1. Why Study the Feasts?
All through the Old Testament, from Genesis 1:1 to Malachi 4:6, there is a prophetic word, a speaking, a calling forth all the fullness of Christ into the human experience.
1. Why Study the Feasts?
In this series, I want to speak a higher level of prophetic word than I have known before.
Most of God's people are aware that Jesus died in the midst of the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Passover as God's “Passover Lamb,” whatever that might be. They are also aware that the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 in the upper room on the day of the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Pentecost. Some may even be aware that Jesus spoke of rivers of living water flowing out of us in the middle of the celebration on the “great day” of the Feast of Tabernacles.
God's people across the earth are taught so very little, however, concerning all these things. My heart breaks over the famine in the Church.
In past series, I have included much concerning the negative, contrasting the false with the wondrous life of Christ we now know. As part of a prophetic word, in this series, I want to minimize the negative. I would leave it out where it belongs, if I could, by God's grace.
Thus, without discussing all the why's and wherefore's of that great famine in the Church of Christ, I would simply feed His sheep with all of Christ that I know.
We never look at the Old Testament as its own entity; we never read it of itself. Rather, we approach the Old Testament entirely out from the New. We see that the New Testament is built upon the Old, that the writers of the New constantly quote from and refer to elements in the Old. As we peruse the New Testament's use of the Old, we see four different purposes of God in giving us the Old Testament.
One purpose is the absolute contrast between the law versus grace, between the old covenant of separation and death versus the new covenant of union with Christ. Thus the Old Testament is set by God for us as a false negative by which to contrast the truth of Christ. The other three purposes of the Old Testament are entirely positive, however.
First, the instruction of the Old Testament, when drawn by the Spirit into the Christ of Paul's gospel, the One who fills our hearts full, causes us to know this same Jesus and thus to know ourselves more deeply. Second, the stories of individual people in the Old Testament are primarily of people who did not relate to a “separated” God, but rather walked with Him by grace through faith. Thus we see a heritage over centuries of men and women before us who knew and loved the living God.
But then there is something else, something unknown to the mind of man. All through the Old Testament, from Genesis 1:1 to Malachi 4:6, there is a prophetic word, a speaking, a calling forth all the fullness of Christ into the human experience.
When I was just a boy in the Mennonite church, twelve maybe, my mother persuaded me to go to a week-night teaching being given by a visiting Mennonite pastor. This was not a “service,” just a handful of people sitting around a table. This man began to talk about Christ revealed by the Old Testament, by the stories of Noah and Abraham and Joseph. (He called his teaching “Types and Shadows”; I prefer now the more general terms: metaphors and symbols.)
I was enthralled. It was as if I was the only one in the room hearing the most wonderful thing I had ever known. I made my mother take me to every one of those teachings. Yet they were soon done, and then there were no more. No one in the Mennonite church we attended had any idea of the Spirit of God or any “prophetic” word. The hunger awakened in me had no more nourishment.
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:25-27
“The Scriptures” means the Old Testament. In other words, God thought it to be of supreme importance for us to have a vast record of Christ-revealed encoded inside the stories, instruction, and symbols of the Old Testament. I am convinced God intends for us to know all these things, and thus to know the extent and meaning of the Christ who lives in our hearts and His purposes through us.
Now, in the teaching I went to as a boy and in most application of the “types and shadows” of the Old Testament in today's church, all those symbols refer to Jesus only. The New Testament certainly does use the symbols to enable us to understand this Person, Jesus, who is our Savior. However the writers of the New Testament used those same symbols almost as much to refer to the life of Christ being formed in us and to the life and experience of the Church.
The truth is, almost everything said in the New Testament is entirely dependent, not only on a full knowledge of the Old Testament in all of its elements, but also on how those same things speak of Christ, first as the Atonement, then as our present life, and finally as His revelation through us.
Nothing in the Old Testament can ever speak of Christ to us except by the immediate miraculous instigation of a very present Holy Spirit causing us to see and to know.
You see, the writers of the New Testament did not write for intellects void of the Spirit and ignorant of the Old Testament. They wrote entirely for people who knew the Old Testament extraordinarily well and who were also immersed into the Holy Spirit such that they knew by their spirits the realms of Spirit existing behind every word spoken or written.
For us to hear what they heard and know what they knew, we also must be immersed into the Holy
Spirit of God such that we, as Paul said, compare spiritual things with spiritual, and we must also know in minute detail all the fabric of the Old Testament and how the Spirit of God uses it to teach Christ to us.
There is a great danger, however, found in our need set by God to know the Old Testament. That danger is that we would hear the Old Covenant instead of Christ. We avoid that danger entirely by Jesus words, “He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” We find exactly what we seek. Since we seek to know this Jesus who is our only life, we find Christ as our life from Genesis 1:1 to Malachi 4:6.
