Christian Churches of God
(Edition 3.0 19940908-19990904-20070813)
The Ingathering offering that commences the Feast of Tabernacles is regulated by ordinance and has a series of requirements which the Christian should know. The three offering sequences are regulated. This paper covers the Feast of Ingathering, the Atonement census and tax, full moons, Pentecost, Trumpets, the judgement of Satan, jobs of the resurrected, and training in the army of God.
There are three feast seasons. The Feast of Ingathering – termed the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths – is the third time of coming before the Lord (Ex. 23:14-16; 34:22-23; Lev. 23:33-44).
Leviticus 23:33-44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. 37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: 38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD. 39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40 And ye shall take you on the first 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 the LORD your God seven days. 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations 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 the LORD your God. 44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD. (KJV)
It should be noted here that Israel is commanded to live in booths for the entire Feast. These were originally to be made of branches, but were later reorganised around tentage, probably for environmental reasons and reasons of scale. Hosea mentions that Israel lived in tents over this period and would be made to live in tents or tabernacles as they did at the Feast (Hos. 12:9). This dwelling in booths was re-established in the restoration under Nehemiah (Neh. 8:14-17).
The concept of dwelling in booths was to reinforce the dependence of Israel on God while they were sojourners in the wilderness. The restoration entails another exodus such as Israel had from Egypt. This time it will be as depicted in Isaiah 66:18-24. This exodus will be greater than the first exodus and will take the place of that first exodus. That is why the booths are used during the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. The Feast represents that last phase under Messiah for the Millennium, ruling from Jerusalem. Only on the Last Great Day are the booths no longer required by the Law of God. That is because the Last Great Day symbolises the final restoration and reconciliation to God. Dwelling in booths or temporary accommodation is mandatory for the Feast.
The entire chapter of Leviticus 23 explains each of the harvest Feasts in sequence, up to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. The Ingathering was the last harvest. In this sequence we will see why there are only three collections commanded each year. It is quite erroneous to have any more than three collections.
The census taken on the Day of Atonement is a tax. The paper Atonement (No. 138) deals with the entire census and the tax taken, and why it is wrong to take any collection at all on the Day of Atonement. It is, in fact, an affront to Jesus Christ and is a criticism of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ will reintroduce the temple tax when he stands in Zion. However, he will not introduce it until he stands in Zion.
Having seven collections a year on each Holy Day, or worse still weekly, is contrary to Scripture. It is totally against the direction of Jesus Christ as the Angel of the Covenant.
The Fifteenth day of the Seventh month is a full moon. Often the Feasts under the Jewish calendar occur one day or two after the true Feast days. The Law concerning the determination of the Feasts is explicitly tied to the New Moon, not to the Jewish system of calculating the molad of Tishri. Leviticus 23:33-35 says:
Leviticus 23:33-35 And the LORD said to Moses, 34 “Say to the people of Israel, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the feast of booths to the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. (RSV)
The Feast is a symbol of us coming out of the world systems. Christ brought us out of Egypt into Israel. That was a physical sign of a future redemption. He brought us out once, and he is going to bring us out again, spiritually and physically. The first of the first-fruits was Jesus Christ. The Wave-Sheaf Offering, taken at Passover, was representative of Jesus Christ as the very first of the first-fruits.
Pentecost, not Tabernacles, is the harvest of the elect and is ongoing. The reason it had to be at Pentecost was because all of our people were harvested from 30 CE, from the death of Jesus Christ, all the way through to the present. At Pentecost 30 CE we were given the Holy Spirit. That was the down payment for the first-fruits of our calling and our faith. Those who sleep in the dust were of those first-fruits. Therefore, it is inappropriate for us to look upon the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths as our harvest. We have already been harvested from Pentecost and will join Christ at his return. But there is a great work to do and we will take part in the harvest at this period.
The reason why there is no collection taken on Trumpets or Atonement is because it has nothing whatsoever to do with us. Any action in Trumpets or Atonement is purely through the saving grace of Jesus Christ under the direction of God. Christ comes to save us and protect us. It is not something we personally harvest or work for; therefore, there is nothing for us to offer other than ourselves. In fact, it is specifically forbidden to take up a collection at Atonement where one man is giving more than another. The elect should have understood that in other churches and looked at that as a concept and asked: “Why are we doing this, when it is specifically forbidden?” No man shall give more or less than another. It is a specific tax. The error entered the elect because they were not following the truth; rather, they were following men.
