Archive for September, 2012

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Rosh haShana

September 16, 2012

ImageRosh haShana is the New Year. This year we go from the year 5772 to year 5773 since the creation of the world. The command to keep this holiday is from Leviticus 23: “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.”

 

How is it the seventh month but also the new year? Because agriculturally, there’s a new year in spring and also in the fall. The fact that this was also known as a new year is clear from Deutronomy 31:10, where the Feast of tabernacles, that is on the 15th of this month, is described as a feast celebrated “in the solemnity of the year of release”. There are more similar examples.

 

The only command we see about the holiday is that it is to be a “blowing of trumpets”. This is the feast related to in Psalm 81: “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.” Rosh haShana is indeed the only holiday celebrated on the New moon. What does this trumpet represent?

 

-Warning for war, and also a cry of victory – Joshua and Gideon for example

-Crowning of the king, as we can see in 2Sam6:15, 2Sam15:10, Psalm 150:3, Matthew 24:30-31, 1Thess4:16 and Rev 11:15.

-Making of a covenant – as on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19) and also with the second coming

-Judgement – Isaiah 58:1, Psalm 98, Nehemia 8:1-12, Numbers 29:1-6

 

The Torah reading this holiday is in Genesis 21, about the offering of Isaac. This is a clear symbol of the Messiah, the way the ram was offered instead of Isaac, just as the Messiah was offered for us. The ram’s horn is what is used to make the shofar horn – the trumpet used in Rosh haShana! Another amazing reading is Jeremiah 31 – the New covenant!

 

So on this day we celebrate the Messiah! We will hear the Shofar when he comes from heaven, as the scriptures tells us. It is connected to Yeshuas victory, it is his crowning to King of the world, it’s the making of the new covenant with the entire world, and it brings his judgement on the world. It is not a coincidence that Yom Kippur – the day of atonement – is only 10 days after Rosh haShana.

 

Why is it called “a memorial of blowing of trumpets”? Because the trumpet will also remind us of our sins, and our need of a redeemer. It will remind us of our salvation and our need to look forward to the day we will hear the trumpet from above, at the second coming. Many believe that Rosh haShana is the day on which the second coming will occur. Whether this is true or not we will only know then, but it’s definitelly a good time of the year to remind ourselves of that future day, and to always be ready for it.

 

A common custom on Rosh haShana is to eat apples dipped in honey, to have a “Sweet and Happy New Year”. We can tie this to the last verse in Psalm 81 “with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee”.

 

NT verses connected to Rosh haShana: Matthew 24:29-31, 1Cor 15:51-52, 1Thes 4:16-17, Rev 10:7, 11:15

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Short summary of my grandfather’s life

September 4, 2012

Born 1913 in Berlin.
In 1938 Dietrich Bonhoeffer urged bishop George Bell in England to issue visas to Jewish members of the Confession Church whose life was in danger. 50 blank visas were sent, and my grandfather was one of those who got it.

From England he reached Sweden where he joined the Salvation Army, git married and had children. In 1970 he decided to move to Israel. His wife didn’t follow and filed for divorce.

He remarried in Israel, and worked for a Bible distribution center. After retirement he spoke about Israel in conferences all over the world, and wrote about Israel for Christian papers in Germany, Sweden, England and Finland.

In 2001 at the age of 87, he and his wife moved to the Ebenezer home in Haifa. The only old age home for believers in Israel. His wife went to be with the Lord in December 2002. He spent the rest of his life writing a book of his life which was published in Germany in 2007.

At the age of 98 he went to be with the Lord. Many of his friends of his age, including his dear wife, had gone before him, and the last few months he was satisfied with life and waited for the Lord to take him Home.

He is happy now. He is where he wanted to be. And his memory will always be with us.

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My grandfather

September 4, 2012

My grandfather, who was my only.relative in Israel, went to be with the Lord Saturday evening.

On Friday evening, I heard from his old-age home that he was hospitalized. After hearing how bad it was, I jumped into a taxi and went to Haifa to be with him.

I sat there with him as he took his last breath. His head was crystal clear. He understood what I said, and he responded with nods, but he couldn’t talk. I spoke to him, read Bible verses with him (and his mouth formed “Amen” in response), and sang old hymns for him. When the situation was already without hope, and I sang the last verse of “How great thou art” (about the day we go to heaven) I broke down and cried. Shortly after that his situation became worse, until I saw on the machines that his pulse went steadily down until it reached zero.

When it was all over I went to his old-age home and they gave me a room to stay in overnight. The funeral was held the next day, Sunday, in the afternoon. He had appointed me as the one officiating the service, and God gave me the strenght to go through with it. (When he told me of that appointment I asked him “what shall I say?” he replied “I don’t care, I’ll be dead. You can stand on your head”.)

Yesterday I and my aunt who came here from abroad went through his belongings an papers. Today we will do the same. There are also court procedures to go through to make his last will legal, and then deal with the inheritance issue. We are calling all papers and magazines he subscribed to in order to cancel.

Please pray for strength as I go throught this process. I hope to go home to Jerusalem tomorrow. I miss my kids.

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