Posts Tagged With: Rosh HaShanah

The Change of the Year

The Eight Day

Gen. 1:4-5 (NASB) God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

 The first six months on Adonai’s calendar includes all of His moedim (feast days) and the primary part of the agricultural year when the various harvests are reaped. This is compared to the Light or the Day. As the last Great Day of the Feast (8thday), this is both the “end” or “going out” of the year, and the beginning of a new cycle.

Ex. 23:16 (KJV) And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

Ex. 34:22 (TLV) “You are to observe the Feast of Shavuot, which is the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, as well as the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.

Dt. 14:28 (NASB) “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. (Context of previous verses places this in the fall.)

Dt. 31:10-11 (NASB) Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing.

Rather than arguing that the above verses are in competition with the Head of Months or the Biblical New Year in Nisan (Aviv – Ex. 12:2), Tishrei marks a change or turn of the year in a different way. There is no contradiction in Abba’s Word. He says what He means and means what He says. The only fault is man’s understanding and limited logic (especially in the west with dominant Greek thinking).

The sixth month is akin to the erev (evening) of the day, when it is growing dark, a time for rest. In Genesis chapter one, each day begins with darkness or the evening. Thus, it should be no surprise that the greater cycles of new moons (months) and years begin the same way. Even the first verses of the Bible depict this truth. First there was darkness, chaos, formlessness, then Light and order.

Gen. 1:1-3 (NASB) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Our Creator is a God of order, cycles, and patterns. Those that teach cycles contrary to His order (changing the timing of the day starts, weeks, months, and years) are deceived and so they deceive. While they might think they’ve stumbled upon some “new” light or revelation, they have fallen for the folly of darkness, seeking to draw others to themselves like a moth to the flame.

One of the appellations for Rosh HaShanah or Yom Yeruah (Trumpets) is Yom HaKeseh or the Hidden Day. Things hidden can be compared to darkness, just like the darker night one experiences during the new moon sliver, which this festival celebrates. Sadly, the physical darkness (new moon) of this hearld of the fall feasts, has become a point of confusion and controversy even in name and observance. Do you think this is a coincidence?

The fall feasts look forward to the coming return of Messiah, resurrection, and the Day of the Lord. All of these glorious things, including the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah and the Throne of God are associated with darkness.[1]BUT, this is not to be confused with evil. There is a hiddenness, a concealment, a covering, cloudiness in this season. Like the erevof the evening, there is a mixture of light and darkness.

In the erev, it is harder for humans to see in the natural. We should expect no less to be true in the spiritual. Thus, I encourage you not to get involved with the many disputes that arise at this season. They are fruitless deceptions dressed in false humility, righteousness, and holiness.

If the first six months of the year are the light or daytime of the year, then the coming six months of the year are a time of night or darkness. Creation is a witness to this truth. The trees and plants release their leaves to rest and prepare for a new “day” in the spring. Some animals go into hibernation, a deep sleep, awaiting the “day.” In winter, there is less light, and (spiritual) food is more difficult to find unless one stored up treasures while it was still day (spring/summer/feast cycle).

Pondering upon these things, and considering the struggle many have in grasping hold of the “joy” that we are commanded to have during Sukkot, inspired this writing. Since this season should be marked by rejoicing and joy, one should expect to be tested in this area at Sukkot. I’ve spoken to several people that have a sense of foreboding, cloudy vision, and a bit of terror or worry because they are wrestling with finding “joy” right now. If you identify with this battle, I hope this post will encourage you. Just because we find ourselves in a battle with darkness, doesn’t always mean that we have sinned, are being punished, or have missed the mark.

Fear was the first emotion felt after the fall, so it will always be one’s first inclination in matters that appear “dark” or hidden to us (change, the unknown). Humans fear the dark, and the year is turning or changing toward the night at this season. If you sense a change, shift, or if your spirit seems to be in a state of “unrest,” perhaps it is due to the natural and spiritual rhythms of Adonai’s calendar. Do not despair. By looking at what the Bible says about light and darkness, we can gain confidence, encouragement, and insight into these coming months; and we can know that we have nothing to fear in the darkness.

