Fred Coulter - October 11, 2003

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And greetings brethren, welcome to the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It’s a holy day today. And of course the holy feasts of God reveal the plan and the will of God, what He’s working out on the earth. And isn’t it interesting, the very things which teach us and show us the way of God are those things which the world rejects, and yet they claim God. They go to God and ask God to accept their ways, and God does not do that. God accepts His ways. That’s why He gave us His ways – and He is God, and He tells us what to do, and He commands us what to do. And we are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. That’s what Jesus said.

So here on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, let’s begin as we always do in Leviticus 23. Because as I mentioned, God has put all the holy days in one place in the Bible in a section that it takes faith to be able to use it, and to understand it, and to discern it, and to keep them. And in doing that God has been able to reveal His will to His people, and as we will see by the same process, blind the world that they do not know what God is doing. So it is an amazing thing that God is accomplishing. And brethren, we are a part, as we have understood, we are a part of the greatest thing that God is doing. And you have your part in it like everyone else that has the Holy Spirit of God.

Now let’s come to Leviticus 23 and let’s pick it up right here in verse 33, right after the Day of Atonement, which we just completed. “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 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. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation…” (Lev. 23:33-36). So as we begin the festival year with Passover being one day, followed by seven days of Unleavened Bread, we end the festival year with seven days of Feast of Tabernacles and one day at the end. So we have one plus seven at the beginning equals eight, and seven plus one at the end equals eight. And that’s all a part of God’s plan and perfection. And it’s very profound and interesting that number eight equals a new beginning, or new creation. So we’ve got a lot to learn. This is going to be a great feast, and a lot of things we are going to learn. Some things, it’s kind of like Jesus said that a scribe would bring some things old, some things new, and that’s the way that God’s word is. So that’s how it will be for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Now he continues here, “…on the eighth day…an holy convocation…” which means an appointed time. An appointed time is the time that God sets. And so here we are according to the calculated Hebrew calendar, which God gave to His church so that they would be able to keep the feasts according to the times that God has set, and the appointments that He has given. And that’s what’s so profound and important concerning it. All other calendar propositions are nothing but vain presumptions of men wanting to one-up God. And no one is going to one-up God. “...It is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.”

“These are the feasts of the LORD,…” And He is the one Who has created them, set the time, gave us the days to do it. “…Which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a [meal] meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD” (vs. 37-38). So He repeats it. And when He repeats it that means it’s doubly important, wouldn’t you say? Now think of that concerning the weekly Sabbath. How many times has God repeated the weekly Sabbath throughout the whole of the Bible – Old Testament and New Testament? And then asked the question: since God repeats it does He mean it, because once is good enough?

Verse 39, “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.” So lo and behold, each one of the holy days are called Sabbaths. So it puts the weekly Sabbath-keepers, who only keep the weekly Sabbath and not the holy days, it puts them kind of in a difficult position to say the least. Because they preach and proclaim the weekly Sabbath and yet God says these are Sabbath days. Very profound and important for us to understand it. And when you go through and read the whole history of the children of Israel, and when you look at the history of the Church of God, and you look at the things that have taken place, human beings - even those within the Church of God, as we covered when we did the Feast of Pentecost on Day 49 about the seven churches - even they get led astray. So it’s an amazing thing.

Now here’s what they were to do then. “And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:…” Now today we don’t dwell in booths, but we dwell in temporary dwellings. And we understand that just as a tent is a temporary dwelling so also, when you look at it from an eternal perspective, every physical thing on the earth is temporary. So if we leave our homes, or even some who are confined to their homes and can’t get out, you are still living in a temporary dwelling, you still have a temporary life, and these things then show how physical that we really are. And that’s what He wanted the children of Israel to know, that “…I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD” (vs. 40-44). Again, just one little thing, a footnote here: they are not the feasts of the Jews. They belong to God.

Now, we always take up an offering on the holy days, and we all know the scriptures. We’re well rehearsed in them. We understand what God wants and we don’t want to merchandise people. We don’t want to extract from people. We don’t want to abuse the authority that God has given in it. And so just like everything else as we are going to learn today, God has made us free moral agents and we must choose. We must choose whether we love God, whether we obey God, whether we desire to do the things that please Him. So we need to understand that God is a heart-knowing God. And God looks to the heart. And God judges the heart. And God judges by the attitude every single thing that we do. So in bringing an offering before God we are to count our blessings, we are also to realize that as we sow, so shall we reap. And we are to be a cheerful giver and we are to give according as God has blessed us. And so with all of that we’ll go ahead and take a pause right now and take up the offering.


Now you might say the theme of this Feast of Tabernacles will be “The Beginning and the Ending.” Let’s first of all go to Ephesians 1, and let’s understand something profound. And let’s realize how great and marvelous it is that God has revealed these things to us, and God has given us understanding that He hasn’t given to the world, that He hasn’t given to even some churches of God which only obey Him partially, and really do not get in and search the Word of God and understand the Word of God. But here is something that is…what we need to realize, brethren, is this: it’s not a matter of knowledge, it’s not a matter of doctrine, it is a matter of God’s will and Spirit, and our loving God and God loving us. That’s where it is all at.

