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Forty Days of Teshuvah

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          There is something special about the fall months but it isn’t because of football and all the secular things but because of what God established for this time of year in the fall feasts of Israel.

Silver trumpets in the time of Moses were used for the calling of the assembly of the people and for assembly when they would travel. Leviticus 23:24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.” Numbers 10:2Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.” The trumpets were also blown on the Year of Jubilee which began on the Day of Atonement, which is the 7th month and 10th day. Leviticus 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.”

We also know the trump of God will sound when Jesus will return. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” We know that the trumpets are blown each year at the time of the Feast of Trumpets. Leviticus 23:24Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.” The Shofar or ram’s horns and antelope horns were blown.

Again in quick review, the seven feasts of Israel are the 3 spring feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits, then 40 days later Pentecost and then the fall feasts of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. Yet there are other Hebrew celebrations like Hanukah when the Maccabeus came in and cleansed the temple from the heathen that had taken it over and one days’ oil for the menorah lasted for 8 days and so Hanukkah is celebrated every year.

Then there is Purim which means to cast lots which is a celebration of Ester and how God used her to save the Jewish people. Then there is the 8 days of the Feast of Tabernacles also called rejoicing in the Torah.

It is important to note that the New Testament quotes from the Old Testament hundreds of times and that although some 2/3rds of the Old Testament prophecies have been fulfilled some 1/3rd of them have not been fulfilled, they have not yet come to pass. The only way we can come to understand something of how God feels or thinks is to look into His Word to see what He has said and look at what He established through His people that continue to this day either by custom, tradition or feast. One of those is a time called Teshuvah which is the season of Repentance which begins on the last month of the Hebrew calendar called Elul.

Our calendar begins January 1st, but God’s original calendar was totally different and the Jewish civil calendar which is the one they go by (rather than the Jewish religious calendar) falls around September-October each year and this year is October 4th, 2005. Teshuvah is a forty day period that begins with the first day of the last month of their calendar (Elul, which began this year on September 5th to October 3rd) and ends on the Day of Atonement on October 14th. So the total period by our calendar is September 5th to October 14th and it covers the entire month of Elul and the first 11 days of the first month of their calendar, Tishri (their January). The Hebrew people worldwide are to search their heart and make things right with their neighbors, friends and relatives and repent of any wrongs.

Then there is the Days of Awe which correspond to the ten days of the Feast of Trumpets, which is also the first ten days of their New Year and first month of the year, Tishri. These are known as high holy days. For the 29 days of Elul a shofar is sounded each day, then on the 30th day of Teshuvah, which corresponds to the first day of the New Year and first day of the Feast of Trumpets, over 100 trumpet blasts occurs. This began with the time of Moses and also was going on during Jesus time, the time of the second temple.

On the Hebrew calendar, Elul 1st was Monday September 5th. Then Elul 29th is Monday October the 3rd. Tishri the 1st is Tuesday October 1st and Tishri 10th is Thursday October 13th. Of course their days start at 6pm of our day. The Seasons of Repentance is Elul 1st (September 5th) to Elul 29th (October 3rd). And the Days of Awe are Tishri 1st (October 4th) to Tishri 10th (October 13th), 2005. Then on Tishri 11th, October 14th is the Day of Atonement or Day of Judgment. This entire period is the time known as Teshuvah, a 40 day period.

Starting September 5th  to October 25th they read Psalms 27 each day. That is a long period of 51 days. This is a powerful and wonderful verse for all believers that we need to meditate upon because it is a powerful promise for God’s people. Psalms 27:1-14The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” What a conclusion.

This Psalm is quoted twice a day for 51 days by the Hebrews. This is part of their pattern. They are putting this word of God into their spirit and then they are writing letters to loved ones and friends to tell them how much you love them and you are praying for them and do and then you wish them good for the next coming year, to wish them good decisions and say to them, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

This is the belief and practice for Hebrews because it is a time they believe in searching their hearts, repenting and praying for others and make restitution for it is a time that God makes decisions for you, your family, your business and all that concerns you for the next 12 months. If you show God during this season of repentance that you are doing so and showing Him that you will be obedient to Him then it finds favor with the Lord and He begins to mark you for those 12 months in the Book of Remembrance. Some even believe that during the ten days of the Feast of Trumpets it is even decided whether or not you will live through or die during the next year and that it is then sealed on the Day of Atonement or Judgment, Yom Hardin.

All this is to give understanding of the season and times that God established for His people. In the Old Testament times in the tabernacle of Moses and in Solomon’s time there was a brass altar made of wood and covered with brass, which had four horns on the corners that ropes could be tied to. It had a ramp that they walked up. There was a grid that they moved to take out the ashes each day because the fire was to be kept burning 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

On the brass altar, in the time of Jesus, before the crucifixion, the people would bring a vow offering, a freewill offering, a sin or a guilt offering of a lamb, a ram, or two turtle doves or pigeons and they would be offered on the brass altar in the court of the temple.

In the Bible, in the Old Testament God made a distinction between sins against Him and sins against mankind and so we see that there are two types of sin to God, that which is against Him and that which is against other people or your fellow man. God made this distinction and you are repenting and go to the brass altar to offer a sacrifice, God established different types of sacrifices for the two different types of sin. If you sinned against God you brought a sin offering, if you sinned against others you brought a trespass or a guilt offering. (These offering are covered in Leviticus chapters 4 (the sin offering) & Leviticus chapter 5 (the trespass offering) and chapter 5 through chapter 7 continues with the law of the Trespass offering, then trespass with restitution, the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, and the peace offering, . Here is just a piece of those instructions.

