Saturday, September 24, 2011
An overview of Yom Teruah/ Feast of Trumpets
Shabbat Shalom family, blessed be יהוה our Elohim, praise His Mighty and Wonderful Name, aměn! Every single week as we come together on erev Shabbat (Sabbath evening), we in fact are given the wonderful opportunity to rehearse weekly our readiness for His soon coming. Many of us may feel tired and stressed out and easily decide to skip gathering due to a hectic week at work. May we realise the need to rehearse our readiness! Just think for a moment what it was like back in Mitsrayim – Yisra’ĕl were in slavery – slaving away at hard labour each and every day, and when they were told to be ready to leave at the call of the Creator – how many do you think would have said, “no, I am going to skip this one as I have had a really tough week and am too tired!” If any did this they would have been foolish! Each week may we be reminded just how important our coming together is – we continually are rehearsing our readiness as a Bride for His soon coming. Sabbath being the 7th day, we get each week to start the day (in the evening) and being watchful and mindful of Him as we are to be for Yom Teru’ah which is in the 7th month – at a time when no man knows the day or hour as we must be watchful and ready to sight the moon to signify this day! Every Shabbat must be the highlight of our week that we look forward to and not allow the ‘slavery’ of busy schedules cause us to be asleep to the need to be a Bride who prepares herself, aměn!
I do hope that you are all aware of what we will be doing next week! As you should all know we are approaching the end of the 6th month and when we see the new moon it will mark the beginning of the 7th month which is a major significant day for us – it is Yom Teru‘ah! תְּרוּעָה ‘Teruah’ H8643 – means ‘a shout or blast of war, alarm or joy’. It is a day of shouting, as in the raising of a noise as the sound of a shofar, trumpets – hence also known as The Day of Trumpets. We have so much to look forward to as we diligently rehearse the Feasts of יהוה as commanded to and for tonight I want to briefly share once again a slight overview of what this Yom Teruah is about in a message called, ‘The day of The Shofar and Alarm – Are you Ready!’. Although many of you may have heard what I am about to share with you, what we are to realise is that we are to continually be reminded just exactly what His Feasts are all about as they clearly reveal His plans and are there for us to watch and keep as a continual remembrance of who He is and better helps us fully understand His Word, in order that we may be a Bride made ready for Her soon coming Husband, aměn!
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23: 23-25 “And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, 24 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘In the seventh new moon, on the first day of the new moon, you have a rest, a remembrance of Teru‘ah, a set-apart gathering. 25 ‘You do no servile work, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה.’ ”
What we see from this clear instruction is that on the 1st of the 7th we are to have a ‘rest’, which in the Hebrew is the term שַׁבָּתוֹן ‘shabbathon’ H7677 meaning a ‘Sabbath-like’ rest or Sabbath observance. So although it may not fall on a Sabbath, the day is treated like one – you do no work and you have a set-apart gathering. And on top of that – you have a remembrance of Teru‘ah. The word for remembrance in Hebrew is זִכָּרוֹן ‘zikkaron’ H2146 meaning ‘memorial, commemoration or remembrance’ and comes from the root word זָכַר ‘zakar’ H2142 which means ‘to remember, or be mindful, or bring to remembrance’. It is therefore a day for us as a call to remember Teru‘ah. And it is on this day that we certainly raise a shout and blow the shofar/trumpets. In Bemiḏbar/Numbers 10:1-10 Mosheh is given instruction to make 2 silver trumpets of beating work that would be used for the calling of the congregation as well as for the breaking of camp, which carries great significance for us prophetically. If one was blown then the leaders would gather and if both were blown the entire assembly was to gather. It was to be used in battle against their enemies so that they would be ‘remembered’ by יהוה and be saved and delivered from their enemies; and it was also to be blown on the Appointed Times as instructed, forever! The 2 silver trumpets symbolise for us refinement and redemption and the silver would also carry a very crisp and clear sound. The trumpets of ‘beaten work’ – that is that they were ‘hammered out’ by the work of a skilled craftsmen and this too is a picture of how יהוה is ‘beating’ us out and moulding us through tests and affliction, as Ya’aqoḇ/James tells us that we are to rejoice when we fall into trials of many kinds – we are to consider – that is to bring to thought and take account – it pure joy, as we remember that we are being proved through endurance in order to be complete and not lack anything (Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:2-4).
The 2 silver trumpets signify for us the 2 houses of Yehuḏah and Ephrayim, who are refined through testing and redeemed by the Blood of יהושע, and are gathered to Him as they heed the Words of the Living Torah:
Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 13:9 “And I shall bring the third into fire, and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My Name, and I shall answer them. I shall say, ‘This is My people,’ while they say, ‘יהוה is my Elohim.’”
In the Scriptures we see the sound of the trumpet or shofar or rams horn being used at the command of יהוה and I just want to share some with you that you may begin to see the significance of this unique sounding that יהוה has both commanded us to carry out and to hear!