The concept of this harvest, as the Ingathering, is the establishment of the era of the millennial structure of righteousness. We will be able to control the planet and bring righteousness and justice to this planet. We will create the harvest that perhaps might have been done had Judah taken its place earlier. Such conjecture is problematic because all things are done according to the prescience and direction of God. People are called at specific times in order to do specific jobs. Who can say why there are limited numbers of the elect at any one time? Who can say why there are particular people in a particular place who understand and act, and why most do not understand? Why are the numbers so small? Who knows what God is doing?
We have to do our job and we have to follow the Law faithfully and understand the spiritual application. God calls each in the best time for their part in the Plan of Salvation. That is why Christ spoke in parables and why the mysteries of God are revealed under control (see the paper The Mysteries of God (No. 131)). The Jews follow the Law, so they say, but they don’t understand the spiritual application. That’s why they bog it down with traditions.
We now examine why this offering must be given on the first evening of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is representative of the third great harvest as seen in Exodus 23:17-19.
Exodus 23:17-19 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD. 18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. 19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk. (KJV)
The Revised Standard Version says:
Exodus 23:17-19 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord GOD. 18 “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, or let the fat of my feast remain until the morning. 19 “The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. “You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. (RSV)
The whole verse is quoted because the part you shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk is tied into verse 19, and it is not there without reason. The meal referred to was an eastern religious custom aligned with the Babylonian mysteries. It has nothing to do with mixing milk and meat. The sacrifices were also boiled. Thus, seething a kid in the milk of its mother at this time of the offerings would have the effect of making an offering sacrifice into a ceremony of the mysteries, and thus idolatry. It was hence forbidden, and occurs here in the text to convey that notion.
There is also another concept here in the text. The KJV translation says sacrifice and the RSV says feast. The Interlinear Bible also says sacrifice.
You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.
That concept is tied into what is feast and what is sacrifice. The word for feast is khawg (SHD 2282), which means either a feast or a victim. Young groups it under sacrifice, following the KJV. According to the Interlinear Bible, the Masoretic Text notes the word as per Strong’s Concordance. Intent is thus obscured. The Soncino commentaries note the understanding. The text refers both to the fat of the Passover lamb (Rashbam) and to the offerings of the pilgrims on the feasts (Abraham ibn Ezra). Rashi holds that the sacrifices must not remain all night away from the altar (Soncino).
To understand this text is to understand when Ingathering must occur and its purpose. The intent is clear from the text: it must be gathered in during the first evening and it must not stand until the morning. There is both a spiritual and a physical significance to this.
It is at the Feast that the first of first-fruits are brought in. There must be a preparation made for the Feast. We must be able to hold a Feast so that an ingathering can be brought in. From the symbolism of the harvests, there must be something to bring in to establish the millennial structure.
The concept is also that, over such a period as an eight-day Feast, if we brought it in later there would be unnecessary administrative work on the Holy Day. That would be so if we did it correctly under harvest circumstances. When our Master comes and we set up this system and reintroduce this law, we will not be taking money out of a bank and placing it in a basket. As families, we will be bringing our first-fruits to the appointed Feast in the form of sacks of grain and animals to give to the priesthood, the new Levites.
Some of us will be physical kings and priests, so for the youngsters there is a great message and blessing in this. Too often it was said that the Church is to be raptured away to Petra or somewhere else, and we’d all be spirit beings. The children were left thinking: “What about me? I’m not baptised; I’m not old enough”. The youngsters are seldom told that they are going to be kings and priests. The children will become the leaders of this physical world, in the great harvest, the great Ingathering. They are part of the korban of Ingathering.
That whole sequence is done at the beginning of the Millennium so everyone is there and the harvest is great. The reason we have to do it on the first night is so that all the priesthood or administrators have it organised. It is given in the evening so that the people and the priestly groups can eat. It’s a matter of distribution. We will not have the treasurer going to the bank the following day and drawing on last year’s funds. We don’t draw on last year’s grain harvest except in the Sabbath years. Ingathering is also a physical harvest and we have to learn to prepare. We have to start thinking that way because we have to make sure the people involved are organised and they know what is happening. This is done because if the nations don’t keep this Feast, we as the spiritual elect are going to have to make sure there is no rain in due season. That’s the promise from Zechariah 14:16-19.
