Yom Teruah 2004
(Feast of Trumpets)
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 18 September 2004
"Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh'"" (Lev.23:23-25, NKJV).
Yesterday we celebrated the Festival of Trumpets and took a look at a number of scriptures where the blowing either of the shofar or the silver trumpets belonging to the Tabernacle signalled important events. In a moment we will summarise what we learned for the benefit of those who were not with us yesterday. Two evenings ago the enemy launched a spiritual attack on headquarters which was easily rebuffed about which I also want to talk briefly if there is time. Before that, let's just refresh our memories.
For those of you with extra keen memories, two years ago I explained to you that this sacred month, of which this is the second day, is known as Tishri but that anciently - and more appropriately - it was known as Ethanim (1 Ki.8:2), a Hebrew word meaning 'strength' or 'valiance'. I think we ought to return to using the original name because we have entered a time where strength and valiance are indispensable to Yahweh's people. We can neither slumber, be bored, or enter the battle half-heartedly. Those who do will for certain be overwhelmed.
We are also, as you know, in the season called Teshuvah - the season of repentance - as we prepare for Yom Kippur - the Day of Judgement - in nine days' time. At this season Yahweh sends His Ruach (Spirit) in a special way to guide those who will repent into changing their hearts and lives, and giving them a cleansing, if they will, and to gently but strictly chide those who will not. The blowing of trumpets is a wake-up call, once again.
You don't need me to remind you in detail what has happened in the world this past year. We are supposed to be reviewing our stewardship before Yahweh at this time and making a determined effort to put right anything wrong we have left undone. Globally, we all know what is happening. The terrible massacre of hundreds of school children by Muslim terrorists in Beslan is fresh in our minds. And as I speak to you know, yet another in a series of hurricanes is leaving devastation and death behind it in the Caribbean and the Florida panhandle. We have witnessed also the blatantly pagan and demonic nature of the Athens Olympic games this year dedicated, as they were millennia ago, to Zeus, with the demoness Mithra thrown in for luck. Muslim terrorists blew up the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, only a few days ago. The terrorist war in Iraq has kept American, British and other armed forces bogged down, and the death toll steadily mounting. We are shocked, appalled ... but are we surprised? We shouldn't be. We were told in the earliest days of this work what to expect ... fourteen years ago. Perhaps some of you have forgotten so let me remind you of a revelation that was received back then. This is what it says:
"Thus saith Yahweh: blood will flow in the streets of St.Petersburg [Leningrad] and in many other great cities in that land [Russia]. Fear will enter the hearts of the people; and the merchants will be dismayed not because of the suffering of the people, but because of the loss of profit. And this is how it shall be in all places in the last days" (Olive Branch 260:1-4).
This is how it will be in all places. We have just seen it in Russian Ossetia - it has been like that in Russian Chehenya. Remember the bombs that went off in the Moscow theatre last year? Well, Yahweh has told us that what we are seeing in Russia we will see everywhere. We have seen what happened to the Twin Towers and Pentagon in the USA. We saw what happened in Madrid when terrorists blew up trains filled with Spanish commuters. And we have been told this will happen again. Well, who would have believed that in 1990 when this revelation was received?
We look at the quagmire in Iraq. The Allies went in, conquered the country, deposed the tyrant Saddam Hussein, and expected to install a democratic régime and get out. Those who have read the Olive Branch know better. In that same revelation we read:
"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that peace will not come to the Middle East until the return of the Son of Man ... tribe shall be against tribe, nation against nation, confederation against confederation, save for a few hours. Prepare ye, therefore, for tribulation and distress" (vv.5,7-8).
Yesterday I read an interesting newspaper article about terrorism. The author discerned the public mood well saying that people were either bored or fearful of the terrorist menace. What has Yahweh told us, however? Very simply:
"...the House of Israel shall not fear, for she knoweth her sure source of protection, and shall wholly rely on the arm of Yahweh" (v.9).
We are neither indifferent nor fearful. We are aware, and we know what it is we are supposed to do. Continuing:
"Observe the signs and be prepared, but do not become unnecessarily absorbed in them, for they will not comfort you. But rather occupy yourselves with the righteousness of God, multiplying His love in all your works, inwardly and outwardly. I am coming soon. Blessed is he who watcheth and is not caught sleeping. Amen" (vv.10-12).
The trumpets are blowing in the heavens, but are you hearing them? And if you are not attuned to such things, are you at least observing the signs?
Personally, I am both alarmed as well as comforted by what I see happening in the world today. I am alarmed because it means that we have little time to do what we must - comforted, because it means that the time of the return of Yah'shua (Jesus) will not, I hope, be long, even if it isn't something I will probably witness in my lifetime. But I believe the younger ones seated here today will witness it. We shall see.
