Keith Hunt - Festivals of the Lord in Redemption - Part nine - Page Nine   Restitution of All Things

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Festivals of the Lord in Redemption - Part nine

The Great Feast of Tabernacles


                THE REDEMPTION OF THE BELIEVER

                             by 

                       Robert Thompson
                       (written 1975)

                  THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES


TABERNACLES

"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of
this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven
days to the Lord" (Lev.23:34).

"Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have
gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the
Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the
eighth day shall be a sabbath" (Lev.23:39).

"And ye shall take ... on the first day the boughs of goodly
trees, branches of the palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees,
and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord
your God seven days" (Lev.23:40).

"Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites
born shall dwell in booths: that your generations may know that I
made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought
them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Lev.
23:42,43).

"Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after
that thou hast gathered in thy corn and wine" (Deut.16:13).
"And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the
sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and
unto all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying,
At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of
release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to
appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall
choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their
hearing" (Deut.31:9-11).

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid:
for the Lord Jehovah if my strength and my song; he also is
become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out
of the wells of salvation" (Isa.12:2,3).

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and
cried, saying, If any. man thirst, let him come unto me and
drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out
of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake
he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive:
for the Holy Ghost [Spirit[ was not yet given; because that Jesus
was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:37-39).

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and
they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and
be their God" (Rev.21 :3).

THE CONVOCATION OF TABERNACLES TYPIFIES PERFECTION

     The convocation of Tabernacles portrays the resting of God
in us and our resting in Him. Tabernacles is the seventh feast
(no, it is the SIXTH feast, count them....Passover, Feast of
Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement - Tabernacles
the sixth feast - Keith Hunt) ... If one subscribes to the
symbolism of numbers in the Bible, it is interesting to note that
Tabernacles, a festivity lasting seven days ... is in the seventh
month ... There seems to be no doubt that God intends for the
convocation of Tabernacles to be associated in our mind with
perfection (the number 7 signifying completeness or fullness or
perfection - Keith Hunt).

REDEMPTION HAS A DEFINITE COMPLETION

     Salvation, the redemption of the human being, has a definite
commencement and a definite completion. Jesus is the finisher as
well as the author of our faith (Heb.12:2). God says, "it is
done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end"
(Rev.21:6).
     There is no part of the plan of salvation that is vague. It
is a good thing that salvation does have a definite fulfillment
and that we do have something definite at which to aim. Sometimes
the race becomes tiring indeed (Heb.3:14; 12:12).
     It is our point of view that the whole concept of salvation
having a definite consummation needs the careful attention of the
church. Of course, we are not teaching that Christians will not
find new wonders from the depths of God forever. It is clear that
our God is so much greater than all of our visions of greatness
that there are no words in any language that can begin to convey
to us any idea whatever of the extent of the glory of God.
     Therefore the definite consummation and fulfillment of which
we are speaking has to do only and specifically with the plan of
redemption.
     The Levitical convocations seem to reveal that God's
workings in the creation of the church, His living temple, start
in a definite manner and finish in a definite manner. A specified
completion of salvation certainly is a new idea to many of us.
     But the Christian experience is one of growth from a seed to
maturity. And if there were no point of maturity, no time at
which the Christian is fully redeemed, then some of the Scripture
would not admit to a simple, direct interpretation. For example:
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge
of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the
stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph.4:13),
     "Unto a perfect man"! "Unto the measure of the stature of
the fullness of Christ"! There is nothing vague about these
words, no uncertain drifting toward a misty nothingness. These
are the words of a builder who has seen the blueprint. Salvation
has a certain divine beginning and a certain divine conclusion,
and a certain divine in-between. The whole work is of God from
start to finish. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the
end."

GOD A MASTER BUILDER

     God is a builder, a creator. Any person who has ever built
or created anything knows that every little bit of effort and
material that goes into the work takes its significance from the
completed piece. The builder works on and on with the finished
product in his imagination. His motivation arises from his
anticipation of the joy he will derive from the possession and
sharing of his creation. The whole logical process of creating is
interrupted if the piece can never be completed.

