Monday, March 26, 2012

The Feast of Trumpets

The Spring Feasts, 1.Passover--Nisan 14; 2.Unleavened Bread--Nisan 15; 3.First Fruits--Nisan 17; and 4.Pentecost--Sivan 6, all recorded in Leviticus 23 and observed/rehersed by Israel for hundreds of years, were amazingly and precisely fulfilled by Yeshua/Jesus to the very day, and in one Feast, Passover, to the very hour! In Yeshua, the Lord has redeemed us--has brought us back to Himself. But the story does not end there! But before we move on to the Fall Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles, lets take a brief look at what is known as the "summer gap."

In between the Spring Feasts and the Fall Feasts there is a fairly significant period of time. That period or season is of course summer. In the context of the feasts cycle, the "summer gap" as it is called, symbolizes the span of 2000 years that began at the day of Shavu'ot/Pentecost right up to the present time. This time period also called the "summer harvest" represents the growth of the Lord's Church and the salvation or redemption of those who have accectped the Gospel. The question that needs to be answered is this: What next? What comes after the summer gap or harvest? What is the next big thing on God's calendar and when will it occur?

To answer the above questions, lets start with a couple of events that I believe are signs that "summer" is almost over. First is the rebirth of God's chosen people, Israel, on May 14, 1948. As I have said before, it is a fact that no nation that has been without a homeland for more than 40 years has survived as a nation. But Israel survived for 2000 years without a homeland! That is a miracle of God and a sign that things are changing. Secondly was the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews for the first time since 70AD. That too was a miracle having been accomplished against all odds! The point here is this: by the rebirth of Israel and the retaking of Jerusalem God has laid the foundation for the next three "Jewish Feasts" to be fulfilled. I believe that they will be fulfilled in this generation! And the very next Feast to be fulfilled is the Feast of Trumpets. Therefore, our subject today will be to take a deeper look into this amazing event to be fulfilled by Yeshua.

The Feast of Trumpets occured in the Hebrew seventh month of Tishri(our September or October). Between this Feast and the Day of Atonment, there are ten days that are called 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." It is important to know this because several themes associated with the Messiah's second coming are associated with the fall feasts, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets. In this article I will deal with three of those themes.

The first theme associated with the Feast of Trumpets is "the sounding of the Shofar or trumpet" which also is connected to the rapture of the Church and the second return of Yeshua/Jesus. On this feast day, there were 100 blasts made with the shofar or trumpet. The last blast that was made was known as "the last trump." Consequently, in I Corinthians 15:52 when Paul is speaking of the rapture of the Church and the second return of the Lord, he describes it as happening "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at THE LAST TRUMP; for the TRUMPET/SHOFAR will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." In the Torah, this feast is referred to as "Yom Teruah," or "the day of the sounding of the shofar," which can be translated as "an awakening blast." Also, Teruah can be translated as "shout." Not surprisingly then we read these words from the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 4:16-17, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a SHOUT, with the voice of the archangel and the TRUMP of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first; then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so will we ever be with the Lord." The Last Trump, the Awakening Blast, and the Shout are all part of the Feast of Trumpets and consequently speak to us of the rapture and second return of Yeshua on this feast! But lets keep building on this theme.

The second theme of the Feast of Trumpets is the "wedding of the Messiah with His Church." The Jews considered marriage to be the ideal model depicting the relationship between God and Israel. This theme is found throughout the Old Testament(see particularly the book of Hosea). Consequently, the Jewish wedding ceremony was understood by early Christians to be a picture of the joining of Christ with His Church. That is made clear in Ephesians 5:25-27 where Paul compares the marriage relationship with that of Yeshua and His Church. Also in a parable speaking of the Lord's second return, the Jewish wedding is spoken of by Yeshua(Matthew 25:6,10). In the Jewish culture it was customary that after a bride-to-be had accepted the groom's proposal, the bridegroom would depart and return to his father's house to prepare the bridal chamber. It was understood to be the man's duty to go away to be with his father, build a house, and prepare for the eventual wedding. However, before he departed, he would make the following statement to the bride: I go to prepare a place for you, I will return again unto you. If those words sound familiar, they are the words that Yeshua spoke to His disciples in John 14:1-3 just before going back to His Father's house in heaven! The point here is that the rapture and return of the Lord is connected with the Jewish wedding. And here is where things are going to really get theologically interesting!

