The Law of the Manchild
God's ultimate purpose in creation is to bring forth a corporate Son in His own image. This was the real meaning of His command in Genesis 1:28, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it." If Adam had brought forth children before his fall into sin, he would have brought forth children in the image of God, after whose image he himself had been created. Instead, however, all of his children were born after he had lost the glorified body. Thus, all of his descendants have been born mortal, carnal, and imperfect, lacking the original glory of God that once permeated Adam's being.
The feast days of Israel were designed to reveal to us the pattern of restoration to the glory, which Adam enjoyed before sin entered the world. The feast days are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end. The feast days are a progressive pattern, a journey from the depths of bondage and sin to the heights of the glorious liberty of the children of God and the glorified body. It is not a journey from earth to heaven, but a journey on the earth from death to life, from corruption to incorruption, from the image of the first Adam to the image of the Second Adam.
This is the great secret of creation that has been largely hidden from the world and even from most believers throughout history. God has not seen fit to reveal His entire plan all at once, even to those who love Him. It has been a progressive revelation. The truths themselves have been revealed from the beginning, but God did not give men an immediate understanding of what was being revealed. For this reason, the truths were written on tablets and in books, so that at the proper time their meanings could be understood by future generations. So Paul tells us of the great mystery of God in the Bible in Colossians 1:26, 27,
26 that is, the mystery [musterion, "hidden thing, secret"] which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles [ethnos, "ethnic groups, or nations"], which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
The Image of God
Jesus Christ was begotten of the Father above in what is called the Virgin Birth. Hebrews 1:3 tells us of Christ's nature and character,
3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation [Greek: charakter, "imprint"] of His nature [Greek: hupostasis, "substance"], and upholds all things by the word of His power.
Vine's Expository Dictionary says that the Greek word, charakter, means:
"firstly, a tool for graving (from charasso, to cut into, to engross; cp. Eng., character, characteristic); then a stamp or impress, as on a coin or a seal, in which case the seal or die which makes an impression bears the image produced on it. . . The Son of God is not merely His image (His charakter), He is the image, or impress of His substance, or essence."
Some may argue the finer points about man's ultimate relationship with God when he finally attains His image. Even John himself did not claim to know. 1 John 3:2 says,
2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
It is enough to know that Jesus Christ was begotten from above, that He was the exact image of His Father in heaven, and that as Christians, we have been begotten from above as well, in order that we too might bear the image of the heavenly (1 Cor. 15:49). Jesus was the pattern Son. His begetting, birth, life, and ultimate glorification showed us the path that we too must follow. That path does not begin with birth, but with begetting, or conception.
Begotten From Above
Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 (NASB),
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [Greek: gennethe anothen, "begotten from above"], he cannot see the kingdom of God."
The term, "born again," as it is rendered by the NASB and the KJV, is not accurate enough for our purposes here. It should be rendered "begotten from above," that is, begotten of God, the Father, by means of the Holy Spirit.
The Greek word, gennethe, is from the root word, gennao. Dr. Bullinger tells us in his notes on Matthew 1:2,
"begat. Gr. Gennao. When used of the father = to beget or engender; and when used of the mother it means to bring forth into the world."
Men engender; women give birth. And so, in Matthew 1:2, where we read that Abraham begat Isaac, it is apparent that Abraham did not actually give birth to Isaac. Abraham merely engendered Isaac in the womb of Sarah, who later gave birth to Isaac.
In Matthew 1:20, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him to take Mary to be his wife, even though she was pregnant and thought by many to be an adulteress. The angel explained to him, "for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." The Greek word translated "conceived" is gennethen, from gennao. It is apparent that Jesus had not yet been born in Bethlehem. We see that the word is used here of conception, rather than of birthing. The Holy Spirit had acted as the Father to beget, or engender, an embryo within Mary.
