FEAST OF PENTECOST PART 2

Difference Between Old and New Covenant “Pentecost”

God has a royal wedding He has been preparing and planning for His Bride, and its invitation went out as soon as the disciples were baptized with “the Promise” on the Day of Pentecost.  

In Part 1 of the Feast of Pentecost, I focused primarily on the similarities between the Old and New Pentecost Blueprint. Let’s now explore some of their differences.

The first difference is easy to identify.  In the Old Covenant, the execution of God’s Covenant, and the revealing of Himself by fire had an inherent problem that kept Him separated from His “Bride” -SIN.  Therefore, the people could see and hear God, but they could not get near God.

God always knew He needed a solution to cleanse and remove the sin that separated Himself from His bride. Without that solution, God’s consuming fire would destroy His bride instead of glorify her.  This is why God instructed Moses to bring himself and Aaron only up the mountain to meet with Him, so that everyone else wouldn’t die.

“Then the Lord said to him (Moses), ‘Away!’ Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you.  But do not let the priest and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest He break out against them.”  (Ex. 19:24).

The second difference is that the Israelites chose to reject God’s voice and go through a mediator instead, God was going to have to restore His voice through a mediator. After Moses read the “Tablets of Covenant” to the people, which was God’s marriage vows written by His finger, the Israelites responded to Him in fear:

“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled [feared], and stood afar off.  Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear, but let know God speak with us, lest we die.  And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you so that you may not sin.  So THE PEOPLE STOOD AFAR OFF, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was” (Ex. 20:18-21).

We can now understand why the voice of God was still only heard through those selected by God in the Old Testament, even after this betrothal.  

If you notice from the Scriptures above, Moses was the ONLY one who drew near to the Lord, while the others withdrew away from the Lord out of fear.  Moses walked into darkness, knowing God was in it.  The people saw darkness and ran for cover.

Through their rejection of God’s voice, it was then established that a mediator was to remain between God and themselves.  Moses would then become a symbol and pattern of how Jesus would perfect this marriage covenant as the mediator of the New Covenant and unite us with the original promise of His voice, His fire, His presence, and His desire to permanently dwell with His Covenant people.

These Scriptures also then explains why the nation of Israel had to fight with their hands and not by the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word/voice of God” to gain dominion in the Promised Land (Eph. 6:17). As believers who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, we now have access to take dominion by His Word over the enemy and not through the blood of our own hands.

Finally, we see the difference between the Old and New through God’s mercy and grace.  In the New Day of Pentecost, the Lord kept His promise to the people instead of the people trying to keep their promise to God and failing to be able to do it:  

“For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.  (For they could not endure what was commanded:  And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.'”And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and the church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake; not only the earth, but also heaven.’

Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:18-29).

We are now coming into a greater understanding of the “national covenant of God.”  It is with an understanding of the purpose of the Feast’s blueprint, and a people abiding in His set times that we will be able to see the New Jerusalem taking shape on the earth.  This New Jerusalem was conceived on the Day of Pentecost, when Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit of Promise to dwell in our bodies.  This national covenant began multiplying throughout the world through His disciples.

Our role as His “living stones,” His royal priesthood, and His “holy nation,” who God called out of the dark, and drew into His marvelous light, is to abide in His ways and to be ready in our hearts for His return (1 Peter 2:9).

“Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.  

The VOICE of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters.  The VOICE of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty” (Psalm 29:1-4).

FEAST OF PENTECOST PART 1

An Overall Look at the Meaning and Blueprint

The Feast of Pentecost is also known as the Feast of Harvest, Feast of Weeks, as well as Shavuot(Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:16)This feast marked the beginning of the early wheat harvest, seven weeks after Passover.  Pentecost, which is the Greek translation and means “fiftieth,” commemorates the giving of the Law, otherwise known as the Torah, which is the first five books of the Bible.

After departing Egypt and surviving the wilderness through supernatural acts of God (The parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, bitter water made sweet, and the Lord defending the Israelites from attacks), the children of Israel finally arrived at Mount Sinai 50 days later.

“In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai” (Ex. 19:1).  

The Israelites camped at the base of Mt. Sinai while Moses went up to speak to God.

God then told Moses to remind the people of all the amazing things God had done to “court” His people to reveal His love and His ability to take care of them, as their “Groom.”  He also told Moses to ask the people (nation of Israel) if they would marry Him:  

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My VOICE and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for the earth is Mine.  And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a HOLY NATION.” (Ex. 19:5,6).

This was a special invitation as a nation of people to accept the Lord as their God, King, Husband, Priest, and Provider. Upon their “Yes” response, their commitment in turn would be to honor God’s voice and obey Him.  This union would open up heaven’s gates to prosper and bless a people, and a “promised” land where God would dwell with them.

The transaction of the prophetic word that had been given to Abraham declaring, “In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gal. 3:8) was about to consummate.

In short, this was God’s SET TIME that He was going to multiply His promise to Abraham, from an individual SEED promise, to a “national” SEED promise.  This is so key to understanding the significance of the Feast of Pentecost in the New Testament, because the perfected blueprint went from fulfillment of God’s Covenant plan through an individual Seed (Christ) to a national Seed (CHRISTIAN NATION, meaning, a multitude of Christian’s).  Therefore, it was this SET TIME in the blueprint of God’s storyline that He conceived His corporate (national) promise.

In order to follow the trail of this courtship and why this is taking place at Mount Sinai, we need to go back to the “founder of our faith, Abraham” (Rom. 4:16). Abraham accepted by FAITH the things God spoke to him concerning establishing a covenant with him and his family.  Abraham did not have to do anything to meet this requirement of being chosen except to have faith in what God said:

“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make NATIONS of you, and kings shall come from you.  And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant to be God to you and your descendants after you: (Gen. 17:5-7).

God originally made this promise in Gen. 12 with Abram.  Years later, God changed his name from Abram (exalted father of a family), to Abraham (Father of many nations) because the covenant was going to extend past his immediate family.  Abraham’s son Isaac would be the inheritor of this promise, as the Lord said, “In Isaac your SEED shall be called” (Heb. 11:18).

Isaac then begot Jacob, and Jacob had 12 sons who became known as the “Israelites.” The Israelites inherited that name because God also changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which translated means, “one whom understands that God rules” (Gen. 28:34; 35:10).  

Years later, over 2 million Israelites were at the base of Mt. Sinai, and God was about to unite them all into ONE NATION, giving them a blueprint to be a community that functioned together as God would instruct; in one rhythm and heartbeat so that the world could see their Groom; the “God of Abraham.”

God had also prophesied to Abraham in Gen. 15 that 400 years after the people were afflicted in Egypt, He would deliver them.  This would then become the “sign” of when God would elevate His promise to Abraham to national level.

