Christ in the Feasts Christ in the Old Testament Ceremonies Series: Lecture Two
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, in the feast of weeks and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty.Deuteronomy 16:16, KJV
Moses was known for giving what is called the Law of Moses. You can see that in the Old Testament, but you can even see it in the New Testament. That law encompassed the moral law, which is reflected in the Ten Commandments that we have already looked at. It also encompasses those case studies where the moral law was taken and it was placed in certain situations, and the verdict of God was given as to how you were to address those situations in light of the morality that God was demanding of His people.
But the Law of Moses also would be applied to the ceremonial law. We were looking last week at the five sacrifices that begin the book of Leviticus, and we noted that they are pictures of the one sacrifice of Christ. The Gentile world was not bound to keep the ceremonial law. We find that in Colossians 2:16-17, Paul said, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” You could not condemn a Gentile because he did not keep the ceremonial law when he had Christ. Paul makes very clear that the ceremonial law was pointing to Christ; the ceremonies were the shadow of the Christ who was coming. He was casting the shadow, and now He has arrived, He is the body and they have the body. You are not obligated, then, to keep the ceremonial laws once you have Christ. As we have said, there are five sacrifices given in Leviticus 1-5, and those are ceremonial laws. We are not obligated to keep those sacrifices once we have the sacrifice of Christ. They point us to the real sacrifice, and we lay hold of that.
Tonight I want us to think on some of that ceremonial law as it applies to the three feasts that are mentioned in Deuteronomy 16:16. When you look at Judaism today, there are actually five feasts that they glory in. Two of these feasts were added to the nation's religious calendar after the writings of Moses. You have the Feast the Purim in Esther 9. You also have the Feast of Dedication, which started in 164 B.C. when you had the Maccabeans bringing victory over those who were fighting against them. They call that the Feast of Dedication. These last two feasts were not started by God and they have no divine authority for the people in that regard. It was not wrong for the people to celebrate those feasts, but they were not part of the plan of God's calendar. Both of those feasts were done near the end of the year. The Feast of Dedication would correspond to our November or December (it would be the ninth month for Israel). The Feast of Purim would take place in the very last month of the Jewish calendar, which would correspond to our January or February time period.
The three feasts that were important to the writings of Moses became a very important part of the life of the Jews. The Old Testament believer had his year interrupted by these feasts. He could not go through the year without three times the Lord telling him that he had to stop (especially the males) and go to Jerusalem and observe the feasts. In the book of 1 Samuel we see Hannah going and accompanying her husband as he went to Jerusalem (or in this case, before the place of Jerusalem was chosen, he went to the place the Lord had told them to go), and he went there to offer sacrifices during the time of the feast. Fifteen psalms were written to be sung during that time period – a miniature Psalter, you could say. One tenth of the Psalter was taken and sung on the journey up to Jerusalem. They are called songs of ascent in the Hebrew, and in our Authorized Version they are called songs of degrees.
The people were to go. It was to be something that would indeed take up a week or two weeks or three weeks depending on the feast – one week for this feast, another week for another feast. This was an interruption. It was not a time of vacation; it was a time of worship. It was a time when you would say, humanly speaking, they were vulnerable for attack from those without, and yet they trusted in the Lord that as they went to Jerusalem the Lord would protect their families and protect their livestock and protect their property while they were gone. If those three feasts were important to them, I would suggest to you that the meaning of these feasts – when you understand the typology and what the feasts mean – are very important for us as well.
I want us to briefly think on all three of these feasts and how they point to some aspect of the work of Christ, the work of His Spirit, the work that He will do in the future. They are pointing to that in order that we might be benefited from it. So if they had to think on these three feasts each year, I would say that you and I need to think on what these feasts represent every day of our life. Not just every year, but every day of our life. What is represented in these three feasts need to come to our attention and we need to be laying hold of the great truths that are found here.
