Monthly Archives: September 2013

Behold! The Tabernacle of God Is with Men!

Think back to your happiest memory from childhood. For some of you, it is an exceptionally happy Christmas or birthday celebration you enjoyed as a child. For others it is a vacation you took with your family or playing with one of your childhood friends. But we can all look back to at least one or two happy memories because God has been good to all of us.

5For me, it was the last day of school as a 10-year old because that meant two absolutely wonderful things I had been waiting for so long: 1) Freedom from schoolwork for the next 3 months, which is an almost infinite amount of time to someone who has only lived 10 years and remembers only 5 of them. 2) It meant sleeping in the tent out in our backyard with my cousin where we’d stay up late at night telling each other scary stories and stupid 10-year old jokes. For a 10-year old boy, it doesn’t get any better than that. I felt so happy and free!

That brings me to our topic for today, because the topic we’re about to study is the happiest in all of Scripture, one to which I want us to bring all of our childlike faith and hopes. What we’ve been studying the last several weeks are the feasts of Israel—four in the spring and three in the fall. The four in the spring picture what Jesus did for us at His first coming by His death, burial, resurrection, and gift of the Holy Spirit. We also learned that between the four feasts in the spring and the three in the fall, there is a long dry spell in the summer picturing the last two thousand years during which God has temporarily set aside the nation of Israel and is preparing a beautiful Gentile Bride for His Son, One made up of vast multitude of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation under heaven who love Jesus Christ and have trusted Him as their Savior.

6But that leaves three feasts in the fall, each one picturing something about the Return of Christ and what He’s about to do for us in the future. The Feast of Trumpets is a picture of His return and rapture of the church, whereas The Day of Atonement, which we studied last week, is a harbinger of the coming Day of Judgment. But the feast we’re studying today is all joy with no sorrow added to it, because what this final feast pictures is the Kingdom of God, something we’ve prayed for all our Christian lives—“Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

7What is striking about it is how simply it’s celebrated. For just as my cousin and I celebrated our freedom from school by moving out of the house and into a tent, that’s how the people of Israel celebrate this feast and the Kingdom of God to come. As we study it, there are three points I want us to keep in mind—the first is God’s goodness, the second is the life of Christ, and the third is the glory of God’s kingdom to come.

But, first, listen to how it is described in Leviticus 23:33-36—Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.’”

1.            The Goodness of God

The word for the feast in Hebrew is Sukkot meaning “Tabernacles” or “Booths,” and like most of the feasts before it, it takes place during one of the harvests in Israel—this time the fruit harvest in the fall. So it’s a very happy time. After all, who doesn’t like fresh fruit straight from the tree or vine! That’s how God intended it. He intended it to be a time of great joy. In fact, twice in Deuteronomy He commands His people to celebrate it with great joy. He says, “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.” By the way, did you know that the first Thanksgiving American in 1621 was actually a celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles? The pilgrims took the Old Testament very seriously and used this feast as the model for their Thanksgiving celebrations to God.

15But it isn’t just a time of enjoying the harvest. This feast also has a very important spiritual purpose. That’s why all the men of Israel were required to travel down to Jerusalem every year to celebrate it before the Lord in the Temple. Sukkot is God’s reminder of how faithful He was to their forefathers for forty years while they lived in tents in the desert and that the same God who cared for their ancestors then is the God who continues to love them and provide for them today.

So, for seven days every fall, the people of Israel celebrate this great event by moving out of the comfort of their homes and living in booths or tabernacles. Leviticus 23:40 gives the instructions for how they’re to celebrate it. It says, “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days… You shall dwell in booths for seven days… that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

8HYH_Yavneh_Minan_of_FlatbushThe rabbis have added several other traditions over the years. For example, the roof of the sukkah (that’s the singular of “sukkot”) must be strong enough to withstand a normal wind; its roof is to be made of branches and foliage, providing shade by day and a view of the stars at night, so God’s people can marvel at His majesty as our Creator; and it also has to be large enough for a table and chairs, so a family can eat under it because that’s one of the mitzvahs or commandments of the Law—to eat their meals in the sukkah. Some of the traditional foods they eat are stuffed cabbage rolls, apple-glazed barbecue chicken, and fruit turnovers. The host at the meal also invites imaginary guests for dinner each night. Abraham is invited the first night, Isaac the second night, then Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David the following nights.

9Finally, one more tradition before we move on—the waving of the lulav, which is a bouquet made of palm, myrtle, and willow branches bound together and waved in six directions (up and down, left and right, forward and backward) symbolizing the all-encompassing presence of God. As they do this, they also hold an etrog, a large lemon-like fruit, in their left hand while they recite this blessing: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, for keeping us alive and bringing us to this time.” Those are just a few of the traditions associated with this day. Now onto something far more important and interesting, and that’s how this feast was fulfilled in the life of Christ.

2.            The Life of Christ

John chapter 7 says this about it. “Jesus did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. When the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.”

