Dr. Allen and Dr. Karen Ranney
God's Plan One New Man
Will you Be a part of It?
By Dr. Karen Y. Ranney
God's Plan One New Man
Will you Be a part of It?
By Dr. Karen Y. Ranney
This book has been a joy and very fulfilling to write, springing out of the fullness of my heart. I have been privileged to be a part of the Messianic movement for ten years. My husband has blessed us both by providing the way for us to be educated in Messianic/Hebraic roots. I am very blessed that we both received our doctorates in Messianic Education this past year. Praise God! He is so good to us! This book has been a culmination and compilation of those studies.
I did not write this book because I felt I had a new revelation that no one has ever had. I wrote it because God moved on my heart in such a compelling way to share God’s blessings that have come from obedience to God’s Plan, One New Man.
My heart feels God’s heart. God wants to see His chosen people, Jew and Gentile, alike, have such a love for Him that we in turn fervently love one another. Together, we can be both salt and light to the world so that they will desire to know Yeshua (Jesus).
God has blessed my husband and I with a ministry called Jew and Gentile Ministries. It is our heart to minister to both Jew and Gentile in the love of Yeshua (Jesus). Our website is www. jewandgentileministries.org. My hope and prayers are that each person reading this book would allow the Holy Spirit to speak to them and receive what God wants them to learn. May we fulfill God’s purpose and plan in the earth to the utmost by understanding and becoming One New Man with His people, thus being a light to the world.
We see this God’s Plan One New Man in Ephesians 2:14-15 (KJV), which says, “For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”
One of my favorite songs is “Jew and Gentile, One in Messiah.” It speaks our heart for the body of Christ and is our prayer. It is the premise for this book, God’s Plan, One New Man. May this song become every believer’s prayer.
- Dr. Karen Y. Ranney
Have you ever wondered why it seems there is something missing in your Christian life? Like, there is so much more you are not seeing about the Bible and God? Have you had a deep hunger to understand God and His Word in a greater deeper way? Well, I did for many years.
Many Christians believe they know what God’s plan is because they have read the Bible. But, have we really read the Bible from God’s point of view? Do we truly understand God’s plan and purposes? Take myself, for instance. I was raised in a Christian home. In fact, my father was a pastor and missionary, owning a printing business. I sometimes joke and say, “I cut my eye teeth on the Bible.” I was raised, believe it or not, without TV, without secular magazines, and had the Bible morning, noon, and night. My father and mother were very serious about their relationship with Jesus and studied the Word of God daily. So, as you can imagine, all of us, my five brothers and two sisters, became very familiar with the Bible. Not only did we hear it and talk about it, we lived it. Our parents took us to many revivals, conferences, camp meetings, church services, and Bible studies. I honor my parents for giving us such a rich heritage and legacy. I love that my mind and heart have been filled with God’s Holy Word. I could not have been more blessed, even if I had been born to a very wealthy family, because the Word of God is so rich and precious to my heart.
You would think that because I was raised in such a Bible-loving, godly home that I would know quite a bit about the Bible. I too believed I knew quite a bit about the Bible until I became a part of the Messianic congregations and then continued on to receive my doctorate in Messianic Education. I can compare the two in a way that will hopefully help you to see the great difference. The way I was taught and learned the Bible would be like looking at a flat picture on the wall. In contrast, after learning the Hebrew roots and Messianic way, it would be like seeing a 3-D replica sitting on a table and able to see all the facets of the real thing. It is like being able to go around the replica of God’s plan, seeing all the facets of the One New Man.
This replica, that God has been showing to my husband and I through the Hebrew roots and Messianic way, is a beautiful exciting, eye-opening plan of God. It stirred our hearts when His awesome and great plan for His chosen people was revealed to us. It blesses our hearts and stirs us to learn more and more, to see Jesus, Yeshua, throughout the Bible in a real and precious way. In the past, I thought I knew and understood the Bible pretty well. But it was only a flat picture, not a 3-D replica of God’s plan.
Since I have become a part of the Messianic way and the Hebrew roots, I have learned that God’s ways are so much higher than man’s ways. As the Hebrew roots have been explained and brought into my focus from the point of view of the Jewish people of the Bible, it has enlightened my heart to realize that God had a plan from the beginning. First, the plan was to have a covenant with His chosen people, Israel, but after Yeshua came, the plan was to bring Jew and Gentile together in One New Man.
