Signs in the Heavens

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Fourth Day of Creation (Holy Bible, 1910)

A WAKE UP CALL

The solar eclipse witnessed across the United States on August 21, 2017, has sparked a lot of discussion among Bible believers–especially those familiar with the blood moons that occurred on Passover and Sukkot in 2014 and 2015.  One of the ways in which God communicates with human beings is through signs in the heavens.  (See Genesis 1: 14; Joel 2: 30-31; Amos 8: 9; Luke 23: 44.)  In the month since the eclipse, we have witnessed a chilling number of earthquakes, fires, and category 5 hurricanes.  In fact, the intensity and rapid succession of these  “natural disasters” is reminiscent of the “birth pangs” recorded in Matthew 24: 8.

God is trying to get our attention, and He’s not whispering.  He is shouting.  If you don’t have a Hebrew calendar, get one.  September 21 was the Feast of Trumpets, one of “God’s Appointed Times,” described in Leviticus 23: 23-25.  On the Biblical calendar, the Feast of Trumpets falls on the first of Tishri.  Tishri is preceded by the month of Elul, a time of repenting.

WHO NEEDS TO REPENT?

Although everyone needs to repent, repentance begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4: 17).  We need to repent for individual sins as well as the sins of the nation.  (See I Corinthians 6: 9 for a list of individual sins and keep in mind that Paul is talking to believers.)  National sins include–but are not limited to–abortion and redefining marriage.

THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYE

Other than the sins listed above, what is God’s benchmark for judging the nations?

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all of the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12: 1-3, ESV).

For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations.  As you have done [to Israel], it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head (Obadiah verse 15, ESV).

THE DAY OF THE LORD

September 21 not only commemorated the Feast of Tabernacles.  September 21 also marked the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, with an emphasis on “human dignity,” “peace,” and “safety.”  These are comforting words except in the context of 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-3, which describes the Day of the Lord.

Now as to the times and epochs, brethren, you have no  need of anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  While they are saying “peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape ( NASB).

THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Where are we on God’s timeline?  Is the Great Tribulation–referenced in Matthew 24: 1-28, Mark 13: 3-23,  Luke 21: 10-34, and Daniel 12: 1–a future event?  Or has it begun?

And there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.  For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21: 25-28, ESV).

 

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The Day that No Man Knoweth

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Miniature Ram’s Horn

Most Christians are familiar with the phrase, “the day that no man knoweth.” But how many know that this is a Hebrew idiom referring to the Feast of Trumpets? The Feast of Trumpets, a.k.a Yom Teruah, is one of the seven feasts outlined in Leviticus 23.  But it is the only feast with no explanation whatsoever.

This is what Leviticus 23: 24-25 says about the Feast of Trumpets. “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall hot do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD'”(NASB).

Today, September 21, 2017, is Yom Teruah. Yom Teruah began yesterday at sundown and ends today at sundown. On the Hebrew calendar, today is Tishrei 1. Tishrei is the seventh month on the Biblical calendar. The new moon rises on Tishrei 1 or Tishrei 2. “No man knows the day or hour.”

The “trumpet” is a shofar, a ram’s horn. What does the New Testament say about the trumpet?”

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality (I Corinthians 15: 51-53, ESV).

The Spring Feasts (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Shavuot) were fulfilled with the First Coming of Jesus Christ. The Fall Feasts relate to the Second Coming. Opinions vary. Some view Yom Kipper as the Judgement and the Feast of Tabernacles as the wedding Feast of the Lamb followed by the Millennium.

Yom Teruah may very well refer to the initial return of Christ.  In fact, another name for Feast of Trumpets is “Day of the Shout.”

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thessalonians 4: 16-17, KJV).

 

Note: Many celebrate Rosh Hashanah, or New Year’s, on Yom Teruah.   The celebration is linked to Babylonian influences during the Babylonian Captivity (a.k.a. Babylonian Exile).

 

Yom Teruah: Feast of Trumpets

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Miniature Ram’s Horn

This year Yom Teruah begins at sundown Sunday, October 2 and ends at sundown Monday, October 3.

