THE FEASTS OF THE LORD
By Dan Luehrs
"Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me" (Exodus 23:14).
There are three main feasts each year that Israel was to celebrate. The first one was called "The Feast of Unleavened Bread or Passover" in verse 15. This feast was to commemorate Israel's freedom from slavery under Egyptian rule. This happened when God had them put blood over their doorposts so the death angel would pass over their homes and not kill the firstborn of the family. I could get into the entire teaching of this feast, but I will let each reader do this on their own.
What we need to understand about Passover is that it was an Old Testament type of salvation for us living in the New Testament, when Jesus shed His blood for us and sprinkled it over our lives. Now, death and hell have no dominion over us, thank God!
What most people miss about Passover is that it’s not just an Old Testament teaching. It is a New Testament experience! Jesus died right on Passover and became our Passover Lamb. He shed His blood for us. Now, when anyone repents of their sin and asks Jesus to come into their hearts, they will be born again or born from above and will live with Him forever. If our lives have not been changed by this new birth experience with Him we are not saved from our sins. This is a must for every person! The problem with most Christians is that they have settled for a doctrine and not the experience of the teaching. We must press in to knowing the Lord.
The next feast was called, "The Feast of the Harvest of the First Fruits or Pentecost" in verse 16. They were to celebrate this feast fifty days after Passover for a celebration of the first fruits of the harvest. Now again, this is not just an Old Testament teaching, but a New Testament experience. For on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on 120. (Read Acts 2). The Church of the living God was born on that day. They experienced the first fruits of the Holy Spirit, and so it is today.
Notice that Passover is an experience with Jesus and Pentecost is an experience with the Holy Spirit. There is still one feast to go, called Tabernacles. Could this teaching on Tabernacles be an experience with the Father? We will go into a more in-depth study of this feast, so that we might better understand the times in which we are living.
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
In Exodus 23:16b it reads, "the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field." This feast of Tabernacles is called by different names like, "Ingathering, Tabernacles or Feast of Booths." The feast was to celebrate the final harvest. This is why it is called "Ingathering." There is a lot to be said about the end time harvest; Jesus said it would come about at the end of the age. ..."the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels" (Matthew 13:39).
We know that this feast has not yet been fulfilled and should be praying that the Lord of the harvest send forth laborers into the fields. Notice in Exodus 23:16 that the Feast of the Ingathering is at the end of the year, or the end of the age just like Jesus said it would come to pass.
THE BLOWING OF TRUMPETS
Tabernacles has three different feasts to it; the blowing of trumpets is the first part. In Leviticus 23:24-25 we have the feast laid out before us.
"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD."
Notice that this feast is in the seventh month, seven being the number of perfection or completeness. We are coming into the seventh day or the Day of the Lord. The Lord now abides in the seventh day, the day of rest. But man is still abiding in the sixth day in which he was created and is working by the sweat of his brow. Very soon we are going to enter His rest. I will write more on this later.
This feast was in the time of the last harvest of the year when it was ripe and only then could the fruit of the harvest be gathered in. (See Leviticus 23:39).
They were to blow the shofar and call the people to order for a time of preparation. I believe the shofar in the spirit has been blowing for sometime now, calling us to prepare for the Lord to come and visit us as He did in Exodus 19:10-11.
The LORD also said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people."
Isn't this just what we have been talking about: God coming down and visiting the earth in His glory; first, by sending His only Son and then, by revealing Himself through us? One day I had a vision about the glory of God covering the earth, as God flooded the earth with water in the time of Noah. This has happened before in the natural and it will happen again in the spirit! Listen to the words of Jesus,
"And He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal" (Luke 13:32).
One day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day with the Lord. We are now coming into the third day after His resurrection. We have lived two thousand years with the first fruits of the Spirit, and now is the time of the third day, when His glory will be manifested on the earth again for all to see.
"After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence (declare or show His presence)" (Hosea 6:2 NIV).
Our preparation has to do with our resting in God and ceasing from our labors. We have tried to build His Church long enough through our own planning and programs and still, billions of people have not yet heard “the gospel” after two thousand years. Now is the time that God is going to take over His Church and do it His way!
