On September 8, 2002, I had a most unique Heavenly birthday gift. It was June when I learned about a short-term missionary trip to Ethiopia and then tour of Israel. I felt the call to go and knelt by my bedside to pray. I asked the Lord how long he wanted me to stay in Israel after the week of ministry in Ethiopia. I felt His answer was, "I want you to spend your birthday with Me this year in Jerusalem!" What an awesome idea! I was in tears.
I got up and checked not only my Gregorian calendar but a Jewish calendar. Astonished, I saw that my birthday was on the second day of the Feast of Trumpets, or in Hebrew Yom Terurah! Though I was overjoyed, I was also somewhat concerned about being away from our Christian Renewal office so long, 40 days in all, and also knew that my tour group would have returned to their homes long before I returned to the States. Still I was convinced that this was what I should do. I arranged my airline tickets returning to the USA on September 9th.
Why is Yom Terurah so important you may ask? At this point in time, the first four Feasts of Israel have been fulfilled in Christ: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost. The last three Feasts of God and their fulfillment are all future. This Feast of Yom Terurah, or Feast of Trumpets, is the very next one on God's calendar!
My time in Ethiopia was very fruitful which I've told about in a previous newsletter. I was fortunate to stay at The Jerusalem Center of Biblical Studies and so enjoyed my week of tours around Israel. With time to spare, I signed up for three weeks of Hebrew Study at the Ulpan Language Institute in Jerusalem. A new German friend, Brigitta, was to my surprise in the same class so this was very encouraging. She is quite a linguist with several languages under her belt. The Alpha Plus class was taught in Hebrew, they were on page 70 in the textbook, they were writing in cursive when I was still printing, and all the vowels had been dropped! Still I felt Ulpan was where I was supposed to be and so you know I burned the midnight oil.
After about a week of classes, a newly wed orthodox woman talking to her seatmate said, "I'm very much looking forward to celebrating Yom Terurah and sighting the New Moon. I will be dropping out of class a few days early in order to get ready for the event." My ears perked up and I turned around to speak to her, who for confidentiality I'll refer to as Ruth.
"I'm very interested in what you're talking about," I said. "In fact, celebrating this feast is the main reason I'm in Jerusalem at this time!" She said I was most welcome to join her and her friends. We exchanged telephone numbers. Brigitta also said she was interested. This was exciting to me because none of my acquaintances in Israel had expressed an interest in the sighting of the New Moon on this Feast, except these two women.
Time went by and with my studies, most everything else faded into the background. I had dropped out of class a day early to do one more day of sightseeing. My birthday arrived and I had not heard from Ruth or Brigitta! I phoned Brigitta who had already made plans to go to a big American Conference on that very same day. The night before I was given a telephone message from a woman with only her last name given. I thought it might be my Jewish hair stylist. I took a nap and woke up at 4:00 pm and was impressed to return the call. To my surprise it was Ruth. She gave me the address and said there would be a number of people there. They would all be strangers to me, but Ruth. I hung up and wondered if I should try to go, or maybe instead join my friend Brigitta.
My young and lovely Ethiopian roommate, Elizabeth, was the only person at the Center that evening. I posed my question. "Elizabeth, what do you think I should do for my birthday?" Her answer was simply "Follow your heart." I immediately knew the answer; call a cab and go to celebrate the New Moon of Yom Terurah! After all, that was the main reason I stayed so long! Elizabeth said she would go with me in the cab and then return home, choosing not to stay.
The taxi driver took us to an apartment house several miles away and as we drove up, we could hear the shofars blowing. I was excited! The cab driver said he'd wait for Elizabeth. We climbed the stairs and then up on to the sun deck. Ruth spotted me and came over to give me a hug of welcome. She showed me how to find the sliver of the new moon by looking up between the limbs of a distant tree plus about a hand's breadth above. After adjusting my eyes, I could see the very small sliver of the Moon! Elizabeth saw it too before she left. This was such a wonder to me to see the beginning of Yom Terurah and to realize that its initial beginning was right on my birthday that year. This was part of the reason the Lord had instructed me to stay over. And now He had given me this awesome birthday gift and also the encouragement to remind me of its importance. I realized that the Jewish calendar on September 8, 2002 showed it as the second day of the Feast, but the Lunar Calendar from Jerusalem showed it was just beginning.
I asked Ruth about further plans for the evening. She said, "Michael will probably speak to us." I looked at the group of about thirty people and noticed a familiar face. I was to find that I was at the home and office of an American whom I met by interviewing him on television several years before, Michael Rood! He was the person who had led me to understand deeper meanings to many of the Feasts and in particular Yom Terurah! I was amazed. Needless to say, I had a wonderful evening of fellowship with my friends, old and new.
When talking about two people in love, one observer might say "Oh he'd give her the moon." Well that's what my Lord Jesus (Yeshua) did. He gave me the moon for my birthday.
YOM TERURAH, FEAST OF TRUMPETS
One day, most likely on the "Feast of Trumpets," we will hear the shout of our Bridegroom and a shofar will be blown, perhaps by Gabriel or the Lord, letting us know that it is finally time to leave for our heavenly honeymoon. It's in the midnight hour of humanity, and perhaps a literal midnight from the Jerusalem time zone, that He will come to meet us in the clouds (Matt. 25:6, The nation and land of Israel are God's timepieces.) The next event on God's calendar will be our ascension to the Promised Land of Shaymayim or Heaven. What a time of rejoicing! The dead in Christ shall rise first and then all who have been obedient to our Lord will be changed in the blink of an eye (I Thessalonians 4:16-18). We will follow the Lord's shout and the sound of the shofar.
Two days are kept for this Feast because originally the rabbis didn't know which date it would be until they observed the New Moon.
Let's read Psalm 47 which is read during Yom Terurah seven times, the number of perfection. Author Joseph Good sees this as the Psalm of our Lord's Coronation which is one of the first things that will happen after natzal (the rapture).
Psalm 47 would be good for us to memorize as you and I will probably recite it around God's throne.
"Oh clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet. He will choose our inheritance for us. The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.
God has gone up with a shout. The LORD with the sound of a trumpet [at natzal, the rapture]. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding.
[His Coronation at the Throne] God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the people have gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted" (NKJV).
David, in referring to the Day of Trumpets, says "Blessed; happy, fortunate [to be envied]; are the people who know the joyful sound [who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts]; they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance" (Psalms 89:15 Amplified; see Psalms 98:6).
Yom Terurah is the only feast that happens at the time of the New Moon. It is the only feast that no one knows the exact day or hour, ahead of time (see Leviticus 23). Be a wise virgin, full of the oil of the Holy Spirit.
September 26 and 27 are the dates on the Jewish Calendar given to celebrate this feast in 2003. To know the exact date by the Lunar calendar (moon time), you need to go to a website that keeps up with such things. Or have a friend in Jerusalem check out the New Moon and email or call you. Though we don't know the exact year, we can perhaps be close to the day. It's a good practice and it keeps us looking Homeward. Paul said it purifies us to look for Christ's (Mashiach's) return (1 John 3:3). So keep looking up.
RECOMMENDED BOOKS FOR THIS ISSUE
A good booklet is one by Zola Levitt entitled The Seven Feasts of Israel, published by ZOLA, Box 12268, Dallas, TX 75225.
Edward Chumney wrote a paperback quite detailed entitled The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, published by Treasure House, P.O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257-0310, www.reapernet.com.
The Rev. John Hagee wrote a devotional book on this subject entitled His Glory Revealed, published by Thomas Nelson.
©2011 Rita Bennett, CRA Inc. P.O. Box 576, Edmonds, WA 98020