Yom Teruah 2001
Day of Trumpets
Sabbath Day Sermon: Saturday 15 September 2001
Brethren and sisters, we once again give our attention to Yahweh's Holy Festivals which we are commanded to observe throughout all generations. On Tuesday we come to celebrate Yom Teruah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets about which I'd like to say a little today.
As you may remember, Yom Teruah is one of those "mysterious" festivals - mysterious because unlike all the other ones, Yahweh does not explain why we are to celebrate it. All He says is the following: "On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to Yahweh by fire" (Lev.23:23-25, NIV).
There is much, though, we can learn about Yom Teruah even from this short passage. Last year we examined this verse carefully and discovered that it was, in fact, pointing to Christ - not to His first coming but to His second. We learned that His return from outer space through our atmosphere would be accompanied in heaven by the sound of trumpets, bringing eternal life to those who have trusted in Him because of His sacrifice by fire on the Cross. But there is something more about this Festival that we didn't discuss last year - another dimension which connects with the sermon I gave two weeks ago that it is this that I principally want to talk about today.
Unlike the other eight festivals we commemorate each year, Yom Teruah marks the beginning of a unique month in the sacred calendar. Next Tuesday marks the first day of the Seventh Month called Tishri today but anciently it was not called this but Ethanim (1 Ki.8:2) which in the Hebrew means "strength" or "valiance". This month is special not just because it is the seventh month - for seven, as we know, is the Sabbath number which Yom Teruah also is - but because it contains that most important of festivals which we celebrate nine days afterwards called Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement - the day that Christ returns to the earth to inaugurate the Millennium and bring His atonement of two millennia before to literal, historical completion.
Unlike the previous six festivals which have all been fulfilled, the three autumnal (fall) festivals have not. That means we celebrate them looking forward to that which is to come. So let's remind ourselves of these three festivals and what they mean for us:
|1. Yom Teruah (Trumpets)
||Announcing the Return of Christ|
|2. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
||The Arrival of Christ on Earth|
|3. Sukkoth (Tabernacles)
||The Theocratic Millennial Reign|
In our studies of the sacred festivals we have noted the constant recurrence of the mystical number 9 which as we saw two weeks ago is the sum of 3+3+3, or 333, a number of great significance to us. We have seen that not only is this the number of the Godhead - Father, Son, and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) but that it is the number of spiritual gestation prior to spiritual rebirth. It will not surprise you to learn, therefore that this same number reappears as the time span between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur: there are exactly 9 days between the sounding of the trumpets announcing Christ's return and the day that He steps forth onto this work again to destroy His enemies and to assume the Throne as King of all earthly kings, and Lord of all earthly lords, the rightful Ruler of this world.
Why this number of days? Is it an accident? Or is there a purpose - a meaning - behind it? What is the Lord trying to tell us?
When a woman becomes pregnant her life has changed forever. She is never the same person again. From the moment of fertilisation, which corresponds to Yom Teruah, a miraculous process begins in which an egg is transformed into a little human being. There are often difficulties and even dangers a long the way. Pregnant mothers are often sick, get unnatural cravings, and indeed much of their biochemistry changes as new hormones circulate in their bloodstream. This can be a time of not only great joy - joy anticipating what is to come - but also a time of emotional confusion as the body changes functions. And then, just before the birth, a brief but excruciating period of intense pain, exhaustion and, on occasion, desperation. In those last desperate hours the mother often wonders if the suffering will ever end. And then, just as she is often ready to give up, the baby suddenly comes, the pain is all forgotten, and a happy mother has her eyes on her little miracle.
The time period between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur is to remind us of similar processes. First, there is the process of individual rebirth - the time when we are spiritually fertilised by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) the moment we surrender our lives and accept Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as our Saviour. It's at this point that many Christians make the fatal mistake in thinking they have "made it" - that they are guaranteed a place in Heaven no matter what subsequently happens. And wonderful though this transformation is, it is only the Christ-Alpha of our salvation - the first stage - fertilisation. A metaphorical nine-month gestation period must follow which corresponds to our life-span - a time of spiritual growth, of overcoming, of being faithful until the end - which is death - and our longed for reunion with Christ. Then we will know whether we have achieved the Christ-Omega of our salvation - whether we have been birthed into Heaven or not.