GOD’S APPOINTED TIMES

God’s Appointed Times are His moadim, his holy convocations. God’s moadims are Shabbat, Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover and Unleavened Bread are often treated as one festival), First Fruits, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

NO EXPLANATION FOR YOM TERUAH

Yom Teruah is the only moadim  without an explanation in the Tenahk.  Every other feast  is explained in Leviticus 23 and elsewhere in the Tenahk.  Passover and Unleavened Bread relate to the Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt. Three of  God’s moadims relate to the harvest: First Fruits (barley harvest), Shavuot (wheat harvest), and Sukkot.  Yom Kipper is the Day of Atonement (a.k.a. the Day of Purging) and is associated with judgement.

DRESS REHEARSALS

God’s holy convocations are dress rehearsals. The spring feasts were fulfilled at the First Coming of the Messiah. Yeshua, our Passover Lamb, was crucified on Passover.  He was in the tomb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  He rose from the dead on First Fruits.  He sent the  Holy Spirit to  empower His followers on Shavuot (Pentecost).

The fall feasts will be fulfilled at His Second Coming.

YOM TERUAH

Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets)  is intriguing because it lacks an explanation in the Tenahk but suggests one in the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament).  “Adonai spoke to Moses saying: ‘Speak to Bnei-Yisrael, saying: in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a Shabbat rest, a memorial of blowing (Shofaot), a holy convocation.  You are to do no regular work, and you are to present an offering made by fire to Adonai'” (Leviticus 23: 23-25, (TLV).

We learn from Leviticus that Yom Teruah occurs in the seventh month, it’s a no-work day, and the shofar (ram’s horn) is blown.  Why?  The Tenahk is silent.

(NOTE: Yom Terauh is not Rosh Hashanah. Many celebrate Rosh Hashanah, meaning “the head of the year,”on the same day as the Feast of Trumpets.  Rosh Hashanah is not mentioned in the Torah.)

THE DAY THAT NO MAN KNOWETH

Yom Teruah is known as “the day that no man knows.”  In other words, no one knows the day or the hour when the new moon will appear.  “The day that no man knows” is a Jewish idiom, or expression, referring to Yom Teruah.  Sound familiar?

Yeshua said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24: 36, KJV).

The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15: 51-52, “Behold, I tell you a  mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar.  For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed”(TLV).

Yom Teruah is also known as “the Day of the Shout.”  Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 4: 16-17, “For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the blast of God’s shofar, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first” (TLV).

YOM TERUAH AND THE SECOND COMING OF YESHUA

We cannot know the day, the hour, or even the year when the Messiah will return, but we can know the season.  Will He return during the Feast of Trumpets?  Perhaps. Perhaps not. Regardless, be ready.

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.  He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together his chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24: 30-31, TLV).

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and lalnguages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7: 13-14, KJV).

See Daniet 7: 9-14 and Revelation 14: 14-16 also.

 

Pentecost in Acts vs. Shavuot in Exodus

WHAT DO THE GIVING OF LAW OF MOSES AND PENTECOST HAVE IN COMMON?

Shavuot

Shavuot or Feast of Weeks is an annual celebration of the wheat harvest and the Law of Moses that occurs 50 days after First Fruits of the barley harvest (Leviticus 23: 9-17).  Pentecost is another name for Shavuot and is associated with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and what many Christians call  “the birth of the church.”  Notably, during the Shavuot service, the rabbi lifts up two loaves of bread.  Messianic believers say that the loaves represent Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah.

Many parallels exist between the giving of the Law of Moses on Mount Sinai in Exodus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem recorded in the Book of Acts.   They occurred around the same feast day, Shavuot.  In Exodus, God wrote the Ten Commandments with His finger on tablets of stone on Mount Sinai.  In Acts, He wrote His Commandments on human hearts in Jerusalem.. Both were accompanied by violent noise and fire.  (Some interpret the “thunderings” on Mount Sinai as “voices,” perhaps different languages.)  The people at Sinai feared the Lord and refused to come near the mountain.  When they broke God’s commandments by worshipping the Golden Calf, three thousand of them were destroyed.  The Book of Acts records that 3000 people were saved at Pentecost. They were willing to let God write His commandments on their hearts.

Compare the following scriptures in Exodus with those in Acts.

EXODUS

So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain[Mount Sinai] and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.  And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.  Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.  When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder (Exodus 19: 16-19, NASB).1-

In Exodus 20: 1-17,  God “spoke” the Ten Commandments.  The people responded with fear.  All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.  Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”  Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you many not sin.”  So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was (Exodus 20: 18-21 NASB).

