FEAST OF TABERNACLES #3
FEAST OF TABERNACLES continued
by Warnock (written 1951)
Continued from previous page:
honoured their faith. And now as the first rays of this glorious
Feast begin to appear on the eastern horizon, we have every
reason to rejoice--knowing that the days of restoration are here.
And little by little we can see how the pattern is being unfolded
before our eyes.
THE PEOPLE ASSEMBLE AS ONE MAN
"And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel
were in the cities, the people gathered themselves as one man to
Jerusalem." (Ezra 3:1).
This, of course, is the foundational truth of this whole
revival which God has given the Church, and one of the first
revelations that came forth: that God would now at this time
bring His people together to form one body. At the beginning it
was hoped that the Christians everywhere would catch the vision,
and that before long the whole Body of saints would become one
vital, living organism, united together in the bonds of the
Spirit unto one common purpose. But it is becoming apparent that
only a remnant are returning to Jerusalem. The vast majority are
content to remain in Babylon, for they have grown up in that
state, and know nothing of the glory of God which once rested
mightily on the Temple of God. They are prosperous enough; and
the venture which a few fanatical Israelites have started upon is
so utterly hopeless and fantastic that they will have nothing to
do with it. Just imagine a small group of Israelites, with no
natural resources (for they were a captive people), and very
little perhaps in the way of education or business and
administrative ability--venturing off to a land they had never
seen, to a city utterly wasted and desolate, and starting to
erect a temple comparable to Solomon's! And so the majority, the
vast majority, were content to remain in Babylon, with only about
fifty thousand out of the millions in Israel thinking it worth
their while to go up and start work on the temple.
We know God has a great and eternal purpose for all His
precious saints, and when His plan is revealed we shall glory in
the wisdom of God who "worketh all things after the counsel of
His own will." But it is becoming increasingly evident that the
pattern of the remnant in Israel who returned to Jerusalem is the
immediate pattern for this hour. And as then, so now, a group of
people who have really seen the vision of what God is doing, have
assembled together as one man. It is the vision of the Body of
Christ. It is the vision and assurance that there must arise out
of the dust of Jerusalem a Holy City, a Beautiful City, and a
Temple not made with hands--a glorious Church without spot or
wrinkle. "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy
beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth
there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the
unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O
Jerusalem . . ." (Isa. 52:1,2). This whole passage speaks loudly
of this day and hour in which we live, when the glory of God is
about to be restored to the once-holy city of God, even the
"heavenly Jerusalem." "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with
the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to
eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy,
sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath
comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem." Vs. 8,9).
THE FOUNDATION OF THE TEMPLE LAID
"And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the
Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and
the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord
. . ." (Ezra 3:10).
The first Feast that was observed, the one we have already
studied, was before the foundation of the temple had been laid.
Therefore the real meaning of the Feast was lacking; but it did
promise great things to come when the days of restoration were
over. That was in the first year of their return from captivity,
Now the second year had rolled around, and God had enabled them
to lay the foundation for the temple. There was great rejoicing
therefore in the camp of Israel, to know that God had prospered
their work, that the foundation was laid, and that the work was
THE PRAISE OF THE MUSICIANS
"And they sang together by course (Or, alternately) in praising
and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his
mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted
with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the
foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." (Ezra 3:11).
It is not without Divine purpose, therefore, that the
ministry of spiritual song and music is being restored to the
Church. Actually it is the voice of prophecy. We read, therefore:
"Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the
service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who
should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals. ."
(1 Chron. 25:1).
No doubt there was usually prophetic singing accompanied by
the musical instruments; and together it formed this great
prophetic orchestra and choir. And because it is the voice of
prophecy, that is why there is a work of deliverance wrought when
songs are sung in the Spirit, or when instruments of music are
played in the Spirit. David, you will recall, drove the evil
spirit away from Saul, as he played upon the harp. It is the
voice of God; and it is a ministry, as it was in the case of the
sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. Asaph means Gatherer; Heman
means Faithful; and Jeduthun means Choir of Praise. What a
wonderful description of what is generally called the Heavenly
Choir. "The Choir of Praise!" Sung by those who are "Faithful" in
their ministry; and to "Gather" the saints together in the unity
of the Spirit.