The Dichotomy of Light & Darkness

On the surface, the difference between light and darkness is obvious. Light equals good and darkness equals bad. We are told that the Torah is a Light (Pr. 6:23), just as the Living Torah, Yeshua, is the Light (John 1, Luke 1:79). We are to be a light to the world just as our Master is the Light of the World (Mt. 5:14, John 8:12). If we are Messiah’s, then we are the children of light (Eph. 5:8)

The forces of darkness are evil, but God is the Light that pierces the darkness (John 1:5). Darkness is often equated with the lost, sin, ignorance (blindness), a troubled soul, sorrow, prison, trouble, pestilence, rebellion, death (the grave), evil, judgment, and stinginess. (Job 10:21, Ps. 82:5; Ps. 88, Ps. 91:6, Ps. 107: 10-14, Ps. 143:3, Pr. 2:13; 4:19, Ecc. 2:14; 5:17, Is. 5:30; 8:22; 29:18; 42:7; 59:9-10, Jer. 13:16; 23:12, Lam. 3:1-2, Ezek. 32:8, Amos 4:13, Mt. 6:23, etc.)

That seems black and white, easy peasy, light = good, darkness = bad, right? While most of the time this is true, it is not always the case. We must consider the entire counsel of God or we will make some grave errors in judgment, which leads to fear and condemnation.

Remember that we are in a fallen world where deception is prevalent and the enemy masquerades as an “angel (messenger) of light.” We live in a culture where there are those that who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter and deceive many. (Is. 5:20) This is why we so desperately need the wisdom and understanding from the Spirit of God.

Is Darkness Ever Good? 

When Abram received the covenant of pieces, it was EREV, when the sun was going down. As darkness approached, our father of the faith FELT horror and dread.

Gen. 15:12 (NKJV) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.

Obviously, this account was not evil, but it was ominous for Abram, though wonderful at the same time. When Adonai walked through the pieces, Abram was in a “deep sleep,” a prophetic state, an awesomeness. (For more on this, click here.) Normally, man sleeps when it is dark. But this is also a time when God speaks to man in dreams and visions. Sometimes dreams are terrifying. Do not be quick to assume that these are of the enemy.

Job 7:14 (NASB) Then You frighten me with dreams And terrify me by visions.

Job 33:14-18 (NASB) “Indeed God speaks once, Or twice, yet no one notices it. 15 “In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction, 17 That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride; 18 He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol.

Feeling horror or fear is not always an indicator of judgment or something evil. Abram was receiving the covenant and he was afraid! If the father of our faith felt fear when in the presence of HaShem, how much more so will we feel fear in His weighty presence?

Fallen man, including those that have been redeemed, often perceive God’s Presence as “darkness.” Not that it’s evil, but it is heavy and glorious (kavod), difficult to perceive, hidden- yet felt, cloudy and thunderous. In a word, it is AWESOME.

Ex. 20:20-21 (NKJV) 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.” 21  So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

Our God dwells in thick darkness. He speaks and gives His covenant from this cloudy mist! Moses reminds the children of this account in Deuteronomy.

Dt. 4:10-13 (NKJV) Especially concerning the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ 11 “Then you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the midst of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness. 12 And the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but saw no form; you only heard a voice. 13 So He declared to you His covenantwhich He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.

Dt. 5:22-24 (NKJV) “These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. 23 “So it was, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes and your elders. 24 And you said: ‘Surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice

“Luchot HaBrit” Painting by Kisha Gallagher 2018

from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.

David recalls this account this way:

2 Sam. 22:10-14 (NKJV) He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. 11 He rode upon a cherub, and flew; and He was seen upon the wings of the wind. 12 He made darkness canopies around Him, dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. 13 From the brightness before Him Coals of fire were kindled. 14 “The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice.

 Ps. 18:9-11 (NKJV) He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. 10 And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

 This kind of darkness depicts how God and His Throne are concealed from man. He is unknowable and difficult to perceive; and yet, He chooses to reveal Himself, His voice, His covenant, His Torah, because He loves us. The darkness that surrounds Him protects us from being consumed by the brilliance of His glory and righteousness.

Ps. 97:1-2 (NKJV) The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad! 2 Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

Seeds grow while buried in the darkness of earth. Beasts and mankind grow in the dark waters of the womb. Adonai, the Great Sower and Giver of Life, knows each one as they form and mature to sprout from the ground and burst from the womb. Dark places are where life grows!

Ps. 139:12-13 (NKJV) Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. 13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.