We are being prepared as an offering to God and we will be offered up by fire. Fire sounds like it might hurt a bit! Yes, the cost is high to fulfill the will of the Lord for our lives. But when the dross is burned out, the glory of God shall shine forth through us. Whatever our life and ministry might be, our whole lives are to be a living sacrifice. "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship" (Romans 12:1). God is calling us to pay a major price for us to share His glory. "If indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:17).
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
"On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. Neither shall you do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people" (Leviticus 23:30).
The Day of Atonement is the second feast in the Feast of Tabernacles and has now come to the Church. Atonement means, "to be cleansed." God has been calling us to repentance now for many years. For example He has been using Brownsville Assembly of God Church in Pensacola, Florida for this very purpose. Repentance means, us coming back to God on His terms and changing our minds to think godly thoughts. It's like being on the top of a fifty-story building in the penthouse. Pent means, "the top." But we have fallen and God is saying, "Repent and come back to the top with Me." What a wonderful opportunity when God is granting repentance to His Church. Don't miss this opportunity to be closer to Him through your repentance and be circumcised in your heart from sin.
Verse 27 says that it must be exactly on this day and this time. In His time we must be cleansed. It's God's perfect timing and we must obey or the darkness will overtake us. For He said we must humble ourselves on this day of Atonement. This is what repentance is all about!
John the Baptist was the first to baptize unto repentance in the Jordan River. Do you know what Jordan means? "To go down!" Humility means, "to have lowliness of mind." In this Day of Atonement, God is desiring us to cross this Jordan and die to self, so that we can go on to the promises of God. The only way into God’s Promised Land was through the Jordan River. When the children of Israel tried to go into the Promised Land another way, they were quickly defeated before their enemies because it was the way of their own making. We will also be defeated if we do not obey and do exactly as God is saying. It's the pride in our heart that will keep us from going in. Proverbs 18:12 says, "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility."
If we will look with the eyes of our spirit, we would see that the places of being humbled were the places that God was preparing us for exultation. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time" (1 Peter 5:6). Always look for places to humble yourself before the Lord and others, for this is truly the heart of our Father. He humbles Himself daily to live in these bodies of clay. Great spiritual advances are ahead for those who will do it God's way! Look at the life of Jesus. It was only after He humbled Himself to go into the wilderness that He was exalted with the power of God. When He humbled Himself to go to the cross, God exalted Him with a Name that is above every name! The opposite was true for the prideful. "The Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John" (Luke 7:30). Isn't that frightening? God will not push His will on us!
If you would do a quick study on the Jordan River, you would find that the Jordan was a place of receiving great power from God. When the children of Israel finally crossed over, they took their cities from their enemies by simply blowing trumpets! The sun stood still for one day, so they could finish destroying the enemy. In fact, God destroyed more of their enemies by hail than they did! When Elisha crossed over the Jordan with Elijah, he received twice the power of God on his life. The apostle's Jordan River experience was when they were greatly humbled at the death of Jesus on the cross. They saw all their hopes and dreams die right before them. They had left everything to follow Him and now He was gone, so they thought. This only happened because no flesh shall glory in His sight!
If we will humble ourselves in this Day of Atonement and stay humble, only God knows how much we can do for His Kingdom. He will pass by multitudes to find one that He can show His power through. But first we must cross the Jordan before we can enjoy the Feast of Tabernacles.
FOUR BAD KINGS
Satan will try and stop us before we can cross the Jordan by sending the kings of the land out after us. But God will use them for His purpose to cleanse us of everything that is not of Him.
In Numbers chapter 21, we find the children of Israel getting ready to move out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. They were not to attack any of the kings around them, but simply pass through their land. The kings of the land did not trust them, so they came out against them and attacked them.
Satan does not want the Church crossing into her Promised Land, for he knows that when she does, the Messiah is soon to come and the devil and his angels will be cast into the Pit. Hallelujah! This is the same reason Satan tried to stop Israel from going into the Promised Land, for he knew that the Messiah was promised to come and crush his head as the Scriptures foretold.
The names of these kings are meant to give us understanding of the tactics the enemy will use to war against us.
