In the previous message we were engaged with the first three of these phases; on the one side: The Probation of Life, The Life Missed, and The Life Reserved. We are seeking to bring the whole Bible under review by means of its keywords, and just now the master-key to the Scriptures which we are using is the word 'Life', for Life is a master-key to the whole Bible. We have said that the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is occupied with this great matter of Life and death, Life as centred in Christ and death as in the hand of Satan, so that the whole Bible is unified in Christ as the Life.
The Probation of Life
We pass immediately over to the other side with those three phases and in very few words note how Christ comes in and meets the situation as created by Adam's failure. Whereas Adam was conceived of God in those eternal counsels to which we have made reference, Christ also was predestined by God to occupy the place of pre-eminence in His universe. And, in connection with Christ, we shall do little more in this chapter than quote fragments of Scripture which bear out these points.
Christ, the last Adam, firstly in the probation of Life,
predestined. We have such words as the following:
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation... and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist... For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell" (Col. 1:15,17,19).
"Making known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Him unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in Him, I say" (Eph. 1:9-10).
Then, begotten; not created as the first Adam, but begotten. And a selection from Scriptures which answer to that are:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (John 1:14,18).
"Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him" (1 John 4:9).
(The begetting is that we might live).
Then, tested. Adam the first was conditioned, that is, placed under conditions or on conditions; life was a matter of fulfilling certain conditions and he was tested by those conditions. The last Adam took up the position of probation and testing where the first failed, and we have again here what the Scriptures tell us:
"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led in the Spirit in the wilderness during forty days, being tempted of the devil" (Luke 4:1-2).
"For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that has been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
The first Adam was corrupted; the last Adam was crowned:
"But we behold Him who has been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that by the grace of God He should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9).
"Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name" (Phil. 2:9).
"Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this, which ye see and hear" (Acts 2:33).
"...which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church" (Eph. 1:20-22).
The Life Secured
That is the grand counterpart of the first Adam. The Life missed through unbelief, disobedience, unrighteousness and death; the Life secured in the last Adam through faith, and in these matters now before us there is far too much Scripture for us to quote. We only have to remember the contest in the wilderness under severe pressure. The temptation was real temptation; the conditions in which He was placed at that time made the temptation very acute. It was not just something staged. It was meeting the enemy at a physical disadvantage, and with what He knew to be a life of suffering before Him with the cross at the end. The enemy was offering Him an easy way out, and it only wanted Him to do something which, while not affirming or declaring in word unbelief, would be an act of unbelief. His response every time was, "It is written..." - that is faith. And so, throughout His life, He kept that ground of faith in His Father and so Life was secured through His faith.
And His faith, of course, worked out in obedience. He became "obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8).
His faith and obedience, as the whole of the Roman letter makes clear, resulted in His being the righteousness of God for us. The unrighteousness into which the first Adam fell and thereby became unrighteousness (not only unrighteous, but unrighteousness) found, in the case of the last Adam, an obedience of faith, which meant that as our representative He was the righteousness of God, and Life is always because of righteousness. That is what the Scriptures say; death with unrighteousness.
So that the last thing in the case of the last Adam is Life because of righteousness, and righteousness because of the obedience of faith.
The Life Reserved
Thirdly, the life reserved and we see in Him the features of that Life which are set forth in symbolic form in the cherubim: the lion of dominion, the ox of service and sacrifice, the man of representation, the eagle of heavenly glory and mystery. And this Life in Christ and which Christ is, carries those features, has those characteristics.
Dominion, the power of Life, triumphant Life, mighty Life, Life which is greater than every other power.
"The exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to that working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead" (Eph. 1:19-20).
"It was not possible that He should be holden of death" (Acts 2:24). Why? Because there was a Life in Him which was mightier than all the power of death. It is the lion aspect of the Life.
Its basis - "Because of the suffering of death... that... He should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). Therefore He is "crowned with glory and honour". The basis of His life is His sacrifice, His service of sacrifice.
The nature of that Life, as we know, is a heavenly Life. It is a spiritual Life, it is something not of this creation at all. It is Life from above.
