Category Archives: Feasts

Feast of Trumpets 2020

Feast of Trumpets commences at sundown Friday, September 18, 2020.

Following is an excerpt from chapter 6 of my forthcoming book, “Escaping the Sunday Church.”

Feasts of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Booths
I trust you can agree with my thinking on the pattern God is prophetically following in the events the feasts have predicted. The revelation of His plan for the ultimate enjoyment of His creation lies within the mystery of the last three feasts. The Messianic (and I’m talking to me too) must press into the understanding and observance of these ordained, holy times.
As with the first four feasts, each of the last three of the seven annual feasts has been given meaningful prophetic interpretation. Here again, to gain understanding of their purpose and celebration, submerge yourself in the Word. Engage your personal, reborn spirit in seeking understanding. Let your mind take a break until your spirit is inspired.
The following is not intended to instruct you, but is a brief insight into my spirit’s time spent in the Word.
Judaism celebrates the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah in Hebrew) as Rosh HaShanah or New Year. We celebrate it in our family as Feast of Trumpets—a day for observing the shout-worthy blessing of our relationship with Messiah, the Father and the Spirit.
As with the other feasts, Trumpets is determined by God’s lunar calendar—the first day of the seventh lunar month following the month in which Passover falls.
This first month is referred to as Abib or Aviv in the book of Exodus. It’s name was changed to Nisan apparently during the Babylonian captivity of the Southern Kingdom. I’m not sure why.
Historically the first day of a lunar month is determined to be the day the moon’s crescent is at all visible. Some Messianics use only this method to determine the first day of a new month. I personally believe God has no problem with our having figured out how to forecast the moon phase.
It may seem like I have taken the proverbial rabbit trail in all my moon talk. The reason I spent your time reading the moon information is so I could make a prophetic point. Since Trumpets falls on the first day of the lunar month if you were watching for the first hint of moon crescent it could sort of sneak up on you. By the time you spotted it, the day may be pretty well in progress. That’s why
1 Thes 5:2, and especially 2 Peter 3:10, speaks of a “thief in the night. ” It is said to refer to the Feast of Trumpets as the day of the Messiah’s return—He will come at a unpredictable, predictable time!
That makes it easier to be jubilant with blowing of trumpets in announcement of Messiah’s return. And the possibility of that soon return gives emphasis to the celebration of the Feast of Trumpets.

Day of Atonement gets Personal

Day of Atonement gets Personal

Year in and year out I’ve rarely failed to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, even Thanksgiving, but Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur—give me a break. Even though I’m told in Leviticus 23:27-29 “you shall afflict your soul and do no work on the Day of Atonement,” it has only been the last few years that I have taken God’s command seriously.

To take the command seriously, I felt I should understand it better.
The scripture equates the affliction of soul and doing no work with atonement. So what is atonement? Webster’s Dictionary says it is “reconciliation”. Let’s say then, Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is a very special, annual day to be sure you are right with God. That should be our every day responsibility, but God, knowing His creation, established a specific day once a year to be sure we take that responsibility seriously.

Particularly when we know we cannot be right with God if we are not right with our fellow man and woman. (Matt 25:40,44) Hence, the incorporation into the day (and in preparation for the day) with the practice of repenting—restoring of any broken relationships. These unresolved exchanges are where most of your affront to God will have occurred over the last twelve months. Hopefully, you will not have waited until the very end of the year to make amends! It is the restoration of broken relationships that is an essential part of reconciliation with God.

Why the connection between “no work” and “reconciliation”? When this observance was first commanded by God it was at Mt. Sinai, not too long after the Israelites had been freed from the shackles of slavery in Egypt. Where will a lot of your offense be likely to occur?—in the workplace! Think what an Israelite’s recent response to a slave environment might have been. Can you forgive that taskmaster you work for? Or, how about the co-worker who uses your just-gathered straw for his bricks? Or, the wife who didn’t put any horseradish in your lunch box this morning when you headed out to make bricks? Or,…fill in your own reactions to your experiences with others which should be addressed and made right.

Doing no work for a whole day becomes that dramatic pause that lets you have time to step back and asses your relationship to work itself.

Last year a big opportunity for me to atone came the morning before the Day of Atonement. My wife commented concerning the way I handled a phone conversation. I didn’t like her suggested corrections and stewed on them all day—all the while knowing this solemn day before the Lord was fast approaching. Finally I confessed to God my inability to let go of my grievance. I didn’t want to confront my wife with my angst as it wasn’t her problem—it was mine: my inability to graciously hear some positive suggestions (“Yeah, right!” had been my thoughts all day long). I repented to the Lord and soon began to feel a softening toward my wife. I could start anticipating a much more successful Holy Day. I did complete the reconciliation by also asking my wife to forgive me for my coolness to her during the day. She forgave me and asked me in turn to forgive her for her abrupt manner of “assessing” my phone conversation—ahhh…sweet reconciliation.

