Month 4:27, Week 4:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year:Day 5939:116 AM|
2Exodus 2/40, 4th Sh'mittah - Year 49/50, Omer Count Day 49/50
USA Judgment Day T-89, Ark Sealed - Day #70
Gregorian Calendar Monday 13 July 2015
Shavu'ot Preparations 2
Consecration and the Torah Heart
Continued from Part 1
Shalom chaverim and welcome back to this assembly on the second day of preparation for Shavu'ot (Weeks).
Yesterday we looked at the two key elements of preparation, namely, consecration (setting-apart, dedication or making holy) and the washing clothes (Ex.19:10). This consecration involved not just the people individually but also the establishment of markers and therefore a border around the mountain on which Yahweh came down to commune with Moses prior to the establishment of the Tabernacle (Ex.19:12-13). It was to this same mountain that the navi (prophet) Elijah would one day retreat to when he was fleeing from Queen Jezebel in the days when Israel had rejected the very covenant that had been established. It was the same mountain where the covenant and Torah had earlier been received by Moses, Mount Sinai. This was not his own idea but Yahweh's who had spoken to him, saying:
When Prophets Flee to Sinai
"Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of Yahweh, for Yahweh is about to pass by" (1 Kings 19:11, NIV).
There are times when the nevi'im (prophets) get very down and depressed and at such times they are commanded to return to the mountain. What that means to us today is that when things aren't going well then we too are to retreat to the place where Yahweh established His covenant with us. It may be to that spiritual place within where we were spiritually regenerated - born again. Or it may be to that place where Yahweh manifested Himself in a special anointing, as happened with us at Aviv 9. Always, when we get disorientated or are under tremendous pressure, or feel alone, or are sad, or whatever it is that might be pulling us down, we are to return to our spiritual roots as Elijah did:
Discouragement and the Abandonment of Reason
"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before Yahweh, but Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but Yahweh was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave" (1 Kings 19:12-13, NIV).
One thing is for sure is this: the Enemy will constantly try to discourage us and on not a few occasions we will act irrationally and fearfully. We will abandon reason and the sound counsel of Scripture and allow ourselves to be carried by the fickle emotions of the heart. We will go through stormy winds, earthqakes and fire of the soul until we are finally calmed enough to be able to hear the gentle whisper of Yahweh's Voice.
Was the Shavu'ot Experience Necessary?
I mention this to you both because we have our blues from time to time but also to establish an important contrast in your minds. The setting is the same - Sinai. In both the days of Moses and of Elijah Yahweh manifested Himself but in two totally different ways. The first, on the morning of the third day of assembly, through thunder and lightening, smoke and fire, causing the whole mountain to shake as in an earthquake. There was the sound as of a loud shofar blast and the Voice of the Almighty spoke (Ex.19:16-19). This was a visible and audible experience that struck terror in the hearts of the people. Was all of this necessary? Absolutely. Yahweh does nothing without there being a good reason. When He speaks to us in gentle whisperings, as He did with Elijah, it is always on a foundation of power. If the children of Israel had assembled at Mount Sinai on the third day and been instructed to sit down and meditate until they heard the whispering of the Ruach (Spirit), what do you suppose would have resulted?
The Fruit of Shavu'ot is Not Meditation
I am not asking this because this might seem to be a fun mental exercise to do. I am asking this because this is what the Ruach (Spirit) told me to ask you today and to expose a fallacy, and a danger, in modern Christian and Messianic thinking. Before you answer that question I want you to answer another one: what would have happened had the first apostles instructed the talmidim (disciples) to assemble together and meditate in that alleged 'upper room' (the setting was, in fact, the temple) until they heard the Ruach (Spirit) whisper to them? Would they have gone out into the world in such passionate conviction if the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) not fallen on them and filled them with the Presence of Yahweh-Elohim in power?
A Foundation of Power
Yes, that still place where we seek the Presence of Yahweh is essential but unless there is a foundation of fire, smoke, shaking, thunder, lightening and godly fear that comes with the total transformation of the soul we will never be able to discern the Ruach (Spirit) afterwards because Satan will come along and whisper in our ears too and we won't be able to tell the whisperings of Elohim (God) and of the devil apart.