In Matthew 24:36 Yeshua said of His second return, "But of that day and hour knows no man, not not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, 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 when the wedding would be held, the groom would customarily answer, "only my father knows." Why is that important to know? Considering that other scriptures make it clear that the Jewish wedding is symbolically linked to the rapture and resurrection of the righteous, it is also clear that it is linked to the Feast of Trumpets as we have seen above. Therefore, when Yeshua said "no one knows the day or the hour. . . but my father only," He was actually telling us that His second return would definitely be on the Feast of Trumpets! I will enforce this truth with my last point.

The third theme of the Feast of Trumpets is that it was known as "Yom HaKeseh" or "The Hidden Day." The term "Keseh" is derived from the Hebrew root word "Kacah" which means "to conceal, hide or cover." Part of the reason why the Feast of Trumpets is considered mysterious or "hidden," is due to the fact there was a fair amount of uncertainty with regard to observing the feast on the correct calendar day. The Feast of Trumpets fell on "Rosh Chodesh," or the "New Moon." And because this feast hinged on the sighting of a tiny sliver of the new moon, even in Jerusalem it would be difficult to let everyone know when it had begun, not to mention all of Israel. Therefore, to solve this problem, a two day Feast of Trumpets was practiced. In the Rabbinic view, these two days are regarded as "Yoma Arikhta" or "one long day." For this reason when speaking of the Feast of Trumpets, the Jews would typically say, "of that day or hour no one knows." So then what we have here is another clear reference to Yeshua's words in Matthew 24:36 ". . .of that day and hour knows no man. . ." refering to the Lord's return. When you take this reference along with the previous mentioned Jewish wedding reference of "only my father knows, what you have is a stunning revelation and confirmation that Yeshua will, without a doubt, return on the Feast of Trumpets.

For the people who quote Matthew 24:36 as the reason why they are not interested in prophecy, they simply are not rightly dividing the Word of God. Yet for those who are watching, these words of Yeshua could not be more clear: He is telling us that He is coming on the Feast of Trumpets. And He will fulfill this feast to the very day just like He did Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost. What a great God we serve!What an incredible Hope we have! Dear Friend, the God who has so precisely and powerfully revealed and fulfilled the feasts, and will fulfill what remains, has a great plan for your life! Put your trust in Him and in His strong Word. (Please take a moment to read and meditate on Jeremiah 29:11).

I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, the Kingdom of God is at hand.


Friday, March 23, 2012

"The Feast of Shavu'ot or Pentecost"

Let's begin by first of all looking at the different name or names for this feast. The Hebrew name for the feast is "The Feast of Shavu'ot." The Hebrew word "Sheva" means "seven;" "Shavu'ah means "week;" and Shavu'ot means "weeks." Hence this is the "Feast of Shavu'ot" or also known as the "Feast of Weeks." From the day of the "Feast of First Fruits," the Hebrews were to count off seven sabbaths. Then on the next day after the seventh sabbath,(that would be Sunday) they were to celebrate the Feast of Shavu'ot or as it is also known "The feast of Weeks." This then would be a period of fifty days from the "Feast of First Fruits" to the "Feast of Shavu'ot." Consequently, since the New Testament was written in Greek, the translators used the word "Pentecost," which means fifty, to describe this Jewish Feast. Hence that is how we have the different names of this feast. With that established, we can now move on to discover what this feast was all about and how you can personally experience it today! We will begin that process by looking at the two Old Testament backgrounds for this feast.

