LAUGHING PHENOMENA: Its History & Possible Effects on the Church
PART V: The Consummation: Where Are We Headed?
By Ed Tarkowski
In Part II of this series, Alan Vincent said that God is "moving the Church from the Day of Atonement to Tabernacles."(1) And according to Robin McMillan and Steve Thompson,
"we will never fulfill our destiny and calling" until "we understand and partake of this feast [Tabernacles] as we have both Passover and Pentecost, . . We must discover the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles and 'celebrate' it along with Passover and Pentecost. . . . What God did among Jews in Jerusalem, He is going to do among humanity and worldwide. Pentecost will come to maturity in the Feast of Tabernacles."(2)
In later segments, we saw that the foundation of this "move of God" is Latter Rain replacement theology, in which the Church replaces Israel and carries the blessings of Abraham to the nations. Scrutinizing this teaching, we pointed out that the agenda itself is evolutionary; the Church cannot fulfill its destiny until it celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles. This celebration will result in the manifestation of men as Sons of God filled with joy. According to Pastor Bill Randles, the move to celebrate an endtime Tabernacles can be traced to the Latter Rain prophet/teacher George Warnock:
"An interesting example of the evolutionary model of the church is a little book written in 1951 by George Warnock called 'The Feast of Tabernacles.' This book is a virtual primer of Latter Rain, Manifested Sons of God teaching, . . . a pattern for the progress of the church through time. Starting at Passover, which is Calvary, the church has [to] come into the Feast of Tabernacles, which to him represents God's consummate purposes for us, the Last Days Church. When we come into Tabernacles, which was a tremendous time of celebration for Israel, God will finally dwell within His people."(3)
The joy of the Feast of Tabernacles is now being linked by Latter Rain adherents to the Old Testament Year of Jubilee (see Leviticus 25 and Sidebar). Interestingly, although the Year of Jubilee hasn't been kept by the Jews for millennia, the idea is being spontaneously resurrected by various groups as the ultimate celebration of the upcoming year 2000. If the Jews had been observing the year every 50 years, proclaiming freedom for those in bondage, closure of debt, and rest for the land, it might have been a natural thing for twentieth century planners to appropriate the concept as a foundation for a cure for the world's ills. But the Year of Jubilee has been long ignored by its original celebrators, and its sudden awakening from dormancy within seemingly unconnected belief systems must be seen as a spiritual move toward unity.
Though it may have seemed that celebrating Tabernacles would complete the Latter Rain evolutionary scale, the new revelations now coming forth tell us that Tabernacles will evolve into Jubilee. In his book, "The Star of 2000," Jay Gary links together the three great Jewish feasts with a call to the Church to "experience Jesus' Jubilee":
"The annual calendar of Israel was built around three major festivals: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. These celebrations in Jerusalem were anything but boring. There was dancing, singing and exuberant celebration before the living God.
"The Year of Jubilee encompassed these three festivals, only raised to a higher power. The clear call of God across the millennia is that we are invited to come into His presence and feast on Him.
"On the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus "stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come and drink' (John 7:37). Then as well as today, Jesus calls us to experience His jubilee."(4)
Because Tabernacles is encompassed by every Jubilee year, the celebrations of the two become one. In fact, Gary says the three feasts, including Tabernacles, are "raised to a higher power" by Jubilee.
In his praise of "The Star of 2000," Eagle's Nest Pastor Clarice Fluitt declares,
"This is an incredibly prophetic book. Jay Gary has peered into the spirit realm and drawn from God's secret place. He declares that the church must prepare a celebration, a festival for, about and with Jesus, our honored guest and royal Bridegroom. The Star of 2000 is infused with a biblical revelation of fullness, sonship, maturity, and perfection of the glorious triumphant church - the Feast of Tabernacles. Read the book."(5)
According to Fluitt, Gary's revelation is 1) spiritual, 2) biblical, and 3) a revealed secret "drawn from God." But in reality, it is the spiritual, unbiblical doctrine of the Latter Rain: "fullness, sonship, maturity, and perfection of the glorious triumphant church." This is a description of the Manifestation of the Sons of God as we described in earlier articles, a manifestation to be brought about through the Feast of Tabernacles.
In his book, Gary mentions four previous "images" for the year 2000, and then shares the "mega-image" which will "help us live out a new vision":
"When shared, a new A.D. 2000 mega-image, like a stone thrown into a pond, would send imaginative possibilities that ripple to the shores of our social boundaries.
". . . . it would provoke cracks in our preconceptions, shift our misconceptions and help us live out a new vision together in a new world.
"I consider the fifth mega-image, Jubilee 2000, to have the greatest potential to define and develop the bimillennial era."(6)
It appears the stone has been cast. Our "preconceptions" are already being cracked - wide open. The scriptural endtime scenario is being changed from the promised blood of martyrs to a Church evolving through Tabernacles to Jubilee to bring the Church to maturity. And what Gary calls our "misconceptions" have already shifted; many segments of the Church have experienced what's called a paradigm shift, in which one's beliefs and vision are totally changed.
