Christianity in the Old Testament
When you see some new machine, with its shafts turning, gears spinning, motors humming, you can't understand what it is or what it does, until somebody shows you a plan of it. Similarly, you can't understand history and its climax, modern civilization, until you see a plan of it.
The only such plan of history is in the Bible and it is amazingly complete. However, you can't understand this plan, the Bible, until you know who you are; that the Bible was lived and written by your ancestors, written about you and written to you. The identity of the Anglo‑Saxon, Scandinavian and Teutonic people as the Israel of the Bible, is the only key to the whole book.
If somebody wrote a very exact history of the United States, but never used the name "United States" therein, always calling the nation in this history "China," you couldn't make much sense out of it. As a history of China, it would be demonstrably false. It could never make good sense until you put the name of the right nation into it.
But all the major churches have falsified the Bible. They have taken our history, the various prophecies about us and told us that all this was just about the Jews, which is an easily demonstrated falsehood. That is why any intelligent and well educated atheist has always made a monkey of any clergyman who has ever debated him on the Bible. The traditional church doctrines on the Bible are such easily exposed falsehoods.
The churches have taught us another falsehood. They have taught that the Old Testament is a record of a different religion, the Jewish religion, which God tried out and found that He couldn't make it work. So, He had to abandon it and start a brand new religion, Christianity, in the New Testament. In this, they have greatly slandered our God.
On this program you have heard us prove that the Anglo‑Saxon, Scandinavian and Teutonic people are the Israel of the Bible. We have proved this by showing you that these people and no others, especially not the Jews, fulfill the Bible prophecies about Israel. I have proved it to you by tracing the actual migration of Israel from their ancient Palestinian homeland to their modern homelands in Europe and their former colonies, The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Let us not forget our brother Israelites in Rhodesia. We have traced this migration through the writings of most of the recognized historians of those centuries.
You have heard me prove that the New Testament is just as much an Israel book as is the Old Testament. In a series of seven broadcasts we reviewed the New Testament and showed that it was clearly speaking about and speaking to Israel. You have often heard me
say that "The Old Testament is just as much a Christian book as is the New Testament". Today, I shall begin the proof of the Christian content and character of the Old Testament. Our God was not mistaken when He inspired the prophets to write the Old Testament. It was not a failure which He had to abandon and start all over again with a new, a different religion. He was right the first time and His religion and His plan of the ages has always been the same, from the very beginning until this moment.
So that we can recognize Christianity when we find it in the Old Testament, we must clarify our ideas about it. What is the essence of Christianity, expressed in a few words? Isn't it this: That man is responsible for his own actions: if he disobeys God, this disobedience is sin and the penalty of sin is death.
Man must personally pay this penalty by his own death, unless someone pays it for him. But no other ordinary person could do this for you, because the other person is already under the death sentence for his own sins, and therefore could not die in your place.
Therefore, God provided the only possible sacrifice which could pay the penalty of your sins, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being perfect and without sin, had no penalty of his own to pay. Therefore, when He gave His own life for us when He died on the cross, He paid all the penalty of our sins, so that we will not have to meet this penalty.
If we accept this basis of our relationship to our God, openly confessing that Jesus Christ is our only Savior, then we have become acceptable to God, because sin no longer stands between Him and us. Instead of bearing the responsibility for our sins, we now have attributed to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is Christianity: this is what we must now look for in the Old Testament.
The first promise of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, is found in Genesis 3:15. God has called Adam, Eve and Satan before Him, to give account of their misdeeds; and God says to Satan, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed: He shall crush they head and thou shalt bruise his heel."
That is, One who is of the seed, or descendants of Eve, shall crush the power of Satan. But in doing so, He shall suffer from Satan's malice. However, the wound to Satan is far greater than the wound received by the Redeemer. We have seen this fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a most terrible thing for Him to endure. But by this and His resurrection, Jesus Christ totally and permanently broke the power of Satan to hold all men in his power through fear of death. The prophecy in Genesis 3:15 unmistakably applies to Jesus Christ, and is the first instance of Christianity in the Old Testament.
Note that this says that Satan was to have just as literal children as was Eve. The same Hebrew word for "seed", "zerah" is used in the case of both Satan and Eve. One of Eve's descendants (which we know to be Jesus Christ) was to defeat Satan, although suffering terribly in the process. Carefully note another thing, it is God Himself who puts enmity between Satan's children and Eve's children. You know how Satan's children love to parrot the official Communist party line phrase and call us "hate mongers". But the Bible itself tell us that God Himself commanded and created that enmity or hatred. As a matter of fact, it only appears as hatred among Satan's children. We don't hate them, we just detest the evil character shown by the wicked thing they are constantly doing. (Satan's children are today known as "Jews." Note added)
The Bible only records a very limited account of this conversation between God and Adam and Eve but, it very clearly implies that at this time God clearly explained to them the entire plan of Redemption, including the fact that He, God Himself, would be the Redeemer, coming in the form of a descendant of Eve.
Naturally, Adam and Eve didn't like being under the curse which came as a consequence of their disobedience of God and they hoped that the curse would soon be ended. Since God had not explained to them how many generations it would be until He came as the promised Redeemer, Eve hoped that her first child Cain, would be the Redeemer.
This is concealed from you by the mistranslation in your King James version of the Bible which says this: "She conceived and bore Cain and said, 'I have gotten a man from the Lord'". (Genesis 4:1) In the Hebrew it reads, "She conceived and bore Cain and said, 'I have gotten a man EVEN YAHWEH.'"
That is, she thought that this, her first child, was Yahweh God Himself, come in the flesh as one of her descendants, to be the Redeemer of His children. This also is Christianity in the Old Testament. You will remember that in my series of broadcasts on "Who Is Your Savior?", I gave the Bible's proof that Jesus Christ is God Himself, come in the flesh to be our Savior and Redeemer.
