. And thus “we all … are changed into the same imagefrom glory to glory.” 2 Cor. 3:18.

But more even than a change of character has been provided for us, for “we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Phil. 3:20, 21. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” 1 Cor. 15:51, 52.

Glorious change! A renewed character and a renewed body! This is the fulness of the Salvation provided for us in Jesus Christ. It thus becomes evident from the teaching of the Scriptures that Christ came to abolish, not, the law, but death; to take away, not the law, but our sins; to destroy, not the law, but the devil and his works; to change, not the law, but us. And He did all this “by the sacrifice of Himself !”   Heb. 9:26.

For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, hath made me _______ (your name) free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do (give new life), in that it was weak through the flesh . . . . God sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and in exchange for sin, condemned sin in the flesh . . .

     That the righteousness of the Law might be filled full in us, who walk not by the flesh, but by the Spirit !”
Romans 8:2-4 & Zechariah 4:6

Undated Armadale Campmeetings, 1895, “The Law in Christ; Or, the Relation Between the Law and the Gospel,”




The Heavenly Sanctuary: Was there feasts before Mt. Sinai?


We are told of a great high throne that existed in heavenly places “from the beginning”, which is “the place of our Sanctuary” (Jer. 17:12). Careful study of the Sanctuary and it’s services may yield much wonderful light to the people of God in these last days; indeed the Sanctuary itself is full of instruction for us. The throne in the heavenly Sanctuary was the archtype of the sanctuary patterned after it upon the earth; the purpose of which was to dwell amongst His people as King of His people: “And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Exo. 25:8) Now, it’s evident that the heavenly Sanctuary was first, or else the pattern could never have been designed. We’re told that this pattern “serves unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Heb. 8:5)

While the reality did indeed exist in heaven, it was necessary to have a shadow of the true object existing alongside of it to help the mind go forth from the seen shadow to the unseen, yet living, reality.

The throneroom is called the Most Holy place; which throne is called “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” The risen Lamb of God, Christ, was seated on His Father’s throne of glory, “the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5). We’re told “Even He has build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His [the Father’s] throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:13) Christ is both High Priest upon His Father’s throne, and the Lamb of God. Yet where this is a Sanctuary there is a priest. Furthermore, even before Christ came to this earth, He was the “Lamb…who was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:20).

When examining the sacrifices of the burnt offerings of lamb, bull, goat, dove, etc. it is important to realize that these were emblematic of Christ’s sacrifice, and that “it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin;” (Heb. 10:4) but Christ was “the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:19); those sacrifices ever attended the sanctuary, and without the sacrifice pointing to Christ, not so much as a prayer could be accepted upon the altar of burnt offering. It was the fire of God’s throne, His Presence, where “a fiery stream issues and comes forth from before him” (Dan. 7:10) which kindled the coals of the altar. These coals were brought into the golden altar of incense, where prayer is continually offered; thus signifying that apart from the Lamb of God, no prayer is brought before God.

THE TIMES OF WORSHIP

These sacrifices were always enjoined to times of worship where the congregation would assemble. Every evening and morning, a sacrifice was laid upon the altar for the congregation. On the Sabbath, a double portion of the sacrifice signifying Christ was offered. On the new moons, even more sacrifices specified were done to signify the work of Christ, and on the feasts and solemn days; specific sacrifices were meant to carry to the understanding heart beautiful and wonderful spiritual truths (i.e. taking away our sins, taking away our ignorance, etc.), as well shadow forth prophetic signification. They are found specifically in Numbers 28-29.

We recognize that there is worship in heaven united to “better sacrifices than these” (Heb. 9:23). Among the worship in heaven, it consists of “an innumerable company of angels” and “just men made perfect” whose lives are upheld by Christ as part of the church of heaven, called “Mount Zion…the city of the living God” (Heb. 12:22,23). Additionally, there are men bought by the blood of the Son of God, who are “a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) These three classes are those whose worship belongs to God upon the throne, and are enjoined to Christ in their various spheres of existence, even as the sacrifices on earth were always enjoined to the temple worship down here below.

