Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Hi Joan: Just getting into the book. Lots to think about. CS (Portland, OR)
Wow! I had some quiet time last night to sit and read... Wonderful! I laughed and cried! I love how you have interjected your own experience and humour! I so much enjoy the presentation, the writing style and the organization, including the divisions, fonts etc. Makes it so easy to follow and to learn from. After the intro chapters I decided to go right to the 'season' we are in and read all about the King fulfillment... Shabbat Shalom sister! NS (Canada)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
FEASTING AROUND THE WORLD
-by Kasey Bar
Across the globe – in Chatsworth, England; Panajachel, Guatemala; Devenport, Tasmania; Hyderabad, India; Melbourne, Florida, and hundreds of other locations – Christians are gearing up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in a town near you.
Jerusalem is of course the most coveted location for celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot, and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has been sponsoring a week-long spectacular there each year since its inception in September 1980. That ground-breaking celebration quickly grew into Israel’s largest annual tourist event, with more than 5,000 Christian regularly attending, coming from over 100 nations of the globe.
The success of that event appears to have spawned a growing number of Feast gatherings worldwide that today involve tens of thousands of Christian celebrants, some of whom may never have the privilege of pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
“Being in the body of Christ... enables us to experience the Feast of Tabernacles in unity, harmony and joy as if we were all at one site,” said Ryan Denee of the Restored Church of God, which will be holding a Sukkot gathering again this year.
“Due to the socio-political situation in Honduras, we are not going to be able to attend this year’s Feast in Jerusalem,” said Fabiola Radriguez de Vieytez of Honduras, who has missed only two Feasts in Jerusalem since 1984. “But we think that is it important to never forget the faithfulness of our God, through every situation that we pass in our lives and we will be celebrating the Feast locally with Pastor Evelio Reyes of Vida Abundante [Abundant Life] in Tegucigalpa,” she recently told The Christian Edition.
How many feasts will there be this year? According the Web site www.feastgoer.org, there are at least 200 public Christian celebrations of the Feast in nearly 100 different countries spanning the breadth of the globe. This statistic represents only organized events that have been widely advertised. The number of locations is likely much greater when one includes informal celebrations and unpublicized observances by churches and ministries throughout the world.
FeastGoer is a Web venture dedicated to connecting Christians with biblical Feast celebrations in their respective areas. They state that they “believe the God-given feasts are entirely relevant to the Christian today and teach so much about God and Jesus Christ that they cannot be overlooked and relegated to the past.”
But for centuries of Christian history, that is exactly what happened. Both the Old and New Testaments reveal the Feast of Tabernacles as a corporate celebration. However, in the Fourth Century, when Constantine became emperor of Rome, he forced both Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus to give up any ties with Judaism, Jewish practices and the Hebrew calendar under the threat of imprisonment or death. All of the biblical holidays and feasts were either replaced by separate holidays or rejected entirely.
Over the ensuing centuries, Christians drifted further and further from their Hebraic roots to the point that contemporary Christianity had lost touch with the Biblical feasts that Jesus himself had faithfully observed.
It was in the 19th century that certain Christian leaders were moved by a deep desire to reconnect to Israel and in fact they had a great impact upon Zionism. In the US, Protestant minister William E. Blackstone circulated a petition in 1892 to urge the US to reestablish a Jewish state in Palestine. Meanwhile in Europe, Rev. William Hechler, chaplain of the British Embassy in Vienna, became a close friend of Theodore Herzl, the father of the modern Zionist movement. With the establishment of the state of Israel, Christians began looking at Biblical references to Israel more practically, including the Divine call to keep the appointed feasts “forever, throughout the generations” (Leviticus 23:41).
For example, noted writer Basilea Schlink, co-founder of the Evangelical order of the Sisters of Mary, arranged to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in 1946 with local Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in her hometown of Darmstadt, Germany. But the practice did not become a mainstream Christian event until the early 1980s when the Christian Embassy began hosting their international Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem.
