Greetings of peace,

All of us must be very happy when we see holidays in the calendar which means a day off for us, for example: New Year, Chinese New Year, Islamic Eid El Fitr, and so on that we can use for some refreshing time from hectic daily routines. 

How do we respond toward Christian holidays as: Passover, Pentecost day and Christmas (eventhough not written in the Bible)? Are we welcoming and celebrating joyfully as done by the Israelites who received the command of the LORD,“Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Jehovah 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 Jehovah empty:  17 every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of Jehovah thy God which he hath given thee.” (Deuteronomy 16:16-17)

This command was delivered by Moses to the Israelites before they entered the Land of Canaan that was promised by the Lord God to Abraham – Isaac – Jacob, their ancestors. At that time only men were obligated to serve the Lord three times a year to the chosen place by the LORD. Why only men? This shows that men must become the head who lead, although in the New Testament time, men and women are allowed to serve the Lord; in other words, everyone is given the freedom to come and serve the Lord in any status they have.

If the Israelites celebrated those three kinds of holiday seriously, not only for a day, what about us? Have we appreciated the service we did? Honestly, we are not giving our time fully to the Lord, right? – in three hours duration of service, it had made us restless and not focused in following the service; then most of our 24 hour time was consumed for our own interests. That is why we often lost great blessings from the Lord. 

Introspection: are we serving the Lord on God’s will or on our own initiative or forced by others? If our motivation was not sincere, how could we experience joy from the Word of God if we did not honor and trust the Word of God delivered? Isn’t Jesus – THE WORD OF GOD – who became man, died and resurrected, the Savior of men?

We learn further of the joyous celebrations of the Israelites and what blessings we shall receive.

Passover – Deuteronomy 16:1-8
“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto Jehovah thy God; for in the month of Abib Jehovah thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. …; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.(Deuteronomy 16:1, 3)

It needs to be known that the first generation of the Israelites who went out of Egypt had died in the wilderness because of their disobedience to God’s command, except for Caleb and Joshua (Numbers 26:65).

When the next generation of the Israelites were by the River of Jordan, ready to enter Canaan, Moses wrote the experience of their ancestors while being in the wilderness and the command of the LORD to be done for the rest of their lives for generations in the land of Canaan, especially Zion – His chosen city of Jerusalem (compare Psalms 132:13-14). Until now, the Israelites are still celebrating the three rituals determined by the Lord, but they still do not understand the real meaning of those rituals.

The Israelites must eat the bread of affliction (unleavened bread) so that they understood/comemorrated how great the affliction of their ancestors during the oppression and slavery for 430 years in Egypt; only by the help of the LORD, in this matter, by offering a “passover” lamb for a family that they received freedom from the slavery in Egypt (read Exodus 12).

Now although the Israelites are still celebrating the Passover and unleavened bread, those celebrations do not bring true benefit for them if they remain not believing that Jesus is the Passover Lamb who is able to release them from sin slavery.

Application: when we celebrated Passover, Apostle Paul exhorted to throw away ‘the old leaven’ (badness and wickedness) and celebrated with the new dough without leaven (purity and truth) because the Passover Lamb that is Jesus Christ had been slain (I Corinthians 5:7-8). Be careful, do not ignore the salvation of soul that was started by Jesus Christ on the cross! Serve the Lord earnestly and throw all the leaven then we will live in the Independence of Christ, freed from the chain of sin, leading to the joy that will become more beautiful and greater.

In the Tabernacle Teaching, Passover is positioned in the Court area where there were two objects inside; one of them was the Altar of Burnt Offering. If we have understood and experienced salvation by His sacrifice, we will certainly step joyfully and enter the time of the Festival of Weeks.
Festival of Weeks (Pentecost) – Deuteronomy 16:9-12

“......And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto Jehovah thy God ...... and thou shalt rejoice before Jehovah thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the sojourner, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are in the midst of thee, in the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there. ......And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.”