This little example, while not strictly from the workplace, was, nevertheless, a battle of the soul, the will. Since we are retired our home really is our workplace. During that day of preparation my mind, will, and emotions were definitely involved and this realm of the soul is Satan’s favorite battleground. It seems like this thought-life conflict should not be affecting my relationship with Father. After all, don’t I have any privacy? Well, no, I don’t! God knows my every thought and it is these thoughts which, when not dealt with, keep me from having clean hands and a pure heart. (Ps 24:4)

Why has the “affliction of soul” in the Leviticus verse been interpreted as calling for a day of fasting? To me, it goes hand in hand with the “no work” instruction. Nothing is to interrupt the total giving of this one day a year to a stringent soul searching. The soul (mind) is the reservoir of the past year’s interactions, but the vehicle which should be allowed to do the audit is your human spirit. We are body, soul and spirit. It is our spirit’s nexus with Holy Spirit which can truly purge the records of our interrelationships and thought life—of the foibles of our will and emotions. A day uninterrupted by food preparation and consumption excludes the soul and body from interrupting our spirit’s attuning to Holy Spirit.

I hope to spend the Day with an attitude of an ascended spirit—seeking Holy Spirit’s defining and assessing of what is stored in the recesses of my mind. This deliberate one day a year activity between Holy Spirit, my human spirit, and my mind will bring me to the close of a highly successful day of reconciliation with my fellow man, myself—and upper most—Father God.

Creation, the Firstborn and the Passover

Creation, the Firstborn and the Passover

Is the Passover not like a revisit by God to the earliest days of Creation? The sin of the first born is again being judged. The assault of the first born, Cain/Egypt, against the second born, Abel/Israel, is being called to account. But in Egypt on this fateful night the roles are reversed. The dead bodies of Israelite’ babies awash in the Nile[1] gives evidence.[2] The lashes from the taskmaster’s whips give evidence. The pervasive idolatry gives evidence. The verdict can no longer be withheld, the Egyptians are being called to account. It is the first born of Egypt who will perish this night.

The blood of a sheep will mark for exemption from judgment the firstborn of the keepers of the sheep. The red blood, like Abel’s, cries out for recognition—a stop sign. How symbolic that God choose a sheep’s blood for identification. Abel, too, was a keeper of sheep. It was his blood shed by Cain that cried out to the Lord. So, the blood of a lamb cried out to the Lord on behalf of the firstborn of the Israelites. The Israelite firstborn did not bear the guilt of the firstborn of Egypt. The blood would reveal this distinction.

The first born of Egypt, like Cain, used its collective will to sin—to be idolators of false gods, to give agreement to the ungodly treatment of the Israelites. Many principles of God’s Torah, His Law, were being violated by the Egyptian tyranny. God would soon spell this out in detail at Mt Sinai. Sin was no longer “crouching at the door” as with Cain. The will, the choice, had long been made by the Egyptians to sin against Israel.

For at least 80 years, since the time of Moses’ birth, the Egyptians had been grievously persecuting the children of Israel. How many other unrecorded atrocities occurred before and after that period of infanticide?

God’s timing is perfect, even if not given man to fully understand or accurately project. God was not indifferent to the plight of the Israelites during all those years of bondage. His testimony was in the land of ungodliness through His servant, Joseph. It was not until a Pharaoh came who knew not Joseph[3]that the trouble began.

Perhaps these were years when the Israelites had opportunity to give testimony of the God they knew and served to the Egyptian idol worshippers. Perhaps they squandered their calling and opportunity on self. Perhaps even Joseph did not recognize their opportunity, but was limited by the edited promises of God to the fathers.[4] Perhaps the Israelites were so isolated in Goshen[5] they did not perceive the sinful, idolatrous condition of the nation about them. Had Joseph forgotten the entire vision laid out by God to Abraham that his descendants were to be a blessing to the nations?[6] It seems the time was squandered between Jacob’s death, Joseph’s death and the coming of the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph. The promise from God to Abraham was not self fulfilling, it required the corporate action of the leaders and the growing populous of Israel.[7]

The implication to me then, in observing Passover and Unleavened Bread, will be where I place the emphasis in observing each. The feast begins with Passover and ends eight days later at the conclusion of Unleavened Bread. There are really two different “Feasts,” each with a different dialogue.
Passover is a one night event, the observing of a clear dividing line, a demarcation between death and life. It epitomized the difference between the protection offered by a fading mark of blood and the futility of the Egyptian raising in his defense, a protesting sinful hand .
The Israelite firstborn was not without sin, not without culpability, no, he was exempt from judgment because of the promises of God to his forefathers.[8] The lamb’s blood shielded him from death that his feet might be put back on the path of Promise. The consequence of past failures were placed in abeyance because of God’s provision, God’s outstretched hand. This event provides an opportunity for a new beginning. The bonds of slavery are removed. A window of opportunity is opened and must be quickly seized. However, repentance for personal and corporate failings cannot be overlooked.

