Hebrew Month of Elul, A Time of Seeking God

This past Monday, August 25th began the first day of the sixth Biblical month of ELUL.  Elul is a very significant month as we begin to look toward the Feast of the Lord, Tabernacles.  This is the month of Mercy, Redemption, and Forgiveness.  Interestingly enough there are 40 days from the first day of Elul, August 25th, the beginning of Yom Kippur the day of Atonement.  This is called “Season of Teshuvah.”   In the Old Testament there were 50 days from the Exodus until Moses was on Mt. Sinai and received the Covenant Commandments from God on the Tablet.  Then there is another 40 day period from when Moses burned the Golden Calf and judge the transgressors and broke the tablet, until he went back on top of Sinai a second time.  Then God called him up to Mt. Sinai a second 40 day period where is interceded for Israel.  The third 40 day period God called Moses to Mt Sinai to write the Tablet with His Covenant Laws starting with the 1st day of Elul, where 40 more days of revelation was revealed to Moses.  Going through the 10th day of Tishri, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Thus fulfilling the repentance and the mercy of Israel from the Idolatry of worshipping the Golden Calf. 

Traditionally these 40 days are a time of offering prayers of Repentance and Forgiving others for the wrongs and offenses against you.  This is what the Prophet Isaiah actually was referring to in Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while he is near.”  There are three 40 day periods starting from the Exodus and Passover until Yom Kippur a 120 days. Jesus himself was tested for 40 days before He started his earthly ministry.  As followers of Yeshua, we should use this time to walk in a 40 day period of repenting, confessing, and forgiving.   Shabbat Shalom as you focus on your redemption during this Season of Teshuvah.   Jim and Debbie Laymon, Wellspring Israel.

The Biblical Year of Jubilee and Financial Collapse

The Hebrew Year of Shemittah:

SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 BY PASTOR TIM SWANSON
The shemittah and financial collapse.
Let’s see if I can try and put this together.
Wednesday evening we watched part 2 of Isaiah 9:10 – Judgment. This final installment had some eye-opening information.
Rabbi Cahn shared with us about the shemittah or the release. Two things would happen.
Every seven years Hebrews were required by Torah to let the land have a Sabbath rest; in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Lev 25:4
And at the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release. Deut 15:1-2
This release always takes place on the Hebrew calendar of Elul 29.
In 2001 that day fell on September 17th, just 6 days after 9/11.
The stock market fell dramatically around the world. On this day at the end of this 7 year period, the US Dow dropped 7 percent!
It was one of the biggest drops in US history since the Great Depression.
Meanwhile in Israel they were releasing (shemittah) their debts.
7 years later, it is another Elul 29 – September 29, 2009 on the Gregorian calendar.
That month the financial trouble of the US was very evident, but on that particular day it plummeted to a loss of 777 points.
Meanwhile in Israel they were releasing (shemittah) their debts.
The Rabbi believes that this is part of the judgment against us and that our finances were “released” or allowed that Sabbath rest.
I find this very fascinating.
Just a quick fact, the Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar cycle so the months are 29 days in length; so every month begins with a new moon and the full moon will always fall on the 15th of any given month.
The day after Elul 29 is Tishrei 1 or Rosh Hashanah – New Year. I usually refer to it by the celebration that takes place on that day, Yom Teruah – Feast of Trumpets.
If 2008 ended the 7-year period then the next 7-year period will be on Elul 29 in 2015, which is September 13 (which has a partial eclipse of the sun).
This is in the final phase of a tetrad, a succession of 4 total lunar eclipses. A tetrad is not an uncommon thing; the last one took place in 1967-68, when Jerusalem was reclaimed in the Six Day War.
The one before that was in 1949-50, right after Israel became a nation but during those years Israel had its first election for a Prime Minister and had several campaigns to return Jews back to Israel from other nations.
The interesting thing about these next “blood” moon eclipses is they all take place on Jewish Holydays. In the mix will be some solar eclipses, including an annular, a total, and a partial. This has happened before but when it did something significant happened with the Hebrew people or with Israel.

