UPDATED: Yom Teruah—The Historical Roots of Our Faith, Present Relevance for Believers & Prophetic End-Time Implications

By Ya’acov Natan Lawrence
Hoshana Rabbah Biblical Resources

This will be one of the most comprehensive articles you have ever read on this subject and contains revelation you will read nowhere else. Hopefully it will help to light your spiritual fires!Nathan

Arise thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Messiah shall give thee light. (Eph 5:14, also 8–16)

Yom Teruah—The Beginning of the Fall (End-Time) Harvest

Yom Tom Teruah or the Day of Trumpets, Shouting or Shofar Blasts (commonly called “Rosh Hashana”) occurs at the end of the summer months and marked the beginning of the fall harvest or festival season for the ancient Israelites. But this biblical holiday is much more than a time to harvest the late summer and early fall fruits and vegetables from your garden or orchard. Rather, it is a time of the harvest of souls for the kingdom of heaven! Read on and discover how and when this will occur and how you can be part of this glorious event.

In the Creator’s larger plan of salvation for humankind, Yom Teruah is the fourth of seven of YHVH Elohim’s biblical holidays or holy days (colloquially referred to as “feasts”), where the Creator lays out his progressive plan of redemption or salvation. It all starts with Passover in the spring which symbolically and prophetically pictures a new believer coming to faith in Yeshua the Messiah and culminates with the Eighth Day which pictures the now glorified saint-bride of Yeshua living forever in the New Jerusalem in the spiritual dimension of the new heavens on the new earth. So how does the Day of Trumpets figure into this seven-step scenario? As we shall see below, like a puzzle piece, Yom Teruah fits perfectly into the larger panoramic, multidimensional picture of heaven’s plan to create a family of glorified and immortalized humans who will live in a heavenly paradise with their Maker forever. So buckle your seatbelts for a glorious preview of what is to come if you are an ardent follower and lover of Yeshua the Messiah and his word!

Before probing the profound spiritual and prophetic implications of Yom Teruah, consider this. For many believers, the biblical feasts are merely a quaint, interesting if not intriguing ancient biblical ritual worth studying about, but that’s where it ends. This, however, was not the Creator’s intention in his Word. No! He commanded his people to keep, and yes, to celebrate his holy days by stopping one’s daily routine and dedicating an entire set-apart time period to their observance. To be sure, YHVH’s biblical feasts are more than a head trip for Jewish wannabes. Indeed, YHVH intended his people annually, literally and experientially to walk through the seven steps of his glorious plan of salvation. Why? There are many reasons for this that we will discuss in more detail below, but their are several main reasons. Most notably, these steps are a way to transmit to our child key biblical truths relating to their eternal destiny with the hope that they will remain faithful to YHVH all the days of their lives. The feasts also serve to remind the saints about their past history, their present spiritual condition and what lies ahead for them in the future if they remain faithful to YHVH and his Word. Now consider this. Humans typically commemoratively celebrate past notable events in their lives annually such as birthdays, anniversaries, or national holidays. Notice the emphasis on the word past? This is because it is impossible for humans to commemorate future events, since no one can accurately predict the exact timing of any future event. Right? This is not the case with the Creator’s biblical feasts. They are unique in all of human experiences and men’s traditions in that they not only commemorate past historical events, but also present realities or expectations in the believer’s life, as well as, and note this well, future events that have yet to occur. Only YHVH can predict the future, and the fall feasts, at least, allow us mortals to peer into the future to see what the Creator has in store for the human race and, more specifically, the saints who have put their trusting faith in him.

So now let’s unpack the major ramifications of YHVH’s biblical feasts and then zoom in specifically on Yom Teruah to explore the depths and riches of this step in the Creator’s plan of salvation.

Prophetically, the summer months between the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (in Hebrew Chag haShavuot) in the late spring and the autumn feast of Yom Teruah is a spiritual picture of what is often called the “Church Age,” which is the period of time from the Feast of Pentecost in Acts chapter two until the return of Yeshua the Messiah at the end of the age and lasting for approximately 2000 years. For many people, especially those living in hotter climes, summer is a time of leisure, vacation, weariness and fatigue due to the excessive heat. Likewise, many Bible believers have fallen asleep growing spiritually weary while waiting for the return of the Messiah. Yeshua discusses this issue in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25) who all grew weary and fell asleep awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom (Yeshua). 