Now here, Ephesians 1. Let’s understand what a tremendous blessing it is for us to be able to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, for us to be able to understand the Word of God, for us to be able to realize the plan of God, which He has blinded to the rest of the world. Now that’s something. That is profound. We need to realize it.

Now Ephesians 1, let’s pick it up here in verse 2. “Grace be to you,…” And that’s the way Paul started every one of his epistles, because there is the grace of God given in reading the scriptures. There is the grace of God which gives us the understanding of the scriptures, and there are blessings which come from God. And in these things when we read and study the scriptures and yield to God, and grow and overcome with the Holy Spirit in us, we have peace with God. We’re no longer enemies of God. We are no longer fighting and warring against Him and His commandments, you see. “…And peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Directly from heaven above down to each one that has the Spirit of God. That’s a tremendous thing.

And “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in [the heavenly things] heavenly places in Christ:…” (vs. 3). We’re not yet in the heavenly places, but in the heavenly things. That is with the Spirit of God, the Word of God, the love of God, and now we have the whole of the Word of God. Such a tremendous blessing. This is greater than all the physical goods in the world. This is greater than wealth and money. And as David said, “I esteem all Your commandments above gold, yea, fine gold and all Your precepts concerning all things to be right altogether” (Psalm 119:127-128, paraphrased). And that is a spiritual blessing that God gives us, brethren. That is a tremendous thing.

Now notice, “…according as He hath chosen us…” Now you stop and think about it. You have books out in the world. The most important person in the world - you. Well, from God’s perspective anyone who has the Holy Spirit of God, begotten of God the Father, is one of the most important persons in the world – not because of the individual, but because of God. And so therefore we ought to have the greatest hope, we ought to have the greatest attitude, we ought to have the most yieldedness to God because this is a tremendous thing that He’s doing for us. It’s not just a matter, as we have explained, just the external obedience. It’s a matter of God’s Spirit and Christ in you, which we’ll see a little bit later on. But this is an important thing. “…He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world,…” Meaning God had a plan before the foundation of the world, and that’s why it says of Christ that He was the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world.

You look at the universe, you look at what God has created here on the earth, and you need to understand that God is not just doing a willy-nilly hap-hazard thing. There is plan, there is form, there is purpose, there is design. And likewise to the pinnacle of His creation – mankind. There is a great purpose in it, and to be called and chosen by you, and to be predestinated, you see. “…Before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:…” Which means this: though there are times we get down, never, ever, ever let any down-time become so discouraging and so depressing that you feel that there is no hope, because that attitude is not of God. That is of Satan the devil, see. God has chosen us “…that we should be holy and without blame [that’s how the grace of God works] before Him in love:...” (vs. 4). See, it can’t be done in any other way than with love. And the love of God is shown through all of His plan.

“…Having predestinated us unto the [sonship] adoption…” Not adoption, but sonship to be the very children of God, you see. “…The [sonship] adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself,…” You belong to God the Father. Now when you really grasp and understand how profound that is then you will understand clearly why God does not want men ruling over His people. Christ is the head of the church. Christ is to rule in you. God the Father is to lead you because He loves you.

Now notice, “…By Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,…” God’s very own will. What an absolute and marvelous blessing that is. “…To the praise and the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (vs. 5-6). That is Jesus Christ. We are accepted of God the Father. Now I want you to think in your own mind, and I want you to understand this is a very profound thing. That if you love God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and being, and you know Jesus Christ is your Lord, and Savior, and Master and you know that He died for your sins, and your sins are covered by the blood of Christ, understand this – you, regardless of your weaknesses, regardless of your frailties, regardless of anything – you are accepted by God the Father through Jesus Christ and are holy and without blame before Him.

Now that should encourage and inspire and uplift everyone of us. And the truth of the matter is, that’s how God wants us to obey Him. Because we love Him. Because we desire to. Because we are inspired to do so. That’s why you can never create the love of God through Gestapo tactics. Never happen, brethren. It will be just like the Third Reich – kaput, destroyed. Never work.

“…Accepted in the beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;…” (vs. 7). There is not one single thing in the whole universe that is greater than the love, and the grace, and the riches of God’s grace toward those whom He has called. Now we need to let those things sink in. Now if that is not great enough, God goes another step further. Because He doesn’t want us wandering out here like blind people without guides. Remember what Jesus said, “Let the blind lead the blind and they’ll both fall in the ditch.” He wants us to understand. He wants us to realize. He wants us to grasp as much as possible the full significance of what He is doing.

Now notice, “…Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known…” Now this is where we are today, “…having made known unto us the mystery [or, the secret] of His will,…” Now that is a tremendous blessing. You think about it. If you know these things you know the secret, the mystery of God’s will. Now maybe this will help you understand why the unpardonable sin is such a grievous thing. God has made known the mystery of His will, “…according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:…” His very own plan that He thought of, that He conceived, that He designed, that He created the heavens and the earth for. And you know that will. And we need to learn and understand even more of it. “…That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:…” (vs. 8-10).