So Jesus attended the festival, just as the Law commanded, but He did so secretly at first so He wouldn’t be arrested before His time had come. While He was there, He also took part in the two great ceremonies held during the feast. The first was the water ceremony in which the high priest took a golden pitcher and drew water from the Pool of Siloam and then carried it back through the water gate to the altar where he poured it into a silver basin. While he did this, he would recite the words of the song we sang earlier: “Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and will not be afraid, for the Lord is my strength and my song; He also has become my salvation.” The word for salvation here is Yeshua (Jesus), for that’s what the name of Jesus means. As the angel said to Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” And though He came to the feast in secret, it was at this point, on the last and greatest day of the feast, that Jesus made it His own. Standing to His feet, He cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For whoever believes in Me, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water,” referring to the Holy Spirit that He would soon give to everyone who believes in Him.

SevenStarsThen, in the evening, came the light show during which four 75-foot tall menorahs were lit while the Levites played music and the priests performed torch dances. The Talmud quotes one rabbi who was there saying: “He who has not seen the rejoicing at this show has never seen rejoicing in his life.” It was at this point that Jesus stood up again and made Himself known, promising, “I am the Light of the World; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

But it’s the third fact that I find most interesting. Most of you are probably aware that though we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th, we really don’t know the exact day when Jesus was born. In fact, what most Bible scholars agree about is that it probably wasn’t in December because the shepherds wouldn’t have been out in the fields tending their sheep in the winter months. So when was Jesus born? Is there any way to narrow it down and get closer to the exact day? Well, it seems there is.

One thing the Bible is clear about is the birth of John the Baptist who was the son of Zechariah the priest and Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, which means John was Jesus’ cousin! Furthermore, based on 1 Chronicles 24 and other Scriptures, we know when John was born. You’ll remember his mother was barren. But one day while his father Zechariah was serving in the Temple—1 Chronicles 24 says that was 10 weeks after the Passover during the Jewish month of Sivan—suddenly the Angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that Elizabeth would bear him a son in her old age. So, assuming that Zechariah returned home after his turn in the Temple, John would have been conceived the next week, which means, if you count forward 9 months, that John was born the following Passover.

11That’s significant because who do the Jews leave the door open for at the Passover meal? Elijah, believing that he will come and prepare the way for Messiah! But then Jesus said it was John the Baptist who came in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way for Him! So it turns out that just as the Jews expected, John arrived right on time to fill the chair left vacant for him at Passover.

But it also reveals when Jesus was born. Because if John was born at Passover and was 6 months older than Jesus, all we have to do is count ahead 6 months and what do we find? He was born in the month of Tishri during the Feast of Tabernacles (late September or early October on our calendar). Why is that significant? Because of what it pictures! John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and,” verse 14: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The word dwelt is skene meaning “tent or tabernacle.” Some of you may have that in the margin of your Bible, because that’s a much more literal translation than the word dwelt—“The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

10And finally, one more fascinating fact before we move on! If you count forty weeks backwards from the Feast of Tabernacles (forty weeks is the length of a normal pregnancy), do you know what you discover about the conception of Jesus? You find that He, the Light of the World, was conceived on Hanukkah, the festival of lights, in the month of December, and born during “the show of lights” in the fall on the Feast of Tabernacles. But then that’s what we’ve been learning about the feasts from the very beginning—that the feasts aren’t about Israel; they’re about Jesus the Messiah of Israel and the world, picturing who He is and what He’s done or will do for us His people.

12So let me ask you before I continue. Are you experiencing the joy that’s pictured in this feast? And are there rivers of living water flowing out of your innermost being? Because that’s what Jesus promised us! To experience it, two things have to be true of you: 1) You have to know Jesus in a personal way, which you can do this very moment by turning from your sins and trusting in Him for forgiveness; and 2) You have to obey Him! John 14:22 puts it like this: “Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Or to put it in the terms of this feast, He will come and tabernacle with you in the sukkah of your heart which, having experienced it myself, I can tell you there is no greater joy in life than that. David tasted it and wrote, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy and at that right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So don’t miss it! Whatever is keeping you from experiencing the joy of Christ’s presence, lay it aside—because it isn’t worth it—and ask Jesus to fill you with the joy of His Spirit.

3.            The Kingdom of God

Now for the greatest joy of all and the only real hope for this world, and that’s the Kingdom of God which is coming to this earth very soon. That’s what’s ultimately pictured in the Feast of Tabernacles. The prophet Ezekiel promises: “Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” So, in keeping with His promise, the Kingdom of God will come to earth very soon with its capital in Jerusalem, Jesus the Son of David ruling from its throne, and the Lord Himself “tabernacle-ing” among us. What a day that’s going to be!

ZionIn fact, Zechariah says at that time the whole world will begin to flock to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with the Lord in a literal way. By the way, did you know that’s happening even as I speak? Since 1980, Gentiles from all over the world have made up half the multitude that travels to Jerusalem every fall to celebrate this feast. That great celebration begins this Thursday, September 19th, and is the first time since Solomon’s kingdom that people from all over the world have come together with great joy to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in the Holy City.

13In fact, to underscore just how glorious this kingdom is going to be, let me enumerate from Scripture a few of the things that will bring us joy. Isaiah 61 says the earth, ravaged by the pollution of man, the wars of the antichrist, and the judgment of God, will be renewed, restored, and rebuilt. Isaiah says, “They shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations…(and) everlasting joy shall be theirs.”

14Isaiah 65 also assures that our former sufferings will no longer be remembered or come to mind, that the voice of weeping will no longer be heard, and that the whole world will rejoice in the new things God is creating. Isaiah promises, “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; they shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox…they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, says the Lord.”

