Sunday, March 12, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? -- Week 6 - Feast of Trumpets

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out    

--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD?

Facilitated by †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) 

(8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17) on 3/12/17

We are continuing in the discussion from Leviticus 23, regarding the Feasts of the LORD.  This week, we discuss the Feast of Trumpets.

Let's review first.   
Leviticus 23.....
  • We learned more about the Sabbath, about how God declared it a day to call people to take a rest together.
  • We learned about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, how it began in the story of Exodus from Egypt, observed throughout the Bible, observed by Jesus Christ, observed by His Disciples.  Even from the beginning, Passover points to Jesus - our true Passover Lamb.  Christ's death fulfilled the ritual of the slaughtered lamb.  This is commemorated along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the seven day festival right after Passover.  We learned how the Passover Seder meal is done to remind of the Exodus from slavery.  But also the unleavened bread (matza) is broken into small pieces and cups of wine are shared among the participants in the meal.  Jesus said His Body is broken for us, and Blood is the new Wine poured out for us.  Over time, the Passover and the Unleavened Bread have become blended together as one Feast to the LORD.  The Crucifixion occurred during this Feast.  Today we observe communion in remembrance Jesus sacrifice, and the deeper understanding of how Christ's death brings fullness to the Passover lamb and the transformation of letting Christ live in us.  Only by taking on Jesus' character can we truly overcome sin.  This is the first of three mandatory Feasts to be kept as sacrifice before the LORD.  Christians should pay special attention to the Crucifixion.
  • We learned about the Feast of First Fruits, which took place at the beginning of the Spring Harvest and signified dependence upon God.  After the Exodus, the Israelites brought the first fruits of their harvest before the priest, to acknowledge that God had delivered them from Egypt and had given them the Promised Land.  We also saw that this occurred on Resurrection Sunday.  Christ was the first to rise from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20).  
  • We learned of the Feast of Weeks / Pentecost.  This Feast of Weeks was eagerly celebrated because it signified the completion of the early harvest, the very first harvest from the fields.  Pentecost signaled a good year ahead for an Israelite.  And in celebration, people would bring the first of their harvest to the priest, to be waved before the LORD.   In the New Testament, we see a deeper and more profound meaning to this.  We see Jesus fulfilling His promise to send the Holy Spirit and to never leave His followers as orphans.  At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples.  This is the second of three mandatory Feasts to be kept as a sacrifice before the LORD.  Christians should pay special attention to Pentecost.
---------- These first three Feasts (the Spring Feasts) are directly fulfilled by the first coming of the Messiah.  The Fall Feasts represent events yet to be fulfilled and are directly connected to Christ's return and to Israel's promised national salvation. ----------

Today, we learn about The Feast of Trumpets. - Leviticus 23:23-25
This is performed on the first day of the first day of the seventh month.  Today it is called Rosh Hashanah.  Even though this term is not mentioned in scriptures, the name has transformed to signify a new year.  The name means, Head of the Year.  So much like we have the concept of new years in different contexts... such as a new fiscal year, or a new school year, or a new farming year, where the newness doesn't line up with the calendar year;  so do the Jewish people have several different "new years."  Nisan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and calendar months, Elul 1 (August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (February) is the new year for trees to determine when first fruits can be eaten, etc, and Tishri 1 (Sept/October) is Rosh Hashanah for the new year of years, when the Jewish calendar increases the year number.  Over the course of the history of Israel, the rabbis transformed this Feast into the start of the New Year based on their belief that this was the exact day when God created the World.

On Rosh Hashanah, the trumpet blasts to signal to Israel that they are entering a sacred season, right at the end of their agricultural and festival year.  This begins the ten days of penitence culminating in Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).   The Torah is silent about why the trumpet (or shofar, a ram's horn) is blown on this particular day.  But when we read the New Testament, we see how this day corresponds prophetically with Christ's return.  1 Thessalonians 4:16–17  The Shofar will sound in heaven, the dead in Christ will rise from their graves, and those still alive will meet Jesus in the air.  

The month before Tishri is called Elul.  Elul is a time of repentance among the Jewish people in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  The name of the month of Elul --- spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed --- is said to be an acronym of "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li," "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine," a quote from Song of Songs 6:3.  This acronym is appropriate as the Beloved is God and I is the Jewish people.  However, in Aramaic, Elul means "search," which is also appropriate as this is the time of year to search our hearts before the Day of Atonement.  Also in tradition, it is believed that Moses spent the month of Elul on Mount Sinai preparing the second set of tablets after the incident of the golden calf.  He came back down from the mountain at the end of Yom Kippur when repentance was complete.  

During the month of Elul, the shofar is blown after morning services every weekday, but not blown on Sabbath.  The shofar is blown as a wake up call for sleepers, designed to rouse us from our complacency.  The shofar is a call to repentance.  The shofar is blown to make major announcements, including the Return of Christ.  (Revelation 8 and 11)

I personally believe we are living in a time of Elul.  God is calling us to search our hearts, to repent and to draw close to Him.  I believe this is a good time for us to ask, are we his Beloved?  See, it isn't enough that we know Him, but does He know us?  Matthew 7:21-23.

Also, we must ask, is the LORD our beloved?  Isaiah 54:5-10

The Feast of Trumpets is a challenge for us to maintain a spiritual vigilance for the return of Jesus Christ.   Mark 13:35-37  

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