Introducing the Jews preluding the restoration prophecy
The Promises to Abraham: One of them was in Genesis 12:1-3, as we see that he will be made a great nation and will be blessed so that the name is great. He shall be a blessing, and will bless them that bless him and curse them that curse him – and in this, all families of the earth will be blessed. The second one was in Genesis 13:15, where we see that all the land, which he sees, it will be given to him and his seed forever. A third one would be in Genesis 17:2-7, where we see that a covenant will be made that he will be a father of many nations, making them exceedingly fruitful. A fourth one would be in Genesis 22:18, which we see that by his seed that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
Jacob was born as the son of Isaac, and had a brother named Esau. Isaac and Rebekah gave the second of these twin sons the name “Jacob,” which means, “to hold the heel.” At birth, Jacob’s hand grabbed the heel of Esau (Genesis 25:24-26). When they grew, Jacob proved his name by taking what belonged to Esau – which was the family birthright and the father’s blessing (Genesis 27:36). God was clear that Jacob was chosen, and through him, God would fulfill the promises to Abraham. God used this man to continue the line of descent from Abraham, to Isaac, and then to Jacob. The nation that God wanted was one that would be a passage of blessing. That nation was commonly called Israel, which was after the name God called him in Genesis 32:28.
For Israel, the Prince then… Israel means, “God’s fighter, God’s hero, wrestler with God, ruler with El (God), Prince of God.” The Disciples asked, “…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus answered them in a way that He said in other places about End Times, restoration, etc. that it is not of their concern when the time shall come for the restoration. In a way, He is saying that only God knows when the true restoration of Israel shall come, and that there is work to be done until then.
There was a great prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel given by Isaiah, as he says in 49:6, “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Then in 63:17, “O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.” The word, “restoration,” in the Old Testament is taken from the Hebrew word, “shalam,” which means, “to be safe, completed, to finish, to give again, to recompense, to make restitution.” In the New Testament, it comes from the Greek word, “apokathistemi,” which means, “to reconstitute in health, home, and organization.”
Malachi prophesied a restoration as well in 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Jesus then said in Matthew 17:11, “…Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” In the last days, the days of restoration, when the Lord will fulfill the prophecy of Joel and send us the former rain and the latter rain together (Joel 2:23), we will have that double-portion-anointed company of saints who will be raised up as deliverers with both the anointing of Elijah and of John. They will finish the old kingdom and bring in the new kingdom of God. Elijah’s ministry was to judge the system of idolatry and John’s ministry was to proclaim, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and to call all men to repentance. This will be the double-portion, end-time ministry.
Israel would be a people who were peculiar, holy, and above all nations that are upon the earth (Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2). A Redeemed and chosen people (2 Samuel 7:10-11, 23). A People with a special ministry (Exodus 6:6-8; Luke 9:60). A People whom God has blessed (Exodus 23:11, 20). A People who cannot be destroyed (Numbers 23:23-24). A perfect People (Numbers 24:3-9, 17-20). A People whose King is the Star of Jacob and the Sceptre of Israel (Numbers 24:17). Paul says in Colossians 2:17 that all the laws and rituals of Israel’s past are only a shadow of things to come. We have now come to that hour when all things are about to be fulfilled. Are you a Jew?
The Tribes of Israel
Oh Reuben… Genesis 49:3-4, “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.” Moses’ prophecy for Reuben was found in Deuteronomy 33:6, “Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.” Reuben’s great sin was laying with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, as we see in Genesis 35:22, “And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.” As Reuben reverted back to the way he used to be – as we see in Judges 5:15-16. But, they were called to come back out and help, and Deborah sent it to them also. However, when the call came, they just mocked and hissed, saying, “Ha, who is going to battle? Not me. No thanks! I don’t want to be involved.” Reuben was a “curser,” Deuteronomy 27:13, “And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.”
Hello Simeon! Genesis 49:5, “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.” There were two great revivals in the Old Testament days, on under King Asa and one under Josiah. The one that Simeon was involved in was in 2 Chronicles 15:9, “And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.”
A portion of that tribe was located within Judah, but they were already subjects of the southern kingdom. A small body of Simeonites formed in the norther kingdom, but many returned of their own free will. The prophecies were fulfilled when the Lord, “divided them in Jacob and scattered them in Israel,” for when the land was divided among the tribes in the days of Joshua, Simeon did not receive an independent territory in the Promised Land, but obtained his portion within the inheritance of Judah. Overall, Simeon and Levi were “divided and scattered.”
Well Levi then… Genesis 49:5-7, “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” The purpose of this tribe was to become the priestly family of Israel – those that would stand and offer sacrifices on behalf of the bride (Israel). How it differs from the rest of the Tribes is that the Tribe of Levi were specifically chosen to represent the priestly family due to their zeal against idolatry, and due to the significance of being born third and given the name that means “unity.” The most important, however, is that there were three different sections of this tribe, and the Aaronic Line was the one chosen for High Priest duties. Other Levites were responsible for cleansing of the temple and preparing of sacrifices, but those of the Aaronic Priesthood were responsible for conducting the sacrifices, especially of carrying the blood into the Mercy Seat and surrendering unto God in atonement for the people’s sins.
Other Tribes could not accomplish the duty given unto the Tribe of Levi, because God created their tribe as a special tribe – one called for His Service in the Temple. This is based on Moses’ prophecy found in Deuteronomy 33:8-11, “And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.”
The Levites were unpermitted to be numbered, because the Lord had chosen them as His Firstfruits Company – as we see in Numbers 1:47-49. He chose Levi as His Priestly Family, to which, was His Firstborn Family out of Israel. They represented all of Israel before the Lord. Their time of service was 25 years from age 25 to 50. After that, other ministry could conduct. We see these things detailed in Numbers 8:23-26.
Remember Judah… Genesis 49:9, “Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” Jacob’s prophecies on Judah were in Genesis 49:8-12, “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.”
We see here in the context of Genesis 37:26 that the brothers sold Joseph to some traders who took him to Egypt. This verse is speaking that it would be no advantage to them to conceal his blood – for if it was discovered, they would be responsible for his blood and God would take vengeance upon them, therefore, it would be more profitable to sell Joseph instead of destroying him. Judah reveals his gift as an advocate and intercessor as we see in Genesis 37:27. Judah has a good influence with his brothers and is a gifted mediator. He is seen as settling crucial and difficult problems, including crises. He also speaks and others agree with him. His brothers support him well, and he makes a great international statesman. His sin is detailed in Genesis 38:1-30, however, the most important pieces of information are from… Verses 11-19, where we see that Judah did not want to give another son to daughter of Shuah, therefore, Tamar thought of a plan to disguise herself as a prostitute, which would succeed in seducing Judah. Since this was his daughter-in-law, he saw later that she was pregnant, and hoped to get rid of her, until she revealed that he was the source of the pregnancy – therefore, she shamed him.
Tamar would give birth to twins. The elder of the twins began the line of descent from Judah to David, and finally Jesus the Messiah! What is said on them? Genesis 38:26, “And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.” Judah was declared a chief ruler in 1 Chronicles 5:2. Further down the line, we see in Micah 5:2 that a ruler shall be in Israel that will come forth from the Tribe of Judah, and from of old and unto everlasting (Jesus was, is, and always will be King, to which, Micah is talking about here). For Moses’ prophecy in Deuteronomy 33:7, we see that Judah was the most powerful tribe, but besides protecting itself from enemies, it should help other tribes when in trouble. This tribe was also a praying and praising people (Judah’s name means, “Now will I praise the Lord” Genesis 29:35). Sadly, Moses did not speak anything of priesthood, but we know that Jesus did spring up from Judah (Hebrews 7:14). We see in Matthew 1:1-6/Luke 3:31-34, that Jesus is a member of the Tribe of Judah by lineage. We also see in Revelation 5:5 the apocalyptic vision of the Tribe of Judah – wherein we see Jesus described as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, who prevailed to open the book and loose the seven seals! Oh Glory to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!
