Archive for the ‘Feast of Trumpets’ Category

In the Days of Nehemiah

“It was the first day of the seventh month” (Nehemiah 8:2).

After our family began celebrating the ‘appointed times’ found in the Leviticus 23, days, times and seasonal cycles stood out on the pages of the Scriptures.   This specific verse in Nehemiah is no different.  It sets the time for the events to follow as the ‘first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets.  This ‘appointed time’ of God begins His season of the fall feasts which are about repentance, atonement and a vision of the coming Millennial Kingdom.

The events in Nehemiah 8 are not some random occurrences in the history of Israel.  They are a testimony to the restoration of the Feasts of Elohim to a people who had lived in exile for over 160 years.  Though there was a first wave of Jewish return to Jerusalem 70 years after being taken captive, Ezra and Nehemiah were in the second wave 90 years later.  It was during this time that the priests gathered the people together on the ‘first day of the seventh month’.

Yom Teruah 445 B.C.E.

A wooden platform was made on which Ezra, the priest,  stood and could be seen and heard by all of the men and women who came to listen to the reading of the Torah.  As he opened the Torah scroll, everyone stood.  Then Ezra blessed Yahweh, the great God.  As the people answered with “Amen”,  they lifted up their hands, bowed their heads and fell prostrate before Elohim with their faces to the ground. 

“Amen” has a very interesting root history.  It comes from the Hebrew word aman meaning ‘to nourish, support, make sure and strong’.   The word emunah or faithfulness also has its root in aman.   The Jewish sages say that amen is an acronym for el melek ne’eman or “God is a faithful King’.  According to Revelation 3:14, Yeshua is the “the amen, the faithful and true witness … he is the faithful King.”   What the people said  as they were about to hear the Torah was “God is a faithful King!”

Days of Awe and Repentance

The Levites had the responsibility to explain Torah to the people.  After being in a foreign country for several generations, they needed to translate the Hebrew so that the ‘Persian’ Jews would  understand the words being read.  When they heard the  instructions that God gave them through Moshe, the people began to weep. 

Repentance or ‘turning back to God’ or teshuvah  is central to the fall ‘appointed times.’   After hearing the words of Torah for the first time standing in Jerusalem, the people wept.  They grieved.  They understood they had lost the very essence of their national heritage from the LORD and had not lived accordingly.

Ezra, along with the rest of the Levites, told them not to weep, not to be sad for this day was ‘set apart to Elohim their God.’  It was an ‘appointed time’ of the LORD.  They were told to go out, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks and give portions to those who couldn’t provide for themselves.  Even today sweet foods are eaten on Feast of Trumpets with apples and honey being the traditional foods.

How sweet to my tongue is your promise, truly sweeter than honey in my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

Mouth of God

Yeshua said in Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.”  What does the mouth or ‘voice of God’ sound like?

Ram's Horn ShofarWhen John was exiled on the island of Patmos, he has a revelation of Messiah.  He says,  “I came to be, in the Spirit, on the Day of the LORD; and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a shofar ….”   The voice of the LORD sounded like the blowing of a shofar.   A shofar, or the horn from a ram, is blown on the Feast of Trumpets.  Obviously, it is only when breath goes through the shofar that it is able to create a sound.  Being vessels of Elohim’s Spirit, it is taught that the ‘breath of God’ or Ruach HaKodesh blows through a shofar when it sounds.  

(Note: John heard the voice that sounded like a shofar on the Day of the LORD.  This is in reference to the events surrounding the coming Millennial Kingdom and a time of judgment, not the first day of the week.  The events for the Day of the LORD will begin on ‘the first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah.)

The Spring of Living Water
Pool of SiloamThe original city of Jerusalem had very different boundaries than modern-day Jerusalem.  In fact, remnants of the city are found in what is known as the City of David.  Within the ‘older’ city of Jerusalem, the Water Gate led down to the Gihon Spring which was located in the Kidron Valley.  This spring was the main source of water for the Pool of Siloam.   The priests would go to the Pool of Siloam to collect the water for each day’s water libation ceremony.  During this event, they would pour water over the altar in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles.   On the last and greatest day of this feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” (John 7:37-39).

As the people gathered at the Water Gate, it is symbolic of the pathway to the living water of the Word of God.  With the reading of the Torah by Ezra, the Jewish people had been ‘washed in the water of the Word’ and began preparing themselves as a pure and holy bride (Ephesians 5:25-26).   

Building Sukkot

On the second day,  the heads of the clans of the people joined the Levites and Ezra to study the words of the Torah again.  They found that Elohim had ordered through Moshe that the people of Isra’el were to live in booths or sukkot during the ‘appointed time’ in the seventh month known as the Feast of Tabernacles.  They were to announce the festival of Sukkot in all of their cities and in Jerusalem.  

