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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ten Ways to Love

I found this on a Facebook page, Spiritual Thoughts. These ten items are not always easy to do. However, when practiced, they greatly enhance our relationships; with God and others. God's Peace be unto you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Feast of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits

Yeshua (Jesus)
Jesus ate the Passover with his disciples, saying that he had eagerly desired to eat this Passover with them before He suffered and that He would not eat it again until the kingdom of God comes. (Luke 22:7-16) After the Passover meal, they sang a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:30) The hymn sung during Passover is the Hallel which includes Psalm 118:22; "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." Jesus is the capstone that the builders rejected. (Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:7) Jesus was crucified as the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) The Lord's Supper is a remembrance of His sacrifice as the perfect Passover Lamb and the fullfilment of the new covenant between God and man. (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 5:7; Eph 2:11-13) Prophecy of this sacrifice is found in Psalm 22. The Hebrew prophet Isaiah also spoke of the sufferings and sacrifice of the Messiah, and how that sacrifice would be the ultimate atonement for the sins of God's people. (Isaiah 53)

Matzot is plural for matzah. Unleavened bread (matzah) is a symbol of Passover, Leaven represents sin. (Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5:8) Matzah stands for "without sin" and is a picture of Jesus, the only human without sin. Jesus said that the "bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" and tha He (Jesus) is the "Bread of Life," the "bread that came down from heaven," the "living bread" which a man may eat and not die. (John 6:32, 35, 41, 48) While leaven is a symbol of sin, the Messiah is "unleavened" or sinless. He conquers the grave with His resurrection because He is not a sinner under the curse of death. Jesus was scourged and pierced at His crucifixion. As the prophet Isaiah proclaims, "By His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) All of the festivals instututed by God, including Passover and Unleavened Bread, are "shadows of thing to come." (Colossians 2:17)

Yom HaBikkurim is a picture of Jesus' ressurection, Jesus rose on the third day of Passover season, Nisan 16, the day of Firstfruits. That event gave new meaning to this agricultural holiday. The apostle Paul, a Jewish believer and rabbi, wrote, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 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." (1 Cor 15:20, 22, 23) Jesus' resurrection is the promise of the future
resurrection of believers. (John 5:28, 29) Although most believers in Jesus have never heard of Yom Habikkurim, they celebrate it as Resurrection Day or Easter.

The Feast of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits

In a Nutshell
The Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread commemorates God's deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. Pesach (PAY-sahk) means to literally "pass over." The Passover meal, seder (SAY-der), commemorates the Israelites' deliverance from slavery in Egypt. The LORD sent Moses to lead the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. When first confronted by Moses, Pharaoh refused to let the people go. After sending nine plagues, the LORD said the firstborn males of every house would die unless the doorframe of that house was covered with the blood of a perfect lamb. That night, the LORD "passed over" the homes with blood on the doorframes. The tenth plague brought death to the firstborn sons of Egypt, even taking the life of Pharaoh's own son. Finally, Pharaoh let the children of Israel go. Passover was to be a lasting ordinance for generations to come. In Leviticus, the LORD said that on the fourteenth day of the first month (of the religious new year) the LORD's Passover was to begin at twilight.

In Leviticus 23, Hag HaMatzot (Hawg-MAHT-zot) or Hag HaMatzah, also known as the "Feast of Unleavened Bread," is mentioned as a separate feast on the fifteenth day of the same month as Passover. Today, however, the feasts of Pesach, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits have all been incorporated into the celebration of Passover, and reference to Passover means all three feasts. Passover is celebrated for eight days, Nisan 14-21. The LORD said that for seven days the children of Israel must eat unleavened bread. This bread, made in a hurry without yeast, represents how the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt in haste. In Scripture, leaven also represents sin. Orthodox Jews believe that not only is eating bread with leaven unlawful during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but even having leaven present in one's house or apartment is forbidden. Today, cleansing the house before Passover is often a symbolic search to remove any hypocrisy or wickedness. Unleavened Bread is one of the three pilgrimage feasts when all Jewish males were required to go to Jerusalem to "appear before the LORD." (Deut. 16:16)

On Yom HaBikkurim (Yome Hah-Bee-koo-REEM) people offered the first ripe sheaf (firstfruits) of barley to the LORD as an act of dedicating the harvest to Him. On Passover, a marked sheaf of grain was bundled and left standing in the field. On the next day, the first day of Unleavened Bread, the sheaf was cut and prepared for the offering on the third day. On this third day, Yom HaBikkurim, the priest waved the sheaf before the LORD. Counting the days (omer) then begins and continues until the day after the seventh Sabbath, the 50th day, which is called Shavuot or Pentecost (the next feast on the calendar). Jewish people rarely celebrate Yom HaBikkurim today, but it has great significance for followers of Jesus as the most important day of the year, the day of Jesus' resurrection.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Understanding the Seven Feasts of the Lord

The God who created the heavens operates in sevens. Seven is God's number of perfection and/or completion.

