Hazakim and Jesus Peace Form “The Inklings” & Release “Hands Up”

inklings1In the early 1930s a group of literary enthusiast, including theologians & philosophers like C.S. Lewis, formed an informal literary group where members could freely trade ideas, share their works, and enjoy fellowship with like minds. This association of writers and thinkers was known as “The Inklings”. In 2016, four creative artists, whose literary work is accompanied by the beat, have resurrected this moniker, looking to share their work and message with the world.

Florida based Lamp Mode Recordings artists, Hazakim, consisting of brothers Mike and Tony Wray, are best known as the Messianic Jewish voice in the world of hip-hop culture. After releasing the critically acclaimed Theophanies, their follow up album entitled Son of Man cracked two Billboard charts, landing a top ten spot. Now expanding their horizons in this collaborative effort, they are eager to up the ante of creative expression while continuing to direct the listener to the Messiah.

Jesus Peace is a NYC-based Gospel hip-hop duo consisting of band members Randy Mason and Damion B. Sanders. The name “Jesus Peace” is a play on the term “Jesus piece” which refers to the gaudy medallions depicting Jesus’ crucifixion worn by today’s flashy mainstream rappers. The name Jesus Peace was chosen because of its relatability to the hip hop community and like a rapper’s “Jesus piece” on his chest, it makes a bold statement for Christ.

The Inklings’ first public offering is “Hands Up”; a smooth-yet-hype ode to classic east coast hip-hop. The beat is by the legendary emcee/producer Peace 586, whose resume, stretching back to the 1980s, includes classic works with Freedom of Soul & the Tunnel Rats. With Peace on the beat, the Inklings present a witty wordplay filled, catchy record that tells the listener to surrender, with hands up, to the Lord.

Check out the new song here:  https://soundcloud.com/lampmode/handsup_inklings

Messiah In the Feasts and Their Eschatological Implications, Part 7/7 (Chialism in Ancient Jewish & Christian Thought)

Tony Wray is not only a recording artist but is also a teacher, and lecturer; having taught Messianic apologetics at numerous conferences, churches, and congregations.  If you would like to view a list of referrals from leaders, scholars, and theologians, or are interested in having Tony speak at your congregation or event, send an e-mail to hazakimbooking@gmail.com.


Up to this point we have seen how the Messiah’s fulfillment of the Spring feasts was exact, precise, and in successive order, on the actual Feast days.  We also looked at the Fall Feasts, which remain unfulfilled, and how the Messiah will likely fulfill these as well.  I argued that, based on a plain reading of passages such as Zechariah 14:16, it would seem that Tabernacles will be fulfilled at the end of a literal thousand year reign of the Messiah, on the earth, when the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven.

So what of the belief that the millennial Kingdom described in Revelation 2o is literal?  Was this chapter written in a vacuum?  Is there any evidence from within the corpus of 2nd temple Judaism that would suggest such an expectation among the ancient Jews?  And how did the early church view the idea of a thousand year reign?  Did they primarily see it as literal or figurative?  As we shall see, the belief in a literal thousand year reign of God/Messiah (known as “chialism”) goes back to before the time of John’s writing of Revelation.  The chief “appointed time” from which they formed this belief is not one the 7 annual Feast days of the Lord but the weekly Sabbath, which comes at the end of the 7 day week, as well as the 7 year shmita cycle.

The “Six Thousand Year” Tradition and the Millennium

While the following traditions are not canonical, they reflect the dominant ancient Jewish & early Christian/Messianic understandings of eschatology – some of these traditions predating the disciples by hundreds of years (such as Rabbi Elias).  The quoting of these traditions serve to simply present the backdrop against which John, and perhaps even Zechariah, were writing in reference to a future period of divine rule upon the earth.  Given the clear layout of events found in Zechariah 12-14, the following references seem to fit beautifully within a traditional premillennial scheme.katina

  • Rabbi Elias, who lived 200 years before Jesus, wrote: “The world endures 6000 years: two thousand before the law, two thousand with the law and two thousand with the Messiah.” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 96b-99a)
  • Rabbi Kattina in the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 96b-99a:  “The world endures 6000 years and one thousand it shall be laid waste, that is, the enemies of God shall be laid waste, whereof it is said ,’the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.’ As out of seven years every seventh is a year of remission, so out of the seven thousand years of the world, the seventh millennium shall be the 1000 years of remission, that God alone may be exalted in that day.
  • Reiterated in Sanhedrin 97a: “Rabbi Kattina said: six thousand years shall the world exist, and one thousand it shall be desolate, as it is written, and the Lord shall alone be exalted in that day (a reference to Isaiah 2:2).  It has been taught in accordance with Rabbi Kattina: just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written and the Lord shall alone be exalted in that day.”

