Time to Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles!

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Shalom friends!

Tomorrow night at sundown marks the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh (and final) annual feast of Israel.  What an incredible celebration it is!  (Be sure to read to the end for a special invitation to celebrate!)

Yesterday, we reviewed the fall feasts, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Now we come to the culmination of the feasts!  Jesus will fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles, just as He has already fulfilled the spring feasts (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost).  In fact, fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles will also fulfill the Davidic Covenant, and we know that time period as the Millennial Kingdom!

It is this time period that the prophet Zechariah writes about in the passage above.  Notice that ALL nations are invited to the Feast of Tabernacles to worship the King of Kings!  This is the only Jewish feast that isn’t totally, 100% Jewish.  Why?

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
~Galatians 3:28

Related imageOne in Christ Jesus!  No Jews, no Greeks (no Gentiles)…just one in Him!  No need for “Jewish feasts” any longer because Jewish feasts are simply shadows of what is to come.  Jesus is the substance!  (See Colossians 2:17.  The context is a bit different here, but the principle is the same: God uses certain things to teach about Himself.  Those things, however, are not the “real deal,” they simply point to the “real deal” – Jesus!)

Thus, we are all invited to the Feast of Tabernacles, where the greatest worship the world has ever seen will take place!  It comes after the Feast of Trumpets (to be fulfilled when a trumpet sounds and Jesus’ foot touches down on the Mount of Olives) and Yom Kippur (to be fulfilled when the eyes of our precious Jewish friends are opened, they repent and finally see their Messiah).

For those who follow this blog, we just finished a study called Why Israel Matters.  In it, one of the foundational principles is that all nations will be blessed through Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:3), and we know that blessing to be salvation.  Put the puzzle pieces together and you come to this:

  • God set apart a special group of people (Abraham and his descendants) for a very unique purpose: to be vehicles of world redemption.
  • They became that, but missed the day of His visitation (Luke 19:41-44).  ie – they did not recognize Him as the Messiah.
  • That opened the door for Gentiles to be grafted into the olive tree.  (The olive tree represents spiritual Israel.  Thus, Gentiles were offered a means of salvation through the Jewish Messiah!)
  • God implemented the 7 major feasts as a calendar of His plan for His people (the Jews), which includes drawing them back to Himself…in salvation.  Four of the seven are already fulfilled, the final 3 will happen in very quick succession!
  • Once the trumpet sounds and Jesus physically appears, the Jews will repent and turn to Him, THEN Jesus says He will “tabernacle” among His chosen ones…both Jews and Gentiles, and there will no longer be a distinction!

Wow!  Incredible, isn’t it!?!  I can hardly wait for that day!

But…we can practice while still on earth!  It is a faint glimpse, but a glimpse nonetheless, when the Feast of Tabernacles kicks off in Israel tomorrow evening.

Did you know the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem hosts a huge Feast of Tabernacles celebration each year, and that people come from all over the world to worship the King of Kings right there in the Holy City!?!  Yes, its a preview!

Most of us cannot physically go to Jerusalem to participate, but thanks to modern technology, the ICEJ sends the Feast of Tabernacles celebration right to our computer screens!  They will live stream (and record) events during the Feast of Tabernacles, and they invite us all to join!  You will find a calendar of events here, so join in by clicking the “Media/Live Stream” button on the top right!

Take advantage!  Join the celebration, and rejoice with believers around the world in worship of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  Enjoy!

Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles …what Does it All Mean?

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If you study Jewish culture and tradition, you are likely aware that we’re in the midst of the fall feasts of Israel.  There are 7 major feasts, originally prescribed in Scripture, but lived out in either secular context or rabbinic context by most Jews.  The first three (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits) are bunched tightly together in the spring, Pentecost follows 50 days later, then three more feasts (Feasts of Trumpets, Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles) are bunched tightly together in the fall.  Jewish feasts and festivals follow a lunar calendar, so do not occur on the same day each year on our Gregorian calendar.  Also, days on the Hebrew calendar begin at sundown.

