Musing on the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim)

Recently on this blog there was some reflection on The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) which has also been commented on in two previous articles one in 2008, the other in 2009. There has been little commentary on this blog regarding the days following Rosh Hashanah or on Yom Kippur. This year this writer is being stirred to comment on these as well. Starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are ten days known as the ‘Days of Awe’ (Yamim Noraim) also known as the ‘Days of Repentance.’ Part of the reason these days have not been addressed is because of the perspective of doing something to get right with God to assure being in good standing and possibly reversing God’s judgment. The views is that the actions taken on the Days of Awe can alter what God had written on “The Feast of Trumpets” with the final judgment being cast on the day of Judgment. The viewpoint is that during this time a person can engage in one of three actions: “teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah,” repentance, prayer, good deeds. There is also the focus on reconciling with those who you have done wrong as Jewish though based on the Talmud suggested that the Yom Kippur sacrifice does not atone for what you have done wrong to others. So,w hile the ten day focus on repentance and getting right with God is honorable, it is coming from a missing perspective.

As a Christian, the perspective of repentance is different, as we do not focus on whether or not we have to “earn God’s favor.” Nothing that we do makes us right before God, as we have been redeemed, covered by the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Yet, if you take some time to examine and consider there is a Christian perspective on these days and it is certainly worthwhile to take time to engage in extended reflection on our relationship with God and others. Note, that these days start with the “trumpet blasts” of the Feast of Trumpets. The blasts are a wake-up call stating the time is now and time is left before the coming day of Atonement, the great day of judgment. The period between the “wake-up” alarm and the serious day of atonement may well be reflective of the tribulation period. God does nothing without meaning and what he established is a shadow of what is to come. So it is worthwhile to take these days seriously and reflect on repentance. On this blog up until Yom Kippur the article focus will be on various aspects of repentance. From a Christian perspective this is examining both what have done wrong and what am doing right. It is seeking God to know and learn what area of life he is refining toward change. It is a time to look at the things that have been left undone. It is a time to allow the Holy Spirit to work on our hearts and move through the ongoing sanctification. It is also worthwhile to consider or relationship with others and reconcile with those we have wronged and forgive those who have wronged us.

It is also important to be aware that for each of us this process should be a daily process. As being a member of the Kingdom of God and being made clean by the blood of the Lamb of God, every day is really a day of Awe. Every day is a day to consider our relationship with God: where we are missing the mark due to action or inaction. Daily we need to forgive and be forgiven. Daily we need to make right what we have done wrong. Yet, there is the time of the calendar between God’s established days that we can learn from. The majority of the Christian church has lost awareness of these days. Some parts of the church have taken the concept and used it for other extended periods of reflection such as Lent. Yet, God has set some days for His purpose and being aware and remembering what God has done and is doing is important. It is worthwhile to reflect on what God has done, what he is doing, and what is yet to come. As a believer in Messiah, God has made me clean and redeemed me. I am currently in an ongoing process of being cleaned known as sanctification where that which is unclean is being refined and done away with. There is a coming and future point where as a part of the body of Christ, we will be presented as clean before Jesus as the “bride of Christ.” For those who accept Jesus as Messiah, each has no fear of the day of Judgment for the position before God has been established. We await the great and future day of true great Awe and wonder as we await Jesus who will straighten out all of which has been made crooked and twisted and all shall be brought into proper account. So take time, reflect. Repent. Pray. Act in love toward others. These are actions of people in the Kingdom of God, not because they put us in right position with God, but because he loved us and we desire to serve and grow into a greater reflection of Jesus the Messiah. It is a day by day, step by step process.

News Commentary: President Obama’s Cairo speech-a shape of things to come

On June 4thPresident Obama gave a speech in Cairo that clearly is signs of things to come. Here is one location of the full speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-Cairo-University-6-04-09/.   The speech as a whole really does reflect the way things are moving towards a view of the world as interdependent and with a tone promoting “moral inclusivity” and tolerance.  The end of his speech really gave a summary of the President’s view point. 

It’s easier to start wars than to end them.  It’s easier to blame others than to look inward.  It’s easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share.  But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path.  There’s one rule that lies at the heart of every religion — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  (Applause.)  This truth transcends nations and peoples — a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian or Muslim or Jew.  It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world.  It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us:  “O mankind!  We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”

The Talmud tells us:  “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

The Holy Bible tells us:  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  (Applause.)

The people of the world can live together in peace.  We know that is God’s vision.  Now that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you.  And may God’s peace be upon you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

Now the reader may examine those remarks and conclude that the goals President Obama is proclaiming are wonderful and is a worthwhile cause.  He after all is talking about peace and tolerance and not fighting.  However, the peace he is advocating is not the peace of God and is momentary and fleeting.  He in essences points toward a “new spirituality”, one that transcends all religions and is what all religons point toward. 

The peace President Obama advocates is based on the concept of interdependence, that we are all connected.  He indicates that humanity has the power to shape a world we want, and to do so me need to be tolerant.  The real evil will become any thought, any religion that elevates itself over others.  He offers the premise that God’s vision is for humanity to live together without conflict. This however, is not God’s vision.  God’s vision is for people to come to true peace through the Gospel.  Peace through tolerance starts with a setting aside of own ideals and accepting that of another.  It really comes down to a subjective stanard that indicates that what one believes is irrelevant, what is important is that we just all get along.  In order to get along we have to accept that there is no objective truth and whatever anyone believes is ultimately only relevant for how what they believe helps them.

Now, having said that, this does not preclude any value in tolerance.  We can all stand to be a bit more tolerant, and the church as a whole needs to focus more on the grace of God and the truth of the gosple rather then the different theological views.  And any conflict should serve the purpose of each individual being able to examine self and see where might have strayed from truth.  However, President Obama advocates tolerance without objective standards as the means of peace. 

Peace through tolerance is a false peace and it fails to recognize that any peace really comes down to surrender.  The question ultimately will be to whom do you surrender.  The path of President Obama, Javier Solona, and the United Nations is that of surrender to the governmental authorities and the push is toward a form of globalization by which there is one authority to which all must surrender.  According to Christianity, the one we must all surrender to is Jesus the Messiah, the King of Kings.  We surrender by accepting his gift of salvation and following Jesus.  The only true peace comes through surrender to Jesus, and while this is easily stated it really is hard for people to do.  We want to live our own lives, our own way, and have some perception that we have a special role in contributing to the world, even if it is simply raising a family.  God’s vision is not people living together in peace, it is people turning from self, and coming to peace through Jesus. 

Sadly, though most people will not recognize the need for the true peace found in Jesus. Most will ultimately pursue and accept this new, worldly standard of peace which involves tolerance and surrender to the government.  A time will come that when those who do not accept this viewpoint proffered by President Obama will lose their life.  It will happen, just a matter of when.

President Obama’s speech really is a foundation of things to come.  The things coming ahead are setting the foundation for the New World Order and the one who will set himself up as the saviour of humity.  This path is a path of deception and will lead to destruction of many. So be wary, for while what is advocated may seem high ideals, they are but a falsehood.  Yet, what President Obama has said, while based on falsehood truely is the shape of things to come, the world is pursuing this path.