Do you remember Dan? Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:16-18, “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” Moses’ prophecy in Deuteronomy 33:22, “And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.” The Danites were characterized as switch and ruthless in their actions, especially when they slaughtered the people of Laish and seized the town for themselves and renaming it Dan (Judges 18:7-10, 27-29). In Genesis 46:23; Numbers 26:42; 1:38-39; 1 Chronicles 2-8… We see that the Tribes are detailed except for Dan’s Tribe.
It appears that this tribe was left out of noting down info about it. Even in Revelation 7:4-8, there is no mention of the Tribe, as if the Holy Spirit is leaving the info out about them. Dan would be at the end of different lists as well – wherein, this all remains a mystery nonetheless. We see “warlike Dan” in Judges chapters 17-18 – The Israelite Nation at the time of this story had no central government and the people in the various tribes did what they pleased, which caused problems overall. In short, people of the Tribe of Dan had never won complete control over their tribal inheritance on the Philistine coast, therefore, they were clutched between Judah and Ephraim – and pressed back from the coast by the Philistines and Amorites. The Tribe of Dan became sore, because there wasn’t much expanse to call their own. The spies from Dan set out looking for land to claim, and found a suitable area in the far north of Palestine (Laish). The spies returned with good news that the place they explored had well fertile land and quiet people – so an attack would definitely be unexpected.
The people of Dan made their way then to conquer Laish and make it theirs. Micah had been kind to them earlier in the chapter as we see, however, they ignored that and decided to raid his shrine, rob him of his images, and bribe his priest to go with them. When Micah protested, he was threatened. Meanwhile, the tribe voyaged to Laish where they brutally slaughtered the people and scorched the town to crisp. They rebuilt the town soon after, renamed it Dan, and used Micah’s priest and images to establish their own idolatrous religion. In 2 Kings 10:18-36, Jehu is seen killing off members of Ahab’s family as well as breaking down the image of Baal and his temple. However, the golden calves stayed in Bethel and Dan, which caused the heart of Dan to become the heart of idolatry. We see in Ezekiel 27:19, for example, that Dan was worldly. Yes, skillful, but worldly – to the point that the love of nice things was a great temptation to Dan.
Worldly things even caused Dan’s greatest hero to fall, and their downfall is their idolatrous activity. Dan was one to know that Samuel was anointed to be a prophet (1 Samuel 3:20). God fought for Israel in the domain of Dan, because He was fighting for Dan’s property (Joshua 10:12-14). Jacob’s prophecy for Dan (Genesis 49:18): “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” Jacob intercedes so intensely more than the other tribes that Dan would be saved, restored, and redeemed.
Naphtali… Jacob’s prophecy: “Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words” (Genesis 49:21). There are many similarities between Naphtali and Zebulun, for they always get along very well together. Naphtali has the ability to “scribe” the words God gives her, which in this way and in her gift of light, she is close to Zebulun. Moses’ prophecy: “And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south” (Deuteronomy 33:23).
The west speaks of the land that lay to the west of Naphtali, which was the mighty Mediterranean Sea, and was the gateway to new lands and adventures – for God wants Naphtali to possess the nations and move out across the waters in new places in God both spiritually and naturally. The south speaks of the pleasant things at the foot of Naphtali, for just west of Naphtali was Zebulun. God wants the uniting of Naphtali and Zebulun, for it was in the southern coast of Naphtali that Jesus preached most of his life. God wants Naphtali to even possess the message of the Sermon on the Mount. Judges 1:33 refers to a problem… Naphtali did not complete their God-given task of driving out the enemies.
They dwelt among the Canaanites; claiming taxes from people. Nonetheless, he dwelt among the inhabitants in cowardice and sloth. Instead of collecting tribute, they should have expelled them. Because of her backsliding, God began to punish Naphtali. It began against Naphtali when King Asa of Judah leagued with King Benhadad of Syria to invade Israel (1 Kings 15:20). Eventually, the Naphtalites would be taken captive (2 Kings 15:29). More details, such as the listing of her sins was done in 2 Kings 17:6-23. Isaiah 9:1 will one day apply to Naphtali, as this verse shows God’s wonderful end-times promise to Naphtali and Zebulun, which was partially fulfilled when Jesus came preaching in their borders – but it will be completely fulfilled in the future, for Naphtali is able to travail herself through to victory. She knows the key to redemption and will cry and travail. She needs to praise, sing, prophesy, fight, leap over the hills, and trust in God as her covering. One day she shall be made glorious!
Now is Gad… The prophecies concerning Gad given by Jacob included in Genesis 49:19, “Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.” Gad on the east of Jordan, was more open to attack than the western tribes, but its men were fierce fighters who drove back the invaders. Gad, however, is overcome with self, the independence and strong will – God will help him overcome himself so that he may be redeemed.
Moses’ prophecy to Gad is found in Deuteronomy 33:20-21, “And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.” God promises a blessing to those who bless Gad. Moses also sees Gad as a “lion” – the king of beasts, resting in confidence and strength. This depicts the ferociousness also of this tribe. Overall, they kept their promise to help other tribes conquer Canaan and they were fierce fighters. God will enlarge Gad, expand his territories, and keep him safe and secure from his enemies. He destroys his enemies at the head and the seat of the crown – hurting the subject of their strength.
Meet Asher… in Judges 1:31, that they failed to drive out whom God told them to (inhabitants), but rather, the Asherites just dwelt with the Canaanites as if nothing was wrong. They had the chance to take the whole land! We see what enables Asher to rise up in anointing to take their place as a soldier of the Lord in 1 Chronicles 7:40, “All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father's house, choice and mighty men of valour, chief of the princes. And the number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle was twenty and six thousand men.”
These men were eminent in courage and valor, willing to rise up as the heads of their fathers’ families. They had a large militia and were equipped of the Lord to battle! We see the information about the revival that occurred in 726 BC in 2 Chronicles 30:10-11, “So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.” They were seen confessing their sin and expressing sorrow and repentance – and then they were willing to obey God and attend his worship and ordinances.
Issachar… Prophecies first: Jacob’s, found in Genesis 49:14-15, “Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.” We see that Issachar gained good prosperity from the good farming area they were part of, to which, they sadly submitted too often to the powerful Canaanites that controlled most of the area. Moses’, found in Deuteronomy 33:18-19, “And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.” We see that Issachar would prosper (as well as Zebulun) through the agricultural success of their region. They were shown, during the great big feast in 1 Chronicles 12:40, to have brought many provisions for the feast. They are very generous people, to which, God needs, who will give their home and supplies, and even love. They are filled with such joy and rejoicing because of their wise investment in His Kingdom.
Hello there Zebulun… Prophecy of Jacob, Genesis 49:13, “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.” The Tribe of Zebulun that settled near the Mediterranean Coast was enriched with trade that passed through its territory to the sea. In addition, the burden for souls will motivate the life of Zebulun. They will go and go when she cannot go any longer to help those shipwrecked souls crying for help. Prophecy of Moses, Deuteronomy 33:18-19, “And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.”
