Month 7:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5937:193 AM|
SUKKOT I SHABBAT, Dedication of Solomon's Temple 1/8
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 19 October 2013
Sukkot I 2013
Concluding the Long Journey
Chag sameach Sukkot and Shabbat Shalom kol beit Yisra'el! Welcome to this seventh annual festival of Sukkot and an especially warm welcome to all our visitors from abroad. We pray that this time of fellowship, worship and instruction will be a blessed time for all.
The Feasts of Yahweh
The feasts of Yahweh - the seven annual feasts, the sabbaths, new moons, sabbatical years and Jubilee years - are collectively known as Yahweh's moedim or appointments and were instituted from the beginning, restored under Moses within the context of the Israelite exodus, and have once again been re-instituted in these latter days as part of the "restoration of all things" spoken of in the Book of Acts (Ac.3:21, NKJV). They were never optional and their obedience is everywhere proclaimed in Scripture as evidence of true emunah (faith):
The Meaning of the Festivals
"And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The moedim (feasts, appointments) of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be mikra'ei qodesh (holy convocations), these are My feasts...These are the moedim (feasts, appointments) of Yahweh, mikra'ei qodesh (holy convocations) which you shall proclaim at their appointed times" (Lev.23:1-2,4, NKJV/OJB).
We are commanded to assemble together with fellow believers under covenant to learn about the death, burial and resurrection of our Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus), the empowering of believers with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), the second coming, the Final Judgment, the resurrection of the dead, the enthronemnt and coronation of our Messiah as King, His wedding to the Bride of Messiah, and the Millennium or athid lavo (messianic age) to name but some of the deep emet (truth) hidden in them.
The Reason We Assemble
But we are not only commanded to gather at this times to hear the meaning of the festivals, but to worship Him and to fellowship with one another. So serious is Yahweh about these festivals that He commands that those who refuse to attend them are said to have broken the covenant and are to be excluded from the congregation of Israel.
Not a Choice for a True Believer
The moedim (festivals, appointments) are therefore His days, not ours, and we are not given permission to do our own thing on them. And yet they are definitely for our benefit too, for they are times of renewal and refreshing. And the more you attend them and are immersed in the Ruachot haQodesh (Holy Spirits) that Yahweh sends down on each of them, the more you are sanctified and are enabled to draw closer to Him. And obviously to attend at the right time to receive these blessings we need to make sure we adjust our lifestyle to His Sacred Calendar - the luni-solar Creation Calendar
Why the Festivals are Important
We are given ten reasons  why we should study the modeim (festivals, appointments):
The Appointed Place
- 1. They're in the Bible, and all the Bible is inspired by Yahweh (2 Tim.3:16-17);
- 2. They are a shadow of things to come that teach us about the Messiah (Col.2:16-17; Heb.10:1);
- 3. They are prophetic types and examples foreshadowing sigfnificant events in Yahweh's plan of redemption (1 Cor.10:1-6,11);
- 4. Yahweh gave the moedim (feasts, appointments) so that we could learn and understand His Plan of Salvation for the world and our personal relationship to Him;
- 5. The moedim (feasts, appointments), as part of the Torah (which literally means 'instruction'), are as a schoolmaster or tutor that leads us to Messiah and deeper into Him (Gal.3:24);
- 6. The moedim (feasts, appointments) point to the Messiah and Yahweh's plan for the world through the Messiah;
- 7. Yah'shua (Jesus) came to fulfil all that was written in the Tanakh (Old Testament), which consists of three parts:
(a) the Torah (Law, Instruction);
concerning Him (Lk.24:26-27,44-45; Jn.5:46-47)
(b) the Nevi'im (Prophets);
(c) the Ketuvim (Writings, as personified by the Psalms
- 8. The moedim (feasts, appointments) set forth the tavnith (pattern) of heavenly things on earth (Heb.8:1-2,5; 9:8-9,23; Ex.25:8-9,40; 26:30; Num.8:4; Ezek.43:1-6,10-12);
- 9. Yahweh gives the natural or earthly to explain the spiritual (1 Cor.15:46-47); and
- 10. By studying the natural or earthly, we can understand the spiritual (1 Cor.2:9-13; 2 Cor.4:18)
These are ten of the reasons given in the Bible as to why the moedim (feasts, appointments) are important and why they are a blessing to us. Not only are we commanded to assemble at the appointed times of the moedim (feasts, appointments) but also at their appointed places. Under the Old Covenant this place was Jeruslam for at least three of the feasts, known as the Pilgrim Feasts (Dt.16:2,6,9-11,13-16) - every family was required to send one male representative at the very minimum to these three. This is why Jerusalem was full to overflowing when the talmidim (disciples) were baptised in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) with tongues of fire and spoke in foreign languages supernaturally, for this was the Feast of Shavu'ot otherwise known as the Feast of Weeks (wrongly designated 'Pentecost'), which was one of the three Pilgrim Feasts. The city was full of people from all over the known world and when the talmidim (disciples) spoke their language or dialect supernaturally, many were converted. The other two Pilgrim Festivals were Pesach or Passover and Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, which is why we are gathered here today.
