Giving “three times a year”… the practical and deeper meaning

A widow’s mite or prutah.

Exodus 23:14–19, Three times you shall keep a feast. The Scriptures teach us that during the three biblical pilgrimage festivals of Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles all the individuals of the nation are to leave their place of individual isolation and are to rendezvous in the presence of the one Elohim of Israel. This was to occur in the festival circle (or chag) around the common sanctuary (where YHVH has chosen to place his name, Deut 16:2, 11, 15), thereby becoming conscious that each one is connected to all the other members of the nation, with YHVH Elohim, and with the Torah (The Pentateuch—Deuteronomy, p. 310, by S. R. Hirsch). In biblical times, the Israelites would gather wherever the tabernacle had been placed. When the temple was built in Jerusalem, this city became the destination point for the Israelite pilgrims during these three biblical feasts. For the saints who celebrate the biblical feasts now, there is no temple in Jerusalem to gather around. The saints are now the spiritual temple of the Spirit of Elohim (1 Cor 3:16). Moreover, Yeshua has promised to be in the midst of his people when they gather together (Matt 18:20). In light of these spiritual realities, YHVH’s people need to pray and seek his facer where he wants them to gather for his feasts, and then obey him in faith believing that he will be with them.

But there is much more to this spiritual picture if we add Yeshua the Messiah of Israel into the picture, for each of the three feasts point directly to him. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles all point to Yeshua, since the first two festal periods point to Yeshua’s first coming, while the last fall feast points to his second coming. Each of these feasts represent milestones in the spiritual journey of the redeemed believer from initial redemption to glorification and eternal life in the presence of YHVH Elohim.

The three feasts also spiritually represent the three sections in the Tabernacle of Moses (Heb. mishkan). These are the outer courtyard, the holy place and the holy of holies. These three sections of the tabernacle correspond with the three parts of man, which are his body, soul and spirit (1 Thess 5:23). The feasts of Passover (Heb. Pesach) and Unleavened Bread (Heb. Chag haMatzot) are the first two feasts the righteous believers are to celebrate in the spring and represent the first steps in a new believer’s spiritual walk. This corresponds with the outer courtyard and relates more to the spiritual cleansing of the outer parts or body of man. It is here that one begins their spiritual walk and relationship with Yeshua, who is the Word of Elohim. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Heb. Shavuot) is the next step one takes in their spiritual walk as one goes into the tabernacle of Moses. The tabernacle’s holy place speaks of one bringing one’s soul (the mind, will and emotions) into submission to the will of YHVH as one advances in their spiritual walk and grows in the fruits and gifts of the Spirit of Elohim. This readies the redeemed Israelites to move into a place of worship and praise before the Almighty.

Finally, the holy of holies corresponds to the Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Chag haSukkot) and the spirit part of man. This section of the tabernacle points to man’s ultimate spiritual relationship with Elohim. It is here that man relates to Elohim, who is a Spirit, on a deeper spirit to Spirit level (John 4:24; 1 Cor 2:10–13). This prophetically points to man’s ultimate destiny as glorified beings in the New Jerusalem as adopted members into the family of Elohim (John 1:12; Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 John 3:1; Rev 21:7).

Exodus 23:17, Three times in the year. Three times a year at the three pilgrimage feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and Feast of Tabernacles—Elohim commands that all men appear before him at the place where he has chosen to place his name (Deut 16:2, 6, 11, 15, 16). At these three times, Israelites would gather wherever the tabernacle or temple of Elohim was located to celebrate before Elohim with their fellow Israelites. The Torah repeats this command in Deuteronomy 16:6–17.

On these three occasions, YHVH commands that all males bring with them a feast offering—they were not to appear before YHVH empty-handed, but they were to bring an offering as they were able according to how YHVH had blessed them (Deut 16:16). This was not a tithe, but a freewill offering in addition to their regular tithes. Through Malachi the prophet, YHVH accuses backslid Israel of robbing him by not giving to him their tithes and offerings (or contributions). Because of this negligence, Elohim declares that Israel has been cursed with a curse,whereupon he promises to reverse the curse, rebuke the devourer that has destroyed their prosperity, to open the windows of heaven over them so that the will not be able to contain the prosperity of YHVH (Mal 3:8–12).

