The Biblical Roots of Chanukah

Q: Why do we celebrate Chanukah on the 25th of Kislev? Is this an arbitrary date, or was there a purpose for it?

Q: Is it by chance that Chanukah falls on the 25th of Kislev?

Q: Had the battle been on a different day, than Chanukah would have been celebrated on that day, RIGHT?

NO WAY! The Book of Maccabees tells us that the decision to re-dedicate the Temple on the 25th of Kislev was intentional. ALSO, the date of the 25th of Kislev had already carried prophetic significance from the time of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, some 2 hundred years before

The Eighth Day

Seven days were used to set aside [sanctify]. The eighth day was to make Holy. In Jewish life, A number of things connect to the eighth day:

  • Jewish Writings (Megillat Ta’anit 9) states that 8 days were used to rebuild the Altar.
  • First born animals consecrated to God on the 8th day [Exodus 22:30; Leviticus 22:27].
  • Males were circumcised on the 8th day [Leviticus 12:3.]
  • Tabernacle Altar was made Holy on the 8th Day [Exodus 29:37].
  • Dedication of the 2nd Temple in 8 days [Ezra 6:16-22] [During the Passover and 7 days of Unleavened Bread].
  • The rededication of Hezekiah’s Temple in 8 days [II Chronicles 29:16-17].
  • Future Altar of Millennial Temple will be consecrated on 8th day [Ezekiel 43:26-27].

Greek Hellenism Background

During the period of time between 469 – 323BCE, three Greek philosophers laid the foundation to basic Greek thought. The first was Socrates (469-399BCE). He laid the foundations for basic Greek thought. He had a student named Plato (427-347BCE) who ws the second Greek philpsopher who took the teaching of Socrates, and expanded it. Socrates had a student, named Aristotle (384-322BCE) who was the third Greek philosopher who expanded the Greek thought of both Socrates and Plato. He was the first to introduce “Inductive Reasoning” and became known as the “Father of Western Greek Philosophy.” He had a student named Alexander the Great (July 20, 356 – June 11, 323BCE) who was a great warrior and conqueror.  Alexander the Great took this Western Greek Philosophy, known as “Hellenism,” and spread it throughout the known world.  This created two world views - Hellenism and Hebrew.

Story of Chanukah

Chanukah was prophesied in Daniel 8:1-12 In Syria (North) - Antiochus Epiphanes was raised up as king (type of anti-Messiah). He laid down harsh anti-Jewish laws, trying to impart the Hellenistic culture. In doing this, He laid down three major laws(commandments), which, if broken, would be punishable by death.

The Three Commandments of Antiochus Epiphanes were designed to destroy the Jewish people.

  1. Sabbath: This commandment states that the world already had a ruler, through whose words, everything was created – The Creator rested on the seventh day. Antiochus IV forbade worshipping the God of Israel, and tried to make them worship him. He called himself a God by adding the name, “Epiphanies” at this time [“God Manifested”].
  2. Consecration of the New Moon: God’s Power acts in time, and if sanctified, its festivals are sanctified. Why? It is the New Moon that starts the count of the festivals. Remove it, and the dates of the festivals would be unknown. That was Antiochus’ purpose. This commandment teaches the Presence of God and the Fulfillment of His aims in History, thereby teaching the Holiness of Time, and the Holiness of History.
  3. Circumcision: Circumcision, for the Jewish person, teaches that the Body and Soul are One and both together comes from one source.  It places holiness in the Body [8th Day].Major problem: Greek Hellenism taught that there are two worlds. In these two worlds, the body is NOT subject to the soul and the soul is NOT subject to the body.Antiochus forbade circumcision, eliminating the Jewish connection to God through the Abrahamic Covenant.  Mothers caught with new circumcised babies were paraded through the streets with the babies hung by their necks, than thrown over the city walls.

What did these three commandments do?  It produced a world without a Creator; time without sanctification, and people with no connection to the Divine. This is the spiritual ghetto that Antiochus wanted to place on the Jews

After the decrees were enacted, the Greek Hellenists erected an Idol on the Altar on the 15th of Kislev. They waited until the 25th of Kislev before sacrificing upon it. On the same day they began killing women who circumcised their children. The Hellenists selected the 25th Day of Kislev intentionally, being aware of its “religious” significance.

Why? What was the “religious” significance? 

It was on the 25th of Kislev that:

  • The Tabernacle was completed. It would not be dedicated until Nisan 1.
  • It was the start of the rebuilding of the First Temple.

Some of the faithful martyrs are recorded in Hebrews 11:35. It reads: “Women received their dead by a resurrection: and others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”

The Temple Desecration

Antiochus desecrated the Temple by placing a statute of Zeus on the Altar in the Temple, urinating on the walls, sacrificing a pig on the altar, and spreading “lard” (pig fat) over Temple walls and compound. He created a law that required every priest either sacrifice a pig to the god Zeus or die. Mattathias refused to sacrifice a pig, and, when another Levite went to slaughter the pig, Mattathias slew the Levite. He then killed the Syrian-Greek officer that made the command. This started what became known as the “War of the Maccabees.” The first blood that was shed in this war was Jew by Jew. Mattathias had died of old age so his son, Judah Maccabee, known as “the Hammer”, led the Jewish people for three years from Kislev 25 (desecration) to Kislev 25 (rededication), producing what became known as the Feast of Dedication.

POINT: It is assumed that the battle to liberate the Temple Mount from the Greeks ended on the 25th day of Kislev and on that same day they began the daily sacrifices – including the lighting of the Menorah. The discovery of the Oil with the seal of High Priest and the Miracle, provided the Sages with a SIGN that the military victories of the Hasmoneans were divine. 

Question: WHY, in later generations, is the Miracle of the Oil emphasized? The Sages were aware of the dangers of the Political Power now achieved by the Hasmoneans.The central vision of Zechariah is that of the Menorah surrounded by two Olive Branches .It was through the predominance of Spirit that the pitfalls of the Monarchy of the First Temple could be avoided, and the macle of the Oil was reflective of this prophecy.

As time passed, there was a decline in the religiosity of the Hasmonean Dynasty. Why did the Hasmonean Family disappear within 200 years? It is written in Genesis 49:10 “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh come: And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.” By refusing to relinquish the position of King, the later Hasmoneans were delaying and even harming Jewish Destiny. The Kingship was reserved for the descendents of David from which the Messiah would come

Yeshua and Chanukah

It is taught that Yeshua did away with the ‘LAW” when He healed a man on the Sabbath.  If that is true, there are questions that MUST be answered. It is written in John 10:22-25, “And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem:  it was winter; and Yeshua was walking in the temple in Solomon's porch. The Jews therefore came round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly. Yeshua answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me.” The word, “AND” connects before and after what is said. Why is that important? Before this verse, Yeshua talked about the “Good Shepherd.”

Why is that important? It is written in Zechariah 13:7 “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” Yeshua quotes this passage in Matthew 26:31-32. It reads, “Then said Yeshua unto them ‘All you shall be offended in me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.  But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee”. Zechariah 13:7 is a passage that brings out the “God-Man Concept”. The Hebrew word, translated “fellow” means “My equal.” The verse literally reads: “Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My equal [diety] saith Adonai of Hosts.” The Messiah, when quoting these verses, was saying that He was to be both God and Man.

