From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 8- Tabernacles – The Feast of Unity
AN INTRODUCTION TO TABERNACLES
And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, the branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days… Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths…” (Lev. 23:40, 42).
In the Feast of Tabernacles we have a beautiful picture of the unity of the Saints. On this notable occasion every Israelite must leave his place of dwelling, his farm, his flocks, his place of business–and assemble together in the streets of Jerusalem or along the highways, and dwell for seven days in the humble little booths which they were to construct with branches and willows and boughs of trees. They all had one common purpose in mind, to keep the Feast of the Lord in its season, and to celebrate the ingathering of their wines and oils. And if some would fear lest the enemy would attack their homes during their absence and take away their property, God promised that obedience to this ritual would be their safeguard. “Neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.” (Ex. 34:24).
If the saints of God could only see the glory of the Feast of Tabernacles which even now looms before us, they could not possibly be in doubt or fear concerning their little fenced plots of sectarianism and division; and they would joyfully assemble together in the streets of Jerusalem and keep this glorious Feast. Let us be assured of this, our only safeguard rests in obedience to the Lord and a willingness to follow in the path which He shall choose for us. And if God reveals, as He does in this present hour, that the Body of Christ is being firmly knit together by the Spirit to form a vital, living organism, operating in the power of the Holy Spirit–then obedience to that revelation is all that matters. God will look after our property; our pet doctrines, our theories, our little churches, our opinions, our ambitions, and so forth. If any of these are of God, He will preserve them for us; if not, then who is concerned about maintaining them?
What then is involved in the revelation of the Body of Christ? Briefly and simply it is this: that henceforth we must learn to minister and function as members of that Body, and not as members of a sect or a denomination. In other words, we must recognize that the Body of Christ is a spiritual organism, whose Head is in Heaven, and whose very life and being is in the Holy Spirit Himself. If any individual or group of individuals is unwilling to recognize the Holy Spirit as the life of the Body, and His ministries as the faculties of the Body, then a “sect” is born. The word “sect” from the original Greek means ‘opinion’, ‘sentiment’, ‘party’. Therefore it is quite possible to have non-sectarian sects, as well as sectarian sects. That is to say, it is not necessary to belong to a religious system in order to be a “sect.” There are many sects who loudly denounce the whole ecclesiastical system–but they themselves are the most sectarian of any. To be a member of a “sect” all one has to do is to refuse to recognize the ministries which God is raising up and setting in their place in the Body of Christ. To be non-sectarian it is not sufficient to withdraw from the maze of religious schemes abroad in the world today; but we must become a vital member in the Body of Christ, functioning according to the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the place and ministry which God has ordained for us in the Body. GHW
We spend so much time trying to define what the Body of Christ is that we forget what God has said about it. We organize around a statement of faith, or this creed or that confession. And this is not bad as far as organization goes. It becomes a problem when we let these things define who we are. When we let the organizational mechanisms have the upper hand over the organic nature of our identification in Christ, we do a major disservice to ourselves and the other members of the Body of Christ. This produces the sectarianism that Bro. Warnock speaks about in this opening statement regarding the Feast of Tabernacles and the fact that Israel was commanded to leave behind all that was familiar and comfortable to camp together in the streets of the Holy City.