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Today is the Jubilee for the overcomers and the Day of Atonement for others.
In Numbers 13, the twelve spies gave their report on this day. They were supposed to blow the trumpet for the Jubilee, declaring their intention to enter the Promised Land. However, only two of the spies gave a good report. The others gave an evil report, which the people believed. So they turned the Jubilee into a Day of Atonement.
If they had celebrated a Jubilee, they would have kept it as a day of rejoicing and feasting. Instead, from then on, as a reminder of their lack of faith and their refusal to enter the Kingdom, they were commanded to repent and fast on this day.
So the question remains: How do we keep this feast day today? Well, it depends on which group you are part of. Do you have faith or fear? Do you follow the majority or do you believe the words of Caleb and Joshua?
Faith in the Promises of God
In the time of Moses, the Church in the wilderness had enough faith to be justified by faith. This was proven by their exodus from Egypt. However, they did not have sufficient faith to enter the Promised Land. Today it is the same. Most Christians have not overcome fear, because their relationship with God is based on fear, rather than on faith.
God promised to give them the Promised Land, but the people did not believe this was possible, in view of all of the giants in the land. Caleb and Joshua had no such doubts. They were Old Covenant believers, who thought that their salvation was based upon the will of man. Caleb and Joshua were New Covenant believers, who knew that their salvation was based upon the will of God and His promises—which they believed.
They had confidence that God was able to fulfill His promises. If God was able, then they too were able. So Caleb testified in Numbers 13:30, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” The others responded in Numbers 13:31, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.”
If the promises of God depend upon man’s cooperation, and if man has the authority to overrule God’s will, then it is easy to see how the people could doubt God’s ability to keep His word. Fear follows doubt. Fear displaces faith. God will not allow people to inherit the promises of God under those conditions, saying, “they shall not enter My rest” (Hebrews 4:3, quoting Psalm 95:11).
Fortunately for the Church, God has promised to save all mankind by the New Covenant. This promise is based on God’s ability to turn every heart and to cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess allegiance to Him. Is God able? Yes, He is. Man’s lack of faith in His ability may seem to win at first, but in the end God’s will overcomes all opposition, all ignorance, all doubt, and all fear. If we believe that God is able to fulfill His New Covenant promises, then we have the type of faith that was in Caleb and Joshua.
Entering God’s Rest
There are three levels of “rest” set forth in the Sabbath laws. They correlate to the three feasts and also to spirit, soul, and body.
The three Sabbaths are (1) the seventh day, (2) the seventh year, and (3) the seventh seven of years, that is, the Jubilee.
The first rest begins our journey, when we experience Passover, receiving forgiveness of sin and coming out of our bondage to the world (“Egypt”). The second is the Pentecostal rest when we are filled with the Spirit, hear His voice, and begin to learn obedience as we walk by the Spirit.
The third is the Tabernacles rest, where we come into agreement with Him, ceasing from our own work. We no longer do our own works or speak our own words (Hebrews 4:10). Isaiah 58:13 confirms this: “desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure, and speaking your own word.”
In other words, we follow the example of Jesus, who only did what He saw His Father do and spoke only what He heard His Father speak. This Jubilee/Tabernacles rest is our goal, for it is required to enter into God’s rest, as Hebrews 4:11 says,
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of [Israel’s] disobedience.
Israel did not have opportunity to enter God’s rest when they came out of Egypt, even though they were given Sabbath days in Exodus 16:23. In this first Sabbath, they saw the glory of God (Exodus 16:7), and later, at Pentecost, they heard His voice (Deuteronomy 4:12; 5:24), but the third Sabbath is how we inherit the promises of God. God’s rest is declared on the Jubilee and fulfilled in the feast of Tabernacles.
Here, then, is a suggested Model Declaration for this day. If you read this at a later time, there is no problem, since God stands above time or space.
The Declaration: September 23, 2015
Father, I come before you today, in agreement with Caleb and Joshua, to declare our faith in Your promises to us and in Your ability to keep Your word. Thank-you for vowing to make everyone Your people and for including us even though most of humanity were not present when You made that vow [Deuteronomy 29:12-15].
We have heard Your word, and as first fruits of a great harvest yet to come, we declare our intention by faith to enter into Your promises. We declare: “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” We recognize that this is Your battle, and that it does not depend upon our own works or our own fleshly ability to overcome the opposition.
So we blow the Jubilee this day and ask You to lead us into our Promised Land.
Thank-you for granting this request. We rejoice in Your promises, doing all in the name of Jesus. Amen.