KING OF ARAD
In Numbers 21:1 the Canaanite came out against Israel. His name was the King of Arad. Canaanite means, "to subdue or overcome." Either we overcome the devil or he overcomes us! There is no peace treaty with him! Arad means, "to separate or isolate." This is just what the enemy did to them. They fought against Israel, and took some of them captive and separated them. This is what happens to us when we have divisions in our marriages, family, churches, and businesses. This keeps us from going forward in what the Lord has called us to do. Jesus said, "… Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls" (Luke 11:17). God used this to teach Israel how to fight as one man together in unity. Our smaller battles are to teach us how to fight and win the war.
In verse two, they made a vow unto the Lord that they would destroy the enemy if God gave them their people back. "And the LORD heard the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; then they utterly destroyed them and their cities" (Numbers 21:3). We must also make a vow to the Lord to destroy these enemies of division and strife from our midst and God will give us the victory.
In verse 23 King Sihon went out against Israel. His name means, "tempest." This is when all the storms and trials come against us to stop us from going forward when we are doing the will of God. Let me give you one testimony of what happened to us when we were leaving our pastorate in South Dakota to obey the call of God to move to Florida. On December 23, 1996, we packed up our U-Haul truck in a snowstorm on a Saturday and we woke up to a snowstorm on Monday as we were leaving town. The highways were fairly clear to travel, but as we were two hours down the highway, the truck broke down and we sat at a gas station for the next five hours, waiting for help. Then we found out that our truck would not be repaired until after Christmas. We left the truck in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and went to Minnesota for Christmas with our family. But that's not the end of the story. As we left for Minnesota that night, the snowstorm was still raging worse than ever. As we got out onto the freeway this time, it was almost impassable, forcing us to stop at a motel. This was the first time in my life that a snowstorm had ever stopped me on the road. We needed to get to Minnesota on Christmas Eve because the papers for buying our house in Florida were there for us to sign and ship back to Florida by next day air. This was necessary for us to get homestead rights on our house by living in the house before the first of the year.
The devil began to beat me up in my mind at the motel that night saying, "You must be out of the will of God, because if God has sent you, everything would be going smoothly!" That was a lie straight out of the pit of hell! If that were the case, Jesus would not have suffered and died on the cross. God's will is not always the easy road, but it's the best road! God gave me a verse where Paul said,
"Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure" (2 Corinthians 11:25-27).
As we woke up the next morning, our van did not want to start because it was 60 degrees below zero with the wind chill factor. This was another first for me! Thankfully, someone had a long set of jumper cables to help us. We were able to get to Minnesota on Christmas Eve and get the papers signed for the house. Fortunately, my brother’s secretary was a public notary and was able to help us out in our time of need. We must not stop if God is leading the way, but push on through all our difficulties!
Sihon lived in Heshbon, meaning "intellect and human reasoning." This demon comes after us when we want to live by our own understanding and reasoning, rather than by what God has commanded us to do. In many things, God has given me directions on what to do and my mind wanted to faint. Think about what God told Joshua to do: he was to cross the Jordan River when it was at flood stage and when their feet touched the water, it would divide. The mind does not understand this. Then, they were to march around a city, blow their horns, and the walls would come down. God says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). We must forsake our thoughts, if we are to fulfill His will for our life.
We must trust the Lord in all things. Rick Joyner said that many people have told him that they had missed God's will for their lives because it just did not make any sense to their human understanding to do what God had called them to do. If we are going to walk in spiritual authority like Joshua walked, we must learn to obey God in all things, in all times, and stop questioning His wisdom.
In verse 33 another king named Og came out against Israel. You might ask, what kind of name is OG? Remember God had all these names and people named and recorded to give us understanding. "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).
Og means "round." This enemy wants us to go around and around the mountain, causing us to sin against the Lord by not obeying Him. This is nothing less than witchcraft. The enemy knows that if we will disobey God, he can stop us from going forward to our Promised Land; so he tries to make our problems bigger than God, if we let him. But Israel was getting tired of sitting in the wilderness. They were not going to let any devil stop them this time, because God said, "Go forward and possess the Promised Land!"