Is. 45:3-7 (NKJV) I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

4  For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

5  I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,

6  That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other;

7  I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.’

Hidden things, secret things, concealed things are all a type of darkness. These things are like treasures buried in the earth, formed by great heat and pressure, priceless jewels and metals awaiting the time that one will carve them out of the dirt, stones, and mountains. Once polished and cut to precision, what was once concealed in deep darkness shines and sparkles with the ability to refract glorious light. This is what good teachers, like the Chazal, do for us. They take what was a rough, dull, and cloudy stone, and turn into a prism that refracts the light into streams that we can glean from and understand, so we are transformed and renewed.

Dan. 2:22-23 (NKJV) He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. 23 “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

Is. 42:16 (NKJV) I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.

Do not fear the darkness. Do not fear the change that is in the air. Do not fear dreams of the night. This coming season is for digging into the dark depths to uncover what is concealed. Enter the dark cloud and let the Word wash and transform your face to reflect His glorious light.

Pr. 25:2-5 (NASB) It is the glory of God to conceal a matter (davar –word), But the glory of kings is to search out a matter (davar). 3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable. 4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith; 5 Take away the wicked before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.

This is the Eighth Day; an end and a beginning. The scroll of the davar (word) is rolled back to the Beginning. The cycle starts in the darkness in Genesis 1, and the erev of the year. But, it is faithful to the Creator’s rhythm of Light piercing the darkness, renewal, and revelation. Be altogether joyful!


[1]Consider Joel 2:2, Amos 5:18-20, Zeph. 1:15, also look up the revelation on Mt. Sinai, and the revealing of God’s Throne in the Book of Revelation. All involve darkness, clouds, and thunder.

 

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim, new moon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Month of Etanim (7th Month)

1 Kings 8:2 (NASB) All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.

The above verse is the only instance in the Bible where the seventh month or Tishrei is called by another name, Etanim. Interestingly, the context is King Solomon dedicating the permanent House or Temple of YHWH. I used the adjective “permanent” intentionally. The Temple’s predecessor, the Tabernacle or Mishkan, was a moveable tent-like dwelling. It moved, and the people followed. In other words, the dwelling place of Adonai was first characterized by “movement.” This recalls the first instance of the Holy Spirit in Genesis one, where the Ruach moves or hovers over the faces of the waters. God is not stationary or static.

However, the Dwelling Place that Solomon built was a fixed structure, a Bayit, a House. Building Abba’s House was the dream of King David, the Beloved.

2 Sam. 7:1-2 (NASB) Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, 2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.”

David, the man that spent many years on the run from King Saul, was finally settled. He must’ve felt a pang of guilt that he, the representative of the Kingdom, lived in a beautifully appointed house, while God, the King of the Universe, dwelled in a simple tent. God tells Nathan the prophet to report back to David:

2 Sam. 7:5-7 (NASB) “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? 6 “For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. 7 “Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'”‘

YHWH is not at all disturbed by His circumstances. The word translated above as “moving about” is the Hebrew word halak. This text literally says, “I have been walking in a tent and a tabernacle.”[1] God is moving, even in the tent. I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled to serve a God and King that MOVES and WALKS. He is not like the deaf and dumb idols of darkness.

But if that’s the case, wouldn’t building a “permanent” House for YHWH detract from this metaphor and the characteristic “movement” of the Holy Spirit from the beginning? After all, movement is the opposite of something permanent. Or is it?

Etanim is a significant term to use for the 7thmonth. I encourage you to read all of 1 kings chapter 8 for context, but also as a lesson for this season, the 7thmonth. Below, is Brown Driver Brigg’s definition of Etanim followed by Strong’s.

BDB Definition H388: איתנים ‘êythânı̂ym

Ethanim = “enduring”

1) seventh Jewish month, corresponding to modern Oct. to Nov.; so named because permanent streams still flowed.

Part of Speech: noun proper masculine A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: plural of H386

Strong’s H388 אֵיתָנִים’êythânı̂ym Plural of H386; always with the article; the permanent brooks; Ethanim, the name of a month: – Ethanim. Total KJV occurrences: 1

Word Study H388

H386 אֵיתָןēytān: A masculine noun indicating strength, permanence, endurance. Figuratively, it describes the usual, constant position of a stream or sea (Exo 14:27).

Etanim is the plural of eytan. The verbal root means to endure or to continue. Obviously, King Solomon’s desire was for the House of YHWH to perpetually endure, just as God promised King David that his house (dynasty/throne) would continue or endure. Allusions to eternity begin to form with this one well placed word.

