«This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: «A voice of one calling in the wilderness, «Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.»» Matthew 3:3
This text refers to the text in Isaiah 40:3-5
«A voice of one calling: «In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low ; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”»
The word used for «Prepare» is «Panah» in Hebrew and «Hetoimazo» in Greek. It means to return, to withdraw, to move away from, to keep ready and clean. And in the dictionary, among the definitions, one can find : to put something in a suitable condition according to the purpose for which it’s meant, to submit to a particular diet in the anticipation of an intervention.
But what does this have to do with the Fall Feasts?
Well, these celebrations are not mere cultural holidays. These «Feasts of the Lord» are appointed times that God has commanded the people of Israel to faithfully perpetuate every year in order to remind them to keep their hearts attached to Him, always thankful and pure because He desires to dwell among His children.
To return, coming back to God
«For from him and through him and for him are all things» Romans 11:36
Rosh Hachanah marks the new year which starts with a holy summon, at the sound of trumpets, of all the people of Israel before God and of Sabbath in order to encounter Him. This feat enables us to put God back as the number one priority in our lives and to let Him fill us with His strength before diving into our projects. It reminds us that God is both the origin and the purpose of our life. It’s also a reminder that eternal separation is never God’s desire – Hell
which is the consequence of our sins – and that He releases a heavenly sound, like the sound of trumpets, through all the earth calling all mankind to come back to Him. To withdraw and to move away from sin
«for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus» Romans 3:23-24
Yom Kippour is a time of confession of our sins and of repentance which reminds us of the value of repentance in our life and of the purity that Jesus can give us through His sacrifice, but it also reminds us of what Isaiah, John the Baptist and Jesus have preached inviting every human being to get right with God before it’s too late.
To keep our heart ready and clean for God to dwell in us.
«And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever» John 14:16
Sukkot reminds the people of Israel of the time when they had to live in tents after God had saved them from slavery and led them out of Egypt. It’s the Feast of the tents or of the tabernacles because they were nomads and without a land of their own, and yet no enemy could attck them for God walked with them and guided them through a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire during during the night. These pillars and the ark of the covenant manifested
God’s desire to dwell among His people forever. His desire hasn’t changed today.
But He can only dwell among us if our hearts are in a suitable condition to welcome His presence !
Jesus also has celebrated these Feasts all his life and He went even further and manifested the promises to which they related and by preaching the same message as John the Baptist and Isaiah:
« From that time on Jesus began to preach, «Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.»» Matthew 4:17
These Feasts have been established by God to remind the people of Israel of His love for them and of his eternal desire to dwell among them. But they are more than that – a sign – like a voice in the wilderness or a reminder, year after year, to the people of every nation, that the return of Jesus Christ, the eternal King, is near.
So let’s no longer miss these appointed times with God but let’s seize these opportunities to prepare our hearts! Here are some practical food for thought that you can use on your own or with your friends:
What kind of cleansing does the Holy Spirit is recommending me in order to welcome more of his reign in my life?
What kind of diet does Jesus drives me to start in my life in preparation for his return?
Which appointed times can I set up every year to remind myself that He is coming back soon? Which friends can I invite to these appointed times?
Among my friends, who must absolutely hear about salvation before the return of Christ?
How can I pray for Israel during these Fall Feasts?