When the people saw that Moses had not come down from the mountain but was staying there a long time, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “We do not know what has happened to this man Moses, who led us out of Egypt; so make us a god to lead us (Exodus 32: 1, GNT).

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My Grandmother’s Old Holy Bible

 

The LORD said to Moses, Hurray and go back down, because your people, whom you led out of Egypt, have sinned and rejected me.  They have already left the way that I commanded them to follow; they have made a bull-calf out of melted gold and have worshiped it and offered sacrifices to it.  The are saying that this is their God who led them out of Egypt (Exodus 32: 7-8, GNT).

Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get out of control and make fools of themselves in front of their enemies.  So he stood at the gate of the camp and shouted, “Everyone who is on the LORD’s side come over here!”  Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get out of control and make fools of themselves in front of their enemies.  So he stood at the gate of the camp and shouted, “Everyone who is on the LORD’s side come over here!”  So all the Levites gathered around him, and he said to them, “The LORD God of Israel commands every one of you to put on your sword and go through the camp from this gate to the other and kill your brothers, your friends, and your neighbors.”  The Levites obeyed, and killed about three thousand men that day gathered around him, and he said to them, “The LORD God of Israel commands every one of you to put on your sword and go through the camp from this gate to the other and kill your brothers, your friends, and your neighbors.”  The Levites obeyed, and killed about three thousand men that day (Exodus 32: 25-28, GNT).

ACTS

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When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.  Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?  Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Capadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2: 1-4, NIV)

Peter told the people, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2: 38, NIV).

Those who accepted his [Peter’s] message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day (Acts 2: 41, NIV).

Notice that in Exodus and in Acts, violent sounds and fire accompanied the events during Shavuot/Pentecost.  Three thousand people died in Exodus for breaking God’s commandments.  Three thousand people accepted Peter’s message, repented of their sins and were saved in the Book of Acts.  What made the difference?

THE OLD COVENANT AND THE NEW COVENANT

God’s commandments have not been done away with.  The difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant is found in Jeremiah 31: 31-33.  The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.  It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt.  Although I was like a husband to them, they did not keep that covenant.  The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this:  I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the LORD, because all will knw me, from the least to the greatest.  I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs.  I, the LORD, have spoken” (GNT).  (See Ezekiel 36: 26-27 also.)

THE NEW COVENANT IS SEALED WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MESSIAH

During the Last Supper, Jesus said, “This is my blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26: 28, NASB).

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins  (Hebrews 10: 4, NASB).

Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah is God’s Lamb.

REPENT, RECIEVE YESHUA AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR, AND RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23, Holy Bible).

Prayer:  LORD, forgive my sins.  I accept  Yeshua, Your Son and Messiah, as my Lord and Savior.  Come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit.  In Yeshua’s name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts Chapter 1: The Ascension

Since the anniversary of Pentecost was just a few days ago, I thought this would be a good time to study the Book of Acts.  Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke, and Luke is the author of both.  The recipient is “Theophilus.”   In his Gospel, Luke puts the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua in order ( Luke 1: 1-4.).

The Book of Acts begins where the Gospel of Luke ends–with the Ascension of Yeshua into heaven.   The author identifies the place of Ascension as the Mount of Olives in the village of Bethany, half a miles from Jerusalem (Luke 24: 50-53 and Acts 1: 12.)   Today the Mount of Olives is a cemetery.  At His Second Coming, the Messiah will return to the Mount of Olives and the dead will be raised.

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The Mount of Olives is on the left side of the photograph.

 

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View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

In the first chapter of Acts, Luke notes that between the death of Yeshua and His Assension, Yeshua appeared to his disciples over a forty day period.  In other words, he appeared to them repeatedly–almost up to the day of Shavuot or Pentecost.

According to Acts 1: 3-5 (GNT), Forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive.  They saw him and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God.  And when they came together, he gave them his order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised.  John Baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

 

*Up next:  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

 

 

The Book of Ruth and Shavuot

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The Holy Bible (a 19th century edition)

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Book of Ruth?  Naomi and Ruth?  Ruth and Boaz?  Reading the Book of Ruth during Shavuot (a.k.a. Feast of Weeks and Pentecost) is a Jewish tradition.  Why?  The story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz occurs during the spring harvest.  You can find references to both the barley harvest (First Fruits) and the wheat harvest (Shavuot/Pentecost) in the Book of Ruth.