Sadly, New Ager Jeremy Rifkin's vision for society and the Church foreseen in 1978 is now upon us - and it's a vision which lacks one vital element: GOD'S plan for the end of the age. Look at how Jay Gary's dream for the new millennium does not point to the coming of Christ as related in Scripture, but to a new age of peace and prosperity. He writes,
"I remember when I was in sixth grade I was asked to write a poem. At first I didn't think I had anything in my heart. After a while it came forth - I called it, 'Looking Optimistic.' After all these years, I still can recite it by heart:
"One day in the future
In the heart of man,
Peace will reign
Instead of evil command.
God will rule
and the world united
Bad will be banished,
And good will be sighted.
Every man will be equal,
Democratic government will be
the one to follow,
Food at every table,
And plenty to swallow.
So let's work toward these hopes,
And try to follow them too,
So that this world will become,
better than New!
"Although I didn't call this "My Dream" for the new millennium, that is exactly what it was! What about you? What is your dream for the Third Millennium?"(7)
Is Gary, like Latter Rain, looking to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus' return? He says that Jubilee can affect the whole world, that "the year 2000 [has] the potential to be a great jubilee and a global celebration for everyone on this planet" (8). Later, he writes, "[Israel's] 50th year was the Jubilee - or the culmination of joy. The entire year was consecrated to making right whatever had gone wrong. I am convinced that the year 2000 can truly be a Jubilee year for the entire human family." (9)
Gary describes Jubilee as "the culmination of joy." If you've wondered where the people of the "laughing God of Tabernacles" will end up, it will be in the Year of Jubilee, expecting their "joy" to be brought to fullness.
We have said that the Toronto Blessing is Latter Rain, and that the New Age doctrine of Barbara Marx Hubbard is the same. Now let's look at the similarities between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Year of Jubilee and the New Age's Age of Aquarius. In her book, "A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age 'Messiah'" (1985), Christian writer Constance Cumbey writes,
"Rev. Ernest Ramsey, an associate pastor at Unity's Kansas City's Founder's Church, Unity on the Plaza, is an enthusiastic follower of the Alice Bailey and Benjamin Creme teachings. In his Research Report #2, he tells of something he was led to by a spirit guide - what he terms 'Neo-Pentecostalism.' An aberrant branch of Pentecostalism, this is more commonly known as the 'Manifest Sons of God.' That movement is also referred to as 'Sonship' or 'Overcomers.' Ramsey concludes based on even less evidence than I have personally collected that this is part of the New Age Movement.
"Ramsey's work for his organization, 'Synthesis Fellowship,' first came to my attention in early 1983. His major report, entitled "An Evolutionary Basis For The Reappearance of the Christ and his Executives, the Masters of Wisdom" was inspired by Benjamin Creme's appearance and speech at Unity on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. . . . The most interesting section of Ramsey's report dealt with 'Neopentecostalism.' Ramsey spent a semester at one of the Neo-Pentecostal or Manifest Sons of God seminaries . . . . Already familiar with the Alice Bailey writings, he was amazed to see that there was a branch of Pentecostalism that embraced the same teachings - albeit using sometimes different terminology.
"Like those seeking the 'Age of Aquarius' these people too were seeking a 'New Age.' Like the other New Agers, these people taught that 'The Christ' was an anointing - not necessarily one man. They taught that Jesus was a pattern son who was to be a sign of something even greater to come - the 'Manifestation of the Sons of God.' They too believed the earth was to be cleansed of evil. And chillingly like the other New Agers, they believed they were to be 'God's' instruments to do such cleansing. The New Agers believed they were gods. The Manifest Sons of God likewise taught that if one accepted their 'new revelation' that they themselves would actually become Christ at the time of the unveiling or manifestation of the Sons of God."(10)
Although these similarities are frightening in themselves, Cumbey continues her eye-opener with this revelation:
"Ernest Ramsey excitedly pointed out in his report that [the Manifest Sons] had a teaching which indeed did parallel the Aquarian teaching of the Age of Aquarius - the Old Testament 'Year of Jubilee' as well as the 'Feast of Tabernacles.' The Year of Jubilee paralleled the redistribution of the world's wealth. The Feast of Tabernacles was the equivalent of the coming together of the World's peoples and varied religions under one tent or tabernacle - the equivalent of the New Agers' long-awaited 'New World Religion.' . . . ."(11)
We must not miss this point: the replacement theology of the Manifest Sons of the Latter Rain, which New Ager Ramsey called "Neo-Pentecostalism" has brought the Age of Aquarius into the Church under the guise of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Year of Jubilee.