This all changes on the first day of the seventh month of the biblical Hebrew calendar when off in the distance the sound of a shofar blast suddenly pierces the atmosphere and registers in the eardrums of those who have fallen asleep. Not only does this shofar blast signal the beginning of the seventh month when the new crescent moon is sighted, but it announces the return of the Bridegroom (Yeshua) coming for his bride (the virgin saints). As in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the cry went forth that the bridegroom was coming and all awoke from their slumber to prepare for his arrival. In these end days, that cry is going forth even now for all to hear, to awake and to prepare for the arrival of Yeshua the Messiah.

In the biblical calendar, the visible sighting of the crescent new moon always marks the beginning of the month and is announced by the shofar blast (Ps 81:3). Likewise, on the first day of the seventh month of the biblical calendar, the arrival of the new moon (called Rosh Chodesh) when the shofar sounds marks the beginning of Yom Teruah. This is the first day of the fall (festival) harvest season and is the time when the call goes out for the spiritual drowsy to awake, and to hear the voice of YHVH, to be invigorated by the breath or voice of the shofar, which is symbolic of YHVH’s prophetic word or oracle going forth across the earth in the last days. 

Furthermore, the ram’s horn shofar is bent into a curved shape to represent the contrite heart of both the blower and the hearer. This is the season for the righteous to bend their hearts in humility and contrition before YHVH and repent of spiritual lassitude and lukewarmness and to awake to spiritual action and preparation, for the fall feasts point to awesome end time events that will occur at some point in time in the near future. It is a time to be refreshed by the breath of YHVH, and a time of new beginnings. Let YHVH breathe on you, revive you and empower you as you enter into the fall biblical festival season, and as you prepare to meet your King and Redeemer, Yeshua, in the air.

Yom Teruah also begins a season that prophetically speaks of war and battle, for in ancient times the shofar was a weapon of warfare in Israel, and it will be used again as such in the end times. It was used to call Israel to battle, to defeat her enemies with the help of YHVH. The shofar was then used to proclaim victory after the battle was won and to worship YHVH who had given them the victory. The battle against Israel’s enemies still rages on—even in the end times. Today, the enemies of the redeemed Israelites are mostly spiritual. They are the world, the flesh and the devil (Jas 3:15; Eph 2:2–3). Through faith in Yeshua the Messiah who defeated death, hell and the grave, we can have victory over mortality, sin, the devil and this world (1 Cor 15:51–57; Rom 8:27; 1 John 4:4; 5:4; Rev 12:11). As we hear the sound of the shofar calling us to arise from spiritual slumber, YHVH is telling his people to become overcomers, so that they may be worthy to partake of the glories of his eternal kingdom (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

Yom Teruah is also the time of the reaping of the summer harvest. Spiritually speaking, this period will be the time of the reaping of the righteous to their reward (Rev 14:4) and the harvest of the wicked to the great winepress of Elohim’s wrath (Rev 14:14–20). It is the time of the resurrection of the dead in Messiah Yeshua at the end of the tribulation (Matt 24:29) and the beginning of Elohim’s wrath being poured out upon the nations (see Joel 3:11–13). This begins the wrath of Elohim time pictured by Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, which occurs ten days after Yom Teruah) before which time the dead saints will have been resurrected and given their spiritual, glorified, second Adam bodies. 

The New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) and Yom Teruah—A Day of New Beginnings and Expectancy

In anticipation of Rosh Chodesh (the new moon sighted each month) and hence the beginning of Yom Teruah, there is a sense of expectancy and excitement among the saints. It is a time of watching and praying, for the renewal of the moon (the word new as in new moon [Col 2:16] in the Greek New Testament is kainen meaning “renewal or restoration of something which already exists”and is not the word neos which means “brand new”), which represents “new beginnings, good tidings, the renewal of the individual as well as the community.” 

