The Freshness of God’s Word

Centuries ago Moses was given the Torah on Mount Sinai and every year since then the Jewish people have celebrated. That same day after the ascension of Jesus and His instruction for the disciples to wait for power, the Holy Spirit came.  The celebration of Shavuot and Pentecost are one and the same. Shavuot is the second of three appointed times on God’s calendar. Each year at the appointed time we get to receive the freshness of that event.

Today’s post is about receiving the freshness of God’s Word in our lives. Each feast has a purpose of causing us to remember and bring us up higher. We are familiar with the giving of the commandments in Exodus 20 but it was more than just the Ten Commandments, it was the entire Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy). When we think of Jesus, we often think of Him in “New Testament” terms. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, He fulfilled the law and did not come to destroy it but to fulfill it and show us how to live it. From the very beginning God has always been about a heart of obedience. God told the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 10:16 to circumcise their hearts. Jesus said if we love Him that we will walk in obedience to Him. The Holy Spirit was sent when Pentecost was fully come so that we would be able to live out the teachings of God’s Word and be empowered to witness.

The day begins at sundown according to God’s time. It is customary for Jewish people to stay up all night studying the Torah and the next morning go to the Synagogue for prayer (this is the day fully come). At Pentecost the disciples would have been up all night studying the Bible before going to the Synagogue for morning prayers. If we will receive the fullness of Pentecost, includes a fresh perspective and understanding of the Scripture. We have always hear it said and it’s true, we can never reach the end of studying and understanding God’s Word.

If you have ever found yourself at a loss when it comes to getting in the Word, Shavuot is a Moedim, an appointed time, for you to connect with God’s Word and through the Holy Spirit teaching you, to gain fresh revelation during this feast.

Next Tuesday (May 30) set aside a few hours of your night to read and study the Bible. You can study alone or with friends. It is customary to read the book of Ruth because it takes place during harvest time and she converted to God’s ways. It is also customary to read the accounts of creation, the exodus, giving of the Torah as well as the first and last chapter of each book. This is probably a different form of study than most of us are used to but do it in faith believing to receive revelation and new insight because that is what this holiday is all about. As part of the celebration it is also tradition to eat cheesecake as you study because the promise land flows with milk and honey.

Each feast is an open window for different things, Shavuot is our open window to receive a deeper understanding of God’s Word and financial breakthrough. Take the next few days and ask Holy Spirit to show you what to read, if you’re needing a specific need met, find verses on that issue and believe God during this open window to meet that need. As Deuteronomy 16:16 says, we are not to come before the Lord empty handed during this time but to give according to the blessing on our life. Give your firstfruit offering and believe God for your harvest.

The Beginning of Pentecost

When we think of Pentecost most of us automatically think of Acts chapter two. The events in Acts two were actually not the first Pentecost, Moses going up Mount Sinai and receiving the Ten Commandments was the first Pentecost. Pentecost is actually a Greek word that means fifty, the Hebrew word for this celebration is Shavuot, meaning feast of weeks. The importance of this is noted in John 14:26 NIV “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 16:12-15 NIV “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” 

When Jesus walked on this earth He expounded the truths of the Scripture. He said in His sermon on the mount, I have not come to do away with the teaching of the Torah but show you how to live it. In the two passages above we see the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach us the truth of Scripture, which is why He was sent when the day of Pentecost was fully come. It is customary on the night before Shavuot to stay up all night studying the Scripture and for everyone to gather the next morning and present their firstfruit offering to the Lord. This provides a new light on exactly what was going on for the Holy Spirit to come at that time. We will get into this later in the series, today we will focus on stepping in to the season of Pentecost.

Shavuot is also known as the feast of weeks because there are seven weeks between Passover and Pentecost. The time in between was used for God to prepare them for receiving the Word. They had to go from a slave mentality to a free mentality.

Ephesians 4:23 tells us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Ephesians 5:26 tells us to be cleansed and renewed by the washing of water by the word. The Word of God is our path for life. In our English translations we see the word law in the Old and New Testaments; in the Hebrew it means pathway or teaching and in Greek it means legalism. When we think of the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament in general it is not ‘old’, it is still the Word of God and should be followed. Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial elements but showed us how to walk out the teaching in the Torah.

Paul said all things are permissible but not everything is profitable. God, each year gives us the appointed times of Passover, Shavuot, and Tabernacles for us to connect with Him and see the windows of heaven opened over our lives. The rabbinical teaching is that God invited several different people groups to receive His law and finally the Hebrews did.