God granted me the awesome privilege of sitting for twenty-one years under thousands of hours of profound teaching anointed by the Spirit of God applying the elements of the Old Testament to the knowledge of Christ, not as an isolated individual, but as Christ now fulfilled in us, His body. This endless stream of teaching came to me through so many different individuals. I remember John Jeffries shouting us all to our feet in praise and joy by the drapings of the skins over the top of the Tabernacle, causing us to see Christ fulfilled in us in all celebration. I remember 1000 people entranced as Eli Miller, striding across the platform, caused us to see the Day of Atonement out of the book of Leviticus fulfilled as Christ in our lives. I remember sitting spell-bound as Don Stockbridge unveiled for us the kind of life God intended the Israelites to know if they had kept the three feasts of the Lord each year and all the ways of freedom found in them.
I could continue on and on; whether it be Ethelwyn Davison or Joe McChord, Charity Titus or Earnest Watkins, or any of dozens of others. I have been so filled full with food so richly from so many. I sit in wonder at the treasure house I know. Every longing of my heart as a little boy, wishing to know this Christ unveiled, has been filled full a million times over.
To whom much has been given, much is required.
Always I saw myself as a Joseph, gathering the grain into the storehouse, kept for the time of famine when the lives of many would be dependent on that grain being made available, the right amounts at the right times. I had no idea how I could be or do any of that, but I believed in a God who fulfills all that He speaks in our lives right here on this earth. I believed that God could do anything, and I believed that He could do it in me.
Thus as I share, you must know that, although I draw all things through my present knowledge of Christ by the present seeing of the Holy Spirit, I draw from all the things entrusted to me by others. As you read of me, you are reading of many. Since you likely do not know any of these people, and since, though I have a sharp memory, I cannot remember whence came all this grain in me, I would be unable to acknowledge sources. Yet I do that here with the deepest of gratitude for each one.
The primary source for all whom I named and myself as well, however, was Sam Fife, a former Baptist preacher anointed by God to birth in us the knowledge of the revelation of Jesus Christ. It was he who caused us to see, not just Christ revealed by the Old Testament, but Christ fulfilled in us. I know that the book that sparked his understanding was The Feast of Tabernacles by George Warnock, 1951. I also have read that book. The thing is, however, that I do not peruse it now nor refer back to it or, typically, to any of those who fed me so much over the years. I do not because I know that what you must have is present grain, fresh bread, the very living Word of Christ that Jesus Himself is speaking to you right now.
I must say this here at the beginning of this series. I write under the deepest sense of responsibility before God. I do not willy-nilly chat about nice sounding Bible things. Some don't stay with me long because my letters are too long for them. That's fine and I bless them with all my heart. But I know this, there is so much God's people must know, food they require to be transformed into all the revelation of Christ. I write what are to some “long” letters because it's what “primes the pump.” The precious truths found in most are typically found towards the end of the letter. Those who read on find the treasure. More than that, I don't write to satisfy mental curiosity or to add nice ideas to those who flit from one thing to the next. I write for the MOST IMPORTANT experience in the universe inside the MOST DESPERATE times known by man upon this earth.
I write with undiminished urgency. I write with the deepest sense of obligation before God towards you. I know that an account of my stewardship will be required of me. I know what is at stake, the revelation of Christ Himself in the lives of many in the midst of the greatest darkness the universe has ever known. God gives Himself to me for the sake of many; He willingly pours me out without any concern for “me” that you might possess what you must possess that will carry you all the way through.
I find and have known those who would seek to turn me towards their knowledge of Christ. “Just enjoy Christ and go back to sleep, everything will work out A-Ok,” or “here's an angle on truth you need to look at.” I highly regard and respect all who communicate anything with me. I am fully aware that there must be cross-pollination for a word of Christ to be complete. However, at the present time I find such a NEED, a desperate urgency, a burning fire inside that will not be quenched. “Just trust God,” meaning, “go back to sleep,” or “come join with what we are doing” has no relationship with Christ as Daniel Yordy.
I MUST deliver to God's people ALL that God has placed inside of me. There is no other possibility or even thought in me. I have no desire to offend, but I walk with full blinders. I will not turn; I cannot be intimidated. I am beside myself for Christ's sake; I make myself a fool that I might deliver to those whom God has appointed all He has placed in me. I do not belong to anyone, nor do I bind anyone to me.
I have years of cross-pollination planted inside of me including present word. Now is the time to deliver.
I feel like running as fast as the wind, as fast as I can. I find a power inside me pressing hard to cast off all the restraints of the chrysalis that yet limit the revelation of Christ. I feel like Forest Gump as he burst the braces from off his legs and ran as fast as he ever knew all the way home. Yes, you know Christ, but do you know Him in full manifest revelation? – I cannot rest until we do.
Okay, enough soliloquy. – Why study the feasts?
The revelation of Jesus Christ is built upon the framework of three particular things in the Old Testament. Those three things, working closely together, enable us to know what Christ in us is and means. Without an applied knowledge of these three things, then “Christ as us” is nothing more than us, and “Christ in us” is just a way to heaven.
Those three things are the journey of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, the tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness at the beginning of that journey/the temple of Solomon at its end, and the three Feasts of Israel's religious year. These three large things, each filled with many, many points of critical revelation and understanding, work always together. Though we can emphasize one at a time, it is impossible to teach any one of these three without also including the other two.
