God’s Calendar: Tabernacles

Well, the Day of Atonement is gone.  I enjoyed the day – a day of complete rest without any of the usual activity, seeking God.  He did show me a couple things that have been sneaking into my life over the last year that need to be dealt with – that is one of the purposes of the day – so I am glad He showed me what He did.  If you observed the day, then I hope God met you also.

Next comes the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ or ‘Feast of Booths’.   It is a seven day feast!  And, in the words of scripture, the first day, and on the eighth day are to be days of “solemn rest.”

“…that you generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.  I am Yehovah (the LORD) your God.”  Leviticus 23:43 (ESV)

The days are to be joyous celebrations.  There are two commands associated with the days.  One is to build and live in ‘booths’ (though that is specifically for “native Israelites”, anyone can join in the fun!), and the other is to ‘wave’ some stuff before the Yehovah.

“And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before Yehovah (the LORD) your God seven days.”  Leviticus 23:40 (ESV)

In Jewish tradition, the “4 species” to wave are an etrog, palm branches, myrtle, and willow.  Those are great if you can get them.  Often used substitutes are a lemon, corn stalk leaves, olive leaves, and willow.

The point is that you have a chance to be in the center of God’s perfect will by grabbing these items, and waving them around before Yehovah (and dancing if you like – I do).  It’s fun in a group or even alone!

An interesting point about the feast of Tabernacles is that it is the one feast explicitly mentioned that will be observed in the millennium.

“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, Yehovah (the LORD) of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths…” Zecharaia 14:16-17 (ESV)

So get a early start and enjoy the feast now!  It starts, according to the Jewish calendar, at sunset on Sunday, the 23rd of Sept., 2018, and ends at nightfall on Sunday the 30th.  The final day (Saturday night to Sunday night, the 29th and the 30th) is known as “Hoshannah Rabbah” (sort of translated to “the Great Salvation” or “the Great Praise”).  Click this link to see an opinion on this day.

This leaves Sunday, the 30th to Monday night as the ‘eighth day’ and another ‘solemn day of rest’.  In Judaism, the day after this is celebrated quite vigorously as this is the day that the yearly cycle of reading through the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible) ends and starts new.  Dancing and singing are part and parcel of the celebration!

Hope you join in the fun!

  • Yosef

 

God’s Calendar: Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)

Well, the Feast of Trumpets (or Feast of Shouting) is over according the Jewish calendar and the next appointed time is quickly approaching.  It is yom Kippur (the day of atonement).  According to the Jewish calendar, the day of Atonement is from this coming Tuesday, Sept. 18th, after sundown, to Wednesday, Sept. 19th, after sundown.

The day of atonement is a very solemn day in the yearly cycle of God’s appointed times.  It is the day where we reflect on the past year and repent of sins that have crept in, both in our personal lives and our corporate lives (our family, our church or synagogue, and our country).  Yes, I said our ‘corporate’ lives.  Much of what God has to say to us is directed at the whole body of believers, not just individuals.  That concept can be seen throughout the scriptures.

God gives us a couple commands for this day.  And actually, those commands are rather forceful in their presentation compared to the commands for the other feasts.  Two of the commands stand out.  One is that the day is to be treated as a very strict sabbath – no work whatsoever.  Second is that we are to ‘afflict ourselves.’  So no work of any kind – a strict sabbath of rest, and ‘afflict’ ourselves.  The only definition for ‘afflict’ in this context is that which has been understood by the Jews for millennia.  And that is to fast.  All those that can should fast.

I’m looking forward to the day.  It is a chance to really look at oneself, and one’s country, honestly.  I like reading through the traditional Jewish prayer (the ‘al Chet’ prayer) for the day as it lists all manner of sin – both physical and thought related – and really gets me to think.  There exists such ‘lists’ also in Christianity (the catechism of Westminster – the 10 commandments section – comes to mind).  If you can, find such a prayer / list / sermon and read through it thoughtfully and prayerfully.

I think that the practice of deeply reflecting once a year is quite important and of great benefit, especially as God set it up for us to follow.  He made us and knows what we need.

So, take a day (or as much as you can – not as much as you are comfortable with, but as much as you can, up to the full 24 hours) and reflect.  And repent.  And pray.  And think about any changes that you need to make in your life, or how you can affect our culture for good.  And remember what Yeshua (Jesus) has done for us!

Shalom,

  • Yosef

 

God’s Calendar and the Feast of Trumpets!

Did you know that God has a calendar?  Did you know that He is still following it?  It really saddens me, though, that most of Christianity has thrown out His calendar, and in doing so, they miss out on some of the beauty and richness and grace of God and His word.

What is this calendar?  Well, it isn’t a secret.  It is written about quite a bit in both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ testaments.  The calendar is marked by special occasions throughout the year.   They are often called the “Jewish Feasts” but that isn’t what God calls them.  He calls them His “appointed times” (this is the clear meaning of the Hebrew word used in the “old testament” when the ‘feasts’ are referred to.)

I know that many in Christianity will say that the feasts no longer apply as Jesus fulfilled them, but even the “new testament” proves that statement false.  Yeshua (Jesus) himself said,

“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass away until all is accomplished.”  Matthew 5:18 (ESV)

“Do this in in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (ESV) – in context of celebrating the Passover.

There are many more verses showing Yeshua (Jesus) and the apostles (even Paul) celebrating the feasts.  However, this article isn’t about that.  It’s about the next feast in the yearly cycle, the ‘Feast of Trumpets’!

God’s year begins with Passover in early spring.  Then there are a couple more, then a couple months pause.  The feasts start up again near fall time, with the first in a short series being the ‘feast of trumpets’!  For this feast we are told, among a couple other things, to blow trumpets (or shout)!

Now, considering the fact that Yeshua (Jesus) did something appropriate on each of the earlier feasts (died on Passover; gave the holy spirit on Pentecost; – are two examples), it easily follows that this is the next feast where something should happen.  I wonder, if Paul wasn’t thinking of this when he wrote,

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.”  1 Thessalonians 4:16 (ESV)

The feasts are the markers of God’s calendar, and give God’s timeline for things He has done and is yet to do!

And I must say that I am really looking forward to this coming Sunday night to Monday night (Sept. 9 to 10, 2018), which is the feast of Trumpets!  I get to take the day off work and celebrate!   In Judaism, the day is celebrated as the “Jewish New Year” and, being Jewish, I’ll celebrate that also, but that is just tradition.

I look forward to meeting God at his next ‘appointed time’, the ‘feast of trumpets,’ and hearing the shofar (ram’s horn).  And I look forward to hearing that heavenly shofar calling, announcing the end of all things!

Shalom!   – Yosef