Galatians three tells us that we are blessed with believing Abraham. Romans nine tells us that we who believe in Jesus are grafted in to a Jewish root. Pentecost for us is a two-fold celebration of the Word of God and the Spirit of God. When we begin with the giving of the Word of God we prepare ourselves to receive the full capacity of Holy Spirit to teach us the mysteries of God’s Word. Each year as we come to the different feasts it is an invitation to experience things again like when they first happened. During Pentecost we can receive a fresh joy and new insight about the Word and as Israel went from a slave mentality to a free mentality we too can come into a mindset of prosperity and see the curses of lack and debt broken off our lives.

As we continue in this series we will look at how to prepare ourselves to receive the fullness of Pentecost, including what books and chapters to read in Preparation. We will also look at how the Holy Spirit teaches us the Word of God and the power in the supernatural prayer language.

We are entering into the second of three appointed times that Scripture tells us not to come before God empty handed. Shavuot is a season to receive revelation and prosperity so ask the Lord what ministry you are to sow in to and what amount to give.

My prayer as we go through this series is that each of us will receive new revelation in the word of God and of the power of the Holy Spirit. I may do some extra posts in the coming weeks as part of this series so if you are not signed up to receive updates, get signed up so you don’t miss anything.

Feasts Giving Produces a Full Harvest

No doubt the title of this post makes some people uneasy and gives the feeling that I’m trying to get your money. I can put you at ease and say I’m not asking for your money. Giving has always been about God trying to get something to us, not trying to get something from us.

Many in the Church today have an adverse reaction to a health and wealth gospel yet so many struggle with debt and have health issues, we are so willing to go to financial advisors and doctors and these are great tools yet we won’t go to the Scriptures and tap into our covenant benefits.

Before we get into this teaching; yes, I am going to suggest you find a ministry or organization to give an offering to. No, offerings don’t have to be money, we can give of our time, but we are willing to spend our money on so much why not give into the Kingdom. With that being said, God has never been about or required people giving big offerings.

Deuteronomy 16:17 KJV “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.”

1Samuel 15:22 says that obedience is better than sacrifice. It’s not about giving a huge amount but being faithful in what God asks of us.

Remember in Luke twenty-one when Jesus said the widow woman’s two coins were more than the abundance of the others? Giving is a motivation thing, not a means thing. Our giving, obedient giving is the key to releasing God’s blessing in our lives. God’s not trying to get something from us, He’s trying to get something to us.

Malachi 3:7-11 KJV “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of thy ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Many of us can say, but I give my tithe and I’m not seeing the windows of heaven open and the enemy is not being rebuked on my behalf. I believe this is because the Scripture says we have robbed God in tithe and in offering. Many of us have left out the offering part, and this is not talking about special speaker or missions offering but feasts offerings.

Let’s go back to one of the first verses we talked about and back up a verse. Deuteronomy 16:16-17 KJV “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread (Passover), and the feast of weeks (Pentecost), and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.”

Notice once again, it’s not about giving a large amount but giving according to your means. This was not just an old covenant thing. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and Paul said let us keep the Passover by celebrating Christ, our Passover lamb.

When Jesus mentioned 30, 60, 100 times that which was sown in the parable of the sower, His Jewish audience understood the double meaning of giving during the feasts; 30 (Passover), 60 (Pentecost) and 100 (Tabernacles).

We can  all get off track in our walk with God throughout the year, that’s why God instituted the feasts, to help provide away at specific times to get back to Him. Remember in Isaiah it says, come to Me while I am near and in James it says, draw near to God and He will draw near to you. This is what these three feasts are about, coming near to God and unlocking the windows of heaven through our giving and receiving what God has for us during these three specific times each year.

God said in Malachi that we could test Him in this, so if you’re a little skeptical I would encourage you to pray and ask God what to give and where to give during the three feasts this year and see what God does. I specifically sow my feast offerings into one of the ministries I know who gives to Israel, but step out and ask God what to give if you would like more info on the feasts click the feasts and festivals category and study out the Word and see how God speaks to you. If you don’t feel right in this, don’t do it – I am sharing this because for me it has been revealed as a key to receiving from God and it may be for you too.

For more information on the feasts and giving:

Larry Huch Ministries (Learn and give.)

God’s End Time Calendar (previously published as Divine Encounter): Rod Parsley

Jesus and the Jewish Festivals: Gary M. Burge

Give to the Church of God Israel Initiative  

Passover 2017: Open Door to Freedom

The word I have received for anyone who follows this blog or reads this post is that in 2017, the Passover window for you will be a time to walk in freedom. This is the message of Passover, yes, but some of you have prayed for years to be free in a certain area, you have gotten in every single prayer line but nothing has never seemed to work – The Lord says, for those willing to walk out of bondage, you can receive complete freedom!

