Chapter 17

The Meanings of the Feasts for

the Church Dispensation

 

'Jesus saith unto them: "Have ye understood

all these things?"' (Matthew 13:51)

There is no way in which we can actually 'understand' anything in the Bible, unless we are 'taught of God.' And when we come to figures and numbers in the Scriptures, especially in regard to time, it is absolutely necessary that we have a clear vision of 'the pattern' of God's works. In Ezekiel 43; 10, the prophet is told: 'Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.'

The previous three chapters of Ezekiel had been filled with detail, measurements and description of the coming great Millennial Temple; but until a clear diagram and plan could be drawn up to show the 'pattern' of it all, those measurements remained meaningless. Exactly so is it with the Bible's Chronology, and we can apply this illustration to 'the feasts of the Lord' - for we need to see and measure the pattern of them, and know what they actually signify.

'Let us keep the feast'

(1Corinthians 5:8)

When Paul wrote 'Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast ... with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,' he was making a Jewish Feast apply to the Christian Church. He was showing that it had a spiritual meaning which would obviously be applicable to the whole dispensation, which we have seen measures 1,960 lunar years in the Redemption Chronology. We have also seen that 'the feast' was one of seven days.

Therefore, viewing the 1,960 years as representing the seven days, we find that each 'day' would be of 280 years' duration. Without stopping to establish the reason why God views 280 years as one 'day' (see Note 8), we will now ask how many such 'days' there had been from Adam to the great Passover of AD 33 in this Chronology. The answer is, of course, fourteen days, for 14 x 280 amounts to 3,920 - the year of the Crucifixion, as we have previously seen.

So 'the pattern' of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread can now be discerned in its simplicity - the fourteen days and seven days representing the whole course of the 6,000 Years of Redemption (5,880 or 21 x 280 in actual time) from Adam to the present day. And, of course, the Feast of the Seventh Month, with its 14 and 7 days, shows the same period in another aspect, that of abiding in Christ, which 'Tabernacles' or 'Booths' signifies, as we have already seen.

 

The Two Divisions of Six Months

At last we are beginning to see why it was that the eye of God saw each year divided into two periods of six months. This continuous alternation showed every six months picturing the whole course of the six thousand years from Adam to the Kingdom. For this reason, each six-month period began with the marked 21 days (14 + 7) to show the two aspects of Redemption - Feeding upon the Truth of God, and Abiding in Christ (see Chart 6).

We can now take a further look at the seven days from May 4th to llth in AD 33 and, comparing with the other Gospels, we shall at once ask why it is that John alone makes any mention of this week, spent quietly in Jerusalem, before Jesus and His apostles made their departure for Galilee. For both Matthew (28:7) and Mark (16:7) emphasise that the angel's message, given to the women at the open Tomb, was 'Go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as He said unto you.'

Why was there a delay of seven days? We know, of course, that Jesus waited until that same night before appearing to the whole company in the Upper Room, but why, after that, was there a delay of a whole week, and then a second appearing in Jerusalem before the journey into Galilee was commenced?

We shall see the answer to this very clearly when the meaning of Thomas's stubborn unbelief opens up to our vision (see John 20: 24-29). Thomas is a type of unbelieving Israel down the past age, and of a remnant of the Jews who now, as the Christian dispensation closes, are about to turn from their unbelief in Jesus and, as Paul says in Romans 11: 23-32, be delivered from the blindness which has characterised them from the beginning. This is why Jesus revealed Himself so specifically to Thomas when He made His second appearance, around the midnight of May 11th; and this is a major reason why God requires the full truth concerning His Son's earthly pathway to be made available for the benefit of Israel today.

 

'The Dispensation of the Mystery '

(Ephesians 3:9 R.V.)

This hidden 'week' between our Lord's First and Second Appearing after His Resurrection is clearly typical of the Church dispensation, and is pictured in other parts of the Scriptures as the 'seven days' of a Marriage Feast (see Genesis 29: 27 and Judges 14: 12). It is typical of what has been an interval in God's relationship with Israel, while He has been showing grace to the Gentiles, and so it has been 'hid in God', as Paul says, 'from the beginning of the world' (Ephesians 3: 9).

The expression 'after eight days' in the Greek implies, 'with the completion of eight days' - and these, measured from the opening of the 'first (day) of the weeks,' (see Note 3 and Chart 9) when Jesus was raised up, bring us to the midnight of May 11th, and it is then that we see the Lord restoring Thomas as He appears for the second time to the 'twelve' (John 20: 24-29).

How wonderful it is to discover after this that the disciples' journey to Galilee, with the Lord 'going before' (Matthew 28:7) them, was the exact chronological counterpart of the original journey Israel's twelve tribes made out of Egypt, the Lord 'going before' in a pillar of cloud and of fire (see Exodus 13:21) - that is, the solar dates were identical. For after the midnight recovery of Thomas, the apostles must have made their 'exodus' from Jerusalem ('which is spiritually called ... Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified' - Revelation 11: 8) on May 12th AD 33, the solar anniversary of the actual Exodus in 1639 BC (see Chart 10).

After the Exodus, Israel's journey to Marah had taken seven days, at the end of which they were able to halt and encamp at Elim, 'where there were twelve wells of water, and seventy palm tree' (Exodus 15:27 and see Numbers 33:1-9) (Both 'seventy' and 'palm-trees' are always associated with the Gentiles in Scripture, just as the number 'twelve' is with Israel; and so Elim is a beautiful type of the coming Kingdom of Christ where the Gentile world - originally seventy nations (see Note 9) - will be blessed through Israel, as so much prophecy foretells).
Chapter 16
Chapter 18

 

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