Sunday, May 3, 2015

TEXT: Leviticus 23:23-25
SUBJECT: The Feast of Trumpets
INTRODUCTION:

Let’s begin with a quick review of the Spring Feasts and how Jesus fulfilled them:

1. The Feast of Passover: Jesus, who is our “Passover Lamb,” was crucified on the day of Passover, Nisan 14th on the Hebrew calendar and March or April on the Gregorian calendar. Because of His death our sins have all been forgiven.

2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread:  Jesus was the perfect Unleavened Bread Who came to earth from heaven. After being crucified, His body was lying in the tomb or the grave on The Feast of Unleavened Bread. And because He was sinless, He experienced no decay or corruption. He alone is our hope of overcoming the grave!

3. The Feast of First Fruits:  Jesus arose on Nisan 17th, the day of First Fruits, as the first to rise from the dead and receive a resurrected body. Beloved, His empty tomb is the starting point of our eternal hope!

4. The Feast of Pentecost: Having been raised up and ascended back to glory of the Father, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon the 120 in the upper room in Jerusalem and so began His Church—the New Creation of God.

Amazingly, these feasts which were recorded in Leviticus 23 and observed by Israel for hundreds of years were fulfilled to the very day by Jesus as He carried out the redemptive plan of Father God!

In Jesus, the only begotten Son the Father, we have been redeemed—saved and brought back to God by His extravagant grace and mercy.[1] How great is our God!

Before moving to the Fall Feasts, let’s take a quick look at the time lapse between the Spring Feasts and the Fall Feasts. Many refer to this time lapse as a “gap.” And that time or season is of course summer.

In the context of the Feasts, this “summer gap” symbolizes the span of two thousand years that began at The Feast of Pentecost and continues to this present day.
This time period, or “summer gap,” represents the harvest of the Lord’s Church—all of those who have been redeemed and made a part of God’s New Creation in Christ Jesus. This particular season of harvest will continue until the Lord’s Second Coming.
And that brings us to the Fall Feasts which are yet to be fulfilled: The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and The Feast of Tabernacles.
Together with the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews in 1967, the foundation has been laid for the next three Feasts of God to be fulfilled! It is my personal belief that these feasts will be fulfilled in this generation.
The first of the Fall Feasts to be fulfilled will be The Feast of Trumpets, and that will be our subject today. 
Let’s pray: Father God, we ask that you would open our eyes that we my behold the revelation of Your Divine Word. In the Name of the Coming King, Jesus Christ, we pray.
 The Feast of Trumpets, also known as Rosh Hashanah, occurred on the first day of the Hebrew seventh month of Tishri, our September or October.
It is important to note that between The Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement there are ten days which are known as “The High Holy Days,” or “The Days of Awe.” The Sabbath that falls within this ten day period is called “Shabbat Shuv‘ah,” or “The Sabbath of Return.” Consequently, several important themes related to the Second Coming of Jesus are associated with The Feast of Trumpets. We will look at each one individually.
Also in this message, instead of beginning with the Jewish context or Old Testament background of this feast, I will instead weave them in as we consider the various themes that have to do with the Second Coming of Messiah Jesus.
1. First, The Feast of Trumpets is the sounding of the shofar.[2]
According to scripture, the sounding of the shofar is associated with the rapture/resurrection of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth.[3]
In I Corinthians 15:51-52 we read, “Listen, I tell you a mystery;[4] we will not all sleep, but we will be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
Also in the Torah, this feast is referred to as “The Day of the Sounding of the Shofar” or “Yom Teruah. “Teruah” is translated as “an awakening blast,” or “The Day of the Awakening Blast.”
In Isaiah 26:19 we read, “Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to departed spirits.”
The word “Teruah,” is also translated as “shout.” And in I Thessalonians 4:16-17 the word “shout” is used in connection with the rapture/resurrection of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command or shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
It is clear that both the shout and the trumpet (shofar) announce the rapture/resurrection of the Church and the Second Coming of Jesus.[5]
2. Secondly, The Feast of Trumpets is connected to the wedding of the Messiah. 
The Jews considered marriage to be the ideal model for the relationship between God and Israel. That theme is found many times throughout the Old Testament. It is particularly prevalent in the Old Testament book of Hosea.
Consequently, the Jewish wedding ceremony was clearly understood by early Jewish Christians to be a picture of the joining of Christ with His Church. This is made clear in the book of Ephesians where the Jewish Apostle Paul compares the marriage relationship with that of Christ and His Church. [6]
Then in Matthew 25:1-13, in the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus is pictured as the Bridegroom returning for His Bride, the Church, at the end of the age: v.6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’” V.10 “. . . The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet (marriage). And the door was shut.”
Also in Jewish culture it was customary that after a bride had accepted the groom’s proposal for marriage, he would go back to His Father’s house to prepare a bridal chamber. It was understood to be the man’s duty to go be with his father, build a house for his bride, and prepare for the eventual wedding.

