Periodically, I pause to teach on the Feasts of the Lord. Whether you have grown up knowing of these Feasts or this is totally new information it is important to review them and honor their full intent. There are Seven important Feasts throughout the Hebrew Calendar year, which the Lord instructed His people to keep forever. We in the Western World generally think of a Feast as an opportunity for a big fancy dinner. This is not the case, here. These are moeds or Divine Appointments. Often times, these special Feasts are taught but the interesting weeks between two of these feasts is skimmed over without much discussion. However, Leviticus 23 outlines the Feast Days and we are told in verse 16 to count down the Omer (which is Hebrew for measure or sheaf) from the wave offering of the barley harvest of First Fruits, seven weeks and then the next day or the 50th day would be the Feast of Pentecost/Shavuot. (Deuteronomy.16)
We know that the 7 Feasts have at least a dual significance, Let me quickly review for readers who may be new to this site:
*Passover is celebrated as the historically significant time when The Lord broke the will of Pharaoh and the Hebrew People were finally released from bondage. The Angel of Death passed over them because they had the blood of the perfect, sacrificial lamp covering their doors. This is an awesome, hard to miss picture of the First time the Messiah came as the suffering servant and the Perfect Sacrifice to cover our sins and make us acceptable to come before the Lord. Jesus has fulfilled this Feast on the cross on a long ago Passover Feast.
* Feast of Unleavened Bread: The Hebrew people were told to rid their homes of any leaven( a picture of sin) and because they were in a hurry to get out of Egypt, they were instructed to make bread for the Passover meal without any yeast or leavening. It was flat bread that had been pounded out and pierced with little holes so it wouldn’t bubble up in the oven. Jesus is our unleavened bread. He had no sin- no leaven- in him. He was pierced for our transgressions and pounded out, suffering for our sins to bring us the entire fullness of His Salvation. Jesus was Buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
* Feast of First Fruits: This Feast kicked off the barley harvest in Israel. It involves the wave offering. Sheaves of barley first fruits were brought to the priest. He waveed it before the Lord to be accepted for the farmer. Other offerings were also required including another lamb sacrifice. Jesus was the First fruit of the Grave. He was the First fruit of the harvest of mankind. Scripture calls him the Lord of the Harvest. The sinless lamb sacrificed to, once and for all, cover our sins. He rose again from the grave – Resurrected on the exact date of the Feast of First Fruits.
We can learn many things from these feasts of a prophetic nature but, we also learn that the Lord is beautiful in his precision planning and very punctual. These dates are, clearly, extremely important to Him in outlining his timeline for His family! It is God’s intent that, as his children, we are ever in his information loop! We see then, these first 3 feasts of the Lord were all totally fulfilled, on the exact date of each particular Feast with Jesus’ First Coming over 2000 years ago.
So, we can clearly see that these Feasts are important dates in the Lord’s appointment calendar. with deep, prophetic meanings. We are currently in between the Feast of First Fruits and the Feast of Shavuot (or the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost). This period of 7 weeks and one day is called the counting of the Omer. What, if any, is the significance of the time period that we are in now? To break this down we have to backtrack a bit and talk about Biblical numerology. The Bible is full of sevens. It is a very significant number. Back in Genesis we can see that the Lord created something new on 6 separate days and then he rested on number 7. We have 7 days of the week, the 7th is always ordained as a day of rest…it is a picture of the Messianic rest that Christ provides. This pattern is continued with every seventh year being a Sabbatical year to let the land rest. Then every 7 Sabbatical years is followed by a Jubilee year. ( We are currently in a Sabbatical or Shemittah year right now, and the Jubilee year will begin in September 28,2015) There are 7 Feasts which picture various aspects of the first and second comings of the Messiah first as a suffering lamb and second as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. You get the idea. 7 is always a number of fulfillment and completion.
When we see the multiplication of 7 times 7 -between the two feasts mentioned above -that should spark our attention. If one 7 represents fulfillment and completion- then 7 times 7 is compounding, exponentially the first Seven – Fulfillment squared,if you will! Therefore, we can see that not only the Jubilee Year but the Feast of Pentecost are compounded or of magnified importance in our pictures of Messianic Yeshua!
