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Sergio and Rhoda in Israel

Shalom friends, I’ve been following this highly recommended channel on Youtube called “Sergio and Rhoda in Israel” for a number of years and I would like to share this channel with you. Due to corona virus restrictions in various parts of the world (including Israel), international travel is either restricted or unavailable. However, one could still “travel” by watching videos such a these produced by Sergio and Rhoda. They are believers in Yeshua living in Nazareth, Israel and they produce videos about places of interest in Israel with a biblical perspective. I’ve included 2 of their videos and visit the Youtube channel to view more.

This Shabbat

Observe the month of Aviv 

Shabbat Shalom, friends!

The new Biblical year is upon us again, this weekend. I wrote a very brief post with this interesting picture last year:

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In the Torah, the first month of the Biblical Year is called Aviv (הָֽאָבִ֔יב) and in the Writings section of the TaNakH (Old Testament), the name was changed to Nisan ( נִיסָן).

We find a couple of references to the month of Aviv in the Torah and I’ve listed these below:

Exodus 12: 

1 ADONAI spoke to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt; he said,

2 “You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you.

Exodus 13:

1 ADONAI said to Moshe,

2 “Set aside for me all the firstborn. Whatever is first from the womb among the people of Isra’el, both of humans and of animals, belongs to me.”

3 Moshe said to the people, “Remember this day, on which you left Egypt, the abode of slavery; because ADONAI, by the strength of his hand, has brought you out of this place. Do not eat hametz.

4 You are leaving today, in the month of Aviv.

Exodus 23:15:

15 Keep the festival of matzah: for seven days, as I ordered you, you are to eat matzah at the time determined in the month of Aviv; for it was in that month that you left Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

Exodus 34:18: 

18 “Keep the festival of matzah by eating matzah, as I ordered you, for seven days during the month of Aviv; for it was in the month of Aviv that you came out from Egypt.

Deuteronomy 16: 

1 “Observe the month of Aviv, and keep Pesach to ADONAI your God; for in the month of Aviv, ADONAI your God brought you out of Egypt at night.

2 You are to sacrifice the Pesach offering from flock and herd to ADONAI your God in the place where ADONAI will choose to have his name live.

 

As mentioned above, just before the New Covenant / New Testament era, the name of the first month was changed to “Nisan” which is still in use today.

Esther 3:7: 

7 In the first month, the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of Achashverosh, they began throwing pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman every day and every month until the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.

Nehemiah 2:1:

1 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artach’shashta the king, it happened that I took the wine and brought it to the king. Prior to then I had never appeared sad in his presence.

I must admit that while I was reading up about the month of Aviv in the Torah, I was surprised to read the first section of Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Aviv” (emphasis added). I don’t recall focusing on the word “observe” before. As we are required to observe the month of Aviv and this being the 1st month of the Biblical year, the idea of “Rosh Hashanah” (רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה) being the new year in the 7th month is then biblically incorrect as the Torah is very clear in Exodus 12:2. Also, the first day of the 7th Month (called “Etanim”( הָאֵתָנִים) in 1 Kings 8:2) is Yom Teruah ( The day of blowing of the Shofar / Trumpets as instructed in Leviticus 23:24: דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר:  בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ, יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שַׁבָּתוֹן–זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה, מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ.).

Furthermore, Aviv / Nisan is obviously also a special month because of the next part of Deuteronomy 16:1 which commands us to keep Pesach / Passover.

When I read up about Biblical Truth and compare it to all of the misinformation being taught (in some cases for centuries and millennia such as Rosh Hashanah), it makes me think of these 2 verses:

Proverbs 30:5:

Every word of God’s is pure; he shields those taking refuge in him

Psalm 119:151:

You are close by, ADONAI; and all your mitzvot are truth.

I hope that you will observe the month of Aviv and Pesach/Passover as we have been instructed by ADONAI, The Almighty Living God of Israel to keep these. On a personal note, I always look forward to Pesach as it always reminds me of when my mother and I attended our first messianic Seder together hosted by the Jews for Jesus organisation many years ago. (Please note: I’m not affiliated with this organisation nor any other organisation).

I hope you and your family will have a blessed and peaceful Shabbat!

