Christian Churches of God
Keeping the Feasts
(Edition 3 19940917-20000209-20070710)
This paper deals with the background to the keeping of the Feasts of Leviticus 23 that flow on from an understanding of the Fourth Commandment.
Keeping the Feasts
The entire chapter of Leviticus 23 is devoted to the Feasts that follow one another in the text; and they are all interrelated. Authority for the Feasts is drawn from the Scriptures.
First we’ll look at the Fourth Commandment. We cannot keep one commandment and not another. The Sabbath leads into the Feasts. They start from or with the Sabbath, and they are God's Feasts, not man's feasts (cf. the paper Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256)).
Leviticus 23:1-3 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Say to the people of Israel, The appointed feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed feasts, are these. 3 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings. (RSV)
The Sabbath is a feast. It is improper to fast on it or to make it a day of mourning. However, there is no choice sometimes – as in spiritual prayer – and preparation has to be done on the Sabbath. We are commanded to assemble. We cannot keep it at home (see the paper The Sabbath (No. 31)). The same applies to all the other Feasts. All are commanded assemblies, held at places the Lord chooses.
Leviticus 23:4 "These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them. (RSV)
It is Israel's responsibility to proclaim and declare these Feasts to the people and order their convocation. It’s not a question of being left to our own devices.
Leviticus 23:5-8 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening, is the LORD's passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. 8 But you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD seven days; on the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work." (RSV)
It goes on to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. There is no work to be done, as it is a holy convocation. There is a responsibility to present an offering by fire unto the Lord seven days, and on the seventh day is a day of holy convocation. When we add up all the offerings (by fire), they total and represent one complete time-cycle of 19. We have to keep them all to complete the cycle. There is another cycle of the total number of sacrifices at the Feasts, which has another symbolism related to the government of God that will be examined elsewhere.
Leviticus 23:9-14 And the LORD said to Moses, 10 "Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; 11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. 13 And the cereal offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to the LORD, a pleasing odor; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. 14 And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (RSV)
This statute cannot be dispensed with. The reason for going through from the Passover onwards is to show us there is a sacrificial and harvest basis, as all the Feasts are geared around the annual agricultural harvests. They start with Jesus Christ, then go on to the elect, and later represent the general harvest in the Last Days. All of these harvests start from the first-fruits, and they build up in size and magnitude. Each one is necessary in order to develop the next. So there is a whole process of development, as seen in the papers: The Passover (No. 98); The Lord’s Supper (No. 103); The Night to be Much Observed (No. 101); Significance of the Footwashing (No. 99); Significance of the Bread and Wine (No. 100); The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b) and The Death of the Lamb (No. 242).
Leviticus 23:15-21 "And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, 16 counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the LORD. 17 You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the LORD. 18 And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their cereal offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the LORD. 19 And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And you shall make proclamation on the same day; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work: it is a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (RSV)
These are baked with leaven. So, we've gone from unleavened to leavened; we've counted 50 days; and now we've gone into Pentecost and we are offering leaven. That leaven is the Holy Spirit operating in the elect. Pentecost represents our calling out – it is our harvest. We go on through the two thousand years to the end time. Passover represents Christ, Pentecost represents us, and the next Feast represents another order of magnitude. It represents our authority and rule along with the harvest and salvation of the people and the planet (cf. the paper The Holy Spirit (No. 117)).
Leviticus 23:22 "And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very border, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God." (RSV)
There are things left for other people. We have an ongoing responsibility to help people get to the Feast, and to give them strength and sustenance. There is a spiritual as well as a physical meaning behind that. We are to give them both. We are to lead and help the poor get to the Feast and grow in the spirit.
Leviticus 23:23-25 And the LORD said to Moses, 24 "Say to the people of Israel, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall do no laborious work; and you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD." (RSV)
This is the Feast of Trumpets. There is no mention of any harvest here, and it is not something we do. Christ comes as Messiah to save us and establish his rule on this planet. We are part of that plan. There is no harvest at Trumpets, as our harvest was at and from Pentecost (see the paper Trumpets (No. 136)).
At Pentecost we are all nominated and brought out. If there were to be a harvest at Trumpets, then the harvest would not take place until the Messiah came. But the harvest came with the Holy Spirit, not with the Advent of the Messiah as the king of Israel. That is why we don't have any harvest or any offerings at Trumpets. The same goes for Atonement.
