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Passover and Easter
Yesterday (3/28/2021), Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) around the world celebrated the first Passover when God Passed-Over the homes of anyone who followed God’s instructions to place the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their homes. This blood protected their firstborn from death. This plague of death was the final plague before Pharaoh’s heart was finally softened and he allowed the Israelites, the Jews, to leave Egypt as commanded by God.
We often forget that Gentiles participated in the first Passover. It is not improbable that some of them placed the blood on their doors as well. The band of people who left Egypt included many Gentiles who wanted to tag along because: they were already followers of the God of the Israelites; they were impressed by Pharaoh’s defeat; they realized the Egyptian gods were not gods and came to faith in the God of the Israelites; they were non-Israelite slaves who wanted to escape; or because they wanted to follow the crowd (Ex 12:38).
It is appropriate for all followers of Yeshua to celebrate Passover, Jew and Gentile alike. Without the first Passover there would not have been a second, Great Passover—Yeshua’s final Passover before He willingly shed His blood as the most important Passover Lamb in history.
With Good Friday and Easter occurring this coming Friday and Sunday (4/2 & 4/4/21), I want to remind us all that Good Friday and Easter were not added to the calendar until hundreds of years after His crucifixion. They are not the dates of Passover and we should be celebrating His ultimate sacrifice according to God’s schedule. (Refer to: “An Appointment with God–Passover.“)
Besides, Good Friday and Easter have pagan origins, as do many of our “Christian” holidays. I’m not going into those in this post. However, if the Easter season is when the congregation that you attend celebrates His sacrifice, please celebrate that and not the “Easter Bunny.”
When celebrating Yeshua’s last Passover, which we do every time we observe Communion, we must never forget the greatest event of all—His resurrection from death as promised by the prophets. Without His resurrection, the first Passover and His last would have had no meaning! It is His resurrection that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is the Son of God, the promised Jewish Messiah, and the Savior of mankind!
He came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand and calling mankind to repentance. Because through His sacrifice as the Lamb of God, and His resurrection from the dead and ascension to the right hand of God, every man, woman, and child who repents of their sin (living in opposition to their Father God’s direction) will receive the Holy Spirt to help them in this life and will live in the presence of God their Father for eternity!
If you have never answered Yeshua’s call to repent and acknowledge Him as your Savior, do so now! If you did acknowledge Him at one time but have strayed from Him, repent and renew your relationship with Him now! It is never too early or too late to acknowledge Him. But what better time to do so than when celebrating His reason for coming to earth! God created you to have a relationship with Himself. Repenting and turning control of your life over to Him is not hard or complicated. Simply tell Him in your own words or use words similar to this simple prayer:
Father God, I am sorry for the many ways that I have ignored You and Your instructions. I thank You that because of Yeshua’s sacrifice and resurrection I have Your forgiveness. I give You my life. I will allow You to guide me as a member of Your family. Thank you, Father. Amen
After praying to give your life to Yeshua, or to rededicate it to Him, get a Bible and begin reading it daily. Start with the New Testament Book of John followed by the Book of Acts. Start talking to Him daily like you talk with a good friend (that’s called prayer). If you don’t have a place to worship, find one that teaches the full truth of the Bible. Among other things, that means that they teach repentance and honor the Jewish people as God’s chosen people.
Also, please contact me through my blog site and tell me of your decision to follow Yeshua. That way, I can pray for you. I promise you will not be put on some automated email list—a least not unless you subscribe to my blogJ)
May God richly bless you as we walk together as members of His family.
Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
An Appointment with God—Rosh HaShanah
For an overview of God’s Appointed Times, see An Appointment with God—God’s Appointed Times. This post will introduce you to Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah.
Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah
Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah is the first of the fall appointments. This year, it was celebrated starting at sundown on Fri, Sept. 18, 2020, through sundown Sept 19, which corresponds to the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri as designated in Lev. 23:24 and Num. 29:1-2. (The Biblical day runs from sundown to sundown, not midnight to midnight.)
Yom Teruah (pronounced yohm te-ROO-ah) means “the day of sounding” as it is designated in Leviticus or “Festival of Trumpets.” Rosh HaShanah (pronounced rohsh hash-shah-NAH) means “head of the year.” Huh, head of the year should be in the 1st month, not the 7th, shouldn’t it? That would be logical. However, the rabbis of old gave such significance to this special Shabbat (Sabbath – all God’s appointed times are Shabbats) that they eventually considered it the start of the spiritual new year. In fact, the Hebrew calendar year number changes on Rosh Hashanah, not on the 1st day of the 1st month, Nissan, which occurs in the spring. In addition, Yom Teruah occurs at the end of the harvest period that ends in the fall, which the Torah calls tzeit ha’shanah, or the “end of the year” (Ex 23:16). This suggests the start of a coming new year. So, that is how it came to be called Rosh Hashanah.
The purpose of Yom Teruah is summed up in the words “regathering and repentance.” It is a day to take stock of our spiritual condition and make any necessary changes to ensure that our lives will be pleasing to God in the coming year. It is considered so important that the 40 days starting with the first of the previous month (Elul) through Yom Kippur on the 10th of Tishri is considered a time of spiritual preparation. This is based on a belief by the Rabbis that on the first of Elul, Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the second set of the Tablets of the Law and that he descended on Yom Kippur.
