When the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land, being fearful of the giants they would face, God threatened to disinherit them and to start over again with Moses and his family, as He had done with Abraham.
Moses then interceded, reminding God of what the neighbors would say in their gossip. Num. 14:13-16,
13 But Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it… 14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land… 15 Now if You slay this people as one man, then the nations who have heard of Your fame will say, 16 ‘Because the Lord could not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness’.”
Moses hit God’s “hot button” here. When God takes an oath to do something, He becomes quite heated when men doubt His ability to fulfill His word. God’s reputation is at stake here. So when Moses said that the Egyptians would spread the word that God was not able to bring Israel into the land He had promised, He responded in Num. 14:21,
21 … As I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of God.
“As I live” is legal terminology, where God swears an oath in court. He swears by His own name and by His own life, because no other name or life was greater than His. He did not admit defeat in fulfilling His oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, He increased the scope of His oath to include the entire earth!
At the same time, He showed us what it truly meant to enter the Promised Land at the feast of Tabernacles. It meant that the glory of God would be seen in the people. More than that, this incident brought out the revelation of God’s true intent in giving this promise to Israel. Moses incited God to reveal that Israel’s entry into the Promised Land was only the beginning of His plan to fill the whole earth with glory.
The prophets and apostles gave further revelation of the manner in which this oath was to be fulfilled. But men continued to spread the rumor that God was unable to do this on account of man’s unbelief.
Yet the revelation from this incident with Moses is a strong statement that man’s unbelief cannot prevent God from fulfilling His oaths. Man’s “free will” is no match for God’s will (which is truly free and unrestricted). God could at any moment reveal Himself to the world, open the eyes of every man, and bring them to their knees—simply by showing them His glory.
God did this in Isaiah 6:1, where the prophet testifies, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted.” One of the Seraphim called out, saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”
The prophet’s response is seen in verse 5,
5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
Will not this be the response of every man raised at the great White Throne? Will not every knee bow when they see His glory? Will not every tongue swear allegiance to Christ (Isaiah 45:23)? The apostle interprets this to mean that every tongue will profess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:11).
The Greek word he uses is exomologesetai, usually translated “confess,” but which actually means “profess.” It is the equivalent of Isaiah’s word, shabah, “to swear allegiance.” The meaning of this word is established in a different context in 2 Chron. 36:13, which speaks of King Zedekiah, who had sworn allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar but who had later broken his word.
13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear allegiance [shabah] by God. But he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord God of Israel.
The meaning of shabah is clear. Zedekiah had sworn an oath of allegiance, as was always demanded by conquerors. In the same way, Isaiah tells us that every tongue will swear allegiance to God, and Paul interprets this with a Greek word that means every tongue will profess Christ as Lord.
Paul also says in 1 Cor. 12:3,
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
We can see, then, that when every tongue professes Christ as Lord, it is through the Holy Spirit and is truly to the glory of God, as the apostle tells us in Phil. 2:11.
This universal profession at the great White Throne is something that God brings about in order to fulfill His New Covenant oath. It is not based on man’s Old Covenant oaths, nor is it by “the will of man” (John 1:13). The will of man, in the end, cannot resist the will of God.
It is not that man has no will. Man does indeed have a will. In this age, the will of man appears to overrule the will of God. But in the end, at the great White Throne judgment, the will of man will succumb to the will of God, and every knee will bow to Him and swear allegiance to Him.
Then the age of judgment will commence, where those new Spirit-filled believers will learn righteousness from those who are called to reign with Christ. The righteous will train the new believers in the ways of God until the Creation Jubilee sets all creation free (Rom. 8:21).
The Path to Salvation
Although God has sworn an oath to save the world and to fill the earth with His glory, no man will be saved until he has professed Christ. God has no intention of giving any man his inheritance in the Kingdom until he has sworn allegiance to Christ.
This is often misunderstood when men hear it said that God will save all men. They assume immediately that we are saying that God will save men in spite of their unbelief. But Scripture makes it clear that unbelievers will be judged by the “fiery law” of God (Deut. 33:2 KJV).
The path to salvation is very clear, “for whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). The law itself sets forth the path of salvation through the feast days. We fulfill the feast of Passover when we profess Christ as Lord. We fulfill the feast of Pentecost when we are Spirit-filled and begin to grow to spiritual maturity by being led by the Spirit. Finally, we fulfill the feast of Tabernacles by being changed into His likeness, by going from mortality to immortality, and from corruption to incorruption.