First, we will look at a momentous event that took place on Shavu'ot. That grand event was the giving of the 10 Commandments through Moses at Mt. Sinai. Rabbinic tradition says tht the Torah(10 Commandments) was given on the sixth of Sivan(third Hebrew month and late May or early June on the Gregorian Calendar). Exactly seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt the children of Israel gathered at the base of Mt. Sinai where the Lord descended amidst thunder, lightning, billowing smoke, fire and the blast of the Shofar. The result of that Divine visitation was that the finger of God wrote the greatest moral code ever given to man on two stone tablets! So on the day of Shavu'ot, the Lord came down to man and gave him the 10 Commandents. And that is a very important foundation or background for the Feast of Shavu'ot/Pentecost as we will see shortly.

The second Old Testament background for Shavu'ot is agricultural. Just as a sample of the First Fruits barley harvest was waved before the Lord during the "Feast of First Fruits," so on the "Feast of Shavu'ot/Pentecost" a sample of the first of the wheat harvest was to be brought to the priests, baked into two loaves of LEAVENED BREAD and then waved before the altar(See Leviticus 23:15-21; Deuteronomy 16:9-11). Notice that the "Feast of Shavu'ot" stands in contrast to the "Feast of Passover," which required UNLEAVENED BREAD(matzah), whereas in this feast two loaves of wheat bread were to be used with leaven (chametz) before being waved before the Lord. I will explain why in just a moment. But now that you know the two Old Testament backgrounds for this feast, lets discover how Yeshua/Jesus fulfilled this feast.

In John's Gospel, chapter 1 and v.33 we read these words about Yeshua, "I (John the Baptist) myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'" This is a prophecy about Yeshua the Messiah and how He would be the One who baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit. Fast forward to the Day of Shavu'ot/Pentecost. On the very day of the "Feast of Shavu'ot/Pentecost," Jews had come to Jerusalem from everywhere to celebrate and affirm their commitment to the covenant made through Moses at Mt. Sinai. And at the very same time that the priest was waving the two wheat loaves of leavened bread at the altar as thanksgiving to the Lord for the harvest, the resurrected and ascended Yeshua/Messiah was baptizing believers in the Holy Spirit at Mt. Zion in Jerusalem! Acts 2:33, "Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear." What was happening? At Mt. Sinai, on the day of Shavu'ot/Pentecost, God wrote the law--the 10 Commandments--on stone, but now at Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, on the day of Shavu'ot/Pentecost, the Messiah was writing the new law of the Spirit on the hearts of believers(Jeremiah 31:33)! And as the priest was waving the two loaves of leavened bread before the Lord(the TWO loaves of LEAVEN being symbolic of Jew and Gentile--both being sinful), Yeshua, the UNLEAVENED BREAD of Heaven (the sinless one) was waving/beginning the harvest of His Church(those cleansed by His Divine and spotless blood as the Passover Lamb) through the outpouring of the Holy Spirt. And this outpouring, this harvest, would soon include the Gentiles (Acts 8,10,19). There is so much more to say, but I will conclude now with how you can experience the Feast of Shavu'ot/Pentecost.

Galatians 3:1-5 "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you (led you astray)? Before your very 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 with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal BY HUMAN EFFORT? V.5 Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you BECAUSE YOU OBSERVE THE LAW, OR BECAUSE YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU HEARD?" There it is friends in plain language. The only way that you can receive and continually be filled with the Holy Spirit is by trusting completely and totally in Yeshua--Who He is and what He has done for you! No one ever gets "good enough to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." God dosn't give the Holy Spirit to those who are trying to earn it by "keeping the law." The Person of the Holy Spirit is a gift--given to those who humble themselves and realize that it is by God's grace through faith and not works or human effort. This is the truth about Shavu'ot/Pentecost. And the power of Shavu'ot/Pentecost is that as you continue to trust and depend totally on the Person of Yeshua, He will continually supply or fill you with the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers you to live a life that is full and fully pleasing to the Lord. And it is this kind of life empowered by the Holy Spirit that makes us His witnesses. It is how we see others come to Yeshua and so become a part of His harvest!

So then what do you do to experience Shavu'ot/Pentecost for yourself? Trust in Yeshua as your Passover Lamb; as your Unleavened Bread from Heaven; as your First Fruits who rose from the dead; and as the One who baptizes you continually in and with the Holy Spirit.