In Jewish tradition, the Shofar (ram’s horn) is blown calling all to return to the Lord in repentance. The ten days between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are called the Ten Days of Awe or Ten Days of Repentance. This is a period of intense prayer, self-examination, and repentance, which culminates on the fast day of Yom Kippur. Of course, as followers of Yeshua, we know that we do not, in fact cannot, earn God’s forgiveness. He freely provides salvation and forgiveness if we repent (Eph. 2:8-9). But, as we’ll see when we discuss Yom Kippur, our sins always require payment, but Yeshua paid the debt for us. However, Yom Teruah should still remind us of the need to repent of our sins—though we have been forgiven, we are still to be aware of the sins we commit and repent of them. Of course, we don’t need to wait until Yom Teruah to do so. We should repent of sin as soon as we become aware of it. But, Yom Teruah is a good time for believers to take an accounting of their lives and, if needed, renew their relationship with their Lord and Savior, the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.
The blowing of the shofar reminds us of an incident in Gen 22. At God’s instruction, Abraham took his grown son to be sacrificed. God provided a ram caught in a thicket by its horns (shofars, as it were) as a substitution—an indication of the future substitution of Yeshua, the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).
Yom Teruah is a time of celebration. The special customs observed on Rosh HaShanah include: the sounding of the shofar (the blowing of the ram’s horn is prophetic of the return of Yeshua), using round challah (symbolizes the completeness of the year), eating apples and honey and other sweet foods to initiate the start of a sweet new year, and observing the service of Tashlich.
Tashlich is a relatively recent addition to Jewish practice. While there is evidence of similar practices as early as the 1st century CE, the form we see today probably started around the 16th century. The word derives from Micah 7:18-20 and means to “cast away” or “cast off.” It involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or other food into a body of flowing water. Just as the water carries away the bits of bread, so too, our sins are symbolically carried away. For believers, the living water represents Yeshua who has already cast our sins away. However, it is an opportunity for believers to acknowledge that He has done so in a symbolic manner. I have performed this “exercise” and found it to be very spiritually meaningful as a visible demonstration of Yeshua carrying my sins away.
Finally, all of the biblical Holy Days have prophetic fulfillment. While the historical emphasis of Yom Teruah is repentance, the prophetic looks to the future day when the Messiah will gather His flock into the Messianic Kingdom. Rosh Hashanah is a perfect picture of the regathering of believers and the Jewish believing remnant by Yeshua at His second coming. (Refer to Isa. 27:12-13; Matt. 24:31; Eph. 5:14; 1 Thes. 4:16-18; Titus 2:13)
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, An Appointment with God—Yom Kippur. May I suggest subscribing to these posts or following my WordPress page to insure that you do not miss it and other posts? To either follow the page or subscribe to receive an email when they are posted, go to www.WJBsTurn.WordPress.com. Thank you, and…
Until the next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
- Barney Kasdan, “Rosh HaShanah” God’s Appointed Times, Lederer Books, 1993
- The Chosen People Ministries, “Appointed Times of the Lord” The Chosen People Vol XXVI, Issue 8, September 2020
- Shani Sorko-Ram Ferguson, “The Fun Commandments,” Moaz Israel Report, September 2020
- Tashlich: jewishhomela.com/2014/09/19/the-origins-of-tashlich
An Appointment with God
This post begins a series of posts on the God’s Appointed Times.
God’s Appointed Times
God’s Appointed Times are special annual appointments that He established with His people. These appointed times are also called Feasts of the Lord. Notice that I have not called them “the Jewish Feasts”. They are God’s feasts, though He instructed the Jewish people to observe them because the Jewish people were and are today His chosen people. God established these feasts/holidays in Lev. 23.
These biblical Holy Days teach us about the nature of God and His plan for mankind. God established them for the Jewish people (Israel) and “grafted-in” believers (Rom 11:17, 19, 23). They teach, in a practical way, more about Himself and His road to redemption. Each one points to a critical element of His plan of redemption. They are also annual reminders of God’s faithfulness, a reminder that, as the great hymn says, “He is marching on”. Most of God’s appointed times are times of celebration with plenty of food. The main storyline is “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!”
So, if you are a Gentile follower of Yeshua, you may be asking “Can or should believers join in these Biblical Anniversaries?” Is the entire Bible God’s Word? Yes. Does the Bible contain instructions that apply to Jews only? Yes. Does the Bible contain instructions for followers of Yeshua? Yes. Does the Bible contain instructions that apply to all mankind? Yes. But the key answer to your question goes back to what the early Jewish believers decided in the book of Acts regarding Gentile believers (Acts 15:20-31). The answer: yes, you absolutely can; no, you are not required to. This author’s opinion is that we should because they are full of spiritual depth that applies to all followers of Yeshua as well as the Jewish People.
The main appointed times are split into two sets. One set occurs in the spring and one in the fall.
The Fall Appointed Times
The fall appointed times or Holy Days occur in the 7th month on the Hebrew calendar, the month of Tishri, which falls in Sept/Oct on the Gregorian calendar. There are three fall appointed times: Yom Teruah/Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets/New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).
The prophetic meanings of the fall Holy Days are yet to be fulfilled.
The Spring Appointed Times
The spring appointed times are: Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Festival of Weeks, Counting the Omer, and Shavuot (First Fruits/Pentecost). They occur over 50 days starting on the 5th of Nissan, month number one of the Hebrew calendar, through the 6th of Sivan (March to June).
The prophetic meanings of the spring Holy Days have been fulfilled according to God’s calendar of events.
An additional Appointed Time that is specified in Lev 23 is Shabbat (Sabbath).
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, An Appointment with God—Rosh Hashanah. May I suggest subscribing to these posts or following my WordPress page to insure that you do not miss it and other posts? To either follow the page or subscribe to receive an email when they are posted, go to www.WJBsTurn.WordPress.com. Thank you, and…
Until the next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)