AV FIRSTFRUITS

The 5th month of the Hebrew Covenant Calendar begins at sundown on July 28th, known as “Av,” which root meaning is translated “to will or to desire.” AV is literally translated as “father.” It is linked with the tribe of Simeon, whose name means “to hear and obey.” If you put all those Hebrew clues together, this month has the significance of “hearing and obeying the will/desire of the Father.”

The summer months are tied to seeing, listening, and then obeying, which produces a unified troop armed for the Lord. Last month the focus was on sight. This month it is on hearing. If Satan can get our vision and our hearing impaired from what God has said, he has us hooked and we will probably find ourselves “out of the loop of His troop.”

Last month, the significance of the story of the twelve spies who went out was that they SAW all the giants. 40 days later, they returned to the people of Israel who HEARD two reports (Numbers 13,14). 10 spies shared all the problems and obstacles they SAW. 2 shared the promise God had given them. On the 9th of AV, the people decided to choose the negative report they HEARD and to not believe what God had shared about the Promised Land.

“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:1,2).

In their unbelief, the children of Israel proceeded to make bad decisions that led to severe consequences because of what they chose to HEAR. First, they complained and cried. Then they had the idea to dethrone Moses as their leader, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Finally, when hearing Joshua speaking the truth about God’s promise, they came up with the idea of stoning Joshua. None of these actions were pleasing to God (Numbers 14:4-10).

If it was not for Moses and Aaron interceding for the children of Israel despite their plot to dethrone their leader, the children of Israel could have been wiped out because of God’s anger. Nevertheless, it did not stop God’s judgment. None of them were able to go into the Promised Land, and all those spies who brought the wrong report died of a plague.

When God speaks, it is important we listen. Our disobedience can affect a whole community! However, our obedience can bring us (and others) into the “Promised Land.”

It is recorded in history that the 9th of Av has continued to be a day of judgment. IN 587 BC, the armies of Babylon destroyed Solomon’s temple. In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the 2nd temple. In 1095 AD, the 1st crusade was launched, killing thousands of Jews. In 1290 AD, the Jews were expelled from England. In 1492 AD, the Jews were expelled from Spain. In 2005, the Jews were removed from Gaza.

The 9th of AV incidences are NO coincidence. Cyclically, the window of destruction has opened up during this month and judgment has been released. This cycle started when the children of Israel said after the spies report, “The enemy is too strong of us. We will die!” Through their unbelief, they put themselves under a curse.

When the Jews rejected Jesus, they were “cut off” from Covenant and outside the covering of the Father. According to laws written in Leviticus 17 and Deuteronomy 29, the Jews refusal to accept the New Covenant left them subject to the debt of the law which they breached. Therefore, their curse continues to open up the door of destruction. Until they repent and believe in the Son of God slain for their sins, their generational sin of unbelief and rebellion continues on. But the Bible says, “I will give You (Jesus) as a covenant to the people (Is. 42:6).

Simeon, the tribe associated with this month, was one of two tribes that Jacob cursed in his final prophetic blessing to his sons. This was because Simeon and Levi decided to murder the men of Shechem for the rape of their sister Dinah. This vengeance was evil, and Jacob called them on it:

“Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honor be united to their assembly; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self will they hamstrung an ox; cursed be their anger for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” Gen. 49:5-7

Simeon was made to be a warrior and one called as a weapon of justice in the hand of God. But when his own hand ruled Simeon, as he did so in Shechem, his passion and temper produce a work of destruction against God rather than for God.   This can be true for all of us. We can think we are going to help God out by executing justice out of a “righteous anger.” But when we do that, our character is one that kills, steals, and destroys in the name of righteousness, and we appear to be sons of the enemy of God.

Av is a month that presents to us a choice to hear God’s word and have faith and believe in the promises of God. It is also a month to remind us to keep our passions under His command by taking the time to HEAR what God has to say about the matter. We are not under the curse any longer.