If John, writing the book of Revelation, wanted to simply convey an undefined “long period of time” during which Jesus would reign spiritually from Heaven, why would he borrow language from an already established tradition that existed within Judaism which anticipated a literal/physical 1,000 year reign of YHWH on the earth?  Would this not confuse those familiar with this tradition into believing that John was affirming the same kind of earthly, tangible, physical millennial reign?  But there’s more.  The earliest writings of the church fathers, with rare exception, also affirm this belief.  One such example is the Epistle of Barnabas, written between 70-135 AD.

barnabas2The Epistle of Barnabas is an early non-canonical book that was greatly esteemed by many of the early church fathers such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, & Eusebis.   While the rabbinic traditions reflect a chialist belief among rabbinic scholars even before the time of Jesus, the Epistle of Barnabus reveals how this belief was shared by the earliest Christians.

“And God made in six days the works of his hands; and he finished them on the seventh day, and he rested on the seventh day and sanctified it. Consider my children what that signifies, he finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this: that in six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end. For him one day is as a thousand years…therefore children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, shall all things be accomplished…then he shall rest on the seventh day (seventh millennium).

According to the most ancient Jewish and early Christian understandings of eschatology – without citing commentary on passages such as Revelation 20 – there is to be a future 1,000 year period of rest and Divine rule on the earth.  I contend that this chialist view is the backdrop of Revelation 20, and it is hinted at in the words of the Jewish prophets.  Having laid this issue to rest, let us return to the relevance of the Feasts of the Lord in understanding both eschatology, and the God we serve…

What Do the Feasts of the Lord Mean for the New Covenant Believer?

The analogy has been used of a professional pool player.  When you play pool against a true professional, they call the shots before they make them.  In this way all who are watching, including their opponent, knows that the shot was intentional and purposeful – putting the skill of the professional on display.  In like manner, when God flung our galaxy into being, initiating His appointed times, He was calling the shots thousands of years in advance…on this day my Son will die for the sins of many…On this day I will raise Him from the dead….On this day I will pour out my Holy Spirit…On this day I will return to wage war on the ungodly and save those who trust in my Son….On this day I will cleanse Israel from their sin….On this day I will make all things new and bring down my heavenly tabernacle – New Jerusalem.

It’s laid out so intricately, the disciples couldn’t have made this stuff up!

What does this mean for us?  It means we can rest upon the accuracy of Scripture and the plan of God.  It means the Messiah is coming back with the sound of the trumpet and we must be ready.  It means we must live in a way that reflects appreciation for our Redemption.  Therefore let us go and preach the Gospel, and live in a way that pleases our Lord.

Let the people of God respond : “AMEN”

Messiah In the Feasts and Their Eschatological Implications, Part 6/7 (Sukkot)

Tony Wray is not only a recording artist but is also a teacher, and lecturer; having taught Messianic apologetics at numerous conferences, churches, and congregations.  If you would like to view a list of referrals from leaders, scholars, and theologians, or are interested in having Tony speak at your congregation or event, send an e-mail to hazakimbooking@gmail.com.


Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles: This is the final Feast of the Lord as recorded in Scripture.  Celebrated on Tishri 15, this Feast falls in the September/October timeframe. It is outlined in Deuteronomy 16:13 – 15, where the Lord tells the Israelites: “You are to keep the festival of Sukkot for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing-floor and winepress. Rejoice at your festival – you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levi’im (Levites), and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you. Seven days you are to keep the festival for ADONAI your God in the place ADONAI your God will choose, because ADONAI your God will bless you in all your crops and in all your work, so you are to be full of joy!

sukkah2Leviticus 23:39-43: “‘But on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered the produce of the land, you are to observe the festival of ADONAI seven days; the first day is to be a complete rest and the eighth day is to be a complete rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit, palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate it in the presence of ADONAI your God for seven days. You are to observe it as a feast to ADONAI seven days in the year; it is a permanent regulation, generation after generation; keep it in the seventh month. You are to live in sukkot (booths, tabernacles) for seven days; every citizen of Israel is to live in a sukkah, so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the people of Israel live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God.'”