Leviticus 23:26-32 And the LORD said to Moses, 27 "On the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work on this same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whoever is not afflicted on this same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whoever does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no work: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves; on the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your sabbath." (RSV)
It is from this that we know Sabbaths are from evening to evening (i.e. from dark to dark), because Atonement is a key and pivotal Sabbath, as is explained in the paper Atonement (No. 138). The only thing to be taken up at Atonement was the census tax, which was dispensed with when the Temple was destroyed. The authority of the Temple was removed with the ordination of the Seventy. The forty years’ span was to give Judah a chance to repent. They did not repent and the Temple was destroyed.
This Temple tax was not an offering at all. It could not be made as an offering in terms of one person giving more than another, because there was a fixed price for every man. Everyone in it was calculated and had to pay according to the census, and that payment was made by Christ. Christ will reintroduce the Temple and its structure in Jerusalem when he returns; and he will probably re-introduce these administrative requirements. It appears that institution is in place for the offerings to assist in the administration of the Temple. One would imagine it would be replaced, and that Christ will reintroduce it. We are the Temple of God, not at one fixed location and not in Jerusalem. Now there is no fixed tax and, indeed, it strikes at the very adequacy of the Messiah's sacrifice. It is not an offering under any circumstances. No offering should be taken up at Atonement, as no one man any more than another. It specifically says we cannot vary the amount. It must be in a form of tax only.
We then build up to the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths – the last period.
Leviticus 23:33-44 And the LORD said to Moses, 34 "Say to the people of Israel, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the feast of booths to the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. 36 Seven days you shall present offerings by fire to the LORD; on the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a solemn assembly; you shall do no laborious work. 37 "These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD offerings by fire, burnt offerings and cereal offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day; 38 besides the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts, and besides all your votive offerings, and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. 39 "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD seven days; on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40 And you shall take on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. 41 You shall keep it as a feast to the LORD seven days in the year; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations; you shall keep it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all that are native in Israel shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." 44 Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed feasts of the LORD. (RSV)
We cannot do away with any of the Feasts. All are part of the Law, as extensions of the weekly Sabbath. The sacrifices are paid for from a tithing system set up to handle those provisions. There is a special tax for Sabbath offerings. It is another tax for tithing, as we see later. To our knowledge, the matter was not addressed in the twentieth century (see the paper Tithing (No. 161)).
We've got to the point where we have outlined the process. There is a general concept of being at the Feast as a commanded assembly. God has said we have to go and live in booths or temporary accommodation. There is no choice. Each individual has a responsibility to attend the Sabbath and the Feasts. The argument, that because the individual is part of the Temple of God in view of the participation of the Holy Spirit and does not have to attend the Feasts at noted convocations, shows a misapprehension of the concepts involved. The individual is given the Holy Spirit on baptism and hence becomes part of the Temple of God. Christ was the example for us all.
Christ meticulously kept the Laws and Feasts that he established as the Angel of the Covenant at Sinai. These Feasts are mentioned at Matthew 26:17-20, Luke 2:41-42, and Luke 22:15. Christ's parents went up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast at Passover. Christ was at the Temple both as a youth and a man (Jn. 2:13-23; 5:1; 7:10; 10:22).
Christ kept the Laws he laid down; that is, he kept his own Law.
People are often worried about keeping the Feasts: "I've got a job, house, family – the whole lot”. Those things should not interfere with our worship. God has given us a number of promises in regard to protection of our properties. Christ said he would camp about those that fear him. We can either be frightened of God, or of what men can do. We cannot be frightened of both. If we are frightened of God, we will obey His Laws.
Psalm 33:18 says: “Behold the eye of the lord is on those who fear him, those who hope in his steadfast love”. So God has given a promise that He will watch over all those who fear and hope in Him.
Psalm 34:7-9 says: “The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them”. This Angel of the Lord is Jesus Christ.
This promise that He will encamp and deliver is in the Psalms.
Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him! (RSV)
These are promises the Lord has made. He will put the messenger or Angel of the Lord, the messenger of His Covenant, around us and He will ensure we will not want. We will not lose our sustenance or the things given us. The reason He has given these Feasts is that they are a sign of the elect – a way that His system can be seen and understood. They are a banner He has given us.
Psalm 60:4 Thou hast set up a banner for those who fear thee, to rally to it from the bow. [Selah] (RSV)
More correctly, it reads: to lift it up because of truth. We can see the truth of the Lord in the banner He has given us. That's done in a major way at the Feasts. We understand the three principal Feasts are the Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
All males were required to attend. That is a representation of all the people who were able for military service and their families. So the requirement was placed on the males from Exodus 23:17; 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:16; Psalm 42:4; 122:4; Ezekiel 36:38; Luke 2:41; John 4:45.
