And greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
And now, once again, here come some surprises. My friends, it's time to blow the dust off your Bibles and see what they say. And I ask you, see it with your own eyes. Will you get a Bible now? Will you open it and go through with us? And will you not be prejudiced, but believe what you see with your own eyes in your own Bible? I think it is the most astonishing thing of this time!
Now we've been going through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to see what Jesus Christ did preach. To see what doctrines He did believe and teach, and what customs He followed. And it is said in the New Testament that He set us an example that we should follow His steps (I Peter 2:21). Why don't we then? People today follow the steps of the ancient pagans, not the steps of Christ. And then they reason 'Why? I don't see that it makes any difference.' But God Almighty in His Word, the Bible, says it does make every difference.
And this world is upside-down, this world is not happy, this world is in confusion, and this world is in chaos. And there is a reason. Maybe you can learn why your life has not been more full, and abundant, and more happy. Maybe you can learn why you've been carrying around fears and worries, and why you've had financial troubles and worries, and why you've had sickness and disease, and a lot of other things, if you will look at the Word of God and see what it says. It is not a superstition. It makes sense, when we see it as it is.
The Feast of Tabernacles To Be Kept Forever Well, Jesus had come up to the Feast of Tabernacles. That's something that the Christians of today don't do. They observe Christmas, New Year's, and Easter. Now Jesus observed no Christmas, New Year's, or Easter, or Halloween, or St. Patrick's Day, and neither did the early Church. And neither is it established in the Bible, but those are pagan days. And today, the days that Jesus kept, the days the early Church did, and for 400 years the true Christians observed, are looked on with sort of a suspicion, and a prejudice, as if there is something very wrong about them. Why is it we think everything God gave is so wrong? Well, Jesus was at the Feast of Tabernacles. Now we've come up to John the seventh chapter and the thirty-seventh verse. John 7:37, and:
"In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying..." (John 7:37)
Now first let me just explain that God ordained the Feast of Tabernacles to be observed forever. And you're all going to be observing it soon, my friends, whether you like it or not, you will be. Because Jesus Christ is coming soon to this earth, and He's coming as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. And He's coming to set up the kingdom of God on this earth. Which will be a reigning, ruling kingdom that will rule over every other nation and kingdom on the face of this earth. And every government of man, which is in force and effect now on the earth, is going to be torn down. And God will rule through Jesus Christ, on His throne, and then all nations are going to be forced to come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And to worship the Eternal of Hosts, who will be sitting on His throne: Jesus Christ.
And if they don't come, they'll have no rain, they'll have famine. And then, if they don't begin to observe the Feast of Tabernacles, God will send plagues until they do (Zechariah 14:16-19). Now do you know why? It's because this is good for us, and the ways we've been following are not good for us. And this world, as I say, has gotten itself into nothing but wretchedness, and unhappiness, and empty lives, and fears, and worries, and sickness and disease, and we're in a terrible state. We don't like the result, but we want to get our result that we do desire our own way, and not God's way. And my friends, there is a way of peace, and there is a way to happiness and God has given us that way.
Now in the Feast of Tabernacles, which God established, let me just explain technically right here, that it was a festival of seven days. And technically speaking, it was followed by another festival all together, which was the following day, or the eighth day. And in a sense, it is separated from the Feast of Tabernacles, and yet, because they all come together, it had come to be considered as one great festival. This last was the eighth, or the Great Day of the festival. And that is the day, that is here referred to when Jesus stood up and cried out and said, what we are just going to see now.
And that day in itself, however, technically, is a separate festival. And it pictures something. And it was given to remind us of something. And it was given to remind us of the final event in the plan of God! My friends, why is this world like it is? It's because God is working out a purpose here below. Why were you born? You were born for a purpose. You were put on this earth for a reason, for a definite purpose. But most of you don't know that. Most of you don't know why you were put on this earth.
