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Shalom (peace) and greetings to you, my dear friends and supporters, in the name of Yeshua HaMaschiach, Jesus the Messiah.
We have just finished observing and teaching the fall feasts of Israel at our Messianic fellowship, Tikvah BaMidbar (Hope in the Desert). Every year, I get so excited about the increasing interest and number of inquiries I receive regarding these last three feasts and how Jesus will fulfill them on His redemptive calendar. “The Seven Feasts of Israel” were not meant to be observed only as memorials for Israel, but to be understood as the foreshadowing of prophecy—fulfilled by none other than Jesus the Messiah. The fall feasts all occur within a 30-day period, in accordance with God’s appointed times. Following is a brief synopsis of each of the fall feasts.
Jewish High Holy Days
Rosh Hashanah – At sunset on September 29, the Jewish New Year ushered in the year 5780. Biblically, this fifth feast of Israel is known as “The Feast of Trumpets” (Lev. 23:23-25). The memorial’s purpose was for Israel to remember God’s goodness—as demonstrated through the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3). In the fulfillment of this feast, the shofar (ram’s horn) is the instrument God will use to announce our Messiah’s appearance in the clouds. The Feast of Trumpets is the next event on God’s redemptive calendar and will be fulfilled at the Rapture. The Tekiah Gedolah (the long, last blast of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah) will be the “Last Trumpet” sounded at the Rapture of all true believers (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-52).
Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement – The sixth feast of Israel falls 10 days after “The Feast of Trumpets.” The 10 days in-between are known as Yomim Nora’im, the Days of Awe, the most profoundly significant days to Jewish worshipers throughout the world. These are the days of repentance when Jewish people look inward, examining themselves to see how they can be more pleasing to God. They believe that the annual atonement for sin is necessary so that, through prayers and good deeds (mitzvot), their names may be written in the Book of Life. During the two days of Yom Kippur, Jewish people fast from sundown on Erev (eve) of Yom Kippur to sundown on Yom Kippur. The future fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will come at the end of the Great Tribulation (the Time of Jacob’s Trouble). Jesus will return in all His glory at the Second Coming (Zech. 12:10), and a permanent cleansing will take place when Israel’s sin is removed (Rom. 11:26-27).
Succoth: The Feast of Tabernacles - The seventh and final feast of Israel is also known as “The Feast of Booths,” or “The Feast of Ingathering.” It occurs five days after Yom Kippur and is observed for seven days (Lev. 23:33-43). Succoth is predominantly an agricultural feast, a thanksgiving celebration for the fruit harvest. Historically, it is a celebration of God’s providence, promise, and protection while the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, dwelling in tents. It is to be a remembrance of a time long ago when God delivered the Children of Israel out of Egypt and dwelt among them through the presence of His Shekinah glory. Succas (booths) are built according to God’s instructions and adorned with the first fruits of the harvest. These booths are to be the Jewish family’s dwelling place during the week of Succoth (Lev. 23:42).
Its future fulfillment will be when the Lord Jesus comes back to earth, after the campaign of Armageddon, and sets up His Millennial Kingdom—gathering the “harvest” of His children unto Himself as recorded by John in Revelation 21:2-4. This final feast, planned before the foundation of the world, points to a time when God will tabernacle with His people—Jew and Gentile alike.
A Mother’s Heart
I immediately recognized the lovely woman as soon as she entered the Student Center, where we hold our monthly Bible studies. She and her 11-year-old son had attended our Citywide Messianic Passover Seder years ago. I remembered that her son had prayed to receive the Lord because he wrote the following on his offering envelope: “I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior tonight! Thank you!” And he signed his name. It touched my heart and made an indelible impression on my mind. (A few years later, I ran into his mother, and we rejoiced in his salvation.) I was so happy to see her at Tikvah BaMidbar and asked how her son was doing. She teared up and began crying, telling me, “I knew you would remember and ask. He’s home with the Lord as of three months ago.” She’s a single mom. He was 18, and her only child. In the midst of her grief, she shared the peace she had knowing that he was saved—that he is with his Savior and—despite her loss—it gave her joy knowing that. Please pray for God to comfort this mother’s heart.
From One Greek to Another
Since “Sam” and I grew up in the Greek Orthodox faith (attending Greek School, etc.), we had a lot in common. (My daughter in Chicago introduced him to me.) Sam still follows the teachings and traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church. In the course of our God-appointed conversation, we both realized how little he knew about its doctrine. Sharing with him why it’s biblically impossible to pray for the dead to enter heaven brought tears to his eyes. I praise God for the tenderness of this man’s heart and for his openness to hearing the truth of God’s Word, in contrast to man-made doctrine. Please pray for Sam’s salvation—that he would make that leap of faith.
A Hidden Gift
In my last update letter, I requested prayer for a new music leader for our fellowship, Tikvah BaMidbar, since Rachel got married and relocated to Ohio. During our praise and share time, a woman, who has faithfully attended our Bible study for many years, shared a praise and then began spontaneously singing in this sweet, angelic voice. God answered our prayers—it was someone sitting quietly in our midst with a beautiful hidden gift. We thank God for Brenda McCloud, our new music leader. (See photo.)
Thank you, always, for your faithful prayers and financial gifts that make all things possible. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account” (Phil. 4:17). Since this is my last ministry update letter for the year, I wish each of you and your families Happy Chanukah, a Merry Messiahmas, and shalom, joy, and blessings in the New Year. Please pray that God would begin preparing hearts, even now, for our 27th Citywide Messianic Passover Seder on Friday, April 3, 2020, at the Orange Tree Golf Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona (call, email or visit hopeinthedesert.org for details).
In Messiah’s love and mine,
As the Lord leads, please include a note referencing all future gifts for Violette Berger to:
PO Box 345
San Antonio, TX 78292-0345
PO Box 14616
Scottsdale, AZ 85267
Phone: (800) 926-5397