If Yeshua rejected the Oral Law and the “Traditions of the Elders”, Why did He celebrate this Feast? 

Consider this: Yeshua had to be careful how He answered that question. During the festival, a large number of Jews were visiting Jerusalem. The word “Messiah” might spark off riots. Why? It was because of its heavy political overtones. Roman intelligence was headquartered in the Antonia’s Fortress to the northwest of the Temple.

In Jewish ancient writings, a song, composed during the mid-first century BC by a Pharisee, states that the Messiah was acknowledged as King and a Davidic ruler that would reign forever. This song describes how the latter Hasmonean rulers led the people away from Torah, and how the Romans under the leadership of Pompey punished the people took Israel in 63 BC, without “firing a shot”. This Pharisee, in song, is praying that the Lord will rise up a king, the Son of David, to rule over Israel. In so doing, this king would “destroy the unrighteous rulers,” “purge Jerusalem from Gentiles,” “drive out the sinners,” “smash the arrogance of sinners,” and “destroy the unlawful nations”! Their king, the Lord Messiah, would do all this! (Psalm of Solomon 17). 

If Yeshua had answered the question “yes,” the Roman authorities would have arrested Him on the spot for insurrection. Yeshua does, however, answer the question in the affirmative, but not directly. When He answers, He is careful not to use the contemporary term and understanding. After pointing out the security that a believer in the Lord Yeshua has because of faith in Him, He says in John 10:30, “I and My Father are one!”That statement had a very strong connection for the festival which they were celebrating at that time. Those gathered on the Temple Mount recalled the events nearly 200 years before on the very mount where Antiochus IV, a mere man, proclaimed himself to be god. Yeshua made the same claim—but His claim was true. The Jews picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy. In their thinking, He was a man who made Himself out to be God (John 10:31–33).

Yeshua declared that He was the fulfillment of Hanukkah by saying the Father “sanctified” the Son of God and sent Him into the world (John 10:34–36).  The Father was in Him, and He in the Father (John 10:38). If the Greek word “sanctified” were translated into Hebrew, it would be “dedication” or Chanukah.

The Abomination of Desolation

In Matthew 24, Yeshua is telling his disciples what will happen in the “end times”. It is written in Matthew 24:15 “Therefore, when ye see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, which shall stand in the holy place (translator’s words - whosoever reads, let him understand).” 

Bible teachers apply this “abomination of desolation” as one of two concepts:

  • The Roman army who destroyed Jerusalem in 70CE.
  • The deed of the Zealots who seized the Temple before this destruction.

To accept one of these two concepts is to take the scriptures out of its context. The first word in this verse is “Therefore”. Look at the verse before it and see what “Therefore” is talking about: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come’ (Matthew 24:14).

Question: Was the gospel of the kingdom preached to ALL the nations before 70CE? If your answer is “No”, then it places Matthew 24:15 in the future, making this a “Double Reference Prophecy”.  It is an allusion to Daniel 9:27; 11:31; and 12:11. The first time was when Antiochus Epiphanes erected an altar to Zeus on the altar of God (I Maccabees 1:54, 59; II Maccabees 6:1-5).

Question: Was the Temple destroyed at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes? No. Yeshua is applying a Chanukah reference to be done again during the end times.

The Second Sukkot

Chanukah is called the second Sukkot. The first Sukkot is the birth of Yeshua, and the second is the conception of Yeshua. Both of these feasts consist of light and dedication, Yeshua is the light and the Temple!

You can also compare Yeshua to Judah Maccabee. Consider this:

  • They both cleansed the Temple (John 2:12-17).
  • They both died for their people.
  • They both were called Shepherds of their people.

The Candle Lighting

Question: If Yeshua is the fulfillment of Chanukah by saying “I and My Father are One”, can the theory behind the lighting of the candles be Messianic?  Yes.

Question: How does Messianic Judaism see the lighting of the Candles? One of the main features of the Festival of Lights is the lighting of the Chanukah. As the candle lighting (1, 2, 3, etc.) increases, so is the increase in holiness. They are lit from left to right, but inserted from right to left. This shows that God's Presence is everywhere!  As we light an additional candle for each day of the Festival we can recall some of the Biblical references to light.

Candle 1Creation: Light was the first thing God created.  All growing things depend on light for life.  God is the source of all life. It is written in Genesis 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” 

Candle 2 Spiritual Truth: The Menorah [candlestick] in the Tabernacle was the only source of light, and God is the only source of spiritual light. It is written in Exodus 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. 

POINT: The Menorah in the Tabernacle was a symbol of a person.  There is a personal pronoun applied to it. In Hebrew, it is written in Exodus 25:31And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: HIS shaft, and HIS branches,HIS bowls, HIS knops, and HIS flowers, shall be of the same.

Candle 3 – God’s Presence: The Light of the Pillar of Fire represented God’s Presence, known as the “Shekinah,” with His people. It is written in Psalm 78:14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.

Candle 4 – God’s Blessing: It is written in Psalm 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. This light is expressed in the Aaronic Blessing done every Sabbath.

Candle 5 – God’s Word: God’s Word provides us with direction in life. It is written in Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  The Aramaic Targums use “MEMRA” for the Word. It is this understanding that John used in John 1:1

Candle 6 – The Promised Messiah: The Messiah was to be a light to the nations, bringing salvation to them. It is written in Isaiah 49:6 “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” This purpose was also quoted by Simon to the baby Yeshua in the Temple.

Candle 7 – Yeshua’s Disciples: Yeshua called His followers to be the light to the world It is written in Matthew 5:14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Candle 8 – The Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit).It is written in Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of the L-RD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the L-RD of hosts.

The Shumech [The Servant Candle] – Yeshua Himself: Yeshua called himself the light of the world. It is written in John 8:12 Then spake Yeshua again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. This “Servant” is also known as the “Branch.”  It is written in Zechariah 3:8, “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.” This “Branch” is also discussed in Jeremiah 23:5-6. It reads, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Here, a descendent of David reigns upon the throne of David and the character of His reign is described as one of peace and security for Israel. Yet He is given the very name of God – “Adonai Tzidenu” – “Adonai our righteousness.”

This name is YHVH, the very name God revealed to Moses in the burning bush as His own personal name: “I AM.” Again, the Messiah is seen as a man on one hand and God on the other. Here the “God-Man Concept” is related to the Messiah’s Kingship.

From my wife Joanne and myself, Happy Chanukah

Shalom

The The Ten Days of Awe 

These are the Foundation Scriptures for the 10 days:  It is written in  Isaiah 55:6, “Seek  the  LORD  while He may be  found;  Call  upon Him while He is  near.” It is written in  Jonah 3:10, “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” It does not say “God saw them wearing sackcloth, and repenting.”The very essence of these days - the concepts of  teshuva, repentance, and renewal, atonement and forgiveness - are all grounded in our specifically Jewish understanding of time.

