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Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Upon That Great Day of the Feast ..."

"Upon That Great Day of the Feast ... Out of His Belly Shall Flow Rivers of Living Water"

Now, we begin looking into these feasts of the Lord in order that we may comprehend more fully what the Day of Pentecost really means, and that we might further understand its purpose in the Full Purpose of God in Christ. We saw that the "Day of Pentecost" was so called because it took place on the fiftieth day, a day which was counted from the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Therefore, the "Day of Pentecost" was counted from the day of the offering of the sheaf of the firstfruits, which in God's Eternal timing is the Third Day - the Day that Christ arose from the dead. And Jesus said, "I AM the Resurrection, and the Life" (John 11:25).

We also found that the number fifty, as it is used in connection with the Day of Pentecost, means the perfect consummation of time; thus, the "Day of Pentecost" is the Divine Result of the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And on the Day of Pentecost, an Eternal Day in the Lord's Purpose, the Lord God completed one of the most important portions of His Plan: the Church was baptized in the Spirit: the Church was empowered to become the Fullness of Christ.

In John 7:37, 38, we find the Lord Jesus Christ Himself describing that which took place "when the Day of Pentecost was fully come." We find Him describing the Promise of the Father, the Promise given to Him before the Foundation of the World, the Promise that the Church His Body would be empowered to become the Fullness of Him. Hence, in the last day, that great day of the Feast [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living waters." Then John goes on to tell us: "But this spoke He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified."

Jesus spake these Words about the Holy Spirit on the last day of the Feast of the Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated about six months after the Day of Pentecost, and it was also called the Feast of Ingathering, because it spoke of, or came at the time of, the final ingathering of the harvest. This feast was the most joyful and jubilant of all the feasts; and this last "great day" of the feast climaxed all their celebrations.

We are told by scholars of the Old Testament, and of Jewish customs, that for seven days as a  part of this great feast, the people led by a priest had made their way to the Fountain of Siloam, where the priest filled a golden pitcher, and brought it back to the temple amid music and joyful shouts. Then the priest, advancing to the altar of burnt-offering, at the cry of the people, "Lift up thy hand," emptied the pitcher of water toward the west, and he also emptied a cup of wine toward the east, while the people chanted, "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."

Now, it is not certain whether the Jews repeated this same ceremonial procedure on the last day, the eighth day of this great feast, but we do know that it was a day of great joy, of loud jubilation, and of sounding of trumpets. And there can be no doubt that the Words of the Lord had reference to this ceremony of the pouring out of the water and wine, a ceremony that had taken place each year for centuries.

In the Greek the phrase, "Jesus stood," implies that Jesus was standing and watching the people participate in this great feast; the sense behind these words also indicate that His heart and thoughts were full. And from what He said on the last day of the feast, His thoughts were full of the great change that was about to take place, for He knew the Cross was imminent. He knew that this change would bring the old ways to an end, and that in Him would be the New and Living Way. He knew that out of Him, out of His Innermost Being would flow Rivers of Living Waters. First of all, Jesus said these words of Himself; then, because we are in Him, it is in the measure that we are filled in the Spirit that this River of His Life, that the Livingness of His Life, shall by the Spirit flow through us - "out of His Belly shall flow Rivers of Living Water."

Now we do not know exactly when Jesus spoke these words on the last day of the feast, but we do know that they were said exactly at God's appointed time, for Jesus said, "I can of Mine Own Self do nothing" (John 5:30). We know that the people who heard His Words would understand some of the significance of these Rivers of Living Waters, for they had witnessed the pouring of the water on the altar for seven days. We know that the Words of Jesus must have reminded them of the river of water that had gushed out of the rock in the wilderness (Exodus 17:6). Also, when Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink," it must have called to their minds the prophetic words of Isaiah: "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters" (55:1). Some of them must have surely thought of Ezekiel and his "waters to swim in" (Ezekiel 47:1-5). Jesus' Words spoke of all these Scriptures, and of many others, because Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of them.

However, the Gospel of John tells us that these Words of the Lord Jesus, spoken on the last great day of the feast, had an even fuller meaning, for His Words were speaking of a new beginning for those who believed. The Words of the Lord Jesus Christ were speaking of the Holy Spirit, "Which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified."

So, what does it mean that the Spirit was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified? In the Gospel of John, the word "glory," or "glorify" is used at least 42 times. Beloved, as Christians, we must see that no matter how mankind may apply the word glory, the word "glory" can only be attributed to God and to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is because the word "Glory," in its truest sense and meaning, speaks of the manifestation of ALL that God Was, and Is, and Ever-Shall-Be - and the manifestation of God's Glory can only be found in His Son. - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, Full of Grace and Truth" (John 1:1, 14).

We have seen that the Gospel of John is the book of Glory. It is the manifestation of ALL that God is in His Son: "I AM the Bread of Life - I AM the Light of the World - I AM the Good Shepherd - I AM the Resurrection, and the Life - I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life - I AM the True Vine." Thus, the Gospel of John makes it clear that Christ is the Full and Complete Manifestation of the Glory of God.

However, John 7:37-39 tells us that when Christ spoke these Words on the last day of the feast, Christ was not yet glorified. The Lord Jesus Christ was the glory of God, but He Himself was to be glorified by God. We shall see that this glorification of Christ is one intricate whole that includes His Cross, His Resurrection, His Ascension. Out of His Cross, out of His suffering, and death came His triumph over death,  His Resurrection. Out of His Resurrection came His Ascension, His Victory over principalities and powers as He ascended far above all the Heavens and was seated at the Right Hand of God, which is the Realm of the Throne - THE REALM OF ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY, THE REALM OF ALL POWER AND AUTHORITY. Out of this Realm the Lord Jesus poured forth the Holy Spirit - out of His Belly, out of His Innermost Being, flowed rivers of Living Waters unto and into and out of those who believe.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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