On Being Fruitful
Nov 19, 2009
Salvation is portrayed in the feast days as a three-step process: Justification, Sanctification, and finally Glorification. It is portrayed in the story of "the church in the wilderness" as a journey from Egypt to Sinai to the Promised Land. It is portrayed in the Tabernacle and Temple as the Outer Court, Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place.
The Bible is full of redundancies, knowing first that we need multiple witnesses to believe anything, and secondly, because humanity suffers from deafness and hardness of heart.
But sometimes the middle step in this progression is pictured as a transition from the first to the last. When this happens, the truth is shortened to a two-step program. For example, we see the two sets of feast days (Spring and Autumn), Old and New Covenant, the Scepter and the Birthright, and even Judah and Ephraim-Israel (insofar as they apply to this process).
Today we will dance the two-step. This is primarily the progression seen in the callings of Judah and Israel.
Judah was the lion that was to die and be raised from the dead, as we read in Gen. 49:9,
"Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches [reclines], he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up?"
This is illustrated further in the prophetic story of Samson, who killed a lion and later found that bees had taken residence in the carcass and had produced honey. It prophesied of Christ, out of whose death would come the "land flowing with milk and honey." Samson used this to produce a Passover riddle that his Philistine friends could not answer without cheating (Judges 14:14). It portrays the fact that the "Philistine" carnal mind cannot comprehend the divine logic that the death of the Lion of Judah could produce something positive.
Learning this secret--faith that His death and resurrection paid the penalty for sin and bought us into a direct relationship with God--is the first of a two-step process. Unfortunately, many Christian believers, having taken that first step, do not have a clear idea of the next step. Once they have received grace by their faith, they tend to get the impression that there is nothing further for them to do except wait for the train to heaven.
Or, to put it another way, they have left Egypt but have no map to the Promised Land. So they sit and wait for the train to come and take them there, not realizing that they are supposed to walk to Mount Sinai and from there to Kadesh-barnea. In other words, they think of salvation as a one-step hop from Egypt to the Promised Land, as if the two countries border each other.
Pentecost is the transitional step to Tabernacles. The purpose of Pentecost is learn to hear God's voice, so that one can be led by the Spirit (pillar of fire/cloud). The purpose of hearing is to have sufficient faith to enter the Promised Land. Remember that the entire "church in the wilderness" had faith to leave Egypt, but most of them did not have faith to enter the Promised Land. Paul comments on this in Hebrews 4:1, 2,
(1) Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. (2) For indeed we have had good news ["gospel"]preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
Verse 6 says that they "failed to enter because of disobedience." Keep in mind that they were all obedient in leaving Egypt, but they had failed to obey ten times since then (Num. 14:22).
The church today suffers from the same problem. They have all had faith to leave Egypt, but they have failed to enter the Promised Land because of disobedience. We are given ten examples of disobedience to show that it was pervasive and not merely about a single issue. The problem of disobedience is actually a problem that Pentecost was designed to overcome. Pentecost was the feast celebrating the giving of the law, and if the people had been willing to hear it, the law would have been written on their hearts. But instead, they ran away (Ex. 20:18-21).
So in order to fulfill the final portion of salvation, one must enter the Promised Land. There is an appointed time in history for entrance, of course, but as individuals it is a matter of having the level of faith necessary ahead of time. In other words, insofar as we are concerned, we have already entered the Promised Land in our hearts. Our hearts are already there, even while we are yet learning the lessons of obedience taught to us through Pentecost.
In looking at this journey as a two-step process, the first portion involves faith and faithfulness, while the second focuses upon fruitfulness. This can be seen by studying the Scepter of Judah and the Birthright of Joseph (or Ephraim-Israel). The first is about faith in the blood of the Lion and the Lamb. The second is about being fruitful, for that is the meaning of the name Ephraim.
One can look at the fruitfulness theme by studying fruit-bearing trees or even the first-fruits offerings given at the three main feast seasons. But the ultimate evidence of bearing fruit is about childbirth. Perhaps the ultimate truth is to understand Sonship and to see that this is about "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).
Passover speaks of conception; Pentecost speaks of embryonic development; and finally, Tabernacles speaks of the birth of the Manchild, which is Christ in you. The eighth day of Tabernacles speaks of the presentation of the Sons, their heart circumcision, and their manifestation to the world.
This is the ultimate purpose of the feast of Tabernacles, and it is the reason for "leaving Egypt." It is the goal of faith itself. In fact, we can even say that faith is the means to an end and not the end itself. The purpose of faith is to bring forth fruit, even as the purpose of conception is to bring to birth.
But if we were to plant a tree and then never give it water, would the tree grow up to maturity? Of course not. If Christ is conceived and implanted within the womb of our soul, but then receives no "water of the word," will this Holy Seed come to full birth? Of course not. This is perhaps one of the most pervasive problems in the church today, even as it was in the days of Moses.
Let me add here that this Holy Seed will indeed grow up into maturity--but if this does not take place in this present life span, one must finish the job after the resurrection. No one will come fully into the Promise of God until he has gone through the steps necessary to come to the maturity of their faith.
So I am not suggesting that immature Christians will lose their reward. I am saying that it will simply take a bit longer for them to enter the Promised Land. Only the overcomers will inherit the First Resurrection; the rest will get it at the Great White Throne where the rest of the dead are raised (Rev. 20).
There is a general reward for being a believer in Christ; there is a greater reward for those believers who are actually led by the Spirit and whose hearts are able to hear and believe the Word of the Kingdom. Most believers have faith to wait for the train; overcomers have faith to be led by the pillar of fire all the way to the Promised Land. The quality of faith is different.
For this reason, it is helpful to know the laws of Sonship and the laws of the Manchild, which I have covered in my book, The Laws of the Second Coming. I suggest that everyone read this foundational book. It is in print or can be read online free of charge.
Dr. Stephen Jones