Before he departed, however, he would make the following statement to the bride, “I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go, I will return again to you.” If those words sound familiar, it’s because they were spoken by Jesus in John 14:1-3 just before returning to His Father in Heaven! Beloved, Jesus has gone to prepare a place for His Church, and He will come again to receive her as His Bride at The Feast of Trumpets!
And here is where things get really interesting theologically. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, or the Son, but only the Father.” This of course is referring to the Lord’s Second Coming.
Notice in the above verse, “but only the Father.” According to Jewish tradition, the timing of the wedding was contingent upon the Father’s approval of the groom’s preparation of the bridal chamber. So when someone asked as to when the wedding would take place, the groom would answer, “only my father knows!”
Therefore, in the above wedding terminology, when Jesus said that “no one knows of that day or that hour but the Father only,” He was actually telling us that He is coming on The Feast of Trumpets!
We will try and make this a little more clear in our final point.
3. The Feast of Trumpets is also known as “The Hidden Day” or Yom Hakeseh.
The term “keseh” is derived from the Hebrew root word “Kacah” which means “to conceal, hide or cover.”
Part of the reason why that The Feast of Trumpets is considered a “mystery” or “hidden” is due to the fact that there was a fair amount of uncertainty with regard to observing this feast on the correct calendar day.
Let me explain. The Feast of Trumpets fell on Rosh Chodesh or the new moon. And because the commencement of the feast hinged on the sighting of a tiny sliver of the moon, just in the city of Jerusalem alone, it would be difficult to let everyone know that the feast had actually begun!
To solve this problem a two day Feast of Trumpets was observed. In the Rabbinic view, these two days are regarded as “yoma arikhta” or “one long day.” For this reason, when speaking of the timing of The Feast of Trumpets, the Jews would typically say, “Of that day or hour no one knows.”
Therefore, what we have here is another Jewish and cultural context for Jesus’s words in Matthew 24:36 “Of that day and hour no one knows.” Again, this is referring to the timing of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus.
This reference along with the previously mentioned Jewish wedding reference, “only my Father knows,” leaves no doubt that what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 is a revelation and confirmation that He will indeed Come again on The Feast of Trumpets![7]
CONCLUSION

As we conclude, we can be sure that just as Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts—Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost—to the very day, so too will He fulfill The Feast of Trumpets to the very day! The Lord Jesus will rapture the Church and return to the earth on the day of The Feast of Trumpets. For those who are “watching and praying” that day will not take them by surprise!
APPLICATION
How great is our God and how precise is His mighty Word?
The prophetic Word of God is your invitation to put your trust in Him as your Savior and Lord.
God’s plan for your life is as sure as His plan in His Seven Feasts. All your days were written in His Book before there was one of them![8]
All that He needs from you is for you to surrender your life to Him and allow Him to bring you into the fullness of the destiny that He has planned for you.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Do not fear little ones. God is perfecting the image of His Son in you; He is directing you in His ways; and He is protecting you from all evil and harm!
Remember, God’s Son shed blood for you. He invested the best He had to save you, not just for a lifetime, but forever and ever!
Be at peace.




[1] II Corinthians 5:19
[2] Shofar is another name for trumpet.
[3] In His First Coming, He came as a baby in a manger. But in His Second Coming He is coming as the conquering King of Glory!
[4] A mystery in the Greek New Testament is not something “spooky,” or “superstitious;” rather, it simply means that something that has been unknown is now being made known.
[5] See also Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 20:1-6 as to the timing of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus.
[6] Ephesians 5:25-27
[7] See further I Thessalonians 5:1-4, especially verse 4. The watchful Church will not be caught unaware.
[8] Psalm 139:16

Sunday, April 26, 2015

TEXT: Leviticus 23:15-21; John 1:32-33; Acts 2:1-4; 29-33
SUBJECT: The Feast of Pentecost
INTRODUCTION:

God’s Seven Feasts begin with Passover and continue through Tabernacles.[1] Keep in mind that two important Hebrew words were used in reference to these Old Testament feasts. First is the Hebrew word “mo’ed,” which means a “set time,” or an “appointed time.” The second Hebrew word is “miqra,” which refers to a “convocation” or “assembly.” It actually means a “rehearsal.”

