Chag Yeshua

Chag Yeshua Aug 27-Sep 2

(The Feast of Yeshua (Deliverance)

What is Chag Yeshua?

The Feast of Deliverance or “Chag Yeshua” is an ancient festival once kept by the Jewish people.  Chag Yeshua is not a feast from the Torah, it is instead comparable to the feasts of Purim and Channukah.  These feasts were established in and through Scripture by the authority of the Elders.

What is the background of this festival? After the Battle of Raphia in 217 B.C.E. Ptolemy IV sought to enter the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem, but was miraculously repulsed (3Macc. 1:1-2:24). Upon returning from Egypt he seeks to punish the Jews there for his humiliation. He lowers their political status and seeks to impose paganism on them (3Macc. 2:25-33) and tortures and kills those that refuse to renounce Judaism (3Macc. 3:1-5:51) An elder priest named Eleazar prays for the deliverance of his people (3Macc. 6:1-25), YHWH intervenes bringing about the repentance of the king and the deliverance of the Jews (6:16-7:23) The Jews declared an annual festival called “The Feast of Deliverance” (Chag Yeshua) as an annual celebration of the salvation of the Jews in Egypt at this time. The festival enacted from the 8th to the 14th of the Egyptian month of Epeiph. The Egyptian calendar was a Solar Calendar and these days correspond to 19 August 217 BCE on the Julian Calendar and this was 12th Elul 3544 on the Hebrew calendar. This festival should be observed beginning on the 12th of Elul each year.

And there is another element in this festival for us as believers in Messiah. The Hebrew word for “deliverance” is YESHUA so we have here “The Feast of Yeshua”. The deliverance of the Jews from the hand of Ptolemy IV points us forward to the deliverance of Israel by the Messiah Yeshua. This feast gives us another important theme, Messiah and the deliverance of Israel.

How to Celebrate the Feast

What do we do on Chag Yeshua? The text of 3 Maccabees tells us that the day was celebrated with rejoicing and they “were crowned with all kinds of fragrant flowers.” The text also tells us that they:

1. A celebratory meal called “The Banquet of Deliverance” or “The Banquet of Yeshua”. This should not be confused with the Passover Sader and would be more akin to a “Thanksgiving Dinner”, or this time of year, a barbeque. (3Macc. 6:31)

2. Traditional songs (“Songs of their fathers”) and praising Yah as “savior”. Particularly appropriate are songs about “Salvation” or which speak of Yah’s defense as our shield. (3Macc. 6:32)
Recommended Chag Yeshua songs:

Deliverance/Protection/Victory Theme:
And it Shall Come to Pass
Melech Ozair
As the Mountains
Shield about Me
In the Shadow of your Wings
Shouts of Joy

Yeshua (the Messiah) Theme:
Do You Know Yeshua?
In Yeshua’s Name
Rejoicing Theme:
He Put Laughter into My Soul
He has Made me Glad
Roni Bat Tzion

3. Traditional Hebraic Dance (3Macc. 6:35)

4. Obviously the festival should involve recounting the story of 3 Maccabees.

Since the festival is in the summer (at least in the northern hemisphere) this points obviously to summer festivities. Modern activities could include barbeques and pool parties.

So plan your own Chag Yeshua events for Chag Yeshua

A Time for Intercessory Prayer
While the general theme of 3rd Maccabees (deliverance) is common in the Scriptures (deliverance from: Pharaoh, Haman, Antiochus Epiphanies etc.) the Chag Yeshua story is unique because it names only two protagonists. These two “heros in named in the Chag Yeshua story of 3rd Maccabees are Simon the High Priest and Eleazar the Priest are both prayer warriors. This is no accident, the lesson of the Chag Yeshua story is the power of prayer, it is a book whose two heroes are prayer warriors.

Simon’s prayer is found in 3rd Maccabees 2:1-20. This Simon, “Simon the Righteous” (219-196 B.C.E.), was one of the last members of the Great Assembly which had been established by Ezra. The Mishna says:

Simeon the Righteous was of the remnants
of the Great Assembly. He used to say, “On three
things the world stands: On the Torah,
On the [Temple] Service,
and on acts of piety (chasidim).
(m.Avot 1:2)

Ben Sira calls him “the leader of his brothers and the pride of his people.” (50:1) and dedicates an entire chapter to his good reputation (Sira 50). Simon was the earliest post-biblical sage cited in the Mishna.

The climax of the story follows a prayer by Eleazar the Priest (3Macc. 6:1-15)

The story lays out the deliverance from Israel and the place that intercessory prayer played in that deliverance.

This is a great time of year to engage in intercessory prayer for the salvation of all Israel and Judah!

