Praise God every day for the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
An excerpt from Feast of Tabernacles – George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 14 – TABERNACLES – THE FEAST OF HIS APPEARING
We mentioned in the first part of the book how the observance of the natural Feasts served to illustrate their spiritual application to the Church. Thus when the Feast was observed at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, we have a type and pattern of the Glory of the Church, and when the Feast was observed in the days of Zerubbabel’s temple, we have a type of the restoration of the Church to her first Glory. Now we come to the occasion on which the Feast was observed in the time of Christ.
Let us recall how that in the plan of God Israel’s Passover was the occasion that God chose for Christ Himself to die as the true Passover Lamb. And again, on that great day of Pentecost, when devout Jews had assembled from all parts of the Roman Empire to keep the Feast–then it was that God poured out the Holy Spirit on His disciples, thus fulfilling the old and establishing the new Pentecost. It is therefore with great significance that we read these words: “Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.” (Jn. 7:2,3.) However, the Lord remained where He was until His brethren had gone to the Feast; and afterward went up “as it were in secret.” (vs. 10.) No doubt the Lord intentionally visited the Feast of the Jews “in secret” by way of illustrating a great truth to the Church, the truth of His appearing.
RESURRECTION LIFE FOR US
There is no question as to the fact that one day “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,” and the saints shall be caught away to be with Him for ever. (1 Thess. 4:16.) And again, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:52.) This is the final victory for the Church, when mortality is clothed upon with immortality, and corruption puts on incorruption. This is the consummation of the Church’s last great victorious event, for then it is that “Death is swallowed up in victory,” and the “last enemy,” even Death, is destroyed. (I Cor. 15:26,54.)
We are sure of this, however, that the Church is being robbed of her glory in not knowing that there is rapture for her even now, while waiting for Rapture, and there is resurrection here and now while we wait for Resurrection. There is no doubt whatever that God holds many secrets for future revelation concerning the order of events and the nature of the Resurrection. But in this we are confident: before this cherished rapture or resurrection takes place, there is to arise a group of overcomers who shall appropriate even here and now their heritage of Resurrection Life in Jesus Christ. God has placed His only Begotten at His own right hand in the heavenlies, until all his enemies have been placed under His feet. (Ps. 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:25,26.) There He shall remain, in obedience to the Word of the Father, until there ariseth a people who shall go in and possess their heritage in the Spirit, and conquer over all opposing forces of World, Flesh, and Devil. We are not inferring that the saints will go about in glorified bodies. But we are speaking of the saints reaching out and appropriating even here and now in their earthly temples the very Life of Christ, of entering into their heritage in the Spirit, of participating in the Melchizedek priesthood and kingdom, and of living the very spotless, immaculate life of the Son of God Himself in virtue of His abiding presence within.
Let us remember that God is bound by His word and His oath, but He is not bound by the dispensations, by general historical procedure, nor yet by the notions of men. “It is appointed unto men once to die . . .,” that is quite true; but even though death is quite general God was free to reach down and translate Enoch “that he should not see death” when this holy man believed for it. (Heb. 11:5.) Nor did it prevent God from catching Elijah up into heaven in a whirlwind, when He chose to do so. (2 Kgs. 2:11.) Nor could it prevent the Lord from extending the life of John the Beloved for two thousand years, if He chose to do so. It was neither Peter’s business, nor ours, nor was it contrary to God’s Word, if the Lord wanted it that way. (Jn. 21:22.) Jesus has promised that He would raise up “at the last day” all those who would believe on His Name. (Jn. 6:40.) There is no question about that. But that did not stop Him from resurrecting Lazarus, even during His earthly ministry. (Jn. 11:44.) Nor did it prevent Moses from rising from the dead somewhat prematurely, as he must have done according to Jude 9. Neither did it prevent the tombs from bursting assunder when Christ died on the Cross, and the bodies of the saints arising and coming into the city and appearing unto many. (Matt. 27:52,53.) God is perfectly free to raise whom He will any time He chooses; to impart Divine Life to whomsoever he will, whenever one shall believe for it; and to translate any one that has the faith for it. Let us not argue with the good-man of the House; is He not free to do as He will with His own? If we have bargained with God for a resurrection at the last Day: are we going to have an evil eye if God in mercy and love imparts His resurrection life to some before the last day?
JESUS CHRIST, THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
One of the most glorious facts of Scripture, we believe, is this: that the Resurrection and the Life is not a mere historic event, to take place in the distant future,–but the Resurrection and the Life is a Person, even the Lord Jesus Christ who dwells in our hearts. How He yearned over Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus, and sought to inspire faith in their hearts to believe in Him. But they would insist, like the vast majority of Christians today, in believing facts about Him and about God, instead of believing in Him. “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection . . . I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God…..” But all the time Jesus was wanting them to believe that He was the I Am, the answer to their immediate need. A historical resurrection? Of course, they would believe in that. Christ, the Messiah? Why of course, they would believe that. But this kind of faith is not sufficient to bring one into the fulness of sonship, and to a real genuine appropriation of Divine Life here and now. They confessed their faith in the fact that Lazarus would rise again in the resurrection at the last day. But Jesus replied, “I am the Resurrection, and the Life . . .” Resurrection and Life, then, are not merely the attributes of the resurrection, and events which are to take place at the rapture. But the Resurrection and the Life are held out to the Sons of God even here and now.
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live . . .” That was the case of Lazarus, was it not? And did he not live, because he died believing in Christ? And then the Lord continues, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (Jn. 11:25,26.) It is certain we do not believe it. O, we might believe it theoretically but not one of us has believed it experimentally, or Divine Life would be surging through our beings. But the promise is there nevertheless, even though we all disbelieve it. “Let God be true and every man a liar.” By faith all things are and shall be possible. The very dispensations themselves are but weak barriers and obstacles if men of faith are enabled by the Spirit to reach out and leap beyond them. Enoch did it. So did Elijah. And so shall the Sons of God. The Word of faith shall grip their hearts, and they shall reach out and appropriate the Resurrection and the Life even now in this life. If they do not, Christ never will return to earth. For God hath said, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Ps. 110:1.) And the last enemy is Death!