Chag sameach Rosh Chodesh, chag sameach Yom Teruah and Shabbat Shalom kol beit Yisrael - A blessed New Moon, Feast of Trumpets and Sabbath Rest to all the House of Israel! Today is also the 31st day of Teshuvah (Repentance) and the first day of Yammim Nora'im, the seven Days of Awe before Yom Kippur.
How beautiful it is to see the proper tavnith (pattern) now that we are observing the correct biblical Creation Calendar! I love complete jigsaw puzzles, where no piece is forced unnaturally into another, and I love seeing the glory of Yahweh's moedim all properly linked together in divine echad (oneness). For today especially - the only festival that falls on Rosh Chodesh - we see that unlike all the other festivals, Yom Teruah is not only an announcement of the Second Coming of Messiah through the blowing of silver-trumpets and all that that means (what a huge revelation that is), it is not only the actual day that Yah'shua (Jesus) will one day return to earth on to inaugurate the start of the Millennium, but it is literally the Festival that resets time as a whole, just as the New Moon resets the Sabbath each month, an emet (truth) that is lost in all the false man-made calendars, including the Roman and the Talmudic-Jewish ones followed by nearly all evangelicals and messianics. And this is the whole emet (truth) because the return of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) ends the one aeon of pre-Millennial time and starts a totally new one - the Thousand Year Millennial Kingdom of Elohim (God) in earth!
Now we know that the Millennium has not started today. Yah'shua (Jesus) has not yet returned but that when He does, it will be on this precise day in the year. What we don't know is the year He will return since non man is given to know this, not even the malakim, and not even the Son - only the Father knows it, making this one of the things that the Head of the Elohimhead (Godhead) alone knows that the Son does not, making Him alone omniscent (all-knowing), and proving that He is Super-ordinate to the other members of the Elohimhead (God). And yet time has started again for us today for another year - we are resetting time not just for this month but for the whole year as we wait for the resturn of our Master for one more year.
But the annual re-setting of time today does not just mean the continuation of the current aeon for another year. And though the final Yom Kippur will not be starting in seven day's time at the conclusion of the Days of Awe (Yammim Nora'im), there is still a vitally important Yom Kippur that is rolling up in 7 days' time - a Day of Atonement and a Day of Judgment for you and I. We are to be judged in a week's time for what we have, or have not, done this past year as a collective body of believers. [This is also the time when we, in this fellowship, submit outselves for weighing in our stewardships, whether it be wives to husbands, deacons (shammashim) to elders (zaqenim), elders to pastors, or whatever]. And that Body is known as Messianic Israel whether its component parts are Torah-observant or not. In seven days' the House of Messianic Israel as a whole is to be weighed by Yahweh. And in seven days' time the whole world is to be judged also!
When we speak of 'judgment' we speak not in the abstract or the symbolic but in the literal. What happens at Yom Teruah determines whether we move up a spiritual 'grade', as it were, or whether we have to go back to the beginning and relearn the current 'grade' all over again. We are all in different spiritual 'classes', as it were, so we won't all be at the same place - or to be more accurate, we are not in all the same classes, since we are each in multiple classes of spiritual instruction linked into the overall school of life. At Yom Kippur we discover - directly from Yahweh Himself - whether we have graduated in each spiritual class, or whether we have to go and relearn the lessons we have failed in the current classes. This is all very systematic, even if we can neither see the curriculum nor the course material very clearly, for it would in any case be utterly impossible to commit such a curriculum or course material to a text book that we could read. This is a far grander school than any comprarable man-made institution on earth because it is continuous - 24/7 - and it lasts our whole life. This life is actually a school. And only El Elyon - the Most High - is remotely capable of guiding, teaching and grading us each year.
We are largely unaware of all of this supernatural activity and the only clues we have that we have succeeded are that we have stopped making a certain set of mistakes over and over again and are enjoying a new freedom permitted by the removal of the limitations of former sins - sins we have now understood, and by choice repented of and washed away in the Blood of Messiah. We have literally 'moved on' into a higher sphere of awareness with a new set of challenges to enable us to overcome yet more of the old fleshy, carnal, Adamic nature, in the next 'class'. If we care to honestly examine our lives and how we progress or stagnate, we will see that all of this is true.
