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Teshuvah: Days of Awe, Seasons of Joy

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          We are entering into a special time of the year according to Hebrew Scriptures and customs. I don’t know who first said it, but a commonly known and heard statement is that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. We understand something of the mind of God and the things of God when we study the very foundation of our faith which is found in the first five books of the Bible commonly known as the Torah for this is where God began to reveal Himself through the writings of Moses in the wilderness. It was then that the Lord gave His people instructions of keeping the Seven Major feasts. They are the three Spring feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits which are grouped together, then 40 days later the feast of Pentecost and then the fall feasts of Trumpets, Day of Atonement or Judgment and Tabernacles, also grouped together and the people of Israel were instructed to appear before God three times a year to celebrate those 7 feasts.

          In this short study I will use the English translations of the feasts rather than the Hebraic names. The fall feasts usually come in the time frame of September-October depending upon the Jewish calendar and the years that they add the 13th month to the normal 12 months of 28 days each. They have a 19 year cycle in which a month is added to the normal 12 months, 9 times. This year the Feast of Tabernacles is on October 4-13th and the Day of Atonement on October 14th.

          When you look at the different calendars used throughout history you have the Julian calendar, the Gregorian Calendar developed by Pope Gregory, the Lunar Calendar which follows the moon cycles from the Old Testament using 354-355 days per year and the Solar Calendar which is what most of the Western World uses which is 365.25 days per year. So there are different calendars and we have the issue of determining the days, months and years. To simplify it, the earth’s rotation on its axis determines the days, the moon cycles determine the month and the earth’s rotation around the sun determines the year. When the earth rotates on it’s axis over a 24 hour period of time, that is a day. When the moon does through its four cycles of new, waxing, full and waning, it takes 28 days and that is a Lunar month. And the earth takes 365.25 days to make a complete orbit around the sun which makes a solar year.

          This is how time is traditionally kept. However, God established certain seasons in Israel in which the people were to do certain things within those seasons. For example, in Exodus 12:2-11 they were told to keep Passover by sacrificing a Lamb and then having the Passover supper in which they ate that lamb which was roasted along with certain herbs and unleavened bread. Then they were to keep Pentecost, keeping the wheat harvest and were to wave two loaves of bread before the Lord. Then there are the fall feasts. When you look at the feasts as an overview of the year’s cycles, you see that they were all done in accordance with other already established patterns of the seasons of rain and the agriculture times of harvest.

I have already done teachings in more detail of those feasts and so this is just a quick review and is now going to be more about a lesser known season that the Jewish people have every year that has been going on for centuries and that is the time preceding the Feast of Trumpets known as Teshuvah, which means repentance or to turn. Teshuvah begins in the last month of the Hebrew Calendar and the entire month of Elul is this time of repentance which ends with the first day of the first month of the Hebrew Calendar, Tishri (corresponding to October 4th, 2005) which begins Rosh Hashanah or The Feast of Trumpets, which lasts until October 13th.

Rosh Hashanah on the 1st day of the month of Tishri begins the Jewish New Year which is observed for two days in Israel as well as the Diaspora. It marks the commencement of the Ten Days of Penitence of the Feast of Trumpets which reach their climax on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. An important observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar (ram's horn). Rosh Hashanah is also known as 'Yom Hadin,' the day of judgment, since, according to tradition, on Rosh Hashanah, mankind is judged by God for its actions during the past year. Also I would like to note that the first time Jesus came, it was for salvation and the when He returns, it will be for judgment. In another study it was established that Jesus was born on the Feast of Trumpets, September 11, 2 B.C. and He will return at some time in the future on the Feast of Trumpets.

So we have in the fall time, the last month of the Jewish calendar and year which is a time or season of repentance, the feast of Trumpets and it is believed that then the window of heaven is opened for ten days in which God answers prayer more quickly than at other times of the year when His people repent and seek His face and then He makes decisions for His people for the coming 12 months.

We are talking about how God makes a decree for His people for 12 months. We use a calendar in which our New Year starts with January the 1st, but according to the years as God set them up in the Old Testament, the beginning of the New Year is the first day or Tishri or October 4th of the year 2005. This is God’s Calendar that God established with His people which began in the Old Testament times. The Jewish people currently have both a religious calendar and a civil calendar. The religious calendar is the first month following at Passover in March or April, but the civil calendar begins in the fall at the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah. This is the true Jewish New Year, the calendar the Lord established which He still uses in dealing with His people and the world.

