(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:
And it Shall Come to Pass
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
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).
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
2,228 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.
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.
Rabbi Rob Miller's 2012 Chag Yeshua Message