The Way of Life
Coming over to the type and taking each fragment with its counterpart in Christ - we are dealing with the Pentateuch, as you know, that is, the first five books of the Bible - the whole matter of Life in the Pentateuch is summed up in seven typical persons. The way of Life is compassed in seven representative men. 'Seven' through the Bible is very interesting. It is not fanciful, imaginary, it is not straining interpretation, you cannot get away from it, you come up against it all the time, and you say, "Well, there must be something in this, this is not just accidental". We know 'seven' to mean spiritual perfection. What we are dealing with, then, here with the sevens, is the spiritual perfection of Life in Christ, and that perfection has its sevenfold aspects. The rainbow, as you know, has its seven colours - the eighth is only a repetition of the first. It is complete. And Life in Christ is sevenfold. It is spiritually perfect.
Now, that alone could detain for a long time. Let us take a very comprehensive example of this. The book of the Revelation we well know to be a book of consummation, completion, finality. Things are being brought to a perfect end in the book of the Revelation. There is nothing after that, it is completeness. Well, it is a book just packed full of sevens all the way through. Seven lampstands, seven churches, seven Spirits of God, seven seals, seven vials, seven trumpets, seven angels, seven plagues, seven lamps. I say, that is not accidental, that is not just put in for fun. There is something in it. It is the book of completeness.
And you know that it is the book of Life. It opens with, "I am He that lives". It closes with, "I saw a river of water of life clear as crystal". If you care to take the trouble, you will find it well worth tracing 'life' through the book of the Revelation.
So here 'seven' represents the perfection of Life in Christ, and,
as we have said, Genesis comprehends this whole ground of Life as
over against death in seven representative or typical persons, and
each one of them brings Christ into view in some specific aspect
of Life. It is an interesting study but it is very important for
our spiritual good.
We are more interested in the matter of Life itself than we are in knowing our Bibles. Our Bibles will help us to understand Life, but I am most anxious that the thing should come home to our own experience and hearts and not just as information to our heads. If we are just better students of the Bible and not better Christians, we shall have missed the way altogether. So, while we speak of those things and they may be more or less interesting and enlightening, let us note their application to our own spiritual life.
Beginning, then, on the side of the old, Adam comes into
view again as the first of these seven, and the Divine idea and
thought that is bound up with Adam is that of Headship. He is the
head of the creation.
Paul says that the man is the head of the woman as Christ is the Head of the church (Eph. 5:23). Headship was the first Divine thought in Adam, that all things should be brought under. You know that the Psalmist, quoted by the apostle in his letter to the Hebrews, applies this to Adam in the first instance.
"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedest him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet" (Psa. 8:4-6; Heb. 2:6-8).
His headship was the Divine intention.
Now let us remember that this was the occasion of the whole
battle. Everything in God's creation for the time being was
gathered up under Adam as its head. He was placed over it to
govern it, to order it, to develop it, to perfect it for God. It
was under him, committed to him, and the assault and onslaught of
Satan upon Adam was with that headship in view.
In a very real sense, Adam was the prince of this world at that time. It is probable - but this is only conjecture, there is no positive statement of Scripture although there are Scriptures which seem to suggest this - it is probable that in an earlier creation Satan was the prince of this world, and by his revolt against God he lost his kingdom and his place, his throne, and Adam was created and given that place in this world, and the exile, the expelled prince, came back and sought to recover his kingdom and assailed this head and gained the day, and was thenceforth known as 'the prince of this world'. Even Christ called him that (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). It was the headship which was in view, because Life was bound up with that headship.
Well, as everything was vested in the head and therefore when the head was overthrown, the kingdom was possessed by the adversary, to realise God's ultimate purpose another Adam must come. And the last Adam came, and God had predestined Him to be supreme Head in all realms in heaven and in earth. It says nothing about Adam being head in heaven, in the universe; this world was his kingdom, but Christ is a greater Head than Adam, Head in every realm, Head of all creation, Head of all principalities and powers, Head of every man and Head over all things to the church which is His Body, the fulness of Him; universal Headship vested in Christ. And, as this Head has triumphed where the former head failed, Life is secured in that Head. So that Headship is the key to Life, and with one further observation, we will pass on to the next thing.
