What is worship?
Jesus Christ said: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in reality.” (John 4:24) God has very precise ideas about how he wants to be worshiped. In the Bible, he talks about this in detail. In the Old Covenant, God ordered his people Israel to come to Jerusalem three times a year for the festivals. They were to put the best of the harvest of the good land in a basket and take it to Jerusalem to offer it as a sacrifice to God. They were not allowed to appear before God empty-handed. This brought glory to God and satisfied him. Today in the New Covenant, the same principle applies, but in spirit and in reality.
What does it mean to worship in spirit?
Firstly, man must be born again, that is, born of the Spirit of God (cf. John 3:3-6). This rebirth, which takes place through faith and baptism, makes a person a child of God (cf. John 1:12-13). He receives the eternal life of God and can from now on call God his Father (cf. Galatians 4:6). A new life begins. Since true worship can only be in the Spirit, we Christians must learn from the beginning to walk by the Spirit day by day (cf. Galatians 5:16, 25) and to know the Spirit of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16). This is the first condition for becoming a true worshiper.
What does it mean to worship in reality?
The word “truth” in Greek also means “reality”. So when Jesus talks about true worshipers worshiping God in spirit and in truth, it means that God wants the reality of worship today in the New Covenant, which was already practiced as a shadow in the Old Covenant. Why? Because a fundamental principle permeates the whole Bible. Namely, it shows that the Old Covenant was only a time of preparation and shadow, while the New Covenant is the time of fulfillment and reality: “For the law, which has (only) the shadow of good things to come and not the reality of the things themselves …” (Hebrews 10:1). Paul wrote about this difference: “… concerning food and drink or a feast or a new moon or a Sabbath, which are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17). All of God’s instructions and commandments at the time of the Old Covenant — eating, drinking, feasts, new moons, Sabbaths and the like — are only a shadow of Jesus Christ. Today, for example, we no longer have to physically keep the Sabbath, but Christ is our true rest. So the Sabbath day in the Old Covenant (the shadow) has been replaced by Jesus Christ (the reality) in the New Covenant. This applies to all aspects of true worship.
What is Mount Zion or the heavenly Jerusalem?
At the time of the Old Covenant, the Lord commanded his people that they should worship him in a place that he would choose (cf. Deuteronomy 12:5-8). They were not allowed to worship in any other place. The Word of God shows us that God has chosen Mount Zion, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as his place of worship (Psalm 132:13). There is also a Jerusalem in the new covenant, the place of true worship. However, this is no longer earthly, but heavenly: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem … and to the church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:22-23). This means that if we want to worship God today, we need to find other believers with whom we can be built up into God’s city and His house.
Where should God be worshiped? Can I worship God anywhere?
According to the Word of God, we are to worship our Father in the heavenly Jerusalem. This is where believers are built up together in the Spirit into a dwelling place of God. Peter says: “And you also are being built up as living stones for a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) Accordingly, we cannot simply worship God at home alone.
Can I worship God at any time?
The Lord intended his people to worship him three times a year at the feast times (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). All the people of Israel were to come together in Jerusalem for this purpose. In the new covenant, believers are also called to gather together and celebrate the Lord’s Table (the so-called Lord’s Supper). The first Christians gathered on the first day of the week, on Sunday (Acts 20:7). Here the Father wants to be worshiped together by all his faithful believers. If you would like to join us, you can find our meetings here.
What is the basket?
At the time of the Old Covenant, the people of Israel were to put the first fruits of the good land in a basket and bring it to Jerusalem. The basket in the app can be used to record experiences we have had with Christ. Sometimes it is not possible to assign an experience with Christ directly to a sacrifice or feast. Therefore, you can first write down the experience in general in the basket. When the experience becomes more concrete, you can assign it to a feast or a sacrifice. The experience then disappears from the basket and can be found under the Feasts or Sacrifices tab. Things can also be noted in the basket in which we would still like to experience the Lord — for example, if the Lord has spoken to you about something. Once you have realized what the Lord spoke to you about, you can assign the note to a feast or sacrifice.
Return of Christ
When will Jesus return?
Daniel chapter 9 verses 24 to 26 predicted the exact date of the first coming of Jesus. Verse 27 speaks of the second coming of Christ. Based on this verse, we can know when Jesus will return: When a covenant is made in the Middle East with many surrounding nations, enabling the Jews to offer sacrifices on the Temple Mount, then the last seven years of this age will have begun. It is quite possible that this contract was concluded in the fall of 2020. According to this, the time of the Rapture of the firstfruits would be in spring 2024 and the visible return of Christ in fall 2027.
Can we know the day and the hour?
No, no one knows the day and hour except the Father in heaven. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t know anything about the time of his coming. Jesus himself spoke of many signs that must take place before he comes. We can see these signs being fulfilled before our very eyes. Only those who are spiritually asleep will not recognize when the Lord is coming. “But if you do not watch, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3b). For this reason, we should always be ready.
When is the Rapture?
