It is clear from Scripture that the prophesied physical restoration of Israel in their land will be followed by the blowing – or pouring out – upon them of the Wind of God’s Holy Spirit.
This is how, among others, the prophet Ezekiel writes it:
The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ‘ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ‘ ” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ” Ezekiel 37:1-14.
And when Zechariah prophesies, he says:
In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves. In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness” Zechariah 12:8-13:1.
This second passage is remarkable in that it indicates that their ‘seeing Him whom they have pierced’ will be the direct result of the outpouring upon the whole nation of the Spirit of grace and supplication; an act that will cause every family in all the land to weep (Zechariah 12:12). In like manner, only the blowing of the Wind of God’s Spirit as described by the prophet Ezekiel brings about the spiritual restoration of all of Israel.
It was for this reason – as an elderly Dutch servant of God once explained – that Paul referred to himself as “born out of due time.” Let’s listen to what he says in his first letter to the Corinthians; understanding this to refer to the type of Paul’s conversion and what is signified:
Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time ” Corinthians 15:8.
Paul’s conversion spoke to what would/will one day happen to his whole nation. It was not the physical appearance of Christ that he saw – which is what is preached in many circles as being needed to happen before Israel comes to repentance. What we read in the Acts of the Apostles is that his conversion was much more a spiritual experience resulting from his encounter on the road to Damascus. Similarly, all Israel’s seeing of ‘Him whom they pierced’ at the end of the road is, in Zechariah, not a consequence of Jesus’ physical return, but the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. That’s why, before He returned to His Father, Jesus was able to prophesy to His people when He came to Jerusalem and wept over them these words:
See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Luke 13:35.
These words imply that something of deep spiritual significance was bound to happen to the Jewish people BEFORE His physical return to them! This is likewise implied in the above-quoted passage from Zechariah 12 and the first verse of Zechariah 13.
After having their eyes opened to who Messiah is, weeping will break out all over Israel just as Paul himself wept, fasted and repented over all he did for three days before being baptized – after these 3 days – by God’s servant Ananias (Acts 9). This then will also be true of the people of Israel, through a spiritual encounter with the living Lord on their ‘road to Damascus,’ and as happened with the brethren of Joseph when their eyes were opened to recognize their brother. Then there will be, as Zechariah prophesied, a period (perhaps just like Paul’s) of three days at least of weeping. And after this ‘a fountain for sin and for uncleanness’ will be opened up for them to be cleansed through baptism, even as Peter said and prophesied on the day of Pentecost and in another sermon:
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:36-39.
But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began Acts 3:18-21.
This truly is significant because it shows why the nation will be ready to welcome Jesus when He appears again, as He prophesied. For before He comes, as a result of the Spirit of grace and supplication falling upon them, bringing them to repentance with weeping and to baptism, they will be ready to welcome Him when He comes. If, as has been often mistakenly presented by many, this seeing of Him will only happen at the time of His physical coming, where then is left the time for them to weep, repent and be baptized after seeing Him return physically?
Now all this seems to be highly important for, as Peter in his second recorded address says and implies, it is as a result of this repentance and cleansing from sins that the promise is held out that THEN AND BECAUSE OF THIS – God may send Jesus the Messiah “who was preached to them before.” (Acts 3:20)
This generally is not taught in reference to His second coming, and yet it is so clear in the Scriptures. This is how the prophet Joel describes the same phenomenon, first the call for weeping, fasting and repentance, then the Lord’s merciful answer finalized in the outpouring of His Spirit, and all this before the “terrible day of the Lord” for the nations as described in Joel 3:14-17:
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness. The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. “So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”
This is how it is written:
First Joel 2:15-17:
Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ “
Then Joel 2: 18, 23-24, 26-32:
Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you– the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.
There is a lot of commentary taking place in Christian circles today about the phenomena of a red moon appearing during this coming Feast of Tabernacles (October 2014) among other feasts. This is one of the signs that this passage from Joel describes as belonging to that final double-portion outpouring of His Holy Spirit, of which the day of Pentecost was just a foreshadowing. We know this because during that day the moon did not turn into blood and yet Peter quoted this passage as (at least) a fulfillment of what had just happened to the 120 Jews in the upper room.
But the upper room where 120 Jewish men and women were gathered before the Wind of the Spirit rushed upon them will soon become the whole land as prophesied in Ezekiel 37 where the Wind of God’s Spirit will blow upon not just 120 but all of Israel, so that in that day Jeremiah’s prophecy will truly be fulfilled.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” Jeremiah 31:33-34.
We know from all this that Pentecost was but a foretaste of what is to come to all Israel. Here is how it is written in Joel:
Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things! Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you– the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month Joel 2:21, 23.