 The 4 Steps of Repentance

Teshuva  is actually a process of self-evaluation and self-improvement. The Rambam counts four primary steps to the  teshuva  process:
1.  Recognize and discontinue the improper action.
2.  Verbally confess the action, thus giving the action a concrete form in your own mind.
3.  Regret the action. Evaluate the negative impact this action may have had on yourself or on others.
4.  Determine never to repeat the action. Picture a better way to handle it. There are two different types of transgressions: those between a person and God and those between one person and another.

Why 4 Days before Rosh Hashanah?

The 10 days of Awe, for the Orthodox Jew, actually starts 4 days before Rosh Hashanah. There is a Jewish custom that on the 4th  day BEFORE Rosh Hashanah the Jewish person would rise early to say their prayers, and study the Torah.

WHY? It is because of the relationship between us and sacrificial animals, which had to undergo examination for blemishes 4 days before they were sacrificed.

Consider this:  In reference to all other sacrifices, it reads in  Numbers 29:8,  “But ye shall  offer a burnt  offering  unto the  LORD  for a sweet savour; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without  blemish:” (NAS). On Rosh Hashanah,  Numbers 29:2  is read.  “Prepare  a burnt offering  to make a fragrant aroma for ADONAI - one young bull, one ram and seven male lambs in their first year and without defect”  (CJB). This is to teach that every man, on Rosh Hashanah, should PREPARE himself for self-sacrifice.  These 4 days are set aside for us to examine all our sins and return to God.

Rosh Hashanah Eve  – “Remember the Covenant

Remember, there are the 3 Books that God opens on Rosh Hashanah:

  • The Book for the Wicked,
  • The Book for the Righteous,
  • The Book for the in-between.

These Books are mentioned in Scripture.  David recorded the Books of the Righteous and the Wicked in Psalm 69:28. Moses talked about G-d’s Book and G-d confirmed it inExodus 32:32-33. 

The Second Day of Rosh Hashanah

The Orthodox Jew will allow a second day of Rosh Hashanah. It is also observed in Israel. (Talmud –Erubin III, end). It is treated as one long day, yet this will explain some verses from the Renewed Covenant. It is written in  2 Peter 3:10,  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Now look at  Revelation 3:3.  It reads,  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what  hour  I will come upon thee. 

Here is the point: I believe Yeshua fulfilled the first 4 feasts as  Messiah ben Joseph:

  • Passover- Redemption
  • Unleavened Bread - Separation
  • First Fruits – Resurrection
  • Shavuot(Pentecost) – Presence of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)

Why do I believe this? It is because all of the 456 prophecies in scripture pertaining to Messiah ben Joseph  have been fulfilled. There is not one of them missing. If that is true, it means that He will also fulfill the Fall Feasts and the rest of the prophecies as  Messiah ben David.  The next Fall Feast is  Rosh Hashanah.  The next prophecy is the Messiah coming back to re-gather His people. When the scripture says we do not know the day of hour that is true. This Feast is celebrated for 2 days and 48 hours. – Pick One. We do not know the day or hour, but we do know the season –  Rosh Hashanah.

Story of Nabal

I Samuel 25:2-38  tells the story of Nabal. During the Month of Elul, The shepherds would shear their sheep for their wool and to prepare them for winter. During that time, David protected Nabal. It I written in  I Samuel 25:15,  But the  men  (David’s) were  very good  unto us, and we were not  hurt, neither  missed  we any  thing,  as long  as  we were  conversant  with them, when we were in the  fields:16They were a  wall  unto us  both by  night  and  day,all the  while  we were with them  keeping  the  sheep.”  This shearing was to be completed by Rosh Hashanah.  They would then, have a Feast.  The Feast recorded in  I Samuel 25:36, was according to Jewish Tradition (Rosh Hashanah 18a), Rosh Hashanah.  “Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk.  So she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light.” “But it came about in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal that his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone.” God applied his mercy for 10 days, waiting for Nabal to repent. He did not. The scripture continues:  “And about 10 days later, It happened that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died”  [I Samuel 25:36-38]. The day recorded in Verse 38 was the Day of Yom Kippur.  The Book of Judgment was sealed by God on that Day.

The Third Day – The Fast of Gedaliah   

It is recorded in II Kings 25:25-26  “But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldeans that were with him at Mitzpah. And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the forces, arose, and came to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.” This story is recorded in in more detail in Jeremiah 41. It is a half day fast, meaning it is only observed from dawn of the third day until dusk of that same day.

When the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, he killed or exiled most of its inhabitants and appointed Gedaliah as governor of the now-Babylonian province of Judah. Many Jews who had fled to Moab, Ammon, Edom, and other neighboring lands returned to Judah, tended the vineyards again, and enjoyed a new respite after their earlier suffering.  However, Baalis, king of Ammon, was upset and envious of the Judean remnant and sent a Jew named Yishmael Ben Netaniah, who was descended from the royal family of Judea, to assassinate Gedaliah.

In the seventh month (Tishrei), a group of Jews led by Yishmael came to Gedaliah in the town of Mitzpa and was received cordially.  Gedaliah had been warned of his guest's murderous intent, but refused to believe his informants, having the belief that their report was mere slander (Lashon Hora). Yishmael murdered Gedaliah, together with most of the Jews who had joined him and many Babylonians whom the Babylonian King had left with Gedaliah. The remaining Jews feared the vengeance of Nebuchadnezzar (seeing as his chosen ruler, Gedaliah, had been killed by a Jew) and fled to Egypt. The surviving remnant of Jews was again dispersed and the land remained desolate. In remembrance of these tribulations, the Jewish sages instituted what was known as the  'Fast of the Seventh' on the day of Gedaliah's assassination in the seventh month.

It is written in  Zechariah 8:19,  "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast  of the seventh and the fast of the tenth months wil lbecome joy, gladness, and cheerfulfeasts for the house of Judah; so love truth and peace.'” It was believed that Gedaliah was slain on the first day of Tishrei but the fast was postponed till after Rosh Hashanah, since fasting is prohibited during a festival. Concerning this fast day, the Rabbis have said that its aim is to establish that the death of the righteous is the same as the burning of the house of God. Just as they ordained a fast upon the destruction of the Jewish Temple, likewise they ordained a fast upon the death of Gedaliah.

The Shabbat of Return

It is called the “Shabbat of return” because of the portion from Hosea which is read: It is written in  Hosea 14:2  “Take words with you, and return to ADONAI; say to him, "Forgive all guilt, and accept what is good; we will pay instead of bulls [the offerings of] our lips.” Shabbat Shuvah  literally means "Sabbath of Return," but it is also a play on the phrase "Shabbat Teshuvah" (“Sabbath of Repentance”). It is the Shabbat that occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and is a time for reflection leading up to the atonement of Yom Kippur. 

Judaism provides a framework for this Shabbat by asserting that every single life is imbued with unique purpose. “A human being creates many coins from the same die and they are all identical; the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One blessed is He, coins all people from Adam's die and not one looks like another. This is why every person must say  'The world was created just for me'.

This quote is calling on each individual to recognize his or her uniqueness and as a result to make a distinctive contribution in life. It is not a lesson about taking; it is a lesson about contributing and doing something extraordinary with your life. In other words, it is identifying that which is unique in us leads us to think less about what we need and more about what we are needed for. Returning to your true self through repentance is what the Sabbath of return is all about. You do not need to be Jewish to appreciate its importance and recognize its potential positive impact on your life. 

