Feasts of Revelation
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 13 January 2001
Brethren and sisters, last week I talked to you about the special experiences of Pastor Roland Buck and of a visit by angels to him, including the angel Gabriel. In one encounter Yahweh told him through the angel that He had seven priorities for man:
The first was the atoning Blood of Christ and how vitally important that is not only for our salvation but for our protection whilst we are here on earth. So important is the blood of Christ that it is at the top of God's list of deep concerns for us.
The second was Fellowship and Communion with Yahweh. He revealed to Pastor Buck that fellowship with God is really the whole purpose of everything, because without that precious fellowship, important and wonderful though it is in itself, none of the relationships we have on earth will continue into the next life. No matter how many wonderful friends we may have made in this life, no matter how wonderful husbands or wives we may have found, without the blood of Christ and the fellowship of God, we will never see them again, and will experience an eternity utterly and terribly alone.
The third was that Yah'shua (Jesus) is Alive. What that means is that we don't have to be punished for sin - for wrongdoing - so long as we are repentant and obedient. A lack of sorrow for disobedience and a lack of reformation - refusing to straighten our lives out in the way that Yahweh wants - means that Christ might just as well have not died for us at all. But for those who trust and obey, the fact that He is alive means forgiveness and an eternity of happy companionship with loved ones, with Christ and with Yahweh.
The fourth was the Promise of the Holy Spirit. Belief in Christ and His atoning power is a vitally important first step but it isn't enough. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit we are completely unprepared for, and unequipped for, either life on this earth or in the next. Without the gift of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) we simply can't know how to do His will, except in a very general sense, and we can't know what to pray for, because the Spirit teaches us how to pray and shows us what to pray for. You cannot pray in your own psychic abilities because they are not a bridge to God, and God cannot reach you through them. So long as you do not have the gift of the Holy Spirit, you are cut off from God's moment for moment guidance in your life. Without it, you are open to complete self-delusion because if you do receive revelation, it will either be from yourself or from Satan.
The fifth was Go and Tell the World. A person who has not received the Holy Spirit has no interest in sharing the Gospel of Christ to the world, and if he tries to do it in his own power, he will distort and dilute it so much that it will be a useless witness. It is the Holy Spirit which convicts repentant unbelievers of the truth, not our profession of faith or our clever works and ideas. Without the Spirit we cannot know how to witness or who to witness to, because only the Spirit can reveal the needs of individuals. Only the Spirit can put the words into your mouth that you need to speak.
The sixth was that the Atonement of Yah'shua (Jesus) is Everlasting. What this means is that no matter what wrong you may have done in your life, no matter how evil, except for openly denying the Holy Spirit (which is the unforgivable sin), that Christ has paid for any and every kind of sin. He has paid for your sins - all of them. It is simply a question of repenting, accepting His free gift in faith, and then holding on to it by living an obedient life. You will remember that there are two sins that are guaranteed to separate you from the atonement of Christ and from life everlasting, and that is rebellion and idolatry. To God these are the two most obnoxious sins.
The seventh and final priority of Yahweh was the Return of Yah'shua (Jesus). So long as Yah'shua (Jesus) hasn't returned there is, for the saved Christian, a possibility of falling and losing one's salvation. For the unbeliever or apostate, it is, in a way, good news, because it means there is still a chance of repenting and coming back under the cover of the blood. So for the believer, the return of Christ is very, very good news because it means that at the final judgment we will be ushered into heaven to be with God and loved ones. But for the unbeliever or the one who has rebelled and fallen away, it is a day to dread, because by then it will be too late to do anything - it will mean an eternal hell.
All of these things are taught clearly in the Bible by Christ Himself, and Gabriel's message was simply an amplification and confirmation of what we have already known. These are the seven most important issues in life. The person for whom these things means nothing is in deep, deep trouble, even though he may be in blissful ignorance until the day of judgment.
For those who do not believe, the issues regarding Christ are very simple. For either He was a liar, a madman, or who He said He was. No liar or madman could have produced such teachings as He did, teachings which changed the whole world forever and gave us what was once a great civilisation. Those who do not believe are therefore either accusing Yah'shua (Jesus) of being a liar or insane, and, because He is God's Son, accusing God of the same. One day they will face Almighty God who will declare to them in a thunderous voice: "You accused me of being a liar or a madman. You have blasphemed the Throne of Heaven. Get out of my presence into the place of everlasting burning where the devil and his angels dwell." And such a person will have no defense if he has had the Gospel presented clearly to him. But for the righteous, there will be congratulation and reward - treasures to gladden the heart stored up in heaven during their lives on earth.
Today it is my purpose to show you that these seven priorities of Yahweh are clearly built into the Seven Annual Feasts of Yahweh which we now celebrate every year. As New Covenant Israelites, we are therefore reminded in these festivals what is important for us.