Let us remember that it is not until Jesus Christ is Head that we can know anything about Life. Life, this Divine Life, this eternal Life, its possession, its expansion and the realisation of all its possibilities, demands the absolute Headship and Lordship of Jesus Christ in and over our lives on all matters. Just as the Father was His Head and in every detail of His life to the most minute point He deferred and referred to the Father and subjected Himself to the Father's Headship, and therefore the Father vested that eternal Life in Him and gave Him the power of giving eternal Life, so you and I will only have Life and be able to know all the values of that Life as Christ is in the place to us that the Father occupied with Him - absolute Head. That is, we refer everything to Christ, we subject and submit everything to Him as our Head. That is the way of Life. If we have a controversy with Christ, if we withhold anything from Him, if He is not Lord in every matter, there is an arrest of the Life, there is a limitation of the Life. Headship is the first and primary thing to Life, under which everything else is gathered.
Having said that, we pass on to the next phase of Life as represented by Abel. Adam has failed, surrendered and forfeited His Headship. Abel follows him, and Abel speaks to us of redemption by blood. Abel's position is this - We have nothing, we are nothing, we are in bondage, we are in exile from God, we have been driven out, we are in enmity with God. If we are going to live, we can only live by dying and becoming possessed of a life which is not our own, seeing our own life is death; we have lost Life in Adam, we are dead; another life out of death must be ours. If we are to live, one corrupt life must be surrendered and another life incorruptible must be provided.
Now, Cain was contrary to all that. Cain came saying, We have something, we are something, we can do something; look at all we have done! He offers that to God - and there is no open way. He is still an exile, he is still in enmity with God, spiritually afar off, dead to God. God has no respect unto Cain or his offering.
But Abel takes that which represents another life - a lamb without spot, without blemish. It is an incorruptible life, a life not his own, and he makes it the instrument of fulfilling this twofold thing: first, surrendering one's life, and second, providing another life. In his sacrifice, he does that, providing another incorruptible life not his own, while he has surrendered his own life unto death, and he gets through. That is redemption.
You can see it in the Lord Jesus. He is the Lamb of God. On the one side of His sacrifice, He takes up the Adam man and hands it over to death, parts with it and says, 'That is an end of that!' On the other side, He takes up that Life which is incorruptible and offers it to God and is accepted and by His representative twofold act, the way is opened. His baptism typified that - death to the old self-life typically, rising to the Life of God only - and immediately an open heaven. That pointed on to the work of His Cross. He has placed His Cross at the very threshold and foundation of His work. The Cross governs all, and says, Death! to Adam No. 1, Life to God only. That is Abel - redemption by blood. It is the way of Life.
Noah is the third. The third phase of Life, Noah, speaks
to us of regeneration, a new creation. This is a phase of Life.
Abel, redemption; but there must be regeneration. It is not the
redemption of the old, it is the bringing in of the new. These go
closely together, hand in hand. Noah? - well, the flood was the
universal verdict upon the curse of Cain. That must be brought to
a full and perfect end under the judgment of God. Peter says that
the flood was a baptism, and that demands in spiritual principle
the answer of a good conscience towards God (1 Pet. 3:21). How can
we give the answer of a good conscience toward God? Is there a
living man in Adam who can do that? That man is not alive, not
awake if he thinks he can; he is a slumbering, blind, dead man.
Let the man be touched by the quickening Spirit of God and see
what happens to his conscience. We call it 'conviction of sin'. It
is an evil conscience, conscience awakened.
God demands the answer of a good conscience, not excuses. How can that be? Only by dying to the old man, to the old Adam, to the old creation, and by rising in a new creation. Noah brings that in. The flood sees the end of the old order and that baptism provides a good conscience towards God; as Peter puts it: a new creation. Well, we know there is a new creation in Christ. "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, there is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). But what leads up to that? "The love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died" - that is the death side; now the other side - "and He died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who for their sakes died and rose again". Those are the two sides, and therefore, if any man is in Christ, there is a new creation. That is, he has died in Christ to self; he has risen in Christ - henceforth not unto himself, but unto Him. That is Noah in a very brief word.
Abraham - the fourth phase of Life. We know quite well that Abraham forever stands to represent faith, but, as Paul makes so fully clear, it is faith unto righteousness - righteousness by faith. That is first of all a state as represented by Abraham, a state of righteousness by faith. He was accounted righteous - that is the statement about Abraham. Because of his faith, he was accounted righteous; not that he just did righteous things, but he was accounted righteous. That was his state.
