Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holy-Day to You!

HAPPY HOLY-DAY
Part 1 - What is a Holiday?
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


INTRODUCTION

With the Christmas holiday over, I find it appropriate that our new sermon series we are beginning will focus on the “real” holidays we are to observe.

The word holiday comes from Old English, and it was originally “Holy-Day”.  This day was set aside for Christians to go to church services and worship the Lord on Holy Days.

God has given us Holy Days in His Word, and it is important that we keep these days in remembrance, not just, because God says to, but because they are important to the history and future of Gods work with humankind.

God tell us in Leviticus, seven days we are to keep.  Seven feasts He has given to us, to mark events in the history of the Jewish people, and to prophecy to us, the future of Gods people.

These days are the “real” Holy Days, the ones He told us to keep.  unlike many of the pagan holidays that have been adopted into the church, which many believe to actually be important to God, while ignoring the true Holy Days He has given us.

Christmas is actually a pagan holiday
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means "the birthday of the unconquered sun".
They placed the festival on the date of the solstice, because this was the day that the Sun reversed its southward retreat and proved itself to be "unconquered". Some early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus, and the church adopted this pagan holiday, which has nothing to do with Christ at all.

Easter, Halloween, etc... all pagan in origin.  Adopted by early churches to “fit in” with the world.

But we are called to be separate from the world.
Some have labeled me cruel in not allowing my children to believe in such nonsense as Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, that this in some way has robbed them of imagination and enjoyment.

I challenge them to speak with my children, and I know they will find that they are not only very intelligent and creative with wondrous imaginations, but they have much enjoyment in life without having to believe in a lie propagated by pagan-archaic mythological fairy tales.

How can I in good conscience lie to my children for years about Santa and the Easter bunny, and when the truth is exposed, expect them to believe that I lied about them, but the stories about God and the Bible are true.

We need to be separate from the world, regardless of ridicule, and adhere to the truth of the Bible.


SCRIPTURE READING

Leviticus 23:1-2
 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.

5772 is a Jewish Leap Year
So there is an extra MONTH added to the calendar,  Adar II.

The Jewish day is not fixed, there is no hourly timekeeping.  Days end and begin at sunset. 

The week consists of seven days.  The days are named for the number of day in the week...first day, second day, etc... Sunday being the first day of the week.  Saturday is called Shabbat, or Sabbath day.

This week is modeled after the week of creation in Genesis.

In a Jewish leap year, an entire month is added to the calendar, Adar II, consisting of 29 days.

The months Heshvan and Kislev consist of 29 or 30 days, depending on the Rosh Hashanah postponement rules.

This is so Yom Kippur does not fall on a Friday or Saturday, and so Rosh Hashanah does not fall on a Sabbath.

This was added to the modern Jewish calendar, after the building of the second temple.

There is a discrepancy of 165 years between the original and modern Jewish calendars because of the addition of the leap year and Rosh Hashanah Postponement Rules.

Because of this, the modern Jewish calendar cannot be used to determine biblical dates before the building of the second temple.

Modern calendars error +-2 days, and +-2 months because of the leap year.


I.                   WHAT HOLIDAYS DOES GOD TELLS US TO CELEBRATE?
a.      They are Found in Scripture
1.      The Passover (Leviticus 23:4-8)
2.      Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:4-8)
3.      Counting of the Omer / First Fruits (Leviticus 23:9-14)
4.      Festival of Weeks / Shavuot (also known as Pentecost) (Leviticus 23:15-22)
5.      Festival of Trumpets / Rosh Hashanah (Leviticus 23:23-25)
6.      The Day of Atonement / Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:26-32)
7.      Festival of the Tabernacles / Sukkot (Leviticus 23:33-34)
                                                          ii.      Seven celebrations God gave to His people.  Seven festivals they were to have annually, and remember, and pass down to their children.

b.     The ONLY celebration we are told to remember, is Christ’s Death on the Cross!

                                                             i.      God stopped all appointed festivals, but the meaning, what they represent has not changed.

