Monday, February 18, 2019

God In the Torah #6 Foreshadowing Feasts


God In the Torah #6 Foreshadowing Feasts

Text: Leviticus 23:4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

 

Introduction:

            We are going to cover the entire 23th chapter of Leviticus all 43 verses. Now when I preach on an entire chapter in one sermon, I take that as a challenge and when you hear that the preacher is going to preach on an entire chapter, you probably take that as a challenge as well, but probably not in the same way. For me it is a test of brevity but clearness for you it is a test of endurance. In Bible college that taught us that the sermon’s strength is not in its length and the acronym KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. Or the three S’s Stand up, Speak Up, Shut Up and Sit Down. As a pastor I try to operate by those precepts. Perhaps the best saying I can think of to meet the challenge of keeping a sermon on point and short is this one. “The mind can only learn and comprehend until numbness overcomes the listener’s rear end.” So hang with me and together we shall overcome, Leviticus 23.

Joke: Couple who had been married for 50 years die together in a car wreck and go to heaven, where an angel conducts them on a tour. They see the streets of gold, the gates of pearl and all the wonders of heaven. Finally, they are led to banquet hall where they may eat. There on the table is a sumptuous feast. Piled high are the most wonderful foods you could imagine.
            The husband looks at the fried Chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy and asks the angel, “Can I eat that?”
            The angel replies “Of course this is heaven you may eat anything you see.”
            The husband looks at the biscuits buttered with real butter and honey on the side. “And that I can eat that?”
            “Yes.”
            He then spies a chocolate cake with real homemade ice cream, “Those too, I can eat the cake and ice cream up here?”
            “Please help yourself,” the angel says.
            The husband then turns to his wife and says with a hint of bitterness in his voice. “You and your healthy eating, we could have been here 20 years ago if you’d of let me eat this stuff when I wanted.”

            Today we will be looking at the Old Testament Feasts of Jehovah as found in Leviticus 23.  These feasts, as almost everything in the OT does, give us a picture of God the Son who would come to Israel as their redeemer and Messiah. Yet they also reveal much more.

            Paul R. Van Gorder has said, “Those seven feasts comprise a sacred calendar of redemption. They are a record in picture form of God’s dealing with man in grace from the death of Christ to His millennial kingdom.”

            These feasts give us God’s plan for the ages long before the book of Daniel or Revelation was ever written. They are even given in the order that the great events of God’s plan will be played out. Let’s go to Leviticus 23.

Passover Leviticus 23:5

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.

Passover Is The Picture Of Deliverance


Its First Purpose
Passover in Hebrew was called Pesach. It took place on the 14th day of the first month Nisan. It was to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from slavery by the Passover of the angel of God.

Scripture Exodus 12:3-6

The lamb was chosen, kept for 4 days and then slain. The blood of the lamb was caught in a basin and then sprinkled on the doorpost and lintel of the house that belonged to a believer in God’s promise of protection and deliverance. The blood was the token, the Angel of God would see the blood and spare the firstborn within the house.

The Passover lamb would be roasted with fire. The children of Israel would partake of the the lamb whose blood had saved them.

Its Foreshadowed Fulfillment


In the Passover we see the first foreshadowing of the feasts of God. Foreshadowing is a word we understand pretty much from the way it is used. The idea is that the event, or in this case the feast is a shadow that comes before the actual thing that it is a representation of. Like a person walking away from the sun sees their own shadow stretching before them. God’s foreshadowing is seen in the Passover and other feasts but there is something much more important in the plan of God still to come. Foreshadowing is on type of prophecy and it is one category of God’s omniscience

With the Passover we have one of the clearest and most powerful foreshadowing or type of Jesus as the Lamb of God. Just as the lamb was kept and then slain Jesus was arrested and crucified. Just as the lamb was examined and found without spot or blemish, Jesus, in his life and in his trial before Pilate, was found without sin. Just as the lamb was roasted with fire, Jesus suffered and was beaten before his crucifixion. Just as those in the house partook of the lamb so must we “Drink his blood and eat his flesh” as Jesus said in John 6 if we are to be saved. Just as the paschal lamb’s blood sprinkled on the doorposts of the home, kept death from the homes of the Hebrew so also Jesus’s shed blood sprinkled on our heart and soul, protects us from the wrath of God. And just as the Passover delivered Israel from the slavery of Egypt, Jesus Christ the Lamb of God delivered us from the slavery of sin and the fear of death.

