Most people identify Hanukkah celebrations with being Jewish. And with eight days of lighting an extra-long menorah (chanukkiah), eating extra oily potatoes (latkes), playing a game using Hebrew letters (Dreidel), it’s no wonder.
But don’t let its Jewish symbols fool you. Hanukkah is the perfect celebration for anyone who’s ever wished for good to overcome evil, a minority of principled people to triumph over a powerful, oppressive empire, a restoration of crushed cultural traditions, a chance to clear out the bad memories and start anew, and recommit to living by their values and beliefs. (more…)
This year the Feast of Trumpets (also called Rosh Hashanah) begins on the evening of September 14, 2015. We put aside our work and gather with other believers, share a meal, blow our shofar, present an offering and worship just as Yehovah commanded us in Leviticus 23.
But Leviticus 23:24 also tells us this is to be “a day of complete rest for remembering.” Remembering what, it doesn’t say. In fact none of the references to the Feast of Trumpets tell us what we’re remembering.
To get some perspective, let’s go back in time about 3,500 years when the observance of this day was first commanded. (more…)
Esther – Queen of Persia, intercessor for the Jews before the King, and the one for whom the book of Esther is written. Understandably, as the heroine of the story, most discussions of the book are meant to inspire people to emulate her. But how many people are going to get the chance to be a queen, and in a position to intercede for their people in front of a king? Re-reading the story this year, I realized Mordecai’s role in the whole affair is probably a more realistic picture of what people in any position could aspire to. (more…)
In my first blog about Hanukkah, I explored how the Hanukkah candles symbolize our light in the world and how we partner with God to bring light to the darkness. Our focus was on Isaiah 60:1-3. As I continued my research into the Hebrew words used in Isaiah 60:1, it gave me a deeper understanding into my true power as a light in the world.
Isaiah 60:1 reads, “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.” In a literal Hebrew translation, this would read: “Arise-you! light-up-you! That he-came light-of you and glory-of Yahweh on you he-is-radiant.”
The Hebrew seemed to be a much stronger statement, especially the idea that Yahweh is radiant upon us. (more…)
Counting the Omer – most are familiar with the culmination of the count, which is Pentecost, also called the Festival of Weeks. “Weeks” is taken from the Hebrew word “shavuot” and refers to the seven weeks that precede Pentecost. Leviticus 23:15 tells us to count the weeks between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost:
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”
It’s called “Counting the Omer” because the omer was the unit of measure used in this counting process of tracking the grain harvest.
In 2016, the Feast of First Fruits occurs on Sunday, April 24th. Pentecost occurs on June 12th, seven weeks or 50 days later – thus the name Pentecost.
For the past few years, I’ve kept count of the 50 days, although not understanding why. I was like a child – obeying my Father because he’s my Father. As with all the Feasts, God has been faithful to teach me little by little each year in accordance with my desire for His revelation. One year brought insights about the count that I had never seen or heard of in my research. (more…)
In Leviticus 23:15 God instructs us to count the seven weeks (49 days) that occur before the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day) also called the Festival of Weeks and Shavuot in Hebrew. But counting days with no explanation? Why would this be important to God and to us?
For the Israelites, it pertained mainly to their harvest cycle and offerings to be presented. For us living after the time of Yeshua, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, we can see the spiritual implications of this count. We know that on the 50th day after Yeshua’s resurrection, something unimaginably wonderful happened: The pouring out of the Holy Spirit not only on the disciples, but on all those who come to faith in Yeshua as the Messiah! The implications of that day reverberate even stronger in these last of the last days. The 50th day is one I want to be prepared for every year. (more…)
This 3-part blog series focuses on the Lord’s instruction in Leviticus 23:15 to count the seven weeks (49 days) that occur before the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day) also called the Festival of Weeks and Shavuot in Hebrew. For the Israelites, the count was about the harvest, thus the word “omer” which was a unit of measure used to count and track grain harvests. Yeshua taught us the spiritual meaning of “harvest” as those ready to receive the good news of the Messiah (Matt 9:37). That’s what the third phase of counting the omer is about.
The first two phases prepare us for what’s about to happen on the 50th day and beyond. (more…)