The FEAST of TABERNACLES - a key for today? -by Andrew Strom. From every quarter right now there is dissatisfaction with Western Christianity and what it has become. ALL of us are searching for something that will take us out of the spiritual 'rut' that the church seems to be in - into REAL Christianity the like of which we have never seen. So many are yearning and searching for this thing. -Something that goes beyond just a temporary "revival" and ACTUALLY REMAINS WITH US. -A permanent state of being. -Becoming the glorious Body of Christ in the earth as she is truly meant to be. I was praying last night and God reminded me of the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the Feast that represents God Himself coming down and "TABERNACLING" with His people. -Actually living and abiding with the corporate Body - his full holy presence residing with us. There were three major Feasts that the Israelites observed. The first two - Passover and Pentecost - have been literally fulfilled in the days of the New Testament. A number of teachers say that 'Tabernacles' is the one that is yet to be fulfilled - and perhaps this is what we are all sensing in our spirit. -A yearning for God to come down - not just temporarily as with many past Revivals - but actually remaining and 'tabernacling' with us - in all His glory. So what is the pathway to seeing this occur? Well, I cannot see that it is any different from the way in which God has ALWAYS come down amongst His people. The first prerequisite is that the Bride "makes herself ready". There must be a purifying of the robes, a total cleansing of the hands and heart. This is why deep dealing with SIN and deep REPENTANCE have been at the heart of every major move of God. Before He can come down and dwell with us, there must be a corporate 'Body' that has been prepared and purified to receive Him. Sin must be rooted out. Pride and vain imaginings must be brought down. Thus the 'Repentance' preachers - the "John the Baptists" must first come to prepare the way of the Lord. These preachers must be allowed to do their work or there will be no glory to follow. Secondly, there must be a great crying to God to come and dwell amongst us - to 'Tabernacle' with us - to display His glory and bring His holy presence down. -A rending of hearts and a desperate crying to God. Both of these things have been spoken about on this List many times before. They are the keys to the next Awakening - and possibly to the true fulfillment of "Tabernacles" itself. We must have deep repentance and a great crying to God to "come down" and glorify Himself amongst His people. Below is a discussion of the type of 'Repentance' preachers that God has always raised up when He wants to move in a new way. Since we have our "John the Baptist" Conference coming up - which is all about 'calling forth' these kinds of preachers - I felt it was appropriate to talk about this now. But it has to go beyond this too. I truly believe that what God really wants is to 'Tabernacle' - to dwell with His people - and display His glory to the world. And this type of preaching is just one of the steps toward that. "JOHN the BAPTIST"s DOWN the AGES -Preparing the way for a Visitation: It is a well-known fact that in past Awakenings, the preachers were often led to preach searchingly and fearlessly on "sin, righteousness and judgement". There is a very good reason for this: Jesus had specifically stated that the Holy Spirit would CONVICT of these very things - "sin, righteousness and judgement"! (Jn 16:8). Welsh Revivalist Humphrey Jones once urged a young preacher: "...to preach with severity and conviction; aiming continually at the conscience; charging the people with their sins to their very face; having no regard for men's good or bad opinions; and avoid- ing the exhibition of self during the delivery of your sermon." These men would wield God's word under a mighty anointing, not as some kind of blunt weapon to bludgeon people with, but rather as an incisive, precision instrument, a "sharp, two-edged sword", piercing deep into men's hearts, exposing hidden sins, motives and desires, and bringing Godly sorrow and deep repentance. What these preachers were looking for was a "broken heart and a contrite spirit". As with Peter on the day of Pentecost, they preached with a view to seeing men 'cut to the heart', for only then could they be sure that the resulting repentance would be truly deep and truly lasting. This has almost always been the character of true Revival preach- ing, from the days of the apostles right down to the present. In the book of Acts we read of Paul's fearless preaching to governor Felix: "And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance and judgement to come, FELIX TREMBLED..." (Acts 24:25). And likewise we hear the martyr Stephen: "`You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do you'..." (Acts 7:51-53). There are many further examples of this kind of preaching throughout the New Testament (in the ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist, for instance). As one writer has noted, "fearless" preaching of this kind seems calculated to produce either deep conviction or "the bitterest animosity" (often both!) The old Revivalists were men of enormous Godly authority, and they used God's word as a sword to 'lay seige' to the strongholds of sin, compromise and religion that were binding His people. This was never 'comfortable' prea- ching (for "sin, righteousness and judgement" are not comfortable subjects). However, these men well knew that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Pr 9:10). And they preached it as such. The whole point was to see the Body cleansed and purified - to prepare them for a visitation of the Lord. As Martin Luther said: "I was born to fight devils and factions. It is my business to remove obstructions, to cut down thorns, to fill up quagmires, and to open and make straight paths. But if I must have some failing let me rather speak the truth with too great severity than once to act the hypocrite and conceal the truth." And the great Revivalist Charles Finney said of one typ- ical meeting: "The Spirit of God came upon me with such power that it was like opening a battery upon them. For more than an hour, and perhaps for an hour and a half, the word of God came through me to them in a manner that I could see was carrying all before it. It was a fire and a hammer breaking the rock, and as a sword that was piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spir- it. I saw that a general conviction was spreading over the whole congregation. Many of them could not hold up their heads." These "John the Baptists" often preached under such an incredible anointing that the house would be literally full of the wailing cries and sobs of those stricken by God's Spirit. One eyewitness wrote of Savonarola's preaching that it caused "such terror and alarm, such sobbing and tears that people passed through the streets without speaking, more dead than alive"! Some modern Christians, totally unused to this kind of preaching, might say that such an emphasis on "sin, righteousness and judgement" is way over the top. However, in circumstances such as those found in today's church, this kind of preaching is EXACTLY what is needed. This is why God has so often seen fit to raise up and em- ploy this kind of preaching in conditions very similar to today. These preachers were so full of God's presence, so saturated with His glory, so endued with power from on high, that Revival literally followed them wherever they went. They would never have dared to preach the way they did without this anointing (for 'the letter kills but the Spirit gives life'). But how exactly did they obtain such a mighty anointing? Well, as most of the old records show, it was largely through agonizing, prevailing PRAYER that they had broken through into this realm of real 'Revival' power in their ministry. May the "John the Baptists" of the next Great Awakening be found urgently - before the sun sets over the Western church. Their job is to see the Body prepared and purified for her day of visitation. -This is step number one, and it MUST HAPPEN. I believe this is truly God's priority. God bless you all. Kindest regards in Christ, Andrew Strom.