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Summer Versus Winter

For the most part summer is characterized with the growth of crops, a time of parties and festivities graduations and personal fulfillment. Summer is filled happy times, times of productivity, vacations that give us the opportunity to absorb the beauty of Godís creation. Filled with vacations it is when we wake up to see the awesome wonder of Gods vast creation especially when we are out of our home environment where everything is common place and taken for granted.

We make every effort during the summer to escape the house bound condition caused by the winter and enlarge our circle of friends. Regardless of how beautiful the earth can be, how vast the oceans are, every human being searches for someone to be with. The mountains may present an awesome view but they mean nothing without someone to share them with.   

In July America celebrates Independence Day with fireworks and other festivities. Yet, July is the month that the fields turn white in readiness for its harvest and wheat ripens.

Itís easy to loose sight of God when the activity of man increases and we our schedule is filled with our work and enjoyment. In these times it is hard to focus on anything else but on the things that we enjoy. Summer is the time we tend to forget that without God, none of this would be possible and our lives would be rather frustrating.

Yet in the Hebrew culture you could count on the festivals to keep the summer alive with things that reminded you that God was great. Three festivals required that you present your self before the Lord but other feasts and festivals were held in the community. It didnít matter who or what you were, everyone was invited to share in the food fun and activities.   

The new moon festival was the most popular but this celebration was connected to atonement for sins in the previous month. The feast began with the sound of trumpet blasts. People would gather around the tent and the sacrifice was made. At the new moon festival many were reconciled to the Lord.  

The Day of Atonement was set aside for everyone to fast and do no work. It was celebrated on the tenth day in the seventh month as required by Godís law. The trumpets were sounded as the High Priest began a sacred ritual taking a ceremonial bath, putting on the priestly robe and then sacrificed a bull for his sins. Then he sacrificed a goat for the sins of the people and took its blood into the inner sanctuary to pour out the blood before the mercy seat. The second goat was taken into the wilderness and released.

This is the most important feast of the year for Christians for it is the blood of Christ that has made atonement for us once for all. The bible tells it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4) Jesus entered the heavenly sanctuary with his blood and presented it before God. (Hebrews 9:23-24)

Lets remember the words Jesus Christ said on the night he was betrayed.

Ironically the day of Pentecost occurred seven weeks after observing the Passover. In this celebration Israel stayed in their homes and ate the Passover Lamb sacrificed for the occasion. They remember the night that the destroying angel passed over Egypt and the first born in every home without the blood of the Passover lamb on its door died. Symbolically Jesus Christ was the Passover Lamb that rescued the first born from the destroying angel.    

The disciples were told to go to the upper room and tarry until they were endowed with power from on High.  They waited until the day of Pentecost came.  Suddenly the streets of Jerusalem vibrated with the sound of a violent wind, which filled the upper room with what looked like tongues of fire. The fire of God fell on each of the disciples filling them with the Holy Spirit.  

The seventh week after the Passover concluded the harvest and the first loaves made from the new grain were then offered on the altar. Symbolically the disciples were the first fruits of the Lord of Harvest.   

Jesus commissioned his disciples to go into the world to make disciples. We learn that law required the feasts to be observed by men, but in reality the feasts foretold the plan and purpose of Jesus Christís life. The festivals give us additional depth to the love of God. Our reconciliation took place during the summer and concluded the successful life of our Lord on Earth. He came and nailed our sins to the cross, by a plan to rescue us from the wrath of God. We have reason to celebrate Communion with rejoicing.

 The winter for the disciples was a time that they spent around the fire telling war stories to keep warm.  Yet the people out in the world can be liken as people suffering during the wintertime, having a miserable life filled with sin and barrenness of soul. Without the life giving blood of Christ being sprinkled upon them, they face death in the lake of fire.

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