Posts Tagged ‘appointed times’

Parashah 41: Pinchas (Phineas)

Numbers 25:10-30:1

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Pinchas the son of El‘azar, the son of Aharon the cohen, has deflected my anger from the people of Isra’el by being as zealous as I am, so that I didn’t destroy them in my own zeal.’ Therefore say, ‘I am giving him my covenant of shalom, making a covenant with him and his descendants after him that the office of cohen will be theirs forever. This is because he was zealous on behalf of his God and made atonement for the people of Isra’el’” (Numbers 25:10-13).

At the end of the previous parashah, an Israelite man brings a Midianite woman into the camp to his family’s tent.  Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron, thrusts a spear through the man and the Midianite woman putting an end to the plague that took 24,000 Israelite lives.

In Hebrew, Pinchas may mean ‘the mouth of the serpent’ derived from the fiery serpent that Moshe made out of bronze. Though he was Aaron’s grandson, he was never anointed high priest over Isra’el. However, Pinchas was zealous for Adonai and received a priesthood forever. The word ‘zealous’ in Hebrew is quinah and also means ‘jealous.’ It is used to describe Simon in Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13. The favor upon the priestly lineage of Pinchas began when he served before the Ark of the Covenant at Beit-el.

“Now they joined themselves to Ba’al-P‘or and ate meat sacrificed to dead things. Thus they provoked him [Adonai] to anger with their deeds, so that a plague broke out among them. Then Pinchas stood up and executed judgment; so the plague was checked. That was credited to him as righteousness, through all generations forever” (Psalm 106:28-31).

Hebrew Word Pictures
Pinchas or Phineas – פינחס – peh, yod, nun, chet, samech
– source of finished work of life protects and supports

“Then the whole army of Isra’el, all the people, went up to Beit-El and cried and sat there in the presence of Adonai. They fasted that day until evening, offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to Adonai, and asked Adonai what to do. The ark for the covenant of God was there at that time; and Pinchas the son of El‘azar, the son of Aharon, stood before it at that time” (Judges 20:26-28).

Zadok was a descendant of Pinchas. He was anointed priest by David when he became King of Isra’el (2 Samuel 8:17). Zadok anointed King Solomon after King David died (1 Kings 1:34).   Ezra, the priest who loved Adonai and the Torah was also a descendant of  Zadok (Ezra 7:1-7).

Covenant of Shalom

“The branch who will build the Temple of Adonai and be a king and priest on Adonai’s throne! And the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zechariah 6:13).

Pinchas also received an eternal ‘Covenant of Shalom.’ Not including the covenant given to King David in 2 Samuel or the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah, this covenant of shalom makes seven eternal covenants given in Torah: Noach, Abraham, Aaron, Isra’el, Pinchas, Salt, and Shalom.

Broken Vav

In the original Hebrew, שלום (shalom) in the phrase ‘covenant of shalom’ has a broken vav like shown above. Some interpret the broken vav as representing a ‘broken man.’ The name Pinchas has the same numerical value (208) as the man Isaac, a ‘shadow’ of Messiah who was a man ‘broken.’ The Hebrew letter picture for vav is a ‘nail’ meaning ‘something that binds.’ The broken vav may also symbolize man’s ‘bondage’ to sin that will be ‘broken’ by the ‘nail’ and bring shalom. Like Isaac, Pinchas becomes a ‘shadow’ of Messiah “who made atonement for the people of Isra’el” and whose descendants would be cohen forever (Numbers 25:12).

As Messiah ben Joseph, the ‘broken man’ Yeshua paid the price for sin through his death and brought shalom between man and Elohim. The ‘covenant of shalom,’ however, will not be fully realized until it is established on earth when Yeshua returns as Messiah ben David, the reigning King.  In the Millennial Kingdom, the sons of Zadok will administer an earthly priesthood showing Adonai’s faithfulness to Pinchas who acted with ‘holy zeal’ for the glory and honor of Elohim.

“But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok [Pinchas] and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 44:15).

“This will be for the consecrated priests, the Zadokites, who were faithful in serving me and did not go astray as the Levites did when the Israelites went astray. It will be a special gift to them from the sacred portion of the land, a most holy portion, bordering the territory of the Levites” (Ezekiel 48:11-12).