So again, the Jewish New Year begins on October 4th and for ten days is the celebration of the Feast of Trumpets ending on October 13th. Then on October 14th is the Day of Atonement. In the early days of the temple in the time of Jesus, no one knew when the feast of Trumpets would start because it was identified by the new moon, a time when there is no moon in the sky and it is totally dark. When a small sliver of the moon was first seen then two witnesses, they went to the Sanhedrin who then went to the High Priest and the new moon was sanctified and then the next day they began to blow the trumpets to start the Feast of Trumpets and the New Year. There was a 48 hour window in which the new moon and new month could be sanctified and so no man knew the exact day or how when the new month and year would begin. That is similar to the scripture of Matthew 25:13 speaking of the end time “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

When the Trumpets were blown that began the ten days of Awe. In those ten days between the first day of the Feast of Trumpets on October 4th this year (2005) and the Feast of Atonement (October 14th) is the time called the Gate of Heaven being opened in which God is making the decisions for the next 12 months. This decision gate closes on October 13th. Now, this doesn’t mean that God only answers prayer at this time, for God answers prayers every day and hour all year long; however there are seasons in God. God blesses His people every day, but God also does things in seasons, just as spoken of in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” There is a time and season for everything under the sun, though man people today don’t want to accept or believe that or that God controls wars and stops them, that He raises up kings and rulers and puts them down. Their God isn’t sovereign and in total control of leaders and circumstances, but the God of Scripture surely is in control of all that and much more, which we will see shortly and He is also in control of the storms, hurricanes, earthquakes this world is experiencing and whatever else you can name for He is Lord over all creation and there is nothing that is not in His hand and control.

But what we are talking about here is the special seasons in God. That could be looked at more closely from both the Hebrew and Greek but not in this brief study.

During this time and season, the Days of Awe, God determines or makes decisions for the next 12 months concerning you and your life. Yes God is sovereign and we could get into all this theology of how God already knows everything that is going to happen and all that which is true. But we also have to recognize spiritual realities and things that can move the hand of God, as the spiritual reality of the power of prayer by righteous men according to James 5:16. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” We see in 2 Kings 20:1-6 an example of this as King Hezekiah was told to set his house in order because he was going to die and he set his face to the wall to seek the Lord and the Lord added 15 years to his life. There are people in the New Testament that were dead and when the people ran to Jesus He raised them from the dead.  Mark 5:25-31, Luke 7:12-14, John 11:38-44 give us three different people that Jesus raised from the dead in His ministry. So it is a bit too passive to just say whatever will be will be. God hears the prayers of His people.

Here is a passive example of how this works. In the Old Testament there was an ancient city called Babylon. The great revival time speaker of the Assemblies of God radio program named C.M. Ward once described what Babylon was like in King Nebuchadnezzar’s day based upon archeological evidence.

He said the banquet hall was one mile long and 1006 feet wide. There was a gold chain coming down from the ceiling with plants hanging from the ceiling. There were 35,000 trained musicians sitting in the corner playing the music just for the banquet hall. 5,000 flute players and 5,000 of each of players of other instruments. All the tables in the banquet hall were shaped like horseshoes and peacocks pulling small miniature chariots were going from table to table carrying the cheeses and wine. Then there were elephants with bronze gladiators standing on top of them carved into the walls. There were the famous hanging gardens. That is the place where God interrupted the party and the handwriting on the wall of Daniel 5:5 took place. “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.”

Lets talk about king Nebuchadnezzar. In the book of Daniel in chapter four, the king had a very strange dream of a tree that had grown very large and in which the birds of the air were landing on its branches. Then suddenly he heard that an angel was coming down to chop down the tree and the tree fell over. He was very troubled by the dream and Daniel the prophet came and interpreted the dream for the king in Daniel 4:8-17. “But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him: and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”

He said, King, you are that tree and you have grown great in the earth and everybody is coming to you but you have pride in your heart. And God is going to cut you down and the angels said let seven times or years pass.

Now the Chaldean word for decree (gezerah, (Chald.), ghez-ay-raw') from the root word (gezar, (Chald.), ghez-ar') means (to quarry; determine) or in other words to make an inquiry or investigation by the watchers in heaven. Then he speaks of a watcher coming down. The Chaldee word for watcher (iyr, (Chald.), eer) is only used here in the English translation of the Bible and it means a guardian angel. The root word (uwr, oor) is a primary root and it means to open ones eyes. A guardian watches over you to protect you. The Chaldee word for Holy Ones (qaddiysh, (Chald.), kad-deesh') doesn’t just mean to be holy but alludes to people and means Holy One referring to the saints.