Therefore, God’s Seven Feasts were rehearsals to be carried out at set or appointed times each year. And of course Israel was God’s chosen nation who was to carry out these “rehearsals.” And they did, for hundreds of years!

These Seven Feasts all pointed to the day when they would find their fulfillment. And that fulfillment would come in the person of Jesus Christ the Messiah. The first four feasts, also known as the Spring Feasts, would be fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus. The last three feasts, also known as the Fall Feasts, would be fulfilled in the second coming of Jesus.

In these Seven Feasts the purpose of God is clearly seen, which was to redeem and restore back to Himself all that had been lost in the rebellion of Satan and man.

As we have already seen in our first three messages, Jesus fulfilled the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits to the very day! On the day of Nisan 14[2], He laid His life down on the cross as God’s Passover Lamb. He was then in then in the tomb from Nisan 14 to Nisan 17 as the Unleavened (sinless) Bread from heaven that did not see decay. And He arose on Nisan 17, before sunrise on the first day of the week, Sunday, as the First Fruits of those who sleep (in death).

In fulfilling these feasts, Jesus forever paid the sin debt—freeing us from the eternal judgment of separation from God, and He brought hope to life by overcoming the power of death, hell and the grave!

By putting our complete trust in Jesus alone, we know that we are forgiven by God and that we will live forever with Him.

The next feast or the fourth feast is The Feast of Pentecost.[3] We will look first at its Old Testament foundation; secondly we will observe how Jesus fulfilled it; and third we will look at how we can apply it to our lives today.

Let’s pray: Father God, we ask that You would give unto us the spirit of wisdom and revelation into Your Word. In the Strong Name of Jesus our Messiah we pray. Amen.

1. Leviticus 23:15-21

When the chosen nation began to settle in the Promised Land, the meaning of Shavu ‘ot was transformed into an agricultural holiday that celebrated God’s provision for His people Israel.

In Deuteronomy 16:9-11 we read, “You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord blesses you. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God at the place He will choose as a dwelling for His Name. . .”

The Hebrew word “Sheva” means “seven;” “shavu’ah” means “week,” and “shavu’ot” means “weeks.” Exactly seven weeks after The Feast of First Fruits (barley harvest) is the celebration of Shavu’ot or The Feast of Weeks. It was one of the three pilgrimage holidays where Israel would come to present the first fruits of their spring crops before the Lord.

Since the Feast of Shavu’ot occurred on the fiftieth (50th) day after The Feast of First Fruits, when the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into the Greek language[4] (the language of the New Testament) Shavu’ot was translated as “Pentecost” meaning 50th.

Just as a sample of the first of the crop of the barley harvest was waved before the Lord during the Feast of First Fruits, so on Shavu’ot (Pentecost) was a sample of the first crop of the wheat harvest brought to the priests, baked into two loaves of leavened bread, and then waved before the altar as the concluding ceremony of the season.

It is important to note that in contrast to the Feast of Passover that required unleavened bread, the Feast of Pentecost required that the two loaves that were to be waved before the Lord were to be made with yeast or leaven. I will show you the significance of this difference a little later in the message.

For now, it is enough to know that this is the agricultural background of Shavu’ot or The Feast of Weeks, also called The Feast of Pentecost.

But there is another important Old Testament context and background for The Feast of Pentecost. And it is the giving of the Law, the Ten Commandments, through Moses on Mount Sinai.

Rabbinic tradition says that the Ten Commandments were given in the sixth Hebrew month of Sivan, our late May or early June. On Sunday morning, exactly seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt, all of Israel gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai where the Lord descended amidst thunder, lightning, billowing smoke, fire, and the blast of the shofar.

The Lord then revealed the foundation of spiritual, moral conduct for His people Israel—the Ten Commandments.

So then, The Feast of Shavu’ot (or Weeks) also known as The Feast of Pentecost has both an agricultural background that has to do with the harvest as well as the background of the giving of the Ten Commandments through Moses.