Again we find further confirmation of this in Genesis 4:3‑7, which tells us that
"Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Yahweh. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Yahweh had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth and his countenance fell. And Yahweh said unto Cain 'Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, the sin offering lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him.'"
Yes, I know your King James version Bible says that "sin lieth at the door", but the same Hebrew word means both the sin itself and the sin offering, the blood sacrifice. So closely were the two ideas identified, of the sin and of the offering, which cleansed the sinner of his guilt.
Although Cain had herds and flocks of his own, he brought no blood sacrifice, just fruits and vegetables. He made no confession of sin, no prayer for pardon. He merely told God, "Landlord, here's your crop‑rent" and then he wondered why God was not pleased by this! But Abel knew that sin would separate any man from God, and he could not become acceptable to God until cleansed of his sins.
That was only by making the blood offering, to proclaim his faith in God's revelation that some day the Savior would die to pay the penalty of Abel's sins and he could become free from sin. In other words, Abel showed an understanding of the basic principles of Christianity, nearly 4,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Again, (as Hebrews 11:4 reminds us), Abel understood the need of the blood sacrifice, symbolic of his faith that the Savior would give His life to pay for Abel's sins. These incidents in the third and fourth chapters of Genesis occurred close to 4,000 B.C..
But the Book of Genesis, which tells of this, was written by Moses about 1446 B.C., and it is not the earliest book in the Bible. Although the Book of Job was later assigned its place as the 18th book in the Bible, it was written about nine centuries before Moses lived.
Its great age appears from the fact that it never mentions the Law which God gave to Moses, and nothing as important as the Law would be omitted if the Book of Job had been written later. Job complains of his undeserved suffering and his "friends" assure him that suffering comes only as a just punishment, so Job must have done something very wicked to deserve such punishment. But, they never mention any Law which they think Job has broken. Also, Job, who wrote the book, is mentioned in Genesis 10:29 as "Jobab", "Father Job", a great, great grandson of Shem and a grandson of Eber, from whom the people got the name "Hebrews."
In all his suffering, Job never loses sight of the promise of the coming Redeemer. Even while he is wishing for death to put him out of his misery, in Job 19: 25‑27, he says,
"For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not another."
Abraham also knew and expressed some of the basic ideas of Christianity. In Genesis 22:1‑14, we read that God put Abraham to a severe test: He told Abraham to offer his beloved son Isaac, on the altar, as a burnt offering.
Remember how much Isaac meant to Abraham. In addition to all the ordinary love of a father for his son, God had promised Abraham that the many great prophecies given to him would be fulfilled through Isaac. Then, when Isaac was still a mere child, and none of the promises had yet been fulfilled, God suddenly commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering! Did it mean that God had changed His mind and would not make good on His many promises?
No, Abraham knew that God's word was always
reliable. Therefore God would find a way to fulfill His promises that through Isaac would be born a number of nations destined to demonstrate to the world the goodness of God.
So Abraham started out with Isaac for the place where he was to offer up the sacrifice, going cheerfully, not in the awful grief of a father about to not only witness, but even to cause, the death of his beloved son. He went in the sincere confidence of one who knew that his God was always faithful. It says that
"Isaac spoke unto Abraham his father, and said 'My father' and he said 'Here I am, my son.' And he (Isaac) said 'Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' And Abraham said, 'My son, GOD WILL PROVIDE HIMSELF A LAMB FOR A BURNT OFFERING.'" (Genesis 22:8)
Possibly his confidence might have been based in part upon the conviction that, if God did permit the death of Isaac, He would resurrect him, so that the promises would be fulfilled through Isaac; and if so, remember that resurrection is a basic part of Christianity.
But by his own statement, Abraham also was calmly certain that God would intervene, providing a lamb for the sacrifice to be offered in place of Isaac, so that by the death of this lamb in his place, Isaac could be spared. This again, is the very essence of Christianity.
In John 1:29, Jesus Christ is called "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"; and again, in Revelation 13:8, Jesus Christ is called "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Genesis 22 tells how Abraham's faith was justified. God stopped him before any harm could come to Isaac and provided a ram, caught in a nearby thicket, for the sacrifice.
This incident of Abraham and Isaac was written in the Book of Genesis by Moses. Do you think Moses did not know the significance of what he had written? Not at all, the Bible itself tells us that Moses was a Christian!
Does that surprise you? In Hebrews 11:24‑26 it says,
"By faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter: choosing rather to suffer affliction with the People of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward."
Certainly you can't have faith in something you have never heard of; so it is clear that Moses knew the significance of the symbolism in the Old Testament rituals which he told the people of Israel to use.
CHRISTIANITY IS THE CENTRAL THEME OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, especially in the writings of Moses and Isaiah. The deepest religious truths therein are expressed symbolically in the sacrifices and rituals.
Since they are not explained in words of one syllable
for the benefit of the lazy, the uninterested and the
shallow, they have not been perceived by churchmen
whose religion never gets beyond mere emotionalism.
These are the men who tell us that God was mistaken in the Old Testament, that His plan would not work, because men in their wickedness were stronger than God. They would not let Him carry out His plans, so He had to abandon all this and start over again in the
Isn't that an inspiring religion! They call themselves "New Testament Christians", but they either won't read or won't believe the New Testament either. In that same New Testament, Jesus Christ (to whom they render lip service) calls their attention to Christianity in the writings of Moses. In the 5th Chapter of John, He twice called attention of the Jews to this fact, saying, "Search the scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and it is they which testify of Me."
The earliest book of the New Testament, Matthew, was not written until ten years after Christ spoke, so "the Scriptures" He told them to read were necessarily those of the Old Testament. Again Jesus Christ told them, "There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me." Can you be a "New Testament Christian" if you won't believe Jesus Christ's own words?
Again we find the essence of Christianity clearly symbolized in the origin of the Passover. You remember Moses had repeatedly demanded of the Pharaoh of Egypt that he let the people of Israel go, and the Pharaoh had each time refused, despite the many miracles Moses worked, bringing down plagues upon Egypt to show his authority.