We can comfortably say that this Feast will find its ultimate fulfillment with the New Jerusalem – which comes down out of heaven as the eternal heavenly dwelling place for redeemed man.  Interestingly, the dimensions of this stratosphere defying City are amazingly identical to the traditional “booth” or ”Tabernacle” constructed during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Notice the language used by John when the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven.

newjerRev 21: 2-3, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

The Greek word used here for “dwelling” is the same root word used in John 1:14 when it declares that God’s Word became flesh and “dwelt” among us.  The word literally means “to tabernacle”.  This word appears in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) in relation to the Feast of Sukkot.  Scripture teaches that God will tabernacle with us in the New Jerusalem.

Further Proof that Tabernacles Will Await Fulfillment Even After the 2nd Coming

For those who would accuse me of reading too much into the text of Revelation 21:2-3, there is more.

Zechariah 14:16 tells us that, in the coming Messianic age, the survivors of the nations, will be required to come annually to Jerusalem to worship the King during one particular feast.  Those nations who do not do so will experience famine:

“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”

I would argue that the reason Tabernacles is singled out as the only Feast still required to be observed during the future millennial Kingdom is that it will be the only Feast still awaiting fulfillment up to that time (when the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven as the celestial tabernacle – at the end of the 1,000 year reign)!  Remember, Sukkot is the last of the 7 Feasts of the Lord on the Hebrew calendar.

I would argue that this is more than mere conjecture… we can rest assured that if Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts (with exact and sequential precision) He will fulfill the Fall Feasts as well.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Why should Zechariah 14 even be understood literally?  Because it points to the sequel of a very literal and historical parallel event.

Yahweh’s Feet Upon The Mount of Olives & New Testament Confirmation of a Literal Fulfillment of Zech 12-14

The prophet Zechariah, in addition to laying out a clear Millennial scheme based on the observance of Tabernacles in the coming age, gives us an interesting detail about the “moment of contact” in which Yahweh (the God of Israel) descends to the earth at the end of days.  This detail is corroborated by the New Testament as we shall soon see:

“I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women ravaged. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord (Yahweh) will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.”  Zech 14:2-4

mt-olive-panoramic-1It is the location of Yahweh’s descent, which shows up later in the Book of Acts, that clearly affirms a literal hermeneutic regarding Zechariah 12-14 on the part of the disciples – namely Luke.  In Luke’s faithful telling of the ascension of the risen Messiah, he confirms the truthfulness of Zechariah’s prophecy written hundreds of years before:

“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”  Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city…”  Acts 1:10-12

The implications are clear:  In the first chapter of Acts the disciples are told (by angels no less) that the Messiah will return “in the same way” that He left.  He ascended physically, and visibly from the earth – and will return physically and visibly to the earth.  He ascended in the clouds of heaven and will return in the clouds of heaven.  But there is more…  He ascended, as the fullness of deity in bodily form, from the Mount of Olives – east of Jerusalem.  Is it any wonder that, according to Zechariah, Yahweh (God Almighty) will touch His feet upon the Mount of Olives when He comes at the end of days?  If this aspect of Zechariah’s vision is to be literal, pray tell why we should shift gears after verse 4 and interpret the rest (which is quite specific in detail) in an allegorical fashion?  Furthermore, is there a single prophecy concerning Messiah’s first coming that He did not fulfill literally – almost always hyper-literally!?

After presenting this Zechariah/Acts – Mount of Olives connection to multiple people, I have yet to hear an  interpretation that could point to a non-literal, allegorical “a-or-post” millennial eschatology.

In the next post we will look at an interesting tradition passed on by early rabbinic and Christian fathers in ancient times.  Their words, while not Scripture, give us insight into the early understanding of the “millennium”, based on the texts of Scripture.

Messiah In the Feasts and Their Eschatological Implications, Part 3/7 (First Fruits)

Tony Wray is not only a recording artist but is also a teacher, and lecturer; having taught Messianic apologetics at numerous conferences, churches, and congregations.  If you would like to view a list of referrals from leaders, scholars, and theologians, or are interested in having Tony speak at your congregation or event, send an e-mail to hazakimbooking@gmail.com.

In the last post we looked at Passover, and it’s ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah.  Staying in chronological order, the next Feast on the calendar is First Fruits…


First Fruits, also known as the “Feast of Weeks” (Bikkurim in Hebrew) is the third of the seven “Feasts of the Lord” commanded by the Lord to be celebrated by Israel.   