But that’s not all! Because the New Testament has much to say about this kingdom as well! It’s in Revelation chapter 20 where John tells us that the length of this kingdom will be a millennium (1,000 years) during which time (Here’s the good news! (Satan and his demons will be bound in the bottomless pit, no longer able to bring sin to our minds, and we the followers of Christ will reign with Him for 1,000 years! As the hymn says, “The tempter will be banished! We’ll lay our burden down.”

streets-of-gold-heaven-mary-k-baxter-heavens-truthBut don’t think this kingdom will end after 1,000 years. The Feast of Tabernacles is an 8-day feast with good reason. The number “8” in Scripture often symbolizes a new beginning. And so it is here! Because if you turn to the next page in the Bible, to Revelation 21, you’ll find that this glorious earthly kingdom has suddenly been transformed into a Kingdom with eternal dimensions! John writes, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. 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. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

So let me ask you before I bring this message to a close. What is your greatest source of joy in life? Are you finding it in your awards, your achievements, and your accomplishments; your plans, your pleasures, and your pastimes; your finances, your fame, and your friendships? There’s nothing wrong with those things, of course, except that you can’t count on them when the day is done! Dreams are broken. The glitter of earthly awards soon fades away. Friends and family will die and leave you. So where will you find a joy that both pleases Christ and never lets you down? Jesus said the only thing that’s worth investing in is His kingdom, the pearl of great price, which a man would be wise if he sold everything he has in order to possess it. But how many of us are actually hungering for that and giving all that we have in anticipation of it!

GreatPearlC.S. Lewis writes, “If you study history, you’ll find that the Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next. The Apostles who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, left their mark on earth, because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since we have ceased to think of the other world that we’ve become so ineffective in this. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who goes on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I close with the final page from The Last Battle as Lucy, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and all our favorite characters from Narnia stand at the threshold of Aslan’s country. They are mourning the loss of Narnia, the beautiful world the Lion created and which they’ve had to leave behind. But wait! The longer they gaze at this new land, the more it resembles the one they left behind, but without any of the evil or heartache.

narnia-ii--prince-caspian-wallpapers_15475_1600x1200 (1)Finally, the Unicorn sums up what everyone is feeling. He stamps his right forehoof on the ground and neighs, and cries out, “I have come home at last! This is my real country, the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.” Every foretaste of joy I had before was but a stab, a pang, and an inconsolable longing for this place! How could anyone be satisfied with less?” But Aslan notices that not everyone is as happy as he means them to be and asks them why. Lucy says, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan, for you have sent us back into our own world so often before.” “No fear of that,” the Lion assures her. “Your father, your mother and all of you are here to stay. The school term is over. The holidays have begun. The dream is ended. The morning has come.”

(To download or read a written copy of this message, click Written Message. To download or listen to the audio version of this message, click Audio Message.)

Sources used in this sermon series: “The Seven Feasts of Israel” by Zola Levitt, “Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts” by Richard Booker, “Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts” by Michael Norten, “Life Principles for Worship from the Feasts of Israel” by Rick Shepherd, and “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim.

Secrets of the Feasts: Day of Atonement

Can you tell me who said this first, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” That’s right! John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea and calling all of Israel to repent and prepare the way of the Lord! But then that’s what we would expect of John! He was a fanatic preaching hellfire and brimstone demanding that the people repent, confess their sins, and be baptized or suffer the wrath of God to come. In fact, if he showed up preaching like that today, we’d think he was a nut.

1But wait a minute! What’s this I find in the very next chapter? The Lord Jesus beginning His public ministry, and what’s the message He proclaims? Matthew 4:17—“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” That’s the very same message John preached. I point that out because we hear a lot today about believing in Jesus, and we ought to hear a lot about it because that’s the only way to be saved. Acts 16:31—“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!”

But what’s often forgotten and left out of the gospel message today is the fact that true faith involves repentance. That was the message of both John and the Lord Jesus! Consequently, I’m no one’s judge, but if the Jesus we believe in doesn’t call for repentance, we are believing in is a different Jesus than the one revealed in the Bible and our salvation may be something we’ve made up in our own minds. Is it any wonder, then, that many who claim to be Christians today are living like the devil! They’ve left out of their conversion experience the absolutely vital component of repentance.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor hanged for his opposition to Hitler 23 days before the end of the war, put it like this: “Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

1“Wow! You sure sound judgmental!” you say. No, not really, not when you realize what sin has done to us. It has infected our minds, mutated our bodies, divided our families, and broken everything in the world around us. Anything that causes pain and suffering can be directly traced back to sin! Whereas true repentance and faith—they bring the healing of God which is able to restore everything that sin has broken!

I love how Pat Summerall put it. Do you remember him? He was the great sportscaster who dedicated 50 years of his life to professional football—10 years as a player for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants. Then upon retiring, he became a sportscaster, first for CBS and then FOX sports. He died earlier this year. But did you know that before he did, he repented and turned to Christ. A lifetime alcoholic, Summerall was told to give up drinking or die. So he checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic where his counselor urged him to seek a better life through faith.