So God told Moses that one more plague would be sent upon Egypt which would surely convince Pharaoh that he should let the Children of Israel go;
"Thus saith Yahweh, 'About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the first born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon the throne, even unto the first born of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the first born of beasts. But against any of the Children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how Yahweh doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.'"
Note what this means. Because the stubborn wickedness of the Egyptians, the death penalty was to come upon them. Yet the Children of Israel, who also were imperfect and sinful, were to escape this penalty. There was only one way in which they could be spared, by the ritual of the Passover. This Passover certainly symbolizes Christianity as the way of salvation from death.
The instructions for this ritual were given in Exodus 12,
"In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole Qahal of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts and upon the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in the night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs shall they eat it. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial: and ye shall keep it for a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever."
This symbolized Jesus Christ giving His life to save those who believe in Him. This festival was always kept in the Hebrew month of Nisan. This meal gave the Israelites strength for their forced march, that night and all the next day, leaving Egypt in the Exodus.
The lamb's blood had to be placed outside the door on the two door posts and the lintel above the front door of each house. Although they were cruelly mistreated slaves in the land of their enemies, they could not eat the Passover supper in secret. Salvation from death came only to those who publicly proclaimed their faith that the blood of the lamb would save them.
This is clear "New Testament" Christianity. First, the necessity for public confession of faith in the blood of the Lamb: in Matthew 10:32‑33 Jesus Christ Himself says,.
“Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My father which is in heaven.” (See Luke 12:8‑9)
In Romans 10:9, Paul reminds us,
"That if thou shalt confess, with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Eating the flesh of the lamb to gain strength for the great effort of the Exodus from the world and evil into salvation and the Kingdom of God is again clear Christian symbolism. In the 6th Chapter of John, Jesus
Christ says, "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.” (John 6:35‑41) (KJV)
Perhaps some of you are wondering about the command in Exodus 12:24,
"And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever."
Are we violating God's law when we do not celebrated Passover as such today? No, for this reason: you will note that the Passover ritual was an ordinance; all the religious rituals were stated as ordinances.
There are four grades of divine law: (1) the Commandments, which are the greatest rules governing man's relation to his God; (2) the Statutes, which are the rules for governing the nation, including many of the rules for man's relation to his fellow man; (3) the Judgments, which are the rules telling the judges how to decide cases between man and man; and (4) the ordinances, which are the rules for the religious rituals and ceremonies.
The Commandments, the Statutes and the Judgments are the rules which are forever necessary for a good life in this world and they are still in force. But the ordinances governed only the religious ceremonies and rituals, and all of these were symbolic of the coming Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Since He had not come in Old Testament times, all the symbolism of the rituals looked to the future. But after Jesus Christ had actually come, we cannot go on proclaiming our faith that our Redeemer has not yet come but will come in the future.
That would be a rejection of Jesus Christ who has already come. Therefore, only THE FORM of the ceremony, not its eternal truth, is changed to a new FORM (the Lord's Supper, or Communion) which proclaims our faith in a Redeemer WHO HAS ALREADY COME. It is still the same eternal truth about the same Redeemer. It does not reject any of the truth implied in the Passover, it merely proclaims this as already accomplished.
As I said, the Passover was on the 14th day of the Hebrew month Nisan. The Passover lambs were killed and dressed in the afternoon, ready for that evening's Passover supper. Your King James version Bible wrongly translates this as "in the evening."
But the Hebrew said "between the evenings,” which meant between the time when the sun first started toward sunset, that is at noon, and the time when it finished its going down. Jesus Christ was crucified soon after noon and He died about 3 o'clock P.M..
The Bible says, "about the ninth hour": the Hebrew divided the night into "watches" and the day into twelve hours, beginning at sunrise (which came about 6 A.M. at that time of year); so "the ninth hour" was 3 P.M.. So Jesus Christ died right in the middle of the period when the Passover lambs were being killed, emphasizing the fact that He was our Passover.
The next day, the fifteenth day of Nisan, began the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We find this in Leviticus 23:6‑8,
"And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of the Unleavened Bread unto Yahweh: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an convocation: ye shall not do any servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein."
Like all the other festivals and rituals of the Old Testament, this Feast of the Unleavened Bread is symbolic of Jesus Christ and His ministry.
Leaven was a symbol of sin, its fermentation being perhaps thought of as similar to putrefaction. The way just a little leaven introduced into the dough would soon spread through it all. Hence we find Jesus Christ warning His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Matthew 16:6‑12).
Since Jesus Christ was "the bread of life," as He explained in John 6, the fact that (1) Jesus Christ has saved us by His death in our place on the cross, followed by (2) the fact that our lives are thereafter sustained by His power, is symbolized by the Passover, followed by the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. Jesus Christ's perfection, free from all sin, is symbolized by the use of unleavened bread.
The third of the Spring Festivals,
First Fruits, came before the end of Unleavened Bread. On the first day after the Sabbath following the Passover, was the First Fruits Festival. It is mentioned in many places (Exodus 23:16, 34:22; Leviticus 23:10‑14; Numbers 18:12‑13, 28:16; Deuteronomy 18:4, 26:1‑11), and the entire ritual is given in Deuteronomy 26:1‑11,
“and it shall be, when thou art come unto the land which Yahweh thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it and dwellest therein: that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruits of the earth, which thou shalt bring out of thy land that Yahweh they God giveth thee, and thou shalt put it in a basket and shall go unto the place which Yahweh thy God shall choose to place His name there. And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days and say unto him, 'I profess this day unto Yahweh thy God, that I am come unto the country which Yahweh swore unto our fathers for to give us.' And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand and set it down before the altar of Yahweh thy God. And thou shalt speak and say before Yahweh thy God, 'A Syrian ready to perish was my father and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty and populous: and the Egyptians evil entreated us and afflicted us and laid upon us hard bondage: and when we cried unto Yahweh, God of our fathers, Yahweh heard our voice, and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression: and Yahweh brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terribleness, and with signs and with wonders: and He hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the first fruits of the land which Thou, O Yahweh, hast given me'."
