Friday, March 24, 2017

Feast of Trumpets

FEAST OF TRUMPETS

Part eleven of fourteen in Commanded Holy Days Importance Today series

 Revelation 11:15:  “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven which said:  ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.’”
                                                                                                                          
            This feast introduces autumn festivals, signifying the final four Holy Days.  Feast of Trumpets ends present-age human rule.  This blasts a dramatic turning point in world history.  Falling on September, 21, 2017, celebrate the Feast that describes a mind-blowing era when God intervenes globally into the affairs of humanity.

            The Feast of Trumpets paints Jesus Christ returning to earth to establish the Kingdom of God!  (See the lesson linked below).  After Christ’s resurrection—His apostles were excited—sure that Jesus’ promises would be filled now.  They knew messianic prophecies like Isaiah 9:6-7: “the government will be on His shoulder” and “the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”

            When they realized that the prophecies weren’t to be filled imminently [IM-in-ent-lee] means today, they were disappointed.  Instead, Christ told them to focus on spreading the gospel.  This is on what Believers today must keep their focus.

             Apostle Paul obeyed Jesus and wrote: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).   And: “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will raise imperishable, and we will change.”  (1 Corinthians 15:52).

            There’s no good excuse why this Holy Day should not be observed today. Keeping all God’s commanded Holy Days, Believers grasp His extraordinary plan for humanity.  “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the world will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”  (Matthew 24:30-31).

Take Home Nugget

            This feast fulfills Old Testament prophecies of a Messiah coming as king from the line of David.  Jesus Christ will rule from David’s throne in Jerusalem with power and authority over all nations on earth.  This is the most exciting news possible for this weary, sin-ravaged world!

Heavenly Father, not only the “whole creation”, but we “who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we await eagerly for our adoption as sons, and the redemption of our bodies!”  Amen.  (Romans 8:22-23).
           
Adapted from God’s Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.  ©1966, 1998, 2001, 2010, 2013 by the United Church of Christ.  Ohio.  Pgs. 28-34.
J.D. Griffith




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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Firstfruits Church

FIRSTFRUITS CHURCH

Part ten of fourteen in Commanded Holy Days Importance Today series

Leviticus 23:11: “He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.”

            The Israelites first planted barley in Canaan, their Promised Land.  This first harvest was the grain offering which the priest was to wave one sheaf, or bundle, before the LORD.

            Mary Magdalene wept outside Jesus’ empty tomb.

            “Woman, why are you crying?”  Mistaking Jesus for the gardener, Mary answered, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, ...”

            “Mary.”    

            Mary froze.  She knew that voice.  Crying out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” she started toward Him. 

            Backing away, Jesus warning her, “Do not hold onto Me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.”  (John 20:11-17).

            Jesus links the opening Old Testament Scripture to New Testament fulfillment.  As the newly-resurrected grain harvest wave-sheaf, Jesus presented Himself to the Father.  Yahweh accepted Christ’s sacrifice as payment-in-full for our sin the same day during spring harvest when the grain sheaf is waved before the LORD!  

            (Matthew 28:9 shows the “secret ascension.”  Jesus ascended to and was accepted by the Father.  Afterwards, He welcomed human contact).
            Christ is the firstborn over all creation AND the firstborn from the dead.  (See lesson linked below).  Romans 8:9 claims Jesus Christ is the firstborn of many brethren.  The New Testament Church is also considered firstfruits.  1 Corinthians 16:15 calls the first-century Christians the firstfruits of God’s calling.

            Firstfruits Church Paul calls Firstfruits of the Spirit in Romans 8:23.  How many—from that firstfruits Church and through the centuries—have truly accepted and followed Christ the way that He taught?  How many truly deny themselves, accepting the Father’s will over their own?  
            God’s Kingdom is represented in His Holy Days.  He longs to save all people by offering eternal life with Him forever!  We’re the beginning of the harvest for the Kingdom of God.

            Apostle Paul teaches, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep … For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”  (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22).
            Anyone called and chosen by God is included with Christ as God’s firstfruits.

Take Home Nugget

            Pentecost—God’s pouring out His Spirit on people expanded His spiritual harvest—also dramatically turned the world upside down. 

            Are you ready for another Pentecost blast turning the world upside down?
“I will pour out My Spirit on all people.  You sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”  Joel 2:28-29

Adapted from God’s Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.  ©1966, 1998, 2001, 2010, 2013 by the United Church of Christ.  Ohio.  Pgs. 25-27.
J.D. Griffith





                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  


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Friday, March 17, 2017

Holy Spirit - Established Church


HOLY SPIRIT- ESTABLISHED CHURCH

Part nine of fourteen in Commanded Holy Days Importance Today series

 Acts 2:38-39: “Peter replied [to ‘What shall we do?’ question that people asked], ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’”
 

            The Holy Spirit is transforming whoever has decided to follow Jesus into His likeness.  Right after the apostles received God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, crowds listened to Peter preach.  God’s Spirit inspired Peter and led the hearts of 3,000 people to obey his instructions to claim salvation for themselves.