Three Portraits of Grace and Repentance

On Shabbat Shuvah these three prophetic portions are read to teach us what repentance means and how God shows us grace. Grace is undeserved favor. Forgiveness is a gift. Do not even think that our repentance makes us deserve forgiveness. 

Hosea: The Wisdom of Returning  

Hosea, a prophet to the northern kingdom shortly before Assyria come to destroy, gave Israel a four-part message:

  • Hosea 14:2-4(1-3) - Bring words of repentance and return to God, rejecting all idols and reliance on human power.
  • Hosea 14:5-8(4-7) - God will heal and restore you to a place of love, blessing, and divine protection.
  • Hosea 14:9(8) - You need God and not idols.
  • Hosea 14:10(9) - Those who are wise understand the need for repentance and rejection of idols, even in an unwise generation.

Micah: The Miracle of Forgiveness  

Micah, prophet to the southern kingdom in days of apostasy, gave us instruction about the wonder of God’s gracious pardon. God prefers mercy to judgment and easily forgives. God attacks iniquity when we return to him, destroying the record of our judgment. God desires to restore and reconcile, not remember past offenses.

Joel: Weeping Turns to Rejoicing  

Joel, whose era is not known, gave to Israel a message of contrition, deep sorrow over sin, followed by God’s fierce love and blessing.

  • Joel 2:15-17, Joel calls for a public display of emotional repentance. This repentance is characterized by a gathering of everyone, great and small, and the weeping and intercession of leaders for the people.
  • Joel 2:18-27, God’s response to this contrition is jealous or fierce love. The idea is that God longs to see his people restored with an emotional fervency. When the people cry out with emotion, God reacts in kind, loving and restoring with zeal. God will restore his people to blessing if repentance is real.

Lessons from the Texts

  • Hosea emphasizes sole allegiance in returning from idols to God where Joelemphasizes emotional repentance.
  • Hosea’s emphasis is on the will and Joel , yet both are teaching.
  • Their instructions add to each other, giving us a full picture of repentance as a choice and a deep-felt need.
  • Hosea and Joel both speak of healing and restoration, but Micah emphasizes thegrace behind the very idea of divine forgiveness.
  • In Hosea God promises to turn from anger and inJoel, God is jealous to restore his people, but in Micah, God is unique among all the deities of religion for his eagerness to show devotion and love.

What does this show us? God’s mercy is greater than his judgment.

The Eighth Day – The 13 Qualities

It is written in  Exodus 34:6-7, “And the  LORD  passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for  thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” On this day, the Orthodox Jew will study these 13 Qualities of God.  

The 10th  Day – Yom Kippur

The number 10, which symbolizes “Perfection of Divine Order,” is the thrust of the most sacred day of the year. 

  • The Ten Days of Awe end on the 10th Yom Kippur.
  • The second set of the Tablets containing the 10 Commandments, along with God’s forgiveness, were given on Yom Kippur. 
  • 10 additional sacrifices were added to Rosh Hashanah to correspond to these 10 sayings.

The 10 Days of Awe also line up with the Structure of the Tabernacle. Consider this:

Day #1: The Door of the Outer Court

Day #2 : The Altar of Sacrifice

Day #3: The Laver

Day #4: The Door of the Tabernacle

Day #5: The Table of Shewbread

Day #6: The Candlestick

Day #7: The Altar of Incense

Day #8: The Veil protecting the Holy of Holies

Day #9: The Ark of the Covenant

Day #10: The Mercy Seat [Yom Kippur]

Enjoy this very special time, and may it be a time of change for you. 

Shalom

Month of Elul

The month of Elul is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Tradition teaches that the month of Elul is a special favorable time for repentance. This mood of repentance builds through the month of Elul to Rosh Hashanah, and finally to Yom Kippur. 

The name of the month (spelled Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed) is said to be an abbreviation of "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li," "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine," a quote fromSong of Songs 6:3, where the Beloved is God and the "I" is the Jewish people. In Aramaic (the language of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word "Elul" means "search," which is appropriate, because this is a time of year when we search our hearts.

The very central verse of the Torah is "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." For a traditional Jew the whole month of Elul, every day of it, is spent tending to their soul by reaching out to the people in their lives and addressing their short-comings and future hopes.

 How did this time of reflection start?

40-DAY PERIOD

Rewind 3,000 years to the Sinai Desert. God has spoken the Ten Commandments and Israel built the Golden Calf. Moses desperately pleads with God to spare the nation.

For good reason: Up to that time, when a Covenant was broken, the terms of the covenant were carried out. There was no room for Grace.

On the first day of Elul, Moses ascended Mount Sinai, and 40 days later -- the 10th of Tishri, at the end of Yom Kippur -- he returned to the people, with a new, second set of stone tablets in hand. God was the first one to execute Grace on a broken Covenant.For us as well, the month of Elul begins a 40-day period that ends in the year's holiest day, Yom Kippur.  Repentance was complete. During this time of Elul, many people increase their study of Torah and performance of good deeds. They also do a daily accounting of their spiritual profit and loss.

The most important aspect of Elul is to make a plan for your life.  Because when the big day comes, and each individual stands before the Almighty asking for another year, we'll want to know what we're asking for!

There are two gifts that God gives us on Elul.

  • The obvious gift of Elul is the gift of apology: taking healing by the horns and letting the past go, the gift of renewal.
  • The hidden gift of Elul is the gift of getting closer, not only to others, but to yourself.  Your own soul.

The Levels of Faith

What is the opposite of Faith, Doubt or Fear? Remember Yeshua's words? Yeshua had been on his way to heal Jairus’ daughter, but she died before he arrived. When Jairus heard the tragic news, Yeshua said to him, "Do not fear, only believe" (Mark 5:36). It was fear, not doubt that was the obstacle to faith and restoration.

This week’s Haftorah speaks about people who have lost their faith. It is written inIsaiah 51:12-13, "I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraidof man who dies And of the son of man who is made like grass, That you haveforgotten the LORD your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid thefoundations of the earth, That you fearcontinuallyallday long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makesready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor?” 

When you lose your Faith in God, you fear your enemies, but it does not have to be that way. Scripture gives us 7 levels of faith.  These levels can be compared to the 7 pieces of furniture in the Tabernacle.