The Places to Attend in the Diaspora
A time will come, when the New Jersualem comes to the earth at Yah'shua's (Jesus') Second Coming, when we will again be required to travel to Jerusalem, but for now, since we are scattered across the world, we are to attend our local assemblies of congregations or larger gatherings consisting of several congregations. And if it is completely impossible to attend a congregation, because they are simply too far away, we are to remain at home with our families and observe them there, for our homes too are temples of the living Elohim (God).
Many Moedim are Sabbaths
As many of these moedim (feasts, appointments) are sabbaths, we are obviously forbidden to do regular work. And as you will remember from last week's sermon, breaking the Sabbath was such a serious sin in Yahweh's eyes that it required nothing less than the death penalty - today, because Yah'shua (Jesus) has paid that penalty for us, that means not execution but exclusion from Messianic Israel for violation of the Covenant of Shavu'ot if there is no proper making of teshuvah (repentance).
The Festivals as Dry Runs for Future Events
So, brethren and sisters, though the moedim (feasts, apointments) are great fun and very satisfying when you walk in the Ruach (Spirit), they are also to be viewed with great sobriety, for they are qodesh or set-apart and holy because of the Davar Elohim (Word of God). And when we refuse to obey them, once we have understood that they are not negociable or optional, we are showing our scorn of Yahweh and disobedience to His mitzvot (commandments). No work of Elohim (God) can ultimately prosper, triumph against adversity, or remain unscathed through tribulations if it does not strictly demand the compliance of its members. There can certainly be no Final Gathering without them because these mikra or convocations are dress rehearsals of events to occur in the future (Ps.40:6-8; Heb.10:7). We are preparing for the Final Gathering by attending Yahweh's moedim (feasts, appointments). They are, if you like, dry runs for what is to come, and if we are not prepared - if we have not literally practiced them - then we will not be prepared and must be left outside the gathering places to face the full wrath of the AntiMessiah (Antichrist) forces.
Distance, Travel and the Festival Tithe
If the ancient Israelites, when they weren't in aposatasy, made huge efforts to travel (sometimes from long away when transport was not as it is today), then we too should do no less. That is why Yahweh commanded that a third of the Tithe or Tenth should be devoted to the festivals - the remaining two-thirds were to be equally divided between supporting the poor and supporting the ministry . When you consider the great distances people had to travel with primitive transport systems, you can udnerstand why so much money was dedicated to the moedim (feasts, appointments) and why it should also be done today too. And of all the festivals, the one most looked forward to was this seventh festival of simcha (joy), for which we have gathered today. It's the main reason we have out Annual General Conference at this time and why the priesthood arrive early at Yom Kippur to be weighed for their stewardship each year, so that all things are done in order.
Opposition to Attending
We are so very glad that some of you here have come from as far away as West Africa and Germany to be with us today. Obviously in the future, as new congregations are established, there will not be the need for such huge treks though many will come especially at this time to renew and maintain the bonds of our qodesh (holy, set-apart) fellowship in Messiah. Though we are far way - especially for those in the southern hemisphere or on the other wise of the world in East Asia and the Americas, and though many have great opposition from the enemy in getting here so that they cannot partake of this Ruach (Spirit), it is amazing to see how the their tenacity and emunah (faith) gets them here in the end. Our brethren from Ghana have been trying to get here for years for there has been one obstacle after another, but their persistance has been rewarded - and though they have been slightly delayed, the doors have at last been opened to them!
Our Long Journey
We also have to discuss during conference the application of six congregations in East Africa who wish to form an association with us with a view to fulling joining us over the next three years. For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, or at least since the time we first came to Scandinavia in 1988, you will know that this work has required a three-phased maturing to ensure we not only left the world system but that we also left all false religion too, and especially the false traditions from which we came. It has been a very long, hard and painful road for us - what we have, and what Yahweh has brought forth through us by His grace and undeserved loving kindness, was not won easily. And we do not expect the road ahead to be easy either. So for those of you who are new I wish to make it known that your choice to seek and live all emet (truth) comes with an expensive price ticket - it will cost you all you have but it also brings with it unspeakable rewards. There are few who remain when the fire gets hot and indeed of the thousands we once had in Europe, Africa, India and America, there was a time when only three of us remained. We have very much been in the wilderness, as it were, for many years now, as we have awaited the end of the purification of this the third phase of our restoration. Only now have we sensed are we coming out of that time and are standing at the threshhold of new possibilities. So those of you who are here today, if you choose to remain, are called as the latest pioneers of this work, a work I know you will find immensely rewarding and satisying if you hold on as tempest and storm beat on you. You are promised some supernatural testimonies the likes of which few have seen.