This year, the Feast of Trumpets commenced at sundown on September 10.  It is also known as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish civil new year, so is marked by celebration and great joy.  That feast is followed by 10 “days of awe” when Jews fast, pray, examine their lives, repent, forgive and prepare for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  It is a very somber day for Jews, as many wail in repentance, attempting to insure their names are written in the Book of Life.  This year, Yom Kippur occurred between sundown on September 18 and sundown September 19…just a few days ago!  Next up is the Feast of Tabernacles, which is a 7-day feast, beginning on September 23 this year.

But what does it all mean?  Well, on more than one occasion we have discussed each feast and provided Biblical evidence that Jesus is the fulfillment.  (Here and here, for example)  Today, we’ll go a different direction.

Among believers, there are different ideas about Jesus’ fulfillment of the feasts and what it means for us as Christians.  Some of those ideas are just plain wrong.  For example, some say, because the Jews rejected Jesus, the church has replaced Israel and Jesus’ fulfillment of the feasts now applies to the church.  WRONG!  God has not rejected the Jews (read Romans 11:1-2), and the feasts still apply to Israel.

Another common misconception among believers is that, because a trumpet will sound at the rapture, it will occur on the Feast of Trumpets.  But we must understand at least two simple things:

  1. Trumpets are mentioned many times in Scripture, not simply at the rapture.  Thus, the Feast of Trumpets cannot be limited simply a signal of the rapture.
  2. The feasts are Jewish and apply to Israel…not Christians!  God did not implement the feasts as a “Christian thing,” but rather a “Jewish thing!”  Thus, it is highly unlikely the rapture will happen on the Feast of Trumpets!

At the rapture, the trumpet will sound from heaven, but only believers will hear it as we are snatched rapidly from this earth.  However, another trumpet will sound at the Second Coming of Jesus…when He physically returns to earth, stepping foot on the Mount of Olives at the end of the Tribulation.  Revelation tells us that we (“saints,” believers) will be with Him.  Thus, that trumpet is meant for unbelieving Jews, and WILL occur on the Feast of Trumpets, as Jesus fulfills that feast!

The progression of feasts will follow.  The trumpet will announce the coming of Jesus (Feast of Trumpets). Jews will “mourn for Him” and “weep bitterly” (Zechariah 12:10), fulfilling the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  Then, Jesus will tabernacle with them (Feast of Tabernacles).  By God’s grace, all the nations of the world will be invited to go up to Jerusalem to worship at the Feast of Tabernacles, making that the only feast not fully Jewish!  (Zechariah 14:16-18)

Image result for feast of trumpetsNow, one last thing.  In Numbers 10, God commanded Moses to make 2 silver trumpets, then gave him instructions for using them.  Trumpets were sounded to gather and assemble the congregation.  That’s what the trumpets will do for both Christians at the rapture and Jews at the Second Coming!

But why two trumpets…and why silver?  The Old Testament (Isaiah 43:8-13) indicates Israel will gather the nations together and will be a witness.  The New Testament (Acts 1:6-8) identifies Christians (the church) as a witness.  Thus, two trumpets…Israel and the church…are blown to warn the world of what is to come.

Interestingly, silver is precious, but not perfect.  Such is the case with Israel and with the church….precious in God’s sight, though not perfect!

There is so much more to the feasts, the trumpets and all  the other symbolism God has given us in His Word to help us understand the days and times in which we live!  Over the past few days, we have focused on world events that assure us we are living in the last days.  Isn’t it good to know that, despite what might seem “scary” to some, God has laid out His plan for us and it cannot be thwarted!  We are safe in the plans of the One who fulfills those feasts!

I hope you are encouraged by these things!  Check back tomorrow, as we’ll talk more about the Feast of Tabernacles, which is quickly approaching on the Hebrew calendar!

Shalom!

