Last week we entered into Rosh Hashana 5781, the Jewish New Year. Then it will be Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, followed by Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. We may be puzzled by the order of the festivals. Why isn’t it from a low to a high point? Why shouldn’t it be repentance first, then the New Year after clearance of sins, and finally welcoming Sukkot? Why has our heavenly Father arranged the dates in such an or der? Is He trying to tell us something?
The New Year signifies a new beginning that unfolds a new cycle. Last week I mentioned that our church has entered into a new cycle, so has the world. A new creation by God doesn’t automatically mean that God will “tabernacle” among us and we are in His presence. The order of “New Year – Day of Atonement – the Feast of Tabernacles”, i.e., “high – low – high”, is telling us that in order to have God’s presence, we must confess sins. God has created us, but we fall. We need to receive His salvation before entering into the Feast of Tabernacles to have His glorious presence among us.
Today some churches talk about “Grace Theology”, in which we don’t need to confess sins because Jesus Christ has died for us and brought us into a new creation. We don’t need to confess sins any more in such new creation. However, God has revealed to us the laws of creation and of the truth. God has created the world, but man has corrupted it. We are weak and will commit sins from time to time. So we need to confess sins very often in order to enter into God’s Tabernacles and presence.
There should not be any sins in God’s presence. Jesus Christ has died for us and forgiven all our sins. But have we confessed our sins? Or the level of our sin confession is not wide or deep enough. The more we let the light of the Holy Spirit shine upon us, the more we will see and confess our sins. Confession can never be made once and for all. Therefore we need to confess sins every year. The more we know about ourselves, the more we know how much we need to confess. The longer we live on the earth, the more we need to confess. For many years we have been leading our co-workers and brothers and sisters to confess sins, from outward evident sins to deep inner sins. The deeper we go, the freer we will become. This year we have spent three weeks to prepare ourselves. Our co-workers, i.e., the priests and Levites, have started the confession during the Family Breakfast Meetings, and so have the MG leaders.
On this Sunday Service (27/9), from personal level to the level of countries and cities, we are to pray, to take the Holy Communion, and to make a sin offering (Jesus as the Lamb of Atonement) and a burnt offering, as a pleasing aroma to the Lord (by way of cash offering). God loves both Israelites and Arabs. We will spend part of the cash offering on church building and part to help God’s people in the Middle East. Dear brothers and sisters, our church, standing as a priest, has the responsibility to intercede for countries and cities. I believe that when we follow God and walk in His ways, our heavenly Father will give us peace and protection amid all the difficulties.•[2020.09.27]