Though I don't want to go into it today, there are other "mini-births" along the way - seven, in fact - which we know as the Seven Overcomings of the Book of Revelation, each of which - when successfully completed - brings us a special anointing of the Ruach (Spirit).
But not only is there a fertilisation, gestation and birth of each individual soul, but there is also a fertilisation, gestation and birth of the Body of Christ, which is the New Covenant Nation of Israel. That process of time we mark every year - reminding ourselves of what is to come - when we celebrate Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Succoth. We are not so much commemorating the birth of the Body or Church/Assembly established by Christ in the meridian of time two thousand years ago, but the end-time Body or Church which will welcome the return of Christ as Regent to this world.
Over the last few weeks I have been bombarded with emails from people who have been having dramatic experiences with the number 333 and wondering why. Some of them thought they were going crazy. Yesterday morning I spoke with a good Canadian friend, who is a seer and prophet, and mentioned to him this phenomenon as we had never before discussed it. "What does the number 333 mean to you?" I asked him, curious to know what his response was (he had already accurately prophesied something that would happen to our community here so I had much trust in what he would say). Without hesitation, he replied: "The Godhead - the movement of the Godhead at this special time."
I had to smile - because there has been one persistent person who has been telling me that the number 333 is of demonic origin. Yet this Canadian brother, an anointed minister whom Yahweh has worked miracles through on an almost daily basis for many years, spoke otherwise and confirmed what I had been discovering. This was indeed a special number of great prophetic significance.
Now why would Heaven announce the return of Christ and then wait 9 days before actually returning Him to the earth? Why not return the same day?
The Jews have for many years looked upon the Feast of Trumpets as a time to shake off spiritual drowsiness in preparation for the Day of Judgement. It was space for final repentance before the doors to reformation were finally and irrevocably closed. Two weeks ago when we were discussing the number 333 we wondered why humans have a nine-month gestation period and why other animals have longer or shorter ones. It is a good question. But there are other good questions too, I feel, which were not asked. Why are we born young and defenceless? Why not fully developed like some animals? Why nine months of internal growth in the womb followed by another 18 years? (Please note that 1+8=9) Why all these different cycles? Imagine what a baby born a fully grown man but with the knowledge and learning of a baby would get up to? Can you imagine the chaos? The process of mental, emotional and spiritual maturing is supposed to be paralleled by a bodily maturing also.
It is said, incidentally, that we reach our peak when we come to the age of 23. From then on we are actually dying physically. Those of you who have a head for numbers may have noticed that the Millennium, marked by the Feast of Tabernacles or Succoth, comes 5 days after Yom Kippur. The number 23 is gematrically 2+3=5. But whereas we start dying when we reach the age of 23, when Christ sets up the 1,000 year Kingdom on Succoth, 5 days after Yom Kippur, it will be time to start living forever. Why the gap between Yom Kippur - the Day of Judgement - and Succoth? After Judgement, comes sentencing and the execution of the wicked. Though the return of Christ - His actual presence on terra firma - is good news for the saved, it spells doom and eternal destruction for the wicked and unsaved. You will recall that there were 5 wise virgins and 5 foolish virgins - it is a time separation, 5 going to the wedding and 5 to outer darkness.
A few days ago there was, as the whole world now knows, a terrible terrorist attack on the Word Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. And although it seems far away from us here in Europe, I can guarantee that we are going to feel the effects of this very soon. Many hope that such an atrocity will never happen again. But I'm afraid that is not realistic. In actual fact, I can guarantee that worse is to come. What we are experiencing now is a determined group of Islamic fanatics who are bent upon bringing the West to its knees. This latest attack brought the Stock Exchanges tumbling by as much as 5% in some countries. It was a highly organised and well funded attack which could be repeated anywhere. Only next time it will be bacteriological warfare or something similar. Killing 70-80% of the population of a large Metropolis like New York or London or Stockholm is an easy and inexpensive operation. Terrorists are more than capable of launching such an attack on half a dozen major Western cities and causing total panic and economic collapse. They do not observe the rules of warfare as we know them. And the Lord is going to permit them to do this.