Yesterday we talked much about faith and power - emunah and 'oz. We understood and accepted that a religious practice that has no power to reform and change the soul into a character like that of Messiah is not the true faith of the original twelve apostles at all, for it cannot empower us to be faithful. We need power and we need more of it, not for our own glory or boasting, but to equip us to be better and more effective servants of our Master Yah'shua (Jesus). Every Yom Teruah that Yah'shua (Jesus) does not return on is a further opportunity to petition Heaven for more of this power to bring more of the Kingdom of Heaven to the earth amongst true talmidim (disciples). We can shout this, our resolution, determination and desire, out aloud and if we are being real, He will hear us. To realise this desire to have more of the Kingdom within, though, means that if we have left anything undone that we should have done over the last year, now is the time - over the next seven days - to get it done, and specicically to repent of Torah-disobedience and of anything Yahweh has told us personally that He wants done!
Repentance is sorrow for sin and a decision to change direction to get on the right track - to get back on the mark - on target. That can only be done supernaturally so it requires a genuine surrender to the Saviour through emunah (faith). It requires proper circumcision of the lev (heart) leading to spontaneous obedience to the mitzvot (commandments). In other words, it leads to obedience from the lev (heart) which is sincerely wanting to do what Yahweh commands us to do. It is not a robotic or forced action - it is not forcing ourselves to do what our lev (heart) does not want to do. If we live in that manner - though it is far better than brazenly sinning in the flesh and not doing it (or doing something overtly sinful) - it is still not learning the lesson of the current 'grade'. You cannot learn by rote in the Kingdom of Heaven - you have to learn by thought and desire, for the feelings must be in agreement with the thoughts and together they must, as an echad or unity, be in agreement with the Ruach (Spirit).
Today I want you to start viewing Yom Teruah as a day of POWER - I mean, real power, not just jurisdictional toqef or authority. We have to move beyond theory or theology and into concrete substance that is existential and visible to all. I want us to take a bigger leap of emunah (faith) than we have ever done before, emunah (faith) beyond the armchair of artificial comfort zones and onto the battlefield itself where real spiritual war is won. Whether you can hear it or not, silver trumpets are being blown in the heavenlies demanding both our attention and a response - a choosing. On this day - the final Yom Teruah - when the Son of Elohim (God) returns, the power that manifests will raise the dead from their graves. And I am sure you will agree this is not something we see today. Some people may be thaumaturgised - restored to mortality after they have died, as Lazarus was - but no one since the resurrection of Yah'shua (Jesus) in Jerusalem has actucally arisen from the grave as an immortal being.
Resurrection power is stupendous - we can't even begin to understand its scope or scale yet for it will be applied at the final Yom Teruah not only to human beings but to the whole of nature, to the planet as a whole, and to the whole Cosmos. And even then this power will be dwarfed by that which is released at the end of the Millennium. For now, though, we must think comparitive peanuts.
Yes, when the final silver trumpets are blown in heaven, a huge breakthrough will occur - the same power that re-animated and transformed the physical body of Yah'shua (Jesus) will animate and transform the bodies of the living who are in Messiah and Torah-obedient as well as rebuilding, animating and restoring the bodies of the dead who were in Messiah and were Torah-obedient when they lived. This will be the unleashing of the Power of the First Resurrection (Rev.20:5-6). And what a stupendous, awesome power that will be, a power never before dreamed of or witnessed by humankind!
However, not all resurrection power is reserved for the First Resurrection at the beginning of the Millennium or for the Second Resurrection at the end of it. A degree of resurrection power is available NOW and has been around for the last 2,000 years for all of those who will avail themselves of it. This is the power that overwhelms death itself and declares it null-and-void. It is the very power of Creation itself, the power that made this vast and unfathomable universe into what it is in a moment - in the twinkling of an eye. We are free to have it applied to our inner being right now.