            This began the Holy Spirit’s establishing the infant Church for God’s Kingdom.

            We can make our indwelling Holy Spirit feel at home with hearts of pure gold.

            God’s instructions for a holy container (the Ark) is found in Exodus 25:10-11.  “Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half long.  (3 ¾ feet long, 2 ¼ feet wide and high).  Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it.”

            People judge each other from the outside, but God judges one’s heart.  Who we are beneath the surface must reflect who we appear to be on the outside.  Only a person who is pure gold through and through is a fitting vessel for God.  

            Yahweh chose acacia wood obtained from a living creation in Ark construction.  Trees change as they grow.  People must also change as we grow.  No one can become pure gold overnight.  We grow into our best selves only with constant cooperating with the indwelling Spirit’s transforming work.

Take Home Nugget

            Jesus joined the Old with the New Testament in the Bible with two great principles of love in Matthew 22:37-40.  “Jesus replied [to What is the greatest commandment? question], ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

            Because God’s indwelling Spirit is alive, Believers-in-Christ can display pure-gold love as we grow.  (See the lesson linked below).

            God’s Spirit makes it possible for Believers’ growth to fully obey God’s love commandments.   Holy-containers (Believers) fill God’s Spirit-established Church to serve and worship Him. 

Holy Father, purify this holy container so that I can serve and worship You as a member of Your established Church! Amen.   

Adapted from God’s Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.  ©1966, 1998, 2001, 2010, 2013 by the United Church of Christ.  Ohio.  Pgs. 24-25.

Adapted from “Holy Containers” by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.  March 1, 2017.  www.HolyLandMoments.com.

J.D. Griffith

 





                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pentecost


PENTECOST

Part eight of fourteen in Commanded Holy Days Importance Today series

 Exodus 23:16: “Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your fields.”

 

            Revealing His plan for human salvation, Yahweh established Holy Festival Days around the harvest season.  As His people harvested their crops, God harvests people for His eternal Kingdom.  These Feasts build upon one another.  Together, they reveal increasingly more about God’s awesome plan.   

            Passover showed His plan of Christ being the LAST Passover lamb offering His life as payment for human sin.  Every Believer-in-Christ is forgiven and offered eternal life.  The Feast of unleavened Bread teaches us to remove and avoid all sin.  We fill that sin gap with obedience to God.  Attitudes and actions begin supporting God’s will. 

            Obedience is obviously a choice.

            Pentecost builds a foundation upon this choice.

            Let’s investigate the many names God calls the Feast of Pentecost.  Coming from both meaning and timing, the Feast of Harvest represents first fruits.   (See lesson linked below).  The timing is May or June, around the harvest gathering spring grain in ancient Israel.  That’s why Jews wear green to celebrate this Feast. 

            Everyone who tithes knows that God only honors first fruits.  Peoples’ offering money that’s left after paying all the bills isn’t obeying the commanded tithe.  In fact, God HATES leftovers!

            Also called the Feast of Weeks in Exodus 34:22, this name comes from counting seven weeks plus one day, (50 in all), after the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This determines when it falls each year (Leviticus 23:16).  The original Greek for fiftieth is Pentekostos1.  Jews prefer calling this Holy Day Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot.  This Feast marked a great event—when God revealed His Law on Mt. Sinai.  

            But more than giving the Law, Pentecost shows a great miracle.  The first Pentecost in the early Church after Christ’s resurrection was when God poured out His Holy Spirit on 120 Believers (Acts 1:15).  “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”  (Acts 2:3).  That’s why Christian Believers wear red on Pentecost.         

Take Home Nugget

            Leviticus 23:9-14 ends with, “This [Firstfruits] is to be a lasing ordinance for generations to come, wherever you live.”

            Those Holy Spirit tongues of fire enabled the Disciples to speak in the various languages of people who gathered from many nations to Jerusalem.  Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Galileans, those from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia could understand what was being said in his native language!   And no, they weren’t drunk, as some people accused them in Acts 2:13!

Holy Father, baptize me in Your Spirit with the sacred language of “Tongues”.  I’m asking this in Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

   

Adapted from God’s Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.  ©1966, 1998, 2001, 2010, 2013 by the United Church of Christ.  Ohio.  Pgs. 23-27. 

1 Vine, Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.  Vine, W.E.  1985.  
J.D. Griffith

 





                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Unleavened Bread


UNLEAVENED BREAD

Part seven of fourteen in Commanded Holy Days Importance Today series

1 Corinthians 5:7:  “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.”


            Immediately after Passover, God commanded the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasting seven days be celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month (Leviticus 23:5-6a).  This Feast is step one fulfilling God’s master plan after forgiving people of ALL sin. 