It is not difficult, then, for us to understand why the
Choir of Praise has been restored to the Church. The Temple
service is being restored. The saints are singing "by
course,"--that is, "alternately" in prophecy one to one another,
because once again the Lord's Temple is being restored.
WHY THE REJOICING?
"And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised
the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was
laid." (Ezra 3:11).
The present work of the Holy Spirit in re-establishing the
Temple of God and its spiritual order of worship, has really just
started. But we can thank God, nevertheless, that the pattern has
been revealed, and that the foundation has been laid. Perhaps it
is not too evident to some, because the building is just under
construction. It is not our purpose to try to prove that the
foundation of apostles and prophets has been relaid. Nor is it
really the minister's responsibility to prove any doctrine to
anybody. His duty is to minister the Bread of Life to the hungry.
If they can receive it, they will be nourished; if they cannot,
then perhaps we could administer the sincere milk of the Word
that they might grow thereby. According to every man's ability to
receive, and their stature in Christ--so may God enable us to
minister the words of life. And let us realize that we are sent
to feed Christ's sheep, and nourish His people--and not to fill
them with doctrines and theories which will not profit. These
things, therefore, are written only for those who can receive
them; and for none others.
We realize, therefore, that perhaps there are very, very few
who can discern the foundation of the temple being relaid in this
day. And of course it is most difficult to see a newly laid
foundation, for it is usually almost obscured amidst the concrete
forms and the supports and the heaps of broken stones and boards
that cover the ground. But the Choir of Praise continues to exalt
the Lord, and the saints continue to sing one to another in
prophecy, because they can see that the foundation has been laid,
and the temple is beginning to take shape.
"Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but
fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and
are built (literally, are being built) upon the foundation of the
apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief
corner stone." (Eph. 2:19,20).
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles . . ." (1
The time is at hand when God will vindicate who His
ministers are, and what their place is in this new Temple. For
these ministries are not by human-appointment, nor by
self-appointment, but by Divine appointment. Until now perhaps
there has not been any great need for recognized leadership. We
have been in the wilderness; and you really do not need a guide
until you start travelling through strange territory. But those
days are about to end. We stand on the brink of Jordan. Before us
lies a good land, a great land, a rich heritage in the Spirit.
But it is strange territory. As of old, therefore, God is
establishing ministries which shall lead the way across Jordan;
and the people must be prepared to follow.
"And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went
through the host, and they commanded the people, saying, when ye
see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests
the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and
go after it." (Josh. 3:2,3).
This is a new way. We have not passed this way heretofore.
And with this new way, there shall arise new dangers, new
problems, new perplexities. Such terrible days are ahead, and
such deception shall be manifest by the adversary, that the
saints must know who God's ministers are that they might follow
them into this good land. Said Paul, "Be ye followers of me, even
as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1).
It would be most enlightening if we could take time to
examine in detail the opposition that was raised against the
faithful remnant who laboured on the second temple; for it is a
clear picture of what is now transpiring, and what shall yet
transpire, as this new Temple begins to rise into her glory.
First there was the opposition of the people who dwelt there in
the land. Their request was, "Let us build with you: for we seek
your God, as ye do." (Ezra 4:2). But Zerubbabel discerned their
true nature, and refused to accept their help. No doubt he was
condemned for not co-operating with this noble gesture, and this
desire for fellowship. But Zerubbabel's action was certainly
confirmed in what followed: for immediately they sent letters to
the King of Persia, demanding that the builders be forbidden to
continue their work. Their argument was quite a modern one: "Be
it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and
the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and
custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings."
(Ezra 4:13). There are many "kings" in the Church today,
collecting toll and custom from the people, and the restoration
of the Church is going to bring about their downfall. In the
first place, they were never ordained of God. In the second
place, instead of shepherding the flock they are fleecing them.