So he did. He started reading the Bible and going to church, he put his faith in Christ, and at the age of 64 was baptized. You see, there’s something about expressing your repentance in front of others that makes it real. Listen to how he described the experience. He said, “When the minister leaned me back in the water, I never felt so helpless. I knew that I had just become a Christian. After my baptism, I felt so clean. I knew what people meant when they talked about being born again. I had that feeling. I had a feeling of peace. I felt smarter, lighter, and quicker. It was a feeling I’ve never had before. I can’t tell you how great life has been since then.”

1What does this have to do with today’s study? It’s both the point of our study and what Christianity itself is all about—the repentance of our sins and faith in our Lord Jesus. Over the last several weeks we’ve been studying the feasts of Israel. But as we’ve seen, the feasts aren’t about Israel. They’re about Israel’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, each one picturing something He either did to obtain our salvation at His first coming (His death, His burial, His resurrection, and the gift of His Holy Spirit)—or something He’s about to do for us in the future. Last week, for example, we looked at the Feast of Trumpets which pictures His return and rapture of the church.

But today we come to the most solemn feast of all—one that calls for humility, self-examination, and repentance of our sins. The feast is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. As we seek to understand it, there are three key facts I want us to look at—its purpose, its celebration, and its coming fulfillment by Jesus Christ.

Listen, first, to how Leviticus 23:26-28 describes it. It says, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.

1.            Its Two-Fold Purpose

The purpose of this feast, then, is two-fold: affliction and atonement. In fact, that’s what the phrase Yom Kippur means. It means “day of covering,” because that’s what atonement does for us. It covers our sins with the blood of an innocent sacrifice. In Israel’s case, that was accomplished by the high priest who entered the holiest place in the Temple once a year, on the Day of Atonement, to offer a sacrifice on behalf of his people. He was the only one permitted to enter that holy place. Before he did, he’d offer a bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, and then bathe his body in water and put on white linen garments as a sign of purity and humility, because if he dared to enter God’s presence in an unworthy manner, he’d immediately lose his life. There the first thing he did was offer incense as a sweet-smelling fragrance to God.

1Then it was time to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat located on the top of the Ark of the Covenant between the wings of the cherubim. Seven times he sprinkled the blood, for seven is the number of perfection. And then when he came out of that holy place, he would announce to those who were waiting, “It is done!”

Does that sound familiar to you? It should, for those were the final words Jesus spoke from the cross when He finished atoning for our sins as our Great High Priest. John says after accepting sour wine on a sponge from one of the soldiers, He cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished,” then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

But that wasn’t the end of the high priest’s work that day. What followed was just as important. Leviticus 16 says of him, “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.”

The way the high priest did that was to lay his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confess the sins of the people. Then one of the priests would lead the goat away to a designated spot, twelve miles outside the camp in the wilderness where he would push the goat that bore their sins over a cliff to its death.

1This is where it gets interesting because the Talmud says once the scapegoat was chosen, the high priest would take a scarlet-colored cord, cut it in two, and tie half of it to the head of the scapegoat that was to be sent into the wilderness and the other half to the door of the sanctuary. When it plunged to its death, bearing the sins of the people, both the thread tied to its head and the thread tied to the door of the sanctuary would, by a miracle of God, turn white, assuring them that their sins were forgiven. Wasn’t that gracious of God! As Isaiah promised, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Of course, as believers in Jesus, we know it isn’t the death of a goat that takes away our sins. All of that was meant to foreshadow the death of Jesus, God’s Scapegoat, who takes away the sins of the world. Isaiah says of Him, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” That’s another meaning of kippur, by the way. It can also mean “ransom,” describing the high price Jesus paid to save us from our sins.

This, then, was and is the most solemn day of the Jewish year calling for great humility, soul-searching, and repentance, which is the second purpose of this day—not only atonement, but also affliction. Did you notice that in the passage we read earlier? The Lord said to Moses, this day “shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people… It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

yom-kippur-prayers2.            Its Present Celebration

So it is both in Israel and throughout the Jewish community around the world today. Absolutely no work is done on this day. Cars are parked, shops and cafes close, business, commerce, and public transportation come to a grinding halt, cell phones and computers lie dormant, TV and radio stations stop broadcasting, and all of Israel goes into prayer and fasting for the next 25 hours until they hear the sound of the shofars Saturday evening at sunset that are blown in all the synagogues across the country.

Because of Leviticus 16, which tells them to deny themselves, most Jews also forego normal pleasures this day like eating and drinking, bathing and washing, marital relations, wearing perfume or lotions, and even wearing leather shoes. Leather shoes are apparently a sign of luxury. So many Jews wear cloth slippers instead. In fact, polls say that even Jews who aren’t religious often fast on this day because according to the rabbis, this is the day when God’s people are either forgiven or face judgment because of their sins. Devout Jews suffer great anxiety wondering where they stand with God. Aren’t you glad that as a believer in Jesus you no longer have to worry about that knowing your sins are forgiven because of what He did for you on the cross!

1Five services are traditionally held this day—a confessional chant on Friday evening, an early morning service on Saturday where Leviticus 16 is read, a midday service where they read about the Day of Atonement, an afternoon service where they read from the book of Jonah, reminding them of God’s forgiveness and mercy. That’s interesting because you’ll remember Jesus said that was the only sign that’d be given to the people of Israel. He said, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet, for as Jonah was in the belly of the fish 3 days and 3 nights, so the Son of Man will be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.” Finally, there is the evening service when the books are closed, the shofar is blown, and people return home for a “break-fast” meal.