A Final Counting

After 40 years in the wilderness, a new generation of Israelites prepared to enter and possess the Land of Promise. While on the plains of Moab by the Jordan River, Moshe took a final census of all men over 20 years of age who were able to serve in the military. From the initial 70 that entered Egypt with Jacob, a total of 601,730 sons of Isra’el were going to enter the Promised Land. No one who had been counted 40 years earlier lived to be counted again except Caleb and Joshua (Numbers 26:64).

From each of the tribes: Reuben: 43,730, Simeon: 22,200, Gad: 40,500, Judah: 76,500, Issachar: 64,300, Zebulun: 60,500, Joseph: Manasseh: 52,700, Joseph: Ephraim: 32,500, Benjamin: 45,600, Dan: 64,400, Asher: 53,400, and Naftali: 45,400.

The land inheritance was divided between the tribes based on the census; those with a greater number would receive more land; those with a lesser number less. The land was parceled by lot according to the name of their ancestral father.

Yochebed, the daughter of Levi born in Egypt, and Amram were the parents of Aaron, Moshe, and Miriam. The counting of the Levites, the families of Gershon, Fehati, and Merarim numbered 23,000. No land inheritance was given to them.

Daughters of Tz’lof’chad

The daughters of Tz’lof’chad (Zelophehad) approached Moshe regarding their inheritance.  Their father had died with no sons and they requested a land inheritance in order to keep their father’s name alive. Adonai told Moshe the daughters were correct in their assessment of the situation and outlined inheritance regulations for daughters, uncles, and nearest relatives.  

“Adonai answered Moshe, The daughters of Tz’lof’chad are right in what they say. You must give them property to be inherited along with that of their father’s brothers; have what their father would have inherited pass to them. Moreover, say to the people of Isra’el, If a man dies and does not have a son, you are to have his inheritance pass to his daughter” (Numbers 27:6-8).

Many believe that Elohim is anti-women because of the patriarchal system established in the Hebrew Scriptures. However, the account of Tz’lof’chad’s daughters shows that Elohim cares about women and gives instructions for them to receive inheritance.

Job, who lived after the flood but long before Torah is given to Moshe, is another example of a man giving an inheritance to his daughters. After his life is restored from complete destruction and he has regained his wealth, Job has three daughters: Y’mimah, K’tzi’ah, and Keren-Hapukh (Job 42:13-15). Along with their brothers, these women received an inheritance. The decision to give Tz’lof’chad’s daughters (Machlah, No’ah, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tirzah) an inheritance already had precedent in the patriarchal culture.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Tz’lof’chad (Dark Shadow) – צלפחד – tzade, lamed, peh, chet, dalet
– pull toward and urge forward the source protects the pathway

Machlah (Sickness) – מחלה – mem, chet, lamed, hey
– mighty protects, urges forward, behold

Noach (Comfort) – נח – nun, chet
– life protects

Hoglah (Dancing) – חגל – chet, gimel, lamed
– protect, rise up, and urge forward

Milkah (Queen) – מלכה – mem, lamed, kaf, hey
– mighty urging forward opens and allows, behold

Tirzah (She is My Delight) – תרצה – tav, resh, tzade, hey
– covenant sign, highest authority pulls toward, behold

The daughters in Hebrew Word Pictures: Dark shadow of sickness is comforted by a dancing queen, she is my delight.

A Man of the Spirit

“Adonai said to Moshe, ‘Climb this mountain in the ‘Avarim Range, and look out at the land which I have given the people of Isra’el. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, just as Aharon your brother was gathered; because in the Tzin Desert, when the community was disputing with me, you rebelled against my order to uphold my holiness by means of the water, with them looking on…’” (Numbers 27:12-14).

Moshe, the humble leader who led the Hebrews out of Egypt and watched them die in the wilderness, faces his own death. He requests Adonai to appoint a man over the community of Isra’el so they would not be like ‘sheep without a shepherd.’