“Then He said to Abram, “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them and they will afflict them four hundred years” Gen. 15:13).

400 years later, the nation was gathered at Mt. Sinai, listening to God’s proposal, and accepting it “by faith” like their Father Abraham.  God then instructed Moses to tell the people to “consecrate themselves,” for in 3 days, God would descend from Mt. Sinai so they could hear (see) His voice.

“Then it came to pass, on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings, and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the SOUND of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled” (Ex. 19:16).”

When the trumpet sounded loudly, the Israelites ran to the foot of the mountain to meet God.

“Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you: on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire” “(Deut. 4:36).

“The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire” (Deut. 5:4).

“The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire” (Psalm 29:7).

The mixed multitude that came out of Egypt saw the tongues of fire and heard God’s voice in their own language.  The translation of “seeing voices” came through as thunder and lightnings:

“Now Mt. Sinai was completely in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire.  Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace and the whole mountain quaked greatly.  And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and because louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.  Then the Lord came down upon Mt. Sinai, on the top of the mountain (Ex. 19:18-20).

Do you remember reading in the Book of Acts about the sound of the mighty rushing wind that came on the Day of Pentecost, in the upper room?  This was the SAME day in God’s Hebrew Covenant Calendar, years later from the day they were at the base of Mt. Sinai, that Christ would begin this covenantal national blueprint.

CHRIST had instructed His disciples, as Moses did, to get ready and prepare themselves, and then wait:

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which He said, you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now….But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to he end of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8).

SUDDENLY, the Holy Spirit came upon the 120, at the same SET TIME that Mt. Sinai had been filled with fire in the Old Testament. The people in Jerusalem, who had travelled from afar to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, were awakened to what was going on in the upper room and came to see.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts. 2:1-4). 

The Jews who had gathered in the international cosmopolitan Jerusalem knew of a day when this would happen.  This is because God had established His Covenant Calendar Blueprint to gather, at His SET TIME, when the Promises made to Abraham would be perfected.  God used the Feasts schedule to prepare them, like a “dress rehearsal,” throughout the years between Mt. Sinai and the Day of Pentecost in the upper room:

“Count 50 days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.  You shall bring from your dwellings two waves loaves of two-tenths of an ephah.  They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven.  They are the first fruits to the Lord” (Lev. 23:16,17).

 God also used Jeremiah to prophesy of this Pentecost fulfillment:

“Behold, the days are coming says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand and lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, thought I was a husband to them, says the Lord (Jer. 31:31-33)..  

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:  I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Heb. 10:16).

The blueprint of the Feast of Pentecost would show us, through the understanding of its firstfruits wheat offering, that this fulfillment of Pentecost would ONLY be the beginning (deposit of guarantee) of the perfecting of the national marriage covenant promise God had made at Mt. Sinai.  

If you study the Pentecost first fruits offering, it was the ONLY sacrifice that was offered and acceptable with “leaven.” This offering symbolized believers in Christ today who are holy and acceptable through Christ’s sacrifice, but our sinful or “leavened” bodies have yet to been transformed.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20,21).

Therefore, we can REST knowing there is a soon coming day, during the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, that we believers will experience the FULL manifestation of this covenant of marriage.  We will be able to stand in the presence of God in our glorified bodies, as well as stand before men as “sons of light.”

IYAR FIRSTRUITS

May 1st marks the celebration of the second Hebrew month known as Iyar, which is translated “reflected light.” This month is connected to the release of revelation and healing of “God’s light” through His Son Jesus.

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:7).

To put into perspective the timing of this month, we are in the same 50-day period of transition when the children of Israel left Egypt and began journeying to Mount Sinai.  Through their travels, they were reintroduced to their Covenant Keeping God as Healer, Provider, and Deliverer.  After living in Egypt for such a long time, most of the Israelites had heard about God, but were far from intimately knowing the God who made Covenant with Father Abraham. 

God first revealed Himself during this time in the wilderness as Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals.  God cleansed the waters at Mara and made the bitter waters pure for drinking.  Next, God came to them as Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides.  He released “manna” or “bread from heaven” supernaturally which the Israelites found in the morning dew.   And finally, through the holding up of the arms of Moses during a battle with the Amalekites, the children of Israel saw Jehovah Nissi, their banner of victory. Ex. 15-17

The Exodus from Egypt was a significant shift in departing from the oppression of a “worldly system” to one founded in God.  Trust had been cultivated in these worldly systems, producing a false sense of security and identity in wrong places.  This is evident through the complaining and grumbling of the children of Israel who were crying to go back to the oppression they had prayed to get out of!  Nevertheless, God reveals Himself in their moment of weakness like a groom courting a “bride to be.”

Similarly, during the same 50-day calendar time period in the New Testament, the disciples were being re-introduced to their Savior after Jesus rose from the dead.  Within 40 of those days, Jesus manifested Himself to the disciples to show Himself alive as their Healer, the “Bread of Life,” and Deliverer.  Jesus met the disciples in their weaknesses as well; Thomas the doubter, Peter the rejecter, and all the disciples received healing after seeing a conquering Jesus over death (John 20). The disciples then had to trust in their Savior (Covenant) now revealed, who commanded them to stay in the hostile environment of Jerusalem and wait to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). 

Prophetically speaking, we will see this whole transition scene play out again preceding the Age of Tabernacles, except it will happen with a multitude of nations (instead of 12 disciples), who are being “reintroduced“ to their Covenant Keeping God.  There will come a day when Christian nations whom have been “oppressed” by the “mystery of Babylon” will be delivered out of the hand of the enemy because of repentance. Then they will be reintroduced to Jehovah Rafa who will heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14). They will encounter Jehovah Jireh, the Word, made manifest on the earth to establish His Kingdom (Rev. 19:13-15). And they will see Jehovah Nissi, the Commander in Chief and His Army who defeats the enemy (Rev. 19:19).

The similarity between the children of Israel in the wilderness, Jesus before he ascended, and the believers today before they meet the returning King is that ALL go through this transition that brings them to an encounter with God’s glory.  And with each age, the glory increased.  At Mt. Sinai, the glory rested upon them  (Ex. 19:18;24:16-18). At Pentecost, a portion of the glory dwelt within the disciples through the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). When the Age of Tabernacles comes, believers will experience the fullness of the manifestation of His glory for those who abide in His Covenant. (Rev.21:3).

The tribe of Issachar is associated with the month of Iyar. They knew the timings of the Lord for the nation.  As one of the tribes who came alongside David when he was anointed as King, the Bible says in 1 Chron. 12:22-32 of Issachar, “and the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times to know what Israel must do.”  I believe there is an anointing this month to go deeper in our understanding of the times we are in and our faith in a Covenant Keeping God so we can go out into the world with greater authority and power.  