The people in general have never shown any ability to understand the deeper truths of religion. Only a very few upon whom rests the Spirit of God, have ever understood. Therefore, to keep the rituals in the mind of the people, Moses had to give an explanation simplified within the range of comprehension of the average man. Therefore, he tied in the Festival of the First Fruits with the idea of expressing gratitude to God for his gift of the Promised Land.
But the Promised Land of Canaan was only for this world, a temporary value. What was the true Promised Land, the one which was eternal? It must necessarily be resurrection and continued life after the death of this fallen body. Therefore, that is the true symbolism of the Festival of the First Fruits; and that is the fulfillment which Jesus Christ gave it. On the morning after the Sabbaths, He was resurrected, to demonstrate the reality of the Redemption He had given us; and this was on the exact day of the Festival of the First Fruits. He always fulfilled the great reality on the exact day of the Festival which symbolized that realty.
He carried out the symbolism of the First Fruits to
the exact letter. In Leviticus 23:10‑11, it is commanded that the First Fruits offering shall be a sheaf of grain, a number of stalks, each with its head containing many individual grains; and the priest shall take the sheaf and wave it, that is publicly display it, before Yahweh. When Jesus Christ was resurrected, He did not rise alone: Matthew 27:52‑53 tells us that
"The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after His resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared unto many."
Thus He fulfilled the symbolism of the wave sheaf, containing many individual grains, by resurrecting many persons when He arose as the First Fruits from the dead and making public display of His victory over death.
That is the correct interpretation of the symbolism that is shown by Paul's words in I Corinthians 15:20‑23,
"But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the First Fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the First Fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at His coming."
The First Fruits Festival came at the time of the barley harvest, for the barley harvest ripened several weeks before the wheat. The offering of the First Fruits at the Temple was of only a small amount, a mere token, as a pledge that when the major harvest, that of the wheat was brought in, the full tithe of the grain harvest would be brought to the Temple. This was to be done at what the Bible calls "The Feast of Weeks," and which the churchmen, with the usual specialists' delight in developing a jargon of their own, have chosen to call "Pentecost."
Jesus Christ knew and respected the symbolism here involved. At First Fruits, He did not bring all the magnificent gifts He would give to His followers. He brought just a token resurrection of a few persons, to show how great would be His eventual gift to men.
However, men must live out their lives, under all the usual circumstances of this world, before they reach the stage of death and resurrection so, they need another gift before that time. What they need to bring them triumphantly through life is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ had promised them this gift. In John 14:16‑18,
"And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever: even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
So, at the time of First Fruits, Jesus Christ demonstrated the reality of His gift of resurrection by bringing several of the dead to life. It was not yet time for actual resurrection to come to everyone, so this was just a token, given in pledge of the final harvest. With this proof, everyone could wait in serene confidence for what was yet to come. The rest of the harvest for man was to be demonstrated in its own good time, at the Feast of Weeks.
The Feast of Weeks was celebrated on the fiftieth day after First Fruits, as specified in Leviticus 23:15‑21,
"And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall be complete: and even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days: and ye shall offer a new meal offering unto Yahweh. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the First Fruits unto Yahweh. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs, without blemish, of the first year, and one young bullock and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto Yahweh, with their meal offering and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of savor unto Yahweh. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the First Fruits, for a wave offering before Yahweh, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."
Note here some contrasts, which are intended to make clear the different things symbolized. In the Feast of the First Fruits, the symbolism was that of Jesus Christ resurrected as the First Fruits from the Dead.
Since leaven symbolizes sin, there could not be any leaven in the offerings made on the day of First Fruits. Along with the sheaf of barley, the Israelite was to offer a he lamb of the first year without blemish, as a burnt offering, which symbolizes Jesus Christ offered to pay the penalty of our sins. There was also to be an offering of fine flour mingled with oil, but not baked into a leavened loaf, nor could any leaven be included in the offering, as First Fruits must symbolize Jesus Christ who is without sin. But the Feast of Weeks, also called Pentecost, does not directly represent Jesus Christ, it symbolizes the true church and Jesus Christ's gift of the Holy Spirit to the church.
Even the very best of men have some sins, even when called by Jesus Christ to be part of His church. Therefore, the wave loaves which symbolize the church were made with leaven. Note also that at the Feast of the First Fruits, there was the offering of a sheaf of stalks of barley, each stalk having its head containing many individual grains.
This symbolizing the many individuals to whom Jesus Christ brings the gift of life and resurrection. With the call to form His church, all the believers become part of one body, the church, as Paul points out in I Corinthians 10:16‑17, saying,
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."
Therefore, the offering at the Feast of Weeks is no longer a sheaf containing a multitude of individual grains, but of the wave loaves symbolizing the many believers now become one church.
In fulfillment of this, at the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, next following the crucifixion, the Disciples were waiting in Jerusalem in obedience to Jesus Christ's promise and command in Luke 24:49,
"And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high",
and in Acts 1:8,
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses upon Me, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."
At the Feast of Weeks, the Holy Spirit came upon them, (as set forth in detail in the second chapter of Acts) which began the work of the church, men united in their fellowship as parts of the mystic Body of Christ. Remember, this was but the fulfillment of the thing symbolized in the Feast of Weeks, in the Old Testament.
Have we now completed our review of Christianity in the Old Testament? Far from it!! Let us now turn to Isaiah 53:3‑7, which even our various churches all admit refers definitely to Jesus Christ. I will correct a few errors in translation in it.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of pains and acquainted with sickness: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our sickness and carried our pain: yet we did esteem His stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Yahweh hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter."
Indeed, what can the so called "New Testament" add, which is not found here? Remember, Isaiah wrote this almost 7 ˝ centuries before it was fulfilled!