Now, we can only survey the feasts; we do not have time to go into great detail. They are talked about in the book of Exodus, talked about in Leviticus 23, and talked about here in Deuteronomy 16. When you talk about the Feast of Tabernacles, a lengthy portion is given in Numbers 29. So even in the books of Moses – the five books that he wrote – a great deal of space is given to giving the people understanding as to these feasts that would be fulfilled in the coming of Christ.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The first feast is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It starts with the Passover and continues on into this feast called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I believe there are times in Scripture when the whole feast is called the Passover and other times when it is all referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread (as we have here in Deuteronomy 16). The Old Testament symbol is very clear. When you go back to the book of Exodus, it was in the first month (or what would become the first month to the nation) that the Exodus took place. It would correspond something to what our March or April season would be. Civil year, later on, would start in the seventh month. But as far as the religious year was concerned it started in the first month, because that was the month God delivered them from Egypt, that was the month that they received freedom, that was the month when they became a nation.
If there was reason to not observe it the first month, the month could be moved to the second month. And we see that under the reign of Hezekiah. God actually gave permission for that in the book written by Moses. But if you did not take it the first month and you did not take the Passover the second month, then there was something wrong with your spirituality. Something was suspect as to your walk with the Lord.
They slew the Passover lamb. When you go that night in Egypt when they slew the Passover lamb, they took the blood of the Passover lamb and they applied it to the doorpost and to the lintel. In other words, their home was surrounded by the blood. They took the lamb and they roasted the lamb and they ate it – something like what was done later in the peace offering. Here it is demanded that they roast the animal and eat the animal. And then the people were delivered from the avenging angel. And now while the avenging angel was not going through Israel, nonetheless they were to remember that they were delivered as a nation from that angel's judgment because they were under the blood. With that they celebrated this Feast of Unleavened Bread. The feast lasted a week (seven is the number of perfection). And it involved the removing of all leaven from the home – not just that you were not allowed to eat it; you were to take all leaven out of the home. It was to be gone.
Now when we come to the New Testament and ask, “What is the New Testament significance for this feast?” there are many passages that deal with Christ being our passover, either stating it very plainly or using the language of redemption in describing His work. In 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, Paul said,
Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
He is writing here to Gentiles. He is not actually telling them that they need to do the Passover and they need to do that week of Unleavened Bread. He is talking now about the reality – what that Passover and unleavened bread symbolized. He is telling them we must keep it.
John the Baptist was one of the first to bring the truths of the Passover to the attention of the people when he saw Christ and he said in John 1:29: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Peter, in 1 Peter 1:18, said, “Forasmuch as you know that you are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Again, the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
New Testament Significance
This redemption, this Passover, was something that was taken in the New Testament and applied to the believer. It was an object lesson; it was something teaching the people about what Christ had done for them. Let's pull from some of these verses three great truths that we ought to think about when we think of Christ as being our passover.
The first thing is that we must remember our pardon. Those sinners, the nation of Israel, was pardoned from her sin that night when the Lord brought her out of Egypt. Egyptians were also sinners. Why were the Egyptians judged and the Israelites not? They were both sinners. The nation of Israel was under the blood! The death of the firstborn came upon every household which did not have the blood of the Lamb covering it. Believers are just as deserving as unbelievers of judgment, but it is the blood of the Lamb that is upon the believer and that covers our sin. Isn't that what Paul says? Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption” (in Christ we have redemption) “through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” As we think on the Passover that ought to be one of the uppermost thoughts in our minds: that we have forgiveness because the Lamb was slain. We do not fear the avenging angel because the judgment has already fallen upon our Lamb.
The second thing we must think of when we think of the Passover is that we have been purchased. We remember the fact that we have been purchased. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 Paul says, “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” When we were looking at the Ten Commandments, we look at the first verses, the introduction to that section dealing with the Ten Commandments, and we noted that both in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5 God prefaces the Ten Commandments with the words about redemption. He had a right to command them to keep the Ten Commandments because they were redeemed by the blood! And Paul now uses that language in 1 Corinthians 6:20; he says, “You are bought with a price.” That price is the blood of the Lamb. We know that from what Peter says. Because you have been bought with a price, you are owned by God. Therefore, do the will of God! We are to keep His commands by remembering that we have been purchased.
Our redemption deals with both the body and the soul, and so with our body and soul we are owned by God and we are to use both for His glory. So if you commit sin in your mind, you are taking your mind out of the possession of God and you are actually stealing from God and you are using your mind the way you want to use it rather than please the One who has purchased your mind. And the same can be said of our bodies. If we use our hands, if we use our feet, to sin against God, we are indeed taking back from God that which has been purchased by the blood of the Lamb. So when we think of the Passover, we ought to think of the fact that we are pardoned through the blood, but we also ought to think that we are owned by God.