In the day of the first Passover it would have been very easy to see who was a believer and who was not. Who had taken protection under the blood and who was wiling to deny the power and promise of God. Today we can’t see the blood sprinkled on our hearts but the reality of believing in the promises of God is still the same and the penalty for not believing is even worse, eternally worse.
Let’s go on to the next feast found in verse 6

Unleavened Bread Leviticus 23:6-8


And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.  In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.  But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

Unleavened Bread Is The Picture of New Life


Its First Purpose

This feast is called Chag Hamatzot. It takes place on the day following Passover, Nisan the 15th and is kept for the next 7 days. For 7 days the Hebrews would eat only unleavened bread in remembrance of their coming out of Egypt.

When the Israelites came out of Egypt it was only with flat bread, for the leaven, the yeast, had been cleaned from their houses. The flat bread or matzah was all they had for their journey.
The leaven was a representation of the old ways of Egypt and it’s idolatry; the unleavened bread represented the new life with God.

Its Foreshadowed Fulfillment


The feast of unleavened bread shows us that we also are to have a new life. It is a life lived apart from the power and influence of sin, which the leaven represents. Such a life is not possible in ourselves but must be lived in the power of the sinless life of Jesus Christ.
The unleavened bread of the Lord’s supper, represents the sinless body of Christ broken for us and faith in Jesus Christ is the means by which I can truly begin a new life, no longer under the power of sin.

Scripture: John 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Transition: The Feasts continue in verse 9

Firstfruits Leviticus 23:9-14


But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:  And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf, an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.  And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

The Feast of Firstfruits is a Picture of The Resurrection


Its First Purpose

The feast of Firstfruits is called HaBibkkurim. It also takes place on Nisan the 15th during the feast of Unleavened Bread. It was an holy day, a Sabbath to acknowledge God’s deliverance into a land flowing with milk and honey. On that day the participants would bring to the temple or tabernacle an offering of grain the first fruits of year. They would go to the field and cut a sheaf of barley, which as a winter crop, was ready to harvest in the spring.  This along with the a tithe of any other fruit or animals they would take to the priest and wave it before the Lord and recite Deut 26:5-10

Scripture Deut 26:5-10
…A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:  And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:  And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.  And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me…

The offering was meant to proclaim faith in God’s provision through the coming harvest later that fall. It was also meant to supply the priests with their living for the summer months as God’s servants depended on the faithfulness of God’s people.

Its Foreshadowed Fulfillment


The Bible tells us that the Feast of Firstfruits was a picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a “firstfruit” of the great harvest of those who will be resurrected one day through faith in Him.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

The feast of Firstfruits occurred on the day following the Sabbath. We see the divine hand of God writing thousands of years before the event the exact day on which Jesus the true picture of the feast would rise from the dead.

Scripture Mark 16:1-6
  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.  And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.  And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here….

In a very real way, we celebrate the true feast of firstfruits every time we meet on Sunday. Once again we rejoice waving before God the sheaf of praise, the name of Jesus Christ, our firstfruit,  resurrected from the dead as a promise of a coming harvest one great day, of the resurrection of all those who believe in his name.

Transition: Next in verse 15 we have the feast of Pentecost

 Pentecost Leviticus 23:15-20


 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:  Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.  Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.  …

Pentecost is a Picture of God’s Grace to All


Its First Picture
Pentecost is the Greek word for 50 it signifies 50 days, 7 sabbaths plus 1, since the feast of Passover. In Hebrew it is called Shavuot, the feast of weeks. The interval between the two feasts was called Sfirat HaOmer, the counting of the sheaves, and was spent in meditating on God word and special prayers. In the synagogues Psalms 119 which is all about God’s law, commandments and precepts is read to the congregation.

Then on the fiftieth day there would be a wave offering of loaves. Unlike the feast of unleavened bread these loaves would be baked with leaven. The two loaves along with 7 lambs, one young bull and two rams were to be offered to the Lord as a burnt offering.