In the third place, when the Church is properly established there
will be local elders in each assembly to guide the flock, and
there will be no need for a permanently residing pastor. Every
minister of God should carefully examine himself in the light of
God's controversy with the shepherds of Israel, and make his
"Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves!
Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye
clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed; but ye feed
not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither
have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that
which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was
driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with
force and with cruelty have ye ruled them." (Ezek. 34:2-4).
There seems to be very few real, genuine shepherds, who are
prepared to lay down their lives for the sheep. It is no wonder,
therefore, that the false shepherds do not want to see the Temple
of God restored, and the gates set up! Their revenue shall be
endamaged when this happens. And so they persuaded the
authorities in Persia to forbid the progress of the work; and the
THE PROPHETS ENCOURAGE THE BUILDERS
Just how long the work ceased on the temple we do not know.
And just how long the work on this Temple is going to be
hindered, we do not know. Perhaps God in mercy will do a quick
work. Nevertheless, despite all the opposition and all the
obstacles, the work shall continue. Has the Lord not raised up
prophets to encourage the builders, just as He did for Israel?
With the builders, we are told, "Were the prophets of God helping
them," encouraging them in their task. (Ezra 5:2.) Is it not the
purpose of prophecy to speak unto men words of "edification, and
exhortation, and comfort?" (1 Cor. 14:3). Edification! Building
up! It is the work of prophecy to edity and build up the saints
as they labour in this holy Temple of the Lord. The opposition
will continue from within as well as from without--but the
prophets of God are there to exhort and comfort the saints in
every hour of trial.
Once again there were efforts to hinder the work, and the
matter was referred to Darius, but permission was granted and the
work continued. In fact, he even ordered that timber and salt and
wine and oil be given the builders to help them in their task.
And so they built and they prophesied . . . "And they prospered
through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the
son of Iddo." (Ezra 6:14). So they finished the Temple!
THE FEAST IN THE DAYS OF EZRA AND NEHEMIAH
Many years after the building of the Temple Ezra and
Nehemiah had come to Jerusalem in an hour of great spiritual
need. Ezra came to teach the people the law and Nemeniah to
rebuild the walls and fortify the City. And so we read that "All
that could hear with understanding" assembled together "as one
man into the street that was before the water gate" while Ezra
the priest read from the law of God from morning until midday.
This was the first day of the seventh month, the month of the
Feast of Tabernacles. (See Neh. 8:1-3).
"So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave
the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." (Neh.
This is the hour of revelation and spiritual understanding.
The Spirit is speaking to the churches, but only those with "ears
to hear" shall understand what is spoken. The natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, and only men whose
minds have been quickened by the Spirit shall be able to "give
the sense" on the one hand, or "understand the reading" on the
other. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith
to the churches."
THE PEOPLE IN THEIR PLACE
"And the people stood in their place." (Neh. 8:7).
God is setting His ministries in the Body according as it
pleases Him, and the time has come when every man must know his
place in the Body and serve the Lord accordingly. Ministries have
been raised up for the express purpose of administering gifts of
the Spirit through prophecy and the laying on of hands--and the
saints are exhorted to "war a good warfare" accordingly. (1 Tim.
1:18.) We realize, of course, that much harm has been done by
those who are attempting to administer gifts to others through
prophecy and the laying on of hands--when God has not authorized
them to engage in this ministry. But the tares must always grow
together with the wheat until the time of harvest. If the child
of God is walking in close communion with his Lord, then the
Spirit will witness as to the truth of the prophecy which goes
forth concerning him. And if he is not walking in close communion
with God, then the prophecy will mean nothing to him
anyway--except perhaps to harden his heart or fill him with
pride. This will serve as a good test. If pride rises up in the
heart, the prophecy - whether true or false, cannot be relied
upon. For even a true prophecy must submit to the test of faith
and obedience in one's life and ministry. Furthermore, the
purpose of prophecy is to establish, edify, comfort and exhort,
and if the candidate is left in a state of confusion or
turmoil and doubt--he might as well reject what has been said
concerning him. "For God is not the Author of confusion, but of
peace." (1 Cor. 14:33). We merely mention these things, because
we know that many are trying to engage in this ministry of
prophecy, with the laying on of hands--and God has never
commissioned them to do so. The minstry is real and genuine, as
all can testify who have really entered in to the realities of
this move of the Spirit. But as surely as the Sower plants good
seed, the enemy is there to sow tares --and both must grow
together until the harvest.