Now that’s a tremendous thing brethren. Now as we look down in the world today we need to understand that God is building and putting together the pieces. But the pieces are not perfected until the resurrection. And then it’s all going to come together at once in the first resurrection, which is going to be an astonishing thing that’s going to happen. “In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance [an eternal inheritance], being predestinated according to the purpose of Him…” God has predestinated you according to His purpose to be His very own sons and daughters. Now that’s a magnificent thing indeed. “…Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will…” God is going to do it. “…That we should be to the praise of His glory, Who first trusted in Christ” (vs. 11-12). And you see, the Feast of Tabernacles, as we are going to see, pictures when we are going to be living in the fullness of the kingdom of God as the children of God.

Let’s read on. “That we should be to the praise of His glory,…” All the angels are going to praise God for what He’s doing with His church. All the world will praise God during the millennium of all the work that He is doing. And then when we get into the Last Great Day and the meaning there, tremendous things, brethren. These are secrets of the purpose of God that no one understands but those who have the Spirit of God and love God, and apply themselves to the Word of God.

“In Whom ye also trusted (yes, we first trusted in Christ), after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,…” And that’s what’s the most profound and important thing in this life – the Holy Spirit that is within you. And it’s dwelling in you. And we’ll expand a little bit more on that as we go through the feast. “…Which is the earnest of our inheritance…” It is the guarantee. And when God guarantees something it will be. “…Until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory” (vs. 13-14).

Now let’s understand how God does this. How do we know His will? Well let’s look at the operation here. Let’s come back to Matthew 13 and let’s understand something that makes it possible for us to know. Now we know the scripture which says, “His commandments endure forever.” Now those are not only the commandments that we find concerning the Ten Commandments, but all the commandments of God, the commandments of Jesus, as we have studied, and how important and profound those are. So you put it altogether.

Now to the world, because God is ultimately going to save them in His own time, Christ spoke to them in parables. And He spoke to them in parables so that if they did not desire to know and understand they would not. And if they did desire to know and understand there’s only one way to do so, and that is through Christ Who will make it possible to understand. Now verse 10, “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest Thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matt. 13:10-11). See, God is only revealing it to those that He calls at this time. When the Feast of Tabernacles comes to the full, then that veil is going to be lifted from the minds of the people, and then they can begin to understand. But now it’s not given to them.

“For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance:…” And I say this brethren, that we need to let this verse be fulfilled in our lives because we have all the Word of God, and we have the Spirit of God, and we still have peace and time to be able to understand the Word of God, and live by the Word of God, and practice the Word of God, and to come to a deeper, greater understanding of the Word of God. That’s how you end up with more abundance, see. That we be rich in Christ and not in physical goods. That we do not be as Laodiceans, rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, you see. But that we have the abundance of the spiritual understanding of the Word of God. “…But whosoever hath not,…” And we’ve seen this take place, haven’t we? Those who begin to reject the Word of God, what? Loose it. “…But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (vs. 12). So you see, that’s exactly what we see has happened in our own lifetime in our experience in the church. And look at in the world. Even those churches in the world that profess Christ, they are loosing more and more, and more, and more, whatever little understanding they did have. See, because you need to keep coming to God and you need to keep growing, you see.

 “Therefore [Jesus said, because they don’t] speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not [they don’t let it enter into their minds], neither do they understand” (vs. 13). Isn’t that an amazing thing? I mean you stop and think about it. What a fantastic thing that God has done that those who love Him and keep His commandments have the understanding, and those who do not can even hold the same Bible in their hands and do not have the understanding. Amazing, isn’t it?

“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross,…” That means they have not had the circumcision of the heart by repentance and baptism and receiving of the Holy Spirit. Their hearts are waxed gross, “…and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed;…” They don’t want to see it. They don’t want to hear it. But as we’ll see, that’s exactly what Adam and Eve did. That’s exactly what the children of Israel did, and that’s exactly what many people in the Church of God have done. “…Lest at any time…” Now here’s the reason in it – because God is going to subject them in hope. And this here is talking giving the reason why there has to be the events of the Last Great Day. So since we’re at the beginning of the feast we’ll go ahead and project forward just a little bit to the end of the feast. “…Lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (vs.14-15). Now is not the time that God is calling everyone. So again, think of the blessings that God has given and that you are holding in your hands, and you have in your mind, and you have understanding in your heart that only God has given.

“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them;…” And how much more today when we have the fullness of the Word of God, and we have the understanding of the Word of God, you see. “…And to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” (vs. 16-17). So brethren, we are dealing in a tremendous thing.

Let’s see how God gives the understanding. Now, David prayed, in Psalm 119:18, we’re not going to turn there but he said, “Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things out of Your law.” And that ought to be our prayer. Open our eyes that we may see wondrous things out of Your Word.

Now let’s come back to 1 Corinthians 2, and let’s see how God brings us down through time, that we just covered here in Matthew 13. And this is why the world can’t understand it. What is preached in Christ to the Jews is a stumbling block. To the intelligencia of the world it is foolishness. But God is going to make the wisdom of the wise foolishness, and the Jews one day will understand about Christ. And the Jews are a perpetual witness to the world that when you reject God you’re in deep trouble. So likewise with anybody who rejects God today.

