Monday, September 26, 2011

Sounding the Shofar - Faithfully Waiting for the Return of the King!

Faithfulness. I love that word. I love all it represents. Yahweh's faithfulness is precious to me! I know He keeps His Word and keeps His promises.....always. I never have to wonder or second guess or be afraid that maybe He will forget about me or not do what He says He will do. That's shalom and resting in Him. Priceless.

I too want to be faithful. I am betrothed to Him so I am watching how I can be faithful to Him. A man or woman who is engaged in our culture, hangs on every word the person they are engaged to be married to says, looks for little hints of the slightest kind as to how they can please their future husband or wife. Not out of some kind of obligation mind you. No, it is out of the incredible intensity of love for that person that we seek to do whatever pleases him or her. I feel the same way about my soon coming King, Yeshua.

Are you sensing in your spirit that we are in the last days and the time is approaching soon when Yeshua will come again? I am! The "Arab Spring", earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, droughts, all the nations turning against Israel, signs in the sun, moon and all is pointing to a soon return of Yeshua the Messiah and this is what all the fall feasts of Adonai are all about! If you are pretrib, midtrib, postrib or pre-wrath, either way you are looking forward to His soon return. (If you want my view on it read What Could Be the Greatest Deception of Our Time).

In thinking about what celebrating the Feasts of Adonai mean to me, especially the fall Feasts of Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot, I think of celebrating His faithfulness. That may seem strange to some considering these days represent so many things.  But when it comes down to it, I am, through my actions in keeping these moedim (appointments) being faithful because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that HE IS FAITHFUL and HE will keep these appointments! In keeping these appointments with Adonai, I am telling Him, "I believe you. I believe your Word is true and you are coming again when you said you would come." What we believe shows in our actions and what we don't believe shows too.

Yom Teruah is of course the next feast to be fulfilled in the future, so it is this feast that excites me the most of all of them! In great anticipation, each year I look forward to celebrating and blowing the shofar, knowing my Bridegroom is coming for me to take me to the Wedding celebration!

These feasts are rehearsals of things to come and remembrances of what he has already done. If you're wondering what I mean by that, see my post "Why Celebrate Passover or Any Biblical Feast", as it explains all the feasts and what they each represent. These feasts are not "Jewish Feasts" as in Leviticus 23 it clearly states these are Adonai's Feasts for all His people (yes, even the grafted in Gentiles as Romans 11 says) and are to be kept forever, throughout your generations no matter where you live (not just those in the land of Israel). I'd encourage anyone new to these Feasts to read Leviticus 23 in it's entirety and notice how many times Adonai also says these are to be kept throughout your generations or forever. It is my firm belief that the restoration of these biblical Feasts of Adonai to ALL of  Yahweh's people, Jew AND Gentile, is a move of the Ruach haKodesh in getting His Bride ready in these last days. We are repenting of our pagan holidays and returning to those that Yahweh has ordained for us and in obedience we are finding incredible blessings!

The Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah this year (the dates change from year to year) is Sept 28-30, depending on the sighting of the new moon. These feasts are all connected together with Yom Kippur coming 10 days after Yom Teruah followed by Sukkot 5 days after Yom Kippur. If you want to celebrate but don't know how and don't have a shofar, come join us at Sar Shalom if you are local, where we will be celebrating at 7pm on Sept 28th followed by a midrash into the wee hours and also a service on the 29th at 11am. Click here for details.

If you don't know much about a betrothal or the ketubah or a Jewish wedding celebration, then when Messiah says in Yochanan (John) 14:2-3, "In my Father's house are many places to live. If there weren't, I would have told you; because I am going there to prepare a place for you.  Since I am going and preparing  a place for you, I will return to take you with me; so that where I am, you may be also", it won't make much sense.  Yeshua spoke these words to comfort His disciples after he celebrated Pesach (Passover) with them because He was preparing them for His death. What does Passover have to do with the Feast of Trumpets? What is not commonly understood is that in a Jewish wedding the prospective bride and groom are betrothed to each other which is much different in many ways to the Western way of engagement. During this betrothal ceremony (which is actually much more serious and more like a wedding ceremony as they are considered husband and wife at this point) a cup is shared and the moment the woman drinks the cup she accepts the man as her husband. The ketubah is the written and signed agreement between the husband and wife listing their commitments and responsibilities to one another. When the Israelites said to Yahweh before Mt Sinai that they would obey whatever He commanded, they were entering into that covenant agreement or ketubah with Adonai. Similarly, in the New or Renewed Covenant with Yeshua, we enter into covenant with Him and come under His headship. When the disciples drank the cup with Yeshua that is exactly what they were doing.