The number seven also alludes to something eternal. It is the number of rest, Shabbat, completion, and dedication of the House (Temple). In the 2 Samuel passage quoted above, David was at rest (7) when he desired to build Adonai a House (7). Likewise, when King Solomon dedicates the House of YHWH, he and Israel are also at rest (7).

1 Kings 8:55-56 (NASB) And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying: 56 “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.

The seventh day and the seventh month are figures of the Messianic Age and Kingdom. Thus, the fall feast days in this season are prophetic of the same. The definitions of Etanim are just another hint to this truth. Permanence, strength, and endurance are true descriptors of the King and His Kingdom. But Etanim is also associated with moving water.

Moving water. Movement AND perpetuity. Ever-flowing springs. Rivers of Living Waters. There is no contradiction. YHWH’s permanent, stationary House is also moving. Out from His Throne flow rivers of water. This is Etanim. This is the seventh month, the turn of the year when the traditional water pouring ceremony takes place. But there is more.

Where is the first mention of water? In the very beginning.

Gen. 1:1-4 (NASB) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

At the foundation of the world, there was water, deep waters.

Job 38:4-7 (NASB) “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, 5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 6 “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The fullness of the seventh month is not just about the end, it is also about the beginning, because they are one. When the foundations of the earth were laid, the sons of Elohim shouted for joy. “Shouted” in Hebrew is ruah, the root of t’ruah, as in Yom T’ruah, the feast of trumpets or shouting.

Wisdom was with Elohim even before the deep waters, and she too, celebrated creation.

Pro. 8:22-31 (NASB) “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. 24 “When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. 27 “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary so that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.

Wisdom was rejoicing before YHWH. The Hebrew word for rejoice in the above verse is actually the word for laugh, shachak. In this context, her laugh was one of jubilation and celebration. It is used in a similar context in these verses:

Pro. 31:25 (TLV) Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come.

Jer. 30:18-19 (TLV) Thus says Adonai, “Indeed, I will return Jacob’s tents from exile, and have compassion on his dwellings… 19 Out of them will come thanksgiving and the sound of celebration. I will multiply them, so they will not decrease. I will also honor them, so they will not be insignificant.

 Jer. 31:4 (NKJV) Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.

The verses above are prophetically speaking about the end; whereas Wisdom was doing the same at the beginning. In the seventh month, we are told to rejoice. I pray that we can truly celebrate with Wisdom’s shachak (laughter), and not the mocking spirit that this word can also indicate.[2]

When the exiles from Babylon returned to the Land, Rosh Hashanah or Yom T’ruah was the first feast that they celebrated. I believe this was prophetic of what is to come in a future ingathering. Notice that they are standing at the “Water Gate,” an allusion to returning to the creation waters, and the foundation, Torah.

Neh. 8:1-3 (NASB) And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. 2 Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.

The text records the response of the people:

Neh. 8:9-12 (NASB) Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 All the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.

On the new moon of the 7thmonth, the people HEARD and UNDERSTOOD the Torah. They wept. I wonder how many exiles will not be able to hear or understand the Torah until YHWH gathers them again? And, I wonder even more if those that hear and understand the Torah now will respond as the Levites did.

The Levites calmed and quieted the tears of these grieved souls. Then, they encouraged them to go eat, drink, share with others, and celebrate the feast! We could learn a few things from Nehemiah and Ezra. This was truly a new beginning, a new moon, and a new year for the people. This is Etanim!

Ps. 36:8-9 (NKJV) They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. 9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Beloved, I pray that you will celebrate the beginning and the end, the enthronement of Adonai, the creation, you as a new creation, and that you will shout with joy at the River of Life in the month of Etanim. To YHWH be the glory!


[1]By the way, this same form of halak, mithalek, is used in Genesis 3:8:

“They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

[2]H7832 שָׂחַקśāḥaq: A verb meaning to laugh; to celebrate; to rejoice; to mock. It refers to a strong expression of joy: of celebration (Jer 30:19); of making merry, rejoicing (2Sa 6:5, 2Sa 6:21; Jer 15:17); it means to play, to sport, to have fun (Psa 104:26). But it is often used in a context where ridicule or mockery is directed at someone or something (Jdg 16:25). It is used in parallel with mocking (Pro 1:26). Great kings mocked at lesser kings (Hab 1:10). Samson was forced to serve as a tragic comedian for the Phplistines (Jdg 16:27). It is used figuratively of wisdom personified, laughing, rejoicing at God’s creation (Pro 8:30-31). The teacher taught that there is a time for genuine laughter (Ecc 3:4). It has the sense of playing, enjoying life, in some contexts, especially in the prophet’s vision of a restored people of God (Zec 8:5). It means to sing and indicates singing women (1Sa 18:7). It means to play a sport, to hold a contest or a match (2Sa 2:14). In its causative stem, it means to cause laughter toward persons, to mock them (2Ch 30:10).