Thus the former rains (Pentecost) and the latter rains will be poured out as it says ‘in the first month‘ or as we would say, at the same time! This is what the Lord indicated to me when He showed me with other believers to begin the Christian celebration in Jerusalem of the Feast of Tabernacles, that this Feast was the only one of the three major Feasts of the Lord that still awaited an enormous future fulfillment.
As George Warnock, in his booklet about the Feast, wrote:
And not only so. For we have abundant evidence from the New Testament to establish the fact that two of the three annual Feasts of Israel’s worship have already been fulfilled in Christ and His Church: fulfilled, moreover, in a way so manifestly clear from the Scriptures that we do not hesitate to declare that we are now on the verge of the fulfillment of the last annual Feast of the Lord.
It was Jesus Himself who used that last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (not Pentecost) to announce the fullness – ‘rivers of living water’ – of the Holy Spirit for those who were thirsty enough to come to Him for this. Here is what He said:
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” John 7:37-38.
Today we see Christians flocking back to Azuza street or other places to call for and await another such outpouring of God’s Spirit. But just as the place of the first outpouring of His Spirit, the former rains, happened in Jerusalem during the biblical Feast of Pentecost – the former and latter rains, the double portion of His Spirit, will be poured out in Jerusalem during the biblical Feast of Tabernacles! I believe this is why Jesus used that Feast to announce these “rivers of living water.”
Let us refer to Joel’s prophecy concerning the former and the latter rain. This refers to the seed rain and the harvest rain. God promised that His people should have both in due season as they walked in His ways: “The first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil” ( Deuteronomy 11:14). This is what James was referring to, and it is that which Joel prophesied about:
“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil” (Joel 2:23,24).
Of course, this passage did have a partial fulfillment at Pentecost, inasmuch as Peter declared: This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…..” and we have already pointed out that Pentecost is a harvest of Firstfruits. The fullness of the harvest, however, is the Feast of Ingathering in the seventh month, when the wine and the oil were gathered in. You see, Israel observed two different calendars: they had the Sacred Year which began with the Passover in April. Commemorating their departure from the land of Egypt, and their beginning as a redeemed nation. But they also had what has been termed a Civil Year, or an Agricultural Year, which began in October. This then was the first month of the Civil year, but at the same time it was the seventh month of the Sacred Year – the month of the Feast of Tabernacles.
What Joel Prophesied then, was this: “Be glad then, ye children, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, ….” Dispensationally this was Pentecost, when God first poured out His Spirit in copious showers of the former rain. Peter therefore could testify: “This is that…” But it was only part of what Joel had prophesied, for he continued: “And he will cause to come down for you, the former rain, and the latter rain, in the first month.” The period from October to April was the rainy season. Then followed the long summer months when no rains were to be expected. The October and early November rains were called the former or the seed rains – the rains which prepared the ground for the seed; then the rainy season ended with the latter rains of April, or the harvest rains – that which caused the grain to ripen; preparatory for the harvest.
Joel’s prophecy, therefore speaks of Pentecost – but it goes on to embrace the fullness of Pentecost, even the Feast of Tabernacles. God did give the former rain moderately – in the Pentecostal Age extending from the early Church until now. But here is something very unusual. Right here in the “first month” of the Agricultural Year (the seventh month of the Sacred year) God has promised to do something most unusual: for He would give, not only the former rain which belongs to that month, but He would give the former rain and the latter rain combined!
This is the focal hour of Church history. Now we shall have not only the great and mighty harvest of the seventh month, the Feast of Ingathering, but the former and the latter combined. A veritable deluge of rain from the gates of Heaven! No wonder the prophet prophesied, “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former…..”
In closing I want to quote still two important passages from Scripture. The first is found in 1 Kings 8:1-13, where it is described how during the Feast of Tabernacles (“at the Feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month” verse 2) Solomon brought the ark of the covenant into the Temple he had just built, resulting in the glory of the Lord coming down and filling the house of the Lord:
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon spoke: “The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever” 1 Kings 8:10-13.
The other passage is taken from the book of Haggai, who so wonderfully and powerfully received this word of the Lord:
In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2.
Again this happened in the seventh month, the month of the Feast of Tabernacles. As George Warnock explains, the very name Haggai has to do with the biblical Feast of the Lord, the Hebrew word for Feast being Hag.
I hope enough has been said for any honest, open and especially eager enquirer to realize that there remains for the near future a very, very special blessing promised for the Lord’s people – Jew and Gentile – thirsty enough to come to the Lord of life. He, already once during the Feast of Tabernacles, offered these rivers of living waters which will cause His people to experience a greater glory and empowerment than before, with even greater miracles manifested than through those who followed Him and the early church.
No wonder, then, that it is the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles that will take center stage during the reign of the Messiah in Jerusalem:
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles Zechariah 14:16-18.
This is the Feast not only of His first coming, but when He will first come by His Spirit in great measure, and then will come again for all eyes to see Him:
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen Revelation 1:7.
Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
Republished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.
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