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Celebrating the Spring Anniversaries
Anniversaries help us to remember. A birthday is the anniversary of the day you were born. Married couple's celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary as a celebration of their lives together. Countries have anniversaries as well: August 15 is the day on which India celebrates her independence from British rule; Quingming is an ancient Chinese holiday, reinstated in 2008, for honoring ancestors, while in the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is an annual holiday to remember the Creator's gifts of liberty and plenteous food.
Heaven has anniversaries as well. These anniversaries, carefully laid out in the Bible, teach grand, sweeping truths about Yahuwah's plan to save His people from sin. The anniversaries of our salvation are divided into three groups: spring anniversaries, summer anniversaries [Pentecost], and fall anniversaries. Each group begins with an extra-special New Moon which signals the soon-coming times of remembrance.
New Moon of the first month in the spring is Heaven's true New Year. It is followed on the fourteenth of that month with Passover and then a weeklong celebration of Yahuwah's deliverance. Many people assume that these anniversary feasts were given to the Israelites alone, or that they were somehow "nailed to the cross." However, it is Heaven's plan that these special times of remembrance be kept throughout all ages because they keep fresh in the mind the memory of Yahuwah's great love and self-sacrifice for a world that hated Him.
Satan has sought to counterfeit Yahuwah's holidays. People the world over celebrate the pagan Christmas. Christians, who should know better, also celebrate Easter and even Halloween! These are all counterfeits specifically designed to divert the attention from the true Holy Days to the false holidays.
New Year's New Moon Day
New Year's is a time of recommitment and heart searching. It may be celebrated in a variety of ways, depending upon the situation and the needs of the family.
For individuals celebrating alone, it is always a question of how one should keep these sacred anniversaries. Christ, looking down through the ages, saw many that would have to walk alone for His sake. He has given the assurance that "where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Scripture reveals that everyone who is committed to Yahuwah has been assigned their very own, personal guardian angel. When an individual, in sincerity of heart, desires to worship the Creator, the guardian angel who is ever present makes up the second being "gathered together in [Christ's] name" and His promise is fulfilled that He will be there, too.
As with all New Moons, New Year's is a day free from commerce. An individual may receive a great blessing spending the day in heart searching as well as giving thanks. One nice thing to do on New Year's is to make a list of all the things for which one is thankful since the last New Year's Day. The book of Psalms is full of beautiful prayers of dedication and recommitment. Reading through the Psalms can be a meaningful way to spend this day when one is alone. Making a list of spiritual New Year's resolutions – things you would like to learn or study, victories you would like to gain through full surrender to your Saviour, are all ways to celebrate New Year's if you are alone.
As with individuals, families also should see New Year's as a time to recommit their lives and their families to Yahuwah. Family worship should be a special time of togetherness. The family can recount the blessings of the last year and express gratitude to the Heavenly Father for those gifts from Heaven. A special thing to do during worship would be to make up a family list of spiritual resolutions. Holy days are also a wonderful time in which to participate in family prayer.
Family prayer differs from individual prayer in that all who want to may join in praying together. This is not everyone speaking on top of each other so you cannot hear yourself think. Rather, one person begins the prayer and, rather than saying "Amen" when another person is impressed with a thought or desire, he or she may pray next. This may sound strange and even feel awkward the first few times you try it, but when a family or a couple learn to pray this way, a great blessing is experienced! Rather than your mind drifting while someone else drones on and on, your mind stays focused and you may speak up as the Spirit of Christ impresses your heart. Prayer in this manner becomes a conversation between the people involved and the Father in Heaven. Twenty minutes, half an hour and more spent in prayer is not unusual when close friends or family learn to pray in this exciting yet meaningful way. As children grow comfortable with this way of praying, they join in as well and a great blessing is experienced by all.
Satanists view personal birthday celebrations as the highest Satanic holiday of the year.1Therefore, a New Year's celebration that includes the exchange of small, meaningful gifts can take the place of traditional birthday celebrations and is something enjoyed by children. These do not have to be expensive or numerous. But a gift that supports that child's personal interests or skills, one that helps him or her to feel special and loved and valued as an individual is a very affirming way to make this day special. Because it is important for children to also learn the joy of giving, they should not be forgotten in being allowed to work together to make or get a small present for their parents. The joy of being able to give will make this a very favorite holiday for the children as their loving hearts enjoy the opportunity to show affection as well.