Now God put us here for a purpose, and God is working out His purpose here below, and He's doing it according to a definite plan. He has allotted so many years, a total of 7,000 years. And let me tell you something, that eighth day pictures the last part of the working out of the plan of God. The people, and the professing Christian church have entirely lost the plan of God. They don't understand even the plan of salvation. They don't understand how God is working out His plan.
And let me tell you something, the reason is because, God gave these annual Holy Days that culminate in the Feast of Tabernacles, for the very purpose of picturing that plan, and reminding His people of it year after year. And because they have not kept those Holy Days that God made holy, and that are never called any 'Feast days of Moses' anywhere in your Bible, but are the days of God. And because the churches have lost them, they have lost what they picture and portray, and were intended to remind the church of year after year, the plan of God, and they have lost it.
The plan of God is very clearly portrayed in the Bible, if we would believe the Bible. But the Bible is profitable to correct us, and reprove us, and people don't like it. And so, when they don't let it correct them and reprove them, my friends, they try to read their meaning into it. They try to put their interpretation on it. The Bible should never be interpreted. No wonder people don't have it straight. No wonder they have twisted it, and turned it upside-down, and maligned it, and polluted it. And now they believe just the opposite.
God's Spirit Not Yet Given Now let's get on with this:
"In the last day, that great day of the feast [or the festival], Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." (John 7:37)
Now, isn't that strange language? I wonder if you can understand that?
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [that is, out of his innermost being] shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38)
Now the next verse explains what He meant:
"(But [and it's in brackets or parenthesis] this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should [or were in the future to] receive: for the Holy [Spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)." (John 7:39)
Now the Holy Spirit had not been given to all men at that time. Let me tell you something, my friends, those two or three verses explain so much of the truth of God that is not known. It would take me several broadcasts to explain it to you. People read right over that. They don't get anything out of it. There is so much to be just drunk right out of those verses, that it would take me several broadcasts to give it all to you.
Now, in the first place, a great many people believe today that the Holy Spirit had already been given. And they believe that Peter, and James, and John, and the apostles, or the disciples, as they were at that time - a disciple is a student or learner, and that's all they were at the time. An apostle is one cloaked with authority to represent his kingdom in a foreign land. And the kingdom they represented was the kingdom of God, and they represented it in this foreign land here on this earth. And they later became apostles, but at the time Jesus was speaking here, they were merely disciples.
Now they had not received the Holy Spirit. It says so here very plainly. And yet a lot of people in the whole great sectarian division of people of many denominations, has been founded on a misunderstanding of this very thing. Who believe that the Holy Spirit had always been here for people, and that they were converted.
Now the amazing truth is, my friends, that there is no promise in the Bible of the Holy Spirit to any man prior to this time. And what I mean is, that back in the days of Moses, for instance, and under the Old Testament to the nation Israel, there was no spiritual promise of salvation. They were not given any promise of salvation. They were not given the Holy Spirit. Israel of old was a church. It's called the church in the seventh chapter of the book of Acts, and there they are called "...the church in the wilderness..." (Acts 7:38). And they were God's Church, but they were not called 'church of God', they were called the 'church of Israel', or 'congregation of Israel' because they were a flesh-born church. They were not a spirit-begotten Church. They did not have the Holy Spirit. They had no promise of salvation. The only promises God gave them were material promises, and present promises for this life. But not for the life to come, not for the world tomorrow, not the spiritual promises of salvation and eternal life.
Now the New Covenant is founded on better promises than the Old. And the better promises you find in the ninth chapter of the book of Hebrews, the promise of eternal inheritance. They were given the promise, if they obeyed God, of temporary inheritance for this life of the land of Palestine. But we're given the promise of eternal inheritance. And that carries with it eternal life and salvation, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now the Holy Spirit had not been given, and this very definitely says the Holy Spirit had not yet been given "(...because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:39)
And Jesus said to them;
"...It is expedient for you [He said to His disciples] that I go away: for if I go not away, the [other] Comforter [the Holy Spirit] will not come unto you; but if I [go], I will send him unto you." (John 16:7)
Now, the Holy Spirit had not come. And it was on the Day of Pentecost that Peter quoted the prophecy of the book of Joel, where Joel had said that the time would come when God "...would pour forth His Spirit on all flesh..." (Joel 2:28 paraphrased), or all who would, and where all who will, and all who desire, may come. But, at this time, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given.