THE ANGELS
Angels of God in awesome, wing-veiled face declare “holy, holy, holy” to God the Father (Isaiah 6, Gen. 4,5) “in His holy temple” (Hab. 2:20); and these surround His throne. In fact, the angels are said to use the instruments of the Sanctuary and to do the service of the Sanctuary in heaven under the High Priest, Christ their Commander. It is by virtue of Christ that “angels [are] ascending and descending on the Son of man” (John 1:51). As the sons of Aaron in the earthly sanctuary were connected to Aaron’s high priestly ministry to minister to mankind regarding the sacrifices, even so, the angels of the heavenly sanctuary minister to mankind by virtue of Christ’s high priestly ministry. In like manner, as the success of Aaron’s special work at the end of the year was the basis of all their daily ministration, even so it is with Christ and His angels. Isaiah, catching a glimpse of the heavenly throne room in the temple, sees an angel bringing the message of the Lamb of God to him in symbolic vision, “having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar…and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. ” (Isaiah 6:6,7) Do we suppose that the angels work upon any manner of timing? “When truth in it’s simplicity is lived, then God will work through His angels as He worked on the day of Pentecost…” (Ms 21, 1906) We here see that angels, also called elsewhere “flames of fire” worked on the day of Pentecost, the very time of worship in the Sanctuary; as the blood of the special Pentecostal sacrifices were poured out in the earthly temple, even so the life of Christ was poured out from on high from the heavenly. We can further gather that they do these special acts in regards to the sacrifice of Christ, as declared from the following: “Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, “My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!” Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, “Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.” When the Feast of firstfruits, symbolizing Christ and His resurrection, was come, a sheaf of wheat would be waved up and down as an offering before the Creator; here an angel is doing exactly this, and says to hold until the seal, which is “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, is poured out in full measure into our hearts.

The angels are shown to be in connection with perfect order which Satan seeks to disrupt the order which characterizes all heaven, this inevitably includes the order pertaining to worship. “Angels work harmoniously. Perfect order characterizes all their movements. The more closely we imitate the harmony and order of the angelic host, the more successful will be the efforts of these heavenly agents in our behalf. If we see no necessity for harmonious action, and are disorderly, undisciplined, and disorganized in our course of action, angels, who are thoroughly organized and move in perfect order, cannot work for us successfully….Satan well knows that success can only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. It is his studied effort to lead professed Christians just as far from heaven’s arrangement as he can…The Lord did not leave His holy tabernacle to be borne indiscriminately by any tribe that might choose. He was so particular as to specify the order He would have observed in bearing the sacred ark and to designate a special family of the tribe of the Levites to bear it… they were required to observe perfect order.” (1 Testimonies for the Church, p. 649-651)

Please notice the perfect order that angels work in unison with is in reference to “His holy tabernacle” and it’s order and priesthood. It was not to be done in whatsoever way the angels, or man, dictated it should be done; explicit instructions were given to carefully guard the order of heaven. These angels bear messages of the Lamb of God to the minds of mortals in large measure on these times of sacred assembly; because Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb, is the chief focus of what these assemblies are regarding.

JUST MEN MADE PERFECT
We are further shown a glimpse of the throne of God; “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
(Job 1:6-7)

Here we see that the sons of God are gathering before the Lord, to “present themselves”, or another word means “to stand” before the Lord. But who are the sons of God? The Scripture tells us enough information regarding who they are. We are told in the Luke’s account of the genealogy of Jesus that “Adam…was the son of God” (Luke 3:38); the head of the human race, “the first man”, was declared to be a son of God; he was given dominion over this world, called the earth. However, the Bible speaks about other worlds also. “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:2) We’re further told that “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” (Hebrews 11:3) This language cannot be mistaken. There are more worlds than just this one. Upon it were “righteous” who were “made perfect”. The sons of God were the heads of the worlds without number, and Adam was the son of God over the earth, and Christ was Son of God over the entire universe; thus the dominion of the sons of God were to be subject to God the Father in the likeness of Christ’s subjection; and were to receive the power to reflect this pattern of dominion held by God and Christ on a smaller scale.