I repeat, this power is available now in certain spheres of life ordained by Yahweh - it's not all just for tomorrow. In fact, it's for every minute of the day.
I am sure that there have been times when you have felt that not only have things not changed but that they will never change. When you see the 'same old' things day after day, month after month, year after year, you fall into a false sense of the inevitability of stasis - of things never changing. That doesn't mean that they won't change or that they can't change - for Yahweh says they must change - it means, quite simply, that we no longer have emunah (faith) that they will change or the will to say 'no' to stagnation. True, some categories of things can only be allowed to change in Yahweh's own timing, but other things - such as our personalities and dispositions to sin - are supposed to be changing - all the time. Mostly, though, people either stagnate or go down hill. And I don't just mean that their bodies get older and decay. I am speaking of what is inside - the inner man or woman.
For thousands of years things continued as they always had done. And then, suddenly, out of the blue, Messiah was born into the world and conquered death itself! And when He had accomplished that, He bequeathed to those talmidim (disiples) who would surrender fully to Him, a measure of this death-conquering resurrection power for use not only in their own spiritual development, growth and maturity, but in their ministry to help others do the same. He opened doors of ministry that had never existed before, not even to the great prophets like Moses, Elijah and Elisha! In the space of thirty three short years, culminating in an event that at first appeared to be an abysmal defeat and failure, everything and everyone could be changed in a radically new way if they really wanted to be. By an act of Yahweh's sovereign grace - His undeserved loving kindness, His umerited favour - a new type of life and of living suddenly became available to mankind.
One of the functions of Yom Teruah is to announce that - and offer it.
If there has been death in your personal life - not necessarilly physically, but primarily mentally, emotionally and spiritually - then today in particular you are being offered the chance to exchange that death with chayim (life) itself - not any old life but eternal life - the sort that cannot die and therefore never does die...unless you choose to willfully abandon it. For there is divine breath (Ruach/Spirit) in those heavenly spiritual silver trumpets if you are willing to listen and respond to them, for the Words that Yahweh speaks to your inner being are full of chayim (life) and 'oz (power), and will change you if you receive them.
We begin by making a decision to tell the devil that he is a wicked liar when he tries to convince us, by whatever means, that we have been a certain way for so long - maybe even all our lives - that there is no way we can now change, because we have become too old, too set in our ways, too ill, or whatever, for Yahweh to effect a breakthrough in our lives. Yom Teruah is all about sudden change - the movement from one frame of awareness to another, from one world to another, from one time to another - from mortality to resurrection, from death to life, from despair to hope, from darkness to light, from stasis and stagnation to dynamic ACTION. We can never be 'too' past it for Yahweh not to be able to act and change us if we really want it. No-one is past hope - ever - even if you're 90 years old in a wheelchair in a Retirement Home.
Yom Teruah is the first part of a three-part chain of events that leads to a GRAND AND GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION. That chain includes the judgment of Yom Kippur and the exaltation, glory and simcha (joy) of SUKKOT, the Feast of Tabernacles. And until the Final Sukkot arrives after Yah'shua (Jesus) has returned, there are many grand and wonderful spiritual graduation ceremonies that involve spiritual empowerment that are given each Sukkot to the faithful. He has one for you and I in 12 days' time if we will actually believe Him when He says that He has and receive what He has to give. What exactly are we to believe? The simple truths of the Besorah (Gospel) about surrendering our own will to His which will release us from bondage to the flesh in exchange for glorious chayim (life) in spiritual liberty. But to do that we must, in emunah (faith), allow the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) to transform the letters of Yahweh's words in Scripture into Rhema - His Living Davar (Word)
Today is the only Rosh Chodesh that is a true and complete Shabbat - think about that. Rosh Chodesh is usually almost a Shabbat...but not quite. It resembles the Sabbath as a mandatory day of assembly to hear the prophets, as a day when trading is forbidden (Amos 8:5), but unlike the Sabbath you can prepare food on it and travel more widely...provided you assemble. At Yom Teruah - the time when time changes and amazing resurrection events occur - Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh become echad (one). Which is the greater? Rosh Chodesh! How do we know? Because twin silver trumpets are blown at Yom Teruah, not the Shofar or ram's horn reserved for the Sabbath and the other festivals! The Sabbath is 'absorbed' by Rosh Chodesh like Eve being reunited with Adam, because Rosh Chodesh is the Day of the Father as King and the Shabbat is the Day of the Mother, the Shabbat Queen. Thus Yom Teruah is the announcement of a full and complete marriage, where Husband and Wife become "one flesh" at the Great Consummation which is the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, or Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles.