“Take Y’hoshua the son of Nun, a spiritual man, and lay your hand on him.  Put him in front of El’azar the cohen and the whole community and commission him in their sight.  Delegate to him some of your authority, so that the entire community of Isra’el will obey him” (Numbers 27:18-20).

Y’hoshua was unique in all of Isra’el. Adonai told Moshe that Y’hoshua was a ‘spiritual man.’ Some translations have ‘spirit of leadership;’ however, the Hebrew text says that Y’hoshua is a man with the ‘Ruach Elohim in him.’ This ‘spirit’ is what sets Y’hoshua apart from the rest of the community.

Y’hoshua spent his youth with Moshe in the presence of Adonai in the Tent of Meeting. He obeyed Moshe and followed Torah without question. When he became zealous for Moshe’s prophetic position in Isra’el, he received correction with humility and integrity.

Because of his ‘spirit,’ Y’hoshua was courageous and had faith larger than the grapes found in Canaan. He had no fear of the Nephilim and believed Adonai would give Isra’el victory. He was willing to fight for Elohim whether it was physically against giants or spiritually against the gigantic fear of the spies. He trusted Adonai and stood faithfully against rebellion, but still had to suffer the consequences of national sin and watch an entire generation of Israelites die in the wilderness.

His military experience sharpened during his wilderness journey. He fought the Amalekites on numerous occasions to prepare him for the years of war he would encounter when taking possession of the Promised Land. His obedience proved he would only follow the orders given by the Commander of Adonai’s army, Yeshua. For these reasons, Adonai pours out His Ruach on Y’hoshua to empower him to succeed Moshe and complete His plan.

“Moshe did as Adonai had ordered him. He took Y’hoshua, put him before El‘azar the cohen and the whole community, laid his hands on him, and commissioned him, as Adonai had said through Moshe” (Numbers 27:22-23).

Moshe lays hands on Y’hoshua to commission him as the next leader of Isra’el. In Hebrew, the laying on of hands is called semikah and had several purposes. An individual would lay hands on an offering to Elohim before its sacrifice. In this way, the person would transfer their sins onto the animal and it would become their atonement. Semikah is also used for ordination, consecrating a priest or other leader of the community. Semikah also symbolized authority being passed onto another individual. Yeshua had authority and passed his authority onto his talmidim (Matthew 7:28-29; 28:18-20). The talmidim laid hands on people to receive the Ruach haKodesh (Acts 8:18). Sha’ul laid hands on Timothy “fanning into flame the gift of God,” yet with a warning not to be hasty in granting semikah to anyone (2 Timothy 1:17). Yeshua laid hands on children, an act of semikah and passing his blessing onto them (Matthew 19:13-15).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Hoshea (Help and Salvation of Elohim) – הושע – hey, vav, shin, ayin   
– behold binding consumed and see

Y’hoshua (Yah’s Salvation) – יהושע – yod, hey, vav, shin, ayin
– the finished work reveals the binding consumed, understand

Yeshua (Salvation) – ישוע – yod, shin, vav, ayin
– the finished work consumes the binding, understand

The ‘Appointed Times’ Offerings*

As this new generation of Isra’el prepares to enter the Promised Land, Elohim reminds them of His ‘appointed times’ and the daily offerings required in the Tabernacle.

First were the offerings for Shabbat. As the weeks progressed, there would be a new moon or Rosh Chodesh for which there were more offerings. They would recognize the new moon as it would fall 14 days after the full moon. It would not be a sliver or a crescent as the Arabs honored the crescent moon (Judges 8:21). A concealed, dark moon would determine the beginning of the new month (Psalm 81:3, see Study Helps).

On the fourteenth day of the first month, Pesach was to be observed followed by the festival of Matzah on the fifteenth day.  For seven days only unleavened bread was to be eaten. The first and seventh days were to be a mikrah, holy convocation. Early and later firstfruits, Yom Habikkurim and Shavuot required new grain offerings of barley and wheat from the harvest of the land.

