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Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Shofar So Good

Sorry, I couldn't resist (the title).

I wanted to make a brief note about something fascinating regarding the Feast of Yom Teruah.  The traditional Jewish notion is to make the day focused and centered on the story of the Akedah, otherwise known in English as the “Binding of Isaac”; The tradition links, the blowing of the shofar (the rams horn) and the ram that saved Isaac that was caught in the thicket by its horn.  The appointed time, therefore, is devoted to remembering Abraham’s obedience and YHVH’s grace in providing a substitute.

It seemed to me however, that the Issac story resembled more of a Passover theme, far more than Yom Teruah, especially in light of Yeshua’s “fulfillment” of Passover.   The Father takes his adult son, binds wood to him, and makes him carry it uphill.  The son submits himself to die because of his faith in his father and to YHVH.   In the end, the firstborn son is allowed to live, and a Ram is killed in his place.   I started wondering how Jewish tradition could link this whole event to Yom Teruah instead.  It turns out that the earliest Rabbinic thought actually did connect the Akedah to Passover, and the change of focus to the fall feasts may have been a reaction to early “Christian” teaching.   This happened in the first few centuries AD quite a bit, where both Jews and Christians were being persecuted for different reasons, and doctrines were formed in each camp to polarize themselves from the other.

Ironically, the more I studied the Jewish ideas about the Akedah, the more I found the ancient sages preaching the gospel at me!   There are extensive writings as to whether Abraham actually did sacrifice Isaac and if so how and when was Isaac resurrected.  This line of thinking of the "resurrection" of Isaac seems to be what spawned the Jewish idea of Yom Teruah being the day of the eventual resurrection of the dead at the beginning of the yet-to-come Messianic Era.  Furthermore, the sages say that the one of the horns of this ram of God was blown during the giving of the Law at Sinai, while the other will be blown at the time of the arrival of Messiah.   They link the death of the lamb at Passover, the blowing of one horn at Shavuot, and the final blowing at Yom Teruah, all to the same ram provided at the Akedah! 

Again, my Jewish brothers are preaching Yeshua at me through their own ancient writings!   The next theme that comes as a surprise are the very ashes of Isaac, which are discussed at great length.   From my own reading of the actual written Torah text, let me remind you, I seem to see clearly that Isaac was never actually sacrificed let alone burned up.   Nevertheless, in Jewish midrash, they expound on the idea that not only was he killed, but his body was burnt to ashes as well (thus again setting the model of the Passover lamb).  Also, they say, that ¼ of his blood was spilled on the altar as well.   Whenever YHVH was angry enough at His people to consider wiping them out, the Jewish idea was that He would look upon the blood of Isaac, and forgive His people their sins.

This whole notion of the death and resurrection of Isaac is especially shocking to me because recently I have been listening to some outspoken “anti-missionaries” whose “ministry” is saving Jews from converting to Christianity, or even swaying "Messianics" to forsake Yeshua as Messiah.   The big 3 objections are: 1) The Torah forbids human sacrifice, so how can Yeshua be considered a suitable sacrifice?   2)  How can one person, no matter how righteous, die for the sins of another?   3)   Where does it say that Messiah will come twice?    Rather than answer those objections, I suggest those in doubt simply read the works of their own Rabbis.   

Here are some links I found really interesting that expound on these ideas.   I specifically focused on purely Jewish sources, so as to not have the Messianic point of view consciously embedded in the writings.

Happy Yom Teruah!



Jason said...

Ben, I definitely agree with your thoughts that this story of Abraham and Isaac seems to be a better fit with Pesach. Wishing your family a wonderful Yom Teruah!

Anonymous said...

HC Fellowship is not a Jewish source. Try again.

Ben said...

Thanks Anonymous. I cut and pasted the wrong link from my 'history'. It's corrected.