It is very obvious that everyone (no one is excluded) should celebrate joyfully before the Lord whatever his status/condition. Unfortunately, as the Passover celebration, the Israelites celebrated the Festival of Weeks also without experiencing the true meaning. What about the church of the Lord that also comemorate/celebrate it?

50 days after the Passover, exactly on the Festival of Weeks or now commonly called the Pentecost Day, the early congregation of the Lord (120 people) were directly related to the Baptism/infilling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised (Acts 1, 2, and so on).
Pentecost Day is referring to the Most Holy Place where there were three objects inside, they are the Gold Lampstand; the Table of Showbread and the Altar of Incense.

The Baptism/infilling of the Holy Spirit is as someone entering the Door (of the Tabernacle) to enjoy the joy of ministry in those three objects. But the joy meant is not only limited in the ministry done inside (the church) but also the outreach ministry that shall remain full of joy although sometimes must experiencing/feeling the opposite when serving the Lord as experienced by Peter and friends (Acts 4:5); Steven (Acts 6, 7); The Antioch church (Acts 13:50-52); Paul and Silas (Acts 16); the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 1:6, 1, and so on).

For apostle Paul, the Pentecost is a golden opportunity to continue the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. He wrote as follows, “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost; for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:8-9)

Apostle Paul made a journey to many places to accomplish his vision and mission that is to preach the Gospel of Christ and even to consider himself a woe if not preaching the Gospel (I Corinthians 9:16). He became a tentmaker to support his ministry, also for other colleagues.

For us nowadays, let us celebrate Pentecost with the same longing, that is to be His witness wherever we are.
The Feast of Tabernacles – Deuteronomy 16:13-15

“Thou shalt keep the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in from thy threshing-floor and from thy winepress: and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and ......; because Jehovah thy God will bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the work of thy hands, and thou shalt be altogether joyful.” (Deuteronomy 16:13-15)

In the feast of Tabernacles, all the blessings of the thresing-floor (wheat) and winepress (wine) are gathered to be kept in the garner.

Lesson: be the wheat that will be gathered in the garner of the Lord, not the hay or chaff that He will burnt (Matthew 3:12; 13:30). Be the branches of the vine that attach to the vine that is Jesus the true Vine who was sent to bear fruit and the fruit abide. Do not be an unfruitful branch that will be gathered and burnt (John 15)!

The Israelites will still be and even more diligent to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles physically to remember that their ancestors once lived in a hut made of leaves in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:42-44). They know that this celebration is actually the last and waited to see the coming of the Messiah. The problem is that they still do not want to believe and receive Jesus – the Messiah – who had come/been born 2000 years ago in Bethlehem.

We are now living in temporal ‘tents’ while longing for the eternal home in heaven as said by Apostle Paul (II Corinthians 5:1, and so on) and Apostle Peter (II Peter 1) because we are longing by faith not by sight.

Implication: the Lord asks us to celebrate ‘holidays’ over and over and experience ‘quality’ increasement to remind us of our experience being released of the chains of sin, infilled by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel of Christ so that the glory of God will be manifested and longing for the eternal city of the new Jerusalem together with Him forever.

Finally, the Feast of the Tabernacles referred to the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle with an object inside it, that is the Ark of the Covenant where the Lord enthroned with His Shekinah glory (Leviticus 16; Isaiah 37:16). But more than 2,000 years ago, Jesus, the High Priest according to the rule of Melchisedec, with His own blood and body had died on the cross to make us believe Him and now we can enter the Most Holy Place courageously (Hebrews 10).

In the Feast of the Tabernacles, it is proven that there is an increase in matter of blessing and joy, so it may be said as the greatest/last blessing by the Lord for His chosen. Believe that every encounter with the Lord, not limited on a certain event only (Crusade, Seminar, etc.), shall bring joy that will be greater and eternal. Amen.

LemahPutro, Sunday Morning, 
November 13, 2016
Ps. Paulus Budiono

Proofreader : Team Interpreter
Translator.   : Sri Ayu D.U.

The Bible Verses are taken from ASV (Authorized Standard Version) Bible


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