TISHRI FIRSTFRUITS

On September 26th this year, we begin the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar known as “Tishri.” Tishri is the first of the three months of the autumn season that produces a harvest. “Tishri” means “reflected light” and reveals God’s heart that His Bride would be a “reflection of His light.”

It is believed that Adam was created in the month of Tishri. The heart of God in creating man was given in His Covenant: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). 

It is evident God’s desire from the beginning was to create man for “son ship” with Him to take dominion of the earth and multiply His goodness. This is a month set aside to reflect His glory seen through His people!

There will come a day when Jesus will return as King during this same month as the “last Adam” to restore the birthright (His name, dominion, blessings, land, and possessing the gates of the enemy) back to a people in “son ship with Him” (1 Cor. 15:45; Gen. 28). Why do I say that? Because Jesus will Himself fulfill the pattern established through the Fall Feasts just as He did in His first coming through the Spring Feasts. These Feasts reveals the blueprint of God’s plan of Redemption.

Jesus spoke in Matt. 25:13, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”This scripture has led people to believe we will never know when Jesus is coming back, but in actuality, the Feasts reveal the month.  The day and hour were unknown to the Hebrews back in biblical days because they relied on the priests to spot the new moon to sound the alarm, and some days the weather prevented them from seeing. The new moon was never on the same day each month as well, so Jesus was telling us to be in a state of READINESS and have ears to hear!

This month is associated with the tribe of Ephraim, the youngest son of Joseph. Ephraim means; “Be fruitful and multiply.” Ephraim was born during Joseph’s reign as Pharaoh’s “governor.” At the time of his birth, Joseph was enjoying God’s redemption and great blessing after having suffered as a slave and a prisoner of Pharaoh’s. Therefore, Joseph said when he named Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen.41:52).

When Jacob was nearing his death, Joseph visits his dad with his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. When Jacob saw them, he was strengthened by the Lord and prophesied over the boys that they would be grafted in to the Abrahamic Covenantal inheritance along with his own 12 sons (Gen. 48).

Remarkably, God gave Joseph’s sons a double portion of blessings that came with that covenant for the latter days, along with the ownership of the birthright. Even though Ephraim was the younger one, he was given the firstborn blessings instead of his brother Manasseh. “He shall be greater than he (his older brother Manasseh), and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” (Genesis 48:19). God chose Ephraim and Manasseh to be a “reflected light” of the “Good News” to the four corners of the earth in the latter days. England and America have been fulfilling those prophetic words.

The prophetic blessing given to Joseph (which would now go to his two sons) was the crowning best! “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall.” In Genesis 49:22-26 and Deut. 33:13-17, God declares that the sons of Joseph would have hidden resources and rich heritage with God’s favor and blessing upon the land given with rain and produce. In addition, these two tribes would push the peoples to the ends of the earth. Joseph’s obedience to “walk with God” throughout all his hardships ends up paying off with great blessings for his sons!

Later in history, Joshua was raised up to be a great leader who was from the tribe of Ephraim.Because of his complete obedience to the Lord, God prospered everything he did. He is the one leader we read in the Bible who defeated every enemy and took possession of all the land. Obedience to the Lord without compromise is Ephraim’s key to seeing the great harvest of blessings.

The month of Tishri is God’s timing to complete/fulfill the Covenant He established with Abraham with the return of Jesus to the earth along with His Saints in “son ship” (Rev. 4,5).Even though it is a time of great celebration for those who are walking in faith and obedience with God, it is also a time of judgment for those Christians who are “lukewarm.”

“I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Rev. 3:15,16).

God’s appointed three of the seven feasts known as the Fall Feasts to be celebrated in this month. Jesus fulfilled the first four feast’s covenantal purpose of salvation, redemption, and provision through His death, resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit. The last three feasts, Jesus will fulfill upon His return in the month of Tishri as judge, conqueror and King.

Tishri is special because it is the only month that a Feast is appointed on “First fruits” which is called the Feast of Trumpets. When the Feast of Trumpets arrives each year on the first day of Tishri with the witness of the new moon, there is a “blowing of His trumpet” to signify God’s harvest season has begun (Lev. 23:24).

The meaning as it relates to Jesus coming as King is that the shofar is blown as the “final trump” or warning before the Lord returns. A sign of this final trump will be that the dead in Christ (not all, but those chosen) will rise from the graves. (1 Thes.5:14-17).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise FIRST” (1 Thes. 4:16).  

This is the first resurrection. The Bible talks about TWO resurrections and makes a distinction in Rev. 20 as the first resurrection is ONLY believers, and does not say ALL believers. The second resurrection does not happen until AFTER the Millennium reign.

“…and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the FIRST resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-6).

The Feast of Trumpets sounds off the harvest season as well.

