Posts Tagged With: Yom Kippur

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: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Vinedresser, the True Vine, and the Branches

The month of Elul is often called the month of repentance, as it is a time to prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, and the last great festival of Sukkot. This traditional period of return is an opportunity to examine one’s life and the fruit that is being produced. What needs to be uprooted? What needs to be pruned? What needs to be nourished? It’s the season to set things right with Adonai and our fellowman. While these things should be a daily exercise, the moedim (feast days) direct the path of the righteous to dedicate this season, the time of harvest, to give an honest account of one’s soul.

The moedim center around agriculture and harvest. During the month of Elul, Adonai our King is “in the field” and people are His planting. We are His vineyard, and He is looking for fruit that will be judged at the High Holy Days. While the King is in the field, He is particularly accessible, as near as a co-laborer and a friend. Yeshua says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” During Elul the vintage begins; may we submit to His tender affections, pruning, and cleansing before He returns to the Throne of Judgment on the High Holy Days. His desire is for us to enter Sukkot, the figurative end-time harvest and wedding feast, clean and sealed in Him with a heart that is altogether joyful.

 

John 15:1-15  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  2  “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  3  “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  4  “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  5  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  6  “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  7  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8  “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  9  “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  10  “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  11  “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  12  “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  13  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  14  “You are My friends if you do what I command you.  15  “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

 

Deut. 16:11-15  and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite who is in your town, and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your midst, in the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.  12  “You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.  13  “You shall celebrate the Feast of Booths seven days after you have gathered in from your threshing floor and your wine vat;  14  and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns.  15  “Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

 

 

Categories: Moedim, Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

B’har

(Revised from 2013)

Mount Sinai summit view4

Lev. 25:1- 26:2

The name of this week’s portion is B’har. It literally means “on mount” or “on the mountain”; this is where YHWH spoke to Moses. This portion begins with the mitzvah of the Sabbatical years for the land and the counting of years until the Yovel or Jubilee year. This count is strikingly similar to the yearly counting of the Omer that leads to Shavuot (Pentecost). Both counts add up to 7×7 or 49 with the holy day proclaimed the next day (with Shavuot) or year (with the Yovel). Yovel’s 50 year cycle is a much larger picture of Shavuot’s 50 day cycle. While the counting of the Omer begins following the Sabbath after Pesach and culminates 50 days later at Shavuot in the spring months, the beginning count for the Sabbatical years that culminates with the Yovel (Jubilee) begins on Yom HaKippurim[1] (Day of Atonements) in the fall. [Lev. 25:9]

This “counting” connection between the Yovel and Shavuot is no coincidence. The Scriptures are almost begging us to ask more questions and mine out the answers. After a close inspection, a common theme begins to emerge from the excavation. That theme is FREEDOM. At first glance, Shavuot may not appear to contain the thematic element of liberty. After all, the direct commandments associated with Shavuot are linked to the wheat harvest and the waving of leavened loaves.[2] It commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai and our in filling of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Thus, we can see the relationship of liberty begin to emerge.

Pesach is well-known as the “Festival of our Freedom”. And it should be as it marks Israel’s undeserved redemption from slavery and oppression. However, we must not make the mistake of assuming that Pesach is the end of our journey or salvation. On the contrary, Pesach and our exodus from Egypt and all it represents is only the beginning of our “renewed life” with our Holy Redeemer. All the moedim (feast days) are intrinsically connected to one another and are designed to be recurring appointments or rehearsals with our Creator. They are guide posts that light our path as we follow the Mashiach. We have a weekly illumination in the Shabbat, a monthly light in the New Moon, 7 yearly celebrations in the moedim, 7 year markers in the Sabbatical years, and every half of a century we are released in the Yovel (Jubilee). Many believe that these “cycles” are Ezekiel’s great “wheel in the middle of a wheel“. I imagine them to be akin to the planets circling the sun, each on their own elliptical or the electrons encircling the neutron of an atom.