Israel Facing Worst Drought in Almost 100 Years

Image result for sea of galilee droughtIsrael is entering the 6th year of a major drought, with no relief in sight.  As a result, the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s primary source of water, is approaching a 100-year low.  In fact the water level is dangerously close to the level in which intake pipes of water pumps will be above the water line, making it impossible to pump needed water out of the Galilee to neighboring farmland and orchards.

Fortunately, about 70% of Israel’s drinking water now comes from desalination plants along the Mediterranean Sea.  If not for that fact, Israel would quickly be out of water.  Regardless, water needs are such that authorities are warning residents that water consumption may be limited within a year or so.

I am reminded of a time when water will not be an issue!  Zechariah 14 describes that glorious day when, after gathering the nations against Jerusalem, Jesus steps foot on the Mount of Olives to take care of business!  A mighty earthquake will split the Eastern Gate wide open and He will enter.  Then, notice:

And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.
~Zechariah 14:8

Plenty of water will flow from Jerusalem (of all places!)

However, today’s drought is real, and I hope you will join me in praying for the Lord to bless Israel with significant rainfall.  But there is a greater need.  Jesus described Himself as “Living Water” in John 4:7-14.  Then, in Revelation 22:17, He says:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

A greater drought is occurring in the heart and soul of the Jewish people.  Spiritually, they are thirsty, and we (the bride of Christ) join with the Spirit of God, saying “Come…drink from the Living Water!”  God will take care of physical drought conditions, but only Jesus can rid the spiritual drought.

As we’re “about our Father’s business” in these last days, let’s engage in the task before us.  Let’s pray for Jews and Gentiles alike, who are experiencing spiritual drought.  We know the solution!  Are we sharing it?

Elul: A Time to Turn

Dear friends, the fall feasts of Israel are right around the corner and, in case you don’t know, those feasts are:

  • Feast of Trumpets, known in Hebrew as Rosh HaShanah (Israel’s civil New Year)
  • Day of Atonement, known in Hebrew as Yom Kippur
  • Feast of Tabernacles, known in Hebrew as Sukkot

We studied these feasts (as well as the 4 spring feasts) before, but I will remind you that each feast points to Jesus the Messiah!  Here’s a rundown:

  • Passover: Jesus is the Passover Lamb who died for our sins
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    Unleavened Bread

    Feast of Unleavened Bread: Jesus was broken and bruised for us, and was pierced for our transgressions.  (We see those signs in unleavened bread.)

  • Feast of First Fruits: Jesus rose from the dead, becoming the “first fruits,” as we will follow Him in resurrection life
  • Pentecost: When Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent us the Holy Spirit
  • Feast of Trumpets: as believers, we must sound the trumpet, warning others of what is coming.  Also, the trumpet will sound at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:52).
  • Yom Kippur: Time to turn!  On the Day of Atonement, Jewish eyes will be open to see the Messiah and they will mourn (Zechariah 12:10) and repent…and all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26)!
  • Feast of Tabernacles: Jesus will gather all believers (Jew and Gentile) to Jerusalem to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

So, you see that the spring feasts are already fulfilled and the fall feasts point toward Jesus’ second coming!  These are really exciting times!

But the Jews spend a month (Elul) preparing for the fall feasts, and Elul started last Sunday!  Even today, Jews are fasting, praying and repenting ahead of the Feast of Trumpets (or Rosh HaShanah – the Jewish civil New Year).

Read about Elul and the preparation for Rosh HaShanah here. Enjoy!

BTW – Why not join us for a special 2-week experience of The Fall Feasts in a Jewish Home: Unveiling the Wonder.  Just in time for the feasts, special friends, Stan and Jacqui Meyer (Jews for Jesus) will share with us on September 2 and 9 at the Central Campus of CalvaryPHX, 11:00am in the Fellowship Hall.  It will be interactive and very enjoyable as we celebrate Jesus the Messiah in the feasts!  (Directions and more info here.)