April 15, 2014 total moon Passover
April 29 2014 annular sun
Oct 8, 2014 total moon Feast of Tabernacles
Oct 23 2014 partial sun
Mar 20 2015 total sun
April 4 2015 total moon Passover
Sept 13 2015 partial sun Yom Teruah
Sep 28 2015 total moon Feast of Tabernacles

Now I’m not making any claims as to what will or will not happen.
However, Jesus gives us the best advice to live by in these changing times; Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. Luke 21:28

LIFE’S LITTLE INTERRUPTIONS

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:

The angel of the LORD appeared on the road with a drawn sword to stop him. To Balaam the angel was invisible, but the donkey on which Balaam was riding could see the angel.

To avoid the angel with the drawn sword, the donkey veered from the road into a field. Irritated with his steed, Balaam struck the donkey to force her back onto the road.

A second time the angel appeared in front of the donkey. Balaam still did not see it, but the donkey did. This time the donkey was carrying Balaam through a narrow street between two vineyard walls. There was not much room between the walls. To avoid the angel, the donkey pressed against one wall, crushing Balaam’s foot in the process.

Irritated and in significant pain, Balaam struck the donkey again.

A third time the angel appeared in front of the donkey. This time the way was so narrow that there was no room for the donkey to turn to the left or the right. So the donkey lay down. Still unable to see the angel, Balaam was so angry that he thrashed the poor beast with a stick.

In his blindness, Balaam did not realize that the irritating behavior of his donkey was actually saving his life. The LORD said, “If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live” (Numbers 22:33).

Life is full of irritating obstacles that get in the way of our plans. Throughout any given day, a person experiences countless distractions and complications. It is easy to become impatient and upset with the things and people that get in the way of what we are trying to accomplish. We should learn a lesson from Balaam. Those irritating obstacles might be from the LORD. God may have other plans for us. Rather than get upset when our plans are derailed, we should seek the LORD’s direction. In Balaam’s life, God was in the midst of the interruptions. The next time the car breaks down or the flight is canceled or some other unforeseen interruption rears up, rather than get irritated, remember the story of Balaam.

People of faith sometimes speak of God opening and closing doors. This is an idiom that refers to God’s divine direction in life. For example, suppose a person set out to take a job in a certain field. He submitted an application for a position for which he was fully qualified. He was confident that the job would be his. Inexplicably, he did not get the position. A person like Balaam would become bitter over the disappointment. A person of faith would say, “God closed that door. He knows what is best. I will look elsewhere.”

When seeking direction in life, a person needs to keep an eye on the donkey to what God might be saying.see what God might be saying.

Aaron Man of Peace

When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days. (Numbers 20:29)
Why did Israel weep for Aaron thirty days? Aaron was 123 years old when he died, a ripe old age, full of years, yet all Israel wept for Aaron thirty days. Thirty days is the customary term of mourning for a close relative, and Aaron, as high priest over the congregation, was like a close relative to all Israel. According to Jewish tradition, Aaron was especially beloved by all Israel because he was known as a peacemaker. He was like a family member to each person because he had made peace within their families. Rabbi Hillel used to say, “Be one of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace.” (m.Avot 1:12.) To be a disciple of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, is to be a disciple of Yeshua, the Prince of Peace. Rabbi Yeshua said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

One traditional teaching about Aaron says that when husbands and wives quarreled, they would seek out Aaron. He would counsel them with words of peace and bring reconciliation to their relationship. He was so adept at making peace between husbands and wives that he had many children named after him:

There were thousands in Israel who were called by the name of Aaron, for if not for Aaron, they would not have come into the world. Aaron made peace between husband and wife so that they came together, and they named the child that was born after him. (Avot d’Rabbi Nattan)
Another popular folktale about Aaron says that when two men were fighting, Aaron would go to the first one and say to him, “Reuben, I was talking with Simon, and he was saying he’s feeling really bad about this fight you are having, and he wants to make peace.” Then Aaron would go to Simon and say, “I ran into Reuben, and he was telling me that he’s feeling really bad about this fight you are having, and he wants to make peace with you.” When the two men encountered each other, they would each assume the other wanted to make peace. They would embrace and set their argument aside.

Perhaps this is why the psalmist says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes” (Psalm 133:1-2).