Some people may insist that this offering no longer applies to those who are “under the new covenant.” However, Yeshua declares that not one jot or tittle of the Torah has been annulled (Matt 5:18), and those who follow the Torah will be blessed (Matt 5:19). Although, we may not be able now to fulfill all aspects of YHVH feasts laws, YHVH expects us to love him and to keep all of his commandments the best we can (John 14:14; 1 John 2:3–6). To not obey his Torah-commands is sin (1 John 3:4), and on judgment day, Yeshua promises to reject those who were Torahless (workers of iniquity), despite their professed religiosity (Matt 7:21–23).

Giving financially to those who are doing the ministry of Yeshua is a spiritual principle that is immutable, universal and is part of the walk of the righteous redeemed (Prov 3:9–10; Phil 4:14–17; 1 Tim 5:17–18; 1 Cor 9:13–14; Gal 6:6).

By the way, to the several of you that are fed spiritually by this ministry and who thus show your appreciation by giving financially to it, we offer a heartfelt thank you! May YHVH bless you mightily and supply all your needs according to his abundant riches in Yeshua the Messiah!

 

A Bond Servant to Yeshua FOREVER!

Exodus 21:6, Bore his ear. The servant who of his own freewill and out of love for his master chose to remain in his household forever was permanently marked in this manner to signify that he was willing to hear and obey all his master’s commands punctually. This is a spiritual picture of the disciples of Yeshua who chose to become his bond servants (e.g. Rom 1:1; Gal 1:10; Col 4:12; Tit 1:1; Jas 1:1; Jude 1; Rev 1:1; 15:3). Not only do the true disciples of Yeshua accept him as their Savior, but they submit to him as their Lord or Master. They accept the fact he has purchased them with his blood, and that they now owe their lives to him. They willing choose to dwell in his spiritual house forever, to serve him and to hear and to do all that he commands of them.

Forever. The Hebrew word olam translated as “forever throughout the Scriptures means “as long as the conditions exist” and not necessarily “for eternity” as the meaning of the English word “forever” often implies. In this verse, forever obviously means “as long as the servant shall live” and not “for eternity.” When the Hebrew word v’ad translated as “and ever” is added to olam (forever), the concept of eternity is connoted (e.g. YHVH’s reign as king is for eternity, Exod 15:18; Ps 10:16; the resurrected righteous will live for eternity, Pss 21:4; 45:6; Dan 12:3; during the millennium, righteous redeemed Israelites will walk with YHVH for eternity, Mic 4:5; the righteous will keep YHVH’s Torah for eternity, Ps 119:44; the righteous will praise YHVH for eternity, Ps 145:1, 2, 21).

 

The 18 Benefits of Studying and Obeying YHVH’s Torah

The Scriptures reveal that the Torah is much more than a list of dos and don’ts as many people have been led to believe, and is therefore, in their mind, a negative thing. Deuteronomy 4:6 says that the Torah is our wisdom and understanding before the nations of the world. In Deuteronomy 11:8, we learn that the Torah makes us strong. The word strong in Hebrew is chazaq meaning “to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, to be firm, be caught fast, be secure, to grow stout, grow rigid, to restore to strength, give strength, sustain, encourage, make bold, encourage, to repair or to withstand.” This sounds like a good thing!

Here is a list of the other benefits of studying and obeying YHVH’s Torah:

The Torah defines what sin (1 John 3:4) and righteousness are (Ps 119:172).

The Torah shows us what YHVH expects from man (Deut 10:12–13).

The Torah convicts man of sin or lawlessness and brings us to Yeshua by way of the cross (Gal 3:24).

The Torah brings temporal and spiritual rewards; life and blessing when followed; curses when disobeyed (Deut 28; Matt 5:19).

Obeying the Torah helps deepen a loving and intimate relationship with YHVH-Yeshua and helps us to abide in Yeshua (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6).

Obeying the Torah helps us to stay spiritually pure (1 John 3:3–6).

Obeying the Torah protects us from the influence of the devil (1 John 3:8).

The Torah provides a framework or basis for YHVH’s divine justice or judgment (Deut 17:11; John 12:48; Heb 4:12 cp. Rev 1:16; 2:16; 19:15, 21).

The Torah forms the basis for the jurisprudence system of civil government (Deut 17:11).

The Torah is heaven’s revelation of divine grace. It reveals how sinful man can be reconciled to a righteous Elohim; it reveals the path of redemption or salvation from slavery to sin through the idea of substitutionary sacrifice. This all points to Yeshua the Messiah, the Redeemer or Savior of the world.