Journey to the Fourth Tier
The foundation of the New Covenant is trusting in Messiah and the spilled blood at Calvary - yes - as represented by Pesach (Passover). The second tier of that foundation is seeking to be obedient to the mitzvot (commandments) and getting sin out of our lives - yes - as represented by Chag haMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread). The third tier of that foundation is baptism - committment to Messiah by making a declaration of death to the flesh and making a claim to chayim or resurrection life - yes - as represented by Yom haBikkurim (Day of Firstfruits). But the pivotal festival - the fourth tier - is Shavu'ot (Weeks) to which we faithfully journey, counting off the 100 days, that requires fortitute, patience and endurance especially after we pass the 50-day mark and start getting tired of waiting - just as the Israelites did who complained and wanted to go back into Egyptian slavery.
A Life-Shaking Encounter
That Shavu'ot (Weeks) was no meditation exercise. Though they didn't know it until the anointing came, those first talmidim (disciples) didn't tarry at Jerusalem (Lk.24:49) to hear Elohim (God) whisper to them any more than the first Israelites assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai to have a nice 'feel good' session. They came for a LIFE-SHAKING ENCOUNTER WITH THE ALMIGHTY. Like I said, they didn't know what was going to happen until it did, any more than we can know exactly whay Yahweh is going to do with us. We can't know in advance - we assemble in obedience and in emunah (faith). No one could have predicted what the Aviv 9 Annointing was going to be like - I think we were all half expecting something like the first New Covenant Shavu'ot (Weeks, 'Pentecost'). What we got was power alright but it was a particular kind - incredibly deep, very quiet with an incredible shalom that left one speechless and in awe - we couldn't have become ecstatic like the Pentecostals or Charismatics even if we had wanted to. It was simply beyond all of that. So we absolutely can't know in advance what Yah is going to do. Indeed, did we not ask ourselves yesterday what Yahweh was going to do next? All we can do is be obedient to instructions - we have assembled, we have dedicated this place again according to divine tavnith (pattern) as we prepare for both defence and offence.
The Rededication of Kadesh-biyqah and the Black Snake
Yesterday Brother Ljungstrand and I trekked through dense, wet vegetation around the periphery where none of us usually go precisely because it is like a jungle and there we set up the anointed markers representing the boundary coordinates. At one point I even trod on a black snake which, mercifully, decided to flee rather than attack me. Brother Ljungstrand remarked at the time on the symbolism of this as a picture of the Enemy being driven off consecrated ground. Moments later we passed by a very rare sight indeed, a DOUBLE SPRUCE TREE consisting of a single base which then split into two trees. Though I did not realise it at the time, this two was a prophetic picture.
Reflecting on Past Miracles
As we moved slowly around the property clearing a path on which to walk, Brother Ljungstrand gave me botany lesson on Swedish fauna, showing me what was edible and what was poisionous. Indeed, he plucked berries on the way, a prophetic picture of how we would need to live off the land for a period following collapse as well as being an illustration of how the poor are meant to be fed during the current Sh'mittah or Sabbatical Year. At certain places along our route I pointed out where Yahweh had done great and marvelous things in the past, where Satan had attempted to breach the defences when he had tried to overwhelm us in both the invisible and visible. I showed him the spot where some of his murderous minions had been reduced to dust. And so it was, as we journeyed, I told him some of the miracles Yahweh had done here and how He has protected us and how He will continue to do so if we remain true.
Our Appointment Tomorrow
My point in recounting all of this is to focus your minds on the important foundations of Yahweh's 100-fold chayim (life) which He has appointed to those who will surrender to Him, trust Him and do as He says. Those first talmidim (disciples) were faithful to their commission to remain in Jerusalem until they were endowed from on high just as the first Israelites were faithful - up to a point - in assembling at Mount Sinai to meet with El Shaddai. We too have an appointment and it is my prayer that we do not fail to do as He asks, that we boldly approach when we are called, staying in tavnith (pattern) and only crossing the boundary when we are bidden. In the original experience, after the sounding of the heavenly shofars which shook the earth, Moses spoke and Yahweh answered him (Ex.19:19). The navi (prophet) was summonsed to the top of the mountain but the people were warned not to follow suit or they would die (v.21). The cohenim (priests) were told to approach as part of their service but were required to be set-apart first (v.22). After Moses' interview, Aaron was summonsed to join him (v.24).