This feast was also called Atzeret shel Pescach, the completion of the Passover.

 “It ties together the first night of Passover to the final observance of Shavuot, continually reminding the faithful that God is the Redeemer and Rock of our salvation, the only One who can rescue us from bondage.” – Martin De Haan II.

Its Foreshadowed Fulfillment


Pentecost in the New Testament marks the place in history where God poured forth His Holy Spirit on all mankind, beginning the New Covenant so long promised in the scripture. The two leavened loaves do not represent Christ, since leaven is a symbol of sin, but they show us two people, Jew and Gentile, now both included in God’s plan to pour forth his grace to all.
It was on the day of Pentecost that Jesus baptized his church in the Holy Spirit.

Scripture Acts 2:1-4.
 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, …

It was on this day that God established a new house of witness, empowered it with His own Spirit and include us the Gentiles, a people far off, in his wonderful plan of grace.

Summer

Between the last feast of Pentecost and the next of trumpets in the fall were the long months of summer. During this time the people would water, weed and begin the harvest of their crops. The days were filled with work and preparation for the coming months when the labor was ended. Even in this we can see a Foreshadowing. In this interval we see a type of our own time, the Church Age.
This is a time when we are to be working, planting and preparing for the coming final harvest that will be announced with the sound of a trumpet. With each passing generation this interval called the Church Age is drawing closer and closer to and end and we must work and plan as though even tomorrow the trumpet could sound.

We must constantly ask ourselves Am I truly working for that coming harvest? God has blessed us with the opportunity to serve him during the greatest age His work in all of history. Are we planting the seeds of the Gospel? Are we praying for the harvest? What are we doing with the time we have left?

Scripture: Jeremiah 8: 20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
One day we will realize, just as Jeremiah did, that the summer of the church age is ended and there are those who are not saved. May it not be because we did failed in our task of planting and watering the gospel in the hearts of others today. Make use of the summer because the winter of God’s judgment is coming.
The next feast is that of Trumpets in verse 24

Trumpets Leviticus 23:24


Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

The Feast of Trumpets is the Picture of Assembly


Its First Purpose
In Hebrew this feat was called Rosh Hashanah. It took place in the fall on the first day of the seventh month of Tishri.

As the harvest had been taken in the people would begin to make their way to the tabernacle or the temple in Jerusalem, as they got closer they would hear the sound of the trumpets calling them to assemble.

Scripture Numbers 10:1-3
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

The Fulfillment of the Feast


The Feast of Trumpet will be fulfilled by the two final trumpet calls of God, signaling the end of this age. 

One trumpet will blow for the end of the church age.


Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? and

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The Second Trumpet will blow for the return of the Jews to Israel

Scripture Matthew 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Two trumpets to call God’s people to be with God. Just as there were two silver trumpets made for gathering God’s people to the Tabernacle in Moses time, there awaits two heavenly trumpets, one to sound for God’s Old Testament people and one for his New Testament people.

Not all will respond to those trumpet blasts, only those who have believed that Jesus is coming again. Only those that believe He is coming to reclaim that which is rightfully His. Only those who believe He is truly Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Only those who have accepted Him as their Savior. Only those will hear the trumpets and rejoice at the sound, those who do not believe will try to flee in terror, begging the mountains and rock to fall upon them, but there will be no place to hide from the wrath and the power of God.

Day of Atonement Leviticus 23:27

Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

The Day of Atonement is a picture of Jesus the High Priest and His Sacrifice


Its First Purpose
In Hebrew this day is called Yom Kippor and it is the most holy of all the holy days of God. It took place on the 10th day of the 7th month of Tishri just 9 days after the feast of trumpets.
Paul Van Gorder writes, “On the day of atonement, the high priest in Israel would first lay aside his robes of glory and put on a linen coat and breeches. Then he would slay a bullock, enter the holy place, and sprinkle the blood once upon the mercy seat and seven times before the altar. After the high priest had slain the bullock and sprinkled its blood, he would choose two goats. Then he would slay one of those goats and sprinkle its blood exactly as he had done with the bullock. But this time the blood was not for himself. The Lord’s lot had fallen upon this goat, and its blood was sprinkled within the veil for all the people of Israel. The priest would then lay his hands upon the head of the second goat and confess the sins of the people. That animal was then led away into the wilderness, never to be seen again.