· The Torah was given at Mount Sinai at the sound of the shofar, which we will look at shortly (Shemoth/Exodus 19:19)
· Yisra’ĕl conquered the enemy in the battle of Yeriḥo with the sound of the shofar (Yehoshua/Joshua 6:20)
· It sounds the coming of the Messiah (Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 9:14,16)
· It is blown at the time of the ingathering of the exiles (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 27:13)
· It was blown to signal assembly during war (Shophetim/Judges 3:27)
· The watchmen on the wall would sound the alarm, warning the people of attack by blowing the shofar (Yeḥezqĕl/Ezekiel 33:3)
· It is blown at the start of the Jubilee year (Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25:9)
· It is blown to remind us of the sovereignty of יהוה (Tehillim/Psalm 47:5)
· It is blown as a reminder of Aḇraham’s sacrifice of Yitsḥaq and יהוה’s provision of a ram as a substitute
· Blown to announce the appointed times and festivals and celebrate the New Moon (Bemidbar/Numbers 10:10 – Tehillim/Psalm 81:1-3))
· It is blown as a call to repentance (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:1)
· It is blown to usher in the Day of יהוה (Yo’ĕl/Joel 2:1)
· It is blown to sound יהושע coming to take His Bride (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
· Used for the coronation of kings (Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 1:34,39)
These are just some of the many accounts we can see where the sound of the Trumpet or shofar is used in Scripture.
But more specifically tonight we are talking about Yom Teru‘ah, the Feast of Trumpets. Teru‘ah as I have mentioned means ‘blast or shout’ and is also known as the awakening blast! When יהושע came the first time riding on a donkey – there was a shouting – Blessed is He who comes in the name of יהוה, which the Pharisees tried to stop by commanding Him to silence His disciples to which He told them that is they do not cry out then the rocks would cry out! When He comes again there will be more than a shout of men – both the heavens and the earth will be shaken at the sound of His coming! He said Himself that He would not come again until the time comes when we say ‘Blessed is He who is coming in the name of יהוה’. Well we know for sure that the Name of יהוה is certainly being restored as we are rapidly entering in to that time – the time of His coming! And this is what Yom Teru‘ah marks for us!
Now on this day – Yom Teru‘ah –we are to remember the Teru‘ah and to better understand why this is significant in a Bride being ready we need to go back to what happened at Mount Sinai – the very point in time when a marriage was announced with the sound of a trumpet. This was the day of Teru‘ah or better known as the ‘First trumpet’. Turn with me to Shemoth/Exodus 19:10-19 (Read).
This was certainly a day to be remembered! They had, as a nation, said the ‘I do’ of a marriage vow unto a bridegroom who had delivered them from slavery. And then יהוה told Mosheh to tell the people that they had 2 days to ‘get ready’ for on the 3rd day יהוה was to come down before the eyes of all the people, and when the Yoḇel sounds – that is the ‘blast of the horn’ sounds – then the people are to come near to the mountain – only they had to be prepared! Then on the 3rd day there was thunder and lightning, and I can imagine that it was not just a little crack of thunder and a flash of lightning – this was intense – so much so that there was also a sound of a shofar that was very strong and loud – so much so that all the people trembled, which in the Hebrew literally means to shudder with terror! Everyone then assembled – you certainly would not dare to not be there – or else! Then the mount was in smoke as יהוה came down in fire causing the mountain to tremble! At this point the voice of the shofar became even stronger and long and יהוה answered Mosheh and came down and called Mosheh up to the top of the Mountain! This is the day that we are not to forget!!!!
This was the day that יהוה spoke His commandments. Now it might seem strange at first to think or consider why יהוה would tell us to remember this on the 1st of the 7th month when this took place on Shavuot! It is because the 7th Month containing the Feasts of the 7th month proclaims His 7th Millennium where will come for His Bride and His reign will be firmly established here on earth. By looking back and remembering this incredible, yet very fearsome day when He entered into a Marriage Covenant by giving His Torah at Shavuot, announcing it with the sound of the first trumpet we are enabled to look forward to the day when once again He will be coming with fire and the awakening blast of the trumpet sound at Yom Teru‘ah where He will come for His Bride. We have been given 2 days to get ready. This carries great insight for us as יהוה’s Appointed Times have been set from creation week and stands firm forever! It was in the 4th day that He gave the lights to rule over the day and the night and to ‘separate’ the light from the darkness (Berěshith/Genesis 1:18); and as we know the Light of the world – יהושע Messiah came down in the ‘4th day’ (4th Millennium) to ‘separate’ the light from darkness and call us out of darkness into His marvellous light and through His shed Blood He ‘renewed/restored’ the Marriage Covenant, and that it is only by His Blood that we have access to be brought near and grafted into the Covenants of Promise from which we were once far off, and through His work we now have the Torah written upon our hearts and in essence were given 2 days to ‘get ready’ (that being day 5 and 6) and then on the 3rd day when the trumpet sounds (day 7 – 7th Millennium) He will come with fire and we will be gathered unto Him!
Yom Teru‘ah is a time to remember the day He entered into a Marriage with us and we as His Bride who have said yes, and accepted His Covenant through the Blood of Messiah must now prepare ourselves and be washed.
Dani’ěl/Daniel 7:9 “I was looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like clean wool, His throne was flames of fire, its wheels burning fire.”
His garment is as white as snow and so should ours be!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 1:16-20 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Stop doing evil! 17 Learn to do good! Seek right-ruling, reprove the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says יהוה. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 “If you submit and obey, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword,” for the mouth of יהוה has spoken.”
Clean garments are a symbol of readiness to stand before יהוה in the Righteousness that he has provided and how we wash ourselves is through His Word – we submit to and walk in His Torah of Righteousness that leads us to Messiah, prepared as a ready Bride, made spotless in Him!