You Are Being Put to the Test
The story of the giving of the Ten Commandments (Ex.20:2-17) and the mistake made by the people, in their fear, asking Moses to be their intermediary (v.l9) I will not rehearse today other than to remind you that the Scriptures clearly state that the people were PUT TO THE TEST (v.20). We too are being put to the test so that we can see just how strong or weak our emunah (faith) is and whether we will be obedient or not.
1. The Ten Commandments
Now as I mentioned yesterday, it is part of my purpose today to sensitise you as to the important instructions that Yahweh gave at this Shavu'ot (Weeks) encounter. I invited you to read the chapters surrounding these events and I hope some, if not, most of you did because I am only going to give some very brief summaries now. The reason I need to share them with you is because I want you to see and understand what Yahweh's priorities are. Obviously the list is headed by the Ten Commandments which are s7ummarised by the Two Great Commandments on which all the Torah (Law) and Nevi'im (Proophets) hang (Mt.22:40).
2. The Principle of Sacrifice
Yahweh's first instruction after the giving of the Ten Commandments or Devarim (Words) was to build an altar of soil and to make sacrifice so that all the people could be blessed (Ex.20:24). We will skip the details and simply underline how the principle of sacrifice ranks high in Yahweh's priorities which He was demonstrate by example subsequently in the sending of His Son as a sacrifice for sin at the meridian of time. Our lives are to sacrificial rather than self-serving as was His.
3. The Sh'mittah Principle of Release
The third principle important to Yahweh is that of release. Specifically, He instructed Moses that all servants or slaves were to be set free after 6 years of indentured service had been completed - they were to serve no more than that. On the seventh year they were to be released. This a key feature of the Sh'mittah or Sabbatical Year (Ex.21:2-11) in which we find ourselves today. Yahweh's heart is that we should be set free from the sins than put us into bondage is the third Shavu'ot Principle. One of the reasons we should be assembling therefore is to be delivered. Please note well that self-sacrifice preceeds release. Our sacrifice must be genuine, not contrived.
4. Laws About Harming Others
The fourth quite lengthy instruction may be called 'laws about harming others', what needs to happen if our brethren get hurt or killed, whether premeditated or accidental (Ex.21:12-36). Cities of Refuge are first mentioned here which is not only an important instruction on forgiveness and deliverance but a pointer to cities of refuge in our own day, the building of which is one of our commissions as part of the Second or Greater Exodus in whose second year we now find ourselves. So Yahweh is concerned here primarily about justice and protection against injury and death.
5. Keeping Property Safe
The fifth section is about property rights (Ex.22:1-19), something Satan hates and seeks to destroy through the forced redistribution of wealth through state theft by force. Socialists will find no comfort for their political beliefs here. Property is sacrosanct precisely because it is Yahweh's stewardship to the individual - everything is ultimately His but the way we obtain property and have ceryain rights to it is equally important.
6. Social Problems
The sixth section is about social problems and how to handle them and concerns sexual matters, sorcery, treating outsiders kindly, taking care of widows, lending money, respecting rulers, consecrating the firstborn and in general giving us an overall idea of what being holy or set-apart actually entails practically (Ex.22:16-32).
7. Laws About Mercy and Fairness
Yahweh is very concerned about mercy and fairness and this is what the seventh section deals with. We are to be truthful and not spread false reports about others. We are not to follow the crowd but do what is right always. We are to be scrupulopusly fair in our dealings with people generally and especially with poor people. We are not to take bribes and to deal kindly with outsiders, remembering how we at different times have been outsiders too. This may be said to be an early version of 'do unto others what you would have others to unto you'.
Though the Sabbath has an important place in the Ten Commandments it is once again emphasised here, to make sure everyone understand how Yahweh views this mitavah (commandment) (Ex.22:10-13). Failure to observe the Sabbath does not go down well in His eyes. This section also mentions the Sh'mittah as a provision for the poor. During the Sh'mittah we are, for one year, to reackon our land as belinging to everyone because anyone and everyone can help themselves from what grows wild on it. This is the nearest thing to socialism you will get but it is Yahweh's way, not man's, and involves no state appropriation or dealing. It again emphasises how much our Heavenly Father loves the poor.