Now here’s what Paul wanted. He said, 1 Corinthians 2:4, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in [a] demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” That is, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And that’s where your conversion should be. That’s where your faith should be. “Howbeit,” he says, verse 6, “we speak wisdom among them that are perfect:…” Now that is, speak the true wisdom of God among those who are converted and have been perfected in that conversion, or spiritually mature. “…Yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to [nothing] nought:…” Whatever they do is going to end. But what we are doing has eternal consequences. “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,…” Which Christ said we we’ll understand. “…Even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory:…” (1 Cor. 1:4-7). So there we are. Before the world God had this all figured out. It’s not a willy-nilly thing that God is doing.

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Tremendous and fantastic thing, isn’t it? It only comes by loving God. And if you love God you’re going to keep His commandments. And if you love God you’re going to do the things that are pleasing in His sight. “But God…” Now let’s understand something. The words can be preached, the words can be printed, the words can be read but God has revealed them. “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but [by] the Spirit of God” (vs. 8-11). Now that’s a profound thing. And God has given us that understanding, brethren, not because we’re great, not because we’re mighty, not because we’re intelligent, but because we are the off-scouring of the earth, the despised, the rejected by the world. And that’s just the way it is.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,…” You’re not going to find it in the greatest books that the world has ever written. You’re going to find it in the greatest book that has ever been printed. Written by man, inspired by God. Because man, made in the image of God, He used to write it. But by the Spirit of God. “…But the spirit which is of God; that we might know…” God wants us to grow up into Christ. God wants us to know, to understand, to realize, to grasp, “…the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy [Spirit] Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (vs. 12-13). And the natural man, the natural mind doesn’t receive these things. So that puts us in a very special relationship with God, doesn’t it? And also brings upon us a great responsibility too, doesn’t it? Yes indeed. And also gives to us the blessing of God, and the love of God, and the power of God that we can complete and fulfill what God wants us to do.

Now let’s come to Ephesians 1, and let’s finish off before we start getting into the beginning and the ending, so that we can put it altogether and understand what God is doing. Now let’s come back here to Ephesians 1 and let’s pick it up here in verse 15. “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;…” And here’s what he prayed. And this has to be our prayer. And this has to be our goal. And this has to be our yearning, and desiring, and seeking after, that God would do this for us so that we can understand His Word even more. Because those who have are going to be given more and they shall have abundance, and here’s the only way it’s going to be accomplished. “…That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom [comes from God] and revelation [that comes from God] in the knowledge of Him [which comes from God]: [That] the eyes of your understanding…” Open my mind that I may behold wondrous things out of your law, as David said. “…[That] the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,…” And of course then, that’s how God makes known the mystery of His will to us, you see. “…And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,…” (Eph. 1:15-19). And so God gives us that truth, and that wisdom, and that knowledge, and that understanding. So it’s really quite a marvelous thing that God is doing.

Now in this, and in understanding how this is going to be, there’s another profound principle that we always need to follow. Actually two. Number one, when we study the Bible it is line upon line, precept upon precept, line upon line, precept upon precept, a little here, a little there. Number two, as Paul wrote Timothy, that you are to be a workman rightly dividing the word of truth. Rightly putting it together. That’s what’s important. It’s not a matter that we have a pet doctrine, or a special thing that is in our own minds that we are suddenly going to teach God something. No, it is that we have to come to God and He is going to teach us. So this is really a tremendous and wonderful thing that God is doing. So with that we’re going to go ahead and we’re going to go to the very first part of the Bible. Because we’re going to encompass the beginning and the ending, and we are going to learn some very important things, and we are going to review and renew some of the things that we already know.

Now let’s come back here to Genesis 1. Now here we’re going to review a little bit of what we already know. Now this is going to help us understand. Now just like everything else, the most important part of a house is the foundation. And if the foundation is sure and secure then you can build the rest of the house in perfection. You can build it so it will be square and true. But if the foundation is not good, and if the foundation is crumbling or rotting, or lacking, then in order to proceed and build you have to go back and repair the foundation. And after it’s built you have to always realize and understand that the foundation must be maintained. So that’s why we go back to some of the things that maybe we can say, “Well, we know this.” But if we do, thank God for it and never let it become old hat.

Part 2

Now the book of Genesis tells us the beginning, and shows that God made man, male and female, that is mankind, after His own image, after His own likeness. And the rest of the story of the Bible, as I’ve said many times, is how we are going to be after the God kind. Originally, after creating Adam and Eve God dwelt in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Apparently God had a certain section in the Garden of Eden which was His. Adam and Eve had their section. God was with them. God talked with them. God taught them. And I’m sure they kept the Sabbath. God taught them. And that’s the important thing concerning the Sabbath – that God is fellowshipping directly with His people even today through the power of His Holy Spirit. And that is for those who want to yield to God and have the Holy Spirit of God. Now on the Sabbath in the world, God is not dwelling with them. They’re trampling all over His holy time. But with those of us God has made that possible.

