Tag Archives: Christ Jesus

The Real Meaning Behind the Jewish Feasts

September 2015

There has been a lot of interest lately in the coming harvest feasts celebrated by the Jews and whether or not it has any implications for us as Christians and Americans. There have been many attempts to answer and decipher its meaning. America has seen tragedy during this time of year and some people have determined it was judgment from God. Because we as Christians have not come into a clear understanding of God’s ways, His movements have often eluded us.

It was during these seasons that I received salvation and pursued a deeper understanding of God and events that occurred during these seasons. The untimely death of a loved one got my attention as I wondered why. I became angry with a God I did not know. God did not have to vindicate Himself to me but He did because He is just that kind of God. He wants us to know that He is always righteous and good. With God’s help I was able understand death and work through the grief process. I began to observe a pattern in deaths around the end and beginning of a year. As a new Christian, the Jewish feasts were unfamiliar to me until much later so it was attributed to some phenomenal related to the end of the year. For years I observed these times of unusual blessings and loss and sought to understand. This mystery was opened up further and further as I grew in Christian knowledge and searched out the ways of God.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He established patterns in the earth and patterns for His interactions with mankind. God’s laws are universal but His ways are to be understood by His people. There are those that can break down the Jewish feasts in ways that I would not even attempt. My intent is only to understand what God wants from us and how we are to give it. Recently I wrote out a paper of my own research in this area entitled “The Offering God Wants When He Comes to Meet With Us.” Through this research I found my answer and maybe my summary will suffice others as well.

The History of the Feast Times

To understand God, we always have to go back to what He originally instructed us and see the progression of this truth through the scripture. Because God does not change. What He originally wanted, He still wants. It is our sin that has changed the equation. God originally came to meet with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on a regular basis (Gen 3:8). We saw in Genesis where the sons, Cain and Abel, prepared offerings for God (Gen 4:3). We are not told how these offerings began, just that they occurred. God was pleased with one offering and rejected the other. This story reveals that God expects to meet with His people at set times and that He wants us to offer up something of value to Him at His coming.

In the wilderness, we saw that Moses instructed the Children of Israel in the ways of God and how to please Him. The Israelites were told that several specific times during the year God would meet with them, how they would present their offerings, and that these would be times of a great celebration.

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, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Deu16:16

The Israelites worked the land and were shepherds so their offerings to God were related to their labor during the year. God expected His people to recognize and bless Him at the end of their season of work where He had prospered them to have success. The combination of their work and God’s favor produced a crop or blessing of which God expected His credit, respect and reverence.

Man’s response to God’s expectation to be remembered at this time would show man’s appreciation and thankfulness for a good and gracious God. Cain, of course, did not show proper respect or appreciation and God was not pleased. What about us? Are we thankful? God has blessed America greatly. Are we showing thankfulness? God no longer expects animal sacrifice, but He does expect from His children thankfulness and reverence.

This coming season is about a tradition of God coming to meet with His children and bringing and receiving something of value in a time of thankfulness for all He has done for us. Will we have an acceptable offering? Certainly there will be praises and worship going up to God as we carry on church services but let us not forget other behavior.

America has recently thumbed its nose to God. The White House was lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate a practice that God hates. Our legislative branch is at war with each other. The Supreme Court has validated and made legal a homosexual life style that God specifically forbade. The nation has removed prayer and the Ten Commandments from public arenas, shunned the stranger, murdered millions of babies while the rich have decried the portion for the poor and many churches have rejected God’s truth and deceived believers. America that loves money and that has made money its god is now poised to elect a new president who appears to worship money. Shall God be pleased with what America has to offer Him when He comes to be celebrated in this season? I think not. America’s present state can be found in the book of Judges where the people were willing to say to anyone: “Come and be lord over us and take this mess under your hand.”

“Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you – Jdg 8:22-23.” (Read the rest of this chapter.)

“When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand…” Isa 3:6.

Perversion of the Season

Many false religious leaders have made a mockery of this time and required of God’s people a substantial money offering during these feasts. People looking for a blessing from God have been taken advantage of and some fallen into unbelief because of it. While God does expect us to give finances to the church that upholds His name and does His work, it is in the normal process of church obedience, not in a lottery to get future blessings. We must remember too, that there were some offering as mentioned by Isaiah that God did not want.

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” Isa 1:11-14  

These verses were followed up with the truth of what God really wanted: Isa 1:17 – “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” God is more concerned about our heart and right behavior (New Testament Commandments) than our offering up vain offerings in an attempt to appease Him. So, like with Cain, an offering from impure or insincere hearts will not be acceptable to God. Malachi 3 helps us to see also that God will not be pleased with our refusal to give godly pastors the portion that is rightly due for the work of the Lord. The New Commandments that Jesus gave us refer to a changed heart. A right heart leads us to do right with our money.