I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.


Monday, March 19, 2012

"The Feast of First Fruits"

Let's begin by looking at the Feast of First Fruits in it's original setting. Leviticus 23:9-12, "The Lord said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf(omer) 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 without defect." In Israel the first grain to ripen would be barley. At the time of planting, the Jewish people would mark off certain barley in the field. Later when the harvest season arrived, they would carry a sickle and a basket and reap this specially designated grain. They would then go to the Tabernacle bringing a sheaf of the "First Fruits" of the harvest to the priest. The Priest would then wave the sheaf before the Lord accompanied by burnt offerings and meal offerings. The First Fruit's offering was a way of giving thanks to God for the rest of the harvest that lay in the field. And so, you have the Old Testament foundation for the celebration of the Feast of First Fruits.

Let's begin to see how Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah fulfilled this feast. Take notice of two things here: First, a male lamb was to be offered to the Lord along with unleavened bread mixed with oil and wine. Remembering that Yeshua was the Passover Lamb and the Unleavened Bread that came down from Heaven, it is telling that the BREAD and WINE in this ceremony were the very symbols that Yeshua used to recall and remember His sacrifice at the Last Supper(the bread symbolizes His broken body and the wine His shed blood). Secondly, Leviticus 23:14 says, "You may not eat any bread or roasted or new grain UNTIL the very day that you bring THIS OFFERING to your God. This tells us that Yeshua/Jesus must be the First Fruits who had to come first before the rest of the harvest would be accepted.

We will now look a little more closely at how Yeshua/Jesus is the fulfillment of this Old Testament feast. Yeshua was crucified and buried on Nisan 14, a Thursday afternoon (1/2 day); He was in the tomb on Nisan 15 from sundown to sundown (1 day); He was also in the tomb on Nisan 16 (1 day); Again on Nisan 17 after sundown(our Saturday night, the Jewish Sunday, 1/2 day); But He arose from the dead later that day on Nisan 17 before sunrise on Sunday morning. If you add these days up, you will get 1/2+1+1+1/2= 3 days and nights thus fulfilling what Yeshua said in Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Said another way, Yeshua/Jesus was crucified on Thursday Nisan 14 before sundown and was resurrected on Sunday Nisan 17 before sunrise. He was raised on the very day of the Feast of First Fruits, the first day after the sabbath! The disciples then encoutered the Risen Lord on Nisan 17, on that Sunday morning (Matthew 28:1-10).

I will conclude my thoughts by explaining what this means to you and I! The Wave Offering of First Fruits and the Resurrection of Yeshua are linked together by the very Jewish Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:20-23 "But in fact Christ(Yeshua/Jesus/Messiah) has been raised from the dead, the FIRST FRUITS of those who have fallen asleep(died in the Lord). For as by man came death, by man also has come 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." Yeshua's resurrection was like a "wave offering" presented before the Father as the first fruits of the harvest to come! Actually, Yeshua is also revealed in the Word of God as "the first begotten of the Father" (Hebrews 1:6); the first born of creation (Colossians 1:15-16); the first begotten of the dead (Revelation 1:5); and as the first fruits of those who have been resurrected (ICorinthians 15:20-23). And as the fist fruits of those who are resurrected, having been accepted by the Father, He is our guarantee that we too will be accepted by the Father! Our confidence of being resurrected from the dead and living forever with God in an exalted state of existence is not based on who we are or on what we can or cannot do. Rather, it is based on who Yeshua is and what He has done for us, AND IN OUR FAITH IN HIM ALONE! For when the Father raised Yeshua from the dead, He was declaring His acceptance of Yeshua as the First Fruits of the rest of the harvest(all those who put their complete confidence in Yeshua) that will also one day be raised from the dead!

Dear friend, can you see it? When Yeshua fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits by being raised from the dead, He answered forever the deepest longing and most searching question of our heart: What happens when I die? For those who are trusting not in a religion nor in their own good works, but are trusting completely and entirely in the person of Yeshua, they can have confidence that just as sure as Yeshua was raised from the dead as the frist fruits, they too will be raised from the dead as part of the harvest of the New Creation of God! (See ICorinthians 5:17)

The old song simply but powerfully says, "Because He lives I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know He holds my future, life is worth the living just because He lives!" Hallelujah!!!