The Hebrews chose to come out of Egypt but there was a point in the wilderness when they said, have you brought us here to die? Let’s go back to Egypt and they listed the benefits of Egypt. It was because of this a few days journey took forty years. This is the area that we as believers can fall back into bondage’s we have been freed from. Freedom isn’t as quick as we thought, we find we have to war to stay free and instead of enduring the fight and winning victory we decide to be captured again back into the bondage of the enemy.

Passover is a spring feast because spring is the time when kings went to war in the Old Testament. God is saying I have provided your freedom through the death and resurrection but you have to be willing to face down the enemy – sometimes, if we are honest with ourselves, we are simply not willing to face down the enemy to gain victory.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of are warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

After Passover we will do an in-depth series on our spiritual weapons but for this post we can all acknowledge that prayer is a weapon, worship is a weapon, the Word of God is a weapon and the words of our mouth is a weapon. We know these things, we know truth and we quote the truth shall make you free but actually the full translation in the original language is the truth that you know and that you apply will set you free. Even before that though we are missing something.

John 8:31-36 KJV ” Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

First of all, lets point out that Abraham seed was in bondage for years, that’s why God had to raise up Moses, so on that point alone they are wrong. Spiritually speaking though, they had taken the beauty of the commandments of God and made them a heavy burden. This is why Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. A rabbis teaching was a yoke and how he taught his disciples to live the teaching was called the burden. Take that in view of what Jesus was saying. Jesus came for us to experience freedom and to be sons of God not servants.

To enter freedom we must allow ourselves to change the way we view how to walk holy before God, it isn’t a hard thing, Jesus said, yoke = easy and burden = light, so come follow me.

The first step to walking through the door of freedom is to believe that one statement. We are not called to be Pharisees that manipulate and pervert the scriptures we are called to be the Pharisees that walk in the spirit of the law which is love. If you are uncomfortable being called a Pharisee, we shouldn’t be, In Jesus time that just meant someone who carefully observed the teachings of God . Yes, some people took it to extreme but don’t we have people in our day who do the same thing? When I look at the meaning of the word I would hope people would say of me that I carefully observe the teachings of God. Now, I’m not saying we need to start calling ourselves Pharisees, my point here is that we have been empowered to obey what Jesus has given us, it’s just that many of us have the wrong impression of what Jesus intended, to clear this up lets look at a few more scriptures.

Matthew 5:17-20 KJV “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Messianic commentary on verse seventeen says that Jesus fulfillment of the law which in the Hebrew means teaching of God, is to show us how to live it. With this understanding when we look at verse twenty where it says our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees can seem pretty intimidating. That is until we look at Romans 13:8 which says love fulfills the law. many religious leaders in Jesus’ day did not walk in love and they made the teachings of God hard things to do. For our righteousness to exceed the Pharisees al we have to do is walk in love.

Now what does all this have to do with Passover being the open door to freedom? Jesus loved us enough to give His life. Do we love ourselves enough to forgive ourselves for always turning back to bondage? Do we love others enough to forgive them of their wrong doing towards us? The first step of freedom is believing that we can do what Jesus said, the second step toward freedom is forgiveness; for yourself or for others. As we continue on our journey towards Passover ask yourself, who do I need to forgive and forgive them, when we do that we are taking a necessary and huge step towards our freedom.

Last week and this week both dealt with love. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand. Next week, we will talk about giving. Don’t worry I won’t be asking you to send me an offering. Giving is key to unlocking what God has for us, especially giving during the appointed times, the first of the three, which is Passover. Giving does so much, not just to the ones we give to but for us as well. So be looking forward to what God has for you next week as we continue preparing for Passover.

Part 7: Tabernacles, Sabbath & One New Man

crossdavidAs I prepared to write the post on Tabernacles I looked at the outline for this series and felt that Tabernacles, Sabbath and One New Man needed to be combined.  Tabernacles is about entering God’s glory, Sabbath is about entering God’s rest and One New Man is about the love and unity found in Jesus the Messiah.

From the beginning of this series we have talked about how understanding the roots of our faith is not about becoming Jewish but embracing the fullness of God’s Word and God’s blessing. God is God all the time but there are specific benefits given in the Word of God about participating in the appointed yearly feasts and the weekly Sabbath rest. This is not a legalistic thing, that’s why Jesus got mad at certain Pharisees, they made the teaching of God into legalism and made it a burden instead of a benefit. The entire aim of this series is about going from seeing a burden to seeing the benefits. This is why I have grouped the last three topics together. 

