Three New Years

I remember that before I was a believer, I wondered and asked the question:  Why do we have and remember New Year’s.  I was particularly thinking about the Jewish “New Year” which had become one of the High Holy Days in the synagogue.  The answer that I gave myself, and to my parents, was that there must be Someone who is keeping us (the Jewish people) alive for another year.  It gives an opportunity to thank Him, and to also hope that He would do the same for the next year.

Now, I have what, for me, is a broader and a more personal understanding of the significance of New Years.  YHVH God has given three opportunities to observe a New Year.  He is the God of Creation and of Redemption.  We are all born in the flesh; we  must be born of the Spirit to inherit eternal life.  We are individuals; Israel is a nation, whom God calls His first-born son.  These New Years — new beginnings —  are begun by God, and adopted by His people — whether Israeli Jews, or whether Christians.

YHVH told Israel that for them, the New Year would begin on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the month of Aviv/Nisan, the first full month of Spring of the Hebrew calendar for Israel.  This New Year focuses on the death of the Lamb of God, who died at the Passover, which is the 14th of that month (a Full Moon).  Israel does not perceive the resurrected sacrificial Lamb, but only the Passover sacrifice for deliverance from Egyptian slavery.  Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah is the Lamb of God who died for the sin and sins of every person, both in Israel and for all humanity for all time.  In His death, all died, for He is the representative Man in God’s ultimate plan of salvation, which He conceived before time began.  This first New Year of God’s redemptive calendar is the foundation of the gospel:  Messiah crucified, and risen from the dead on the day after the Sabbath of the Passover week.  By grace Israel was delivered out of Egyptian bondage; by grace all who believe are saved from sin’s bondage.

At some point in her history, Israel began to observe the civil New Year on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the seventh month (Tishri/Etanim) on her calendar in the Autumn/Fall.   This may seem strange, yet for Israel, each year they would be forgiven their sins, and God would dwell among them for the next year, which the Feast of Booths commemorates with joyful celebration, two full weeks after the beginning of the month, marked by the light of the Full Moon. And the Jubilee year is marked from the Day of Atonements, which falls on the 10th of the same month.  Jubilee is a new beginning for slaves, prisoners, debtors and creditors, and land possessions.  The Day of Atonements is the day of the LORD, in which those who accept YHVH God’s sacrifice for forgiveness of sins — both personal and corporate — are saved and justified; and those who refuse His sacrifice and way of righteousness are condemned for their unbelief and unthankfulness.  For an individual — and for Israel as a nation — this experience of being born-again through faith in God’s good news of His Son, truly marks a New Year of a new life in everlasting restored fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It marks new birth, which is needed since we all died with Messiah in His death on the cross.  This new beginning for Jews and for Gentiles upon whom the Lord bestows His mercy will be fully realized at the coming again of the Lord.

The time around the birth of this Son, this Lamb, who was born to die, and to live forevermore to provide for the full reality of the Kingdom of God over all, marks the celebration of the third New Year, and this for all who love Him for who He is and for what He has done, is doing, and will yet do.  God so loved the world that He gave His only unique Son so that whosoever believes in His name should not perish but inherit eternal life.  Yeshua was born near the end of the “world” calendar, in the first month of winter, Chislev/December, on both calendars (and the 9th month beginning with April/Aviv), and puts away the old that the new may come in.  His birth marked a new beginning of God’s intervention in Israel’s and the Gentiles’ affairs in order to take back to Himself all that had been lost by Adam and Eve and subsequent humanity, and deceitfully stolen by the devil to oppose the Sovereign God and His plan that human beings created in His image and likeness would be joint heirs with God’s Son of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day marks the covenant faithfulness to God’s promises given to Abram/Abraham that Israel and the people of God would one day worship Him without fear of any enemies.  We have all been God’s enemies, and the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Messiah takes away that enmity in us against Him, and we glorify Him, who is seated on the Throne!

So, to summarize:

All of the New Years have to do with Jesus Christ, and the celebration of Him by those who are God’s chosen and elect. They quicken an expectation of what God will do, based on what He has promised and has already done:

1.  Yeshua’s Death and Resurrection:  The Lamb of God was slain to redeem His people and set them free to serve YHVH God, and Him only.  He was slain before the foundation of the world, according to the perfect plan of God. And this Lamb rose from among the dead to everlasting life to enjoy the fruit of His suffering and sacrifice!  Israel’s calendar begins with YHVH God’s redeeming them from slavery that they may know and serve Him.

2.  Yeshua’s Coming Again:  All who are born-again through faith in the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus begin a new life unto God.  Israel as a nation still has this promise before them when Yeshua returns to save “all Israel”, the preserved remnant from all the tribes who will see Him whom they pierced, and afflict their souls for all their unfaithfulness and unfounded hatred toward Him and the Father. And the Body of Messiah has the hope of the Lord’s return and the resurrection of their bodies, to rule and reign with Him during His kingdom on Earth.

3.  Yeshua’s Birth:  His coming into the world in the flesh, born in order to be our Redeemer – to be the Lamb of God — who died to declare God’s Sovereign righteousness regarding sin, and His grace toward human sinners.  Peace on Earth, goodwill towards mankind!