Og lived in Ashtaroth meaning, "self seeking for riches." If you have more of a desire for the things of the world than for God and to be like Jesus, you will be defeated before your enemies. When Israel destroyed Jericho, or Je"RICH"o, they were instructed to take all the gold and silver and put it in the Lord’s treasury, not keeping anything for themselves. But there was one person, Achan who did not learn his lesson to obey the Lord, and kept some gold for himself and was stoned for his disobedience. The lust of riches in him had not died out of him in the wilderness. Our wilderness experience is to teach us to trust the Lord to provide for us and to die to self, not trusting the uncertainty of false riches. God did not need the money, but they needed the test, and so do we! This enemy of self-seeking riches must be overcome and be destroyed in us, if we are to be trusted with the true riches of the Kingdom of God.
Og also lived in another city called Edrei, meaning "power of the flesh." We cannot give in to self-promotion or doing God's work in the power of the flesh. Seeds of self-glorification must be put to death before we can qualify for the fullness of His Spirit in these last days. We must be willing to wait upon the Lord and His power. "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6). Jesus said in Matthew 23:2, "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses." If you exalt yourself who's going to keep you there? YOU! But if you let God exalt you, He will keep you. "For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation; But God is the Judge; He puts down one, and exalts another" (Psalms 75:6-7).
KING OF MOAB
In Numbers 22, the fourth king came after them, but in a different way. The king of Moab knew that his armies could not defeat them in battle because he had seen the other kingdoms fall before them. So Balak, the king, hired a man named Balaam to curse them so that they would be destroyed. Balak offered him great amounts of money to do it, but Balaam found out that he could not curse anything God had blessed. He said, "How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce, whom the LORD has not denounced" (Numbers 23:8)? Many believe that Balaam was a true prophet of God, except for his love of money that ended in his downfall. Many ministers have done this in our day. It is something we all must stand guard against.
However, Balaam did have one trick up his sleeve for Balak to try against Israel. Balaam wanted the money badly enough that he figured out a plan; if he could not curse them, then he would get God to do it for him. We are under God's umbrella of protection from our enemies, but if we willfully commit blatant sin, our protection is removed. Balaam somehow knew this. This is such a serious thing that Jesus brought it out in the book of Revelation 2:14,
"But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality."
Numbers 25 deals with the whole account of how Israel played the harlot with the daughters of Moab. 24,000 Israelis died by the plague. God said to them:
"For they have been hostile to you with their tricks, with which they have deceived you in the affair of Peor, and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor" (Numbers 25:18).
It's interesting to note that Balak means, "waster or destroyer." For he was the only one to destroy Israel by his tricks and not by warfare. This speaks loudly about our enemy. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field" (Genesis 3:1). "In order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes (tricks)" (2 Corinthians 2:11).
It should be no surprise that the Moabites were the ones to get Israel caught in the web of sexual sin. Their family history was incest and sexual sins. These were the sons of Lot, born out of incest and drunkenness.
I must tell you how the Lord revealed this truth to me. One day I was surfing the Internet, as I have done for years, and I had a desire to look for background pictures. To my surprise, when I typed the word "Picture," the search brought up dozens of topics and all but one was pornography! The desire for me to look at them was great. I could feel the demonic spirits trying to lure me in. But thanks be to God, who gave me the grace to resist them at the outset. Many people and even ministers are getting caught in this web and without a miracle, it is almost impossible to get out. For who knows? I could have been destroyed in my sin, just as Israel was; for God is no respecter of persons. Immediately after this, the Lord revealed to me that everyone who goes into the Promised Land must pass through the land of these kings of division, tribulations, love of money, lust of the flesh, and sexual perversions and overcome them! There are no short cuts to God's success, for we must all gain experience through our trials.
The name of Balaam means, "failure." We must be very careful who we let speak into our lives. There are many voices wanting your attention, including God's. We must learn to hear His voice through people, preachers, teachers, and through books, tapes, and music. We must have His discernment in these days if we are going to make it to the end. "And He (Jesus) was saying to them, take care what you listen to..." (Mark 4:24). For God is going to have a people for His own possession that will receive all that He has promised them. It might as well be us, so let us press on!
TAKE THE LEADERS, AND KILL THEM!
