Archive for the ‘ Tabernacles Teaching ’ Category

Brought out and taken in

Do you remember the old song, He brought us out to take us in….though there be giants in the land I will not be afraid, so let us go at once to our inheritance? This is what I think of when the feast of Tabernacles comes up. Tabernacles is a celebration commissioned by God so that Israel would remember their time in the wilderness.

The Children of Israel were not supposed to spend forty years in the wilderness, it was supposed to be a short trip through the wilderness to the promised land. How many times do we all do this, stop longer than we should or not heed instructions? But that is not what Tabernacles is about. Tabernacles is about God’s grace, God’s Provision and God’s nearness. Many of us start our walks as Jesus followers excited and then slow down due to distractions. God led the Hebrews the long way so they would not be tempted to turn around and go back. Why? Because the short route included a couple battles along the way, that alone is a message in itself.

The root word for wilderness and the Holy of Holies is the same word. It’s when we find ourselves in desert places that God is so close. We have misunderstood wilderness in our western culture. We look at wilderness as a bad thing, yet it was the wilderness where God spoke to Moses and let His goodness pass him. It was the wilderness where God’s presence first came to the Children of Israel, it is the wilderness where Jesus was filled with power, and it is the wilderness of life where many of us have found God and move forward.

Now grant it we should never live there but we should understand what the wilderness is, it is not a bad place but a meeting place with God for transitional time. Think about the instances mentioned, the wilderness catapulted those individuals into a completely different realm of life. Tabernacles is a celebration of God being with us.

Leviticus 23:33-44 gives us the outline of the celebration of Tabernacles and there are two things I want to look at. First, the giving aspect. Leviticus 23:37-38 NKJV “These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day – 38 besides the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD.”

Now before we get into the giving aspect I want to share a quote from Tiz Huch, “God is not trying to get something from us, He is trying to get something to us”. The enemy has convinced so many believers that giving is a taboo subject and that all the Church is about is money. I’m going to have a moment of blunt honesty with us, we are willing to give money for game tickets, willing to give money to eat out, watch movies, and more why aren’t we willing to give to God, the one who has given us the power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). We must break out of this anti-giving, anti-prosperous mindset the enemy has over much of the Church. We are blessed to be a blessing and if we only have enough for what we need we cannot be a blessing to others.

Verse thirty eight says besides Sabbaths, gifts, vows, and freewill offerings. Giving during the Feasts is what opens the windows of Heaven. Malachi three says we rob God in tithes and offerings. If we are not givers, why should we expect the blessing of God? God loves a cheerful and prompt to do giver. We sometimes hear, that’s Old Testament, tithing and giving isn’t mentioned in the New, we can just give whenever. Jesus and all the disciples were Jewish, there was no need to go over things that were already established and Malachi three and four were written to Gentiles, it is for us. Giving is what unlocks the door of blessing. These are not celebrations relegated to the Jews, they are God’s feasts and we are grafted in to the root and invited to join the celebration. Do as Malachi says, give and see that God will open the windows and rebuke the devour. And give with expectation to reap a harvest.

The second thing I want to draw our attention to is found in verse thirty nine, on the first and eighth day there shall be a sabbath rest. Hebrews four tells us that a rest remains for the children of God. It is good, it is biblical for us to have one day each week that is set aside for rest, especially with the kids of lives we live today. The rest of God, can be present everyday for those of us who will be willing to walk in that rest.

Tabernacles is a reminder every year that we have been delivered from the bondage of sin and have open and free access to a relationship with God. One last Scripture in closing, Deuteronomy 23:13-14 NKJV “and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. 14 For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.”

Bury your poop because God doesn’t want to step in it. Yep, that’s in the Bible. Sin is poop and God doesn’t want to see or smell it. That’s why Romans six through eight is all about how we are free from sin and how to continue to live free from it. It’s Tabernacles, check your toilets, make sure they’re flushed and spray some Febreze, God is coming to hang out.