The Hebrew meaning of Issachar is “bringing reward.”  It comes from the root word “nasa” and means “to lift, to advance, arise, bring forth exalt or raise up.”  What better reward can we get than to humble ourselves and seek the Lord and get the treasures of seeing and experiencing the God of Covenant!

Issachar is nestled in between the tribe of Judah and Zebulun on the east side of the Tabernacle.  These three tribes formed a branch that the Lord chose to march out first when He instructed the tribes to go.  Judah would be given the charge to praise and worship, but Issachar understood the timing with which they were to depart and go.  Zebulun then came alongside the two and had the ability to provide the supply or “business” of what needed to be done.

Issachar’s symbol was a humble donkey.  He gets this symbol through Jacob prophesying over his tribe:  “Issachar is a strong ass couching between two burdens.” (Gen. 49:14). A donkey carries the burden of a load from one place to another.  Issachar represents a strong but humble servant of God who fulfills the law of Christ spoken of in Gal. 6:2, “Bear each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  

Issachar is rewarded from the Lord for serving His people, standing in the gap and carrying their burden whether it be through prayer or practical application.  Issachar is spoken of as carrying two burdens:  one for himself and one for a “brother in need.”  Rewards for intercession as well as carrying other’s burdens that the Holy Spirit is leading us to do is priceless and brings much joy.

This year in particular, God’s desire is to reveal His “mysteries” so that we are armed with His story, stand as His witness, share His truth, and obey His voice. The remnant is coming into their finest hour. The intel received this month will help bridge the gap between what God’s purpose is this year, and how to accomplish His goal.

50 DAYS UNTIL PENTECOST

Beginning with the Feast of Firstfruits, which is always on the first day of the week following Passover, God instructed the children of Israel to count 50 days (or 7 Sabbaths) to the time they were to celebrate the fourth Feast called the “Feast of Weeks;” or most commonly known as Pentecost.

“And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that your brought sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall be completed.   Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord” (Lev. 23:15,16).

These 50 days were a significant reminder of the timespan between leaving Egypt and coming to the base of Mt. Sinai (Ex. 15-19).  

“In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai”(Ex. 19:1).

Years later in the New Testament, this same 50 day Feast blueprint corresponded to the time frame when Jesus visited His disciples after He was raised from the dead:  

“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight’ (Luke 24:30,31).

On the 50th day in the Old Testament, God revealed Himself by fire after speaking to the people His proposal of marriage to the Israelites:

“And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God and they stood at the foot of the mountain.  Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire. It’s smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly”(Ex. 19:17,18).

On the 50th day in the New Testament, the disciples were gathered together in the “upper room” when the Holy Spirit came upon them like fire:

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each other them” (Acts 2:2-4).

Within the 50 day blueprint, God chose to “court” the Hebrews in the Wilderness by revealing His love through His provision and protection, meeting their needs and kindling their faith in Him, even while they were complaining.

In the New Testament, Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples intimately after His resurrection, showing them His hands and feet; eating, sharing, and encouraging the disciples He loved.  

So how did God reveal Himself to the Hebrews in the 50-day wilderness journey to Mount Sinai that was reflective of Christ Himself, coming in the flesh to restore that bond of love?  

One of the first ways God revealed Himself is when He performed a miracle by turning bitter waters sweet:

“So Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree.  When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet” (Ex. 15:25).

In addition, God released water in the desert:

“Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees, so they camped there by the waters” (Ex. 15:27).

Jesus would later reveal Himself in this pattern through the New Covenant.  Those who were thirsty for truth and believed in Him would receive His living water. Christians would then have the ability to use that life flow to reach out to others with God’s love.

“And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely”(Rev. 22:17).

After God provided water in the Wilderness, the Israelites soon complained about being hungry. God revealed Himself again through the supernatural unleavened manna:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you.  And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in MY law or not.”

This bread that fell from the sky, known as “manna,” would be the tool God would use to introduce the Sabbath rest, prophesying of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, whom by His sacrifice, would provide rest for all creation in heaven and earth through reconciliation with the Father.

“Then Moses said, ‘Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field.  Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none” (Ex. 16:25,26).

Jesus would later declare that He was the Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5), and that He was our provision, telling us He was the “bread of life” for those who believed in Him:

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

The third time God revealed Himself intimately in the midst of the 50-day wilderness journey was when He provided protection and strength when the Amalekites were attacking the Israelites.

“Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.  And Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek.  Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand…….So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” (Ex. 17:8,9,13).

Jesus would conquer Satan through His death and resurrection, taking dominion over the enemy permanently, and giving us the ability to have dominion over the enemy as well:

“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His might power, which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion” (Eph. 1:19-21).

Jesus perfected the pattern “…which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Col 2:17).

As we can see through the whole wilderness experience and the New Testament disciples, the people God chose lost heart and complained, even after experiencing God’s miracles.  And yet, God continued to choose them.   If we know Christ, He chose us as well, not because of our faithfulness, but because He loves us, flaws and all.  As we begin to recognize how Christ IS the substance of these Feast blueprints, our hearts are moved to set aside time to give thanks and to honor our Savior.

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruits, and that your fruit” (John 15:16).

OVERVIEW OF SPRING FEASTS

The Feasts are an essential testimony of our Hebrew heritage that begins in Exodus. When the children of Israel left Egypt and came to Mt. Sinai, God asked the “Israelites” to marry Him so that they would become His “special treasure” (Ex. 19).

“Now, therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people for all the earth is Mine.  And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Ex. 19:5,6).

After the children of Israel accepted God’s proposal, the “Groom” created a “certificate of marriage” for “His bride/nation” to abide with Him. The Tablets of Testimony were given through Moses as a sign of God’s love and His heart to be one with His people and a witness for the world to see the one true God.

“Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people.  And they said, “all that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient” (Ex. 24:7).

The “Feasts” were also a part of that “certificate” that provided a pattern God established to set aside life to honor those “wedding vows.”  This pattern would prove to not only benefit and bless God’s people but later in time, would serve as the sign and witness of Jesus, the restorer of this “marriage covenant.”

“For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (1Cor. 5:7).

When we honor the Feasts today, we honor the Father who sacrificed His Son for us.  And we step into our heritage. The Spring Feasts provide the blueprint (screenplay) on how Jesus would come to be our Savior and serve as our High Priest.

In Ex. 12, God established His Hebrew Covenant Calendar to start on the 1st of Nisan.  He then gave Moses instructions to execute Passover on the 14th of Nisan in which Israel was to slay the lambs and put the blood on the lintels and doorposts of their homes. (Ex. 12:6,7).  Passover was chosen to be the kick-off as the first Feast of the year.