These are the three steps toward salvation: Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. Each step saves a different part of us. Justification saves us in our innermost being, that is, our Most Holy Place, our spirit. Sanctification saves us in our Holy Place, our soul. Glorification saves our bodies in the outer court, where it is visible for all to see.
Unfortunately, many believers have not been taught these three steps. Many think that salvation is a single step where men profess Christ, not knowing that this fulfills the feast of Passover but not Pentecost or Tabernacles.
Others see salvation as a two-step process: Passover and Pentecost. They believe in “a second work of grace,” which is inherent in “the feast of Weeks” (Exodus 34:22). It was celebrated seven weeks later on the 50th day (inclusively) from the wave sheaf offering (Lev. 23:16). Hence, it was later known by the Greek name, Pentecost, which means “50th day.”
Just as the Passover-level believers tend to think that justification is the end of the story, so also the Pentecostal-level believers tend to think that being filled with the Spirit is the end of the plan. Both seem to know little or nothing about the feast of Tabernacles. Hence, the third feast has been replaced with all sorts of strange teachings about the manner in which we are to receive our inheritance.
The Promise of Tabernacles
The third great feast is Tabernacles, where we come to full spiritual maturity and are transformed into His likeness. It is the completion of the three-step plan of salvation, both on a personal level and collectively as a body.
This feast has important steps preceding it. As we have seen already, Passover and Pentecost are necessary steps leading to Tabernacles. To experience the glory of Tabernacles, one is required to be justified through Passover and to be filled with the Spirit through Pentecost. No one can bypass those important steps.
Yet Tabernacles too is preceded more immediately by the blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. Taken together, these three steps form a cluster of prophetic events that include the resurrection of the dead, Christ’s second coming, and the manifestation of the sons of God.
The divine plan has a counterfeit that has been taught in the past 170 years, known primarily as the “rapture.” It was developed by those who knew little about the feast days and almost nothing about the feast of Tabernacles. They knew quite a bit about the first coming of Christ and how He fulfilled Passover by dying on the cross. But they did not know the laws of the second coming, nor did they consider how Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles prophesied of Christ’s second coming.
This was very unfortunate, because an entire doctrinal system was built upon the foundation of ignorance. This, coupled with an Old Covenant mindset, has brought great blindness upon the church and has caused men to support the counterfeit kingdom whose capital is earthly Jerusalem.
Feast of Trumpets
Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4:15, 16,
15 … We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise FIRST.”
The living saints cannot precede those who have died in past generations. Hence, the dead must rise before the living saints are changed into His likeness. This occurs with the blowing of the trumpet. 1 Cor. 15:52 says it will be “the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable.”
What is the last trumpet? At the start of each month, at the new moon (first crescent moon), they used to blow the trumpet to signal the start of the new month. The seventh month, when the autumn feasts were observed, began with the seventh trumpet—the feast of Trumpets.
This is the day in the divine plan that prophesies the resurrection of the dead.
The sequence of end-time events is seen in the story of Israel in the wilderness. In Num. 10:2-4 it is prophesied that a single trumpet will gather “the heads of the divisions of Israel.” Blowing both trumpets prophesy the gathering of the entire congregation, or church (vs. 3).
So is it with the first resurrection in Rev. 20:6. Only a few are raised, while “the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.” So when Paul speaks of the trumpet (singular) being blown, he prophesied of the resurrection of the overcomers, not the church as a whole. It is the resurrection of the overcomers only, for this is prophesied in the law regarding the purpose of trumpets.
The rest of the dead, including most of the church, will be raised together at the end of the thousand years. Jesus prophesied about that general resurrection in John 5:28, 29,
28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice [the sound of trumpets?] 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds [believers] to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds [the unbelievers] to a resurrection of judgment.
This is the general resurrection, and it includes both believers and unbelievers. It is obviously not the first resurrection in Rev. 20:6. Therefore, we conclude that the first resurrection at the sound of a single trumpet will raise the heads, or leaders, whom we call the overcomers. These are the ones called to “be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
This was prophesied in the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38 KJV), where Israel was the church, and the leaders—princes of the tribes—represented the overcomers.
By understanding the law of trumpets, we can better frame our eschatology and understand the order of events surrounding Christ’s second coming.
The Day of Atonement
Shortly after Moses fashioned the two silver trumpets in Num. 10, the twelve spies gave their report in Num. 13. By studying chronology, we have learned that this was the 10th day of the 7th month in the start of the year 2450 (dating from Adam).
