Monday, April 29, 2013


The Psalms are a source of great encouragement and comfort to the child of God.  In the Psalms one can often find a reflection of the thoughts of your own heart as well as a right response to those thoughts when they mirror an attitude of discouragement or defeat.  This is just such a psalm.

Psalm 11:1 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?

The Hebrew for the word trust is referencing YHWH, the self-existent eternal God, as the One to whom David “flees for protection.”  Evidently, the Psalmist is responding to his advisor(s) who is/are recommending that David flee to the mountains for safety.  We aren’t told the specific time in David’s life that brought about the writing of this Psalm, but it must have been a time when he was in danger such as when he was fleeing from Saul.  In David’s mind, he needs no other protection than that which YHWH provides.  It is a powerful statement of faith.

Psalm 11:2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.

In this verse David is making a statement about cowardly wicked men who make sneak attacks upon innocent, upright men.  This sure brings to mind the way the terrorists of today act.  David was not a perfect man by any means, but he was secure in his relationship to the Lord.  He knew that he was an upright man in heart; his desire was to do the things pleasing to the Lord.  Scripture affirms that his assessment was valid.

Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

Psalm 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

David knew that if he could not live his life according to the faith in God that he claimed as his support and purpose for living, then he was living a lie.  If God is not the refuge and protection of the man of faith, that man is on his own against the attacks of wicked men.

Psalm 11:4-5a The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.  The LORD trieth the righteous:

David is confident that Almighty God is on His throne in the temple in heaven. This tells me that he understood the truth that was depicted in the design of the tabernacle/temple.  This is another statement of the righteousness, power and authority of God our Creator.  The “holy temple” speaks of His holy and righteous character, while the throne speaks of His power and authority.  God is aware of the actions of mankind and maintains sovereign control over His creation.

Context reveals that God’s testing references His dealings with men of faith.  The Hebrew for trieth makes reference to being examined and proven.  God is the One in authority.  He doesn’t cause wicked men to act wickedly, but it is only by His permission that their wickedness can be directed against the man of faith.  Is this proving something to God about that man of faith?  No; He knows all about us—even the thoughts and intents of our heart. 

1Chronicles 28:9 …for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts…

It is an opportunity for a man or woman to grow in their faith as they trust God to bring about His purpose through that time of testing. 

When the Lord tests a man, it is equated with His love for that person.   Why would that be?  Because He is working to produce growth in our faith in Him, which in turn will result in our living better lives in obedience to Him.  Just like any good parent, God desires His children to be the best that they can be and for them to store up “treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).”  The fact that testing is ascribed to the Lord, indicates that He is in control of the type, duration and intensity of the testing allowed.  He knows what His child can endure and just how much is needed to accomplish His purpose(s) for that testing.  When God tries us, He is putting us through a refining fire that is meant to purify us and make us more like Him.

When we consider the subject of God’s testing of men, I think we usually think about it in the terms of the individual who is placed in the crucible.  What I have learned through the years is that God’s testing of an individual is most often also a test for many others who are connected to that individual.  For example, Job’s companions learned from the trials of Job’s testing just as surely as he did. They found out they didn’t know as much as they thought they did.  Joseph’s brothers learned a very important spiritual truth because Joseph was tested--God is always in control.

Job 42:7-8 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

Genesis 45:4-5 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Psalm 11:4-5b … but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

When one is wicked and loves violence, he is identified as an enemy (from the Hebrew for hates) of God.  Scripture is very clear about the things that God hates.

Proverbs 6:16-18 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Note that this list includes more than overt actions; it includes the attitudes and intents of the heart.

Psalm 11:6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

The terms “fire and brimstone” make me think of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and of the lake of fire.

Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven…

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The “horrible tempest” seems to be a reference to God’s anger.  The “portion of their cup” seems to be a reference to a lethal dose of God’s anger.