THE BARLEY HARVEST/FIRST FRUITS

When they [Naomi and Ruth] arrived in Bethlehem, the barley harvest was just beginning (Ruth 1: 22b, GNT).  The beginning of the barley harvest is First Fruits, which occurs the day after the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  (In the New Testament, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ occurs on First Fruits.  This is why Paul refers to the resurrected Messiah as “the first fruits of those who are asleep”–I Corinthians 15: 20, NASB.)

THE WHEAT HARVEST/SHAVUOT, FEAST OF WEEKS, PENTECOST

Shavuot or Pentecost is a celebration of the wheat harvest.  The counting of the Omer, which begins at First Fruits, ends 49 days later at the beginning of the wheat harvest or Shavuot.  The spiritual significance of Shavuot may not be obvious at first, but it is a joining of Jews and Gentiles in the Messiah. Consider the following: “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering [First Fruits], count off seven full weeks.  Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present  an offering of new grain to the LORD.  From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD (Leviticus 23: 15-17, NIV).

TWO LOAVES, ONE BODY

The loaves represent Jew and Gentile one in Messiah.  In Ephesians 3: 6 (NIV), the Apostle Paul writes that “through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

GRAFTED IN

Paul wrote, “In  as much as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.  If some of the branches have been broken off, and you [Gentiles], though a wild olive shoot have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches.  If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root [Israel]supports you” (Romans 11: 13b-18, NIV).

Notice the references to “dough” and “firstfruits.”  First fruits is a term used for both the barley harvest and the wheat harvest.

Ruth was not only a Gentile but also a Moabite.  The Moabites were enemies of Israel, but Ruth was an exception.  She believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.  In that regard, she was “grafted in” to Israel and became the great-grandmother of King David, whose descendant is our Lord and Savior, Yeshua  Hamashiach, Jesus the Messiah.

THE TANAKH FORESHADOWS THE BRIT-HADASHAH

The Tanakh, the Old Testament, foreshadows the Brit-Hadashah, the New Testament.  Many see Boaz, Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, as a Christ figure.  The Book of Ruth is a story of redemption.  Her name stands out–along with Boaz’s–in the first chapter of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament.  Matthew begins with the genealogy of Yeshua Hamashiach, our Redeemer.  His Hebrew name means salvation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 11-13, 2016, is Shavuot/Pentecost

Pentecost, Shavuot, and Feast of Weeks refer to the same Biblical feast day.  It’s one of God’s Appointed Times, spelled out in Leviticus 23.  To calculate the date of Pentecost, start with the counting of the Omer, which begins after the weekly Sabbath during Passover.  (Many believe that the count begins after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is a no-workday but not the weekly Sabbath.)  Count seven Sabbaths or 49 days.  Day 50 is Pentecost.

BACKGROUND

Jewish men were required to go to the Temple in Jerusalem three times a year.  They went there to celebrate Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.  On one level Shavuot was a celebration of the first fruits of the wheat harvest (not to be confused with the first fruits of the barley harvest during the Feast of Unleavened Bread).  On a spiritual level, Shavuot celebrated the giving of the Law of Moses to God’s people at Mount Sinai. (However, when Moses came down from the mountain, he found the people worshipping a golden calf.  Three thousand died for their disobedience.)

THE FIRST SHAVUOT FOLLOWING THE RESURRECTION

Fast forward several thousand years to the first Shavuot–or Pentecost–following the Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.  One hundred twenty of His followers were gathered in one place (traditionally the Upper Room where the “Last Supper” was held).

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Roman and Islamic  influences  have altered the appearance of what-is-believed-to-be “The Upper Room.”

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Suddenly  there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there.  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world.  When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered.  They were all excited, because all  of them heard the believers talking in their own languages.  In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans!  How is it, then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages?  We are from Parthia, Media, and Elam; from Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asia, from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene.  Some of us are from Rome, both Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism, and some of us are from Crete and Arabia–yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things that God has done!” (Acts 2: 2-11)

A miracle had occurred.  Believers in the Messiah were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to demonstrate the gospel to non-believers.  Peter stood up and boldly quoted the following passage from Joel 2: 28-32:  ” ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN UPON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT and they shall prophesy.  AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE, AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BENEATH, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.  THE SUN SHALL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS, AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.  AND IT SHALL BE, THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE saved’ “(NASB).

