Monday, September 13, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Ok I know what you're thinking, the guy has lost it because it's not Spring. Well don't panic because while I am crazy, I have not gone over the edge and I'm not deleting anything. The title is just a way of describing this holiday. But it's not the dusting and the scrubbing and the cleaning out the garage or the gutters type of things you do during Springtime, this is an internal cleaning that needs to be done at this time every year. The name of the holiday is "Yom Kippur" or "Day of Attonement" and it is on 10 Tishrei (10th Day of the 7th Month) which this year falls on Saturday Sept 18th. And it is s time for us to clean house and examine ourselves. Here is what the folks at FFOZ have to say about the day " It is one of the appointed times on God's calendar: the tenth day of the seventh month. It is a fast day, a day for confessing sins, repenting and asking God for forgiveness. In the days of the Tabernacle and Temple, it was a day of solemn sacrificial rituals for purification and atonement. It was the only day of the year when the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies." This is what Leviticus 16:1-34 says

The Day of Atonement

Lev 16:1 The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the LORD.
Lev 16:2 The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses b into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.
Lev 16:3 “This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
Lev 16:4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on.
Lev 16:5 From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
Lev 16:6 “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.
Lev 16:7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
Lev 16:8 He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat.
Lev 16:9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering.
Lev 16:10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement u by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat.
Lev 16:11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.
Lev 16:12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.
Lev 16:13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die.
Lev 16:14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.
Lev 16:15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people c and take its blood behind the curtain d and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle e it on the atonement cover and in front of it.
Lev 16:16 In this way he will make atonement f for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, h which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
Lev 16:17 No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.
Lev 16:18 “Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar.
Lev 16:19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.
Lev 16:20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.
Lev 16:21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat m and confess n over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task.
Lev 16:22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins o to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.
Lev 16:23 “Then Aaron is to go into the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen garments p he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there.
Lev 16:24 He shall bathe himself with water in a holy place and put on his regular garments. s Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, t to make atonement for himself and for the people.
Lev 16:25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
Lev 16:26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.
Lev 16:27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up.
Lev 16:28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.
Lev 16:29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance a for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month b you must deny yourselves and not do any work whether native-born or an alien living among you
Lev 16:30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins.
Lev 16:31 It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.
Lev 16:32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments.
Lev 16:33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community.
Lev 16:34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance m for you: Atonement is to be made once a year n for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses.

And here is a good description from FFOZ about what to do on this day.

Yom Kippur can be compared to "spring cleaning." After the long winter, some people turn their households upside down, tidying everything, washing the windows, scrubbing the floors and thoroughly cleaning the house. Of course they maintain the home throughout the year, but spring cleaning is an annual time of concentrated and detailed washing and clearing. Spring cleaning gives people the opportunity to take care of messes that accumulate over the year and are otherwise left unattended.

In the days of the Tabernacle and Temple, Yom Kippur was sort of like a spring cleaning (fall cleaning, to be more precise). The idea is that over the course of a year, the Tabernacle (or Temple) became more and more ritually unfit. As people traipsed in and out, they carried with them ritual contamination, sin, iniquity and wickedness. Their trafficking through the holy place left a residue of spiritual pollution. Eventually, that spiritual pollution could accumulate to the point where God would be forced to withdraw His dwelling presence from the sanctuary. To prevent such an outcome, God appointed the purification rituals of the Day of Atonement to cleanse His sanctuary.

Although there is no Temple today, the annual clean-up day is still an important spiritual discipline. The apostles teach that believers constitute a collective Temple of the Holy Spirit. The concentrated day of fasting, confession, repentance and petition for forgiveness is like an annual spiritual clean-up. This does not mean that we do not regularly confess our sins and repent. Nor does it mean that our sins are not forgiven by the blood of Messiah. It simply means that, once a year, it is a good idea to take inventory, straighten things up and scrub down the soul. That's what the Day of Atonement is all about.

The Day of Atonement is a day for humbling one's soul. It is the day for confession, supplication, fasting and weeping. Yom Kippur is about coming near to God.
Jewish custom refers to the Day of Atonement as Judgment Day because of its biblical associations with sin, atonement and forgiveness. The traditional synagogue Day of Atonement service lasts most of the day. Since it is a fast day, the whole day is spent in prayer, confession, study and reflection.

For disciples of Yeshua, the Day of Atonement is a special and significant day. The writer of the book of Hebrews shows us how the rituals of the Day of Atonement foreshadowed the work of Messiah—not in the Temple on earth, but in the heavenly Temple. He carried His own blood into the Holy of Holies of the heavenly Temple. Thus the rituals of the Day of Atonement foreshadow the redemptive work of Messiah.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rosh HaShanah

Due to a death in the family, I am not able to do research this enough and put it in my own words. So I give you a copy of the midrash I recd from First Fruits of Zion this week.

In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)

On the first day of the seventh month is this festival the Torah simply calls a "reminder by blowing of trumpets." This is the festival we call the "Feast of Trumpets," the day of trumpet blowing. The Torah tells us to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets by blowing a ram's horn (shofar, שופר). The Feast of Trumpets is a festival that is meant to prepare us for the holy Day of Atonement that comes ten days later.

The festival is called Rosh HaShanah (the head of the year). This is the Hebrew way of saying New Year's Day. The Torah commands us to blow the shofar on the Rosh Hashanah as a memorial, but it does not tell us what the blowing of the shofar memorializes. The Sages offered various attempts to explain the festival. They searched through the Scriptures for references to shofars and trumpet blasts and derived a plethora of different remembrances. The early medieval sage Rav Saadiah Gaon codified these various explanations of the Feast of Trumpets and listed them. According to Rav Saadiah Gaon, there are ten primary remembrances for which the shofar is blown on the Festival of Trumpets. Each of these remembrances highlights a unique aspect of the festival:

1. The Coronation of the King
2. The Call to Repentance
3. The Giving of the Torah at Sinai
4. Warning of Impending Judgment
5. The Destruction and Future Rebuilding of the Temple
6. The Binding of Isaac
7. Fear of God
8. The Day of Judgment (Yom Kippur)
9. The Ingathering of Israel
10. The Resurrection of the Dead

Even as we wait to hear the trumpet blast of the king, the great shofar of our returning Redeemer, we celebrate the appointed time of the Rosh Hashanah. The annual blast of the shofar during the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows that day when the heavens will be rent by the blast of Messiah's trumpet. For disciples of the Messiah, Rosh Hashanah is a reminder of that appointed time yet to come when the Master "will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other." (Matthew 24:31) It is a day on which we anticipate the coming judgment, the trumpets of the book of Revelation, and the beginning of the end. It is a glimpse of the future, a shadow cast through time. As such, the Feast of Trumpets is relevant for everyone who believes in Messiah's return. It is an important festival for the disciples of Yeshua.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010