Just as Issachar, they will also prosper through their agricultural activities. You may not get to the mission field, but you will always have a burden and call for missions overall in your life. Zebulun shall dwell in the light and attract others to her. They did serve with King David, 1 Chronicles 12:33, “Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.” They likely had around 50,000 noted in the verse. In Judges 12:11-12, we read about the judge, Elon, a Zebulunite, “And after him, Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel 10 years. And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulon.” Elon means, “the prominent, elated, exalted, noble one; oak, strong one.”
He is named after one of the sons of Zebulun. In Deuteronomy 27:13, we read that Zebulun stands with Reuben, Gad, Asher, Dan, and Naphtali to utter the warnings to the people of God. We read about a revival in Zebulun in 2 Chronicles 30:10, “So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.” We see the immaturity of a Zebulonite here, as there is mocking going on, laughing, and deriding. We see in Isaiah 9:1-5 the five good prophetic verses about Zebulun, which are full of promise. Out of the darkness of the conquered regions of the north, the Messiah, the one to lead His People to victory is coming to introduce an era of light, of joy, and of peace. Oppressors will be overthrown and war will be banished (which is good news for all of the tribes, especially those aiming for peace – such as Zebulun).
Oh yes, Joseph: The unusual part about these blessings was that Jacob pronounced them over Joseph (which factored in Manasseh and Ephraim). We see the blessings as follows in Genesis 48:13-20: Let Jacob/Israel’s name be named on them, and the name of his fathers Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. Become a people, become great – a seed shall become a multitude of nations. Make him as Ephraim and Manasseh. In Genesis 49:22-26, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” We see at the time of Jacob’s prophecy, Joseph was very important and may have been attacked in the past – but only for God to strengthen and bless him. The two tribes descended from Joseph were likewise blessed, and though large in number, the regions they occupied were the best. Moses’ prophecy to Joseph is found in Deuteronomy 33:13-17, “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” The Joseph tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, were to inherit the best part of Canaan, and the God who once appeared in the burning bush to Moses would give them special power, so that they would become the leading tribes in the northern kingdom. In Judges 7:24, we see that Gideon sent to war against the Midianites, and sent the messengers through all the mount of Ephraim.
The Ephraimites had great victory, but then they wondered why he wanted to war with the Midianites. They blamed Gideon (a Manassite), for what God had not enabled them to do. There seemed to be quite a brotherly jealousy between the two. In Judges 12:1, we see envy and contention, as the men of Ephraim were preparing to fight with Jephthah. When they fought, the men of Gilead smote Ephraim. The Gileadites captured the fords of Jordan behind the army of Ephraim and whenever a fugitive of Ephraim tried to cross the river, the Gilead guards challenged him asking if he was a member of the Tribe of Ephraim. If he was not, they wanted him to say, “Shibboleth.” If he couldn’t pronounce it correctly, he was dragged away and killed. 42,000 of them died just then, which was of great humiliation and tragedy.
Then we see Benjamin… Jacob’s prophecy was in Genesis 49:27, “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.” Benjamin seems to have been declared too warlike for his own good, and brought trouble upon itself that it was almost wiped out. Jacob did not like calling his son this, however, there are two stages to this prophecy: One, in the morning, he ravin’s like a wolf, where he devours his prey. He looks for food, and fights for it (ravin means “tear to pieces.” He had to tear through and make his way into the world from his mother’s womb. It was at a great price he was born. This stage he was immature and youthful. In the second stage, he is seen as the one at night dividing his spoil, to which, he will share with others and reach a place of maturity willing to make sacrifices and give out the good things that God has given him.
The only time wolves share the carcass or other “spoils” is with family. God can do wonderful acts of maturity for Benjamin and the Benjaminites. For Moses’ prophecy, found in Deuteronomy 33:12, “And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” We see that Benjamin had its special blessing when the Temple in Jerusalem was built in its territory, even though the rest of Jerusalem was in Judah’s territory. The Lord will always watch over and protect them, though, and this is definitely a promise that God will be with them, for that’s what is said for the Benjaminites that a special protection is given to them. They became mighty soldiers of Israel and they shall ask, “Lord, where do you need me on the front lines today?” What is interesting about the history of Benjamin, is that, like the other tribes did, they did not drive out the Jebusites, but rather, inhabited with them (Judges 1:21) – which was disobedience to God. They were likely lazy, and of course due to spoilage, too comfortable. When Deborah called for help certain of the tribes did not come down, but in Judges 5:14, Benjamin is noted as coming to the aid of the warriors. They don’t mind working together with a woman, and he will be happy to cooperate. It was terrible for Benjamin that he didn’t drive out the Jebusites, for the Jebusites were sinful, full of sodomy, and every kind of evil. Benjamin fell into the same sins, and in Judges 19-21, the story involves these sins.
Because of this, all Israel joined to go to warfare against Benjamin, and although they fought bravely and won two battles, in the end the tribe was almost obliterated. Six hundred were left that fled to the wilderness. Later, they found women to be with and the Tribe of Benjamin was saved. This humbled them overall, so that God may move them in the direction according to His Will. In 1 Chronicles 12:16, 18, 29, we read that the Benjaminites and the children of Judah were the very first to go down into the wilderness to David while he was still a fugitive. They were indeed of the same tribe as the King, and it proves they were willing to leave their own family connections and loyalty to join David in the wilderness – even though he was of the Tribe of Judah. The warriors had one unique thing about them, they were left-handed, as we see in Judges 20:16, “Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.” They did so well shooting stones on a sling with their left hand. We see in Psalm 68:27, “There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.” Little Benjamin will be important, especially in the last days! Psalm 80:2, “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.” The writer of this psalm is pleading for God to stir up His Power and save Benjamin, which shall be a fulfillment in the last days that God will save Benjamin!
Jeremiah 6:1, “O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.” Jeremiah seemed closely connected to this tribe and seemed to have warned them of the coming judgment for Benjamin. God wants the Benjaminites in the last days of coming judgment to flee out of the midst of the cursed thing, blow the trumpet, and set up signs of warning through the fire of the Holy Ghost, for evil is again coming from the north for great destruction. Jeremiah 33:13, “In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.” No matter how hard things get, he knows there is a time of rest and peace coming again. Jeremiah 37:12, “Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people.” Jeremiah wanted to leave the doomed city of Jerusalem to find a place of refuge in Benjamin because he remembered the promises of God to Benjamin, but he was arrested at the city gate and put in a dungeon. In 726 B.C., we saw the great revival under King Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:1), and that Benjamin was in the middle of a new move of God. They went out with Judah and said, “Come and repent.” They pulled down the high places where idols were worshipped and burned up the devil’s idols, and tore up satan’s temples. There were many tribes that did move with revival, and even some mocked and scoffed – however, the Benjaminites were ready for battle, which was similar under the revival of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:9).
Who are the Jews today then?
There are three main types of Jews as we see in the Bible that reflect what we also see today: 1. Orthodox Jews (Also called Hebrews or Mosaic Jews)(Genesis 14:13; 32:28; 46:1; Exodus 19:5-6;); 2. Messianic Jews (Jews that believe in Christ Jesus)(John 12:11; Romans 1:16; 9:27; Jeremiah 31:31; 1 Corinthians 5:7); 3. Grafted Jews (Gentile believers in Christ who have been grafted into Israel)(Acts 28:28; Romans 11:11-24; Ephesians 2:11-22). The Tribes of Israel that were originally sworn in as we see in Numbers 26:53-55, “Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him. Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.” This origination makes up the Natural Israel.