1. The Feast of the Passover (Pesach)
The first of the festivals in the spiritual year is the Feast of Passover called Pesach which we celebrate in the spring. It was fulfilled when Yah'shua (Jesus) died on the cross and was resurrected. We do not therefore just remember how the Israelites escaped from Egypt under Yahweh's mighty hand but we remember just how precious Christ's atoning blood is. By accepting that blood's atoning power, we join a bloodline.
What is a bloodline? Those of you in the Warren family are of the Warren bloodline, and those of you in the Mjölsvik family are of the Mjölsvik bloodline. We belong to two families - the Warrens and the Mjölsviks either by marriage or by genetic descent, because the bloodline is always traced through the father. The bloodline of Yahweh and His family is the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus). Those who do not accept Christ belong only to he family of their fathers, but once they and the fathers die, they belong to no-one. They are alone. The only way bloodlines continue in the next life is by joining the bloodline of Christ. And to have His bloodline, you have to have His Spirit flowing in you - the Holy Spirit.
Israel was saved from death only because the blood of lambs was sprinkled on the door frames of their homes. It was that blood which kept the angel of death away from their firstborn. It literally saved their lives. But the blood of Christ, which was shed for us at Calvary, keeps Satan and his demons away from us at death, and brings us into eternal Paradise.
Now if you find the idea of sprinkling the blood of lambs on door posts revolting, that is excellent, because that is the reaction Yahweh wants from you. No-one good person rejoiced in the spilling of innocent animals' blood. But then that's just the point. Every time you disobey God, rebel against Him, or idolatrously set yourself or something or someone else higher than God in your actions, thoughts, and feelings, YOU are spilling the blood of Christ! YOU are killing Him! That is the message of the Gospel. And the person who finally understands that, however revolting it is to our senses, has begun to understand what Christ did for us. The shedding of Christ's blood was utterly revolting for the Father, but it was the only just price for sin. Passover is to remind us just how precious that blood of Christ is and just how revolted and horrified we should be by our sin, as we realise what a terrible price had to be paid in order to cancel it out.
People simply do not understand the consequences of wrongdoing. They think it is inconsequential. But no sin is without its consequences. Every time you disobey God, you are hurting yourself and hurting others. Mending broken relationships can be a very hard thing to do. It often costs a lot, but for the righteous soul, that is really the only thing he wants to do. Only the completely selfish and utterly self-absorbed isn't interested in repairing broken relationships, and such people will invent every and any excuse not to do so, usually by putting all the blame on them.
As Christians, though, we follow what Christ taught, and He told us that if someone wrongs us it is we who are expected to take the initiative in sorting things out. It is the victim's responsibility, because this is the path of selflessness and love. A Christian holds no grudges, no bad feelings, no desire for revenge against someone who has wronged him, because the moment he starts thinking, feeling or even doing evil deeds, he becomes as guilty as the one who offended him! That is why in the Lord's prayer we are commanded to pray: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." A person born again of the Holy Spirit naturally forgives. A person who has not been born again does not, because in his natural man he cannot forgive.
At Passover, then, we remember God's first priority, and as such, therefore, Pesach is the chief of the festivals.
2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag haMatzot)
The second festival commanded by Yahweh is the Feast of Unleavened Bread or Chag haMatzot. This festival we celebrate the day immediately after Passover. In a way, it's a kind of "appendage" to it and I think you will immediately see the connection with Yahweh's second priority, Fellowship and Communion with God.
When God covered our sins by the blood of the Lamb, Yah'shua (Jesus), it was with a condition. And that condition was that we stop sinning. The blood of Christ was nor shed to condone sin. God never intended that someone could accept the blood of Christ and carry on sinning! How ridiculous!
The Israelites were commanded not to eat leavened bread, that is, bread made with yeast. You will remember that it's a kind of flat-bread, hard and thin. The Israelites left Egypt in such a hurry that they didn't have time to bake bread properly. Today Jews celebrate this to remind them of this historical event. But unleavened bread means much, much more.
You see, in the Scriptures leaven is used as a symbol or sin - of disobedience and rebellion against Yahweh. To eat unleavened bread was therefore a symbol for repenting of sin and being pardoned for it. But you can't be forgiven of sin until you stop sinning! Someone who is disrespectful of parents and who asks forgiveness for this, but carries on being disrespectful, hasn't really repented, and is still in sin. The blood of Christ hasn't covered him at all because he was a hypocrite! God is quick to forgive wrongdoing so long as we stop habitually sinning. Yes, we may slip from time to time, though we eventually stop sinning altogether as we grow in our relationship with Christ, but it we keep on sinning as we did before, it is evidence that we are not saved and that we are not a true Christian. We become what is known as a nominal or symbolic Christian only. And such Christians are, unless they repent, doomed to hell when Christ returns.