I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Israel, Iran and Biblical Prophecy"

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made this statement,"If you can't hear the drums of war, then you are deaf." He was referring to the current crisis in the Middle East involving Israel and Iran. Dr. Kissinger believes that there will be a nuclear war in that region and that it will proliferate. Is he right? Will there indeed be a nuclear war in the Middle East, perhaps ignited by the conflict between Israel and Iran? The answer to that question will form the basis for what I want to share with you in this article.

Let's begin by looking at a Biblical prophecy from the book of Daniel. In Daneil 9:27, the Holy Spirit is speaking about a time in the distant future, a future that has now become PRESENT TENSE. He says in that verse, "He(the Antichrist) will confirm(make strong of firm) the covenant with many for one seven(the context makes it clear that this seven is seven years). In the middle of the seven (3 1/2 years, 42 months or 1260 days-based on the 30 day Jewish month) he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of the Temple(the rebuilt Jewish Temple) he will set up an abominaton that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." Revealed in this verse are two very significant Biblical signs that will alert the church that the second return of the Lord Jesus is near. The first is a seven year peace treaty signed between the Antichrist and Israel, and the second is the breaking of that peace treaty by the Antichrist after three and a half years into that treaty.

Is there anything going on right now in the Middle East that could bring this seven year peace treaty to fruition? Will this treaty become a reality in order to prevent a nuclear war between Israel and Iran? Or will this treaty become a necessity because of a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran? Will world pressure become the context for such a treaty to be signed?
I believe that this treaty will become a realtiy in the not to distant future. Exactly when and what will bring it about remains to be seen, but it is coming! Now with that said, is there anyone who fits the profile of the Antichrist who will sign this seven year peace treaty with Isral only to break it half way in? The answer to that question may surprise you, but please keep reading.

First, listen to the Koranic or Islamic teaching about who they believe will be the Islamic Savior at the time of the end. This person is known in Islam as the Mahdi, the Guided One, the 12 Imam or final Caliph. (1). He will appear at the time of the end to preside over the earth as the final Islamic leader, (2). He will be a supreme political and military leader, (3). During his reign, he will be victorious over all religions--especially Judaism and Christianity, (4). Fourth and this is very revealing. It is said that he will "direct affairs of this Islamic national empire/caliphate for SEVEN YEARS, AND THAT HE WILL RESIDE IN JERUSALEM." Now listen to this quote from the founder of Islam, their prophet Muhammed: "There will be four peace agreements between you (Muslims) and the Romans (Christians/the West). The fourth will be mediated through a person who will be from the progeny of Hadrat Aaron, (honorable Aaron) the brother of Moses and will be upheld for SEVEN YEARS." At an Islamic execution back a few years ago, the terroists called President Bush, "You dog of the Romans." I don't have time here to elaborate, but I hope you can see that the devil has set up Islam as the vehicle he will use to try and carry out his endtime diabolical purposes! Think of this, he has already deceived 1.5 billion muslims! Before I go to my last point, I hope you saw three stunning facts in the above quotes: First, that the Antichrist and the Isalmic Mahdi are one and the same; second, that he will rule for seven years; and third, he will reside in Jerusalem. These facts fit Daniel 9:27 perfectly!