Categories: Moedim, new moon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Awake, O’ Sleeper!


Song of Songs 5:2 (NASB) “I was asleep but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, My dove, my perfect one! For my head is drenched with dew, My locks with the damp of the night.’

One of the themes of Elul, especially leading up to Rosh Hashanah or Yom Teruah, is being aroused from sleep, a stupor, or mystically, from the grave. Yom Teruah, often dubbed the Feast of Trumpets, literally means “the day of the awakening blast.” While the ultimate manifestation of arising from “sleep” is bodily resurrection, other figurative or spiritual applications are equally valuable to our walk with Messiah.

I was blessed to have recently joined the ladies of “The Hidden Voice of Hadassah” on Messianic Lamb Radio. (Listen here.) AviGayle O’Hare mentioned a podcast she had made the previous week on Jonah. This intrigued me as Jonah is the haftarah on Yom Kippur, the end of the forty days of teshuvah. (You can listen here by clicking the title “You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide.”)

Sometimes, hearing the Word is different than reading the Word. When AviGayle read the words of Jonah chapter one, a particular section captured my attention. (See the bolded text below.)

Jonah 1:3-6 (NASB) But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4 The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.6 So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god.Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

When Jonah flees the commandment or Word of YHWH to go to Nineveh, he boards a ship headed to Tarshish. Because of his disobedience, Adonai caused a storm with great winds to threaten the ship and its occupants. Despite this dire circumstance, Jonah falls into a “sound sleep” below deck.

Have you ever been on a ship at sea during a storm? I’ve been on a cruise ship that avoided the worst of a storm, but the waves still managed to cause us to rock and sway far more than was comfortable. Many grew deathly sea sick. Sleep eluded most people until the waters calmed. So, how is it that when the rest of the crew was awake and panicked, that Jonah fell into a sound sleep and managed to stay in that condition? We will come back to this question later. First, let’s examine sleep in the Bible and let the Word interpret itself.

The Creator sovereignly chose to create mankind with the ability and NEED for sleep. On average, we sleep about a third of lives. That is a massive chunk of time! Getting a good night’s rest improves one’s cognitive abilities and decreases the likelihood of disease and sickness. According to various scientific studies, someone lacking sleep is equivalent to a drunk. Judgment skills and motor function are severely impaired.[1]We NEED sleep. True rest rejuvenates and restores one’s mind, body, emotions, and spirit. Perhaps this is why the Hebrew word for dream, chalom, is nearly the same as shalom in spelling and meaning. But, that’s a topic for another post.

The Hebrew words for normal sleep are yashen and shenah.

Strong’s H3462 יָשֵׁןyâshên A primitive root; properly to be slack or languid, that is, (by implication) sleep (figuratively to die); also to grow old, stale or inveterate: – old (store), remain long, (make to) sleep. Total KJV occurrences: 19

Strong’s H8142 שֵׁנָא  שֵׁנָה shênâh (The second form used in Psa 127:2); from H3462; sleep: – sleep. Total KJV occurrences: 23

While Strong’s links these two words together and suggests that the latter (shenah) is rooted in the former (yashen), there is another possibility that I find quite intriguing, particularly in relation to the season of teshuvah and the upcoming feast of Yom Teruah or Rosh Hashanah. Carefully look at H8142 above. Now, look at the Hebrew word shanah, the word for year and to repeat, and its verbal root:

Strong H8141 שָׁנָה   שָׁנֶהshâneh  shânâh (The first form being in plural only, the second form being feminine); from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time): –    + whole age, X long, + old, year (X -ly). Total KJV occurrences: 812

H8138 שׁנהshânâh BDB Definition: 1) to repeat, do again, change, alter. 1a) (Qal) to change. 1b) (Niphal) to be repeated. 1c) (Piel) to change, alter. 1d) (Hithpael) to disguise oneself. Part of Speech: verb A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root

The words for sleep, repeat/change, and year are related. There are other words that fall into this family that are also interesting. You can read more about them here. How does sleep (shenah) relate to change or repetition (shanah)? Well, for starters, we sleep over and over again in a repeating daily cycle, so the repetition is obvious.