The sixth month on the biblical calendar is traditionally referred to by its non-biblical Aramaic name Elul. Some rabbinical sources see this word as an acronym of “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine,” a quote from Song of Songs 6:3, where the Beloved is YHVH and the “I” are YHVH’s people. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word Elul means “search,” which is appropriate, because this is a time of year when we search our hearts. (from the web site: http://www.jewfaq.org/elul.htm#Selichot).

During the month of Elul, our focus is to be on repentance, restoration and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. In order to repent one must understand that Scripture defines sins as the violation of YHVH’s Torah, or instructions or teachings in righteousness (1 John 3:4). Sin or chet in Hebrew, in a loose sense, means “a failure in our relationship with Elohim.” Our goal should be to continually move closer to Elohim, but “chet” is behavior that causes us to move away from Elohim.

If YHVH requires his people to turn away from sin and turn to righteousness (the act of which is called repentance), then what is therefore involved in repentance? Repentance or teshuvah in Hebrew, means “to return.” In the biblical context, it means “to return to Elohim” and to behavior required of us by Elohim; in other words, return to obedience to his commandments. While we deeply regret our movement away from Elohim, we must not despair, for YHVH has provided the way for our return to him and he tells us that when we repent, he forgives without delay.

According to Scripture, there are, several basic steps to repentance:

  • We must first recognize that we have a problem — that we are sinful to the core (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7; Rom 3:10–18, 23; Isa 64:6). For this to happen, we have to come to grips with the fact that we have broken Elohim’s laws, which define sin (1 John 3:4). Human pride makes this step the hardest one to take.
  • We must confess our sin before YHVH (Lev 5:5; Num 5:7).
  • We must turn from our sins and resolve to stop sinning.
  • We must manifest heartfelt regret for our wrong actions by evidencing remorse and contrition before YHVH and our fellow man, if applicable.
  • An offering of the legally prescribed sacrifice must be made for the sin (Lev 5:1–20). Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, became that sacrifice for our sin once and for all when he died on the cross (Isa 53:5; Heb 4:14–5:10; 7:14–8:6; 9:11–10:22).
  • When we have sinned against our fellow man, not only is confession and forsaking that sin required, but we must make restitution in full of whatever has been wrongfully obtained or withheld from one’s fellow man (Lev 5:14–19; Matt 5:23–25).
  • We must then accept our Heavenly Father’s unconditional mercy and grace (Ps 103:3–4, 10–17).

The shofar’s blowing is a call to awaken out of spiritual sleep, lethargy, stagnation, slumber and to repent of sin. No man knows the day or the hour of the new moon’s arrival each month (though one who is alert certainly can know the season and year), so the human tendency is to grow weary in waiting, and to grow slack in one’s obedience to YHVH’s righteous commands. Yet when the new moon is sighted and the shofar sounds, this is the signal for the slumbering to awake, for hope to arise, renewal and spiritual revival to occur and action to be taken to put off sin and to draw closer spiritually to YHVH Elohim.

The awakening sound of the shofar blast is the Hebrew word teruah (see Lev 23:24 and Num 29:1 where the phrase “blowing of trumpets” is teruah), which means “the shout or blast of war, alarm, alarm of war, war cry, signal, and sound of tempest.” Teruah derives from the Hebrew root word ruah meaning alarm, signal, sound or blast of the shofar, to raise a shout.” The name Yom Teruah could therefore have several literal meanings: “the day of the shout, the day of the war alarm or the day of the shofar blast.” 

When we understand the significance of this day from a biblical understanding, we realize that Yom Teruah is a day of shouting (with exultant joy or as a shriek in alarm), or a day of shofar blowing. Shofars were blown in biblical times to rally the people together, to alert the people in time of war, to warn the people, or as an instrument (along with shouts) to express the people’s joy, or to praise YHVH.

As we shall see, Yom Teruah prophetically involves all these concepts, for it is a day when YHVH’s people will shout with joy as they gather to meet Yeshua in the air after having been bodily resurrected at the sound of the last shofar blast, but it is also a time of alarm and shrieking on the part of the wicked as a time of war and terror brought on by the judgments of YHVH are about to come upon the earth.