While this was going on the people were to be afflicting their souls. Gorder continues, “While the people were still in mourning, the high priest would enter the tabernacle or temple and exchange his linen garments for his robes of glory. Then he would appear before the people. When they heard the tinkling of the bells upon the fringes of his robe, they would know he was finished with this task. And when they saw him, they would acknowledge with much rejoicing that their sins were covered.”

The Fulfillment of the Feast


This is of course one the strongest foreshadowings or types of Jesus death on the behalf of others that we have in the Bible. Jesus Christ laid aside his “robes of glory” and took on the robe of human flesh. He then as that perfect sinless one offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. The true offering that all other offerings of lamb, or goat or ox were only pictures or only symbols of the only one who could truly save us from our own sin.

Just as one goat was slain as a propitiation, the payment, for our sins the second goat was sent away as a picture of our sins being sent away never to be seen again. All of this was fully accomplished through Jesus Christ  as our great high priest.

Scripture: Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

and Hebrews 9:24-28 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.;

Hebrews13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

The prophetical calendar


 Just as the other feasts have their fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ and many also as a particular event in God’s Plan for the Ages, so also does Yom Kippor, The Day of Atonement.

 Once the first trumpet has sounded and the New Testament people of God have been taken from this earth, a time of great sorrow for God’s Old Testament people will begin. This time, called Jacob’s trouble in the OT and the tribulation in the New Testament, corresponds to the time of “affliction” that would precede the return of the High Priest before the people.
It would be a time of seeing their sin and calling out to God for forgiveness. It would be a time a time of sorrow but in the end a time of great rejoice because they will see the return of their priest and King, their Messiah, Jesus.

Scripture: Jeremiah 30:5-7 For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

and Zechariah 12:10-11 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11  In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

Zechariah 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

The earth will have gone through the worst natural and manmade disasters in all of history. The Bible says the Sun will not shine, the stars will fall from the heavens and the moon will turn to blood. Then the armies of the world under the command of the Beast, the Anti-Christ will turn and march upon Israel. This man they thought was their Messiah and Savior will be their annihilator. In the blackness of their last days half the city will fall and then the true Messiah, Jesus Christ the son of God, who came as a carpenter from Nazareth all those thousands of years ago will return.
He will blaze across that blackened, starless sky like lighting and all the earth will see His approach. Jesus will touch down on the Mount Of Olives and then with one word of His mouth all the armies of the world under the power of the Beast, the anti-Christ are destroyed and Israel, God’s people will be saved. They will look on Him whom they have pierced and mourn but their mourning will turn to joy when they see their salvation. The High Priest, the Messiah has returned bring God’s forgiveness through the shed blood of the Lamb of God.

Transition: The final feast in the feast of …

Tabernacles Leviticus 23:34


Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.

The Feast of Tabernacles Is a Picture of the Reign of Messiah
The Hebrew name for the feast of tabernacles or booths is Sukkot. It took place in the same 7th month on the 15th day of Tishri and lasted for seven days.

This Holy day was a memorial of the time Israel spent as Hebrews or wanderers in the wilderness. For forty years they walked in the wilderness living in tabernacles waiting the time when God would allow them into the Promised Land. During this time the presence of God was with them in a cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. When the cloud moved, they moved and when the pillar of fire stopped they stopped. They were never away from the presence of God.

The feast of Sukkot along with Pentecost and Passover was one of the three times that all Jewish men were required to come to Jerusalem. They were the pilgrimage feasts. They would bring their tithes and offerings to the temple, they would sacrifice and they would remember all that God had done.
During this Holy Day they would live in booths made from the branches of trees. These booths were built in fields and even on your own housetop if you lived in Jerusalem.

The Fulfillment of the Feast


The feast of tabernacles is a type of the millennial reign of Christ.
After the time of Jacobs Sorrow and after the final harvest of the wrath of God, Jesus Christ will rule and reign on earth. Once more God will dwell with man and for a thousand years he will rule and reign from his throne in Jerusalem.