The night following Passover the Feast of Unleavened Bread is celebrated. This is a seven day event. The emphasis is the absence of all leaven, all sin. It symbolizes the embarking upon the journey of a leavenless, sinless life, ending by faith in the further celebration of a grace-filled successful conclusion. The success of the journey embodies the additional directive to be a blessing to the nations. A daily “offering” is made, a time for Holy Spirit revealing of leaven.

After so many years of observing these feasts I am less inclined to embrace the traditions of the observance and more inclined to let it be a time to draw closer to God that He might draw close to me. I feel it does help my celebration to understand the dynamic of that first event. This is not so much to replicate the event, but to make personal application today from an intimate, spiritual insight into the joys and tragedies of my spiritual forefathers – celebrating the joy and repent and seek forgiveness for the failings..

Endnotes
1 Ex 1:22
2 Is the United States not entering into a like dark period with the increasing legalization of
abortion, even up to birth? Are babies not now being “thrown into the Nile?”
3 Ex 1:8
4 Ex 1:23 …Joseph said unto his brethren, I die; but God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land….
5 Ex 47:6
6 Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 18:18…since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Genesis 22:18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
7 For a more comprehensive development of this theme see http://
missionpossiblepeople.com/blog/ Another Perspective on Observing Passover
8 Ex 12:43 et seq

Another Perspective on Observing Passover

Another Perspective on Observing Passover

“Blasphemy,” you say to consider another way to observe Passover from its 3500 years of tradition. Bear with me, I respect and honor God’s command to observe Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, but I believe I have an emphasis on the celebration that should be incorporated into the observance.
Consider that Joseph, a mighty man of God, was in Egypt enjoying the favor of Pharaoh for close to 20 years before he brought his family to Egypt. Consider further, that Joseph and Jacob (the Israelites) enjoyed the favor of Pharaoh1 and the Egyptian people for at least another 70 years until Joseph’s death at 110 years of age.2 It was sometime after Joseph’s death that the Israelites fell out of favor with Pharaoh and then into slavery.

For close to 90 years, beginning with Joseph, there were men and women of God present in the pagan land of Egypt, a land and people ripe for the knowledge of the God of the Israelites. But there seems to be no evidence that this knowledge was being shared.

If my understanding is correct, then it appears to me Joseph and Jacob (the Israelites) all fell short in understanding an important reason for their being in Egypt. They brought with them, to the nation of Egypt, the belief in the power and authority of the One True God, but kept it to themselves.
Perhaps they misunderstood the part of God’s promise to the Patriarchs that His chosen, Abraham’s seed, were to be a blessing to the nations.3 The purpose of the blessing was that those observing and hearing the testimony of this blessed people would seek after a relationship with the God those blessed people served.

God loves His creation. He did not create it for the purpose that He might destroy most of it. Even with Noah He gave His creation plenty of notice to change their ways.

And so with Egypt, He sent His emissaries, the Israelites, to be His witness. He was focusing on turning the greatest nation on earth, at that time, from its pagan ways.
A further underlining of God’s plan for Abraham’s descendants is set forth in Genesis 15:9-13, 17.4 (I suggest you read the footnote.) It is at this time God lays out His vision for Abraham and his descendants with an awesome, graphic demonstration—a diverse sacrifice visited by the flame, smoke and dread of God Himself.

This sacrifice ordered by God is the only place in the Torah where the animals are specified to be three years old. It was with this sacrifice that God affirms His covenant with Abraham. It was here He speaks of the years of bondage, but also opportunity, for Abraham’s future descendants.
Since this is the only time in Torah a three year old sacrifice is specified, I considered what might be the significance of such an event. As the owner of a small flock of sheep, I know that to be able to select three year old animals, you have to have an intimate knowledge of your herd or flock to know the ages of the animals.

Perhaps God is emphasizing His intimate knowledge of His “flock,” His creation. The variety of the sacrifice: heifer, goat, sheep, birds indicated the inclusiveness of the entirety of God’s creation. The specification of female and male indicates the inclusiveness of gender in His plan for Abraham’s descendants.

He underlines His seriousness with palpable dread, fire and smoke much as He would do all those hundreds of years later at Mt Sinai. It was at Sinai that He manifested in fire and smoke before a mixed multitude of native-born, sojourner and gender—heifer, goat, ram, birds as on Abraham’s altar.
God’s heart has always been, that all might be saved. Was is any different toward the Egyptians? Were Joseph and subsequently the Israelites not there on a mission?

