Month 4:28, Week 4:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year:Day 5936:117 AM|
SHAVU'OT, 7 Sabbaths + Omer Count Day #50
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 17 July 2012
The Double Pentecost Truth
Continued from Part 1
Chag sameach Shavu'ot kol beit Yisra'el!
"Now when Shavu'ot (the Day of Pentecost) had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and began to speak with other languages (tongues), as the Ruach (Spirit) gave them utterance.
"And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Judahites, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, 'Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Judahites and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them speaking in our own languages (tongues) the wonderful works of Elohim (God)'. So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'Whatever could this mean?' Others mocking said, 'They are full of new wine'.
"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
(Acts 2:1-21, NKJV).
"'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says Elohim (God), that I will pour out of My Ruach (Spirit) on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Ruach (Spirit) in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Yahweh. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved'"
I want to welcome everybody who has asembled physically or in spirit with us for this the fourth of Yahweh's annual moedim or appointments known as Shavu'ot or as it is more commonly known, 'Pentecost'. Seven sabbaths and 50 days have passed since we gathered for Yom haBikkurim or the Day of Firstfruits and we have arrived at this summer festival that sits in the middle, like a hinge, between the spring and autumn (fall) festivals. I hope that you, like me, have been preparing for it because though it is short - one day only - it is critical not only to our understanding of the Besorah (Gospel) but also to living and experiencing the fullness of its chayim or life.
We actually celebrate two different but complimentary things at Shavu'ot. We first of all remember that this was the day that Yahweh announced His Betrothal Contract or Ketubah with the House of Israel containing both the promises that the Father, as an allegorical Husband, would bless Israel or His Bride with if she lived by its terms. Those terms were first of all summarised in one broad sweep of everything as the Ten Commandments which would serve as the platform or ground of the Relationship between Him and His people Israel. Later these ten devarim or 'words' would be expanded upon in great detail in the rest of His mitzvot or commandments.
If Shavu'ot is likened to a two-sided coin, then the Ten Commandments are the first side along with all the other mitzvot (commandments). These mitzvot (commandments) describe the structure of divine, Israelite living that please the Father because when lived they establish a balanced and orderly set of relationship principles that make for wholeness and harmony. Like a jigsaw puzzle every single piece matters and like the components of a complicated body organ like an eye or a piece of sophisticated equipment like a jet engine, if one component is missing, none of the rest can work. Therefore Yah'shua (Jesus) would say:
You might get an engine with one component missing to barely work but it would probably be dangerous at worst and virtually useless at best.
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these mitzvot (commandments), and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:19, NKJV).
The problem with these mitzvot commandments was that it was virtually impossible to live them. Israel tried and monumentally failed. What were her principle obstacles? The fallen flesh, Adamic nature for one, and for two, the incessant activity of the Enemy to lure man away from them and so cause him to fall. The great lesson that was supposed to have been learned by Israel under the Old Covenant was that man in his own strength could not possibly succeed. And this is a lesson believers trapped in wrong thinking are still having to learn today.
This brings us to the second side of the coin, namely, the spiritual empowerment to enable us to live those mitzvot (commandments) successfully and in so doing becoming the type of beings that both Yahweh and we ourselves in our heart-of-hearts want to be. As we have seen in today's passage, which is familiar to Christians and Messianics, on one particular Shavu'ot in what was left of Israel, and specifically Roman-occupied Judea, the purpose of this festival - the reason it was originally given - was fulfilled. And it was the last of the seven festivals to be fulfilled, the remaining three of which - the autumnal (fall) - will be fulfilled when Yah'shua (Jesus) returns. Half of you in this room, if you live to a reasonable age, will be privileged to be witnesses of that!