Based on this scripture, note that King Nebuchadnezzar had in the past invaded Jerusalem, he being the head of gold on the image representing the nations and kingdoms that he saw. He had destroyed the temple, burned it to the ground and taken the Jews captive and took all the holy vessels into Babylon. His grandson was actually drinking from the holy vessels in Daniel five when the handwriting on the wall occurred and God divided the kingdom.

Note that it says the decree of the holy ones in Daniel 4:17 caused the angels the watchers to be moved to cut down Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:29). At the end of 12 months, that is the time period for which God makes decisions for in the ten days of the Feast of Trumpets or days of Awe. In the rest of Daniel 4 we see that at the end of twelve months, that which he was warned would happen, happened. Daniel 4:29, 31b-33. “At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon… there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.” According to Dakes annotated Bible he was called what we would call a wolf man, or werewolf, long hair, long claws and this happened after 12 months from the original decree. God had made a decree and he was given 12 months in which to repent of his pride and if he didn’t repent then this would happen to him and it did. This shows the importance of God’s decisions in the season of repentance, Teshuvah and the Feast of Trumpets. The last month of the Jewish calendar and the ten days of the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement make up the 40 days that are known as the Days of Awe and Seasons of Joy.

What is it you need God to do for you in the next 12 months? Is there a miracle you need and are believing God for?  Is there a breakthrough of some kind in your job, family or ministry that you need God to intervene concerning? This season, the Seasons of Awe, October 4th – 13th there are three things that each person must do if they want God’s best for the coming year. They must pray their best prayers, and make your decrees to God and make your best giving for the year. This is the time to pray, fast, make decrees and plant financial seeds into the kingdom of God more than any other time of the year.

A farmer doesn’t plant seed into the ground for that moment but so that at a future time, some months later, he might receive a harvest. Praying is that way. You pray today but it doesn’t mean that it will always happen today. When you pray you are sowing spiritual seed into the heavens knowing that eventually what you plant will come back as a harvest. The prayers of some saints are manifested years later, even after their own homecoming. This is the way it works in the natural or physical and also the way it works in the spiritual.

In Job chapter one we see that job lost his seven sons and three daughters and 7,000 sheep, 500 oxen and 500 donkeys and Job sat with nothing. But then there is Job 22:23-28. “If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.”

Job had lost everything and had nothing and so God tells Him this is what you need to do to get a divine reversal. First, repent or return to God and be sorry for your sins. The beginning of the 40 day period of repentance which begins with the month of Elul, before Teshuvah and concludes at the end of the Feast of Trumpets is to repent both to men you have wronged and to God. Then it is a season to pray and make your needs and desires known to God and then third, it is a time to pay your vows. In the Old Testament a vow was in the form of a sacrifice of an animal, today it is an offering. Then fourth, it said to decree a thing (Job 22:18) and it will be established unto you. To decree a thing in the Old Testament Hebrew is similar to the New Testament Greek word rhema. Speak out of your mouth that which is quickened to your spirit and given life to. You cannot decree a thing unless you believe it and it is a living word in your spirit and you then you speak it out of your mouth and God gives life to it.

Christians have some of the worst confessions in the world. They are speaking negatively all the time. Not that the things they speak are not true, but you can never get a breakthrough in the spirit and have a change in your life if you are constantly living that way and never speaking words of faith, according to the Word of God, coming into agreement with His Word and have the testimony of Jesus, speaking as He did in faith. If you do not come into agreement with the Word of God and speak your faith in His Word, then how can it work in your life and bring changes that become your reality and experience in life? It is important for us to understand this time of the seasons of Awe, Teshuvah and the ten days of heaven in which the gates of heaven are opened according to the ancient Jewish teaching that are tied in to the feasts of Israel.

When our generation grew up there was no teaching on these things because they only preached on the New Testament. But we can learn from the Old Testament and the feasts and all the other Old Testament types and shadows things that will help us in our walk today that we might learn and be obedient to the Lord. God establishes things in patterns, cycles and seasons and it is important that we tap into and benefit from these things that God has done. No we don’t have to do these things or pay attention to them to be saved, but if there is something we can do to have God’s best in our life, then we should avail ourselves of it. God is the God of patterns, seasons who established the sun, moon and stars for seasons and signs and days and so there must be significance and importance to them today, because He said they were important thousands of years ago from the beginning so why should they not be important and significant today?

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