These stories about Aaron remind us that we are called not only to be peaceful people but also to be peacemakers, a people proactively making peace. Being a peacemaker is one of the things that characterize us as disciples of Yeshua.

Feast of Pentecost: Trumpets and Cloud

Rabbis taught, “Six blasts were blown on Friday evening before the Sabbath. The first one warned people to cease working in the fields. The second one warned people in the city to cease working. The third warned people to kindle their Sabbath lights … [finally the last three] a tekiah, teruah, and a tekiah were blown to mark the onset of the Sabbath.” (b.Shabbat 35b)

Throughout the Israelites’ journey in the wilderness, the LORD accompanied them by means of the miraculous cloud of glory, which overshadowed the camp. When the cloud lifted, indicating the time for breaking camp had arrived, the priesthood sounded a long trumpet blast on a pair of silver trumpets to alert the people that the time for setting out had arrived. They also used other distinctive trumpet blasts. They sounded staccato trumpet blasts to convene the assembly. The priests sounded different combinations of trumpet blasts for declaring the onset of festivals and Sabbaths and other blasts for invoking divine assistance in battle.

The use of the trumpets to indicate the onset of the Sabbath and appointed times carried over into Temple practice and even later Synagogue practice.

Jerusalem archaeology has revealed a stone, part of the second Temple from the days of the Apostles, on which the words “to the place of the trumpeting for” are inscribed. Archaeologists surmise that the stone might have originally read, “To the place of the trumpeting for the priests.” It must have once marked the station high up on the Temple pinnacle where the priests stood to blast the trumpets at the beginning of Sabbaths and festivals.

The combination of the cloud of glory and the blasting of the trumpet to indicate the onset of the appointed time are consistent with the second coming of Messiah. The appointed time of His coming will be heralded with the blast of trumpets. It will mark the onset of the great Sabbath of the Messianic era. It will be a time of war during which Israel calls upon divine intervention. It will be a time of assembling the congregation.

In the book of Daniel, Messiah at His coming is described as one coming “with the clouds of heaven, one like a Son of Man.” (Daniel 7:13) For that reason, the Sages of the Talmud titled Messiah as “Bar Naphle,” a transliterated form of “Son of the Clouds.” The Targum on 1 Chronicles 3:24 picks out the Israelite name Anani (ענני) as a title for Messiah. Anani means “he of the clouds”; it is based on the Hebrew word for “cloud,” (anan, ענן). The Targum explains that Anani is a title for King Messiah who will reveal Himself in the future.

 

Why I Celebrate Shabbat

Here is a quick over view. We are not to celebrate Shabbat (Sabbath) religiously or legalistically. Shabbat simply means a day of rest. There are three seasons, cycles and times when God ask His people to follow: The Feast Day’s, Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, Months, and Sabbath. Why do I celebrate Shabbat, because Jesus did. The Lord told Debbie and I if we will finish the week in worship and honor to Him (Shabbat) and the First day of the week with celebration of His Son, it would be like, “book ends of blessing in our lives. Here is a brief teaching I have taught on why we celebrate Shabbat? Walk in Shabbat Shalom!

As we approach the Sabbath and think about this day, this is what a Rabbi said, “It is never all or nothing.” Another words, If you do one thing wrong or miss something, it does not ruin the integrity of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for us, It is not our responsibility to perfectly perform some ritual to please God.

Why do we celebrate the Sabbath:
1. One of the Ten Commandments tells us to remember the Sabbath and Keep Holy. Exodus 20:8-11
Hebrew word for remember means, “to mark, to remember by implication; to mention;
to male: Exodus 13:13, “All the firstborn among man among your sons you shall redeem.”