These three New Years center around the birth, the death and resurrection, and the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For the people of God, they mark natural birth, death, redemption by new birth through faith by the Holy Spirit, and the return of the Lord.  These three events are each memorialized with a ‘new song’: the song of Moses, the song of Mary, and the song of the 144,000 redeemed from the Earth.  They mark progressive time as the Sovereign Lord of history continues onward bringing to pass all that must be. Till now, the Holy Spirit is bringing all to pay homage to the Son, whether they realize it or not, and whether they rejoice in it or not in fellowship with other worshipers of God in spirit and truth!

The Birth and The Coming Again of Jesus

Today, as a congregation, we are celebrating the birth of the Messiah (who is called Christ). But we are also celebrating, remembering, and looking forward to the Lord’s return in great power and glory.  The Lord’s Supper reminds us of the death of our Savior God, who took on human flesh and blood, of the seed of Abraham, and of all humankind.

God always does His great acts in a manner that sets Him apart from all other gods and from human beings.  We are all created by YHVH God.  Yeshua, the Son of God the Father, is the Creator and the Redeemer.

Yeshua asked two very serious questions: “And shall not God avenge His own elect who cry day and night to Him, though He has been long-suffering over them? I say to you that He will avenge them speedily. Yet when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:7-8)

In this parable about praying always, the Lord refers to avenging His servants who have been treated unjustly in this world. This is an everlasting promise and hope which God has given to people from the beginning in the Garden of Eden:  the Seed of the woman will destroy the seed of the serpent and their unrighteous deeds.

Sadly, there are many within the Body of Messiah who say that no one can know when Jesus was born. Many also say that we cannot know when He is coming again.  Yet the Lord rebuked the religious leaders of His day as being hypocrites:  they could discern the weather from the evening and morning skies, but could not discern the time of His coming from the signs of the times, according to God’s word through the Prophets.  The promised Messiah and King of Israel came, but the Chosen People did not believe it or accept Him. (Mt 16:1-4)

Do you know that there are many more prophecies in the whole of the Bible regarding the Lord’s [second] coming than His first? (~354; ~2400! internet search) God’s plan of redemption, which He laid out for Daniel with the 70 weeks of years, is completed when the Lord returns.  All creation is waiting for it with hope. (Rom 8:20-23) It is the blessed hope of all believers:  the coming again of Jesus and the resurrection from among the dead.

When Yeshua was born, the old man Simeon was fulfilled when he knew that this child was the Savior whom God had promised him that he would see before he died. Anna, the aged prophetess, also expected the birth of the promised Messiah, and she joyfully spread the news to others who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.  Simeon and Anna understood the times they lived in, according to the Word of God spoken and written through Moses and the Prophets.

We have many more prophecies given to us about the return of the Lord at the end of the last days. We do not want to be asleep, but awake with faith and the Holy Spirit, not only to be ready for Jesus when He comes, but also to tell this good news to others who are looking for a better world than what it is now, or has ever been: the Lord Jesus Christ is coming again to make the world right, a world of righteousness and justice!  (Acts 3:18-21)

“And they called His name Yeshua, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

“Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!”

It’s Christmas Time Again!

I have come to strongly accept that the birth of the Lord was during this time of year, and have given what I believe is sufficient Scriptural proof for upholding the long-held tradition. http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/conception-and-birth-of-john-the-baptiser-and-jesus-the-messiah/

Here is an article which addresses two objections — sheep out in the winter (don’t forget that Christmas is in early winter), and also the timing of the priestly course of Abia, to which John the Baptiser’s father, Zechariah, belonged. http://nabataea.net/birthdate.html

Another objection used today is that Yeshua/Jesus was born during the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles, because He “tabernacled” with us. It is very interesting how God always shows Himself “ahead of the game”, and having thoughts and ways far above ours! Hanukkah was started by the Maccabees as an 8-day festival in order to be celebrated as a substitute Feast of Tabernacles, the 8-day festival of the LORD which they could not celebrate at the scheduled time because of their war against the Greeks and the Jewish Hellenists. You can find this reference in the non-canonical primary source, the Apochrypha, in 2Mac 1:9, 10:5-8.

A further argument given as to why Yeshua/Jesus could not have been born during this time is that it is the time of celebration of pagan gods (Saturnalia, etc). But the point is missed that the Son of God came to take back what is His from all the usurpers and pretenders to the throne! The God of gods’ coming was/is an act of war on YHVH God’s part to restore the true spiritual worship of the one true God, redeemed humanity to Himself, and the Kingdom of God to the heavens and the Earth, over and to Israel and the nations. He began this with His birth in the flesh. When He pours out His wrath on His enemies prior to His coming again, the Kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah! (Hag 2:20-23; Dan 2:31-45; Mt 1:18 – 2:23; Ps 2; Rev 11:15-18)

Come, let us celebrate our great God and Savior for His great faithfulness and grace to us!  He rejoices in our freewill offerings of overflowing love and praise for His wonderful acts on behalf of His people.   (If we accept that He did so from the Jewish people regarding Purim and Hanukkah, how much more so from all who would commemorate celebrating His most wonderful and awesome act in coming in the flesh in order to redeem us and save us from our sins!)

He has put a new song in our hearts.