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Simply Speaking: Hebrew feasts & festivals

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Generally speaking, many Americans know little to nothing about Hebrew feasts and festivals, for those things are mostly just not taught or observed in our schools or churches. So, it’s possible we may be missing out on important, even vital information, perhaps blessings as well.

With all the turmoil in Egypt right now, it might be appropriate to recall Moses who, by the strong right arm of the Lord, led the Hebrews out of that country beginning around 1552 B.C., where they had served as slaves during many of their 400 years there.

The straw that broke the Pharaoh’s back in letting the people go was the Passover of the Hebrew dwellings by a Lord-sent destroyer, but death for all firstborn belonging to the Pharaoh and to his people.

This event and the food partaken leading up to it was the root cause for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, the first two of a total of 22 initiated over time (7 by God, 7 of the people, 8 minor festivals).

Interestingly, it was the blood of a lamb, brushed on the lintel and two side posts of the entry into Hebrew slave dwellings that saved its inhabitants from the destroyer who would smite each firstborn who had not the blood there at the entryway as prescribed. Read the whole story in Exodus 12.

Purim is another Hebrew festival (occurring twice this year, February 18 and March 20, maybe sort of

like February having 28 days most years, but 29 on Leap Year??). But what’s Purim all about?

You may remember the beautiful Esther and her cousin Mordechai were among the Hebrews exiled in the Persian Empire ruled by King Ahasuerus around 492 B.C. Haman is another character in this story who came to hate the Hebrews, especially Mordechai.

Haman, being very high in the king’s court, cooked up a plan to do away with (kill) all the Hebrews, even applying the king’s ring seal, making the plan irreversible. Enter Esther, who Haman knew not as a Hebrew; but neither did the king...

You see, King Ahasuerus had bade Queen Vashti to come appear before him and his guests as she was at her own banquet. She refused to do so and a sort of beauty contest was held in the kingdom whereby Esther was one of those selected and who eventually became queen, replacing Vashti.

Cousin Mordechai asked Queen Esther to plead the Hebrew case, but she was initially afraid to do so, seeing she had not told him of her ancestry.

Mordechai persisted and Esther decided to see the king, even if it meant her death.

Esther, however, received the kings favor and a plan was devised. Since there could be no reversal of the king’s original "sealed" decree, which would have resulted in death for all Hebrews, the king issued another decree stating the Hebrews could defend themselves.

Their defense resulted in Persian casualties in excess of 70,000, plus Haman, being found out, ended up being hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordechai, who became the Persian ruler immediately under Ahasuerus.

You see, Mordechai had saved the king’s life at an earlier time, but had received no credit, being under Haman. Read the Book of Esther.

So Purim is from the Persian "puri" meaning lots. Haman had cast lots for a year in preparation for getting rid of Mordechai and the Hebrews.

Now his lot casting is celebrated each year as Purim, twice on some years.

We might cast an eye, not only to Egypt and the Middle East, but also toward Persia (Iran) in these troubling times, especially at Purim (this Friday and March 20).

May the Strong Right Arm of Yahweh bless Israel and all of His through Yeshua, Christ Jesus, the Messiah who may very well be coming soon.

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Nelson Propane

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