Now in creating Adam and Eve, God made them perfect physical specimens. He blessed them. He married them. He said, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth”, and He gave them dominion over the whole earth. From Adam clear on down to our time we have dominion over the whole earth. And that is a fact. That is God’s blessing.

Now then, one thing that God always does, which He will do even during the millennium, which is this: God gives us choices. He set before Adam and Eve the choices as symbolized by the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And you know the story. You know what happened. You know that they chose the wrong way. And so therefore they sinned. They were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and then God put two cherubim at the east entrance of the Garden of Eden, and as we have seen that’s the beginning of part of the elements that went into the tabernacle and went into the temple later. Now we won’t dwell on that at this time. We’ve covered that at other times. But nevertheless, this shows this: you cannot dwell with God and live contrary to His Word. You cannot break His laws and expect to be in good standing with God. And there is a penalty to pay. And the penalty that mankind has paid from that day till this is that God does not dwell on earth.

Now all during the time, from the time of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, clear up to the time of Noah, apparently God lived right there, or dwelt right there in the Garden of Eden. And when anyone wanted to come to God He would meet them at the entrance to the Garden of Eden. And that’s where the altar of burnt offering was, and that’s where Abel made his sacrifice, and that’s where Cain brought his sacrifice. And the important lesson in the story of Cain and Abel is this: is that you cannot decide for yourself what you are going to do for God. Now all of you out there in Protestant-land, please listen up. Because you are doing like Cain. You are deciding what you’re going to do, even accepting some of God’s laws, and going to God and asking Him to accept what you decide you’re going to accept. And you’re coming under the same delusion and the same problem that Adam and Eve, and Cain had – that is, that they expected God to accept their way while they still reject God’s way. Well, that’s why God told Cain, “Sin lies at the door.” Now then he got jealous and he killed Abel. And it says that the blood of Abel cries out to him from out of the ground. And people say that is a symbolic way, because blood doesn’t cry. Well now to God, blood does cry. To God, He knows when blood is shed. So it’s not symbolic language. God knew. Just like when Adam and Eve sinned, God knew. And so because of the sin of Adam and Eve they were expelled out of the garden. The sin of Cain, he was further expelled later. We’ll talk about that when we come to the Last Great Day.

And then the whole account. We come down…everything built up from that time coming right on down to the days of Noah. And men were wicked and their thoughts were evil. They rejected God’s way. The earth was filled with violence and God destroyed them with the flood except Noah. And after Noah, God’s administration changed. God now no longer lived in the Garden of Eden. God gave to Noah, and the covenant that He gave, which is still true today, all the way down to this day, that He gave man the administration of death over those who kill men. And He gave men the administration over other men. Because God was not wanted God said, “Alright, I will deal with those that I will deal with and the rest, you’re on your own.” The covenant with Noah is a basic overarching covenant that God made with all people and with the earth. And He’s fulfilled it, and it’s still in active force today, and will be until Christ returns.

So then God, since He wasn’t wanted…and this is the thing. People say they want God, but when God shows, “Ok, here’s what you need to do”, they don’t want God. And we’re going to see that’s the difficulty, and that’s why the Feast of Tabernacles, because no one is going to dwell with God unless it’s on His terms and in His ways because He is God, and He is Creator.

So then because men were still bound to do the things that they wanted to do, you know the whole account of the tower of Babel. Right after the flood men hadn’t learned any of the lessons. They said, “Oh boy. Let’s go to. Let’s build us a tower”, and everything like that. And we don’t know how much modern technology they had at that time because it is not known today. So then God confounded their languages and spread them into all the earth.

Now then, God still looks down upon the earth. And so God looked down upon the earth and there was one man, Abram. So God began dealing with him. And in the case now, God deals in talking directly as He would appear as a man, and also in dreams in visions. And so God is going to see – how does Abraham choose? It’s like with all of us. God wants to know. How are we going to choose? Are we going to do as Abraham? And let’s look at that.

Let’s begin here in Genesis 12:1, because you see the life of Abraham, as we’re going to see, has an awful lot to do with dwelling in booths and tabernacles, and temporary existence of human life as well. Now we’re not going to go into all of it. I have sermons covering the covenants of God with Abraham, and so forth, and I have it written in the Passover book, and some of it in The Harmony Of The Gospels.

So let’s pick it up here in Genesis 12:1. “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:…” Now you have to choose to do that. And this is the choice that is set before every one of us. Just like Jesus said, “If anyone come to Me and hate not his father, his mother, his brother, his sister, his children, lands, and his own life also.” Since God is Creator, you’ve got to love Him more than any of those. And of course you know the story of the rich man who said, “What should I do that I may inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said, “Go sell all that you have.” So what Abraham did here follows the requirements of the covenant that we find in the New Testament, or the New Covenant, and this is why Abraham is the father of the faithful.