“Go out to the mountains, and collect branches of olives, wild olives, myrtles, palms, and other leafy trees to make sukkot, as prescribed” (Nehemiah 8:15).

Olive TreeIn Jeremiah 11:16, God calls Isra’el an olive tree. In Romans 11,  Sha’ul speaks about branches of olives and wild olives that make up the Olive Tree of Isra’el.    The natural branches represent the 12 Tribes of Israel  and the wild branches the nations that join with them.  Both receive the same living water of the Word through the same spiritual root.   Though both branches will continue to produce either natural olives or wild olives, they both produce olives.

“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). 

Middle Eastern MyrtleMyrtle trees are considered an evergreen and are very hardy.   They produce a purplish-black berry called the mursins.  This fruit can be dried then ground and used as a flavoring.  It is one of the four leafy trees bound together for Sukkot that over time have been given the symbolism of ‘good smell, but no taste,’ like a person who has ‘good deeds, but does not study the Torah.’

The prophet Zechariah lived during the time between the first and second returning remnants.  He has a vision of God, angels and horsemen standing in the midst of a myrtle tree.  This vision was given to reinforce God’s promise that the exiles who returned to Jerusalem would be prosperous.  For the Jewish people of Zechariah’s time to prosper, they would need to repent and serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, rebuild the Temple and learn Torah.  In the time of Nehemiah 8 and Yom Teruah, the repentance had begun. 

“Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the LORD  Almighty” (Zechariah 1:16).

Palm TreePalms, or lulav in Hebrew,  were also part of the branches collected to make a sukkah.  It is known for its uprightness, fruit and its beauty.  The Jewish sages say that the palm tree, which has taste but no smell, can be compared to a person who studies Torah, but has no fruit of good works. 

The first mention of palm trees in Scripture is when the Israelites camp at the oasis of Elim during their trek in the wilderness.  It is during the Feast  of Tabernacles that palm branches are waved signifying the coming Messianic kingdom. This is why palm branches were waved when Yeshua entered Jerusalem during the Passover season.  The people believed that the kingdom of God hadarrived; however, it was the wrong ‘appointed time’ and season.    In Revelation 7:9, multitudes from every tribe and nation will be waving palm branches and giving glory to the King of Kings.  Today, the lulav is a special binding of three species of branches along with an etrog (a type of citrus fruit).  It is used to worship the LORD during Sukkot and reminds everyone that one day the nations of the world will gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). 

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The people went out from the city, collected branches from specific trees and made sukkot for themselves on the roofs of their homes, in their courtyards, in the Temple courts and in the open spaces by the Water Gate and the Efrayim Gate. The entire community of those who had returned from the exile made sukkot and lived in them for the commanded time of eight days.   They had not done this since the days of Joshua and they celebrated Sukkot with great joy.  They also read the Torah every day from the first day until the last day of the ‘appointed time.’

In Our Day

The Feast of  Trumpets begins on the first day of the seventh month and Sukkot begins on the fourteenth day. On our Gregorian calendar, these fall festivals occur in our months of September/October.   They are a vision of the coming Kingdom of God when Isra’el, the natural branches of the Olive Tree will gather in Jerusalem along with the nations, the wild branches of the Olive Tree, to worship the King of Kings.  Everyone will wave olive, palm and myrtle branches for they will not just study Torah, they will bear the righteous fruit of the etrog.

The Jews in the days of Nehemiah prepared for this coming Kingdom by repenting and returning to the Torah of God and celebrated the ‘appointed times’ on their commanded days.  As wild olives, we can also embrace the vision of the coming Kingdom millennia later in the say way: repenting and turning back to God, learning Torah,  and proclaiming the ‘appointed times’ to those who stand by the Water Gate desiring spiritual nourishment from the spring of living water.  Amen. “Yeshua is the faithful King.”  

©2016 Tentstake Ministries

A Sweet New Year – Apples and Honey

One of the traditions of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year,  is to eat apples and honey.  I decided to look up these two foods in Scripture and saw they had prophetic value to the Feast of Trumpets and the coming ‘day of the LORD.’

First, the apple.  Elohim says that whoever touches Israel touches ‘the apple of His eye.’  The ‘apple of the eye’ is symbolic of the pupil which means that God keeps His ‘eye’ on Israel.  He is always focused on His chosen people, their safety and well-being.  The nations who plunder Israel will reap the consequences and be plundered by their own slaves. 

“For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—  I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them.  Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me” (Zechariah 2:8-9).

Individuals are also protected by Elohim as the ‘apple of His eye’.  Being hidden in the ‘shadow of His wings’ is a reference to the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant whose wings cover His mercy seat.  Being in the ‘shadow of His wings’ is symbolic of divine protection especially when there are wars, famines and pestilences that are all part of the Great Tribulation (Psalm 91). 

“Protect me like the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings” (Psalms 17:8).