The Natural Israel appears to be the Israelites/Israelis (former Israel inhabitants and current inhabitants) as we see in the Bible in the verses mentioned in the previous paragraph (“The land shall be divided…the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit”). All of the physical descendants of Jacob were God’s chosen People, Israel, in the physical and national sense (natural Israel). Not all were God’s People in the inward and spiritual sense, however. The Spiritual Israel appears to be the New Israel, the one that God’s People are part of, to which, we are new Creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) (Therefore, only Messianic Jews and Grafted Jews). Those who have turned from their sins and trusted in the saving mercy and grace of God could be called the true Israel.
Those that believe upon Jesus Christ will be saved, and there is no difference to the Lord between Jew and Greek, for He is Lord of all; therefore, the both deserve equal treatment (Romans 10:12-14; Galatians 3:28-29; 1 Peter 2:9; John 1:12). Many Orthodox Jews will not be saved, as they cannot accept Christ (see John 4-5 for example). It is best to explore the difference between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion, because we learn of the two different stages of God’s People: Those under the Law of Moses, and those under the Law of Love (Jesus Christ).
Mount Sinai is the place where the Law was given to Moses (Exodus 19:12-21; Deuteronomy 4:11-12; 5:4, 23-26). It was a place where His People would not trace, it seared with fire and was full of blackness, darkness, and tempest, there was a sound of the Trumpet and the full voice of God, they could not endure what was said from the mountain, and so terrible was the sight that Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake!” Mount Zion (Sion) is where Grace is extended to us, for out of Zion came the Deliverer who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Romans 11:26). The 144,000, that is, the elect, shall stand on the mountain with Him, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads (Revelation 14:1). It is the Capital City of the Living God (Revelation 3:12; chapter 21), it is the Heavenly Jerusalem filled with an innumerable amount of angels (Revelation 5:11-14), it is the Church of the Firstborn, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Colossians 1:18), where God is the judge of all, where the Spirits of just men are made perfect (Revelation 6:9-11), unto Jesus, the Mediator of our Covenant (Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 9:15), and where the Blood of Jesus has been offered, for it speaks better things than that of humanity (Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:18-23).
The exile of the Jews to the Babylonian Empire was a result of God’s punishment for their idolatry. King Cyrus, three years after conquering Babylon, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem – which was seventy years after they were taken into captivity. From the Written Law, Moses obtained interpretation from God about what it meant. After this, Moses handed down this interpretation, which was called the Oral Law to the Priests and Levites. Therefore, the Oral Law was an interpretation of the Written Law.
Even though Alexander & his armies won over the Jews from the Persian control, it is believed that he treated the Jews kindly. It seemed Alexander treated the Jews, compared to all the other nations, kindly. Rather than Hellenize the Jews, he seemed to have left them alone according to the text. The text doesn’t give many more details, but it seems like God was protecting the Jews from much of the reign of Alexander the Great.
Chanukah (Feast of Dedication)
The Feast of Chanukah, also known as the Feast of Dedication was a feast celebrated every year on the 25th of Kislev – which is around the month of December or Christmas Time. In our time, it is usually referred to as Chanukah or Hanukkah. Although it is a Jewish National Holiday, it is not one of the seven feasts required, as we see in the Bible. It is a holiday that teaches Jews about God’s faithfulness and love for His People. It is also a remembrance day for God’s miracles toward Israel. This was part of the Scriptural observance.
As for the common Jewish observance, through all the trouble that occurred, candelabra would be used to burn the Holy Oil – for they would offer up their prayers and apologies to the Lord. The oil would continue to burn for eight days, which was the Miracle of Chanukah. The candelabra would be used to symbolize this miracle. One candle is lit every night for eight nights to remember the kindness of God. A ninth candle would be lit, which was above all others called the Shammos Candle or the Servant Candle. The goal of this candle was to bring light to all the other candles and serve them. A prayer would be said as the Mother light the Shammos Candle.
The Messianic Significance regards that the Jews celebrate the Miracle of the Eternal Light burning for eight days. If Jews celebrate the lights, then Jesus Himself celebrated the rededication of the Temple. Jesus refers to Himself as the Light, to which some relate to the Shammos Candle as symbolic of Jesus (The Light). Jesus, then, would be a symbol of Chanukah!
We see it start in 63 BC, where Aristobulus II wants to forcibly take over as King and High Priest of Judea, but Hyrcanus II attempts to resist him doing so – therefore, he enlists Antipater to help him keep his spot. Antipater obtains aid as well, which was from the Roman General Pompey, which caused a besiege of Jerusalem. Because of this, Rome takes charge of Jerusalem and Judea. All three of them joined forces to overthrow Aristobulus II. This would have Pompey give Hyrcanus II rule over Jerusalem as King and High Priest, but subject to Roman rule and Antipater’s influence.
Herod the Great ruled Judea from 37 BC to 4 BC and was a very ruthless ruler. He was the one who decreed the murder of all male children under two years of age in Bethlehem and all its borders. Jesus was born around the time of this decree, therefore, we see that Mary and Joseph had to take Jesus and flee. They had done so until Herod the Great had died and it was safe to return to His homeland.
The Jewish exiles turned their faith from what they lost to what they retained. Therefore, they had the Law of Moses and the fact that they were God’s Chosen People. They concentrated on the Law rather than on nationhood, on personal piety rather than religious ritual, and on prayer as an acceptable substitute for the sacrificial system. The sacrificial system vanished when the First Temple was destroyed. After the exile, we see the Jews form into different religious sects. From Scribes and Priests in the Post-Exilic Period, to Hasidim and Hellenistic Jews in the Maccabeeb & Hasmonean Periods, then Pharisees and Sadducees during the Roman Period, and finally into Orthodox/Rabbinical after the Destruction of the Second Temple and unto this day. (Pharisees developed into the Orthodox/Rabbinical Judaism, while the Sadducees dissipated.)
Pharisees and Sadducees
The Pharisees were the Separated Ones, because they wouldn’t have anything to do with those who did not believe and practice the Jewish religion as they did. They were of the common people – not wealthy. Anyone could become a Pharisee as long as they met the requirements of their belief system.
The Pharisees beliefs about the Temple and Synagogue aligned with Jesus’ beliefs, as well as their beliefs on the Written and Oral Law. They believed in a Messiah and in Proselytizing. They believed that the soul was imperishable and that it would be reunited one day in resurrection with their physical body. They also believed in a final judgment day for all people for how they lived their lives. They believed in angels and demons. Lastly, they believed that God and Man controlled Man’s future and destiny. Jesus also believed in Providence and Predestination, rather than mankind’s free will. What Jesus didn’t like about the Pharisees is that they didn’t always practice what they preached. There were many leaders that Jesus disregarded, who were Pharisees, because they appeared to be trying to destroy His Ministry.
The Sadducees were called the Righteous Ones, because they carried out the Written Law. They originated as descendants of the Hellenistic Jews, the Priesthood, and were officiators of the Temple Services. (They arose from a wealthy aristocracy.)