How can clergymen be so blind? Most of them quote this passage from Isaiah at one time or another. They even preach that it is referring to Jesus Christ. Yet hey then preach that the Old Testament set forth a different and false religion which had to be abandoned, to make way for the New Testament and Christianity.
The psalms make many references to Jesus Christ and His work of salvation. Psalm 2 contains clear reference to Him:
"I will declare the decree: Yahweh hath said unto Me, 'Thou art My son: this day have I begotten thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.' Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve Yahweh with fear, rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little."
Psalm 22 is generally admitted to be a prophetic picture of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is too long for me to quote here but read it for yourself and you will see that it describes the crucifixion.
Psalm 40:6‑10 again prophesies Jesus Christ, as is recognized in Hebrews 10:5‑14. Don't these "New Testament Christians" ever read the New Testament? Jesus Christ certainly did fulfill these words of Psalm 40,
"Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; Mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required. Then said I, 'Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.' I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained My lips, O Yahweh, Thou knowest. I have not hid Thy righteousness within My heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy loving kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation."
Again Psalm 41:9 is prophetic, saying
"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread, hath lifted up his heel against Me."
In John 13:18, Jesus Christ Himself quotes this verse, telling the Disciples that the betrayal by Judas Iscariot is the fulfillment of this Psalm.
Also, Psalm 45:6‑7 refers to Jesus Christ saying,
"Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter. Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, that anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows."
This is quoted, word for word, in Hebrews
1:8‑9 as applying to Jesus Christ.
Psalm 68:18 refers to Jesus Christ's deliverance of the dead from their previous captivity by the powers of evil, saying,
"Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men: Yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them."
This Psalm is quoted by Paul in Ephesians 4:7‑10 explaining its reference to Jesus Christ.
Psalm 69:9, referring to Jesus Christ's single minded devotion to doing His Father's will, regardless of the consequences says,
"For the zeal of thine house hath eaten Me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me."
John 2:17 and Romans 15:3 explain that this verse applied to Jesus Christ. Why don't these "New Testament Christians" read their New Testament, and see that it so frequently refers to the Old Testament for confirmation of its truth?
Psalm 110:1,4, refer to Jesus Christ, saying,
"Yahweh said unto my Lord 'Sit thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool'"
"Yahweh hath sworn and will not repent, 'Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.'"
In Matthew 22:41‑45, Jesus Christ quoted this Psalm in proof of His divine nature and Peter also cited it as such proof, in Acts 2:29‑36, and in Hebrews, Paul quotes it as authority three times, (see Hebrews 5:6, 6:20 and all of chapter 7). There are also several other identifiable references to Jesus Christ in other Psalms, but we have covered that field enough.
However, before we leave this point, let us note how thoroughly it is explained in the Book of Hebrews 9:1‑12,
"Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service and an earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick and the table and the showbread, which is called the Sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all; which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded and the tablets of the covenant; and over it the cherubim of glory, shadowing the mercy‑seat; Now these things were thus ordained, and the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the High Priest alone, once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience. But Christ being come, an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
That is, the religious ordinances of the Old Testament were all symbolic of the true redemption which would be accomplished by Jesus Christ at His first coming. Now do you see why Paul said in Galatians 3:24 that
"the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ."
The first three major parts of the Law, that is the Commandments, the Statutes and the Judgments, established rules of conduct which one must follow if his conduct is to be righteous. We all fall short of such good conduct and do not gain righteousness by our own actions, and the Law condemns us for this; but the fourth division of the Law, the Ordinances which set up all the religious rituals and ceremonies, points out that righteousness can be gained only through the death of another in our place, paying the penalty of our sins; and as we have seen, this clearly symbolized that the real sacrifice, not the mere symbol of if, was that which would be made by Jesus Christ at His first coming, in His crucifixion and resurrection.
We cannot go on forever with our discussion of Christianity in the Old Testament, however there remains one part of it which is as important as all that we have studied this far: the three Fall Festivals, the Hebrew New Year (Rosh Hashanah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kipper) and the Feast of the Tabernacles, all symbolize the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Let us now examine these in detail.
The Hebrew day began at sunset. Each month was a lunar month, always beginning with the new moon. Today, we calculate the time when the moon is exactly opposite from its position at Full Moon and this is the astronomical New Moon; but the moon is not visible at all on that day: it is too close to the sun to be seen, even at sunset. The Hebrews counted as New Moon the first day that a thin crescent could be seen just after sunset and this comes on a day later than the day marked "New Moon" on your calendar.
So sunset of the day of the New Moon of the first month of the year was their New Year's Day. They posted watchers on nearby hilltops or on towers in the cities, to watch for the first glimpse of the thin crescent New Moon. When the watchers saw it, they notified the people of the town by loud shouts and the people joined in the shouting and blowing horns. (In fact, we still do something much like this, but we delay our New Year's shouting and horn blowing until midnight.)
We find the ordinance governing it in Numbers 29:1,
"And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is day of blowing the trumpets unto you."
If you are wondering about this reference to it as "the seventh month" the answer is that the Hebrews had two separate calendar years. One was the civil year, commencing with the month Nisan in the spring. The other was the sacred year, commencing with the month Tishri, which was the seventh month in the civil year.
On a small scale, the New Year ritual was this: watchers scanned the heavens, looking there for the sign of the end of one period of time, a year, and the beginning of another. What is symbolized on the great scale is this: we are to watch for the sign in the heavens marking the return of Jesus Christ, ending this age and beginning the next. Christ explained this for us in Matthew 24:30‑31,
"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
As they watched anxiously for the sign of the end of a year, so we watch hopefully for the sign in the heavens which will show us that Jesus Christ is on His way and nearly here, leading the vast armies of heaven, come to overthrow all wickedness and set us free from its power. This will end the sinful age in which we have been living and beginning the next age of true and complete righteousness when Jesus Christ shall rule all the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Today, we who really believe His words remain alert to perceive the signs of His second coming, in accordance with His warnings in the 24th Chapter of Matthew:
"Watch therefore: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."