Any attempts that there have been to ‘change’ the 7th day is the crafty ploy of the enemy in trying his best to put many of course in truly understanding יהוה’s Calendar and Appointed Times and so making many people to not be ready!!!
Yom Teru‘ah is a wakeup call to be about getting ready, being dressed in garments of righteousness:
Ḥazon/Revelation 3:2-6 “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before Elohim. 3 Remember, then, how you have received, and heard. And watch and repent. If, then, you do not wake up, I shall come upon you as a thief, and you shall not know at all what hour I come upon you. 4 Nevertheless, you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be dressed in white robes, and I shall by no means blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I shall confess his name before My Father and before His messengers. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.”
Those who are not watching – that is those who are not keeping His Feasts and walking in His Torah will be caught out and it will come upon them as a thief. Notice that there are only ‘few’ who had not defiled their garments! This walk in a narrow walk on a narrow path – that few find!
At Mount Sinai, Yisra’ĕl was about to receive the garment – that is the Torah – that would teach them how to be the body and had to display their acceptance of this fact by having their own garments that had been soiled by the desert terrain cleaned.
יהושע gave us a parable about a man who did not wear the proper wedding garments to a wedding feast:
Mattithyahu/ Matthew 22: 11-14 “And when the sovereign came in to view the guests, he saw there a man who had not put on a wedding garment, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here not having a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the sovereign said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and throw him out into the outer darkness – there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
This man was not there for the Bride or Bridegroom, he was just there for the food, and was thrown out! Sadly there will be so many who have not made themselves ready and will too be speechless before יהוה.
At Mount Sinai יהוה wanted clean garments – in other words they were to wash themselves and in essence get the ‘smell of Mitsrayim’ off of their clothes. We too today have a responsibility in making sure we are getting ourselves cleaned up, walking in His garments as we hear, guard and do His Torah – especially if we want to be able to eat at His Table, aměn!
The 3rd day - that is the 3rd day after He came and renewed the Marriage – the 3rd day from the 4th day - we are to be ready – It was on the 3rd day that Yosĕph released his brothers from jail; we all know that Yonah was spat out of the great fish on the 3rd day – the only sign Messiah said He would give and so it is again we see Him raising us up on the 3rd day - that is the 3rd day from the 4th day when He came to renew the Covenant! Why am I repeating myself – because it is important to understand the Appointed Times of יהוה. This is what the Word says in Hoshěa:
Hoshěa/Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, and let us turn back to יהוה. For He has torn but He does heal us, He has stricken but He binds us up. 2 ‘After two days He shall revive us, on the third day He shall raise us up, so that we live before Him. 3 ‘So let us know, let us pursue to know יהוה. His going forth is as certain as the morning. And He comes to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.”
It is on the 3rd day the He shall raise ‘us’ up – this is not a reference to his resurrection but rather to our being raised up on the 3rd day from the 4th – that being the 7th day! I really hope you are getting this.
Kěpha Bet/2 Pete 3:8 “But, beloved ones, let not this one matter be hidden from you: that with יהוה one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Kěpha/Peter writes this powerful statement that many simply miss – he says that we are to not let this one matter be hidden from us. Do not let this be hidden from you – there may be other things that are seemingly hidden but do not let this one be!!! That with יהוה one day is as a thousand and a thousand as one day. You see, if we do not get this then we will not understand or begin to understand His plan as already laid out for us in Creation week. When people begin to change His 7th day to the 1st day this critical matter becomes hidden to them and they have no clue as to the appointed Times and are as ones groping in the dark who will be caught not being ready!
יהוה instructed Moshe is Shemoth/Exodus 19:13 that when the trumpet ‘sounds long’ then the people could come near the mountain. The term ‘sounds long’ is the Hebrew word מָשַׁךְ ‘mashak’ H4900, which means, ‘to draw out, drag or seize’, and also means, ‘a drawing out of something such as a hand, bow, or a sound (as from a horn), or time’.
This is very significant as the picture of ‘a drawing out of the hand’ points to the outstretched working arm of יהוה – יהושע Messiah our Redeemer and Saviour. Mosheh’s name also means ‘to draw out’ and reflects the foreshadow of the deliverance of יהוה’s people from slavery through His drawn out hand – the Living Torah!
The word messiah - מָשִׁיחַ ‘mashiach’ H4899 comes from the word מָשַׁח ‘mashach’ H4886 which means ‘to smear, anoint or anointed’, and we know that ointments were made from the oils to heal the sick and oils were smeared also on the heads of individuals who are being given the office of a prophet, priest or king, as a sign of authority.
So, ‘mashak, means the drawing out of something such as a sound from a horn! And how would they ‘mashach’ kings in Scripture?
Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 1:34 “And there Tsaḏoq the priest and Nathan the prophet shall anoint him sovereign over Yisra’ĕl. And blow the horn, and say, ‘Let Sovereign Shelomoh live!’ “
Shemuʼĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 16:1 “And יהוה said to Shemuʼĕl, “How long are you going to mourn for Sha’ul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Yisra’ĕl? Fill your horn with oil, and go, I am sending you to Yishai the Bĕyth Leḥemite. For I have seen among his sons a sovereign for Myself.”
Kings were anointed by the blowing of the shofar and the very oil used for the anointing came from the shofar!