On the first day of the seventh month, the day of blowing, Yom Teruah, was to be commemorated. Because it would always fall on a Rosh Chodesh, double offerings were required. On the tenth day, the Israelites were to deny themselves on Yom Kippur. Burnt offerings and sin offerings were required for the sins of Isra’el that had defiled the Tabernacle. On the fifteenth day, Sukkot began for seven days. Each day required offerings of bulls, rams, male lambs, grain, and drink. On the eighth day of Sukkot, a mikrah was to be observed, Hoshana Rabah, followed by Simchat Torah and ‘Rejoicing in the Torah’.

*A in-depth study guide, “Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts,” may be purchased on amazon.com.

Yeshua and the Lost Sheep

“Yeshua went about all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and weakness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his talmidim, ‘The harvest is rich, but the workers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers to gather in his harvest’” (Matthew 9:35-38).

“These twelve Yeshua sent out with the following instructions: ‘Don’t go into the territory of the Goyim, and don’t enter any town in Shomron, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.’ As you go, proclaim, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is near’” (Matthew 10:5-7).

“So he told them this parable: ‘If one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, doesn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he does find it, he joyfully hoists it onto his shoulders; and when he gets home, he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Come, celebrate with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who turns to God from his sins than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent’” (Luke 15:3-7).

“Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s Colonnade. So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly!” Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hands. I and the Father are one’” (John 10:22-30).

“Then the King will say to those on his right [the sheep], ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world’” (Matthew 25:34).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

Pray and Repent, Return

“If I shut up the sky, so that there is no rain; or if I order locusts to devour the land; or if I send an epidemic of sickness among my people; then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn [repent[ from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation for a National Day of Prayer on March 30, 1863 to occur one month later on April 30. On that day, he called the people of the United States in humility before Almighty God to fast, pray, and gather together, and appeal to Him for forgiveness and a restoration of blessing.

The following two days, May 1 and 2, battles raged in the north and south that would change the course of the civil war from being a certain Confederate victory to a victory for the Union. Two months later, the turning points of the war came to pass in Vicksburg which divided the Confederacy and Gettysburg which stopped the northern progress of the war.

Today the United States is facing another dividing civil war, not between the north and south, but still between brothers, sisters, friends, and families. This war is for the very human soul of this country and the rest of the world because we have walked away from the One who created the soul, the One who can heal the soul, Yeshua.

“For such a time as this,” in our day and our time, President Donald J. Trump, inaugurated a new national day of prayer. This national and global day of prayer coincides with the Days of Awe, the days of repentance set up by the God of Isra’el when the Israelites came out of Egypt. This inaugural day of prayer falls between the Biblically ‘appointed times’ of Yom Teruah [Feast of Trumpets[ and Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] when the God of Isra’el calls the people of the nations to repent before His Day of Judgment.

For the first time in the history of the world, people from every nation came together via livestream as well as physically in Washington, DC to repent and return to the ways of the Creator. Jews and non-Jews joined together during the high Sabbath of the Days of Awe because one man heard the prophetic voice of Adonai in the Scriptures written about ancient Isra’el recurring in the events happening in our day.

In these unprecedented times, President Trump issued a message on the inaugural day of prayer and return, September 26, 2020. May his message be embraced so that Elohim hears our nation’s cries. May his message challenge every American and those in the nations who are God’s people to return to Him, His ways, His commandments. May they put away all religious divisions and become ‘One New Man’ in the Messiah of Isra’el. May they return to being the Light they were called to be for the world, a light to show salvation and hope in Yeshua/Jesus.

May each individual prayer of repentance touch the heart of the God of Isra’el that He turns away from judging us for the sins we have globally committed and propagated against Him with other gods and goddesses, His holy institution of marriage between a man and a woman, and the shedding of innocent blood through the murder of the unborn. May each individual prayer of repentance be a catalyst to change the course of history as it did in 1863.

Presidential Message on the National Day of Prayer and Return, 2020

“On this inaugural National Day of Prayer and Return, the First Lady and I join millions of Christians here in the United States and around the world in prayer, as we turn our hearts to our Lord and Savior.

Our great Nation was founded by men and women of deep and abiding faith—a faith that has stood the test of time.  Four hundred years ago, early American settlers trusted their lives to His providence and braved a voyage to a New World.  From the pilgrims who sought His protection aboard the Mayflower to the countless believers who today bow their heads to ask for His guidance during these unprecedented times, our country continues to turn to the Lord.  Following in our ancestors’ footsteps we continue the “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” that provides us enduring strength and reassurance in our times of need.