What a wonderful time to be living in. The Messianic church is rising. Jew and Gentile are becoming one in the Messiah. We, as the body of Christ, are learning about Hebrew Roots and Messianic Judaism, thereby realizing the great plan God had from the beginning of time. How exciting to be part of God’s history (His Story) and the Mystery (Ephesians 1:9; 3:9). What a privilege as Gentiles to be grafted into the Root, Yeshua, our Jewish Messiah, who came from the Jewish people, to be one with the chosen people in Yeshua.
This is so exciting, because even as Gentiles, we can be grafted into the olive tree, Israel, God’s chosen people. In fact, there were many Gentiles in the Old Testament who were a part of God’s direct lineage of Yeshua, the Messiah. As I have learned about the Hebrew roots and God’s plan for One New Man, it has been very exciting to learn about the feasts and Shabbat, God’s holy days and holy convocations, that God wants to celebrate with us His people. Like my husband says, “God is throwing a party, and we are invited.” As my husband and I have celebrated the feasts and Shabbat the last few years, we have found much blessing, joy, and fulfillment in our lives. God has truly blessed us going in and coming out. We have personally never known such joy, blessing and fulfillment.
You may say and think that you don’t want to get into legalism. But what we have experienced is in no way legalistic. It has been a joyful experience of a much closer relationship to Yeshua. The Bible was written by Hebrew people, and Yeshua himself was a Jew. The early disciples were Jewish and the writers of the Bible were Jewish. We cannot fully understand God’s plan or His Word unless we see it by the Holy Spirit through a Jewish point of view.
My husband and I have found that, as we have joyfully kept the feasts and Shabbat, our lives together have been extremely blessed! We have wonderful testimonies of God’s favor and outpouring of blessings beyond what we ever thought possible. Before I met my husband, we were attending the same Messianic congregation. He was teaching the Torah service on Saturdays (Shabbat). We both had it in our own minds that we were happy in our lives with the Lord. We were not looking for a mate. But God had other ideas in mind for us.
I had been attending all the services and the prayer meetings and was so hungry for learning about Hebrew roots and the Messianic way. As my husband was teaching the Torah service, I was taking in all that he said and writing notes. He told me later that he had noticed me taking notes and thought, “She gets it.” Long story short, he asked—no, rather told me that he was going to marry me. We laugh about that. That was one of God’s beautiful blessings on us both. We both have the same drive and desire to learn as much as we can about Hebrew roots and the Messianic way. We both have a heart for Israel and for the Jewish people. We have since then been blessed to get our doctorates in Messianic Education. This was far beyond what I even dreamed that God would do.
This was only the beginning of many blessings that God began to pour out upon us as we obeyed His Word to keep the feasts and Shabbat. I will share some of the wonderful miracles God has done for us. After we married, we prayed much about buying a house. We were living in an apartment, and both of us were country people. Whenever we were able, we would drive many miles in the country looking for a house to buy. It was taking so long that we were struggling to believe that God had a house for us.
But God had a wonderful surprise for us in the country. One day, my husband Allen said, “Let’s go look at a couple of houses.” And so, we did. Afterwards, he mentioned stopping by the house a friend of his had once owned. She had passed away a few months prior. We did not think it was possible for us to buy this house because of probate issues. Besides all that, it had been empty for over six months.
But God had other plans that favored us. We drove up to the house and got out to look around. When we got back into the car, Allen began to pray, telling God that we were tired of driving so many miles looking for a house and please would He show us what He had for us. After Allen finished praying, he looked up and saw the executor of the property pulling up to the mailbox in his car. Allen said to me, “The executor of the property is at the mailbox!”
I said, “No, he can’t be.”
Allen said, “Yes he is!”
We then got out of the car, walked toward this man, and the man said to my husband, “Hello, Allen, what are you doing?”
Allen said, “I’m praying, Jack.”
Jack said, “I know you’re a praying man. What are you praying for?”
Allen said, “We were just praying for a house.”
Jack said, “Would you like to see the house?”
Allen said, “Yes, we would love to see the house.”
Jack told Allen that he had been home reading when the Holy Spirit dealt with him about getting in his car and driving. He told his wife that God had told him to leave. So, he did.