THE FINISH LINE

     What joy can be had from knowing that no matter how hard or
how long you persevere at something you can never complete it -
never arrive at the goal? What runner can drive his body to the
last searing thrust when he knows that there is no finish line?
     No wonder great numbers of Christian believers do not get
too excited about the concept of the perfecting of the church and
of themselves as individual parts of the great body of Christ.
     They do not believe the goal actually is attainable. Why
try!

PAUL'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS PERFECTION

     Paul does not speak as though the goal of the Christian life
were unattainable:

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already
perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for
which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count
not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto
those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us
therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded" (Phil.
3:12-15).

     These are not the words of a builder with no product in
mind. These are not the words of a runner on a track with no
finish line. These are not the words of a man with no attainable
goal. Nor are these the words of most of our churches. One is
more likely to hear, "Do your best, but everyone knows that
nobody is perfect!"
     Sometimes we seem to feel that the goal of the Christian
life is an external event in time or place, such as the coming of
the Lord Jesus Christ ... The Jews missed their Messiah by
looking too far away.
     Perhaps if we look more closely at the words of Paul in the
third chapter of Philippians we might gain understanding
concerning the goal of the Christian life. And, since the
convocation of Tabernacles portrays the consummation of
redemption, we might gain understanding of this last and most
joyous of the Hebrew convocations.

THE GOAL OF THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE

     In verses 4 through 6 of Philippians 3, Paul recites his
accomplishments as a Hebrew, telling of his pedigree, as it were.
And then he states: "Those I counted loss for Christ" (v.7).
     Right here is the sum and substance of the whole thing. It
is right at this point that we can miss the entire concept of the
logic, sequence, and scope of God's plan of redemption. The goal
of the Christian life is not an external event in time or place,
such as the second coming of our Lord ... The fulfillment of the
convocation of Tabernacles, the consummation of salvation, is the
winning of a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ.
     Our confusion may arise over the location of the point in
our Christian experience at which we believe that we have Christ.
     Some set the point at the born-again experience (repentance
and taking Jesus as personal Savior - the so-called "born-again"
phrase is NOT correctly understood by those fundamental churches
that use such a phrase in their religious talk - Keith Hunt), and
in a sense they are correct. But Paul had been born again
converted and baptized - Keith Hunt) at the time of the writing
of Philippians. Some set the point at speaking in tongues, and
this also is a receiving of Christ (a receiving of the Spirit of
christ in a "gift of the Spirit" - Keith Hunt). But Paul had
experienced the speaking in tongues at the time of the writing of
Philippians.
     Paul ... was able to look back upon several years of
extremely fruitful ministry, by the time the third chapter of
Philippians was written.
     Well then, what does Paul mean, "That I may win Christ"
(Phil.3:8)? In terms of the doctrines that are commonly taught in
our churches, Paul's words are mere platitudes or meaningless
gibberish. His words do not square with our teaching or
understanding of the Christian plan of salvation. Either Paul's
concept of salvation is incorrect or our concept of salvation is
incorrect.
     Some of the words that Paul uses are repeated by us. But the
framework of logic and understanding in which he uses them, and
the framework of logic and understanding in which we repeat them,
do not appear to match. The voice is Jacob's but the hands are
Esau's. We use Paul's words to support our notions. When we get
our doctrine in line with the burden of the Holy Spirit, the
writings of Paul will be entirely comprehensible to us and will
flow naturally and in an unforced manner in the course of our
teaching. We will not have to bend Paul's words around our
doctrine, taking favorite verses out of their strands of logic
and using them in a cut-and-paste, promise-box fashion. We need
the whole counsel of God.
     God has set a goal before us Christians. That goal is the
full possession of Christ. We should be directing our attention
toward the goal at this time. We may be stagnating in a lagoon of
doctrinal correctness when the Lord Jesus is saying to us, "Speak
unto the children of Israel, that they go forward" (Exod.14:15).
     If we are Christians we possess Christ in a measure. But
there is more of Christ - a definite more, not a vague, do-good,
never-get-there kind of more that we are to gain here and now.
And the Holy Spirit is encouraging us to go forward and possess
the good land, the definite, attainable land, which He has
promised in His Word. Now, back to Philippians 3:8:

"Yea doubtless, and I count all things (Paul's religious merit
points) but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ
Jesus my Lord."