Why am I telling you all this? Well, because this is so exciting – from the root word of mashak, which means to draw out, comes the meaning of gravity or heavy. And at the drawn out sound of the shofar we can see the prophetic picture of יהושע who came as the Outstretched Arm of YHWH and took the weight or gravity of sin upon Himself and He tell us that He will ‘draw’ all men unto Himself! So - The Trumpet sound is a declaration of the Messiah! The ‘mashak’ (drawn out hand) of the ‘mashach’ (anointed) – this is the sound of the Trumpet!
In a typical Hebrew marriage there are two phases or steps in the marriage; there is firstly the contract or ‘Ketuḇah’ and then the ‘gathering’. At the acceptance of the marriage proposal, which would be seen by the bride accepting the cup of wine offered by the groom, a bride price is negotiated and a contract is drawn up outlining the conditions of the marriage contract, with blessings and curses, with each party receiving a copy – pretty similar to today when people get married – they either enter in to an out of community of in community of property contract. In the Hebrew marriage at this first stage, which we would call the engagement, is seen as legally being married even though the two parties do not yet stay together, and the bride or bridegroom cannot get out of the marriage except through divorce as a result of adultery. The first stage is announced by the sound of a shofar, known as the first shofar. The bride-groom goes to prepare a room for his bride while the bride must make herself ready for the wedding feast. She does not know when her groom will come but must be ready and kept spotless. The second stage in the marriage, called the gathering, is when the groom comes to fetch his bride and take her to the house or room he has prepared for her at his father’s house. It is only when the father sees that both the bride is ready and the dwelling place the groom has prepared is ready that he then announces with the sound of a shofar that the gathering can take place and the groom can go and lift up and take his bride, this is known as the last shofar. The bride had to be ready having her lamp full of oil, and when she heard the sound of the shofar she must be ready with lamp lit to show the groom that she is still waiting faithfully for him. If she was not at home the wedding would be cancelled and if she did not have oil in her lamp the wedding was cancelled!!!
יהושע is the groom and we are His Bride. He has paid the Bride price in full with Blood and has sealed the Ketuḇah and has gone to prepare a place for us. And now we eagerly await His return with our lamps filled with oil and burning brightly is this dark world showing we are betrothed, clothed in righteousness and keeping our garments spotless by walking in obedience to the Torah, our marriage contract! יהושע, our Righteous King is coming, and He is coming at the sound of the ‘second shofar’ to come and ‘lift up’ and ‘take’ His Bride to be with Him forever!
1 Thessalonians 4: 16-18 “Because the Master Himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of a chief messenger, and with the trumpet of Elohim, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. 17 Then we, the living who are left over, shall be caught away together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air – and so we shall always be with the Master. 18 so, then, encourage one another with these words.”
Notice here in this passage the words ‘caught away’ – in Hebrew this is known as the ‘lakach’ and ‘nissuim’ – taken and lifted up. The Bride will be taken and lifted up by the Bridegroom and so the second part of the marriage will take place when Messiah comes again and lift us up and takes us to be with Him. He is coming for His Bride who has made herself ready – He is not coming for part of His Bride – then coming for the rest – He is coming for His ready Bride! And this is not the ‘rapture’ – it is יהושע coming to lift up and take His Bride to be with Him and dwell with Him here on earth!
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “See, I speak a secret to you: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
We are to be awake and when he comes we better be ‘at home’ so to speak, meaning in our rightful place in Him walking in His ways faithfully busy about His business and not outside where the murderers and idolaters and drunkards are and we are to have our lamps lit and full of oil.
This feast celebrates the time when His Bride will be ‘gathered’ together, calling out His Bride out of the nations and part of being called out is to be cleansed and washed in His Word in order that we are able to stand before Him.
At Mount Sinai, at the first shofar, the nation of Yisra’ĕl could only come to the foot of the Mountain, and now at the second or last shofar we will be taken up to be with Him as He sets His foot down on the Mount of Olives and we will be able to go up to the Mountain of יהוה!!!
Beware those who are not ready, for just as this day heralds His Coming, so too does it herald in the day of His wrath and fire. Tsephanyah/Zephaniah in speaking of the day of יהוה, gives us a clear indication that this day is marked by the announcing of Yom Teru‘ah:
Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 1:16 “a day of a shofar and sounding against the walled cities and against the corner towers”
A day of a shofar and sounding – other translations say the day of the trumpet and alarm! In Hebrew this says literally, “The day of shofar and Teru‘ah” -יום שׁופר ותרועה
Repeatedly he (Tsephanyah) speaks of this day as the day of wrath of יהוה, and Yo’ĕl/Joel tells us that the day of יהוה is near, a day of darkness and gloom, the day of thick darkness, coming as destruction from the Almighty – it is very great and awesome, and who does bear it! And so understanding His times and seasons this is a wake-up call – we have been given 2 days to get ready before the day of a shofar and alarm. This is a day that we are to be ready for in advance, as we know the seasons yet not the day or the hour as we watch for the new moon and so what we do at this feast is sound the alarm, blow the shofar and rejoice in Him reflecting our need to be washed and ready for when he comes again, not only will the mountains tremble but the heavens and the earth will tremble.
As this can be a rejoicing sound – may it too be a warning alarm that the days for preparation are but almost over – and so let us raise the alarm that others may hear and come and assemble as washed and ready before Him – or else!!!
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5: 3-5 “But whoring and all uncleanness, or greed of gain, let it not even be named among you, as is proper among set-apart ones – 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For this you know, that no one who whores, nor unclean one, nor one greedy of gain, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the reign of Messiah and Elohim.”