Additionally, Yom Teruah is a day of new beginnings or renewal, to wake up from lethargy and slumber, to be broken out of that sleepy, comfort zone state and to be awakened to action. Again, remember the ten virgins of Matthew 25 who slept in anticipation of the bridegroom’s arrival? When the shout went forth that he was coming they were all awakened. Some were prepared to go into the marriage supper of the bridegroom and some were not. Our Bridegroom is Yeshua.

Yom Teruah Versus Rosh Hashana

Nowhere in Scripture is this festival referred to as Rosh Hashana, which literally means “head of the year”—a reference to the extra-biblical Jewish tradition that the first day of the seventh month is the beginning of the new year. Scripture is very clear about when the biblical new year begins. In Exodus 12:2, YHVH instructs the children of Israel that the month of the abiv barley grain would be the beginning of the year for them. Fourteen days after the beginning of this month the Passover occurs. The beginning of the biblical year is in the early spring of the year when plant life is bursting forth from a long dead winter season. It is a picture of spiritual rebirth or redemption for YHVH’s people. 

It is true that the Jewish sages recognize Abib (or Aviv) or Nisan in the spring as the first month of the biblical calendar and the beginning of civil or agricultural year for ancient Israel, now Judaism recognizes the first day of the seventh month (called Yom Teruah in the Bible or Rosh Hashana in modern Jewish tradition) as the beginning of the civil and religious year (Exploring Jewish Tradition, by Rabbi Abraham Witty, p. 120; The Jewish Book of Why, by Alfred Kolatch, pp. 222–223). In fact, the rabbinic Jews maintain the tradition that there are four new years (Kolatch, p. 223; Talmud Rosh Hashana 1:1):

  • The first of Nisan/Abib for royalty (dating of royal events).
  • The first of Tishiri for agriculture (the beginning of the harvest season) and traditionally commemorating the creation.
  • The first of Elul for tithing cattle.
  • The first of Shevat as the new year for trees.

Additionally, one Jewish scholar believes that the rabbinic tradition that Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the new year actually derives from pagan customs absorbed by the Jewish people while living in Babylon. These ancient pagans had a new year’s festival called Akitu, that happened to fall on the same day as Yom Teurah. Gradually, the Jews assimilated Yom Teruah with Akitu with the result being Rosh Hashana. (For more information on this, go to http://www.karaite-korner.org/yom_teruah.shtml#sdfootnote1sym.) 

With all due respect to our Jewish brothers, we choose to follow a more literal and strict biblical determination for when the new year is to start and what the name of the festival of the first day of the seventh month is to be. Furthermore, we choose not to follow traditions that are mixed with or derived from pagan practices. Therefore, we neither recognize Rosh Hashana as the true biblical name for this festival, nor as the beginning of the biblical new year.

Overview of the Biblical Feasts

Before continuing our study on Yom Teruah, the fourth of the seven of YHVH’s annual set-apart festivals when he meets with his people, let us quickly review the other six divine appointments. Without understanding Yom Teruah’s synchronization as it relates to the other feasts and YHVH’s overall plan of redemption as revealed in the seven annual feasts, one cannot fully appreciate this fourth festival.

If you had to sum up the entire message of the Bible in one word what would it be? Probably words such as love, hope, salvation, eternal life or heaven are coming to your mind. But I challenge you to find a better word than the following: r-e-c-o-n-c-i-l-i-a-t-i-o-n. The dictionary defines reconciliation as “to restore to friendship or harmony, to settle or resolve a quarrel, to make consistent or congruous.” When man chose to rebel against YHVH and to give in to sin at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil at the very beginning he chose the path of separation from his Heavenly Father. Sin causes man to be separated from a totally holy, righteous and sinless Creator. Since that time YHVH has been endeavoring to reconcile man to himself. He has laid out criteria for man to follow for this to occur—for man to once again have a friendly, loving and intimate relationship with his Heavenly Father as did Adam before he sinned.

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My Brother Warner’s Lahaina Fire Story of Selfless Love

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (Matt 25:31)

Please read again Matthew 25:31–46, which describes Yeshua’s judgment of the sheep and goats where he concludes,

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (Matt 25:31)

Like a lot of you, I have been following updates on the Lahaina Maui, Hawaii fire story and its aftermath—especially the human element. There are many unanswered questions as to how this horrific fire started, why or why not certain things happened that could have saved lives and so on. But to me, these are not the most important questions to ask. Rather, how are the people doing and what would I do were I in a similar situation?

