MYSTERIES FROM DARKNESS
THE FEAST OF HUTS
"He reveals mysteries from the darkness, And brings the deep darkness into light" (Job 12:22 NASB). "He made DARKNESS His secret place; HIS PAVILION round about him were DARK WATERS and THICK CLOUDS of the skies." (Psa 18:11).
It is the quest of man to know mysteries, especially those pertaining to God; but who would think to look for them in the confines of darkness. No one that I know; yet those who are called to Sonship are destined at times to abide in those hallowed chambers.
Many today have already become acquainted with this darkness. And be sure to know, it is not the darkness of sin, it is the darkness akin to Jobs sufferings. We do not sit upon the ash-heaps of rebellion, but rather, upon the ash-heaps that work perfection.
Oh, to see the end of this thick darkness! To arrive in full glory that is our desire but it is not yet the hour. If it were the hour, we would see ourselves rising out of the shadows of death and into the bright Light of the Day. These mysteries are still at work in the secret place of the Most High. They are grinding out perfection from where we abide alone in Him. Many, like Jobs friends, peer long and hard at our condition and suppose we must have done something wrong; for why else, they wonder, would God bring so much sorrow and painful humiliation upon us. Those, however, who are not initiated into the same cannot begin to understand such mysteries. It is impossible for them to know what is going on. For you see they are mysteries. They are secrets. They are not laid open for all to see. They are not for every ear to hear. They are hidden from the profane. Brethren, they abide in the DARKNESS!
Isaiah wrote: "Verily thou art a God that HIDEST THYSELF, O God of Israel, the Saviour." (Isa 45:15). And to borrow again from David: "He made DARKNESS HIS SECRET PLACE; HIS PAVILION ROUND ABOUT HIM WERE DARK WATERS AND THICK CLOUDS of the skies." (Psa 18:11).
We flee the darkness of the world from which we were delivered, and we should, for it works nothing but death. However, we at times also find ourselves fleeing from the abode of God. For who would venture willingly into such a secret place. It is not common for one to swim in a pavilion of dark waters, or to clothe himself in thick clouds. Nevertheless, we are driven to such dreadful places.
What a paradox God is Light, yet the scriptures tell us that He makes darkness His secret place. Oh, the wonders of God! Who can know His mind? Let men pry, but His ways are past finding out, and one of those things men cannot find out is the mystery of light that comes out of darkness. Again, I must insert, this is not the darkness of sin, rebellion, and self-willed lifestyles. This darkness is the darkness of pain, of sorrow, of rejections, of calamities, of suffering, and of many afflictions.
These are the mysteries of God that take us on a journey through dark waters, deep valleys, and thick clouds for therein is where the Master of Mysteries hides Himself. Anyone searching for the Prince of Peace would not think of finding Him in the darkness of the lions den; but that is where He was found by Daniel. His pavilion is often the inner recesses of the dark valleys of rejection, loneliness, and debilitating infirmities. These are things we do not seek, and we dont have to, for they come looking for us if our testimony is that of Jesus Christ.
Once we find ourselves in these dark places, we will also find Him in a way we have never known. It is then that the mysteries are secured as we are baptized, immersed, initiated, deeply into them. When the baptism has worked its purpose, our Lord of glory will be seen coming with power in these clouds of heaven. From where He was formerly hidden, He will be seen shining brightly into a dark world.
This pavilion is different from the one wherein we walk with Him in the wonderful Light of His Spirit that we may enjoy day by day. It is not that part of God that bears us on eagles wings, and brings us into the safe haven of His arms while sheltering us from the storm. The mysteries of which we speak today abide in the habitation of adversities. They are the proving grounds for the sons of God.
We should know, however, that in the midst of the storm, when the waves roll fiercely about our ships, we are in no grave danger. Regardless of the trouble that blows through our lives, He is with us. He never fails, He will not leave, nor will He ever forsake us. This is made clear in scripture (Deut 31:6 & Heb 13:5).
He may at times be found sleeping in the back of our frail vessels as we are tossed about (Mark 4:37-38); but fear not fellow sojourners, for we are on a mission with Him. We have been sent to the other side of lifes Galilee, and come rain or shine, wind or calm, hell or high water we will arrive safely. We will disembark upon the coastline of death and finish what we were sent to do in the tombs of the Gadarenes.
Until the sons of God make their way across the troubled sea and into the portals of hell and death, not many will be made free. Those doors will remain bolted about with strong bars; but once ashore, the gates shall not prevail. The keys of death and hell are in our hands to free those appointed to death.
