According to Hebrew tradition on the Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) the righteous are written in the Book of Life, I think that it is very easy to see all references to life in the Bible as eternal spiritual life but I believe that we can and should also view life as our temporal life here on earth.
When God entered into covenant with those who had been led out of Egypt (mixed multitude of Israelites and non-Israelites) He laid two things before them: life and death, blessing and a curse. Yes, this life was linked to an eternal state but it was also linked to the quality of life that they would experience whilst on earth. The blessings included a number of things but in summary we would say that the blessings were of provision (fruitfulness) and security in all areas of their life.
There was only one thing that God requested of the Israelites in order to receive these manifold blessings, that one thing was obedience:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
A few years ago, the Lord led my husband and I to start celebrating the Biblical feasts. It wasn’t something that we felt we had to do to ensure our salvation but something that we were convicted to do out of love for God and an increasing knowledge of the role of Israel and the Jewish people in the origins of our faith and in prophecy. Last year, things were quite bad for me health wise, I had been attending a Messianic fellowship at the time so I knew that the fall feasts of Trumpets, Atonement and Booths would soon be upon us. Even though I had an awareness of this, it was a dulled knowledge that became more and more muted by the worries, stresses and strains of life.
It is an unwritten rule in our relationship that I am the person that keeps tabs of the dates of each individual feast, when it starts and when it ends and which days are rest days. Although Judaism as a whole tends to use a calculated calendar which predicts where the feasts fall each year, we feel led to use the method of reckoning in the bible which is based on the citing of the new moon month from Israel. This means that I have to regularly check validated sources online to check when they determine the feast days to be. Last year it totally slipped my mind. It wasn’t until my husband asked me what date Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement – 2nd fall feast) would be that I realised that the Fall Feasts had already begun without any knowledge on my part.
At first I felt quite nonchalant (I have to be honest) after all Rosh Hashanah only marked the start of the Hebrew civil calendar so I hadn’t really missed much; but slowly a surge of remorse began to flood over me. I remembered that each biblical feast points towards our saviour in one shape or form and that this very fact meant that this feast was important to God and therefore should be important to me. I recalled that Rosh Hashanah also named Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) was a prophetic feast which marked the second coming of Messiah in glory ready for Judgement over the earth (Matthew 24: 29-31):
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
With the understanding of exactly what the Day of Trumpets signified came a wave of guilt, and I began to berate myself over and over, how could I miss this feast day, any feast day? And then I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit speak over my inner turmoil and say to me, “Be thankful you did not miss the real thing!” I can tell you that those words really arrested me; it was sad and unfortunate that I had missed the Feast of Trumpets, and I made a concerted effort to celebrate the remaining feasts, but I was extremely glad, grateful and thankful that I had not missed the real Trumpet call!
I learnt two things from this whole experience:
That I really shouldn’t allow the worries of life get in the way of my salvation, no matter how stressed and anxious I am or how overwhelming and difficult life gets that I should always be spiritually awake and not become dulled to the reality that Christ will return again and that I should be ready.
That we can also be seemingly upright on the outside, going to church, celebrating the biblical feast days and generally doing “good works” without being soul ready for the second coming.
This really made me think about how ready we are as Believers for the second coming of our Lord, I truly believe that many of us as it stands fall into the category of either being too numb and uncaring of our faith and our daily walk because we place most of our time and energy on the cares of this world and as such are in danger of not recognising the signs of His return. Whilst others are too focused on their own righteousness, and the pride of their own works that they no longer look outside of them to take time to look around and see that they have come off the narrow road that leads to salvation. We need to earnestly pray against the spirit of pride, fear and idolatry which is present in both of these scenarios. Let us pray:
Your word says that we do not know the hour of Your return and that only You know but that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up and so You call us to be ready and alert so that we are not caught off guard too.
Lord God, I pray for your people that we will let neither the worries of this age or the deceit and wickedness of pride from preventing us for preparing ourselves for your return. Lord, make us soul-ready for your second coming whenever it shall be.
Note: a special thank you to everyone that helped me to spread the word of the free kindle booklet download, the last time I checked on Sunday, 29th January there had been 95 downloads, which was only 5 away from the 100 that I was aiming towards!