Love Feasts: Theory and Practice
To begin with, we must never refuse to hear God’s voice just because His words are inconvenient. We are a peculiar people, a people set apart for His service, servants of the Most High.
One of the main hindrances in the Body of Christ is that the leadership filters everything that the Holy Spirit says through their personal fears and prejudices until what actually gets to the people is so sanitized that it becomes almost useless. One of the reasons that I started the Final Feast is to provide a way to speak God’s truth to others without such filters.
What I am speaking to you today is a revelation. These words bring to light an understanding in God’s scriptures that has been lost to the church for many centuries. This is actually what God is saying to His people now and as such it may be much stronger meat than you are used to consuming. However, take what you want and need and then leave the rest for later. It is important to try to understand the deeper things in God because, at some point, in order to be “grow up” we must start to eat right.
What Is a “Love Feast?”
It is written,
“These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;”
In the early church there was a practice of feasting together and the main attribute of this fellowship was love.
The difficulty that many have fully understanding the New Testament scriptures is that we lack the early churche’s frame of reference. Not having shared the same types of spiritual encounters that they did we tend to try to fit their description of events into our our own level of experience in God.
Fro example, when an unsaved person tries to understand a saved persons experience they can’t because they lack the same frame of reference. When a saved person tries to understand a Spirit filled persons experience they can’t because the lack the same frame of reference. Likewise, when a Spirit filled person tries to understand what the apostles wrote concerning love feasts they can’t because they have never experienced it.
Moreover, to the unsaved the Bible is essentially a closed book because they lack salvation. To people that have only experienced salvation, speaking in other tougnes does not make sense to them; until they do. To those who speak in other tongues love feasts, unless they have experienced them, remain a vague reference to “something” which they do not fully understand.
Love feasts are an natural result of the outpouring of Divine Love. They are not planned they just “happen.” When people feel God’s divine love flow through their hearts they naturally want to be together. The power of the Spirit that led the first believers to have all things in common is the same Spirit that causes people to want to be together in love feasts. When you feel the Love of God flowing through you it feels like stepping into paradise once again. Total peace and unity feels so “right” that you simply don’t ever want to leave.
The scriptures that encourage believers to “greet one another with a holy kiss” are part and parcel with the same experience of Divine love that results in love feasts. In reality, you don’t even have to encourage people to do this because they naturally show their heart felt affection to one another in this way. Divine love causes people to open up to one another in total trust and acceptance. Just as you would kiss a close family member you automatically show this level of comfort and affection to your Christian family too.
Often times what God does the Devil copies and debases. This is true of almost every spiritual experience that God has for His people. Satan, knowing how God created mankind to function and interact with the spiritual realm, takes the good things that God created for His saints and perverts and twists them into evil shapes that our Father never intended.
This is true of love feasts also. Love feasts, which are a natural outflow of godly affection in a right and holy way, are the opposite of the type of sensual debauchery that Rome was renowned for. Whereas people who participate in such wanton expressions of sin only care about what they could get from some else at any cost, love feasts are the exact opposite of such selfish perversions. In a love feast the Holy Spirit is front and center and He leads everyone to show the appropriate amount of affection. Someone who is participating in a love feast would never, ever do anything to take advantage of the person they are connected with through God’s divine love.
The truth is that hardly any of us understand what pure love is anymore. When we were children we often times did love special friends in this way but as we matured we forgot what selfless love was all about. The closest to that kind of love that many experience in their adult lives is their love for their children. In God’s kingdom true love, the love that is given from above, is purer and more selfless than a parents love for their children here on earth. When your are filled with God’s Divine Love you only wants what is best for the object or objects of it’s desire. A holy kiss is not sexual in nature even if a man kisses a sister in the lord because that act of physical expression is only a manifestation (or outward act) of a pure affection of their heart. In our western society we can hardly imagine such a situation between a man and a woman where their would no be sexual tension at some level, but in eastern societies this type of greeting is quite common. In a body of believers that are motivation and filled with God’s love this type of greeting is also quite normal and appropriate.
Right about now some who read this may be reeling in your minds and emotions. You may be thinking of all the different ways such freedom could be misused and abused. You think that regardless of what I am saying you are sure that, in practice, this cannot be allowed. Here is a truth,
“be careful that you do not try to steady the ark.”
When the presence of God is coming back to His people don’t try to put your hand to what God is doing because you fear what may happen. Like Uzzah, doing so may destroy you. It is written,
“And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.”
1 Samuel 6:5-7
This is God we are talking about and thus it is nothing you want to, out of hubris or fear, try to control. When God comes to His people you have to step out of the way and let our Father take control of His own vineyard.
Certain sections of the first century church started to move into the Tabernacle Blessing. All inhibitions dropped and they acted as if they were of one flesh because the were of one heart and one soul. Just as your hands rests comfortably on any part of your body with out giving it much thought so to first century Christians had a degree of familiarity with each other that we would find disturbing. Their freedom with each other stemmed from the fact that they were experientially the Body of Christ.
What does that really mean? It means that people who come into the Tabernacle Blessing literally have no boundaries with each other. In fact the only boundary they have is whatever the Holy Spirit leads them to do when the Holy Spirit leads the to do it. Complete and total comfort and acceptance of each other leads to displays of affection that, in any other setting or circumstance, would be thought of as inappropriate: this is what a love feast is.
When we are children we are shown physical affection constantly from everyone. When we grow up that affection is limited to very defined areas in our lives. However, this is more a construct of society than God. When God’s love flows through us we return to our innocence and therefore the affection, the kind we experienced as a child, returns also.
The thread we see, running through the latter part of the first century church, is many gentiles who had grown up in Roman society that had no idea what pure love was. In Roman society love meant conquest, domination and exploitation. In Rome most people were out for themselves and would do anything to anyone in order to fulfill their lusts. When people came into the church they did not put immediately put away all those wrong concepts and thus there were problems. Paul and the other apostles increasingly were forced to deal with these types of issues in the Corinthian church and in other fellowships.
This brings me to a very important point: moves of God are rarely neat and tidy. Outpouring of God’s spirit can be likened to the natural process. Even though women travail to be delivered, this does not mean that births are bad just because they are unpleasant and messy. Likewise, the restoration of the Tabernacle Blessing is not going to any more orderly than what happened on the day of Pentecost. In fact, if you can receive it, what happened to those in the upper room is going to seem mild in comparison. Rememer, the Holy Spirit does not look at things the way we look upon things and His order is our order. God cares about our hearts of men and the spiritual work He is doing in them. Our Father does not care if the manifestation of that work seems odd or different to us.
In conclusion, I have given you a little glimpse of what a Love Feast is all about. Much of what you may imagine it to be is not even remotely true of the actual experience. It is not your fault though, you just have no frame of reference from which to understand it. Just know that it is part of the restoration of all things. Rejoice because it is a foretaste of the world to come. The Tabernacle Experience is what you have been longing for all your life and it will heal and make you whole in ways that you cannot yet imagine.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9