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The feast days of Israel are days that commemorate historical events in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land by way of Mount Sinai (Horeb). These days also point the way for us as individuals in our spiritual growth from justification, sanctification, and finally the glorification of the body.
But these days also prophesied of historic events in the future. Passover prophesied of Jesus' death on the cross, which occurred while everyone was killing their lambs to prepare for Passover. About seven weeks later, the events of Acts 2 occurred that historically fulfilled the feast of Pentecost. We now look forward to the fulfillment of that final feast day called Tabernacles.
The Jews focus on the commemoration of Israel's journey long ago. Many in the Church today focus on the personal application. Few understand the historic fulfillment of Tabernacles that is yet to come. Some even deny that there will be a historic fulfillment of this feast--that it is all just personal and internal. But if the first two feasts had a historical fulfillment, why not the third feast as well? We must be consistent.
The feast of Tabernacles is preceded by the day of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (or Jubilee). The day of Trumpets occurs two weeks prior to the beginning of Tabernacles. That day is called in Jewish circles, "The Day of the Awakening Blast," and has long been regarded as the day prophesying the resurrection of the dead. Hence, the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4:16, "the dead in Christ shall rise FIRST." He again tells us in 1 Cor. 15:52, "for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised."
Paul says that only AFTER the dead have been raised will the "catching away" (HARPAZO) take place. While many Christians think of the HARPAZO in terms of a "rapture," it is actually speaks of the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. This has been greatly misunderstood, because Prophecy teachers seldom define HARPAZO in terms of this prophetic feast. The rapture teaching was developed in the 19th century by people who knew little or nothing about Tabernacles. Hence, they mistakenly crowded all the events surrounding the second coming of Christ into a single moment of time.
When we study the feast days, and understand that Paul had studied these as well, we can see that his comments in 1 Thess. 4:14-17 were meant to tell us the ORDER of events, not that they were all to happen on the same day or in the same moment of time. The resurrection would occur FIRST, because it would occur on the day of Trumpets. Two weeks later, the transformation of the overcomers from mortal to immortality will occur on the first day of the feast of Tabernacles.
The Feast of Tabernacles is seven days in length (Lev. 23:34), followed by an eighth day ceremony (Lev. 23:36). This is because the law says that it takes seven days for a person to be cleansed after touching a dead body (Num. 19:11), and he may then come into the temple on the eighth day. As mortals, we are continuously touching a dead body, and when we are brought into immortality on the first of Tabernacles, it still requires a full seven days of cleaning before we can lawfully be presented to God on the eighth day of Tabernacles.
In addition to this, those overcomers who attain the first resurrection are called "priests of God and of Christ" (Rev. 20:6). In the laws regarding priesthood, we note that priests were consecrated for seven days (Lev. 8:33) and were eligible to minister to God on the eighth day (Lev. 9:1). Thus, the feast of Tabernacles also serves as the time of consecration to the priesthood for the overcomers.
Finally, in regard to the circumcision of the heart, this too follows the law in Exodus 22:29-31,
". . . The first-born of your sons you shall give to Me. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me. And you shall be holy men to Me. . ."
The sons of God are born (manifested) on the first day of Tabernacles and are then heart-circumcised on the eighth day of Tabernacles. This is a divine requirement before the sons of God can be presented to God on the eighth day.
It is unfortunate that the divine law has been neglected and forgotten for so long. It is a treasure house of revelation and prophecy. The law is not merely a set of moral ethics; it is prophetic--not only of Christ's first coming, but also His second coming.
Thus, it also gives us the basic laws of Sonship and how and why the sons of God will be manifested in the earth.