The Torah reveals the concept of covenant between YHVH and man involving YHVH’s chosen people—the nation of Israel. Only through covenantal relationship with the Elohim of Israel and by being grafted into the Israel of Elohim can one have eternal life (Eph 2:11–19).

The Torah will guide and keep us on the path of righteousness and lead us into YHVH’s everlasting kingdom and spiritual divine family. It acts as a protective guardrail to keep us on the road leading to eternal life. It keeps man from falling into the spiritual ditches or off the spiritual cliff along the side of the road of life.

The Torah is our light in a dark world; the answer to life’s questions and dilemmas (Ps 119:99, 105; Prov 6:23).

Through Yeshua the Living Torah, the Torah helps us to become the person that YHVH wants to live with forever. It prepares us to be the spiritual bride of Yeshua (Rev 19:7–8).

Obeying the Torah brings us eternal rewards (not eternal life, which is by grace through faith alone, see Eph 2:8) in the world to come (Matt 5:19).

Obeying the Torah helps deepen a loving and intimate relationship with YHVH-Yeshua and helps us to abide in Yeshua (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6).

Obeying the Torah-Word of YHVH helps to perfect YHVH-Yeshua’s love in us (1 John 3:6).

The Torah shows us how to love Elohim and our neighbor (Mark 12:29–31).

 

The Glorious Sound of the Shofar an Its RAM-ifications



Exodus 19:16,19 Voice of the trumpet [shofar]. In Jewish thought, the Scriptures speak of three great shofar blasts that have historical and prophetic significance: the first, last and great or final shofar blasts. These are:

The First Trump (or shofar blast) occurred on Shavuot at the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah) at Mount Sinai (Exod 19:16, 19). This shofar blast was of heavenly origin and is the first time the Bible records the sound of the shofar being heard.

The Last Trump (or shofar blast) occurs on Yom Teruah (the Day of Trumpets/Shofar Blasts, commonly called Rosh Hoshana) is the day of

the awakening blast calling the saints to prepare their spiritual garments in preparation for the coming Messiah or Bridegroom. This shofar blast corresponds to the last trumpet blast of Revelation 11:15 after which the resurrection of the righteous occurs (1 Cor 15:51–53).

The Great Trumpet or Final Trumpet (or shofar blast called the Shofar HaGadol) is blown on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) signifying the Elohim’s day of judgment and the return of Messiah Yeshua as the King and Judge of the earth. At this time, it seems likely that he will destroy Babylon the Great with its new world order religious, political and economic system (Rev 19:1–21 cp. Rev 18) just before the establishment of his millennial kingdom (Rev 20:1–10). Historically on the Day of Atonement, the jubilee trumpet sounded in Israel on the fiftieth year. At this time, the captives were set free, debts were forgiven and all land was returned to its original owners. Matthew says that Yeshua the Messiah will return with a great sound of a shofar (trumpet, Matt 24:30–31; 1 Thess 4:16). Perhaps this is a reference to the shofar ha-gadol when Yeshua returns to earth, will set the spiritual captives free from enslavement to the enslaving economic, religious and political tentacles of end time Babylon the Great.

What’s So Mystical About the Sound of the Shofar?

The Shofar

The ram’s horn shofar is a uniquely biblical instrument. Although the enemies of Elohim’s truth have misappropriated, counterfeited or perverted much of what is found in the Bible, so far as this author knows, the shofar is one thing that Satan, the adversary of all that is good, and his followers have left alone. It’s like the proverbial “hot potato” that’s Continue reading

 

The Terms and Conditions for Coming into the Presence of the Almighty

When coming into the Presence of Elohim, let’s never forget how high and set-apart he is and how low and defiled we are!

Exodus 19:10, Consecrate them today. How did Israel, as a bride-to-be, prepare herself to meet with YHVH? How are YHVH’s people now to be preparing themselves for their spiritual marriage with Yeshua? (Compare Exodus 19:10 with Revelation 19:7–9.) What is the righteousness of the saints (mentioned in Rev 19:8)? Righteousness is defined in Psalms 119:172 as, “… all thy [Torah] commandments are righteousness.” If what the Scriptures define as righteousness (i.e. the Torah) was “nailed to the cross,” as is popularly taught, then who is in error? The Scriptures or those who teach against YHVH’s Torah laws?