The bottom line is that the lives of everyday people like you and me were turned upside down in a few hours. Such could happen to anyone of us in an instant. Each of us is a breath or heartbeat away from are lives being completely changed forever, if not ended. How do people in such a situation respond? What do you do? Where do you go? How do you put your life back together again? How do you cope? These are questions that go through my mind, and probably yours too if you’re a thinking and feeling person. We are living in the crazy days of the end times, so who knows what may be around the corner coming at us like a freight train! Thus it behooves us to live each day as if it were our last. With this in mind, what would Yeshua have us to do? What would he do? What did he do?

A few years ago, Sandi and I were privileged to spend a week in Ka’anapali next to Lahaina in Maui. We walked the beaches, swam in the ocean, strolled along Front Street enjoying the culture, marveled at North America’s largest banyan tree, sampled the food, purchased some precious mementos from the shops that are now ashes. I even left an important piece of my self in Maui. While body surfing in the ocean, I lost my wedding ring—it slipped off my hand as my finger brushed against some coral. Not wanting to be ringless, we bought an inexpensive koa wood metal ring from a jewelry shop on Front Street.

All that aside, and back to the human element, last night I came across this video of Warner, a native and indigenous Hawaiian telling his story of rescuing people during the fire. I have no idea if he is a Bible believing Christian or not, but this is one of the most engaging and poignant stories of godly love and sacrifice that I have ever heard. I can only hope that I would be half the man that he was were I in a similar situation!

I started watching this video and could not stop. It has challenged me deeply.

For a long time, it has been my conviction that when times get tough for the people of YHVH Elohim and we are fighting for our survival against the spirit of antichrist, the saints will come together in powerful unity and boldness and will rise to the occasion as Warner did. This will be our moment to shine the bright light of Yeshua’s love, joy, peace and hope in the lives of those around us.

In the mean time, may YHVH grant us the help and desire to begin taking baby steps to act in this manner here and now! This is the spirit of aloha and ohana that is deeply embedded in the Hawaiian culture. (Please look up the definitions of these words.) We can learn much from this cultural concept.


The Month of Elul—The King Is Coming; Are You Ready?

Elul is the traditional Jewish name for the sixth month of the biblical year and is the lead-up to the seventh month when the final four of the seven biblical fall festivals occur. Elul is an acronym for the Hebrew phrase found in Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon or Canticles) chapter six verse three:

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine…

What, you may ask, does the Song of Songs—a romantic, at times even erotic, lyrical love poem have to do with the fall biblical feasts that prophetically picture the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah? Glad you asked!

As children of the light, we are called to NOT be ignorant of the times or seasons (1 Thess 5:1–11). This includes understanding the biblical feasts which occur “at their appointed time” (Lev 23:4, NKJV) or “in their season” (Lev 23:4 KJV) and are prophetic of and chronological in the steps YHVH’s glorious plan salvation for humankind. 

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For Elohim hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1 Thess 5:1–11)

The autumn feasts speak of events surround the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah. Contrary to biblical Truth, the mainstream Christian church has lied to its people by declaring that Elohim’s Torah-law including the seven biblical feasts have been fulfilled (i.e., done away with) and are no longer relevant to the saint. This is patently absurd, especially when it comes to the fall feasts, since they obviously have not been fulfilled. This is because the prophetic events to which they point HAVE NOT yet occurred. Yeshua has not returned yet, the resurrection and glorification of the saints has not occurred, and Yeshua has not been reigning with a rod of iron on this earth from his seat of power in Jerusalem for a thousand years with peace on earth and good will toward men.