 “Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel.  I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.”       Exodus 34:22 

It was a designated time when Israel was to bring a sheaf (Hebrew: omer) of the firstfruits of the harvest to be waived by the priests before the Lord, and was to be observed the DAY AFTER THE SABBATH following Passover (or Sunday).  In essence, it was the dedication of the “brand new” and “first” of the seed which had been planted in the ground – blossoming into something new and beautiful.

Remember what happened the day after the Sabbath after the Passover Jesus died on?  That’s right!  Messiah became the “First Fruits” of the resurrection!

FULFILLED!!  That’s 2 for 2!

empty-tomb-jesusMark 16: 1, “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.  And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

Predicting His own death, Jesus draws a clear connection between His death and First Fruits when He says:

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  (John 12:23-24).

It is interesting to note that this very Chapter begins by telling us that the context of the chapter is the time of the Passover…it is logical to conclude that these words of Jesus were spoken at the time of First Fruits (the first Sunday after the Passover).  The use of “harvest language” in reference to His death is a clear allusion to First Fruits.

Paul, a Jewish believer in Yeshua who was very familiar with these details, further explained:

“But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah’s at His Coming” (1Corinthians 15:20-23).

resurrectionHe further develops this “First Fruits” concept of the resurrection in verse 35 of the same chapter:

“But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”  (1Corinthians 15:35-44).

Praise God! Since Messiah has risen as the First Fruits of the new glorified resurrection body, we need not fear death!  It is simply the sowing of the corruptible in preparation for a harvest of incorruptible new and beautiful eternal bodies!

In the next post we will explore the next Feast day on God’s calendar: Shavu’ot, also known as “Pentecost”.  So much richness in God’s Word – excited to see what we can discover next!

Messiah In the Feasts and Their Eschatological Implications, Part 2/7 (Passover)

Tony Wray is not only a recording artist but is also a teacher, and lecturer; having taught Messianic apologetics at numerous conferences, churches, and congregations.  If you would like to view a list of referrals from leaders, scholars, and theologians, or are interested in having Tony speak at your congregation or event, send an e-mail to hazakimbooking@gmail.com.


The Spring Feasts

The Feasts of the Lord were given to Israel by God after their deliverance from bondage.  The Feasts, or “High Holy Days”, fall into 2 basic subsets:  the Spring Feasts, and the Fall Feasts.  The Spring Feasts begin with Passover and end with Shavu’ot/Pentecost.  After a seasonal gap the Feasts of the Lord commence in the fall.

Passover/Pesach & Unleavened Bread: Though these are two separate Feasts they are combined as they run concurrently.  Passover (14th of Nisan) falls in the March/April time-frame on the Gregorian calendar: Leviticus 23:5 tells us: “‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes the Pesach of the LORD.”


This Feast celebrates the deliverance of the Israelite slaves from Egypt. It is a tale of redemption through the killing of the Passover lamb whose blood was to be applied to the doorposts of their houses – an act of faith which would spare their firstborn from the curse of death. God promised that His own wrath, as well as “the messenger of death”, would “pass over” those houses with the blood on the doorposts, and spare the first born (Exodus 12:1-13). Those Israelites with the blood of the lamb on their doorposts were spared and were subsequently led from slavery in Egypt into freedom through the Exodus.  Anyone (Egyptian or Israeli) without the blood of the lamb applied, would be targeted for God’s wrath.

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat—that is all you may do. “ Exodus 12:12-16

Though the “Exodus generation” died in the wilderness because of their unbelief and sin, God provided all that was needed for redemption through their faith & obedience in applying the blood of the lamb to their dwelling places.  Passover commemorates this act of redemption and the freedom God provided through the blood of the lamb.

Prior to the Passover/Feast of Unleavened bread, all leaven or yeast is removed from the house of the participant.  Unleavened bread, or “matzah”, is eaten.  In Scripture this bread is often called the bread of affliction because it is born out of affliction.  In other words, since the Jews fleeing Egypt had no time to let the bread rise on account of their affliction it is called the bread of affliction.  So the unleavened bread is not a token of bondage but freedom from bondage and affliction.

Matzah also represents purity, since leaven is a metaphor for sin.  None of Egypt’s leaven was to invade this bread of redemption.  Through the redemption realized in the blood of the lamb, Israel was to experience a “new lump” of dough as it were – without the old leaven.

