The Shofar Newsletter
THE SHOFAR Newsletter of Bet Yeshurun Messianic Assembly
Good News for the Assembly of Bet Yeshurun
No. 1005 / June 28, 2018
Schedule of Gatherings
6/28/18 Sabbath(lunar) 1:00 pm
6/30/18 Sabbath(consecutive) 1:30 pm
7/1/18 Shavuot(Pentecost – consecutive counting of omer) * 3:00 pm
7/3/18 Shavuot(Pentecost – lunar counting of omer) * 1:00 pm
7/5/18 Sabbath(lunar) 1:00 pm
7/7/18 Sabbath(consecutive) 1:30 pm
7/12/18 Sabbath(lunar) 1:00 pm
7/13/18 Chodesh (5th New Moon celebration of the year) 1:00 pm
7/14/18 Sabbath(consecutive) 1:30 pm
7/20/18 Sabbath(lunar) 1:00 pm
7/21/18 Sabbath(consecutive) 1:30 pm
7/27/18 Sabbath(lunar) 1:00 pm
7/28/18 Sabbath(consecutive) 1:30 pm
2018 Schedule for Reading the Bible in One-Year
Nevi’im; Melakim 1 (Sovereigns) First Book of Kings
6/25 - Chapter 1– 2 6/26 - Chapters 3 – 6 6/27 - Chapters 7– 8
6/28 - Chapter 9 – 11 6/29 - Chapters 12 – 14 6/30 - Chapters 15 – 17
7/1 - Chapters 18 – 20 7/2 - Chapters 21 – 22
Nevi’im; Melakim 2 (Sovereigns) Second Book of Kings
7/3 - Chapters 1 – 3 7/4 - Chapters 4 – 5 7/5 - Chapters 6 – 8
7/6 - Chapters 9 – 11 7/7 - Chapters 12 – 14 7/8 - Chapters 15 – 17
7/9 - Chapters 18 – 19 7/10 - Chapters 20 – 22 7/11 - Chapters 23 – 25
Nevi’im; Yeshayahu (Salvation of Yah) Prophecy of Isaiah
7/12 - Chapters 1 – 4 7/13 - Chapters 5 – 8 7/14 - Chapters 9 – 12
7/15 - Chapters 13 – 17 7/16 - Chapters 18 – 22 7/17 - Chapters 23 – 27
7/18 - Chapters 28 – 30 7/19 - Chapters 31 – 36 7/20 - Chapters 37 – 40
7/21 - Chapters 41 – 44 722 - Chapters 45 – 48 7/23 - Chapters 49 – 53
7/24 - Chapters 54 – 58 7/25 - Chapters 59 – 63 7/26 - Chapters 64 – 66
Interested in joining Bet Yeshurun Assembly? Please contact Pastor ObadiYah by email, telephone, mail, or in person at a gathering of Yahushuah’s Body.
It's Time for YAHUAH's Summer Feast!
This is an updated article which appeared in a Shofar from 2012.
Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) will soon celebrate YAHUAH’s summer Feast of “Shavuot” (its Hebrew name), or “Pentecost” (for those who prefer to use its Greek name). This article reviews the spiritual aspects of this annual gathering that commemorates when Yahushuah's disciples received “the Holy Spirit” of Elohim: (Acts 2:1-4) “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind. It filled the entire house where they were sitting.” There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha'Qodesh), and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Ancient Israel also celebrated this Festival after harvesting their wheat. They took time off from farming activities and traveled to Jerusalem where they thanked Yah for their blessings of that crop, which became the bread that sustained their families. At this Feast, they also heard the teachings of Elohim that sustained their spiritual life: (Matthew 4:4) “It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Elohim.'”
In Hebrew, this Feast's name is “Shavuot.” It literally means “sevened” and describes how Israel would count by “7's” until they gathered for a Festival as YAHUAH instructs: (Numbers 28:26) “In the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new meat (grain) offering to YAHUAH, after your weeks (shavuot) are out, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no servile work.”
In that verse from the King James Bible (KJ), “firstfruits” (“bikkurrim” in Hebrew) refers to the first of ripened grain that Israel prayerfully offered to Elohim. The KJ also translated “shavuot” as “weeks” since people relate better to the concept of 7-day calendar weeks. For example, notice this next KJ verse speaks of ripened wheat and the “Feast of Weeks” rather than the “Feast of “Sevens.” (Exodus 34:22) “You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end.”
Whether called Shavuot, Pentecost or Weeks, its purpose and meaning can be seen in another Hebrewname, “Chag ha'Katzir” that the KJ translates as the “Feast of Harvest.” Israel celebrated this Feast in the summer between the spring Feast of Unleavened Bread and the fall Feast of Tabernacles. All three festivals celebrated the blessings of Israel's primary harvests: (1) spring – barley; (2) summer – wheat; and (3) fall – olives, figs and grapes. Israel relied upon these crops to sustain the life of their families: (Exodus 23:15-17) “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread seven days as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month (moon). For in it you came out from Egypt. None shall appear before me empty. The Feast of Harvest (Chag ha'Katzir), the first fruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field and the Feast of Ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field, three times in the year, all your males shall appear before Sovereign YAHUAH.”