The trials and tribulations the American people have faced over the past several months have been great.  Yet, as we have seen time and again, the resolve of our citizenry—fortified by our faith in God—has guided us through these hardships and helped to unite us as one Nation under God.  As we continue to combat the challenges ahead of us, we must remember the sage words of President George Washington during his first Presidential Address: “propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”  As a country and a people, let us renew our commitment to these abiding and timeless principles.

Today, I am pleased to join my voice to yours in thanking God for blessing this nation with great power and responsibility.  With reverence, humility, and thanksgiving, we beg for His continued guidance and protection.”

Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. To learn more about the civil war and how the United States is following in the footsteps of ancient Israel, read the Harbinger and Harbinger II.

In the Days of Nehemiah

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

This specific verse in Nehemiah 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 Adonai 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 Adonai, the great God.  As the people answered with “Amen”,  they lifted up their hands, bowed their heads, and fell prostrate before Adonai 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 Adonai gave them through Moshe, the people began to weep. 

Repentance or making teshuvah, ‘turning back to God,’ 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 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 Adonai their God.’  It was His ‘appointed time.’ 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 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).  What does the mouth or ‘voice of God’ sound like?

Ram's Horn Shofar

When 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 Adonai; and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a shofar ….”   The voice of Adonai sounded like the blowing of a shofar.  A shofar or ram’s horn 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 Adonai’s Spirit, it is taught that the ‘breath of God’ blows through a shofar when it sounds.  

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 Messianic Era and a time of judgment, not the first day of the week.  The events for the Day of Adonai will begin on ‘the first day of the seventh month’ or Yom Teruah.

Pool of Siloam

The Spring of Living Water


The 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 the Feast of Tabernacles.  During this event, they would pour water over the Altar.  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 to be 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 Adonai had ordered that the people of Israel were to live in booths or sukkot during the ‘appointed time’ in the seventh month. 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 Tree

In Jeremiah 11:16, God calls Israel an olive tree. In Romans 11,  Sha’ul speaks about branches of olives and wild olives that make up the Olive Tree of Israel.    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.

Myrtle 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.’

Middle Eastern Myrtle

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 days of Nehemiah 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 Tree

Palms, 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 Era. This is why palm branches were waved when Yeshua entered Jerusalem during the Passover season.  The people believed that the kingdom of God had arrived; 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 Adonai 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). 

images-1

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 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 Israel, 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 Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

I Cannot Come to the Banquet

The Wedding Banquet
The Wedding Banquet

“He replied, “Once a man gave a banquet and invited many people. When the time came for the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’  But they responded with a chorus of excuses. The first said to him, ‘I’ve just bought a field, and I have to go out and see it. Please accept my apologies.’  Another said, ‘I’ve just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to test them out. Please accept my apologies.’  Still another said, ‘I have just gotten married, so I can’t come.’  The servant came and reported these things to his master” (Luke 14:15-20).

Below are the words from a song from when I was in youth choir.  I don’t know why the words stuck in my head – perhaps it’s because we used to mix them up and say, “I have married a cow and bought me a wife,” but the idea remained the same.  There was a banquet being held and the invited people made excuses for not attending.

“I cannot come.  I cannot come to the banquet don’t bother me now.  I have married a wife, I have bought me a cow.  I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum.  Pray hold me excused, I cannot come.”  

At the time I sang this song, I was attending a Lutheran church and had no clue as to what the song was about.  All I knew was some sort of banquet invitation had been given and poor RSVP excuses were made.

After I became born again into God’s Kingdom, I found the account of this great banquet in Luke 14.  I didn’t even know the song came from the Scriptures until I read Luke!  I understood it from the only perspective I had at the time. The ‘banquet’ referred to accepting the invitation to enter the Kingdom through faith in Jesus.   I had done that; I was born again so I was ‘at the banquet.’  It was not until ten years later when the Spirit of God opened my eyes to the Feasts of the LORD that I grasped the enormity of  the invitation and the gravity of making excuses.

