Sermons Series 3:94, 26 May 2007
The Great Betrothal Assembly
I welcome you to this Sabbath meeting on this the day before Shavu'ot or Pentecost which we shall be celebrating tomorrow as well as having our first MLT Bar Mitzvah. We have, in the days from Yom haBikkurim, been counting the omer which I can best liken to a bridegroom or bride counting the days leading to their marriage. The marriage has been prearranged to occur on a special date and the couple, whilst making preparations, eagerly await their appointment with a new life. Though they didn't know it then, the children of Israel had an appointment with Yahweh at a place where He would betroth them as His allegorical Bride. The appointment at Sinai is marked in time in a way that is unlike all the other festivals because it is inextricably linked to Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits) - the Betrothal Date is set by a fixed number of days from Bikkurim - to be exact, 50 days, which is why we also call the feast 'Pentecost', from the word pente meaning '50'. So what is this link between Bikkurim and Shavu'ot? Why are they marked by a fixed period of 50 days during which 7 Sabbaths lapse? Is there a meaning in there being 7 Sabbaths? The Sabbath is the 7th day of the week and 7 Sabbaths must pass between Bikkurim and Shavu'ot. Is there a reason for this? Why did Yahweh choose 50 days between the two days? They key is in the number '7'. 7 x 7 is 49 + 1 day making a total of 50 days.
Now the number 7 represents many things but let's for now focus on its connection to the events we are describing. What was it that was to take place at Mt. Sinai? It was a covenant - Israel and Yahweh entered into betrothal covenants. The Hebrew for '7' is shibah or sheba, a word which appears in the name of a famous town in Israel called Beersheba, meaning 'well of the seven', which is mentioned in Genesis as the place where Abraham and Abimelech made a treaty by oath about the rights to an important well of water. Conflict had arisen between the two men over ownership rights which was settled by a covenant establishing legal ownership of the well (Gen.21:22-34). In a similar way, the meeting at Sinai, during which the Ten Commandments were given, established through covenant Yahweh's legal ownership of His allegorical Bride, Israel. It was here that what has come to be called the 'Old Covenant', but better called the 'Sinai Covenant' or 'Mosaic Covenant' was established. Here Israel would be brought under covering and be given a multitude of blessings if she would be faithful, and curses if she would not (Dt.27-28).
The journey of Israel through the wilderness represents, as we have seen, a series of new beginnings marked by covenants that have, as their goal, rest and plenty as represented by the Holy Land to which they were heading. In our human reasoning we have many ideas as to how we should obtain these blessings. We invent scenarios in our minds which we believe will lead to our greatest happiness, and if our heart includes others, this scenario will include how we think we can contribute to their happiness as well. The problem is no two people invent the same scenarios. There may be considerable overlap and agreement in many basic truths concerning human relationships but they will always fall short of Yahweh's plan and invariably lead to conflict as the human scenarios are played out. In the Exodus journey Yahweh is showing us how to build lasting and joyous relationships by first of all teaching us how it is we are to relate to Him. It begins with a demand by Him that we leave the false environment where the building of such a relationship is impossible. For Israel, it was Egypt both in terms of physical location as well as in modes of thinking, feeling, being and lifestyle. In the New Covenant Scriptures, another worldly and demonic city - Babylon - is used to symbolise the place where we are not to be, and the commandment is ever to 'get out of Babylon' (Jer.51:6; Rev.14:8).
But leaving either Egypt or Babylon is not as easy as simply packing ones bags and going out the front door because the problem with these places, and the systems they represent, is that they claim ownership of you. Yahweh said through Moses: "Let My people go!" (Ex.5:1) but Pharaoh, who is the agent of Satan, retorts: 'No, they are mine! I own them!' (v.2) At once two battles must be fought: First, the Israelites need to recognise, accept and desire to come under new ownership (Jn.10:12); and Second, the illegitimate current owner has to be forced to let the Israelite slaves go. The two battles are inextricably linked together because the choices of one party affect the other. When Yahweh hardens Pharaoh's heart, Israel loses hope, descends into fear, and is torn between two courses of action - to fight to escape or to cower under the demonic threat and choose to placate that power by submitting to its unrighteousness again. This swinging back and forth occurs ten times until finally the people are resolved to trust Yahweh and His prophet, and Pharaoh is finally made to yield to the will of the Creator.
This struggle certainly represents the war inside us too, with the spirit of man represented by Israel, and the carnal fleshy nature represented by Pharaoh. The result is Pesach or Passover - the first in seven steps to submission to Yahweh leading to divine protection for the Israelites (our spiritual nature), and condemnation plus a death sentence for Pharaoh (our fleshy nature). Well, Israel leaves, and Pharaoh lets the people go, but guess what happens? The flesh, represented by Pharaoh, changes his mind for the eleventh time. This time, though, the power of the flesh, represented by Pharaoh's army, will be crushed - destroyed in a watery grave. This time, the flesh will not be able to restrain the spirit because the defeat will be complete and permanent.