Today, we are seeing and hearing a lot going on in this world. But what is God saying? Can we see all that is going on through His eyes? I encourage all of you to take time to do some listening prayer this month. God has a lot to tell us IF we stop and listen. Our history proves this month to be a month that the children of Israel heard the wrong voice because of what that they saw. So, guard your ears and declare His Word out loud so your ears hear what God is saying. And expect this month to ENTER in to the Promises and celebrate His goodness as God had intended!

TAMMUZ FIRSTFRUITS

On June 28th, we will be celebrating the fourth month in the Hebrew calendar known as Tammuz, otherwise known as the “hidden month of great sin.”  Tammuz is known for this because of the repetitive failure of the children of Israel throughout Old Testament history to trust the Lord at His Word, which led to idolatry.  As much as this sounds like a negative, God always turns things around for His good, and it is His heart to reveal anything hidden that separates us from our relationship with Him. 

It was during the month of Tammuz that the children of Israel became impatient waiting for Moses to come back with the written Tablets of Covenant (Ex. 32:1).  Believing Moses was delayed, the children of Israel lost faith in the Lord and Moses, and decided to create a god in the form of a golden calf.  

Aaron unfortunately did not stop this suggestion, so when Moses returned with the Ten Commandments, the children of Israel had already set up their idol worship.  If it wasn’t for Moses interceding for the people, God would have “cut them off” of Covenant.

The focus of our spiritual and natural eyes is so important as they can lead us toward or away from the promises of God. The twelve spies went into the Promised Land during the month of Tammuz.   All the spies saw the same things, but Joshua and Caleb SAW the land through God’s promise.  While their eyes led them to an action plan to advance, the others could saw retreat and hopelessness  (Numbers 13, 14).

Joshua’s ability to believe God at His Word in the midst of opposition made him a great military leader later on.  In a pivotal battle that shifted the Israelites into a position to conqueror the land of Canaan, Joshua had to face five of the greatest Canaanite kings who had teamed up to war against the children of Israel. 

In Chapter 10 of Joshua, we read the account of this battle that happened during the month of Tammuz, and how Joshua was outnumbered.  Joshua could have SEEN the situation in the natural and lost hope. But God said in verse 8, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.”  

Joshua had courage, and watched the Lord send hailstones from heaven.  Then Joshua prayed to God to make the sun stand still so they could finish the battle. God intervened and helped Joshua gain the victory over the enemy.  When the wartime was over, Joshua had defeated 31 kings! Through Joshua we also see this month reflects a heart of courage and loyalty to the Lord, which brings a great reward!

The month of Tammuz is also linked to the tribe of Reuben, whose name means, “see, a son!”  Reuben was Jacob’s first born, and the one who would be the inheritor of the birthright of Israel.  Unfortunately, in a moment of “weakness,” he lusted after his father’s concubine and lost that blessing.  

Reuben had great courage, but little moral strength at times.  It was through his shortcomings though that Reuben’s character grew because he chose humility time after time, and kept his heart from becoming bitter. This quality made Reuben special.  When focused in God’s righteousness, Reuben was one who loved well and had a beautiful heart of compassion.  This is why Jacob prophesied in Gen. 48:3-4:

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength.  The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.  Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it-He went up to my couch.”

Reuben never held bitterness, even to his brother, Joseph, who inherited his firstborn inheritance.  Reuben even had compassion for Joseph to save his life when his other brothers wanted to put him to death (Genesis 37:21,22).  It was also Reuben who pledged his life and the life of his sons when Jacob was unwilling to let Benjamin go down into Egypt, so we see his tender conscience is a quality to be admired.

