Sid: We want everyone everywhere to get the heart of the One New Man glorious congregation because God’s glory is about ready to fall on this earth, and you better get your patterns right or you won’t be able to contain the glory that’ll be coming on this earth. That’s why as my guest I have Kevin Howard Hebraic scholar, Bible teacher, because… actually the reason God directed me to Kevin is I was given a gift. It’s such a wonderful gift, it’s a book, but it is a hardback book it’s about “The Feasts of the Lord,” that’s the title. I’m just opening up at random and I happened to open up because there’s a 150 full color photographs, a picture of a Passover table. I have the author Kevin Howard who I’m speaking to him at his home in Cincinnati on the telephone. This is… I mean anyone would be able to come inside of the Last Supper which was a Passover Seder with this particular picture here. Kevin this is beautiful! One of my favorite ingredients is here Elijah’s cup because we all… because Elijah is supposed to announce the coming of the Messiah and it’s almost like a game when I was a child. My sister and I would run to the door, front door, and open the door to see if Elijah was there. My grandfather would always send us there. I’m just kind of curious, obviously this was staged but this was the most beautiful photograph of a Passover table. Tell me a bit about it.
Kevin: Well that… a lot of those elements on that table are my own personal things from Passover.
Sid: Oh you must have one wonderful Passover…. No wonder you told me that was your favorite festival!
Kevin: So we used what we use for our personal Passover. So you know people can get the imagery in their minds of what a Passover table is like. You notice on the full page spread there every item is diagramed and explained.
Sid: Let’s go to Rosh Hashanah since Rosh Hashanah is this Friday night it begins. Tell me a bit about it.
Kevin: Well Rosh Hashanah is known as the Feast of Trumpets. Biblically the observance of Rosh Hashanah was the blowing of the shofar. That was the command in scripture “Blow the shofar and keep it a day of Sabbath rest.” What has been carried over till today is the name was changed to Rosh Hashanah emphasizing the tradition that that’s the beginning of the civil year, that is all the harvest is past now we begin a new agricultural year. So it’s known as Rosh Hashanah today which literally means in the Hebrew Head of the Year. So it is the Jewish new year it’s a tradition today to send cards well-wishing Jewish New Year cards to your friends and family.
Sid: Tell me a bit about the shofar.
Kevin: The shofar is very interesting. I’m glad that you asked that Sid because in scripture this 5th holiday, or Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, God did not command the people to specifically take the shofar He said simply it was to be a day of blowing, as in sounding the trumpet. Historically the Jewish people, the nation of Israel had 2 trumpets that God had commanded Moses to build and construct in Numbers chapter 10. They were long flared instruments used in the temple sounded over the sacrifices. Then there was also the shofar which was the horn a ram. It couldn’t be a cow because a cow reminded the Jewish people of the golden calf and the idolatry at Sinai. So the shofar is a musical instrument was the horn of a ram. It reminds people of the ram that was caught in the thicket as provision for Isaac’s deliverance there on Mount Moriah. But the shofar the rabbis said that was the instrument to be used for this feast, and there is some scriptural basis for it on Yom Kippur just a few days later God said that on that holiday that the shofar was to blow every 50th year to announce the Yovel, or the Jubilee year. So the shofar is sounded on this day.
Sid: There’s an ancient rabbinic view as to what happens to the devil when he hears the shofar. Tell me about it I love to hear about this.
Kevin: That is a great tradition. The rabbis say that the reason for the trumpet or the shofar sounding is to confound Satan, referred to popularly as confounding Satan. So on Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, the shofar will be sounded many times in the synagogue anywhere from long blasts, to 3 short blasts, to 9 staccato blasts. It’ll be sounded many many times traditionally over 100 times that day to confound Satan. You might say “Why does it confound Satan?” Well the tradition says “That when Satan hears the shofar blow he will think the Messiah has come and that his time is up.” So it confounds him and it’s blown to confound Satan the great enemy of God’s people.
Sid: You know in your book you also explain what happens in a synagogue. You actually explain the synagogue liturgy. Why did you put that in there?
Kevin: Well I thought it was very important because the synagogue liturgy Sid today a large portion of it reflects temple liturgy in the days of Jesus. I mean ancient temple liturgy a lot of its been pulled forward and there’s lot of good passages of scripture that are read and still preserved in very beautiful readings and liturgy of the synagogue today. It’s very uplifting, it’s very important but on this holiday part of the liturgy spends its time exalting God as King and Ruler, a big portion of the liturgy is devoted to that. As well as His majesty, as well as His remembrances of His everlasting covenant to His people. So those are very important themes in scripture and they’re reflected in that liturgy.