So what does this all mean to us? How does this apply to John 3:3, where Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be "born again?" It shows that when the Spirit of God indwells us, we are begotten from above. We are not yet technically "born." The term, "born again" is not fully accurate, for it implies that we have now been made fully in the image of our Father. The fact is, an embryo has not yet taken full shape. It is yet being made and formed into the image of its father and mother. The teaching that Christians are now "born again" has caused many to think that they have now arrived at the final goal of life on earth, and that there is little else to do except wait to go to heaven. Meanwhile, the only real purpose the Christian seems to have on earth is to witness to others and to support their church with their presence and with their presents.
One of the major goals in this book is to challenge that mindset and to show people that they must progress through the stages of development revealed by the feast days of Israel in order to arrive at the final destination.
The other word used in John 3:3, which we have not yet explained, is anothen, translated "again," as in "born again." Vine's Expository Dictionary says that "it signifies from above, or anew." If John had meant to imply "again" or "another time," he would have used the Greek word, deuteros, as he did in John 9:24,
24 So a second time [deuteros] they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner."
We conclude, then, that John 3:3 instructed Nicodemus (and us) that we are to be "begotten from above," rather than to be "born again." First things first. We must first be begotten before we can be brought to full birth.
The Feast Days Manifest the Pregnancy
A woman may conceive in the middle of her month. So we find that the Feast of Passover occurs in the middle of the first month. The fertilized egg may implant upon the wall of the uterus within the next few days. That implantation is represented by the wave-sheaf offering shortly after Passover. This completes the begetting of the new life.
Seven weeks later, on the Feast of Pentecost, the new embryo has developed all of its fingers and toes and now looks like a tiny human being. The child has now taken shape.
Months later, on the first of the seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets, the child's hearing is developed. One must hear the sound of the trumpet.
On the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement, the child's blood supply is distinct from its mother. The child can now produce its own red blood cells.
By the middle of the seventh month, the Feast of Tabernacles, the child's lungs have developed sufficiently, so that the child can survive outside the mother's womb and still breathe on his own. If the child is born prematurely, it has a good chance of survival. So also, those who are brought to birth at the Feast of Tabernacles will be those who have their spiritual lungs sufficiently developed to breathe the breath of God. That is, they are mature enough to sustain the breath of the Holy Spirit in its fullness.
Even so, there is another feast that perhaps may fit into this scenario. It is the Feast of Dedication, or the Feast of Lights, commonly called Hanukkah. It is a post-Mosaic feast, commemorating the events in 165 B.C. It is an eight-day feast, beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, the ninth month on the Hebrew calendar. According to the Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, we read,
"Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judas Maccabee in 165 BC after the Temple had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and overlord of Palestine. In 168 BC, on a date corresponding to December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, the Temple was dedicated to the worship of Zeus Olympius by order of Antiochus. An altar to Zeus was set up on the high altar. When Judas Maccabee recaptured Jerusalem three years later, he had the Temple purged and a new altar put up in place of the desecrated one. The Temple was then rededicated to God with festivities that lasted eight days. According to talmudic tradition, only one cruse of pure olive oil, sealed by the high priest and necessary for the rededicatory ritual, could be found, but that small quantity burned miraculously for eight days."
Perhaps this Feast of Lights completes the normal, nine-month birthing cycle in a prophetic manner, where the newborn baby comes into the light of day. It is also possible that this may prophetically imply that some will be born at Tabernacles in the first resurrection, while the majority will be birthed later at the general resurrection of the dead. In other words, some will be ready a bit early at the Feast of Tabernacles, but the great majority of believers will come into the light of God's full presence at the end of the thousand years.
So we conclude that the feast days of Israel were meant to portray that development of an embryo from conception to birth. Since the feasts were also designed to show us the path of spiritual development here on earth, it is apparent that our justification by faith (Passover) was not the new birth, but the new conception that will ultimately lead to our new birth. The conception was by the Holy Spirit, for God is our Father. Even as an embryo at first looks nothing like the parent, as time passes, the child more and more comes to be in the image of his father. So also it is with us in our Christian experience.