The blessing we receive from God when we understand the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets, also known as “Yom Ha Teruah,” and the blowing of the trumpet (shofar) is found in Psalm 89:15, as it is written, “How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound [blast of the shofar]…” The shofar is the physical instrument that God instructed us to use to hear the sound to awake from spiritual slumber (1 Corinthians 15:46).

When it is God’s time to put into action His finale with the return of Jesus, those in Covenant with Him will recognize the sound of the trumpet. There will be significant events in the world that will signify the leading up to this trumpet and for those who have been practicing this dress rehearsal, the signs will be evident of God’s coming judgment of the nations and fulfillment of His coming.

God has always had a heart to warn people before He proclaims judgment. God warned the people before the Flood of Noah’s days. He warned Nineveh before it was to be ruined as well. The Ninevites repented, and it changed the outcome of judgment for them. 

God does not want anyone to receive the wrath of His judgment (Zephaniah 2:1-3; 33:1-7; 2 Peter 3:9). God is warning us today through world events that line up with the Word, the Blood Moons falling on the Feast days, and the prophets of today that He is bringing forth correction FIRST to the body of Christ: those in Covenant with Him.  Then He will deal with the nations that come against His people.

We are seeing that heaven and earth are coming together for this covenantal shift, and it will not be the end of the world as some people think. Jesus is coming to reign here, so the world will NOT be destroyed but redeemed. He is coming and all the earth shall be filled with His glory (Numbers 14:21).

Joel 2:15-19 lays the blueprint of the fall feasts:

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babies; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, “Where is their God?’”

Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, ”Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.”

Joel 2 gives us the blueprint of the main purposes of the three Fall Feasts; blow the trumpet (Feast of Trumpets), fast and repent for those Christians who lack faith and obedience to the Lord (Day of Atonement), and celebrate dwelling in the fullness of His glory (Feast of Tabernacles)!

Until the actual year God chooses to blow the trumpet for the real deal, we are called to continue these “dress rehearsals” to get ready. The trumpet sounds the warning for us to examine our heart… Are you ready for His return? Is our nation ready for His return? He is coming back to judge the nations and for the great harvest of souls.

When Jesus looks at the gifts and talents that had been distributed to each of us individually, will He find us using them for His glory? This question leads then into the corporate calling: Are the gifts and talents of God’s people working together in unity to bring glory and honor to His name so that the world can see He is the only True God? Are we a people who are “bondservants” of Christ, willing to surrender all to take up the cross?

Finally, the big question arises: Is this nation in which we live fulfilling its covenant plan and giving of its gifts and talents to serve the nations to honor and glorify Him by abiding in His ways? The nations will be judged, and only as believers unite in Him can we fulfill that call of one nation under God. God’s people have to be linked together to see this come to pass. This is why God is raising up a remnant to equip and unify His army for the days ahead. And this remnant is going to arise and be seen!  

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).

FEAST OF TRUMPETS – “Caught Up”

Now let’s briefly take a look at the words “caught up” in 1 Thes. 4:17. These words have produced the word “rapture” in the modern Christian theology, which isn’t in the Bible.  The Greek word for “caught up” means “harpazo,” which is translated “caught away or seized.”

Indeed, all believers can be “caught up” in the Spirit with the Lord when His presence is amongst us and heaven’s reality seems to be larger than earth’s reality. But we can also be “seized” by the Lord when the Holy Spirit is calling us forth (trumpet/voice) and we draw ourselves toward Him in our hearts.  Moses gave us that example at Mt. Sinai when He went up into the thick cloud-like presence of God while the rest hid out of fear (Ex. 19:18-20).

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” (Ex. 20:18).

Whether we actually lift off the ground like Jesus did when He walked on water and was transported from the place He and the disciples were in the boat to the land across the sea,

“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum.  And i was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.  Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.  So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.  But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’  Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going” (John 6:16-21).

or translated like the disciple Phillip,

“Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.  But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:39,40).

or we get “caught up” sitting in our living rooms worshipping and the fire, wind, and rain of the Holy Spirit “seizes our hearts,”

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2),

I really can’t say for certain, although all of those are possibilities. However, a cleansing and purification process must proceed any presentation of the “firstfruits remnant” who are redeemed from the earth and “caught up” before a Holy God (Rev. 14:1-5), which is why the LORD set the pattern with the Day Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles following Trumpets for a people He has chosen (Rev. 17:14).

I also know that the union with Christ is for the purpose of escorting the KING (Commander in Chief) to His kingdom here on the EARTH to reign….Not to go away with Him to stay in heaven.  

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True.  And in righteousness He judges and makes war…And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp work, that with it He should strike the nations.   And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron…” (Rev. 19:11,14-15).