Does sleep change one in some way? Modern science could answer this question with empirical evidence supporting the notion that sleep restores the mind, body, and emotions, which is a change for the better. If this is true in the natural, then it must also be true in the spiritual. In some way, sleep restores and changes one spiritually. While I believe dreams play a strong role in this nocturnal process, this post will stick to the related activity of sleep and deep sleep.[2]

Now that we’ve connected sleep (shenah) to change (shanah), what about the Hebrew word for year, shanah? A year is also a repeating cycle, a revolution of time that is like the previous cycle, but new and different, a change. Since we are approaching Rosh Hashanah, the change or turn of the year[3], which is also the time of the awakening blast, I couldn’t help but to point out this word play to my readers. I don’t believe in coincidences.

This is the season to make a change, to turn, to repeat the things that need to continue, to stop and change the things that need to be corrected. Spiritually speaking, this is WAKING from slumber. It is becoming conscious of the reality of one’s sin and consequent death. It is, as King Solomon recorded in the Song of Songs, being asleep with a heart that is awake ready to receive the King, our Beloved. Rambam[4]said it this way:

“Even though the blowing of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah is a Biblical decree, it hints at something, i.e., ‘Wake up, sleepers, from your sleep! And slumberers, arise from your slumber!  Search your ways and return in teshuvah and remember your Creator!  Those who forget the Truth amidst the futility of the moment and are infatuated all their years with vanity and nothingness that will not help and will not save, examine your souls and improve your ways and your motivations! Let each of you abandon his wicked ways, and his thoughts which are no good.’”- Mishneh Torah, Repentance 3[5]

My prayer for you in this season of teshuvah leading up to the High Holy Days is to be fully awake and aware of what is in your own heart. Yeshua is Light, and light reveals what is in the darkness. May we be sensitive to the gentle discipline of the Holy Spirit and be merciful with our neighbors that struggle in their slumber. May the blast of the shofar pierce your heart and soul so that sincere change occurs. Notice how this verse from Isaiah reflects the message of the Shulamite woman in Song of Songs quoted at the beginning of this post, and the direct references to waking and resurrection.

Is. 26:19 (NASB) Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

More Hebrew Words for Sleep

Sleep is a strange and wonderful thing. Sentient beings laying down, closing their eyes, and becoming unaware of the conscious world around them is rather mystical when one meditates upon this phenomenon. It’s not difficult to see why sleep became an idiom for death in the Bible.

So far, we’ve looked at two words for sleep, yashen and shenah. Now, we will examine the first mention of sleep in the Bible. It is found in Genesis 2:

21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept (yashen); then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. (NASB)

The Hebrew word translated as “deep sleep” is tardemah.[6]This word is only found in seven places in the Bible. The context of the first mention above makes it clear that this is no ordinary sleep or rest. In fact, YHWH is the cause of this trance-like state. It’s second use is equally compelling.

Gen. 15:12 (NASB) Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. (Context is the Covenant of the Pieces)

Both Adam and Abram are a type of Messiah. Adam’s tardemah results in him receiving a bride. Abram’s tardemah results in him receiving a nation (descendants) and the Land of Promise. Mystically speaking, Adam and Abraham “died” (deep sleep) to receive the covenant of marriage (his house), descendants, and a land. In fact, terror and great darkness was felt by Abraham. Did Messiah suffer anything like this?

While Messiah’s death was literal rather than figurative, the lives of these ancient fathers prefigured Messiah’s work. His suffering and death also resulted in a covenant, a bride, a people, and the Land. In fact, Messiah’s work was far greater in that He overcame the whole world, even sin and death (the grave)!

The other instances of tardemah demonstrate that God uses this type of deep sleep in other ways as well.

 1 Sam. 26:12 (NASB) So David took the spear and the jug of water from beside Saul’s head, and they went away, but no one saw or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep (yashen), because a sound sleep from the LORD had fallen on them.

Job 4:12-14 (NASB) “Now a word was brought to me stealthily, And my ear received a whisper of it. 13 “Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, 14 Dread came upon me, and trembling, And made all my bones shake.