And it is this idea of being owned by God and being redeemed by God that is the motivation in the Old Testament over and over and over again for the people as to why they ought to live a holy life. He owns you. You say, “I don't want to be owned by God”…the only other choice is to be out from under the blood. And if you are out from under the blood, God will judge you for your sins. There is no middle ground here. You say, “I want to be my own master”…well, if you want to be your own master, then Christ is not your master. If you want salvation, you must take it by taking Christ. And in taking Christ it means that He owns us, that He is Lord over us.
Peter said the great heresy in the last days is that there would be coming people who would say that they deny the Lord who bought them. They would say that they are bought by the Lord but they do not have Him as their authority in the life. We see that all around us, do we not? There are those who are not taking the Passover very seriously. In our country today they say, “I want the blood, I want to be cleansed, but I want to live any way I want to.” You cannot do that! In the nation of Israel at the time that Peter wrote that, they could look in the Roman marketplace and see people who were being sold there, and they became the possession of another person. If you walked away from that relationship and said, “I do not want to be the servant of another person,” that person had the right to take you and put you to death. You were their property! Peter brings this theology of antinomianism into the framework of something that all the people would understand: that if you reject the Lord who bought you and reject His ownership of you, you will be swiftly destroyed by Him. And he said that would become a heresy in the last days. Well certainly we see it as a great heresy in our country today.
You have been pardoned. The Passover ought to remind you of that. You have also been purchased. You are owned by God. God takes good care of His property – you ought to rejoice in that! In the New Testament, the servants of God always were saying that they were His bond servant; they gloried in the fact that they were servants of the living Christ. If you and I are fighting against that great truth, then there is something in our heart that is wrong. Is He your Good Shepherd, or is someone else shepherd in the life? There is only one who can shepherd us and actually bring us all the way to glory – it is the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet people say, “Well yes, I want to be saved by Him, but I do not want Him telling me what to do.” Well then He isn't your shepherd. He gave His life for His sheep and He said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.” But the verse just before that He told the Jews, “You are not my sheep because you won't listen to me. You won't follow me.” We remember that we are purchased by Christ.
As we think of the Passover, thirdly, we ought to remember our purity. Not just our pardon and our purchase, but our purity. Here you have in 1 Corinthians 5 Paul making much of this idea of leaven. Some of the men here, if they have not done any cooking, may not know much of this picture of leaven. Go to your mother or go to your wife and ask them; they can tell you a great deal about it. I have gone many a time to the store and bought yeast to bring home that it might be put in something my wife was cooking. And that yeast permeates that which is being cooked. And that is what was true of the leaven. You would put it in a loaf of bread and it would permeate the whole thing. And our Lord is speaking to us through the Apostle Paul, and Paul is saying, “Know you not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”
What is he referring to when he says leaven? He is referring to that which is evil. And he says, “Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Here is the Apostle saying, “You are now in this Feast of Unleavened Bread. Keep the feast.” You say, “I am part of the Passover! God has indeed redeemed me.” Well, if you are part of the Passover, then you are living now in this time period of unleavened bread. They had to remove the leaven from the house, and you and I are obligated to remove the leaven – every part of wickedness – from our house, from our home, from our lives, from our thinking, from our acting. That is what the Lord requires.
And when we do not do that, that little bit of leaven starts spreading and spreading and spreading, until it runs and governs everything. You and I, as we labour, we look back to the Passover, to what Christ has done, and it tells us that right now we ought to be keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread by walking in holiness. You have a pardon. You have been purchased. If we truly belong to Him, we ought to be a pure people. Our purity ought to be known by those round about us. And when we fail, there ought to be repentance. And when we have broken His laws, there ought to be a coming back and a claiming of the blood and a walking in a manner that pleases Him.
The Feast of Weeks
The second feast here is called the Feast of Weeks. We know it in the New Testament as the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost has the idea of fifty – the Feast of Weeks was seven weeks, which means forty-nine days, and the very next day was the fiftieth day, and that is when the Feast of Pentecost took place. The Old Testament symbolism of Pentecost was that it was connected with the Passover. They did not date it according to the month; they dated it according to its connection with Passover. And we are going to see that there is a vital connection between what goes on in Pentecost and what was done on the cross and the passover, as it were, of Christ. Seven, again, is the number of perfection. Seven times seven would be perfection times perfection. And we can say that the perfection of Christ’s atoning work purchased for His people the perfection of the moving and working of God's Spirit upon His people.
