The term “descended from the heavens” holds significance in the context of fasting to commemorate the help of God. This help was provided by God who came down from the heavens and was born of the Virgin Mary. The Son, formerly known as Jesus Christ and later called Immanuel, is the focus of this fast. The first week of the fast is known as “Descendance” as it is important to acknowledge that our Lord came down from the heavens and was born of the Virgin Mary. The phrase “he came” refers to his appearance as a man, although the terms “descend” and “ascend” do not accurately describe his divine being. The (Abew) Forefathers’ translators interpret “Ze’orada” as meaning “being human”. After God became a man, the phrases “He came, He went, He came down, He arose” are fitting as he was seen confined to a human body without leaving his divinity.
The meaning of ‘came down’ is that God appeared as a man, while “Arise” signifies the completion of bodily work. Jesus Christ, our God, is already in heaven despite his ascension. Saint Yared named each week of the great lent fasting seasons and established the rite of thanksgiving, drawing inspiration from prophets, apostles, scholars, and angels. He translated and prepared the prophecies of the prophets and teachings of the apostles, while also establishing the law of fasting. Saint Yared’s contributions to our church include giving a name to each week of the fast and offering thanksgiving from the feast, which have been passed down from the apostles.
In 614 AD, Jerusalem was attacked by Persian king Cyrus. During his siege, he stumbled upon the cross of Jesus Christ, which shone brilliantly. Upon touching it, he suffered burns, and he ordered the deacons to carry it away along with other sacred relics looted from Queen Eleni’s temple. He killed 60 thousand people, captured 3 thousand people and burned the city and returned to Persian Babylon. Those who escaped from the war gathered and hid in a cave. After 14 years in 628, they approached Christian king Heraclius of Rome and shared their tales of sorrow and suffering. Heraclius, mindful of the apostles’ words that whoever killed a person should fast for the rest of their life, sought the Christians’ advice on how to proceed. They suggested dividing Heraclius’ age among them, with each person observing a week of fasting to fulfill the obligation.
Hrikal led his army to Kiryos to reclaim the cross of Jesus Christ and liberate imprisoned Christians. The victory was for Hrikal, but he couldn’t find the cross. A young girl, who had been captured, watched the king buried the cross and killed the deacons from a window. She showed Hrikal where the cross was buried, and he returned to Constantinople with it wrapped in his royal robes. To commemorate this event, believers fast every year, using it as a spiritual weapon to gain victory over sin. This fast is known as Tsome Hrakal and is detailed in Article 15 of Justice of the Kings translation.
Sunday Song “From Tsome Dgwa” (የዕለተ ሰንበት መዝሙር “ከጾመ ድጓ”)
Fear God and submit to Him and be pleased to submit to Him. God is good and his mercy is forever, and the truth is for children. We the people are the sheep of the pasture. Enter the gates with submission, and enter the courts with thanksgiving; Let’s break the fast, love our friends, and love each other. The Sabbath was made for man, so let us celebrate the Sabbath. Let us do the truth. O Lord, I envy you mercy and judgment; I will sing, and I will notice the pure way. In geez (ተቀነዩ ለእግዚአብሔር በፍርሃት ወተሐሠዩ ሎቱ በረዓድ እስመ ለዓለም ምሕረቱ ለትውልደ ትውልድ ጽድቁ ንሕነሰ ሕዝቡ ባኡ ቅድሜሁ በተጋንዮ ወውስተ አ|ዕፃዲሁ በስብሐት አምንዎ እስመ ለዓለም ምሕረቱ ለትውልደ ትውልድ ጽድቁ ንሕነሰ ሕዝቡ ንጹም ጾመ ወናፍቅር ቢጸነ ወንትፋቀር በበይናቲነ እስመ ለዓለም ምሕረቱ አክብሩ ሰንበተ ተገበሩ ጽድቀ እስመ ሰንበትሰ በእንተ ሰብእ ተፈጥረት እስመ ለዓለም ምሕረቱ ምሕረተ ወፍትሐ አሐሊ ለከ እዜምር ወእሌቡ ፍኖተ ንጽሕ እስመ ለዓለም ምሕረቱ ለትውልደ ትውልድ ጽድቁ ንሕነሰ ሕዝቡ አባግዓ መርዔቱ።)
Think of your teachers who told you the word of God; See their good behavior and imitate them in faith. Jesus Christ is the one who lived yesterday, today and forever. Do not bring any other special education. For it is better for your heart to be fixed on grace than on food; For those who were going there did not benefit. We have an altar where the priests who were serving the tabernacle could not eat from it. For the high priest used to offer the blood of the sacrificed animal to the Holy of Holies for sin. They used to burn his body outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus was crucified outside the city to sanctify the people with his blood. Let’s take up the challenge and go out to Him outside the city. We do not have a city that lives here, but we want what is coming. Shouldn’t we regularly offer the fruit of our lips a thanksgiving offering to God so that we don’t believe what we hear? But do not forget to sympathize with the poor and cooperate with them; Such a sacrifice pleases God.
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.