And then his walk was a walk of faith which brought him into perfect fellowship with God and he was called the 'friend of God' (James 2:23). He walked with God by faith. Does not Abraham live? Everything associated with Abraham speaks of an eternal posterity. As the stars of heaven, as the sand of the shore his seed forever; and they that are of faith are Abraham's seed (Rom. 4:11) - not Jews, but they that are of faith are Abraham's seed. It is those who have this Life through the faith of God's Son. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me: and that life which I live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God" (Gal. 2:20). As one version puts it, "I live by the faith of the Son of God." It is Life by faith.
And all these things are tests as well as statement of fact. Life is bound up with a new creation on the ground of the old having been put away. If we live, even for one minute, on the ground of the old man, the old creation, Life is injured. If for one moment we lose our walk with God in faith or our standing upon the ground of righteousness by faith and occupy any other ground, the Life comes under arrest. Life demands a position and a walk in faith.
So much for Abraham. But remember, God wrought it in Abraham. He did not just tell him it, He did not just say it to him. He wrought it in him. He took him through that course which meant that faith became an inward thing with Abraham, by testing, by experience, by suffering right up to the hilt. He was brought right into the very heart of God where the only and well-beloved son was given, and faith went through with it, it was wrought in him. That is the way of Life. Sometimes we may think that it is not the way of Life to have such severe testings of faith, but it is God's way of Life. Though for the time being through manifold trials, temptations, we are in heaviness, it is going to issue in Life.
We pass on to Isaac, and Isaac, we know, stands always for the resurrection, but a sonship which is by resurrection. Abraham and Sarah are dead so far as any productiveness of life is concerned. They are dead - God has seen to that. Rebekah, Isaac's wife, was dead in the same way. There is no possibility along the natural line of Isaac either existing himself or, through Rebekah, living again. It was impossible naturally, but it came. Isaac was born in spite of Abraham and Sarah being dead, and Isaac did live again through Rebekah in spite of her being dead. Here is Life triumphant over death: sonship, which is something impossible to nature; resurrection.
Well, we hardly need say anything about the Lord Jesus in that connection. Paul says in Romans 1:4: "declared... the Son of God... by the resurrection from the dead"; a peculiar sonship on the ground of resurrection. He was Son by birth, but He is attested (for that is the meaning of the word 'declared') Son by resurrection. The great proof of His Sonship is resurrection, that He conquers death. Life is along that line, that God makes us live where there is no human or earthly possibility of living in that way, living by a Life which is not possible to nature. It is His own Divine resurrection Life, another Life. This cannot be, it is impossible unless God does it. Every Christian is a miracle and a Christian who is not a miracle is no Christian at all. The miracle of resurrection is right at the very heart of every true Christian, that is, he or she is a person who could not be, had not God done it. They stand solely upon the ground that God has done something that could never be done by any other than God Himself. That is resurrection, that is Life, that is sonship in its essence, and that is in Christ first before it is in us.
Lazarus is a great type; he is allowed to get to the state where there is no human hope or possibility whatever, and everybody knows it, and then he is raised. He is used as a type. And, over against that, Christ says, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). Something impossible to man is actual in Christ.
Jacob, number 6, speaks to us of spirituality and
heavenliness. You say, "How can that be? You can never think of
Jacob in such terms. Jacob always seems to be anything but that.
There are no sublimer terms than heavenliness and spirituality.
Jacob is a very contemptible creature!" Ah yes, but while he was
firstly a very carnal and earthly man, God dealt with him on the
ground of sonship in such a way as to bring him through to the
place where the carnal life was smitten and stricken and he issued
'a prince with God'; Israel. He stands in history as the great
change-over from the earthly to the heavenly and that term
'Israel' applied to the nation later always means, from God's
standpoint, a spiritual people, a heavenly people. When they were
out of touch with God they were called 'the Hebrews'. When they
were right, they were 'Israel'; or when God was speaking about
them according to His own mind about them they were Israel. That
name is the name of what is spiritual and heavenly, a complete
subjection of the flesh or the natural strength to what is of the
Spirit. That is the meaning of Jabbok and that is the way of Life.