The importance of this sign cannot be overrated, so strongly and repeatedly does the Bible state it. In Matthew 25:1‑13, Jesus Christ tells the parable of the ten virgins and their lamps, five of them being wise and keeping their lamps not only trimmed but also filled with oil, in readiness for their master's return from His wedding supper. The other five were foolish and had no oil for their lamps. He concludes this parable by saying,
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
In Luke 21:34‑36, He also said,
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man."
Paul tells us in Thessalonians 5:4‑6, But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."Remember, all of this was symbolized by the Hebrew New Year ritual in the Old Testament.
The return of Jesus Christ, which is the dearest hope of the Christian, will not be a source of joy to those who hate Jesus Christ. Both Old and New Testaments alike tell us of His enemies' terror as they see their judgment and punishment coming. Zechariah 12:10‑11,
"and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one is in bitterness for his first born. IN THAT DAY THERE SHALL BE A GREAT MOURNING IN JERUSALEM."
Revelation 6:15‑16 adds,
"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondsman, and every freeman hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.'"
As the Book of Revelation is entirely symbolic, the "mountains and the rocks" of which is speaks are nations and the communities into which the enemies of Jesus Christ have infiltrated. In calling upon these nations and cities to "fall on us and hide us," they will be seeking protection by trying to pass as just ordinary members of these nations and communities, denying any double allegiance to another nation, race, or religion. Some of them have deceived us by this means and they will try also to deceive God, but without success.
The next Fall Festival was the Day of Atonement, on the tenth day of the Hebrew month Tishri. It was the most solemn of all the festivals and it carries the deepest symbolism in the entire Bible. Before we can consider it in detail, we must learn the identity of a fallen angel named Azazel (Aw‑zaw‑zale').
You will not find his name mentioned in your King James version of the Bible, although it is there in the original Hebrew; and the entire story is not given in the books of the accepted canon of the Bible. So, we must turn to the Book of Enoch for many of the details. We start with Genesis 6:1‑4, as it reads in the Hebrew:
"And it comes to pass that mankind (Adamites) have begun to multiply upon the face of the earth, and daughters have been born to them; and sons of God see the daughter of men, that they are fair, and they take to themselves women of all whom they have chosen. THE FALLEN ONES (Nephilim) were in the earth in those days, and even afterwards when sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they have borne to them, they are the heroes who, from of old, are the men of renown."
That is to say, the fallen angels who followed Satan into rebellion were the ones who "left their first estate (or condition)" as we are told in Jude 6. Your King James version Bible says "There were giants in the earth in those days," but that is pure mistranslation, as the Hebrew says "The NEPHILIM were in the earth in those days," and the meaning of 'Nephilim" is "the fallen ones," obviously the fallen angels who had gone into rebellion under the leadership of Satan.
But who is "Satan?" The word "Satan" is not the name of any person, but a mere title, meaning "the opponent." He is sometimes called "Lucifer," but this also is only a title, meaning "the shining one." or perhaps "the light bearer." To learn who is the person carrying these titles, we must turn to the Book of Enoch, as I have said. In the sixth chapter of Enoch it says,
"And it came to pass, when the children of men had multiplied, that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another, "Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children'"
It goes on to list the names of the chief ringleaders among the rebel angels, among whom is one named Azazel.
Chapter 8 of Enoch says,
"And Azazel taught men to make swords and knives and shields and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them. And there arose much godlessness and they committed fornication and they were led astray and became corrupt in all their ways. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven."
It tells how God sent a committee of four archangels, Michael, Uriel, Raphael and Gabriel to investigate and report back to Him just how bad conditions really were. In Enoch 9, they report,
"Thou seest what Azazel hath done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on earth...And the women have borne giants and the whole earth has thereby been filled with blood and unrighteousness."
In Enoch 10, God orders Raphael to
"Bind Azazel hand and foot and cast him into darkness: and make an opening in the desert which is in Dudael and cast him therein."
Then God pronounces sentence upon Azazel, "The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: TO HIM ASCRIBE ALL SIN," and God commands that Azazel be kept imprisoned in darkness in the pit in the desert, awaiting his final judgment and condemnation.
With this background, knowing who and what Azazel is, we are ready to commence our study of the Day of Atonement. The instructions for the Day of Atonement are found in Leviticus 16 and 23.
Usually I read to you the Scriptures on the point and then explain it. However, if I read it in detail here, just the 16th Chapter of Leviticus alone would take all of my time. So, I shall suggest that you read first Leviticus 23:26‑30 and all of Leviticus 16 and we will now study its meaning.
Ordinarily, the High Priest performed his duties dressed in a magnificent embroidered robe, decorated with golden ornaments as well as colored embroidery and with the golden breastplate set with twelve jewels, each with the name of one of the Tribes of Israel engraved on the jewel. (See Exodus 28.)
It was the best man could do to indicate the majesty of one who, when so clad, represented the godhood: that is to say, the High Priest when clad in his regular robes of office represented Jesus Christ in all the glory and majesty of God, before He came in the form of a man.
On the day of Atonement however, the High Priest laid aside his magnificent robes, bathed and dressed entirely in white linen, symbols of sinless purity. This was representing Jesus Christ coming in human form, having for a time laid aside the full majesty of the godhood and being without sin. (Leviticus 16:4) But the High Priest was himself a man, with the faults and sins which all men have. So, he must cleanse himself of his own sins before he can act out the part of Jesus Christ in the ritual of the Day of Atonement.
Therefore, he next sacrifices a sin offering on behalf of himself and his household. By this he is cleansed of his sins and so can play the part of the sinless Christ. (Leviticus 16:6,11 &14)
The symbolism of the animal sacrifices offered by individual sinners was clearly this: realizing that he had sinned, the sinner went to the Temple and offered his sin offering, the death of the animal symbolizing his faith that the death of the real Savior would pay the penalty of his sins.