The call for the Church to celebrate the Year of Jubilee has slowly increased since the resurgence of the Latter Rain doctrine in the mid-80s. And now we find another religious leader, Pope John Paul II, making the same call through the release of a 72-page papal letter. The letter, entitled "The Coming of the Third Millennium: Preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000," was released on November 10, 1994. David Crumm, Religion writer for the Detroit Free Press, reports the the document "recommends that every 50 years a special year of social justice be proclaimed, debts be canceled and the oppressed be freed."(12)
In Section 51 of the letter, the pope leaves us in no doubt that he is actively pursuing a Year of Jubilee for the year 2000:
"From this point of view, if we recall that Jesus came to "preach the good news to the poor" (Mt. 11:5; Lk. 7:22), how can we fail to lay greater emphasis on the church's preferential option for the poor and the outcast? Indeed, it has to be said that a commitment to justice and peace in a world like ours, marked by so many conflicts and intolerable social and economic inequalities, is a necessary condition for the preparation and celebration of the jubilee. Thus, in the spirit of the Book of Leviticus (25:8-12), Christians will have to raise their voice on behalf of all the poor of the world, proposing the jubilee as an appropriate time to give thought, among other things, to reducing substantially, if not canceling outright, the international debt which seriously threatens the future of many nations. . . ."(13)
But the idea of a Great Jubilee is no new thing to John Paul. In Article 23 of the new document, he writes,
"Since the publication of the very first document of my pontificate I have spoken explicitly of the Great Jubilee, suggesting that the time leading up to it be lived as "a new Advent." This theme has since reappeared many times, and was dwelt upon at length in the encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem. In fact, preparing for the year 2000 has become as it were a hermeneutical key of my pontificate. It is certainly not a matter of indulging in a new millenarianism, as occurred in some quarters at the end of the first millennium; rather, it is aimed at an increased sensitivity to all that the Spirit is saying to the church and to the churches (cf. Rv. 2:7 f), as well as to individuals through charisms meant to serve the whole community. The purpose is to emphasize what the Spirit is suggesting to the different communities, from the smallest ones, such as the family, to the largest ones, such as nations and international organizations, taking into account cultures, societies and sound traditions. Despite appearances, humanity continues to await the revelation of the children of God and lives by this hope, like a mother in labor, to use the image employed so powerfully by St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans (cf. 8:19-22)." [See Sidebar on these verses.](14)
The pope is no longer suggesting, but is himself acting upon plans for the Year of Jubilee in the Holy Land. In his Detroit Free Press article, David Crumm reported on some of the details:
"In weekend ceremonies at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II called on his new cardinals to work with him on an ambitious plan for world peace that includes meetings of Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and on Mt. Sinai in 1999. "Newly elevated Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida said Sunday that he expects to be heavily involved in the elaborate plan. . . ."(15)
Referring to the Papal Letter, Maida said,
"'This is a very important document. The Holy Father wants to bring all faiths together to try to find the common denominators in all of our faiths that will allow us to work together. He sees this as the only way we can hope to overcome all the evil, the injustice and the materialism that we face in the world.' . . .
"'The whole idea of interfaith communication between religious scholars is an excellent idea,' said Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi of Detroit's Islamic Center of America.
"'We need to talk about how Islam, Christianity and Judaism can contribute to society and help with the healing process in the world,' said Elahi, who already has worked with Maida on interfaith discussions in the Detroit area. . . .
"Bishop J. Philip Wahl, the southeast Michigan leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said, 'Personally, I think it's wonderful, the idea of Muslims, Christians and Jews meeting together in the Holy Land.'
"Wahl said he is particularly interested in the pontiff's proposal to speed up dialogue among Christian churches. 'I can see us, as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, working very, very hard on the dialogue the pope has suggested,' he said.
"Evangelical Lutheran leaders are making a similar proposal to be considered at their 1997 nationwide conference, Wahl said.
"'In our proposed statement, we would declare that the conditions existing within the church at the time of the Reformation no longer exist. So, instead of pointing fingers backward and trying to figure out who was wrong back then, we would say, "Let's not let the past be a blockage between us."'
"'But Advent this year takes on a very particular importance,' he said. 'With it, in fact, begins the preparation of the whole church for the historic rendezvous with the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, which we are already approaching.' . . . ."
Crumm reports that the pope's plan "calls for many phases of preparation for the jubilee, including:
"* After years of slow dialogue with many Christian denominations, the pontiff wants to move rapidly to break down barriers between the churches. He wants temporary agreements to allow members to worship together in special jubilee programs. Beyond that, the pope hopes to move quickly toward full communion, in which members of the churches would share worship services.
"* By 1996, the pope wants to publish a humble confession for the sins of his own church over the past 2000 years. Chief among these sins, the pope said, was the church's use of violence to promote the faith in periods such as the Inquisition in the Middle Ages. . . .