The Expectation of God’s Coming

This upcoming season is about God coming to see what we have prepared as an offering for Him. Will it be good works, a heart of love, fellowship with Him and our brethren, an appreciation and thanks for His truth and blessings or will it be our disrespect? God will come to some in blessings for their good done toward His name but He will appear as a judge to others for their disrespect of His Word and Person. How will we meet our God?

Jewish Traditions Applied to Christians

The Jewish feast of Rosh HaShanah is September 13-15, 2015. It is the Jewish New Year and marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self examination and repentance. Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. It is a time of judgment for mankind and reconciliation with God.

The next significant feast is Yom Kippur – Atonement celebrated on September 22-23, 2015. This feast begins at sunset of one day and ends at nightfall of the next. During Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and in the days leading up to them, the Jews begin to examine their lives and repent for any wrong doings committed the previous year. This repentance is called teshuvah. Yom Kippur is when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies each year to make an offering for the sins of Israel. The Jews during this time would make amends with those they have wronged and make plans for improving their lives during the upcoming year. Many Americans follow this custom but observe it at our New Year’s Day which starts in January. Where our calendar has gone through worldly changes the Jewish calendar is more exact. Yom Kippur is the deadline for making things right and by its end, God’s “Book of Life” is said to be closed until the next year. It is a time of fasting, repenting and cleansing to renew our relationship with God.

Even though some Christians may have difficulty with these holidays because they represent Jewish traditions, we must realize that our Savior and Christian blessings come through the lineage of Jews and that we must understand both the past and the present to get a full understanding of our God. These practices that we saw exercised in the Garden of Eden were evidently established long before Abraham. Though we do not follow the laws of the Jews, we do obey the spirit of the law and some principles are timeless as are some commands God gave to the Jews, i.e. honoring God and putting Him first. We are admonished through the word:

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Pro 4:7

“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” 1Jn 2:20

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Joh 8:32

God can move at any time in the life of a person but we are told specifically about His expectations at this time.  Whether for blessing or judging, we would do well to be ready for God’s presence in love and preparedness. Christians are not Jews but we serve the same God and we have been brought into a better relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. Christ actually taught His disciples about divine visitations and how to be ready for them (Mt 24-44). This is a time when we should reach out to and pray for all souls. While God comes to bless and fellowship with the obedient, the ungodly will find His judgment of sin. There are yet deeper meanings to the season for the believer in fellowship with the Lord and they should diligently seek God for His purposes. We have a standing appointment with the Righteous God over the earth and it is always a good idea to take some time to examine our lives and prepare it to be a time of celebration.

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The Unrestrained Nature of Man

by Joyce Reba Payne

October 15, 2013

History records that men unrestrained by civilization, proper leadership and rules are a very dangerous force as demonstrated by some armies who have ravaged villages and cities in certain cultures around the world. This is not a pleasant realization but it is proven through past and current events. For this reason God has established civilized societies with laws to give men leadership, legal authority over groups of people and wives. All of these components in a man’s life help to restrain his natural instincts to satisfy himself at any cost. Given the opportunity though, men will throw off these restraints and still try to satisfy their natural instincts to the full.

Men in Government

In our nation recently, we have seen examples of men in politics and business determined that they can have it all: as much as they want, whenever they want and where they want. We have seen men with the reins of wealth and power who tried to force themselves and their will upon our nation without restraint. Who was supposed to restrain them? The answer is you and me! We are a nation governed by the people that put the average man or woman in charge of these leaders to check their power and restrain their natural instincts to have their own way. And when we do not speak up, power can go astray and unchecked. That is when anarchy can take over. One voice standing up against a tank might get run over but it will still cause people to consider that maybe something is wrong or worth the fight.

Nations like the past Rome or Greek empires, and others more recent, were formed because of the brute strength of some conquerors. Those empires were also overthrown because of the unrestrained power of men on the inside of the walls while a greater power of men from outside invaded them during their chaos. This is a history lesson we all should know too well.

Men in Society

In civilized society where men have wives, the female counterpart is often a voice of reason and restraint to bring man back into remembrance of more acceptable behavior. May God help us if the wives of strong men keep silent! Equal balances for society are women in leadership positions that help restrain or give a voice to sounder methods. May God help us if women leaders become silent or as bad as unrestrained men! God made the nature of women different for a reason. Women are usually more domiciled than men. Women care about domestic life: homes, children, well being of others and the development of society. But most men by nature will try to prevent women from sharing power for that very reason: so they can have unrestrained power to do what they want, when they want. Thank God for Jesus, who as perfect man, honored his mother, accepted women co-laborers and established a new system that would allow women to have an equal role in society and in the church. Jesus knew that men needed women to help restrain the natural instinct of men to satisfy self.