On the 10th day of Nisan, God instructed the children of Israel to select an unblemished male lamb.  This was the same day Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and the people cried out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest” (Matt. 21:9).

Passover was fulfilled by Jesus in the month of Nisan, according to the pattern described in Ex. 12 and Lev. 23. This is why 1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “Messiah has become our Passover.” John the Baptist also confirms this fulfillment when he points to Jesus and says, “Behold the Lamb of God”  (John 1:29.)

On the eve of the 14th of Nisan, Jesus was with His disciples at the last Lord’s Supper.  It was here that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and broke bread (His body), and drank wine (His Blood) in remembrance of what He must suffer afterward as the Lamb was slain for our sins (Matt. 26:16).

On the morning of the 14th of Nisan, Jesus was sentenced at 9am and crucified.  This was the same time the sacrificial lamb was bound according to the law (Mark 15:25).

At noon, three hours of darkness fell on the land supernaturally (Matt. 27:45). According to the law, no one was allowed to kill the sacrificial lamb in darkness. God prevented any lamb to be slain until Jesus cried out at 3:01, “It is finished.”  This is the same minute the eclipse is recorded to have happened, and afterward the Passover lambs were then slain.

The blood of the sacrificial lambs was put on the doorposts after the blood of Jesus was spilled out upon His death.  (John 19:34) Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down and placed him in a tomb nearby before sundown since the Passover Dinner would commence that evening (John 19:38-42).

According to Ex.12, the “Passover” followed when they ate the lamb that was roasted by the fire with “unleavened bread.”  This they were to do as a memorial and an everlasting ordinance (Ex. 12:14).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to commence that evening and last seven days. (Lev. 23:6).  Because the Israelites left so quickly out of Egypt after the plague of the death of the “firstborn,” they left without any leaven in their bread (Ex. 12:39).  God made it easy for them to follow His instructions. Since leaven represents “sin” usually in the Bible, Jesus wiped out the penalty of “sin” through His sacrifice.

The soldiers were ordered to camp out at the tomb to make sure no one stole Jesus’ body.

Jesus rose before daybreak on Sunday morning.  When Mary and Mary arrived at the tomb, they found it open and the Roman Soldiers were not there guarding it.  They had already left to tell Pilate.  Mary ran to go tell others and met Peter and John who were also on their way to the tomb (John 20:2).

When they arrived at the tomb, they all discovered it empty.  Peter and John went home (John 20:10).  Mary was left alone in the garden.  When the sun arose, Mary encountered what she thought was a gardener.  When she recognized it was Jesus, she wanted to touch him.  But Jesus said to her, “ Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father.”

The ascension Jesus was referring to was not after the 40 days where He rose from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:3-9). We know this because Jesus allowed the disciples to touch Him later (John 20:19,20). So Jesus must have ascended to the Father sometime AFTER He talked to Mary.  Why is this important?

Lev. 23:20 says of the Feast of the First Fruits, “The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord…” In 1 Corinthians 25:20, the scripture says, “Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the FIRSTFRUITS of those who have fallen asleep.”

In order for Jesus to fulfill the Firstfruits Feast, He had to present Himself to the Father at the same time the priest offered up the Firstfruits. Jesus was actually alive before the priest wave offering in the temple, but He could not present Himself as “legally” alive in heaven until the same time that the priest bore witness on earth.  It was the third hour that the priests offered up the firstfruits.  It was then Jesus went before the Father!

Between The Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Pentecost is 50 days in which is called Counting of Omer.  (Lev. 23:15-17) After these 50 days, the children of Israel were to offer a new grain (wheat) offering.  On Pentecost, farmers would bring the firstfruits of their spring harvest to the Lord.

 Pentecost would be the exact same time that the Law (marriage contract) was given to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai and when God would manifest Himself as a witness to this union (Ex. 19). This would be the time when all the people heard the voice of God speaking in their own language out of the midst of the fire (Deut. 4:12).

In Acts 2, we read that on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down like tongues of fire upon the heads of the disciples who were waiting in the Upper Room. They became the new grain offering, the “firstfruits” of the indwelling of His glory presented to the Father since they had “accepted Jesus as Savior and Covenant restorer.” Now the Law was written on their hearts and they were one with the Father.

Christians today generally don’t celebrate these Feasts simply because they don’t understand their significance to Jesus.  Some have not fully grasped they entered into this Hebrew heritage and Covenant when they accepted Jesus as their Lord. But God wants to open up our eyes to our birthright and our inheritance in His marriage Covenant.  And as we abide in His blueprint (screenplay), we begin looking like the “Bride” set apart unto Him.

 

 

 

 

 

NISAN FIRSTFRUITS

Get ready to celebrate the NEW YEAR, starting April 1st!

God proclaimed to Moses in Ex. 12:2 that His Hebrew calendar year was to begin with the month of Nisan. Nisan means “to take flight,” so it was appropriately named since this was the month the children of Israel took flight from the captivity of Egypt and journeyed through the Red Sea to Mt. Sinai.

Nisan is associated with the tribe of Judah. Judah means “praise.” God called for “PRAISE” to go first into their “flight” from Mt. Sinai to the Promised Land (Numbers 10). When the trumpet was blown twice, signifying it was time for all the tribes camped around the Ark of the Covenant to journey on, Judah was given the leadership position of moving out first.  Judah was also the first tribe to cross the Jordan, and first to be allotted land in the Promised Land (Numbers 14.) This month is known for FIRSTS!

In Genesis 49:10, we read the prophetic destiny that Jacob spoke concerning the tribe of Judah in the latter days.  “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” 

Judah was destined to carry the Messianic ruler ship (scepter), which we can see documented in Matthew 1 that traces the lineage of Judah.  Jesus was born out of this tribe when he came to earth to be our Savior, and He will return as our King of Kings. This month is significant to His “kingship” and stepping forward under His command to take “dominion.”

Judah was also responsible for making sure the “tablets of covenant/testimony” were safely passed down from generation to generation until Jesus came.  The “Torah (first 5 books of the bible) was canonized during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah during the 7th year of King Artaxerxes.  Ezra and Nehemiah were both a part of the House of Judah. When Jesus died and gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, the law was then written on all of our hearts.  This is when the obedience of the people then became unto HIM (Jesus the King).

Judah had a notable flaw in his character that was difficult to overcome; the love of money.  In Genesis 37, we read the story of how Judah and his brothers decided to kill Joseph because they were jealous of their Father’s love and favoritism toward him.  After conferring, they decided to throw him in a pit to die.  But Judah later assessed the situation and said, “What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?” (Gen. 37:26).