Isn’t it phenomenal that God told him to leave and come to the house at the same time we were there? Only God could orchestrate that timing. What an awesome God we serve! This house is a three-bedroom, two baths, with a garage, brick house on an acre of land and a chain-link fence around it. We looked inside the house, and it seemed to be exactly what we were looking for, despite needing remodeling on the inside.
After looking at the house, we sat down to talk to Jack. Allen asked him how much he was asking for the house. Jack said it had been appraised at $60,000, but there was work that needed to be done on the house.
Allen said, “Would you take $40,000?”
Jack thought a couple of minutes, and then said, “Yes.”
That is how much cash money we had to spend on a house. My husband remodeled the house for about $5,000. We were totally amazed at God’s wonderful provision for us! After remodeling, the house was worth over $100,000. I am only telling you this miraculous story because it was definitely a miracle of God and a tremendous blessing upon us. We both attribute this blessing and all God’s blessings to our desire to please God and our willing obedience to God’s commands and statutes.
About a week later, the executor called Allen and asked if we would be willing to mow the property while waiting for the papers to be drawn up to buy the place, and in return for doing so, we could have the riding mower and weed eater along with all the items in the outside shed. Allen very gratefully said, “Yes, thank you.”
Then a short time later, Jack called and asked if we would clean out the household items in the house in exchange for us keeping anything we wanted in the house. We kept some furniture and the deep freezer. We were grateful to God for providing more than our needs. He is such an awesome God!
We have continued to be blessed in so many ways. God’s Word is true, and He keeps it, something I can attest to. Deuteronomy 28 and 29 explain the blessings and the curses on those who obey or disobey. They are certainly true. Later, another man that Allen worked for gave him a John Deere riding lawnmower—another of God’s blessings. We were also blessed that, after Allen’s father passed away, his mother signed their house over to us so she could live more simply. Allen remodeled the house, and we were blessed to sell it within a month and a half of putting it on the market—another of God’s wonderful blessings.
So, Allen and I both felt that God was leading us to take a sabbatical for about a year to write the books that God had put on our hearts. We are now writing these books that are an outflow of the things we have learned concerning Hebrew roots, the Torah, and Messianic ways. We plan to minister to Jew and Gentile alike and try to impart how God has led us into seeing Yeshua in the Torah and through the prophets and into the New Testament.
I am thrilled to also testify that God has wonderfully blessed me with a healing after 22 years of living with a neck and back injury as a result of a car accident. I have paid thousands of dollars for chiropractor, physical therapy, MRI’s and orthopedic medicine. I have had numbness and nerve pain that would rob me of sleep every night. My husband prayed for healing for me every night since we have been married. Needless to say, I was getting very weary.
I prayed earnestly one day, “God, I don’t understand. I know You can heal me. I have waited longer than the woman with the issue of blood, who had it 18 years. Will You please heal me for Your glory?” In fact, I had asked my husband a couple of weeks prior to this, “What do you think about me getting laparoscopic surgery?” He said I could, but I never felt God’s peace. He seemed to be telling me to wait.
A short time later, the numbness started going away and the pain all over my upper body was gone. Wow! I was healed after 22 years. Prior to this healing, it would hurt just to have my husband massage my shoulders and neck. Now I have no pain. I feel this awesome blessing is a result of obeying God in keeping of the feasts and Sabbath. This is biblical. We see this promised in Deuteronomy 28 and 29.
I hope no one reading this book and hears our testimony about God blessing us in our lives will think that we don’t have trials and tribulations. Most Christians know that we all have times of trials that range from “not so difficult” to “so very difficult we can hardly bear it.” We believe like Romans 8:28 (KJV) says, “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Even during the writing of this book, we have gone through some very difficult trials and tests, but this does not mean we are not blessed. Actually, it is a sign of God’s blessings on us. We see this in Hebrews 12:1-11, which says:
So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment—that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement—and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us , looking away to the initiator and completer of that trusting, Yeshua…Also you have forgotten the counsel which speaks with you as sons: “My son, don’t despise the discipline of Adonai or become despondent when he corrects you. For Adonai disciplines those he loves and whips (scourges) everyone he accepts as a son.” Regard your endurance as discipline; God is dealing with you as sons…but he disciplines us in a way that provides genuine benefit to us and enables us to share in His holiness. Now, all discipline, while it is happening, does indeed seem painful, not enjoyable; but for those who have been trained by it, it later produces its peaceful fruit, which is righteousness.