Brick Upon Brick
However, I do not want to be melodramatic or to raise unreasonable expectatios for everything must be built gradually like a house, brick upon brick. And though this ministry itself has undergone tremendous maturing over the decades since we were first called in 1984, every new talmid (disciple) must start from scratch and be built brick by brick too. This requires patience. However, one thing I hope you will be spared is all the uncertainties that our earlier members had to face as we were corrected doctrinally and in practice - it is not an comfortable thing for a conregation or group of congregations to learn that they have been wrong in so many things and are in need of a huge reformation and reorganisation - it can be, and usually is, traumatic having to adjust your whole spiritual and temporal lifestyle and yet not one of us escapes this process. Rather, we learn that in the Kingdom of our Messiah there are no enduring or satisfying comfort zones outside Him or outside His Torah: these are the two poles that are joined by the rope of covenant that are the secure handrail we are to grip as we move from birth to death and into the eternities.
Finding a Sure Footing
Sukkot is one of the three as yet unfulfilled annual festivals of future events. The other four have already been fulfilled. And yet for every soul there is a need to walk through the divine tavnith or pattern of all seven for by means of them and what they represent spiritually we find our sure footing and are enabled to walk safely along the next stretch of our journey. If it's security you are looking for - and all of us are - then spiritually walking the festivals in Yah'shua (Jesus) gives us that. One of the greatest revelations I think this ministry has been given has been to understand their wider meaning and personal application.
Settling and Moving in Faith
For three of you this will be the first time you have ever attended one of the moedim (feasts, appointments). Each moed (feast, appointment) is very different in ruach (spirit) and content. On this occasion, as you will see, we are worshipping and eating under large tents known in Hebrew as sukkot, each being known as a sukkah. This we do only at this time of the year, according to the mitzvah (commandment) of our Father in Heaven. I am going to tell you more about their symbolic meaning tomorrow. In warmer climates these tents, booths or tabernacles are built outside the house and there families eat and sleep there over the next eight days. Because of our very cold climate, which was quite unlike that the children of Israel experienced either in the roastingly hot Sinai desert or indeed in the land of Canaan itself after they settled there, this is not practical unless you are willing to catch pneumonia. Though the Jews who also observe this festival (usually at the wrong time) have various traditions which we will talk about tomorrow, these are not in the Bible and we are given considerable latitude in how we apply the way we build our tabernacles or booths. Some sleep under indoor tents too, as do our children. The whole point of the exercise is to both remember the simplicity of the lifestyle of our forefathers when they were in the wilderness as well as to remind us of the impermanancy of this life and of the need not to get too 'settled' - everything in the Kingdom is in constant flux and we must be prepared to 'move' when Yahweh commands us. In other words, try not to sink your roots too deep in any one place, remembering that, as the Scripture points out, we are but 'passing through'. Indeed one of you has received a davar (word) from Yahweh instructing you to pack your bags and move home elsewhere, and to do so in emunah (faith). We must all live like that to some extent.
Living in Bodily Tents
The seven days of Sukkot look forward to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb - it is what we have lived and struggled for, or will live and struggle for if we are new believers. It represents the culmination of our whole walk in life. It culminates on the eighth day with Shemini Atseret, the Last Great Day', which is day #1 of the Millennium! The spiritual meaning of this eight-day festival is what our hope is built upon - the future Kingdom of Simcha (Joy), Ahavah (Love) and Shalom (Peace) when we shall live in our resurrected bodies free of pain, suffering and ageing, and witness the complete end of death itself. However, Sukkot is not only a future reality. It teaches us that we can live victoriously in resurrection power today even while we dwell in these frail sukkot or tents ... our physical bodies. Paul put it this way when he said:
The Resurrected Body
"For we know that if our earthly house, this tent (sukkah), is destroyed, we have a building from Elohim (God), a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Cor.5:1, NKJV).