This was done in the third month – Pentecost. Third means completion. But when you actually number it the way that the Holy Ghost has it numbered here, you are dealing with the seventh week (a week being seven days, and then seven of those seven days, or seven times seven, meaning perfection times perfection). Because it was the third month, this took place around May and June. And at that time period you had the beginning of a long harvest. There had been a brief harvest – the first fruits that were brought in. The Pentecost would begin this long harvest. It was the dry season, and because it was the dry season all types of fruits and grain were harvested in those long summer months.
When I was in Israel back in 1987, we stayed at a motel in Jerusalem for a few days. During that time they had four outdoor weddings. How could you plan four outdoor weddings in America in June? Certainly one of them would be rained out, and maybe all of them! And yet in Israel during that time period, they are not worried about the rain at all. So they had four outdoor weddings planned, and four outdoor weddings took place during that week! It was the dry season. That is when it began. Pentecost was at the beginning of the dry season, and then there was this long harvest that went to the seventh month.
New Testament Significance
Now, we are helped by the New Testament in understanding what Pentecost means. The Church received power at Pentecost by the risen Christ. When you go to Acts 2, you have explained there by Peter that this is an indication that Christ has come to the throne. He has come to the throne, He has been anointed, and this anointing now has come upon His Church. This is the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken of in Joel. It is the beginning of the last days. And when the Spirit descended upon the disciples, what did they do? They bore witness concerning Christ. And there was a harvest on that first day – the harvest of three thousand souls that were brought into the kingdom.
But as you read through the book of the Acts, the Spirit continued to move. He moved again, and He moved again. There was a moving of the Spirit at the temple and five thousand were saved. Daily there were people being saved! The disciples went to other cities and people were saved. They went to Gentile cities and people were saved. It was the moving of God's Spirit! The blood of the Lamb, the Passover Lamb, has purchased for us Pentecost.
And there is a very real sense that, [while] we say that Pentecost cannot be repeated (it happened once; it does not happen again), but as one man said, “While it cannot be repeated, it has never been revoked.” And by that he meant that the Spirit has come, and we come to God and we look to God and we ask God for help in order that His Spirit might come upon us with power that we might do His will. In Acts 4, the disciples there were meeting great opposition. They were told they could no longer preach in Jerusalem the gospel message. And so the disciples at the end of Acts 4 got together and they began praying to the Lord. They did not ask the Lord to remove the obstacle; they did not ask the Lord to somehow give them a way to get around the obstacle; they asked the Lord to give them boldness to speak as He had commanded! And as they prayed, the place was shaken and the Spirit came upon every believer, and they were granted this boldness. The Scripture says great grace was upon them all.
And you have that kind of scene taking place over and over and over again. The Church prayed and the Spirit came, and the Church prayed and the Spirit came. It was not Pentecost again, but there was this looking up to the Lord and asking Him for power in order to be the effective witness that the Church needed to be.
Today the Spirit still empowers believers to witness. So in a very real sense, we look backward to the Passover to see what Christ has done, but tonight we are looking upward to our God and calling upon Him to give to us that which the Lord has purchased. To give to us of the moving of His Spirit, to give to us boldness and courage and life, that we might obey the Lord in the times in which we live.
Pentecost began that long season of harvest. We are now in the long summer season. This harvest has been going on since Pentecost, and souls have been harvested in from the area where Jerusalem was – Jews and then Samaritans and then Gentiles. And then the gospel went further abroad and more Gentiles were saved. And now we have two thousand years of people being saved in every part of the globe, in every race and every tongue and every kindred. There is this long harvest period. And this harvest period will continue until the Feast of Tabernacles. It is not over yet! You are living in the harvest. And we need the power of Pentecost to help us fulfill our obligations in bringing in the harvest.