"* In 1999, the pope wants leaders of the three faiths that look back to the ancient patriarch Abraham as their founder to join in three meetings. The pope proposes gathering on Mt. Sinai in Egypt, where the Bible says Moses received the ten commandments; in Bethlehem in the West Bank, where the Bible says Jesus was born; and in Jerusalem, now controlled by Israel, one of the holiest cities of all three faiths."(16)
Pope John Paul II is only one of many religious leaders pursuing a Year of Jubilee. In a 1987 report on Pat Robertson, Constance Cumbey wrote,
"Whether there is direct networking or not, it is a fact that the 'Year of Jubilee' teachings do show up in Robertson's work in amazingly similar format to those used both by [Manifest Son teacher] Bill Britton and [the New Age] Synthesis Fellowship. On page 133 of his book in a discussion of what he calls 'The Law of Use' Robertson says: 'Notwithstanding the sneers of many in the banking community, it may be that God's way will be the only one open to us - a year of jubilee to straighten out the mess.'"(17)
Cumbey also cited Pat Robertson's Perspective newsletter from January/ February 1981:
". . . . In a section called 'A Radical Proposal to Halt Inflation' Robertson called for an International Year of Jubilee. This was modeled, said Robertson, after the Biblical Year of Jubilee. . . . [which] canceled debts, freed slaves, 'and the means of production would be redistributed. . . . If inflation is to be broken, there must be a cancellation of debt - on a worldwide basis.' He said, 'every type of debt, secured or unsecured, should be totally released.' . . ."(18)
Pat Robertson's influence in the American and worldwide Church is enormous. Though his teachings and beliefs are often (and often justly) criticized by traditional Evangelicals, he retains a following of millions who tune in daily to his 700 Club television program, who buy and read his multiple books, and who supported his candidacy for president in 1987. A call from Robertson for a Year of Jubilee in the year 2000 would give powerful impetus to the move.
Besides his personal followers, Pat Robertson is in a position to influence many more through his Family Channel, the tenth largest cable channel in the country. Add to this the 1.4 million members of the politically active Christian Coalition, (which he heads), those affected by the journalism, law and government graduates of his Regent University, and the many touched by the legal civil rights group he founded, the American Center For Law And Justice. Because these organizations take a socio-political stance rather than a theological one, their promotion of a Year of Jubilee wouldn't be much affected by divisive doctrinal differences.
Robertson has already endeared himself to conservative Catholic groups by signing the 1994 agreement, "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission In The Third Millennium." And two years before this agreement, in November of 1992, he exhorted his 700 Club audience, "It's high time the 50 million evangelicals and the 40 million Roman Catholics GET TOGETHER and say, 'Look. Christian bashing is over. We're not going to put up with it in America.'"(19; emphasis ours).
Clearly, Pat Robertson's sphere of influence is wider and encompasses members of more denominations than just about any other church leader in the nation. Furthermore, as founder of the global relief agency Operation Blessing, chief executive officer of CBN (which owns a television station in Lebanon), head of Broadcast Equities (religious radio and television stations), and major shareholder (through CBN) of Asia Pacific Media Corp., a new venture to buy media and cable properties in Asia, his geographical sphere of influence is widening also.
Robertson's been calling for an International Year of Jubilee including "a cancellation of debt - on a worldwide basis," for fifteen years. Today, he is also offering conferences on Tabernacles, the joyous festival of ingathering. In the April 1995 Charisma magazine, CBN ran the following ad:
"Get the Word on Worship, Wisdom and Wonders.
"With God's Word as the foundation of every CBN conference, you'll be challenged to grow spiritually and receive all that God has for you.
"Worship. Renowned speakers Judson Cornwall and Steven Fry will show you why it's important to be more than a Sunday Christian. 'Pursuing A Life of Worship,' June 1-4, 1995.
"Wisdom. Gain a deeper understanding of Israel, the Church and the end times as the annual Jerusalem celebration 'Feast of Tabernacles' comes to CBN Conferences. Featured speakers are Jan Willem van der Hoeven and Johann Luckhoff. July 13-16, 1995. "Wonders. . . ."(20)
In Part II of this series, we described Robertson's interview with the same Judson Cornwall in which Cornwall testified that he had been impregnated by God with truth not now being taught. In response, Robertson said that this could mean major revival. We also pointed out how this prophetic word was an important addition to the bringing forth of the Manifest Sons of God and Barbara Marx Hubbard's Homo Universalis. In the same issue, we saw that Robertson also applauds the laughing phenomena brought into the Church by the same group which is now promoting the celebration of Tabernacles.
So Pat Robertson, already a supporter of the Year of Jubilee, has jumped into the new movement and is now also promoting celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.