It was the 50th Jubilee from Adam, a Jubilee of Jubilees. It was the day God had prepared for Abraham’s children to be released to return to their inheritance (Lev. 25:10). They had been enslaved in Egypt for a long time, but this was the appointed time for their return to the Promised Land.
However, as we know, they did not have sufficient faith to enter the Promised Land at that time, so the promise was delayed. Instead of celebrating a Jubilee with rejoicing, they turned the day into a day of mourning and fasting, which came to be known as the Day of Atonement. It was designed to make them repent from their lack of faith and to grow spiritually to attain to the faith of Caleb and Joshua—the overcomers of that day.
At the time of the second coming of Christ, this will again be the day when the church realizes that it needs to repent of its lack of faith. Having been taught that the rapture will occur just a split second after the resurrection, most believers will be alarmed when they see the dead raised without a “rapture” happening at the same time.
They will think that they missed the rapture and must go through the tribulation under the rule of the Antichrist, and that they will all be martyred. Those who know prophecy will have to comfort them with the truth.
The Feast of Tabernacles
Five days after the Day of Atonement, the overcomers living in that day will be “changed,” as Paul put it in 1 Cor. 15:52. This is when the sons of God are actually birthed, having been begotten through Passover and brought to maturity through Pentecost.
The birth, however, is not the end of the matter, for the law also commands that sons should be presented to God in the temple on the eighth day. They are then circumcised as well. Exodus 22:29, 30 says,
29 You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The first-born of your sons you shall give to Me. 30 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.
When the first-born sons of God are born, the law says they must remain with their mother seven days. No son of God is allowed to be presented to God until the eighth day. This is why the feast of Tabernacles is eight days long. It covers the birth to the presentation of the sons.
The Law of Priesthood
Rev. 20:6 says that those raised in the first resurrection “will be priests of God and of Christ.” The same is true with the living overcomers. One does not have to be raised from the dead to be a priest of God. God is raising up a new priesthood for the age to come. When they are attached to their Head—the great High Priest—they will form a complete body that is qualified to be a priest unto God.
Under the Old Covenant priesthood of Aaron and his sons, they were disqualified if they suffered from physical deformities (Num. 21:17-21). Under the New Covenant priesthood, they are disqualified for spiritual deformities.
The most important deformity, of course, is functioning without a head. A headless priest is always disqualified. On a personal level, we are disqualified if Christ is not our Head. On a prophetic level, the body of Christ must have its Head in order to minister in the age to come.
On this level, Christ the Head must come so that the body is complete and qualified to minister to the people. That is why Christ must come again. The law says that the body of a priest must be complete.
Yet the body must be prepared for the Head. Christ will not come until then. Hence, the sequence of events is first that the “dead” portion of the body must be raised to life at the feast of Trumpets. Then the living overcomers must be “changed” into His likeness, so that the two groups can be joined together as one. Only then can the Head descend upon the full body, creating a qualified priest.
The Middle of Tabernacles
Christ the Head must come upon the body somewhere between the first and the eighth day of Tabernacles, between the birth and the presentation of the sons of God. For this reason, we see that when Jesus kept the feast of Tabernacles as John 7:2 says, He came “in secret” (John 7:10) before revealing Himself in the middle of the feast. John 7:14 says,
14 But when it was now the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach.
This was also when He fulfilled the prophecy in Mal. 3:1, “And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple.” It was the midst of the feast of Tabernacles. I believe that this prophesied of the second coming of Christ. Though we know not the year, we know the feast that He must fulfill, and we know the precise day within that feast in the only New Testament example where Jesus kept the feast of Tabernacles.
The Last Great Day of the Feast
John 7:37-39 says,
37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture [Isaiah 12:2, 3] said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’.” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
This word was partially fulfilled on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, but Jesus actually spoke the word on the last great day of the feast of Tabernacles. This is yet to come.
When the body is complete, then the full body will be presented to God on the eighth day of Tabernacles. Then this new priesthood will be manifested to the people on the earth. This is the manifestation or unveiling of the sons of God for which the creation awaits eagerly (Rom. 8:19).
It will be comparable to the presentation of Aaron and his sons to the Israelites on the eighth day in Lev. 9:1. On that day the glory of the Lord was manifested (Lev. 9:24). Then the fire of God—His glory—consumed the offering.