Tabernacles:

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 NIV “Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival – you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”

Look at that last line again, and your joy will be complete. Our joy is complete in Jesus. John 1:14 in the Tree of Life version says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This is Tabernacles, being with Jesus and experiencing the glory of God. In Exodus thirty three Moses asked to see God’s glory, the response was, I will make my goodness pass before you. The three feasts are all about the goodness of God and they culminate in tabernacles which is the head of the civil year and conclusion of the feast calendar.

God is God all the time but in certain seasons He wants to bring about certain things and that is why the feast calendar is set like it is. There is sun in March and in June but the heat in those months is vastly different here in Texas, why? Because of the season. It is the same way with God. Each feast brings us into another realm of experiencing God’s blessing.

Tabernacles, like Passover has other feasts incorporated with it. The Feast of Trumpets which is the sounding of the Shofar to awaken the people to celebration, the Days of Awe are days of seeking God and then the Day of Atonement which is when the High Priest went in to make the yearly sacrifice for sin which lead to the celebration of Tabernacles. The prior celebrations are designed to get us ready for us to go into God’s presence in a special way. We all have access to God 24/7 but how many times have we said it is hard to consistently make time for prayer and Bible reading and spending time with God, that’s why God instituted the feasts, so that we can have times each year that keep us on track and bring us to a higher place of relationship with Him as we progress in our lives and callings.

Sabbath:

The Sabbath is another time God has set aside for us to keep us on track to walk in His ways. God instituted a rest, a Sabbath, at the end of creation. On the seventh day God rested because He finished His work. Like many things God has blessed us with, overtime the meaning and purpose of the Sabbath rest was corrupted and made into a burden instead of a blessing. Many of the miracles Jesus did happened on the Sabbath, I believe, because Jesus wanted to reclaim Sabbath back to its purpose.

Jesus had confrontations with certain legalistic Pharisees about the Sabbath. One such event was recorded in Mark 2:23-28 NIV “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” It is important to note that in order for Jesus to fulfill the law He couldn’t have broken it. Jesus offended their legalistic interpretation, not the biblical guidelines of Sabbath.

Many of us have viewed Sabbath through the burden of legalism and not the blessing of rest. One day a week (in Scripture, sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) God has blessed us and has intended for us to rest and be with Him and our families. The Scripture sets out very few guidelines for Sabbath, mainly do no regular work because it is an appointed day to rest. Sabbath rest usually includes a nicer meal than the rest of the week, the blessing of the wine and bread (many use two loaves to signify blessing) and family praying over one another. As Jesus said the Sabbath is for man, not man to observe legalism that steals rest.

Look at the new covenant rest in Hebrews 4:1-16 NIV “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

One New Man

The Sabbath rest, the Feasts of the LORD, understanding Scripture through the eyes of a Jewish Jesus and Jewish apostles lets us know how to use God’s Word effectively as a sword and approach God’s throne with boldness. This is the essence of one new man. Jesus tore down the wall of separation and ever since then the enemy has been trying to build it back up. But look at these words from Amos 9:11-15 NKJV

“On that day I will raise up
The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,
And repair its damages;
I will raise up its ruins,
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,”
Says the Lord who does this thing.

13 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.
14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
15 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the Lord your God.”

In the tabernacle of David it was open, nothing separated Jew and Gentile and anyone could go into the holy place – that is one new man. It is at the time of this understanding that the increase of God begins to flourish! This one new man is about love and unity whether we’re talking Jew or Gentile, Catholic or Protestant, Pentecostal or mainline. When we come into the one new man revelation and understand the roots of our faith and even when denominations see how they began and become unified and loving towards other groups, we will see the Spirit of God break forth in the earth like never before. I am ready to see those days! I am ready for the body of Christ as a whole to return to how we began, for the Catholic and Protestant Church to throw off legalisms and falsehoods that have developed over the centuries and return to the faith they once knew. I am ready to see both conservative and liberal believers come to a place of loving one another and desiring to understand one another and truly believe in our hearts neither political side has all the answers, only Jesus, only us, His disciples, and the world will only know we are disciples by loving one another and fully becoming One New Man in Messiah Jesus.

Part 6: Pentecost – The Word and Spirit

shavuotPentecost is a Greek word meaning fifty. The Pentecost Celebration is fifty days after Passover. In the Hebrew it is called Shavuot, “feast of weeks”. Each feast finds its fullness in the new covenant, that being said we cannot ignore the foundation in the original covenant. The Power of the Spirit without a foundation in the Word will lead to error. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us in all truth, and the Word is truth. Acts chapter two says when the day of Pentecost was fully come, what does that mean? For the believer it means a double celebration, the Word and the Holy Spirit.

