Dear Beloved in Jesus the Messiah, Shalom, Thank you so much for standing with us in rebuilding the lives of families both Physically and spiritually through Operation Nehemiah in the South Sudan. We want to thank you for helping us out with the fund to rebuild the Mission house which is also serving as our Radio station Facility. We are back on the air but there is still work going on. We still need $1000 to complete the entire project.
In this article, we are going to focus our attention a little bit on Biblical festivals from Messianic perspective as many Christians friends and families and churches who support Operation Nehemiah have shown interest to find out more our teaching and thoughts about these Biblical Festivals in relationship to Jesus Christ. From the last week of September to the first 10 days in October , we have been celebrating three major Biblical festivals, with spiritual significant pointing to the Messiah who has already come and will returned again .
Do Messianic Congregations and some Christian churches celebrate The Jewish Holidays And, If So, Why?
Most Messianic congregations and even some Christian churches celebrate the Biblical holidays such as Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost), Rosh HaShanah (the traditional Jewish New Year, but actually the Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), Chanukkah (the Feast of Dedication) and Purim. We celebrate the holidays because it is written in the Torah for Israel to observe these festivals forever (Leviticus 23:21, 31, 41; Exodus 12:14). Yeshua observed these festivals, as did the early Messianic Jews and apostles such as Rabbi Paul (Acts 20:16, 27:9; 1 Corinthians 16:8). . As Messianic Jews celebrate the holidays, we do so with the understanding that Yeshua is the fulfillment of each of them. For example, He is our Passover Lamb, who died on Passover. He is the Firstfruits of the resurrection, who came back to life on the holiday of Firstfruits. He is our Atonement on Yom Kippur, etc.
The Messiah in Yom Kippur ?- What is this all about ?
Purpose of the Sacrifices and the Day of Atonement ( Yom Kippur)
Believers in Christ ( Both Jews and non Jews) know that Yeshua has provided our atonement.
…for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua. (Rom. 2:23-24)
God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. Yeshua’s death fills full our understanding of the atonement based on the Temple sacrifice n Jerusalem. The book of/Hebrews explains the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement as a pattern of the atoning work of Messiah. Yeshua is our high priest, and His blood on Mount Moriah is seen as symbolized in the blood of bulls and goats. As the high priest of the First Covenant entered the Holy of Holies with the blood of his sacrificial system, so Yeshua entered heaven itself to appear before Hashem on behalf of His people /Hebrews 9:11-12).
",.....Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself...." Leviticus 16: 3-11
The Mishkan ( Holy of Holiest) was designed, in part, to teach us that sin hindered access to the presence of God. Only the high priest, and he only once a year, could enter the Holy of Holies, and then not without taking blood offered to cover sins (Messianic Jews/Hebrews 9:7). Messianic Jews/Hebrews notes that the Levitical offerings could effect only the purification of the flesh. They ceremonially cleansed the sinner, but they could not bring about inward cleansing, the prerequisite for fellowship with God. Just as the high priest had to be sinless to enter the Holy of Holies and live, so Yeshua had to be sinless to live after He entered the grave.
A New High Priest
But Messiah having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh: how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Messianic Jews/Hebrews 9:11-14)
The high priest had to offer sin offerings each year for his own sins and the sins of the people. This annual repetition of the sacrifices served as a reminder that perfect atonement had not yet been provided. Yeshua, however, through His own blood effected eternal redemption for His people.
The First Covenant offerings served as a pattern and a prophecy of Yeshua, who, through His better sacrifice, cleanses the conscience from dead works (Messianic Jews/Hebrews 9:13-14). God always determined what was an acceptable offering and what was not. He finally provided His Son, the Lamb of God, as the sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 1:19; 3:16).
The moment Yeshua died, the veil of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51). The earth quaked beneath men’s feet. This event is important because it established Yeshua as being the new High Priest and Lamb of God. Yeshua, through a new and living way has entered heaven itself, the true Holy of Holies, where He ever lives to make intercession for His people. The believer need not stand afar off, as did the Israelite of old, but may now through Messiah approach the very Throne of God. Yes, it is now possible for each of us to have direct access to God through the blood of Yeshua HaMashiach.