            Leaven [LEV-in], or yeast, represents sin.   People celebrate this Feast eating flat bread for seven days.  Each meal reminds people of their sin.   

            Sabbath Days bookend the feast.  Worship is first and last days’ event (Leviticus 23:7-8).  This reminder of Israelites’ flight from Egypt, AND Gentile Believers’ deliverance from sin glorifies God with praise and thanksgiving.  

            How do people live as God’s redeemed people? 

            A.)  We remove all malice and wickedness from our lives. 

            May we embrace all God’s commands living with sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).  Only by prayer and with God’s help can we recognize, flush out, and avoid sin.  God knows that we all sin, despite our best intensions. 

            Paul insisted on self-reflection during this feast (2 Corinthians 13:5).  “Do you not know that Christ Jesus is in you?”  Monitoring sinful thoughts, Paul recognized that life is an ongoing battle with sin.  “O wretched man that I am!” he admitted.  “Who will rescue me from this body of death?  (See the lesson linked below).

            B. “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).

            Romans chapter 8 shows that we can be free from human weaknesses and sinful tendencies—the way of sin and death—only with Christ’s help through His Holy Spirit.  Flat bread represents Jesus’ sinless live.  This Feast showcases our need for Jesus’ help.

            Believers MUST choose something better! 

            Let’s stop gorging ourselves on food that perishes.  Why not eat food which Jesus is offering that endures forever?                  

Take Home Nugget

            “I am the bread of life. … I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will never go hungry, … If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  This bread is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”  (John 6:35, 51).

            The spiritual lesson of God’s commanding us to eat unleavened bread during this Feast is to rid our lives of sin.  We are to fill up on Jesus Himself! 

            That means that Jesus gets the final authority over our lives; that we hunger for Him more than we hunger for physical food.  We embrace the whole of God’s Word leading to daily repentance.

Empower me LORD, to obey You.  Amen. 

Adapted from God’s Holy Day Plan, The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.  ©1966, 1998, 2001, 2010, 2013 by the United Church of Christ.  Ohio.  Pgs. 18-22. 
J.D. Griffith






                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Glorious Eagles


GLORIOUS EAGLES

Part six of fourteen in Commanded Holy Days Importance Today series

Exodus 19:4, Isaiah 66:7-8, Jeremiah 16:14-15, 31:10, Ezekiel 4:3-6, 34:13, 37:10-22
 

Exodus 19:4: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
 

            The opening Scripture must have puzzled many Hebrew Israelites who walked or rode donkeys toward Canaan.  The Promised Land God promised them after leaving Egypt certainly would have been easier to arrive riding on eagles’ wings! 

            We all can learn protective care from eagles.  All other birds carry their young in their claws.  They wouldn’t dare perch precious babies on their wings where high-flying predators could easily snatch them. 

            But no bird flies higher than eagles.  Eagles’ only threat comes from people, below.  So, eagles put the young on their wings, placing themselves between the vulnerable and danger.  Any predator from below must deal with the eagle first.

            Nothing is higher than God.  Like an eagle, His protective care of the vulnerable is secure.  A “pillar of cloud” miracle of God’s presence led the Israelites by day.  A “pillar of fire” gave them light at night (Exodus 13:21). 

            While airplanes return God’s people to their ancient homeland today, He continues this protective care.  Exchanging pillars of miracles for “on wings of eagles” miracles, compassion, provision, and love care for the vulnerable.  Needy and persecuted Jews around the world yearn to return home to Israel and begin a new life.

The Scripture references under the title outline specific wonders prophesied over Israel.  Isaiah 66:6-7 prophesied that Israel would be born in one day (See previous Important Intermission devotion). 

Jeremiah 16:14-1 predicted that the second Israel (born on May 14, 1948) would be more impressive than the first (when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt roughly 3,400 years ago).   Ezekiel 4:3-6 promised that Israel would be re-established!    

Note: 1945 marked the end of World War Two—six million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. 

Whew!  

Ezekiel 37:10-19 foretold that Israel would come back to life.  Verses 21-22 say that she would be re-established as a united nation.  Ezekiel 34-13 promised that Jews would return to their “own land”!  Jews returned to Israel from the United States, China, Russia, and South Africa. 

            Jeremiah 31:10 broadcasts: “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in the distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd.’”

Take Home Nugget

            Important Intermission devotion and this one are included in Commanded Holy Days Importance Today series to show the readers God’s compassionate protective care.  Not only does Yahweh care for His Israelites, but also for ALL His kids worldwide.   

You’re too wonderful for me, LORD!

Adapted from “On Wings of Eagles” by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.  February 15, 2017.  www.HolyLandMomentsDaily.com.

Adapted from a prophesy by Bible Scholar Grant Jeffrey.  Downloaded from Google February 10, 2017. 

J.D. Griffith

 


 



                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  


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