Traditions, Prophets, and the Month of Elul Part #2

In Part One, I added the disclaimer/paragraph below at the blog’s beginning to help my readers think about traditions with more clarity. 

“What is a tradition? Webster defines it as: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (such as a religious practice or a social custom)

How many traditions do we read our Messiah keeping? Several, and I will name a few as we move along in the Series, but what happens when we begin to use the traditions as a tool for control or even truth. Are we just doing what Isaiah warned of, as in Honoring Him with our mouths when our hearts are far away? We all have traditions. It may be a tradition at your house on thanksgiving to make a carrot cake or have everyone write down and read what they are thankful for. A person of the family, usually a parent, starts the tradition, and then the children begin to keep it, or they may make new traditions. They may suggest new traditions for their family unit that differ from their upbringing. If they want to make a chocolate cake instead of a carrot, that’s their choice. Their parents might not like it if they do not visit, make a list of what they are thankful for, etc., but this is their choice. My point is, when we define Elul or 40 days of introspection with only what our brother Judah has taught us by their traditions, we may lack any means of making them jealous. We must continue to exalt Yeshua.

“I ask then, did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Certainly not! However, because of their trespass, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous.” (Romans 11:11). 

How do we make Israel jealous? “They have provoked My jealousy by that which is not God; they have enraged Me with their worthless idols. So I will make them jealous by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation without understanding.” (Deut. 32:21).

How will they see the One they pierced if we do not lift Yeshua Messiah up? 

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a spirit of grace and mercy, so that when they look on me, on Him whom they have pierced; they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over Him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” [Zechariah 12:10]

In Part one of this Blog Series, I covered #5 and #6 on the list, and I will repeat those here. 

1. Origins of rabbinical traditions that have crept into the month of Elul, the fall feasts, and the Body of Messiah.

2. The prophet Haggai, Ezekiel, Ezra, Nehemiah during the month of Elul

3. The King is in the field.

4. 40 days of introspection.

5. Reciting Psalm 27 daily.

6. Introspection for 40 days—some add no correcting during this time.

(#6) Various customs arose sometime during the first millennium that designated Elul as the time to prepare for the High Holy Days. A man named Judah Loew ben Bezalel, known as simply Maharal of Prague, 1525–1609), rabbi, Talmudist, moralist, and mathematician, said, “All the month of Elul, before eating and sleeping, a person should look into his soul and search his deeds, that he may make confession.”

(#5) Why do some read Psalm 27 daily during Elul?

The Midrash says “my light” is associated with Rosh Hashanah (Feasts of Trumpets) and “my salvation” is associated with Yom Kippur, and a later verse in the Psalm, “That He will hide me in His tabernacle” is associated with Sukkot. Yet the custom of reciting this psalm from Rosh Chodesh Elul until the last day of Sukkot does not appear for well over a thousand years later.

“The earliest mention of the custom seems to be the work Sefer Shem Tov Katan, by the Kabbalist Rabbi Binyamin Benish Cohen, published in 1706. He writes that one who recites this psalm in a state of holiness, purity and great concentration will have his prayers answered and that it has the power to nullify Divine decrees.” (Chabad.org)

That takes us to #4—40 Days of introspection: 

“The 11th century French rabbi, Rashi, a famous commentator in the Talmud (a text of rabbinic teachings on the Bible), links it with God’s call to Moses to ascend Mount Sinai on three different occasions, each time for 40 days.” HERE.

Jewish tradition recounts that Moses spent the period between the new moon of Elul (Rosh Chodesh Elul) and Yom Kippur (10th day of the month of Tishrei), i.e., 40 days, praying for God’s forgiveness for the people of Israel, only descending when the period of repentance was complete. (Bava Bathra 121a).

The wise Rabbi’s have studied deeply and have much for us to glean from. However, what if we focused on what Yeshua did and incorporated it into this season, making sure to discuss our Messiah and how He is the prophet like Moses?  In Matthew 3, Yeshua is immersed by John. Afterward, Yeshua was tempted and tested for 40 days and nights. (Matthew 4:2)

Yeshua emerged from this testing with great power. He begins to speak the exact words John the immerser was telling the people:

“From that time on Jesus (Yeshua) began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17). Now in those days, John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2). Elijah comes first, and then Elisha (Salvation) Yeshua is salvation. His very name means salvation. 

The number 40 is very symbolic throughout the Bible. Moses, Elijah, and Yeshua fasted 40 days. Besides the flood, the spies, and too many 40’s to count, Our Father gave Nineveh 40 days to repent. He is merciful. 

Yeshua spent 40 days between His resurrection (renewal) and ascension into heaven. (Acts 1:3)

#3 The King is in the field origin:

The King is in the field, is a Hasidic tradition 1700/the 1800s.

“During the season of repentance, and particularly on Yom Kippur, God is envisaged as Father and King. Hasidic reflection sees God as, “the king in the field” during Elul, drawn out of “concealment” and approachable. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi5F 6 in his Likkutei Torah explains the Hasidic teaching of the approachful-ness of God during Elul. The teaching takes the form of a parable. A king normally lives in a palace, separated from and unapproachable by ordinary people—this is how our relationship with God seems as we become bound up in the world with its distractions, frailties and concerns. During Elul, however, the king (God) might be experienced as having left the hiddenness of the palace and having entered into the field (i.e., that place where ordinary people are) and so becoming available to his subjects.” (Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812) is also called the Baal HaTanya, The Alter Rebbe). For more click HERE.

We know that the King is close by when we draw near to Him. 

The book of James says, “Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:8-9).

And also,

“Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, 2and he went out [a]to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you abandon Him, He will abandon you” (II Chronicles 15:1-2).

Here are some of the traditions Yeshua kept that are mentioned in scripture:

  1. Yeshua took the bread and blessed it. Yeshua said the blessing. Hamotzi — the blessing over bread. This prayer blesses God for enabling bread to come forth from the earth. The Origins of Kiddush The tradition of kiddush is believed to originate sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C.E. (Babylonian Talmud, Brachot 33a). However, the text that is in use today originates from the time of the Talmud (200-500 C.E.).
  2. John 10:22—Chanukkah/ Yeshua traveled a great distance to keep Chanukkah and bring a stern message, but He stayed hidden for most of it. 

(John 7) —The Water Libation Ceremony, known as Nissuch Ha-Mayim in Hebrew, was one of the most popular parts of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. For more info, click HERE. “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39But this He said in reference to the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

  1. Yeshua doesn’t tell them not to follow the tradition of tithing dill and mint, which is taken from the Mishnah but corrects them for neglecting weightier matters. Pride seems to be involved. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23, ESV). 

I’m closing this portion with the prophet Ezekiel and Elul. Please notice the issues of idolatry that were pointed out to the prophet and reflect on where we are today. Let me know what you would compare this vision to inside His House/ Body today.

Ezekiel is lifted by his head or a lock of his hair, and he is taken to see all the abominations happening in the Father’s House. It is the 5th of Elul when he is given these spiritual visions. 

False prophets were active during the ministries of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others. Typically the same types of prophets are among us today. They promise protection and revival. These prophets spoke that while some Jews had been taken to Babylon, Jerusalem would not fall or be destroyed. They claimed it would not be long before the displaced Jews would return to Jerusalem. Jeremiah warned them that the exiled Jews would spend “seventy years” in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10; cf. Jeremiah 25:11-12). They were encouraged to settle there, submit to the Babylonian government, and seek Babylon’s peace. Ezekiel is shown what is happening in Jerusalem, and it is idolatry of the worst kind. The false prophets claimed “peace, peace” for Jerusalem when there was no peace. 

1In the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, with the elders of Judah sitting before me, the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there. 2Then I looked, and behold, a form that had the appearance of a man. Below what appeared to be his waist was fire, and above his waist was something like the appearance of brightness, like gleaming metal. 3He put out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of my head, and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy. 4And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the valley.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, lift up your eyes now toward the north.” So I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and behold, north of the altar gate, in the entrance, was this image of jealousy. 6And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations.”

7And he brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, there was a hole in the wall. 8Then he said to me, “Son of man, dig in the wall.” So I dug in the wall, and behold, there was an entrance. 9And he said to me, “Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.” 10So I went in and saw. And there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. 11And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. 12Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land.’” 13He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.”

14Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. 15Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? You will see still greater abominations than these.”

16And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD. And behold, at the entrance of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east. 17Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it too light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that they should fill the land with violence and provoke me still further to anger? Behold, they put the branch to their nose. 18Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them” (Ezekiel 8).

This prophecy/vision given during Elul doesn’t stop here. By the time we get to chapter 11, as Ezekiel is prophesying, one who was among the twenty-five wicked leaders of the people whom Ezekiel saw in his vision sitting at the east gate of the temple prostrating themselves in devotion to the sun dies. Ezekiel saw Pelatiah die of an unknown cause (Ezekiel 11:13).

Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and He said to me, “Say, ‘This is what the LORD says: “This is how you think, house of Israel, for I know [b]your thoughts. 6You have multiplied your slain in this city and filled its streets with [c]them.” 7Therefore, this is what the Lord [d]GOD says: “Your slain whom you have laid in the midst of [e]the city are the meat and this city is the pot; but [f]I will bring you out of it. 8You have feared a sword; so I will bring a sword upon you,” the Lord GOD declares. 9“And I will bring you out of the midst of [g]the city, and hand you over to strangers, and execute judgments against you. 10You will fall by the sword. I will judge you to the border of Israel; so you shall know that I am the LORD. 11This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be meat in the midst of it; I will judge you to the border of Israel. 12So you will know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes, nor have you executed My ordinances, but you have acted in accordance with the ordinances of the nations around you.”’”

13Now it came about, as I prophesied, that Pelatiah, son of Benaiah, died. Then I fell on my face and cried out with a loud voice, and said, “Oh, Lord GOD! Will You bring the remnant of Israel to a complete destruction?”

I hope this series is helping you in some way. Let me hear from you.

Blessings,

Tekoa Manning

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