So it’s a solemn and sad day because it’s without any hope. The Jewish people engage in prayer, good works, and acts of charity trying to assuage the guilt of their sins. But it brings no lasting relief. In fact, one of the traditions that began, when the Temple was destroyed and sacrifices were no longer possible, is the Kapparot. In this ceremony, a devout Jewish man takes a white rooster, holds it by the right hand and swings it over his head three times while reciting this prayer, “This fowl shall be in my stead, shall be my atonement; it shall go to death so that I can attain a good life and peace.” The people of Israel yearn for God’s forgiveness but they have no assurance of it because they haven’t yet found new life and forgiveness in Jesus the Messiah.

2Another sad fact recorded in the Talmud is what happened following the work of Christ on the cross. It says, “During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the lot for the scapegoat never again came up in the priest’s right hand (which was a sign of God’s favor), nor did the scarlet cord tied to the scapegoat’s horn and the doors of the Temple ever again turn white.” Instead, you know what the Talmud says began to happen? Remember how the veil was torn was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died indicating that God’s presence is now open to everyone who believes in His Son? The Talmud says the same thing happened to the Eastern gate leading to the inner court of the Temple. This gate was made of brass and so heavy it took twenty men to close it. It also rested on a base of iron and was fastened deep into the stone floor with bolts. Yet from that day on, it was found open of its own accord at the sixth hour of the night, the very hour Jesus died. The westernmost light on the candelabra also refused to burn indicating that the light of the Temple was about to go out.

How do we account for these things? I believe there were signs from God that Jesus, His Lamb and Scapegoat, finished the work of salvation and that heaven is now open to whoever believes in Him. But the Jewish community doesn’t have this hope. Listen to this prayer written in the Talmud by Rabbi Yohanan Ben-Zakkai, one of the members of the counsel of rabbis in Jerusalem who set the rules for future generations to follow once the Temple was destroyed. “Now I am being led before the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He who lives and endures forever and ever! If He is angry with me, He is angry forever. If He puts me to death, He puts me to death forever. I cannot persuade Him with words or bribe Him with money. Moreover, there are two ways ahead of me: one leads to paradise and the other to hell, and I do not know which one will take me. How can I do anything but weep?” That’s the heart cry of every devout Jew who faces this day without a Savior in Jesus, because it’s only in Jesus that we have peace with God and forgiveness of our sins. So pray for the peace of Jerusalem and that one day soon, as Paul promised, all Israel will be saved.

3.            Its Coming Fulfillment

1Now onto the prophetic implications of this day! What we see right away are several parallels between the Day of Atonement and the Return of Jesus. Remember, first, what we learned about the Feast of Trumpets. It is a two-day feast that takes place eight days before the Day of Atonement. So how did the high priest use his time that week leading up to this feast? He and the other priests went into hiding for seven days to prepare themselves for the Day of Judgment to come. Likewise the Bible says that Jesus, our High Priest, is going to take us believer-priests who make up His church, home to heaven for seven years before the judgment of God is poured out on the earth.

That is also in keeping with the Jewish wedding custom whereby the groom would return for his bride and take her home to the bridal chamber he’d prepared for her in his father’s house. There they’d celebrate their union for seven days before the wedding feast began. In like manner, Jesus is going to return for His Bride, the church, and take us home to the place He’s prepared for us in heaven for seven years before we return to celebrate the Wedding Supper of the Lamb in His new kingdom on earth.

2.jpgSeveral other parallels are also found in the book of Revelation where Jesus, our Great High Priest, acts out in a literal way and on a global scale the Day of Atonement. For example, Revelation 8:1 says when He breaks the seventh seal, there’ll be silence in heaven for about half an hour, which is how long the high priest was in the Holy of Holies while the people waited outside in silence to see what the outcome would be. In this case, the outcome isn’t good. Because the world has rejected Jesus, God’s Lamb, judgment is poured out until a voice finally rings out from heaven saying, “It is done,” which is the same thing the high priest said when he finished his work in the Temple.

1.pngIt is at that point Jesus returns to earth with two very different outcomes for mankind—judgment of His enemies, but salvation for Israel and all who love Him. Revelation 19 describes the action like this: “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.…From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron…And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” So there will be judgment for His enemies. But no one has to be in that camp. We can freely choice this very day to surrender our lives to Christ and enjoy His love and forgiveness forever.

But what about the people of Israel! The prophet Zechariah gives us the most information on this topic. He says that even though two-thirds of the people will be cut off and perish like most of the world at that time, one-third will remain alive until the coming of the Lord. At which point the Lord says, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” So there will be great mourning in Israel when they realize that the One they have rejected for so long is their true Messiah. But that grief will soon turn to joy when Jesus, their Great High Priest, washes away their sins by the power of His blood. Zechariah adds, “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness (and)…they will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people,’ and each one will say, ‘This is my God.’”

2Then will come about what you and I have been praying for all of our lives. God’s kingdom will come and His will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. That’s also what’s pictured in the Year of Jubilee, which begins on the Day of Atonement.

