The Importance of Memories

Creating memories is important.  As we enter the final cycle of the annual feasts, let us remind ourselves why God gave us His feasts, the Feasts of the Lord. Everything God does, from Creation to the Resurrection is to bring glory to Himself as He creates a Kingdom of priests to worship Him and fill the earth with their personal knowledge (from experience) of His character and His ways. The Feasts were opportunities for Israel to remember and celebrate and through those celebrations to share their personal experience and knowledge of their God. Continually God commands Israel to “tell your children.”   The Psalmists were constantly iterating that they would “declare, praise, tell, speak, proclaim” God’s goodness, especially to the next generation. Is not the act of worship a way of remembering and celebrating God? Sadly many of the Church today consider celebrating the Feasts of the Lord “going back under the Law.” But how can celebrating God and His mighty acts be anything but the joyous response to His Salvation?  Celebrating is a honor and a privilege. Recently I heard Ravi Zakarias give an excellent reason for celebrating the Feasts.  He was challenging all of us to build in memories within the family through ceremonies and symbols. WOW,  I couldn’t say it better.  Listen:

‘Maybe we are moving so fast that we cannot pause long enough to see the symbolic nature of some of the things we do. ‘We need to build memories into the lives of our children so that they will go through cetain ceremonies and symbols in their lives that they will miss when they have left home.  It will be a memory to them as long as they live. ‘Through these kind of memories, the value of the family goes up. ‘Treasured memories of home buildt around the family room build the kind of ceremonies and opportunities at home where God is being instructed in everything you do. ‘But this  will only happen when our own personal devtional life is striaghed out with God.’

Not only does the value of the family increase, but so does the sense of belonging to the larger community, Kingdom of God.  Sharing and celebrating a common history is one of the greatest blessings of the Feasts.

To order:


How to Celebrate the Feasts of the Lord?

“How should we celebrate the feasts of the Lord?” is a question I am constantly asked.  Are you wondering how to Celebrate the Feasts of the Lord? The answer is simple….”BE YOURSELF!” But when a Jewish believer recently asked the same question I was really surprised. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Actually the one who asked the question had been convicted by my insistence to put the new wine of the Holy Spirit into a new wineskin.  In other words, as Messianic believers, (Jews who love and follow Jesus) we have an opportunity to break from the traditions of our heritage…traditions instituted in many cases by people who refuse to embrace Jesus. First let me back up to the way I answer the above question.

“Celebrate the feasts in any manner you so desire – just keep Jesus preeminent.”

I believe our celebrations are more about the  WHO and the WHEN of the feasts than about the HOW.  Because most of the holidays commemorate a specific historical event, the WHAT of the holiday is important but is eclipsed by the object of our celebration – Jesus! To answer to any question of regarding the issues of faith, let us turn to God’s instructions  in the pages of the Bible.  So what does HE say about His feasts?

  1. They were to be times of rest –  cessation from regular and sometimes from all work.
  2. Three times a year  the men were to bring the firstfruits of their harvest to the Temple in Jerusalem.
  3. Specific feasts have certain requirements:
  • Passover was to be observed with a communal meal including roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread.  Because Jesus instituted communion at His Passover celebration, we can include wine in our celebration.  The Passover celebration was to  recount  God’s deliverance of Israel from bondage.
  • The Temple observance of Pentecost included the unique wave offering of two loaves of bread, on one sheet waved before the Lord.
  • During the Feast of Tabernacles, the people were instructed to live in booths made of the branches of “beautiful trees.”

If we stopped at these instructions, we would be stuck in the pages of the Old Testament.  Since Jesus is the object of all our celebrations, we move forward in history to what happened or will happen on those three holidays during His life on earth.

  • Jesus was crucified on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread and resurrected on firstfruits. These three individual holidays are usually considered as one  – Passover.
  • God gave His people the gift of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Pentecost.
  • The Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated by ALL nations when Jesus returns to rule from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:16)

When a good friend (a Gentile pastor) wanted to know how I celebrated, this is howI answered him:

You know I believe that each of us celebrate in our own ways according to our own traditions and culture.  You are western don’t try to celebrate in any other way.  You cannot and should not try to be eastern, Jewish or Hebrew…you’re not.  Be who you are.  In that way, others will not feel that the feasts are so foreign. So what I do really has no significance or shouldn’t because I’m different and in a different culture.

That said, what I  do for all the holidays is to remember who  God is and what He has done and then worship so that means a time of teaching and testimony.  Our celebrations always revolve around the feast table with family and friends.  Communion is always part of our celebrations. For me and my friends, celebrating the holidays is about getting together with family and friends.  Our celebrations are personal and intimate  which is the “eastern” heart and mind.

Let the Lord break the box!  I love you all!  j

So dear friends, enjoy your celebration!

