By Joseph Shulam
Shabbat before the Passover is called Shabbat HaGadol (The Great Sabbath). The source of this name for comes from the Haftarah the reading from the Prophet Malachi 3:23, on this Shabbat.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. (Malachi 3:23)
Malachi is speaking of the day of salvation. Which is the “great and terrible day of the Lord.” The Passover, which is the ultimate day of salvation and redemption is the hallmark and the pattern of the final salvation and redemption. It is the model of what the final redemption of the World will look like as it is described in the book of Revelation. It will be a swift move of God, the destruction of the enemy and the deliverance of God’s people from slavery into freedom and from darkness into light. This day of the Lord will not be easy nor will it be pleasant until the very end when history will end and Para-History will begin for all of humanity. The traditional Jewish view point is expressed in the Talmud by Rabbi Yehoshua who said: “In Nissan the world was created … the bondage of our ancestors ceased in Egypt; and in Nissan the world will be redeemed in time to come.” (Babylonian Talmud Tractate Rosh HaShanah 11a)
According to tradition, Elijah has a primary role in the Messianic age, for this reason just on the Sabbath before the deliverance from Egypt we call is: Shabbat HaGadol, the GREAST SABBATH remembering the text of Malachi and the promise of God for the ultimate salvation and redemption of the whole World.
It is tradition that the day that Israel left Egypt was on Thursay 15th day of Nissan. God commanded to kill the Passover Lamb on the 14th day of Nissan. It was on the 10th of Nissan that the Torah commands the Israelites to kill the Lamb.
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, “In the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house.” (Exodus 12:3)
When the Israelite families each took a Lamb on the 10th day of the month it made the Egyptians very curious and they wanted to know what is going onThe Israelites pleaded with Pharaoh to release the Jews. When Pharaoh refused, Jewish tradition has it that the firstborn of Egypt rebelled and attacked their own parents. This is one of the consideration why this Sabbath is considered as the Great and terribl day of God. Therefore, the day is considered great, due to the miracle of God which was manifest and the subsequent unraveling of Egyptian society. By slaughtering the lamb which was an object of Egyptians worship, Israel gave the first event that demonstrated their liberation from Egyptian dominion and freedom from spiritual slavery.
When the LORD told Moses to slay the paschal lamb, according to Rabbinic tradition Moses answered: “If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us?” (Exodus 8:22) Tradition says that God replied: “As you live, Israel will not depart from here before they slaughter the Egyptian gods before their very eyes, that I may teach them that their gods are really nothing at all.'” On that night God did slaughter the first born of Egypt and their gods at the same time. The Midrash says: “While the Egyptians were burying them that the Lord had smitten among them, even all their firstborn; upon their gods also the Lord executed judgment. (Midrash Rabbah – Exodus 16:3)
We find out that this act was not easy for the Israelites also, because they too worshiped the gods of Egypt as Joshua son of Nun said: “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!” (Joshua 24:14)
For this reason the Sabbath that precedes the 15th of Nissan that is the Passover is significant and is called Shabbat HaGadol – the Great Sabbath, and Malachi chapter 3:23 is read in all the Synagogues.
In order to understand the idea we must remember first that Shabbat is a celebration of creation. Shabbat is the queen of all the holidays, and it the regulating force of both nature and humanity. The other biblical holidays are commemoration of historical events and agricultural seasons. The Passover actually begins on the 14th day of the month of Nissan that is according to the Biblical calendar the first month and the 14th day is the day of the first full moon of the Hebrew year. In essens the Passover is a divine precept that starts the biblical calendar for the whole year. It is the beginning of the yearly system and it seems according to Malachi that the end of time will have some of the same elements like the beginning of the calendar. See the following text:
And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: “This month shall be to you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘In the tenth day of this month they shall take every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house.'” (Exodus 12:1-3)
It looks like the sacrifice of the Lamb makes it a kind parallel for the Israelites like a sacrifice of of the symbol of time, or it could be said the sacrifice of the beginning of time that is also going to be the pattern of the end of time. The text of Malachi and Shabbat HaGadol before the Passover Holiday is a kind of RESET of time that counts the salvation and redemption from Egypt as a pre-curser of the salvation and redemption of the end of time. It gives time and our calendar a reminder that Time is controlled by God and it has a beginning and an end.
Pray with me for the poor population of Syria. Already half a million people have been killed in Syria by the Assad government and by the so-called opposition to Assad – the rabbles. The attack by Syrian airplanes against helpless civilian population with bombs containing Chemical weapons (deadly nerve gas). As disciples of Yeshua our Messiah we can’t remain unaffected by such acts of barbarism. The least we can do is pray for the following:
- We pray that the Lord will impress upon all sides in this horrid war in Syria and Iraq to end as soon as possible.
- We pray for the Lord to deliver the region from evil and cruel dictators like the Assad government that has ruled Syria with the support of Iran and Russia for more than 40 years with such cruelty as gas warfare. The father of Bashar Assad Hafez used Chemical weapons and killed tens of thousands of people and now his son Bashar is surpassing his father and killing hundreds of thousands of people.
- Pray that the countries of the world that have any kind of moral and sensible governments and the United Nations will put a stop to the killing and slaughter of innocent civilian population and of women and children.
- Pray that the world take an example from Israel. Even though Syria is an enemy country – our hospitals are giving medical help and treating more than 3000 victims of Assad’s cruelty. Israel is also taking orphaned children from Syria and giving them all the care that they need without consideration of their religious and ethnic identity.