Romiyim/Romans 13:11-14 “And do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for us to wake up from sleep, for now our deliverance is nearer than when we did believe. 12 The night is far advanced, the day has come near. So let us put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not in wild parties and drunkenness, not in living together and indecencies, not in fighting and envy, 14 but put on the Master יהושע Messiah, and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the esteem of יהוה has risen upon you.”
At Mount Sinai, at the first shofar, the nation of Yisra’ĕl could only come to the foot of the Mountain, and now at the second or last shofar we will be taken up to be with Him as He sets His foot down on the Mount of Olives and we will be able to go up to the Mountain of יהוה!!!
Just as they had to be cleansed and prepared to hear His voice at Sinai, so too do we have to prepare ourselves and make ourselves ready that when the Trumpet sounds, He will find us faithfully waiting for His return.
His Word does not return void, and at Mount Sinai His voice went out with the Words of His covenant, His Marriage Contract – hear the sound and stay faithful to Him as He is coming for a ready bride!
Looking forward to this feast we can also look in at our own lives and see if there is any spot or blemish that has spoiled our wedding garments – the fine linen that is our righteousness, and if so then come to Him and be cleansed that we may not be found asleep and without oil.
I just want to make it very clear that Yom Teruah is not ‘Rosh Hashanah’ which means ‘New Year’ as Rabbinical Judaism teaches – it is the 1st of the 7th month and the celebration of Rosh Hashanah at this time is simply a rabbinical practice that was taken from the period of Babylonian captivity. יהוה clearly instructed Mosheh when Yisra’ĕl came out of Mitsrayim (Egypt) that that month was to be the beginning of the year for them (Shemoth/Exodus 12:2). יהוה does not change and what comes forth from His mouth does not return void and as we begin to better understand His plans as we look at the Creation week in laying forth the 7 millennia then we can clearly see that what he was saying to Yisra’ĕl after coming out from Mitsrayim was that they were t9o once again follow His Times and His Calendar and not that of Mitsrayim to which they had been enslaved for centuries! יהוה did not change His plans or change the year – he was realigning the focus of His called out ones to follow His Timing, just as we too have had to adjust to a ‘new’ calendar system that at first seems very foreign to us. Now because we align ourselves with the Truth it does not mean that יהוה changed His ‘new year’ or rather ‘head of the year’ – we changed to be in line with the Truth!
Let us be very careful in our pursuit of Truth not to get caught up in rabbinical precedents and man-made laws that intend to or try and attempt to change יהוה’s instructions and times. What rabbinic tradition has done is no different to what Christianity has done: By changing 7 to 1! Just as the ‘church’ has changed or ‘attempted to change’ the Sabbath from the 7th day to the 1st day, so too has rabbinic tradition attempted at changing the 7th month to the 1st month and labelled it as another new year. This is nothing more than the enemies plot to throw off millions from understanding the Times of the Creator. We now begin to see the very similar dangers that exist in both rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. I say that they have attempted to change as Dani’ěl 7:25 tells us as clearly we must realise and know that nobody can in actual fact change יהוה’s Times. Man can attempt to and even follow his attempts; but that will only cause him to continually be in the ‘dark’ never able to walk in the ‘light’ of the Creator and we as children of light are to put on the armour of light as we guard His Word and Truth and walk fully in His ways! Let us make one thing clear – 7 cannot be 1!!!
Let us also not be led astray by the deception and lie that the church teaches in regard to ‘the rapture’ of the church, and that we are supposedly in the ‘church age’ which according to doctrines of man is between Pentecost and Trumpets and that the ‘church’ will be raptured before the tribulation where יהוה will sort out the ‘Jews’. This is a lie. We, His Bride – that is Yisra’ĕl – that is the combined Bride of the two houses of Ephraim and Yehuḏah are living between the first and the last shofar, we are in our betrothal period, awaiting the Bridegroom to come and lift up and take His Bride.
As we reflect on the day of the shofar and alarm – Yom Teru‘ah – and realise that just as they were given 2 days at Mount Sinai to get ready, so to have we been given 2 days – that being said, ask yourself - Are you ready?
Shalom, see you next week as we watch for Yom Teru‘ah!
יהוה bless you and guard you!
Saturday, September 17, 2011
FRUITFUL OR FRUITLESS – THE PARABLE OF THE VINE!
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 15 & Yoḥanan/John 15: 1-6
Shabbat Shalom to you all – as we come together and enjoy great fellowship in the presence of our Mighty and Wondrous Maker – יהוה of Hosts is His Name – may we truly find our rest in Him, aměn!
How many of you have done any sort of some kind of D.I.Y projects at home using wood? I am sure most of us have dabbled at trying to make something from wood at some time or another. Have you ever gone to the hardware store and asked for ‘vine-wood’, in order to do some of those D.I.Y. projects? I dare you to try it – that is if you want to get some confused and puzzled look from an eager sales clerk who is ready to sell you his best quality wood for the required purpose of your project! No one orders ‘vine-wood’ for any forms of construction or D.I.Y. projects – it is literally a ‘no-good wood’, as you cannot build cabinets from it; nor can you use it for any form of building construction; and you cannot even use it to make small pegs to hang stuff upon it – simply because it is too dry and too brittle and lacks any strength in it, and of itself it is in actual fact – useless! Vine wood is only useful for one thing and one thing only and that is to – BEAR GRAPES! That is precisely how יהוה designed it – to bear fruit as its sole purpose!