Titus 1:4  “To Titus, mytruechild in a commonfaith:Grace and peace from God theFather and ChristJesus ourSavior.” Common Faith Into the Kingdom The Altar of Sacrifice Conversion
Matt 8:26 “He said to them,"Why are you afraid, you menof littlefaith?"Then He got up and rebuked the winds and thesea, and itbecameperfectlycalm.” Little Faith Learning to Trust The Laver Separation

Luke 8:13  “Those on the rocky soil are those, when, they hear,

receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they

believe for a while, and in the time of temptation fall away”

The Explanation: ““Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the

word, by and by he is offended”

Temporary Faith Faith until Tested The Table of Shew bread Study of the Word and Fellowship
Romans 4:18-22 “Inhopeagainsthope he believed,so that he might becomeafather ofmanynationsaccording to that which had been spoken, "SOSHALL YOUR DESCENDANTSBE." Withoutbecomingweak infaith he contemplated hisownbody, now as good asdead since he was about ahundredyearsold, and thedeadness of Sarah'swomb;yet, with respect to thepromise of God, he did notwaver in unbelief butgrewstrong in faith,givingglory to God, and beingfullyassured that what God had promised, He wasablealso to perform. ThereforeIT WAS ALSOCREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Strong Faith Refuses Defeat The Candlestick Testimony
Matt 8:10 “Now whenYeshuaheard this, Hemarveled and said to thosewho were following, "Truly Isay to you, I have notfoundsuchgreatfaithwithanyone in Israel. Creative [Great] Faith Understands the Authority The Incense Altar Prayer
James 1:22-25 ‘But proveyourselves doers of the word, and not merelyhearers whodeludethemselves. Forifanyone is a hearer of theword and not a doer, he is likea man who looks at hisnaturalfacein a mirror; for once he has looked at himselfand goneaway, he hasimmediatelyforgottenwhatkindof person he was.  But one who looksintently at theperfectlaw, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not havingbecome a forgetfulhearerbut an effectualdoer, thisman will be blessed in what he does. Active Faith Confesses the Word The Ark of the Covenant Full Surrender
Gal 3:22 But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, thatthe promise by faith of Yeshua the Messiah might be given to them that believe Divine Faith

Receives

Reward

The Mercy Seat Victory – The Anointing

Your past can prevent you from reaching the Holy of Holies. Your inability of forgiving yourself will keep you from experiencing the fullness of God’s presence. God has forgiven you. He desires your fellowship, and will “tabernacle” with you. You must forgive yourself, and change by the renewing of your mind. One of the best examples of this process in Scripture is the parable of the prodigal son, as recorded inLuke 15.

Rembrandt and 2 paintings

This parable had a profound effect on an artist named Rembrandt. When he was a young man, he painted the picture called The Prodigal Son. It was a self-portrait. There were things in his young life he could not forgive, so he painted himself as the prodigal son. Later in his life, he painted another picture called, The Return of the Prodigal Son. In this picture, he again createda self-portrait. This time he was the father. He had learnedto forgive himself. Because of it, he was able to forgive others. If you were Rembrandt, which picture would be your self-portrait?

Allow me to give you my definition of faith. This was given to me in 1979 in a Bible study group and I never forgot it. It goes like this: “Faith, because of trust, is thatquality,not quantity, of power whereby the things hoped for becomethe thingspossessed”

If you don’t use “Now Faith, Through Faith, By Faith”, you will wind up “Without Faith”

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH LEVEL?

Using this definition, ask yourself three questions:

Where are you in your Faith?

Is your Faith going up or down?

Where do you want your Faith to be?

Only you know the answers to these questions; but where you are in your faith determines where you are “in Yeshua” according to you, not God. What is God’s goal for your life? Please understand: There are people who will go through what I call, the “whosoever gate.” They will place their lives at the altar of sacrifice, then turn and leave, praising God. They have missed the goal. The goal is the Holy of Holies. Then there are people who, after going through the “whosoever gate” and the altar of sacrifice, continue to the laver where they are washed with the baptism of repentance as done by John. Again, they will turn and leave, praising God. These people see God as the prophet, but not as the priest or king, and they have missed the goal. The goal is the Holy of Holies.

There are people who want more of God. These people will go through the “whosoever gate,” and, after laying down their lives at the altar of sacrifice, and being cleansed at the laver, will enter into the Holy Place. Once inside, they will fellowship with other believers around the table of shewbread. They will then leave praising God, but would have missed the goal. The goal is the Holy of Holies.

Fewer people will go through the “whosoever gate,” through the courtyard with the altar of sacrifice and laver, then into the Holy Place. After the fellowship with other believers at the table of shewbread, they will go to the menorah for in-depth Scripture study. They will then, praising God, turn and leave. They also have missed the goal. The goal is the Holy of Holies.

Again, even fewer people will go through the same process and will continue to the altar of incense. It is here that they will enter into intercessory prayer. These people in the Holy Place see God as the prophet and priest, but not as their king. When finished, they will turn and leave, believing they have met with God. They may have, but they missed the goal, which is the Holy of Holies.

Even less people will go through the same process and will continue past the altar of incense, and through the veil. They can now see the Ark of the Covenant. They see God as the prophet, priest, and their king. They recognize the authority of God, and it changes their thought patterns and their lives. They leave, praising God, accepting His kingship, and changing their lives forever. They made it into the Holy of Holies, but still missed the goal: the mercy seat. The Scripture says, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14 KJV). Who are the chosen? They are simply those who choose to go.

There is that blessed person who goes through the “whosoever gate,” lays down his life at the altar of sacrifice, goes to the laver, separating himself from his past life, and goes into the Holy Place. There, he fellowships with other believers around the table of shewbread, goes into in-depth study of God’s word at the menorah, and enter into intercessory prayer at the altar of incense.

He will go past the veil, and, by recognizing the authority of God in his life, change the lifestyle of his walk. He will stand before the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. He now experiences the presence of God on his life. Once there, he will not want to leave. He has reached the goal: the mercy seat of the Holy of Holies, where the presence of God is located.

The Scriptures say, in Romans 12:1-2, these words: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies ofGod, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Andbe not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed bythe renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is thatgood, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” the “good will of God” is seen in the courtyard and as the prophet. The “acceptable (or well-pleasing) will of God” is seen in the Holy Place as the priest. The “perfect will of God” is seen in the Holy of Holies, as the king.

Blowing the Shofar

The 30 Days of Elul are called the Holy Days and are specifically set apart to prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur the final day of judgment. These last ten days are known as the "Days of Awe" (Yamim Nora'im), preceding the final judgment, which is a type of the final judgment day of all the earth. Five days after Yom Kippur is the Feast of Tabernacles.In traditional Judaism, it is customary (among Orthodox Jews) to blow the Shofar(ram's horn) every morning during the month of Elul, at the end of the morning prayer service. The trumpet (Shofar) or ram's horn is blown to warn Adonai's people to return or repent.

The Four Sounds

There are four sounds that are blown with the Shofar. The element of true worship lines up with the first sound that is blown. “Tekiah” is a bright, piercing sound that stirs the soul. The second sound made with the Shofar is called ‘SHEVARIM’ [meaning “Broken”]. That is a good way to describe this sound.  It is intended to portray a person who is crying.  Rabbinic Tradition states the purpose for SHEVARIM is to remind people of the need for repentance.  True repentance is only possible once someone is broken before God. The third sound made with the Shofar is called “TERUAH” [meaning ‘Alarm”]. Its sound is 9 staccato, short blasts on the Shofar.  This sound is intended to alert the hearer to impending danger and to prepare for it.  

All three sounds are blown on Rosh Hashanah – a day when God is recognized as Creator to be worshipped, a forgiving Father, and coming Judge. Yet, what most people associate Rosh Hashanah with is the Resurrection of the dead.  This is where the 4th sound of the Shofar comes in.