2. With that as our Old Testament context for this feast, we are now ready to see how it was fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah.

After the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on The Feast of First Fruits, counting fifty days forward was the Feast of Shavu’ot or Pentecost.  And Jesus had told His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Also on the Day of Pentecost there would be Jews from around the world gathered in Jerusalem to reaffirm their commitment to the Covenant of Moses.

When the Day of Pentecost arrived, the same Jesus who had fulfilled the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits to the very day fulfilled the Feast of Pentecost to the very day when He poured out the Holy Spirit on the 120 believers in the upper room in Jerusalem.[5]

At Mount Sinai God wrote the law, the Ten Commandments, on stone. But in the New Testament, in Jerusalem, Jesus was writing the new law of the Spirit on the hearts of believers!

At the same time the priest was waving the two loaves of leavened bread before the Lord, Jesus was pouring out the Holy Spirit on the sinful men and women who had been cleansed by His blood. This was the beginning of the harvest of those who would become New Creations through their faith in Jesus the Messiah.[6] This new harvest of believers would be those who had God’s New Law of The Spirit written on their hearts!

The Feast of Pentecost marked the beginning of the end goal of the Law as it was stated in Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put my law in their inward parts and write it on their hearts.”

How amazing is the prophetic Feast of Shavu’ot or Pentecost? Not one, but two loaves of leavened bread were to be waved before the Lord. This clearly pointed to the inclusion of both Jew and Gentile as part of the harvest of those who would belong to God.

And the fact is that the loaves were leavened bread.[7] The Lord was telling us that through the Unleavened Bread of Heaven—even the sinless Son of God—that sinful men (leavened bread) could be made a part of God’s eternal family—both Jew and Gentile!

By putting their faith in Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God—by trusting in His shed blood alone for forgiveness; by trusting in Jesus as the Unleavened, pure, sinless bread Who came down from heaven, Whom death could not corrupt or decay; and by placing their confidence in Jesus as the First Fruits of those who will be raised from the dead, sinful men could be cleansed from their sins and could receive the New Law of the Spirit through the resurrected and glorified Son of God.

3. And that brings us to our third point in this message: how can you and I apply this amazing truth to our lives in the twenty first century?

The way that you can experience The Feast of Pentecost in your life is by learning that the gift of the Spirit does not come through keeping the law but by trusting totally in Jesus.

The blessing of the Spirit comes by trusting in the One whose very name means salvation.[8]
In plain language, no one ever becomes good enough to experience Pentecost or the Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit is God’s gift to those who trust in His Son—even Jesus Christ.

As I close this message, I want to turn your attention to the Book of Galatians. In Galatians 3:1-5 we read, “You foolish Galatians! Who has led you astray? Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning in the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again, I ask, does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?”

Beloved, here is the truth in such simple language: The only way that you or I can receive and continually be filled with the Holy Spirit is by trusting in Jesus completely and totally. This is the truth of Shavu’ot or Pentecost.

And the power of Pentecost is that as we continue to trust in Jesus (God’s Salvation), the Lord will continually supply us with the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers us to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. 

So then what should you do? Mix faith with the message that you have heard. Trust in Jesus alone as Your spotless, Passover Lamb; as the sinless, Unleavened Bread of Heaven; as the First Fruits of the resurrection from the dead, and as the One Who baptizes or fills you with the Holy Spirit.

Dear friend, you can experience the Feast of Pentecost when you stop trying and start trusting in Jesus.

Why not ask Jesus to baptize you in the Holy Spirit? Just as you made yourself a candidate for water baptism, make yourself a candidate for Holy Spirit baptism. Just as you submitted to the Pastor to baptize you in water, submit to Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the Church to baptize you in the Holy Spirit.

Abundant life is only in the Spirit of God, and it’s as close as your faith in Jesus.



[1] These are the two feasts on which blood moons have occurred with regard to significant events that have affected the chosen nation of Israel over the last five hundred years. The most recent blood moon occurred on April 4, 2015 and the next will occur on September 28, 2015. This will not happen again for hundreds of years!
[2] The Hebrew month of Nisan occurs in our months on the Gregorian calendar in either March or April.
[3] The Feast of Pentecost is also known as The Feast of Shavu ‘ot or The Feast of Weeks.
[4] The Greek translation of the Old Testament is known as the Septuagint
[5] John 1:33; Acts 2:29-33
[6] II Corinthians 5:17
[7] Leaven was a type of sin
[8] The name Yeshua, which is translated into English as Jesus, means “salvation.”