The eating of unleavened bread at Chag haMatzot is an outward declaration of the true believer that he wishes to repent - not just on that day but on every day. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is simply to remind us of what we should be doing always. Thus those who choose obedience instead of rebellion voluntarily stay under Christ's covering because they choose to love and serve God above self and above the desire to sin. Those who are under Christ's covering want to obey Him, and they want to obey him spontaneously from the depths of their heart (Heb.10:14-17). Those who do not want to obey Him, or who have a terrible struggle obeying Him because their heart and mind are in rebellion, are therefore demonstrating that they are not under the cover of Christ's blood. And if such a person sees that, he should be horrified enough to repent and set his life in order as quickly as possible, because if he should suddenly die without that covering, it would be too late for him! A person who postpones repentance is gambling with his life - he is playing the spiritual version of Russian roulette. And as you will all know, many men and women have lost their lives needlessly playing that daredevil and stupid game.
Yahweh's second priority is to come into fellowship with Him, and the only way to do that is to stop rebelling and come under the blood. And yet you'd be surprised just how many Christians have been fooled by false doctrine or simply by the flesh into believing that so long as they have made their profession of faith that everything will be OK. That's no more ridiculous than a man winning a women's heart, marrying her, beating her up every day and expecting the marriage to be happy, let alone stay together. A person who willfully rebels against God is one of the most thoughtless and stupid there is.
3. The Feast of Firstfruits (Yom haBikkurim)
Yahweh's third festival on the sacred calendar is the Feast of Firstfruits or Yom haBikkurim. This was originally an agricultural festival, a time to give thanks for God's blessings on the land. Many Christian Churches still have a leftover of this in their Harvest Festivals.
But the Feast of Firstfruits is much more than thanking Yahweh for blessing us with food. Yah'shua (Jesus) is described in the New Testament as the "firstfruits of the resurrection" - the first man to ever be raised to immortality (1 Cor.15:20,23). It is therefore a pointer to the resurrection to come when we shall receive our bodies back young and in the perfect state never to die or experience pain, hunger, weariness or disease again. Those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb, who are walking in Christ's will, and recorded in the Book of Life and will be resurrected to life everlasting.
And so you will see the connection with Yahweh's third priority, which is that Yah'shua (Jesus) is alive! And the only way that we will remain alive is if we receive that resurrection life in us now.
4. The Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot)
The fourth feast of Israel was called Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot. Anciently it marked the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. It was the closing festival of the Passover season, being exactly seven weeks afterwards. And as all of you know, on the Day of Pentecost the first Christians were baptised in the Holy Spirit. It was the day that tongues of fire rested on the disciples' heads and they all spoke in foreign languages supernaturally.
Fifty days after Passover - the day when Israel was redeemed by blood - something new and powerful happened. Before they were all individual believers. Even when they assembled together on that day they were still individual believers. They were not a family yet. They were not of one mind, heart, and soul. They were not of one blood.
If you want to make flour in order to make bread, you have to grind it down until it is a fine powder. It mustn't have any lumps in it. To be ready to receive the Holy Spirit all the lumps of rebellion and idolatry have to go. To make space for the Holy Spirit in your body all your self-will has to be subjected until all you want is to go Christ's will. Your own personal ambitions and plans have to be surrendered to His.
But before the loaf will grow if has to have yeast - not the least of sin, but the yeast of the Holy Spirit. There are in the Scriptures two yeasts - the one evil, and the other righteous. Before the bread will rise it must have yeast added to it. Before a Christian can grow he must receive the Holy Spirit. Once the bread is baked, it is solid - it won't collapse! But if you open the oven too early and slam the door, well, you know what happens - the bread collapses.
Christians must understand the symbolism of the yeast in order to grow. You can't bake a loaf of bread in five minutes. To bake a proper loaf of bread which doesn't collapse you need around two hours. To become a Christian safe in the arms of Christ, free of the temptation to sin, free from the temptation to rebel and create idols, you require not just the gift of the Holy Spirit but time. To become a safe Christian not wandering from under the cover of the blood of salvation requires not only repentance from sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit, but constant, diligent discipleship. You've got to work at it. And it may take the better part of your life. Only God knows how long but one thing is sure - it doesn't happen overnight.
Under the Law of Moses the covering of sin by the sacrifice of animals had to be repeated once a year. So long as we are under the blood of Christ we do not need renewal - we simply have to remain there. We have to remain an active, committed disciple.
The Christian Day of Pentecost was the day the Church was born. The solo Christians became an actively functioning family of believers. A sign of Spirit baptism is an end to the solo Christian and the active involvement in a Church. A Christian who declares independence from the Church and its ordinance is declaring independence from the Holy Spirit and moves from under the covering of Christ's blood. He becomes like a stillborn child. But the one who is enlivened by the Spirit has suddenly caught fire and become transformed as a new person. Once the Spirit comes, you're never the same again. And once the Spirit has been there long enough, then you become strong and firm in your salvation, temptation becomes weaker, and you rest more easily in the assurance of your salvation.