Now let’s read it. He was told to go. Get up and leave. “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great;…” And it certainly is because it’s still down to this very day is one of the very foundational stones of the faith, isn’t it? And one of the very examples, which set the precedent for the New Testament, as we find in Romans 4. “…And thou shalt be a blessing:…” That’s why we have the Word of God, and through him came Jesus Christ the Son of God. “…And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee…” One man – only one man was willing. “…Shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him;…” (vs. 2-4). And of course then Lot went with him. Now we come to the story of his son Isaac, and then his grandson Jacob. And of course, Abraham never inherited the land. But we are told in Genesis 15 that Abraham believed in the LORD and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Let’s come to Hebrews 11 and let’s see something very important. Hebrews 11, because this ties in with the theme of the Feast of Tabernacles. So here we are with Abraham, and then Isaac, and then Jacob. And we’ll come back to the children of Israel a little bit later. But let’s come to the book of Hebrews please. Hebrews 11, and it talks about those who walked with God in faith beginning back with Abel and then Enoch. And then a very important and profound scripture…let’s begin right here in Hebrews 11:6. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him [you’ve got to believe God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is,…” And that means all that He is. Creator, Redeemer, our Father, Christ our Lord and Master and Savior. “…And that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” God will always bless you. Now He may let you go through some trials and difficulties, but the final blessing is going to be eternal life. What greater blessing could you get?

So then he talks about Noah, which we’ve covered. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 8 concerning Abraham. Because Abraham is the father of the faithful, and if you be Christ’s then are you Abrahams seed and heirs according to the promise. “By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed [so belief and obedience go hand in hand, don’t they?]; and he went out, not knowing whither he [was going] went” (vs. 8). Same way with us. When we’re called, we answer the call, we repent, we’re baptized, we receive the Holy Spirit of God. Where does our life go from there? Well we don’t know, but we walk by faith, and however it comes we do it.

Now let’s continue on here. “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country,…” Now he never inherited it. And we are going to see, well I’ll just mention Romans 4 says that in the final analysis Abraham understood that he was going to inherit the world, not just a little piece of land there, which is the unholy land of Palestine, called Israel today. So he sojourned, “…dwelling in tabernacles [now notice] with Isaac and Jacob,…” So they were all in the land there. And it’s important to understand that Jacob was born two years before the death of Abraham. So he was able to see God’s promise fulfilled in Isaac and in Jacob. Dwelling in tabernacles – temporary dwellings. They had no sure place and they wandered, see. “…The heirs with him of the same promise:…” Now here’s why, and this tells us that God told Abraham of His plan even far more than what we find in the brief summary in the book of Genesis. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (vs. 9-10). So God told him about His plan. He understood a great deal concerning the plan of God and he was looking for New Jerusalem. So therefore he could count all the physical things of the world, and just part of those things that are necessary for physical life, and he was looking for something greater. And that’s what we’re doing. We are looking for something greater. And that’s why Jesus came.

Now notice verse 11, “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful Who had promised.” Even though she laughed, the laughter was not in disbelief, the laughter was what a…how shall I say, it’s a marvelous thing indeed that God would do it, but what a silly thing to think that a woman ninety years old would bear a child. And that’s why she laughed. She understood the facts of life. But nevertheless she believed. “Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead [that is Isaac, the child by promise], so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable” (vs. 11-12). Now God fulfilled it. He said He would.

And one of the greatest events that’s going to take place at the resurrection is this, I believe… Now it says all these died in faith not having received the promise. Likewise it’s going to happen to many of us. Our temporary dwelling, this body, is going to come to an end, and we have yet to receive the promise because God is going to do it in one day at the resurrection, as we have seen. But I’ve often wondered this: what is it going to be when God resurrects Abraham and calls him up to Himself, and here we are all standing on the sea of glass, and God says to Abraham, “Behold your children that I promised you.” Now you see, that’s the kind of thing that we need to look to, rather than just here and now, which is temporary and fleeting, and passing, and is going to wear out, it is going to be gone. We’re looking for that eternal city, that new Jerusalem, where we are going to dwell with God, and that’s the whole theme and purpose of the Feast of Tabernacles to teach us that – that we come from just a little pinprick of life to being a very son or daughter of God.

Now he continues here. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off [God gave them the understanding of that], and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Likewise so are we. Even though we may live in one location today, we have no certain place to live, do we? For the simple reason circumstances can change and God may require of us things that we do not yet understand. But whatever they come we must be willing for it, you see, just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out [or, from where they came], they might have had opportunity to have returned” (vs. 13-15). Likewise when you are called and are in the Church of God, if you do not have the same total commitment that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had, and if you do not love God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and being, keep His commandments, and seek to do the things that please Him, and you look out in the world and you say, “Well that’s pretty good. That’s pretty interesting. Oh God, let me have a little of the world.” You know, it’s kind of like…go back and read the account of Lot. Now Lot was counted as a righteous man, but it was a terrible fight to get him out of Sodom. And even after he left, he was told to go in the wilderness, and he told the angel, “Oh no, let me go to the little city of Zoar.” “Alright, go but be gone because destruction is coming.” And even his wife who wanted to take the remembrance of Sodom with her, she turned back and looked against the commandment of the angel – turned to a pillar of salt. See, because she hadn’t made that commitment to God. The opportunity is always there to go back. See, if you want to return and you make that choice, which God lays out to you, then you can do it.