Job 33:15-18 (NASB) “In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction, 17 That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride; 18 He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol.

Pr. 19:15-16 (NASB) Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger. 16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of conduct will die.

Is. 29:10 (NASB) For the LORD has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers.

A deep or sound sleep can result in a divine message from the Creator, but it can also prevent one from waking or experiencing what is happening in the conscious human world. It also seems that one can fall into this type of sleep in a figurative way by being lazy, idle, or because of rebellion. One thing is certain based on the complete mention of this noun: this is a spiritual or supernatural type of sleep.

Tardemah comes from the verbal root radam. While radam can mean to sleep naturally, it is also used figuratively for death, of a stupor, confusion, or of a prophetic trance-like state. Consider the following definition and verses:

H7290 רָדַםrâdam A primitive root; to stun, that is, stupefy (with sleep or death): – (be fast a-, be in a deep, cast into a dead, that) sleep (-er, -eth). Total KJV occurrences: 7

Jdg. 4:21 (NASB) But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died.

Ps. 76:6 (NASB) At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, Both rider and horse were cast into a dead sleep.

Pr. 10:5 (NASB) He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, But he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.

Dan. 8:18 (NASB) Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright.

Dan. 10:9 (NASB) But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.

Radam is the word for “fast sleep” and “O sleeper” in the Young’s Literal Translation below. This is the type of sleep that Jonah fell into on the ship headed to Tarshish.

Jonah 1:5-6 (YLT) and the mariners are afraid, and cry each unto his god, and cast the goods that are in the ship into the sea, to make it light of them; and Jonah hath gone down unto the sides of the vessel, and he lieth down, and is fast asleep. 6 And the chief of the company draweth near to him, and saith to him, ‘What—to thee, O sleeper? rise, call unto thy God, it may be God doth bethink himself of us, and we do not perish.’

Near the beginning of this post, I asked how Jonah could be sleeping when chaos and eminent danger were upon him in the conscious human world. Based on the type of sleep that Jonah experienced (radam), his rebellion and lack of compassion put him in a stupor, much akin to death. In other words, Jonah was spiritually “dead” long before he was swallowed by the great fish.

Jonah wanted Nineveh to suffer. He desired strict justice for these ancient Assyrians, not the compassionate mercy that He knew YHWH was known for. In Jonah’s mind, these people deserved to be punished and wiped off the map. The last thing he wanted to do was be the mouthpiece or vessel of the Holy Spirit to offer them repentance. This was true even after YHWH had had compassion upon Jonah by hearing his prayer from the belly of the fish, a figurative death.

Nineveh[7] was one of three major ancient Assyrian cities. Since the discovery of the Library of Ashurbanipal,[8]many clay tablets with text and reliefs from the centuries near the time of Jonah makes it evident what sort of wickedness provoked God to want to destroy it.[9] But, YHWH’s mercy warned them of their coming destruction through the reluctant prophet Jonah.

Jonah is an intriguing character. On the one hand, we chastise him for his lack of concern for 120,000 ignorant souls.[10] How could anyone be that compassionless? On the other hand, we are guilty of the same rebellion and lack of compassion when it comes to those that have hurt and betrayed us. The truth is that, if we could, most of us would call down fire from heaven to rain upon the heads of the ignorant, cruel, and wicked. Hurting people often revel in hurting back.

Ironically, Jonah or Yonah in Hebrew means “dove,” the universal symbol of peace, shalom. He was called to a heathen (pagan) city, and he had no love or compassion for them. It was only by proverbially dying that he did as he was told. But even this didn’t pull Jonah out of his stupor. In chapter four, he was angry that the people repented!

Jonah 4:1-4 (NASB) But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” 4 The LORD said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”

I think it’s interesting that Jonah basically quotes Exodus 34, but leaves off the part where Adonai says, “He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” We often have a skewed sense of justice. It’s as if we are afraid that those that have hurt us will not get what we think they deserve. We forget that vengeance belongs to Adonai.

Ex. 34:6-7 (NASB) Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

Lev 19:16-18 (NASB) ‘You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD. 17 ‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

When you’ve screwed up or hurt someone, would you rather receive strict justice or mercy? Will you grant the same request to your enemy? Even if they have committed great atrocities toward you or those you love? That is the question. And, it’s one that Jonah would have rather died than to have seen actualized. He repeats this three times in chapter four. This is not the evidence of a changed heart, regardless that he fulfilled his commission to Adonai.