“Celebrating” Yeshua

Isaiah 53 is arguably the most clear description of the atoning work of Yeshua (Jesus) in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) For He shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11) He bore the sin of many.  (Isaiah 53:12)

goatThe  Hebrew words in the above verses from Isaiah,  manifest how Yeshua fulfills the Day of Atonement.

bear: סבל sabal has the connotation of dragging a heavy load. bore: נשא nasa’ connotes lifting up and removing.

But let’s start with Torah.  The priest had to lay his hands on the head of the scapegoat, thus transferring upon it the sin of the people.

He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.  Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.  And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness. And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send [him] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16: 7-10, 21-22)

The Hebrew word used here is ‘nasa’.   This is exactly what Yeshua did for us – lifting off our sins, sickness and sorrows and separating them from as as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103)   The word used in Isaiah 53:6 is פגע [paga]` means “to lay a burden,” “cause to entreat,’ “to intercede.”  Here again we see the breath taking fulfillment of Yom Kippur in Christ Jesus.  God laid upon Him our sins, that Jesus would be not only our atonement, but also our intercessor. Again turning to Isaiah, we learn that God “saw no intercessor, therefore His right arm brought salvation, it sustained Him.” (Isaiah 59:16).  The word translated as “intercessor” is our word פגע.  Salvation is the Hebrew word ישע or “Yeshua” the Hebrew name of Jesus.  Finally the word translated “sustained” is סמך which means “lay, lean, put, rest upon.” Let us also consider ‘iniquities’: עון `avon which is perversion and depravity. I simply cannot imagine the weight of the burden that Yeshua carried which the word cabal tries to express.  Depravity and perversity well describe our world today.  It really was not that different in ancient times.  (Consider Corinth).  Yeshua bore the iniquity of us all...can we really comprehend the weight of the cross?  I believe it was far heavier than just the wood.  It was my depravity and yours! To those who suggest that we no longer “need” or “should” observe the feasts of the Lord, I contend that it is a privilege to celebrate the wonder of our Redemption.  The New Testament doesn’t describe the crucifixion.  Paul certainly focuses on its result, but the Gospel writers just mention it as a fact. Could it be because these Jewish men understood Yom Kippur and its detailed and complicated rituals?  Before them was, as John proclaimed, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” I simply cannot ignore this holy day, ordained by God the God and Father of my Lord  Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ).  In fact, I cannot NOT celebrate Yeshua on this day as I read Leviticus 16 and then the letter to the Hebrews.  It is then, that I can rejoice in the better Covenant, the better sacrifice and the better and compassionate High Priest. Yes, I MUST celebrate Yeshua on Yom Kippur!

A Sabbath or THE Sabbath?

Greetings to you on this Lord’s Day.

I’m writing this in my office where all is quiet as I’m the only one here.  For me, Sunday is a wonderful day of celebrating the Resurrection of my Lord and then beginning my work week.  Thus the day combines both of my worlds – the spiritual and the physical.

“What about my Sabbath?” you might ask.

For me, the Sabbath is exactly when God said it was – the seventh day of the week.  AND  I observe it exactly as the Lord commanded – doing no work, resting and making it a hallowed (sacred day.)

I’ve been thinking about the N.T. description of this day as “The Lord’s Day” and how over the years it  has become “the”  Sabbath.  Strange how we can change God’s Word and way to accommodate our lives and traditions.

Celebrating the Resurrection is, without doubt, one of the greatest joys of my life.  If Christ had not risen, then my faith would be meaningless.  Furthermore, celebrating the wonder of  the Resurrection with my brothers and sisters of the Spirit is even more joyous.

But does the fact that the first day of the week is called ‘the Lord’s Day” change what God calls HIS Sabbath?  Also interesting is that the first day of the week was named “Sunday” by a man who worshiped the sun!

Consider that there might be a difference between “a” sabbath and “the” Sabbath.

In Leviticus 23, God commands that the beginning and the end of His feasts are to be considered a sabbath upon which the people were to do no customary work and generally have a solemn assembly.

These sabbaths were different from His Sabbath – when we were to do NO work at all.

Perhaps this is a good model for us all.  Sunday, Monday or any of the other days could be taken as a personal sabbath.  Certainly in our hectic life schedules we NEED at least one day of the week in which we do NOTHING.  Maybe we choose to sleep late and not even get dressed.  Maybe we choose to make a special breakfast and eat leisurely surrounded by our families.  Maybe we choose to read a good book and take a long walk.  Whatever we choose, it’s different from the rest of the week and WITHOUT STRESS or SCHEDULES.

Sound like a dream?  It’s what God intended for the Sabbath.

Why not have the best of both worlds?  Take the gift of the Sabbath when it was intended – the last day of the week – and celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord on the day He rose – the first day of the week!


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