It was these sons of God that gathered before the presence of God the Father. Further evidence of this was that Satan presumed the earth to be his, and that it was his right to be at the heavenly convocation. In heaven, where there is perfect order, and a heavenly tabernacle of appointed times, we shall not go further to presume that this was just an assembly call at some unappointed time to the throne of God, but rather an assembly at the Sanctuary in heaven according to His sacred assemblies. Neither do we assume that the occasion was the Sabbath; the day upon which the heads of the worlds ought to have been rejoicing with their people in their collective creation. No, rather we find that it is a time when those representing their various world families would come to the Most Holy place. More evidence may be gathered from the Hebrew word for “There was a day…” when they came to present themselves; in the Hebrew it is Hayaw Yom; this means “there existed a day” when the sons of God would present themselves. We find in Scripture a similar principle for the feasts and the Sanctuary upon the earth:

“Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:” (Deut. 16:16)  “Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship.” More specifically, it was required that all men of the land were required to come to the yearly festivals. God has made “man the head of the woman” (1 Cor. 11:3), and together to have dominion over their home, with their children under their authority and jurisdiction; similarly to the realm of heaven. Likewise, men, as privileged to be amongst the redeemed, will reign together with Christ, having a share of His throne, and called “sons of God” (1 John 3:1) [Sidenote: This does not say that women are not the daughters of God, or hold a share of the throne- nor that they were not called to attend the feast, because they were also invited to come if able.] “Again the people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord, bringing to Him their offerings of gratitude and the first fruits of His bounties. The object of all these regulations was stated: they proceeded from no exercise of mere arbitrary sovereignty; all were given for the good of Israel. The Lord said, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me”–worthy to be acknowledged by a holy God. (Patriarchs and Prophets, pg. 311)

These assemblies were holy and appointed gatherings of the holy sons of God, of which Satan had no share. In fact, Job was counted as the rightful representative. Job as a faithful priest of the home, as a son of God, offered sacrifice before God for his sons when the days of feasting came in case they should have sinned; thus the sacrifice is enjoined to the feast by the representative priest of the home. This illuminates with vivid distinction the illustration of Job as representing the Son of God in heaven, while upon the earth. It was then that Satan was permitted to leave, and he wasted no time, but we are told he went forth from the assembly in heaven. It is at this time that we find Job’s family feasting when a mighty wind comes upon the house to destroy them. As a son of God in Adam’s stead, even his own wife tempts him to sin, not realizing that she has, inadvertently, done as Eve did to Adam in being a vessel to bring the son of God down through sin. Yet we see Job overcome where Adam fell, despite being severely tried in the fire.

Like the sons of God must leave their respective worlds, even so the men were to leave their respective homes. Likewise, Job, like the sons of God in heaven, was separate from his family in almost symbolic fashion. The parallels may be found to be strikingly similar when compared.

Connecting this point of the sons of God worshipping in heaven, we turn to men upon the earth more fully. The tabernacle of the appointed times manner of worship was never confined strictly to sacrifices, or to an earthly tent; it was symbolic of the worship of the God of heaven and earth, and the true manner of worship was not as strictly confined as men had made it to be in the time of Jesus, but He rather said “believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father… The hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” (John 4:21-23)

While the physical earthly tabernacle was stationary, the worshippers were not to be confined to one place to worship; although the time of worship would remain the same; every evening and morning, Sabbath, new moon, and appointed holy days.

“The Jewish tabernacle was a type of the Christian church. ….The church on earth, composed of those who are faithful and loyal to God, is the “true tabernacle,” whereof the Redeemer is the minister. God and not man pitched this tabernacle on a high, elevated platform. This tabernacle is Christ’s body; and from north, south, east, and west, He gathers those who shall help to compose it.” Ms142-1899

The Christian church has it’s times of worship, the antitype of the Christian church on earth, as well as the Sanctuary church in heaven. The holy priesthood was to “offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”  Adding more significant to this reality, was that Peter delivered the message of the Lamb of God on “the third hour,” (Acts 2:15) a direct channel in time to when Christ was laid upon the cross (Matt. 15:25), the time of the morning worship sacrifice which took place in the tabernacle upon the earth; no less at the very day of Pentecost this took place. The time was regarded on earth, from the Throne of heaven and the blood of the Lamb wrought powerfully in such an occasion.