I am not an expert on Jewish weddings (and I am thinking this is in Messiah's day, not the typical Jewish weddings taking place today in the 21st century), but have found what I do know to be absolutely fascinating as it relates to Yom Teruah. Traditionally, after the betrothal, the groom takes off! Yes, you read that right. Not what most brides would like to see happen! Yeshua went away as well when He died, rose and then ascended to heaven, didn't He....hmmmm. Let's keep going as it gets better. During this time, the bride and groom are considered married, but not together and not to be physically intimate with each other. The bride prepares herself during this time, making herself ready, and keeps watch for the bridegroom to come and get her and take her to the wedding chamber.  She keeps her eyes and ears peeled, because, yep, you guessed it....she is waiting for THE SHOFAR to sound alerting her that the bridegroom is coming for her, which is known as "the day and the hour that only the Father knows". Okay, this should be blowing you away by now if you know your Scriptures!!!  This is known as the day and the hour that no man knows, only the Father, because it is the FATHER that tells the Son to go get His Bride!!! All the time they have been separated from each other, the bridegroom is preparing a place for his bride in his father's house. For believers, it's been about 2,000 years, but hey, who's counting? Well, that's 2 prophetic days, so that makes me feel better. I digress....What typically was done is adding on to the father's house (remember when Yeshua said, "in my Father's house are many rooms") and when that was ready, the Father would make sure all the preparations were done and tell the son, "Go get your bride!"Then and only then, the son would go get his bride and bring her to the place prepared for her in his Father's house.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:36 says concerning when Yeshua is coming back for His Bride, "But when that day and hour will come, no one knows - not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father." 

A few verses later in Mattityahu 25:1-13 Yeshua says this:  "The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible. The foolish ones took lamps with them but no oil, whereas the others took flasks of oil with their lamps. Now the bridegroom was late, so they all went to sleep. It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, 'The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet him!' The girls all woke up and prepared their lamps. The foolish ones said to the sensible ones, 'Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.' 'No', they replied, 'there may not be enough for both you and us. Go to the oil dealers and buy some for yourselves.' But as they were going off to buy, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. Later, the other bridesmaids came. 'Sir! Sir!' they cried, 'Let us in!' But he answered, 'Indeed! I tell you, I don't know you!' So stay alert, because you know neither the day or the hour."

Is it some kind of coincidence that Yeshua is using this as an illustration for His second coming to get His Bride? I don't think so at all. Now, before you say we can't know the day or the hour because the Word just said so, I will say, "Yes and No!". We do not know the EXACT day or hour, but we can know the season, and we can know which Feast represents His coming. Interesting that Yeshua uses 10 bridesmaids to illustrate this idea of watching and being ready, knowing the season. Oil can represent the Ruach haKodesh. So the wise virgins/bridesmaids are listening to His voice and know when the time of His coming is near enough to not be asleep when He comes!

Listen and consider seriously what Paul writes to the concerned Thessalonians about the Lord's coming and the rapture/resurrection here in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6:
"But you have no need to have anything written to you, brothers, about the times and dates when this will happen; because you yourselves well know that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people are saying, 'Everything is so peaceful and secure,' then destruction will suddenly come upon them, the way labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there is no way they will escape. But you brothers, are not in the dark, so that the Day should take you by surprise like a thief; for you are all people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We don't belong to the night or to darkness, so let's not be asleep, like the rest are; on the contrary, let us stay alert and sober."
To those who are in darkness, He will come like a thief in the night. These are like the foolish virgins without oil in their lamps. To those who belong to the light in Yeshua and have an intimate relationship with Him, He will NOT be coming as a thief in the night...because they will be busy watching, staying alert and making themselves ready!  That is what Shaul (Paul) is saying here, yet most take the verses out of context to say that we cannot know the timing of His return. We cannot say what exact year or exact day He will be coming, but we can know when the season is, and that season is now!