By this, he was cleansed of his sin, that is, he left the sin and its penalty at the Temple. While the sinner was freed from the penalty, the sin must still be accounted for. So, the sins of the people accumulated at the Temple all through the year. Then, on the Day of Atonement, the Temple contained all the sins of the people for the entire year. The Temple must be cleansed of these accumulated sins before the rest of the ceremony could be performed. So, after the High Priest had offered the sin offering on behalf of himself and his family, he was ready to make the great atonement for the people. The real meaning of this has been concealed by mistranslation in the King James version of the Bible. Indeed in many of the modern translations it has also been mistranslated.
In the Hebrew it reads thus:
"And Aaron shall take from the assembly of the Children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and he shall take the two goats and cause them to stand before Yahweh at the door of the Tabernacle. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for Yahweh and one lot for Azazel; and Aaron shall bring near the goat on which the lot for Yahweh has fallen, and shall make it a sin offering. And the goat on which the lot for Azazel fell, he shall cause to stand living before Yahweh, to make atonement by it, to send it away for a goat of departure into the desert. And he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is the people's and shall take its blood into the inside of the veil, and shall sprinkle it on the mercy seat and at the front of the mercy seat, and he shall make atonement for the sanctuary because of the uncleanness of the Children of Israel and because of their transgressions in all their sins. And he shall make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel."
Before we finish this, let's understand this part of it. The High Priest has received from the nation of Israel two goats and he has cast lots over them to select one goat for a sin offering to Yahweh God on behalf of all the people and the other goat is then selected for Azazel. The goat of the sin offering on behalf of the people is then slaughtered in sacrifice, and the High Priest takes its blood into the Holy of Holies where he sprinkles a little of the blood on and before the mercy seat where Yahweh God sits.
Thus he reminds God that blood has been shed to pay for all the sins of all the people. This symbolizes Jesus Christ offering His own innocent blood, shed to pay for all the sins of all the people who will accept Him as their Savior. In the book of Hebrews chapter 9, it is explained thus:
Now when these things were thus ordained, the priest went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the High Priest alone, once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people. But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation.
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood he entered into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For it the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, santifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Almost all things are by the Law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission of sins. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that he should offer Himself often, as the High Priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others; for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world. But now once in the end of the age hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifices of Himself. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.
Surely, the sacrifice of the goat as a sin offering on behalf of the people symbolizes Jesus Christ offering His own life as the sacrifice for us and entering heaven to stand before God to offer the shedding of His own blood as the proof that no blame now remains upon those whom He has thus saved.
Christianity? Of course it is! But remember that all this is found in the early part of the Old Testament. God didn't give us a different religion there, nor make any mistakes which needed correction later. He was right the first time and all the time. He gave us Christianity in all its completeness in the Old Testament.
Next, the High Priest comes out of the Holy of Holies and he lays aside the plain white linen and resumes his gorgeous robes. This symbolizes Jesus Christ coming again, not as a mere man who could be treated with contempt and murdered, but returning with all the power and glory of God. The High Priest now took the other goat, the one selected for Azazel. This goat was not sacrificed. The High Priest laid his hands on the head of this goat and confessed over him all the sins of all the people. Leviticus 16:21‑22, says,
"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the Children of Israel and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the desert: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the desert.”
Remember how the Book of Enoch reported God's judgment upon Azazel? "Unto Azazel ascribe all sin" Since he had taught men to sin and had created and ruled the evil conditions which kept them sinning, Azazel must himself bear the full responsibility for all their sins. For him there was no sacrifice to pay his penalty for him. To him the message was, "Here Azazel, all these sins are yours, you must answer for every one of them."
Notice the perfect consistency of Bible symbolism. The goat bears the people's sins and takes them away into an uninhabited desert. The Bible's doctrine of forgiveness of sin is not merely that God withholds the punishment we have earned, it is that God has removed the sin and all its unclean stain from us. He has separated us from our sins. Psalm 103:12 says,
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."
The sin and all its consequences are gone from us and delivered to Azazel for him to bear the consequences of his own misdeeds.
So the Day of Atonement is not just something out of an old religion, superseded now by the new. It is the mystery of Christianity in its purest essence. Leviticus 16:34 commands,
"And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make atonement for the Children of Israel for all their sins, once a year."
While we no longer sacrifice one goat and drive another out into the desert, we are supposed to understand the truth which the ceremony symbolized and never forget it.
The Hebrew New Year came on the first day of the Hebrew month Tishri and the Day of Atonement came on the tenth. Then on the fifteenth of Tishri began the week long Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:34‑43 gives the rule:
"Speak unto the Children of Israel saying, "The 15th day of the 7th month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for 7 days unto Yahweh. On the 1st day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days shall ye offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: on the 8th day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. In the 15th day of the 7th month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto Yahweh 7 days: on the 1st day shall be a Sabbath and on the 8th day shall be a Sabbath. And ye shall take you on the 1st day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees and the boughs of thick trees and willows of the brook: and ye shall rejoice before Yahweh your God 7 days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto Yahweh 7 days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the 7th month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: that your generation may know that I made the Children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yahweh your God."
Now let us consider what this means. Remember that the Israelites were then farmers and stock raisers. Theirs was an entirely agricultural civilization. Very few made a living as merchants, even as it so often is today! The agricultural year began with the plowing and sowing of seed and it ended with the completion of the harvests. The last harvest was the grape vintage and by the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, even this was complete.
The farmers had worked hard all the year and now their labors were finished. They had their crops gathered and stored in their barns. Now they could rest and enjoy the fruits of their labors. But the year symbolized the age. We have lived under the curse of a fallen world and have spent all the age in hard labor.
However, when Jesus Christ comes the second time, to free the world of its curse and set up the Kingdom of God in all its glory, starting a new age, God has not forgotten our labors. The reward of our good deed awaits us, just like the farmer's crops stored in his barn, then we can rest and rejoice.
