Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is upon us. Beginning tomorrow evening, Yom Kippur marks the holiest of all holy days on the Hebrew calendar. It is the anniversary of the fall of man and it is the climax of the time of Teshuvah (repentance). Starting tonight night and into Saturday, all around the world, the religious will fast from food and water and read prayers in the synagogue, as will the majority of traditional Jews.
Between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur are ten days. These days are known as "Yamim Noraim", "the Days of Awe" — or also translated, the "Awesome days". In Judaism it has been long believed that these days seal your fate for the upcoming year — and also allude to your final destiny, concerning whether your name continues to be written in the Book of Life.
Race car driving champion Bill Vukovich won the infamous Indianapolis 500 race two times, a record of success few others have achieved. When asked about the secret of his success in the race, Vukovich simply replied, "There's no secret. You just press the accelerator to the floor and steer left."
During the days of the Temple, the Levities were in charge of keeping the Temple holy. So throughout the night, the captain would make his rounds to make sure that those assigned were watching attentively, so that no one would defile the Temple during the night. If a watchman was found sleeping, he was beaten and his garments were set on fire so that he had to return home naked in his shame!
Have you ever heard about how the Eskimos kill wolves? You're not gonna believe this one!
The Hebrew word for "face" is "panim", (the Hebrew letters, peh-nun-yud-mem), literally "faces", a plural word. Normally, when we think about God, we focus only upon one of His "faces” at a time. God is "love" – or He is "holy"– or He is "just"— or He's a God of "wrath". Yet, of course, ALL these "faces" are His at once; and so the word "panim" accurately reflects the truth of God's multifaceted being. As we get to know Him better we begin to appreciate the complexity of His nature and the fact that our focus on one "face" is a very limited view, since there's so much more going on in His amazing "Personality".
The high priest of Ancient Israel wore a crown of pure gold on his head called a Nezer, which comes from the word “nazar”. This word "nazar" means to dedicate, consecrate and sacredly separate. The word “nazarite” comes from this root, and describes someone who has taken a vow to be separated from the world.
One of my favorite ministers of the Gospel is D.L. Moody. He tells a story about having heard Pastor Henry Varley once say that, "The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him."
Tonight begins the Biblical feast of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) throughout the world! Roughly 2500 years ago, there was a special Sukkot celebration in Jerusalem. The people of Israel were exiled and dispersed all across the Babylonian empire. Later, they were given the right to return and start construction on the 2nd temple of Israel. Nehemiah 8 speaks of the special celebration that happened at that time. We read how Ezra taught the people out of the book of the law and how they responded in weeping and repentance before the God of Israel.
In today's society fast food is making billions. It's slogans are "have it your way" and "have it hot and and have it now". How easy it is for us to fall into this "fast food mentality". It has almost become who we are. But in God's kingdom there's no fast food. We can't always have it our way and now. When we are caught up in this fast food mentality, we lose the true meaning of patience. True patience is the ability to wait on the Lord through trials without complaining and worrying; it is to be tested and persevere through trial.
When a Michigan man entered the hospital for tests one day, he never would have guessed what the doctors would find. A routine chest x-ray revealed that the man’s heart was on the wrong side of his chest! Because of a rare reversed-organ condition, his heart was in the wrong place. This is a strange story indeed, although I think some of us suffer from this condition in a spiritual way.
The great pyramids of Egypt have become objects of fascination for many involved in the New Age teching. Some think they were built by aliens from outer space. Others say they are containers of cosmic power. All of them are trying to find the great "secret" of the pyramids. What they are, really, are structures of death, exaggerated tombstones, coffins. The pyramids were made for death. They were built to house a dead body, along with the useless riches of it's rotting corpse.
Among the mighty men of David were those of the tribe of Issachar whose special gift was their understanding of the times, a gift of prophetic insight; and this was such a precious gift because included in their discernment was the ability to know how to apply it. In our time prophecy is everywhere. Yeshua (Jesus) warned us that there would be false prophets in the last days, especially approaching His second coming, and He said the prophecy would be so subtle and the false signs so powerful that even the elect might be deceived if that were possible; [Mt. 24:24] While it's clear to many of us that we're living in prophetic days, there are also millions who have no clue of the current times and seasons.
The Lord (YHVH) commanded the grain offering on Shavuot, (known as Pentecost among Christians), to be made of the finest flour, baked with yeast, that is, leaven. Leaven, in the Bible, is almost universally, a symbol for "sin", and in the OT is strictly forbidden on the altar of YHVH., yet here, in the Feast of Weeks it is commanded as part of the offering.
I've heard so many Christians ask, "How can I get more of the Holy Spirit?" As if the Holy Spirit is some kind of power or force that we can control or weild. What we should really be asking is, "How can the Holy Spirit have more of me?"
The word contrite in Hebrew is 'dakah' which means one that is crushed to pieces. Paul wrote of being a 'living sacrifice' holy and acceptable to God. Being a living sacrifice means we often can walk off the altar. To be a continual living sacrifice we need to renew our minds day to day!
Many believers have a special place, a quiet place where they go to spend time with the Lord. This is a very important thing. But how many believers have actually 'prepared a way' for the Lord?
Robert A.Cook, president of The King's College in New York, was speaking at the Moody Bible Institute some years ago. He was saying that the day before, he had been at a gathering in Washington and had talked with Vice President George Bush. And went on to say that he later spoke briefly with President Ronald Reagan.
According to ancient Jewish legend, one day Abraham was shown his father, Terah's room of many idols. Young Abraham, thinking that perhaps he could discover intimacy with them, made some desirable delicacies and placed them before the idols. When nothing happened, he realized that these idols were nothing more than clay — they could do nothing for him or anyone else for that matter. So he proceeded to destroy all the idols, except for one.
Continuing this study of Mashiach Ben Yosef (Messiah "Son of Joseph"), I want to focus on another aspect of the rabbis' understanding; that Mashiach ben Yosef will come first, and prepare the world for the Kingdom of the Lord. According to their teaching…