As with individuals, groups may enjoy reading through the Psalms. If two or more families get together, it may be suggested that each family bring a psalm to share that is meaningful to them. Then each member of the family has the opportunity to say why that particular psalm has meaning to them. Hymns of praise and rededication are as much a part of worship as prayer itself. As a day of recommitment, it might be nice to take the opportunity to visit with others in the group about ways in which all may share their faith in the upcoming year.
Group prayer, as with family prayer, will be much more meaningful and enjoyable if all pray together, rather than individually going around the circle. The practice of every individual being free to speak what is on their heart as the Spirit of Christ impresses them (rather than having to wait until their turn comes, and maybe forgetting to say it) will make prayer time the highlight of the occasion. Ending with the Master's Prayer is an especially beautiful way to bring group and family prayer to a close.
New Year's is a wonderful day of looking forward to the coming year and rededicating oneself, one's life and one's family to the Creator and our loving Heavenly Father.
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahuwah's Passover. (Leviticus 23:5)
Passover (Pesach) is one of the most deeply moving holidays of the entire year. Far from being simply a remembrance of deliverance from Egyptian bondage, it is a remembrance of deliverance from sin. It was on the Passover that Christ died for you and for me as the Lamb of Yahuwah which takes away the sins of the world. No other day in the year seems as long as Passover to the heart that remembers this anniversary.
The Biblical day started at dawn, so the "third" hour of the day corresponded roughly to our modern 9:00 a.m., or half way between dawn and noon. Scripture states that Christ was crucified about the third hour. At 9:00 a.m., remembering what was being done to Christ for me, one feels the solemnity of the hour. As another hour rolls around, knowing that Christ was in such mental agony over the weight of the guilt of my sins that He scarcely felt the physical pain, one begins to grasp the enormity of sin.
Eleven o'clock. Still on the cross. Still struggling for breath. Still feeling rejected by His Father because of me, because of my sins, a deep desire is born to give oneself completely and fully to such Love.
Noon. Darkness covers the cross. The hours of this day creep slowly past as one realizes that on this very day your Saviour died for you!
Three o'clock. Christ died at the ninth hour, or about 3:00 p.m. It is finally over. The Son of Yahuwah has triumphed. The blood of atonement, the blood which allows us to be at-one with Yahuwah, has been shed.
Passover is not a day of idleness, however. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread which begins the very next day, all leavening is to be removed from the house.
Leavening (Click to Expand.)
The categories of foods that most typically contain leavening are products which are made from grains. Because foods differ from country to country, and recipe to recipe, it is advisable to read the ingredients of any purchased or commercially made foods.
Leavening can be called by different names, including yeast, baker's yeast, baking soda, baking powder, and simply leavening. The purpose of leavening is to make food rise and become lighter and larger in volume. This is why it is a divinely used symbol of sin which permeates the entire person and changes the character to become puffed up and full of self. Both autolyzed yeast extract and brewer's yeast (also known as nutritional yeast) are used as flavorings. They do not have the power to leaven or puff up. It is left to the individual to decide if flavorings which lack the ability to leaven qualify as an item to be avoided. Feast keepers who are not vegan may use eggs in the place of leavening.
Categories whose ingredients should be read include, but are not limited to, the following:
Baking mixes – including biscuit mix, muffin mixes and pancake mixes
includes yeast, baking soda, baking powder – anything which leavens dough. For a family or an individual alone, these items may be used up ahead of time, or stored in an outdoor freezer, garage or some other such place.
However, if a person or a family is united, the searching out of leavening on Passover becomes a living parable of how carefully all should search out sin in one's own heart. It is amazing how many, many prepared foods or mixes have some form of leavening in them!
In the evening, the family gathers for the special Passover meal. This can be a time when friends whose hearts are inclined to the truth are invited to join you for a very sacred special time. There is no one right way, nor is there a wrong way to keep the Passover. Obviously, because the Lamb of Yahuwah has been slain, there is no longer any need to ever again kill a lamb. The animal lambs only pointed forward to the Lamb of Yahuwah. His blood has now been shed, but we still remember this anniversary with love and gratitude for His great sacrifice.