Now God will try and wake you up with different trials and difficulties to try and bring you back, but unless you let God with His Spirit set your will, and set your course, and you remain true and faithful you can have opportunity to return to the world and we’ve see that many who are supposedly in the Church of God did that. And we hope and pray that God will be merciful, that they’ll repent, and in the end though they may lose a great portion of their reward, will still be in the kingdom of God. Now what do we do with that kind of faith? What is this bespeaking of us, and what is it bespeaking of God? Verse 16, “But now they desire a better country, [even] that is, an heavenly [one]: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.” And that shows the whole burning thing that we need to have in understanding God’s way.

Now then, from Jacob came the twelve patriarchs and the children of Israel. And then according to the prophecy of God the children of Israel were in the land of Egypt and oppressed by them under slavery for four hundred some odd years from the time that the promise was given to Abraham. So the children of Israel moaned and groaned and cried and said, “Oh, this terrible slavery. God relieve us.” So God, according to His promise, He did that. You can go back and read the whole account there in the book of Exodus, and how that the final thing happened on the Passover night, the first Passover with the children of Israel. He judged all the gods of Egypt. And that should have told the children of Israel not to go back to Egypt because those gods are dead. So then He led them out, led them in the wilderness and brought them to Mt. Sinai. Now they were dwelling at that time in booths, weren’t they? They were living in tents. Temporary dwellings. And they were to always remember that. So then God said, “Alright, I’m going to make you a proposition. This is why I brought you out here. I’m fulfilling My promise to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

So here’s what He told Moses. Let’s begin here, Exodus 19, and we’re going to see one of the difficulties and problems that human beings have living in this world and with the nature that we have without the Spirit of God. It always runs in cycles of wanting to do God’s way but wanting their own way. Of wanting to live for God, and wanting to live for self and Satan. Nevertheless, God made this choice. God gave this choice and laid it out to them. And He said, “Now here is what I’m going to do for you.” And it’s just like with us, when God first calls us He doesn’t give us all the details, does He? He says, “Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit. Walk in My commandments and keep them.” So likewise we have the same thing here.

Exodus 19:3, “And Moses went up unto God,…” See now God came down from heaven to Mt. Sinai. God is no longer living and walking among His people as it originally started out with Adam and Eve. “…And the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians,…” And that was quite a marvelous deliverance, wasn’t it? “…And how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself.” Quite a marvelous thing for God to do, isn’t it? To bring the people to Him. “Now therefore, if…” I want you to circle that “if”. Here’s the key: the same thing that God wants with all of us today. “…If ye will obey My voice…” (Ex. 19:3-5). That’s a key thing. What we have here are the words of the voice of God.

Now hold your place here and come back to Genesis 26:5, and why Abraham was counted faithful. And this is why the blessing was passed on from Abraham to Isaac. Verse 5, “Because that Abraham [notice] obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Which then were the very same ones that He gave to the children of Israel. For anyone to say that these were different, they don’t know anything about God. He doesn’t have to state what they are there because He states it a little on.

Now back to Exodus 19:5. “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed,…” Now that means “truly”. So as we’re going through here let’s ask ourselves the questions: are we doing this? Because this is important because we are going to see that this is the only way that we’re ever going to dwell with God. “…If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant,…” Now a covenant are the words which God would speak. And covenant then is the overall parameter of which He fit in everything else. Now we have the new commandment don’t we? And are we keeping the new commandment as Christ has said? So let’s apply these things to ourselves. “…And keep My covenant, then…” So it is “if” and “then”, conditional, choices. Same thing. “I set before you life and death, and blessing and cursing. Choose life that you may live and you may love the Lord your God. Go and possess the land which I have given you for an inheritance.” And that applies to us to go into the kingdom of God, which is the inheritance that God has given to us. “…Then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (vs. 5-6).

So sure enough, Moses went down and he says, “Now here’s what God says. Will you do it?” And all the people said, “Yes, we’ll do it.” Now you see just like with us, when we are called and we repent and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, we’re just starting. All the rest of it is to be given later, isn’t it? And all of the understanding that we have comes later, doesn’t it? So just like with the children of Israel, they agreed to the proposition that God outlined for them. And after they said, “Yes, we agree to the preliminary outline that You’ve given to us...(I’m just paraphrasing this)…Yes God, we will.” So then He said, “Ok, you be ready the third day because I’m going to come down and talk to the people.” Which He did. God came down, and the sight at Mt. Sinai was something. We’ve already covered that so I’m not going to go back and rehearse that again. But just like Adam and Eve, they don’t want to abide directly with the words of God. So after they heard God give the Ten Commandments, and the power, and the lightning, and the thunder, and the whirlwind, as Paul writes in the book of Hebrews, they backed away from God rather than say, “Oh this is fantastic, look at all this power. If God is on our side no one can be against us. Yes God, we want to hear more.”