Discussion A. Why is it essential to study the example of the children of Israel preparing themselves to come into the presence of YHVH in Exodus 19? After all, if Yeshua did it all for us, we can just come boldly before the Father’s throne anytime, anyway we want, right (Heb 4:16)?

Let’s explore this concept a little to see what the Bible has to say about it.

Paul says in I Corinthians 10:11,

Now all these things happened to them [i.e. the children of Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (See also Rom 15:4.)

The writer of Hebrews has something similar to say in his prefatory remarks to his statement in Hebrews 4:16 about coming boldly before the throne of YHVH through the merits of the sinless righteousness of Yeshua our High Priest. In the preceding several Continue reading

 

The Third Day—Prophetic Significance

Exodus 19:1, 11, In the third month…the third day. 

Here we read that the Israelites arrived at Sinai in the third month. Jewish tradition teaches that YHVH most likely gave this order to the Israelites on the third day of the third month, and that this third day—the day YHVH gave the Ten Commandments—was on Shavuot.

Now let’s connect some dots or put some pieces of the puzzle together to form a prophetic picture of an amazing truth. Shavuot and the giving of the Ten Commandments was a day when YHVH, for the first time in recorded biblical history, sounded the heavenly shofar—known as the first trumpet. This relates back to the ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham could see “the place” (Mount Moriah) afar off in three days (Gen 22:4), which related to Messiah’s first coming three millennia later. Likewise, the Israelites were to be ready “on the third day” to receive the Written Torah thundered from the lips of the pre-incarnate Yeshua the Messiah (Acts 7:38; 1 Cor 10:4) at Mount Sinai. But the “third day” reference here is also a prophecy analogous to Abraham’s “third day.” What is the connection? Abraham saw the death of the Redeemer on Mount Moriah and the Israelites were living out a prophecy that pointed to the same time when Messiah would come as the Living Torah culminating on the Feast of Shavuot. The “third day” reference for both Abraham and the Israelites had the same relevance, for both were living in the second century B.C. (i.e. before the birth of Yeshua, the Messiah) who was born near the beginning of the first century A.D.—or the third millennia, or third day prophetically, from both the time of Abraham and the Israelites.

Though a bit tangential to the subject of Shavuot, let’s look at another concept relating to the prophetic implications of the third day. As Yeshua, the Living Torah, came on the third day, so he will return on the third day after his first coming—or, in the third millennia after his first coming. That is, he came in the first millennium of our common era, and we have just passed into the third millennia of the same era and are now in the twenty-first century. According to biblical prophecy, Messiah will return in this third millennia, or third day:

Come, and let us return unto YHVH: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know YHVH: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hos 6:1–3)

This is a prophecy about the restoration of his people Israel in a spiritual marriage covenant to him (referred in Scripture as the “renewed covenant, see Jer 31:31,33; Heb 8:8–13). But it is also referring to the resurrection of the saints or, the bride of Messiah, who will participate in the marriage supper of the Lamb of YHVH. The saints are Israelites who are part of the Romans 11 olive tree whose root goes back to Abraham and to YHVH.

Yeshua makes further reference to the third day when he says,

…Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)

Yeshua was speaking of his ministry on earth at his first coming as well as his being resurrected on the third day. But, the “third day” is also a reference to his second coming in the third millennia or third day after his first coming. As he was “perfected” on the third day and raised from the dead, his saints will be “perfected” or resurrected at his second coming in the third millennia.

The Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai on the third day after two days preparation. That is, the children of Israel had two days to prepare and on the third day YHVH would give them his law from Mount Sinai. Similarly, Yeshua has had his people prepare themselves for 2000 years and in the third thousand-year period (or the seventh thousand year since creation—i.e. the Sabbath millennia) Messiah will return to resurrect his people after which the 1000-year sabbatical millennia will commence.

In reference to this, John records,

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee… (John 2:1)

This is another prophetic statement referring to the marriage supper of Yeshua the Lamb of Elohim (Rev 19:7–9 cp. 2 Cor 11:2) to occur after the second coming of Yeshua Messiah in the third 1000-year period after his first coming.

Even after two days of preparation, ancient Israel was still not ready (spiritually) to receive the Torah from YHVH. On Shavuot, at Mount Sinai, YHVH entered into a marriage covenant with the children of Israel, but they were not ready to live up to the terms of that covenant. Those terms, simply stated, involved Israel being faithful and obedient only to YHVH, Israel’s spiritual marriage partner, and to his instructions in righteousness—the Torah. This Israel quickly demonstrated they were not willing to do, for they had hardly said “I do” to their marriage vows when they made and began worshipping the golden calf calling their act of spiritual adultery “a feast to YHVH” (Exod 32:5).