The Sadducees believed that if something was not directly from The Torah, then they were not to believe it. They also believed in Temple worship only, which meant that any worship outside the Temple was either disallowed or not righteous in godly standards or Written Law standards. They also didn’t believe in Proselytizing (which I believe is close to evangelizing or preaching about the Law). They declined belief in the fact of the soul being imperishable, resurrection/reincarnation of the physical body being reunited with the soul, and the altogether judgment of everyone at a judgment day. They also didn’t believe in angels and demons. They lastly believed that Man controlled his own future and destiny, in which God had no intervention. Jesus had no agreement with the Sadducees.
Who is the Messiah?
The English word “Messiah” is taken from Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25-26, where we see the Hebrew word, “Mashiach.” The Greek word for this would be “Christ,” in which all three mean literally, “The Anointed One.” The first clue of the Messiah is found in this Scripture, in which we see the prophecy of the future Spiritual Warfare between the Messiah and His followers and satan. Satan through history will attempt to cripple or destroy the Messiah and His People, however, in the end, the Seed of the Woman, her descendant known as Christ the Messiah will eventually overcome satan and deal him a fatal wound.
The Scripture that states that the Messiah will be Semitic is Genesis 9:26-27, because God chose Ham and his descendants from Canaan, as well as Japheth to be servants to Shem forever. The Semitic people descended from Shem, and it is through the Semitic people (that is through the line of Shem), that the Messiah would come one day!
The promises of the Abahamic Covenant
- One of them was in Genesis 12:1-3, as we see that he will be made a great nation and will be blessed so that the name is great. He shall be a blessing, and will bless them that bless him and curse them that curse him – and in this, all families of the earth will be blessed.
- The second one was in Genesis 13:15, where we see that all the land, which he sees, it will be given to him and his seed forever.
- A third one would be in Genesis 17:2-7, where we see that a covenant will be made that he will be a father of many nations, making them exceedingly fruitful.
- A fourth one would be in Genesis 22:18, which we see that by his seed that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
Jews considered Messianic Jews to be Christian or a Gentile. However, a Jew is anyone who is a descendant from one of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. It’s not by belief or practice, but by who one was born to. Gentiles are anyone but Jews. Christians are still Jewish Biblically speaking, as Jesus is a descendant from one of those patriarchs. Because the belief system isn’t followed, and people incorporate beliefs of Jesus, they’re considered by the Jews to be non-Jews. However, as we read, if you’re born of the family, you’re definitely a Jew – and also, in Jewish religious Law, it’s impossible for a born Jew to change their religion, as we see in the text. The tribe to which the Messiah will come is the Tribe of Judah, as we see in Genesis 49:10. This is a prelude to the foretelling of the Messiah, as He is explained to be “Shiloh” or “The one who brings peace.”
We see the covenant outlined in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16… and this states that his seed will be set up after him and a kingdom will be established. Through his name will the throne of his kingdom (built in His House) be established forever. This is saying that God will set up the Davidic Dynasty, to which kings will descend from forever – which included not only future kings of Israel, but also The King to Come for the eternal Israel, Jesus.
Christ a prophet like Moses
Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 states that the Messiah will be a prophet like Moses. The seven ways that He was like Moses was that He was a great founder of religion, revealer of God, a great Law giver, a great worker of miracles, a great redeemer of His People, a great mediator and intercessor between man and God, and a great prophet.
Coming from a virgin
We know the Messiah came from a virgin, not only because prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 is fulfilled as foretold, not only that “virgin” translates to “unmarried maiden of marriageable age,” but also that we see in Scripture Matthew 1:18, 21 – that before Mary was espoused to Joseph and came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. The New Testament claims that Jesus is the miraculous, virgin birth child. The prophecy says that the Lord will give a sign or miracle – and therefore, it is a miracle that Jesus came via conception of the Holy Ghost in the womb of Mary.
We know that the Messiah is the Son of God by the couple of verses we see in the poetic Old Testament books… in Psalm 2:7, we see God saying, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Then, in Proverb 30:4, we see, “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” This leads us to believe that God is identifying His Son specifically in the psalm and people are trying to know His Son’s name as we see in the proverb.
Reformed Judaism and Liberal Christianity view the Messiah similarly
They have declined the idea that God inspires the Scriptures. Those who deny Scripture deny believing in the personal Messiah, that He isn’t necessary – for mankind through education and prosperity can bring itself an age of peace and love. They believe in a Messianic Age, but without a Messiah. They believe Christ is followed in error since He can’t be the Messiah (for there isn’t a Messiah or going to be a Messiah in their eyes).
But the Messiah will…
We see in Jeremiah 23:5-6 that from David will come a righteous Branch, which a King shall reign and prosper, execute judgment and justice on Earth, and He will be called “The Lord our Righteousness.” Jeremiah is saying here that the Messiah will be of God from the Line of David. Since we see the Davidic Covenant as being an eternal covenant, we see Jesus had come from the Line of David (especially detailed in Matthew’s Genealogy) to fulfill the finality of the Davidic Covenant…for no other king would be needed to continue the Davidic Line, since Jesus is the eternally reigning King!
The suffering servant: The first clue would be the consistent use of pronouns. We, us, and our must refer to the Prophet Isaiah and the people to whom he speaks to. The use of He, Him, and His must refer to the Suffering Servant. The second clue would be as we see in Isaiah 53:8, where it says that for the transgression of His People would He be stricken. The third clue is that the Suffering Servant is portrayed as a singular human personality. The fourth clue is found in Isaiah 53:9, we see He is the innocent sufferer – the one who did no violence nor was he a deceiver.
The fifth clue is found in Isaiah 53:7. We see that He goes to his death voluntarily, willingly, and silently – which is done for other people. The sixth clue is in Isaiah 53:8-10, as we see that He will be a guilt offering, meaning He will die. The seventh clue is found in Isaiah 52:13-14, as we see that He will be marred in His appearance, after he was so exalted from the people. The eighth and final clue is found in Isaiah 53:9 where it says that He was not a deceiver, which couldn’t refer to Isaiah or Israel. Even Isaiah admits in 6:5 that he is a man of unclean lips and dwell around people with unclean lips.
The Messiah’s Miracles
Jesus was conceived miraculously by Mary and the Holy Spirit – but Jesus did have a natural birth through Mary. We see His adolescence described only in Luke 2, as Scripture explained He continued to grow strong and increased in wisdom – in which the grace of God was upon Him. Around age twelve, He was taken to the Temple for a Passover Feast and stayed there learning from the teachers for three days. People were amazed at His knowledge/wisdom, because He had not had any prior schooling in Jewish Law.
The first Messianic Miracle was the cleansing of the leper, as we see in Matthew 8:2-4 (and parallels in Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-16). A leper had come and worshiped Jesus, asking for to be made clean from Jesus. Jesus laid His hand on him and declared him clean, to which the man was cleansed of his leprosy. He told the man not to brag about it, but to go to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded.
During the stages of investigation, Messianic movements were checked, according to Sanhedrin Law. The first stage, the Stage of Observation, involved just merely observing the situation. First, a delegation would be sent to only observe the movement or the person claiming to be the Messiah. A chosen number of Scribes and Pharisees would be sent out from the Sanhedrin to carry out the observance. They’d report back giving their opinion on the situation, and whether there was legitimacy in the situation or not. During this stage, they weren’t permitted to ask any question or raise objections.
During the Stage of Interrogation, what happened next was based upon the delegation of the first stage. If it was insignificant, then the case was dropped. However, if the case were significant, then the Second Stage would proceed. During this stage, the Jewish leaders would interrogate the person or group of the movement, asking questions, raising objections, and generally seeking information to discover whether the Messianic claims should be accepted or rejected.