Each harvest spiritually symbolizes the creation of new life as pictured when priests waved a barley sheaf in thanksgiving onto YAHUAH in the spring: (Leviticus 23:9-14) YAHUAH spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the children of Israel and say, 'When you come into the land which I give to you and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before YAHUAH to be accepted for you. . . . .You shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you brought an offering to your Elohim. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
The barley offering foreshadows our Messiah's resurrection as the first of firstfruits. The Apostle Paul further explains: (1 Corinthians 15:20-23) “But now is Messiah risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them who slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order. Messiah the firstfruits; afterward they who are Messiah's at His coming.”
In mid-summer, priests waved another symbol of renewed life on behalf of their community. In thanksgiving onto YAHUAH, two loaves of wheat bread were offered at the Feast of Shavuot: (Leviticus 23:15-17) “You shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day you brought the barley sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete. Even to the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days. You shall offer a new grain offering unto YAHUAH. You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals. They shall be of fine flour, baked with leaven. They are the first fruits unto YAHUAH.”
The annual offering of wheat foreshadows human souls to be harvested from the time Yahushuah resurrected until His second coming. This parable of Yahushuah likens the gathering of people for His Kingdom as wheat growing in a field among weeds: (Matthew 13:24-30) “The Kingdom of Heaven is likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, did not you sow good seed in your field? From where then has it tares?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The servants said to him, 'Will you then that we go and gather them up?' But he said, 'Nay! Lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. In the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 'Gather together first the tares. Bind them in bundles to burn them. But gather the wheat into my barn.'”
Our Redeemer explains to His disciples, the wheat foreshadows His own resurrection onto eternal life. He also encourages BYA to follow in His path: (John 12:23-26) “The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say to you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone. But if it die, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life shall lose it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be. If any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”
Indeed, Shavuot/Pentecost is a beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. He calls every one to celebrate that: men, women, children, orphans, widows, friends, families, neighbors! (Deuteronomy 16:10-12) “You shall keep the Feast of Weeks unto YAHUAH your Elohim with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give unto YAHUAH your Elohim, according as the YAHUAH your Elohim has blessed you. You shall rejoice before YAHUAH your Elohim, you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, who are among you, in the place which YAHUAH your Elohim has chosen to place His name there. And you shall remember that you were a bondman in Egypt. You shall observe and do these statutes!”
The timing of Shavuot/Pentecost is controversial as various religious groups and some Messianic assemblies have already observed it. BYA keeps this Feast in the summer based upon the timing of Israel's wheat harvest, and the scriptural interpretation of this verse: (Leviticus 23:15-16) “You shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete. Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath (Shavuot) shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat (cereal) offering to YAHUAH.”
BYA diligently seeks to obey YAH's Will, so we meet with HIM at the time as written. We count 7 (shavuot) Sabbaths, then we count 50 (pentecost) days. This count starts after the first Sabbath of the first month (moon) of the Divine Calendar Year. To accommodate the convictions of BYA members regarding their Sabbaths: For those keeping Saturday Sabbaths, we will host a gathering on 7/1/18 at 3:00 pm. For those following a lunar Sabbath schedule, we will host a gathering on 7/3/18 at 1:00 pm. Our prayer is that as a Body of Messiah we will continue to respect the convictions of others as the Apostle Paul encourages: (Colossians 2:16-17) “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a Holy Day, or of the New Moon, or of the Sabbath, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Messiah.”
Hallelu YAH! Praise YAH that people still are gathering for this Festival whatever their convictions. Yet, Scripture confirms this is a summer Feast. To prematurely meet in the spring ignores the importance of ripened wheat for the Festival's bread. Also consider the “new wine” libation that 1st century Believers drank at Pentecost. This wine was made from the harvest of early grapes, which aren't ripe for the picking in the spring: (Acts 2:11-13) “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of Elohim!' And they were all amazed and were in doubt, saying one to another, “What means this?” Others mocking said, “These men are full of new wine.”
Of more importance than the Festival's food and drink, is this amazing answer of Apostle Peter in response to the scornful mockers: (Acts 2:14-18) But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said to them, “You men of Yahudah, and all who dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and hearken to my words. For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour (9:00 am) of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 'And it shall come to pass in the last days,' says Elohim, 'I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.'”