Psalm 11:7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

Just as scripture is clear about what God hates; it is clear about what He loves. 
Psalm 37:28 For the LORD loveth judgment…
Psalm 87:2 The LORD loveth the gates of Zion…
2Corinthians 9:7 … for God loveth a cheerful giver.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…
John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son…
John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.  
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth…

Righteousness includes everything that is right, morally virtuous, pure and holy as defined in the word of God.  Although God hates the wicked (involves willful action and/or thinking), He loves the sinner (the condition of all men before God); in fact, He loves the sinner so much that He sent His Son Jesus as the Redeemer.  He loves His Son Jesus and everyone who loves His Son.  He loves those He chastens; if He didn’t care, He wouldn’t bother.

When God looks down upon the upright, the righteous, He is pleased (from the Hebrew for behold).  He may not always be pleased with some of our actions, but He is pleased with our desire to serve Him and obey Him.  He is pleased with a repentant and broken spirit when we fail.  He is pleased with our desire to share His truth with others.  He is pleased to see us exhibit faith in His love and His word--not doubt.  He is pleased when we show love to others—especially our enemies.

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you….

I was talking to my granddaughters recently about the Boston bombers.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear them say that we should pray for the one who is still alive.  They understood that this doesn’t mean that we want him or any other terrorist to get away with his sin; it means that we are trying to connect to the heart of God and trust Him to bring about righteous judgment.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Psalm 101 - A Blueprint for Peace

Psalms 101:1 ¶ I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.

As shown by so many psalms, the David’s music centered around his thoughts of God—as the Creator and Sovereign of the universe, as the God of Israel, and as His personal Lord and Savior.  His songs were basically a result of his prayers put to music. 

In this Psalm David expresses how he plans to honor God with how he acts based on the motives of his heart.  If we would all choose to act accordingly, peace would be a natural by-product.

Psalms 101:2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

This verse is an expression of David’s commitment to behave with intelligence, wisdom and integrity.  The question in the middle of the verse seems to indicate that David is experiencing a time of testing in which He is waiting for God to act on his behalf.  I think this is an apt description of many of us in God’s family today with respect to the times in which we live.  The rule of evil is growing ever stronger and putting true Christians to the test.

I got the idea that David is trying to encourage God to act by promising to live before Him with a “perfect heart.”  The Hebrew for “perfect” makes reference to moral innocence and integrity.  He understands that it is who we are in private that best testifies to who we really are.

I decided to see what Webster had to say about integrity:  The state or quality of being entire or complete….Moral soundness; honesty; freedom from corrupting influence or motive….purity.”  As Jesus so carefully explained in His teaching on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7), God is looking at our actions as the outworking of our motives.  David is declaring his intent to live righteously and without deceit before God in his home.  We all know that to maintain our righteousness at home is harder even than projecting a false righteousness before the world.  Family is the first to be able to spot insincerity and/or deceitfulness in our actions. 

Psalms 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

I think scripture very strongly warns us that temptation often comes to us through our eyes.  It certainly played a part in Eve falling for Satan’s lies.

Genesis 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat….”

Proverbs 27:20 “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

David is committed to avoiding temptation by controlling what he chooses to put before his eyes; he is being proactive in guarding his heart.  I have made a similar commitment in later years that I sure wish I had made when I was younger.  It is so hard in today’s culture to keep that commitment.  Our entertainment industry is crafted around appealing to the lust of the eyes and the flesh.  Even if you are discerning about what you watch on television, you still have to deal with the commercials that utilize the same tactic of appealing to the lust of the eyes and the flesh. 

David was motivated by a sincere hatred of the wickedness of those that choose to turn aside from God’s commands (and embrace what is wicked is the implication).  He is determined not to let such wickedness become a part of his life.  He wants his life to be above reproach.

It is important to note that David is declaring hatred for the sin, but not for the sinner.  That is in accordance with the heart of God.

Psalms 101:4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.

A “froward heart” is a reference to being “distorted…false…perverse.”  It is evidenced by deliberate choices to embrace what is evil with a stubborn heart and rebellious spirit.  David is determined that this will never be a description of him.  He is determined not to have intimate fellowship with those who have such hearts.