Since its inception in 1980, the ICEJ has faithfully encouraged pilgrims from all nations to join them in Jerusalem to celebrate the biblical feast of the Ingathering. This is in anticipation of the prophecy spoken of in Zechariah 14:16 that all the nations will one day come up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
This event has become the signal Christian Zionist gathering in Israel each year, and what began in Jerusalem 30 years ago has now spread throughout the world. The ICEJ’s Feasts have always featured not only strong biblical messages on Israel and the Church, but also Hebraic worship, Davidic dance, artistic banners and other innovations that have now been duplicated far and wide.
“It's really not a tourist event. It is indeed a celebration of God's love, an expression of the diverse and united Kingdom of God, and a statement of God's faithfulness to Israel,” said Rev. Malcolm Hedding, Executive Director of the ICEJ.
It is true that there is no other site like Jerusalem, yet the message of Sukkot reverberates across borders and continents, demonstrating that no matter where Christians are located, they indeed share the same inspirations.
Vieytez says what she enjoys most is the Communion services conducted at the Feast celebrations in Jerusalem and now in her native Honduras. “We have the opportunity to share in unity no matter our language, or race, or anything else,” she said.
“A corporate celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles is an acknowledgement that all of us together represent the 'tabernacle of God' among men,” said Pastor Bob Summerville of Hunstville, Alabama, who has a long-time teaching ministry on the Hebraic roots of Christianity and conducts observances of Jewish festivals for Christians.
“God gave the holidays for His purpose, to both Jews and Gentiles, to help us see God and understand His plan of redemption,” said Joan Lipis, author of the new book, Celebrate Jesus: A Christian Perspective of the Biblical Feasts. She will be touring the US over the High Holy Days to encourage people to celebrate the festivals of Israel in order to better understand Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
Lipis told The Christian Edition that in the past, she tried to spend every Feast in Israel, but now wishes to share the message of the feasts with the world in their own area and with respect to their own cultures and traditions. This year she will be observing the Feast of Tabernacles in Portland, Oregon. “When we come together to celebrate the Feast in our different cultures and different traditions but according to God’s calendar, we are demonstrating to the world, and the powers and the principalities, our diversity yet unity in the one new man, Christ Jesus,” said Lipis, just as the prophet Nehemiah wrote that “all the people assembled as one man” at Sukkot. Thus for Christians around the world, it should be a natural step to assemble as one body in observance of the Feast, she said.
In her book Lipis explains, “The Kingdom community consists of people of every tribe, nation, and language. Like the Word of God itself, the Kingdom transcends any one culture. We are enriched as we share our various styles of worship and celebration.”
Sukkot, Tabernacles, Booths – the very name of the celebration represents the command to the ancient Israelites to build “temporary dwellings” to commemorate their times of wandering in the Wilderness, dependent on God for their daily sustenance and waiting to enter the Promised Land. For Christians today this expectation has again become very relevant, as they come together in anticipation of the day prophesied by Zechariah when all the nations will come up to Jerusalem and worship the Lord.
Even as thousands of Christians attend the Feast celebrations in Jerusalem this year, tens of thousands more will be gathering in locations throughout the world to join in this time of rejoicing in God’s faithfulness. They will be dancing to their own rhythms and singing and teaching in their own languages, but also worshiping with one heart and thereby demonstrating that the message of Sukkot is not lost in translation, but rather proven by it.
THE TRIPLE TRUMPET BLASTS
On September 18th, God gives us the opportunity and privilege to stop our daily routines and celebrate His love and goodness. At sundown, the trumpets will blast to bring us to attention and usher in three of God’s feasts:
- New Moon
Being in the seventh month of God’s redemptive calendar, these three together have tremendous spiritual and eschatological significance. Let’s investigate the meaning of each of these special holy days and glean their significance to our lives, beginning with the Sabbath.
God commanded His people to rest from their labors on the seventh day of the week. Regardless of our cultural traditions of worship, God’s calendar is clear:
“…the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work …For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." Exodus 20:10-11.
- The Hebrew word for “rested” carries with it the sense of the victory which comes at the end of a battle. (Note: Joshua 1:17, Deuteronomy 25:19 and Psalm 23:1).
