Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feast of Tabernacles- Our trip to Tennessee

As this feast week approached, I found myself digging deeper into the Word to really search out what I believe He wanted to show me.  My eyes were opened to so many new things.  Bless Him for His revelation into the Words that He spoke so long ago. 

The first portion was in Zechariah at the end of chapter 14.   I'll start in verse 16.  "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King,  the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.  If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles".  This passage is talking about the end times.  It is saying that in the end, we had better be able to recognize the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, because if we don't join in at that time, there will be a plague to them and they will have no rain.  So, why do we think that they celebrated this feast in the Old Testament and we will celebrate again one day, but we aren't to celebrate it now?  Hmmm, doesn't make sense to me, so we celebrate it now, as the Word instructs and with this practice, we will for sure recognize it and not miss out. 

Leviticus 23 talks about the feasts of the Lord.  Interesting to me that the Lord would have special days that He wants us to celebrate in.  It should be no surprise that the world has come up with its own days to distract from God's days.  He calls them "My days".  Have we/you regarded HIS days?  He talks plenty about them in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament does He say we should continue to keep these feasts?  One more passage from the Old Testament in Isaiah.  Isaiah 1:14 says, "Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them."   I don't think He is pleased with the counterfeit that we have put into place, calling them His.  We'll see that more in the New Testament.  In 1 Corinthians Paul encourages keeping the feast of Unleavened Bread in chapter 5:8.  The Corinthians were  a group who were converted from paganism.  They had to walk away from their pagan feasts and celebrations and turn to Yahweh's feasts, which is why Paul is going over this particular feast.  Paul also writes in Colossians 2:16, "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival (this word is translated "holy day" or "feast") or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, the substance is of Christ."  The Colossians were similar to the Corinthians in that they also had to walk away from paganism and false teaching within their church.  Here, Paul is telling them to hold fast to what they know to be true.  Don't let others judge them in the things they are doing that is of God.  How do I know that he is encouraging them in God's ways and not telling them that they can celebrate whatever festivals they want, eat whatever they want, drink whatever they want, have their sabbath whenever they want?   Well, let's back up a bit.  It's best to take Scripture in full context.  Let's go back to verse, oh, let's start at the beginning of chapter 2.  "For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for  you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.  For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in sprirt, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philospy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic priniciples of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are comlete in Him, who is the head of all prinicipality and power.  In Him you were also circumcised with the circumsion made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumsion of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." 

Let's stop there for a minute.  So, we read that Paul is encouraging them to "walk in Him".  Then he warns them of those that will pull them away from walking with Him.  And then again, reminding them that they have been forgiven of their sins and buried with Him.  Now let's see where he takes it from here. 

Verse 13, "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.  And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  Having disarmed principalies and powers.  He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.  Verse 16, So, let no one judge you in food.............".

Now, some people say that this portion says that the law was nailed to the cross.  Read carefully, because that is not what this is saying.  "having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us.  And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."  You have sinned, what happens when you break a law of the land?  Well, if you speed, you get a speeding ticket.  Let's use that for the example.  You have broken the law by speeding, He is forgiving you of that sin (as long as you come repentant before Him), He takes that speeding ticket and rips it up, and stomps on it on the ground for you to no longer have to pay.  He has paid it for you!  If we speed and get pulled over, the officer might give us a warning instead of a ticket, but does he ever say, "Okay, you learned your lesson, you no longer have to obey by the law".  No way!  Just like the Law was not nailed to the cross, only our certificate of debt, which in fact is what that "hand writing of requirements" literally means.  Wow, when you dig deep and truly study it, it makes so much sense and flows together, the whole thing!  I love it!  Want more?

Okay, then onto verse 18.  "Let no one cheat you of your reward (There is great reward in obeying Him, who said to observe His feasts and sabbaths.  There is no reward for observing the world's.)  taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.  Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using-according to the commandments and doctrines of men? (they had their own man-made laws, mishnah, such as how to wash their hands properly, what they could and couldn't do on the sabbath, etc., but none of those things could save them, they were merely man's doctrines, not God's)  These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh."  

Wow, how many things in our lives/churches are self-imposed religion?  Doctrines that really aren't true to God's Word but only things that we have conjured up to be good ways.  We once celebrated feasts and "holy days", but they weren't HIS.  They were man's replacement for what God desired of His people.  But we looked religious celebrating them.  So sad!  I am thankful that we are out of that tradition of man and into the ways of the Lord!  What more do we need to see that are Your ways, Father?  Teach us and show us!!!!

Okay, so we had a blast celebrating HIS appointed time of the Feast of Tabernacles.  What a blessing to have extra Sabbath days of rest and to rejoice in His goodness.  But most of all, we took the time to really reflect on our family and what areas need major improvement.  It was a week of chastening, not just for the children but for us too.  Father, help us do better, help us abide by Your Word to guide us in the areas that we struggle in.  Enjoy the photos of our trip!