Elul 12-18 (Aug. 27-Sept. 2nd, 2015) (Begins evening of Aug. 26th)
There is an amazing and important festival on the Biblical calendar which has been lost and has (until recent years) not been observed for centuries. The establishment of this feast is recorded in 3rd Maccabees just as the establishment of Channukah is recorded in 1st, 2nd and 4th Maccabees.
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.
Of course there is another element in this festival for us as believers in Yeshua as 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.
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