So, with Feast one thru three we saw the Salvation work of the Messiah fulfilled and completed. Death, burial, and resurrection. We see at the end of the gospels and beginning of Acts that Jesus has stayed for the first 40 days of the Omer counting, teaching them some very important truths. Now, just prior to ascending to heaven Jesus tells his team to WAIT in Jerusalem for the Comforter. The salvation work was done but Jesus emphasized that He HAD to leave so that the Holy Spirit could come to them. They obeyed. They gathered in one accord, UNITY of heart and purpose in that upper room- I believe they knew that something amazing was going to arrive on Shavuot- and prepared themselves for the arrival of the Holy Spirit on their lives. Counting the Omer then is waiting for this “measure” of blessing… this time of preparing their hearts, and understanding the desperate need for the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives!
Historically, back during the Exodus this time between Passover and Shavuot was where the Hebrew people crossed over the Red Sea, saw the power of God revealed on their behalf and were quenched by the refreshing water that flowed from the Rock. They were comforted by his leading cloud of presence by day and the ever burning fire by night. They knew that He was near. It was a time to begin to shed the lingering effects of Egypt from their new lives of freedom! It was during this time, as Moses went up the mountain to receive the law that the Hebrew folks went crazy, thinking themselves abandoned and unsupervised, that they immediately slipped back into the idolatrous ways they had learned in Egypt. A topic for another day!
In the book of Ruth, we see that Ruth is a foreign girl from a pagan country. She opts to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, after all the menfolks die and they return to the Promised Land because they heard that the famine was over. She meets Boaz at the time of the Feast of First Fruits. Boaz is a pretty clear picture of Christ, the Lord of the Harvest. Widowed, hungry and poverty stricken, the gentile girl gleans from his barley fields and their love story begins to bloom. The story, which is only a few chapters long, really covers all these 49 Omer counting days. By the time the harvest is done we see the precious picture of His love when he covers Ruth with his tallit on the harvest threshing floor, claiming her as his own.
Jesus is our handsome, kinsman redeemer, he is the Lord of the Harvest that doesn’t want anyone to hunger or perish. He is our fount of living water so that no one will ever thirst again. He is the bridegroom coming for his excited, watchful bride! During these 49 days of fulfillment and anticipation of the Power to come, we need to get the harvest in, we need to prepare the bride, we need to stay hungry, we need to be quenching our thirst from the Rock that was only struck one time! We need to pray and invite the wonder of the Holy Spirit to saturate us in His promised,power of peace!
* next time we will discuss the Feast of Pentecost which falls on May 24th. and I will give a brief overview of the final 3 Feasts which are profoundly picturing the Second Coming of Christ in Power. Look Up!
I was alarmed and saddened this morning as I read reports of a recent PEW poll that shows an increase in the numbers of folks in America that no longer claim to be followers of Christ, or to believe or affiliate themselves with any other religion. Between 2007 -2014 the number of adults who identified as Christians fell from 78.4% to 70.6%. While this is a sobering statistic it is also beginning to look like fulfillment of Biblical prophecy: In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Paul assures the folks that Jesus is not coming back and the resurrection won’t take place until 1) There is a GREAT falling away of people from the faith 2) Jesus won’t return and the resurrection won’t take place until the Man of Perdition or the Antichrist is revealed. ( 1 Tim 4:1, 2 Cor. 11:3, Hebrews 3:12-19, Rev. 2:4-5) 3) This should also be a large SOS signal to the church that we need to get crackin’ !! We need to be doing a better job expressing the love of Christ, one person at a time, to a dying world and showing them the relevant, relationship-building power of the Holy Spirit in their lives! ( as mentioned above!)
Bringing home the realities of Matthew 24 famine, pestilence and earthquakes prophecies Jesus mentioned as signs we should heed in the run-up to the end times : *In a AFP story out of Paris yesterday, scientists are reporting that after an unprecedented probe into the disease, that drug resistant typhoid is now epidemic in Africa. This drug resistant strain H58 has become dominant over the past 30 years throughout Asia and Africa. The WHO (World Health Org) estimates that about 21 million people are infected with Typhoid every year and that 216,000 to 600,000 die.