Rabbinic Literature teaches that it is God who will resurrect the dead and redeem man with the sound of the Shofar.  It is on that day that we will hear the ‘Last Trump’.  But what exactly is that? – The 4th sound made with the Shofar is the sound many believe will announce the resurrection. For that reason it is called ‘TEKIAH HAGADOLAH’ [meaning ‘The Great Blast’] or, as some calls it – “The Last Trumpet”. 

It is written in Matthew 24:30-31, “…and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with tremendous power and glory. He will send out his angels with THE GREAT SHOFAR, and they will gather together his chosen people from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”  

The Ninth of Av

How did it Begin?

It is written in Zechariah 7:5. “Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests,saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth (9th of Av) and seventh (Yom Kippur) month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? Tisha B'Av, the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which coincidentally have occurred on the ninth of Av. The 9th of Av begins in Numbers 13-14. When the “spies” came back from Canaan, 10 of them gave a bad report. What was the people’s reaction? It is written in Numbers 14:1, “At this all the people of Isra'el cried out in dismay and wept all night long.”

What was ADONAI’s reaction? It is written in Numbers 14:28-34, “Tell them this: 'As surely as I live, ADONAI swears, as surely as you have spoken in my ears, I will do this to you: your carcasses will fall in this desert! Every single one of you who were included in the census over the age of twenty, you who have complained against me, will certainly not enter the land about which I raised my hand to swear that I would have you live in it - except for Kalev the son of Y'funeh and Y'hoshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty - them I will bring in. They will know the land you have rejected. But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses.  It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses - forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me!”

In ancient Jewish writings, God issued another decree that day: "Because you, Israel, cried for no reason on this day, I, God, will see to it that you have reason to cry on this day forever after." That day was the 9th of Av.

This Day in History

The following points of history happened on Tisha B’Av:

- 1461 B.C.E.    - The 10 spies gave a bad report on Israel

  - 587 B.C.E.     - First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylonians – It was caused by Idol Worship

    - 70 C.E.          Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome – It was caused by hatred towards brothers producing the destruction of unity

  - 135 C.E.        - Bar Kokhba's revolt against Rome failed. Simon bar Kokhba was killed, along with more than 100,000 other Jews, including Rabbi Akiva, and the city of Betar was destroyed. The Roman Emperor Hadrian turns Jerusalem into a Roman city. 

- 1290 C.E.         - King Edward I of England signs an edict expelling all Jews from England and they expelled every Jew from its empire. Great Britain, as a Nation, has never been the same.

 - 1492 C.E.        - Spain Expelled every Jew. The Jews were expelled from Spain on Aug. 2, 1492.  They were set adrift in boats with no oars, anchors, sails, food or water. The Next day, Christopher Columbus left Spain for America.  Columbus mentions the exodus from Spain in his diary and connected it with Tisha B’Av.  [The greatest Diaspora community the world had ever known until then came to an end, and Spain also lost its position as a world power]

 - 1914 C.E.         -  World War I started. Its aftermath produced the conditions that started World War II (in 1914 Tisha B'Av was August 1, the day Germany declared war on Russia and the Swiss army mobilized. World War I caused unprecedented devastation across Europe and set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.)

 - 1940 C.E.          - Himmler presents his plan for the "Final Solution" to the Jewish problem to the Nazi Party. 

 - 1942 C.E.         - On the eve of Tisha B'Av 1942 (July 23rd), the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka. Also on this date, the Treblinka extermination camp opened in occupied Poland, east of Warsaw. (Look at the years 1492 and 1942 – they have transposed digits)

- 1990 C.E.          - Gulf War broke out [ended on Purim]

- 2005 C.E.          - Starting at midnight on August 14, 2005, the entry and presence of Israeli citizens in the areas to be evacuated was prohibited under paragraph 22A of the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan Law 2005.  Disengagement from the Gaza Strip was completed on August 22, and from northern Samaria on August 23, 2005. (The Beginning of Dividing Israel for Peace) How is it Working?

The Destruction of the First Temple

How do you reconcile these two verses in scripture?

It is written in II Kings 25:8-9, “In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month ...came Nebuchadnezzar ... and he burnt the house of the LORD...”

It is written in Jeremiah 52:12-13, “In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month... came Nebuchadnezzar ... and he burnt the house of the LORD...”

According to the Talmud it states, “On the seventh the heathens entered the Temple and ate therein and desecrated it throughout the seventh and eighth and towards dusk of the ninth they set fire to it and it continued to burn the whole of that day. ... How will the Rabbis then [explain the choice of the 9th as the date]? The beginning of any misfortune [when the fire was set] is of greater moment.  (Talmud Ta'anit 29a)

Tisha B'Av is the culmination of a three week period of increasing mourning, beginning with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, which commemorates the first breach in the walls of Jerusalem, before the First Temple was destroyed.

In connection with the fall of Jerusalem, three other fast-days were established at the same time as the Ninth Day of Av: these were the Tenth of Tevet, when the siege began; the Seventeenth of Tammuz, when the first breach was made in the wall; and the Third of Tishrei, known as the Fast of Gedaliah, the day when Gedaliah was assassinated according to II Kings 25:25 and Jeremiah 41:2..

 For the Orthodox Jew, during this three week period, weddings and other parties are not permitted, and people refrain from cutting their hair. From the first to the ninth of Av, it is customary to refrain from eating meat or drinking wine (except on the Sabbath and from wearing new clothing.

Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur

The restrictions on Tisha B'Av are similar to those on Yom Kippur:

  • To refrain from eating and drinking (even water);
  • No washing, bathing, shaving or wearing cosmetics;
  • No wearing leather shoes;
  • No engaging in sexual relations (some refrain from any displays of physical affection); and
  • Studying Torah.

Work in the ordinary sense of the word [not the Sabbath sense] is also restricted. People who are ill do not need to fast on this day. Many of the traditional mourning practices are observed: people refrain from smiles, laughter and idle conversation, and sit on low stools.

In the Synagogue, the book of Lamentations is read and mourning prayers are recited. The ark (cabinet where the Torah is kept) is draped in black. In Sephardic communities, it is also customary to read the Book of Job.

9th of Av and the Messiah

The sages named the seven Haftarah portions between Tisha B’av and Rosh Hashanah “The Seven Messages of Consolation,” all of which came from Isaiah. Now, instead of beginning our self-examination within the 10 Days of Awe (between Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur), we begin our preparation for the Holy Days “seven weeks” earlier on Tisha B’av, with the hope of learning from the past so we don’t have to repeat the past in our future.

Consider this: If the attack on Pearl Harbor isn’t strong enough a comparison, what would happen if America let it happen again, in the same place, and on the same day. That would be a day of “double infamy”.

For the Jewish people, it did happen again. The second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, again on Tisha B’av. Forty three years earlier, on that same day of Tisha B’av in 27 CE, Yochanan (John the Baptist) declared this prophetic warning, “The ax is already laid at the root of the tree” (Luke 3:9). These words of John help us understand who he is and why his life is inextricably linked to Shabbat Nachamu and the ninth of Av.

“Nachamu” (Parasha V’et’chanan) is the first of the seven messages after Tisha B’av, which opens with these incredible words: It is written in Isaiah 40:1-3, “Comfort, yes, comfort My people! says your God. Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her... For she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God”

John was quoting that week’s Haftorah.