So, if the nations don’t send their representatives to Jerusalem to keep the Feast, we are going to have to withhold rain from them. Some of us will be in charge of nations. We are going to be doing the same job that the demons should have been doing. We will be controlling the sequence of activity during one thousand years, and we will be judged and dealt with by Jesus Christ on how well we perform. We will be answerable to Messiah but, more particularly, the demons will be judged on how well we do our job.
We will set the standard against which they are measured, just as Jesus Christ set the standard against which Satan was measured by the ‘war’ or testing in the desert. Christ set the standard by what he did in his life and in his ministry. That is why he said, Satan is judged. Satan was the only one who was judged. All the rest of the demons are judged against their peers – which we are. Satan was judged by a cross-standard against Jesus Christ. The demons are judged by a cross-standard against us. If we can not keep the Commandments of God we are not fit to judge in the millennial system.
1John 2:1-5 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (KJV)
Eternal life is to know the One True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3). If we say we know God and do not keep His Commandments we are liars.
The Ingathering harvest is representative of our job. That is why we have to concentrate on the harvest at the evening of Ingathering. There is no harvest on the Last Great Day because our job is done from Ingathering until the Last Great Day, which is a resurrection. The resurrection and judgment are dealt with in other papers (see The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143) and The Judgment of the Demons (No. 80). There is no harvest commencing from the judgment. The judgment is the finalisation of the process. We will then allocate and organise. This is the harvest function and it has spiritual significance.
That is what the three times a year is all about. The concept is emphasised because we can’t grow unless we do things the way the Bible says they should be done. We cannot physically or spiritually go to the next step.
Regardless of what the Bible says, some churches make an administrative law that says they are going to have seven collections because it puts more money in the kitty. But the three collections a year is not an administrative decision; it is an order of God given to us by Jesus Christ. We don’t make administrative decisions about the Law. Not one jot or tittle will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. What we have to do is faithfully obey. Once we put things into place, we and our fellows will grow in knowledge and understanding.
When we kept Passover correctly for the first time, we started to grow in knowledge in leaps and bounds. If we do not act on truth the Spirit leaves us. Constant study produces new revelation. If we implement what we do know, then we are given the next step to understanding. These harvests are key points to understanding the spiritual activity that is happening in the Millennium. Once we put it all into place we understand the intent and purpose of it all. This Feast symbolises the justice and righteousness of Messiah’s system. We are going to implement the whole Law. Everything the Messiah – as the Angel of Yahovah (Jehovah) at Sinai – gave to Moses will be re-instituted in absolute faith and we will do it.
Modern Christianity claims that God’s Law was for the Jews and does not apply today. By saying the Law can be changed, mainstream Christianity is actually saying that the Jews were given laws that weren't at all observable. The fact of the matter is that Christ gave a perfect system to Moses for regulating this planet that would have produced a millennial system there and then. However, they (and we) needed the Holy Spirit of God to keep the Law.
If Israel had kept faith and not gone after foreign gods and not failed in its duty, its impact on the world would have been astounding. The whole world would have been converted by Israel. We would not be at war all over this planet now. The planet would not be dying. But Israel did not keep faith – it did not do its job. It continually put the Law aside and lost sight of the concept of what these harvests mean. Israel didn’t even keep the Feast of Tabernacles for centuries. The Feasts were reintroduced by Nehemiah, just as Ezekiel prophesied them as being reintroduced in the Millennium.
Nehemiah and Ezra had reorganised the Temple and re-secured the city in Jerusalem. They found the Book of the Law and they read it after preparing and assembling the people. The people were in tears. The whole of the nation stood before the priests and they listened to the Law being read (cf. Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)). There is a requirement every Sabbath year to read the Law.
The Churches of God generally do not do that. There was no Law read in the Sabbath years in any church on this planet for centuries. It was finally read in the Sabbath year 1998-99 at the Feast of Tabernacles for the first time in many centuries. It was done faithfully and is now published in many languages.
As stated previously, we are being consolidated as a group. God is going to keep dealing with us until we are ready. If we are not spiritually right, God will chip us off the block. We will not be added to in great numbers until we are ready; then God will add according to His Plan. All we can do is speak the truth. It’s our job to develop spiritually and grow so we can prepare for this harvest. We are soldiers in the army of God, in training to get to a point where we can be useful and are able to stand with Jesus Christ.
As we will see from the content and structure of the Feast, it is not going to happen with everybody sitting down and agreeing at a table. The Millennium is not introduced in a state of tranquillity and peace. We have to understand that and be prepared for it. This spiritual significance of Ingathering is important in the understanding of the times. It is the Law of God that requires us to participate at the Feast.