- Pray that the United States of America will take the high road and not ignore the situation and do what was done in the last eight years. Pray that the new administration of the USA will take military action to stop the atrocities and cruelty of the Assad government.
- Pray that Vladimir Putin will be touched by the Spirit of God and if he has any Christian faith (Russian Orthodox) it will be awakened and his values and principles will bring him and Russia to help stop the war in Syria and Iraq and not encourage the Assad and Iran camp.
- Pray that God will bless and protect Israel during these days of the Passover and give good sense and wisdom to the Palestinians and to the Israelis and to Russia and the USA to have the wisdom to promote a true and bible based peace between all the children of Abraham in the flesh, both the sons of Abraham through Isaac and through Ishmael.
Pray for Netivyah and the young leadership. They are doing a wonderful job and bringing a renewal and zeal into the Netivyah ministry and in the congregation and they need your support in prayer and in finances.
Pray that the good work that Netivyah is doing in humanitarian provision of food for the poor of Jerusalem will be sustained and supported for a blessing to the poor of Jerusalem and the Holocaust survivors and new immigrants and for the Orthodox Jewish community and some Arab families that we provide food. Netivyah HaMotzi (food distribution – formally called the Soup Kitchen) has received the highest possible acclaim by the people who receive the food and by the Social Welfare department of the city of Jerusalem.
We also want to continue to bless the young generation of young disciples of Yeshua in this land, both Jews and Arab, with study scholarships. We are now providing scholarships for 19 Students in the institutions of higher learning (colleges and Universities in Israel) and several scholarships to Arab Christian Student. We want to increase these scholarships because they are an investment into the future of the Disciples of the Messiah in this land. Please pray for the scholarship fund.
We have for several years blessed the believing soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces with special gifts that are useful to them during their service and after. This last March we have blessed them with a set of Leatherman tools (not something cheap) and we have received several wonderful responses of how important this is for the moral and spirit of these young servants of God and country. The project has been possible because of the support of one congregation in DFW. We want to do more and we want to expand this very encouraging and unifying and building the body of the Messiah in Israel action. Please pray for us and with us to make this project a more than once per year project and to also help some soldiers who come from very needy families with more than just a useful gift one or two times per year.
Please go to facebook.com and to the Netivyah page and see the videos that Yuda is doing.
Please go to www.netivyah.org web page and read and download the Teaching from Magazine and other teaching both written and audio. It is all free! We depend on the grace of God and on the generosity of our brothers and sisters in the Messiah.
Please pray for Marcia and me! We seem to be busier as we get older and the demand on our time is greater. We will be leading a group of members and guest from Netivyah and from the Roeh Israel Congregation through the SEVEN Churches of Revelation. They are all in Turkey and Turkey has had some challenging terrorist events. We need God’s protection and grace for this trip. Marcia is coming with me and so are a few other brothers and sisters who have some physical limitations. We need your prayer for protection and safety.
Last week I send to extra special requests for healing. This week I am including those special requests in this Jerusalem Prayer List:
Please continue to pray for Tineke. Tineke had breast cancer. Now the cancer has returned and she needs our prayers for healing. Please also pray for Ynon Ben David and Emily. The name Ynon is one of the names of the Messiah from the Psalms. He is a very young baby with a breathing problem. It is hard for Ynon and especially hard for his mother and family. We have strong faith that the Lord will speedily heal this baby and raise him up healthy and strong and give him long life to be able to see the return of the Messiah with his own eyes.
Pray for the following brothers and sisters from Israel and around the World: Yehuda H., Yael E., Keijo and Salme, Sister Airi, who is sick and she has just yesterday lost her husband Pekka, Leah K., David S., Sarit, Miriam, Hannah K., Ruby L., Greg, Benjamin Sol, Daniel P., Ahuva, Ilana, Joe M., Emmet M., Gloria D., Bobby M., Ruby, John M., Gary, Aharon H., Yuri M., Tim Tucker, Anna-Majia, Erki and Sirpa, Liz J., Horace and June S., Marcelo’s father and mother, Paulo, Naomi, Clara, Pra. Curita, Toru San, Yumi’s husband, Sadako San, Shoko San, Takeo Sensei and Tomoko San, Barry our son is doing so much better and we praise the Lord for His mercy and healing, Danah and especially for Noaam S.
I have other brothers and sisters that I pray for but don’t list in this list. I am sure that you too have people who need prayer for healing and success. I want to encourage you to make a prayer list and pray for these people seriously. There is a blessing from God for those who pray for others and mention the needs of brothers and sisters in their prayers.
I ask you to pray for some friends who have a need for God’s blessing on their work: Chung and Sister Lee. I have special concern for our dear brother Bro. Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Kenzevic, and Daniel L., and his company and his family. Pray for our dear brother David H., and his family in Finland. These are brothers who have needs in their work and God is gracious to bless and help those who have concern to bless others. Pray for Roger, a dear brother who has been standing with Netivyah and many others for many years and now he needs special grace and strength to walk in the goodness and grace of the LORD with joy and prosper his life and his work.
To all of you who are praying for this list! I can honestly say that we see the hand of God in healing and blessing for so many of the people for whom we are praying. May the Lord bless you and keep your prayer pure and honest and bring your prayers before the throne of mercy.
Pray for all of Israel and the Jewish community worldwide during the Pessach Feast. Ask for the revelation of the Lord in the Passover Seder.
Happy Passover to all!
God bless you all who pray for Israel and for the Peace of Jerusalem. May the good Lord keep all HIS blessings flowing to you and from you for the body of the Messiah worldwide.
Blessings to all of you,