Leviticus 4:2b-3If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.Leviticus 5:5-6 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.”

A sin offering in Hebrew is called chatta'ah, khat-taw-aw'; or  chatta'th, khat-tawth' speaking of an offense or sin against God and then trespass or guilt offering is the Hebrew asham, aw-shawm'. So there are individual different words for the two different types of sin to denote that which was between you and God and between you and man.

Now, if you are in covenant with God, a sin against God breaks that covenant. So you had to come to the temple and bring that sacrifice to God and that sacrifice was burned to make restitution with God. If you sinned against God’s covenant or God’s Word you had to repent and offer the sin offering on the brazen altar.

If you sinned against man, say you lied against someone, cheated someone, whatever sin, then you can’t just go to God and ask forgiveness. You had to first go to the person against whom you had sinned and make restitution which is done with that person you sinned against and then you brought a trespass offering to the altar which is what Jesus summed up in Matthew 5:23-24. “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

A lot of people do things against others, like talking bad about other people, gossiping against them, hurting their reputation, criticize them and get into unforgiveness, bitterness and strife with that other person. Then they want to go to God and say “God I really shouldn’t have done that, please forgive me” and to go on. That is not scriptural or acceptable either in the New Testament or the Old Testament, as we see both say the same thing. (Exodus chapter 22 speaks of mans responsibility concerning the property of others). To be right with God we have to make things right with our fellowman whom we have wronged, or at least attempt to do so. the other side of the coin, if someone else sins against us and asks forgiveness, we must forgive, regardless and without strings and no matter who was at fault, try to restore relationships. Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.Luke 17:3-4 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” That is not an option, but a commandment we are to “do” otherwise we are what James called only hearers of the Word but not doers and it is only the doers who are blessed. James 1:22-25 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

Both the Old and New Testament are precise about this issue of forgiveness and forgiving others. You cannot sin against a person and then go to God and get forgiveness for it. You have to go to that person and make it right or you will be spiritually hindered in your prayer life and your spiritual life and will keep you from the blessing of God that He would and desires to give you and cut off your relationship with God. Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.Mark 11:25-26 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

God says if you are not right with your brother, if you are in bitterness or unforgiveness or not right with your brother, then you can’t be right with Him. You can’t say, I love God and hate my brother for God says those who do that are liars. It doesn’t matter what you think, what you say, your opinion of the issue, because God has the last word on the issue and has already spoken it. 1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 1 John 4:20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Many times two guys can get into an argument or fight and before the day is over they can be out playing a game of golf together or having a meal together. Two women can get in a fuss and not talk to each other for the next ten years. The same can happen with between a man and woman. The man may forget it but the woman doesn’t. Now this isn’t true about everyone and thank God it is only a generalization, though it is true for most, especially those who are not spiritual - because men are more rational and women are emotional and they let things get into their emotions and they replay it and keep it alive more than men.

But there is no excuse for those who call themselves Christians to keep animosity against another. There is no excuse for the “well, when she comes to me then I will forgive her” attitude or approach. Both are waiting for the other to come humble to them. They are both standing in their pride. But what does Jesus say about the issue? Matthew 5:23-24Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” It doesn’t matter if you wronged your brother or your brother wronged you, and this is not talking about a physical brother relationship nor only to men, either way, before God we have a responsibility before God to try and make things right with our fellow man.

The altar in the days of Jesus was the brass or bronze altar. They were bringing their offering before God to be forgiven for what they did against someone else and Jesus said, no, leave your gift and first go be reconciled with your brother and then come and offer your trespass offering which was to then make it right before God, but couldn’t be done until you made things right with your brother because God wouldn’t accept the trespass offering if there was no repentance before the brother wronged. God won’t receive the gift until you first repent to your brother. We can only properly understand this verse in light of its context and meaning then to the people Jesus spoke to. Your own blessings are contingent on how you treat other people, not just how you pray and worship God. This is the purpose of this teaching that we understand this season we are in and understand the need for this type of repentance and making things right before God, including making restitution where it is needed.

So this is the time to do our most intense repenting and making things right before man and God. If we don’t make them right with man, we can’t make them right before God and have His blessings upon us. Then we need to pray our most intense prayer because God gives special attention to our prayers and then to do our best giving. In the Old Testament it was a sacrifice on the altar but now we don’t bring lambs, rams, goats and other animals, but we bring ourselves and the works of our hands. It all beings with our giving ourselves to the Lord to serve and obey Him and until we do that, nothing else really matters. We have to get the priority right of what we do is of no significance or benefit to us. It is just like if we do lots of good works, but with the wrong motives, then there is no reward for the works because we did them in a manner unacceptable to the Lord and so our works are burned up in the fire of God. Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

All of these things combine and go together in this special season as we repent, make things right with man and God, pray and give to the Lord that we might have His best. We need to understand the seasons and patterns of God. Yes, we don’t make animal sacrifices, but the spiritual things of God and seasons of God haven’t changed nor His requirement of repentance, restitution and His blessing.

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