Now that's a great reason to gather for Shavuot/Pentecost. Yahushuah taught His Followers to expect a blessing like that: (Acts 1:1-4) “The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all that Yahushuah began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through Ruach ha'Qodesh had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen. To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days and speaking of things pertaining to the Kingdom of Elohim. Being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said He, “You have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with Ruach ha'Qodesh not many days hence. . . .But you shall receive power, after that Ruach ha'Qodesh is come upon you. You shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, in all Judaea, in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Indeed, the fundamental message of this summer Feast is that YAHUAH in a special Way met, and continues to meet, with His Family. That's what this Feast commemorates. For example, at Mount Sinai, ancient Israelites received Elohim's teachings and instruction on Life in the form of Torah. (Exodus 19-24) At Jerusalem, Yahushuah's disciples received Elohim's Holy Spirit. (Acts 1-2)
At our upcoming Feast, BYA will also fellowship with YAHUAH. It's an opportunity for repentance and baptism. It's a time for Torah to be inscribed on our hearts, for testimonies, and for prayer, as we seek Elohim's supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. We pray to be empowered of Elohim to enable us to share the Gospel message with the world like the Apostle Peter: (Acts 2:38-42) Then Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Messiah Yahushuah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of Ruach ha'Qodesh. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as Adonai our Elohim shall call.' And with many other words he did he testify and exhort saying, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation!' Then, they who gladly received his word were baptized. The same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
So, please come join with BYA at a Festival that is focused on forming a spiritually strong, collective assembly from a group of individuals who seek the peace of Elohim's Spirit: (John 20:21–22) Then, Yahushuah again said to them, “Peace be unto you. As my Father has sent me, even so send I you.” When He said this, He breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit!”
Upon becoming empowered with the Ruach ha'Qodesh, we are better equipped to serve others in the nurturing of other souls for the harvest into the Body of Yahushuah, His Church: (1Corinthians 12:7-14) “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of Wisdom; to another the word of Knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of Healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of Miracles; to another Prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another diverse kinds of Tongues; to another the interpretation of Tongues. But all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the Body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one Body, being many, are one Body. So also is Messiah. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether we bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the Body is not one member, but many.”
Consider how Solomon assembled Yah's people even as the foundation of Elohim's House was still being finished: (2 Chronicles 8:12-16) Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto YAHUAH on the altar of YAHUAH, which he built before the porch, even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the solemn Feasts, three times in the year, even in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles. He appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required. The porters also by their courses at every gate. For so had David the man of Elohim commanded. They departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures. Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the House of YAHUAH , and until it was finished. So, the House of YAHUAH was perfected.
Likewise, as our spiritual temple is being reconstructed and perfected, BYA likewise comes to Shavuot/Pentecost: (1 Corinthians 3:16) “Know ye not that ye are the temple of Elohim, and that the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you?”
Thus, this Feast of YAHUAH is a special time for BYA to meet with Elohim. It isn't simply a Jewish feast as some erroneously believe and teach: (Leviticus 23:1–2) YAHUAH spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them concerning the feasts of YAHUAH, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My Feasts.”
Many out of ignorance, apathy, or rebellion disregard YAH's Feasts. May BYA continue to be different! May we seek to awaken others and share the truth regarding this Festival as a time for returning to our Creator: (Jeremiah 31:16-19) YAHUAH says, “They shall come again from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your end,” says YAHUAH, “that your children shall come again to their own border. I surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus. ‘You have chastised me. I was chastised as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. You turn me and I shall be turned for You are YAHUAH my Elohim. Surely after that I turned. I repented and after that I was instructed. I smote upon my thigh. I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.’”
In summary, our relationship with YAHUAH at Shavuot/Pentecost follows the lead of Yahushuah’s disciples. As the Holy Spirit empowers us to act in a spirit-filled life, we will be enabled to overcome our sinful temptations and to obey Elohim’s Torah teachings. As we continue our journey through life, we trust that it will ultimately end with a holy, righteous victory and the forging of an intimate, anointed relationship with Elohim. That's the glorious picture of our Heavenly Father's wondrous redemption plan as embodied in this Festival.
May the revelation of Elohim's Torah, and the power of the Holy Spirit, come upon BYA as we seek to answer many of life’s challenging questions. What's the right way to live? What's the meaning of our life? How can we have a relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son? By whatever name you call this Festival, whenever, and wherever you choose to celebrate it, may your heart be softened to Elohim’s Word and may the fire of the Holy Spirit fall abundantly upon you.
Shalom, Brother Elder Curt
Saturday Sabbath worship is highlighted by an important new series on the Book of Genesis. Join us!
Mark Your Calendar: On 8/5/18 (Sun. noon to 6:00 pm) Bet Yeshurun Assembly will host a picnic at the Surfside Shelter of Lake St. Clair Metro Park (previously known as Metropolitan Beach). Enjoy an afternoon of fellowship with members, family and friends. Additional details about this gathering will be provided later.
Thoughts for Meditation
“The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.” W. Somerset Maugham
"Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth." Gandhi
“Person to person, moment to moment, as we love, we change the world.” Samahria Lyte Kaufman