- There are seven days in the week.
- There are many sevens mentioned in Scripture: Jacob served Laban seven years, there are seven branches of the golden candlestick, seven trumpets and seven priests, seven days of siege upon Jericho, seven churches, seven spirits, and seven stars.
- There are seven ages and dispensations from Genesis 1:1 to the conclusion of the Book of Revelation.
- There are seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials in the Tribulation (the first forty-two months) and the Great Tribulation (the latter forty-two months) of seven years of hell on earth.

If you want to understand what God will do in the future, we only have to look to what He has done in the past. The Lord Himself established seven festivals to guide Israel through the centuries until the Messiah comes. These feasts are not exclusively for the Jewish people. The Bible makes it clear that everyone, Jew and Gentile, has the right to draw near.

These seven feasts have several purposes: First, they are intended to draw the minds and hearts of the people toward God. Second, they are a time of communion and joy. Finally, they illustrate spiritual truths and create a picture of God's plan for the ages.

The Hebrew word for "feast", mo'ed , means "a set or appointed time." Very similar in meaning, the word mikrah indicates "a rehearsal or recital." Each feast is a dress rehearsal as it offers a portrait of God's prophetic plan. The combination of the seven feasts were instituted shortly after the people of Israel had left the slavery of Egypt and it is the spiritual blueprint of what lies ahead for Israel, Jerusalem, and the rest of the world.

Before the advent of calendars and clocks, the people of Israel lived by the unchanging calendar of the seasons. The first four festivals -- the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, and the Feast of the Pentecost -- take us from the beginning spring to the gathering of the wheat harvest. The three fall festivals -- the Feast of Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles -- remind the Jewish people that winter lies ahead.

The two sets of feasts also coincide with the two annual seasons of rain. Spring brings the former rain; the latter rain comes in the fall. The prophet Hosea knew the seasons and rain cycles were a clear picture of things to come. Hosea, inspired by the Spirit of God, wrote of the Messiah saying, "He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth" (Hosea 6:3 NKJV) Hosea meant that the Messiah would come twice - once in the former rain, and again in the latter rain. The four feasts of the former rain, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost, are God's first four acts in the preparation of the Second Coming. The prophetic fulfillment of those feasts lie behind us. As the first four feasts predicted what now lies in history, so the next three will help us to see what lies ahead.

Next Post The Feast of Passover

Fascinating Facts About Feasts of the Bible

Bible Verse of the Day
The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD's appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations - My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.'"

Leviticus 23 - God's Redemptive Plan
Leviticus 23 is sometimes referred to as "God's calendar of redeeming grace" or the "calendar of divine redemption." These 44 verses basically tell of God's redemptive plan for the world He created. Three main lessons of the seven feasts are described are:

1) God's Protection
2) God's Provision
3) God's Promise

The holidays and Sabbath days are a "shadow of things to come." (Colossians 2:16,17)
pictures the death of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice. He died on Passover.

Unleavened Bread pictures the sinless Jesus, "the bread of life" from heaven.
Yom HaBikkurim (Firstfruits) foretold his resurrection on the third day.
Shavout (Pentecost) foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later.

Seven Appointed Feasts
There are seven holidays that God instituted, which were intended to be times to meet with God. The LORD spoke to Moses saying, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies." (Leviticus 23:1,2) These seven holidays are:

1) Pesach - Passover
2) Hag HaMatzot - The Feast of Unleavend Bread
3) Yom HaBikkurim - The Feast of Firstfruits
4) Shavout - The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
5) Rosh HaShanah - The Feast of Trumpets
6) Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement
7) Sukkot - The Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths)

Three Pilgrimage Feasts
Three of the seven appointed feasts were pilgrimage feasts when all Jewish males were required to go to Jerusalem to "appear before the LORD." (Deuteronomy 16:16) Those three holidays are :

1) Hag HaMatzot - Feast of Unleavened Bread
2) Shavuot - The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
3) Sukkot - The Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths)

Next Post: Understanding the Seven Feasts of the Lord