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Chapter 4

Moses’ Prophecy To Issachar

Deuteronomy 33:18-19

And of Zebulun he said: "Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and Issachar in your tents! They shall call the peoples to the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness; for they shall partake of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hidden in the sand."

Zebulun and Issachar were joined in this Mosaic blessing to illustrate the cooperation and partnership of two brothers. Issachar was the fifth son of Leah, and Zebulun was her sixth son. Both of them were people of joy, always rejoicing in the LORD!

The symbol for the tribe of Zebulun was a ship. The children of Zebulun were merchants, doing trades or businesses.

One of the symbols for the tribe of Issachar was a tent. The children of Issachar set up tents to study the Word of God. One produced material blessings while the other produced spiritual blessings. Their brotherly teamwork and unity brought manifold blessings of the LORD to their community.

Besides studying the Word in their tents, the sons of Issachar kept track of the sun and moon so that they were able to calculate and announce the appointed times of the LORD. The Jewish Calendar was based on the lunar cycle. The arrival of the new moon was a crucial event. In ancient times, three witnesses were needed to confirm the first sliver sighting of the moon. At such times, a fire would be lit on the Mount of Olives to signal other watchmen. They would then light fires on the surrounding hills until the message was spread throughout Israel that a new month had begun.

In Leviticus 23, God called His Feasts "My appointed times." He had established special times and appointments to meet with man. These significant events commemorated His dealings with man. His appointed times are His means of reminding His people that He is the King of creation and the Ruler throughout all time - in the past, in the present and in the future. The seven Feasts of the LORD are namely:

  • Passover
  • Unleavened Bread
  • Firstfruits
  • Pentecost
  • Trumpets
  • Day of Atonement
  • Tabernacles

They are referred to as the Feasts of the LORD, and not the feasts of the Jews! These Feasts, in fact, are holy convocations or rehearsals for the First Coming and Second Coming of the Messiah. Some of these appointed times have been fulfilled, while some are yet to be realized. This is good reason enough for all Christians to pay close attention to them.

What do we expect in the future? The past will tell us! These seven Feasts of the LORD reveals the knowledge, wisdom and revelation of God’s eternal plans and purposes to redeem mankind. All the drama unfolding in prophecy today and in the days to come are hinted in these holy rehearsals.

Spring
Feasts

Former
Rain

First
Coming
of
Jesus

Passover
Unleavened Bread
Firstfruits

Outpouring of Holy Spirit

Pentecost

Fall
Feasts

Latter
Rain

Second
Coming
Of
Jesus

Trumpets
Day of Atonement
Tabernacles

After the 3rd century AD, the church council of Rome passed laws forbidding church members to observe these seven Feasts. Since then, the Church had divorced herself from her Hebraic roots including these appointed times of the Lord. It was in recent years that the significance and importance of the 7 Feasts were rediscovered! Only in recent times are we seeing a desire to rediscover these prophetic Feasts of the LORD and to participate in the joyful celebrations.

Feast

Historical
Significance

Prophetic
Fulfillment

Spiritual
Journey

Passover

Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt

Christ’s Death

Salvation

Unleavened Bread

From Egypt into the Red Sea

Christ’s Burial

Water Baptism

Firstfruits

Coming out of the Red Sea

Christ’s Resurrection

Resurrected New Life

Pentecost

Giving of the Law (Torah); Birth of the nation

Giving of the Holy Spirit; Birth of the Church

Baptism in Holy Spirit

Trumpets

Call to possess the Promised Land

Messiah as Deliverer

Tribulation / Rapture

Atonement

National cleansing and consecration

Messiah as High Priest and Bridegroom

Full Redemption

Tabernacles

Possessing the Promised Land

Messiah as King
(Millennial Reign)

Full Rest in God

At these appointed times of the LORD, the sons of Issachar would call the peoples to the holy mountain to worship the Lord. There they would offer sacrifices of righteousness unto the Lord. They would be celebrating in the Feasts, rejoicing in His goodness and greatness. They would also share the abundance of the seas and the treasures of the sand with their people.

Though the sons of Issachar set up their study tents on the lowly plains, they were able to call their peoples to higher ground to worship God! The sons of Issachar had both the knowledge and wisdom of the Word. They were prophetic and accurate. They knew where the abundance of the seas were, and they would tell the sons of Zebulun where and how to find them. They were also able to research the whereabouts of the treasures hidden in the sand. The sons of Zebulun would then dig them up. Herein we could see the working together of spiritual knowledge and wisdom to obtain physical and material wealth. This was a healthy community having both spiritual and secular leadership.

Today, many Christians would divide the sons of Issachar and the sons of Zebulun into two categories - spiritual or secular. This division is not Biblical. If you are doing Christian ministry or mission work, you are sacred. If you are doing trades or businesses, you are secular. They divide Christians into sacred or secular, doing full-time service or part-time service for the LORD.

This dividing line is erroneously drawn basing on the wrong parameters. The Hebraic mindsets are different. Regardless of their occupations, all Jews are called to worship God and to obey His commandments! They are to observe their Sabbaths and the Feasts of the Lord. Religious Jews believe in God, obey His commandments and keep His appointed times. Secular Jews simply don’t.