When he speaks of "our earthly house" and "this tent", he is speaking of our mortal bodies. The word for "tent" here is a sukkah. And on one level, this tent or sukkah we are sitting under represents that physical body with all its troubles. But, Paul says, it will be "destroyed" and we will receive "a building from Elohim (God)", a "house not made with hands" that is "eternal" in the heavenly realm. This is the resurrected body that the apostle is alluding to. He goes on to explain that living in this 'tent' or sukkah' it is by no means easy, saying:
To Be Further Clothed
"For we who are in this tent (sukkah, mortal body) groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by chayim (life)" (2 Cor.5:4, NKJV).
In other words, although this body is a real 'pain' sometimes (and you young ones will know what I mean when you hit middle age and old age), what we're looking forward to as believers is not to throw it off altogether and live as disembodied spirits, but, as Paul said, to be "further clothed", that is, to have this mortality transformed into immortality. In other words, what we want is a physical body in perfect working order to clothe our essential self or spirit! We want to be able to do with it what we were unable to fully do with it in mortality. So "as long as I am in this tent (sukkah)" (2 Peter 1:13, NKJV) I will teach these things, and every year when I assemble at Sukkot (Tabernacles) I will be reminded of these things as I worship and eat and sleep because of the symbolic tent above me.
A Medley of Festivals
Now the resurrection, which we come to enjoy, is actually described early on in the seven annual moedim (feasts, appointments) - indeed, it has a festival belonging entirely to itself, being the third festival in the spring, and is known as Yom haBikkurim - the Day of Firsfruits. It is closely connected to Pesach which describes the sacrificial offering of Yah'shua (Jesus) for us as our sin-bearer. Yom haBiklkurim (Firstfruits), which points to Messiah as the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Cor.15:23), is sandwiched between the second and third days of the three spring festivals and on appears simultaneously the second day of another, Chag haMatzah or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is given to us over a seven day period to remind us that unelss we get the leaven or yeast of sin out of our lives by searching the Scriptures, searching emet (truth), and searching to get deeper into Messiah, that we will never qualify to attend the Marriage Feast of the Lamb nor enjoy the one thousand year-long Millennium in physical form.
The Betrothal Covenant
Not only that, but we are instructed by the fourth annual moed (feast, appointment) at Shavu'ot (Weeks/'Pentecost'), that we will not qualify as the Bride if we do not first enter into a covenant to obey the Torah or mitzvot (commandments) of Yahweh, which is our ketubah or marriage contract. For as this festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) represents our full metaphorical marriage to Messiah, so Shavu'ot is our betrothal covenant ... and in Israel there is no full marriage without a betrothal covenant and faithfulness to that first. We remain as betrothed spouses while we are alive, living a life of removing sin from our lives through repentance and trusting in the all-sufficient cleansing blood of Messiah, until the resurrection when those who have been faithful and obedient are called to the final Feast. If we have not - if we have been like the five foolish virgins who have not obtained enough of the oil of the Ruach (Spirit) to keep our lamps - our beings - properly lit as a witness to the world, then we will be excluded from the Marriage Feast and have no part of the First Resurrection. We must await the end of the Millennnium to partake of the lesser Second Resurrection.
Ten Commandments, Two Groups of Five Virgins
There are so many false teachings in Christendom because they neither study, live not understand the moedim (feasts, appointments). There would, for example, be no false 'once saved, always saved' doctrine which millions of evangelicals believe. They would see that salvation is not just an event but also a process and that people can and do lose their salvation when they are careless and lazy like the five foolish virgins. There are ten virgins because there are ten principle mitzvot or commandments which we are obliged to obey, including, I might add, the seventh-day sabbath according to the true calendar, and there are five of each of the two classes of virgin because five is the number of grace (undeserved loving kindness, unmeried favour) which we can either embrace or spurn. The five wise virgins understood that grace is not without obedience whereas the five foolish ones relied only on grace, refusing to obey the mitzvot (commandments), trusting that they would be given free oil from the wise, trusting and obedient virgins. Grace is not cheap - it is not to be thrown as pearls before swine.
The Sukkot Within
Those who have come to the real Sukkot within have come only as a result of a long journey of discipleship. They did not just get 'born again' and 'turn up'. There was much to be done with this free gift of salvation - to make it work for them, for salvation is past, present and future. The festivals teach us that it begins as a choice at Pesach (Passover), it results in a New Birth at Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits) all the time getting sin out of our lives at Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread) - what Paul calls "work[ing] out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12, NKJV), entering into life-long binding covenants at Shavu'ot (Weeks), awaiting like a good watchman for the Second Coming at Yom Teruah (Trumpets) so that Yah'shua doesn't come to you as a "thief in the night" while you are sleeping - for you are called to be awake always, being ready for the Day of Judgment at Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and finally - if you have passed all of these - being called up to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb at Sukkot (Tabernacles) and to the First Resurrection.