Peter continued to preach a rousing sermon highlighting the death and resurrection of the Messiah and concluded, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2: 38-39, NIV).  That day 3000 people repented, believed, and were baptized.

WHEN IS PENTECOST?

If you search Pentecost on the internet, you will come up with two different dates for 2016:  May 15 and June 11-13.  Many churchgoers calculate Pentecost based on the  Easter timeframe.  The problem is Jesus did not rise from the dead on Easter but on First Fruits during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This year Easter was almost a month before than Passover; so Pentecost cannot be May 15.

June 11-13 (often a 2-day celebration) is the accepted date in 2016.  The date varies each year on the Gregorian calendar but stays the same on the Hebrew calendar, Sivan 6-7.

As believers in Jesus, we have much to celebrate this Pentecost.  I pray that each of us has a “road to Damascus” experience, that we return to the Hebrew roots of our faith, and that the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah will spread to the ends of the earth as we–His people–demonstrate the Gospel of Christ in love and in  *Pentecostal power.  In Yeshua’s (Jesus’) name.

 

* “Pentecostal Power” is the name of a song found in the old Baptist and Methodist hymnals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits

Passover began on Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar.  On our Gregorian calendar, that was sundown Thursday, April 21, until sundown April 22.  The first day of Unleavened Bread began on Friday, Nisan 15 or April 22 at sundown.  If you think that’s confusing, you’re not alone.  The “sundown” part of the equation is confusing to those of  us who think of a day beginning and ending at midnight.  On the Biblical calendar the day begins at sunset.

Going to back to Genesis 1: 5, we read that God “named the light ‘Day’ and the darkness ‘Night.’  Evening passed and morning came–that was the first day” (GNT).

Many celebrate Passover and the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the same day.  But Leviticus 23 makes a distinction between the two.  “The Passover, celebrated to honor the LORD, begins at sunset on the fourteenth day of the first month [a.k.a. Nisan].  On the fifteenth day the Festival of Unleavened Bread begins, and for seven days you must not eat any bread made with yeast.  On the first  of these days you shall gather for worship and do none of your daily work.” The seventh day of Passover is also a no-work day and a gathering for worship.  These no-work days are special Sabbaths that can occur on different days of the week depending upon the year.

We learn in the Book of John that Jesus was crucified and  buried before sundown.  We read in John 19: 31,”The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away” (NASB).

The phrase that stands out is “for that Sabbath was a high day.”  In other words that “high day” Sabbath was the First Day of Unleavened Bread.  If so, Jesus was crucified on Passover and died when the temple lamb was slain and buried before the high Sabbath, (not the weekly Sabbath unless the high Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath fell on the same day), which began at sunset.

He rose from the dead on First Fruits, the first day of the  week after the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

“Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.'”  First Fruits is a barley harvest.  I believe that when the priest waved the sheaf before the LORD, Jesus rose from the dead. Major events in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were aligned with the feast days.

I Corinthians 15: 20 confirms that the Resurrection occurred on First Fruits. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” 

Chag sameach!

Garden Tomb
The Garden Tomb

 

 

Happy New Year!

Today (April 9) is Nisan 1, the beginning of the Biblical year.  Nisan 1 actually began yesterday at sundown because a day in God’s timing is from sundown to sundown.  (See Genesis 1: 5.)  Nissan is called “the first month” in Leviticus 23: 5.  The New Year is followed by Passover, the beginning of the Spring Feasts, on Nissan 14.

Many celebrate the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) in the seventh month of Tishrei.  This alteration in the Hebrew calendar (the secular calendar) reflects Babylonian influences.

Today is significant for other reasons as well.  Some, including Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, believe that Yeshua was born in the spring, probably Nisan 1.  Luke 2: 8 (NASB) states “and in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.”  Why would shepherds be tending their flock during the night?  Answer: lambs are only born in the spring.  So the shepherds would be tending the sheep that were giving birth.

Luke provides another clue to the timing of Yeshua’s birth in Luke 1: 5-13.  In that passage, Zacharias,”of the division of Abijah” (I Chronicles 24: 10), had a visitation from an angel proclaiming that his barren wife, Elizabeth, would become pregnant with the future John the Baptist.  This helps to establish a timeline that progresses as Mary visits Elizabeth, who is six months pregnant.  Mary shares that she is pregnant with the Son of God and stays with Elizabeth three months.

Lastly, today is exceptional  because  it marks the beginning of the year of Jubilee.

 

 

 

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