You may have never heard of Jay Gary, but he is another very influential person heavily promoting a Jubilee celebration in the year 2000. One of his books, "The Countdown Has Begun," tells how various denominations are uniting to take the gospel to the world by the year 2000. The biographical notes in this book tell us that Gary "serves as coordinator of the . . . AD2000 Global Service Office. In addition, he serves as a research consultant to the Worldwide Student NetWork, Campus Crusade for Christ's year 2000 program to reach college students worldwide. For the past three years [1986-1989] he has worked with the Lausanne movement as the program director of Leadership '88, a national conference for younger leaders and, more recently, as assistant to Lausanne's International Director. Jay served as the consultation director for the Global Consultation on World Evangelization by AD 2000 and Beyond [GCOWE 2000], held in Singapore in 1989."(21)
The Singapore GCOWE 2000 "gathered an international Christian representation. . . . [and] was deliberately inclusive. Great Commission leaders came from Anglican, Ecumenical, Evangelical, Catholic, Charismatic, Third World indigenous, and Pentecostal networks."(22) Following the Global Consultation, Gary became coordinator of the newly founded Global Service Office which promised to "serve any group that had AD 2000 plans."(23) It's impossible to name here all of the Church movers and shakers with whom Gary has connections, but when he started his own Celebration 2000 Project, his Advisory Board read like a who's who in Global Evangelization: AD2000 Global Monitor, David Barrett; New Life 2000, Paul Eshleman (Bill Bright's Campus Crusade For Christ); Evangelization 2000, Fr. Tom Forrest; AD2000 Together, Vinson Synan; and Vision 2000, Dr. Joe A. Harding; Global Center, Dr. Bill O'Brien (Samford University). Gary also networks with the March for Jesus organization, which yearly attracts millions of Christians into the streets, and in 1994 was the Colorado coordinator for the March. With Jay Gary sitting in such powerful places, his influence among global evangelization leaders toward the celebration of Jubilee is disconcerting, to say the least.
The question is, "Is Gary's understanding of Jubilee the same as the others who are promoting a Bimillennial Jubilee?" In The Star Of 2000, Gary writes,
"In ancient times, the law of Moses called for a year of liberty every 50 years. You can read about it in Leviticus 25. . . . the Year of Jubilee was inaugurated by the blowing of the great ram's horn trumpet [of jubal] throughout the land. Thus began a year-long festival, marked by canceling outstanding debts, returning land to original owners and freeing indentured servants. . . .
"I believe the year 2000 will be experienced as a once-in-a- lifetime Year of Jubilee. Jubilee 2000 is the most powerful image we could use to talk about the bimellennial of Jesus."(24)
So Jay Gary joins with the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God, Pope John Paul II and Pat Robertson in anticipating that the bimillennial year 2000 will be, in fact, a Year of Jubilee. What does this mean? Considering the influence of these three men and one movement, we can see that there isn't an important segment of the universal Church that would be left untouched by an appeal for Jubilee.
Johann Luckhoff, the Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem [ICEJ] (scheduled to speak at the CBN conference on Tabernacles in July), recently wrote the following in the ICEJ newsletter concerning the Church gathering in Jerusalem to celebrate Tabernacles:
"Springtime in Israel is always spectacular. This year it was more beautiful than ever because of the excellent rains during the winter rainy season. In this land one becomes aware of how much of the Bible and the revelations of God's purposes revolve around the seasons, the harvest time, the desert and the lush parts of the country. Seasonal elements, like the early and latter rain, the times of planting and the harvest have a special symbolism in the Bible. They are often used to illustrate spiritual truth; in fact, the annual religious cycle is built around it. . . .
". . . . "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" John 12:24.
"In the verse just preceding this scripture, Jesus said "the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." Springtime in Israel . . . is a small reminder of the glory of the Lord. It is also a sign of His faithfulness, for as surely as the beauty of springtime follows the drabness of winter, He will fulfill His promises to His children and to His people. . . .
". . . . it can also be exciting to see how, day by day, the prophetic word is being fulfilled before our very eyes.
". . . . We hope in the future however that, through videos and other forms of communication, we can help those unable to come to taste a little of what is happening here. The video of last year's Feast of Tabernacles is already taking the highlights of those celebrations to the ends of the earth.
"And surely we can all rejoice that we will meet and all be present in the New Jerusalem."(25)
Luckhoff's usage of Latter Rain imagery is a likely indication of the message contained in the Tabernacles celebration video which he's taking "to the ends of the earth." The April 1995 Charisma magazine report on the events, however, is more straightforward:
"FEAST TO ATTRACT PILGRIMS
"In celebration of the 3,000th anniversary of Jerusalem, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is sponsoring a series of events . . . .
"The first event [is] a Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. . . . More than 4,000 Christians from nearly 100 countries are expected to join in the weeklong biblical feast.
". . . . The theme, "For Jerusalem's Sake," is taken from Isaiah 62:1. . .
"The final event [of three] is the 1996 Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, . . . The theme for the 1996 feast . . . is "The Holy City: The New Jerusalem," a reference to Revelation 21:2.
"The Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of the Ingathering, has been sponsored annually by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem since the organization was founded in 1980. The feast, which marks the end of the harvest season, is the only feast for which God instructed both the Jew and the Gentile to come together in Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
"The purpose of the events, according to embassy director Johann Luckhoff, is to bring attention to the importance of Jerusalem in light of biblical history and prophecy. . . .