Many misinterpret this “caught up” or rapture idea thinking we are to escape and live in heaven eternally and miss the “days of tribulation.”  But this contradicts the Disciples Prayer [called by many as the LORD’S Prayer], which IS THE BASIC BLUEPRINT OF GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION (Matt. 6: 9-13).

“Thy kingdom COME, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

God’s heart is to bring His kingdom to earth to rule, redeem, and multiply His goodness, not destroy it.  Anyone who has embraced the Lord’s sanctification process has NOT been trained by it to run away from the Lord’s battle, or to hide from the battle we are going to win.  This process trains us to follow our Commander in Chief!

God is also NOT taking Christians away so He can destroy the earth.  The earth will go through tribulation due to God’s judgment in correcting the choices believers and the non-believers have made to sin.  It will produce a “shaking” to break the evil strongholds and to set the captives free (Is. 24).  This will lead creation through a process that produces healing, life, and a revelation of His love. 

God and His army are coming so that the earth can be restored back to His glory through righteous leadership.  This is why the Bible says:

“creation eagerly waits for the revealing [unveiling, stepping forth, “catching up” of the sons of God”(Rom. 8:19).

Jesus informs us that the “last days,” before the Fall Feasts begin to go “live,” are going to be similar to the days of Noah. 

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37).

Noah was never taken from the earth during the tribulation of his days. Noah was divinely protected through the flood of judgment.  It was Noah’s obedience to the Lord’s instructions to build an ark and share the news of repentance for 120 years prior to the flood that was a part of his “sanctification process.” Noah obeyed the Lord wholeheartedly.  Jesus captures the heart of Noah’s example when He said,

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).

From the story of Lot, he was removed from Sodom, and taken to another city on the earth so he would be spared from the Lord’s judgment.  In both instances, the WICKED were removed from the earth, not the righteous.  

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took THEM all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left (Matt. 24:37-40).

The “THEM” in the above Scripture was the WICKED, not the righteous!

The Lord even tells us in the Beatitudes in Matt 5:17 that the meek (gentle) will be blessed and inherit the earth, not be removed from it

Jesus is coming back to judge the nations, and there will be consequences for those who oppose Him. But God promises us protection, as He declared in Psalm 91, and showed us that same pattern of protection for His people in Egypt when the 10 plagues were released.

“And in that day, I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land.  I will make a difference between My people and your people.  Tomorrow this sign shall be” (Ex. 9:22-23).

I believe the sign of the “dead in Christ” rising from the graves, and the sound and sign of Christ and His army coming will cause an alarm to ALL Christians who will then mourn.  This is because the “fear of the Lord” will be upon us, and we will understand our frailty in the presence of the Lord and recognize our need to repent. This is also why the ten days following the Feast of Trumpets are called the “Ten Days of Awe,” as Christians will be in awe that the time is at hand for the Millennium reign to begin, which means judgment will begin in the house of the Lord.

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Peter 4:17)?

We will all be in a state of reflection:  Are we ready? Will we be like the 5 wise Virgins in the Parable of the 10 Virgins, who had oil? Or will we be like the 5 foolish Virgins who didn’t have oil and the door was shut, unable to join those chosen for the First resurrection (Matt. 25:1-13)?  These Fall Feast “dress rehearsals” each year helps us examine our hearts so we are ready.

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:13).

FEAST OF TRUMPETS – What happens when this Feast goes “LIVE?”

When describing the Feast of Trumpets, we can refer to the prophet Joel who said it best:

“Blow the trumpet in Zion.  And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand” (Joel 2:1.)

The Feast of Trumpets is a “blast of the horn” that signals an awakening of God’s people to remembrance and readiness:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”(Psalm 18:2).

It is also an announcement that the King is coming to gather His army to wage war against the enemy and to establish His reign on earth:

“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God”(Rev. 19:15).

These Fall Feasts are honored and celebrated as “dress rehearsals” so our hearts are in sync with the Lord’s redemption plan.  So what happens when the Feast of Trumpets goes “live” after the sound of the trumpet?

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thes. 4:16).

One of the most remarkable signs that will happen when this Feast is fulfilled is that the dead in Christ will rise from the grave.  Most Christians assume ALL those who are believers that have died will rise at this resurrection. But after studying Scriptures, a different pattern emerges as we define the purpose of the two resurrections the Bible refers to:

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the FIRST resurrection.  Over such the SECOND death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).

The fact that the Scripture indicates there is a first resurrection mandate that there is a second. God has a trumpet call for two occasions, and it is clear from Rev. 20 that the FIRST is for those who will reign with Him during the Millennium.