Scripture: Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.;

Zech 8:20-24 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities:  And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

and Zech 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: …
Even more wondrous is the fact that once again the feast of tabernacles will be practiced in Jerusalem but now for all the people of the world. … 16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. …
What an event, to behold all the nations of the earth flowing into Israel to see Jesus! All the times we waited, all the times we prayed, all the times we wept now fulfilled as all the world now knows Jesus is true, Jesus is real. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Conclusion


The Perfect Plan of God Foretold and Fulfilled in the Feasts
You cannot help but notice how God has planned the redemption of mankind and then given us a foreshadowing of that plan for the ages in His High and Holy Days of the Feasts.

On Passover Jesus was slain, the sinless for the sinful, that mankind might be redeemed from sin and brought into fellowship with God.

On the Feast of First Fruits, the day following the Sabbath, Jesus was resurrected from the grave proving his power over sin and death and becoming our firstfruit, the proof of our own resurrection if we put our trust in Him.

On the Day of Passover, The Holy Spirit empowered the church and the New Testament era began. No longer was there a need of priest but each of us could go directly to God because His own Spirit indwells us.

The Perfect Plan of God includes You.


God’s plan is so vast, so intricate, so perfect that within it there is also a plan for you.
God has not only made plans and provision for His nation and for the Gentiles as a whole but he has made provision in this vast plan for you and I as individuals.
He has made a way for you to be delivered from sin.
He has made a way for you to live in the power of grace.
He has made a way for you to experience the indwelling of the Spirit.
He has even planned for this day, this hour and this message.
What will you do now that you have seen all that God has planned?

The perfect Plan of God is in motion even now.

As we have seen four of the feasts have been fulfilled, but there are still three feasts that await, the fall feasts which would follow the long work days of summer.
We are in those summer days, but it has been a long summer and soon the days will grow short in this world and the plan of God, as seen in the Holy Days of Leviticus will begin again.
As sure as the first Holy Days came exactly in the time that God had scheduled so also will the last Holy Days.

I wonder will we be ready? Are we truly planning for the final harvest? What are we doing with the last days of summer? Will we rejoice when the trumpet sounds and will we rise to be with our Savior or will be weep in terrible regret because we realize as Jeremiah did, that the summer is past and we are not saved?

Illustration: When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder

The song was written in 1893 by James Black a Methodist Sunday School Teacher in in Wil­liams­port, Penn­syl­van­ia, One day he was call­ing roll one day for a youth meet­ing.  A little girls named Bes­sie, who was the daugh­ter of a drunk­ard and often not allowed to attend the church, was not there when he called the roll. The teacher made the com­ment, “Well, I trust when the roll is called up yon­der, she’ll be there.” He tried to think of an appropriate song, but could not find one.
An in­ner voice seemed to say, “Why don’t you write one?” James Black writes, “As I opened the gate on my way home, the same thought came again so strong­ly that tears filled my eyes.  I en­tered the house and sat down at the pi­a­no.  The words came to me ef­fort­less­ly…The tune came the same way—I dared not change a sin­gle note or word.”

The last verse of the song sums it up for us in working now in the “summer” interval.  “Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun, Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care; Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”
Will you be there? Will you keep working from dawn to setting sun for the One who loved and died for you? What a feast we will have for all eternity with the harvest of the Gospel and the Presence of the Lord for all eternity.



Other Illustrations and notes


  The late Edwin R. Roberts of Princeton Seminary used to stress the need to "rest awhile."  One Sunday as he sat in a church worshiping, the pastor concluded his announcements with these words, "I am not going to take a vacation this summer.  The devil never does."  It was with the greatest effort that our friend resisted the temptation to rise and ask, "Who is your example, anyway, the devil?"  But rather than pose that question, Ed Roberts went home and reread the gospels to find out the attitude of Jesus on this matter.  He discovered that in the record which is limited to about three years of active ministry, there were mentioned ten periods of retirement.  In addition to the nightly rest and the Sabbath rest, Jesus punctuated His ministry with seasons of refreshing.  How much more should we! - Ralph G. Turnbull, A Minister's Obstacles, (Fleming H. Revell, 1964), p. 119.

God established a religious year for Israel, broken into patterned celebrations which permitted Israel to relive its heritage annually.
Three of the annual feasts were "pilgrim festivals," during which families were to journey to a central place of worship, later established in Jerusalem. These were times of special joy and celebration, linked with the agricultural seasons, but intended to help Israel relive salvation history and reaffirm commitment to God.
The three pilgrim festivals were Passover, including the week-long Feasts of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 13:3-10; Leviticus 23:4-8; Deut. 16:1-8), Firstfruits (also called the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost) (Leviticus 23:9-21; Deut. 16:9-11), and Tabernacles (also called the Feast of Booths) (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:33-43; Deut. 16:13). During this last festival the people lived outside in rough shelters, commemorating the years of travel from Sinai to the Promised Land.
vital principle underlying this religious system helps us understand how we can better communicate our own faith.

The principle is expressed in a Hebrew term, zikkaron, which is often translated as "memorial" and means "a reminder" or "a remembrance." It is used of objects or actions that help Israel identify with some particular religious truth. For instance, the pile of stones beside the River Jordan that commemorated Israel passing through on dry ground is one such memorial (Joshua 4:7).

What was the zikkaron intended to do? It was intended to help individuals who saw or participated in it sense his or her identity with what God had done in the past. In essence the festivals of Israel were designed to help each new generation relive God's great and wonderful acts for His people. In the festivals that annually reminded Israel of what God had done for them, the people were intended to sense their own identity with their forefathers, and to realize that God had worked His wonders for each one of them! - The Teacher's Commentary.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

I Know It’s a Sin, But Is It Really That Bad?


I Know It’s a Sin, But Is It Really That Bad?

A Bible Study on Socially Acceptable Sins
by Pastor Kris Minefee

Purpose: This study will be an attempt to deal with the modern idea that some “sins” as defined in the Old Testament may have been technically sins, but that with the coming of the New Testament or just with the changing of time and societal norms, theses “sins” are no longer really applicable to us today. In other words, yes, they are sins in the Old Testament but today they really aren’t that sinful or perhaps not sins at all. Just like the dietary laws against eating certain foods given in Leviticus don’t apply to us today, neither do the laws against certain sins also found in the New Testament.

I want to also deal with the idea that even if it is a sin, then its just like any other sin and we shouldn’t preach or teach against it more than any other. This idea states that all sin is the same and has equal consequences or remedies. In other words, sin is sin, so quit emphasizing some and ignoring others.

This idea seeks to ignore the greater consequences of some sins which are not just a personal sin in my own life, but are also sins against society, communities and the institutions and foundations of civilization. These sins have a more profound effect on those around me and the society I am a part of.


Understanding The Law Then


All Law comes from God and is a revelation of His character and holiness.


Only One Law In Before the Fall (Garden of Eden)

Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

The Law Under the Noahic Covenant  (Mt. Ararat)

Genesis 9:1-6  And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon] the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of  every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

The Law Under the Covenant of the Law (Mt. Sinai)


The Law Condensed To 10 Commandments

Exodus 20:1-17 And God spake all these words, saying,  I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.  Thou shalt not kill.  Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

The Decalogue
4 Commands Concerning God
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

6 Commands Concerning Man
Honour thy father and thy mother
Thou shalt not kill.  
Thou shalt not commit adultery.  
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Thou shalt not covet

The Law Expanded With Examples

Exodus 21-23 Gives examples of how the law is expanded in specific cases.

Laws concerning fair treatment of a slave Exodus 21:2
Laws of a murder and manslaughter Exodus 21:12
Laws of injury to a pregnant woman Exodus 12:22
Law of punishment fitting the crime Exodus 12:24-25
Laws of liability Exodus 21:28
Laws of restitution Exodus 22

Leviticus expands the law even further and introduces laws the deal only with the nation of Israel as well as more about the moral law that applies to all mankind.


The Law and Covenant Repeated and Reaffirmed (Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal)

Deuteronomy repeats the laws before the Hebrews go into the Promised Land and reminds the people of the Covenant they made with God on Mt. Sinai and now repeatd on Mt. Gerizim and Ebal “Choose You This Day.”

Deuteronomy 11:29  And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

Deuteronomy 30:19  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
The Law In Three Categories
In Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we clearly see that the law falls into three categories, the Moral, the Ceremonial and the Civil/ Judicial.