     "Excellency of the knowledge"! We Christians know about
Christ but we do not know Him. We haven't set knowing Jesus -
really knowing Him - as the goal of our experience. It is
possible for a church attender to know all about the ways of the
"house of God," about the vocabulary and customs of his group,
and still not know the God of the house of God. One can be well
acquainted with Bethel (the house of God) and still not be well
acquainted with El-Bethel (the God of the house of God).
     There can be a wide gulf between people who have been into a
church and people whom God has called to His side, even though
both groups attend the same worship services. The one group is
basically different from the other. God comes to a person as to
Abraham of old. God calls him out of all that is familiar,
reveals Himself to him, and then tests, prods, and deals with him
endlessly, night and day. The person is drawn to the limits of
consecration many times. God is in all his thoughts. He may
become an enigma, a "speckled bird," to the other church people.
     They in turn are little comfort to him in his quest for God,
and their routines in the church doings may seem trivial to him,
and, at times, abominable. When revival comes, a whole church may
be brought closer to Christ; or, a fervent believer may find it
necessary to leave the organized group, even at considerable
inconvenience and loss to himself.

      Those persons who are in essence more involved in the
church than they are in Christ may tend to remain with the
organization because it is more understandable and significant to
them. At such a time of tearing apart there may be much grief of
mind and heart on both sides, and sometimes misunderstandings and
even hard feelings for a season. But the separating of the bride
from her family, so to speak, is inevitable because it is a
necessary part of the plan of the Father to draw out for His
beloved Son a holy and utterly devoted bride from the peoples of
the earth.

     "For whom I have suffered the loss of all things," Paul
continues. The "all things" is referring to Paul's religious
acquisitions which were the chief joy of his Pharisaical life.
"And do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," he finishes.
     Let us repeat this idea because we hold that it is the basic
concept of the convocation of Tabernacles. Winning Christ is our
goal; not things, not experiences, not "secrets" of a successful
Christian experience, not ways of getting God to do what we wish,
not religious accomplishments, not what we can get from God, not
spiritual power, not power in prayer, not a big church, not going
to heaven, not coming down from heaven, but Him! Him! Him! Him!
     Everything else is idolatry. It is God Himself - the
possession of Christ in the heart, not the coming of Christ in
His external kingdom although that event will occur in time, but
the possession of God Himself - who is the goal of the Christian
life.
     When we possess Jesus Christ we possess everything that God
ever has been or has done, and everything that God ever will be
or will do. It has pleased the Father to include in Jesus all of
the substance and nature of His own holy being - a perfect and
complete revelation and fulfillment of all who God is. It is not
that Jesus and the Father are the same ... Rather, it is that
because of the unfathomable love of the Father for the Son, the
Father has given all of Himself to the Son. He who has the Son
has everything, including the divine Godhead. He who does not
have the Son has only a certain fearful looking for of judgment
and fiery indignation which shall destroy those who oppose the
will and presence of the Son.
     The reason why it is so difficult for us to follow Paul's
thinking in Philippians 3 is that we believe we already have
Christ ... We have gone to church all our life, so we have
Christ. We have wrought miracles and have done many wonderful
things, so we have Christ.
     If a person believes that he already has attained to
something, or is in possession of something, he is not going to
lay all else aside and, at the expense of no little inconveni-
ence and self-denial to himself, devote his time and strength to
the attainment of it. This confusion about the goal of the
Christian life may explain why Christians come to a halt in their
spiritual progress. The fact is, we do not have Christ in the
measure indicated by Paul in Philippians 3, in the measure
typified by the convocation of Tabernacles. 

     There remains much of the promised land to be possessed. Let
us go forward in the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit of
God. Let us press on to the fullness of the rest of God, and not
be unbelieving, fearful of heart, and ready to compromise and
share our domain with the world, the flesh, and Satan. The goal
is the total possession of Christ. The world, the flesh, and
Satan have no part in Him.

"And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is
of the law" (Phil.3:9).