You can say, “I do not feel like I am very good at selling the gospel.” Well, you may not be. You may say, “I do not work as a salesman; I could never sell anything.” That may be very much the case. But when you go to the early apostles, they were the same way. Peter was a fisherman, John was a fisherman, Andrew and James were fisherman, Matthew was a tax collector – they were not salesman! They were not making their living by marketing. They were simple men who were given a task, and with the power of the Holy Spirit upon them they witnessed the gospel, and God did great things through them. This is the only thing given to the Church to help us in this time of harvest: the Holy Spirit is given to help us in this harvest. Brethren, He is enough. He is enough! “You know, we could do a better job of harvesting if we had more money” – no you couldn't! Use the money God gives you to harvest, to be a part of the harvest, but you do not need money to harvest. “If we had this kind of a ministry and that kind of a ministry, we would do more harvesting” – no, you need more power! The boldness to go out and witness.
Martin Lloyd Jones became a preacher. He left the medical profession, and there were doctors who were quite upset with Lloyd Jones, speaking to him in demeaning language because he was leaving what they viewed as a high calling and going in what they viewed as something worthless. And he was before these men and he saw their distain, and he asked them, “You labour to help people and heal people…what do you do when they die? You all know what it is for them to come to the door of death. What do you do? You have no answer for that. Men are going to live forever somewhere! There is an answer. And that is the answer that I am proclaiming – it is the work of Christ.” He went into Wales and he began speaking the Word of God. He had no personal evangelism per se, as we would think of an organized evangelism in going door to door. He had no bus ministry. I don’t think he had a radio broadcast. First year not much was done; second year not much was done; in the third year God began to move. At the end of ten years he was in the midst of a gracious awakening, just through the preaching of the word and God's people being filled with the Spirit and going out and telling people what they knew.
There was no program for the apostles other than: be filled with the Spirit and go out and tell people about Christ. What do we need [here] in Melbourne? To be filled with the Spirit and to go out and tell people about Christ! You say, “But I am not a salesman” – even more powerful, then, is your testimony, because you go and you speak to people and they see that you are not a salesman! What is it that is so constraining your heart? What is it so important to you that you have to talk to me about this? It is the power of the Spirit that we need! And that power has never been withdrawn, and it won't be withdrawn, until the Lord Himself comes and the harvest is over.
And so on the Passover we are looking back to what Christ did on Calvary and we are living in light of it. In Pentecost we are looking up and we are drawing from God this power day by day, in order that we might be a testimony in our lives as well as with our lips.
The Feast of Tabernacles
Thirdly, we have the Feast of Tabernacles. Sometimes it is called the Feast of Harvest, because it occurred in the seventh month at the end of this long period of time called the harvest. The seventh month was during September or October, right around that period of time. It had in it on the tenth day the Day of Atonement. We are not going to spend time dealing with the Day of Atonement now, but the Day of Atonement in the seventh month indicated that the Day of Atonement was complete. Everything that had been purchased by the blood was indeed now complete. There was also the Year of Jubilee in the fiftieth year of Israel. Every fifty years was the Year of Jubilee, and it took place in the seventh month. It meant that the people were now liberated. It meant that their surroundings were now liberated. So if during those fifty years you had been sold into slavery, if your property had been given away because of your inability to pay, that all came back to you. This was a picture of what would happen when Christ comes – great liberty comes, we will be changed, our bondage will be taken from us, and we will inherit the new heavens and the new earth. That is coming in the seventh month!
But in the seventh month the great feast was called the Feast of Tabernacles. It was the completed harvest (Deuteronomy 16:15). It was the time that they lived in booths (Leviticus 23:40, 42). They took palm branches and other branches, and they made little tents of them, and they lived in those tents to remember the time when they were in the wilderness wandering, living as nomads, living as pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Everybody living in their tents. It was also a time when they gloried in the blood. What do we mean by that? Well, when you come to Numbers 29, they offered there 189 sacrifices in one week. Most of those sacrifices (all but seven of those sacrifices) were burnt offerings. There were seventy bulls that they offered on those seven days. There were fourteen rams that they offered on those seven days. There were ninety-eight lambs that they offered on those seven days.
Last week we were thinking on the difference between the sin offering and the burnt offering. The sin offering was a confession of sin, but the burnt offering was the consecration of life. It was dedicating your life back to God. And you needed the blood to cleanse that dedication. In this particular feast, practically all the emphasis is on the burnt offering! On the dedicating of the life to the Lord and the cleansing of that dedication by the blood. With every burnt offering was offered a meal offering. And there was but one sacrifice of a goat each day for the sin offerings.