Let’s go back in the Bible and find the purpose of the blowing of the silver trumpets and see how it ties into these two resurrections.  In Numbers 10, God instructed Moses to make two trumpets from hammered silver: 

“Make two silver trumpets for yourself; you shall make them of hammered work; you shall use them for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps.  When they blow both of them, all the congregation shall gather before you at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.  But if they blow only one, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall gather to you”(Numbers 10:2-4).

Notice that when the Lord said to blow ONE trumpet, He was calling forth the HEADS (those chosen for rulership) to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. But when the two trumpets were blown, it was to gather ALL.

1 Cor. 15:51,52 shares Scriptures that reveal some details of Christ’s return, and the unfolding events after the trumpet is sounded:

“Behold, I tell you a mystery:  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Notice the Scripture above doesn’t say trumpets.  This is because the purpose of this first resurrection is to call forth those who have been chosen as “heads” (first) to reign with Christ in the Millennium.   This is also confirmed in 1 Thes. 4:16. Both Scripture references say one trumpet is blown when the dead in Christ rise.  Therefore, all those who are dead in Christ won’t arise in this first resurrection (Rev. 20:6).  Those who remain dead will rise and get their glorified bodies in the second resurrection.

The word “head” is actually the definition for the Hebrew word “Rosh” which is the same word used to describe “firstfruits.”   

The Bible makes it clear that God has set aside a “firstfruits” remnant of 144,000 who are chosen to reign with Him in the Millennium. This number is symbolic as it follows the pattern of symbolism throughout the whole Book of Revelation, and using common sense, God will need more than 144,000 in the earth to help assist Him through the Millennium reign. The Bible does make clear that ALL aren’t chosen to reign with Him during this time.

“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads”(Rev. 14:1).

In John, Jesus did however talk about a general resurrection in which ALL who were dead, both good and evil, will be raised at the same time and hear His voice – NOT just those who are “dead in Christ” as the previous Scriptures indicated.  

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which ALL who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation”(John 5:28,29).

The above Scripture is a picture of the SECOND resurrection that includes both believers and unbelievers.

Looking at all these Scriptures, it is evident that the FIRST resurrection is NOT the time for the resurrection of salvation.  The first resurrection marks the time Jesus is coming back, gather the 144,000, and together, rule over the nations to secure and establish His governmental authority in the earth.  

The issue of salvation is the purpose of the SECOND resurrection, which is explained in Rev. 20.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.  And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books [The Law].  

The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.  And they were judged, each one according to his works.  

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:12-15).

Taking all these scriptures into account, we can conclude that the sole purpose of the FIRST is to call forth those believers who are “rewarded” with the responsibility to reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 7; Rev. 20:6).

When talking to the disciples about the rewards of leaving all to follow Him, Jesus said to them that they would be repaid at the “resurrection of the just.” 

“And you [disciples who gave ALL] will be blessed, because they [the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind] cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14).

We can further conclude that Christ is referring to the FIRST resurrection since there is no reference in this passage of the SECOND, and the “just” can ONLY signify believers since no one outside of faith in Christ alone are “just” (Rom. 5:1).

The reward given at the FIRST resurrection that Christ was referring to doesn’t equate to be a more “powerful or important position” in the body of Christ. That kind of thinking is what our world thinks, so it’s hard to grasp that this doesn’t mean a person chosen that is “special” or “better than” other Christians.

On the contrary, these who are rewarded are “bondservants of Christ” like our example of the Apostles Paul and Peter, who laid their lives down to serve Christ (Rom. 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1). 

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2Cor. 4:5).

In humility of heart, these bondservants followed His voice out of obedience to serve and faithfully steward the talents God had given them. “Bondservants” of Christ have allowed the sanctification process to crucify their flesh so that they think and act like Christ. Christ can then entrust them with His authority of rulership, which is His reward:

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matt. 16:27).

In the letters to the 7 Churches in the Book of Revelation, God first praises and acknowledges each Church for the things they were doing well. But He goes on to chastise each Church in the areas they were in error or had veered off course. In every letter the Lord addresses, He states that those who had an ear to hear would be rewarded when He returned, for following His instruction.  These would be known as His “Overcomers;” the ones who embraced the sanctification process and were willing to go through the tribulations of their day. Here is a list of rewards for those who OVERCOME:

  1.  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God”(Rev. 2:7).
  2. “…He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (Rev. 20:2:11).
  3. “…To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.  And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it”(Rev. 2:17).
  4. “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations- ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’- as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star”(Rev. 2:26-28).
  5. “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels”(Rev. 3:5).
  6. “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.  I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the NEW Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.  And I will write on him My new name”(Rev. 3:12).
  7. “To him who overcome, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne”(Rev. 3:21).

If you read the entire chapters of Rev. 2 and 3, the Lord makes a distinction between Christians who will overcome, and those who don’t repent but continue following their own ways.  It is important to emphasize that becoming an “overcomer” has nothing to do with salvation, for the letters were addressed to ALL who were saved by grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8,9).

But Christ does lay out the rewards for those who overcome through this sanctification process.  They enter into the FIRST resurrection, while the others continue on with the sanctification process, or die, and must await until the SECOND resurrection.

In the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus shares what rewards, concerning the kingdom of heaven, have to do with rulership. The man traveling to a far country in this parable is symbolic of Jesus.  He gives to each servant (Christians) talents according to their ability to steward them until He comes back.  What does He say to the servant who gained from the talents given:

“…Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you RULER over many things.  Enter into the joy of the Lord” (Matt. 25:21).

Rulership is a product of faith, obedience, and the sacrifice of self. No one bi-passes this sanctification process.   Even Jesus Christ couldn’t bi-pass the process that led Him to the cross.  But there is a “firstfruits” remnant whose hearts will be ready first at the time of Christ’s return.

Think about the difference between King Saul and King David.  Both kings served the Lord.  Both weren’t perfect leaders, nor perfectly obeyed the Lord’s commandments.  But Saul never fully surrendered his heart to the Lord. Instead, he was led more by his own ambitions, needs, and pride. David, however, was on his knees asking for the Lord’s help. David was not perfect by any means, but he was one in whom God could entrust with His anointing of rulership.  

Kingships “rewards” are a product of our choices whether we lean into God’s voice as Moses did, in obedience to His commandments, or run away and do our own thing.  Those who have learned obedience by the things they suffer will find their reward, as Christ did (Heb. 5:8).

“And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his work” (Rev. 22:12).

FEAST OF TRUMPETS – Difference between the blast of the shofar and trumpet

In the Old Testament, when the seventh month of the Hebrew year arrived, the customary ram’s horn was blown to signify the sliver of the moon was spotted in the sky, which happens to be the darkest night of the month. 

The shofar was blown to announce Firstfruits, and served as a reminder and the time to honor God as the One who provides and honors His covenant, inspiring a response of thankfulness to the Lord (Ex. 23:19).  It was also a reminder to the Children of Israel of the event when God stopped Abraham from offering up Isaac as a sacrifice and instead supplied the ram from which the shofar was made (Gen. 22:13,14).

“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a ticket by its horns.  So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.  And Abraham called the name o the place, “The-LORD-Will-Provide; and it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided”(Gen. 22:13-14).

This then became the sound to begin preparations for the monthly “Firstfruits.” 

At sundown, the commencement of the holy convocation of the Feast of Trumpets, the silver trumpet was blown to sound off the beginning of the harvest season. 

“Speak to the children of Israel, saying; ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month (Firstfruits), you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Lev. 23:24; also found in Numbers 29:1-6).

On this “appointed” day, there were two separate types of horns signifying two events that were happening at the same time.  The ram’s horn was made from the horn of an animal, which is the shofar.  The other “horn” was made by man from silver – the trumpet.  Both the man-made trumpet and God- made shofar unite as ONE on this day of REMEMBRANCE, READINESS, and RESURRECTION.

The silver trumpet blown at sundown was to awaken to a memorial.. of what?

The Lord instructed the children of Israel to always remember the sound of the trumpet as it related to events that transpired at Mt. Sinai.  What event during that time was significant to Trumpets?

To answer that question, we have to go back to Ex. 19:5, when God proposes to the children of Israel to be His “special treasure” above all other people. The people responded in verse 8 and said “We do.”  God instructs Moses on how He wants the “marriage ceremony” to go and it happened like this:

“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).  

Moses brought the people (bride) out to meet God (Ex. 19:17).

“Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire….And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.  THEN the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain.  And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up” (Ex. 19:18-20).

Jesus shares a prophetic proclamation of the future event that will take place when He returns. The same symbolism of the thundering’s and lightnings are given; the thunder of HIs glory flashing from the east to the west as He comes with the desire to join His Bride:

“For as the lightning comes form the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:27).

God wanted His people to always remember the Covenant of Marriage then, so we will understand how the Covenant is redeemed up ahead through Christ.  As the children of Israel waited at the base of Mt. Sinai and the Lord descended and came down to the people in the form of a cloud, lightning, thundering, fire and VOICE, it was a moment of matrimony. (I wish I could have been there!)

When Moses went up the mountain by himself afterwards, it was symbolic of Christ ascending and presenting Himself as the “Firstfruits.” 

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…..But each one in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1Cor. 15:20,23).

We too anticipate the time when we will be able to follow Christ’s example and be able to go before the throne in heaven and come back to earth in a glorified body.  The Feast of Trumpets marks the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise of resurrection, followed by another “wedding ceremony” of the Bride (Church) with the Groom (Christ).