Judah’s first interest was in making a profit!  He suggested to sell Joseph, and made a bargain with the Midianite traders who agreed to purchase him for twenty silver coins.  As time went by, the guilt weighed on Judah over the years, and his repentant heart made him respond differently to his brother in need. This time, instead of bargaining for profit, Judah pleas with Joseph for his brother Benjamin, offering to sacrifice his own life (Gen. 44:14-34).

Judas (Greek for Judah) Ischariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, also had this same weakness in his character that caused him to break God’s Commandments.  The Bible reveals his greedy heart in John 12:5 when Judas cannot understand why Mary poured costly fragrant oil on Jesus instead of selling the oil and giving it to the poor.  The scriptures go on to say in verse 6, “This he (Judas) said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and had the money box, and he used to take what was put in it.”

It wasn’t too long until we read about Judas betraying Jesus by making a bargain with the religious leaders for 30 silver coins (Mark 14:10,11). In both cases, the stronghold of the need for wealth was more powerful than family ties or intimate relationships. Judas, however, ends up taking his own life because of the guilt he bore in betraying Jesus.  

Jesus tells us how difficult the struggle is for those who have a gift to profit once they have accumulated wealth for self-gain. “Assuredly I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:23,24). 

Looking around the financial world today, many Jews are the world’s top financiers and control many of the banks, including the Federal Reserve. Left to selfish gain, they have been used to set up a world money system that is corrupt and never satisfied.  But when Judah can submit to God’s headship, their gift can benefit the advancement of the Kingdom of God, especially in helping visions “take flight.”

There were three tribes, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, who were positioned around the Tabernacle on the east side to form a branch.  Judah’s banner of the lion represented this branch, and it was these tribes who worked together to move the whole army out when the Lord’s cloud by day and pillar of fire moved.  Judah was chosen to “sound the alarm!”

Starting with Nisan, we enter into the “spring season” with the Lord. This season has a pattern for new beginnings; new seeds to plant, new alliances, and new battles arise during this season.  Kings go to war, praise leads the way, and the authority of Judah sets the foundation. Coming out of the “winter” rest and revelation season guides and directs the movement of the Hebrew year beginnings.  Also, coming full circle in the “winter” season lends itself to the new doors opening up.

This month also honors God’s redemption plan as we celebrate and remember the Spring Feasts of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Firstfruits (Lev.23).  All of these Feasts were a blueprint of how Jesus would fulfill God’s Covenant promises of redemption and reconciliation.  As we read the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled these Feasts completely through His death and resurrection (Luke 23,24).  Fifty days later, He fulfilled the final Spring Feast, Pentecost, when He sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).  

When Jesus rose from the dead, He presented Himself as the “FIRSTFRUITS” offering unto the Father in heaven.  Judah goes FIRST as Son of Man, and Son of God!  In doing so, Jesus made a way for heaven to come to earth in Holiness, and for a people (harvest) to be presented to the Father after He returns.  Thankfully, He sent the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of His return (2 Cor. 1:22).

God gave us a key this month to individual intimate relationship with the Lord: REPENTANCE.Humbling ourselves under the Lord of Hosts (the one who rules over the armies of heaven and earth) connects and keeps us under HIS COVERING!  Jesus will come back as judge, conqueror, and king to fulfill the Fall Feasts through His second coming.

Through some of the Israelite Kings, such as Jehoshaphat, we can see the power of repentance and humility. Jehoshaphat understood complete dependence on seeking the Lord for His leadership. The minute he turned to the Lord, God gave him strategy, strength, and victory.

In 2 Chronicles 20, we read about Jehoshaphat’s humility as he seeks the Lord when the odds were up against his army. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah” (2 Chron. 20:3).

God gave Jehoshaphat a strategy of winning the war through praise.  Jehoshaphat asked the worshippers to go before His army, and this opened heaven to help him overcome in time of need.“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated (2 Chron. 20:22).

The landscape of seeing the kingdom of heaven here on the earth will shift ahead through the praises of God’s people.

This month, above all else, God wants us to praise Him.  PRAISE HIM as you take flight! PRAISE HIM as you go into battle! PRAISE HIM because you have been CHOSEN to rule and reign in Him! PRAISE HIM for “FIRSTS!”  Your praise will spring you forward into the New Year! 

ADAR II FIRSTFRUITS

Firstfruits begins at sundown on March 3rd, which will be the second month of ADAR. Having a second ADAR happens every few years, similar to a “leap year” in the Gregorian calendar, for the purpose of keeping the correct alignment of the months in accordance with the seasons of harvest time to offer the LORD His “firstfruits.”  

Because the second ADAR is added, this Hebrew Covenant Calendar has 13 months instead of 12. An interesting side note to share is that when you study the tribes of Israel, Manasseh is known as the 13th tribe, and America lines up with Manasseh’s prophetic destiny spoken through Jacob and Moses for the “latter days.” (Gen. 49:22-26; Deut.33:13-17). I believe America will wrestle, and be challenged where she gets her strength this month: Trusting in God, or the systems and power of men. The remnant will probably find themselves on their knees asking for God’s intervention and wisdom.

I believe when there are two ADARS in the year, God’s people need that extra month to prepare for a significant New Year up ahead.  Sometimes, the extra month of “wrestling the Lord” for His Holy exchange “cracks the code” to our stubbornness or inability to break through our challenges.  But for sure, the exchange inevitably has us dealing with our heart issues that prevent us from entering into the LORD’s rest and reward. As we let go and slump over in humility, the LORD gives us the deliverance and breakthrough needed for the landscape ahead.

Since ADAR means “strength,” the LORD’s double portion of His message is made clear to us: it is not by our own strength that we head into the New Year, but by His Spirit leading us in the way we should go. Patience to wait on Him and hear His instruction is key.

The story of Esther gives us a picture of ADAR II. Esther was chosen to be Queen after a long year process of preparation. The King loved Esther more than all other women, and she obtained favor in his sight. But Esther had not revealed her family identity because her cousin Mordecei instructed Esther to keep it hidden. Esther and Mordecei came from the tribe of Benjamin of the House of Judah.

It wasn’t long after Esther was crowned Queen that the King promoted a man named Haman to be above all the princes.  His arrogant pride and need for power propelled his vanity to desire all people to pay homage to him and bow.  But Mordecei didn’t, and the assassination plan began against all of Mordecei’s family known as the Jews.

Haman had carefully plotted to devise a plan to kill all the Jews without knowing he was essentially asking the King to sign off on killing his own wife as well.  Esther found out about the edict, and decided to fast and pray.  It was during the fast that God gave Esther the wisdom on how to expose Haman and to stop his assignment.

Three important things came forth from this month of Adar for Esther.  First, Esther had to “surrender all!”  Her purpose for the Lord putting her in a position of power to save the people had to be more important than even her own life.  And it was a risk she took to trust the Lord in it.  It was through her fast that she found the power to do so. But it was her Uncle’s words, “For such a time as this” that moved her into action.  We are called for such a time as this to step into our destiny.  Fasting will help us understand the wisdom of God for the New Year.