It was fifty days after the Exodus that God called Moses up to Mount Sinai and gave him the Torah (Exodus nineteen and twenty). Deuteronomy 16:9-12 NIV “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you. And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place He will choose as a dwelling for His name – you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless, and the widows living among you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees”.

You’ll notice not a lot of instruction is given as to how to celebrate these feasts, I believe that is because God wanted us to enjoy these appointed times and receive them and participate in them according to the purpose of them and not have them become legalistic observances. There have been helpful books written in both the Jewish and Messianic communities to help guide our celebration, but the moment things become ritualistic or legalistic they have lost purpose and power.

Look at Psalm 91:14-16 in The Message, “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care, if you only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you long life, give you a long drink of salvation.” This is the feasts – this is God throwing parties every year! We go from faith to faith and glory to glory, this is the cycle of the feasts, to bring us higher every year and keep us cleaned up.

Pentecost has three areas of celebration; celebrating the Word, celebrating increase, and celebrating the Holy Spirit.

  1. Celebrating the Word of God

Many of our translations use the word law in place of Torah but the word in Hebrew actually means the teaching of God rather than the law of God. The word law for many as they read the Bible carries a negative connotation since the new covenant says we are not under law. Law in this sense means legalism. The teaching of God in both covenants still very much are applicable to our lives. The feast of Pentecost is a celebration of the Word. Reading Psalm 119 is great during this celebration, have a Bible study with friends, dig into the Word of God as part of your celebration. Psalm 119:10-16 in the Amplified gives a wonderful picture for this celebration. “With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. With my lips have I declared and recounted all the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to your ways [the paths of life marked out by your law (*teaching)]. I will delight myself in your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”   

There is awesome power in the Word of God. Hosea 4:6 NIV “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” I know many will say we are under grace so this doesn’t apply to us but Jesus’ grace does not do away with God’s teachings. The sermon on the mount reiterated the ten commandments on a heart level. Now grace does allow for freedom to celebrate or not to celebrate the feasts but there is blessing that comes in the celebration. Yes, you can be blessed outside of these feasts but the blessings in the celebration are clearly given in Scripture.

  1. Celebrating Increase

Deuteronomy 16:10 NIV “Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing the LORD your God has given you.”  At Passover everyone gives an equal offering but at Pentecost the offering is based on increase and when you give in a mindset of increase, you increase more and more.

Psalm 115:14 in the Amplified says, “May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children”. The NIV says, “may the LORD cause you to flourish”.  Provision and increase is not just a financial thing but a physical thing as well. God instructed, remember and celebrate coming out of the bondage of Egypt. Exodus 15:26 KJV “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”

In the season of Pentecost give. Give and it shall be given unto you. Receive increase, receive finances, receive healing, health and divine life. Claim increase as yours based on how you’ve sown into others and given to God.

  1. Celebrating the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-4 KJV “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 2:1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

We cannot look at this even apart from the festival context they would have been participating in. The night before Pentecost had fully come the disciples would have given offerings joyfully in the temple and stayed up late into the night studying the word of God. To see the Holy Spirit’s coming purely through the lens and purpose of tongues is to miss why Jesus said the Spirit would come. John 16:12-15 KJV “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine, therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

It is interesting that in the three chapters Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, He never mentions tongues. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe in tongues and I do pray in tongues, however, the fullness of the feast is not found in a prayer language or tongues and interpretation but the Spirit revealing the truth of the word to us and empowering us to witness. If we dismiss these two things from our understanding of Pentecost, we have truly lost its power and only have a form in the manifestation of tongues.

Pentecost for the believer is a celebration of the word and the power of the word through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the continued celebration of the provision of healing and finances. When Scripture talks about receiving thirty, sixty and one hundred fold, I would submit that it has something to do with celebrating Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles; thirty, sixty and one hundred. At Pentecost gather with some friends; give joyfully, study the Scriptures and ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.

Part 5: Jesus – Our Passover Lamb

passover-crossThe events leading up to and the story of Passover is found in Exodus six through thirteen and has New Testament counter parts in Luke 22, John 6, 1 Corinthians 5 and 11. In this post I am going to do my best to hit the highlights, expound on certain points and show us how Jesus is the fulfillment of Passover and the joy of celebration. I want to say at the outset, you do not have to celebrate Passover, I am not getting legalistic and I am not trying to put us back under law. We are free to celebrate or not to celebrate The Feasts of the Lord. This year will be the first year since I first learn of the Jewish roots that I will be participating in a Passover celebration and I am excited about it. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 KJV “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; (8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The Passover, for the believer is a double celebration. As ones grafted in we celebrate the children of Israel being freed from bondage and also being free from the penalty, power and pollution of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus! As mentioned last week, God is God all the time but He has set up three celebrations each year for us to take part in and Passover is one of those celebrations. Passover begins the feast calendar which is in spring, the civil calendar starts at Tabernacles which is in the fall. It is interesting to note that God’s calendar begins with seasons that represent life and the Gregorian calendar begins in the deadness of winter.

