As we approach the autumn and winter seasons we need to understand the importance of these times, prophetically, apart from the feasts of the seventh month. I believe we concentrate on the feasts of the seventh month and then forget about any other times of Yah until the spring feasts. I have come to see that we are missing something in-between.
This season represents a time of TRANSITION – the ending of one agricultural season and the beginning of another. Beginning in the fall, the last of the old crops, (with olives being the last) is harvested and the planting of the next years crops begin.
We know that Yah bases His calendar upon the agricultural seasons of Israel (or should I say the seasons of Israel are based upon the calendar of Yah?). What we have missed between the feasts of the seventh month and the spring feasts is the all important “rainy season”. If not for the rainy season there would be no celebration of the spring feasts for there would be no crops from which to celebrate.
Rain is extremely precious in Israel.
The 8th month, Cheshvan (end of Oct-Nov), begins the period of the rainy and winter season in Israel. The rainy season lasts until spring without any letting up. On Shemini Atzeret they begin to pray for the coming rains to be sent. If no rains have started by the 17th day of Chesvan they really begin to pray. (Noah’s flood began on Cheshvan 17th). There are usually no rains in Israel from spring (Mar-Apr) until they begin again in the month of Chesvan.
In Hebrew there are four words for rain:
Yoreh or Moreh – the former or early rains beginning in Chesvan (late October to early December)
Geshem – Heavy winter rains (used twice in story of Noah) our months of December until spring
Malkosh – late rain or later rains –the rains of spring (Mar-Apr)
Matar – (maybe of Akadian or Arabian origin) meaning to be rained upon. From this word they get their modern word for umbrella.
We can see here the importance of rain for them; three words for rain depicting the importance of each in its due season.
Did you know that Torah is thought of like rain. HOW?
Isaiah 55:1 Oh everyone who thirsts, come to the waters...
Deut. 32: 1-2 Give ear, O you heavens, and I will speak, and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.
The root word for Torah is yarah meaning "to flow as water-rain, to throw water or rain, to throw, to shoot like an archer with an arrow, to point out, to teach, cast, direct, instruct". The word has both noun and verb parts.
The verb of yarah is connected to the act of raining and to teaching or instruction.
The masculine noun of the word yarah is yoreh, the early rain or moreh meaning early rain or teacher. The feminine noun is torah – meaning teachings and instructions.
We should be able to see that rain is very important coming from the same root word as Torah. Hence, rain is like Torah! Torah is like rain in scripture!
But more than Torah is likened to rain. Many promises are made in scripture denoting an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God's people in the latter days and these scriptures relate to a pouring-out like water.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.
Joel 2:28-29 It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 'Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
Zechariah 12:10 I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
We see this season of the year, which represents symbolically the TRANSITION from the Older Covenant promises or the pouring out of the former and later rains to the actual fulfillment of the promise in Yeshua the Messiah, in the following Brit Hadashah passages:
Matthew 3:11 As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3:16 After being baptized, Yeshua came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost (Shavuot) had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, ....
What about those living waters that are promised?
Zechariah 14:8 And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
In Ezekiel chapter 47:1-12 we read of living waters flowing from the Millennial temple. The waters are flowing forth from the Most Holy Place. This will be where the throne of the Messiah resides. These will be healing and living waters to the earth.
We find the fulfillment of these living waters in Revelation 22:1:
And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out the throne of God and of the Lamb.
As we see, most of the time rain, as recorded in scripture, denotes God's grace and blessings as described above. However, sometimes it wasn't a good thing. It brought His wrath. Think of Noah.
The door is open prior to the rains. When the rains begin, the door is shut. In order to be safe, we must hear the voice of the shepherd before He shuts the door. We can consider this a season of the rainy/winter sheepfolds - another TRANSITION that takes place during this season.
In John chapter 10, Yeshua has a lot to say about sheep, sheepfolds, and shepherds. He states that He is the good shepherd of the sheep. It was the shepherd's job to give the proper care to his sheep. Yeshua here tells us that he is the proper owner, protector and caregiver for His sheep.
Two different sheepfolds are being discussed here. In verses 1-5 Yeshua is discussing the rainy season (late Oct – spring) sheepfold. In verses 7-18 He is discussing the warm spring and summer, early autumn sheepfold.
In the warm months, the sheep and shepherd stayed out in the fields, even at night. A rough, makeshift sheepfold was made to protect the sheep at night or in times of danger. The only opening was the door and the shepherd would lay across the door so that nothing got in or out without going through him. Hence, Yeshua is the door! Verses 7-18.
During the cold, dark, and rainy months a more permanent shelter was used for the sheep. Oftentimes, for small herders, the sheep as well as the other animals were brought into attachments built onto the house.
For large herders or community sheep there were places kept by the community wherein the sheep from many herders were kept together in a secure and locked up dwelling and a doorkeeper was provided to care and secure the sheep. The shepherds in this case were not worried about their sheep being mixed up with other flocks all in one place because the sheep all knew the voice of their own shepherd. The door keeper would only open to the shepherds who were keeping sheep there. The individual sheep would only follow their shepherd when he opened the door and called to them. Hence, Yeshua is not worried about the wheat and tares being mixed together, or his sheep and other sheep, because when He calls, they will be separated. His sheep will come to Him and the others will not because they don’t know His voice (John 10:1-5).
During these cold and rainy months the shepherd had to provide food for his sheep. The grass was dead, no grazing for themselves. He would have to call them out and feed what he had collected for them to eat: tender twigs, branches, whatever dry remains of brush or grass that he could find. Their survival depended solely upon him.
What does it mean to "hear" the voice of the shepherd? Notice, all of these verses say that the sheep “hear” the voice and “know” the voice of their shepherd and no other. He didn’t say “see” and “saw". Sight wasn’t the issue but “hearing”.
Let's bring Noah back into this. If, as in the days of Noah when the flood began on the 17th day of Chesvan, this season can also represent hardships that are coming, then this teaching holds even more meaning. It was during this season of the rain that the sheep were shut up in a secure location and they were provided for by their shepherd. A period lasting about 5 months. The sheep had to know the voice of their shepherd to survive at all times, but especially during this time.
In Matthew 24 Yeshua is speaking to His disciples about the time of His coming. He speaks about not hearing and following after the voice of false prophets and teachers who claim to come in His name. We must not be deceived by the multitude of voices claiming to be speaking for Him. As hard times come, are we going to be able to hear the voice of our shepherd and be led by Him to a secure place of protection where He will provide and care for us?
THE SEASON IS NOW! Prepare for the outpouring of the former and the later rains - His Holy Spirit outpouring - but also prepare yourself to hear ONLY the voice of the Good Shepherd during difficult times that lay ahead.
The door to the sheepfold will soon be shutting. Let the rains fall.