The Sabbath is to unique and something different.
Exodus tells us to keep it “Holy”. Not just remember it, but set it aside.
Exodus 16:23, Exodus 31:16, Deuteronomy 5: 12, 15

2. Hebrews 4:4-12

We are to enter into a rest so the word of God can penetrate into our heart and souls to work its way into our hearts. V. 9- “do not harden your hearts…”, “Therefore there remains a rest for the people of God.”

v. 11- diligent means here, “labor” not like labor, but it means to make every effort. Let us make every effort to enter this rest…

3. Jesus practiced the Sabbath

Luke 4:16, Luke 2:21-23, Luke 2:41-47, 49,
Jesus practice the Torah-John 2:16, 4:31, John 20:16, John 3:1-2
Mark 1:21, Mark 6:2,

Jesus and the Sabbath Miracles:
1. Healing of the man with an unclean spirit, Mark 1:21 and Luke 4:31-37
2. Healing of Peter’s mother in law, Mt. 18:14-15, Mark 1:29-31, and Luke 4:38-39
3. Healing with of the man with a withered hand, Mt. 12:9-13, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 6:6-10
4. Healing of the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethsesda, John 5:1-18
5. Healing of the woman who had a spirit of infirmity, Luke 13:10-17
6. Healing of man with dropsy, Luke 14:1-4
7. Healing of a man blind from birth, John 9:1-16

Over and over Jesus healed on the Sabbath to prove that the day was not meant to be one of legalism, rather it was an appointed time, where God meets with us and His people meet with him. That God might touch every area of our lives and lead us into rest. Menuhuh- a time of peace, healing, and miracle provision

HOUSE OF THE FATHER

House of the Father
By their families, by their fathers’ households … (Numbers 1:2)
The census in the wilderness illustrates the family structure and relationship of the nation of Israel. All the children of Israel were one large family. The hierarchical family relationships reveal the Bible’s patriarchal worldview. The breakdown of the nation into tribe, clan and household demonstrates the strong central position of fathers.

The entire nation looked back to one common father. They were the descendents of Jacob. That’s why they were called “children of Israel.” (Israel is another name for Jacob.)

Each Israelite could trace his line of descent through one of the twelve sons of Jacob. That line of descent formed his or her tribal identity. Those who were descended from a common father were referred to as a tribe. The twelve sons of Jacob were fathers over the tribes. The tribes of Israel were further broken down into large extended families. The Hebrew word for “family” is mishpachah (משפחה). However, when used in the tribal sense, it does not refer to a nuclear family household; it refers to the large extended family of a common forefather within a tribe. A better English word is “clan.” A clan is like a sub-tribe—a tribe within a tribe.

Every clan was composed of many households. The Hebrew word for “household” is beit av (בית אב), a term that literally translates as “house of a father.” The father’s household was composed of himself, his wife (or wives), children and grandchildren.

The common denominator in all these family rankings is the central position of a father. In the biblical world, fatherhood was the essential ingredient for family and identity. Isn’t that chauvinistic? Not from the perspective of the biblical woman. She regarded her father and husband as her prestige and her identity. They were the affirmation of her femininity. They provided her protection, sustenance and dignity. It’s a different way of thinking from what we have today.

The patriarchal worldview explains why Paul was so eager to establish spiritual paternity for the Gentile believers. To be reckoned as part of the nation, the Gentile believers needed to come under the household of Israel’s fathers. In Paul’s theology, Gentile believers are adopted into the family of Israel.

Jew and Gentile alike, we all share in the person of Messiah and are fellow heirs, citizens in the Israel of God—the Kingdom of Messiah. We have all been brought near by the same atonement and given the same Torah.

Still, a Gentile believer might wonder which tribe of Israel he is to be identified with. Since the Gentile disciple’s participation in Israel is only by means of faith in Yeshua the son of David, the Gentile’s tribal affinity is naturally with David’s tribe: the tribe of Judah.

SHALOM IN THE LAND

Shalom in the Land
I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. (Leviticus 26:6)
When the nation of Israel as a whole is walking in covenant faithfulness, she will experience shalom (שלום) in the land. The Hebrew word shalom is more than just a greeting. It means “peace” and “wholeness.” In this context it refers to security from enemies. Moreover, the Torah promises protection from harmful beasts in the land.

Anyone who follows the news from the Middle East knows that the modern State of Israel does not currently enjoy a complete peace. Since the formation of the Jewish state, 66 years ago, the tiny nation of Israel has been sorely vexed by enemies both outside and inside her borders. The shalom of Israel is under constant threat from the hostile neighbor nations and from terrorists.