In 1 Peter 5:8 and 9 (KJV), we see instructions of how to deal with these trials and that we are not the only ones going through them. It says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
In 1 Peter 1:7 (KJV), it tells us how precious the trial of our faith is. It says, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the apprearing of Jesus Christ.”
So, we see that the trial of our faith is a blessing. We are very blessed in every way!
Our prayer is that Christian people everywhere would have their eyes opened by the Holy Spirit concerning God’s blessings for obedience.
Blessings and Joy in God’s Feasts
There are definitely blessings and joy in God’s appointed times and feasts. God’s plan for all mankind is “In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!” (Luke 2:14) and in Psalm 16:11 we see that “You make me know the path of life; in your presence is unbounded joy, in your right hand eternal delight.”
Yes, God wants His people to live in obedience and thus reap the benefits of keeping His appointed times and feasts. In them, we can rejoice and praise Him for all His blessings that He so graciously pours out on His people. From the beginning, God planned for us to celebrate His appointed times and feasts with Him. We see this detailed in Leviticus 23. God’s appointed times and feasts are a way He invites His people, who love and obey Him, to joyfully celebrate the awesome relationship we have with Him and to acknowledge the many blessings He so graciously poured out on us.
Even the world likes to celebrate, so how much more should we, as heirs of God’s exceeding precious promises and having been called out of darkness into his marvelous light, desire to greatly celebrate with our loving Heavenly Father His great salvation that He has shown us through Yeshua, the Messiah. He knew we would have much to celebrate with Him, so He made appointed times and feasts for us to greatly enjoy.
Let’s look at Leviticus 23 to see God’s heart for His children. We read in Leviticus 23:1-44 (CJB):
1ADONAI said to Moshe, 2 “Tell the people of Isra’el: ‘The designated times of ADONAI which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated times.3 “‘Work is to be done on six days; but the seventh day is a Shabbat of complete rest, a holy convocation; you are not to do any kind of work; it is a Shabbat for ADONAI, even in your homes.
4 “‘These are the designated times of ADONAI, the holy convocations you are to proclaim at their designated times
5 “‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for ADONAI. 6 On the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of matzah; for seven days you are to eat matzah.7 On the first day you are to have a holy convocation; don’t do any kind of ordinary work. 8 Bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work.’”
9 ADONAI said to Moshe, 10 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘After you enter the land I am giving you and harvest its ripe crops, you are to bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the cohen. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before ADONAI, so that you will be accepted; the cohen is to wave it on the day after the Shabbat. 12 On the day that you wave the sheaf, you are to offer a male lamb without defect, in its first year, as a burnt offering for ADONAI. 13 Its grain offering is to be one gallon of fine flour mixed with olive oil, an offering made by fire to ADONAI as a fragrant aroma; its drink offering is to be of wine, one quart. 14 You are not to eat bread, dried grain or fresh grain until the day you bring the offering for your God; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live.
15 “‘From the day after the day of rest — that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving — you are to count seven full weeks, 16 until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present a new grain offering to ADONAI. 17 You must bring bread from your homes for waving — two loaves made with one gallon of fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits for ADONAI. 18 Along with the bread, present seven lambs without defect one year old, one young bull and two rams; these will be a burnt offering for ADONAI, with their grain and drink offerings, an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. 19 Offer one male goat as a sin offering and two male lambs one-year-old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 The cohen will wave them with the bread of the first fruits as a wave offering before ADONAI, with the two lambs; these will be holy for ADONAI for the cohen. 21 On the same day, you are to call a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live.
22 “‘When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don’t harvest all the way to the corners of your field, and don’t gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am ADONAI your God.’”
23 ADONAI said to Moshe, 24 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. 25 Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI.’”
26 ADONAI said to Moshe, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is Yom-Kippur; you are to have a holy convocation, you are to deny yourselves, and you are to bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI. 28 You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before ADONAI your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; 30 and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people. 31 You are not to do any kind of work; it is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. 32 It will be for you a Shabbat of complete rest, and you are to deny yourselves; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening.”
33 ADONAI said to Moshe, 34 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot for seven days to ADONAI. 35 On the first day there is to be a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work. 36 For seven days you are to bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI; on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work.
37 “‘These are the designated times of ADONAI that you are to proclaim as holy convocations and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI — a burnt offering, a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, each on its own day — 38 besides the Shabbats of ADONAI, your gifts, all your vows and all your voluntary offerings that you give to ADONAI.