"'It's also an opportunity for Christians to learn about the biblical roots of their faith and meet and encourage the people of Israel' he said.
". . . . [ICEJ's] purpose is to represent Christians who recognize the scriptural significance of Israel's restoration and who "share the Lord's concern for the Jewish people," its organizers say. . . ."(26)
There is certainly nothing wrong with the ICEJ's creating "an opportunity for Christians to learn about the biblical roots of their faith and meet and encourage the people of Israel," unless such opportunity is appropriated by the Latter Rain adherents. The odds favor such a distortion. Look at the facts: Latter Rain's promotion of Tabernacles is being taken to the world through the Laughing phenomena. Pat Robertson has shown support for the impregnation of the Church with "new truth," applauded "Holy Laughter," and is now promoting the Christian celebration of Tabernacles and an international Year of Jubilee. Jay Gary has written a book that calls the Church to celebrate Tabernacles, which Gary says is raised to "a higher power" in a global Jubilee. Pope John Paul II is going to Jerusalem on a very serious mission to reconcile Jews, Muslims and Christians with a goal of "full communion" among Christians for the celebration of a Year of Jubilee in the year 2000. National and international leaders are starting to bring the celebration of Tabernacles to the Church, and, through conferences, videos and other media, call the Church into that celebration. And as we draw near to the year 2000, the final shift in the direction of a united global Church will move it as one unit into Jubilee - its culmination of joy.
JUBILEE AND THE MANIFEST SONS OF THE LATTER RAIN
Below are three definitions of the word "Jubilee" which together give us a good understanding of the biblical command to celebrate the Year of Jubilee. Note that Jubilee is seen as a type of "the restoration of all things" promised in Acts 3:21: ("He [the Christ - even Jesus] must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets"). And in the Universal Subject Guide to the Bible found in Strong's Concordance, Jubilee is noted as "figurative of Christ's mission . . . Isaiah 61:1-3" which of course refers to Jesus' first and second comings. The traditional understanding of these passages is that Christ Himself will personally come and restore all things at the time of His visible, bodily return. But Latter Rain adherents, chief promoters of a Year of Jubilee, nonetheless cite Acts 3:21 to bolster their claim that the CHURCH must first restore all things, and THEN Christ can return.
Also intriguing is the Universal Subject Guide's use of Jubilee as a figure of Romans 8:19-24 (the manifestation of the Sons of God when all creation will be released from its subjection to decay). In Latter Rain doctrine, this places the newly revealed Manifest Sons of God within the celebration of the Year of Jubilee. This is exactly what we have said is planned to occur in or around the year 2000, making even more important our documentation that the Church has moved from Pentecost into Tabernacles, and is heading into Jubilee. We see ever more reason to believe that the end of the age is indeed upon us.
* CATHOLIC BIBLICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OLD TESTAMENT
JUBILEE [yobhel, ram's horn, trumpet]. The 50th year, the opening of which was marked by the blowing of trumpets. This 50th year occurred after 7 times 7 years, or 49 years, had been counted from the institution of the year of the Jubilee (shanath hayyobhel) or from the last Jubilee celebrations. It was proclaimed on the 10th of Tishri, that is, the Day of Atonement. As in the Sabbatical year, the whole land rested and was not to be cultivated. Thus, there was no agriculture for two successive years, but God promised to provide a superabundance of crops in the years previous to those so that there would be no reason to fear a famine. The rest affected only agriculture; cattle breeding and other business went on as usual. There were two other important laws to be observed in the year of the Jubilee:
* THE ZONDERVAN PICTORIAL BIBLE DICTIONARY
JUBILEE ( . . . ram's horn, trumpet . . .) According to Leviticus 25, every 50th year in Israel was to be announced as a jubilee year. Three essential features characterized this year. First, liberty was proclaimed to all Israelites who were in bondage to any of their countrymen. The law provided that the price of slaves was to vary according to the proximity of the Jubilee Year. Second, there was to be a return of ancestral possessions to those who had been compelled to sell them because of poverty. This, of course, excluded the possibility of selling a piece of land permanently. This law applied to lands and houses outside of the walled cities, and also to the houses owned by Levites, whether in walled cities or not. As in the case of the price of slaves, the law made provision that the price of real property was to vary according to the proximity of the Jubilee Year. The third feature of this year was that it was to be a year of rest for the land. The land was to remain fallow, even though it had been so in the previous sabbatical year. The people were to live simply, on what the fields had produced in the sixth year and whatever grew spontaneously. It is impossible to say whether the Jewish people ever really observed the Jubilee Year. [General Editor Merrill C. Tenney (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1968), pp. 452-453].
* THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
JUBILEE - noun: (1) (a) A specially celebrated anniversary, especially a 50th anniversary. (b) The celebration of such an anniversary. (2) A season or an occasion of joyful celebration. (3) Jubilation; rejoicing. (4) Often Jubilee. (Bible) In the Hebrew Scriptures, a year of rest to be observed by the Israelites every 50th year, during which slaves were to be set free, alienated property restored to the former owners, and the lands left untilled. (5) Often Jubilee. (Roman Catholic Church) A year during which plenary indulgence may be obtained by the performance of certain pious acts (Third Edition Copyright 1992, Houghton Mifflin Company).
In the accompanying article, we quote Pope John Paul II as "proposing the jubilee as an appropriate time to give thought . . . to reducing substantially, if not canceling outright, the internastional debt . . . ." We also report that New Ager Earnest Ramsey paralleled the Year of Jubilee with the New Age concept of redistribution of the world's wealth. And the article quotes Pat Robertson as insisting that "every type of debt, secured or unsecured, should be totally released." Robertson says, "it may be that God's way will be the only one open to us - a year of jubilee to straighten out the mess." But is this "God's way"? Did God intend for a Year of Jubilee to be suddenly foisted onto the world, forcing all unsuspecting lenders to cancel debts legally owed to them, possibly resulting in their own bankruptcy? Of course not. In the first place, God's decree was given to the Israelites as part of His laws governing their society, not that of their neighboring nations. Secondly, as can be seen in the above definitions, the law provided that the terms of all debts were never to exceed the fifty year span between Feasts of Jubilee, so all prices for property were set according to the length of time left until the next Jubilee year. In other words, lenders were never to lose their investment by being caught off guard, and borrowers were protected from borrowing so much that their descendents would inherit the debt. "God's way" combined mercy with justice. *
TABERNACLES: Will the Church FULFILL ITS DESTINY by celebrating Tabernacles?
In their article "Beyond Pentecost," Robin McMillan and Steve Thompson replace Israel with the Church and assert that the gospel was foreshadowed in the three Old Testament feasts of Israel named in Exodus 23:15-16:
PASSOVER: celebration of deliverance from the Angel of Death while in slavery. Christ our Passover has been slain (1 Corinthians 5:7-8); for the saved, Passover has been celebrated (Robin McMillan and Steve Thompson, Teaching: "Beyond Pentecost," The Morning Star Journal, Vol. 4 No. 3, 1994, pp. 42-43. Much of this article was quoted in our own Part III).
PENTECOST: the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, the reality of the Old Testament giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. Pentecost, according to McMillan and Thompson, "is not the complete harvest. . . . it is not enough" (pp. 43-44).
TABERNACLES: "There is another realm of spiritual experience typified in scripture by the Feast of Tabernacles. Until we understand and partake of this feast, as we have both Passover and Pentecost, we will never fulfill our destiny and calling. We must discover the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles and 'celebrate' it along with Passover and Pentecost. . . .
"What God did among Jews in Jerusalem, He is going to do among humanity and worldwide. Pentecost will come to maturity in the Feast of Tabernacles" (pp. 43-44, 48; italics deleted).
In their call to celebrate Tabernacles, McMillan and Thompson reduce this Feast to the "realm of spiritual experience." It is not. Another fallacy of this Latter Rain "new revelation" is that the fulfillment of "our destiny and calling" relies on OUR partaking of Tabernacles. But it doesn't.
Christ our passover has been sacrificed. His Spirit sent at Pentecost indwells all who have partaken of God's passover meal: Christ. The New Testament leaves us in no doubt that we have a part in these. But there is no mention in Scripture of the Church celebrating Tabernacles; this call is a product of Latter Rain teaching. The biblical truth is that those who have experienced Christ as their Passover and Pentecost must await His visible, personal return and His defeat of the nations gathered against Jerusalem before they can celebrate Tabernacles:
16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
17 If any of the people of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain.
18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14).
Latter Rain denies that the return of Christ is crucial to the fulfillment of Tabernacles, resulting in their plan to establish the Kingdom of God by the Church SO THAT Christ can return. But Tabernacles cannot be fulfilled until our Lord Jesus Christ returns and personally sets up the Kingdom of God on earth (the millennial reign). The Jewish Passover bears this out, and must take precedence over any new revelations of the modern Church.
THE FIRST TWO CUPS OF PASSOVER
The first two cups of the Passover meal were drunk as a REMEMBRANCE of Israel's past deliverance from Egypt, a deliverance that was celebrated in Tabernacles. We can see the oneness of Tabernacles with the Passover meal in this remembrance.
Israel's deliverance from Egypt is an established fact of her history. The Church of today had no part in the events that took place in Egypt, and to apply them to the Church (the "New" Israel) through replacement theology is to "unfulfill" that which God has fulfilled. The allegorizing Egypt as today's world, and of the Church as Israel celebrating Tabernacles in which it will fulfill its destiny, is totally outside the bounds of Scripture. The second cup of Passover is a remembrance, not a "new revelation" given to the Church today. This second cup is a "cup of the past" and must always remain so.