However, if the child of God who hungers to know God's will,
and do it--has not had the opportunity of being set aside by
prophecy and the laying on of hands, he need not be in the least
discouraged. Let him continue in the things which God has placed
in his hand to do. Choose the humble and lowly position, and you
cannot go wrong. Pray, fast, intercede, shew mercy, give, help
and assist God's people --do whatever the Lord enables you to do,
in humility and meekness, and God will honour your efforts. And
regardless of any prophecy that has been given to any man, utter
consecration unto God is God's will for you, first and foremost.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that
ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to
this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect
will of God." (Rom. 12:1,2). That is the will of God for you!
Take the lowly position, therefore, and God will exalt you in due
course when you are able to receive it. Much better that you
should be found doing some humble task, and the Lord promote you
unto honour, than that he should be forced to say: "Give this man
place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room." (Lk.
14:9.) If this plan is followed. God will certainly give guidance
and direction. And in His own good time, when He chooses to
reveal your ministry in greater fulness through prophecy and the
laying on of hands, His servants will be directed your way, and
led of the Spirit to set you apart unto the work for which God
has called you.
SEND PORTIONS TO THE NEEDY
"Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions
unto them for whom nothing is prepared . . ." (Neh. 8:10).
As the Feast of Tabernacles begins to dawn upon us, it is
becoming increasingly important that the saints have something to
minister to their fellow-members in the Body. They must not
"appear before the Lord empty: every man shall give as he is
able, according to the blessing of the Lord." (Deut. 16:16,17).
This strongly reminds us of Paul's exhortations to the Romans and
Corinthians, concerning their ministry in the Body of Christ.
"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given
to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the
proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering
. . ." (Rom. 12:6,7). The whole ministry of the various members
is to edify the Body, and not for their own gratification. "As
every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one
to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1
Pet. 4:10). As the ministries develop and the Body is edified,
then they will go forth unto the world bringing health and
gladness to those who sit in darkness, starvation, and the shadow
VICTORY AND PROSPERITY AHEAD
"Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine
branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of
thick trees, to make booths, as it is written . . ." (Neh. 8:15).
No doubt all these trees are significant of one thing and
another. But broadly speaking they depict the victory and
prosperity and joy and triumph of the people of God. The
"olive"--a true symbol of the Holy Spirit. The olive oil was used
for making the holy ointment, for the anointing of prophet,
priest, or king. Palm branches, you will recall, were cut down
and scattered in the pathway of the King who came riding
triumphantly into Jerusalem sitting upon an ass, amidst the
shouting of the people and of the children. "Hosanna!" they
cried, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Mk.
11:9). And the saints who come out of the Great Tribulation
clothed in white robes have "palms in their hands," as they shout
the victory song and worship the Lamb that was slain for them.
There is a great day of gladness ahead for the saints when the
Feast of Tabernacles is observed. But they must leave their homes
and assemble in the streets of Jerusalem. They must forsake their
own ways, their own thoughts, their own plans and desires, and
crucify the flesh--in order that the life of Christ and the joy
of the Holy Ghost might be their portion.
What a spectacle this scene must have presented. Thousands
upon thousands of little humble tabernacles or booths erected
along the streets of Jerusalem, or upon the house-tops, or in the
courts of the temple, or in the open places of the city; all
assembled together with one common purpose in mind, with one
heart and one soul, to keep the Feast of the Lord. The booth was
nothing much to behold-just a humble, fragile hut. Says Paul,
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the
excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor.