This marks the end of the four spring feasts.
5. The Festival of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)
From the spring we move to the autumn (fall) and to the Feast of Trumpets also known as Rosh Hashanah. And as the name suggests, that is the day trumpets were blown. Anciently, trumpeters were used to send messages. The born-again Christian, filled with the Spirit, is now to figuratively blow a trumpet - he is to announce the Good News of salvation! The spring festivals are about getting ourselves right - the autumnal festivals are about telling others the wonderful news of Yah'shua (Jesus) because salvation is not something we're supposed to keep all to ourselves.
You will remember that Yahweh's fifth priority was to go and tell the world. The annual Festival of Trumpets is to remind us that we are witnesses both as individual Christians and as the Church. We are to witness to those we meet in our daily life but we are also to participate in the life of the Church's witness in evangelistic campaigns or specifically going two by two as missionaries. Some people are full-time missionaries, others devote their holidays to witnessing. There are organisations where young people go in witnessing teams in their vacations and where families combine recreation with witnessing, as we have often done in our family in the past. A saved, Spirit-filled Christian is an active witness.
6. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
The sixth annual festival, and the second autumnal one, is the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur. On this day the children of Israel were reminded that their annual covering of animal blood expired and they had to get a new covering for their sins. It was therefore the time of the annual sacrifice of sin. It was a time when Yahweh reviewed all the charges against man each year and man stood hopeless and helpless before His all-seeing eye. The annual offering gave him a brief reprieve. The animal offering was not capable to making man perfect, but gave him another year's probation (Lev.23:27; Lk.1:8-12).
When we are born again from heaven and we are baptised in the Spirit, our probation does not expire, it is canceled. The covering is not renewed because it is now permanent! It is an everlasting covering of the blood of Christ.
If we move out from under the covering, we must repent, and so the covering will return to us. John said: "But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins" (1 Jn.1:9, TLB).
Thus we see the correspondence with Yahweh's sixth priority - the everlasting nature of Christ's atonement.
7. The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot)
The last of the seven festivals and of the autumn feasts is the Feast of Tabernacles or Books, also called Sukkot. You will all remember how we built a booth of branches and there we ate our meals and held our meetings. That festival was not simply to remind us of our humble beginnings in the desert, as I told you then, but also to show us the eternal shelter that God has built for us in heaven. The branches we put up unfortunately died off rather quickly, but the Israelites would change them, putting up branches covered in fruit and fresh leaves. That little booth was supposed to remind us that the covering of blood given us by Christ is ultimately to lead us to a new home in heaven where we will always be covered with joy, fruitfulness and peace.
From the very beginning it has been God desire to bring us to eternal Paradise. He has shown us the way in the Seven Feasts of Israel. But that return to heaven cannot be until the return of Yah'shua (Jesus), Yahweh's seventh priority. The eighth festival we celebrate, the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, and which describes the light of heaven, was a later addition and so need not be discussed here.
God's plan both for us as individuals and as a people is complete and perfect. Nothing He has commanded is accidental or intended to be burdensome. He plan is safe and good. And it's very, very simple. Those who will trust and obey will find it a sheer pleasure, but those who will not, must alas struggle and play that terrible game called the Russian Roulette of Life. How dangerous, how utterly foolish, to try and do things our own way. Standing against us are the fleshy nature and Satan's hosts, who have counterfeits for all of Yahweh's seven priorities. There's the counterfeit blood which gives no covering, a counterfeit god called Satan who is no god at all, a counterfeit life which is no life, a counterfeit Holy Spirit called psychic energy which is full of darkness and deception; there's the counterfeit gospel of exalting the self and forgetting others, the counterfeit everlasting atonement which says that hell is a big party when it's a sea of flames where everyone there is alone, and finally there's a counterfeit return of Christ, the coming of the Antichrist, who leads everyone who follows him right down into hell.
Friends, there is only One Way, One Truth, and One Life, and that is the whole Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) which is go beautifully represented in the Seven Festivals of Israel. And then there's a counterfeit way, a big lie, and a fake life which leads to death. Satan has created an imitation of everything that Yahweh has created, only its a shell, an illusion, a mere fantasy that takes everything and gives nothing. And he packages it up in a thousand different ways to appeal to every kind of human being.
It is your choice. And it's no little choice. For the choice you make will determine not only the quality of the life you live in the here-and-now but the life you lead in the eternities. May you choose wisely. Amen.
This page was created on 21 February 2001
Last updated on 21 February 2001
Copyright © 1987-2007 NCCG - All Rights Reserved