New Testament Significance
What is the New Testament significance? Well, there is no New Testament fulfillment yet concerning this feast. Passover was fulfilled in Christ's work on Calvary. Pentecost was fulfilled fifty days later when the Holy Spirit was descended. And we are now in this long harvest period, but the harvest is not over. This will take place ultimately when Christ comes back, and He is going to stop the harvest (it will be complete). And then for all eternity we will be in a situation where our lives will be completely devoted to God, and we will be pleading the blood over our sins. And looking back over the wilderness wandering in our time in the tents, as it were, and remembering all the providential blessings that God gave to us as we lived here below.
In Revelation 5 we know that right now they are singing the praise of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Revelation 5:11-12, KJV
What is the object of praise in heaven? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. For what are they praising the Lord Jesus Christ? It is the blood of the Lamb. They recognize in heaven that the only reason that they are there has to do with the blood of the Lamb. If His blood was not shed, they would be in hell. And so now you have this praise going up continually to Christ's name.
When you come to Revelation 7 you have another glimpse of heaven.
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:13-17, NKJV
The Lord brings us out of the wilderness wandering. He brings us to heaven. And in heaven we have our robes washed by the blood of the Lamb. He is the object of our praise. And we are with others who day and night are serving God in His temple, bringing glory and praise and honour to His name. In reading the descriptions of heaven in Scripture, I believe it was Mark Twain who in his stupidity said that he did not really like what he was reading and he would not feel comfortable there. And right enough, he probably wouldn't. Here is the desire of all of God's people to be where the Lamb is! To be there praising Him, to have the battle over, to have the sun no longer beating down, no longer the great trials and persecution that goes on in this life, but to have the war robes washed and to be in His presence! Earlier in this it talks about them having these palm branches – the very symbol of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Heaven is the closest thing to the Feast of Tabernacles, but there is coming a day when there will be the Feast of Tabernacles on the earth. When the Lord will come and the harvest will be over, and He will bring in a new heavens and a new earth, and we will serve in that new heavens and new earth, praising the Lamb (as they are doing in heaven now) for the blood that was slain, no longer labouring against all the forces of evil that are in the world (because those forces are gone), and for all eternity we will serve with new bodies in a new earth with no trace of sin, and we will bring glory and praise and honour to his great name! When we think of the Feast of Tabernacles, our look is forward. We are looking at our prospects. We are looking now as the battle is over and everything has been made to be at peace.
And when you come to the New Testament, you find that over and over again our attention is by the apostles being brought to bear upon what it is going to be in the future. Satisfaction is not now! You are going to give way to sorrow at some point now. The loved ones you have will say goodbye to you, or you will say goodbye to them. There is loss now, there is sickness now, there is death now, there is pain, there is tears now, but there is glory coming! And in the Feast of Tabernacles you have this picture of glory, where the people of God are looking back and seeing what God did for them all of that time they were on the earth. They are pleading the blood over their own dedication and thanking the Lord that that blood is allowing them to be in His presence. They are praising Him and praising Him and praising Him for all that He has done!
In these three feasts there was a look backward for us, there is a look upward for us, and there is a look forward for us as well. Oh that God would give us grace daily to look those directions and to see what these feasts were portraying to the people, and to have that upon our minds and our hearts. It would make us stronger as Christians. It would keep our focus upon that which is truly eternal, on that which is important. If tonight you say, “I do not have this hope,” then it is Christ who gives it. Come to Christ and lay hold of Him. He is the One who is the Passover Lamb. He is the One who sends His Spirit to dwell within and to empower those who are His own. And He is the One who will welcome into glory His people as they come to worship him. Come to Christ and lay hold of Him as Lord and Saviour. And these pictures will become a reality to you.
Christ has, is, and will fulfill these pictures that are before us. If you have the eye of faith and can see what is being described here, it truly gives you great encouragement and instruction as to how to live your life – looking back to what has happened in Christ, looking for power to live now, looking to your prospects as to what is in the future. God has given us this that we might be encouraged and strengthened and make it all the way to glory. As a believer, thank the Lord for what He has done, and try to keep before yourself the fact that you are pardoned, that you have been purchased, that you are pure and God desires your purity. That He will give you power as you come and seek Him for it. And that He has given you great prospects for the future.
Oh, that we would keep this before us. Today if you are without Christ I would invite you to come to Him. Right where you sit, come and lay hold of him. Come and seek Him for forgiveness. Come and take Him as your Lord and Saviour, and He will welcome you.