Psalms 101:5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

David is determined not to tolerate those who would secretly slander his neighbor.  Only cowards and/or those with immoral motives would make such accusations.  Isn’t it interesting that he connects those who slander with those who are proud and arrogant?  He is determined not to tolerate such people in his administration.

Psalms 101:6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.

David desires that his kingdom be a place strengthened by those who are faithful to God and whose hearts are morally pure, honest and without deceit.  He expects those who serve to do so with sincerity and integrity.

I was reminded of the words of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

David embraced this principle.

Psalms 101:7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
Psalms 101:8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.

David is determined that the wicked and deceitful not be allowed to serve in the palace; those who are liars will not be tolerated.  His determination is to rid Israel of those who have rejected serving God and chosen to live in sin and rebellion against Him.  He wants Jerusalem to be a city of and for the faithful and obedient who accept God as LORD.  I think this is basically a statement of committing to dispense righteous judgment as king.

Though David would prove to fall short in light of these commitments, he always responded with a heart of repentance and renewed obedience while maintaining his faith in his LORD.  He is identified in scripture as a “man after God’s own heart.”

Acts 13:22 “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”

As I looked back over this psalm, I thought how wonderful it would be if our government in America and the governments of other nations operated with these guidelines.
  • To act with wisdom and integrity
  • To hate what is evil and wicked according to God’s word
  • To limit service to those of moral character according to God’s word
  • To be intolerant of slander
  • To disqualify for service those who lie or are deceitful
  • To judge with righteous judgment according to the principles of God’s word

I am convinced this will never be the norm until the Lord returns to establish His kingdom.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Although not identified here, David is declared to be the author of this Psalm in Acts.

Acts 4:25 “Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?”

Psalm 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

“Heathen” is a reference to the Gentile peoples.  The Hebrew indicates that the Psalmist is referencing a time when the Gentiles are eagerly plotting something that is doomed to failure?  The following verses define the plan.

Psalm 2:2-3 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

The rulers of the nations are plotting against “the LORD” and His anointed, the Messiah, Jesus.  They are planning to make a way to be free from His restraining and controlling hand. 

This is an interesting thought in and of itself.  It means that there is a time yet future, since I don’t think this has ever been true in history before (except maybe at the time of the tower of Babel) when the nations of the world have recognized God as the ruling power in the world and have united in an effort to usurp His authority.  History records how they have strongly rejected His very existence.

The most logical reference to their planning in my mind would be regarding the final battle of Armageddon, since God’s chosen King is going to be placed on the throne and given authority over the whole earth subsequent to His defeat of the Gentile nations.

Psalm 2:4-5 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

The One Who dwells in the heavens, the Lord God, will look on them with scorn and mockery.  My paraphrase of His thoughts:  Who do they think they are to think they can overpower Me?

The Hebrew for the word “speak” includes “to subdue or destroy.”  The word “vex” includes the idea of causing fear.  The key is that the Lord is going to cause fear and destruction when He responds in anger to the Gentile nations when they attempt to overpower Him.

Psalm 2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

In God’s eyes His victory is certain and is declared as already accomplished.  He has set His king upon Zion, the temple mount in Jerusalem, the place He has chosen to dwell with His people on earth. 

Zechariah 8:3 & 22 “Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain…. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.”

Psalm 2:7-9 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Now we have Jesus the Son, speaking the decree of His Father.  It would seem that the Father is declaring the fulfillment of all He had planned for His Son being brought to fruition as He places Him on the throne in Jerusalem as King and Lord.

 “Ask of me” – This was interesting wording to me.  It is a father’s joy to bless his child.  The Son is aware of the Father’s plan and His place in it.  He can ask with confidence and assurance that the Father will delight in fulfilling His desire. 

Interestingly, the Hebrew for the word “possession” includes the idea of something seized.  The sin of man allowed Satan to assume the title of “god of this world.”

2Corinthians 4:4a “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…”

Though allowed to continue for the time allotted to accomplish God’s plan of redemption, Jesus will “seize” possession once again when He comes in victory to rule as King of kings.  At Armageddon the heathen will be thoroughly destroyed like a piece of pottery that has been broken into many tiny pieces.