Jesus’ Messianic Miracle involved casting out a dumb demon. This was in Matthew 12:22-37 (paralleled in Mark 3:22-30). There was someone brought unto Jesus who was possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb – and therefore, Christ healed him so that he spoke and was able to see again. The religious leaders were throwing up a problem about this, and they had the choice to accept Him as Messiah or reject Him. Instead of acknowledging His Power was from God, they accused Him of being demon-possessed and working with satan.
The third Messianic Miracle was for a man whom was born blind. It was found in John 9:1-3, where we see that Jesus was walking and saw a man who was blind from his birth. His disciples questioned Jesus when He was healing the man, and wondered if the man sinned or his parents sinned to have caused this. Jesus declared that it was not because of sin, but rather that the works of God should be made manifest in the man.
The fourth Messianic Miracle involved raising the dead, as we see in John 11:1-44. Jesus showed, especially to Martha, that His Power to raise the dead was to be used immediately and that it wouldn’t wait until the time of the end. We see the remarkable story of the raising of Lazarus, which it stated in Scripture that the man was dead for four days. However, Jesus knew this wouldn’t stop Him, for He shouted to Lazarus to come forth, and therefore, Lazarus was resurrected from the dead. During the first three days, resuscitation might be possible, but usually people were sure the person was dead on the fourth day. Therefore, when Jesus had done this, it created problems.
The results of this Messianic Miracle were that many of the Jewish leaders believed in Him, but others ran to the Pharisees and created problems. The Sanhedrin’s conclusion was that if Jesus wasn’t stopped, all men would believe in Him. After this, plots began to form to kill Jesus.
Spring Feasts of Israel
Passover is the first feast in the spring. The Bible taught that during a great famine in the Land of Canaan, the sons of Israel would journey to Egypt to purchase food. They were reunited there with their brother Joseph, and because of his influence, they were allowed to dwell in Goshen among the fertile plains. The House of Israel grew large, and a new Pharaoh arose who knew not of Joseph. Pharaoh would then enslave the Israelites and inflict cruel labor upon them. After this, he ordered all the Hebrew midwives, to help slow multiplication of people, to kill all male infants at birth. The midwives refused, therefore, he ordered the parents to cast the male infants into the Nile and drown them. One of the Hebrew children that wasn’t killed was Moses, and therefore, he was sent by God as a deliverer and redeemer.
God spoke to Moses to have him go and charge Pharaoh to set the people free – to no avail, which caused many plagues to fall upon Egypt. However, in the tenth and final plague, the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons, Pharaoh finally released the Hebrew people. God kept His Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, to which He had curse those who cursed His People. Commemorating this event, God commanded that the Feast of Passover would be observed forever, as we see in Exodus 12:24.
The Scriptural Observance is found in Leviticus 23:4-5 and Exodus 12:1-36. God commanded Moses, Aaron, and the Hebrew people to observe the Passover. This month is called Nisan, which marks God’s deliverance of His People. It marks the beginning of the religious calendar or year for the Hebrew people. On the tenth day of the month, each household would choose a lamb for themselves, which had to be unblemished and one year old. The lamb was to live in the home for four day and be treated like a pet. After that, the lamb would be killed (which would be on the fourteenth day of Nisan).
The blood of the lamb would be taken from the basin and placed on two doorposts and the lintel of the house with a hyssop. It was a sign to protect the opening to the house and was a sign to the Lord that those who were in the house had, by faith, applied the blood of the lamb to the doorposts of their houses and also the doorposts of their hearts for protection – so that when the angel of death came around to kill the firstborn sons, it would know to skip over (or “Passover”) those houses who had the blood on their doorposts. There was also the temple Passover sacrifice, which involved a different lamb, and was to be a sin offering for the entire nation of Israel. The last aspect would be the Passover Meal, which would be on the fourteenth of Nisan, during a full moon – to which they would eat the lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.
The Jews would celebrate this event by having their own meal called the Passover Seder. It commemorates God’s miracles and faithfulness in freeing His People. For those who believe in Jesus would see this as symbolic of Him: His life, death, and resurrection. However, in the traditional Jewish meal, there isn’t a mention of Jesus. The week before Passover, the Jewish household is cleansed by the wife to remove leaven from the home. Leaven was symbolic in the Bible for sin. The night before the feast, The Last Cleansing Ceremony would be done, so that it would cleanse the home of leaven – which would make the home clean and then the meal can begin.
The ritual begins with people receiving the Passover manual: Haggadah. The book would be read for the ritual prayers and order of the meal. After this, the woman of the household lights the candles and the blessing is recited. Four different cups of wine would then be consumed. Next would be the handwashing by each person at the table. Now, they received their Seder Plate, the Karpas (Parsley), and saltwater. The Karpas represent life and saltwater represents the tears of life. Then they have the Hazaret, which is the root of the bitter herb, the Maror (fresh ground horseradish), the Charoses (a mixture of apples, sugar, cinnamon, grape juice, or wine), Hagigah (hard-boiled egg with the shell peeled off and roasted brown), and the Zeroah (lamb shank bone). The Zeroah would be the sign of the Passover had already been done.
Since leaven was symbolic of sin, it was not added to the bread, because it was to have the idea that sin would be removed from our life. If leaven/sin couldn’t rise, it wouldn’t cause a puffing up/prideful affair. Then would come the Matzah Tosh, the four questions concerning the meaning of the Passover, recounting of the ten plagues on Egypt, and then the second cup of wine or the cup of plagues, would be consumed. After that, the Passover Meal would finally begin – and once it’s finished, the Afikomen would begin where children search for it and receive the reward for finding it in the Matzah Tosh. Two more cups of wine would be consumed, which were the cup or redemption and the cup of completion. Finally, the cup of Elijah is consumed, which children would open the door and invite in the Prophet Elijah, hoping that if Elijah would come, soon would follow the Messiah (to no avail, as Elijah wouldn’t show up).
John the Baptist saw in the Messiah, Jesus, the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb. He would have been found to be unblemished, and His shed blood, His death for us – would allow the angel of death to “pass over” every believer. Every aspect, then, of the Jewish meal would be symbolic to Christ. The Messianic significance of Passover is that it symbolizes redemption of those who believe.
For the Biblical/Scriptural observance, The Feast of Unleavened Bread is found in Leviticus 23:6-8, which it is celebrated for seven days from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of Nisan. During this time, the Biblical practice would be that no leaven could be eaten for seven days.
For the Jewish observance, for seven days, only Matzah and specially prepared foods and pastries that don’t have any leaven/yeast could be eaten and also the wine that is drunk has to be naturally fermented (that is fermented without yeast).
When Jesus was offered up as a sacrifice and shed sinless blood, the moment His Blood was spilled outside His body, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled. This led to our sanctification and to our justification. It begins on the fifteenth day of Nisan, which was the very day that Jesus was killed on the Cross and shed His innocent blood. In addition, when a person accepts Jesus as his Passover Sacrifice, in fulfillment of the First Feast, at that point he is Born Again. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His Blood Sacrifice.