Shavuot is deeply connected to Pesach by way of the counting of the Omer. It IS the culmination of our freedom on Pesach. Ancient Israel, and we as their descendants, are not truly “free” until we receive the Torah. It is as it were, our ketuvah (wedding vows). The picture is repeated in the Brit Chadashah (N.T.). We are redeemed by YHWH’s unmerited favor (grace) by the blood of the Lamb, but then we are to wait (count) until the feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) to receive our instructions (Torah) and be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh in order to carry out our Master’s will. We must accept or say “I do” to the Covenant. We are set free from the bondage of sin and death (Egypt) so we can choose the easy “yoke” of the One True Master.

The Yovel (Jubilee) is like Shavuot but on a grander scale. In fact, if you read Leviticus 25 carefully, you will see that what the Sabbatical years and the Yovel actually proclaim is YHWH’s ownership of not only Israel (those that have entered into covenant with Him), but of the whole earth! Think about this for moment. Every 7 years the “land” is to remain fallow; it is a Sabbath for the LAND. If these “sabbaticals” are kept, it leads to the release of MAN. All debts are forgiven and all those found in bondage are released. Property reverts back to the original owner, because no one really owns the land but YHWH (Lev. 25:23). We are only stewards. This is another testimony that YHWH is the Master; we are the servants. No other celebration declares YHWH’s ownership of not only “us”, but of the “earth/land” more than the Yovel.

Ps. 24:1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.

YHWH’s ownership makes Him our King and we are His subjects. Isaiah 61 speaks about the Yovel and its theme of freedom. Is it any wonder that Yeshua our Redeemer spoke these very words in Luke 4: 18-21?

Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; (2) To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, (3) To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

I hope you noticed the agrarian imagery used by Isaiah in reference to us. Somehow, we are intrinsically linked to the Land. And if we meditate on this for a while, we remember that mankind was birthed from the dust of the earth. This is why the Yovel deals so intimately with both mankind and the land. When we are obedient to the Covenant, the land produces abundantly. When we are disobedient it resists us. So much in fact, that if we remain in rebellion, the land eventually spits us out into exile and captivity (bondage). Certain sins directly affect the land such as incest, bestiality, offering your children to Molech [abortion], and homosexuality. (Lev. 18) Why? Because all these actions profane the name of YHWH. They are the opposite of His character.

If our obedience proclaims His ownership and Kingship, then these sins are in reality proclaiming a false deity (HaSatan). We are currently in the Omer count leading to Shavuot. As we count, we should be reminded of the Shemitah (7 year Sabbatical year) and its count to our great release in the Yovel. Our thoughts should be on the King and His Kingdom and not on our own selfish desires and lusts. Our desire should be to march with perseverance toward a more obedient lifestyle. This will not “redeem” our souls, but it will bless our lives. (Remember the picture from paragraph 5?) If we are the King’s subjects, then we must walk and live by the decrees of the Kingdom (Torah); this shows us to be true followers.

John 15:8-10 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (9) “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. (10) “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Lessons from the Hebrew Pictographs

The Yovel (Jubilee) begins with a loud shofar blast on Yom Kippur. Brown, Driver, and Briggs’ Hebrew defines Yovel as trumpet, cornet, ram’s horn, horn, ram’s, and Jubilee (as marked by blowing of horns). Literally, this special holy day that comes only once every 50 years is named for the instrument in which it is announced.[3] What is the trumpet blast to remind us of? Once again we see a connection with Shavuot. At the original exodus, the children of Israel traveled for about 50 days until they reached the base of Mt. Sinai (at Shavuot). When YHWH gave the 10 Words (Ten Commandments), He told Israel:

Ex. 19:13 “Not a hand is to touch it, but he shall certainly be stoned or shot with an arrow, whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, let them come near the mountain.”