Friday, April 10, 2015

God, Israel, The Church, Blood Moons, & The End Times!
In his famous essay, “Concerning the Jews,” Mark Twain said the following:

The Egyptian, the Babylonian and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor,
then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made
a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a
time, but it burned out and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all,
beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age,
no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive
mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the
secret of his immortality?

“What is the secret of his immortality?” Since no people who have been without a homeland for more than forty years have continued to exist as a nation, it begs the question of how Israel continues to exist as a nation although they were without a homeland for almost two thousand years! The answer to that question is a major key to understanding the end times. The existence of Israel is the living, tangible proof of the existence of the one true God! Israel is a reminder to an unbelieving world that God is, and that He must be reckoned with. In the arrogant and proud world of modernity where men see themselves as answerable to no one, the existence of the Jew tells another story. And that story says that there is a God and that all people are accountable to Him. Let’s take a brief look at that story.

In 70 AD Jerusalem was burned to the ground and the Jewish people were scattered to the nations. This is known in history as the Jewish Diaspora. Israel as a nation was no more. But then, miraculously, after a series of events that began with the Balfour Declaration,[1] on May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation again after almost nineteen hundred years!


There really is no “natural” explanation for how this could happen. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that there is a God and that the Jewish people are His chosen nation. God chose them to be the nation through whom He would reveal Himself to the world. They are the nation through whom came the Messiah, Jesus Christ. And through Jesus, the Church has been grafted in to this supernatural Jewish root. And although now most of Israel is in unbelief, God has made eternal promises to them as a nation which He will fulfill!
Consequently, there is coming a day in which all of Israel will be saved.[2] The Church will play a major role in Israel’s salvation at the time of the end, but that is another subject for another time.

“In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” David Ben Gurion  

Besides Israel’s miraculous rebirth as a nation in 1948, and their equally miraculous retaking of Jerusalem in June of 1967 in the Six Day War,[3] there is another miraculous event that must not be overlooked with regard to the nation of Israel. I am referring to the blood moons that have occurred over the last five hundred and twenty two years. According to NASA, there have been three tetrads of blood moons[4] which have occurred on JEWISH FEAST DAYS during this period. Those feasts are Passover and Tabernacles, the first and last of the seven Jewish Feasts from the Old Testament.[5] These tetrads of blood moons have occurred as follows: On Passover and Tabernacles in 1493-1494 following the Spanish Inquisition in which over 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain; In 1949-1950 on Passover and Tabernacles following the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 and then being viciously attacked by several Muslim countries; On Passover and Tabernacles in 1967-1968 following the six day war in which again Israel was attacked by five of her Muslim neighbors. In each of the above instances, something negative happened to the Jews followed by something positive.[6] Most recently blood moons have occurred on Passover and Tabernacles in 2014 and also on Passover 2015. The last blood moon to occur on these two Jewish feasts for hundreds of years will be on Tabernacles on September 28 of this year. It remains to be seen what events will negatively and then positively affect the Jews during these ongoing tetrads, but with the Middle East, Iran and an anti-Semitic president in the White House, something is on the horizon!  The point here is that God is even using the heavens to tell the world that there is no God but Jehovah—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Who but the One True God could control the heavens and use the sun and the moon as signs of His existence? These signs in the heavens are God’s megaphone to an unbelieving world, announcing loud and clear, that He alone is God, and besides Him there is no other! That reality is both terrifying and comforting at the same time. To the unbeliever it is terrifying because it is evidence and proof of the One True God to Whom he is accountable; on the other hand, to the believer it is comforting because it is evidence that no matter what happens in this world, His God, Who is God, is in control!

I have one final thought for you in this article. I want to give you something that I believe will help you and give you a context for a better understanding of what will happen in the end times. The reason why anti-Semitism and anti-Christian hatred will increase as we get closer to the time of the end is because these are the two people groups of the One True God! The devil and all who belong to him, regardless of what they call themselves, will persecute Israel and the true Church.[7] You can see this persecution growing every day around the world. And it will continue to grow. As we get closer to the time when the One True God will step in and put an end to Satan’s rebellion, a person’s heart will be revealed by how they view and treat Israel and the true Church. For a vivid example look no further than President Obama. The hatred of the Jew and the hatred of the true born again Church—two visible realities—are in essence the hatred of the One True God—the invisible reality.