But more about that next time! Today I finish with this question: Is repentance an integral part of your relationship with God? Having lived with this topic for a week, I’ve realized that no, I’m not nearly as repentant as I ought to be. Yes, I repented of my sins over forty years ago when I trusted Jesus as my Savior. And I invite you to do the same thing today if you never have before. But for the rest of us who’ve known Jesus a long time, I believe there’s a tendency to become too casual with Him and forget that He’s a Great King and that if we stood before Him today, like Peter, John, or anyone else who’s seen Him in His glory, we’d immediately fall down at His feet in worship. Consequently, I’ve decided to join our Jewish friends this Yom Kippur in a time of fasting, repentance, and prayer because that’s the only way to bring the Kingdom of God into our lives—to repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

(To download or read a written copy of this message, click Written Message. To download or listen to the audio version of this message, click Audio Message.)

Sources used in this sermon series: “The Seven Feasts of Israel” by Zola Levitt, “Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts” by Richard Booker, “Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts” by Michael Norten, “Life Principles for Worship from the Feasts of Israel” by Rick Shepherd, and “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim.

Secrets of the Feasts: Trumpets

1How many of you remember the jingle—“Plop plop, fizz fizz; O what a relief it is?” Do you also remember what product it was meant to sell? That’s right! Alka Seltzer! Just drop two tablets in a glass of water, let it dissolve, drink it down, and your acid indigestion is immediately relieved. That why their mascot is named what he is—Speedy, because of how quickly his two tablets bring relief.

The problem with products like this is they don’t always live up to their claims. I’ll never forget the night I started having chest pains and thought it was indigestion. So I guzzled a glass of Alka Seltzer and popped some Tums and Rolaids. But nothing I tried did anything to help. So Cheryl finally drove in to the Emergency Room to make sure I wasn’t having a heart attack. I wasn’t. Many of you’ve had the same experience and know what I was suffering. Acid reflux syndrome which can be traced to a number of things—hiatal hernia, being overweight, eating fatty or spicy foods late at night! So they gave me some super-duper Malox and sent me home with a prescription, and I haven’t had trouble with it since. But the point is: I was in serious pain and desperate for relief, but nothing I took did anything to help.

You say, “Where are you headed with all of this?” So let me focus the topic if I can. Over the last few weeks we’ve been studying the feasts of Israel, each one a visual aid picturing something we need which only Jesus the Messiah can provide for us. The first week it was the Feast of Passover picturing Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and gives the gift of salvation to everyone who believes in Him. Then it was the Feast of Unleavened Bread picturing the burial of Jesus and our sins with Him in the tomb. Next it was Firstfruits picturing His resurrection and the promise that because He lives, we will live forever too. Finally, last time it was the Feast of Pentecost picturing the Holy Spirit which Jesus has poured out on His church giving us the boldness to proclaim to everyone who will listen: Jesus is Lord!

29499_S_Rosh-Hashanah-LBut this week we come to a new feast and topic, and right away there’s a change in the pattern we’ve seen. The first four feasts pictured what Jesus did for us in the past at His first coming. But the last three are still unfulfilled giving us a glimpse into what Jesus is about to do for us in the future. That’s why there’s also a long summer drought between the spring and fall feasts in Israel. The first four feasts take place in the spring in the space of just 58 days whereas the last three feasts take place the first three weeks in the fall. So the question: Does this long dry spell between the two holiday seasons in Israel have any prophetic significance. The answer is: Absolutely! It’s intended to be a prophetic picture of the huge time gap between the first and second comings of Christ.

During which time what has God been doing? He has temporarily set aside the nation of Israel, because of their refusal to receive His Son as their Savior, and out of His Father’s heart of love, He has spent the last two thousand years preparing a Gentile Bride for His Son made up of a vast multitude from every tribe, tongue and nation who love the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, part of the church has always been Jewish even during the long centuries when there was no nation of Israel. The first disciples who planted the church and gave us our Bible were Jewish as have been many of the great Christians throughout church history. But the nation of Israel hasn’t accepted Jesus as Messiah yet and as a result, God has had them on the shelf the last two thousand years.

All that is about to change, but not until God gives His church the relief we need. Because in case you haven’t noticed, this world is a broken place full of broken people suffering all kinds of brokenness—broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts. To make matters worse, Jesus warned that this world is diametrically opposed to those of us who love Him and will do everything in its power to discourage us and disable us from walking uprightly. And yet, God has promised relief for our brokenness both in the form of grace to help in time of need, but also beyond He says there’s a new day coming when He’s going to wipe away every tear from our eyes and give us everlasting relief from all our heartache and pain.

2You can see that in 2 Thessalonians 1 where Paul commends us, first of all, for remaining faithful to Christ in spite of our suffering. But then he adds this important promise. He says: “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” Do you see that word “relief” in verse 7? That’s both the key word in this verse and the theme of our study today. The word in the original language is interesting. It’s the word anacin.

Sound familiar? It should because that too is the name of a famous pain reliever, isn’t it? Again the point is life is hard, especially for those who love Christ. But God promises us grace for our troubles now everlasting relief when Jesus comes. When will that be? That’s the question answered in our study. Many people assume that because the feasts are Jewish, they have nothing to do with the church. But that isn’t true. As we’ve seen again and again, the feasts are about Jesus, not Israel, picturing what He has and is about to do for us His people. Today we’re going to see that pictured in the Feast of Trumpets, first by how it’s celebrated in Israel and then in how it’s about to be fulfilled at the Return of Christ. Let’s look, first of all, then at the holiday itself.