Secondly, Esther’s true identity was revealed through the process of her “wrestling with God” for breakthrough.   Once that identity came to light, Esther stepped into a new level of authority and power.

Finally, because of Esther’s obedience, the Lord “cut off” the assignment to kill the Jews and instead, reversed the curse on Haman himself! 

God wants to kill off our Haman!  Each one of us has a gift that God has given us to bring forth His light and glory for the earth to see.  This is our purpose and the very uniqueness of who God made us to be.  But Satan wants to come and steal, kill, and destroy that purposed gift in us.  God wants to give us His wisdom on how to defeat the enemy whose assignment prevents us from entering into the fullness of our destiny. God wants to “cut off” anything that holds us back.  This is the month to fast and pray and seek His face for wisdom and strategy.  

We must know who our enemy is, and what He has written as an edict to stop us from living for the Lord.  Then we can recognize his moves and watch God annihilate the assignment, as we trust in Him.

This month the Hebrew calendar recognizes the three days Esther fasted, and Purim which is the celebration of the “overturn” and victory that came forth. The Lord wrote in the Book of Esther that Purim should not fail to be observed, and that the memory should not perish. We, who are adopted into the Hebrew heritage, should take time to remember the victory that Purim represents as well and the power of God’s delivering hand over the enemy. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yes, He is the one who triumphs over evil.

I pray you come out of this month FREE to move ahead into the New Year with a remnant of believers who are also preserved for such a time as this.

ADAR FIRSTFRUITS

At sundown on February 1st, we enter into the twelfth of the Hebrew calendar known as ADAR. In Hebrew, the word Adar means “strength.” God’s desire is that His people finish each year strong IN HIM so they receive a new dimension of blessing, mantle, and identity to enter in the New Year. This may require us all to put our “JOY ON” as we wrestle God for these “new clothes.”

It is interesting that this month is linked with the tribe of Naphtali. The name Naphtali in Hebrew means, “to struggle and wrestle forward.” Naphtali’s wrestle is to conquer and win the victory with the partnership of the Lord. His mother Rachel named him Naphtali because of her own struggles to give birth. “ With great wrestling’s I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.” (Gen. 30:8).

Naphtali’s father, Jacob, wrestled with the Lord as well. When Jacob was finally willing to let go of His IDOLS and grab hold of the Lord only, his wrestling changed history forever for himself, his family, and countless of multitudes that have now inherited God’s covenant promise. However, in the midst of Jacob’s struggle, the Lord touched the socket of his hip, making it difficult for Jacob to finish in his own strength. Jacob had to exercise faith to cling to the Lord alone (something that his muscles had not been accustomed to doing), and in the final hour Jacob says, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” (Gen. 33:26)

There comes a point in all of our lives that our greatest efforts, gifts and talents can only get us by so far. If we want to cross the finish line of our God given destiny, we all need to go through the wrestling of submission to let go of control while we cling to God alone.  This wrestling chooses to die to a life independent of God.

Before Jacob died, he prophesied over the tribe of Naphtali these words: “Naphtali is a deer let loose; he uses beautiful words.” The word “loose” comes from the Hebrew word shalach meaning, “to send away, cast away, to cast out, conduct, forsake, leave, let depart, push away.”

I believe this prophetic word speaks to us today as God wants us to “loose” idolatry, cast out the old, forsake the things that hold us back, push away the stumbling blocks, and spring forward into new freedom that God wants us to possess. This comes out of humility that always produces a blessing. “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life.” Prov. 22:4

The expression, “let loose” has the implication of one who has escaped from the hunter. Deer are beautiful animals created to be free. If you have a gift of Naphtali, you never want to be in bondage. Freedom is the lifeline, and trying to tie down anyone with this gift is difficult because they are not meant to have any chains around their necks.

In Judges 4:6, we can read about one hero of Naphtali named Barak who worked with Deborah the judge to set God’s people free. This tribe was not typically known among the tribes as warriors. They were a part of the brigade with Dan and Asher in the rear guard, so they were not called to the front lines of battle. This is evident when Deborah confronted Barak why he wasn’t listening to the Lord who had commanded him to deploy troops against the enemy. Barak requested that Deborah assist him with this task because he didn’t feel he could do it alone. Barak wasn’t concerned with rank or women in the game plan. He just needed to find a way to obey the Lord only.

The symbol of the tribe of Naphtali is a deer. There is one interesting thing about deer that we need to consider for this month. A deer has no gall bladder. The gall bladder is an interesting part of the anatomy. The gall bladder is a membranous sac attached to the liver, in which excess bile is stored and concentrated. Bile is the bitter, yellow-brown or greenish fluid secreted by the liver. It is discharged into the duodenum and aids in digesting, especially fats. Bile produced and stored is like bitterness that is produced from an angry and jealous heart.

The beauty of Naphtali is that this tribe has the characteristic of one whom carries NO BITTERNESS! And because of that, “beautiful words come out of Naphtali’s mouth. “ God’s word says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt.12:34). This is a good month to examine what kind of communication is coming out of our mouth so we see what is in our heart. It is also a good month to communicate God’s heart and strategy for the New Year.

God says in Hebrews 12:14,15 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without no one will see the Lord; looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness, springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” This month, I believe this is a time to reflect on the issues that lie deep within the heart and to “cast off” any bitterness, even bitterness toward ourselves, so we can enter into the joy of the Lord.

Moses also prophesies over this tribe before he dies in Deut. 33:23. “O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full of blessing of the Lord, possess the west and the south.” Because Naphtali represents a pure heart, the favor of God is with this tribe to bless them. True intercessors, a characteristic of this tribe, are one’s with a pure heart, willing to lay their life down and stand in the gap for all, even the wicked.

Moses says to Naphtali to “possess the west and the south.” The west speaks of the land that lay to the west of Naphtali, which was the Mediterranean Sea. It was the gateway to new lands and new adventures. This is symbolic of “entering into the New Year through the gateway God opens to a new year of adventure with Him.”

The south speaks of the pleasant things, which lie at the foot of Naphtali. It was the southern coast of Naphtali that Jesus preached most of His life. That was the sea coast of Galilee, and the town of Capernaum. The Sermon on the Mount was preached in the land blessed for Naphtali, in which Jesus said, “Blessed are those….”

Adar is the twelfth month, and twelve is the number for “government.”  Jacob had twelve sons, and Jesus had twelve disciples. The first recorded words of Jesus in the New Testament were when He was 12 (Luke 2:42). 