Second, honey.  When a small Jewish child starts learning Torah in Hebrew school, there is a tradition to place a little honey on the letters of the alef bet for them to lick.  This teaches the child to see Torah as sweet to the ‘taste’ making the commandments ‘desirable’ for a way of living.   There is great reward in the obeying the commandments and like honey that never spoils, the rulings of the LORD are righteous and eternal. 

“The rulings of Adonai are true, they are righteous altogether, more desirable than gold, than much fine gold, also sweeter than honey or drippings from the honeycomb. Through them your servant is warned; in obeying them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:9-11).

Eating apples and honey for a ‘sweet new year’ on Rosh Hashanah is Biblically appropriate for celebrating the ‘head of the year.’  Those who love the sound of the shofar at the Feast of Trumpets join Israel and become the ‘apple of Adonai’s eye’ and understand the sweetness of His promise for a returning King Yeshua to rule and reign from Jerusalem.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries

Feasts of the Lord: Shadows and Realities

“What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals, on the feast days of the LORD?” (Isaiah 9:5).

“Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me” (Revelation 3:20).

There are many different calendars in the world today.  There is the Gregorian/Julian calendar which is internationally accepted as the civil calendar.  This calendar begins in January and ends in December and includes American holidays like New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

There is the Liturgical calendar that was generated by the Roman catholic church with the holidays that have been universally embraced by the Christian church worldwide.  On this calendar is the weekly Sunday and yearly dates for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.

There is also the Biblical calendar established by God with Israel at Mount Sinai.  This calendar focuses on the weekly and annual festival days called The Feasts of the LORD.  These are the ‘appointed times’ that God has set to meet with His people in prophetic ways.

The Mo’edim or ‘appointed times’

The Hebrew word for ‘feasts or festivals’ is mo’edim and means ‘appointed times.’  Within the meaning of mo’ed is the idea of  a ‘meeting of two or more at a certain place and time.’ Mo’edim  is the word used in Genesis 1:14 for the word ‘seasons‘ when God created the sun, moon and stars.  The Feasts of the LORD, found in Leviticus 23 are prophetic seasons, meeting times of the LORD, determined by the sun, moon and stars.   From the Creation account, days are rendered sunset to sunset as ‘there was evening and morning,’ for each day.   Months are approximately 28 days based on the lunar cycle of new moon, full moon, and crescent moons.  Years are determined by the  constellations that move across the heavens.

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies” (Leviticus 23:1).

The ‘’appointed times’ given by God were called sacred assemblies or holy convocations. In Hebrew, the word for ‘assembly’ or ‘convocation’ is mikrah. This word has its root in qara and means to ‘call out loudly’ or be ‘invited.’  Mikrah has the added nuance of  meaning ‘rehearsal’ and associates the ‘appointed times’ of God with being invited to a rehearsal dinner

These ‘appointed times’ were not given just to the Tribes of Israel, but also to those Egyptians who had heeded Moses’ command to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts.  This mixed multitude of men, women and children left Egypt and became one community known as Israelites at Mt. Sinai. 

The ‘appointed times’ of the LORD had agricultural foundations with festivals for firstfruits and harvests allowing for each festival to have a prophetic vision to the complete redemptive plan of God.  Each festival held a shadow of the Messiah who was, is, and will be.   Yeshua became the reality of the spring ‘appointed times’; he will become the reality of the fall festivals at their ‘appointed times.’

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that are coming; the reality, however, is found in Messiah” (Colossians 2:16-17).

This verse in Colossians has been used as a proof-text that gentiles or non-Jewish believers don’t need to celebrate the Biblically ‘appointed times’ because they have Jesus in their lives. Instead of understanding the Scripture in the context that judgment should not come from Jews when gentiles join together with them in celebrating their holy days, they rid themselves from what is found in the reality of Messiah.

This inherited lie has kept the believing gentile separated from their full inheritance in the Messiah of Israel. Instead of accepting the spiritual blessings that come from celebrating the Sabbath, the Festivals and the New Moon, they reject the very substance of Yeshua’s prophetic life in their own.

Shadows and realities go together.  Shadows imply that there is some substance causing it because something of substance causes a shadow.  If we are in Messiah and he in us, then we have the light that brings the reality out of the shadows.  The shadows spoken of in these verses to the Colossians are in the progressive present tense, that are coming,  meaning that they are still in process in the present and have yet to all be fulfilled.

Weekly ‘appointed time’

Sabbath is the first ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:3).

Present Shadow and Reality

The seventh day Sabbath is a memorial to Creation ‘in the beginning.’  It is so important that God included it in the 10 Commandments as well as listed it as the first of the mo’edim. Yeshua taught that God made the Sabbath for mankind and he is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 8:12, Mark 2:27).   