Psalm 2:10-12 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

The Psalmist is closing with words of advice and wisdom for those in positions of earthly authority and judgment.  Think carefully on what is about to be said.  Let it serve to chasten you and correct your actions.

“Serve the Lord with fear” – This statement implies that the rulers and judges have not been serving the Lord. They have not respected His power and authority.  The thought of God’s power should cause us to tremble in fear at the thought of ever being disobedient.  When we serve the Lord with a proper respect and awe of Who He is, we are in a position to be able to rejoice because we are in a position of fellowship instead of disobedience.

It is really sad and even scary to think of how little fear of God there is in this world and our own nation—and, if we are honest, even in our own lives.  If we truly feared God, our actions would certainly be more selfless, loving and God-centered.  Our words would be more thoughtful, uplifting, and full of praise to God.  If we truly feared God, we would be intent on serving Him.

I thought the Hebrew for the word “kiss” was interesting.  It included the idea of attachment to and catching fire.  This paints a picture to me of one who is extreme in his desire to stay connected to and in fellowship with the Son, Jesus, the King.  Why?  Not only does he have a healthy fear of His power and authority, he passionately loves Him. 

The last phrase in this Psalm makes an immediate connection to Psalm 1.  Happy is the man who places his trust in the Lord.  Trust involves expectation of protection and confidence of having a place of refuge and safety.  How do we get to such a position?  By delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night.

The more I read the scripture, the more clearly I see the inspiration of the Holy Spirit throughout it.  Why would these thoughts be expressed by David unless they were breathed into him by the Spirit of God?  Very little of it seemed to apply to David’s rule as king in Israel.  He was aware of his position as God’s anointed King for the nation of Israel, and he did experience attack from the heathen.  He was confident of security in his position because he trusted in the power and authority of Almighty God.  He did serve the Lord in fear and was able to rejoice because of it.  David was prophesying of the time when Jesus would sit in Jerusalem as King over all the earth.  Did he understand the significance of what he was saying?  I don’t know, but he was obedient to the prompting of the Spirit to record this prophecy.

Oh that the leaders of America would heed the admonition of the Psalmist and serve the Lord with fear.  Oh that they would attach themselves with fervor to the Son.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


In these pictures taken at the Morikami Gardens you will find a prayer promise and a declaration of the desire of the psalmist that should be mirrored in every Christian's heart.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


These are another couple of cards from our day at Morikami Gardens.  May you be blessed by the truth of God's word.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


My husband and I spent a relaxing day at the Morikami Japanese Gardens recently.  I thought I would share a few more original scripture cards depicting God's word framed in the beauty of His creation.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


This will be the final post regarding the feasts of Israel and their relation to bible prophecy. 

Leviticus 23:27 & 32 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD….It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

The Day of Atonement is also designated as a Sabbath day.  As noted in the previous post, time has been allowed since the blowing of the trumpets on Rosh Hoshanah to assess one’s spiritual condition and get right with God.  If done sincerely, I do not believe that anyone would find himself without reproach and the need for repentance.  It is a time for humbling oneself before Almighty God. 

It is on this day, only once each year, the High Priest would put on his special garments to enter the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of every person in Israel.  As part of this ritual, two goats were presented at the temple, and lots were cast to determine which goat would be sacrificed for the sins of the people.  The other goat was designated the scapegoat and would be taken away and released in the wilderness, a picture of the removal of their sin for that year.

When Jesus was sacrificed for our sins, He served as the final sacrifice for sin that fulfilled that was typified by both goats.   He ushered in the New Covenant that provides salvation by grace through faith.  I think that it is likely on the Day of Atonement that Jesus will return to institute the New Covenant with the believing remnant of the people of Israel as foretold by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel.  From that time forward “all Israel will be saved” as foretold by Paul.