                                                          ii.      We see in Isaiah 1 that the festivals had become rituals, with no meaning behind them, and God became weary of the peoples religious behaviors, and He became disgusted with the festivals and people.

                                                       iii.      Have we done the same with remembering Christ’s atoning sacrifice?  The festival, or feast Jesus told us to continue in remembrance of Him?  Has communion become a ritual with little or no meaning behind it to you?

1.      If so, it is in vain, and actually a danger to you.

2.      I Corinthians 11:29-3129 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.”

3.      There are temporal consequences to taking communion with a disregard for God’s covenant in Christ and the Cross.

4.      Many will become sick...and many will die because of this.

5.      This is why each month when we take communion, I say repeatedly; examine yourself!  If there be any sin standing between yourself and God, remove it!  Otherwise, when you take communion, you are putting yourself in danger.


II.               WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THESE DAYS?
a.      To the Jews of the Old Testament
                                                             i.      Passover was to remind the Israelites of God’s saving them, with the death of all firstborn sons, those who were covered by the blood of sacrificed lambs on their houses were saved.

                                                          ii.      Feast of Unleavened Bread reflected the fact that the Israelites had no time to put leaven in their bread before their hasty departure from Egypt.

                                                       iii.      First fruits Leviticus 23:10. "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.11. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

                                                         iv.      Shavuot The festival of weeks called the time of the giving of the Torah, or Word of God.

                                                            v.      Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the New Year.  (Days of Awe - 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur)

                                                         vi.      Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the “books” in which God inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed.

                                                      vii.      Sukkot Festival of Tabernacles, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters.

b.     To the Followers of Christ in the New Testament
                                                             i.      Passover represents the Lamb of God’s sacrifice; Jesus went to the cross and died ON this day!

                                                          ii.      Feast of Unleavened Bread represents Jesus’ body being broken for us (the Passover meal, breaking and eating unleavened bread) unleavened represents Jesus’ perfect, sinless life.

                                                       iii.      First fruits, this festival takes place three days after the Passover. This is the day that Jesus Christ was the first fruit of the resurrection, with His resurrected body.

                                                         iv.      Shavuot The festival of weeks called the time of the giving of the Torah, or Word of God.  Exactly 50 days after the first fruits, God gave us His Word, the New Covenant (Testament), through the inspirational writings of the Holy Spirit, given to us on this day.

                                                            v.      Rosh Hashanah the festival of trumpets, represents the Rapture.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”


                                                         vi.      Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the “books” in which God inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed.  On this day, those whose names are not written in the Lambs book of life, will have to atone (PAY) for their sin because they did not accept Christ’ payment!

                                                      vii.      Sukkot Festival of Tabernacles, Sukkot is the temporary time we spend in heaven feasting with God while He creates the New Earth.


c.      The Current Timeline
                                                             i.      These days God gave us, if we lay them out like a timeline, recognizing the meaning of each holy day, we can see that all the days of the spring festivals have been fulfilled.

                                                          ii.      Or, we could say that the first half of time has been fulfilled, and we are awaiting the fall-time...beginning with Rosh Hashanah...or, the rapture.


III.            GOD WANTS HIS PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON
a.      He Gives Us a Timeline

b.     Through the Holy Spirits Revelation, We Know and understand it.

c.      This is What We Will Study in 2011


CONCLUSION
God has shown us in His Holy Word that He not only has a plan for this earth, and everyone on it, but that His plan has already begun!

God gave us the true Holy-Days in His Word, and told us to teach them to our children, so that they would know His plans He has for them, and never forget the things He has already done.

God’s Holy-Days, when looked at in conjunction with the calendar God gave to His people, give us a map of what is coming.

As we celebrate each of these Holy-Days in 2011 on their appointed time, we will look at how the Jews celebrated that day, and look at how it relates to us specifically today.

Our first celebration will be the Feast of Passover, which will take place on the 14th Day of Nisan in the year 5771, or March 18th, 2011.