Aliens were permitted to attend the Feast as noted from John 12:20 and Acts 2:1-11. That means that the symbolism of all this is given to us so that we know the Feast is not an exclusive mark of the elect. We are allowed to have people at the Feast who are not baptised members of the Body of Jesus Christ. They can attend the Passover meal and Wave Sheaf service but may not attend the Lord's Supper. If we fear God, we have a banner that is set up by the Lord. That banner is given to us so that we understand and so that others can understand who we are.
The Feast was to be attended by women (1Sam. 1:3,9; Lk. 2:41-42). It is not a specific right of one group of people. It was endemic to the entire race of Israel – both males and females and aliens who reside in their gates. By definition this extends to the elect as spiritual Israel.
The New Testament Church kept the Feasts, as noted from the activities of Paul (Acts 18:21; 19:21; 20:6,16; 24:11,17). There is no question that the New Testament Church, under the Apostles, kept the Feasts. They are mandatory and binding. The penalty for not observing the Feasts is found in Zechariah 14:16-19. This is most important.
Zechariah 14:16-17 Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of booths. 17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain upon them. (RSV)
We are talking here about the remnant. These people are going to march against Jerusalem and they will all be destroyed. Everyone who survives will go up year after year to worship the Lord of Hosts and keep the Feast of Booths. This is the King we are talking about – the Lord of Hosts. If any of the families of the Earth do not go up and worship the King, there will be no rain upon them.
Zechariah 14:18-19 And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then upon them shall come the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths. 19 This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths. (RSV)
Obviously, not all the nations of the world would fit in Jerusalem, so only the emissaries will go up. It is also obvious that the Feast of Booths will be kept worldwide. The punishment for failing to keep the Feast is that we will starve! We will have continual drought until we keep the Feast as commanded. This has a spiritual significance. If we don't keep the Feast, we will not have the Holy Spirit increased in us – and we can never grow in the spirit, and never receive the food and sustenance. That's why it’s so important to go there and take spiritual meat, and grow in love with one another. If Christ is going to reintroduce this on a worldwide basis by force in the Millennium, then it’s axiomatic for us to keep it on the same basis as the early Church kept it; and, indeed, that is our banner: that we keep the Sabbaths – all of them.
The basic promises are found in Exodus 34:21-24.
Exodus 34:21-24 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22 And you shall observe the feast of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year. (RSV)
The promise is given to us that: “neither shall any man desire your land”. This is divine protection while we keep the Feast. That is the word of God. People worry about burglaries. The only time we had any problems was one year when we took an extra day after the Feast and we had items removed from our property. That was the only time we had a problem personally, but that instance was used to our benefit anyway. That was done to reinforce in our minds the law of protection.
This ties in with understanding the correct timing of the Feast. The elect produce the Calendar and determine the times of the Feasts. Doing it through the Jews is wrong (see the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156)). An example was the Feast in 1991. That Feast was kept a day late and ended a day late (from lunar observation) because the Jewish calendar was wrong. So the Last Great Day of the Feast was not on the actual last day.
One member posed the question: “Does God honour the Jewish calendar when its reckoning is not in accordance with the lunar calendar as we understand it?”
He was told: “You will get your answer tomorrow. We will pray tonight that the Lord reveals to us whether He honours the Feast if kept on a wrong day”.
Next day, the Last Great Day, as we sat at services there were three successive power failures, which forced the doors to be opened and the services to be stopped. There were announced break-ins, accidents, and other problems on the Last Day. That person had the power of witness of that magnitude and did not understand or forgot. But the real problem was there so that we understood.
He was told, “Now you have your answer”.
He said, “It’s staggering!”
We had our answer. The answer was that the Lord did not bless a day kept incorrectly, and also that the Jewish calendar is wrong and contrary to the will of God. That process was reflected also in the attitude with which we kept the Feast.
A couple of years later at the Feast a young man had his property burgled. He was told to examine his spirituality as to why he allowed himself to be burgled. The reason was that he was going back and working so that he would not lose his job. There was no faith in the unconditional promise that God made that no one would desire his property. Many of us have had to give up our employment in order to obey God. But God has always made it up. We shall not want, if we keep the Laws of God. Hopefully that young man examined the attitude in which he was keeping the Feast. We have to fear God more than we fear men. If we fear men more, then we have no faith.