The Rapture will take place shortly before the middle of the last seven years. The Bible calls the last 3.5 years the great day of God’s wrath (Revelation 6:16-17). Jesus promises his believers that he will save them from this day if they follow him faithfully (Luke 21:34-36; Revelation 3:10). Other passages that show us that the Rapture will take place shortly before the last 3.5 years: Revelation chapters 12 and 14.
Will all Christians be raptured before the “great tribulation”?
No, only a remnant of all Christians will be raptured. Revelation 14:1 speaks of 144,000 firstfruits who will be caught up to Mount Zion. The fact that there is a number here shows that not all Christians will be raptured. The fact that there are still Christians on earth during the so-called “tribulation” is shown, among other things, by Revelation 13:7. We must therefore prepare ourselves today and become firstfruits.
What is a firstfruit?
Revelation 14:4 speaks of a group of people who are purchased by God from among men as firstfruits. “Firstfruits” is an agricultural term and is the fruit that ripens first in a year. For example, many apples grow on an apple tree, but not all of them ripen at the same time. Only a few fruits ripen before the others. These are the firstfruits. Spiritually speaking, being a firstfruit means being the first to reach maturity in Christ. When we are born again, we are like little children in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). But the Lord wants us to grow and mature in him (Hebrews 6:1; Ephesians 4:13-15). Revelation 14:1-5 shows three characteristics by which maturity is recognized: they follow the Lamb wherever he goes, they keep themselves virginally pure for the Lord, and no deceit is found in their mouths. The verses indicate that 144,000 will attain this qualification. These will be caught up by God to the throne on the heavenly Mount Zion before the great day of God’s wrath, the last 3.5 years.
How do I become a firstfruit?
No one can become a firstfruit by their own efforts. It is written that Christ became the firstfruits through his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20). We can only become a firstfruit if we richly experience and gain Christ every day. This is how we are transformed into his image. God wants us to offer our best experiences of Christ from our daily lives to Him as spiritual sacrifices. This satisfies him. If we do this every week, we will become an edible firstfruit for our Father in heaven. Then the Lord will gladly catch us up to Himself before the coming judgment.
What are the sacrifices about?
God commanded the children of Israel to bring him certain offerings at their appointed time (Numbers 28:2). They couldn’t just offer anything anywhere, anytime. In Genesis 1-7, the Lord specified exactly what his offerings should be like. God even calls these sacrifices his food (Leviticus 3:11; 22:25). There were five main victims. Each of these sacrifices shows a different aspect of Christ. The New Testament shows that as Christians today we are to offer spiritual sacrifices that are pleasing to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 13:15). This means that today in the New Covenant we can experience Christ as the various sacrifices for our transformation and worship of the Father.
How can I experience the burnt offering?
The burnt offering in Genesis 1 was the only one of the five main sacrifices that was completely burnt for God’s pleasure. It shows a life that is pleasing to the Father, always doing his will, completely obedient to him and always ready to put one’s own wishes and needs second. By nature, every man is only for himself. Jesus Christ was the only person who was completely obedient to God, even to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8). He was willing to empty himself completely and humble himself under God’s will. In our daily lives, therefore, we must lean much on Christ our burnt offering so that we also receive the strength to leave our souls for God’s sake. The burnt offering is the first of the five main sacrifices. This makes it the most important sacrifice for the Father.
How can I experience the meal offering?
The meal offering comes second in Genesis 2 and consists of fine flour, oil, salt and frankincense. It stands for the fine humanity of Jesus Christ, which was mixed with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18). He is the grain of wheat that fell into the earth and gave its life (John 12:24). This shows us Jesus’ willingness to suffer and expresses his fine, pure humanity. We, on the other hand, are often coarse, fickle and unruly. Therefore, God has ordained that we should experience Christ as the grain offering for our transformation. Part of the grain offering was allowed to be eaten by the priests. This shows us that we are to eat Christ as the bread of life and the new man within us (John 6:33).
How can I experience the peace offering?
In Leviticus 3 and 7, the peace offering is mentioned together with the heave offering and the wave offering. This peace offering shows us that Christ is our peace (Eph. 2:14). What about peace today, even among us believers? Even Christians are at odds with one another. This is because we are not one with God and are not reconciled with him. If we all have peace with God as our head, then there will also be peace among us humans. Any human form of peace does not last. Therefore, we need Christ as our peace; he is our wave offering and our heave offering. The swinging sacrifice was swung back and forth. In him we see the resurrection of Christ, the power of his resurrection. And the heave offering was lifted up. This shows us the ascension of Christ.
How can I experience the sin offering?
The sin offering deals with the root of sin. Our problem is not only that we commit many transgressions, but that we are under the power of sin. None of us wants to sin. But we do it anyway because sin dwells in us. Paul says very clearly in Romans 7:18: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” And this applies to all people. Even many Christians today still live under the power of sin. It is sin in our flesh that causes us to fall again and again. This means that every time we commit a transgression, the Lord not only wants to wash away our transgression, but He also wants to deal with the root of the problem. It’s like a weed, it will always grow back no matter how many times we mow over it. After a few days it will have grown again – unless we pull out the root. As long as the root is still there, the weeds will grow again and again. This is exactly what Christ wants to bring about in us as the sin offering: Freedom from the dominion of sin.