This disease is caused mainly by Salmonella Typhi bacteria in food and water contaminated with the feces or urine of infected people. Symptoms include fever, headaches, diarrhea, rose colored spots on the chest and an enlarged spleen or liver. Typhoid has been largely eradicated in countries with good, accessible hygiene but can flair up in any heavily hit disaster areas or poverty- stricken regions without access to clean water and personal hygiene.
*In other pestilence in Israel, Avian Bird flu has now been confirmed in Western Galilee. The large flock has been culled of diseased birds and quarantine measures have been taken in a wide area. The H5N1 Avian flu continues to decimate poultry flocks in the American Midwest where prices are now rising in egg, turkey and chicken products.
* We are obviously in a period of major volcanic and earthquake unrest. Another 7.3 earthquake struck Nepal early today. Six US marines manning a Huey helicopter delivering supplies is still missing. At last check there was more damage, about 20 reported dead and many more injured. A 6.9 magnitude quake has struck Northeast Japan near Honsu not too far from the Fukishima sight where the deadly 2011 quake struck. I encourage readers to follow Dutchsinse.com for regular updates and fascinating education on Volcano eruptions and earthquakes. USGS has interesting sites as well. I have stated before that I think Japan is in for more serious issues. If I had loved ones or friends in Japan, I would encourage them to take a long vacation elsewhere.
** The AFP released a report today from Australian scientists officially declaring the onset of El Nino in the tropical Pacific. This forecasts a substantial El Nino weather phenomenon for 2015 which will likely spell deadly and costly climate extremes. This has been further confirmed by the Japan Meteorological Agency and expects it to continue into late 2015. El Nino is associated with drought conditions in Australia and can cause havoc for farmers and agricultural markets. Five years ago El Nino had major impact with monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in Southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the US , heat waves in Brazil and killer floods in Mexico. U.S. officials announced earlier this year that the long awaited El Nino had arrived, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) seemed to downplay the seriousness and described it as weak in strength.
Australian models, however, were now showing that increased intensity is likely beginning in September and have potential global impact as sea surface temperatures begin to rise and the trade winds over the waters in the Tropical Pacific begin to weaken. David Jones, from the Australian bureau of Meteorology believes that this will be a substantial event. He expects to see: Very hot daytime temperatures * drought conditions in Australia * Brushfire activity *drier conditions in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and parts of Southeast Asia. * In the past he states it has caused heavier than normal rainfall in Eastern Pacific and South America raising the specter of floods and landslides, while the South West US and Southern Africa tend to be drier. On the upside the bureau said it would expect the tropical cyclone season to be below average in Australia.
On the Wars and Rumors of War Front:
*The Jerusalem Post reports today that German chancellor Merkle has reiterated Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security in today’s meeting with Israeli President Reuvin Rivlin. While I am sure that this statement of solidarity has relieved the President’s mind, Chancellor Merkle also expressed that the current reality shows no promise of an agreement in the Iranian Nuclear Talks which have begun today in Vienna with the P5+1.
* The Iran Nuclear Negotiations have commenced in Vienna today. The Obama administration needing a foreign policy coup is anxious to turn the framework of the accord reached on April 2 into a full agreement by the June 30 deadline.
Iran is eager to have the Economic Sanctions removed which were imposed on Tehran since 2006. John Kerry flew to Sochi Russia today and met with Vladimir Putin on a variety of foreign policy issues and it can be assumed that the Iran Nuclear deal was one of them. Relations with Putin have been strained since they rolled into Eastern Ukraine last year and stole the Crimea from the Ukrainian people. As reported in the cnn.com story, Kerry hopes to discuss cooperative efforts on a solution to the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts as well as the volatile situation in Yemen. Secretary of State Kerry hinted that that the US and European Union could begin rolling back sanctions on Russia if the Minsk agreements to stop the fighting in East Ukraine are implemented. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed the importance of avoiding any sanctions that could ramp up tensions between the two countries, noting that resolving many top international issues depends on our joint efforts. I can’t think of anything nice to say about this situation so will say only that Russia and Persia ( Iran) are mentioned prominently in the End Times Bible Prophecy and the US is not.