No, no, no. People chose…they wanted someone else to do the speaking. So they said, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lighnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, [You] Speak thou with us, and we will hear:…” So they modified what they agreed to because over here God said, “If you will obey My voice indeed.” So they chose to modify it just a little bit and remove God one step further from them. “Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And yet they said, “Yes, we’ll obey His voice.” “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Ex. 20:18-20). So they didn’t understand. See, the thing to realize is this: under the covenant that God gave with Israel, they didn’t receive the Holy Spirit. They were well intentioned in all that they did. They were well intentioned in what they would do. They desired all the blessings of God, but they didn’t want to have the obedience that God required.

Now because God gave the promise to Abraham, which was irrevocable, unilateral, could not be turned back, God gave allowance and said, “Alright. Moses you come and speak with Me, and you tell the children of Israel.” And the children of Israel, and all of that as we have seen, the covenant was made after Pentecost, sealed with the blood of animals, and so forth. And then Moses went back up on the mountain again, didn’t he, to get some more details. And one of the most important things that Moses went back up on the mountain for, was that God gave him the plans for the tabernacle. Because God again wanted to dwell among His people, in spite of all the handicaps, in spite of all the limitations, in spite of all the difficulties that the children of Israel brought upon themselves, God said, “Alright, I will overlook it, but I will deal with them. But My purpose is that you build Me a sanctuary.”

So chapter 25, let’s come here Exodus 25. And God said, “Let them bring an offering of all of these things.” Now verse 8, and here’s the purpose of it. And this has been the purpose of God from the very beginning of Adam and Eve – to dwell with His people. And the ultimate purpose, we’re going to see when we come to the end – so the beginning and the ending, is that God is going to dwell with His people. So He says here, verse 8, “And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Ex. 25:8-9). So even the tabernacle, God did not want anyone to build anything to Him unless He gave the plans. And what He did, He gave the plans, which were of the similitude of things which were in heaven.

Now we’ve gone through all the things concerning the ark and concerning the tabernacle, now let’s come here to Exodus 40 and let’s see something that’s very important, in verse 17. All of it was done, all of it was built, the children of Israel again rebelled while Moses was up on the mountain and even Aaron got carried away with their rebellion and they went back to their old paganism and finally those who were on God’s side had to make a stand, and God killed all the rest, opened up the earth and killed them to show the importance that no one is going to add to the things that God has commanded. No one is going to go ahead and engraft in God’s way the pagan things of this world. And all of those of you who belong to Protestant or Catholic churches, you need to understand…

Let me just say this, you need to understand this: if you want to know the truth about your denomination and you think that we’re kind of being kind of unkind to them, or attacking them, or as the Catholic Defense League would say, “Speaking things contrary to the Catholic Church”, then do this: you get your Protestant Bible, or your Catholic Bible and you sit down and you read it. And you ask God to show you. And for all of those who are Catholics I suggest that you begin at Exodus 20 because the Ten Commandments there are the same way that God gave them, not what is in your catechism book. And then please learn and understand the lesson: no man is going to tinker and change God’s laws, God’s ways, or God’s Sabbath, or God’s holy days without paying a price. And that price begins with blindness and being cut off from God. We’re going to see that a little later when we get into some more of this.

Now let’s come to Exodus 40, and we’ll see that the tabernacle was set up and that God did in fact dwell in the tabernacle. Now we’re just going to review. Verse 17, “And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.” Now if you want to know a little bit more about that then you can write in for the book that we have. We’ll send it to you, no cost at all. It is called TheChristian Passover, and it explains all about the tabernacle and the things that took place, and so forth.

So he raised it up. And after he got it all set and Aaron was anointed we find here in verse 33, “And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.” Then a spectacular thing happened. God wanted the people to know that now, by making this tabernacle according to His instructions, by setting it up God was going to fulfill His promise and He was going to put His presence there in the tabernacle, and He was going to dwell in the tabernacle, and at least dwell with the people to that extent.

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Now that must have been an exciting thing. And that must have been a tremendous thing to see. And all the children of Israel saw that. And so God did dwell among His people. Now then it explains a little bit more about it to show how God did it. So when they’re in the desert God protected them also with the cloud. Wherever they were in the desert there was a cloud cover over them to keep them from being burned up by the intense heat. “And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and [a] fire was on it by night,…” Now think of this: every day and night for forty years, as well as the manna, showing the power and the presence of God, even in the wilderness, even in the most difficult place to live, God provided for His people. And even though they sinned and rebelled against Him and didn’t go into the promised land when God intended and they had to be wasted in the desert for forty years, another thirty-eight and a half years, as it were, God still brought them into the promised land.

So the beginning is this: God desires to dwell with His people, and as we will see, the ending is this: God desires to dwell with His people made perfect. Come back tomorrow for some more of the rest of the story….

Tabernacles – Day 1 – October 11, 2003

Scriptural References

1) Leviticus 23:33-44 8) Genesis 12:1-4
2) Ephesians 1:2-14 9) Hebrews 11:6, 8-16
3) Psalm 119:127-128 10) Exodus 19:3-6
4) Matthew 13:10-17 11) Genesis 26:5
5) Psalm 119:18 12) Exodus 20:18-20
6) 1 Corinthians 2:4-13 13) Exodus 25:8-9
7) Ephesians 1:15-19 14) Exodus 40:17, 33-38