TWO KINDS OF COMMUNICANTS

     Notice that Paul in Philippians 3 contrasts the possession
of Christ with his former life as a "Pharisee of the Pharisees."
This contrast brings to mind a conflict that exists in the
Christian churches of today - a division which can be observed
from the time of Abraham.
     We are referring to the difference between people who are
seeking the spiritual inheritance by their own works, and people
who are seeking the spiritual inheritance by faith in God's
works.
     These two approaches to God are in opposition to each other.
They cannot be reconciled. Spiritual fellowship is impossible. To
use a figure of speech, there are two nations struggling in the
womb of the churches. Each one is termed Christian. One group
attempts to make spiritual progress and to build up the church by
means of human wisdom and effort. The other group is an elect
whom God has called out from the world, and whom the world hates.
     The two groups are intermingled in the pews of our churches,
yet they could not be more opposed to each other, from a
spiritual point of view. They are the modern counterparts of
Isaac and Ishmael, Sarah and Hagar, Jacob and Esau. The one is of
the earth and minds earthly things. The other has a force drawing
them eternally toward the heart of God. One group is content to
live in the flesh. The other is endeavoring to learn to live and
walk in the Spirit.
     It is not that one group is good and the other is bad. It
may be recalled that Esau in some respects was a more honorable
man than Jacob. Jacob lied and stole, with the help of his
mother.
     But there is a qualitative difference between the good
people of the earth and the elect in whose hearts God has placed
the divine compulsion. There will be a continual rending and
tearing as long as the fabric of the churches contains these two
kinds of material. Isaac and Ishmael are forever being pulled and
pulling in different directions. Paul has made his choice: "I
have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but
dung."

"But that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness
which is of God by faith: that I may know him" (Phil.3:10). 

     That I may know Him, Paul says, after his years of Christian
experience and ministry! Hopefully, God will give many of us
Christians such single-mindedness of purpose, such a burning
desire. Each one of us can choose to be among God's elect, if we
wish; we can choose to be numbered among those who seek Christ
with a whole heart (Josh. 24:5).

THE FIRST RESURRECTION "And the power of his resurrection."

     It appears that we have a point of doctrine turned upside
down. We think of ... first resurrection of the dead as being a
completely external event which is going to promote all believers
into a position of rulership with Christ, independently of the
living of the overcoming life in this world.
     The truth, as we see it, is pretty much the reverse ...
Unless we fall away and go back into sin ... There is no
attaining to it ...
     But the resurrection from the dead, particularly the first
resurrection of which Paul is speaking in Philippians 3 is
something to be attained. Indeed it is! "Blessed and holy is he
that hath part in the first resurrection" (Rev.20:6). These are
God's rulers, the overcomers, the mighty royal priesthood whom
God is preparing to reign with Christ.
     These are the judges, the sons of God, whose coming the
Hebrew prophets have foretold. In our opinion, the way the
rapture (resurrection it is NOT "rapture" - the so-called
"rapture doctrine" as taught by the Fundamental churches is a
false teaching - a full in-depth study article on the "rapture"
can be found on this Website - Keith Hunt), has been taught, in
some instances, seems to have destroyed much of the scriptural
concept of the day of the Lord and the coming of the sons of God
by suggesting that the flocks of God's sheep are to be borne
gaily through the clouds whether or not they are living
overcoming lives. What an unreasonable, unscriptural concept - no
wonder we Christians live the indifferent spiritual lives we do!

     Revelation 2 mentions that the overcomers shall rule over
nations with a rod of iron. There is a spiritual law which
dictates, "if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." We learn
to suffer with Him here and now; and we learn to overcome and to
govern our own hearts with a rod of iron here and now. 
(The subject of "overcoming" has also been misunderstood at
times. A full in-depth article on this Website makes the truth
clear - Keith Hunt).

