The Summer Fasts of Tammuz and Ab

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Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez, 1867.

Zechariah 8:19 – Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.

The Fast of Tammuz, which we will celebrate this year on July 24, and the Fast of Ab on Aug. 14, mark off a season of mourning. The first fast reminded Jews of the day when the wall of Jerusalem was breached by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. (and later by the Romans in 70 A.D.). The second fast designated the complete destruction of the Temple and Israel carried off into captivity. The focus is on the idolatry that brought God’s judgment upon them, and a search to rid themselves of any idolatry within.

The medieval Jewish commentator Maimonides said that all these fasts would cease in the times of the Messiah. So Zechariah’s prophesy points to God’s final victory, which as believers we celebrate from our position as “seated with him in the heavenlies.”

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Josiah’s Passover and the purging of idolatry

King Josiah
The Passover that was celebrated by King Josiah was said to be like none since the days of Samuel the prophet. Why? Because after a copy of the Law was discovered, Josiah realized how far Israel had drifted from the truth. Josiah repented, and overturned all the idolatry that had permeated the nation. (This was also a foreshadowing of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple) Once there were no “strange gods” among them, Israel could celebrate the feast properly, with hearts open before God.

Let’s have that kind of Passover this year!

II Chronicles 35:18 – “And there was no Passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

(Image: King Josiah Destroying the Idols of Baal by Gustave Dore)

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Jesus wasn’t big on resolutions … at all.

“I say to you, do not swear at all.” (Matthew 5:33-37).
The Bible is full of warnings about vows and expectations on ourselves or others. New Year ResolutionsThe reason? Instead of asking God to meet our needs, a vow (or a New Year’s resolution) puts us in the position of swearing before God that we’re going to accomplish something on our own.
Besides, it’s presumptuous. Consider James 4:13-15 – “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
The Jewish ceremony of Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur declared all our vows as annulled and “made void.” And for those who “place no confidence in man,” the Kol Nidrei should apply every day.
Thankfully, God provides another way:  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).

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A History of the Passover Haggadah

Tom Brooks is just back from Afghanistan, and he’s been doing a ton of research on Passover and the history of the Haggadah, which is read during the feast. He’s Passove Matzohpulled together some great background information we can use as we get ready for Passover, which this year for us will be Easter weekend, April 18-20.

Here’s a link to Tom’s Passover resources:

You can find our general memo on Passover here:

To prepare for the feast, we need to start now resolving conflicts and sweeping out the leaven from our lives!

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Passover and the Crucifixion

Leading up to Passover this year we’re concentrating on the New Testament scriptures associated with the feast.

Lord's Supper sederAs we read about the raising of Lazarus, the triumphal entry, the Last Supper, and the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus, be open to the Holy Spirit to make this experience real to you.

The purpose of the annual Passover ceremony is to bring this into present immediacy so that each participant is made to feel “as if he had personally come out from Egypt.”

Let’s make that our prayer again this year– to  leave Egypt and leave our selves behind. Download the Passover Memo for scripture readings and a schedule of activities.

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Remembering Shannon

Michael Scruggs with daughter Shannon

Shannon Scruggs died Feb. 10. She brought untold joy to our gatherings, and profoundly influenced our understanding of humility and faith.

Ole always reminded us that she, as the weakest, was “the most important member of the body.”

We’ll miss her smile and the rays of God’s love she reflected to us all.

The family has suggested instead of flowers to send a donation to Community on Columbia at  5644 Columbia Ave., Dallas, TX 75214.

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Tabernacles Feast 2011

Here’s a video from Kevin Martin of our Tabernacles Feast

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Photos from Pentecost

If you’ve got more photos, send them on and we’ll post another set.

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Pentecost

The painting below depicts the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

This occurred on the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. Between the two feasts, each Jew was to “count the omer” from the day when the “omer” of barley was offered as the First Fruit Offering in the Temple until the day of Pentecost. The Rabbis considered this count to mark the passage through 49 “gates of impurity” culminating in the giving of the Law to Israel on Mt. Sinai.

The First Fruit Offering took place as Jesus was being resurrected, thus tying the two events together spiritually. So we view the counting of the omer as reckoning Christ’s Resurrection in us each day.

We’ll celebrate Pentecost this year May 20-22 at Double J Hacienda and Art Ranch near Mineral Wells. You can download the Pentecost notes here.

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Tent Raising

Tent Raising Passover 2011

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