Before we get into Passover, we first must recognize the man God raised up and how he set the path for freedom.  God never does anything alone, He always raises up a man or woman to partner with Him. In the case of the liberation of His children that man was Moses. Just as it will be with Jesus so it was with Moses, Jewish boys were ordered to be killed and Moses’ mom put him in a basket and Pharaoh’s daughter found Him in the river. Moses was raised Egyptian but always knew who he was. After it was found out he murdered an Egyptian he fled to the wilderness. After God set him apart he left to go face Pharaoh and God appointed his brother Aaron to speak for him. As the story progresses Pharaoh would not listen to Moses so God released a series of Plagues on the land of Egypt; water turns to blood, frogs, lice, flies, death of cattle, boils, hail and fire, locusts, darkness, and the death of the first born. It is important to note that God made a distinction between the land of Goshen where his people resided and Egypt, none of the plagues came to the land of Goshen (Exodus 8:23; 9:4, 6, 26; 11:7). The very first mention of healing in the Bible is found in Exodus 15:26 KJV “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee; which I have brought on the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”

Passover is a season of the beginning of miracles the month of Nissan and Iyar are both months where the manifestation of physical and emotional healing are very present. Passover is a time to receive and walk out freedom and receive new levels of freedom from bondage and to be healed. Scripture says that we go from faith to faith and glory to glory, the feast calendar is set up to facilitate that rise each year. There are always new levels of freedom, revelation and healing to receive each Passover and it’s not always something for us, we also receive to be able to minister to others and that’s what the feasts are about.

Each plague represented God’s authority and dominion over the Egyptian gods. Each god was a protector of something each plague from God destroyed. This shows the love God has for us and His desire to see us be free.

As we get into the Passover, we aren’t given much information in Scripture as to the order and formalities of the meal, these came around 70AD. Jesus’ Passover meal constituted the four cups, bitter herbs, matzo (unleavened bread), and haroset (a mixture of apples, nuts and honey) and the singing of Psalms 113-118 known as the Halel. If you choose to celebrate Passover be free in how you choose to celebrate it and what you incorporate, my only admonishment is that you make sure to include both the Jewish and Messianic symbolism’s as this is a double celebration.

[Exodus 12:1-28 KJV ] The Passover happens in the first month, the month of Nissan and it is observed on the tenth day. Verse seven says, “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two sides of the posts and on the upper door post of the houses where they shall eat.” Every Jewish man made the sign of the cross on his doorposts, a foreshadowing a Yeshuah, Jesus the Messiah being our final Passover lamb, it is because of Him that we celebrate the feast. Verses eight through ten speak of roasting the lamb and not leaving any till morning, this is a sign of prosperity. You boil food for leftovers, you roast to eat now and not worry about tomorrow. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew six, take no thought for tomorrow, for what you shall eat or what you shall wear. Verse thirty-three, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. Celebrating the Passover and partaking of roasted food breaks of the poverty spirit that is present in the people of God. As you eat, as you fellowship, allow the poverty mindset to be broken from you and ask God to rework your mind to a mindset of increase and provision!

The blood over the doorposts kept the children of Israel safe from losing their first born and the blood of Jesus is a seal for not only our salvation but our healing, prosperity and family life as well. Verse 24, “And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever. (25) And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. (26) And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean you by this service? (27) That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. (28) And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.”

John chapter six is set at the time of one of Jesus’ three Passover celebrations (2:13; 6:4 and 11:55). Passover centers around bread, getting the leaven out is a picture of getting sin out of our lives. But in John six Jesus feeds five thousand in a green pasture, this is a picture of Jesus as shepherd, just as Moses watched over Israel, it is also during this time Jesus says He is the bread of life. Many of the key events and key teachings of Jesus’ ministry happened in line with celebrating the feasts.  There are four cups at Passover; sanctification, plagues, redemption (our communion cup), and praise. Jesus prayed in John 17, sanctify them with your truth, your Word is truth. John 1:1 and 14 KJV, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” Jesus is our sanctifier, redeemer, and the object of our praise. The entire Passover meal is a celebration of our great savior Jesus Christ.