1.            The Holiday

The holiday is described in Leviticus 23:24-25 where again the Lord speaks to Moses and says: “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.” This is a feast marked by the blowing of trumpets. In fact, that’s the Hebrew name for it—Yom Teruah, the Day of Blowing. And while there may not be a great deal written about it in the Scriptures, it was and is one of the most important days of the Jewish year.

9For one thing, it is the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah, meaning “head of the year,” which falls on the first day of Tishri in early to late September depending on the lunar calendar. It also happens to be the first of the high holy days in Israel known as the Days of Awe and Ten Days of Repentance leading up to and preparing the people for Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish year. It may also interest you to know that according to the rabbis, this is the anniversary of the day that Adam and Eve were created, as well as the day when God opens the Book of Life to examine everyone’s thoughts, words and deeds to see if our good deeds outnumber our bad, and if they do, then our names remain in the Book of Life for another year.

The rabbis are partially right about that. God does have a Book in which the names of all the righteous are written. But we don’t get our names inscribed in it by doing good works, for the Bible says, “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of work, lest anyone should boast.” The only way to get your name written in God’s Book, which the Bible calls “the Lamb’s Book of Life,” is by turning from your sins and trusting Jesus for your salvation.

3This is a very serious day, then, for the Jewish community. Even Jews who don’t ordinarily attend Sabbath services may make their way to the synagogue on this day to search their souls, repent of their sins, and seek God’s forgiveness. Micah 7:18 is one of the passages they recite together: “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.” Then, at the conclusion of the service, if there is a body of water nearby, the congregation will take stones with their sins written on them and cast them into the water as a way of internalizing the last verse of this passage which says, “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

Consequently, one of the other traditions that has become very popular on this day is to send greeting cards to friends and relatives wishing them a happy and healthy New Year with this blessing added to it: L’shanah tovah tikatevu meaning “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.”

But it also happens to be a very happy occasion celebrated by eating sweet things like apple slices dipped in honey. Honey symbolizes their hopes for a sweet new year, whereas the apples—what do they symbolize? Apples are eaten because of what Isaac said when he blessed Jacob in Genesis 27:27. He said, “Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.” The Talmud says the field was an apple orchard and that Jacob smelled like apples. So they celebrate God’s blessing on them as Jacob’s children by eating apple slices dipped in honey.

4 Video Clip #1 – Celebrating Rosh Hashanah in Israel

 2.            The Shofar

Now onto the trumpets themselves! Trumpets have played a major role throughout Israel’s history. The first time was when God commanded Joshua to destroy the city of Jericho because of its sin. But there were huge walls surrounding the city, so how would they ever get in? God took care of the problem Himself. For six days He had the people march around the walls of the city, but on the seventh day He told them to march around the city seven times, and then the priests blew the trumpets. And it says, “When the people heard the sound of the trumpet, they shouted out with a great shout and the wall fell down flat.” At which point the men marched into the city and took it with the edge of the sword. That’s when God’s people also began calling Him the horn of their salvation—because whenever He won a victory for them, it was always accompanied by the blowing of the trumpet called a shofar.

The shofar is made from a ram’s horn or sometimes the larger horn of an antelope and it pictures two things. First, it recalls the sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah. You’ll remember as Abraham and his son climbed that hill together, Isaac asked him, “Father, here is the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for sacrifice?” What did Abraham answer? “God Himself will provide the lamb.” And He did! Before Abraham could plunge the knife into his boy, God called to him from heaven telling him to stop because he’d already passed the test of faith by his willingness. Jewish tradition says that the shofar also rang out from heaven at this point. And looking up, what did Abraham see in the thicket? A ram caught by its horns ready for sacrifice!

But more important is the second thing the shofar signals. It signals the coming of the king. That’s another name for this holiday—Yom Hamelech meaning “Day of the King!” The shofar was blown at the coronation of Solomon and the other kings of Israel, of course. But on this day, the Feast of Trumpets, the shofar is blown 100 times announcing that God is the King of the Universe and that the gates of heaven are open for our home taking which sounds like an allusion to the Rapture to my ears. Four types of blasts are heard on this day, each one with its own sound and message. The Tekiah is a blast of joy calling the people to be still and know that God is God. The Shevarim, on the other hand, are three wailing blasts that sound like a person mourning or weeping in repentance. Then comes the Teruah which are nine short blasts calling for alertness because the King is coming. But the Tekiah Gedolah is the last and longest blast of the shofar announcing that the King has now arrived.

That, I believe, is what Paul is referring to when he says we’ll be caught up “at the last trumpet,” to meet the Lord in the air. He’s talking about the Tekiah Gedolah, the 100th blast of the trumpet blown at the very end of the feast. By the way, the Jews believe this too. They believe that the shofar will be blown from heaven at the coming of Messiah. The difference is we believe He’s already come—to save us from our sins the first time and to save us from our suffering when He comes again.