Twelve symbolizes God’s power and authority as well as serving as a perfect governmental foundation.  New Jerusalem has 12 gates and Christ’s bride in Revelation 12 wears a crown of 12 stars.  The Lord has a remnant of 12×12, totaling 144,000 that are marked as His.  Jesus is coming back with “government on His shoulders” to rule and reign (Is. 9:7).  We are being prepared to understand God’s government in heaven and apply it on earth. 

Finally, I believe that this month of ADAR is key for the body of Christ. God has been calling on His people to get rid of their idols and to purify their hearts. The line in the sand has been revealed. God has been preparing His army to go into a GLOBAL season with Him. It is a season of preparing for His return, and it will require separation unto Him, and a willingness in the heart to say, “Not my will but yours.”

God is taking the masquerades off so we are naked before Him. When we are transparent and bare before the LORD, we have entered into the “fear of the LORD.” It is all about Him, and we dedicate our hearts to be led by Him, not ourselves.

God has “hidden” the remnant for a time. Our identity has been hidden. Our gifting has been hidden. Our regional, and national calling has been hidden. BUT, the wrestle is on, and the blessings are coming. God is taking off the masquerade and we will be seen as a people identified as His. 

When it was God’s time, Esther’s true identity was revealed to the king. But that famous quote given to Esther when she was wrestling to step into that identity was, “For such a time as this.” It is for “such a time as this” we have all been called to understand His Covenant, His story, and His truth, and to walk accordingly in His plan.

SHEVAT FIRSTFRUITS

At sundown on January 3rd, we begin the celebration of the eleventh month of the Hebrew calendar called “Shevat.”  This month is associated with the tribe of Asher, the eighth son of Jacob.  Asher means “happy” coming from the root word “ashar” which is translated: to be straight, level, right, to go forward, be honest, prosper, bless, guide, lead, and relieve.  Asher was known as a blessed tribe with land that produced many natural resources providing food and delicacies fit for a king.

Asher was known amongst the tribes to share their resources. In the Promised Land, Asher was located between Tyre and Carmel, which was some of the most fertile land in Canaan because it had low temperatures and much rainfall. Resources were a blessing, but Asher’s true happiness came from giving to others. “It is more blessed to give than receive.” (Acts. 20:35) With such an abundance of goods, Asher exported goods to supply to the other tribes and became known for its olive oil.

Jacob prophesied over Asher these words, “Bread from Asher shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties.” (Gen. 49:20) The Hebrew word for bread in this scripture is “lechem” and means “food you eat to obtain nourishment.”  In the natural, Asher was blessed with rich food fit for kings, but in the spirit, God is saying prophetically that the gift of Asher brings rich, strong meat (revelation) of God’s word.  Asher has a gift to pull out the treasures hidden in God’s Word.

 “Rich” can also be translated as “fat.”  The Hebrew word for fat is “shamen” and means “greasy, plenteous, oily and rich.”  Oil is typically symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The bread or “word” of Asher will not only be meaty, but richly anointed by the Holy Spirit! (The fruitful olive tree is actually the symbol for this tribe).

Moses further prophesies over Asher in Deut. 33:24 “Asher is most blessed of sons; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil.  Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; as your days, so shall your strength be.”

Asher “dips” or “plunges” his foot in oil is not a small prophetic word.  In order for Asher to fulfill his call, his foundation needs to be the “Word” and to spend time in the presence of “The Word” to share God’s revelation with His people. 

Psalm 1:1-3 describes Asher: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he mediates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Asher’s sandals being of iron and bronze describes the nature of his gifting.  Shoes of iron are God’s judgments, and the word God gives them to share can shake the world. Signs and wonders will follow!

The first miracle recorded in the gospels takes place in Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned the water into wine. This land was the inheritance of Asher and the beginning of miraculous signs of provision. (John 2:1-11)  This land is also where Jesus revealed himself as the “bread of Life” which is symbolic of the gift Asher would share.

Matt 4:4 “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Bread is symbolic of the word of God.

 Anna, the prophetess from the New Testament, came from the tribe of Asher and was one of the first to recognize Jesus as the Savior when He was born.  Her faithfulness and dedication to serve the Lord for 84 years made her “fat” with God’s revelation about the Savior.

“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity, and this woman was a widow of about 84 years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting’s and prayers night and day.  And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to ALL those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38).

In the Bible, Asher is spoken of by Moses as the most blessed of the sons and favored by his brothers.  This tribe was blessed with numerous children and lived in peace with all the other tribes.

Asher is set around the tabernacle on the north side between Dan and Naphtali.  These three tribes had the assignment of being the  “rear” guard and were generally not ones to be warriors in battle.  Avoiding battle when needed can be Asher’s weakness and downfall. Asher chose not to help during Israel’s national crisis when called to battle by Barak and Deborah. However, they did come when Gideon called as well as King Hezekiah.

God wants to reveal His Covenant in a “meaty” way so we can move in His heart ahead as the bride of Christ. Seek God’s presence and expect to receive His revelation.  He wants to bless you in this season of “rest” in knowing Him and why He created you.  God wants to revive and awaken your “roots” to be vibrant and alive in Him.  Rivers of living water shall flow through your roots system and spring forth life in areas that have appeared dead.  Expect to hear and see His oil! 

In 2022, the remnant is poised to receive the increase of His anointing to break forth light in a dark season and pressure by the enemy who want to destroy God’s people and execute an anti-Christ agenda. Trust that heaven has prepared the solution and increase for us. We all must REST in that knowledge. This is the hour and set time God will use His remnant for His service and to connect them in unity in their community. The rich resources will be released as we will need God’s increase alone to navigate and walk in His miracle provision. So while the world is taken away by the fear and drama of the anti-christ agenda, the remnant is thriving and alive with God’s providential help.

God is also preparing us to sow the seeds of revelation He gives us this month when His spring season begins with Nisan.  Whatever the circumstances bring up ahead, His revelation will carry us through, so it is vital this year to take time to get His Word.

So the key this month is to REST and receive His anointed Word! And if you have the gift of Asher, God’s people need that “meaty” word!

TEVET FIRSTFRUITS

The tenth month of the Hebrew calendar known as Tevet begins this Saturday, December 4th. Ten is the number associated with godly order, authority, and testimony. Tevet is a great month to reflect over the past year and to judge righteously if your life is lining up with God’s order and authority.

Tevet begins the winter season of “rest.” The next three months are suited to spend time “resting” in the Father, digging into His Word and prayer as to what God is revealing. This time of intimacy gives us a renewed strength that is critical to a healthy and fulfilling relationship with the Lord.

This month is also associated with the tribe of Dan. Dan was one of the tribes that formed a branch on the north side of the tabernacle, along with Asher and Naphtali. These tribes were the known as the “rear guard,” and chosen to protect the tribes from any enemies coming from behind. Dan in particular had a gift of discernment to recognize the enemy coming in through the “backdoor.”