Every time Reuben disobeyed the will of God, there seemed to be severe consequences.  God does not let Reuben get away with his sin!  In Numbers 16, the men of Korah and the sons of Reuben went against Moses and rebelled against his leadership. Losing the firstborn status was huge for Reuben, but in this instance, the Lord caused the ground to split and swallow them up!  Reuben teaches us a lesson how not to accomplish God’s plan our OWN WAY!  This is nothing but pride and rebellion, which is the same as witchcraft!  (1 Sam. 15:23)

What we learn from Reuben is pivotal in our walk with the Lord.  Our weaknesses will come up before us in a moment of testing just like the examples of the children of Israel and the golden calf, Joshua, and Reuben.  If we humble ourselves and wait on the Lord, we will find strength in His Word and walk under His command.  If we try to hide our weakness by doing something to cover it up, or taking things into our own hands, we find ourselves in sin and consequences.  

Around the Tabernacle, Reuben led the brigade joined with Simeon and Gad on the southern side.  These three tribes were known as the warriors, although Reuben did not like to war at times.  This also got Reuben in trouble because God anointed his tribe for wartime.  Moses recognizes his weakness and calls it out:

“Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here?  Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord has given them?” (Numbers 32:6,7)

Moses warns the Reubenites that if they don’t go to battle, they would be judged. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).  The Reubenites knew this to be true, and they followed their leader!  In this instance, humility guides their decision, and they go to battle.  God blesses them with great riches from the battle.

When the Reubenites were under the authority of a righteous king, they rose to be noble and full of dignity.  (1 Chron. 26: 31,32). But left to themselves, they strayed from wise choices that always resulted in major consequences.

Reuben had a heart to love the Lord.  When the Reubenites got back from fighting the giants and mighty armies in the land of Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, they brought sacrifices to the Lord.  But not long afterwards, they turn around and made another bad decision.  In their moment of rejoicing, the Reubenites decide impulsively to build a great altar to the Lord (Joshua 22).  This went against God’s law, and the children of Israel rose up to fight against Reuben!  Reuben came up with a great excuse that it would be just a memorial, which it ended up only being because God did not authorize it as a place of worship.  Again, we see the unstable quality of Reuben that God wants to redeem.

Reuben, Simeon, and Gad held the high banner of man which was Reuben’s banner.  This is not a coincidence as these three tribes were tested and known for their human strength and weakness.  In God’s redemption plan, we can all be the Reuben’s that loved well and are mighty in the Lord’s strength!

The body of Christ is in a season of war.  But this war is one to hold onto His promises and not be moved by what we see. Our character is being tested.  We must be armed with God’s truth and have faith to trust that God has our victory in His hand, even through our darkest hour of struggle.  We must take time to get strategy and then fight with courage the good fight of faith!   “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23  

This month is a great month to “WORK the WORD,” no matter what you see!  That means to read, speak, and believe God’s Word until you KNOW in your heart what God says is truth!  This is true “son ship,” which was the essence of Reuben’s name and the purpose of his destiny!  In God’s redemption plan, we can all take on the good qualities of Reuben and see great reward!

SIVAN FIRSTFRUITS

On May 30th, the firstfruits celebration of the third Hebrew month called “Sivan” kicks off. Sivan is linked to covenant, giving, mercy and alignment.  This month is a month inherent “to do business with God” for His kingdom cause as we sync with His purpose.

Zebulun is the tribe associated with this month of Sivan, who was positioned on the east side of the tabernacle with the tribe of Judah and Issachar.  Judah brought to the trio the apostolic sound of praise, awakening, and an alarm to go to battle. Issachar received the revelation and timing needed to navigate with wisdom and understanding. And Zebulun brought forth the supply and the place to rest and store the abundance of blessings. Jacob prophesied over Zebulun:

“Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea;
He shall become a haven for ships,
And his border shall adjoin Sidon.” (Gen. 49:13)

Moses also prophesied concerning the latter days that Zebulun and Issachar would work side by side together:  Zebulun was said to rejoice in going out, while Issachar would stay in his tents:  

“They shall call the peoples to the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness; for they shall partake of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hidden in the sand.” (Deut. 33:18).  

Issachar’s portion was to “intercede and pray” and “gather the hidden treasures of intel.” Zebulun found joy in taking the revelation and facilitating the resources to enact on the intel. 