4:7). Weymouth's translation of this passage is most expressive:
"But we have this treasure in fragile earthen pots, in order that
the surpassing greatness of the power may be seen to be God's and
not to come from us." Again, Paul says, "Most gladly therefore
will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ
may rest upon me." (2 Cor. 12:9). Literally it reads, "That the
power of Christ may spread a Tabernacle over me . . ." It is the
manifestation of Christ within us. It is the crucifixion of our
flesh, that the very life of Christ might be revealed, in the
power of the Holy Ghost.
OPPOSITION WITHIN AND WITHOUT
Nehemiah gives an account of the opposition that was arrayed
against them. As they started the tremendous task, there was
nothing more than mockery. One said, "Even that which they build,
if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall." (Neh.
4:3). But soon their mockery turned to violence. They realized
that great progress was being made in spite of their tremendous
difficulties, and so they began to get fearful, and tried to
hinder the work by force of arms. It became necessary, therefore,
for the builders to be armed with spears as well as tools; and
they builded with the sword girded by their side. (Neh. 4:18).
Children of God, ye who build on the Temple and walls we
are going to find it necessary in the very near future to put on
"the whole armour of God." Mockery is giving way to violence.
Satan will soon begin to use force against the saints instead of
insult, because he realizes that the plan of God is being
fulfilled, even if the work is slow and not any too spectacular.
Then carnality crept into the midst of God's people, and brother
was ill-treating brother. Because of the hard times, some were
being forced to mortgage their fields and their properties, and
the rich were exacting usury from the poor. And we can be sure of
this, saints, that one of Satan's best devices against God's
people is in causing internal strife and division. If he cannot
conquer by outward attack, he is often most successful by causing
the congregation to fall into sin. When Balaam could not curse
Israel (for they were God's people and God turned the curse into
a blessing )--then he advised Balak to invite the people to a
great sacrifice of their gods-- and Israel fell into the trap.
Consequently a great plague swept through the whole congregation.
(Num. 25:1,2; 31:16).
Finally, Sunballat conceived another plot against Nehemiah,
perhaps the most subtle of all. If he was unable to conquer by
force, or by mockery, he would befriend Nehemiah and in that way
betray him. He would propose a conference. "Come, let us meet
together . . ." he suggested. But Nehemiah discerned the true
intent and purpose of the proposed meeting, and he replied that
he was too busy. (Neh. 6:2-8). Failing that he hired a man to
come and persuade Nehemiah to flee into the temple for safety,
stating that some were after his life. But Nehemiah had no part
in the priesthood, and he refused to sin against God in this
manner; and again the plot failed. Nehemiah's ministry was to
govern the land, not to minister in the Temple. Perhaps Satan's
most successful form of attack against the saints, is to get them
to become involved in some work of the Lord which is not theirs
to perform. It appears to be such an innocent thing. And perhaps
the need that arises would almost demand that you submit, and
take upon yourself some ministry which God has neither enabled
you nor called you to perform. But God knows all about it, and he
has some who are qualified to meet that need. Let every man
minister according to the ability which God gives, and in the
place which God has designated for him.
EVERY MAN HAD HIS JOB TO PERFORM
No man needs to be unduly concerned about his ministry if he
will but minister according to the ability and power which God
has given. For the ministry that you have is one that is suited
to you, and one for which God has gifted you. If you are walking
with God you will automatically be in your ministry. And the
ministry that you have from God has constituted you a "steward,"
or literally, "a housemanager" of His affairs. Having received a
gift from God, therefore, we are called upon to be "good stewards
of the manifold grace of God." And as a "steward" of God's House,
only one thing is required of you, and that is faithfulness. (1
Cor. 4:1). You are not called upon to be great, or mighty, or
prosperous, or clever, or successful, or to do great things-but
to be "faithful." Before God that is true greatness and true
success. The lone soldier guarding some obscure vital spot in the
field of battle, even if he never sees any action, is just as
much entitled to promotion as the man in the front lines. One
thing is sure, the Day of Christ is going to reveal every man's
faithfulness in building upon the one foundation, which is Jesus
It matters not how magnificent a structure you have built,
how beautiful in outward appearance, how worthy of the applause
of men --the reward seat of Christ will reveal whether it is
worthy of reward or not. For the judgment seat of Christ is going
to reveal quality and not quantity. "And the fire shall try every
man's work of what sort it is." (1 Cor. 3:13). If it is "gold,
silver, precious stones," it will stand the test; and if it is
"wood, hay stubble" it will be burnt up, leaving the builder
without the crown of glory, saved as through fire. And so every
Israelite had his job to perform. Some on the sheep-gate, some on
the fish-gate. Some on this tower, and another on that tower.