The communion service which Christ instituted at the time of the last supper just before His crucifixion is a beautiful way to worship during this holy time. The foot washing itself is a most beautiful ceremony. Foot washing symbolizes the blood of Christ which washes away our sins. As Yahushua washed the feet of the disciples, so we are to wash one another's feet as a demonstration of Christ's own love in our hearts which inspires us to acts of love and service to one another.
Even if a person has no other human being with whom to share this meaningful ceremony, there is no reason why he or she cannot wash his or her own feet. It is, after all, a reminder of the cleansing Christ gives us individually. Some families enjoy singing a hymn of fellowship after the foot washing.
Different people find various ways of celebrating the Passover to be meaningful. Some families prefer to keep everything at the Passover meal symbolic only. The main parts of the "meal" are grape juice, bitter herbs, unleavened bread, salt and sop. These are tasted, but not consumed as a meal. Other families, especially those with young children, prefer to make it a meal, adding in other foods which would have been available in Bible times. There is no one right or wrong way to celebrate the Passover. The main point is to find a way that works for you and your family and that is a reminder of Christ, our true Pass-over.
Grape juice: This symbolizes the blood of Christ which washes away our sins.
Bitter herbs: Bitter herbs are a symbol of the bitterness of sin which caused the death of our Saviour. Fresh herbs are best, but if they are not available, powdered may also be used. They can be truly bitter, such as golden seal, something that is only tasted and used as a symbol. (If a family chooses to do this, young children should be warned in advance. The point is to teach, not make a child cry.) More edible "bitter herbs" can be made by finely chopping green and red leaf lettuces, parsley, curly endive, etc. and making a dressing of lemon juice with a light sprinkling of salt. During the meal time, the meaning of all these symbols should be explained to the children and a profitable discussion with all in attendance can be enjoyed.
Unleavened bread: The Biblical illustration of yeast as a symbol for sin should be well-explained to guests or children. The unleavened bread was eaten by the Israelites the night before they left Egypt. They had to get all leavening out of their homes before their deliverance. In that same manner, people of the last generation are to search out, and by the blood of the Lamb, remove all sin from their hearts to get ready for the greater deliverance from this sinful world. Unleavened bread is very good made from whole wheat flour or spelt. It is simple, easy to make, and very tasty.
Salt: Salt symbolizes the tears of repentance. When one has experienced the bitterness of sin, the soothing grace of Christ enters, inviting one to fully surrender the will and experience the peace and joy that only comes from Him. For those who prefer merely a symbolic meal, a dish of salt may be passed around for all to take a tiny pinch. Small, individual dishes of salt may also be placed at each place. Sea salt or rock salt is nice to use if one can get it.
Sop: Sop is a sweet dish. At the last supper before Christ's death, when John leaned over and asked Yahushua specifically who would betray Him, Christ answered that the one who dipped his hand into the sop with Him would be the betrayer. Sop, also known as charoset/haroset, is a paste from fresh or dried fruits: dates, figs, raisins, etc. Different cultures make it differently, depending upon which fruits are available.
For families who prefer to make a full meal as was done in Bible times, additional foods that may be enjoyed are lentil soup, oranges, grapes, almonds, figs and dates. The bitter herbs, with sprouts is good on the unleavened bread.
For those who choose to have a full meal with the Passover, after dinner comes the most meaningful event of the evening: communion service with additional unleavened bread and the passing of the Yahushua cup. While unleavened bread was usually a part of the meal, an additional plate of unleavened bread is provided for the communion ceremony itself. The host or hostess, as the case may be, provides a scripture reading, usually taken from the scriptural account of the last supper. It is a sacred and holy time.
Passing the Yahushua cup is a highlight of the evening. If the lady of the house has a large goblet, or can borrow one, it makes the Yahushua cup more special. Christ told the disciples, "Do this in remembrance of Me." It is a privilege still available to His followers. One person drinks from the cup, wipes the lip off with a napkin provided and passes it to the next person. Just as Christ told the disciples, "Drink ye all of it," so none is to be left of the "blood of the grape" which is a symbol of the blood of Christ shed for our sins. Many families choose to have their children wait until they are 12 before allowing them to participate, since 12 is the age a child becomes accountable to Yahuwah for their own souls.