The Marriage of our Soul to God
In the Greek language, the soul is pseuche. This is a feminine word. Thus, when God made man a living soul, He created him feminine in the sense that man was to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit of God to bring forth Christ, "the hope of glory." The soul of man is the womb of God by which He reproduces Himself in the earth.
When a child is conceived, he has the genetics of both his mother and his father. Adamic man "is of the earth, earthy" (1 Cor. 15:47). But God is Spirit (John 4:24). How can a Spirit mate with an earthly creature to produce a child? There is no way to explain how it can be done. All we know is that it has already happened, and the demonstrated evidence is Jesus Christ Himself. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, a virgin, and she conceived a son that was called the Christ.
In the same manner also, the Holy Spirit must overshadow us, our souls, and beget Christ in us. We are begotten by the seed of the Gospel (1 Cor. 4:15). This is the great mystery of God. It is not only hidden from the world at large, but also it is a hidden work within our souls. This is the great marriage between spirit and soul, between heaven and earth, between God and men, between Christ and His Bride. The purpose of this marriage is to bring forth the Manchild.
The Apostle Paul established the Galatian church. He pictured himself as the midwife, or the primary caregiver during the church's pregnancy. And so he says in Galatians 4:19, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you." The Christians in Galatia had accepted the truth of Jesus Christ and had, in essence, been married to God. The Holy Spirit had come upon them to engender Christ in them, and Christ was now being "formed" in them as they matured in Christ.
The problem was that they had strayed from the truth, putting their trust in the law--particularly in the law of fleshly circumcision--as being essential to their justification. Paul reminds them that circumcision of the flesh was the sign of the Old Covenant, while the heart circumcision was the sign of the New Covenant. Hence, their dependence upon fleshly circumcision was a sign that they had begun to place their confidence in the Old Covenant, as if it could save them. If this belief were to take root, it would effectively abort the Manchild in them.
Putting one's trust in fleshly circumcision also identified the Galatian church with the Old Jerusalem, even as the unbelievers in Judaism. Paul explains that the Old Jerusalem was Hagar, not Sarah (Gal. 4:25), and was associated with Mount Sinai, which is in Arabia--the inheritance of the descendants of Hagar. God had removed His name from the Old Jerusalem, as prophesied in Jeremiah 7:14, and seen in a vision by another prophet in Ezekiel 10 and 11. God said He would remove His name from Jerusalem, even as He removed it from Shiloh in the days of Eli the priest. Revelation 3:12 and 22:4 clearly tell us that God has now placed His name and the name of the New Jerusalem upon the temple that is His Body. Never again will He glorify a physical temple on the old temple mount in the old city of Jerusalem.
We learn from the book of Galatians, and from Paul's concern for them, that it was possible for the church to abort the Manchild. And, indeed, Paul's concerns were well justified, for no generation of the Church has yet brought forth the Manchild.
The Law of Deuteronomy 25:5-10
The primary law of the Manchild is found in Deuteronomy 25. It is the little-known law regarding a childless widow and how her dead husband's brother was supposed to raise up the heir. Deuteronomy 25:5-10 reads,
5 When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. 6 And it shall be that the first-born whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out from Israel. 7 But if the man does not desire to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, "My husband's brother refuses to establish a name for his brother in Israel; he is not willing to perform the duty of a husband's brother to me." 8 Then the elders of his city shall summon him and speak to him. And if he persists and says, "I do not desire to take her," 9 then his brother's wife shall come to him in the sight of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face; and she shall declare, "Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother's house." 10 And in Israel his name shall be called, "The house of him whose sandal is removed."
If a man died childless, having no heir to his inheritance, it was the duty of the man's brother to beget an heir through her in his brother's name. There was also a specific order in this, as we see in the story of Ruth.