Could it be that on the Sabbath, God is instructing--no, commanding us to stop our striving and labor to look forward to the day when our battles will be over and we will enjoy the victory. In fact, God assures us that the battle is actually His (1 Samuel ). Wow! Not only can we “rest” in that knowledge, we can rejoice in it!
- The Hebrew word translated “blessed” connotes the promise of being endued with power for success, prosperity, and longevity.
Therefore on Sabbath we can rest and rejoice in God’s promises to “daily load us with blessing” and that “goodness and mercy follow (literally chase) us all the days of our lives.” (Psalm 68:19, Psalm 23:6)
- The third Hebrew word, “hallowed,” comes from the root meaning to be holy, or to be separated unto holiness.
Consequently on Sabbath we can meditate on the wonder of God’s love that has separated us from the common, and transformed us to be holy as He is holy.
In summary, God gave the Sabbath to His people as a time when they might lay aside the cares and concerns of today to remember His goodness in the past, rejoice in His faithfulness in the present, and rest in His promises for our future. We need not wonder why Messiah Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark )
Eschatological significance of Sabbath
The eschatological significance of the Sabbath comes through the prophet Isaiah. God assures us that one day, all nations will come to
“For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord …
… it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 66:22-23)
Ultimate and Eternal Rest
In today’s hectic world, people are all searching for the rest which the Sabbath foreshadows and God promises:
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:9-10)
While God’s promise of the ultimate rest is available to everyone, only “the people of God” can enjoy that blissful state. The writer to the Hebrew people explains why
For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it …those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:2, 6)
The entrance to this perfect rest is faith:
- Faith in God and His provision
- Faith to obey His commands
- Faith in the only one who is rest – Jesus the Messiah of Israel and the world
Whatever the struggle, whatever the battle you are going through, as the trumpets blast on Friday 18 September, remember the promise of victory in Jesus and accept His invitation
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:27-30)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Praise the LORD !
Warmest greetings from Nagoya, Japan, in the Name of Christ Jesus our LORD. I hope this will find you well in your home at Jerusalem.
Your book entitled 'Celebrate Jesus' becomes really an invaluable reference book to the Bible. I love very straight-forwarded and articulated messages with your style of writings which significantly reveal the Will of Father full of His Vision given through you. I can not remember how many times I nodded through reading sentences or paragraphs in your book.
By the way, I can not find out appropriate words to express my feeling inside me..... I was given a heart to really love Jerusalem, especially the Old City. Since last year, I have been given more heart to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You may feel strange when I say that I really feel Jerusalem is my home, although I am a Gentile. On 1 August 2009, the Sabbath, when I looked at the Temple Mount from the place where the Golden Menorah stands, I started weeping, yet when I turned the direction of my sight into the Mount Olive, I started feeling hope of His coming back. With this feeling inside me, I am fully convinced by the guidance stated in your book completely in consistency with the Bible. .... (1) to advance the Kingdom of God; (2) to pray for the peace of Jerusalem; (3) to make the Jews jealous; (4) to help rebuild Jerusalem; (5) to rejoice over the destruction of Israel's enemies; and (6) to receive God's blessing (pages 340 - 341).
Having said the above, I really miss you and Jerusalem.
If I would live in Jerusalem, I could have more opportunities to learn Chris Jesus our LORD through you, especially through your book. I have some inquiries but I am sure you will clarify these.
I thank LORD our God for allowing me to have a Jewish preacher about God's Promises and Prophesies that is you.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Here's the latest endorsement:
My long standing friendship with Joan Lipis compels me to write a brief endorsement for her book that was recently published. "Celebrate Jesus" renewed my interest in, and enlarged my understanding of the Jewish feasts. For many years of preaching the Word, I had some difficulty knowing how these feasts related to my personal walk with the Lord. After a careful reading of Joan's book, I have come to see the beautiful balance of God's character throughout each of His dispensations, whether it was displayed by Messianic Prophecy or exhibited by Jesus Christ in the Gospels. This richer insight into God's intended Celebrations is bound to enhance my own ministry of proclaiming Christ in coming days.
Cloyse V. Drake
Retired Pastor of Dilly Bible Church
Forest Grove, Oregon