Men in the Faith

The Holy Ghost said through Paul, “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel (1Co 4:15).” In many churches, we have given one man control of the church family. Those possessing the Holy Ghost should already be subdued under the power of the Holy Spirit’s guidance to lead them in righteous ways. But those men that do not have the Holy Ghost or proper knowledge from God as their guide and restraint are more apt to use their natural guidance as they lead the church to submit to their authority. We have seen many examples of what can happen when male church leaders are not restrained by the Holy Ghost: they have consumed finances unlawfully, sexually abused women or men and established their own laws to satisfy their personal desires. For this reason God empowered and authorized church leaders that He called apostles and prophets who would receive holy guidance in establishing and correcting His church. However, not all men have a relationship with God or are restrained by the Holy Ghost. Some male leaders in church and society have reasoned together to give consent to authenticate without protest what God has not authorized.

Apostle Paul had an authority given by God to guide establishment of the church. Paul defended his authority when questioned and dealt with the behavior of a confused and immature church. He reminded the church that he was as a father to them and then gave instruction for correction.

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1Co 3:3

For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 1Co 4:15

Paul did not say he was king, Caesar or Emperor, but “father.” Paul had legitimate authority as demonstrated by his spiritual gifting and power to guide the church. A real father ordained by God will guide and protect his family because of his love for them. Paul was a single man that possessed maturity, strength, discipline and love toward the churches under his authority as he imitated the Lord. Paul was willing to suffer personally for the well being of these churches. Men led by the Holy Spirit possess strength for protection, nurturing and loving the church family like their Heavenly Father and as demonstrated by Jesus Christ in earthly ministry. This bible example has been established for men in our generation to be the best possible men as husband, father, brother, businessman, preacher, justice, or politician. It is not enough to be classified as a man but men must come up to a higher level of being righteous, mature and responsible men, who qualify to be husbands, fathers and leaders in society. Where men have not submitted themselves to the restraint of the Holy Ghost, we need even more the restraint of laws, protests from the people and the intervention of wives to check the natural instinct of men that are prone to demanding satisfaction of personal desires.

Current Events in American Politics

We have seen the natural instinct of men portrayed in our nation’s capitol recently. Unrestrained men, both politicians and businessmen, insisted they would have their way even after a law they disfavored was upheld and validated. They were not satisfied with the established process to protest the new law; but they purposed to use brute strength to overthrow it. These efforts bypassed the restraint of civil rule, the Holy Spirit, leadership control and evidently any restraint of their wives and the people. These leaders also threw off the examples of their forefathers who established these guidelines for government rule. The Republican Party insisted that they would have their way regardless of all the restraints that should have persuaded them their desire was denied. Whether the new Health Care law be morally right or wrong, it has been examined and confirmed as the law of the land. This political party refused to accept the rule of man’s law that had been confirmed and God’s law that required all men to submit to authority. They had gone beyond the restraint of the law into lawlessness because they stepped outside the American law which provided for legitimate methods of protest that had been exercised and lost. And the guidance of God’s law counsels “….in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Mt 18:16).

 America’s History Lessons

Unlike many other nations around the world, America said that it would be guided by spiritual laws, natural laws, the people and God. America is unique in this commitment. Many other nations are run by emperors, tyrants or group rule without God.  America uniquely decided to allow God to rule over her leaders and people with respect for the laws of God and man. However, this decision is ineffective without the will of the people to insist that the Holy Spirit, the laws of God and man and yes, even wives still be used to restrain the natural instincts of men to force their way upon the multitudes. When all of these restraints have failed, righteous indignation or the move of the Holy Spirit in citizens must arise. If all else fails, God will arise and set things aright. But He has given us the help we need through the Holy Spirit, laws of the land, relationships and the righteous church to resolve our differences. When man has used his power to override all of these as is the case in America today, righteous indignation and the move of the Holy Spirit in people must arise to denounce and quash anarchy. Someone dared to say that maybe we needed the power of the armed forces to settle the pending issue! If America becomes lawless, God will use some means of force for restraint because God is still the Sovereign Power in the earth whether America wants to acknowledge it or not.

Where Do We Go From Here?

How often will we allow ourselves to come to the edge of the cliff or the anarchy we have seen in other nations before we come to our senses? We have merely to look at some of our neighboring nations to see where we are headed: nations that have denied morality and God to establish self rule. Once a people refuse to go forward with God, they automatically begin to go backward or into decline. Will we allow monarchical rule, ravaging of women and children, financial collapse, mob rule, or overthrow from enemies without? America is beginning to get a clearer picture of what happens when a nation decides that she no longer needs God. Sane minds should dictate that we restore proper leadership in our homes, churches and government while we can. Husbands do need their wives for proper balance. Churches do need the guidance of the Holy Spirit and proper leadership authority, including the voices of women to balance the power of men. Government cannot run properly in our nation without allowing the voices of women, the voting public and the church to call it into balance, lest it become as other nations that ravage the people. While we have tried to be a world leader and restrain the behavior of other nations, we have displayed the type of brute strength and immaturity that should cause us to be ashamed. Such an internal crisis should give us the motivation we need to bring about proper change before anarchy does occur. Righteousness should arise in our people to demand that the right choices be made. The present disaster in our homes, churches and politics is our wake up call. But will we wake up?

What are your thoughts on this subject?