Some at the fountain, some at the pool, some at the stairs, some
at the armories, some at the houses of the priests. But they all
worked together, according to their several ability--and in due
course it was finished.
Now we want to return to the time of the building of the
Temple itself and consider in greater detail the ministry of the
two special prophets who were raised up to encourage the
builders. Haggi was one.
His first task was to cause the people to realize that the
hour had really come for the House of God to be built. The
problem is the same today: "This people say, the time is not
come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." But God
gave Haggai a simple word of wisdom, and it was enough to settle
that argument. "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled
houses, and this house lie waste?" (Hag. 1:2,4). You have your
comfortable churches; and, of course, that is all right! You have
beautiful carpets, and tapestry, and stained glass windows, and
beautiful furniture . . . there is plenty of time for that. But
you have no time for the restoration of God's beautiful House,
the Temple not made with hands, the Temple made of "living
stones." Is it not a fact, a solemn fact, that the beauty and
glory of the Church of Christ has been sacrificed for the natural
beauty and refinement of our places of assembly? The people have
no objection to this extravagance whatsoever. But let a group of
saints declare their intention of restoring the walls of the
heavenly Jerusalem and seeking God's face for a restoration of
early apostolic power and glory and unity in the congregation of
the saints, and there is no time for it!
"Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways."
(vs. 6). And well might the Church of Christ consider her ways.
"Ye have sown much, and brin in little; ye eat, but ye have
not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filed with drink; ye clothe
you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth
wages to put it into a bag with holes." (vs. 6). It seems almost
perplexing and mysterious sometimes when we consider the ways of
the Church. We read of great revivals, of mass healing meetings,
of thousands getting converted or filled with the Spirit. But
when the hour of testing comes, where is all this glory of which
we have boasted? How many really continue to show evidences of
salvation when the revival passes on to the next town? How many
retain their healing when they get back home? How many keep
filled with the spirit? We are not suggesting that these great
Healing or Gospel ministries are not genuine. There will be the
false, of course; but God has raised up mighty ministries in the
power of the Holy Spirit, to bring healing or salvation to the
nations; and much has been and is being, accomplished compared to
what we have seen in the past.
But little, very little compared to what these ministries
should produce. We looked for much; and then God blows upon our
efforts in the great fanning-mill through which we all must pass,
and where is the wheat? Does it not seem to have disappeared with
the chaff? And, "Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine
house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house."
The implication is clear, and the indictment against
sectarianism is with no uncertain voice. If the Body of Christ is
betrayed for the sake of base gain, or for one's own personal
interest in this sect or that, then all our vaunted claims to
revival and great mass conversions are empty. Is it not true,
that the people assemble together to cooperate in some great mass
effort for revival, and after it is all over they run "every man
unto his own house . . ."? Back they go to their little sect and
attempt to build it up with the new converts brought to birth by
the revival effort. And God blows upon their work by His sifting,
testing, trying Spirit; and "Lo, it came to little." Hence the
drought, the lack of spiritual power and blessing; the absence of
any real fellowship with the saints or unity of the Spirit; and
the reason there is no latter rain. God has called the drought,
and therefore at His word the Heavens have withholden their dew.
ZERUBBABEL FACES THE CHALLENGE
Zerubbabel (who was in charge of the building of the second
temple), and Joshua (who was the high priest), and the remnant of
people, obeyed the voice of God as spoken by the prophet, and
"they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts." (Hag.
1:14). We have already considered in some detail the story of
their labours and their problems. But God was with them.