But what about breaking the seven year peace agreement? In Islam there is a term called al-Hudaibiyya. Yassar Arafat often used the expression, "Hudaibiyya" when he spoke to his people in Arabic, or when he met with the Arab National Council. Essentially "Hudaibiyya' is a well understood word which means "kiss the hand of your enemy until you can cut it off!" But where does it come from? From the founder of Isalm of course, Muhammed! In 628 AD Muhammed signed the "Treaty of Hudaibiyya" with the people of Mecca because he did not have sufficent numbers to conquer them. However, when Muhammeds troops increased from 1,400 to 10,000 men, after only 18 months into the 10 year treaty, he entered into Mecca and annihilated the Jews of the Quarish tribe who lived in Mecca. In doing so, he established forever the obligation of every muslim to enter into covenants with non-muslims when necessary--with the understanding that these agreements would be broken as soon as it was expedient to do so! The fact that the Antichrist will utimatley break his treaty with Israel suggests a muslim acting in the tradition of his prophet Muhammed. Be sure that neither honor, nor ethics, nor obligations can be allowed to hinder the advancement of Isalm! However, rest assured that Islam will be stopped! As Daniel 9:27 makes clear, the Antichrist will come to the end "that is decreed for him." That end will come at the hands of the Strong Son of God as it is revealed in Revelation 19:11-21!

I close by simply saying that as Christians we should pray for and support Israel in every way possible. And we should open our hearts to where we are on God's prophetic calendar. I would also add that if what I have written challenges your currently held theological beliefs about the endtimes, then I would say please take the time to pray and search the scriptures.

I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.


Monday, March 12, 2012

"The Feast of Unleavened Bread"

Leviticus 23:5-6 "The Lord's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth (14) day of the month. V.6 On the fifteenth (15) day of that month the Lord's festival of Unleavened Bread beigns; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast." This feast is to be "rehersed' at the "appointed time" each spring in the Hebrew month of Nisan, the first month of the religious year and the month of March or April on the Gregorian Calendar.In Jewish tradition, the eating of unleavened bread commemorates the original exodus from Egypt. Since there was not enough time for the dough to rise in the bread when the Jews fled from Egypt, the Lord memoralized the event with the commandment to eat only unleavened bread (matzah) for seven days. Deuteronomy 16:7 "Seven days you shall eat unleavened (matzah) bread, the bread of affliction, (to remember the affliction of Egypt and to remember deliverance from that affliction)for you came out of Egypt in haste, that all the days of your life you may remember the day you came out of the land of Egypt.

To fulfill this commandment the Jewish people, to this day, prepare themselves by removing all traces of "chametz" or leaven from their homes. Leaven(yeast) produces fermentation, especially in bread dough, and it is the result of the natural process of decay. So then, the removal of the leaven is in obedience to God's command to remove it from their dwellings (Exodus 12:15; 13:7; Deuteronomy 16:4).

But what is the connection with Yeshua the Messiah? First, unleavened bread is a picture of Yeshua's holiness, purity and sinlessness. Consequently, His life and sacrifice were "unleavened," without the taint or curse of death! As the second man from heaven, Adam being the first man God made of the earth, Yeshua/Jesus was without fault; no imperfections were found in Him. Again, Yeshua was and is the God-man. Therefore it is absolutely blasphemous to compare Him to Muhammed or Buddah or any other earthly person! There simply is no comparison. Yeshua is and remains eternally unique!

As we have seen, Yeshua laid His life down as the Passover Lamb on Nisan 14. His body was wrapped in linen and placed in the tomb on that same day before sundown. Therefore, His body was in the grave on Nisan 15, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. However, because Yeshua was sinless, His "unleavened body" did not suffer the natural processes of corruption or decomposition! Something was going on inside that tomb that had not happened before! Yeshua's body did not and could not return to the dust. God was at work writing another and exhilirating part of the incomparable redemptive narrative! One of the mysteries of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was unfolding inside the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea! The Messiah's body was not decaying. But why, how could it be?

It was simply the fulfillment of the Messianic Psalm that was prophesied through King David a thousand years earlier. In Psalm 16:9-10 we read these amazing, prophetic words, "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay!" The Apostle Peter applied this prophetic Word to Yeshua in Acts 2:25-28,31, "David said about Him (the Messiah):'I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay.'"v.31 "Seeing what was to come, he (David) spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah,(Yeshua) that He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did His body see decay." Yeshua's body could not decay because there was no leaven of sin in it! He was the Unleavened Bread from heaven! Therefore the natural processes of death (leaven/yeast) were not present in the tomb of the Messiah!