Although this hatred will increase and then finally find its full expression in the last world empire, the beast kingdom of Satan and the Antichrist, the One True God and His people— Israel and the Church— will be triumphant in the end![8]

As the pages of prophecy are turning, I ask you dear friend, where are you and where will you be in this eternal story?

For spiritual help please visit our website, warriorassemblyofgod.com. Then click on “Spiritual Help” and read “Life’s Greatest Decision.” Shalom



[1] The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist.
“His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” (This is taken from Wikipedia)

[2] Romans 11:25-28
[3] The Jews took control of Jerusalem in June of 1967 for the first time since 70AD!
[4] Tetrad means four.
[5] Please visit my blog, warriorprophet.blogspot for more detailed information on this subject
[6] I again refer you to my blog for a full explanation
[7] Please read Revelation 12
[8] This is the truth revealed in the Book of The Revelation 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Text: Leviticus 23:9-14; I Corinthians 15:20-23
Subject:  The Feast of First Fruits
Introduction:

Yesterday on Saturday April 4, 2015, on The Feast of Passover, there was a blood moon. There will be another blood moon on September 28 of this same year on the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. There have been three tetrads of these blood moons that have occurred over the last five hundred years on these two feasts, and each time there has been something negative that has happened to the Jewish people followed by something positive.[1] What I want you to see is that only Jehovah God has power over the heavens! Men can observe the heavens, but only the God of the Bible has control over the heavens. And this same God is also the One who ordained the Seven Feasts of the Bible which foretells His plan to redeem and restore all that was lost back to Himself! Nothing takes God by surprise! Here is the point: the same God who has the power over the heavens to cause the sun and the moon to serve as signs to His people is the same God who has given us His Word. You can trust God and you can trust His Word. Our God is God! Keep that in mind as we observe how the Lord both revealed the Feast of First Fruits and then perfectly fulfilled it through His Son.

We will begin our message on The Feast of First Fruits by observing it in its Old Testament setting from our text in Leviticus 23:9-14:

The Lord said to Moses, speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you enter the land that I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old and without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the Lord, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

In Israel barley would be the first grain to ripen, followed by wheat, fruit, olives, and grapes.

At the time of planting the Jewish people would mark off a certain place in the field. Later when the harvest season arrived they would take a sickle and a basket and on command reap this specially designated grain.

They would then go to the Tabernacle bringing this sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest to the priest. The priest would then, as prescribed in Leviticus, wave the sheaf before the Lord accompanied by a burnt offering as well as meal offerings.

This first fruits ceremony was a way of giving thanks to God for the harvest that was to come.

And as we will see next, this feast which was fulfilled by Jesus on the very day of The Feast of First Fruits is the celebration of His resurrection. It would be followed by The Feast of Pentecost—the beginning and empowering of the Church. And following The Feast of Pentecost will be The Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles.

So with the scriptural foundation laid for The Feast of First Fruits, let’s now dig a little deeper into how Jesus perfectly fulfilled this Old Testament Feast.

We will begin the connection of this feast with Jesus by giving a little more detail into what this prophetic feast of God involved.

When the Old Testament priest waved the first fruits sheaf of green barley before the Lord, he waved it to the north, the south, the east and the west as a symbolic gesture of dedicating it fully to the Lord.

A male lamb was then sacrificed as a burnt offering to the Lord, along with unleavened bread mixed with oil and wine. Only after this wave offering had been offered could the rest of the crop be used.[2]

Notice the connection to Jesus.  On this day a mature lamb without defect was to be offered to the Lord along with bread and wine. These were the symbols that Jesus used in the Last Supper to recall and remember His sacrifice as the Passover Lamb![3]



Now let’s look at how the wave offering and the resurrection of Jesus are linked together by the very Jewish Apostle Paul—who perfectly understood The Feast of First Fruits.

I Corinthians 15:20-23 “But in fact Christ (Messiah) has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ.”

Jesus’ resurrection was like a “wave offering” presented before the Father as the first fruits of the harvest that is to come.

In the scriptures, what came first was significant and important to God. So we see the following concerning Christ (Messiah): 1. Hebrews 1:6 He is the first-begotten of the Father; 2. Colossians 1:15-16  He is the first born of creation; 3. Revelation 1:5 He is the first begotten of the dead; 4. I Corinthians 15:20-23 He is the first fruits of those who will be resurrected.