The Mystery of the “Afikomen”:

During the Passover meal (or seder), three pieces of matzah are placed in a compartmentalized bag.  At the beginning of the Seder the middle piece of matzah (or second piece of the triad), the “afikomen”, is removed, broken in half, and wrapped in a white linen cloth. It is the final food eaten at the end of the Seder. The Seder cannot continue or conclude until this afikomen is eaten.

afikomen-middle-matzah-WMThe word afikomen comes from the Greek verb eek-neh-omai which simply means “”That which finally comes” not “dessert” as it is commonly interpreted .

At the beginning of the Seder, after it has been broken and wrapped in linen, someone hides the afikomen and, during the meal, the children are sent off on a mission to find this hidden piece of matzah.  The child that finds it receives a reward.  Please keep the afikomen in mind as we continue…

Cup of Redemption:

A central item of the Passover seder is the cup of redemption.  Messianic Jewish scholar David Brickner explains it this way:

eliyahu-cup-L“The Passover cup is one of the central symbols of this holiday known as the Feast of Redemption. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures the cup is often used as a symbol of God’s judgment. For example, the cup of fury, the cup of judgment, the cup of trembling and the cup of horror and desolation appear throughout the Old Testament. Yet we also find the Psalmist crying out, I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:13). So the symbol of the cup carries with it pictures of both wrath and redemption, of judgment and blessing. Yet, how the cup became a Passover symbol remains a mystery. We do know that by the time Jesus observed the Passover, drinking a cup during the meal was an official part of the observance. In fact, an ancient rabbinic source, the Mishnah, instructs those celebrating to drink from the cup four times during the Passover seder (Pesahim 10:1). That tradition remains to this day.  This cup embodies the problem of judgment as well as the promise of redemption.”


Yeshua fulfilled this Feast on the very day of Passover – down to the hour.  His embodiment of the Sacrificial Lamb is declared from the beginning of John’s Gospel narrative:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

In one profound sentence of introduction, John summarizes the whole redemptive program revealed throughout the Old Testament.

In ALL 4 GOSPELS, the so called “Last Supper” is identified as the Passover meal  (Matt 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22, John 13:1).   The phrase “last supper” simply does not do justice to the relevance of Messiah’s fulfillment of Passover and divorces it from the beautiful richness of the context – turning the Passover shared between our Lord and his disciples into an arbitrary snack.


“Hey Peter, what have we got in the fridge?”…. “Oh, just a little pita bread and some grape juice”…. “Well, I guess that’ll do”.  Heaven forbid!  The holy day being observed and every element on the table was relevant beyond comprehension!

An in-depth look at Luke’s account of the Last Passover gives us some interesting insights….

Luke 22:14-15:  “And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.  And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Jesus, observing the Passover with his disciples before He goes to the cross, lifts the matzah – without leaven or sin – the bread born out of affliction which brings redemption, and declares that it is His Body.  And just as everyone at the Seder MUST eat the afikomen, all who desire heaven must partake of Yeshua’s body in the atonement.  The Cup of Redemption, the third cup in the seder, which is taken after the actual meal, was likely the cup that Yeshua took at his last seder saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Jesus declared that this new covenant would be poured from the cup of salvation in His blood. In Messiah this cup is ultimately fulfilled.  More than mere physical redemption from Egypt, it now also represents the plan and purpose of God in redeeming lost man from bondage to sin.

Jesus said “I am the bread of life…” — John 6:35.  And like the middle piece of the matzah triad known as the afikomen (hint: Father, Son, Spirit), His body was broken and wrapped in a white linen cloth. He was hidden away, buried in a grave and brought to life again.  And those who find Him, like the child who finds the Afikomen, receive a reward (eternal life).

Yeshua died ON PASSOVER, as the Lamb of God to free those who were in bondage to sin.  When we apply the blood of the lamb, we are set free and led into the Promised Land.

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul takes it a step further, admonishing the gentile believers there to live without leaven (sin) and to remember Jesus as our Passover – even admonishing them to KEEP THE FEAST in remembrance of Him!

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  1 Corinthians 5:6

In light of this, how can Passover NOT have relevance for New Covenant believers??