The years of bondage in Egypt could, instead, have been years of preeminence. Had the Egyptians turned from their idol worship, God would not have had to make His own case against their false gods with His ten plagues. His promised judgment would have been on an entirely different spiritual basis.
It seems God finally expresses His feeling toward the Egyptians and what could have been the purpose for the Israelites being in Egypt at the crossing of the sea, where He states: “…So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”5
The Israelites could have been those whose testimony brought honor to God. The Israelites could have possessed the gates of Egypt, instead of the gates of Egypt imprisoning them. Talk about lost opportunity to change world history.

God told Jacob He would make Israel a GREAT nation in Egypt.6 Maybe it was easier to believe God meant GREAT in number rather than GREAT because of recognition for the God they served. It is much easier to default to the easy way. Had the Israelites chosen a God-honoring GREATNESS, I believe God’s favor would have given them an eminence in the “opened eyes” of the Egyptians. The Israelites would have left Egypt with possessions given from gratitude, rather than of “good riddance.”

Joseph certainly had his opportunity through the favor he was given with Pharaoh. Yet, Joseph’s own descendant through his son Ephraim would reintroduce a false god—the infamous golden calf.7 It seems no coincidence that this future betrayer of the faith fled to Egypt while awaiting his timing. Perhaps Joseph, too, failed at being an effective witness of the mighty God he knew. Perhaps God allowed Joseph to be the forerunner of His witness to the Egyptians.

That was then, what about now? Let me heed my criticism with a little personal application. What is my response to the sin, paganism and idol worship that abounds in the U.S. today? What bondage am I
experiencing—will yet further experience? Am I a convincing witness to the God I serve? Or, will I fall into the same camp as Joseph and Jacob?

Let me observe and celebrate Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread with a different emphasis than I have in the past. It now becomes an opportunity to repent for my spiritual ancestors’ failings, for my failings to be a more faithful witness. A time not to celebrate the death of an “enemy.” but the grace of God for another chance to share the good news to a corrupt and pagan world.

1 Genesis 47:5-6 …Have your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land….
2 Genesis 50:26
3 Genesis 22:18
4 Genesis 15:9-13
So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year- old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.
Genesis 15:17
And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.
5 Exodus 14:17b-18
6 Gen 46:3
7 1Kings 12:28

Yom Kippur–Day Ten–The Day

Yom Kippur Day Ten—The Day

It’s here, tenth of Tishri, tenth Day of Awe—Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement.

If you’ve followed my last two posts you are aware I am covering a commandment from the Ten Commandments each day from the Feast of Trumpets on 1 Tishri through 10 Tishri.

These ten days are called the Days of Awe, possibly because of the awesome experience the Lord intends Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, to be for those who celebrate it.

The tenth commandment says “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” My first question was, “Why is this the tenth and final commandment?” You might say, why not? One had to be last why not this one? That was probably my answer before I started this study. I’ll explain:

Covet, to me, is a wizened word by itself. It just looks small and crunched up. It might even be deeply wrinkled and toothless. It surely has no vitality. Covet in the Hebrew is חמד (chamad) which translates, in addition to covet, to various shades of desire up to idolatry. I was going to do a word search of other occurrences of covet, but Ahab and Jezebel popped into my mind.

The whole sordid mess of these two is told in 1Kings 21. It’s got it all, practically the whole Ten Commandments in one story. And it starts with Ahab coveting the vineyard of his neighbor, Naboth. Ahab was even willing to pay for it. We have false witness, murder, parent-child considerations, stealing, idolatry and I bet Ahab didn’t keep Sabbath! It all started with Ahab just wanting a veggie garden.

The tenth commandment involves neighbor, as does Ahab’s story. I’ve previously covered the inclusiveness of this word in my ninth commandment review. I found it even includes my opponent. The final operative word of the “no covet” commandment, as I see it, is “anything.” This turns out to be the Hebrew word כל (kol). Translated an amazing 4000 plus times as “all.” Need I say more?

There are at least two morals to the story: First, what can start out as a seemingly reasonable want can rise to coveting when I let my mind and emotions out from under Spirit control. That wizened word can grow exponentially into full blown sin. Secondly, and maybe even more sobering on this day of confession, repentance and forgiveness is the generational consequence of sin. Read Ahab’s story to the end. As I repent I must take into account what I may have sown into the generational line and enlarge my repentance as required.

My premise is that the “no covet” commandment is totally appropriate for number ten. As the Ahab story points out, letting covet get out of hand can release a whole bevy of commandment consequence. The commandment gives you some examples where coveting is going to temp you, but winds up saying, כל—ALL coveting violates the commandment.

Wish I could leave you on a more positive note. But really, to think of the provision the Lord has made for our wholeness and the wholeness of our generational line is praiseworthy positive.

Yom tov.