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The Lesson of the High Holy Days – Week 42 / October 12th
Leviticus 23: 23-24; 1Corinthians 10:11
(A) The Three Great Pilgrim Feasts of the Lord
1. The Feast of Passover…The entrance to the Kingdom of God.
2. The Feast of Pentecost….The power of the Kingdom of God. (The Word and the Spirit of God)
3. The Feast of Tabernacles….The triumph of the Kingdom of God.
Paul attended these; not as an obligation but as a celebration. (Acts 20:16)
(B) The High Holy Days
1. Rosh Hashanah……The “head” or beginning of the year.
2. Yom Kippur…….The great Day of Atonement.
3. Tabernacles…..The triumphant dwelling of God with man. (Rev 21:3)
(C) Rosh Hashanah………….The New Year!
Passover constitutes the beginning of spiritual life. God says, “This will be the beginning of months (new life) for you.” (Exodus 12:1-2)
Rosh Hashanah constitutes the preservation of spiritual life! It is a trumpet or wake up call to God’s children to take stock of their spiritual lives. It is therefore characterized by the blowing of trumpets (Shofars). Or, it is God’s alarm clock calling us to awake from our spiritual slumber! (Ephesians 5:13-21) It mirrors the coming day of the judgment of believers. (Romans 14:10-12)(1Corinthians 3:13-15)
It’s all about how much we love Jesus. If we truly love Him with our first love we will happily and easily live out His life within us. (Rev 2:4) I loved my wife so much that when I was courting her that I happily cycled 12 miles to see her for twenty minutes and then cycled back home a further twelve miles!! Are we cycling for Jesus?
(D) Yom Kippur
The wonder, awesomeness and beauty of the message of the cross. (Gal 6:14) Yom Kippur takes place ten days (2times 5) after Rosh Hashanah. Five is the number of grace in the Bible. So, David picked up five stones by which to slay Goliath and the church is beautified by a five-fold ministry of Apostles, Prophets, teachers, Evangelists and Pastors. (Ephesians 4:11) God’s work in us from beginning to end is one of grace! (Ephesians 2:8)
On Yom Kippur two Goats are brought into focus; the Lord’s Goat and the Scapegoat or Azazel. The Lord’s Goat is sacrificed and its blood placed on the Mercy Seat in the Temple by the High Priest for atonement. A beautiful picture of Christ’s finished work on the cross! The Scapegoat has the sins of the people confessed over it and it is released into the wilderness; a picture of our freedom from sin and guilt but also of our freedom from the oppression of the Devil. Azazel in Hebrew means, “the one that opposes” and is considered by Jewish theologians to be a
reference to the Devil and Demons! Jesus not only delivered us from our sins but also from the hands of the Devil! (Hebrews 2:14)(Acts 10:38) We have much to praise Him for.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of God’s sovereignty, provision, care and triumph for His redeemed people. It recalls the wilderness wandering of the Israelites and how they lived in unstable booths with leafy coverings and were thus exposed to the elements and many enemies. God cared for them, filled them with joy, delivered them from their enemies and brought them to the Promised Land.
It is a Feast for the entire world to celebrate as God in Christ has redeemed for Himself a people from every tribe and tongue (Revelation 5:9-10) and will shortly, by Jesus’ coming, gather them all to His visible Kingdom. (Zechariah 14:16-17; Acts 1: 11). It is primarily a Feast of joy and gladness since it exhorts God’s people to rejoice in all that He has done for them. Until that day arrives we will trust Him for everything, be thankful and joyful and remember that, before Him, we are giants and our enemies are grasshoppers!