The dividing line between sacred and secular Christians should also be the same. The distinction is between holy living and unholy living; righteousness and unrighteousness; kingdom and non-kingdom. All Christians have the same Bible as their Christian leaders working in churches and missions; not one verse more or one commandment less. We are to worship God and obey Him regardless of race, language or occupation. Our Lord requires all of us to live a godly life by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to Him, which is our spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).

A Christian working in a church or ministry can be in a spiritual place and yet do unspiritual tasks. They can be unrighteous and unholy before the Lord. A very good example is that of the sons of Eli (1 Samuel 2:22-25). They were the priests in the Temple. Besides other bad reports, they were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. They despised the Lord, and were destroyed by Him.

On the contrary, a Christian businessman or a working professional can be in a secular place and yet do spiritual tasks. They can be righteous and holy before the Lord, doing business God's way. Abraham was a businessman, very rich in livestock, silver and gold (Genesis 13:1-5). He was very wealthy, with sheep and cattle and many servants. In the eyes of God, Abraham was righteous on the basis that he believed God.

Another case was King David. He reigned for 40 years. Yet God said that David was a man after His own heart, and he did everything that God wanted him to do (Acts 13:22). Joseph was a Prime Minister serving the Pharaoh. He was serving the Lord full-time in the Egyptian palace. Daniel was serving the Lord full-time in the Babylonian palace. They were effectively doing what the Lord had called them to do. Nothing short of His glory!

God is omnipresent. To say that God only works in the churches and Christian organisations is false spirituality of the highest degree. This is boxing God up and limiting His authority. The earth belongs to God! Everything in all the earth is His! (Psalm 24:1). God cannot be boxed. Very often, God chooses to speak outside His Holy Place, the Tabernacle.

Jesus chose His disciples from the marketplaces. Andrew, Peter, John and James were fishermen (Mark 1:16-19). Matthew was a tax collector (Matthew 9:9). None of His twelve were from the Temple or the synagogues. They were ordinary people having secular occupations. Jesus is still calling men and women in the marketplaces to become His disciples. He desires to build His kingdom of love among the peoples. Our God is an awesome God. He has many occupations:

  • Master Designer as He designed the universe.
  • Master Creator as He created the universe.
  • Master Architect as He built heaven and earth.
  • Master Landscaper as He mapped out the lands and seas.
  • Master Zoologist as He created the animals.
  • Master of Oceanography as He created the sea creatures and living things.
  • Master of Cattle and Land as He created the lambs, cows and goats.
  • Master Gardener as He created the trees and the plants.
  • Master of Medicine and Healthcare as He healed all diseases.
  • Prince of Peace as He restored peace and order.
  • Chief Justice as He gave His laws, precepts and statutes.
  • Master, King and Lord as He rules and reigns in righteousness.
  • And so on.

All the activities and works of the Lord are holy and honorable not subjected to our dividing line of sacred and secular. This elevation of the sacred above the secular is known as the Catholic Distortion. Instead of being called the servants of the Lord serving God and the peoples, the Church was then seeking power to rule over the common people. They lorded over the peoples instead of serving them. By placing a clear distinction between sacred and secular, the common people saw themselves as second class. The Bible was not made available to them. Nobody could read the Holy Scriptures nor interpret them without the religious priests. The Church then went into The Dark Age of self-deception.

All of us are full-time Christians not on the basis of our occupations but on the basis of our faith. We are to live a holy life, walking worthy in obedience and humility. Our Lord requires all of us to know Him. Our highest calling is to bow down and worship Him, and not to serve Him in a church or Christian ministry. God seeks for a people who are righteous and willing to be still and know that He is God.

The job of the church, especially the fivefold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers), is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. This work of the ministry is basically the works of service to serve God and the peoples. A teacher teaches, a nurse nurses, a fisherman fishes, a farmer farms and a pastor pastors, and so on. This is all about seeking God's kingdom and His righteousness. God's kingdom consists of:

  • A King Who rules and reigns in righteousness
  • Law and order - His precepts and statutes
  • Economy, trades and businesses
  • Public Services for education, development, defence, finance, health, etc.
  • A temple - a place of worship

Nehemiah was a good example to illustrate this. He built the walls of Jerusalem, and Ezra built the Temple. Both of them were doing the works of the Lord. The city walls had to be rebuilt so that the people could return to settle there, to rebuild their life, homes and economy, and to worship in the Temple of God. To neglect the city walls would be detrimental. The enemies would invade and destroy the inhabitants and everything therein inclusive of their Temple. The city walls were as important as the walls of the Temple.

I am hereby not putting the marketplace ministry above the church. I am saying that both are important, and both need to serve one another in love! Like the sons of Issachar and the sons of Zebulun, we need to see each other as equal in the Lord. In fact, we need to esteem one other better than ourselves. We are called the Body of Christ, the Church without walls in the midst of the peoples. The Church is His people, built with living stones and not dead concrete!

The true line we need to draw is love. Are we serving others in love? Are we serving others in righteousness and humility? Are we doing unto others what we want others to do unto us? Do we love them?

Let’s us be like the sons of Issachar and the sons of Zebulun. True brotherhood in unity serving the LORD in both the Church and the marketplaces. Let’s all of us break forth in joy and glory! Let’s all of us arise and shine for Jesus wherever we go and in whatever we do.


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