Feast of First Fruits
The third spring feast is the Feast of the First Fruits, which is found in Leviticus 23:9-14 – and it involves four parts Scripturally: spring barley and grain harvest, one sheath offering, the sheath offered the day after the Sabbath, and the mark of the beginning of the two month spring harvest. The Biblical and Jewish observance of such feast was identical. Since the destruction of the Temple of 70 AD, the feast was ignored because it was a feast of agriculture (where do the sacrifices/offerings go, if there isn’t any temple?). In the Messianic significance of this, we see that this feast was fulfilled by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to Paul, Jesus was the first fruits of the resurrection. Jesus was also resurrected the day after the Sabbath – which was Sunday.
Feast of Pentecost
The fourth feast is Pentecost. The Feast of Weeks as some call it occurs in seven weeks after the Passover Festival and exactly fifty days from the Feast of the First Fruits. Pentecost, in Greek, means “fifty.” It’s found in Leviticus 23:15-16. The origin, it seems, was when Moses went up to the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from God, it was exactly fifty days for these events after the Exodus.
The Biblical practice involved taking two loaves of bread and offering them on the sixth day of the month of Sivan – which corresponds to seven weeks plus one day after the second day of Passover (Feast of Unleavened Bread). It is to be first fruits to the Lord, which was a first fruit of the summer harvest. Another practice involved keeping or adding the leaven in the bread, which was commanded to be used, for two loaves of bread and a goat would be used as a sin offering for the people. The two loaves of bread represent the people, who are sinful, and therefore, the bread should have the leaven (which is symbolic of sin). The last practice is a Holy Convocation, where no work is allowed – and that this day and feast will be practiced forever. The Scriptural observance is impossible these days, since there isn’t any temple, in which to make sacrifices/offerings.
Now, for the Jewish observance, it involves first reading the Book of Ruth, because the story took place during the Harvest. Second, the Jews would stay up all night ad read/study the Mosaic Law, its teachings, and also the Oral Law. The Law of Moses was given on Shavuot, which was fifty days from the Exodus. In memory of this event, the idea is to stay up all night and study the Torah/Law of Moses.
The Feast of Pentecost is quite symbolic of many Messianic fulfillment, especially as we see in Acts 2:1-4. This corresponds to God’s First Harvest of the Redeemed; His First Fruits of the Total Harvest. Next, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Finally, it represents the birth of the Church, for spirit baptism and the birth of the Church are intertwined. Three-thousand souls were added to the First Fruits, the first redeemed, the apostles and so three thousand more were baptized, spirit filled, and they were added to the Church. By receiving Jesus, they were added to the Church. The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by the death of Jesus leading to redemption. It was the believer’s spirit baptism that led to the birth of the Church – which was composed of both Jews and Gentiles.
Fall Feasts of Israel
The Messianic significance of this interval of four-months between the feasts is because it represents the Church Age. It is the time of Church evangelism, where many people have come to know the Savior, Jesus Christ – where many souls have been redeemed.
Feast of Trumpets
The first Fall feast is called Rosh Hashanah, also called The Feast of Trumpets. Its Biblical name is the Day of the Blowing of the Trumpets. It is the day when the trumpet blast calls Jews to remember their sins – therefore, another name for it is the Day of Remembrance. It begins also the Days of Awe, the ten days before the next feast, which is Yom Kippur. People call this also the Day of Judgment. Jewish tradition says that on this day, all Jews will pass before God in judgment to see if their sins will be forgiven or not.
We see the Scriptural observance of this feast in Leviticus 23:23-25, where God instructs Moses about this. It was to be on the first day of the Seventh month of the Religious Calendar, which was the first of Tishri. This was to be a one-day festival where no labor was allowed (therefore a Day of Rest). It was to be celebrated by blowing of trumpets (which was why Scripture referred to it as the Day of the Blowing of the Trumpets), for over one hundred trumpets would be blown during the day. Jewish trumpets are called Shofars, which a shofar is a ram’s horn. The ram’s horn is used symbolically of the story of Isaac’s sacrifice by Abraham, to which God intervened and a ram was caught in the thicket as substitutionary for Isaac. Therefore, the shofar is blown in remembrance of God’s goodness!
The Jewish observance begins in the synagogue with the blowing of the shofar/trumpet. The blast of it symbolizes a call to remembrance and repentance for the Jewish people. It’s a reminder to also return to Judaism, for on this day, all Jews will pass under judgment before God. Another reason for it is to remind Jews of Israel’s covenant relationship with their God. We see a third reason for blowing the shofar, is to confuse satan on the day he accuses Israel of her sin, as we see in Zechariah 3:1-2.
It’s Jewish tradition on this day, that satan would stand before God to accuse Israel of her sin – to which the shofar would confuse him. It’s also worth noting that this blowing of the shofar is to remind the Jews of the re-gathering of Israel. The blowing of the Great Trumpet will signal the re-gather of the Jewish People from the Diaspora back to Israel and the Holy Mountain at Jerusalem. The trumpet blast is symbolic of what will actually occur when the dead are raised at the resurrection of the dead. The last meaning of the trumpet blow is that when it is blown on Earth, on the first of Tishri in Heaven, this causes three books to be opened. The three books to be opened include the Book of the Righteous, the Book of the Wicked, and the Book of the In Between.
Days of Awe: This explains, as we see in the text, that the majority of the Jewish People will be placed into the Book of the In Between on the Feast of Trumpets. Then, it is ten days from the Feast of Trumpets until the Day of Atonement when your name will be transferred from the Book of the In Between to the Book of Life or the Book of Dead. Those ten days are called the Days of Awe. It’s the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It was the Days of Repentance, for the sounding of the shofar was to remind the Jewish People to repent.
Teshuvah: In Hebrew, Teshuvah is the word for repentance. The desire of God is for all to repent and not face the penalty of sin. During the ten days of this feast/period, everyone is reminded to repent. In Judaism, there are two types of repentance. A distinction is made between repentance for sins committed against God and then against man. Therefore, there are two different sacrifices/offerings made for this repentance. The first is the sin offering, which is for repentance of sins against God. The second is the guilt offering, which is for repentance of sins against man. During this season of Teshuvah, each man had to restore his relationships between God and man/men. God allowed ten days for you to do this. The idea was restitution. After the ten days, God would determine which book your name would be written. This also determined your survival for the following year.
The Messianic significance of this involves several things. First, in Israel’s re-gathering, it’s done before the sound of the trumpet before the Great Tribulation, as we see in Isaiah 27:13 and Jeremiah 32:37. Second, in the “rapture” of the Church, this would apparently fulfill the Feast of Trumpets, as we see in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. On that day when Jesus returns to the clouds, He will shout and order to His Church to come up, to which the archangel would repeat it, and then a blast of the shofar occurs. The events include the resurrection of the dead saints when corruption puts on incorruption, and mortality puts on immortality. The last trumpet of Rosh Hashanah is a long and the most significant blow. Israel’s re-gathering in the Holy Land, Christ’s return to the clouds, and the catching up of the Church to Him fulfill the Feast of Trumpets.
Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, involves what’s found in Leviticus 23:27-28. God explains to Moses that Yom Kippur would be on the tenth of Tishri, which is ten days after Rosh Hashanah, which would be the end of the Days of Awe also. There were requirements on this day. Israel was to hold a Holy Convocation on that day. Israel as a nation, as well as each person, would have to atone by humbling or afflicting their souls. It’s didn’t involve just fasting, but also contrition (repentance). The idea was to humble your soul and feel terrible about your sinful condition, which would lead you to repentance. A burnt offering/sin offering was to be presented before the Lord. Lastly, it was a day without work…Sabbath in nature.