There are those who wrongly believe that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was either not available or could not fill someone inside until this great anointing at Jerusalem took place shortly after Yah'shua's (Jesus') resurrection and ascension. In actual fact, throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament) people were filled with the Ruach (Spirit). The gifted craftsmen and artisans responsible for work on the Tabernacle were (Ex.28:3), of whom Bezalel is specifically named (Ex.31:2-6; 35:30-34). King David speaks with intimacy of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) just as we do today (Ps.51:10-12) and Isaiah speaks how rebellion grieves and causes the the Ruach (Spirit) to depart (Is.63:10). So what was the difference between the work of the Ruach (Spirit) before the Cross and afterwards? And the answer is that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) became the vehicle of something man had not enjoyed before, namely, resurrection power. This is the way that the prophet Joel originally put it:
This event was literally fulfilled at the first New Covenant Shavu'ot (Pentecost). But what was it preceeded by that made it so important for the revival of Israel? If you read the verses before the ones I have just read you will see that this blessing - this anointing or outpouring of the Ruach (Spirit) - was marked for a "remnant" or 'left-over' and specifically a remnant of Israel. And what is Israel? Israel is that company of people related to Yahweh by the original Shavu'ot covenant to obey the Ten Commandments! Israel is that company of believers under such a covenant who are descended from the original Israel, Jacob, or who are grafted in to Israel through emunah (faith) in the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) (Rom.11:11ff.). The prophecy of Joel was not fulfilled with Israel being replaced by some new entity called the 'church' but by a remnant of Torah-obedient Israelites receiving resurrection empowerment to live the Ten Commanents successfully through surrendering to, and trusting in, the resurrected Messiah! Under the terms of the new Betrothal Contract or Ketubah - the New Covenant Ketubah - anyone was entitled to join this New Covenant Commonwealth of Israel and become equal citizens with those of Israelite blood descent, namely, gentiles or goyim. And they have been doing so in their millions ever since. In Messianic Israel there is no difference in status between literal biological descendents of Jacob-Israel and those who are not, for they are all one nation (not a 'church') under Messiah.
"And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Ruach (Spirit) on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Ruach (Spirit) in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Yahweh. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, ss Yahweh has said, among the remnant whom Yahweh calls" (Joel 2:28-32, NKJV).
The transformation that took place in those early, frightened talmidim (disciples), who had all but given up before the resurrected Yah'shua (Jersus) appeared to them, was amazing. Timid men, scared of the power of the state, became bold and irresistable. Barely literate peasants and fishermen became sophisticated orators whose words astonish us still. But perhaps most important of all, they were all bound together by an indissoluble tie of heavenly ahavah (love) that the worst, meanest and cruelist devices of the Enemy could not break. Indeed, the more the Enemy persecuted them, the strong they became and the more were converted! A more vital, energetic and loving people had never been seen before!
For those who have not been born again at Yom haBikkurim and for those who have not been Ruach-filled in this way, it is all a great mystery provoking either wonderment or uncontrollable rage. Those who were filled with wonder were by and large attracted to the Besorah (Gospel) and eventually embraced it (or respected it at a distance and were secret believers for fear of the religious authorities) whereas those who succumbed to demonic rage became it's bitterest opponents. And that is one of the keys of an authentic rebirth - people will divide down the middle in their opinion of you, some admiring you and the rest hating you, with no fence-sitters or neutrals in the middle. Indeed, when people are neutral or indiffrerent about your emunah (faith) then that is the time to get worried because it means that you have wandered away from the vitality of what Shavu'ot represents. It means that you have become 'unfilled' and desperately need re-filling with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)!
This morning, as I was praying about my message to you today, Yahweh showmed me a vision. That is why I have brought a bicycle into our assembly this morning. I know some of you have been wondering about that so now I am going to give you the explanation.
Shavu'ot (Pentecost), as I have been trying to impress upon you, is a 'double-sided' thing. On the one side it represents the entire body of mitzvot (commandments) and sacred teaching which are called Torah. On the other, it represents the empowerment of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) granted as an act of grace, being as it was in no way merited or earned, given to Israelites already trying to obey the Torah who had also accepted Yah'shua (Jesus) as the King of Israel and as their personal Redeemer (Saviour) or Messiah. Anyone who claims a Pentecostal-type anointing without accepting or obeying the Torah has been deceived and is deceiving others, having opened themselfes to filling by other spirits. That is why the original Old Covenant Shavu'ot (Pentecost) is the test or authentication of the New Covenant Shavu'ot (Pentecost).
