Shavu'ot (Weeks/'Pentecost') 2005
"We Agree Before We Have Listened"
Sabbath Day Sermon, 14 May 2005
"And you shall observe Chag Shavu'ot (the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost), of the bikkurim (Firstfruit Offering) of the wheat harvest ..." (Shemoth/Exodus 34:22a, RSTNE 2e).
"Seven weeks you shall number: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle in the corn. And you shall shomer (observe) the Chag Shavu'ot (the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost), to Yahweh your Elohim with a tribute of a terumah (free-will) offering from your hand, which you shall give to Yahweh your Elohim (God), according to how Yahweh your Elohim (God) has blessed you" (Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:9-10, RSTNE 2e).
I greet you in the Name of our Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour) Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) as we prepare for the Feast of Shavu'ot (Pentecost) which begins tomorrow morning. Seven Sabbaths and 50 days have passed since the Pesach (Passover) Sabbath and we have arrived at the last of the Spring Festivals. We remember tomorrow how the Israelites left Egypt and pitched their tents at the foot of Mt.Sinai. Here the people under Moses gathered to receive the Ten Commandments (Ex.19:1-8) and here the Nation of Israel entered into an eternal covenant to be obedient to all of Yahweh's mitzvot (commandments), which in Hebrew reads: "Na'aseh V'Nishmah", which literally translated means: "We agree to do even before we have listened".
In our day, approximately 3,500 years later, converts to the faith are still entering that covenant when they are ritually immersed in water. Whenever a soul comes to Messiah and is baptised, he/she is entering into the covenants of the Israelite Nation as an adopted son or daughter. And although we are under a New Covenant, the nation is the same. We remain obligated to obey Torah, Yahweh's Holy Law and Teaching, under the salvation of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). In the time of Moses, Yahweh said to the people:
"Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of cohenim (priests) and a qadosh (holy, set-apart) nation" (Ex.19:5-6, NKJV).
Now the people who entered into this covenant had very little understanding of what all of Yahweh's Law actually meant. The same is true today. A person being baptised into Messiah and into the Covenant does not understand very much. He is a spiritual child embarking on an adventure of learning. Even today those of us who have been a part of the Kingdom for a very long time are still learning. And that is why all New Covenant Christians/Messianics are expected to say: "Na'aseh V'Nishmah", or "We agree to do even before we have listened" just as their forefathers said. Every one is bound by Torah in the waters of baptism even before we have understood it, and thus a heavy responsibility devolves upon us to study the Davar (Word) earnestly until we have become perfected in it. Just because we do not know what the Torah says does not mean we are absolved from the responsibility of obeying it! Thus the heavy responsibility of fathers to teach their children every day and of Pastors, Elders and Teachers to teach the people every week what the Torah says.
I mention this principle now because it is vital for us to understand it. We can find parallels in the physical world. Falling from a height can crush and playing with a sharp knife can cut. A small child may not understand these things nevertheless he remains under the 'law' of such things. We cannot say: 'Be gone, gravity!' or 'Be abolished, sharp knives!' simply because we do not understand the effects of handling them wrongly. The moment we are physically conceived we become subject to the physical laws of the universe; and the moment we are conceived in Messiah we become subject to His spiritual laws too. We suffer from the effects of breaking them. But I must here point out one important fact. If a small child who does not understand gravity falls and hurts himself and begins to cry, can the parent blame the child? Of course not. Instead the parent comforts and teaches the child so that it learns not to roll off the bed or play with kitchen knives in the future.
It is the same with Yahweh's Torah. When we break it, not knowing why these mitzvot or commandments are in place, we must suffer penalties. Our fathers and congregational leaders can, and must, however, explain what these commandments are for in time as we become capable of understanding them, but so long as we are in our spiritual infancy, we must simply trust. That is why every new convert declares, with the voice of the whole Israelite Nation, "We agree to do even before we have listened" because this is the right attitude of contrition that allows us to hear the voice in the first place. That is why the Psalmist declared:
"Yahweh is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit" (Ps.34:18, NKJV).
As a father my job is to teach my children emunah (faith) in Yah'shua (Jesus) and obedience to the mitzvot (commandments). In the first instance I simply teach them what the mitzvot (commandments) are but as they grow up I have a responsibility to explain what the mitzvot (commandments) mean and why Yahweh has given them. As a Pastor I have exactly the same responsibility for those under my spiritual watch-care in this congregation, and as a shepherd over the whole of this family of congregations, I have an identical responsibility. Just as at home my children have a right to ask me for explanations, so also do the international membership of this body. I may not like all the questions and indeed not know the answers to all of them but it is my duty to share all I know. That is one reason we have a website and thousands of publications so that I, and my brethren, can disseminate this information. And I myself am moderated by what Yahweh has given to Israel in the Bible. My job is to explain what is in there as I understand it.
