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.
“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.
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’.
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.