The Holy of Holies could be entered once yearly by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. This could be the only day to which he could ask for atonement for the people. He’d bring a sin offering for himself and his house before he brought the offerings for the people. Other requirements found in Leviticus 16:4. On this day, he could wear special clothing after bathing his entire body. If anything went wrong or God was displeased, then the High Priest would be killed. He was the only one allowed in the Holy of Holies. If the High Priest returned, the people would rejoice…if not, people would lament. If God accepted their atonement, they would be considered forgiven for the next year as a people. The way this offering worked out on the Day of Atonement is that one goat’s death (the sin offering), its shed blood had atoned for Israel’s sins, and then, it was these forgiven sins that were put on the scapegoat. The sins would be removed from Israel by the scapegoat, which was led away into the wilderness.
The Jewish observances involved several things. Kapporah, something that involved a substitutionary form of sacrifice: a chicken. Before it was sacrificed, it was raised over the head and a prayer is recited. Since no temple existed, it just had to be swung over their heads, hopefully being a good sacrifice acceptable to God. Modern, Orthodox Judaism, involved a teaching contemporarily that a man can achieve atonement for his sins by his own efforts. Through repentance, prayer, and charity, these acts can be valid substitutes for sacrifice. If a sacrifice were asked for, people would point to a temple – and since a temple is non-existent, they would say there is no need for sacrifices.
Then, there was the affliction of the body/soul, which contemporarily, this would be practiced through self-denials. The first denial is by fasting to enhance spirituality. This means absolutely no eating or drinking for twenty-four hours (total fast, as we would know it). This would hopefully bring a misery or “affliction” to realize how bad sin is, so it causes a [hopefully genuine] repentance. The third affliction involved no anointing with soothing (or essential) oils or creams; nothing that brought comfort. Fourth, there wasn’t to be a pleasure of cohabiting with your spouse. Fifth involved no wearing of leather shoes, for they needed soft shoes to walk on the ground that’s considered Holy on the Day of Atonement.
The last practice by them is to read the Book of Jonah, for it teaches that you cannot run away from God. It also teaches that no matter how sinful you may be, repentance will spare you as it did for the people of Nineveh. No sin is too terrible or great to not be forgiven by God – so repent!
The Messianic significance involved several things. It first involved the Great Tribulation, for this is a seven-year period that will be a period of affliction of the body and soul. It consists of both bodily affliction (in suffering/death), and also affliction of the soul, which caused sadness and mourning. It would result in Israel’s national regeneration.
Then, we would see Israel’s national regeneration, which involved that Israel would acknowledge her sins and confess Jesus as Messiah. Next, we see the Messiah Jesus return, which would be at the end of the Great Tribulation, and once Israel confessed of her sins and acknowledges Jesus as Messiah. There is a final event, to which the Jews who are still alive after the Tribulation would acknowledge their previous rejection of Jesus. Then, they accept that Jesus is their long-awaited Messiah and ask Him to return. When this happens, Jesus promised He would return.
We see Jesus as our Yom Kippur, for He is the ultimate fulfillment of the symbolism of Yom Kippur’s sacrifice. For we as believers have been forgiven forever by His one-time atonement on the Cross. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world so that the angel of death passes over us. He was also the ultimate, perfect, Yom Kippur atonement.
Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Sukkoth, also called the Feast of Tabernacles, involved 70 bulls that were sacrificed annually, and, according to Jewish tradition, represents the seventy Gentile nations named in Genesis 10. People also called it the Feast of the Ingathering of the Fall Harvest. Anyway, Simchat Torah (or Simḥath Torah or Simkhes Torah) would be the Feast of Rejoicing over the Law, because at the end of the feast, on the fifteenth day of Tishri, the yearly reading of the Mosaic Law would be completed. All the Torah was read up to Deuteronomy 34, which was known as Simchat Torah. During the year, all five books would be divided into 52 sections, with one being read weekly. Once the fifty-second one is read, the time can begin to start over from the beginning. They would rejoice when they got to Simchat.
The Scriptural observance can be found in Leviticus 23:34, 39, 42-43, 39-40. It says that it shall be observed on the fifteenth of Tishri, five days after Yom Kippur, which would be a seven-day feast with a holy convocation, and a rest on the first and eighth days. All Jews during the feast were to live in booths or huts during the festival. This was purposely done to remind them that their ancestors lived in these temporary dwellings during the forty years of wandering through the desert – which was around the time after being brought out of Egypt by God. It would be a time of rejoicing or celebration after the end of the stress of the Days of Awe and the completion of the afflictions of the Day of Atonement. It was celebrated because you’ve been atoned for. With the sins forgiven and name in the Book of Life, there was much to celebrate about. It celebrated also the first fruits of the Fall Harvest – and many would celebrate with foliage of beautiful trees.
The Jewish observance centers on the symbol of the feast, which is the booth or tabernacle. The booths would be built flimsily, to make them temporary rather than permanent. It was to be constructed with the roof made of branches to keep the sun out but see the stars at night. It would be a symbol of wasted national hope of the past from disobedience, but also to symbolize the hope for a future national restoration.
The second symbol is the Lulav, which is the tying together of palm branches, myrtle branches, and willow branches. It would be waved during the prayers of the feast. The third symbol is the Citron, which is the citrus fruit that was symbolic of the Promised Land and its sweetness. Next, would be the pouring out of the water, which involved two key ceremonies. On the first one, the pouring out of the water was when the priests would march down from the Temple Mount, down to the pool of Siloam – fill up their pitchers, and poured the water into a large Lavor or Basin, and then they would rejoice greatly. The water was believed to be symbolic of the Holy Spirit of Israel, which would be poured out upon the Nation of Israel during the Last Days.
The second ceremony would be the kindling of the lights, for on the temple compound were some golden lamp stands, each having four golden cups willed with oil. They would be lit around sundown, and the light was so great that the Rabbis would speak that every house was lit. We see the next observance during the feast as the reading of the Book of Ecclesiastes. After that, would be the last part, which the people would pray for rain, since it was the beginning of the rainy season. They didn’t want drought, so they prayed for rain. Overall, the feast was to celebrate what God already did and what He will do in the future.
For the Messianic significance, there were a few things. The first was the Feast of Booths, which was observed by Jesus at one time while He was here on the earth (as we see in John 7). At the ceremony, Jesus said to the priests and the people that He was the True Living Water and His Spirit would be received later by anyone who believed in Him as the Messiah. The pouring out of the water at the Feast of Booths symbolizes the indwelling Holy Spirit, which Jewish and Gentile Believers in Christ presently now possess.
The second ceremony of the Feast of Booths, the lighting of the lampstands, the light of which symbolized the Shechinah Glory of God. Jesus is the Light of the World for He is the visible manifestation of the Shechinah Glory of God. Jesus symbolized two aspects of the ceremonies of the Feast, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the visible presence of God. However, the Feast of Booths itself symbolizes the last prophetic event on the Messianic timetable, the Messianic Kingdom itself. The seventy bulls sacrificed symbolizing the seventy Gentile nations. Those bulls were symbolic of the time of the Messianic Kingdom, when the seventy Gentile nations who had originally opposed Israel would now be worshiping the God of Israel at Jerusalem, at the Feast of Booths.
It’s to be fulfilled by the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom, where all people, both Jews and Gentiles, will be under the rule of Jesus Christ. Each year, these people will celebrate the Feast of Booths at His home, in Jerusalem, with Him as He lives on Earth. It is to be a time of rejoicing following the afflictions of the Great Tribulation.