This is a marvellous book and so relevant because what was true for the OT church prior to Christ’s first coming is relevant to the NT church prior to his second coming.
“The lesson for all who hear Zechariah’s words, therefore, is this: those who do not turn to God with all their hearts will come under his wrath and judgments. Coming from the Old Testament the lesson is especially forceful, for the whole nation went into captivity, though not all were guilty of idolatry. There is in the church of God a certain corporate responsibility as well as personal responsibility. We cannot sit comfortably in a church or denomination that is unfaithful, saying and doing nothing, and escape responsibility for what happens when that church or denomination departs from the living God. Not only we but also our children will certainly go into spiritual captivity with those who are guilty of leading the church astray.” And according to Jude that is most likely to be perdition-JK
PILGRIMAGE FEASTS IN N.T.
Sung Psalm 132 (another pilgrimage Psalm)
Readings Acts 12:1-12 and 20:16
Harking back to Acts 2 why were the 120 there at Pentecost? We believe for two reasons, firstly keeping the law and secondly because Christ had commanded them to wait there.
Paul and the apostolic band are in Philippi at Passover (20:6), so they clearly were NOT keeping the O.T. law but DID observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week (v7). In the first instance (Acts 12) around the time Herod killed James, the feast of unleavened bread is mentioned just to give us the date. Secondly in Philippi the same feast is mentioned to again give us the time of year but then why would Paul want to be, if possible, in Jerusalem for Pentecost? This was not a necessity just a preference (he tarried twice vv4,10). This was about 58AD some 28 years after the Cross.
- Teach the Jews and proselytes (to Reform them gradually)
- Keep the Law
- Meet the church (leaders)
- Christian liberty
- Just give us a date.
We believe it was for evangelism (albeit as a prisoner) and to meet church leaders.
Our second class looking at these collectively and the relationships between them.
Sung Ps. 121 (second of pilgrimage psalms)
Reading John 7:32-44 (Jesus at Feast of Tabernacles)
Pentecost marked a development in:
- Pneumatology-the Spirit of the risen and ascended Christ poured out on a passive church.
- Soteriology-all the blessings of salvation accompanied this and the brought deeper understanding of them.
- Ecclesiology-the church became truly catholic (universal).
- Eschatology-this marked the beginning of the last days.
Just as in chronological order, Passover is before and is also the basis for Pentecost. The cross and resurrection of Christ (at Passover and Feast of first-fruits of barley) which are a blood atonement and death, representing redemption bringing freedom from the bondage of sin, also lead to the application of Spirit baptism and sanctification (unleavened bread), and the first-fruits of the wheat harvest at Pentecost.
Tabernacles reminding us of the wilderness wandering and drought but also commemorates the supply of water which then flows out of the recipients and represents our activity of working out our salvation and blessing others.
Passover, first-fruits and Pentecost which are all one day feasts happened once-for-all and are looked back upon, whereas unleavened bread and Tabernacles which were seven days each represent the on-going nature of the Christian life of progressive sanctification and supply of the Spirit. All the feasts combine to proclaim the gospel, albeit in Old Testament shadows and types.
THE PILGRIMAGE FEASTS
Sung Psalm 120
Read 1 Cor. 5: 1-13*
The three feasts need mentioned together which is biblical, theological and always chronological in Scripture and related to:
- The Jewish calendar e.g. Leviticus 23
- Being in the land and the central place of worship
- The agricultural year and sharing with the poor
The Pilgrimage Psalms 120-134 delineate the journey going up to Jerusalem but don’t follow a pattern.
In a multitude of ways Christ is the fulfilment of the O.T. Passover and redeems us from the bondage of sin (1 Cor.5:7). Sin like leaven starts small, spreads and affects the whole-like in a lump of dough and affects an individual, family or church. Church discipline is necessary for the impenitent wicked and those holding false doctrine. This is the application of the feast of unleavened bread in the passage read. Tolerating either evil, is not love but hatred (Lev.17:19). For an excellent exposition of this see “Walking in the way of love” by Nathan Langerak**
*Note that the feast of Passover being linked to the weekly feast of unleavened bread and the purging of the home of all leaven points to Christ purging us from our sins both definitively by our baptism into his death (at Passover) and progressively throughout our lifetime (the week-long feast of unleavened bread) (see Rom.6:3,4 and I John 1:9, Titus 2:14, 2 Cor.7:1).
Sung Psalm 126 (a Pilgrimage Psalm)
Reading Acts 2:1-21
Here we see the fulfilment and reality of what the Old Testament Feast of Pentecost was pointing.
Three aspects fulfilled:
- Full harvest ─ redemption pictured and typified at Passover, applied and the riches of salvation understood, experienced and taught by and through the Spirit of the risen and ascended Christ.
- Firstfruits ─ first part of the full harvest, the Spirit being the earnest of our inheritance who now have a “small beginning” of the new obedience (Rom.8:23, II Cor.1:22, Eph.1:4)
- Wave offering ─ our consecration to God.
Passover precedes and leads to Pentecost, the cross of Christ to the outpouring of the Spirit of Christ. The church will become truly catholic (universal) in terms of nations, sexes, ages and civil states.
John 14-17 to me is all about the Spirit’s personal work in the believer while Acts 2 is about his public ministry and worldwide work.