When someone comes to Yah'shua (Jesus) it is because He has spoken to their spirit, heart and mind and born witness that He is indeed the Messiah, the Son of the Living Elohim (God), and He has conveyed to them that they can only come back to the Father in Heaven through Him. This is what some call entering into a 'relationship'. It is not, however, the fullness of a relationship, anymore that a couple who newly marry have come to a fullness of a marriage relationship. This takes years of loving, probing and understanding. The marriage covenant entered into by a wife indeed resembles the covenant we as Israelite men make in the waters if baptism: "We agree to do even before we have listened". This is a difficult think for then modern feminist woman who has been seduced by a doctrine of devils into believing she can occupy the man's rôle. And when men fall into the same error they are in effect claiming to occupy Yahweh's (God's) rôle. Both are blasphemous. Neither admit to promising anything before they have 'understood' what is expected of them. These days couples prepare long and complicated marriage contracts stating what each other's obligations are after a long and deliberate discussion. Some have what are called 'sunset clauses', conditions under which the marriage may break up. How very different this is from Yahweh's ways! Rather, we agree to do even before we have listened, let alone discussed or hammered out an agreement, because that is how emunah (faith) operates. This is the whole point of the parable of the labourers (Mt.20:1-16). And when we say this, we are acknowledging that Elohim (God) always knows far better than we do, that His ways are higher than ours, just as adults' ways are higher than children's. We are acknowledging that we must learn to trust not on our terms but on His.
New converts often have major problems understanding the purpose of Yahweh's festivals. Indeed one lady recently confided in me that they made no sense to her at all. Well, that is why each year and every year I preach to you, explaining a little more. And as I discover more myself, I will be sharing this information with you, and others with me as they make discoveries. The fact of the matter is we celebrate the Festivals in order to establish Yahweh's divine pattern of living. In these festivals we learn what it actually means to become "a kingdom of cohenim (priests) and a qodesh (holy, set-apart) nation". No matter how young or old you are, new convert or long-standing member, we are gradually absorbed into a way of life which defines Yahweh's Kingdom now, in the Millennium, and in the eternities. This is the way Israel has always lived and will always live. This is the way of the Heavenly Bride. Here our habits, modes of thinking, the right ways to channel our feelings, and indeed the door into Yahweh's heart, are learned. We learn in the festivals not only to get right individually with Elohim (God) but how to live corporately in Him as a family and nation of believers.
At Shavu'ot, as in all the other festivals, we learn priceless truths for the salvation of our soul. Two days prior to receiving the Torah (Law) from Yahweh at Mount Sinai, the Israelites were commanded to cleanse themselves, clean their clothes, and prepare to receive the Davar Emet (Word of Truth) on the Third Day. From early morning, dense clouds covered the peaks of the mountain, concealing what Yahweh was doing. Thunder and lightening were frequently heard. The sound of the shofar (ram's horn) could be heard loudly, and the top of the mountain was enveloped in fire and smoke. And the people at the foot of the mountain were, quite understandably, filled with awe, fear and amazement (Ex.19:9-19).
What, you may ask yourself, does this mean for us? It means that Torah is something very special or Yahweh would not have commanded the people to go through this ritual cleansing. It means that you never appreciate anything unless you invest something in it. It means you don't understand Yahweh or hear His voice unless you get cleansed. And the meaning of Shavu'ot in the New Covenant context is that you cannot get cleansed if you don't receive the cleansing blood of Yah'shua (Jesus). And how do you do that? By approaching Yahweh with a "broken heart" and a "contrite spirit" because without these no man or woman can be saved. And any gospel that says you can receive Yah'shua (Jesus) without these things is a false gospel. The Torah therefore gives us some vital keys to prevent deception from demons imitating Elohim (God).
It surprises some to learn that these exist. I can assure you most fervently that they do because we have encountered them again and again in the ministry. The demonic counterfeits are arrogant and prideful. They underline the self-sufficiency of man. They insist on rights. And in so doing so the revelation of Shavu'ot exposes them for the liars they are. In the Besorah (Gospel) we covenant before we listen - we agree to Yahweh's terms before we hear or understand them - because emunah (faith) tells us that we do not need to test the Perfect and All-Loving One. A small child should not need to test a righteous father or mother - indeed that child was made by Yahweh to trust them unconditionally. Therefore when a parent abuses that trust, great is the curse on that parent and it would have been better if he had never been born (Mt.18:6). Indeed, Yah'shua (Jesus) declares: "Woe to the world because of offences! For offences must come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes!" (v.7-8, NKJV). In other words, abuse is inevitable, but we must be very careful that we are not the originator of abuse ourselves for the fate of such is not a happy one. So if you have abused, repent!