When Yeshua was immersed by John on or near the 9th of Av, it was a very important fast day on the Jewish calendar. Yeshua, the Messiah began a 40 day fast immediately after His immersion.

When John was asked “who are you,” in John 1:19, he gave a first person, eyewitness testimony.  He quotes Isaiah the prophet, “I am ‘ The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of Adonai’ (John 1:23).’” In other words, “If you want to know who I am, read this week’s Haftarah portion.”

At the time, Yeshua the Messiah departs into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. These same 40 days parallel precisely the first 40 days of Israel’s 40 year wilderness journey that, according to Jewish tradition, began on the 9th of Av (Numbers 14:34).

But as Yeshua went into the wilderness, what were they reading during these seven weeks in every synagogue? Following Shabbat Nachamu, the next four weeks of Isaiah are divided into four readings from Isaiah 49:14-55:5, with some very interesting edits missing in the sequence: Isaiah 51:4-11 (8 verses) and Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

Why did the rabbis omit Isaiah 53? Is it because it vividly points to Yeshua as our Messiah on the very week (4th message) where Moses himself declares in the Torah portion: “the Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)

Luke’s Gospel in chapters 3 and 4 allows us to look through the lens of the Torah and Haftarah portions to see a clearer, more observant picture of Messiah in the Brit Hashanah (New Testament) as we approach the Holy Days every year. But, there’s more.

Carefully examine the dialogue of Yeshua, the Messiah with Satan during His temptation. Messiah refutes Satan exclusively from the Torah portions in Deuteronomy that were being read in every synagogue during the first three weeks of the seven messages.

‘“And Satan said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ But Yeshua answered him, saying, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’ (Luke 4:3-4). This is a direct quote fromDeuteronomy 8:3 - Parsha Ekev, week two.

Now, look the larger context of Deuteronomy with the Messiah’s answer: “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these 40 years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger....that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone...(Deuteronomy 8:2-3).”

Please understand that Yeshua had nothing to say to Satan in the wilderness, except to quote the Torah portions being read in the synagogue at the very time of His testing.

Finally, when Yeshua returns to Nazareth they are about to read from the seventh message of Isaiah, Parashah Nitzavim (Isaiah 61:10-63:9). As Messiah was handed the scroll of Isaiah, He began to read, “The Spirit of Adonai is upon me; ... he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the imprisoned and renewed sight for the blind...” (Luke 4:18-19)

He is quoting Isaiah 61:1-2a. He then said, “Today, these Scriptures are fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21).

It has been exactly 49 days from Tisha B’av to Nitzavim and 43 days betweenNachamu and Nitzavim. This is more than enough time for Messiah’s wilderness journey. Look at the Scriptures we read every year between Tisha B’av and Nitzavim. He has fulfilled more than we have ever imagined. He came at the right time, to the right place, to make right all our past days of infamy, so that our future can be found in Him.

 Orthodox Jews believe that until the arrival of the Messiah, this day will continue to be observed as a fast; when the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Temple come, it will become a great celebration. This notion is asserted on the basis of a passage in the Book of Zechariah that foretells of the transformation of four fast days into joyous holidays.

It is written in Zechariah 8:19, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month (17th of Tammuz), and the fast of the fifth (9th of Av), and the fast of the seventh (Yom Kippur), and the fast of the tenth (10th of Tevet – II Kings 25:1-4) , shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.”

The 9th of Av occurred because of the lack of trust in God.  Only one thing can change it – the complete trust in God.    

 When will that day come?

It is written in Zechariah 14:1-4, “Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when thespoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all thenations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled , but the rest of the people will not be cutoff from the city.

 Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on aday of battle.  In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in frontof Jerusalem on the east ; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from eastto west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.”

 When will that day come?

It is written in Zechariah 12:10, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will lookon Me whom they have pierced ; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

 When will that Day come?

It is written in Matthew 23:39, “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' "

On that day, there will be complete Trust in Adonai

 

Shalom

Shemini Atzeret

Visualize yourself planning and organizing a seven day reunion for good old times and you nearly invite everyone. But this is no "regular" reunion: It is one solid week of food, music, dance and fun. Sooner or later, things are going to start winding down and people will begin to leave. Because you are the host, you quietly go over to a few of your best friends and whisper: "Stick around after everyone else leaves - that's when I'm breaking out the good stuff."

At the end of Sukkoth, God added a special day called Shemini Atzeret, literally the "Eighth Day of Assembly". On that great day, only one bull was offered -- reflecting the Jewish people. It is a day of great closeness with our Creator, as He asks His Jewish children to remain with him for extra personal time together. (Talmud - Sukkot 55b).

Tishrei 22, Shemini Atzeret, and Tishrei 23, Simchat Torah, in ancient times were considered one long day and celebration . Simchat Torah is a celebration of rejoicing in the Torah. (This is explained in a different article called “Simchat Torah”).As it is written in John 7:37, "In the last day, that great day of the feast [of Sukkot]...." This day would be known as Hoshana Rabbah, or Tishrei 21. In John 8:1-2, it is written, "Yeshua went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them." This is the next day after Hoshana Rabbah, the day attached to Sukkot called Shemini Atzeret. In ancient times that day was also called Simchat Torah, the “rejoicing in the Torah”.

What does that show us? In John 8:5, it reads, "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?"  Yeshua, the author of the Torah, is questioned about the Torah on the day referred to as "the rejoicing in the Torah"

In the days of Yeshua, there was a seven-year cycle of reading the Torah. In years one through three, the people would read from the Torah, the prophets and the writings. In years three through six, they would start over. In year seven, they would read from them all. While reading, the priest would stand on a podium (bema) and give the understanding and teaching (Nehemiah 8:1-12). This was done during the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) (Nehemiah 8:2, 13-14, 18).

Rain and Dew

Shemini Atzeret begins with a special prayer for rain. The entire life of Israel depends on rain. If the rains come down in their due season and in sufficient quantity, the rich soil will produce abundant crops and fruits; if not, the country is doomed to famine and starvation. The rain in the winter and the dew in the summer are vitally needed to sustain life.

The rain in the Bible speaks of two things:

  • The great outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and
  • An in-depth understanding of Yeshua and His Word - the Bible - in our lives.

Both the anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh, and great knowledge of spiritual truths will be present in our lives. Why?  So we may accomplish the purpose God has for every one of our lives. It is written in Hosea 6:3, "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. Hisgoingforth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like thespringrainwatering the earth." It is written in Joel 2:23, “So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the LORD yourGod ; For He has given you the earlyrain for your vindication. And He has poured downfor you the rain, The early and latter rain as before.” These verses in Hosea and Joel tell us that the coming of the Messiah, Yeshua, will be like the rain. Just as there are mainly spring rains and fall rains in Israel, God designed for two comings of the Messiah.

During the first coming of the Messiah, the Messiah would fulfill the role of Messiah ben Joseph, the suffering Messiah. During His second coming, the Messiah would fulfill the role of Messiah ben David, the King Messiah. Those who would receive the Messiah in the season of His first coming would, spiritually, be like the spring rains in Israel and God would pour out His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) upon all people at this time.However, the greatest number of people who would accept the Messiah would be during the season of the fall rains in Israel, which speaks of the Messiah's second coming. The greatest outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) would be at this time.