I think it is true to say that we have been so absorbed with local and personal difficulties that we have not paid too much attention to what is happening globally. Perhaps that is how it is supposed to be. We have certainly had many problems to occupy ourselves with and they are far from being solved. But we have witnessed Yahweh's redemptive hand time and time again. Importantly, we have finally discerned His purpose in many of the difficulties we have been experiencing. No one likes difficulties and all of us, if we are honest, would rather they would just go away, and sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, it is good to understand just a little bit more clearly what all of these afflictions and problems are actually about. We are understanding the salvation of Yahweh in them - perhaps reluctantly, but increasingly with acceptance.
The world scene as it is will not improve. Perhaps, there will be short spells of peace, but the downward spiral into that final anarchy which Satanists have for so long longed for - unaware that it spells their own doom - is fast on its way to being realised. I wish they would learn from history - but Satan has certainly blinded their minds to it. They are convinced it will be 'different' this time. But it won't be. You'll see. The outcome of this was all prophesied millennia ago, and the Word of God never returns to Him void. Ever.
The festivals that we are observing in obedience to divine commandment, which so many Christians have been deceived into ignoring or outright dismissing - some of them even claiming that they weren't from God in the first place! - are all pointers to what we are now going through. The blowing of trumpets at Yom Teruah yesterday was to remind us that suddenly Yah'shua (Jesus) will return - not on Yom Teruah itself but very soon thereafter. This is a festival which will become more and more real to us every year as we see the climax of the ages getting closer. When that trumpet blows - as it will - it means that there isn't much time for those who are alive to get their lives straightened out. For when Yom Kippur comes - and if they have not made things right with Yahweh - it will be too late for them, and possibly for eternity. These festivals are supposed to remind us of these things. And the rude blast of trumpets is supposed to wake us up from our doziness. Are there people spiritually asleep in this meeting room? Yes, there are, and their souls are in mortal danger. What of those who will read these sermons on the Internet or in our publications? The same is true for them.
Usually when we blow the trumpet at Yom Teruah there is usually at least one person who covers their ears in annoyance. Admittedly, it can be painful for the sensitive. However, this is a minor discomfort when you consider the awfulness of continuing to live a life without Yahweh. I have instructed this congregation - and this will be going out to all our assemblies - to blow the shofar or equivalent at all the times indicated by Scripture, and not just at Yom Teruah. I have done this because the Ruach (Spirit) has laid heavily upon my heart that this is necessary, as was done when I was told to prepare sermon series for you on the 'Slumbering Spirit' and the 'Awakened Spirit'. The importance of those has since been made very clear.
People have asked me whether the trumpets that are blown in heaven are literal or symbolic. They are both. But they are blown by angels, not with human breath, but with ruach or heavenly breath. When they blow, the heavens shake. Yesterday we recalled how a deafening trumpet sound was heard by the Israelites at Mount Sinai when they approached the holy mountain and were given Torah (Ex.19:13-20). The heavenly trumpets are sounded when Yahweh is about to say something important. And on this occasion, the whole camp of Israel heard His voice physically. And the ground literally shook under their feet.
The trumpets are blown on earth after 49 years as the Jubilee approaches, on the tenth day of the seventh month. It is also blown throughout the land on the Day of Atonement, on Yom Kippur (Lev.25:8-10). The Jubilee, as you know, is what I call the 'day of equalisation'. It is when debts are cancelled and land sold out of the tribe is returned to that tribe and to the original owners. This is the time when Yahweh cancels our debts. It is a time of salvation and deliverance. In the months ahead I will have more to say about this important principle.
Yesterday we read how two silver trumpets were to be handmade for use in assembling the tribes for war, for defence, and for the march. They were a nomadic people in those days, much as New Covenant Israel is today. And as we shall see in at least one other scripture, the trumpet is to be used to gather Yahweh's elect. Had the children of Israel failed to listen to the trumpets, or failed to obey them, it would have meant certain disaster and extinction for them. And that is true for us too. If we do not hear Yahweh's call, or deliberately turn away from it, it is we who will greatly suffer, for I do mostly solemnly assure you that the modern-day Amalekite - that tribe marked by Yahweh for extermination - will give you no quarter. The trumpets are to be blown at every appointed feast of Yahweh, at every new moon, and indeed at every memorial we make to Yahweh (Num.10:2-10). So why aren't we blowing them? Are we afraid of what the neighbours will think? Perhaps it will wake them up too.