THE THIRD AND FOURTH CUP OF PASSOVER
The third cup of the Passover meal is called the Cup of Redemption, after the promise "and I will redeem you." The fourth cup is called the Cup of Praise. When I communicated with messianic believers about the Passover, I was surprised to learn that Jesus did not drink the third cup at the Last Supper, but instead gave it to his disciples and instructed them to drink it in remembrance of Him:
27 Then he took the cup (third cup), gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you.
28 This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until I drink it (fourth cup) anew with you in my Father's kingdom.'
30 [After the third cup] When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26).
What we must not miss here is that neither Jesus nor His disciples drank of the fourth cup, the Cup of Praise. Why? According to a messianic researcher,
"If we understand the context of the Passover and the analogy of the . . . third cup . . . [it] was not drunk by Yeshuah [Jesus]. When did he drink of it? After the third cup they sang the Hallel. Yeshuah went to the garden. . .
"'My Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will but thine be done'" (Luke 22:42). So he 'drank a cup' here. 'Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?' (John 18:11).
"'And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling upon the ground' (third cup)" (Luke 22:44).
[So the seder was truncated, cut short, and was lived out outside the upper room. Our researcher continues,] "The seder [Passover] was continuing on into the real world. So the ritual meal opened up into the horror of the then present age. . . . He was in the time of his third cup. [The last words of the Passover meal were spoken from the cross: "It is finished!"]
"After the third cup comes the rest of the Hallel, Ps. 115-118 [which they most likely sung as they went to the garden]. . . . The fourth cup was never drunk: 1) not by Yeshuah; 2) perhaps not by the disciples either.
"The Hallel concludes with Psalm 118: the Great Hallel. Here the transition from the present to the messianic future finds its completion" (Notes, Messianic researcher).
The Great Hallel, Psalm 118, was usually sung at the festivals of Passover and Tabernacles. It is important to mention verse 26 here:
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.
Of this verse, another researcher says,
"The most important thing to note is that it is only on a few festive occasions during the course of the year when the words, 'Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord' are spoken. [Near the end of His ministry, Jesus cried out to the once holy city, 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you . . .] You will not see me again until you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). By this He directly pointed them to His coming reign as King at the time of Succot (Tabernacles). So He implied that He would be revealed as King and begin His reign, also fulfilling Tabernacles, at the appointed time. This would be a very good reason why, beginning with the thousand year reign of Christ, we would celebrate only Tabernacles. All peoples will be required to come to Jerusalem at this time of year (Zech. chapters 12 thru 14 - a must read!)."
So during His celebration of the Passover just before His crucifixion, Jesus pointed in two ways to the true celebration of Tabernacles at His return: 1) quoting Psalm 118:26, and 2) leaving the fourth cup untouched on the Passover table as He left to go to the garden. But Latter Rain beliefs, through the Laughing Phenomena, say we are to drink from the cup now, "as the new wine is being passed" (Master Potter Ministries). What cup can this be, if it is not the Lord's cup drunk after His visible return? One possibility is Revelation 17:3-6:
3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.
5 This title was written on her forehead:
(1) Alan Vincent (UK) service, cassette 1994, location unknown.
(2) Robin McMillan and Steve Thompson, Teaching: "Beyond Pentecost," The Morning Star Journal, Vol. 4 No. 3, 1994, p. 43-44.
(3) Pastor Bill Randles, "Weighed and Found Wanting . . .
Putting the Toronto Blessing in Context," pp. 58-59.
(4) Jay Gary, The Star of 2000, pp. 84-85.
(5) Ibid., Praise for "The Star of 2000," npn.
(6) Gary, Star, p. 74.
(7) Jay Gary, founder of B.E.G.I.N., "Get Ready To Celebrate The Year 2000," AD 2000 Global Service Office, 1993, promotion material.
(10) "A Planned Deception: The Staging of a New Age 'Messiah'" (1985), Constance Cumbey, pp. 171-172.
(12) The Christian News, December 12, 1994, front page citing Detroit Free Press, November 28, 1994, "Pope's World Peace Effort Involves Maida: Interfaith Meetings."
(13) "The Coming of the Third Millennium: Preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000,"Trinity Communications 1994. Provided courtesy of: The Catholic Resource Network Trinity Communications.
(15) The Christian News.
(17) Constance Cumbey, Special Report On Pat Robertson, "Year Of Jubilee? Or Age Of Aquarius Disguised?," Constance Cumbey's New Age Monitor, August- December 1987, p. 34.
(18) Ibid., p. 40.
(19) Pat Robertson, 700 Club, November of 1992.
(20) Charisma, April 1995, CBN Conference advertisement.
(21) Jay Gary, The Countdown Has Begun, "About The Editors," 1989; italics removed.
(22) Ibid., pp. 10-11.
(23) Ibid., p. 61.
(24) Gary, Star, pp. 75-76.
(25) Johann Luckhoff, Newsletter of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Letter from the Director, "A Word from Jerusalem."
(26) Charisma, April 1995.