Dan teaches us that even though we are in a season of “rest,” this does not mean we are to let our guard down to the enemy’s schemes. As a matter of fact, the “backdoor” is usually not a place our eyes tend to focus on, so we can be surprised by the attack of the enemy! The “familiar,” such as being reunited with family and friends during the holidays, can be a prime time for the enemy to sneak in unexpectedly and hit old wounds.

Genesis 49:16 -18 says, “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, and adder in the path, that bites the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backwards.”

Dan’s name in Hebrew means “to judge, to rule, or to execute judgment.” Dan was said to be “a serpent by way,” so God equipped Dan with a gift of wisdom to rule righteously and establish God’s path.

Dan’s high calling is to rise to judge, but to do so with a heart of humility that is yielded to the Holy Spirit. Because Dan’s gift can see situations black and white, they have a clear understanding of what is right or wrong.  Dan has the gift to step into a situation and establish order even in the midst of chaos.

If given an entrance, the religious spirit will seek to partner with Dan’s gift of judgment as the gospels testify what that looks like through the Pharisees who were ruling over God’s people during the days of Jesus.

WITHOUT God’s authority and maturity, Dan’s gift can put people under the yoke of control, power, and manipulation.  This usually comes in the form of criticism and accusation because there is a fear of losing control and the need to “be right.”  Dan’s shortcoming can cause them to judge the sin and dish out the penalty while losing site of God’s grace for the sinner. In the end, if Dan isn’t under God’s headship, they become bullies and tyrants.

Dan’s gift can bring about a “holy anger” when injustice occurs. “Holy anger” can be used in prayer effectively to thwart the enemy’s plans as well as to seek God for His action plan. However, anger left uncircumcised can take the gift of Dan and turn it into a curse. If you have ever known anyone who is able to discern right from wrong well and suddenly “explodes” with anger if triggered, you are witnessing a gift of Dan that has been tainted with bitterness and pride. Throughout the Bible, the tribe of Dan is seen highly gifted but humbled because their giftedness led them to self-destruction.

Dan was the son of Rachel’s concubine, and was born out of jealousy and an unloving spirit. Dan had to overcome a root of rejection and find the love of the Father’s heart so when he exercises his gift of judgment, it was in truth AND love.

Today it is a challenge to see unrighteousness prevail in our society and not be met with the hand of justice. It can increasingly get hard not to get critical and react in fear and anger. The bait of Satan for those who have Dan’s gifting is for them to lose patience and not believe in God’s sovereignty and to rest in His timing of judgment.  This is particularly challenging now in our nation that is reaping the consequences of lawlessness.

If you are married or know someone with this gift who God is still molding, keep praying for them! Jacob’s prophesy to Dan included this very important line for us all to hold onto: “I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!” Jacob’s word reveals that the father’s heart of Jacob was challenged to pray and have patience for God’s promise to work through Dan! God is faithful in the end.

Samson was from the tribe of Dan, and his story shares the ups and downs of the characteristics of the tribe of Dan (Judges 13-16). God chose to raise up Samson to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Israel had done evil in the sight of God and had been under the reign of the Philistines for 40 years.

For Samson, he grew up to be smart, cunning, and had a love for justice. His supernatural gift of physical strength was given with one condition of not cutting his hair. Nothing more! No working out, no studying books to get smart. No worshipping God to make sure his hair grows. God created him with these gifts, and Samson’s became a bit head strung because he didn’t have to lean on anyone to help him succeed. Sadly, this included God.

Samson eventually fell into a trap that our sinful nature usually follows; when we have been given much gifts, we tend to rely on our own gifts as our strength instead of the gift giver. Samson could rely on these two gifts on his own without leaning on the Lord in humility. (America finds itself in a similar predicament as we have been a nation blessed and strong and relying on our own strength instead of God to continue in its beauty it was birthed for).

When we use our gift absent of the Lord’s lead and heart, we will find ourselves promoting self and feeding our own desires. Samson uses a riddle to try and gain possessions and acquire assets. (Judges 14:12).

Samson also chose to disobey God’s laws and statutes He had laid out for the Israelites to not have relations with a harlot, or marrying a Philistine woman, or eating from the carcass of an unclean animal. These are just a few things Samson chose to do which opened up the door for the “destroyer” as you read his story.

As cunning as Samson was, he managed to find himself in love with two women who used their charm to deceive him. Betrayal of his first wife resulted with ANGER finding a home in his heart that fueled his revenge (Judges 15:7). Had not the tribe of Judah stepped in, Samson would have seen the destruction of his revenge upon all the children of Israel. But Judah turned Samson in like a sacrifice to the Philistines with Samson’s consent, and God used his gift to subdue the enemy. This was a turning point for Samson as he cries out to God for the first time in scriptures. The Israelites found peace from the Philistines for twenty years with Samson as their leader.

Samson’s story further reveals how the enemy doesn’t give up tormenting him and breaking down his resilience to hold onto the gift God had given him. Both women he loved wore him down! Samson’s guard was down and through the “back door” came the enemy through the two women who he loved. The enemy will use anyone to steal our inheritance and the gift God has given us to bless His Kingdom. Satan knows our weaknesses and will use them at an opportune time!

Although Samson was captured and imprisoned, and in all appearances wiped out of his gift and calling, the gift grew back (his hair) and God never left him. But this time, when he had no eyes to see and lead him except his “spiritual” eyes, God used Samson to wipe out the Philistines. The resurrected gift came with a great price as Samson became a martyr for God. But his life ended in humility and right before God. God’s gift in you can be swallowed in darkness because of pride, but never snuffed out! In humility, God will allow His gift in us to grow again in even greater measure. Samson’s strength was the greatest in his last act before his death.

Samson died protecting God’s covenanted people from evil by destroying their enemy. In Revelations 7, it is interesting to note that this tribe is not mentioned in the list of those 144,000 accounted for in the latter days. Those gifted with executing God’s justice in the end are either wiped out because of their pride, or they are martyred for the sake of His righteousness. I tend to believe they change like Samson and are martyred as you see them mentioned in Revelations when John describes the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21).

When God chooses to use the gift we see in Dan, it is so vital that the body of Christ listens as this gift helps the church recognize when it is getting off into idolatry. In humility, God’s people will heed the correction and move ahead. Prayer is key this month to find that narrow path that leads to truth.

This month of Tevet is associated with the Hebrew letter AYIN, which pictures an eye. What is God showing you or not showing you? What or who has the attention of your eyes and tugging on your heart? And what do the eyes of our Father in heaven, the great JUDGE, see when He observes you?  These are great questions to ponder as you examine your heart to prepare for the new Hebrew year.