It did not take the children long yesterday to recount the use of trumpets in the destruction of Jericho (Josh.6:2-5). I reminded you how this was accompanied by a shout of triumph and shared with you how we do this in deliverance work in the invisible realm too. I shall have more to say about this in the days to come too. It is time that all believers went on the offensive. There are hundreds of Jerichos lying before us, preventing us from accomplishing our work. I repeat, we have the right to call Yahweh's destruction on any stronghold that stands in the way of our individual, congregational or international calling. We do not have the right to do this indiscriminately on every fortress of the enemy, but only those which are raised up along our path. Moreover - and this must be underlined a hundred times - we can only do this if we are living according to the terms of the covenant. So if you are not living New Covenant Torah, don't even bother trying! You can blow those trumpets until you go blue in the face, and shout until you are hoarse, and not a single brick will budge from those Jerichos.
We talked a little about the Sword of Gideon yesterday too (Judg.7:18-23). Do you remember what this Judge of Israel said? "When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, 'The sword of Yahweh and of Gideon!'" Well, who is our Gideon today? It is Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)! And what is the sword of the Messiah? It is the Word of God, and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). How many trumpets were blown? 300! This, then - if we are abiding by the terms of the covenant - is our war cry too: "The sword of Yahweh and of Yah'shua!"
We blow the trumpet to herald King Yah'shua (Jesus), just as the kings of Israel and of Judah were anciently (2 Ki.9:13). They used to blow the trumpets when the Ark of the Covenant was taken in procession (1 Chron.15:24). Well, I don't know about you, but when I am doing spiritual warfare, I am blowing that trumpet in my heart and asking Yahweh's angels to do the same in the psychic and physical dimensions! It is all a part of our praise (Ps.98:5-6).
One thing we are not to use a trumpets for - literally or figuratively - is to toot our own horn at all the good things we have done (Mt.6:2-4). Charity and piety are supposed to be quiet affairs. We have nothing to boast of in any case, because all our righteousness is derived. We certainly haven't earned it. You may remember I asked our trumpet-player yesterday to make as ugly a sound as he could which made the children giggle somewhat, and then our scripture-reader read from Paul:
"For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air" (1 Cor.14:8-9, NKJV).
I hope we are getting our message across clearly to all who are sent to us by Yahweh, and if we are not, we will endeavour to do so better in future. We want no uncertain message to go out from this ministry. We want only the truth to go out, and to go out plainly so that everyone can understand.
We finished yesterday by looking at those passages of scripture that talk of the trumpet blasts that will accompany the return of our Lord to this earth in glory and triumph. For those who are abiding the terms of the covenant, this will be a time of great rejoicing. For the rest - and particularly for those who are following the enemy and have resisted the invitation to change sides - it will be a day to dread, whether they are alive on the earth or awaiting their judgement as spirits in the world of the dead. For those who are alive, this means instant transformation - instant resurrection - and a journey into the air by divine levitation to meet the returning Messiah (1 Cor.15:51-53). Will this not be a day to remember? And it will be announced by a trumpet blast. Please note well that Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself will return "with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God" (1 Thes.4:15-17). This is not a meek-and-mild Lamb returning - this is the voice of Joshua, who was a type of Christ, sharing the same name with Him (Joshua = Yah'shua = Jesus). This is the Lord of the Second (and final) Advent.
The Book of Revelation speaks much of the end-time trumpets. Brethren and sisters, they are already sounding! If you have not studied them, it is time you did, beginning at the fourth chapter. Though these were distant events when they were written down 2,000 years ago, they are happening now. The seven angels with the seven trumpets are blowing them in sequence. Do you know when the last one was blown? Do you know which one? These are warning blasts, and if we aren't listening to them, and responding to them, then we are inviting calamity into our lives. Like John on the Isle of Patmos, it is time to 'get into the Ruach (Spirit). He says:
"I was in the Ruach (Spirit) on the Lord's Day [Sabbath], and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, 'I am the Alpha [Alef] and the Omega [Tav], the First and the Last'" (Rev.1:10-11, NKJV).
And if you can't get into the Ruach (Spirit) it's because there's a Jericho in your way. And if there's a Jericho in your way, what are you going to do about it? Attack it with sticks and stones? No. You must enter into the covenant by faith, by repentance - which is what this season of Teshuvah is all about, by baptism, and by obedience to the mitzvot (commandments).
Great changes are in store for all of us in the months ahead. The enemy has been thwarted several times this last year but he will not relent, because he knows his time is short. Therefore he will try harder, and Yahweh will respond in kind through those who are ready. Satan has been holding up the wider work of his Church, often with success, but it is time to challenge those fortresses raised against us. Besides, what was Jericho to the Almighty? The men of flesh planned military-type assaults, no doubt, but Yahweh chose trumpets, a mighty shout, and a divine marching pattern. I pray, now, that we will too. Amen.
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Last updated on 30 September 2004
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