The moedim, divine appointments or feasts occupy the ninth place in Yahweh's list of priorities with a special emphasis on Pesach (Passover), Shavu'ot (Weeks) and Sukkot (Tabernacles), the so-called 'pilgrim feasts' (Ex.22:14-19). They are important in defining the identity of Yahweh's people and in establishing right relationship with Him.
10. The Malak Sent Ahead of Those Not Imitating Pagan Ways
These are the nine areas that Yahweh prioretises - He goes into greater detail elsewhere in the Torah. So when we come up to Shavu'ot (Weeks), presenting ouselves and what we wear fully cleansed, these nine areas may be said to constitute purity and cleanliness when it comes to being right with our Creator. If we do these things willingly and joyfully then we may know that our hearts are right before Him. If we do these things then He goes on to promise in the tenth section that He will send His malak or angel ahead of His people. Obedience means victory over our enemies, and that is guaranteed in the Covenant! We are admonished once again not to copy the lifestyle of the pagans. If we bow down and worship Yahweh having done all these things then he promises always to provide us with food and water, there will be no miscarriages, no infertility and we will be given long lives (Ex.22:25). Sickness will be removed.
The Consequences for Israel's Enemies
And not to be derided by any means, especially for this new end-time era we are entering into, is the promise that if we follow this divine tavnith (pattern) that terror will be sent ahead of us in our goings out and all our enemies will panic and flee. Hornets will be sent ahead of us to drive our enemies away. Don't forget these promises. Invoke them when you absolutely need them for enemies will come up against you with the intent of killing you. Just look at ISIS - they will show no mercy, there will be no reaching them when they are fully ripened in iniquity, and sending out these plages will be a part of the witness of the Second Exodus. The promise is further made that our enemies will driven out little by little until our numbers have increased. Yahweh says that our borders will be made secure such as those borders we established here yesterday.
Agreements With Unbelievers
Finally - and this is MOST IMPORTANT lst we make the mistake of Joshua with the Gibeonites - we are to make NO covenants (agreements) with those outside the Covenant or with their gods. I cannot underline this enough. Fathers and husbands, if your wives and children make such agreements you have both the Torah right and obligation to annul them. So wives and children, be careful, because if you bind yourself with unwise promises to non-believers and with those outsider the Covenant, you will be forcing your husbands and fathers to make compensation in some way, thus addingn to their burdens (Ex.22:20-33).
Covenants of Obedience, Tzitzit and Headcoverings
I want to end today by reminding everyone that one of the requirements of Shavu'ot (Weeks) is entering into covenants of obedience (Ex.24:3). Every year at Shavu'ot (Weeks) we renew these. In the New Covenant this corresponds to the Jewish practice of Bar or Bat-Mitzvah and the Christian tradition of Confirmation though it's a little different from both. On this occasion men entering this covenant are given tzitzit or tassels which they are to wear at all times as a perpetual reminder of their covenant not only to obey and submit to Torah but to establish Torah-rule in their homes. Likewise the women entering this covenant for the first time are given a headcovering which they are to wear, every time they pray or prophesy before Yahweh and as a token of their submission to their husbands and (if they are unmarried) fathers. In this community our members enter this covenant if they have fulfilled certain requirements for a minimum of a year which then entitles them to partake of the Master's Supper.
Seven and Forty Days
The khavod or cloud of Yahweh's glory covered Mount Sinai for six days (Ex.24:15-16) and on the seventh day Yahweh called Moses from the cloud (v.17). Thereafter he returned to the cloud with Yahweh and remained there for 40 days (v.18) during which he received instructions on the Tabernacle and the Cohenim (Priests) (Ex.25-31), the importance of which we came to greatly appreciate during the Great Aviv Dedication upon which we have been called to build on tomorrow.
I shall have a little more to share as we bring together some of the latest things Yahweh has been telling us when we assemble for the main Shavu'ot (Weeks) moed (appointment) tomorrow. May yahweh bless you in your continuing preparations. Amen.
Continued in Part 3