The fall ‘appointed times’ arrive each year:  Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Feast of Tabernacles.  The institutional church does not acknowledge these dates and times and remains ignorant 2000 years after Yeshua’s Parable of the Great Banquet.  Others who may be familiar with the ‘appointed times’ remain complacent and do not embrace the celebrations that Adonai Himself provided for His people to see, know, and understand His Son more intimately and prophetically.

“The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9).

Like the individuals in the parable, they make excuses as to why “I cannot come.”  They are still getting married, buying and selling homes, can’t stay out that late because of small children, have wood to chop, bread to bake or are preparing for the next day’s activities.   The worst excuse I have ever heard is that these are Jewish feasts and the invitation is completely rejected by Christians due to centuries of anti-semitism.

“Then the owner of the house, in a rage, told his servant, ‘Quick, go out into the streets and alleys of the city; and bring in the poor, the disfigured, the blind and the crippled!‘ The servant said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’  The master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the country roads and boundary walls, and insistently persuade people to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet!’” (Luke 14:15-24).

The parable states that those who made excuses for not attending the banquet enraged the host.   Read that again, the host was enraged by the responses of the people!  In his rage he deemed that “not one person who was invited and made an excuse will even get a taste of his feast.”  This statement reveals the magnitude of the host’s fury. These same words are found in  Hebrews 4:3 regarding Israel and their disobedience to the Sabbath, “And in my anger, I swore they would not enter my rest.”  It is dangerous to refuse an invitation from Adonai Himself.

Matthew 22 relates the same Parable, but adds more details.  First, the banquet is a wedding feastfor the a king’s son. When used in context to the Feasts of the LORD, it is the wedding feast of the Lamb, Yeshua.

“Yeshua again used parables in speaking to them: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son,  but when he sent his servants to summon the invited guests to the wedding, they refused to come. So he sent some more servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, I’ve prepared my banquet, I’ve slaughtered my bulls and my fattened cattle, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they weren’t interested and went off, one to his farm, another to his business; and the rest grabbed his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was furious and sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city.

Those invited to the wedding feast refused to come –– refused to come! They weren’t interested –– weren’t interested! Others, offended by the suggestion of going to a Jewish King’s wedding feast mistreated and killed the emissaries of the King.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘Well, the wedding feast is ready; but the ones who were invited didn’t deserve it.  So go out to the street-corners and invite to the banquet as many as you find.’  The servants went out into the streets, gathered all the people they could find, the bad along with the good; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” 

The King told his servants that the ones who were invited didn’t deserve to come. They were not worthy; they did not merit the right to come to the wedding feast.

So the king’s servants went to the streets and invited those who were poor, blind, and crippled.  When the king’s house was still not completely full, the servants “intently persuaded” others to come to the banquet. Persuasion. Intense persuasion.

Sometimes people can be persuaded to attend, but only to appease the servant; sometimes they just don’t care. Ultimately, it was not the original invited guests that filled the king’s house and sat at the table of the his son. It was not those who ‘refused to come’ and ‘weren’t interested’ who tasted the goodness of the feast, but only those who had willing hearts and marked the ‘appointed time’ on their calendar.

“One of the people at the table with Yeshua said to him, “How blessed are those who eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” (Matthew 22:15).

“The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9)

“Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth, for many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).

Another guest is described at the wedding feast ––– the one who came without wedding clothes. In ancient cultures, proper wedding clothes were provided by the host to everyone attending the feast so there was no distinction between rich and poor. Yet, this guest was rebellious to the requirements of the host for attending the wedding banquet. This guest’s arrogance made him speechless when confronted by the king about his wrong garment. He believed he could come to the wedding banquet however he pleased because he believed the king to be more gracious than righteous.

How many who believe they are in the Kingdom will miss the greatest event of all time because they refuse the invitation to come to the ‘rehearsal feast?’ How many will miss the greatest blessing in eternity because they make excuses for God’s ‘appointed times’ now? How many more who believe they follow God will be weeping and gnashing their teeth in the outer darkness when they realize God doesn’t honor man’s ways?

“For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.