Zebulun was also known to profit through maritime trade.  One of their key roles was to bring forth the increase of their labor, so God blessed this tribe to fill “the storehouses.” This month is associated with both spiritual and natural provision to step into His kingdom cause.

When Jesus began His ministry, He went to the region of Zebulun fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 9, which said that the people who had been in darkness would see a great light.  HE was PROVISION!

Zebulun was a blessed and loyal tribe to the LORD, and one who gave the gift of sacrifice.  This month is linked with GIVING; giving sacrifice, gifts, and time to the LORD.

.The month of Sivan coincides with the timing of the children of Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai. Later, God asked Moses to be His spokesman to propose to the Israelites:

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 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. 19:4-6).

The Israelites accepted the invitation, and God revealed Himself through thunder, lightning, His voice heard amidst the glory, sealing the marriage certificate with the “tablets of the testimony” (Ex. 19).  The anniversary date of this proposal would be embedded in the Law of the Feasts of the Lord known as the Feast of Pentecost, which is why covenant is key this season.

In the New Testament, the pattern is replicated through another invitation and outpouring. After His death at Passover, followed by His resurrection, Jesus returned to visit the disciples for 40 days.  The Lord gave His disciples a personal invitation to become His apostles, and to wait in the Upper Room for the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).  On the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came suddenly with an outpouring of glory, and they began speaking in tongues of fire.  

Even as God came down as fire upon Mt. Sinai, the Holy Spirit came as a fire upon the disciples on the exact same day in His Hebrew Covenant Calendar: 50 days after Passover. The difference was that the fire was no longer external as in the days of Moses, but internal! This shows a difference now concerning the new “temple” that God would inhabit. 

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (1 Cor. 3:16)? 

It is no coincidence that Zebulun means “habitation or dwelling.”  The indwelling of His presence now through the gift of the Holy Spirit is the hope (down payment) when our own earthen vessels are first consumed with His fire and we receive our incorruptible bodies, and then the earth is filled with His glory in the Age of Tabernacles (1 Cor. 15:53-55).

God’s timing is always perfect, witnessing the Old Covenant blueprint as a shadow and type of the perfection of His covenant promise for us who are living in the days of the New Covenant (more accurately described as His “renewed covenant”). The month of Sivan continues to flow with the blueprint of an outpouring of God’s “kingdom business” with a people who say yes to His invitation.

Because of this amazing national covenant with God that has been witnessed both in the Old and New Testament during Sivan, it serves as a template for us to dive deep and into an alignment with those God has put His invitation on our hearts to come into a “covenant” relationship with for the King. Having ONE heart to serve Him and each other, sowing into these relationships will prove to bring a great harvest of blessings.

Sivan is the third month which is the number associated with completeness, and a oneness with ALEPH, our Father.  Jesus took three disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed three times. During this time of great distress, He cried out to the Father, “Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will but what You will” (Mark 14:36).   After the third time praying and surrendering all, Jesus was ready to die for our sins and trust the Father to use Him to create a way to redeem mankind. Jesus was placed on the cross on the third hour (9a.m.).  At 3p.m., He died.  There was three hours of darkness while He was suffering on the cross.

Three is a number closely associated with resurrection life as we know that it took three days and three nights before Jesus rose from the dead.  It was after His resurrection that the disciples were given the resources and ability to go “build His Stone Kingdom not made of hands” (Dan. 2:45). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit also gave the disciples comfort that the LORD was with them intimately, and opened up His storehouses of His powerful signs and wonders as they went forth.

God’s business is always centered on honoring His Covenant for a people He has chosen. His mercy covers our mistakes, and His grace is sufficient for our weaknesses. Pentecost is a time of receiving His outpouring of grace, mercy, and power so we can align with heaven and go do “business” for the Lord in establishing His Kingdom here on earth.  We cannot even comprehend the great outpouring that is directly ahead of us….IT WILL BE MAGNIFICENT!

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.