The Aaronic Blessing:

22 ADONAI said to Moshe, 
23 “Speak to Aharon and his sons, and tell them that this is how you are to bless the people of Isra’el: you are to say to them, 
24 ‘Y’varekh’kha ADONAI v’yishmerekha. [May ADONAI bless you and keep you.] 
25 Ya’er ADONAI panav eleikha vichunekka. [May ADONAI make his face shine on you and show you his favor.] 
26 Yissa ADONAI panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom. [May ADONAI lift up his face toward you and give you peace.]’ 
27 “In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra’el, so that I will bless them.”

 

Appointed Times

Yom Teruah 5778: Trumpets announcing judgement, repentance and joy (the Book of Zephaniah) 

 

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This Wednesday evening it is Yom Teruah – the day of blowing the shofar / trumpet. According to Leviticus 23, we’re to observe this appointed time on the first day of the seventh month (traditionally called Tishrei or the biblical name of Etanim – [1 Kings 8:2]).

Leviticus 23

23 ADONAI said to Moshe,

24 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar.

25 Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI.'”

(Traditionally, this day is called the Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashanah )

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Now that we know that Yom Teruah is one of the Moedim (מועדים / appointed times) and that we should observe this day as a shabbat, but what does it signify? Well, blowing of the shofar / trumpet indicates the announcement of a specific event. Throughout the Word of God, we read that this announcement could be either a call to worship, to repent, to battle and war, to cause fear and confusion of the enemy, to announce freedom (joy) or judgement, or usher in the presence of the Lord. For example, in the Book of Joshua we read that when the Israelites entered the Land of Israel, the fortified city of Jericho were destroyed after 7 days (Joshua 6 ). For each of these seven days, the priests blew on their shofars and shouted on the seventh day. Also in Judges 7, we read how 300 men used their trumpets to allow ADONAI to defeat their enemies. In 1 Thessalonians 4 :16 we also read that:

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise;

For this blog post, I was drawn to the words from the Prophet Zephaniah (Tz’fanyah / צְפַנְיָה) (the meaning of this prophet’s name is: ADONAI has concealed; ADONAI has protected; and treasured by ADONAI). Just like the name suggests, ADONAI’S message given to this prophet is broadly contained in three sections: firstly, judgement is coming but the time is concealed, secondly, HIS people will be protected and avoid judgement and thirdly, we are treasured by ADONAI therefore He will give us joy – a celebration as we’re no longer subject to judgement.

Let’s read the first section of this prophet’s message that spells out the coming judgement:

Zephaniah 1:14 to 18: 

 14 The great Day of ADONAI is near, near and coming very quickly; Hear the sound of the Day of ADONAI! When it’s here, even a warrior will cry bitterly.

15 That Day is a Day of fury, a Day of trouble and distress, a Day of waste and desolation, a Day of darkness and gloom, a Day of clouds and thick fog,

16 a Day of the shofar and battle-cry against the fortified cities and against the high towers [on the city walls].

17 “I will bring such distress on people that they will grope their way like the blind, because they have sinned against ADONAI. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their bowels like dung.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them. On the day of ADONAI’s fury, the whole land will be destroyed in the fire of his jealousy. For he will make an end, a horrible end, of all those living in the land.”

The prophet specifically indicates that silver nor gold (i.e money) will be unable to save people on the day of Judgement and one can’t buy salvation. What is one of the world’s main obsessions? It’s money. For some, money is the end all and be all of everything. It’s one of the reason why people have fallen away from ADONAI due to idolising money.

Yeshua ha Mashiach (ישוע המשיח) explicitly mentioned in Matthew 6:24 that we can’t serve money and ADONAI.

24 No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and money.

Yeshua also mentioned in Matthew 6:19-21 that we should focus on building up treasures in Heaven:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves wealth here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and burglars break in and steal. 
20 Instead, store up for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and burglars do not break in or steal. 
21 For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also. 

It is also recorded in the Mishna that “[i]n the hour of a person’s departure, neither silver nor gold nor precious stones nor pearls accompany him, only Torah and good works.” (Avot 6:9 – Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern as quoted on the blog “My Heart is for Israel“).

Secondly, ADONAI always has a plan for us; a way to find HIM and to walk with HIM. ADONAI revealed this to Zephaniah, that there is a way to avoid judgement and find ADONAI’s protection: Repent / Teshuvah (seek ADONAI).

We read in Zephaniah 2:3:

3 Seek ADONAI, all you humble in the land, you who exercise his justice; seek righteousness, seek humility – you might be hidden on the day of ADONAI’s anger.