The Two Goats
After purifying the holy place and the altar of burnt offering with the mingled blood of the bullock, the High Priest went to the eastern side of the court in front of the Temple. Facing him were two identical goats. Nearby was a lottery box especially designed for this ceremony. In the box were two tablets (lots). One bore the name “For God,” the other “For azazel” (the scapegoat). The high priest shook the box and withdrew the tablets, putting one tablet in front of each goat. The goat labeled “for God” was sacrificed. The priest laid his hands upon the goat’s head labeled “for azazel” and confessed over it the sins of the people. The scapegoat symbolically bore the sins of the nation of Israel away from the people. This goat, commonly called the scapegoat, was then driven into the desert.
In the same way Yeshua was brought before Pilate and stood before the people just as He was about to be led forth, bearing the iniquities of the people. These two goats were required for one sacrifice (Leviticus 16:17, 21-22). Both sacrifices were fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua. How can resurrection be portrayed in a sacrifice? By using two animals, one killed, the other set free, representing Yeshua’s death and resurrection.
And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:7-10)
And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:18, 22)
Tradition based on Isaiah 1:18 states that a cord of red wool was tied on the horn of the scapegoat, before it was let go in the wilderness. When the red wool turned white, it was a sign that God forgave the people’s sin.
Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isa. 1:18)
The Priests used to bind a shining crimson strip of cloth on the outside door of the Temple. If the strip of cloth turned into the white color, they would rejoice; if it did not turn white they were full of sorrow and shame. (B.Tulmid Tractate Yoma 67a)
The great sages teach that the Shechinah glory of God left the Temple forty years prior to its destruction. Three signs occurred to show evidence of this:
1. The western candle of the menorah refused to burn continually. 2. The doors of the Temple would open of themselves. 3. The red wool no longer turned white supernaturally. This is especially significant because it indicated that God was no longer forgiving the sins of His people. The people were sorrowful because they began to realize more and more that the sacrifice of Yom Kippur did not have the power to cleanse their sinful hearts. That very year Yeshua started His ministry, the very year that the blood of bulls and goats was no longer accepted as a sacrifice for the atonement of sin.
These days are most likely a picture of the Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah, Feast of Trumpets), the Judgment of National Israel (the Tribulation, Yom Kippur), and the second coming and Kingdom (Sukkot). The Messiah made two promises before He returned to our Father. He would send the Comforter (Shavuot, Pentecost) and He would come again.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3)
The Bible clearly states Yeshua will return immediately after the Great Tribulation.
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. (Mark 13:24-26)
The apostle Kefa (Peter) wrote about this awesome Day of Judgment. He declared:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are in it shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. (2 Peter 3:10-13)
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:31-34)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
In the coming judgment, there is forgiveness and mercy and grace to those who have already received Yeshua the Messiah our Lord and Savior, Who gave His life as a ransom for us! Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2) Needs: Our total Fall budget for Mission stands at $30,000. This fund is needed from October 1st to December 31st 2014 to run our mission activities in the South Sudan. . To donate to on line place go to www.opertionsnehemiah.org The Beth Israel Farmhouse Project :. The time has come to build a home and storage warehouse in the Beth Israel farmland beginning in the later part of 2014. Our vision is to be able to accommodate both our family and an additional 3 - 4 families at a time, including both missionaries and the families of our ground staff to allow for full time engagement in farm operations. Please keep this exciting development in prayer. The Beth Israel Farmhouse project stands at $87,000.00. We have already received a pledge from anonymous donor for $40,000 to jump start the construction in the next two months ahead. If you are interested to help us match this money please give us a call. Thank you for standing with as we rebuild the wall in the Republic of South Sudan. May God bless you in His service. "May the Lord Richly bless you and keep you..." Numbers 6: 24 " Be strong and courageous." Joshua 1: 9 As part of our home education, we have redesigned Operation Nehemiah Missions' website. I invite you to check it out at www.opertionsnehemiah.org. People are finding it easy to maneuver their way through it. Your feedback is welcomed.
"May the Lord Richly bless you and keep you.... ." number 6; 24 " Be strong and courageous." Joshua 1: 9
God Bless In His grace William Levi, Founder & Overseer Operation Nehemiah Missions PO Box 563 Laneborough MA 01237 www.operationsnehemiah.org 413-770-4711