So yes, the YHVH’s feasts are still important in the life of the Bible believing saint and, therefore, it is important that we not only be aware of them, but that we prepare to celebrate them. As such, the sixth month (the month of Elul) on the biblical calendar is the time to prepare for the fall feasts that occur in the seventh  month which are the Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah, the Day of Atonement (Yom haKippurim), the Feast of Tabernacles (Chag haSukkot) and the Eighth Day (Shemini Atzeret). This is the time when the bride (those saints of Yeshua who have met the qualifications for this high-level reward) are to prepare themselves for their coming bridegroom (Yeshua the Messiah). How do they prepare? By cleansing their lives of sin and putting on the robes of righteousness. This occurs through acknowledging, confessing and repenting of sin (i.e., the violation of YHVH’s Torah-commandments; 1 John 3:4; 1:8–9; 2:3–6; John 14:15, 21; Rev 12:17; 14:12; 19:7–9; 22:14), and then turning from sin and loving YHVH by obeying his Word from Genesis to Revelation . The month of Elul is the time for each person to take stock of his or her life, to critically evaluate oneself and then to make improvements with the help of the Bible, Yeshua the Messiah and the Spirit of Elohim to guide and empower us in the process.

May Yeshua’s Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 be a warning to us about the importance of preparing ourselves for Yeshua’s return. Although most Christians are aware of Yeshua’s return, some people take preparing more seriously than others. The attitude of many people is that of complacency and prideful self-sufficiency as expressed by Peter.

That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of Elohim the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of Elohim, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (2 Pet 3:2–15)

Let us also heed Yeshua’s warning to the lukewarm saints in Laodicea.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of Elohim; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:14–22)

At the same time, may we be encouraged by Yeshua words to the faithful saints in Philadelphia.

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my Elohim, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my Elohim, and the name of the city of my Elohim, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my Elohim: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


Elohim Shows Up in Lahaina—a Man Called Fish and an Unburned Church

Even in the worst disasters such as the fiery destruction of Lahaina, Maui in Hawaii, the God of the Bible (Yehovah Elohim) raises up his humble and often unlikely servants to be his spiritual light and to offer hope to those caught in the middle of horrific tragedies. Elohim is always there if you just open your eyes and will see him. Yes, we may lose everything in fires, floods, winds, wars and the like, but Yeshua (Jesus) is always there, and no one can take that away from us, and our faith in him does make a huge difference in this life and in the next life!


When Disasters Strike or the Enemy Attacks, Call on the Biblical 9-1-1

Psalm 91:1 (and the rest of Psalm 91) Is the Biblical 9-1-1 to Call in Our Time of Trouble!

Recently, the city of Lahaina in Maui, Hawaii was mostly destroyed by fire. A few years ago, Sandi and I spent a week in Lahaina enjoying this paradise on earth. Our hearts are deeply saddened and words cannot explain by this tragic disaster as well as the grief and sorrow of the Hawaiians who are trying to cope with the aftermath of it.

In an instant, anyone of us could find ourselves in such an unexpected situation as those in Lahaina—without home, material possessions, the necessities of life readily available to us, or even deprived of physical itself. There for the grace of YHVH go each of us continually! Each day of life is a blessing and a gift from the Almighty not to be taken for granted.

When you find yourself in an impossible situation, this is the time to look upwards. In fact, we should be doing this each day of our lives, so that when troubles hit us, we are already prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually to call our direct line to heaven for help!

With these things in mind, let’s review Psalm 91 starting in 91:1, and what I call “the 9-1-1 of the Bible.”

Psalm 91:1, Secret [Heb. cethar]. This word refers to “a covering, shelter, hiding place or secrecy,” and is from the root word meaning “to hide or conceal.” When troubles comes our way like a tidal wave, the natural human reaction is to stand and fight, to freeze in fear, or flee in panic. In psychology this is known as the fight, freeze or flight response. The Bible teaches us there is both a time to fight and a time to flee (Eccl 3:1; Matt 24:16; 12:14 cp. Eph 6:14; Luke 19:13), but at all times we need to be hiding in the secret place of our relationship with our Almighty Father in heaven, to which the latter part of this verse alludes. Out of that place, and from under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty and in his throne room, we will not be cowering in fear from our enemies, but we will find the courage, will and stamina to stand firm in faith, and, if necessary, to come out and to fight the enemy not in our own strength, but in that of Elohim as led and guided by his Spirit. 

The Most High [Heb. El-yon]. This is one of the descriptive titles of Elohim and signifying his exaltedness, overwhelming majesty and supremacy or omnipotence. As such, Scripture reveals that Elyon is the place of protection for Israel (Pss 9:2; 91:1, 9).