Of all the festivals, only the Day of Atonement was a somber one, the others were happy. The Feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous of all. While emphasis was laid upon the people dwelling for seven days in brush shelters, sometimes called "booths", and there was mention made that this was in commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt where the people were nomads, without any houses. It does not seem that this was the entire significance of it. For one thing, it is associated with the idea of the end of this age. We know that this age will end in terrible war and devastation. It may be prophetic of a time to come, when destruction of cities will again force the survivors to dwell in such temporary shelters as they can find.
There are some further things about the Feast of Tabernacles we should study. First, the word itself: in the Hebrew there are three words which have all been indiscriminately translated "tabernacle," meaning a tent or temporary, moveable dwelling, but these three words have different meanings.
The first is "ohel," meaning a tent. The second is "sukkah" meaning a hut of brush and twigs, or a booth. Both of these words mean a temporary dwelling place. The third is "mishkan," meaning a permanent dwelling place.
On the exodus from Egypt, the people were constantly wandering about and had to dwell in tents (If they were lucky enough to have them.) or in booths made of brush. In Hosea 12:19, God warns us that
"I, Yahweh, thy God from the land of Egypt, will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feasts."
This reinforces the idea that the command to live in such brush booths for the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles was prophetic of a coming time when we would again be in flight from disaster and would have to take what shelter we could get. We will come back to the meaning of these words a little later.
One further significant thing about the Feast of Tabernacles, it came right after the last harvest (that of the grape vintage) was completed.
In Matthew 13:38‑41, Jesus Christ explains the parable of the tares sown among the wheat saying,
"The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this age. The Son of Man shall send forth His angels and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire."
We know that the coming end of this age is with the final World War, including the Battle of Armageddon. This is the process of gathering out all the wicked for destruction. Other prophets have written of it as the Harvest of the Vine of the Earth. For example, Joel 3:13,
"Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down, for the winepress is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great."
The idea is completed in Revelation 14:14‑19,
"And I looked and behold, a white cloud and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another eagle came out of the Temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat upon the cloud, 'Thrust in Thy sickle and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe' And He that sat upon the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the Temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and he cried with a loud voice to him that had the sharp sickle saying, 'Thrust in thy sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the Vine of the Earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.' And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth and gathered the Vine of the Earth and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God."
Certainly no rest for us, as enjoyment of our reward, is possible until the harvest removes from us the wicked who have ruined our every effort to build the Kingdom of God during this Age. So the symbolism of the Feast of Tabernacles, coming right after the harvest and marking the first time in the year when we have had time and opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our own labors, is fully consistent with the other portions of the Bible which develop other parts of the same basic idea.
Now, to get back to the meaning of "tabernacle." There was a fulfillment in the birth of Christ, which occurred on October 6, 4 B.C. on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. No, He was not born on December 25th, for that is only an old pagan holiday celebrating the Winter Solstice, which can be traced back to at least 2,000 B.C. in Egypt.
The real Christmas Day is October 4th. In John 1:1,14 we read that
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God; And the word became flesh and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He came to live among us in the form of a mortal man only temporarily, so it is said that He tabernacled among us."
But the great fulfillment is yet to come, when He cometh to remain forever among us, in fulfillment of the rest of the prophecy in both Old and New Testaments. First in Leviticus 26:3, 11‑12, where God says,
“I will set My tabernacle among you (and here the word is 'Mishkan, My permanent dwelling place); and My soul shall not abhor you. And I shall walk among you and will be your God and ye shall be My people."
So the fulfillment of this is again prophesied in Revelation 21:3 saying,
"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them and be their God."
Here the word translated "tabernacle" is the Greek word "skene," which like the Hebrew "Mishkan," means a permanent dwelling place.
So, we have reviewed the Old Testament and found it to be as fully a Christian book as is the New Testament. We have shown this on other occasions that the Old Testament is just as fully a Christian book just as the New Testament is as fully an Israel book as the Old Testament.
While we are about it, let's correct that false use of the word "testament," meaning the written will by which a dying man leaves his property to others. The words used correctly mean "a covenant," that is a solemn contract to agreement between two or more persons. This correct usage makes sense and is consistent with all the Bible has to say about it. God made His covenant with Abraham and God never breaks His word. So the Bible tells us in Jeremiah 31:31‑33,
“Behold the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they broke, although I was an husband unto them, saith Yahweh: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel: after these days, saith Yahweh, I will put My law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be My people."
The only change is from a rigid code of laws which are followed just to the letter and no more, to a code which God has written in the hearts of His people so that they now obey Him willingly, out of love, not our of compulsion and fear. It is the same covenant, dealing with the same laws.
In Hebrews 8:8‑10, this passage from Jeremiah is quoted exactly, showing that the "New Covenant" is merely the Old Covenant written in the people's hearts. There is no way the preachers can twist this into a repudiation of the Old Testament, or more correctly "Old Covenant."
Indeed, it is the clearest kind of affirmation of it as being right and good from the very beginning. God was always faithful to His word. The only change to a New Covenant is one which will make us also faithful to our promise to obey Him and be His people.
As we have told you many times on this program, there is as much Christianity in the Old Testament as in the New. There is as much Israel in the New Testament as in the Old.
Both Testaments are but the two halves of one consistent book, written by one God, who is always truthful and consistent. He knew the end from the beginning, He made no mistakes and no failures. He had no need to abandon anything and make a new start.
In the beginning only His chosen prophets fully understood His message, indeed that has always been true. But, with the passing of time, the message was more clearly unfolded for the people in general, but it was always the same message throughout the entire book. The Israelites are God's people, and that He provided Christian salvation and redemption for them, despite their sins, so that He could make good all of His wonderful promises to His people. (Christianity in the Old Testament, by Pastor Bertrand L. Comparet, A.B., J.D.)