     The burden of the Lord today concerns the sons of God and
their ministry of judgment during the day of the Lord. If we
would be on clear scriptural ground, perhaps it would be a good
idea to use the term first resurrection, rather than rapture. The
term first resurrection brings us into the mainstream of the
concepts set forth by Paul and John, and by the Hebrew prophets
as well, and helps us conceive of the day of the Lord as a time
of maturity and overcoming strength, a revolution and spiritual
victory brought about through the birth of the male child of
Revelation 12 ...
     The concept of the rapture, as it is often taught, suggests
a flight to escape the judgments upon the sinners of the world.
But what about the sinners in the churches? The teaching of the
rapture, if we are not careful, can lead the Christians into a
false sense of security, especially regarding the events of the
day of the Lord. In contrast to this, the teaching of the need to
attain to the first resurrection, to the need to overcome now if
we would rule later, leads to renewed consecration and a
redoubling of efforts to seek the presence and will of the Lord
Jesus Christ in our own life. Isn't this true?

"And the power of his resurrection." Are you seeking and
experiencing the power of His resurrection?

THE CROSS AND THE CROWN "And the fellowship of his sufferings."

     If we will reign with Christ we must accept the sufferings
which God sends our way (not the sufferings which Satan sends).
     Wasn't one of the sources of Jesus' sufferings summed up in
these words: "He came unto his own, and his own received him not"
(John 1:11)? We have said that the convocation of Tabernacles
represents perfection - the consummation of salvation. There seem
to be few Christians who are aware that a consummation exists,
let alone who are attaining to it.
     Loneliness is one of the crosses which must be borne at
times by those who press on in Christ.
     The cleavage between Joseph and his brothers represents the
cleavage which occurs between the multitudes of Israel and those
whom God calls to Himself. They are dreamers of dreams, these
called-out ones, and they are foolish enough to believe that
their brothers will listen gladly to their dreams of authority.
     They may end up in a pit, cast out by their own (church)
families. Sometimes the world, as in the case of Joseph, is quick
to perceive their abilities. And in the end the overcomers will
serve to sustain the family of God. These are the hundredfold
Christians and they are a firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
(Make sure that you do not separate yourself from your own
brothers in Christ through your own foolishness and pride. It
probably is true that Joseph could have handled his revelations
better than he did).

     The rejection by one's spiritual family occurred in the life
of Jesus. The common people heard Jesus gladly. The world to this
day recognizes the extraordinary abilities of Jesus of Nazareth.
But His peers in Israel, those who should have embraced Him as
the Israelite of the Israelites, cried for His blood, Here is a
cruel cross - to be cast out by your own!

     It is not that your gifts and ministries become
inaccessible. Your service must remain entirely fruitful for
those people for whom it has been designed. Jesus' ministry
remained a perfect communication to all people to whom He was
sent by the Father. It is rather you yourself, your motivations
and reactions, that may become incomprehensible; therefore
suspect, to your brothers. So you may have to walk alone some of
the time. Yet you are not alone, you are sharing the suffering of
Him who rose early to be with His Father, and who listened always
to the voice of the Spirit rather than to the world, Satan, or
His own desires for pleasure or comfort, or the self-seeking
Israelites.
     If we would obtain resurrection life we must learn what it
means to share the sufferings of Christ. The cross and the crown
go together. There is a daily crucifixion of the self-life, and
sometimes physical suffering. In the fourth chapter of Second
Corinthians Paul describes the continual crucifixion and
resurrection of the Christian:

     "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are
     perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken;
     cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the
     body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of
     Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live
     are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the
     life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal
     flesh" (vs. 8-11 ).

     The above is a description of the manner in which
resurrection life is created and developed in us while we are yet
in the mortal body. It is to the process of continual dying and
continual living brought to the full that Paul is referring when
he talks about knowing the power of His resurrection and about
attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
     When resurrection life has been fully developed within us,
and we have learned to live in it, move in it, obey it, rest in
it, be empowered by it, then, and only then, will we be ready to
be clothed upon with our "house which is from heaven." Isn't this
what Philippians 3:9-11 is saying?

THE NATURE OF THE FIRST RESURRECTION

     The fullness of the "Tabernacles experience" includes the
eternal indwelling of the Godhead in us, we having been clothed
over with a glorious "house" containing a limitless amount of
abilities and energies. The indwelling and the clothing-over
comprise the first resurrection. 

                      .................

TO BE CONTINUED


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