We know from Romans and elsewhere that "they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh... the mind of the flesh is death". "They that are after the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit... the mind of the Spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:5-6). There is Jacob and Israel, and the way of Life is spiritual-mindedness, heavenliness; that is, where the flesh life and the world life, the earth life, has been dealt with and broken in us, like the strength of Jacob in his thigh, and he was a cripple forever on that side of life, but he is a prince with God when he is a cripple in himself. One of the big lessons we have to learn as we go on in the way of Life is that to be a prince with God we have to be crippled in ourselves, in our own flesh, in our own natural strength. This is a very unpleasant thing for nature, but a very profitable thing for God.
Well, the Lord Jesus undoubtedly comes in there as the One Who, in His Jordan, in His own inner life, has said 'No' forever to the self-way, and 'Yes' to God for all things. I would like to quote many Scriptures which bring Him in on heavenly ground. "I am come down from heaven" (John 6:38). "I am from above" (John 8:23), showing how He, the Lord and Prince of Life, was a spiritual Man, not governed by any carnal considerations; a heavenly man not influenced by any earthly interests.
7. Reigning in Life
Seventhly, Joseph - and he comes in as reigning in Life. It is interesting to notice, and very significant, that Joseph gathers up all the other six into himself. Each one of these leads to the next and is a step in advance. Abel must come in where Adam has failed; Noah must be the complement of Abel, regeneration must go with redemption. Faith unto righteousness must be the outcome of regeneration, and new creation, sonship, resurrection Life must be the work of faith; spirituality and heavenliness must be the character of the sons of God.
Now Joseph gathers them all up, you can see them all in him. Headship is recovered in Joseph. Redemption by blood was in his own experience. Stripped, cast into the pit, how he typifies the Lord Jesus; cast out by his brethren, handed over to the Gentiles, as in the grave, dead (that is Abel). A new creation coming back into life from the dead, resurrection, his faith in God unbroken, unshaken, a spiritual man... a heavenly man indeed was Joseph. He came at length to the throne, reigning in Life, gathering everything into the throne, ministering Life, firstly to his own brethren and then to the world - you can see Christ exalted to the right hand of God. But Christ has also been all this way by all these steps, all this meaning of Life is gathered up in Him, and then He ministers Life first to His own, to His church, and ministers beyond, Life to the world, Life to all, reigning in Life. "They that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17).
The Typical Nation
All we need to point out in the next section is that these very things, these seven aspects of Life, are gathered up now not into individual characters, but into a nation. It is impressive to see that the whole nation of Israel was constituted by those very seven things.
Headship; "The Lord thy God will make thee the head, and not the tail" (Deut. 28:13). That was God's thought for Israel as a nation.
Redemption by blood; you can see it in Exodus 12, the Passover lamb.
A new creation passing out of the old creation, translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God's love typically, a new creation in Christ in type.
Called to walk by faith in the wilderness, to walk by faith, resting upon a basis of faith all the way through; that was the whole life of Israel for the forty years, a Life of faith - or God intended it to be, and when they were on that basis of Life, it was Life indeed.
A heavenly and spiritual people; everything in God's constituting of them meant that. Take one little thing alone. Every man, woman and child throughout all the generations of Israel in the wilderness had a badge and that badge was a bit of blue. The Lord prescribed that everyone throughout all their generations should wear a bit of blue on the border of their garment. That pointed to a great central figure, the high priest, who had a whole robe of blue, and they were all linked with that figure by the blue; a heavenly people joined to a heavenly High Priest.
They were intended by God to reign in Life. When at length they did get over on to full resurrection ground, they did reign in Life in the land.
The nation was constituted a living nation on the basis of this Life in its sevenfold features. That was their Life.
The Seven Feasts
Well then, in closing, all we have to do is to point to another seven in their history, the seven feasts. We cannot stay to speak of these in detail, they are much too full, but simply to say that they are seven. You come to Leviticus 23 and you find seven feasts, and each one of these feasts is some phase of Life. It is perfection of Life as expressed in a sevenfold way.