"And the LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel"(Numbers 25:4).
The Lord told Moses to have all the leadership of Israel killed that had sinned with the Moabite women and who worshipped their false gods. This showed they were unfit to lead God's people into the Promised Land. They failed the test and now could not be trusted with God's power and authority to take the Promised Land. God is testing every one of us in like manner for us to see what is in our heart. The Internet is not the problem, it's what's in our heart that is! These things are only showing us what's in our heart, because God already knows. We must cry out for God to deliver us from our sin. Paul knew all about this when he wrote, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:25).
Phinehas, was the true type of priesthood. He was faithful unto the Lord in his testing. Due to this he and his descendants were blessed with the priesthood forever. Don't tell me it doesn't pay to serve God faithfully!
"And it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the sons of Israel" (Numbers 25:13).
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES COMES
"Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD" (Leviticus 23:34).
Now after we have been tested, it is the time for us to expect this feast of His glory to begin! If you have already experienced Passover by receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you have experienced Pentecost by being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and you have prepared yourself through repentance... you are a candidate for being filled with His glory, for you are His Tabernacle!
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple (tabernacle, dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own" (1 Corinthians 6:19)?
Truly, these three feasts are experiencing Jesus through Passover. Pentecost is experiencing the Holy Spirit and Tabernacles, the Father. It is Father's Day! The Father is going to have His way in the Church. The day of man's planning and programming His Church is over. The Lord told a prophet named Bob Jones in 1989 that, when Denver wins the Super Bowl, God is going to have His way in the Church. Well, Denver won the Super Bowl in 1998 – 1999 with a quarterback named Elway. Do you know what Elway means? “God's - way!” Jesus said there would be signs in the earth. He didn't say what they would be, just that there would be!
"Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days" (Leviticus 23:40).
During the seven days of this feast the, Jewish people were to make a little tabernacle (booth) out of foliage and live in it to remind them of God's goodness and their humility before Him.
"So that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths or tents when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God" (Leviticus 23:43).
This was not a time of sorrow and suffering, but a time of rejoicing. (verse 40). That's what excites me! We are living in a time of great rejoicing in the Church right now! In the last ten years many denomination have been touched by this holy laughter. It doesn't matter what Church leadership has to say about it, God is having His way in the Church and is bringing about an expression of this long-awaited joy of our salvation!
Living in these make-shift "tabernacles" was to remind them of God's protection, preservation, and shelter from heat and storm (See Psalms 27:5; 31:20; Is 4:6). Even though Israel lived in the desert in tents, God was faithful to protect and provide.
Moses' Tent of Meeting was another type of tabernacle in which God met with His people. Moses called it "The Tent of Meeting" because it was the place of receiving revelation from the Lord. That is what we should be desiring, more of Him!
"Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And it came about, that everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. And it came about, whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent" (Exodus 33:7-10).
HIS TABERNACLE MADE FOR GLORY
From the very beginning when God created man, He filled him with His glory. I believe that Adam was filled with His glory when God breathed upon him. "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). Is it not likely since God created man in His image that He would fill him with His Glory? Man is created a little bit lower than God. "Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, And dost crown him with glory and majesty" (Psalms 8:5 NAS).
The word "breath," is the same word as "spirit," "wind" and "breath." When the Bible says that God breathed life into man, it wasn't just physical life, but spiritual life as well; for God is a spirit being. God literally breathed Himself into man. A spirit being will live forever and ever with God, or in hell without Him.
Adam and Eve were about to be tested to see if they would remain true to God or Satan. God even warned them in Genesis 2:17, "But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." Death means, "to separate." When we sin against God, we separate ourselves from His presence and glory.
In Genesis chapter 3, their great test came, and they failed big time! "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked" (Genesis 3:7). They were always physically naked, but the glory they became accustomed to was gone. The glory was their covering, even as it is God's. "Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak" (Psalms 104:2).
"And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8).
When God comes walking in the garden, His presence comes along with Him. I'm not sure how the translators of the Bible came up with the word "cool of the day," because the word "cool" in Hebrew means the same as breath, spirit and wind. I believe it was the glory of God’s presence that they were walking in. But now, instead of running to the glory of God, they ran from God in fear. The glory of God brought such great conviction to them, they could only run away in fear, like fallen angels. How it must have broken the heart of God, then as it must today, when people choose not to enter His presence in worship because of unconfessed sin.