It is worth noting that in Deut. 4:25-40, we get an account of how the children of Israel responded to the voice of God. They trembled out of fear, hid, and asked Moses to stand before them.

In Ex. 20:19-21 it says:

“Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not 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 no sin.’  So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.”

Today, we have had Christ make a way for the Lord’s voice to be heard again through the Holy Spirit. Believers are faced with the same choice now that the children of Israel had: to draw near to His voice as Moses did, or hide and have another stand in the gap and become the voice of God (religious leaders).

I am certainly not saying it’s not important to hear what religious leaders have to share.  But we should not lean on them first to hear the Lord for our own lives, or think religious leaders are the only ones who hear from the Lord.

We also learn from this blueprint in Exodus that believers who draw near to the Lord’s voice and His presence, as did Moses, will be “caught up” to meet God in the “air” and come back with Him to reign in the Millennium.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with Me.  To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”(Rev. 3:20-22).

The Trumpet signals to the Bride to awaken because the Groom has determined it is time to for the ceremony of union to begin.  Have you noticed that the angels in the book of Revelation use trumpets, not shofars, to sound the alarm?  Those who hear and are ready will run towards the Lord.  Those who aren’t will want to hide.  The Day of Atonement that follows after the Feast of Trumpets sifts this all out.

FEAST OF TRUMPETS – Overall Meaning

The Fall Feasts of the LORD begin this year at sundown on September 26th. They begin with the Feast of Trumpets:

“Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.  For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob”(Psalm 81:3,4).

So what is the significance of the Feast of Trumpets? The literal Hebrew translation is “a memorial of blasts.” In Hebrew, this Feast is called “Yom Teruah.”  Yom means day, but Teruah doesn’t mean trumpets.  It means a shout or blast of war, alarm or joy. So literally translated, this is a Feast that is a “Day of Blasting or Shouting.”

The Feast of Trumpets is the ONLY Feast that is celebrated on Firstfruits, tying its meaning with “firsts” and making this day the “granddaddy” of all Firstfruits celebrations. It is believed by Biblical historians that Adam was born on this day. It has also been known by the Jews as the “Anniversary of Creation.”

The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated in the Hebrew month of Tishrei. Tishrei was originally recognized as the first month of the calendar the Hebrews followed, due to the epic beginnings just described. 

However, in God’s master plan for redemption, He needed to create a separate, but intimate, calendar with the people He was in covenant with so that they could become His SIGN, to the nations, that He was the One True God.  

This special covenant calendar was purposed to establish a pattern, purpose, timing, and union with God that set the Israelites apart from all other nations.  But it also was a witness of the sign of the “Coming One” (Jesus), as God would use the calendar to fulfill His prophetic promises.

It’s worth mentioning again that the Hebrew Covenant Calendar was created when God spoke to Moses and Aaron in Ex. 12:2:

“This month (Abib/Nisan) shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first of the year to you” (Ex. 12:2). God followed this commandment with His instructions for Passover.  Afterwards, He declared, “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.  You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance”(Ex. 12:14).

Later on when the children of Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai, God gave instruction for all 7 Feasts after He sealed His Covenant with them and set them apart from all the other nations. The month of Tishrei was now changed to be the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar, and the first day of the harvest (blessed) season and the month in which all the Fall Feasts were celebrated.

“Therefore, all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim (Tishrei), which is the seventh month” (1 Kings 8:2).

There is much confusion today as to when the Hebrew Covenant calendar starts because the Jews today emphasize celebrating the beginning of their civil year in the month of Tishrei. Today, Jews celebrate the first day of Tishrei as Rosh Hashanah; translated as “the ‘head/first’ of the year.”   But if God said that Abib/Nisan was to be the first of the year, why are the two months still recognized as first?

To find the answers as to why this is, we can go back to Biblical history when the twelve tribes of Israel were split into two kingdoms after King Solomon’s reign (1 Kings 11).  Subsequently, the Israelites were divided into the Southern Kingdom, also known as the House of Judah; and Northern Kingdom, also known as the House of Israel (1 Kings 11). The House of Judah consisted of the two tribes, one being the tribe of Judah where the Jews originated, and the other the tribe of Benjamin (so that David My servant would have a light in Jerusalem when the Messiah) (1 King 11:36).

After being in captivity, the House of Judah adopted some Babylonian ways, and added them to their Jewish traditions.  One of those changes was the “resurrection” of importance of the Jewish Civil year again in the first and second century because of the writings that were compiled in what is known as the “Mishnah.” Sometime between the finality of the writing of the Torah by Ezra, and the creation and codification of the Mishnah, the autumn Civil Calendar New Year regained acceptance by the Jews, and its relevance was incorporated into the Feast of Trumpets celebration.  The Hebraic Covenant calendar, which God created for His covenantal purpose and celebration, was not intertwined with the calendar the Lord had separated His people out of.  The first of Tishrei took on a double meaning, which makes is confusing. 