Money isn’t going to help you on the day of Judgement. Only by seeking and humbling (repenting) yourself before ADONAI, will you be saved and receive salvation.

The third section of ADONAI’s message giving to Zephaniah to record, is that the sound of the shofar that announces judgement will be turned into the sound of announcing joy and happiness as we are treasured by ADONAI. It’s a celebration! We should sing and shout because ADONAI has removing the judgement against us and we’re serving the King of Israel, Yeshua ha Mashiach (the Messiah) who is always with us.

We read in Zephaniah 3: 13 -20 that:

 13 The remnant of Isra’el will not do wrong, nor will they speak lies, nor will there be found in their mouths a tongue given over to deceit; for they will be able to graze and lie down, with no one to disturb them.

14 Sing, daughter of Tziyon! Shout, Isra’el! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Yerushalayim!

15 ADONAI has removed the judgments against you, he has expelled your enemy; the king of Isra’el, ADONAI, is right there with you. You no longer need to fear that anything bad will happen.

16 On that day, it will be said to Yerushalayim, “Do not fear, Tziyon! don’t let your hands droop down.

17 ADONAI your God is right there with you, as a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you and be glad, he will be silent in his love, he will shout over you with joy.”

18 “I will gather those of yours who grieve over the appointed feasts and bear the burden of reproach [because they cannot keep them].

19 When that time comes, I will deal with all those who oppress you. I will save her who is lame, gather her who was driven away, and make them whose shame spread over the earth the object of praise and renown.

20 When that time comes, I will bring you in; when that time comes, I will gather you and make you the object of fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth – when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says ADONAI.

As we should sing and shout, our victory song is found in Psalm 98.

A psalm: Sing a new song to ADONAI, because he has done wonders. His right hand, his holy arm have won him victory.

2 ADONAI has made known his victory; revealed his vindication in full view of the nations,

3 remembered his grace and faithfulness to the house of Isra’el. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

4 Shout for joy to ADONAI, all the earth! Break forth, sing for joy, sing praises!

5 Sing praises to ADONAI with the lyre, with the lyre and melodious music!

6 With trumpets and the sound of the shofar, shout for joy before the king, ADONAI!

7 Let the sea roar, and everything in it; the world, and those living in it.

8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the mountains sing together for joy

9 before ADONAI, for he has come to judge the earth; he will judge the world rightly and the peoples fairly.

Let’s listen to this psalm sung in Hebrew

To conclude: Judgement is coming. The time has been concealed as mentioned by Yeshua in various verses such as Mark 13:32-37, Matthew 24:36-44 ; Matthew 25:13:

Mark 13:32-37:

32 However, when that day and hour will come, no one knows — not the angels in heaven, not the Son, just the Father. 
33 Stay alert! Be on your guard! For you do not know when the time will come. 
34 “It’s like a man who travels away from home, puts his servants in charge, each with his own task, and tells the doorkeeper to stay alert. 
35 So stay alert! for you don’t know when the owner of the house will come, 
36 whether it will be evening, midnight, cockcrow or morning — you don’t want him to come suddenly and find you sleeping! 
37 And what I say to you, I say to everyone: stay alert!”
 Matthew 24:36-44:
36 “But when that day and hour will come, no one knows — not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father. 
37 For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach
38 Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; 
39 and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes. 
40 Then there will be two men in a field — one will be taken and the other left behind. 
41 There will be two women grinding flour at the mill — one will be taken and the other left behind. 
42 So stay alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will come. 
43 But you do know this: had the owner of the house known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. 
44 Therefore you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting him. 

Matthew 25:13:

13 So stay alert, because you know neither the day nor the hour.

Thus, let’s get our life and relationship with ADONAI in order. Do it today and stay alert! There are definitely signs that we are moving ever closer to the coming judgment and events that will precede this. Furthermore, this might all sound like doom and gloom, but, remember the third section of the prophesy:

It’s not a time to be sad, but a time for joy. For  “ADONAI has removed the judgments against you, he has expelled your enemy; the king of Isra’el, ADONAI, is right there with you. You no longer need to fear that anything bad will happen.”

The nations will be in anxiety and bewilderment, and the sinners will fear and faint (Luke 21: 25 to 26) at the events to come, but we will be singing, shouting and praising ADONAI! We will be liberated! Our King, Yeshua Ha Mashiach (the Messiah) is with us.

All glory to our King of Israel!