When the service is over, a prayer of rededication should be prayed and all should join in, thanking Yahushua for His great sacrifice, and the Father for such great love that would lead Him to be willing to sacrifice His own Son to save sinners. Various ways of ending the ceremony include a blessing, spoken by the leader/host/hostess/parents upon the wife/children/guests. This may be read from the Bible, or given in one's own words. Scripture says that when the supper was over, Yahushua and the disciples sang a hymn and went out. This was not a dirge, but a joyous song. Christ was joyous at the thought that many, many souls would be saved through His sacrifice. Today, although we mourn our sins which demanded such a sacrifice in order to save us, we can rejoice that Christ's victory has been won and we can be saved by faith in His righteousness.
Each individual, family or group should feel free to explore different ways to make this holy occasion one that is meaningful to them. Some people enjoy spreading colorful, woven blankets on the floor and serving the food on low tables in baskets. Others enjoy using their best dishes and tablecloths. Candlelight always adds a special glow, whether formal tapers in crystal holders are used, or small votives in colorful glass bowls.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins is a special convocation always falling on Sabbath, the 15th of the first month, and for that reason, it is called a HIGH Sabbath. It is a seven day feast, lasting until the 21st of the month. There are special rules unique to this feast. During this time, no leavening is to be eaten. In a larger sense than just the Passover, it commemorates Israelite deliverance from bondage and, in turn, our deliverance from sin. Feast of Unleavened Bread is not a time one must take off of work, but it can be a time of special family togetherness, both at special family worships as well as planned family activities.
Within the Feast of Unleavened Bread, there are three highlights: (1) the
first day of the Feast is a High Sabbath on the 15th; (2) the second day is the
offering of the Wave Sheaf, also called the Feast of First Fruits (the day of
Yahushua’s resurrection, on the 16th); (3) the last day of the Feast is a "holy convocation," on the
21st. This presents back to back Sabbaths on the 21st and 22nd days of this month.
[All dates are in the first month of the year according to
Yahuwah's Luni-solar calendar.]
"When ye be come into the land which I give unto you,
and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first
fruits of your harvest unto the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf
before Yahuwah, on the morrow after the Sabbath." (Leviticus
Paul acknowledged the symbolism of Yahushua’s resurrection on the Feast of
First Fruits when he stated:
But now is Yahushua risen from the dead, and
become the first fruits of them that slept. . . . For as in Adam all die,
even so in Yahushua shall all be made alive. . . . Yahushua the
firstfruits; afterward they that are Yahushua’s at His coming. (See 1
First Day of Unleavened Bread
Of any Sabbath in the year, the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the most solemn. It is the anniversary of the day on which Christ lay in the tomb. What a long day it is as one remembers the despair the disciples felt that day so many years ago! They did not understand that the Messiah's mission was to die, so at His death, their despair and sorrow, their heartbreak and discouragement knew no bounds.
As the hours of this anniversary pass, one cannot help but think, again and again, of the desolation, the anguish and utter hopelessness felt by the first disciples. It is a memorial of the desolation and misery the whole world would feel if it were not for the love of the Father. Without a Saviour, the entire world would be lost without any hope. It is a very sober time and one begins to have a faint grasp of the immensity of sin.
The law of Yahuwah is perfect. It is a written-out transcript of the very thoughts and feelings of the Eternal One. To change it would be to admit that there was some fault in the One whose character it described. This was why Yahuwah's holy law could not be changed to excuse sinners. However, because that holy law is the law of Love, Infinite Love found a way to save sinners: the sacrifice of Love's own Son to pay the price of the guilty.
Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of [Yahuwah]. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion [Yahuwah] permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.1
It was a very real battle onto which Christ entered and one which He could have lost. Had Christ, just once, consented to sin, even in His mind, the battle would have been lost. Satan would have won, and sin would have spread throughout the universe. Christ and the Father risked Christ's own eternal existence in this fight. Had Christ sinned He would also have earned the wages of sin: eternal death.
The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life's peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan's power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, [Yahuwah] gave His only begotten Son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones. "Herein is love." Wonder, O heavens! And be astonished, O earth!2
The Father risked everything to save us. We do not see the enormity of sin. We are comfortable with it. That Sabbath is an anniversary for our recognition of what it cost our Eloah and His Son to save us. Christ did not see through the portals of the tomb. The sense of guilt from the combined weight of the sins of the world was so great that He felt that He would never again be accepted back into His Father's presence. "It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father's wrath upon Him as man's substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of [Yahuwah]."3
The love of the Almighty, Holy and Eternal Father was such that He was willing to risk everything to save sinners betrayed and deceived into sin. The love of Christ was such that He was willing to risk His own eternal existence to cooperate with His Father in this grand, expensive and risky venture. The stillness, the despair of the day on which Christ lay in the tomb is a faint representation of what the whole world would feel without its Saviour.
