Get ready to celebrate the HEBREW NEW YEAR, starting March 21st! God proclaimed to Moses in Ex. 12:2 that His Hebrew covenant calendar year was to begin with the month of Nisan:
“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”
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, whose name means “praise.” God called for “PRAISE” to go first into their “flight” from Mt. Sinai to the Promised Land (Num. 10). When the trumpet was blown twice, this signified it was time for all the tribes to journey on, with the tribe of Judah chosen to lead out first. Judah was also the first tribe to cross the Jordan, and the first to be allotted land in the Promised Land (Num. 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 sacrificial Lamb first, returning as the King of Kings. This month reminds us to start our day with a sacrifice of praise, and then step out in His authority as He leads.
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 was wired to make a profit. He suggested to sell Joseph, and made a bargain with the Midianite traders who agreed to purchase him for twenty silver coins. However, as time went by, it cost Judah much more: Judah’s shame led him away from his family and down a path of bad choices and personal loss.
After a season of heartache, Judah came back to his family with a repentant heart, and played a key role in leading his brother’s from famine to Goshen by sacrificing his life. It is through the trial of saving his littlest brother Benjamin that we can see a reformation in Judahs gift to negotiate and profit for kingdom purposes, rather than for selfish gain (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.
“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 like Judas, they have been used to set up a world money system that is corrupt and never satisfied. But like Judah, if they 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. Expect new doors to open 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, and to empower us all to be a witness of Him (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!
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 FIRST.
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!