The Story of Ruth
In that story, Elimelech and Naomi had moved from Judah to Moab, being forced to sell their property because a famine had put them in debt. Unless they were somehow able to redeem their land, they would have to remain off the land until the year of Jubilee.
Elimelech had two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, both of whom married women from the land of Moab. Mahlon married Ruth, while Chilion married Orpah. Then both sons died, leaving no heir to the family inheritance back in the land of Judah. One of Mahlon's kinsmen, Boaz, loved Ruth and would have married her right away, except that the first right of the kinsman belonged to a closer relative. So he explains to her in Ruth 3:12, 13,
12 And now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives.
In the story, Boaz called the kinsman having the first right of redemption, and asked him if he wanted to redeem the property left by Elimelech. He did want to redeem it, but when he discovered that he would also have to marry Ruth, he decided against it. Josephus tells us in Antiquities of the Jews, V, ix, 4,
"Now about noon Boaz went down into the city, and gathered the senate together, and when he had sent for Ruth, he called for her kinsman also; and when he was come, he said, 'Dost thou not retain the inheritance of Elimelech and his sons?' He confessed that he did retain it, and that he did as he was permitted to do by the laws, because he was their nearest kinsman. Then said Boaz, 'Thou must not remember the laws by halves, but do everything according to them; for the wife of Mahlon is come hither, whom thou must marry, according to the law, in case thou wilt retain their fields.' So the man yielded up both the field and the wife to Boaz, who was himself of kin to those that were dead, as alleging that he had a wife already, and children also; so Boaz called the senate to witness, and bid the woman to loose his shoe and spit in his face, according to the law; and when this was done, Boaz married Ruth, and they had a son within a year's time."
This story illustrates the Manchild law found in Deuteronomy 25, with which we are dealing. It is a prophetic law by which the Manchild is to be brought to birth. In Hebrews 2:11-15, we read that Jesus Christ is our elder brother:
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying, "I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise." 13 And again, "I will put My trust in Him." And again, "Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me." 14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things . . . .
These verses show us that Jesus Christ came as a descendant of Abraham in order to have the lawful right of redemption to redeem His brethren of the House of Israel. More than this, however, Jesus Christ also came in flesh and blood--not clothing Himself the nature of angels--in order that He might also have the right to redeem all of mankind back to Adam. He is a near kinsman to both Israel and to all flesh and blood.
Raising Up Seed in Christ's Image
Jesus died childless. Jesus was not married, nor did He have any physical children. More importantly, He had no spiritual children in the fullest sense of the word. No one up to that time had come to full spiritual birth. There is a long list of Old Testament saints in Hebrews 11, but they all died without receiving the promise--which is the fulfillment of Tabernacles and the birth of the Manchild company.
So we--Jesus' brethren--are called to raise up seed unto our elder brother, so that His name is not blotted out of Israel, so that He does not lose His inheritance in the earth. In the personal application of this law, our soul is the "woman" that must be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in order to bring forth "Christ in you." That holy Seed within you, having God as its Father, is perfect and cannot sin. 1 John 3:9 says (NASB),
9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
It would be more accurate to render it this way: "That which is begotten of God does not sin, because His seed abides in Him [Christ in you]; and He cannot sin, because He is begotten of God." That holy Seed (embryo) within you cannot sin, because, like Jesus Christ, He does not have the first Adam as His father. This holy Seed is in the womb of your soul, growing and maturing until the time of full birth.
This Seed is, in fact, the real you. That Seed is what you are becoming. It is not of your Adamic flesh. This is best illustrated by observing the butterfly. It begins as a worm, or caterpillar, which wraps its entire body within a cocoon, except for its head, which soon dies and falls away. Yet by the process called "metamorphosis," it is transformed into a living butterfly. In the same way, we have a living Seed within us that makes it possible for us to be transformed into a new creature. Even as there is the seed of a butterfly within the body of a caterpillar, so also do we, as Christian believers, have within us the Seed of Christ. When this metamorphosis is complete, and the old Adamic head falls away, we will be birthed as a new creation in the image of Christ.