39 “‘But on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered the produce of the land, you are to observe the festival of ADONAI seven days; the first day is to be a complete rest and the eighth day is to be a complete rest. 40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit, palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate in the presence of ADONAI your God for seven days. 41 You are to observe it as a feast to ADONAI seven days in the year; it is a permanent regulation, generation after generation; keep it in the seventh month. 42 You are to live in Sukkot for seven days; every citizen of Isra’el is to live in a sukkah, 43 so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the people of Isra’el live in Sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God.’”
44 Thus Moshe announced to the people of Isra’el the designated times of ADONAI.”
God called these appointed times and feasts “holy convocations.” A “convocation” in Hebrew is “miqra,” spoken as “mikraw” (Strong’s Concordance #4744). In Hebrew, this word means “rehearsal.” A rehearsal is defined as “the act of practicing in preparation for an event.” The term “miqra” also means to “read and understand” the laws of Elohim (God in English).
The word “holy” in Hebrew in this context is “qadash,” spoken as “kaw-dash” (Strong’s Concordance #6942). In Hebrew, this word means to be set-a part of their own will and to be holy sanctified for God. So, the word “convocation” means to set apart an appointed time (Sabbath/festivals) to Elohim to read and understand His laws so you can use His laws and then practice them in your life.
God did not make a bunch of rules so that we would be miserable, which is what a lot of Christians think when they hear Messianic people celebrating the feasts and Shabbat. Actually, God was doing the opposite when He appointed times of feasts or festivals. His full intention was to give us a special time where He meets with us and where we celebrate His unconditional and precious love for us. This allows us to rejoice with all our hearts in all His abundant blessings. We will then reciprocate His love and worship Him with all our hearts, which is one of the greatest commandments that Yeshua spoke about. Matthew 22:36-37 says, “Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important? He told him, ‘You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’”
I like how Larry Huch said it in His book, The Torah Blessing. He said (emphasis mine), “I love what Jesus said here. God gave us the Sabbath because ‘the Sabbath was made for man.’ Religion says, ‘Don’t do this and don’t do that on the Sabbath.’ It takes away the blessing. It is so important that we understand the difference between God’s Word that leads us, guide us, and blesses us, and man’s tradition that binds us up with heavy burdens. We see in Colossians 2:8, ‘Watch out, so that no one will take you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, following human tradition which accords with the elemental spirits of the world but does not accord with the Messiah.’”
In another paragraph, Larry said (emphasis mine):
So why are you putting God to the test now by placing a yoke on the neck of the talmidim which neither our fathers nor we have had the strength to bear?” (Acts 15:10). Once again, this was the Jerusalem Council where Paul, Barnabas, Peter, and other leaders of the first century church were meeting. Their purpose was to discuss what to do with all the new Gentile converts who were receiving Jesus as their Savior. Many of the Jewish leaders wanted to go back to the old ways, but Peter’s reply, and the verse above, asked, “How can we put a yoke on them that neither we nor our fathers could possibly bear?” Paul said we are not under the curse of the law. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “For everyone who depends on legalistic observance of Torah commands lives under a curse, since it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the Scroll of the Torah” (Galatians 3:10).
Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus did not say this to stop us from keeping the Sabbath, but to break the curse of man’s traditions. He said, in effect, “I didn’t come to take away the Sabbath, but if I’m hungry on the Sabbath, I’m going to eat. I didn’t come to destroy the law or the prophets, but to show you how to walk with God’s Word, not the traditions of man, so that it may go well with you and your children who, after you.” “So, the Torah is holy; that is, the commandment is holy, just and good” (Romans 7:12).
Larry also commented on the law and how people relate to God’s laws:
God isn’t just giving his people useless rituals to perform. The law was not given by God in order to save or justify His people, but to give them directions on how to live so that their lives and the lives of their children would “go well.” “You and I should know what to do but we sometimes get off the track, so God makes it plain, by His Word, what we can and cannot do. It’s for our own good. If we want a harvest we must sow a seed. “So long as the earth exists, sowing time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.” (Genesis 8:22). We know this. We know that if there is no seed, there will be no harvest. God says, “Do what I tell you. I love you. If you do what I say, it will be well with you.”