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Atonement

To atone means to cover and every year the people of Israel collectively repented and the High Priest would go in to the Holy of Holies to atone for Israel’s sins. Then one day after hundreds of yearly sacrifices Jesus came and was the final sacrifice and we now have free and open access to God. That is the short version of the story but let’s look at the details, where love Himself is found.

Too many times as Christians we make an unnecessary division of Old and New Testament. The God of the Old is the God of the New and the law of Old was the grace of its time. When you look at the regulations in context of that time period it was God’s way of giving and showing His love. He made a distinction between His people. We read over and over God made a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians during the plagues. Until the ministry of Jesus was accomplished the law represented the way of grace, when the sacrifice was completed we were able to enter fully into that grace. We must make a distinction between Galatians and Hebrews. Galatians tells us as Christians we are Blessed through Abraham and the book of Hebrews written to the Jewish people tells them it is no longer about a system of sacrifices but trusting Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice.

This brings us to what we as Christians can gain from acknowledging the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23:26-32 NKJV  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

  To afflict your soul means to humble yourselves. Leading up to Atonement are the Ten Days of Awe where you seek forgiveness from those you have wronged, extend forgiveness towards other and do acts of charity. All of this prepares you for the ceremony of the Priest sending the scapegoat into the wilderness as a symbol of sin being far from God’s people.

We no longer need a scapegoat and we don’t need to sacrifice every year, Jesus is that final sacrifice. Jesus has provided us with the open access the people of Israel longed for in the Old Testament. Let us follow the words of Scripture and humble ourselves and prepare to enter Tabernacles with a pure heart and clean hands.

The last thing that is done on Atonement is you go through the Mikvah, you are baptized. Baptism is not a Christian thing, it is a Bible thing and every year on Atonement Jews enter the Mikvah to be immersed in water symbolizing newness, that the mistakes and sins of the previous year are gone and that they are offering themselves anew to God.

We can all get off track in our lives, we can miss the mark from time to time and that is why God set up His feast calendar. the Feasts are like a guardrail so to speak, to keep our relationship with God on track. So while you may not do a traditional fast or choose to be baptized, or other things associated with Yom Kippur, all of us can take time to humble ourselves before God, repent, spend time thinking on the goodness of God and renewing our dedication to God, His Word and His ways.

None of these feasts are about rules, they are about loving God and setting aside specific and special times to be with Him. This is why God classified the Sabbath as a Holy Day (holiday), so that one day each week would be specifically set aside for you and Him. To set aside the busyness of life and say God this day is for you. It refocuses us and calms us. Take advantage of the calendar God has set up, humble yourself, refocus yourself, and prepare your heart to enter in to Tabernacles, a time when His presence can be more real to us than any other.

Reflection, Repentance and Reconciliation

Between Rosh Hashanah (New Years) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) is a ten day period of time known as the Days of Awe. This is a time of introspection, repentance and reconciliation known as Teshuvah. We can repent any time we need to but the Days of Awe can still be good for believers to search our hearts and make sure our attitudes and actions are right.

In Deuteronomy 16:16 we are instructed to bring a special offering to God three times a year; at Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Before Tabernacles it is customary to make sure you are walking rightly with God, part of this is making things right with those you have wronged in the previous year. As stated earlier, we can do this any time but God is specifically giving us an opportunity once a year to make sure we are right with those around us.

Matthew 5:23-24 MEV “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go on your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Scripture says god loves a joyful giver, we can’t be truly joyful if we are angry with someone. When we are right with others, we are also right with God. We are not saved by good deeds, we are saved by grace. Grace when it is truly received does lead to good deeds. We are not saved by works but blessings in both the Old and New Testaments have conditions on them.

The days of Awe are about honoring God by respecting our fellow man and making things right with people we have wronged and this is good for everyone. We’ve all probably made New Year’s resolutions in January, with the Hebrew calendar, the days of Awe is your resolutions; you right wrongs, you forgive and you do good to your fellow man. This prepares you for the day of Atonement that leads into the Feast of Tabernacles.  