The Adulterous Woman

This occurred on Shemini Atzeret – The 8th Day. It is written in John 8:2, “Now very early in the morning [Shemini Atzeret], he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him. He sat down, and taught them.”

Now consider this: It is written in John 8:6-8, “Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such: what then sayest thou of her? They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of. But Yeshua stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her." Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.” The Pharisees were misapplying Moses' law here, since "stoning" was commanded for a betrothed girl before her marriage and the woman before them was married.

It is written in Deuteronomy 22:23-27, “If there is a girl who is a virginengaged to aman, and another manfinds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring themboth out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, becauseshe did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated hisneighbor'swife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.” They cared nothing for the law and were only interested in cooking up some charge against Yeshua.

What did they hope to gain?

(1) If Yeshua had concurred in asking a death penalty for the woman, they would have hailed him before the Romans who had made it illegal for the Jews to assess such a penalty.

(2) If the Lord had recommended mercy, they would have placed him at variance with Moses and made a lawbreaker out of him!

Verse 7 says, “But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” This scripture has been misused to say that you should never judge anyone, yet, when applied in its context, it does not mean that. It is written in Deuteronomy 17:7, "The hand of the witness shall be the first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people." Yeshua demanded that the witness reveal himself and cast the first stone; but the Lord demanded something else - such a witness would himself have to be without sin in this case. Where was the man? That witness had to be the man the woman committed adultery with, or help set it up. He would not have been without sin in this case.

Again the Pharisees' trap had closed without taking Yeshua. The Lord had neither condoned any kind of sin nor contradicted Moses. He just turned the tables by an appeal to conscience, there being no coward like a guilty conscience. This is the only instance of Yeshua, in body form, writing. What did He write? Answer: The names of the people that was there, starting with the eldest and going down to the youngest.

Why is this known? Considering the cycle of the Torah at that time, The Haftorah in the Temple read that day may have been Jeremiah 17.  It talks about the Unrepentant Jew.  Read verse 13 “O Adonai, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be put to shame. They that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken Adonai, the fountain of living waters.” John 8:10-11 reads, “And Yeshua lifted up himself, and said unto her, Woman, where are they? Did no man condemn thee? And she said, No man, Lord. And Yeshua said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go thy way; from henceforth sin no more.”

Yeshua’s response showed four things:

  1. He was not against the Torah – Needed two witnesses to condemn her
  2. He was merciful towards the woman
  3. He opposed her sin
  4. He could silence people trying to trap Him and pot them to shame

The Miracle of the 8th Day

John recorded this Sukkot miracle in John 9:1-12. Yeshua' healing of the man born blind shocked the people of that day, not only because the act itself was so amazing, but also because the timing of the act was especially significant.It is no coincidence that Yeshua performed this miracle immediately after Sukkot, for he used both the healing and the holiday to make some earth-shattering statements about himself.

In the healing of the man born blind, Yeshua combined three very important themes of Tabernacles.

  1. He again stated that He was the light of the world. Verse 5 reads, “When I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
  2. It brought the Sabbath into question. Verse 6 reads, “When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,”
  3. He emphasized water once more when He told the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam, as recorded in verse 7. All of Jerusalem's attention was on this pool during the Feast. “And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent). He went away therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”

Light of the World

Thousands of years later, people are still grappling with the meaning behind this miracle. A close look at the history of Sukkot, how it was celebrated in Yeshua' day and the meaning of light in the Hebrew Scriptures, will help us discover what Yeshua meant when he said he was the "light of the world." Sukkot—celebrating God's presence and provision. Prior to his encounter with the blind man, Yeshua was teaching in the court of women soon after the Temple illumination ceremony. Perhaps he was even standing right next to those magnificent candelabra when he declared to all who were gathered there, It is written in John 8:12 "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Light has always been a sign of God's revelation and his presence.

  • From the burning bush that Moses encountered to the pillar of fire that the Israelites followed, to the Shekinah glory that once rested in the Temple, the presence of light has long been equated with the presence of God.

Light was associated with the Messiah, God's Anointed One. It is written in Isaiah 9:1-3, “But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time hath he made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.”

That day in the Temple, Yeshua said that he was the presence of God, right there, in their midst. At the same time, he was declaring that he was the Messiah. He was the Light that the people had been waiting for. A few days after Yeshua spoke these stunning words in the court of the women, he gave sight to a blind man.

There are different types of blindness.

  • There is a physical blindness that longs for physical light
  • There is another kind of blindness wherein a person shuts his or her eyes to things that they do not want to believe.

If you look at the accounts of Yeshua' life and death, you'll see that he came to take care of both kinds of blindness.

The Sabbath Question

According to the Talmud, there are 39 Categories of work that were prohibited on the Sabbath. These categories came from the work that was done in the building of the Tabernacle. One of these categories was kneading. Kneading was needed to take water and dirt and turn it into clay, and clay was a building material. According to the Oral Law, and Pharisaic understanding, this violated the Shabbat in two ways: Kneading and Building. When Yeshua put the mud in the man’s eyes, if this was intended for healing, then according to Luke 6:7 and John 7:22-23, it also violated the Sabbath according to the Oral Law.This miracle created a major doctrinal problem for the Pharisees. It is written in John 9:16, “Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, "This man is not from God,because He does not keep the Sabbath." But others were saying, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And there was a division among them”.

Water and the Pool of Siloam

Rewind your mind for the last seven days. During this time, after the burning of the daily sacrifice, a libation of wine is poured on the altar. Next would come a libation of water, with special ceremonies that everyone wanted to see. It was from Siloam that water was brought in a golden vessel to the Temple during the feast of Tabernacles. Yeshua probably pointed to it when He stood in the Temple and cried, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink" (John 7:37). When the water was taken from this pool, it would be with great joy. Priests carrying the Silver Trumpets blow the ceremonial calls, “Tekiah,” “Teruah,” “Tekiah” and other priests chant the words of the Prophet, “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3)

Yeshua told the blind man to go wash at the Pool of Siloam, and after doing it he received his sight. This was significant since the Hebrew word Siloam means "sent" and Yeshua was the Messiah "sent" from heaven. The English equivalent is the word "apostle."

Consider this: The waters of the pool flow from the Temple mount and, even in the Tanakh, are regarded as symbolic of the spiritual blessings that flow from the dwelling-place of God. The significance of the references to the pool and its supplying conduit is that, for spiritual cleansing, we must go to the true Siloam – the One “sent” by the Father, Yeshua.  He brings not just physical sight, but also spiritual sight to all who go there.

Sukkot and the Millennium

Tabernacles and Passover are the only holidays mentioned in the millennial worship (Ezekiel 45:21-25; Zechariah 14:16). Sukkot doesn't just look to the past; it also offers us a glimpse of the future, when God's promise to Abraham will be fulfilled and all nations of the earth will be blessed through the nation he first chose. There is a key passage in Scripture talking about this time to come:

Rabbis have called it the "Messiah's Feast" because of the following words of the prophet Zechariah.  It is written in Zechariah 14:4, 16, "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to WORSHIP THE KING, the LORD of hosts and to KEEP THE FEAST OF TABERNCLES"

Shalom