Jeremiah 31:31–34 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel….I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Ezekiel 36:26–28 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

Romans 11:26–27 “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

This day also marked that final harvest of the year, the fruit harvest.  So too I believe it will mark the final “ingathering” of the people of Israel to dwell in their nation with Jesus as their King as foretold by the prophets.

Isaiah 43:1, 5&6 “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine…. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
Jeremiah 23:3–6 “And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Ezekiel 11:17 “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”

Leviticus 23:34-35 & 39 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein…. Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

The fifteenth day of the month, five days after the Day of Atonement, marked the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles—a feast that was to continue for seven days.  This feast is also known as the Feast of Booths and the Feast of Ingathering.  The first day of the feast is designated a Sabbath, and the eighth day that followed the last day of the feast was also designated a Sabbath. 

Leviticus 23:40-43 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

During this feast the people were to build booths made out of tree branches and live in them for the duration of the feast.  This was to serve as a reminder of how their ancestors lived in tents, temporary dwellings, during their wilderness wanderings on the way to the Promised Land.  During that time they followed the leadership of God through His presence in the cloud, and He met their every need.

I agree with those who say that this feast is a picture of the joy that redeemed Israel—and all others on earth that accept Jesus as their King—will experience during the Millennium.  They will enjoy the presence of the King as He rules over them as their Good Shepherd in anticipation of eternity and the new heavens and earth.

The prophet Zechariah tells us that this feast will be celebrated by all nations throughout the Millennium.  That is because this time people from all nations of the world will be a part of that multitude anticipating the eternal Promised Land.

Zechariah 14:16 “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

Monday, April 8, 2013


As we continue our study of the feasts of Israel, we come to the Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost.

Leviticus 23:15-18 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.

Seven Sabbaths and one day (50 days) from the day of Firstfruits was designated as the Feast of Weeks that marked the end of the grain harvest and the end of the Spring feast season.  This day was also to be observed as a Sabbath.  The Jews commemorate this day as that in which God gave them the law, the Ten Commandments.  It’s interesting to note that this offering included two wave loaves baked with leaven. 

Scripture records that the church was birthed on Pentecost.

Acts 2:1–4 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Maybe the two loaves pointed to two distinct groups of sinners redeemed by the grace of God—Israel and the Gentiles.  The fact that it is also a Sabbath could picture the “rest” we have in our salvation since Christ fulfilled the law and saves us by His grace.

Hebrews 4:9–10 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”

Ephesians 2:8–9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Leviticus 23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

In light of the offerings connected to the harvest, Moses once again reminds the people that they were not to thoroughly reap the harvest.  They were to leave gleanings to provide for the poor and those that were strangers in the land.  The Lord places great importance on providing for the poor and needy, and the following verses from Isaiah clearly picture God’s heart in this regard.

Isaiah 58:6–11 “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?  Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

Leviticus 23:24-25 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

With these verses our attention is turned to the fall feasts.  The first day of the seventh month represents the beginning of Israel’s civil calendar, the Jewish New Year that marks the passage of time.  Jewish tradition holds that this day marks the day of creation.  This day is also designated as a Sabbath.

It is interesting to note that this day is marked by the blowing of trumpets in light of the fact that New Testament scripture reveals that the rapture will be preceded by the blowing of a trumpet.

1 Corinthians 15:51–52 “Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

It’s also interesting to note in light of the words of Jesus (speaking of His return)…

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

…that this is the only feast that depends upon a sighting of the new moon and is given a two-day window of possibility; thus, one could not predict the day or hour.  I must admit that my anticipation picks up a little bit more each year at this time in light of that possible connection.

The blowing of the trumpets serves as a reminder that the Day of Atonement is approaching.  The intervening days provide a time of self-evaluation and an opportunity to repent of one’s sins in light of the coming judgment of God.   I believe that the rapture will happen in close proximity to the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel known as the tribulation.  The rapture, like the blowing of the trumpets, will signal an opportunity for self-evaluation and to repent of one’s sins in light of coming judgment.  God will even send two miracle-working prophets and will send out 144,000 Jewish witnesses to declare the truth of His word and the message of salvation for at least the first half of that 7-year period.

(to be continued…)