Pilgrimage Festivals

Is God practical?

Often we hear about Muslims making the Hajj. (According to Islam, the hajj is a mandatory trek to  Mecca that must be made at least once in the lifetime of each Muslim). Like make many practices within Islam, the historical roots making a pilgrimage actually come from the Tanakh (the Old Testament).

Our LORD enumerates various dates for us to set aside to Him. The first is Shabbat. (“Remember the sabbath day, to keep itIMG_5922 holy,” Ex 20:8 NASB). There are 7 additional festivals:

  1. Passover/Pesach (Lev 23:5)
  2. *Feast of Unleavened Bread/ Hag haMatzot (Lev 23:6)
  3. First Fruits/Yom Habikurim (Lev 23:11)
  4. *Pentecost/Hag haShavuot or Feast of Weeks (Lev 23:16)
  5. Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teru’ah/or Rosh haShanah (Lev 23:24)
  6. Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur (Lev 23:27)
  7. *Feast of Tabernacles/Hag haSukkot or Feast of Booths (Lev 23:34)

God has distinguished that three* out of the seven are to be Pilgrimage Festivals (Shalosh Regalim or שלוש רגלים). Every Unleavened Bread (the beginning of Passover week), Pentecost, and Tabernacles God required that the men, all the men, go up to Zion and come before Him in His Temple. (“Three times a year all your males are to appear before the LORD GOD, the God of Israel,” Ex 34:23.)

Is God practical?

We see that He wants us to go up to Zion, to His holy mountain, to worship Him three times a year while the Temple was standing. We’ve read how the crowds were in Jerusalem in Passover season during which our LORD was crucified; they were on Mt. Zion at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost; and the throngs were in Bethlehem (a suburb of Jerusalem) for the census when Yeshua was born.

But what about Israelis today? Is it practical for the men to leave their homes – unguarded – three times a year? The verse immediately following the instruction of going to Zion in Ex 34:23 states “…no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the LORD your God,” Ex 34:24b.). In other words, God will make sure no one will attack you … when you are following His instruction.

I thought the following rabbinic commentary was tremendous:

“Why take such an outlandish risk? Did the author actually expect the people to say, “Oh, that’s a great idea; everybody’ll just leave and we’ll be unprotected. No problem.” And even if by some fluke, the people swallow it, after the first pilgrimage or two, they’re out of business, assuming they’re still alive!

“Which brings us to an astounding conclusion: Not only does this pilgrimage idea demonstrate that God has supernatural control, but simple psychology forces us to ask who else but God could write such a thing and expect people to accept it?

“This is just another piece of evidence substantiating God as the Author of the Torah,”

How does this apply to us today who are living outside of the Land?

Though the Temple is no longer standing, what does still stand is God’s instruction that we are to celebrate Shavuot. (“Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year,” Ex 34:22 NIV).

Just as Paul set an example by rushing back to Jerusalem to keep Shavuot (“For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia [note: he bypassed ministry to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost]; for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost,” Acts 20:16 NASB), so we also should keep the Festival of Shavuot.

PRAYER: Father, thank You! Our words seem so trivial next to ALL You have done for us and do for us each and every day. We worship You, our King! We pray Your peace and protection over Your holy City and over our country. Turn the hearts of Americans to You. Thank You for all of the miracles YOU wrought this last week – in the mighty Name of our LORD and Saviour Yeshua. Amen

IMMEDIATE Prayer Requests:  

  • Pray for Israel!
  • Joe & Mary Benton: wisdom as to when to return to Mexico & provision
  • April: diagnosed with cancer. Payer for healing & restoration.
  • PJ: tumor
  • Tere & Deb: healing!!!
  • 2-year old Grandson (Mary & Joe Benton): Please pray little Joshua’s healing.
  • Protection for pastors
  • Olsens: wisdom & peace
  • Marsha (Rhonda’s friend): friend’s husband & her cousin. Encouragement and peace.
  • HEALING and PEACE for all!!!
  • Pray: for ISIS to be stopped;  protection of believers
  • Pray: for victims of terror and their families
  • Pray: for those who are in financial or emotional difficulties.
  • Pray for America.

Read all G-d is doing through prayer!

  1. Rhonda is receiving answers! We rejoice with her!
  2. David Davis (Israel): fantastic report from his doctors this week: he is cancer-free!!
  3. Aunt (Norman George): went home from hospital!
  4. Brother (Jim Robeson): went home from hospital!
  5. Unspoken victories are beginning to shower down!!!
  6. Coles’ trips: amazing – thank you for your prayers!!