First of Months and the Spring Feasts

These mo’edim of the LORD have been fulfilled by Yeshua on their appointed day and time.  The first three represent the past work of Yeshua, justifying the individual before  God and bringing the hope of redemption to the world. 

Passover is the second ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their ‘appointed time’s: The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Leviticus 23:4-5).

Shadow:

The Passover mo’ed is a memorial to the deliverance of the people of God from Egypt through the blood of the lamb.  They were taken from a life of slavery to a life of freedom.  They were taken from the darkness of a pagan world into the light of the God’s Kingdom.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua is our Passover lamb.  Through his sacrificial death, we are taken from a life of slavery to sin to a life of freedom in righteousness.  We are taken from the darkness of the sinful world to the light of the Kingdom of God.

Unleavened Bread is the third ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come” (Exodus 12:17).

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt.  They had no time to let their bread dough rise. 

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua was the sinless, unleavened bread of life.  He was hastily taken off the cross and buried before the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.  He was wrapped in cloths and put in a tomb.

Feast of Firstfruits is the fourth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“‘On the day of firstfruits, when you present to the Lord an offering of new grain during the Festival of Weeks, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work” (Numbers 28:26).

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the firstfruits of the wheat harvest.  It is celebrated on the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath following Passover.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua rose from the dead and ascended to his Father and offered himself as the first sheaf of grain from the harvest.

The Feast of Weeks is the fifth ‘appointed time’ given by The LORD.

“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

Shadow:

There are 50 days between the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks called Counting the Omer.  For 40 of these days Yeshua walked on the earth, met and ate with his disciples.  Then, he ascended into heaven.

Fulfilled Reality:

The Spirit of God came mightily upon the Jewish believers as part of the promised new covenant.  Tongues of fire rested on them and filled them with power to speak in other languages enabling those who heard the message to take the gospel to the nations.   This festival represents the present work of Yeshua sanctifying the individual through the Holy Spirit and preparing him for the world to come.

Fall ‘appointed times’

“For the revelation awaits an ‘appointed time’; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).

These mo’edim of the LORD have not yet been fulfilled by Yeshua.  This is the future work of Yeshua restoring the glory of God to Israel and the nations.  These ‘appointed times’ are a vision of hope.

The Feast of Trumpets is the sixth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” (Leviticus 23:23).

Shadow:

The Feast of Trumpets is a memorial to something that has not yet happened. 

Reality: To Come

At the trumpet call of God, the dead will be raised and changed from mortal to immortality.

The Day of Atonement is the seventh ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,[d] and present a food offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:26).

Shadow:

On this day, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and made atonement for himself and the nation of Israel.

Reality: To Come

On this day, our High Priest, Yeshua will enter the Holy of Holies in the restored Temple and all Israel will be saved. 

Feast of Tabernacles is the eighth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days” (Leviticus 23:34).

Shadow:

The Feast of Tabernacles is a memorial to the Tabernacle in the wilderness when the LORD lived among His people. 

Reality: To Come

When Yeshua returns, he will Tabernacle with the nation of Israel and rule the nations from the restored Temple in Jerusalem.

The Eternal Sabbath

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”

(Revelation 21:3).

Shadow:

We are living in the shadow of the eternal Sabbath with the vision of a remaining Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:8).

Reality: To Come

The restoration of the Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven.  God will dwell with mankind. 

The weekly and annual cycle of The Feasts of the LORD give us the complete picture of God’s plan of salvation.   Yeshua was, is and will be the reality in each and every mo’edim.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance”

(Psalm 89:15,  The Amplified Bible).

©2010 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

Journey With Jeremiah

Journey with Jeremiah

(Purchase on Amazon, Book or Kindle)

Have you ever felt like you’ve ‘inherited lies’ in your faith? That something was missing and you needed more to grow in the grace as well as the knowledge of the Lord?  Well, we did and this is our family’s journey of how we ‘tore down’ those lies,  ‘replanted’ and built up a re-newed covenant walk of faith in the Messiah of Israel using scriptures in Jeremiah as our vision.  This book is written with reasoned and documented Biblical responses to questions we have been asked and challenged with over the past 30 years.  This book is a unique tool for those just learning about their Biblical heritage or needing a reference that explains to friends and family how you have not ‘fallen from grace’, but want to walk as Yeshua/Jesus taught and as the chosen, redeemed, holy nation of people of God should.

We are not theologians, scholars or even affiliates with any ‘brand name’ ministry or teachers. We are  believers in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, who desired to know Him and our Father more deeply.  The Spirit of God was faithful to teach us.

 

“I just finished your book.  I loved it!  It had some amazing and profound insights.  Great job!” D. Carlson

“”This book is so good I can’t put it down.  Everyone should have a copy!  My Bible study group could learn so much from this book.” A. David

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“This book changed my walk of faith in such a profound way.” R. Woods

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

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