There is the Passover - redemption by blood. The Feast of
Unleavened Bread - an incorruptible life. The Feast of Harvest or
First-fruits - the sheaf presented to the Lord in advance, a token
of the future and coming fulness of Christ, the First-fruits;
Christ our assurance of fulness of Life. Pentecost, or the Feast
of Weeks, seven again; seven sevens, forty-nine days completed,
and on the fiftieth day, "When the day of Pentecost was fully
come..." (Acts 2:1) - it means that seven sevens are
complete; on the fiftieth day the great ingathering, the great
joy, the Spirit in fulness, the church brought in. What Life!
Christ our fulness.
The Feast of Trumpets - the first day of the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year, the first month of the civil year, which meant it was a New Year festivity; the sounding of trumpets from dawn to sunset. What does it mean? After Pentecost, what are you going to do? What is the next thing? Proclaim it! Proclaim Christ your fulness. I have no doubt that the Feast of Trumpets means more than that, and perhaps other things. These seven feasts are the chronological order of the spiritual life, and when you have the church brought in in the fulness of the Spirit, the next thing is the proclamation to the world, the Feast of Trumpets. From morning till night proclaim it, proclaim the joyful news.
The next thing, the sixth, the Day of Atonement. The word itself tells us what it means - at one, reconciliation. What are you going to proclaim? The church has come in at Pentecost; it is going to proclaim Christ our Atonement. That is the order of things.
And seventh, the Feast of Tabernacles, most joyous of all the
feasts. They left their houses and dwelt in booths for seven days,
saying, in effect, "We are pilgrims and strangers". It was
commemorating the forty years in the wilderness living in tents,
"We are strangers, but we are moving toward a city and a country!"
It speaks of that blessed hope when we shall be no longer pilgrims
and strangers, but shall have found the city and the country and
come to rest. The Feast of Tabernacles ended on the Sabbath - that
speaks for itself. We come eventually and finally to God's rest.
Christ is God's rest; He is the end of all God's works. God comes
to rest in His Son and we are going, one day, to cease from
ourselves and our own works completely and come to rest, and we
have that in view. Therefore our Feast of Tabernacles is the most
joyous of all. We are looking for the day of perfection, of rest
in Christ. That which is ours now in a spiritual way by faith, is
going to be ours in an actual and absolute way, for while we do
enter into His rest now by faith, I do not suppose any of us can
say that we have entered fully and finally into that rest. We
still have our bad times, times when the rest is disturbed and we
are not so sure, but we have before us a day when all that fret
will have been ended and we shall fully enter into His rest. "There
remains a rest for the people of God" (Heb. 4:9), and the
Feast of Tabernacles was just to keep that glorious coming day in
I think there are few things that make us rejoice more than the remembrance of the day of His appearing, the coming of the Lord, that blessed hope, that entering upon our heavenly city and house. "We know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens" (2 Cor. 5:1). Christ is our hope, that is the point. The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of the hope set before us. "Christ our hope".
The Typical Times
Then you see there are five typical times in Leviticus chapters 23-25 - the seventh day, the seventh week, the seventh month, the seventh year, and seven weeks of years. They correspond to the feasts of which we have spoken. The seventh day speaks of Christ our rest.
The seventh week speaks of Christ our transcendence. On the feast of Pentecost they were called upon to bring out of their dwellings two loaves baked with leaven; a most extraordinary thing to allow leaven, to give a place to leaven. What is the meaning of it? It was the feast of Pentecost, the church was brought in and God recognized that, on the human side, we are not unleavened. There is still leaven in us. God takes account of that. But how does He meet the situation of the leaven, the corruption, the imperfection that is in the saints, in His people and in His church? On that feast, He provided that seven lambs should be offered without blemish. That is a mighty counter to the other side; a sevenfold spiritual perfection provided in Christ to stand over against the imperfection in the church. That is how God meets the need. Christ our transcendence.
The seventh month - Christ our occupation; the seventh year - Christ our sufficiency. They were not to do any work in that year at all, but the Lord would meet the need. Christ our sufficiency. It is what Christ is. The Lord is always seeking to keep us on this basis: that it is not what we are or can do, it is what Christ is.
The seven weeks of years - jubilee, when all slaves were set free; people or lands or possessions, anything that had gone into bondage, had to be set free, restored. Emancipation from bondage, the jubilee, Christ our emancipation and our emancipator, and this is the way of Life.