In verse 9, God asked them one question, "Where are you?" Not that God didn't know, He just wanted them to ask themselves these questions, “Where are we now? Are we better off doing our own thing or obeying God?” Obviously, they would have been better off obeying God, than disobeying Him. And so will we. Although the price of obeying God is great, the price of disobeying is greater still!
Now that God's creation had disqualified themselves from His glory, was God going to let them die and go to hell with the devil? No! He had another plan in the works.
HIS GLORY IN THEIR MIDST
God chose a race of people and called them "Israel." He allowed His people to grow under bondage and be under the slave masters of Egypt for 430 years before delivering them. Why? So they would be prepared to receive His glory in the midst of them. His plan was to live in their midst at all times, if they obeyed Him. He raised up Moses to deliver His people, and to bring them from bondage into the Promised Land; much like what Jesus did for us, by delivering us from our sin and bondage. God's judgment has passed over us because of Jesus' blood.
"And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people" (Exodus 13:21-22).
Notice as they were coming out of bondage that God was going before them in a cloud. His glory was once again in the midst of His people! Why? Because God loves people and He has made us for Himself to dwell in. In His presence there was protection, provision, and guidance. But God was not satisfied with just going before them, He wanted to be in the midst of them. So, He gave Moses a plan to build a tabernacle (or a dwelling place for God) in the desert, allowing His presence to abide with them.
"According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it" (Exodus 25:9).
Another name for the tabernacle was "the tabernacle of witness" (Numbers 17:7) or "tent of witness." In both cases, it was the place where God revealed Himself to abide among His people.
Many believe that we are like the tabernacle. In truth, the tabernacle was like us, made to be filled with His glory. Moses was to finish the tabernacle and place it in the midst of His people, and the people were to camp around the glory in a circle formation.
"And he erected the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the veil for the gateway of the court. Thus Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle... For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel" (Exodus 40:33-35,38).
Once again God was in the midst of His chosen possession. But there was a high price to be paid daily for His presence to remain. Daily sacrifices! Does that speak volumes to you? It should, because the Apostle Paul said, "I die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31). He was a living sacrifice as he was living to do the will of God daily. And so must we be, if we want His on-going presence in our lives. God is not looking for a dead sacrifice, but living ones. (See Romans 12:1).
I wish I could end the story here, His presence being in their midst perpetually. But, sadly that was not the case. Ezekiel 10:18 says, "Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim."
God will not tolerate sin in His camp! His very presence would destroy all that were living in willful sin. So, He chose to leave, because they were a rebellious house. They chose their sin rather than God, for men love darkness, rather than light. (See John 3:19).
"Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house" (Ezekiel 12:2).
HIS GLORY FALLS AGAIN
Thank God He didn't stop there. He sent His own Son to shed His blood for us one time and then sat down at the Father's right hand. When the Father accepted His sacrifice, Jesus came back to earth and breathed on His disciples the breath of life.
"And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22).
The very Creator Himself breathed into man at the beginning and then paid the ultimate price of giving His life to save sinful man; to breathe the breath of life into him again. What love God has for us! Don't ever doubt it! Then on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled 120 people in the Upper Room.
"And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance" (Acts 2:2-4).
The Lord had waited thousands of years to dwell in His original tabernacle made without hands, and was so excited to fill His people once again. He came suddenly, like a tornado out of nowhere. We need to pursue God in like fashion!
THE FEAST OF THE LORD
Remember the Holy Spirit baptism is only the first fruits (the down payment) of His Spirit. The full possession is still coming!
The Feast of Tabernacles is more than just a teaching; it's about God possessing His tabernacle completely. There's one thing Jesus did twice, and that was to cleanse the Temple. This is exactly what He is doing to His bride, the Church. "That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:27).
"On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days" (Leviticus 23:39).
This is the only feast that is called, "The Feast of the Lord." It shall be celebrated throughout eternity. "Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths" (Zechariah 14:16).