Messiah In the Feasts and Their Eschatological Implications, Part 1/7 (Intro)

Tony Wray is not only a recording artist but is also a teacher, and lecturer; having taught Messianic apologetics at numerous conferences, churches, and congregations.  If you would like to view a list of referrals from leaders, scholars, and theologians, or are interested in having Tony speak at your congregation or event, send an e-mail to hazakimbooking@gmail.com.

To kick off the new blog at hazakim.com I will be starting with a series of lectures I’ve shared at different theological conferences & congregations over the past couple of years regarding the Biblical Feast days and how they inform our view of eschatology (end times).  This will be a 7 part series, ending in a summation of the evidence.  Let’s dig in!

templeThe Feasts of the Lord – Pictures of Messiah

Questions That Will Be Answered in This Series:

1)      What are the Feasts of the Lord?

2)      In what ways do these Feasts point to the work of Jesus?

3)      Why are the Feasts of the Lord important to New Testament believers?

4)      What are the eschatological implications of these truths?

What This Series is Not:

1)      This series is NOT a call to legalism or a call for non Jews to live as Jews.

2)      This series is NOT a call to gain knowledge for “knowledge” sake in order to sound more spiritual than others.  This teaching has practical implications in the life of a believer.

What are the Feasts of the Lord   

The “Appointed Times of the Lord”, or “Moedim Elohim”, have their start in the Book of Genesis – before there ever was a nation called Israel.  Our first glimpse of “moedim” being mentioned is in Genesis 1:14-15,

“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years.”

The Hebrew word for sign here is the “Moed” and has the following meanings:

an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly; technically the congregation; place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand):—appointed (sign, time), place of solemn assembly, feast, (appointed, due) season

The plural form of this word is “moedim”.  These Feasts are directly linked to our galaxy as they are based on a lunar calendar and coincide with the cycles of the moon.  In other words, our galaxy was created, with its stars and planets, as a sort of timepiece – for seasons and appointed times & assemblies.


“Moedim” appear again upon the redemption of the nation of Israel from Egypt.  Through the great law-giver & prophet Moses, the Lord established specific national festivals which they were commanded to keep:

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord.   Lev 23: 1-3

Again the word “moed” appears, meaning “appointed time”.  The word used for “sacred assembly” in verse two, however, is “Mikra”, and literally means “rehearsal”.  And so the command here is for the nation to observe set times of sacred assembly for the purpose of rehearsing.  It is interesting to note that the Sabbath is also a “Mikra” (rehearsal) in addition to the “Feasts of the Lord”.   The question is:  What was Israel rehearsing for?

Before I answer that question let us review the implications of what we have already looked at:

These texts seem to imply that when God created the cosmic order and flung the planets and stars of our galaxy into their places, He set appointed times which were to be rehearsals for something(s) to come.

Notice that God did not say “these are the Feasts of Israel”, or “the Feasts of the Jews”.  These “appointed times” were God’s set appointments with His creation.   Though they were given to Israel they are never called “Jewish Feasts” or Jewish holidays” by the Lord.  More than cultural festivals, these are God’s sacred times of appointment with His people!

Upon reading both Old and New Testaments, it becomes clear that Jesus did major things on these Feast days in FULFILLMENT of their meaning.  It is no wonder that Jesus fulfilled these Feasts of the Lord as He is the promised Messiah of Israel.  First century believers in Yeshua understood that the feasts symbolized God’s plan of salvation through Yeshua, the long awaited Messiah. They continued to observe the feasts – as we will soon see – but with new joy and understanding of the substance that is the Messiah! 

We will look at the Feasts of the Lord, their Old Covenant origins and meaning, and their New Covenant fulfillments in Messiah.  We will see how God initiated these Feasts through His amazing deeds with the Nation of Israel, and how He brings their meaning to ultimate fulfillment through His Son.  It is important to note that, those Feasts which have reached their fulfillment were fulfilled ON THE VERY DAY of the Feasts…and IN SEQUENTIAL ORDER.  At this time, only the first set of Feasts (Spring Feasts) have been verifiably fulfilled.  The second set of feasts (The Fall Feasts) still await fulfillment.  We can also, based upon the background of the origins of the unfulfilled Feast Days – and in light of New Testament future promises, make an educated guess as to how Jesus will fulfill the rest.

We can rest assured that, if He fulfilled the FIRST set of Feasts of the Lord – bringing in the first phase of everlasting redemption – He will fulfill the rest.

In part 2, we will begin looking at the Spring Feasts of the Lord, as given to Israel, and how they point to – and magnify – the Messiah’s work of redemption.