March 31, 2015 14:13 PM
In ancient Israel, every male was required to go to Jerusalem and present himself before the Lord during three of the seven annual feasts: Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles. But why three feasts? And why these three?
We must remember that numbers have meaning and that the Bible is full of types and shadows. The number three represents completeness as indicated by the Trinity. Also, in the book of Revelation we see the number three repeated numerous times: three measures of barley, three angels, three unclean spirits, great city divided into three, three gates on each side of wall surrounding New Jerusalem, etc.. Therefore, it is no coincidence that these three mandatory feasts taken together as a unit also have meaning, including prophetic meaning.
We know that Passover represents the blood atonement of Jesus, the very payment necessary for us to be forgiven and saved. Pentecost depicts the infilling of the Holy Spirit as illustrated when the Holy Spirit was given to Jesus’ disciples after His resurrection. And Tabernacles speaks of Jesus’ return when He will rule and reign on earth and tabernacle with man. It’s all a roadmap and speaks of progression.
Putting it all together we see a beautiful picture. First, we must accept Jesus, our atonement, before being empowered by the Holy Spirit to live this new life as disciples of Christ. And those who have come through Passover and Pentecost, who have presented themselves to the Lord in fulfillment of their deeper meaning, will then be able to enjoy the Feast of Tabernacles, when our beautiful Savior tabernacles with us, not only in our lives right now, but in the era to come when Jesus literally returns to earth to live with His people.
Our modern Easter, commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection, is really the Lord’s feast of Passover (and “First Fruits” too) when He became that sacrificial lamb whose blood we must apply to the doorpost of our hearts. And if we do, we shall pass from death into life. Note that the three mandatory feasts are listed in order of how they must be observed. Without Passover, we will never be able to participate in Pentecost and Tabernacles. As we are about to celebrate Easter with family and friends, let us not forget the wonder of what the day represents, as well as remember those, in prayer, who have not yet come into the amazing knowledge that they have a Savior who loves them and calls them by name.
Wishing everyone a very blessed and Happy Easter!
Until next time,
March 24, 2014 14:10 PM
Jesus knows the end is near. His entire ministry was soon to culminate in one last momentous act of love that would change the world. The Devine purpose was soon to be achieved. In John 13:1-38 we see Jesus in an upper room celebrating the feast of Passover. That was no accident since the original Passover was the shadow of things to come, the foreshadowing of when Messiah would become the true Passover Lamb. What were His thoughts? What emotions filled Him? He was God, and as God this was His hearts desire, to finally reconcile the world back to Him. But he was also a man with flesh that could feel pain and a heart that could be broken.
In verse two John tells us that Satan had already put the idea of betraying Jesus into Judas Iscariot’s heart. Here was a man who had been with Jesus from the beginning, was hand picked by Jesus and loved by Him, shared meals with Him, traveled along the same dusty roads, seen the miracles He performed, received His personal attention and instructions. Yet Judas never “got it.” Got who Jesus was or why He was here. How it must have broken Jesus’ heart to know that the one on whom such love and care had been lavished was now going to hand Him over to the executioners.
Jesus understood betrayal, understood the pain of someone He loved going out of his way to harm Him. And so He understands when this happens to us. I don’t think we can live many years without being betrayed or disappointed by someone we love, someone we trusted. It happens. People disappoint. They don’t always “get” our love, or value the time and effort we have poured into them. And even worse, we sometimes disappoint others.
Scripture paints a very dire picture of Judas’ eternal future, but I believe that if he had asked Jesus for forgiveness, Jesus would have granted it. After all, Peter betrayed Jesus, too, though in a different way, and Jesus not only forgave him but restored him as His apostle. And there in is the secret. Forgiveness. Yes people we love will disappoint us. Some may even do us great harm, and while these things are painful and sometimes even devastating, forgiveness is the only road to wholeness. When we consider all that Jesus went through for us, the undeserved ill-will, the phony trials, the abandonment by all except a few, the beatings, the excruciatingly painful crucifixion, and then hear that his last words before He committed His Spirit to God, were “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” can we do less? And if we are the ones who have betrayed or disappointed, wouldn’t we want to be forgiven, too? I know I would.
Until next time,
January 21, 2013 12:33 PM
Okay, here’s a side of Jesus the church rarely talks about. In John 2:13-17 Passover is approaching and Jesus comes to the Temple in Jerusalem. And what does He find? He finds the Temple enclosure full of merchants selling sheep, oxen and doves for sacrifices, as well as money changers, those who, for a fee, convert foreign currency into shekels for visiting Jews.
Jesus’ reaction is swift and fierce. He makes a whip and drives “them all out of the temple enclosure;” the animals, the merchants, the money changers. Then to add insult to injury, He overturns their tables, scattering their precious money all over the floor while stating “Make not My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” The apostles understand that this is in fulfillment of the Scriptures and illustrates Jesus’ consuming zeal for His Father’s house. The Amplified also adds, “I (meaning Jesus) will be consumed with jealousy for the honor of Your house.”
What happened here? Why was Jesus so upset? Because man had mixed the profane with the sacred. Because they had tainted the holiness of the Temple with unholy things. They had made God’s Holy house a marketplace, a shopping mall.
I often write about God’s love for I believe that describes God best. But we must understand that God can also get angry. And I think He gets angriest when He sees His holy church defiled. Many pastors will have much to answer for at the judgment! For many have allowed the world to pollute their churches with worldly ideas and ways. Many have let their love of money and riches and the desire for fame and a bigger congregation crowd out the pure Word of God until it is nothing more than a shopping mall selling lattés and “feel-good” messages that offend no one.
But this must be how God feels about us, individually, at times, too. After all, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and are to live holy lives through His power. And when we pollute ourselves, sometimes God must upend our tables, too. He must turn our world upside down out of “jealousy for the honor” of His house. And so again, not surprisingly, love enters into the equation. It’s His great love for us that makes Him jealous and not able to stand idly by while we allow pollutants to enter His holy territory. He must address our offenses—our chasing after other gods of money, fame, pleasure, ease, etc. So before He has to upend our tables let us partner with Him and get our house in order.
Until next time,