We cannot with safety conclude that the God of heaven has no order or worship which He ordains in heavenly places. In fact, there is more reason to believe He does, than not. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of reasons for worship on the time of the feasts in heaven, these are some of the more conclusive and sound reasons behind the matter. We’ve primarily focused upon the matter of the feasts in heaven in relation to the heavenly sanctuary, but more points will be brought out in our next piece on this subject “Revisiting the Law: Because of Transgression…”

 

 




The Gospel Call: Ellen White’s Invitation During the Feast


This article was published in the Bible Echo, October 28th, 1895, at the same time the messages of W.W. Prescott were being given in the Armadale Campmeeting in Australia. The messages were reproduced in Australia, but the General Conference in Battle Creek, and the Review & Herald resisted the message of Prescott, particularly when he spoke on what was nailed to the cross; declaring he was holding error. Yet if that message was received, the only solid arguments they held against observing God’s appointed feasts would be quickly dissolved. More interesting was the timing Ellen White wrote the article. When calculating according to the calendar God gave at creation, it was the very time of the Feast of Tabernacles, the “time of the latter rain” (Zechariah 10:1); the latter rain makes effectual the work of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the hearts of men; to prepare for the Great heavenly feast, we must first partake of Him fully here in by the rain of the Holy Spirit as the living manna which rains upon the spiritual Israel.

come-to-the-feast-invite“Then said He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many; and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” Luke 14:16-24.

In this parable there are thoughts of the greatest importance. Christ’s words were simple; His language was plain; but truths were uttered which involved eternal interests.

There is a deep earnestness in the invitation, “Come; for all things are now ready.” How could those bidden make excuses of so trivial a character, and risk losing eternal life? And yet in every age of the world men are fulfilling this parable in refusing the invitation to the gospel feast. One urges as an excuse his temporal concerns; his property demands his attention. Another is hindered by the claims of society. But none of these excuses count with God. The refusal decides the eternal destiny of the soul; for the words of Christ are, “None of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.”

Can anyone consider the condescension of God in preparing the gospel feast, and its great cost, and treat the invitation slightingly? No man, nor even the highest angel, can estimate the great cost; it is known only to the Father and the Son. The love of God for sinful man is beyond computation. It is the wonder of all heaven, but none can comprehend it. How could their loved Commander in the heavenly courts be permitted to endure such self-denial, such great sacrifice, to bring to man the gospel privileges? And yet with many these privileges are not considered of as much value as the approbation of their neighbours. 

Had not God manifested His great love by providing the gospel feast at an expense that cannot be computed, and then bidden His guests, the sin of refusal would not involve eternal consequences. But those who frame these excuses will never realize the greatness and terribleness of the consequences until they shall personally see the saints of God welcomed into the heaven of bliss, and they themselves left outside. What would they not then give to be received into the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for His guests?

The preparations are as abundant as if everyone bidden would certainly accept the invitation. God Himself, through the atonement of Christ, has made unlimited provision for all who will come. The Jewish nation, to whom the invitation was first given, were highly favoured and exalted. And when they rejected the call, the Lord declared that none of those who were bidden, and refused the invitation, should taste His supper. Can the human mind really take in this great thought, that to refuse the heavenly solicitation is to be refused of Christ, cast off forever?

When the invitation was rejected, the messengers were sent to call in people whom the Jews despised and regarded as a curse in the earth,—the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind. The call was to go to the high-ways and by-ways, and to reach the poor and outcast. These are not so filled with self-righteousness that they cannot appreciate the divine favour.

Christ is the light of the world, an ever-present and all-sufficient Saviour. Those who receive His grace are not to look upon themselves as a favoured few, as the only ones who shall be the recipients of His salvation. At the first the light was permitted to shine in clear, distinct rays upon the Jewish nation, giving them the privilege of co-operating with God in lighting the world with His glory. But they did not understand that divine goodness embraces the world; that it was the design of God that every human being should be included in those bidden. Now in Christ every wall of exclusiveness has been broken down, with every caste, every grade, high or low, rich or poor. “Whoso heareth” may partake of the divine blessings designed for the world in the gospel feast, and is commissioned to repeat the invitation, “Come.”

Ellen White wrote another article, published only 7 days later on the feast. See part 2 here.