I encourage us, not in a legalistic observance but in a spirit of joy and celebration to get a Messianic Passover Haggadah, prepare a feast and invite friends and family over to celebrate Jesus our Passover lamb. As Jesus was crucified at Passover, He was resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits, which is why He is called the first born (or firstfruits) of many brethren.

There is so much rich symbolism in Passover especially with what has been added since 70AD but one of the most beautiful pictures of Jesus is found in the Afikomin. The Rabbis don’t exactly know how this tradition got started but this is it, you break a piece of Matzo and put it in a folded napkin and the leader of the meal hides it. Whoever finds it gets a prize and enjoys the last piece of Matzo as their dessert. The broken piece of Matzo symbolizes Jesus, whose body was broken for us, the napkin is the empty tomb and finding it is the resurrection. The death and resurrection of our Messiah is pictured in a wonderful celebration, so why not reclaim this feast of the Lord as our celebration of our savior?

Resources to help prepare for Passover:

The Messianic Passover Haggadah

Passover Seder Plate

*Also see the Jewish Roots section of the bookshelf

Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)

sukkotRevelation 21:3-4 NKJV “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (4) “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Amen. This Wednesday begins Sukkot, (Feast of Tabernacles). This is one of the appointed feasts, the Feasts of THE LORD.  (The second of four blood moons occurs on this day).

The instruction for this feast is found in Leviticus 23:34-43. This feast relates to us for two reasons; one, because it is a Feast of the Lord and second, because Jesus came and tabernacled with us and will again.

John 1:14, The WORD became flesh and tabernacled among us.

Tabernacles is a week to rejoice in the goodness of God, it comes after the head of the year and the day of Atonement.

The Israelites built and dwelt in tabernacles as a reminder of the time in the wilderness. This is a time where God dwelt in the midst of the camp.

It was on the last day of Sukkot that Jesus spoke these words in John 7:37-38 NKJV “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his [belly] will flow rivers of living water.”

Even though this feast is yet to be fulfilled in Christ’s return, we can still take this special appointed week to get alone with God and hear Him.

Some might be saying, I spend time with God every day, that is good, but this week God has set an appointment, every year this appointment stands, will you come and meet with Him?

This is not a legalistic issue, you don’t have to celebrate the feast, but there is a BLESSING in celebrating!

Paul said of Passover, because Christ the Passover lamb was sacrificed let us keep the feast.

These are the Feasts of the Lord, they still have benefit. They are circled dates on God’s calendar.

Enjoy God! If you have kids build a tabernacle and camp out with them! Draw close to God this week and He will draw close to you.

Again this isn’t a legalism thing, God appointed these feasts for our benefit, let’s do what believers have done for centuries, let’s celebrate the feasts!

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I began my week last Friday at 3:00pm. While I am not staying in a “tabernacle” I did decide to take a week away from social media and television and seek God. I would encourage everyone to do the same. Even if you can only give an hour a day, Holy Spirit can do and say many things in an hour a day for seven days. Be creative and just get in the presence of the Lord to be renewed and have the river flow from you.

Pentecost: The Word and Spirit

imageToday at sundown begins the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) and on Sunday is when believers celebrate the coming of the Spirit which happened during the feast of Shavuot, what we call Pentecost.

After the Passover in Exodus we come to chapters nineteen and twenty which give us the account of Moses going up to Mount Sinai and receiving the Ten Commandments which were written by the finger of God.

Deuteronomy sixteen gives us the outline and reasoning of celebrating the Feasts of the Lord; Passover, Weeks (Pentecost), and Booths.

Many Christians do not pay attention to the feasts because we think they have been done away with, they are Jewish Feasts and we have Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas.

They are the Feasts of the Lord and BLESSING is released to those who celebrate and give during the appointed times.

What I want to do is connect the Old Testament and New Testament events for us.

Acts 2:1-4 NASB “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each of them. 4 And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”

Now before we continue with Acts we need to see the OLD TESTAMENT CONTEXT in order to UNDERSTAND the NEW TESTAMENT PROMISE.

Deuteronomy 16:8-12 NLT “For the next six days you may not eat any bread made with yeast. On the seventh day proclaim another holy day in honor of the lord your God, and no work may be done on that day. 9 “Count off seven weeks from when you first begin to cut the grain at the time of harvest. 10 Then celebrate the Festival of Harvest to honor the lord your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him. 11 This is a time to celebrate before the lord your God at the designated place of worship he will choose for his name to be honored. Celebrate with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites from your towns, and the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live among you. 12 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, so be careful to obey all these decrees.”

Acts says when the day of Pentecost was fully come, Pentecost, like every feast begins at Sundown. So what does it mean to say when Pentecost fully came? It is customary to stay up all night and study the Torah. The night Before “Acts two happened” the disciples would have been up all night studying the Scriptures.