It is impossible to know Christ revealed without this framework of knowing that God gave us in the Old Testament. Those who do not know it cannot know what the Christ who fills their hearts is all about, though He utterly carries them. By knowing God's purposes for us revealed through the patterns of the Old Testament, we are set free from all limiting of Christ and ourselves.
Just as a piano player whose fingers are free to find the most beautiful music has been constrained by much practice, so our full freedom in all the fullness of Christ comes by knowing God in full experience by the intimate detail He found it necessary to give us. A “free-for-all” Christ (I use that term negatively here) is a limited Christ. The fullness of Christ is known only by those who will know Him in fullness.
I cannot comprehend those who do not value the entire Bible God has placed in our hands in order to know the Christ who is their life. Rather, I take all that God speaks upon the page, draw it into myself through the Holy Spirit, into my faith – let it be to me according to Your word, that it might bring forth all the life of Christ inside of me. I find Christ alone because I seek for nothing else.
In this series, I hope to do three things. First, I want to explore the details of this 490-year period from April 14, 1462 BC to October 15, 972 BC. I will do that with both general overviews and letters focused on specific parts. Notice that the life of David is very much a part of the journey of Israel inside this time-period. The three feasts commemorate the three main events, interactions with God, experienced by the children of Israel inside this time, the first two at the beginning, the third at its end. Although I explored the meaning of the tabernacle of Moses in The Covenant, it is impossible to speak of New Testament truths without referring to that tabernacle since it is the primary metaphor upon which the New Covenant is built.
Sam Fife shared a teaching called “Basic Patterns” in which he said that the patterns of the Old Testament, in particular these three larger patterns, feasts, tabernacle, and journey, are like a dressmaker's pattern. Any truth you hear or are considering, just lay it alongside the pattern. What fits you keep; what is beyond the pattern you cut away. He meant, however, that fitting that is entirely inside of My words are Spirit and they are life. I continue in that same understanding.
The second thing I hope to do is to give a continual application of all these things inside this time period to both the truths of the New Covenant and the life of Christ revealed now through us. As we do that, we will find every verse and topic and truth in the New Testament finding its place inside the patterns and structure of God. And we will find every verse, topic, and truth of the New Testament finding its full meaningful expression in our own lives. God is not mental ideas; He is experience. All truth begins as revelation (Spirit ideas) before becoming experience. Word and Spirit are never separated.
The third thing I hope to do is by far the most important and the entire purpose of this study. This teaching is 100% relevant to the day in which we live, this year of our Lord 2014 and ongoing. The whole purpose of our lives right now is the revelation of Jesus-Sent – that the world may know. One thing only will fulfill the New Covenant in the earth, the full and final experience of the great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles in the life of the Church, in our experience right here on this planet. Thus this series is a calling forth of the fullness of Christ out from us into all the world, the manifestation of the sons of God.
In my letter on Christ Jesus, I saw that Jesus had two specific purposes in His life and ministry. The first was to prepare Himself for the Day of Passover, the Walk of the Atonement; the second was to prepare a people for the Day of Pentecost, the birthing of the Church. In the same way, the purpose of our lives and ministry is to prepare ourselves, Christ as us, as the fulfilment in all fullness of the Day of Atonement and to prepare a people for the Day of Tabernacles. Thus, I want, not only to discover what that might mean, but to call it forth fulfilled in our lives.
The Feast of Tabernacles is actually three parts in one, the Convocation of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. Trumpets is on the first day of the seventh month; the Day of Atonement is on the tenth day; the Feast of Tabernacles begins on the fifteenth, always, apparently, a Sabbath, running for seven days. The eight day, another Sabbath, is the final day, the great Day of the Feast.
At the same time, the Feast of Tabernacles is the third of three feasts, thus we must explore Passover and Pentecost as well. And all three of these feasts are rooted entirely inside the journey of Israel. Yet that “journey of Israel” is, in reality, the journey of the Ark of the Covenant, which brings both the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon entirely into the same picture. And because God is story and His story is all about the life of individual people, we also find Moses at the beginning of this 490-year time period and David near its end.
I do not intend to make an exhaustive study of all these things, but rather, to draw from each element in this story the present prophetic word of Christ by which God in our mouths calls forth the revelation of Christ into the human experience.
Since this study is, in actuality, of the Feast of Tabernacles, then the central historical point out of which God's present work with us flows is the year 1063 BC when the powerful prophetic words of God in the mouth of Samuel called forth Christ into the earth. The Lord has sought Him a man after His own heart. 1 Samuel 13:14. By these words, the preparation of the Day of Tabernacles, coming 90 years later, was begun.
A man after God's own heart is one who has come out from another element in the entrance into Tabernacles, however, an element we will find as we explore the Day of Atonement. That other factor is pressing hard against me right now, thus I must include it even here.
I will close this letter with one brief passage. Those who know God and desire to bear and reveal His heart will pass through this verse. Those who do not truly desire to know Him will bounce off of it very quickly, hurrying down one of the many sidetracks that Christianity seems to offer.
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Hebrews 12:5-8
We study the Feasts so that this God whom we love might reveal Himself through us.