Paul makes the distinction between our flesh (the "worm") and the spiritual Seed within us (the "butterfly") when he says in Romans 7:18-20,
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
Paul makes a distinction between the man of sin within us, and the Righteous One in us. That Righteous One is begotten of God, so it cannot sin and does not want to sin. But there is presently an inner war between these two "men," represented by the first Adam (the old man) and the last Adam (the new man).
There are only two men in the world—Adam and Christ. The first is slated for death; the last Adam is alive for ever. Both of these men presently inhabit our bodies. They are two kings representing two kingdoms. They are portrayed figuratively in the two Jerusalems, old and new. The second is replacing the first. They each function according to different covenants—old and new. The old covenant attempts to reform Adam by teaching him how to behave righteously.
The new covenant was given because of the failure of the old covenant to restore Adam to the place of righteousness. In the new covenant, God makes demands upon Himself to do what Adam could not do. Through this new covenant, He brings forth Christ in us, and we become the manifestation of that life-giving Spirit. That is the Manchild. That is Christ. And that is also us.
We see that we are even now raising up seed unto our elder brother, Jesus Christ, who was not ashamed to call us brethren. The law in Deuteronomy 25 shows us that if we refuse to do this, we will lose our shoe. In other words, our Christian walk will be severely impaired. Paul likens the Christian life to running a race. It is difficult to run a race with only one shoe, because the road of life is not always a smooth, grassy path. There are many stones and thorns in the way. There are many stretches of hot, burning sand. With only one shoe, it is not likely that a person will win the race, but will come limping to the finish line in last place.
As Christians, if our focus is on anything other than winning the prize of the high calling of God, we are trying to run the race with one shoe, or at best with loose shoelaces. We need to understand that the holy Seed within us needs to be nourished with the truth of God's Word that will bring Christ in us to maturity and full birth. The journey of this spiritual pregnancy is mapped by Israel's journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. The main places of rest marked on this map are depicted by the feast days. At each stop of the way, there are things of God to learn.
As we saw earlier, the first coming of Christ purchased our redemption by the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for the sins of the whole world. The second coming of Christ involves bringing many sons into glory. The first coming was a Judah work; the second a Joseph work. The Judah work meant that Christ had to be born in Bethlehem of the House of David. He had to die as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. He had to be raised from the dead as well, in order to lead the way for the rest of us out of death into resurrection life.
The Joseph work, on the other hand, is quite different. Joseph was a fruitful son, and Sonship is the purpose of His second coming. He is bringing many sons into glory (Heb. 2:10). His coming is pictured by the conquering Word, whose robe is dipped in blood. He is thus the fulfillment of the second dove, which was dipped in blood and set free in the open field.
He is also pictured as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jonah, whose name means "dove." In that story, the second part of the story shows that the Word goes forth to Nineveh to bring all of God's enemies under His feet by means of repentance and teaching. For this reason, Christ is pictured as the WORD when He comes on the horse.
Through all of this, we see the path clearly marked in our journey from the bondage of sin to the glorious liberty of the children of God. It is the path of Israel first under Moses and then under Joshua (Yeshua, or Jesus). The details are given in the feasts of Israel. Without understanding these feast days, it is impossible to know the truth about the coming of Christ. This is as true today in regard to the second coming as it was two thousand years ago at His first appearance.
There is an intensely personal, individual picture that the Scriptures paint for us to show us how to mature and progress to the incorruption and immortality of our "Promised Land." These same stories also prophesy to us of what God is doing in the bigger picture with the entire earth on a large, historic level. The picture shows us three ages, the Passover Age that is long past, the Pentecost Age that has now ended, and the Tabernacles Age that is now ready to begin.
It is our hope and prayer that this book has assisted you, the reader, in obtaining a clearer vision of the hope that lies before us.