That is the sum total of it. The concept that we are faced with is that the Adversary throws everything at us before the Feast, as all of us know. Everyone gets ‘hammered’ (or tested) before the Feast until after Atonement. It’s at Atonement that we break the bonds of wickedness and the oppressed shall go free. If we have not kept Atonement properly, then we have not broken the bonds of wickedness properly and we suffer more. We have to put God first. People will demand attention for a number of reasons. Often families demand that members stay with them in order that they cannot attend the Feast. Most of these people do not know what they are doing. It is not their fault. It's not as though they wake up in the morning and say: “I'm going to deliberately annoy this person”. The Adversary stirs them to hatred. They will do anything. We have seen it happen where university lecturers have pressured students over the fact that they need to take time off to keep the Feasts.
They get angry and will try to push us. Some use it as an excuse to hurt us. We have to have faith in God. We have to deal with the Feast as a mandatory gathering, and we have to be there. The fact that we are there, obeying God, is an infuriation to Satan – as is the fact also that we keep it on the right days. Satan has done everything possible to keep us from obeying God. He prompted Hillel II in 358 CE to publish a calendar so we can't keep the Feast on the right days, if we follow the Jewish calendar. Followers of the Jewish calendar do not keep the Feasts properly, because enough of the days fall outside the right days, as they put their traditions ahead of the word of God. That's why Hillel said: “This will stay until the coming of the Messiah”. Messiah will not honour that. He will throw out the Jewish calendar and stamp on it, because they have no authority for it.
What they are trying to do is to stop us from faithfully keeping the Laws of God and interfering with our Faith through the traditions of men. That process extends into all manner of civil legislation being placed against us. We have more freedom today than at any other time in the history of the Church, yet it is a burden to us. There will come a time when we will not be free and that time will be very serious. We should make the most of what we have, and do as much as we can, and be a banner to as many as we can now. We should enjoy each other’s company in love and kindness. We should give to each other spiritual and physical gifts, so that we can develop as a family, and know what it means to sacrifice for each other.
This whole process is not tied around Jerusalem or around specific locations, but where God has chosen to put His hand. We are not in Jerusalem because all nations could not all fit in that city even if they wanted to be. When the time comes, many people shall go up to Jerusalem. However, the Feasts are not dependent upon the existence of the Temple or Tabernacles.
Exodus 33:7-11 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting. And every one who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. 8 Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose up, and every man stood at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he had gone into the tent. 9 When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the door of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. 10 And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the door of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, every man at his tent door. 11 Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tent. (RSV)
We are talking about the Tent of Meeting here. This preceded the Tabernacle. This is outside the camp because we know the Tabernacle was the centre of the camp. Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp. The Presence of the Lord was with that tent.
Whenever Moses went to the Tent of Meeting, all the people rose and stood at the door of their own tents (in the tent door) and looked to Moses until he had gone inside. The pillar of cloud would stay at the door of the Tent. All the people would then worship. Thus the Lord spoke to Moses as a man would speak to a friend. Joshua son of Nun did not go into the Tent.
As mentioned above, the Feast is not location specific, but rather where God sets His hand through His priesthood. Through the pillar of cloud, Jesus Christ will establish his Spirit in that area and bless that area while we are there.
God dwells in tabernacles in men through His Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:3,15-18,23). God is tabernacling with us now on a continuing basis. However, that does not mean we don't have to keep the Feasts in specific areas, that is, where God puts His hand for a holy convocation. That also does not obviate the fact that we have specific things to do. The fact that we are God's Temple (2Cor. 6:16) does not mean that we do not have to keep the Law or Sabbaths. They are all tied together.
People say, “If we don't have to go to keep the Feast of Booths, then we don't have to go and keep the Sabbath as a holy convocation!” But we do. Christ said he is going to re-institute the whole lot when he comes and if we don't keep them we will starve. It doesn't mean we can sit at home and be excused from keeping all these days. We go to the Feast to fellowship with one another and hear the word of God. There is a responsibility on all of us to play our part. The fact that the study papers are going all over the world now is an indication that God's word does not come back empty and that He expects things of us.