Zerubbabel means "Sown in Babylon," and Joshua is the Hebrew for
"Jesus." Is it not true that we have all been planted in Babylon,
that great city, the city of all manner of abominations,
religious and otherwise? But some have heard the call, "Come out
of her, my people" and have been transplanted into another land,
the land of their true calling. "Ye are come unto mount Sion, and
unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to
an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and
church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven." (Heb.
HAGGAI PROPHESIES ON THE LAST DAY OF THE FEAST
It has been assumed that Hag ai was probably born on a Feast
day, because his name signifies east of Jehovah." However, an
amazing passage of scripture in his prophecy reveals that Haggai
gave utterance to one of the Church's choice promises on the last
day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Therefore he was truly named
"Haggai," which signifies "Feast of the Lord" One might wonder
why the Scriptures go into such detail at times, in giving us
dates and seasons which seem to be meaningless to us. God no
doubt has a great plan in it all, and as our eyes become
enlightened to the riches of His Word, many delightful surprises
are there to greet us. And so we read, "In the seventh month, in
the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord
by the prophet Haggai, saying . . ." (Hag. 2:1). The seventh
month, and the twenty-first day of the month! In other words, in
the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles!
Just imagine what concern and heartache must have gripped
the holy prophet of the Lord as he looked down upon this second
temple, slowly rising from the dust-but so very, very incomplete,
and far from being a glorious temple. And now on this great day,
the last day of the Feast, when the memory of every true
Israelite would naturally revert back to the days of Israel's
glory and power in the days of Solomon's magnificent
kingdom - Haggai would likewise be thinking of the great and
tremendous heritage which they had lost because of the captivity.
The magnificence of Solomon's temple was utterly unsurpassable.
There is nothing in the annals of history to compare with it,
past or present. How could this feeble remnant begin to erect a
structure even comparable to that wonderful temple? How
discouraging their work must have been as they contemplated the
glory they had lost! But at that very moment, on the last day of
the Feast of Tabernacles, the word of prophecy came upon him and
he cried to Zerubbabel and the remnant:
"Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory?
And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of
it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord;
and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and
be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work:
for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: According to the word
that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my
Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord
of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the
heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will
shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and
I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The
silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the
former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give
peace, saith the Lord of hosts." (Hag. 2:3-9).
Notice the repetition of the phrase, "Saith the Lord of
hosts." God wants us to make no mistake about this: God hath
spoken and not man. True, our feeble attempts at restoration are
nothing compared to the glory of the early Church, the Temple of
the living God erected in apostolic days. But God hath promised:
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the
former . . ." Neither Zerubbabel's Temple nor the Temple of Herod
could begin to compare with Solomon's Temple. But God was not
speaking of the earthly house; He was speaking of the Temple not
made with hands, composed of living stones. And the "Desire of
all nations" would be the Glory of that Temple. And so Malachi
prophesies: "And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to
his temple . . ." (Mal. 3:1). All nations, yea the creation
itself, are waiting eagerly for His appearing, even for the
manifestation of the Sons of God." (Rom. 8:19). Nor shall their
hopes and expectations be disappointed.
And how shall this exceeding glory be manifested? By the
very shaking of the heavens and the earth. Paul quotes this
passage in Heb. 12:26 and assures us that this shall be fulfilled
in the Kingdom of the saints. We dealt somewhat with the shaking
of the in a previous chapter. The very unseen powers of the
heavenli be toppled from their thrones; yea, even now are they
beginni feel the impact of heaven - tremors as the Sons of God
begin to mount up with wings of an eagle to take unto themselves
their God-given authority in the Spirit.
"Be strong . . . be strong . . . be strong . . ." is the
threefold prophecy of comfort and encouragement to the builders
of the Temple, to the priesthood, and to the remnant. For it is
in the spoken word of prophecy that power and strength shall be
imparted to the builders, enabling them to use the tools of their
ministry in the one hand, and to fight with the Sword of the
Spirit in the other. With similar words of encouragement, and
with a similar purpose in mind, the apostle Paul exhorts the
saints: "Finally, my brethren be strong in the Lord, and in the
power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be
able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph. 6:10-12). It is this
wrestling with the spiritual hosts of wickedness in "the
heavenlies" that shall cause the very heavens to shake and Satan
and his hosts to relinquish their kingdom into the hands of the
Sons of God.