Jonah is a book with a mighty message at this season. While God certainly gave Jonah a second chance despite his rebellion and disobedience, Jonah couldn’t bring himself to sincerely offer the souls of Nineveh the same. He reveled in the idea that God was going to destroy them for their wickedness.

Jonah 4:3-5 (NKJV) Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” 4 Then the LORD said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter (sukkah) and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.

Beloved, if you have been deeply wounded, hurt, betrayed, or suffered horrific abuse at the hands of another person or people group, please consider Jonah. Though he knew the truth, and eventually preached it to a people he hated, he still held out hope that they would die in their debauchery. He even built a SUKKAH, sat in its shade, and instead of recalling that Adonai had Israel dwell in sukkot after delivering them from Egypt[11] (something they didn’t deserve), he longed to see the destruction of an entire city.

I wonder if we have done the same? Have we sat in our own satisfaction and self-righteousness, thinking it was a fine covering, forgetting whom we serve and the GREAT mercy He bestowed upon us? Have we been asleep when chaos is shaking our lost neighbors? Have we judged people and people groups that have acted wickedly and danced at the thought of their demise? If so, now is the time to WAKE UP! These secret relishes belong to darkness, sleep, and death.

Repent AND Forgive before you sit in your sukkah or there will be no true joy, no real waking life, only the desire for sleep. The Book of Jonah ends with HaShem asking Jonah a rhetorical question.

Jonah 4:11 (NASB) “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

If you want to be forgiven, forgive. If you want to receive mercy, extend mercy. If you desire God’s compassion, give compassion. When you’ve been broken, hurt, or betrayed, this becomes extremely difficult. This week, Sombra Wilson shared her testimony of radical forgiveness on Renewed Radio. If your pain has placed you in rebellion or a stupor, a trance-like sleep (death), and it is preventing you from moving forward, I encourage to listen to her testimony.

May the Faithful One bring you and yours into complete unity, health, and restoration before the upcoming High Holy Days. May your deeds be complete. Messiah, speaking to the 5thassembly of Sardis (Red Ones) in the Book of Revelation that corresponds to the 5th festival of Rosh Hashanah (Yom Teruah)[12] says:

Rev. 3:1-6 (NASB) “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

May you be inscribed for a good year!

 


[1] What Happens to You When You Don’t Sleep for Days

[2] Job 33:15-18 (NASB) “In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction, 17 That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride;  18  He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol.

[3] You can read more about why Yom Teruah is also called Rosh Hashanah in the footnotes and comments of this post.

[4]Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon), the author of Mishneh Torah (Sefer Yad HaHazaka).

[5] Mishneh is also related to the words sleep, change/repeat, and year! It means repetition.

[6] H8639 תַּרְדֵּמָה tardēmāh: A feminine noun referring to deep sleep; a sound sleep. It refers to a deep unconscious state needed, usually, for rest. God may bring it on in special circumstances (Gen 2:21; Gen 15:12; 1Sa 26:12). It is a common event in the middle of the night and may be accompanied by dreams naturally or from God (Job 4:13; Job 33:15). Laziness, a moral problem, can result in a person falling into this state (Pro 19:15). It is used in a figurative sense of a moral and spiritual stupor (Isa 29:10).

[7]Gen. 10:11

[8 Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

[9 Nahum, Nineveh and Those Nasty Assyrians

[10] Jon. 4:11 (NASB) “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

[11] Lev. 23:43 (NASB) so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'”

[12]See The Creation Gospel Workbook One by Dr. Hollisa Alewine.

Categories: Moedim, Renewed Radio | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Taste of Rosh Hashanah

This year, I developed a “newsletter” to hand out to those gathering with us for Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah). My aim was to appeal to both seasoned and new Torah keepers by giving them just enough to spark more study and discussion. Its contents are just a taste of the holiday, ending with some blessings for the feast and the seder elements.

Our evening meeting will be lightly structured around fellowship, feasting, shofar blowing, and a Rosh Hashanah Seder. (For an example of the seder, click here.)

Here is the file of the “newsletter” for reading or printing: Rosh Hashanah 2017

L’Shanah Tovah!

*Update with pics from our gathering Rosh Hashanah (Yom Teruah/Trumpets) 5778:

 

 

Categories: Moedim, News Flash | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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