5Video Clip #2 – 100 Blasts of the Shofar

 3.            The Rapture

Now the best part of all! You know how the hostess tells you at the end of dinner, “Don’t forget to keep your fork.” She says that because it’s time for dessert and the best is yet to come! That’s what we’re going to bite into now. I want to look at two key passages about the return of Christ, and in each one we’re going to hear the sound of the shofar. First, in 1 Corinthians 15:51 where Paul says this: “Behold, I tell you a mystery.” What’s a mystery? It’s a divine truth that has been kept secret from eternity past, but now at last has finally been revealed. And what mystery is he talking about? He continues, “We will not all sleep (die), but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed.” What great mystery is Paul revealing to us? The supernatural transformation of the bodies of every person who loves Christ and is still living and our sudden removal from the earth to heaven! When does he say that all of this will take place? At the last trumpet!

But be careful here, because when many people read this, their minds drift over to the book of Revelation assuming that what Paul is talking about is the 7th trumpet judgment in Revelation chapter 11. After all, isn’t that the last trumpet to be blown? And therefore, they say that those of us who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture are wrong. Jesus isn’t going to return and remove the church from the world before the great tribulation takes place on earth. We’re going to have to go through the tribulation like everyone else, and only in the middle or maybe at the end of the tribulation, when the 7th trumpet is blown and Christ is about to destroy His enemies at the Battle of Armageddon—only then will He return and remove us from this world.

6But here’s the problem with that. Paul knew nothing about the trumpet judgments when he wrote this letter, because they hadn’t been revealed yet. John didn’t write the book of Revelation until 30 years later in 96 A.D. when he exiled to the Isle of Patmos. And by that time Paul was long dead, beheaded 30 years before by Nero in Rome in 67 A.D. So the trumpet judgments couldn’t have been in Paul’s mind when he wrote this. For an accurate interpretation of the last trumpet, we going to have to look somewhere other than the book of Revelation.

Where is that? In the Feast of Trumpets. That’s what Paul had in mind when he wrote about the last trumpet. He was talking about the Tekiah Gedolah, the 100th blast of the shofar at the Feast of Trumpets. You see, what the rabbis have always said is true! The King is coming and the gates of heaven are about to open up to welcome us home one day soon when the last trumpet sounds on Rosh HaShanah during the Feast of Trumpets. Except the King who is coming is One we already know—Jesus Christ who will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God, and then, just as the Israelites broke camp and moved to another place when the trumpet sounded in the wilderness, we’re going to break camp and be caught up to meet the Lord and be taken to those mansions He’s been preparing for us in His Father’s house in heaven. What a day and what a place that’s going to be!

Another argument for a pre-tribulation rapture is found in the other name for this feast – Yom Zikaron, meaning “Day of Remembrance.” That comes from Malachi 3:17 which is also recited in the synagogues this day. There it tells us that God has a book of remembrance where all the names of the righteous are written. There He also makes us this promise: “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” God says He treasures us like a man treasures his jewels, and therefore what is He going to spare us from? Read on in Malachi and it becomes clear. He is going to spare us from the great tribulation that is about to be poured out on the earth.

7So now that we know what the last trumpet means, we also have some inside information about when Jesus is going to return for us. After all, if Jesus fulfilled each of the first four feasts—Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost—in a literal way and on the very day the feasts took place, don’t you suppose He’s going to fulfill the last three feasts in the very same way? That’s why I say even though we do not know the day or hour of His return (Jesus said that, you remember. No one knows the day or hour when the Son of Man will return “except My Father in heaven.” So let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we can know something we can’t.)—We don’t know the day or hour or even the year Jesus will return. But we do know the feast. One day soon on Rosh HaShanah (maybe this Rosh HaShanah, September 6th, who knows!) the trumpet will sound, Jesus will return and we will be caught up to heaven with Him.

One other footnote about this feast! The Feast of Trumpets is the only feast that takes place on the new moon. So because the high priest never knew exactly when the new moon would appear, this feast lasts two day. So even if we know the feast when Jesus will return, we still don’t know the day or hour, because the feast lasts two days.

8Conclusion

So what do we do with all we’ve learned? Look at one last passage with me. 1 Thessalonians 4 starting with verse 15 where Paul says this: “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

What are we to do with all that we’ve learned? Paul says we’re to comfort one another with these words. That’s why I began our study the way I did, talking about the hardships of life and the relief you and I need so badly—a kind word to comfort us, a strong shoulder to lean on, a gentle hand to wipe away our tears. I know that many of you have suffered many hard things in life and that some of you are still suffering them today—health crises, money troubles, family disappointments, and mental anguish over all these things.

So what I say to you is what I say to myself: Hang on just a little bit longer because Jesus cares and will not only give you grace to help in time of need; He is also about to part the clouds and catch you up to your home in heaven where you will be with Him forever and never suffer anything again. So hang on, friend. The night is almost over, and the day is about to dawn. So hang on and look up! For your redemption is drawing near.

SecondComing(To download or read a written copy of this message, click Written Message. To download or listen to the audio version of this message, click Audio Message.)

Video Clip #3 – “L’Shanah Tovah” (Happy Rosh Hashanah!)

Sources used in this sermon series: “The Seven Feasts of Israel” by Zola Levitt, “Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts” by Richard Booker, “Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts” by Michael Norten, “Life Principles for Worship from the Feasts of Israel” by Rick Shepherd, and “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim.