The first installment in this series created a stir and got lots of hits. While some were offended by my tone and/or content, others, both publicly and privately, praised the message. Offense was not my intent. It was/is a hard message. The follow-on article offered a really good solution that hopefully fell/falls on tenderized hearts and softened soil.
As I have continued to ponder and study, I think it imperative to explain the magnitude of WHY. Why is the topic of feasts in Jerusalem so gut wrenching? Why do we tend to be so resistant? And, why must we go up?
I Kings 12 is one of the most important chapters in all of Scripture. Certainly, it is the hinge from which all of history and prophecy swings. Yeshua the Mashiach… very important, but His mission of corporate redemption for the house of Israel and kol Israel is not necessary had 1 Kings 12 never happened. I detailed the significance of the rebellion several years ago in this short but jam packed post, then the details of the two houses and their necessary restoration, according to prophecy in Ten Parts in the King.
I Kings 12:25-33 details the sin of Jeroboam, sins we/I walked in. And, most who read this blog or are connected with the Hebrew roots movement, readily recognize this and are in the process of repenting. We have returned to Shabbat, we eat clean (or even kosher), we wear tzitziot and we keep the feasts. We’re good, right? Actually, while these are strong moves in the right direction, I believe there is something we have been ignoring, or at the least, not paying attention to.
Let’s read a few verses and then discuss…
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived [j]there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king [k]consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29 He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.I Kings 12:25-30
One of the specific curses that Jeroboam thought/spoke in order to secure the kingdom for himself was that the people should NOT go up to Jerusalem at feast time. Why? Because their hearts would return to the lord. Now, Jeroboam was thinking of Rehoboam as the ‘lord’ they would return to, but I believe it is the Lord, that we return to when we set our faces toward Jerusalem and go at HIS appointed times.
Why is this gut wrenching? Precisely because it is a major step in a full return. It is a rejection of the last vestiges of Jeroboam’s madness. It is a difficult step of obedience that brings many blessings and further connection with Elohim, Jerusalem, brother Judah and restoration. It is a gut wrenching casting off of millennia of ‘doing our own thing, at our own place and our own time.’
We are resistant, not because we desire rebellion, but because it is a major step of commitment and obedience.
MUST we go up? Yes!! We must go up. First, as demonstrated in the last installment, it is commanded. Second, He says that Jerusalem is the place that His name dwells. Given the opportunity, should we be anywhere else? Thirdly, going demonstrates that it is NOT too hard, thus invalidating the reasoning for Jeroboam’s rebellion.
Now, I understand the challenges. Honestly, if we all went up at once, Jerusalem would be caught entirely unprepared. BUT, as I outlined in the last installment, we can be sending representatives. Honestly, every assembly, home fellowship and congregation ought to be sending someone up at least once per year. It should be one of the top budgeted and planned for items. Period. See this post for how.
Several years ago, a family began attending our home fellowship. I was amazed that he would go up to Jerusalem three times per year. They are not well off, they just made it a major priority in their budget and the Father began providing and multiplying his seed such that often he takes a family member of two. I became convicted of his commitment to be in Jerusalem for the three major feasts. Our first step was to begin giving to him to help offset his expenses and asking the Father to see him as our representative. Zechariah 14:17 seems to allow for this type of representation while we get our own house in order.
We should see not hundreds, but THOUSANDS of messianic/Hebrew roots folks in Jerusalem at every feast. There are tens of thousands of small groups across the planet. We have the resources if we will begin to pull together. (Work together? Now there is a novel concept… 🙂 ) Begin now, today, to take measured steps personally and in your fellowships to begin getting people to the Land, not between feasts, but at the appointed times! Elohim wants to see us, Judah needs to see us and indeed, the whole of creation groans in eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God!
Come, let us go up!
P.S., I hope to see you in Independence Park at 2pm on Shabbat at Shavuot. Blessings!