We see in the New Testament that Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated the feasts or festivals. We also see that the apostles and disciples celebrated them. If there were no need for them after Christ, then why would the apostles and disciples continue to celebrate them and go out of their way to be at them? They knew that the feasts, God’s appointed times, were foreshadowing of God’s great plan for Israel and all of mankind. Specifically, the plan being to send His only begotten Son, Yeshua, to die and then resurrect so we may stand before Him justified and blessed with His great kindness, living with Him eternally in His presence.
Larry says it well in His book (emphasis mine):
Again, I’ll repeat my disclaimer that the Feasts are not about legalism but about a releasing of God’s blessings for those who know and understand God’s word and its meaning.” He also says, this “When Jesus came the first time, his mission was to bring people back into a right relationship with God the father, and to bring the world back to a correct understanding and following of the Word of God. He was bringing people back to the Torah. He tried to disassociate the people from man-made religious traditions that were, for the most part, lifeless and burdensome. His teachings and His lifestyle brought people into a personal, vibrant, and fresh relationship with God Himself. The anointing on His life released the supernatural power of God into the lives of everyone He touched. As Jesus revealed the mysteries, the miracles were released.
Now let’s look at what the Illustrated Davis Dictionary of the Bible has to say about the feasts or holy convocations:
1. A sumptuous meal attended by mirth and joyfulness (Daniel 5:1) 2. A time set apart by the canons of some religions for sacred joy. Besides the appointed seasons, called Feasts or set in the English versions (Leviticus 23), which included the weekly Sabbath, the memorial of trumpet-blowing on the first day of the seventh month, and the day of atonement (3, 24, 27). The Mosaic law enjoined three annual celebration expressly called Feasts or rather Festivals. They were the Passover on the evening of the 14th day of the first month, with the accompanying Feast of Unleavened Bread commencing on the 15th and lasting seven days (5-8); the Feast of Weeks, called also Feast of harvest and Day of first fruits (Exodus 23) and in later times, because celebrated on the 50th day after the Passover, Pentecost (Acts 2:1); and the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering, which commenced on the 15th day of the seventh month and continued for seven or eight days (Leviticus 23:34-44). These three annual festivals were deemed so important, that when they came, every adult male not incapacitated by disease or infirmity was required to appear before the Lord at the sanctuary (Exodus 23:17).
As Jesus desired to fulfill all righteousness, it may be assumed that He was customarily present at Jerusalem three times a year on occasion of the three main festivals (John 2:23; 7:2-37) in addition to the festivals prescribed by the law. In John 2:23 it says about Jesus, “Now while Yeshua was in Yerushalayim at the Pesach festival, there were many people who “believed in his name” when they saw the miracles he performed.” A Festival called Purim was instituted to commemorate annually, on the 14th and 15th of Adar, the deliverance of the Jews from the plot of Haman (Esther 9:21-28). Later still the Festival of Dedication was appointed, which was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, to be celebrated annually for eight days, in commemoration of the re-dedication of the temple after its pollution. The Lords Supper, instituted by Christ, is also a feast. Luke 22:13-20 says, “And they went, and found as He had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And He said unto them, “with desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise, also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
Learning about the Feasts
Passover is the first of the three annual festivals at which all the men were required to appear at the sanctuary (Exodus 12:43), known also as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was instituted in Egypt to commemorate the culminating event and the redemption of the Israelites. (Exodus 12:1, 14, 42; 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:1, 3). That night was to be much observed unto the Lord, when he smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt but passed over the houses of the Israelites where the blood had been sprinkled and the inmates were standing, staff in hand, awaiting the deliverance promised by the Lord. The festival began on the 14th of Abib at evening, that is in the beginning of the 15th day, with the sacrificial meal (Leviticus 23:5).
A lamb or kid was slain between the evenings, that is towards sunset (Exodus 12:6), between the ninth and eleventh hours. It was roasted whole and was eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exodus 12:8). The shed blood denoted expiation, the bitter herbs symbolized the bitterness of Egyptian bondage, the unleavened bread was an emblem of purity (Leviticus 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:7,8).
The Israelites pleading the blood, mindful of the afflictions from which they awaited deliverance, and putting away wickedness, were the people of the Lord in holy, glad communion before him. The supper was partaken of by the members of every household. If the family was small, neighbors joined until the company was large enough to consume the entire Lamb (Exodus 12:4). The head of the household recited the history of the redemption.
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