Shavu'ot therefore comes as a stern warning to us to beware that we do not become the author of offences. What kind of offences do I mean? Well, to answer that I must ask another question: how can we determine what is a legitimate offence and what is not? I will answer that with an example. If I tell you that lying is wrong and sinful and you are offended because you have lied, does that make you right? Of course not! But if someone tries to commit adultery with your wife and you are offended, does that make you right? Absolutely! And the reason you are justified is because Torah tells you what is right and what is wrong, what is permitted and what is prohibited, what is purity and what is uncleanness, what is good and what is evil - because Torah comes from Yahweh and is qadosh (holy, set-apart). And it started at Mt.Sinai on Shavu'ot with the Ten Commandments. Every other mitzvah (commandment) that Yahweh revealed through Moses is derived from these ten. And Yah'shua (Jesus), as you know, summarised them into the Two Great Commandments: Love Yahweh with everything you have, and then love your neighbour as you love yourself. We call the second part the 'Golden Rule' - sadly most people leave the first part off and end up with a satanic doctrine because then the standard of love becomes self and not Yahweh and His revelation in the commandments.
You can never come to understand, let alone love, Torah until you have prepared yourself spiritually. This means seeking purity and holiness. This means getting yourself cleansed by the blood of Messiah by humbling yourself before Him. You cannot approach Him in self-sufficiency or in any sort of conviction of self-righteousness. You cannot bring your own conditions. You must agree to obey even before you listen. If you don't, you have no promise, and can never know. And if you refuse to do these simple, basic things, and yet continue to search for Elohim (God), you will be deceived by a counterfeit. I guarantee it.
Tomorrow evening, when we shall assemble again, represents the conclusion of Pesach (Passover). Our journey out of the world's way of thinking and doing things does not end until we have, first, received the blood of the Passover Lamb, which we did symbolically 7 sabbaths and 50 days ago, and second, come before Yahweh at Mt.Sinai to receive His law for living, Torah. The journey to the promised land - to a full and complete salvation where we can rest and no longer strive - includes not only receiving the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus) but the mitzvot (commandments) of Yahweh, and agreeing to obey even before we hear them. That is non-negotiable. That is what Shavu'ot is telling you and if you reject the conditions of that covenant then you are not apart of it. And that is why most of Christianity, spiritually-speaking, has got no further than the crossing of the Red Sea into the Sinai Peninsular - they refuse to receive Torah, they refuse to receive the mitzvot (commandments). Instead they have invented new doctrines and accepted the teachings and philosophies of men which tell them that they do not don't have to obey but that they must check everything out that Yahweh says before they will accept it. Don't do that! It is fatal and leads to a false spirit and to false religion. Don't get stuck midway in the Deliverance Journey but see it through to the end. Finish the race as Paul said until you have obtained the victor's crown because you have not obtained it yet (1 Cor.9:24; 2 Tim.4:7-8).
It was on this day, 2,000 years ago, that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was poured out on the first talmidim (disciples) of Yah'shua (Jesus) on what most of Christendom called 'Pentecost', 'pente' meaning 50 days since Pesach (Passover). These first New Covenant believers celebrated Shavu'ot in the same way as the unconverted Judahites but with a new spirit and under a new covenant. As believers in Yah'shua (Jesus) we experience Shavu'ot when the Ruach (Spirit) reveals the Davar Elohim (Word of God) to us in a deeper and more powerful way so that we understand it on all four levels of light. But more importantly that than, Shavu'ot is a betrothal contract and we enter into the second of three stages of allegorical marriage with our Redeemer just as the Israelites did 3,500 years ago.
