Rabbi Ariel ben-Lyman HaNaviy
(Note: all quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, translation by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., unless otherwise noted)
"ADONAI said to
Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra’el: ‘The designated times of ADONAI
which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated times."
The time has now come for
all of God’s children to begin to have a unified voice when it comes to
the Torah. For too long, we, HaShem’s olive tree (Romans Chapter 11),
have been divided over this issue of "Who should follow the Torah? And
why?" I’m not ashamed to answer authoritatively up front: the Torah
details the lifestyle of a genuine follower of HaShem as correctly
interpreted (fulfilled) by Yeshua HaMashiach! This means that all
genuine believers have been given divine permission, as it were, to
follow as much of God’s Word (‘Older’ Testament and ‘Newer’ Testament)
as they feel directed by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy
Spirit) to do.
But Rabbi Ariel, if HaShem says to do something what room
is left for arguing? Are you suggesting that an individual wait
for a “warm and fuzzy feeling” to come over them? Not at
all. What exactly am I getting at? Simply that God and God
alone has the power to convince and convict a person in the area of
sins of omission (I am suggesting that ultimately Torah disobedience,
by default, can lead to sins of negligence). I can teach you
about Torah observance until I am blue in the face, but I can NEVER
force, coerce, entrap, or otherwise intimidate anyone into following
Torah commands. Compulsion leads to legalism. For the
individual coming out of a “Torah-less lifestyle”, HaShem will often
lovingly challenge them to mature by giving them opportunity to express
their love for him in terms of Torah submissiveness, specifically in
the area of rediscovering their Hebraic roots. Either that or
they will just plain read the objective Torah, apply Hebraic “s’bara”
(common sense), and then “just do it!” This approach has been
known to be effective as well.
Because the feasts are found in the older portion of the Bible, many Christians simply neglect the study of them. It is my wish that these commentaries will capture the interest of the average believer and ignite a spark of interest within him, spurning him on to further investigate the practical application of these wonderful Torah-truths. I am not prepared to conduct a thorough study of the feasts in the space provided here. I simply want to provide the readers with the Messianic framework necessary to properly appreciate the scope of HaShem’s historical handiwork, as expressed in the feasts.
As we shall see, the feasts, which we will refer to as "mikra’ey kodesh" (holy convocations), were meant to serve as daily, monthly, and yearly reminders, of our identity and purpose, in the historical plans that HaShem has for all of mankind. The Torah teaches us that they are the "rehearsals of Messianic redemption". Properly understood, they tell the story of the birth and life, atoning work, death, resurrection, promise of power, assurance of dedication, promise of return, and promise of eternal abiding, of the Messiah Yeshua, in relation to all genuine followers. Surely it is in the mind of the Holy One, for his children to have an intimate knowledge of these aspects of his Son’s ministry! Yet, for nearly two thousand years, our appreciation of these feasts has remained marginal at best and non-existent at worst.
The reader needs to familiarize himself with our main body of text, Leviticus Chapter twenty-three. Below is an outline and brief themes of the seven mikra’ey kodesh (not counting the Sabbath) which the Torah has for us (The following list and definitions was supplied by First Fruits of Zion Publications):
Pesach (Passover) - redemption, salvation, deliverance, freedom
Chag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread) - sanctification
Bikkurim (Counting the Omer) - sanctification, deliverance
Shavu’ot (Pentecost) - the giving of the Torah, the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh, firstfruits, ecclesiology
Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah (New Year/Feast of Trumpets) - eschatology
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) - atonement, forgiveness, blood sacrifices
Tabernacles/Ingathering) - worship, praise, redemption, eschatology,
celebrating the harvest of righteousness in our lives
As we journey through our
commentaries I will detail the times, dates and circumstances
surrounding each feast. This will provide the historical framework to
which we can apply the Messianic fulfillment of each feast. Ultimately,
it is my intent to invite each one to consider taking HaShem up on his
offer, of divine permission, to participate each year in his feasts.
Shomer mitzvot is a wonderful way to "walk out" the reality of the
newness of life, found only in union with Yeshua HaMashiach! A Godly
desire to obey the Torah, as a non-Jewish believers, is evidence of the
Holy Spirit’s activity of "putting the Torah of HaShem within you, and
writing it on your heart" (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10, paraphrase
May the Holy One richly bless you as you seek to be obedient to his Word!
For further study, read: Genesis 1:14; Exodus 19:5, 6; 31:13; Leviticus ch. 23; Deuteronomy 4:5-10; Joshua 1:7, 8; Psalm 40:7; ch. 119; Isaiah 2:2, 3; ch. 62; Jeremiah 31:31-37; Ezekiel 36:26, 27; Micah 4:1-7; Zechariah 8:20-23; Malachi 4:4; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 10:4; Hebrews ch. 4; 10:7; James 1:22-25; 1 John 5:1-3