Now the truth is that the disciples were not actually converted until the Day of Pentecost. Until that day, Peter was not a converted man. Jesus said to him once; "...when thou art converted [Peter], strengthen the brethren" (Luke 22:32). But he wasn't converted during this ministry and prior to the death of Christ, on the cross. And Peter denied his Savior three times, you know, during the very ordeal the night that He was taken to be crucified. And Peter lost his faith and began to sink, when he tried to walk on the water. But after he received the Holy Spirit, then Peter was a different man all together.
The Need To Thirst Now Jesus said here:
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water [what did He mean? Well]. (...this spake he of the Spirit...)" (John 7:38-39)
In other words then, He is speaking of the Holy Spirit. Now first He said "...If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink" (John 7:37). There was a great big 'if'. Many, many, many years ago, an uncle of mine used to say that, that little two-letter word 'if', I-F, is the biggest word in the English language. And, you know, I believe perhaps it is. That's a very big word 'if'. Notice, there is a great big 'IF' standing between you salvation, and that stands between you and eternal life, my friends. That little word right there, 'if'. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." (John 7:37)
You know, there's the trouble, most of us don't thirst. We aren't hungry for the spiritual food. We are not thirsty for the spiritual waters that will satisfy. Now here God is using water and food, which sustain mortal human life, as the very picture or the type of, that which does fill us with, and does help us to grow in the spiritual life, and beget us with the spiritual life.
And you know, my friends, even human reproduction is the exact picture of spiritual salvation? Because very few people seem to know it. But, if you could understand the first chapter in your Bible, the first chapter of Genesis, you would see that it even there, explains God's great purpose. And that purpose is, that God is reproducing Himself. And salvation means that we are first begotten of God, and later BORN OF GOD, born into the very family of God. And Jesus Christ becomes our elder brother. He is "the firstborn of many brethren" (Romans 8:29). He was born of God by a resurrection from the dead. And so shall we be, if, if, oh, yes, here's a great big if. IF we thirst, IF we hunger, IF we want it enough that we will give up everything for it.
Now Jesus had given us some parables here. The merchant man; who went out seeking a pearl, and he saw one pearl that was just absolutely priceless. You couldn't have set a price on it. And he wanted it so badly that he had to go and sell everything he had, and give up everything else, to have that one precious prize. It was worth it. He wanted it that badly. (Matthew 13:45-46)
My friends, if you don't want salvation and eternal life badly enough that you're willing to give up everything else for it - now I don't say that God will require you to give up everything else. But I say that He will require you to be willing to give up everything else. And if you are not, and if you don't hunger and thirst for it that much, 'if,' yes, that little word 'if', stands between you and your salvation.
Do you know a lot of people say, "Well now, that sounds reasonable. Yeah, I'd like salvation. Well all right, I guess I'll go to church tonight, and I'll profess Jesus Christ publicly, and I'll get saved." And, you know, the way they look at it, they look at it like, well, this life is a journey, like going on a trip, on a railroad train, or something of the sort. And the thing is though, that at the end of the journey, the track makes a sudden turn, and shoots straight down to hell, and that's the way it was all set. They were born that way, but, if they just simply get the password, and if they go to church, and profess Jesus with their mouth. That's all there is to it, they think, that's what they've been told. That automatically, that turns the switch at the end of the line, and turns the switch so it will just shoot them suddenly up to heaven instead. And then it's all fixed, it's been done, and now you can forget all about it.
And the preachers tell us there's no works to salvation and Christianity. 'Just believe,' that's what they tell you. "...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31). Well, you know, there is a dead faith, and a live believing. And if you read the Bible a little further, one scripture interprets another, and one adds and completes another, and one of them alone might not be quite complete by itself. God doesn't always tell all of the truth in any one place. You have to read other scriptures. But He does give us all of the truth that we need, if you take all of the scriptures. And so, you'll read in James and other places, and even in Hebrews that, "...faith without works is dead" (James 2:20)? And in the very faith chapter of the Bible, the eleventh of Hebrews, you'll find it was by his faith that Abraham, the father of the faithful, proved his faith until he was called 'the father of the faithful'.
Now there is a dead faith, and the living faith is the kind that has good works in it. Now you have works, as I have mentioned before, they are either good or evil. And men don't love the truth, or the light, because their deeds, their works, are evil. You're going to have works, or deeds, otherwise you'll just have to stop breathing, and you'll be dead. But, as long as you live, even your breathing is a kind of works, I suppose. And then so we have works, it's a case of what kind? Now Jesus said:
"...If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." (John 7:37)
Now, what are you going to drink? Why, the waters, the Holy Spirit "(...this spake he of the Spirit...)" (John 7:39). And it means the Spirit of God. Now let's get it, what is this Spirit of God?
"He that believeth on me [first, let him come to me and drink, then], as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [you drink in of the Holy Spirit,] out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38)
And that rivers of living water is the Spirit of God, as verse 39 says: "(...this spake he of the Spirit...)" (John 7:39), which they were to receive, and they did receive on the Day of Pentecost, later. Now, and really it was, well, it was into the following year, considering that the sacred or spiritual year, as God set it, began in the spring. But it would have been in the same year if you would figure the old legal year when the Jewish people today figure it that way. It was the old civil year beginning in the fall, or what is the seventh month of the sacred year. But the sacred year begins in the spring. Well, in a sense, it would have been, then according to the civil year, the same year because it was coming about six months later; and this is the last Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Day of it. And it is rather significant that on that day Jesus gave us the way of salvation.
God's Spirit Must Flow And, I tell you, it is all summed up here. The first thing is you have to thirst, and that great big word 'if' stands in your way. And the second thing is, 'if' you thirst and receive the Holy Spirit of God, He tells you what it is. It isn't something that you get and bottle up and put a cork on it, like you are a bottle, and you can hold these waters inside of you, not at all. The waters are going to flow out of you when you drink them in, and they flow like rivers of living water out from you.
Notice: "...as the scripture hath said, out, [not in, but out of] out of his belly [out of the inside of him, out of his innermost being] shall flow [oh, they're going to flow, like] rivers of living water." (John 7:38)
These waters are alive. They're living, and they are active, and they're in motion, and they're flowing. Now I wonder if you get the idea? It's like a river bed, and here are the waters rushing down.
Now, you know, we used to go up to a place up in Oregon, in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, a very lovely place up there, a hot springs resort, which we took over at the time that God has set for the Feast of Tabernacles every year. And do you know? We used to read this very verse up there. It's on the Mackenzie River, and it's a mountain stream. And as you know, these mountain streams sometimes rush down rather rapidly because they're going down hill rather fast. A lot faster than you'll see over in the Mississippi, or the Ohio River, and they are comparatively quiet rivers. But this was a rapid flowing river, and we noticed that river up there. Now the waters had to flow down the river bed, they couldn't get outside of it. There is a river bed, and they flow down that bed.
Now, if you can just get the idea here; the Holy Spirit of God flows out of us, but it's like a river, and a river flows in a certain channel, or a certain bed. It's the river channel, and it must flow down that exact channel. Do you know what the channel is? That channel, my friends, is the thing that nearly every professing Christian tries to reject, the thing that people don't want because they don't want to be corrected. It is the will of God, and the way of God, which is expressed by the law of God. The law of God is the river channel.
Love Fulfills The Law Now the Spirit of God is; "...the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]..." (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit is the love of God, it is love, and it comes from God. Now in Romans 13:8, you will read that love is the fulfilling of the law. Love fulfills the law, and it takes love, and it takes a divine love to fulfill a divine law. Now Paul said here in the seventh chapter of Romans:
"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. [and in verse 14 of Romans 7, he says] ...we know that the law is spiritual..." (Romans 7:12,14)
Now he is speaking of a spiritual law. Now we also know that there are material laws. There are fleshly laws. There are the physical laws that operate in your body, and you need to understand them better than you do. And you'd have better health if you did, and if you could understand the digestive system, and what kind of food you ought to eat. And if you understood better which kinds of food you ought not to eat, which you probably are gullibly, and innocently but ignorantly too, just poking right down your stomachs. And you think you enjoy the taste of a lot of things that are causing bad health, and sickness, and disease. And many of them gradually build up a sickness and a disease that may take you twenty, or thirty, or forty years before the disease comes. And you've been building it by eating these wrong foods all these years. You are breaking a physical law. Now that's important.
But how much more important then, my friends, is the spiritual law? The great spiritual law that requires the spiritual love of God, which you can receive only from God to fulfill that law. Paul said, "he would not have known sin except the law had said Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7 paraphrased). Now, the law that said that is the Ten Commandments, and the Ten Commandments are not a law of physical duties, but a law of spiritual principles. They involve some physical acts, that's true, but the principle is always spiritual and never physical.
Now, Paul said here that, love is the fulfilling of the law, and that all who fulfill the law have love, and so on, and so it requires the Love of God. "...he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). That's the thirteenth chapter of Romans and the eighth verse, Romans 13:8. And then Romans 13:10; "...love is the fulfilling of the law." (Romans 13:10)
Now Christ fulfilled the law, but He set us an example that we should follow His steps and that we also should fulfill the law. It doesn't mean He did away with it, so are not to fulfill it, but that He set an example that we should follow His steps and fulfill it. And now, if you'll just turn over to the book of James, in the New Testament, you will learn that we too must fulfill the law, and in the eighth verse of the second chapter of James:
"If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well [there is love, if you shall love your neighbor as yourself]. But if you [don't love your neighbor as yourself, you] have respect of persons, you commit sin..." (James 2:8-9)
You see; "...sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). And when you transgress it, you commit sin. And then he continues here to say, if you break one point of the law you are guilty of all; and he shows two of the points;
"For he that said [or that law that said], Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill... (James 2:11)
And there are two of the ten commandments, and that's the law that he is speaking about. And love fulfills that law; "...Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself..." (James 2:8) That's the whole law, but it has points; and one of the points is 'do not kill', and another is 'do not commit adultery'.
"...Now if thou commit no adultery [you don't break that point], yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." (James 2:11)
If you don't break either of those points, but break any other point of the law, you are a transgressor. Now love is the fulfilling of that law. And here is the thing you have to thirst for, righteousness, and "...all thy commandments are righteousness." (Psalm 119:172)
Psalms 119 verse 172. And there it is again, it's the Way of God. It's the way to peace, it's the way to happiness. It's the spiritual principle that will make you happy, it's the spiritual principle that brings peace, and love, and happiness, and joy, and everything that we all want. Everything we crave.
Listen, the trouble is we crave the result, but we don't hunger and thirst for the way, the way to that result. And the way is the righteousness of God, the Law of God. Now then, if you hunger and thirst for it enough that you are willing to give up everything else for the way of God, of course, you are going to have to go contrary to the ways of men. And you're going to be persecuted because; "...all [who] will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12). And Jesus said, if you believe on Him, and that's a living belief that is proved by obedience, and not a dead faith;
"...as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38)
You come to Him and drink. You drink what? The Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit flows out from you. How? In fulfilling the law, keeping the commandments of God. It flows in that river channel, and no other, the Spirit of God, A carnal love, a carnal love will flow in some other river channel, and carnal love, which is lust, has been flowing down the way of disobedience. And there, my friends, is the whole of the gospel, right there in those few words.