How can I experience the trespass offering?
We need the transgression offering when we have sinned. It cleanses our conscience and restores our relationship with the Father. 1 John 1:9 describes the experience of the sin offering as follows: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We can apply the transgression offering in our personal lives, but it is not a sacrifice that we are allowed to offer at the festive assembly.
For me, the spiritual sacrifices are still too abstract. What do spiritual sacrifices look like in practice?
Come to our festive assembly! There, all the saints bring their spiritual sacrifices to God the Father. These are practical experiences of Christ from their everyday lives. Through each experience of the saints we are encouraged and learn how we too can win Christ. The festive assembly takes place here every Sunday morning.
Feasts of the Lord
What are the Feasts?
The seven feasts are given to us by God, our Father, so that we may see Christ in them and rejoice in the riches that are given to us in them. God commanded his people Israel to go up to Jerusalem three times a year to celebrate the seven feasts with him there. We read the verses in Deuteronomy 16:14-15: “You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female slave and the Levite and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who live within your gates. Seven days you shall celebrate the feast to the LORD your God in the place the LORD will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, and you shall truly rejoice.” Each of the seven feasts shows an aspect of Christ’s work. When Jesus came for the first time, he fulfilled the first four feasts to the day (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of the Firstfruits and Pentecost). At his second coming, he will completely fulfill the last three feasts (Feast of Trumpets, Feast of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles).
How can the seven feasts be summarized briefly?
- Passover: Christ frees us from the slavery of sin.
- Feast of Unleavened Bread: Christ, the Bread of Life, nourishes and strengthens us to sweep out all leaven.
- Feast of the Firstfruits: Christ, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, makes us alive with him.
- Feast of Pentecost: Christ, the ascended one, pours out his Holy Spirit on us.
- Feast of Trumpets: We proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of Christ.
- Day of Atonement: We humble our souls and are reconciled with God and man.
- Feast of Tabernacles: We live as strangers and pilgrims in the world in preparation for the coming kingdom of Christ.
How can I experience the Passover?
God instituted the Passover at the tenth plague on Egypt. At this time, the people of Israel were enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt. The tenth plague was the final judgment on Pharaoh so that he would let the people of Israel go. God ordered each family of the Israelites to slaughter a lamb, eat it whole and put its blood on their doorposts. All those on whose doors God saw the blood were spared the plague, the judgment of God. In the new covenant, Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7). He bore all our sins and shed his blood to redeem us from the eternal judgment of God, from Satan, sin and death (Hebrews 2:14-15). Christ, our Passover Lamb, delivers us from the present evil age and darkness and brings us into His kingdom of light (Galatians 1:4; Colossians 1:13). When we keep this feast, we become free from the dominion of Satan and can serve God (Exodus 7:16).
How can I experience the Feast of Unleavened Bread?
The Passover also marked the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the people of Israel. During the seven days of this feast, they had to remove all leaven from their homes and were only allowed to eat unleavened bread. The apostle Paul shows us that we should also keep this feast in the new covenant: “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of wickedness and malice, but with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:8) Leaven is therefore an image of wickedness and malice. In other places, leaven also symbolizes dead religion, false teachings, politics, hypocrisy (cf. Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1). The unleavened bread of sincerity and truth is Christ, the Word of God. He is the true bread from heaven of which we are to eat and live (John 6:57; Matthew 4:4). By eating him, we will attain his fine, perfect humanity and daily have the strength to conscientiously remove the leaven.
How can I experience the Feast of Firstfruits?
The people of Israel were to offer a sheaf of firstfruits from the first harvest of the new year to God at the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14). This feast followed the Sabbath after the Passover. On this very day, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He thus became the firstfruits of those who had fallen asleep. This means that he is the first to be raised from the dead and to die no more (1 Corinthians 15:20-22; Colossians 1:18). Through his resurrection, he has destroyed death and brought life and incorruption to light (2 Timothy 1:10). Not only does Jesus save us from bodily death, but he also saves us from all spiritual death. Spiritual death is the inability or lack of desire to do God’s will (Romans 7:19-25). Jesus gives his resurrection life to everyone who comes to him in faith (Ephesians 2:5-6). By celebrating the Feast of Firstfruits, we can overcome all spiritual death and build the church of brotherly love in the power of the resurrection (Revelation 3:1-2)!
How can I experience the Feast of Pentecost?
The ascended Christ sits on the throne of God (Revelation 5:5-7, 13). He is the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22) and has poured out the Holy Spirit to build up his church (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4) and is carrying out God’s plan to bring his kingdom to earth.
How can I experience the Feast of Trumpets?
We blow the trumpet by speaking the truth in love to gather God’s people and warn of the soon return of Christ (Genesis 10:1-10; Revelation 18:4).
How can I experience the Day of Atonement?
We chastise and deny our soul life in order to follow the Lord (Matthew 16:24) and to be fully reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
How can I experience the Feast of Tabernacles?
We live on earth as strangers and pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11), we are not to love the world that is passing away (1 John 2:17), but to prepare ourselves for the coming of the millennial kingdom (Zechariah 14:16-19).