Friday, January 15, 2016

Year of Jubilee, Feast of Firstfruits, Resurrection of the Dead and the Snatching Away


The following article was written by Greg Morris, January 15, 2016.

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Since my email last September, I have come to understand that the Year of Jubilee did not necessarily commence on Yom Kippur.  In Exodus 12:2, before the first Passover, God tells Moses and Aaron, “This month (Nisan) shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.”  Therefore, when the shofar was blown on Yom Kippur to herald the coming Year of Jubilee, the nation was essentially alerted six months in advance of the radical new reality coming in the spring.  We may well be in this transitional time period now.

The first day of Nisan, which is the first month on the Hebrew sacred calendar, falls on March 9th this year.  Passover is always 14 days later, or March 22nd this year.  What is very interesting about 2016 is that the Jewish calendar is off by one full month from the lunar-solar calendar prescribed by the Torah.   Why the discrepancy?  In short, it is due to a built-in leap year to compensate for not following the heavenly calendar (which is exact).  This provision is based solely on oral tradition.   Here is an excellent link for a more in-depth explanation: http://www.studiesintheword.org/jewish_calendar_errors.htm.  How interesting that a key pilgrimage festival will be celebrated in Jerusalem one month late at (arguably) the commencement period of the final Jubilee year?  Anyone in the U.S. or around the world with a 2016 calendar will see “Passover begins at sundown” printed in the designated square for April 22nd.  In other words, the whole world is scheduled to miss this appointment with the Creator – it is well hidden from those not paying close attention. 

The Feast of Firstfruits is perhaps the most overlooked of the 7 appointed Feasts of the Lord, in part because it is actually a feast within a feast, always observed during the week of Passover and Unleavened Bread.  This year it will be on March 24th (again, one month earlier than Jewish calendar says). Aside from its literal, agricultural meaning, it is mystically associated with resurrection and salvation, and commemorates Messiah being raised from the dead. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).  As believers, we too, are a type of first fruit.  (See also James 1:18.)  

Yacov Rambsel, a Messianic Jew who has spent much of his life studying the phenomenon of hidden Hebrew codes within the Scriptures (widely popularized by Michael Drosnin in “The Bible Code”, 1997) , discovered the following in the allegorical Song of Songs composed by King Solomon: “In Song of Songs 1:1, starting with the third heh and counting every sixth letter from right to left spells ha’bikurim, which means the ‘Feast of Firstfruits’”(His Name is Jesus: The Mysterious Yeshua Codes, 1997, page 161).  He continues with his equidistant letter sequencing analysis of Song of Songs 8:13, at the very end of the book: “starting with the nun in (hashmi’ini) and counting every sixteenth letter from right to left spells natzal, which means ‘rescue, rapture, snatch up’”.  Notably, Rambsel also finds the words “Solomon”, “Wisdom”, and “Yeshua” encoded amidst these verses.  

I believe the Spirit led me to notice this particular page while casually thumbing through a book I have not picked up in almost twenty years.  Rambsel did not realize, or at least did not mention, that the Feast of Firstfruits is always on the sixteenth of Nisan.  In other words, the Feast of Firstfruits is encoded twice in the Song of Songs, and seems to point to the rapture or snatching away of the Bride.  The wisdom of God is truly awe-inspiring, embedding this revelation deep within the Hebrew text like a riddle.  Solomon, the wisest of all, is known to have composed one thousand and five songs (1Kings 4:32), but this was his tour de force. 

Watchman Nee was in a Communist Chinese prison when his commentary on the Song of Songs was first translated and published in 1965.  The last page in this book, offers the following interpretation of 8:14:  “In the present verse the urgent cry for Him to come to her has to do with His Second Coming which is still in the future, and may be very soon.  The emphasis here is not on a restored fellowship but on His coming again, which will bring into manifestation the phenomena of His kingdom.  At this point her experience is like a drop of water losing itself in the ocean, mingling deeper and ever deeper with the love of Christ.  There seems to be little left in the realm of earth but her physical body.  Her heart’s affections are in another world" (emphasis mine) This is such a beautiful description of longing.  “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’"(Revelations 22:17).

The concept of “rapture” to our modern, sophisticated minds sounds escapist, if not akin to science fiction dreamscape.  But it has happened before - on the Feast of Firstfruits – on the very day in history that the Israelites miraculously crossed the Red Sea on dry land.  A whole nation was literally rescued or “snatched away” from Pharaoh overnight, and the whole world heard about it.  John the Revelator conveyed that something of this magnitude may happen again: "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.  I am coming soon” (Revelations 3:10-11).  

Depending on what you are reading these days, there are certainly "wars and rumors of war".  Russia.  China.  ISIS.  Global elite. Economic collapse.  Planet X.  Earthquakes.  Pandemics.  Martial law. There seem to be many clouds on the horizon, depending on what level of credence you give to those sounding alarms.  Many sincere believers are having dreams and visions of what may be coming to the U.S.  My only word of caution is to let nothing distract us from going inward and cultivating our first love  - and a trusting relationship - with Jesus.  And loving one another.  Fear does not aid us on this journey.  Neither does too much news.  Pray.  Meditate.  Be still.  Be filled.  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).  

Am I predicting the translation of the Bride on the Feast of Firstfruits in March?   I wouldn’t dare, but I will be watching for Him.  Whether this year or seven years from now, may we all be awake with plenty of oil in our lamps, and may we live with hearts full of longing to see Him face to face.  

"My beloved spoke and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.  See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.’”  Song of Songs 2: 10-13

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