Take some time during this period to search your own heart and actions; is there someone you need to forgive, someone you need to apologize to? Can you brighten someone’s day by giving them a compliment, give an offering to charity, volunteer at a community center. these are days to get our focus back. Jesus went about doing good it tells us in Acts 10:38. Use these days to be Jesus to someone and do good.

Joy: The Purpose of God’s Presence

What is the purpose of knowing God, the purpose of relationship with Jesus? in a word, Joy!

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 NIV “Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival – you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”

Be joyful at your festival. For the LORD your God will bless you…and your joy will be complete.

Sometimes the man developed systems can suck the joy right out of serving Jesus and that’s unfortunate. E. W. Kenyon said just as Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the expositions of how to live the instruction of Genesis and Exodus, so too are Paul’s letters the explanation of how to live out Jesus teachings in the new creation.

Look at Galatians 5:22-23 NLT “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”

I’ve always found it interesting that it’s called the fruit of the Spirit and not the fruits, with an s. Think about this when we walk in love, we will be joyful, we will be at peace (things won’t bother us like they used to), we will have patience, be kind and good, be faithful to our friends and our calling, reply gently and exercise self-control. Am I the only one that looks at that and says, ‘Jesus I need help’. This is the purpose behind Rosh-Hashanah, Atonement, and Tabernacles.

Rosh-Hashanah, the celebration of a new year and victory. Jesus of course is our atonement, this is a good day for self reflection, repentance, and fresh commitment (this is why the Jewish people go through the Mikvah (baptism), a symbol for new life. Tabernacles is a remembrance of dwelling in tents and entering the promised land, which is why on Rosh-Hashanah people eat an apple with honey.

Even in the midst of atonement and a time of reflection, we pass through the waters of baptism and enter into new life as we progress towards tabernacles and a celebration of harvest!

Let tabernacles be a time when the joy of your salvation is renewed. Receive fresh vision! Make a new dedication and go forward in the goodness of God!    

Jesus – Our Water & Our Light

The Feast of Tabernacles (also known as the Feast of Booths) is the last feast of the festival year and the beginning of the Jewish new year. There are three holidays associated with this feast; Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). This feast, like Passover has feasts within feasts.

Before we get into different aspects of the feast, I want to jump right to Jesus. There are two main ceremonies during Tabernacles, the water ceremony and the light ceremony. Late Autumn is typically a season of drought in Israel, so each day the priests would ceremonially pour water on the altar. People would chant Isaiah 12:3, “Then you will joyfully draw water from the well of salvation.” It was on the last and greatest day of the feast, when the largest amounts of water was flowing behind Jesus we read these words in John 6:37-38 NASB “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes on Me as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water‘”.

Remember when Jesus said to the woman at the well, if you drink of me you will never thirst again? Jesus is saying on this last day of the feast, I am the answer to the prayer you pray at this time every year. I am the water you are praying for, I am the salvation the Bible speaks of. Water is sustainment, Jesus is our sustainment. At Passover we discovered that Jesus is our sacrifice, our doorway into the presence of God. At Tabernacles He is our continual refreshing, our strength, our joy.

The second major ceremony is the light ceremony that took place in the women’s court. The story from rabbis is that the oil for the lights were of such quantity that when the lamps were lit the entire city of Jerusalem was illuminated. It is with this backdrop Jesus speaks the words of John 8:12 NASB “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

In one celebration we see Jesus as our salvation, our constant refreshing and the ever giving light of the path of our life and we haven’t even gotten to the glory part of this feast yet. Every Feast points to its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus which allows for the fullness of its joyous celebration.

In the coming weeks we will look into the glory side of this feast. With this feast and every feast, with every aspect of our lives, we can celebrate because Jesus is the door to our Father who only desires good for us.

Psalm 91:14-16 MSG “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation.”    

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