The Northern Kingdom (House of Israel), made up of the remaining ten tribes, originally kept the Ecclesiastical (Priest) year that God commanded them to follow in Ex. 12 as well…. Somewhat.  But over time, after the House of Israel was captured by the Assyrians and scattered all over the nations, their heritage, name, blueprint of Covenant (including following the Hebrew Covenant Calendar), was altered or omitted because they forgot they were God’s people, even though God promises He would never forget them.  

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Surely, they (House of Israel) may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Is. 49:15).

“Forgetting” was a part of the chastisement of God, which is why when Jesus speaks of his original mission for the disciples:

 “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying, ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.  But go rather to the lost tribes of Israel’” (Matt. 10:5,6).  

By the time the Mishnah was created in Babylon, and its writings adopted as ” Jewish tradition,” the House of Israel was long gone, having scattered through the Caucasian mountains, into Europe and the “isles” (which was later known as Great Britain.) 

Technically, both calendars are correct, because both calendars exist.  But God commanded Moses and His chosen nation to follow His new calendar in Exodus 12, and for those wanting to recognize, honor, and be a SIGN of the redemption process that God has determined, honoring the Hebrew Covenant Calendar should continue to trump any calendar, including the Gregorian calendar most of our world today recognizes.

The school calendar versus Gregorian calendar is a parallel example of two calendars followed during the same time, but the Gregorian begins on January 1st, while the school calendar starts in September.  The Gregorian calendar is the one the world follows, while the school calendar is for a specified people who are signed up for education, which is their focus. 

Because the Jews returned to honoring the Jewish Civil calendar with their Feast celebration, it brought about confusion that continues to exist today when celebrating the Feast of Trumpets. This is perhaps one reason why the Jews couldn’t see and accept Christ as the Savior when He began His ministry, because the adoption of honoring the two calendars caused them to anticipate a conquering king FIRST rather a sacrificial lamb.  

God created the Covenant Calendar in Ex. 12 to “set apart” His Covenant promises of how Christ would become our High Priest FIRST, and our King of kings second when He returned to the earth.  If we keep our focus on God’s purpose in creating this calendar, we will not be confused or blinded with God’s prophetic timing of redemption.

“…You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9,10).

So let’s now get back to the simplicity of the purpose of the Feast of Trumpets, which is to awaken us with a blast of the trumpet.  What are we awaking to?

The trumpet has many significant meanings in the Bible.  

The trumpet was blown to signal war against the adversary (Josh. 6:5; Jer. 51:27; 1 Cor. 14:8) 

“When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies (Numbers 10:9).

It was also used to announce the king (2 Kings 9:13; 11:14).

“Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon.  And they blew the horn, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” (1 Kings 1:39).

The trumpet was the sound to wake up the Church (Rev. 1:10).

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.”

All of these reasons (and there are many more) of why the trumpet is used are all united together on the Feast of Trumpets. This “dress rehearsal” shares it’s purpose of becoming the signal (/sign/proclamation/alarm/shout) to awaken us, to announce war against the adversary, to announce the return of the King, and to summon God’s people who are IN covenant with Him.  And when this Feast goes “LIVE,” it will mark the beginning of the Millennium.

ELUL FIRSTFRUITS

At sundown on August 27th, we celebrate the beginning of the sixth month of the Hebrew Covenant Calendar known as ELUL. Elul is about reconnecting our hearts to the Father’s heart, especially with our national covenant purpose.

Elul is linked to the tribe of Gad. Gad was the seventh son of Jacob, and his name primarily means a “troop.” This is a month to gather together, like a unified troop, committed to the serving the Lord’s army and following His command, ready for His return.

GAD can also be translated as: good fortune, to attack, to overcome, to invade, and to gather together. All of these translations mirror the skill set and strength of Gad as God’s greatest warriors in His army.

As this month completes the summer season, it sets up the time to regroup as His “troop” and prepare for the Fall Feasts ahead.

This month reminds us of the “good fortune” that comes when God’s people choose to gather together in a heart of humility, repentance, and forgiveness toward Him and each other.

Because ELUL translates to a month that God wants to meet us intimately right where we are and “hang with us,” we can set our faith to have a personal encounter with the Father. This month pictures the King leaving His heavenly throne to come and visit us in the earth in a tangible way that makes us remember God is with us and loves us.

This blueprint is seen through the ministry of Jesus here on the earth: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” John 1:14. For the times we are living in today, God is making Himself known through the gatherings of those dwelling together in unity, manifesting His power and glory.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron” (Psalm 133:1-2).