The Hebrew word for trumpet in this verse is not shofar or a Ram’s horn, but yovel. As a side note, it is important to know that many of the Sages believed that the Yovel was simply another name for a ram’s horn or shofar; in fact, we see the word yovel translated as such throughout the Tanakh. In Hebrew, yovel consists of a yod, bet, and a lamed. The last two letters, bet and lamed, form the Hebrew root word “val” that means ‘to flow’. It has the idea of the flowing of any substance (like the release of oil from pressed olives – this flow is val). Since the release of something is often also the emptying of a vessel, val also means to come to nothing, flowing away, or none.[4]

The first letter, yod, means the hand, a deed, or work. If we put these two pictographs together from the word Yovel, we get “the hand or deed that causes release. This a perfect picture of the function of the Biblical Jubilee or Yovel. Remember how we discussed that the theme for both Shavuot and Yovel was FREEDOM or liberty? The Hebrew word for liberty is “deror.” It is used in several passages that speak about the Jubilee, including Isaiah 61. As we’ve just seen, Yovel is also a release (of those in bondage).

While in Hebrew these two words are not etymologically related, their meaning or function most certainly is. Both yovel (Jubilee) and deror (liberty) come from root words that carry the idea of a substance that is free-flowing, like a release of fluid, sound, or the abstract idea of “freedom.” English employs this imagery when one sings “Let Freedom Ring!” The sound waves flow forth like the yovel blast. All of this deals with a build up of pressure just before the “release.” It’s like a birth! In other words, there is a FORCE behind our release! (The Holy Spirit!)

When the time on Adonai’s calendar is just right … BAM! In my opinion, the fact that these two words are often used in conjunction and that they have similar meanings only adds to the significance of the flow of freedom. When man is free to move about or FLOW without the restraint of sin and bondage, only then can (s)he truly be free to seek and follow the King of Heaven and Earth. The flow or sound waves created by the shofar announce the return of our King and our complete redemption. May we have ears to hear it!

For more recent “mountain” top thoughts, listen to Renewed’s podcast from May 9, 2018, here.


[1] Creation Gospel Students should make the connection immediately. All the moedim find their source in the 4th branch, the festival of Shavuot. The Day of Atonements is the epitome of a “clean slate”; therefore, it is quite fitting that the Yovel (Jubilee) begins at this crucial point. This day is ruled by the Spirit of Daat, the knowledge of sacrificial love. What better picture of this loving knowledge is there than a “return”? How many of us fantasize about going back and doing things all over again —- but this time better? This is the Yovel. (Lev. 25:10, Neh. 1:8-9, Is. 44:21-22)
[2] Interestingly, Shavuot’s wave offering is the ONLY offering in the entire feast and sacrificial system where “leavening” is not only allowed, but commanded. (Lev. 23:17) We are to be so full of the Holy Spirit that there is a release like the tongues of fire flowing forth from the mouths of the faithful in Acts 2!
[3] Likewise, this is the case for Yom Teruah or the Feast Day of Blowing (Trumpets).
[4] Other Scripture examples are Is. 53:7 Is. 55:12, and Jer. 31:9.
Categories: Moedim, Torah Portions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why Jonah?

 

jonah_Final
Why Do We Read Jonah During Yom Kippur?

Is this book about repentance (teshuvah)? Is it about second chances? Does the story focus on Nineveh or Jonah? Do you find Jonah’s attitude unwarranted? What is it about that plant or gourd that grows up and shades Jonah and then dies and withers from a worm? What does this all really mean for us at Yom Kippur?

These questions are always on my mind (lev) as we read Jonah on Yom Kippur. But this year, I had some new information come to my attention that has finally answered some of the paradoxes I’ve felt when I’ve read Jonah’s story in the past. I mean, how could Jonah literally want to die because God pardoned Nineveh? What was happening that I don’t understand? What’s the REAL message I am to receive from this story? Is it just about second chances or is there more to it than that?