Some Laws Were Specifically given to Israel.
These are often preceded by the phrase, “Say to the Children of Israel”

Lev. 4:2, atonement for unintentional sins
Lev. 7:23, don't eat fat from ox, sheep, or goat
Lev. 7:29, procedures for peace offering to the Lord
Lev. 11:2, list of animals the Israelites may eat
Lev. 12:2, uncleanness after giving birth
Lev. 23:24, rest on 1st day of 7th month
Lev. 23:34, Feast of Booths on 15th day of 7th month
Lev. 24:15, the one cursing God will bear his sin

The Three Types of Law In the Old Testament


Civil – These applied while Israel was a Theocracy or a Monarchy but did not apply directly to other nations, except as examples of justice, fairness and that which pleases God.  God never intended other nations to be theocracies or to have kings chosen by Him, therefore though we can learn from these as example they will not always fit all nations.
Justice practices (Lev. 24:17-23)
Law of property redemption (Lev. 25)
Be just with the poor, (Lev. 19:15)
Do not hate in your heart (Lev. 19:17)
Retain just scales in commerce (Lev. 19:35f)
Robbery, extortion, false witness, and restitution (Lev. 6:1-7)

Ceremonial – These laws were designed by God to show a separation from His nation Israel and the other nations of the world. These again were for Israel and in most instances were finished when Jesus came and fulfilled the law, keeping what we could not. Many of the dietary and ceremonial laws have passed into tradition and culture among the Jewish people today, but they do not apply to us as Christians.
Various sacrificial offerings for sin (Lev. 1,2,3, 4, 5, 6)
Priestly duties (Lev. 7:1-37)
Laws on animals for food (Lev. 11:1-47)
Cleaning house of leper (Lev. 14:33-57)
Law of Atonement (Lev. 16:1-28;17:1-16)
Regulations for Priests (Lev. 21,22)
Festivals (Lev. 23:1-25)

Moral – The moral law preceded all the covenants of God and was part of the creation of man. Paul says it is written into our hearts. These laws apply across all peoples, nations and times. They show us the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. They condemn us as sinners and show us that we need a savior. They also form the basis of all good laws of all peoples. 
Do not steal or lie (Lev. 19:11)
Do not oppress your neighbor (Lev. 19:13)
No idolatry (Lev. 26:1-13)
Don't sacrifice children to Molech (Lev. 20:1-5)
Don't commit adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. (Lev. 20:9-21)
You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18)


Understanding The Law Now


The laws which deal with what is clean and unclean, the foods the Israelites could and could not eat, or the clothes they could or could not wear, all fall under the ceremonial laws, the laws that separated Israel from the other nations. These laws, though they may have insight into God’s desire for a separated people, contagious diseases, and healthy or unhealthy food, were finished when Jesus came to earth.


Jesus stated it in Mark 7:14-23
 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:  There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.  If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.  And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.  And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;  Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?  And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,  Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

It was repeated in Acts 10:9-16
  On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:  And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.  And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.   This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.


The Ceremonial and Dietary Laws no longer apply but the Moral Law still does


1 Timothy 1:8-11
 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;  According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Here Paul plainly states that the moral law still applies to the lawless and disobedient and he specifically points out murder, sexual immorality (Greek pornos), homosexuality, kidnappers (probably related to slavery esp. prositution), liars, liars under oath, anything else contrary sound doctrine ( the revealed moral law of God)

Comparison of the moral law in the Ten Commandments and Paul’s list in 1 Timothy 1:9

10 Commandments
Paul’s List of The Law 1 Timothy
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Honour thy father and thy mother.
for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers
Thou shalt not kill.  
for manslayers
Thou shalt not commit adultery.  
for them that defile themselves with mankind
Thou shalt not steal.
for menstealers
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
for liars, for perjured persons
Thou shalt not covet




Conclusion

Once again, we see that understanding God’s Word requires us to put it in context. In this case the context is mankind in the Old Testament, Israel in the Old Testament and Christians in the New Testament. By doing this we see that some laws were specifically to Israel while others have been with us since creation. The moral law, which is reconfirmed as applying to all of us in the New Testament, can never can be ignored lest we lose our humanity and become reprobate and like the animals.