Leviticus says that when the nation of Israel as a whole is walking in covenant faithfulness, she will vanquish her enemies. The Torah says that, “Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword” (Leviticus 26:8). Five Jews will pursue a hundred of Israel’s enemies, and a hundred Jews will chase down ten thousand enemies. Notice that the ratio is not consistent between the five Jews and the hundred Jews. Five chasing one hundred yields a ratio of 1:20. One hundred chasing ten thousand yields a ratio of 1:100. Why the discrepancy?

Rashi explains, “You cannot compare a few who do the Torah to many who do the Torah.” In other words, the power of righteous people banding together increases exponentially. Five Torah keepers are great. They possess the spiritual potential by which each one of them can single-handedly defeat twenty of Israel’s enemies. One hundred Torah keepers have even greater spiritual potential. Each one of them possesses the potential to single-handedly defeat one hundred of Israel’s enemies. This teaches that each individual who joins himself to the ranks of the faithful increases their efficacy by more than one. I am not sure if they will literally work on the field of battle until Messiah is at the head of the army, but remember the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer who single-handedly defeated a battalion of Philistines.

The point is that each person is critical to the whole. Likewise, the body of believers is more than just the sum of its parts. Each person who commits to a life of discipleship exponentially strengthens the entire body.

According to Leviticus, the most effective measure Israel could take to improve her security situation is to turn to the commandments of the Torah. When Messiah comes, He will fully turn Israel’s hearts back to Torah, and He will establish complete shalom in the land.

Pray for peace in the Land! Pray for the welfare of the State of Israel.

A Good Time For Spiritual

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:
We are all on a journey with our Creator. Our journeys are full of purpose and design. And, like all travelers, we make constant choices to move ahead, stand still, drift, or fall backwards. The seed of redemption planted in us at Passover has forty-nine days to grow and mature until the harvest of Pentecost. These days of counting provide a natural and timely opportunity to consider our path and make goals about our destinations.

You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh [week]; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:16)
The Torah commanded the Israelites to bring the “sheaf of the first fruits” of the grain harvest to the Temple on the day after the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread. The first grain to ripen in the land of Israel is the barley crop. The harvest ritual of offering the first fruits of the barley harvest in the Temple is called the Day of the Omer. An omer (עמר) is a biblical unit of measure that indicates about one sheaf’s worth of grain.

Coming immediately after the first day of the week of Unleavened Bread, the Day of the Omer is the anniversary of the Master’s resurrection. According to the gospel of John, the Master suffered on the day of Passover. He remained in the tomb on the first day of Unleavened Bread and rose after the Sabbath: the day of the Omer.

Year after year, the day of the first fruits of the barley reminds us of the resurrection of Messiah, the “first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).  

The day of the first fruits of the barley offering is day one of a forty-nine day count-off to the festival of Pentecost.  Pentecost is the fiftieth day.  The name Pentecost is derived from the Greek word for “fifty.”

The Torah commands us to count each of the intervening days. The forty-nine-day count-off is called the “counting of the omer.” During the forty-nine days of the omer count, the wheat crop in Israel ripened. By the end of the omer count, the crop was ready for harvest, and the first fruits of the wheat crop were offered as a bread offering in the Temple at Pentecost.

The days of the counting of the omer are an important part of the cycle of sanctification for believers. In Judaism, the forty-nine days of the counting of the omer are traditionally regarded as a time of spiritually shining up the soul in anticipation of Pentecost. In Messianic Judaism, the forty-nine days are extra special because they include the anniversary of the forty days that the risen Messiah was among His disciples; they include the anniversary of His ascension, and they culminate with the anniversary of the day the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers. As we count our way through the forty-nine days, we are advancing along the cycle of sanctification.

Fifty days later comes the festival of Pentecost. It is called Pentecost because that is the Greek word for “fifty.” Its Hebrew name is the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot, שבועות) because there are seven weeks of days between the beginning of Unleavened Bread and the festival of Pentecost.

According to Judaism, the day of Pentecost is the anniversary of the day God spoke the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai. According to the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Master’s resurrection.

Notes taken from First Fruits of Zion Edrash.