When my boys were younger, we used to watch the Veggie Tales movie “Jonah” around Yom Kippur. The song “God of Second Chances” rings in my ears still to this day when I think of Jonah. I believe that Rabbi David Fohrman has finally put that ear worm to rest this year. In his segment of teachings on Jonah at AlephBeta Academy, Rabbi Fohrman digs deeply into the Hebrew of the narrative to bring forth quite a few rubies and diamonds. I really hope you will take the time to listen to all 6 segments as you afflict your soul this Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Fohrman has a way of teaching and speaking that just affects me greatly. (Or as the Veggie Tale tomato would say, “It moved me Bob”.) With this series on Jonah, Rabbi Fohrman has once again peeled back the layers of a familiar story to reveal a simple yet profound truth to me. In total, the segments are only about 40 minutes long— an easy feat for Yom Kippur. Why do we need both Justice and Compassion? Find out why in these segments.

Segment 1  “What’s Jonah really About?” by Rabbi David Fohrman  (You can move to the next segment by clicking the arrow button pointing to the right under the display window at AlephBeta Academy.)

 

But WAIT, there’s more!

I have one more sweet treat for you on Yom Kippur. Dr. Hollisa Alewine has two great teachings that she has posted on the Creation Gospel Facebook page related to Yom Kippur. Obviously, you facebookers can go to her page and read these articles there. But for those of you that don’t do Facebook, I’ve provided the links to the posts below. These require some chewing, but they are a timely message about the True Spirit of the Moedim (Feasts). Enjoy!!

A Letter from Hollisa Alewine

Yom HaKippurim: A Day Like Purim

 

May you have an easy fast (tzom kal)!

 

Categories: Moedim, News Flash | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

The Gathering Place

Media Share With Local Groups

I Am My Father's Daughter

Master of the Universe. I am pleased to be my Fathers Daughter.

Weekly Sabbath Survey

Christian Teaching, Encouraging Words for the times we live in.

The Bee Hive

Pouring out His Divine Honey of Wisdom & Revelation

redshoooz

Living the Abundant Life

In the Galute

B'ney Yosef

His Perfect Timing

My Incredible Journey with God

searchingfornorway

ancestry, geneology, knitting, history

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Heaven and Earth

Bringing pieces of heaven to earth

Ladder of Jacob

ascend higher.

Operation Jeremiah 6:16

Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Hebrew prophets and other themes from Tanakh

radicalrighteousroots

Biblical foundation resources for the family

Torah Rocker

Writings and studies of Torah

Hardcore Mesorah

Torah and Tefillah for those who aren't faint of heart

BE COURAGEOUS BLOG

NEVER LET GO OF GOD'S HAND

modern day samaritan woman

welcome to all sojourners

Chalom Shalom

Unveiling the Voice of Creation...

ReDo~ReNew

Enjoying New Life in myself, others, and the things I find along the way...

Obadiah's Cave

A place of safety

Blue Jeans and Chocolate

~ My So-Called Glamorous Life

Awakened 2 Torah

It's time to leave Egypt!

The Well Trodden Road

Following the Way back home

Move Your "..BUT God .."

CLIMBING TO THE HEIGHTS OF GOD'S LOVE

Ohana Home Education

"Ohana means family. Family means no-one gets left behind, or forgotten."

Sewn olivette

Elevating Daily Life

Helena

The Nationalist Voice

Wilderness Report

by Cathy Helms

Wholeness 4 Love

Life is for Living & LOVE is a choice!

natsab

Here I stand.

Rus Alan

Kingdom Minded living with issues related to discipleship, the Holy Spirit, and power.

Tannachton Farm

Faith, Family, Farm

GRACE in TORAH

Leaving Egypt is only the beginning of our journey...

Sharing God's Love

My passion is writing to share God's love with everyone who believes in HIm.

Daughters of Torah

Revealing our identity to the nations

Sanctuary Gardener

A Yankee grows in the South ~ Homesteading, gardening, & harvest recipes

little tent on the prairie

Restoring life through simple living

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

%d bloggers like this: