"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in Feasts (22)


Chozen (Frozen)


Behold He Comes

The Lion of Judah Is Coming. One reason I like the church I attend is the music. While many "praise and worship" songs are just unsingable congregationally, it is far better than what passes for music in most of the congregations in my tradition. 

The song that inspired this, and the next few blog posts was "Days of Elijah"

Here is the chorus:

Behold he comes

Riding on the clouds

Shining like the sun

At the trumpet's call

So lift your voice

It's the year of Jubilee

For out of Zion's Hill salvation comes 

Behold He Comes, In An Unexpected Way—Bread Lines. While everyone else sang the next song, I just sat down and thought. While the song is about the return of Jesus to the Earth in his second coming, I could only think about a different kind of coming that Jesus will be doing very soon.  

While we should be just as enthusiastic about this soon coming of our Lord, we will not be. For you see he is coming in judgment for our nation. 

Over the next few days I will talk about what I feel are examples in history of judgments directed toward nations. I hope that by looking at these examples we can understand how the pattern will be repeated in our near future. 

Here are the lyrics of the song:

Days of Elijah

These are the days of Elijah

Declaring the word of the Lord

And these are the days of his servant Moses

Righteousness being restored

And though these are days of great trials

Of famine and darkness and sword

Still we are the voice in the desert

Crying, prepare ye the way of the Lord


Behold he comes

Riding on the clouds

Shining like the sun

At the trumpet's call

So lift your voice

It's the year of Jubilee

For out of Zion's Hill salvation comes


And these are the days of Ezekiel

The dry bones becoming as flesh

And these are the days of your servant David

Rebuilding a temple of praise

And these are the days of the harvest

The fields are as white in your world

Still we are the labourers in your vineyard

Declaring the word of the Lord


There's no God like my Jesus

There's no God like my Jesus

There's no God like my Jesus

There's no God like my Jesus


For out of Zion's Hill salvation comes 

For out of Zion's Hill salvation comes

 [. From: .]


Up Beat Boys

Bad break dancing, bad rapping—but there is something about this video about the Feast of Tabernacles that I like. 


Principle of Community

The Principle of Community is one of the most important principles I have talked about in this series on the feasts of Leviticus 23. It should be a primary goal of every church throughout the year, but so seldom is. From what I have read, many large churches understand how difficult this is and make considerable effort to form small groups within their individual congregations. How many of the attendees (you can't really call them members) listen to the message, sing a few songs, and figure that the hour ends their religious obligation for the week? Too many.  Sometimes small churches, because they are small, do not feel the need to try to form a community, as they think it will happen without any effort. Community takes effort. This is true in every tradition.

For my tradition we keep the feasts of Leviticus 23. One of these is the Passover in the spring where we reenact the details of the Last Supper. The next night we often reenact the details of the Exodus with scripture readings. In one case I attended a children's play that reenacted the original Passover—the Exodus from Egypt.

Once when I was observing this time I spoke the next day. I said that the last few days had no value if we were unwilling to observe the meaning of these days throughout the year and serve each other. I had one person talk to me after the message who said how much they appreciated what I had said—of course I did not see them for another year. This was the equivalent of a conversation I overheard years ago. The person was complaining about the crowding at Easter. He said that those who went every week should stay home on Easter so the parking would be better for him. To be fair, forming a community is hard, especially in our modern mobile society where we may not even know our neighbors, let alone the guy in the pew in front of you. 

How was community encouraged in ancient Israel? 

Speaking of the “festival tithe,” Deuteronomy 12:16-18 says this: 

Nor may you eat there [in your local area] the tithe of your grain, new wine, or olive oil; nor the firstborn of your herds and flocks; nor any of the Vow-Offerings that you vow; nor your Freewill-Offerings and Tribute-Offerings. All these you must eat in the Presence of God, your God, in the place God, your God, chooses—you, your son and daughter, your servant and maid, and the Levite who lives in your neighborhood. You are to celebrate in the Presence of God, your God, all the things you’ve been able to accomplish.

Obviously this section was designed with the well-to-do in mind. Most animals would be owned by the rich because of the labor-intensive difficulty of grazing just a few animals in an era without fences where the grazing land was held in common. A person dedicated to watching over animals would have to have enough animals to make it economically viable. 

(Note that firstborn were “sacrificed to” God—killed in a ceremony honoring Him, but after that they were eaten. The specialness of the firstborn of a domestic animal was very ancient, see Genesis 4: 3-5.) 

So the wealthy and their families were to feast, along with their employees, at the festival. In addition they were to share with the Levite. I think that in addition the poor from the same general area where the wealthy person lived also were fed by the wealthy at this time. No doubt there was an element of patronage in this or “noblesse oblige.”  

While it is not entirely clear how the various tithes were allocated, Deuteronomy 14 tells us a portion was for the poor. 

28-29 At the end of every third year, gather the tithe from all your produce of that year and put it aside in storage. Keep it in reserve for the Levite who won’t get any property or inheritance as you will, and for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow who live in your neighborhood. That way they’ll have plenty to eat and God, your God, will bless you in all your work.

From this I conclude that there was also an obligation to help the poor, in order to foster community. So when Deuteronomy 12 tells them to use the food to feed the Levite, I also see the poor in that obligation. So I see a whole lot of community eating going on in ancient Israel with the well-to-do underwriting it. These expected obligations were not always written down, but existed in the customs of the people. 

Where are you in this pyramid? How can this same structure be accomplished today? 

I have seen several examples of the Principle of Community in action. One man who was a successful contractor went to the feast alone. He made sure that a number of widows ate at his breakfast table at the restaurant, and he paid the bill. A common practice was for an individual church, as there will be several attending together at one festival location, to sponsor a meal, often a picnic. One person I am aware of went and bought the food for a picnic, but never turned in the receipts to his church. 

The festival site I attended last year really understood this principle. They had a free lunch every day. Of course those who were able contributed money toward providing the food for everyone. They also had several dinners as well. They also offered to pay for admission to an amusement park for anyone who could not afford it. It is hard to describe how this led to a feeling of camaraderie, but it did. It just felt right. 

I have been to a feast site where forming a community was not a priority; it was the worst site I ever attended. We can do better. There is something special about many different congregations and people coming together and forming a temporary community for eight days—singing, praying and eating together as one. 


The Principle of Beer Drinking

Many more steins available!
As you can imagine the principle of beer drinking is heartily advocated by many! You can be sure that I will follow this principle with the appropriate religious rigor. You can even get custom beer steins for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Deuteronomy 14:25-26 outlines the principle I am talking about today. Speaking about the “festival tithe” and that you can sell it for money for traveling, it tell us:

…exchange your tithe for money and take the money to the place God, your God, has chosen to be worshiped. Use the money to buy anything you want: cattle, sheep, wine, or beer—anything that looks good to you. You and your family can then feast in the Presence of God, your God, and have a good time.

Seldom does the phrase “have a good time” have anything to do with church. The Feast of Tabernacles should be an exception to this dreary and unfortunate reality. The festival tithe in ancient Israel was designed to provide the basic food needed for the festivals, plus a little bit more. The festivals were designed to be a time where you had that nice beer, like the Rasputin brand I have my eye on! The feast of Tabernacles is a time for you and your family to rejoice in God’s presence. 

Yes, God wants you to have that glass of wine or that beer. This contradicts what you may have heard before. (I remember mentioning this principle to an acquaintance of mine—he was ready to convert on the spot.) Of course, no one needs to be drunk during this time…that defeats the whole purpose of the festivals. 

What do you do with extra funds that we well-off westerners might have for the celebration of these festivals? That question leads me to another principle, the Principle of Community, that I will talk about tomorrow.