Did you hear me say that what Israelite entered into 3,500 years ago is the same betrothal as the Messianic Israelites - us - enter into today? You did. It is exactly the same. Because it was Yah'shua (Jesus) who revealed the Covenant of Moses to Israel and it was Yah'shua (Jesus) who revealed Messianic Betrothal Covenant first to Peter and then to everyone who believes in Him as the Messiah. It is the same contract, only made new, because the eternal blood of atonement is available to us now, whereas it was not then. When we accept Yah'shua (Jesus) as Master (Lord) and Deliverer (Saviour and are baptised into Him and into Messianic Israel, we bind ourselves to Torah just as the ancients did - specifically to New Covenant Torah, the completed Torah which) Yah'shua (Jesus) made perfect in His eternal Melchizedek Priesthood. 3,500 years ago the mitzvot (commandments) were written on stone by the finger of Yahweh. Today they are written in our hearts when we present ourselves before New Covenant 'Sinai', which is Golgotha on Mount Zion, by being cleansed in Yah'shua (Jesus) which happens when we present ourselves to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Before that happens, no law can be written on our hearts, even if we may deceive ourselves into believing it. For when it happens - when the pen of the Ruach (Spirit) writes on your heart - you spontaneously and joyously obey and love Torah! If it is a burden to you, if it is something you are trying to run away from, then you may know for a surely that it is not yet written there and that your heart is still encrusted with unbelief - in short, with atheism to one degree or another.
3,500 years ago 3,000 Israelites were slain for rebelling against Torah (Ex.32:1-8,26-28). You all remember the rebellion in the desert. 1,500 years later 3,000 repented and were added to the Messianic Community (Acts 2:34-41). 3,500 years ago the Old Covenant was given on Mt.Sinai (Ex.l19:11). 2,000 years ago it was given on Mt. Zion (Rom.11:26; Heb.12:22; 1 Pet.2:6). And with this New Covenant come better promises than in the Old (Heb.8:6). Nevertheless the terms are the same: approach Yahweh through Yah'shua (Jesus) with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and agree to do even before you have listened. That is the only foundation of true emunah (faith). Miss these keys from Shavu'ot and I believe you will end up on a false Gospel road that ultimately leads to false religion and destruction.
The giving of Torah on Mount Sinai involved the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood, the animal sacrificial system, the tabernacle, the Sabbath days, the festivals, the civil and ceremonial laws, and the Ten Commandments. These were given as the shadow of things to come in the New Covenant (Heb.10:1) and to instruct us about the Messiah and the redemptive work of Yahweh (Gal.3:24; Col.2:16-17). Shavu'ot was the birth of the Mosaic Community (congregation, church) in the wilderness (Ac.7:38). What was revealed to Israel was divine but shown in a physical way (Heb.9:1) to enable us to understand the deeper things of the Ruach (Spirit) (1 Pet.2:5-9). Today, the Torah is being written on the hearts of those who are learning to trust Yah'shua (Jesus) and obey His mitzvot (commandments), minus the parts of Torah that have been fulfilled (the sacrificial system) and the Priesthood system that administered it. With New Covenant Shavu'ot comes new giftings, the supernatural ability to communicate the Besorah (Gospel) in a wonderful way to all nations as demonstrated by the fact that the same truth was presented to listeners in many different languages and dialects.
Brethren and sisters, in the process of experiencing life's disappointments and struggles - and I would be dishonest if I said there weren't any - Yah'shua (Jesus) will take us from Pesach (Passover) to Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost') where He will reveal His ways in His mitzvot (commandments) if we keep our eyes on Him and approach Him in proper contrition seeking purification. That is the condition. Not until we have been refined, and all the old sin, bitterness, unbelief and impurity have been burned out, and we have been sifted like fine flour as was done to the wheat at this season, can we move on to what we here in this ministry have ultimately been called to, to our Promised spiritual land at Sukkot (Tabernacles), the 'season of simcha (joy)'.
Our mission is not to stop at Pesach as the majority of born-again Christians do (the nominal unregenerate ones never even get that far) but to go on to Shavu'ot (which is what this ministry represent) and thence to the inner reality of Sukkot (which is what the Holy Order and our firstborn communities are all about). We share with all evangelical Christians the Pesach message (representing Dedication), and with all born-again Messianics who obey Torah the Shavu'ot message (which represents Betrothal). But we have not been called to stop there. Our commission is to go further, to Tabernacles (which represents full marriage), more of which I shall be telling you about in the autumn (fall) when we celebrate that. In the meantime, may this be a time of renewal in Torah as we approach Mount Zion on our knees, in contrition, and await a fuller revelation of Torah in our hearts. Amen.
1. Edward Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah (Treasure House, Shippensburg, PA: 1999)
2. Restoration Scriptures - True Name Edition (RSTNE) Study Bible, 2nd edition (Your Arms to Israel Publishing, North Miami Beach, FL: 2005)
This page was created on 5 June 2005
Last updated on 29 July 2016
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