But to the vision and the bicycle. I was shown a vision of a bicycle wheel that was spinning and as it span so the spokes that link the rim to the hub began to blurr and become indistinguishable from one another, a bit like an electron cloud that results when electrons move rapidly around between atoms in a molecule, moving so fast that they cannot individually be seen. They become, as it were, one or echad. The only way to see those spokes while the wheel is turning is to blink your eyes at a certain speed which gives the illusion that the wheel is stationary. I am sure all of you will remember having studied the stroboscopic effect in physics. For those of you who may have missed out on this opportunity to learn some useful science, we're going to do that experiment again now. So while I spin the bicycle wheel I want you to blink your eyelids at different rates until the wheel appears to stop moving. When you experience this just call out 'Yes'. And if you don't manage to succeed today, you can try it at home later if you own a bicycle.
Yahweh went on to explain to me why He had shown me that vision. He said that Shavu'ot (Pentecost) - the completed Shavu'ot (Pentecost) of the New Covenant in Messiah is the evidence of spiritual regeneration or rebirth of the believer at Yom haBikkurim as well as His witness in the world. It is the externalisation of the rebirth experience as individually regenerated believers are brought together in a spiritual plural marriage of talmidim (disciples) who become as one or echad. The unbeliever looking on cannot see the spokes because of the motion just as he is unaware of the system of mitzvot or commandments which together make for the focussed discipline of authentic Christian or Messianic life. He can only become aware of them by being regenerated himself and living the Torah which brings him into synchronicity with his brethren.
The hub of the wheel, from which the spokes emanate, is Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself in whom everything fits together and is joined; and the spokes are the mitzvot, or commandments that join to the rim which is the believer. Every spoke is important. Remove one, and the wheel will eventually buckle and become useless, the "least" in the Kingdom which in our illustration is the bicycle wheel.
Thus analogy can also be used to describe the Body of Messiah, the hub again being Yah'shuab (Jesus), the spokes the individual believers, and the rim being the Messianic Community (Church). Note that all the spokes have to be the same length, indicating that all the believers are equal before Yahweh even if they may be gifted differently and perform different rôles. Those who try to 'lord' it over the others by becoming 'long spokes' or who are reduced in length to 'short spokes' by these overlords soon cause distortions in the 'wheel' resulting in a congregation out of harmony. This destroys the unity or echad of the congregation making it an unequal and out of balance 'bride' for Messiah.
The Shavu'ot (Pentecost) anointing is essential to mature believers because it requires that they work cooperately together, none esteeming him- or herself greater than anyone else. This is not as easy as might be supposed and absolutely requires the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) to accomplish it through willing, humble talmidim (disciples) walking in Torah in unconditional submission to their Husband whom they safely know is bound by His promises and by His own Law. Indeed, it is the messianic picture of plural marriage itself which is actually the model for the allegorical union of Messiah with His uniplural bride, otherwise known as the Mystical Marriage of Messiah (MMM). The lack of echad (unity) in the household of Jacob caused by the rivalry of Leah and Rachel is a warning to the Body not to imitate unequal ways. It is rather to use New Covenant Holy Echad Marriage as its model in proper tavnith or pattern:
Until this anointing comes those who have been born-again at Yom haBikkurim are not ready to minister to others for they must have a working experience of Body-Ahavah (Love) first in trut Torah tavnith. They must know how to submit to others and vice versa in all emet (truth). It is the mutual submission of the parts of the Bride that make the Bride a true witness whilstb being submitted to her Husbad. Before that has been learned, witnessing will be egocentric and not properly giving all glory to the Husband to unbelievers. The supernatural change effected by the Ruach (Spirit) on the talmidim (disciples) is what equipped them to take the Besorah (Gospel) into the world.
This is the witness of Shavu'ot (Pentecost). May we all be diligent in seeking for both Torah Shavu'ot as well as Ruach Shavu'ot and be true Messianic Evangelicals. Amen.