The Way of the Master
This is the Derech or Way that the Master spoke of when He said that He was "the derech (way), the emet (truth), and the chayim (life)" (John 14:6a, NKJV) and no man or woman comes to the Father without it! (John 14:6b). Do you see the tavnith (pattern)? Do you see the structure and the order of the authentic Christian life? This is a difficult world to spiritually navigate and we need the complete map to finish it and do it well, not the fragments that the denominations offer us. We need the complete path shown to us and that, brethren and sisters, is what the moedim (feasts, appointments) are for. And if it were not so easy to wander from them, we would not be commanded to have seven dress rehearsals every year, and another five every month, or for ministers to remind their flocks what is required of them. We are slow learners that require good habits to be set over time.
The Challenges of the Festivals
Brethren and sisters, the festivals like Sukkot (Tabernacles) may present challenges when it comes to schooling and employment. When lived according to the true Creation Calendar, nothing short of a total reorientation of our temporal affairs is demanded, and that is because coming out of the world system requires no less. Living according to Yahweh's divine tavnith (pattern) is, as I have said, a dress rehearsal for His Second Coming and of living together with Him throughout the eternities so if we are not ready, because we have not learned the divine habit, we will become like those five foolish believers who were excluded from the wedding...which was the Messianic Sukkot (Tabernacles). It will be too late repenting at the last minute, for even as it is written:
What We Must Do
"And while [the five foolish virgins] went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the [foolish] virgins came also, saying, 'Master, Master, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Matt.25:11-13, NKJV).
I will not pretend living the Creation Calendar is easy but then Yah'shua (Jesus) never said His Derech (Way) wouldn't be easy, only worth it. As families we are challenged in this world of increasing state centralisation and control to not only get out of the Babylonian system spiritually but physically too because if you are to live the Derech (Way) of the Master you have to get out of the state schooling system and either homeschool or join with other believing families to form schools that have timetables around the moedim (feasts, appointments). As those of us who have to earn an income in this world we are also challenged to either find jobs with bosses who will allow us the flexibility to live the calendar of Messianic Israel without hindrance or, better still, become self-employed and, ultimately, self-sufficient. The AntiMessiah (Antichrist) system wants total control of us and the only way the last generation will be free to serve El Elyon, the Most High, is to live inedependently of it.
Obey Yahweh Rather Than Man
One thing is clear: when we fully submit to Yahweh's lifestyle we have to get out of the system so that we can worship the Creator the way He demands. We must be like Peter who insisted that "we ought to obey Elohim (God) rather than men" (Acts 5:29, NKJV). As talmidim (disciples) we do not exist to please man but Elohim (God). We are to observe Yahweh's Derech (Way) and not the traditions of men. It will be on this basis - as believers surrender more and more to Yah'shua (Jesus) that we will come to understand and see who will be a part of the Final Gathering to the cities of refuge during the Great Tribulation and who will not. We do not want to be like those who have been deceived into believing the 'Rapture' faitytale only to discover that they must pass through the Great Tribulation having left themselves unprepared like the five foolish virgins.
The Bitterness of Trusting in False Doctrine
Many, alas, will bitterly regret that they trusted in this false teaching as will those who trusted in Zionism and the modern State of Israel when it is destroyed before their eyes in the very near future and they come to understand they were interpreting scriptural prophecy with all the wrong historical markers. Then they will understand that they had been worshipping the Enemy unawares because they embraced "the blasphemy of those who say they are [of the House of Judah] and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Rev.2:9, NKJV) of whose judgment Yah'shua (Jesus) prophesied at the final Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) when He declared in a parable: "Bring here those enemies of Mine, who did not want Me to reign over them, and slay them before Me" (Luke 19:27, NKJV). I would not wish to be in their shoes as the realisation of the emet (truth) suddenly dawns on them followed by the terror or knowing they are exposed to destruction, not finding themselves under the divine Sukkah (Tent).
It is a wonderful thing to be gathered here with you all physically, and with those who are a part of us spiritually who are far away, as we assemble for this dress rehearsal of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
So let us turn our eyes now on why we are here and what we are preparing for one day as we celebrate with simcha (joy) our deliverance and our Deliverer! Amen.
"Then a voice came from the throne, saying, 'Praise our Elohim (God), all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!' And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, 'Hallelu-Yah! For Yahweh-Elohim Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.' And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the qodeshim (saints, holy, set-apart ones). Then he said to me, 'Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!''" (Rev.19:4-9, NKJV).
Continued in Part 2
 Edward Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah (Destiny Imahe Publishers, Shippenburg, PA: 1994), pp.3-4
 For a summary of the true principle of biblical tithing, see The 10% Tithe: Its New Covenant Application