Such love, so great and pure, melts the stony sinful heart. As a person realizes the depths and heights of self-sacrificing, divine Love, he realizes that it is safe to fully surrender into the control of Love that would rather cease to exist, than exist without him.
Here is Love
Here is love – vast as the ocean,
Loving kindness as the flood!
When the prince of life,
Our ransom, shed for us
His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout heaven's eternal days.
On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide.
Through the floodgates
Of Yahuwah's mercy flowed a vast
And gracious tide.
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above!
And heaven's peace
And perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
Here is Love: (audio)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread can be a very special time of family togetherness. Family worships can focus on the love of the Father expressed in the life of Yahushua. Special time set aside for family activities will make this a very special week in the lives of children and draw their hearts close to their parents with cords of love. While the days of the feast are not all Sabbaths, the last one is, although it falls on Preparation Day. Thus, the close of Feast of Unleavened Bread provides one of only two back-to-back Sabbaths in the entire year.
Wave Sheaf is the most joyous time of all the Spring Anniversaries! It is the day on which our Saviour arose from the tomb! He was raised because He was the perfect, sinless sacrifice and because of His sacrifice, we may live forever with Him. Of all days when our love and gratitude should flow to our Saviour and our heavenly Father, this day should be a time of rejoicing, of thanksgiving and hope. "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32, NKJV 1)
The paganism that permeates modern Easter celebrations has led many to ignore the day of Christ's resurrection. The solemnity of Passover is observed, as it should be. But Christ's resurrection should be remembered as well. Without the death of Christ, we would be without help and without hope. With His resurrection, made sure by His perfect life, we have all heaven opened to us: for our help, encouragement and sustenance here, as well as an immortal inheritance throughout all eternity. Such a glorious victory should always be remembered. Yahuwah triumphed! His holy law was vindicated and He was enabled to do what He longed to do: save sinners deceived and betrayed into sin.
Wave Sheaf is an anniversary that also looks forward to eternity future when the earth is made new and sin and sinners are no more. After His work of salvation and redemption, Yahushua rested in the tomb over the Sabbath. For six thousand years people have labored under the burden of Satan and sin. When sin is no more, the redeemed will enjoy a sabbatical in the heavenly courts. Wave Sheaf is on the first day of the week because it is a renewal, a time to start again. The resurrection on Wave Sheaf, the first day of the new week, looks forward to the endless cycles of time throughout all eternity when the redeemed will praise the Father and the Son for Their matchless gift of infinite love.
Wave Sheaf is a thanksgiving celebration. We are not to neglect expressing gratitude to Christ for the newness of life that is ours by His death for us. We are to thank Him for our temporal lives and blessings as well as the new spiritual life He creates in our hearts. The miracle of growth from a dead seed is the parable of new life in us who were dead in trespasses and sins. Like the apostle Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of Yahuwah, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
Wave Sheaf is a celebration of the infinite power of divine love.
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death . . .
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised.
(Song of Solomon 8:6, 7)
With love like this enfolding us, we are prepared to press the battle against the enemy and with joy take the message of Christ's love and soon return to a fallen world.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of Yahuwah which is in the Anointed Yahushua our Master. (Romans 8:35-39)
Traditionally, sheaves of grain have been gathered to present to the Creator for the Wave Sheaf offering. For many who live in cities or inclement climates, this is not possible. An alternate way to recognize the miracle of new growth is to sprout some seeds. A few days before Wave Sheaf, sprout some corn or other seeds by placing them in a wet environment and sunshine. Lentils take only three days to sprout. At worship on Wave Sheaf, these may be lifted up in prayer as symbols of the newness of life given to us as we consent to die to sin. Large beans, such as pintos, make a fun and interesting learning experience for young children. Wet a paper towel and put inside a clear glass. Make sure the paper towel is touching the sides of the glass. Slide beans down, between the paper towel and the glass, and set in a sunny window sill. Keep toweling moist. As the beans sprout, the children will be able to watch a living parable of the seed that dies in order to bring forth new life.