As we all know – this is how we too have been designed – to bear much fruit in Him – the question remains for us all – “Am I bearing fruit or not?” and if I am – is it the right fruit? Tonight I want us to look at this very concept that יהושע Himself taught on in a message called, “Fruitful or fruitless – the Parable of the Vine”. In order to do this in fully understanding the words of our Messiah in Yoḥanan/John 15, which we will read, however I want us to look at a short yet very powerful parable spoken to Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel on the ‘fruitless vine’ and the end result of such fruitless living – so please turn with me to Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 15 (Read).
After having been through the prophets Yeshayahu, Yirmeyahu and Yeḥezqěl this past week, it becomes more clear and evident of just how alive the Word of יהוה is for us today and how we are to guard ourselves against fruitless lifestyles that are simply none other than a result of lawless living that will one day face the fierce judgement of a just and righteous Elohim!
Yeḥezqěl, after receiving many visions and signs announced the soon coming judgement upon Yerushalayim and its inhabitants. יהוה had made it very clear in His Word that if His chosen people rebelled against Him by forsaking His ways, His commands and right-rulings; if they neglected to walk in His Torah and turned from following after Him, then He would bring great and devastating judgement of fire upon them! And here as part of this judgement, here in Yeḥezqěl 15 we have the parable of the vine – or rather the parable of the fruitless vine!
This is a parable of judgement that was to come and is a parable for us too of what is to come as a result of fruitless living!
Yerushalayim had stopped bearing the fruit of righteousness and so in effect had now become useless and of no worth, despite the many warnings to repent and walk in righteousness. Although they had considered themselves as the vine of יהוה’s blessing, they did not produce the spiritual fruit that יהוה had designed and intended for them if they had but simply followed His ways.
Yisra’ĕl had departed from following in and staying in the ways of יהוה, by forsaking to walk in His Torah and now as a result were facing great judgement . The picture of the vine being planted and not yielding the fruit that it should, is echoed in many Scriptures which in turn should and must help us further understand the stern warning of the words of our Messiah as recorded in Yoḥanan/John 15. Let us briefly look at some of these passages from other prophets:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 5:1-7 “Please let me sing to the One I love, a song for my loved One regarding His vineyard: my loved One has a vineyard on a fertile hill. 2 And He dug it up and cleared it of stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a watchtower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it. And He waited for the yielding of grapes, but it yielded rotten ones. 3 “And now, O inhabitant of Yerushalayim and man of Yehuḏah, please judge between Me and My vineyard. 4 “What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I waited for the yielding of grapes, did it yield rotten ones? 5 “And now, please let Me inform you what I am doing to My vineyard: To take away its hedge and it shall be burned; to break down its wall and it shall be trampled down; 6 and I lay it waste; it is not pruned or dug and thornbushes and weeds shall come up; and I command the clouds not to rain on it.” 7 For the vineyard of יהוה of hosts is the house of Yisra’ĕl, and the man of Yehuḏah is His pleasant plant. He looked for right-ruling, but see, oppression; for righteousness, but see, weeping.”
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 2:21 “Yet I had planted you a choice vine, all of it a true seed. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of a strange vine?”
Hoshěa/Hosea 10:1 “Yisra’ĕl is a degenerate vine, he brings forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he increased the altars. And the better his land, the better they made the pillars.”
Tehillim/Psalm 80:8-18 “You brought a vine out of Mitsrayim; You drove out the nations, and planted it. 9 You cleared a place for it, and caused it to take deep root, and it filled the land. 10 Hills were covered with its shadow, and the mighty cedars with its twigs. 11 She spread her branches to the Sea, and her shoots to the River. 12 Why have You broken down her hedges, So that every passer-by plucked her fruit? 13 The boar out of the forest ravages it, and the wild beast of the field devours it. 14 Return, we beg You, O Elohim of hosts; Look down from heaven, and see, and visit this vine, 15 And the stock which Your right hand has planted, And the Son whom You made strong for Yourself. 16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down; they perish at the rebuke of Your face. 17 Let Your hand be upon the One at Your right hand, Upon the Son of Aḏam whom You made strong for Yourself, 18 And we shall not backslide from You. Revive us, and let us call upon Your Name. 19 Turn us back, O יהוה Elohim of hosts, and cause Your face to shine, That we might be saved!”
These are just some of many similar passages that speak about a people, chosen and planted by יהוה, who were now no longer a fruitful vine but through disobedience and mixed worship had become a degenerate vine which had become only useful for one thing – firewood! If a vine is fruitful, it is beautiful and very valuable and of great worth; however if it bears no fruit it is utterly worthless and useless! A fruitless vine cannot even be used to make pegs from – and pegs as we know in Scripture speak of that which secures in place a dwelling for the Most High!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 22:23-25 “And I shall fasten him like a peg in a steadfast place, and he shall become a throne of esteem to his father’s house. 24 And they shall hang on him all the weight of his father’s house, the offspring and the offshoots, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the jars. 25 ‘In that day,’ declares יהוה of hosts, ‘the peg that is fastened in the steadfast place shall be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it shall be cut off. For יהוה has spoken.”