It’s not enough to say: “Oh, we have the Holy Spirit and we don't have to do anything. Just call on Jesus.” This is the same type of chatter that went on to the Council of Chalcedon, that did away with the Sabbath in the Council of Laodicea in 366 CE, and that started the rot in the Council of Elvira in 300 CE. All these things have been done before. We have an obligation to do our best no matter how few of us there are, while there is yet daylight to work. The time is coming when no man can do anything. That is why we are set up the way we are. That is why libraries of our material have gone to different locations. Each one of us has to make the most of what we do while there is sufficient light to do the work.
There are regulations governing our preparation in order to get to the Feasts. Not only do we have to have the faith and determination to put our work down and go, but also we have to realise that all of us have an obligation, financially as well as physically. That is, we should prepare to go to the Feasts. Deuteronomy 12:17-19 says there is a regulation in the expenditure of second tithe. We are required to put away a second tithe for our attendance at the Feasts.
Deuteronomy 12:17-19 You may not eat within your towns the tithe of your grain or of your wine or of your oil, or the firstlings of your herd or of your flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the offering that you present; 18 but you shall eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God will choose, you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, and the Levite who is within your towns; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all that you undertake. 19 Take heed that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land. (RSV)
That in a nutshell tells us that we can't stay home and do these things. We have to be at the Feasts to consume this tithe and to make any offerings. There are only three offerings a year. They can't be given inside our town (with the exception of the third year of the Sabbath cycle, the third tithe year). The Feast offerings must be given outside. We are locked in the world; and God takes us out of ‘Egypt’. He takes us to the Tent of Meeting and the pillar of fire and cloud. There is a spiritual symbolism in that. The Spirit of the Lord is there to remind us we are still in Egypt and the Wilderness of Sin awaiting the arrival of our Master.
The structure of this planet is not that of Jesus Christ. This whole argument of the mainstream churches is that they are the Kingdom of God, and that is a lie. If they were the Kingdom of God, our Master's organisation, they would do what our Master says – but they don't. So, we are required to go away. Anyone who says, “Give me your offerings and you can stay home to give them,” hasn't read the Bible.
Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (KJV)
There have to be three offerings a year. The tithes are consumed outside our towns. Logically that includes Pentecost (Deut. 12:10-21). Remoteness allows consumption of the tithe within the towns but only for the ones who remain (Deut. 12:2; cf. the paper Deuteronomy 12:17-28 (No. 284)). That's another reason why there are no offerings for Trumpets and Atonement. That is because they reflect the concept that we are still in Egypt, when God sends the Messiah, and then he reconciles us. It is not our doing. They are also geared around the families – i.e. nationally oriented. In that system we are called out under the three harvests and the offerings given for the three harvests are our responsibility. We have to prepare, and we cannot go empty handed.
Deuteronomy 12:19 Take heed that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land. (RSV)
The Levites didn't own any property and that's going to be the same in the Millennium. That law is there so that those people are looked after and can eat. They were kicked out of Israel because Israel became idolatrous. Israel just didn't wake up one morning and decide to become idolatrous. The Levites allowed them to become idolatrous through false doctrine and speaking smooth things, and the end result was they were done away with because they became redundant! We can't speak smooth things and hold our peace while idolatry takes over the people of God and expect to have a job at the end of it. That's the law.
If we fail we will be punished, and if we run away like John Mark, we will be dealt with – unless we repent and restore ourselves to God. We cannot hide from God. That whole process is the responsibility of the preparation. Each person has a responsibility to prepare, be there, and be adequately organised within the means they are given. If we haven't got means, we ask and we will be given it. God's words will not fall to the ground. We have an obligation. If we are in an apostate organisation, we have an obligation to go where God has put his hand and we have an obligation to prepare for the truth. The mark of the elect is the truth. We cannot be indifferent to the truth. If we are, we do not have enough of the Holy Spirit to get us into the Kingdom of God.
During the Feast, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. That is the mark of the conduct of the elect. It should be obvious to all at the Feast that love is our hallmark, our fruit. We should not have to be told or asked. We should visibly care for each other and show fruits of the Holy Spirit. Over the period of time most of us have done that and we can tell whom the Holy Spirit is working with because there's something about what people do. The people at the Feast site should see that we love one another and should be struck by the way we care for one another. It doesn't matter how many or what our impact is. What we do together shows people what we are; and this is about the concept of the spirit of love as part of the millennial system. For when Messiah sets up the millennial system, the hallmark will be justice and righteousness (1Cor. 13). They will be accompanied by the fruit of justice and righteousness, under the governing structure of the Jubilee land system.
The world will see love flow everywhere and the whole world will be at peace. So the Feast portrays what we are, how we think, and how we act.
Christian Churches of God
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