Hebraic Lessons to RememberPublished on: 10.5.2023
By: Dr. Mojmir Kallus, ICEJ Vice President for International Affairs
When Peter preached to the Jewish crowd after healing a lame man at the gate Beautiful, he proclaimed that Jesus would be ‘retained’ in heaven until “the times of restoration of all things” spoken by the prophets (Acts 3:21). We live in a time when God is restoring Israel, both physically and spiritually, and restoring the Church as well. He restored the Word to the Church through the Reformation, He restored the gifts of the Spirit through the Pentecostal revival, and today He is restoring among Gentile believers an appreciation for Israel and the Hebraic roots of our faith.
One Hebrew concept we can learn from is moed, or “appointed time”. It means God makes special appointments with His people. The tent where God spoke to Moses in the Wilderness was called ohel moed, literally “the tent of appointment”. The great festivals of Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles are also moadim – “appointed times”.
The beginning of each Hebrew month, called Rosh Chodesh, is also a moed. Mentioned in Numbers 10:10, it is a joyous time that starts by blowing the trumpet. The Hebrew Bible calls it a zikaron (“memorial”), which suggests something almost ominous.
In Exodus 17:14, the Lord told Moses to write on a scroll “something to be remembered” (zikaron), namely that “I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” He was referring to the battle with the Amalekites, who massacred the weak and elderly of Israel. This early encounter with the spirit of antisemitism was to be remembered. In modern times, Yom HaShoah is a similar time to remember a great tragedy – the Holocaust.
The rebellion of Korah is also remembered in Numbers 16:39-40, when fire consumed those wanting to lead the Israelites back to Egypt. The rebels had burned incense on bronze censers which Eleazar the priest was told to hammer into a covering on the altar “as a memorial (zikaron) to the children of Israel”.
These examples show that “zikaron” is meant to draw attention to wrongdoings or catastrophes, to learn the lessons of history. Indeed, Jewish culture is strongly shaped by remembrance.
But the phrase “memorial before the Lord” also can mean that we ask God to remember us as Habakkuk prayed, “in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). It expresses trust in the Lord’s forgiving character. Likewise, Exodus 39:7 commands that the High Priest’s garment feature gems mounted on the shoulders as “memorial stones” to remember the twelve tribes of Israel. He literally carried them on his shoulders – with all their sins and imperfections – and cried out, “Lord, remember mercy”.
Three years ago, the ICEJ began starting each Hebrew month by holding an online Rosh Chodesh prayer vigil. This has grown into a unique global network of churches and prayer groups interceding for Israel and their nations. At each Rosh Chodesh, we look at the biblical meaning of that month. This has been a journey of discovery, as every month brings new topics to ponder and lessons to remember. At the same time, we are interceding for our nations and asking God to remember us in His mercy.
Join our global prayer efforts every month at: icej.org/pray-with-us
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