Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Moons and Elul

New Moons
It takes the moon about 29.5 days to go through its phases as we observe from the earth. Today when the moon is between our line of sight on the earth to the sun, it looks like a black disc, and is called a 'new moon', but I will refer to it as a 'dark moon'. When just the tiniest sliver of the waxing (growing) moon appears, the Hebrews called it a 'new moon' establish after two eye-witnesses confirmed the sighting.
Babylonians and Egyptians and other ancient moon worshippers celebrated the full moon. In contrast the Hebrews were to celebrate the beginning of their months when the tiniest sliver of the moon was observed to be accompanied by the priests blowing silver trumpets.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Make you two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. . . . And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. (Numbers 10:1-2, 8-10) [verse 9 is underlined]

The Hebrew word for “trumpet” here is not a ram's horn, shofar, but khats-o-tser-aw' from the root khast-o-tsare' which means to blow or sound alarm, from khaw-tsar' meaning to surround with a stockade. Thus these silver trumpets have military roots and purposes.
The LORD gave Moses several instances in which these silver trumpets were to be blown, and I wonder if the order of the last two (verses 9-10) might be prophetic to these last days in which Israel might attack Iran on a dark or new moon. Israel's leaders have been saying for months that Iran's time is up. The next dark moon is August 17th, followed by the new moon on the 18th which begins the month of Elul (carried over to the day of the 19th as the official 1st of Elul on Jewish calendars). Verse 9 is about war against an oppressor on Israel's own land. Will Israel simultaneously attack Hamas and Hezbollah on their borders as they drop bombs on Iran's nuclear facilities?

Dark Moon and a Covenant of Love and Mercy

And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul. Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and you shall be missed, because your seat will be empty. (I Samuel 20:17-18)

Prince Jonathan understood he would not become king, but that David had been anointed as the LORD's choice. Jonathan agreed with God's choice, and had come to love David as his best friend. Jonathan asked David to vow to show kindness to remaining family members when he came to power.
Before we see the “son of David” rule and reign from Jerusalem, we also have to relinquish our rights to rule our own lives, and ask Jesus to be our Savior and have mercy on us; not out of fear, but from our love for Him.

Elul, Month of Preparation

At Mt. Sinai, on what would later be called the Feast of Weeks and the day of Pentecost, YHWH spoke His ten commands, and Moses went up and tarried with the LORD for 40 days. Moses returned with the ten commands written by God on two stone tablets, but broke the tablets at the sight of Israel's idolatry. After about six weeks, Moses spent another 40 days and nights fasting on the mountain and returned with a glowing face (Exodus 34:28-29). According to Jewish tradition, the second time Moses went up was on the 1st of Elul and he returned on the 10th of Tishri, which is Yom Kippur; thus establishing a precedent. I believe Jesus was baptized on the 1st of Elul and began His 40 days and nights fast on a mountain as a prophet like unto Moses (Deut. 18:15).
Most people are unable to fast for forty days, and so most do a symbolic fast by giving up a particular food or pleasure (I am giving up TV) so they can devote more time in prayer. The Catholics called such a period “lent” and placed it in Spring to correspond with Christ's passion week. But our LORD established the Hebrews' calendar and feast days according to His purposes.
The Jews practice several traditions during Elul. Elul is a month of introspection, repentance and forgiveness in preparation for the Days of Awe, Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur. Every morning the shofar is blown (except on Shabbats and the last day) to call believers in Messiah to repentance. Psalm 27 and penitent prayers are read daily. They greet each other with “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” The Jews expect God's judgment to occur during the Days of Awe with the only escape being your name inscribed in His Book of Life, and they're right.

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, . . . and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. . . . I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. . . . one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:9-14)
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:11-15)

Assurance of being written in the LORD's “Book of Life” is through your faith in Jesus Christ being the Son of God and your trust in His righteousness and His gift of eternal life.
And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life. These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God. (I John 5:11-13)
Bride of Christ, prepare for your Groom by being without spot or blemish (Eph. 5:27) when He comes. Take the month of Elul, from the evening of August 18th to the morning of September 16th, to make sure you are in right relationship with Jesus and the brethren and unbelievers. Be loving and bold enough to ask whether your friends and family members are prepared to meet King Jesus.

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