Sid: Now you also, and this is for every Biblical festival, you have the traditional foods. What can we expect on this festival?
Kevin: Well the traditional food, which I’m sure you had it in your background as well the community I live in is apples and honey. It might sound like a strange food for Rosh Hashanah whenever we’re thinking of it as being a somber day of preparing repentance for Yom Kippur coming up, since it is the Jewish New Year apples dipped in honey are eaten to symbolize and wish for a sweet and glorious coming new year. So it’s pretty much universal food eaten on that day.
Sid: Of course you have a chapter in here called “Israel’s Dark Day,” explain that.
Kevin: Well it’s interesting and very unique to me as I look at this holiday that Rosh Hashanah, or Trumpets, is the only holiday out of the 7 that occurs at the beginning of the month when the moon is dark. You look at it Passover begins Nissan 14 the middle of the month the moon is full, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits the moon is full. Tabernacles the moon is full and bright, but this day the moon is dark it’s only a small sliver. I believe it fits in again with the prophetic significance that Trumpets points forward to time of great judgment. The prophets all spoke about it, and most of the New Testament writers too speak of a time of great judgment called “The Day of the Lord” when God stands up in great wrath to judge the wicked of this earth in preparation for Messiah’s glorious return and setting up of His eternal Messianic kingdom.
Sid: Then of course you talk about the last trump.
Kevin: Yes the last trump is tied to this holiday because only twice in scripture are we told God blows a shofar and it’s very important. God sounded the shofar at Mount Sinai when He prepared to bring the nation of Israel into the Mosaic covenant. We’re told in Zechariah chapter 9 as well as the New Testament that God will again sound, it’s called the Trump of God, or God’s Shofar, He will sound that again whenever he sends Messiah back to judge the wicked, to deliver His people, and set up His kingdom. So there’s a future day of Trumpets when God Himself will blow the shofar.
Sid: I really don’t understand how non-Jewish Christian can understand the depth and the riches of the New Covenant, or the Old Covenant at all with not understanding the Biblical festivals as you have them laid out in this book.
Kevin: I agree it’s all tied affect point of illustration when Paul said “Messiah our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us.” How can we fully understand the work of Messiah upon the cross if we don’t understand what He did as our Passover Lamb? It’s all wrapped up in these prophetic feasts and portraits of Messiah and His works.
Sid: You have some very interesting thing in the book. You have a 10 year Biblical calendar to tell over the next decade when the Biblical festivals are. Now there’s no point and reason why you did not go beyond 10 years is there?
Kevin: Actually I believe it was about 20 years but it’s just a matter of how many fit on a page.
Sid: Oh I thought you meant He was going to be coming in 10 years, okay (laughing).
Kevin: Well hopefully He comes in the next year, hopefully even in our days very soon.
Sid: Okay we go through the 10 days of repentance and prayer and we come to Yom Kippur, what is that?
Kevin: Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement Israel’s Day of Atonement. In fact it can’t be emphasized enough that Yom Kippur was the most solemn day of the year for Israel and even today in the synagogue. It is the most solemn day of the year in fact scripture says it was to be a day of afflicting the soul which is defined by some of the other writers as day of fasting.
Sid: You know I’m just looking through your book. The print is just so readable, the white is so white, the colors are so magnificent in this book, but you talk about the 2 goats, and you talk about the confession of the high priest. I mean very few Christians understand these things. You talk about the burning of the incense and you explain that. The sprinkling of the blood, the scapegoat, then you talk about… I remember this my father used to share this in Poland. He would, my grandfather would take a chicken by the neck and swing it around his neck and they’d break the neck, and this chicken would die for his sins he would say.
Kevin: Wow that’s amazing because that ceremony is not seen that often, it’s a very rare ceremony.
Sid: Well I never seen it my father told me about it.
Kevin: Well it’s called kaparot, and it still exist today in some of the Chasidic ultra-Orthodox circles, but even that ties back to the basic understanding that a covering for sins, which is what Yom Kippur means, a Day of Covering, or a Day of Atonement, only was possible through a blood sacrifice. In fact that’s what the Lord said “I’ve given you the blood on the altar for a covering (kefar) an atonement for your souls.”
Sid: I’m sorry our time is up we’ll pick up right here tomorrow.