Shalom!

This week for Parashat Shoftim I am again sending out a new commentary as an attachment here: Shoftim Commentary.  The rest of this email is a repeat of something I sent out 3 years ago for Elul.  Enjoy!

We are currently in the 6th month of the Hebrew calendar.  Yes, we are fast approaching the feasts of the 7th month!  This month is often called Elul, which is an acronym for "ani l'dodi v'dodi li" which translates "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine" (Song of Songs 6:3).  With this perspective, we can view Elul as a time of reciprocal love and closeness between the Almighty and His people, Israel.  As we approach Yom Kippur, this should be a time of deep soul searching, looking for the areas of sin which have taken root in our lives.  Our goal should be repentance (teshuva), leading to renewal and restoration of an intimate relationship with YHWH through Yeshua, our beloved Bridegroom.  
 
William Bullock puts it like this, "This month is the time, after summer's busy-ness every year, when the Divine Bridegroom woos us back to intimate fellowship with Him.  During this month the Holy One causes each of us to look carefully at our lives, our relationship with Him, our relationships with our families, with our fellow men, with our enemies, and with the Creation, to see where we have strayed from His Divine Plan for our lives, and from intimacy with Him, and to make t'shuvah (return, renewal of commitment, and restoration of passion) so as to renew our life, and re-enter the Holy One's bridal chamber, before the earth begins another cycle."
 
It is taught that in the month of Elul, the King is in the field, checking on His harvest.  Will He find faithful workers?
Matthew 9:37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

Obviously the 6th month precedes the feasts of the 7th month.  We are also living in the 6th millennium, which precedes the 7th, a time when the King will reign. Remember that when the Israelites were in the wilderness, the manna was double on the 6th day.  It is a time of preparing for the 7th!  Are we prepared to meet our King?!!

Amos 4:12 ...Prepare to meet your Elohim, O Israel!"

It is customary to blow the shofar every morning during the month.  The blast of the shofar is a call to action...a time to get serious!  The blowing of the shofar is, of course, the primary custom of Yom Teruah (also known as Rosh HaShanah).  Hearing its sound accomplishes several things:

 
1.  Takes us back to Sinai, from which Elohim spoke in thunder and in a trumpet blast:
Shemot 19:16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud...19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and Elohim answered him by voice.
2.  It is the sound of freedom blown every 50th Yom Kippur
Vayikra 25:9 'Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. 10 'And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.
3.  It is the sound of renewal and regathering to be blown at the end of the age:
Isaiah 27:13 So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship YHWH in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
 
Matthew 24:31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
 
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For Adonai Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Elohim. And the dead in Messiah will rise first.

Here is the picture we have of our King!

Revelation 19:11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

From the beginning of the month of Elul to Yom Kippur is 40 days.  Forty days to this day of repentance.  At the beginning of His ministry, after fasting for 40 days and also being tempted by hasatan, Yeshua began to travel throughout Galilee with this message:

Matthew 4:17 ..."Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
This was not a new message.  Yochanan the Immerser also had made the same statement:
Matthew 3:2 ..."Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
In the above verses, the Greek word for "at hand" is the Greek eggizo which means "to bring near or to join together".  So...the message is "to repent because the kingdom of heaven is NEAR!"  To "draw near" we must "repent."  To repent, in Hebrew means "to return."  It just means to return to the straight and narrow path as defined by His Torah.  Anything other than that is sin:
1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness (Torahlessness), and sin is lawlessness (Torahlessness).
For thousands of years, the Jews have looked at teshuva/repentance/return as a 4 step process.  Now with help from Rabbi Fohrman (www.alephbeta.org), let's see how it works:
 
1.  Let go of the sin (get it out of your mind) - this is related to the present
2.  Decide not to do it anymore - this is related to the future
3.  Regret having done it - this is related to the past
4.  Verbal confession (to whomever one has offended)
 
Number 4 is about repairing the relationship, but without numbers 1-3 there will still be problems.  There must first be an acknowledgment of the sin.  Then, with regret one must commit to never repeat the offense.  Without the first three, the apology becomes meaningless.  
 
Jewish thought is confession must be made out loud.  Why?  Can't our Father understand our thoughts?  Confession is an exchange.  Words have to come out of me and go to you for a response.  Thoughts aren't enough.  Learn to look people in the eye and say "I'm sorry."  When they accept those words, the relationship between you and them can be healed.  The same is true with Elohim.  We have to give Him words, too.  The idea of confessing with your mouth is an oft repeated message in the Brit Chadasha
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Adonai Yeshua and believe in your heart that Elohim has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai, to the glory of Yah the Father.
Luke 12:8 " Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of Yah.
So what does it all mean?  Let's spend some time over the next few days, focusing on where we fall short so we can draw nearer to the King of Glory!  If we need to make an apology, let's do it.  Let's stand up tall, take responsibility and make a face to face apology!  
 

Shabbat Shalom!
Ardelle