As Christians show their love to the God of their salvation and his Son, Jesus Christ and the omnipotent Spirit who indwells them by obeying his commands they are promised blessing just as the Old Testament church were:
Redemption by blood.
Deuteronomy 28 .
1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
8 The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
9 The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.
11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lordsware unto thy fathers to give thee.
12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
Sung Psalm 65:1-5 (note how this fits with the prayer of the saints, the answer, and the results on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2)
Readings Leviticus 23:15-21, Numbers 28:26-31 and Deuteronomy 16:1-17.
It is noteworthy that at first reading the offerings in Numbers are different from those in Leviticus, how do we account for this? The answer, which illustrates a principle throughout Scripture, as that the accounts are NOT contradictory but rather SUPPLEMENT each other. Number 28 fills out the detail of the sacrifices of Leviticus 23 e.g. during feast of unleavened bread. Regarding the feast of first-fruits (Pentecost) Leviticus mentions what were offered first namely two wave loaves plus sacrifices and Numbers 28 outlines offerings later that day.
Thus the offerings on Pentecost were:
- Daily morning burnt offering
- Two wave loaves, 7 lambs, 1 bullock, 2 rams, 1 kid, 2 more lambs (Lev.23 states these were WITH the bread).
- Later (Numbers 28) 2 bullocks, 1 ram, 7 lambs, 1 kid and the meal offerings.
- Daily evening burnt offering.
Deuteronomy 16 recaps all these pilgrim feasts, the sacrifices for which were obligatory and donated by leaders or king for the nation as a whole and adds personal freewill offerings of the people (verses 10,17).
Later in the Old Testament we read of these feasts in Solomon’s day (II Chron. 8:12-13) and they are substantially changed in Ezekiel 45:18-25 where Pentecost isn’t even mentioned, the offerings are changed with a new feast on new year’s day, all alluding to the huge change that Christ would initiate by fulfilling all of them and abolishing them too (Hebrews 7:12-22).
Sung Psalm 65:8-13 (a harvest Psalm)
Read Leviticus 23:9-22
In Exodus 23:14-17 we are first introduced to this pilgrim feast called the feast of harvest and feast of first-fruits (of wheat harvest). Later in Exodus 34:18-22 it is called the feast of weeks but we are not told why, till we get to Leviticus where it is set in the yearly calendar between the other two great pilgrimage feasts namely Passover/Unleavened bread and Tabernacles. It was a one day feast.
During this feast there was a new offering of two wave loaves made of the newly harvested wheat (cf Lev. 2:11 where all other meal offerings were unleavened). This was ordinary leavened household bread.
It occurred on a Sunday (first day of the week), the day after the seventh Sabbath counted from the sabbath of unleavened bread and first-fruit wave sheaf offering of the barley harvest (day after that sabbath and day of resurrection-verses 15,16) and was ultimately fulfilled 50 days after the resurrection on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), when the first great harvest comprising the church occurred.
Sung Psalm 76:1-9 (note ref. to tabernacle)
Reading John 7:1-44
The Pilgrimage feasts in John’s gospel consist:
- Passover thrice– John 2 when he cleanses the temple and alludes to the fact that Passover and the Temple are fulfilled in him. John 6 where he says he is the bread from heaven and John 14 ff when he eats the Passover meal and from thence fulfills many Passover prophecies.
- Pentecost–none directly referred to though personally I believe John 5 might fit (quickening/witness).
- Tabernacles– John 7.
In John 7 there are many allusions to the wilderness wanderings: vv 12,32 murmuring, vv19,22 Moses and the law, v40 The Prophet (Deut.18:15), vv31, 3,4, miracles, v35 Gentiles participate (Zech 14), v49 blessings and cursings of the law (Sinai etc).
Jesus explains that he is the real significance and fulfillment of the need for water using several verbs:
Thirsting–for forgiveness, justification and all the blessings of salvation.
Believing– on-going faith equivalent to coming to him and drinking.
Experiencing– what the “belly” does in feeling the fruit of the activity of faith.
Flowing–the procession of the Holy Spirit from Father and Son to us and back again in a continuous cycle, and out to others in ministry, living (running) water (v 38). Probable alluded to from Ezek. 47:1, Joel 3:18, Is. 12:3, Is. 44:3).
Note verse 39 is not saying the Spirit did not EXIST before, clearly he did (Genesis 1 and a multitude of other O.T.verses) but rather that he was given in a greater profusion and richness in revelation and experience after the universal outpouring at Pentecost.
Why was water significant at Tabernacles?
- Absolutely necessary for agriculture.
- Needed daily in the wilderness and miraculously supplied by Christ (I Cor.10:4).
- The characteristic emotion of the feast was joy which is the fruit of the Spirit.
“The Spirit’s subsequent out-flowing from the believers is the fulfilment of the Old Testament feast …(the Spirit dwells in the flimsy booths of believers’ lives-JK), the rivers of water give life, sustain life and increase life—the life of Christ in His church. The Spirit flows out of believers to God in the worship of the congregation, the prayers of the saints and the lives consecrated to God of the holy people of God. The water is given also that it may flow out of believers to others.”
Prof Engelsma in “The Work of the Holy Spirit” available here: Book