So many passages of scriptures make more sense when we understand the Hebraic culture and context in which they were written! This whole Pesach celebration was like a betrothal ceremony and what Yeshua said totally mirrored the Jewish wedding customs of the day. When He said He would come again, He is speaking of Yom Teruah as the exact day in which He would come. It is the FEAST OF YOM TERUAH that we anticipate Him coming to get His Bride...or what we would call His second coming/rapture/resurrection depending on your eschatology! It is the day and hour that only the Father knows! Yom Teruah is the ONLY feast that can be called "the day or the hour that no one knows" because it is the only one on a "new moon" where the sliver of the moon has to be cited and seen before it is even declared.  So, this feast is known by that same description.

This will be my 4th year celebrating Yom Teruah and I learn more each year. This year we are blowing the shofar in the morning and reading Psalm 27 each day during the month of Elul. Elul is the Hebrew month (30 days) leading up to Yom Teruah, then there are 10 days (the Ten Days of Awe)  between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is also called the Day of Atonement which is a fast day, a very solemn day when historically the High Priest would (once a year) make atonement for the sins of Israel. This is a season of time where "the King is in His field". Elul is a time of reflection, repentance and reconciliation where we examine our hearts and make ourselves ready. Of course, we should be doing this all the time. But isn't it true that there are seasons for certain things? Isn't it true that when we get closer to an appointed time, a "deadline" if you will, that we start to get more serious about preparing and getting ready for it? I know I definitely feel that way with all the the prophetic shaking going on in the world today. Time is short!

One of these Yom Teruah's in the future, when the shofar sounds and we are rehearsing, it will turn into the real deal! Do you hear the sound of the shofar? The shofar says the King is coming! The shofar says repent, and shema (hear and obey) the Word of Yahweh! The ram's horn is a symbol of our faith and the ram Yahweh provided in place of Isaac (who is said to be 37 by the way) when Abraham went in obedience to sacrifice his only son. The shofar says....WAKE UP Bride of Messiah!

Here is an incredibly gifted shofar player.....

Elul is an Hebrew acronym for "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine" straight out of Song of Solomon! I have this very inscription on a purity ring I wear on my wedding finger. It proclaims that I am betrothed to Him, I belong to Him alone.  I may not have an earthly husband any longer, but I have a Bridegroom who is Faithful and True and He is El Shaddai, the One who is all sufficient. This is a time of intimacy with Adonai, not a sad time, but a time to be sober minded and hear Him speaking to us about where we are in our walk with Him. If there are areas of our lives that need addressing, it is the time to do it. If there are relationships that need to be restored, now is the time to make things right if you can.

I don't know about you, but I am rehearsing this very important day when Messiah comes for His bride, the remnant. Just like a wedding rehearsal here on earth, we need to be prepared for what it will be like and what will be happening. That is one of the purposes for this wonderful feast day!!!  The day of the Wedding is coming soon because we are prophetically at the end of the 6th day and soon the 7th day Shabbat, the Millennium reign of Messiah will commence. Are you ready to meet your King and Bridegroom? It isn't too late to enter into that covenant with Him and be betrothed to Yeshua! Soon the door will be closed and the foolish virgins who didn't keep oil in their lamps will not be invited to the wedding celebration. Those are some of the saddest words in all of Scripture. The time for repentance or teshuvah is NOW before it is too late!

May you be ready for the soon coming King! Blessings to all of you celebrating the Feasts of Adonai!

"Behold He comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the sun, at the trumpet call! Lift your voice, it's the year of Jubilee! Out of Zion's hill salvation comes!"   - Days of Elijah by Robin Mark

1 comment:

  1. Another outstanding, thought provoking post. Thank you! The excitement here is unfurling like a banner in the wind.