Abide [Heb. luwn].This wordmeans “to lodge, stop over, pass the night or abide.” A lodge is a place where one temporarily spends the night. When dark times come our way, we need to stop over, spend the night, run to and abide in the throne room of the Almighty! This speaks of prayer, worship, praise and studying the Word of Elohim.

Psalm 91:1, 4, Under the shadow of the Almighty…under his wings.(See notes at Ps 61:4.) According to the ancient Jewish sages, Moses composed this psalm for the tribe of Levi who dwelt under the shadow of the wings of cherubim that stood over the ark of the covenant in the Tabernacle of Moses—a physical representation of YHVH’s throne room in heaven. The sages go on to explain that the psalmist describes the devout man of faith who lives with Elohim in his heart, and who never leaves Elohim’s shadow. Such a man is a true biblical hero of faith to whom Elohim pledges (v. 16) he will satisfy with long life and show him his salvation (The ArtScroll Tanach Series Tehillim/Psalms Commentary on Ps 91). This psalm ends with the promise of the blessing of long life to those love and serve YHVH, and beyond that, salvation, which is the Hebrew word Yeshua—the very name of the coming Messiah who would offer his people deliverance from the ultimate enemy, namely sin and its death penalty. The result of this deliverance is the glorious divine gift of eternal life through faith in Yeshua the Messiah—the supreme gift and blessing of all! This psalm is a prophecy pointing to the Messiah.

In Jewish understanding, the Tabernacle of Moses wasn’t complete until the glory of YHVH’s presence took residence in the tabernacle’s inner chamber of the holy of holies. This was evidence that YHVH was making this habitation his own in a most intimate way. How was it possible, the sages ask, for the Creator of the universe to inhabit a mere tent? They explain that he focused his presence into this tiny spot. This isn’t unlike a magnifying glass that reflects the suns rays into a small but focused point on a piece of wood or paper. Were the earth closer to the sun, it would be burned up. Yet the sun’s light can be brought to the earth in a concentrated form that will not cause harm. This is exactly what Elohim did when he incarnated Yeshua into the womb of Mary. The sages had the understanding that the holy of holies is a picture of man’s heart that the Creator wants to indwell, which is the most sacred sanctuary of all.

The conception and birth of Yeshua was an ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy. The fire of the Set-Apart Spirit that came down upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two was also a fulfillment of this desire of YHVH of which the fiery glory cloud that dwelt in and over the Tabernacle of Moses was a prophetic portent. Yeshua promised his disciples that through this same divine fire he would dwell in their hearts after his death, resurrection and ascension. The result of this divine encounter of Elohim with those in the upper room resulted in many repenting of their sins and coming to faith in Yeshua the Messiah (Acts 2:38–41), which is the greater message of Psalm 91.

Psalm 91:2, He is my refuge [Heb. machseh]…fortress. This refuge is a literal shelter to which one flees in times of trouble to find hope. It is like a fortress. 

In him I will trust [Heb. batach].This word connotes the feeling of safety, security and confidence to the point where one can be careless or exist without cares.

Psalm 91:3, Deliver [Heb. natsal].This word means “to snatch away, rescue, save, strip, plunder, to tear oneself away, deliver oneself, to be torn out or away, be delivered, to strip off or spoil.” The Hebrew word has a much more expansive meaning than the simple English word deliver. The idea here is not just delivering one from one’s enemies, but a stripping away from or spoiling one’s enemies. One can almost imagine an enemy who is bewildered by the unexpected action of the superior force of a deliverer who suddenly swoops in like a night raider and snatches away his illegally gained loot from out of his hand. This is what our Almighty Elohim promises to do for his children who abide under the shadow of his wings.

Snare of the fowler.This is literally referring to a bird trap and the trapper. In ancient times, birds were trapped and used for food. This could be a poetic picture of Satan and his demons who fly through the air searching for human prey. A biblical example of birds being metaphors for destructive and deceiving evil spirits can be found in Genesis 15:11 and Matthew 13:4 and 19. This verse, then, is a promise to the saint of protection from evil, demonic spirits. 

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