And as Jesus was accepted by the Father as the first fruits of those who will be resurrected from the dead, so is His resurrection the Church’s guarantee that we too will be accepted by the Father as the rest of the harvest which will be resurrected.

This guarantee of our being raised from the dead has nothing to do with our merit or with what we have done. Rather, our confidence of being resurrected from the dead is based on who Jesus is, on His goodness, and what He has done for us!

When the Father raised Jesus from the dead, He was declaring His acceptance of who Jesus was and what He had done.

Therefore we have the assurance that the Father has accepted us and will raise us from the dead because we are trusting in His Son and not in ourselves.

Think of that powerful truth. No man will be raised from the dead because he deserves to be raised up. The resurrection from the dead is because of who Christ is and because of what He has done. It is His merit that makes the way for believers to experience the resurrection power of God. All that we need to do is put our trust completely in Him!

Beloved, know that the resurrection of Jesus as the first fruits of God’s harvest is a powerful, prophetic picture of the day when you will likewise be transformed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” when the “corruptible will put on incorruption and “the mortal puts on immortality!”[4]

So then, Jesus alone is our confidence that we have been forgiven of our sins and made acceptable to God by His blood. For He is God’s Passover Lamb!

Jesus is also God’s Unleavened Bread. He is the sinless and pure bread of heaven whose body did not see corruption or decay in the tomb. And so He gives us hope of overcoming the grave.

And the resurrection of Jesus as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep answers the deepest longing and the most searching question of our heart: what happens when I die?

In the Old Testament, The Feast of First Fruits was celebrated by the waving of the first barley harvest. The first fruits offering by the priest let the people know that the rest of the harvest would also come.  God would bring the harvest.

Likewise, in the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled The Feast of First Fruits by being raised from the dead as a “wave-offering,” on the day of First Fruits.

And His resurrection is our guarantee that just as He was accepted and raised from the dead, so we too—the rest of the harvest of the New Creation in Christ—will also be accepted and will be raised from the dead by the glory and power of the Father!

CONCLUSION

About a month ago on a Monday—the day of the week that I pray the Lord’s Prayer—the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I was thanking God that I could call Him Father. On this day, I found myself quoting I John 3:1-2, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But when Christ appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”

It is difficult for me to explain the glory of that moment of revelation. Although I had read and quoted that scripture many times, on this particular day the Holy Spirit made it life to me by whispering to my soul, “Jimmy you have no idea the kind of creation that you will become on that day! It is going to be glorious and more than you could ever imagine!” Somehow, the Lord was giving me a glimpse or an insight into what He has planned for those who love Him—for those who are His children through the new birth. What did you see pastor? It is not what I saw but rather what I felt and knew in the Spirit: God has something glorious planned for those who will be raised up on The Feast of Trumpets!

As I thought about how I might show or try and explain this to you, my Church and my circle of love, this illustration came to me. In the power point slide on the left is my granddaughter Eden, at about three months, when she was in her Mommy’s tummy. She was special then because we knew that she was a part of our family. However, in the slide on the right is the same Eden who is a little over a year old! What an amazing transformation! Just look at how beautiful this little creature on the left has become since leaving the womb.

Now try and imagine how that those who have been placed in the darkness of the grave are going to look on that day when He calls them forth from that darkness and transforms their lowly bodies into the likeness of His glorious and resurrected body!

Beloved, that is the power of The Feast of First Fruits! It the hope that we celebrate on this day every spring in March or April.

This is the Biblical meaning of what is called “Easter.” And I want you to leave this place today with the hope of the resurrection of Christ burning in your soul. I want you to rejoice, because just as sure as He has been resurrected with a glorious body, so too shall you, and all of those who are in Christ, be resurrected with a glorious body!

Beloved, this is our hope as Christians!

“Because He lives I can face tomorrow; because He lives all fear is gone; because I know, I know He holds my future, my life is worth the living because I know He lives!”







[1] See my blog, warriorprophet.blogspot.com and my article from March 31,2015 for more information on the blood moons that have occurred over the last five hundred years.
[2] Leviticus 23:14 “You may not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God.”
[3] Leviticus 23:12-13; Luke 22:14-20
[4] I Corinthians 15:51-57