“Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year:
You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labours which you have sown in the field;
and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labours from the field.
[Exodus 23:14-16 NKJV]
I am currently reading a book about the Lord’s feasts. It is called “The Feasts of Israel” by Kevin J Conner. This book, like a lot of Conner’s work is presented as a textbook for study purposes, and in this regard his books excel. This, however was not my reason for the scripture I have chosen for today; it was more to do with this being the last day of 2020 — a year which will go down in the history books like few others.
Some have named 2020 as ‘the beginning of the end’. I do not agree. That beginning began centuries ago; we might now be in the realisation of prophecy, and if so, we can be thankful in knowing our God. It is easy to put doom-laden ‘end of the world is nigh’ labels on 2020/2021 — it has happened many times in history — but we should always have a reassurance in our Heavenly Father that whatever may befall, He is in control of all things.
Exodus mentions three feasts ‘unto the Lord’ in the year, culminating in the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year when you have gathered in the fruit of your labours. This, of course is not referring to the end of the calendar year, but to the Spiritual year, (and also to our individual maturing in our walk with Jesus Christ, as well as to the fulfilment of the entire plan of God).
In Israel they had two calendars — a secular calendar and a religious calendar, set seven months apart. This may seem like boring detail, but it provides confirmation of some scriptural truth. e.g. the Feast of Passover — the first great feast, which we celebrate as Easter — could be seen as the Feast of Tabernacles, depending on which calendar you looked at. This is significant and unveils the profound revelation, that what for us is ‘Passover’, was ‘Tabernacles’ for Jesus. Put simply: in Jesus’ death and resurrection is our beginning.
So it is with today — at the end of the year — we are about to step forward into a new year, a new time, a stepping forward with hope for better days. January takes its name from the old Roman god of the doorway, Janus, who was always portrayed as looking back and forward at the same time. New Year is, for us all, a time of considering the old year and trying to put it in perspective, and for starting afresh on a new path.
As believers we have something immeasurably greater — a God who gives us resurrection life now, as we walk towards Him, and the promise of everlasting life with Him. There is no looking back. We need not worry about the temporal, when we know the eternal.
The ideal is not that we do work for God, but that we are so loyal to Him that He can do His work through us—“I reckon on you for extreme service, with no complaining on your part and no explanation on Mine.” God wants to use us as He used His own Son.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART
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