Between the time of the feasts of Shavuot and Yom Teruah when Moses received the second tablets of stone from YHVH containing the Ten Commandments, the children of Israel, the bride of YHVH, prepared herself not only to receive YHVH’s instructions the second time, and this time she was faithful to her marriage vows for approximately 38 years while she wandered in the wilderness after which she entered the Promised Land and “stayed the course” until after the death of Joshua.

Similarly, Messianic Israel of the first century a.d. (or “the Israel of Elohim,” Gal 6:16) received the Torah on the fleshly tablets of their hearts written by the finger of the Ruach HaKodesh on the day of Pentecost. But starting in about a.d. 70 with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and continuing up through the Second Jewish Revolt of a.d. 135 until the time of Emperor Constantine (in the fourth century), the second century bride of Messiah had, for the most part, abandoned YHVH’s Torah-commandments and had begun mixing the truth of Elohim with pagan practices, which was like the golden calf worship of old (e.g. Sunday worship, Christmas and Easter celebrations and many other pagan beliefs and traditions that exist in the Christo-pagan church to this day).

In our day, is not YHVH calling out a remnant of people who are leaving behind the traditions of golden calf worship, where the church has mixed the truth of YHVH’s Word with the pagan traditions of this world, and returning to the ancient blessed paths of YHVH’s Torah-instructions in righteousness (Jer 6:16, 19)? In fact, the Book of Revelation speaks of a group of end-time saints who will say “I do” to YHVH, and whose identifying mark is their faith in Yeshua the Messiah (i.e. the gospel message), and yet who faithfully keep YHVH’s Torah-commandments (Rev 12:17 and 14:12). Are these remnant redeemed believers not preparing themselves for the second coming of Messiah on the Yom Teruah when Yeshua, the Living Torah, will return to marry his spiritual bride—the saints, or sanctified ones, of YHVH (Rev 19:7–9)? As the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, so YHVH’s spiritual bride will return to the spiritual Promised Land of Israel at the beginning of the Millennium under the leadership of Yeshua the Messiah (Heb 4:1–11).

 

The Other Side of the Sabbath Law—Thou Shalt Work Six Days!

Exodus 16:4–30, The Sabbath. This chapter chronicles YHVH’s efforts to literally force an irreverent, unruly and disobedient nation to keep the seventh day Sabbath. He did so in a most poignant way—through food and hunger. It’s as if he were instructing the stiff-necked and rebellious Israelites that if they refused to follow his Sabbath instructions, they would literally go hungry. “If you don’t obey me, you don’t eat.” This shows the gravity the Creator places on the Sabbath command. Yet despite these clear instructions, most in the Babylonian church today, like the rebellious children of Israel of old, refuse to obey YHVH’s clear instructions regarding the Sabbath. Instead, they prefer to believe the doctrines of men proffered to them by their spiritual leaders that purport to invalidate the Sabbath command. Paul’s sage observation in Romans 8:7 describes the situation perfectly: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim: for it is not subject to the [Torah] law of Elohim, neither indeed can be.” In our day, the same question can still be asked of followers of Yeshua that YHVH asked of the Israelites at that time, “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Exod 16:28).

Not only this, but by forcing the Israelites to gather manna each day, he was teaching them to work six  days for their daily bread. Though the bread came from heaven—YHVH’s was its source—he still required the people to work each day by going out and gathering it. There is no free lunch even where YHVH is concerned. The nation of Israel wasn’t a welfare state empowering lazy freeloaders! If a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat.

The Sabbath command in Exodus 20 not only prescribes resting on the Sabbath, but this presupposes that one has followed the preceding command to work the previous six days. Humans are naturally inclined to laziness. If one doesn’t have to work, they won’t. YHVH works maintaining and sustaining the universe. YHVH who created humans in his image expects us to follow his example of working and then resting.

Moreover, this chapter is almost entirely dedicated to instructions pertaining to preparing for the Sabbath. This shows the priority that YHVH places on Sabbath observance for his people. Also note that these instructions are given many weeks before the official giving of the Torah (or law of Moses) at Mount Sinai. This is but one of the many examples of YHVH revealing key aspects of his Torah-law before he gave it the Israelites in one legal codified corpus at Mount Sinai.