The word “dwelling” is actually the word for “tent” or “tabernacle.” Jesus left His throne to come and “tabernacle” among us for 33 years. Then He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit who “dwells” within us. When we join other believers in unity of heart, we form a corporate tabernacle that can host His holy habitation.

Historically in the Old Testament, the two months prior to ELUL were tragic in the days of Moses. The children of Israel had built the golden calf, and when Moses returns to find them worshipping idols, he broke the tablets of Covenant. Moses called out, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side, come to me” (Ex. 32:26)! Those who came were then given instruction to kill everyone else left, totaling 3,000 people.

Afterwards, Moses instructed the remaining people to consecrate themselves while he set out to ask God to pardon them for their sin. The Lord continued to plague the people, as their “stiff-necked” demeanor needed further chastisement, including removing their idols. After many days of intercession, God answered Moses’ plea for mercy and the plague stopped.

God then instructed Moses to go back up to Mount Sinai on the first day of ELUL to get the second tablets of covenant. While Moses was gone, the children of Israel gathered together and prepared their hearts in humility. They understood it was only the mercy of God that had given them a second chance.

As we celebrate Firstfruits, this month is symbolic of the body of Christ getting their hearts ready individually and corporately in humility and thanksgiving for God’s mercy, awaiting for Jesus to return as King.

Finally, the tribe of GAD was renown as great warriors and taking the lead line in the battlefield. 1 Chronicles 12:8 says, “Some Gadites joined David at the stronghold in the wilderness, MIGHTY MEN OF VALOR, MEN TRAINED FOR BATTLE, who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains.”

Before Moses died, he prophesied over the tribe of Gad.  “..he (Gad) administered the justice of the Lord, and His judgments with Israel”  Deut. 33:21.

The Gadites were effective when they joined the king’s forces and came under their authority and purpose. Gad reminds us how effective we can be for the Lord’s army as we learn to submit under His command so we can defeat our enemy.

The great prophet, Elijah, was from the tribe of Gad. His life illustrates how one man can take down the enemies of the camp with the “sword/word.” The story of Elijah confronting the false prophets of Baal really capture the essence of Gad’s spiritual strength, as well as the Father’s heart of giving his people an opportunity to repent and forgive before judgment comes.

In 1 Kings18:18, King Ahab accuses Elijah of being a “troubler of Israel.” Elijah boldly answers, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed after Baals.” It was after this encounter that Elijah challenged King Ahab to bring all the false prophets to Mount Carmel. Ahab takes on the challenge, and brings the children of Israel as well.

God then uses Elijah to draw a line in the sand between righteousness and justice, giving the children of Israel the opportunity to humble themselves and escape God’s judgment. In verse 21, Elijah speaks to the people, “How long with you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” Unfortunately, God’s people did not respond to this call.

Elijah then challenges the false prophets to a sacrifice dual. “Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” 1 Kings 18:24 Elijah eventually calls on the Lord after the false prophets fail the task. The Lord consumes the sacrifice with fire, and then has all the false prophets executed.

This is the same cry of God’s heart even today: HOW LONG WILL YOU FALTER BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? God wants to see the gift of Gad rise up in all of us and confront the enemy, but more importantly, he wants us to have ears to hear His rebuke so we can repent ourselves before judgment comes.

After Elijah’s huge victory over the enemy, we find him alone in the wilderness, fleeing in fear for his life after Queen Jezebel threatens to kill him.  This was right after he was used by God to call down the fire of judgment on the false prophets.  This hidden fear in Elijah was exposed when he SAW Jezebel and HEARD her threat.  All of the sudden, God became small compared to Jezebel’s threat to kill him.

The prophesied word that was spoken over Gad by Jacob/Israel before he died gives insight as to why Elijah struggled with this weakness when encountering Jezebel. Genesis 49:19 prophecies of GAD in the latter days: “Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, BUT he shall triumph at last.”

This prophecy over Gad uses the word “troop” to describe Gad’s enemy. This indicates that Gad’s greatest enemy can be himself because “a troop” is what Gad’s name means! The enemy can work on the soul of Gad to defeat himself, even though he is known as a great warrior. This happened even to the great prophet Elijah. How many Christians today are defeated by their own fears instead of the fear of the Lord?

God, however, came to Elijah in a still small voice, meeting him intimately in his weakness. As God spoke, Elijah gathered strength, humility, and the Lord’s instruction on moving forward with what his role was to forward the kingdom cause. This is the heart of ELUL, and the heart that is ready to meet the King!

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” Proverbs 16:6

This month will be beautiful for those who are seeking the LORD. God will meet them heart to heart. He will give them a glimpse of His “Holy Habitation” and fortify the connections that are His for the season. But for those who aren’t, it will be a month that is NOT filled with peace, but rather another difficult month to war against the flesh and the ways of the world.

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).