We may be prone to cry a little, or to groan, and question why must we suffer the ravages of these storms when the tranquil beaches of home are much more pleasant. The answer is simple we are being prepared to set the captives free. Before they can be made free, however, we must be free. And how can we know what freedom is if we have never known captivity? We are of little good to those in the prison of corruption until we have put on incorruption. Until then, all we can do is to empathize with them. Immortality can only be known after we have been subjected to mortality and risen out of it. It is then that it shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "...Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor 15:54-55).
Those in hell have long awaited our arrival; but before we slay the dragon in the sea, we must first slay it in ourselves. Before we can bring forth those held in death, we ourselves must first live. No soldier ever won a war unless he first suffered the hardships of battle. "Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 1:13 NASB).
We at times wonder why we are set apart from the rest of the Body. Although we are joined to the Body of Christ by His Spirit, we cant help from asking why we must be physically separated from those of like mind and spirit. Sure, we may have one or two to fellowship with, or a handful in our assemblies as we come together; but where is the manifestation of the Body as a whole?
It matters not what we do in attempts to bring people together and motivate the Body into action every effort fails. There may be times when it looks as if the body is being assembled for action; but they are short-lived excursions. We may even see moves, or sparks of inspiration shooting into the heavens; but they are more like perspiration than inspiration, and after a time they are gone. These moves of God, as they are sometimes called, remind us of Isaiah 50:11 "Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow." The Amplified renders it "Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves] who attempt to kindle your own fire [and work out your own plan of salvation], who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks, darts and firebrands that you set aflame! Walk by the light of your self-made fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if your will]! But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment."
There is little question why we dont see any long-lasting, earth-shaking moves of God today. They are, by and large, self-made fires and sparks of passing glory. Some may feel that these laughing revivals, or healing campaigns that fill huge stadiums with thousands of people will be what ushers in the kingdom of God for every eye to see. But please be assured, my travel-weary friends, these stirrings do not have the markings of what burns in our hearts. They are far from the beginning of Gods Kingdom being manifested in the earth.
There is no argument about it, what we see in the church system is not the assembling of the body of Christ. If this is true, why then, are we not seeing the manifestation of Christs Body among ourselves? I am sure there are various factors; but part of the answer lies in where we are today: We are confined to pavilions and will abide therein during the Feast of Tabernacles. The feast must run its course before we have the liberty to leave. And the Kingdom of God, we can be sure, will remain obscure and hidden in darkness until we exit and assemble in the eighth day.
THE FEAST OF HUTS
The Hebrew meaning for PAVILION (cukkah) is a HUT or lair, as of entwined boughs (rf. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance). Most often the word is translated booths or tabernacles. Thus, the Feast of Tabernacles. Pavilions (booths/tabernacles) are neither the main building nor permanent dwellings. They do not contain all the comforts of home. Tabernacles speak of a time when we dwell in temporary booths or huts while making burnt offerings.
Each year during September and October there is heightened expectation. For it is the season for the manifestation of the Sons of God, as it is told, and it may indeed commence at this time, but only when the feast draws to a close. Although this is just cause for such anticipation and excitement, it seems there are some vital aspects of the Feast of Tabernacles that are not largely understood.
What makes this feast so difficult to understand is that practically everything written and taught about it is prophetic that it is the last and great feast yet to be fulfilled in reality. After Jesus fulfilled Passover the sacrifices ceased in the temple. After He came as the Holy Spirit fifty days later and filled the 120 in the upper room, the need to practice the Feast of Pentecost came to an end. It is the same with us, there is no need to practice the ordinance after we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
But what about the Feast of Tabernacles? Why are we still coming together every year and observing this feast? No doubt, it is because we are waiting for it to be fulfilled in our lives. Only when it becomes a reality will this carnal ordinance likewise cease from being a ritual.
This has appeared strange to me. Every feast and ordinance of the law has been fulfilled except this one. I have often wondered why God would bring them all into a living reality in our lives and wait 2,000 years for this particular feast. The fact is swiftly appearing that He hasnt waited after all, as we had presumed. There has been a fulfilling, at least in part, of this feast right along with Passover and Pentecost; but due to our eyes having been veiled, we have not seen the mystery of it. It has, therefore, been projected into the future the same way everything else that is not readily seen or experienced.
Certainly, there are many things yet to be worked in our lives and manifested, including the feast of huts wherein we dwell today; however, this does not negate what is transpiring at the moment. It appears to me that all three feasts Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles are presently working in our lives. For instance: we are dying daily as the new man suffers the deluge of many hardships Passover. Also in Passover is the process of being saved/delivered from the lusts of the flesh and body of death by the life of Jesus Christ. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is a reality in our lives Pentecost. And burnt offerings have been with us as we dwell seven days in booths Tabernacles. (Seven in scripture speaks of perfection, nothing lacking. Seven days, regardless of how long it takes to complete the task, is the process of bringing it to perfection.)
Like Passover and Pentecost, without this basic understanding, people will continue practicing the ritual of Tabernacles until it is manifested in their lives as well. When reality is lacking, people will almost always revert to rituals. Going through the motions is all they know to do. Truthfully, it is much easier to go to a convention once a year and feast upon anointed messages and encouraging prophecies than to live seven days (throughout the year) in make-shift huts.
"And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook..." (Lev 23:40a). Nevertheless, the accommodations may not be the best to be had; but it was a time of rejoicing: "...and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days" (Lev 23:40b). It may be hard to imagine; but one can rejoice in the midst of difficult times. Jesus said: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven..." (Mat 5:11-12). And Paul spoke of this also: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" (Phil 4:4).
Although Tabernacles is a time of rejoicing, it is also a time to be solemn: "Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work ('abodah, work of any kind) therein" (Lev 23:36). During the seven days of Tabernacles, burnt offerings are being made. When viewing things in the light of types and shadows, we can see that the burnt offerings signified the ones who made them. And I can tell you, when our lives are going up in smoke as unblemished burnt offerings, we have good cause to be solemn.
Truly, this is one of Gods many paradoxes. On one hand He commanded the people to rejoice before Him, and on the other He said it was to be a solemn assembly. The two words, rejoice and solemn, do not have a lot in common with one another. For instance, rejoice "denotes being glad or joyful with the whole disposition as indicated by its association with the heart. Many occasions and objects cheer a man: wine (Ps 104:15); meeting a loved one (Ex 4:14); Gods feasts (Neh 12:43); but the Lord and His salvation are cited most frequently as the reason for joy (II Chr 20:27, Ps 5:11...)" Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. And solemn assembly is from one word written twice, asara asara. It means "to restrain, retain, to seize, hold back, prevent, to keep from, shut up." Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament .
Only in Christ can we do both at the same time. Due to the deep working of His grace in us, we easily maintain the spirit of praise and worship before our Lord as we dwell alone in the flames that sweep through our lives.
We are familiar with the fire, and with dark days that often shroud the shining of the Sun. What we are experiencing speaks expressly that we are already in Tabernacles. To make my point, let me ask:
Are we dwelling today in the large congregation of Christ? Is there an abundance of fellowship in our lives? Are the doors of the house of the Lord standing wide open? Has an easy access been made to Gods wonder-working power? Are the lost and weary drawn to us as a welcomed light set upon a hill? Hmmm... Or is it to the contrary? More often we are alone and void of fellowship. We may seek congregations of people who are of like mind and spirit, but they are seldom found. Although we enjoy Spirit-filled meetings, we find that we abide alone afterwards. And sometimes, in the midst of the meetings, we are still alone. Gods power isnt working in great measures throughout the Body. And we certainly dont see the world beating a path to our doors.
Brethren, try as we may, we have not been able to inject power into the body of Christ, nor have we had much success in assembling it to any degree at all. Small gatherings may have been seen at times, but it was not for very long. They appeared to have promise, yet their lights have gone out. In a word, my friends we are dwelling alone in booths, in our own little huts if you please. God said that He "... made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt..." (Lev 23:43), and during the season of tabernacles, every male (Exo 23:17) is commanded to dwell in booths (Lev 23:42). Are you a male in Israel, or rather are you one of Gods sons? If you are, I can safely tell you your calling is to dwell for awhile in a hut.
While in Tabernacles, we dont want to lose sight that it is a time of rejoicing; howbeit, we must also know why we are often alone in fellowship, and why the flames are sweeping through almost every family. The Feast of Tabernacles/Booths/Huts is fulfilled in the days following the Blowing of Trumpets, which we have been hearing and sounding for many years. The trumpets, or shofars (rams horns), call us together unto one holy convocation to begin a common activity to offer burnt offerings as we abide alone in our tiny domiciles. Although alone, we rejoice, for the long-toiling days are over. The time of harvest has come. The promise of victory is upon the horizon. And with understanding, the unveiling mysteries we have sought are at hand.
And where did we have to go to find them or better, to find Him "He made DARKNESS His secret place; His PAVILION round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies" (Psa 18:11). It is IN HIM where such mysteries are found in the PAVILION (tabernacle, booth, hut) of each son of God.
Adversity is not a pleasant thing, and I know of no one who seeks it out. They who understand, however, know that the clouds of adversity unlock untold mysteries to the ones who endure. While dwelling in our temporary booths, they bring to light those hidden things of God. There may be fear at first, as we are swept over with darkness; but ultimately it causes our ears to be opened in ways we had never heard: "While He thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and THEY FEARED AS THEY ENTERED INTO THE CLOUD. And THERE CAME A VOICE OUT OF THE CLOUD, saying, This is My beloved Son: hear Him" (Luke 9:34-35). This, my fellow hut-dwellers, is the voice we hear in darkness. It is the voice of our Father which directs us back to the voice of our Lord. You see, there is no reason to fear.