Jesus said in John 14:26 and 16:13 AMP “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.”

“But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].”

Now look at what Jesus prayed in John 17:17 AMP “Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.”

In Hebrew there is no word for coincidence, so the fact that Holy Spirit was given at the time of this Feast is important and it speaks to His ministry.

The connection between the Old and New Testament here is key! Holy Spirit came to reveal the truth of God’s Word (1 John 2:20 and 27), it is important that we understand the importance of His coming at this time and what happened when He came in Acts 2.

Three thousand people came into the Kingdom that day!

Acts 1:8 was fulfilled in the disciples that day, “but you will receive dunamis (dynamite power!) when the Holy Spirit comes and you will be my BOLD WITNESSES.

We are missing a huge piece of what God wants to do if we focus solely on Acts 2, the Spirit without Word will lead to error and conversely the Word without Spirit will lead to religion.

The Old and New Testaments should not be separated, they should be joined!

These are not Jewish Feasts but God’s. We have been grafted in to Israel and the Law will not be done away with till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18). The Ceremonial law was fulfilled yet Hebrews says because our Passover Lamb was sacrificed we should keep the feasts!

Christ did not do away with the Ten Commandments he deepened there truth in Matthew chapter five.

The connection between Shavuot and Pentecost are wonderful and the month of Sivan is a great time to learn God’s will for your prosperity, not just financially but in every area of your life. The word Prosper means to excel in something desirable and succeed !

Psalm 35:27 AMP “Let those who favor my righteous cause and have pleasure in my uprightness shout for joy and be glad and say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, Who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

The key to being prosperous is walking in accord with the Word of God and hearing God’s direction for your life!

There was and is no better time to be renewed in the Word and the Spirit than the month of Prosperity!

PRAYER: Father I ask in Jesus name that in this time of Pentecost the Word become alive to us and the Holy Spirit alive in us. Fill us afresh with the Spirit and open our hearts, eyes, and ears, to the truth of prosperity in your Word. In Jesus name, Amen!

PASSOVER: A Celebration of Our Deliverance

imagePassover is an eight day celebration beginning tonight at sundown and ending on April 22 (Nissan 22, 5774).

Many Christians today do not celebrate the biblical feasts and do not know much about them. I will not get into the entire history in this post but I will give you a quick overview.

The early Church, many believe, removed themselves from the Jewish heritage, this is not true. The truth of history shows us that the Church began being stripped of its Jewish heritage and roots at the time of Constantine’s salvation.

Constantine was a Roman Emperor who had a vision of a cross coming forth from the sun, he thusly equated the sun god with Jesus, from that time Constantine began giving large sums of money to the Church and it began being mixed with politics. This lead to a change in worship and celebrating feasts and other things from our heritage. Many of the early councils stripped the Church of how they did things including the ban of the house church, worship changes, buildings and ritual following the royal court, and the rejection of roots through the Councils.

Now before we get into Passover I want to make it clear that this is not about legalism in following forms of feasts. This is about understanding that these feasts are not “Jewish feasts” but “feasts of the Lord” given to as appointed times to meet with G-d.

Exodus 12:14 NASB “Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it a permanent ordinance.”

2 Chronicles 2:4 NASB “Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, dedicating it to Him, to burn fragrant incense before Him and to set out the showbread continually, and to offer burnt offerings morning and evening, on sabbaths and on new moons and on the appointed feasts of the Lord our God, this being required forever in Israel.”

We see that these are feasts to the LORD forever. We have been grafted in to Israel, the same BLESSING that is in store for Israel when participating in these appointed times is available to us.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 NASB “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

While I believe there is benefit in celebrating the original Passover meal set forth in Exodus 12:1-13, it is not about a legalistic observance but a celebration of the heart.

The custom of Passover is to first cleanse your house from all leaven, this represents impurity and then celebrating the Passover meal. We have taken to elements of Passover and made them into Communion. We need to realize Jesus was celebrating Passover when He took the bread and wine. When Jesus said do this in remembrance of me He was speaking of Passover.

In Passover they put the blood of the lamb on the door post, this represents the sacrifice and blood of Christ, the bitter herb is representative of our life before Christ, the matzo and wine for us symbolize the body and blood of Christ.

As said earlier leaven represents impurity, or sin. As believers honoring Passover is a way for us to sanctify ourselves and to separate ourselves from sins we have committed and to receive the deliverance that has been purchased for us.

While you may not be able to celebrate a full Passover meal this year the purpose and power of passover can be participated in and received. Repent of sin and feast in the presence of the Lord in your deliverance.