My earthly father’s voice is in my head with words he instilled in me at a young age, “We are known for what we say, not for what we mean to say.” My professorial father was a stickler for the English language and was notorious for “red-lining” his university-level students’ papers for poor use of grammar and content. When writing these newsletters, it is so very clear in my mind on what to write about that my thoughts just “gush” forth from mind to paper. Everything makes perfect sense to me – even after I’ve read & reread what I’ve written many times.
Regarding last week’s newsletter, in my enthusiasm and desire to share things learned, I may not have communicated well some of my thoughts. I do believe God’s Word (Ephesians 4:1-6, Galatians 3:28, and Romans 10:12) where it is written that through Christ both the Jew and the Gentile become one. I also need to be clear that I believe the Messiah comes from the Jews, from the Tribe of Judah. The Bible is filled with scriptures of not only the Jews being God’s chosen people, but also the importance of being set apart from others. In Exodus 19:4-6 the Lord said to Moses: “‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” Other verses to consider reading: Deut. 7:6-8, 14:2; 2 Samuel 7:23-24; 1 Kings 8:53; and Isaiah 44:21.
Praise the Lord that we, as believers in Christ, are also part of this holy nation. 1 Peter 2:6-10: For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious……you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God……...
As we look at the Old Testament’s High Holy Days may you see the richness of what and WHO they represent. I am not advocating the following of OT traditions (although they are both interesting and thought provoking). Instead may this be a guide into deeper intimacy with our Lord. At the top of this newsletter is the statement: “…….Inspire and motivate people to know God intimately and create a culture of prayer so that the will of God is done in Tucson as it is in Heaven.” It is my hope the things I write about, especially if they challenge us, cause us to search the scriptures ourselves. As we expand our understanding of God’s Word, then – I believe – comes a deeper prayer life.
Continuing our look at how Jesus is reflected in the High Holy Days found in Leviticus 23, I find it interesting that scripture tells us even Jesus celebrated these Holy Days:
· Matthew 26:17 – On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
· Consider also reading Luke 2:41, 42 and John 7:1-10
In Matt. 5:17 Jesus is quoted as saying: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Is it possible that Jesus might fulfill these High Holy Days? Let’s take a quick look.
1) Passover (Lev. 23:5) – This was shared in last week’s newsletter.
2) Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6-8) – leaven (or yeast) represents sin. Ex. 12:17-19 – Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread…..For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses….
a) Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.
b) I John 3:5 – But you know that he (Jesus) appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.
c) Consider also reading: 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Matt. 16:11b
3) First Fruits (Lev. 23:9-14) – The Lord said to Moses in Ex. 23:10 – “When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.”
a) I Corinthians 15:20-23 – But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
4) The Feast of Weeks (Lev. 23:15-21) (From) the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath…
a) John 16:7 – But, I (Jesus) tell you the truth: it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
b) Acts 2:1-4 – When the day of Pentecost (50) came, they were all together in one place…..All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit …..
c) An interesting note about Pentecost – according to Jewish tradition, this same date is also the celebration of the giving of God’s Word – His Torah.
My apologies for going long and for not writing out all the verses. I encourage you to look them up. I hope you saw how Jesus fulfilled these Spring High Holy Days. The remaining 3 will soon begin – and are not yet fulfilled by Jesus. While we do not know what the future is (Matt. 24:36), could Jesus be reflected in the Fall High Holy Days?