Everything that can be shaken is going to quake and fall
before the Sons of God. And then into the very heavenlies shall
they ascend, first of all in the Spirit, to take possession of
the kingdom left vacant by the casting out of Satan and his evil
hosts. Then shall they be in a position to administer peace and
life and blessing to a Church and a world that are in bondage and
ZECHARIAH'S PROPHECY (See Zech.4)
Zechariah likewise prophesied words of encouragement to
Zerubbabel and the remnant who laboured on the temple. In what
way would the Lord encourage the builders in the colossal task
that lay before them? Well, the Lord would give the prophet a
vision that would explain the means of their success. How
helpless they were! How would the Lord encourage them? And so
Zechariah looked, and what did he see? Mountains of stone and
timber and mortar? Huge labour battalions marching down from
Babylon to help them? Great machines to aid in their seemingly
impossible task? Ah no! But he looked, "And behold a candlestick
all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps
thereon . . . and two olive trees by it . . ." A very simple
illustration, and meaningless perhaps to many: two olive trees
pouring their oil into a candlestick. Zechariah himself did not
know what it meant; and so God gave him the interpretation.
"This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by
might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt
become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof
with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it."
Shall anything be too hard for the Lord? "By my spirit,"
saith the Lord, and so shall it be. And now let us notice this
great word of encouragement, which God speaketh even now to the
builders of this living Temple: "The hands of Zerubbabel have
laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish
it: and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto
you. For who hath despised the day of small things?"
Child of God, remember these words; God has pledged His Word
that this Temple shall be finished. Let us never lose that
But still Zechariah was puzzled; what were these "two olive
trees" that he saw emptying their golden oil into the
candlestick? And the angel replied: "These are the two anointed
ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." Literally,
"These are the two sons of oil "! Sons of the anointing! It is
the Moses-Elijah company, as we shall discover in the next
chapter. It is the company of overcomers who shall go forth in
the Day of the Lord working all manner of signs and wonders and
miracles in the Name of the Lord; and nothing shall stand against
them. "By my spirit," saith the Lord. This is a work of the
Spirit of God. The Oil of the Spirit flowing through them: That
is the secret of their power.
(The two olive trees - the sons of oil, are the two mighty great
witnesses of Revelation chapter 12 - Keith Hunt)
TABERNACLES--THE FEAST OF HIS APPEARING
We mentioned in the first part of the book how the
observance of the natural Feasts served to illustrate their
spiritual application to the Church. Thus when the Feast was
observed at the dedication of Solomon's Temple, we have a type
and pattern of the Glory of the Church, and when the Feast was
observed in the days of Zerubbabel's temple, we have a type of
the restoration of the Church to her first Glory. Now we come to
the occasion on which the Feast was observed in the time of
Christ. Let us recall how that in the plan of God Israel's
Passover was the occasion that God chose for Christ Himself to
die as the true Passover Lamb. And again, on that great day of
Pentecost, when devout Jews had assembled from all parts of the
Roman Empire to keep the Feast--then it was that God poured out
the Holy Spirit on His disciples, thus fulfilling the old and
establishing the new Pentecost. It is therefore with great
significance that we read these words: "Now the Jews' feast of
tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him,
Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see
the works that thou doest." (In. 7:2,3). However, the Lord
remained where He was until His brethren had gone to the Feast;
and afterward went up "as it were in secret." (vs. 10). No doubt
the Lord intentionally visited the Feast of the Jews "in secret"
by way of illustrating a great truth to the Church, the truth of
RESURRECTION LIFE FOR US
There is no question as to the fact that one day "the Lord
himself shall descend from heaven with a shout," and the saints
shall be caught away to be with Him for ever. (1 Thess. 4:16).
And again, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (I Cor. 15:52). This is
the final victory
To be continued