What יהוה was showing Yeḥezqěl was the result of disobedience and a people who had transgressed against Elohim! Yisra’ĕl was designed and planted to bear fruit, which it ceased to do, as it could no longer bear fruit, as they had ceased to stay in the One in whom they were to remain in order to bear the right fruit of set-apart living! Just as a vine is not designed for any other purpose than to bear fruit, so too was Yisra’ĕl not designed for any other purpose than to bear fruit of righteousness. When we understand these parables in more detail we begin to realise the very warning we are to heed today – and that is that if we do not bear the fruit we were designed and purposed to do, and if we do not fulfil our very calling in Him – that is to ‘stay in Him’ then our fate is none other than to be burned and destroyed in the fire of His wrath – for as we know that He is a consuming fire!
יהוה asks Yeḥezqěl a series of rhetorical questions:
1 - Is the wood from the vine better than the trees of the forest?
And the obvious answer was – no! It should have been in that they were to be fruit bearing yet were useless and even the trees in the forest that did not bear fruit could be used for building purposes!
2 – Can anything useful be made from the wood taken from the vine?
No! It is not the wood that makes vine worth planting – it is the grapes – the fruit that is to come from them!
3 – Can you even make pegs from the wood from the vine?
No! It lacks the strength to hang things upon – when the branch is cut off and no longer ‘in the vine’ is cannot hold anything up – yet while it is part of the True Vine – it can carry the weight of the esteem of יהוה – by bearing the fruit of righteousness!
4 – Is the wood useful for anything after it has been burned?
No! It is even more useless than before!
This was a very stern parable that was given to Yeḥezqěl – as this was the announced judgement that was coming! And it is when this happens, יהוה says, that Yeḥezqěl would know that He is יהוה. Sadly for many today – they will only know who יהוה is when it is too late – at the time He will set His face against the lawlessness of man and send forth His wrath of displeasure – Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:29 tells us that He is a consuming fire!
Fire is a picture of His judgement and we see that both ends will be burned and then the middle scorched. I see this also as a picture of the two-thirds being destroyed through pestilence, scarcity of food, and sword, while the other third will be scattered and a sword be drawn out against them:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 5:12 “One-third of you shall die of pestilence, and be consumed with scarcity of food in your midst. And one-third shall fall by the sword all around you. And I shall scatter another third to all the winds, and draw out a sword after them.”
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 12:16 “But I shall let a few of their men escape from the sword, from scarcity of food, and from pestilence, so that they recount all their abominations among the gentiles wherever they go. And they shall know that I am יהוה.”
Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 13: 8-9 “And it shall be throughout all the soil,” declares יהוה, “that two thirds therein are cut off and die, and one third is left therein. 9 “And I shall bring the third into fire, and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My Name, and I shall answer them. I shall say, ‘This is My people,’ while they say, ‘יהוה is my Elohim.’ ”
What we see from all these passages is simply this – just as יהוה sent forth pestilence, famine and sword back then and scattered His sheep back then in the recorded events of the Assyrian and Babylonian attacks, so too is His wrath and displeasure once again going to be poured out upon the earth where He will bring His winnowing fork, to gather His wheat and burn up the chaff:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He shall thoroughly cleanse His threshing-floor, and gather His wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff He shall burn with unquenchable fire.”
The chaff is that useless branches that are cut off and separated for judgment through fire!
Let us with these very stern words that we have read tonight look at the words of our King and Redeemer, יהושע Messiah in Yoḥanan/John 15: 1-6 (Read).
The words of our Messiah have not changed – for His Word does not change! This is a clear repetition of His warning given to Yeḥezqĕl – a warning that has sadly been romanticized by the church today without having the clarity of understanding this intense warning to all who do not stay in Him!
יהושע says that He is the True Vine – in other words there are other false vines – vines that are not bearing the True fruit of righteousness. The sad condition and consequences of a fruitless vine with its no-good wood refers not only to unbelieving and disobedient Yisra’ĕl back then, but also to fruitless believers today who claim to have been grafted in to His Covenants of Promise while their lives are bearing no fruit of righteousness whatsoever, as they clearly have not remained in Him! Branches of the True Vine are expected to bear fruit – now we know that Sha’ul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness, and self-control, but what we are to understand is that the ability to bear this fruit and to continually bear fruit of righteousness is the result of our much needed ability to stay ‘in’ Messiah; and this fruit of walking in the spirit can only be produced as one walks ‘in’ Messiah – by following His commands and walking in His instructions – and so we learn to bear fruit as we learn and apply His Torah in our lives – without Him the Living Torah we can bear no fruit and, if we fruitless our end is but fire!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 3:24 “And the one guarding His commands stays in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He stays in us, by the Spirit which He gave us.”
Romiyim/Romans 7:7-9 “Because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards Elohim, for it does not subject itself to the Torah of Elohim, neither indeed is it able, 8 and those who are in the flesh are unable to please Elohim. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Messiah, this one is not His.”
Clearly those who reject the Torah of Elohim are walking in the flesh, despite their desperate attempt at claiming to walk in the spirit, are in fact walking in the flesh, and as we know that all flesh will be destroyed – for no works of Torah can save the flesh – if it could why would people still die today – (Romiyim/Romans 3)! Sha’ul is right – no amount of works of Torah can save the flesh – the flesh will die! The Torah is spiritual and so we faithfully do the works of Torah in our daily walk of obedience – not walking according to the flesh but according to the spirit.