Brethren and sisters, Yom Teruah announces the imminent Union of the Bride (Messianic Community/Church) to the Bridegroom (Messiah Yah'shua/Jesus) at Sukkot so naturally Rosh Chodesh must be wed to the Shabbat, an emet (truth) that is only visible and understandable using the Creation Calendar.
What does that mean to married people today? The festival of Shavu'ot is the Betrothal Covenant of both Israel to Messiah as well as of a dedicated or engaged woman to her dedicated man. Yom Teruah is a recallibration of the betrothal to get it ready for the full marriage at Sukkot! It is the Bridegroom and his party making a lot of noise as he comes to collect his betrothed wife who has been patiently waiting for him every day while he gets their home or 'mansion' prepared. Yom Teruah is not a quiet observance at all - it is deliberately loud to make sure the Bride is FULLY AWAKE for it is her day - the day she has waited for so long for. And since Yahweh ordains that a great deal of noise be made, this can only mean (as we well know, or ought to know) that we have a tendency to fall asleep when we have been awaiting a long time for something. We are not as vigilent as we ought to be.
Yom Teruah is exceedingly bad news for the wicked because it means that a fearful judgment is coming, destroying the illusions that they have manufactured enabling them to believe the lie that they have successfully got away with their sins and nullifying the lie that Elohim (God) either is indifferent to sin or that He does not exist. This is the same mistake the fallen Watcher angels, and their human followers, made right before the flood swept them all away in a day after centuries of defying Yahweh. This is the day that the betrothed bride discovers she is not going to be fully married, that her betrothal has been annulled because of her unfaithfulness, but be condemned to singleness forever in a twilight world of the same brilliance as distant stars, because she has not been faithful. It is the day that the fake members of the Body of Messiah are informed that they are soon - at Yom Kippur - to be expelled from it and go to that fearful place where they truly and naturally belong alone.
So Yom Teruah is either joyful and jubilant news, or terrible and horrifying news, depending what you have chosen to do. It is a time of awe - joyful awe or terrifying awe, depending on the fate that awaits you based on your own choices.
I hope that those of you who have been postponing your repentance or refusing to surrender to Yahweh (for whatever reason - our excuses may seem brilliant to us but Yahweh is unimpressed) will come to a realisation that in spite of the fact that Yah'shua (Jesus) has not yet returned, and in spite of the fact that you are still alive and are still able to continue sinning without apparently being brought to account, that Yahweh's grace is not limitless. You don't get endless chances to keep on rebelling and doing what you want, especially when you know what you have to do. You could die tomorrow in which case you will be on long 'hold' in the spirit world for the final Yom Kippur and it's too late to change your mind there...unless you never heard the Gospel down here (1 Pet.3:19). Or Yah'shua could come back next Yom Teruah and the same finality will come, setting your eternal destiny in cast iron with no opportunity to repent and grow in grace. Please don't keep postponing - you are playing with a fearsome fire. And don't listen to all the excuses the flesh makes for postponing. It isn't worth it!
For those of you who have chosen Yah'shua (Jesus) and All Emet (Truth), I pray that today will not only fire you up with simcha (joy) at what is to come at this year's Sukkot but that you will come to Yom Kippur with a clean lev (heart) and therefore without fear of a negative judgment. So let's get right with Him now. As for the righteous, Yom Kippur is definitely not something to be feared but welcomed!
May you be blessed with a fantastic day of communion with the coming Bridegroom today is my prayer in Yah'shua's Name. Amen!