So what are we to take from this Feast of Unleavened Bread which was fulfilled perfectly by Yeshua the Messiah? First, we should allow WHO HE IS to fascinate our hearts--the perfect, sinless, incorruptable Son of the Living God! Secondly, we should allow what happened, or should I say what didn't happen in that tomb, to fill us with hope about our future in Him! And third, we should simply put all of our trust in Him as THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE! Everything you could ever want or need is found in Yeshua the Unleavened Bread from Heaven! Shalom friends!

I am a voice of one crying in the wildernes, prepare the way of the Lord, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

PS. How brilliant is our God? He reveals His eternal plan through His seven feasts in the Old Covenant through His chosen nation Israel. He then perfectly fulfills those feasts through the revelation of His Son in the New Covenant! Next week we will look at the Feast of First Fruits.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Feast of Passover

The nation of Israel had been in the bondage of slavery in Egypt for over 400 years just as God had prophesied to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-14. But that was all about to change. God had raised up Moses to be the instrument through whom He would deliver Israel from their bondage. After nine plagues, and Pharoah refusing to let the people go, there was one more plague that God would release to change the Egyptian leader's mind. It is this tenth and final plague that would be the foundation of what we know as the Feast of Passover or "Korban Pesach" (the sacrifice of Passover).

God instructed the chosen nation to take a lamb into their homes on the tenth (10th) day of the month of Nisan (March or April on the Gregorian Calendar). The Lamb was to be a mature male without spot or blemish. The people were to inspect the lamb for four days to make sure it met these qualifications set forth by Yahweh. Then on the fourteenth (14th) day the people were to kill the lamb and apply its blood, with hyssop, to the top and two sides of their doorposts. When God sent the death angel into Egypt that night, every family that had applied the blood to their homes would be "passed over." And in every home that was not protected by the blood of the Passover Lamb, the first born of that family would die! And so in this tenth and final plague God broke the power of Egypt as the death angel carried out God's judgement on Pharoah by killing the first born of both animals and people. He had no choice but to let the chosen nation of Israel go free! So Israel, for the first time in 400 years, was free! Amazingly that freedom came by the power of the shed blood of the Passover Lamb! Imagine that, over two million people set free from the most powerful empire in the world by the power of the blood of an innocent Lamb!

God spoke to Moses and commanded that Israel was to remember/reherse this grand event at a "set time" every spring at the Feast of Passover. And so for over 1400 years the nation of Israel celebrated the Passover Feast every spring. And then one day around 2,000 years ago, Yeshua/Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey as prophesied by the prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." This is called the "Triumphant Entry of Christ" that took place on what the Church calls "Palm Sunday." By the way, this also took place on the 10th day of Nisan, the very day that the Jewish pilgrims who had made their way to Jerusalem from all over Israel had brought their lambs to be examined by the priests to make sure that they qualified as passover lambs. This examination would take place over the next four days or until the 14th day of Nisan. Ironically, also for the next four days, Yeshua/Jesus, "the Lamb of God," would be examined by the Priests as they asked Him questions! And the result? In the words of Pontius Pilate, "I find no fault in Him!" God's Korban Pesach was a mature male (33 years old in the prime of His life) and without spot or blemish! What comes next is stunning!

After the temple was built by the chosen nation, during the Feast of Passover, the Priest would bind the Passover Lamb to the altar at the third hour of the day (9am). According to Mark 15:25 Yeshua/Jesus was bound to the cross or crucified at 9 in the morning! Then at the ninth hour of the day(3pm) the Priest would say, "It is finished," and then slay the Passover Lamb. Matthew 27:46 and John 19:30 tells us that at 3pm Yeshua/Jesus said, "It is finished," and then He gave up His Spirit! To the very days and to the very hour, Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah had fulfilled the Feast of Passover!

I conclude today by telling you that the way to God, the way to freedom from sin, the way to be delivered from eternal judgment, and the way to eternal life is not by your goodness or by your being "religious." Rather it is by trusting TOTALLY in the shed blood of God's Korban Pesach or Passover Lamb! As the old hymn says, "Nothing in my hand I bring, only to the cross I cling!" Those who know what that means are free indeed!

I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.