Sha’ul tells us that Messiah is the goal of Torah unto righteousness and this does not mean a termination but rather the end purpose and he goes on in Romiyim/Romans 10 to quote from the Torah telling us that his Torah is upon our hearts and in our mouths to do it! And it is this very belief that we are proclaiming – we do not proclaim a falsely taught ‘faith-righteousness’ as has been labeled by many today – we proclaim a righteousness by a belief that works – that is to walk in Him and stay in Him, aměn!
Turn with me to Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 33: 13-20:
“When I say to the righteous that he shall live, and he has trusted in his righteousness, and shall do unrighteousness, none of his righteousness shall be remembered, but because of his unrighteousness that he has done, he shall die. 14 “Again, when I say to the wrong, ‘You shall certainly die,’ if he turns from his sin and does right and righteousness, 15 if the wrong restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the laws of life without doing crookedness, he shall certainly live; he shall not die. 16 “None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him – he has done right and righteousness; he shall certainly live. 17 “And the children of your people have said, ‘The way of יהוה is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! 18 “When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does unrighteousness, he shall die because of it. 19 “But when the wrong turns from his wrongness and does right and righteousness, he shall live because of it. 20 “And you have said, ‘The way of יהוה is not fair.’ O house of Yisra’ĕl, I shall judge every one of you according to his own ways.”
Walking in and staying in Him is to walk in and stay in righteousness – bearing the abundant fruit of set-apart living. Those who refuse to walk in the Torah (that is to walk in Righteousness) and are fruitless, will easily come up with sayings that He is not fair – the excuses have not changed!
Fruitless branches are those who falsely claim a right and position in Messiah yet are living lawless lives – they are dead branches that will be thrown away and dry up, only to be gathered later in order to be thrown into the fire!
Hear again the words of our Master, יהושע:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7: 16-23 “By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 “So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit. 18 “A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, by their fruits you shall know them – 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. 22 “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’”
Notice how יהושע says that He never knew those who work lawlessness – think about it – so many today want to label our obedience to the Torah in living a set-apart life of obedience and walking in and staying in True righteousness as ‘works of Torah’ or they will say that they are not under ‘law’. Well the fact is that you either have works of Torah (Righteousness) or works of lawlessness – and when one declares that they are no longer under law – they are in fact, by their own admission, saying that they are lawless and when one is lawless then you will be of those who work lawlessness. If so many easily disregard the Torah – they are walking in the flesh – but at the same time by declaring that they have no need for the Torah as they are no longer under the law then by rights they are declaring that they do not need a Ruler/ King – for if there is no law what use would there be for a Ruler/King if there are no rules or laws to enforce and establish as a way of life!!! This is none other than the babbling of drunken and rebellious disobedient and fruitless branches that, if they do not repent and live – will face the coming wrath of our King’s fire!
As we consider the words of יהושע, both here and in Yoḥanan/John 15 may we recognize the severity of this admonition to remain in the True Vine – and no longer romanticize this in a false interpretative way that excuses away lawless living as a standard accepted by Christianity at large, but rather do our utmost to do that which we are designed to do – bear the fruit of righteous living as we stay in Him – the True Vine – The Living Torah who now lives in us, aměn!
The prophet’s word is a fire from יהוה that is meant to burn away what is useless in us; however if we are offended by these words and run away from them then it will be like the proverbial, “out of the frying pan and into the fire”.
It is very clear from both Yeḥezqĕl/Ezekiel 15 and Yoḥanan/John 15 that a clear point is being made: יהוה desires and expects and commands to see spiritual fruit in the lives of His called out, chosen ones, and so as fruitless branches of a vine are useless and must be removed, so too will those fruitless in Messiah be removed and burned, reaping the consequences of a dead faith. יהוה has no room for no-good wood and wants to produce a harvest of righteousness:
(Certainly one of my favourite verses):
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25 “And it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all this command before יהוה our Elohim, as He has commanded us.”
How fruitful is your life? Is there the manufactured plastic fruit that cannot be eaten and is simply used for display work as so many have evident in their life as they claim to live in Him yet do not walk as He did; or is there true fruit being birthed each and every day as you allow the Torah to be cultivated and sown into the soil of your heart that is prepared to receive the good Word. May we take heed to these words that we have heard together today and know that there certainly is a judgment coming upon the fruitless! As we have been through this parable of the Vine – the choice is yours – fruitful or fruitless – you know the result of either as it has been declared – His Word will not return void – as life and death are set before you this day – choose life – that is to be rooted and secure in the True Vine, nourished through His Life Giving Torah! Perhaps there have been some degenerating going on in your life – then hear what the Spirit says and repent and be grafted fully into Messiah through His Blood, being cleansed of unrighteousness being enabled and equipped to bear much fruit as you learn through the guidance and leading of His Spirit in the Truth of His Word – Spirit and Truth – let us be True Worshippers and humbly submit to His instructions for daily fruit bearing lives that we may bear the weight of His esteem shining forth as a light in this dark world.
In Him we have the promise of fruitfulness and abundant life, without Him we will become a mere wasteland – stay in Him – this is the call from our Creator, as given through Yeḥezqĕl, which means Strengthened by Elohim, and spoken by Himself in the flesh before He paid the price for our fruitless/lawless living in order that we may once again be able to bear that which we were made for – to be the Fruitful Vine of יהוה.
יהוה bless you and guard you;
יהוה make His face shine upon you, and show favour to you;
יהוה lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.