You can imagine what the response of the Western nations to such an outrage in which millions were murdered by deadly viruses or bacteria. They would be forced to act, and the only way they know how is militarily. Voices in America were yesterday suggesting that the US bomb the Taliban in Afghanistan, to which the Taliban responded that they would retaliate. And how do you imagine they would do that? By striking with suicide bombings, chemical weapons or bacteriological weapons in one or more large urban centres.
I shall never forget a prophetic vision I had in Oxford some years ago. It's as fresh in my memory as if it were yesterday. I saw a dead city. Everywhere on the streets were dead bodies and rats running around. Everyone had died from some terrible disease. We may expect such things in the future.
It has to be said and it has to be said clearly: the world since the earlier part of this week will never be the same again. We have entered a new ear of horrible and ghastly civilian warfare the likes of which the world has never seen. There will be no peaceful resolution. Things will get steadily worse. Though the West will offer conciliation, the Muslim world never will. They are out for world conquest and revenge - revenge for the 1½ million Iraqis - half of which are children - who have died since the West placed an economic embargo on that country. A few thousand died in New York and Washington this week - expect millions in the near future.
I am not saying this to be alarmist but to be realistic. This is the 21st century, and ghastly though the 20th century was for its two world wars and wars of genocide in Asia in Africa, this century is going to make the previous one look tame by comparison. This means in practice that we can no longer assume that our way of life as we have known it since 1945 is going to be the same for very much longer. Expect a rapid decline in the standard of living. Expect new and deadly diseases.
Indeed, this latest milestone in terror is actually a flag to us - a signal that we are now gradually entering the time which will culminate in the Great Tribulation the Bible speaks of. Because of the constant danger large cities will now be in, expect a progressive loss of liberty as more severe "security measures" are taken to forestall future terrorists. Expect suspicion to fall on immigrant communities, especially Muslim ones - more ethnic hatred and violence, persecution of minorities, and the like. For it will likely be from amongst these that terrorists and their accomplices will be recruited.
No, our world will not be the same again. And there will be no human solution to the problem. The Bibles plainly teaches that we are heading for a time of terrible war, anarchy, and the terror of a final world dictatorship before Christ returns to intervene and bring the whole Babylonian world system to a violent end.
In the meantime, where does this leave us? It leaves us at the end of the world's 333 period - at the tail end of the number 9, the gestation of this world which must now go through terrible birth pangs before the Millennial Order of peace is born. It means we are heading for the world's final Yom Teruah, which we shall be celebrating in three day's time, a Day of Judgement, and finally a Feast of Tabernacles in which we live in the Tabernacle of our Lord forever.
It also means that we as a people must prepare to live differently. Though we have been talking about it for some time now, it means that remnant Christians have got to start gathering together into communities not just to build the alternative culture but for mutual protection and fellowship. True Christians are, as I have said so many times, going to end up a very, very small minority, as Yah'shua (Jesus) prophesied when he said that upon His return there would be as few believers as there were in the days of Noah. And that isn't many.
From now on, the autumnal (fall) festivals are going to take on a new and serious meaning for us. Indeed, I believe we are now rapidly heading for their fulfilment. But in order to adjust to this new world that is coming, we are going to have to make spiritual adjustments ourselves. It means that the time of waiting is over - we have had years enough to spiritually prepare - it means that we must now actively, passionately, and earnestly seek for spiritual anointing - a latter-day Pentecost or Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Not the counterfeits in the charismatic movement, but the outpouring which the world has not seen since the days of the first apostles. The last shall be the first, and the first shall be last in a new way - there is going to be a reconnecting to the New Testament Church, an almighty pouring out of the Ruach (Spirit) with great signs and wonders to counter all the false ones we are seeing - and are going to see - and to provide a beacon for the elect to bring them home.
May the Lord soon grant us our plea for this anointing so that we may finally do what we have been talking and preaching about for so long. In Yah'shua's Name. Amen.
This page was created on 18 October 2001
Last updated on 2 September 2002
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