The Amidah and Chag Yeshua

Over 2,000 years ago Ptolemy IV Philopater attempted to destroy the Jewish people.  YHWH intervened on our behalf when El’azar of Alexandria stood up and prayed for YHWH to intercede for the Jewish people saying:

1 And El’azar, an illustrious cohen of the country, who had attained to length of days, and whose life had been adorned with virtue, caused the Elders who were about him to cease to cry out to the set-apart Elohim, and prayed thus:
2 O king, mighty in power, most high, Almighty Elohim, who regulate the whole creation with your tender mercy,
3 look upon the seed of Avraham, upon the children of the sanctified Ya’akov, your sanctified inheritance, O Father, now being wrongfully destroyed as strangers in a strange land.
(3Macc. 6:1-3)

Note how these words have an uncanny parallel the opening prayer of the Amidah (called “AVOT” the fathers):

Baruch Atah YHWH Eloheynu v’Elohey a vo taynoo.
Elohey Avraham, Elohey Yitzchak V’Elohey Ya a kov,
Ha EL Ha Gadol, Ha Geebor, v’Ha Nora,
El Elyon, go mail chasadeem toveem, v’konay ha kol.
v’zo care chas day ahvot oo mayvee go ail leevnay v’nay hem
l’ma an sh’mo b’a havah.
Melech Ozair U’MaSHEEAH u OO ‘MAGEN
Baruch Atah YHWH, Magen Avraham!

Blessed Are You YHWH, our Elohim and Elohim of our fathers;
Elohim of Avraham, Elohim of Yitzchak, Elohim of Yaacov,
the great and mighty and awesome Elohim, the most high Elohim,
who bestows grace and creates all
and remembers the kindnesses of the fathers
and brings a Redeemer to their children’s
children, for His Name’s sake with love.
O King, helper Savior and Shield!
Blessed are You YHWH. Shield of Avraham.

Let us each recite this prayer in honor of Chag Yeshua, invoking YHWH to protect His people from the designs of the Enemy. Psalm 27 is Prayed both in Morning and Afternoon.

Psalms Chapter 27 תְּהִלִּים

א  לְדָוִד:    יְהוָה, אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי–מִמִּי אִירָא;
יְהוָה מָעוֹז-חַיַּי,    מִמִּי אֶפְחָד.
1 [A Psalm] of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
ב  בִּקְרֹב עָלַי, מְרֵעִים–    לֶאֱכֹל אֶת-בְּשָׂרִי:
צָרַי וְאֹיְבַי לִי;    הֵמָּה כָשְׁלוּ וְנָפָלוּ.
2 When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.
ג  אִם-תַּחֲנֶה עָלַי, מַחֲנֶה–    לֹא-יִירָא לִבִּי:
אִם-תָּקוּם עָלַי, מִלְחָמָה–    בְּזֹאת, אֲנִי בוֹטֵחַ.
3 Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident.
ד  אַחַת, שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת-יְהוָה–    אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ:
שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה,    כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי;
לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם-יְהוָה,    וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,to behold the graciousness of the LORD, and to visit early in His temple.
ה  כִּי יִצְפְּנֵנִי, בְּסֻכֹּה–    בְּיוֹם רָעָה:
יַסְתִּרֵנִי, בְּסֵתֶר אָהֳלוֹ;    בְּצוּר, יְרוֹמְמֵנִי.
5 For He concealeth me in His pavilion in the day of evil; He hideth me in the covert of His tent; He lifteth me up upon a rock.
ו  וְעַתָּה יָרוּם רֹאשִׁי, עַל אֹיְבַי סְבִיבוֹתַי,    וְאֶזְבְּחָה בְאָהֳלוֹ, זִבְחֵי תְרוּעָה;
אָשִׁירָה וַאֲזַמְּרָה,    לַיהוָה.
6 And now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me; and I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices with trumpet-sound;
I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
ז  שְׁמַע-יְהוָה קוֹלִי אֶקְרָא;    וְחָנֵּנִי וַעֲנֵנִי. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I call with my voice, and be gracious unto me, and answer me.
ח  לְךָ, אָמַר לִבִּי–בַּקְּשׁוּ פָנָי;    אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ יְהוָה אֲבַקֵּשׁ. 8 In Thy behalf my heart hath said: ‘Seek ye My face’; Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
ט  אַל-תַּסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ, מִמֶּנִּי–    אַל תַּט-בְּאַף, עַבְדֶּךָ:
עֶזְרָתִי הָיִיתָ;    אַל-תִּטְּשֵׁנִי וְאַל-תַּעַזְבֵנִי, אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׁעִי.
9 Hide not Thy face from me; put not Thy servant away in anger;Thou hast been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
י  כִּי-אָבִי וְאִמִּי עֲזָבוּנִי;    וַיהוָה יַאַסְפֵנִי. 10 For though my father and my mother have forsaken me, the LORD will take me up.
יא  הוֹרֵנִי יְהוָה, דַּרְכֶּךָ:    וּנְחֵנִי, בְּאֹרַח מִישׁוֹר–לְמַעַן, שׁוֹרְרָי. 11 Teach me Thy way, O LORD; and lead me in an even path, because of them that lie in wait for me.
יב  אַל-תִּתְּנֵנִי, בְּנֶפֶשׁ צָרָי:    כִּי קָמוּ-בִי עֵדֵי-שֶׁקֶר, וִיפֵחַ חָמָס. 12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine adversaries; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence.
יג  לוּלֵא–הֶאֱמַנְתִּי, לִרְאוֹת בְּטוּב-יְהוָה:    בְּאֶרֶץ חַיִּים. 13 If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!–
יד  קַוֵּה, אֶל-יְהוָה:    חֲזַק, וְיַאֲמֵץ לִבֶּךָ; וְקַוֵּה, אֶל-יְהוָה. 14 Wait on the LORD; be strong, and let thy heart take courage; yea, wait thou for the LORD.

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