This overshadowing cloud has hidden us from the world. At times it is peaceful as we abide alone with our Father; but at other times it is not. The latter times are the ones we are addressing today. Margit and I have never seen so much pain, sorrow, suffering, anguish, turmoil, afflictions, and sundry pressures in the lives of Gods elect. It is unequaled to anything we have known, and it is likely to get worse. The dark cloud of Gods Pavilion is engulfing so many to one degree or another. For some it is overwhelming! What a baptism to be baptized with! Yet this is the secret place of the Most High. We could not have imagined what awaited us. Who could have told us what had never entered the mind of man. Oh, we prophesied it here and there; but until we entered His Pavilion of darkness, we could not comprehend it.
Let me briefly share a small fragment of what is ravaging those who were called to the Feast of Trumpets and are now partaking of the Feast of Tabernacles:
A sister in California lost her husband to cancer last year; anothers husband died recently of a heart attack; several we know are afflicted with macular degeneration; a dear friend of ours had life-threatening neck surgery two years ago; another friend almost lost his foot to gangrene; his and his wifes 28 year-old son is having blackouts which may be caused by either a brain tumor or serious mini strokes; our friends condition of Addisons disease has been unprecedented over the years; Parkinsons disease has hit one in Idaho; several we know have come down with the shingles; cancer of all types is ravaging many; the affliction of congestive heart failure is becoming common; our grandson, Joseph Daniel, as well as our friends grandson in Florida, was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalies. Our Joseph is also deaf, has to be on oxygen, suffers from reflux when he eats, and has now had to have surgery to correct a twisted intestine. Our friends of many years have a new grandson who is presently in the hospital in Albuquerque with pneumonia and two holes in his tiny heart. And a dear sister in Kentucky, who lost her husband five years ago, fell face-forward into the grill of her car. Her nose was crushed at the crown, 16 bones were crushed altogether. Her head required ten stitches. Bones came through each side of her nose, requiring more stitches. Her eyes and ears were full of blood. She was unrecognizable. It has been over a year, and she is still recovering. In all this darkness, she did not lament, but said: "I know this is a trying time for all Gods children, especially those who are pressing on into Him. He is putting the intricate finish on us."
Amen He is doing exactly what she said! As we press into Him, into His Pavilion of darkness, the intricate finish will be made. The above, however, touches upon physical afflictions that serve as fire for these burnt offerings that we are. There are other types of fire that are just as painful and sometimes more devastating. We all know those who live with the pain of rejection; divorce; constant stress; depression; nervous breakdowns; anxieties; loss of jobs; financial straits; bankruptcies; imprisoned or children in prison; unjust lawsuits; losing homes, friends and loved ones. The list goes on.
What we are suffering is no different from what the whole world is suffering, except, however, for what the fire is doing. The fire of Tabernacles is working a transformation in our lives. We, the burnt offerings, are consumed and transformed into a sweet-smelling savor to the LORD. Those outside the Tabernacle are not a solemn work of holiness. While we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, they walk through the valley of death. Some may even be in the valley of Hinnom and are suffering just retribution for their sin and rebellion. Fire does a work in everyone it touches; but it is not the same as what it does to those in Tabernacles. Our focus at the moment, however, is not on the world, but is on those who are entering the Kingdom of God through much tribulation.
The above list of fiery afflictions is a small fraction of what those who are in Tabernacles are enduring. However, even in the midst of these dark waters and thick clouds, we have never known such a people who are rejoicing as they are. Even so, this does not stop us from looking forward to its end. We are eager to leave these temporary booths. For it is then that we will emerge from darkness clothed and wrapped about in Gods unsearchable riches. Indeed, it will be Mysteries from Darkness, as Job prophetically declared ages ago concerning the Sons.
It will then be said of us: "The people that walked in darkness have seen a Great Light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the Light shined" (Isa 9:2). I dont know about you, brethren, but this gives me rise to shout! Upon hearing the voice of our Lord regardless of the cloud that may shroud our lives I rejoice and praise God with all my heart! Although Tabernacles is a time of loneliness, it is also a time of rejoicing, and only those initiated into true Tabernacles can rejoice in the face of such adversity. Furthermore, if we had it to do all over again, what would we change? For if one tittle of darkness were taken out of our lives before the work was done something of God would be missing. We would fall short of His mysteries as we leave the shadow of death and rise from the ashes of sorrow.
Take hope, all you who suffer today, and sing with me this song of promise: "For Thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness" (Psa 18:28). And also, "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous" (Psa 112:4). Although "...weeping may endure for a night...joy cometh in the morning" (Psa 30:5). You can count on it!
To be continued...
Elwin R. Roach
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