I am sure that you, like me, have been frustrated by the spiritual battles that we are all compelled to fight within. No one enjoys them, most of us want to avoid them, and the flesh wants to cave in to the dark forces so as not to be made 'uncomforable'. But when Yahweh calls, He is forceful. When He calls, it is because He wants us to know true freedom in Him. It is because He wishes to shatter the illusions of Egypt and Babylon - the fleshy life - and show us something better, something grounded in His own reality. His love for us drives Him to great extremes but there is a limit, and that limit is man's own free agency.
In the first choice that the children of Israel had to make, 10 punishments were inflicted represented by 10 plagues, and at Sinai - at Shavu'ot - 10 commandments were given to ensure that we, if true and faithful to these commandments, would not have to go through the horrific punishments of the 10 Plagues again, even though they were not aimed against us but against our enemies - only one such enemy - the flesh - is within. These Commandments are a hedge of protection against us having to go through that messy business of leaving Egypt again and being pursued by murderous intent. And please note that the 10 Commandments were just that - commandments or mitzvot. They were not, as one writer humorously remarked, Yahweh's 'Ten Suggestions'. Literally, they are called the '10 Words' which gives you some idea of just how important the dabar or word is. Yah'shua is called "the Word" (Jn.1:1) and Yahweh's Word "does not return to Him unfufilled" (Is.55:11) precisely because these words are not mere 'suggestions' but are commandments which lead to either life- or death, depending on the choices made. And we, who live in a liberal society where one's word of honour means next to nothing, need to relearn how important it is to treat the spoken word as we do our heart and feelings, because the two, scripturally, should be inseparable. Please bear these things in mind as we examine more closely what Shavu'ot is and why Yahweh wants us to continue celebrating it under the New Covenant.
If you are detecting that I am passionately involved in what I am saying to you today you would be right because in recent weeks I have been navigating a spiritual path which is mapped out most clearly and emphatically in these first four parts of Israel's desert wandering. Now 10 plagues is a lot to live through. The chances are that none of us have lived through even one disaster of such magnitude. These were not small-time events. And indeed, leaving the world, and choosing Yah'shua for real in our lives, and not just in token or in word, is not a small thing either. If you have come to Yah'shua without a struggle - if you have come to Him without passing through tribulation and distress, then the chances are you haven't actually 'come' to Him for real, unles you're already near-perfect. And if you are, you need to get in contact with the editors of the Guiness Book of Records at once. When we recite the 'Sinner's Prayer' with real conviction - with real intent to commit to Him for ever - there is always resistance from Satan, who will refuse to let go of his power over you until the legal grounds which he has over you have been broken.
Now as we know from the events which took place in the Sinai wilderness, the children of Israel had not fully overcome by the time they packed their bags and hastily left Egypt with their unleavened bread. I'll not recount the murmurings, complainings, and revolts that took place along the way, because they were many. And sadly - very sadly - the nation was to descend into crass idolatry and whoredom whilst Moses was getting their Marriage Contract in the form of the 10 Commandments from Yahweh! Can you imagine that? Committing fornication on the eve of your wedding?? That is how despicable Israel was - how casual, indifferent, carnal, sensual and devilish. And that is how rotten human nature or the flesh is too. That's what we inherited from Adam. It is depraved as John Calvin rightly said and it can have no inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Cor.6:9-10; Gal.5:19-21). In a word, it has to die, and that is exactly what happened to Israel - literally - during the 40 year exile following Shavu'ot.
The problem was, they had not died spiritually. The story of their physically dying out in the wilderness is a picture to us of the absolute necessity of dying to sin on our part. At Chag haMatzah (Festival of Unleavened Bread) we remove sin from our lives symbolically by leaving out yeast in our cooking as a reminder that this is something we have to continually work out. But it is clear from the sequence of events in the Exodus story that this 'dying' rarely takes place instantaneously. We may think we have died but what often happens is that we have deluded ourselves into thinking we have. We may have spoken words or debarim indicating that we wish to die but unless those words are actually linked to real choosing and action, then they are of no worth. And this is the point of Shavu'ot and what follows in the feast calendar, and the message I want to give you today. This 'word-giving' from our mouths has to be matched by our wills - it starts with Shavu'ot but is not really completed until Yom Kippur because there is a need we rarely at first see that requires what I call 'translation of the word'. It begins with intent and, through a series of deaths, becomes established as an 'eternal word'.
I have been studying the remarkable life of the 19th century Prussian evangelist and founder of English orphanages, George Müller, for several months now and learning a great deal from this great man of faith. His testimony, no doubt considered radical by most laid-back Christians, was this: that as disciples of the Lord Yah'shua the need to 'utterly die' to self - to our opinions, preferences, tastes and will - to utterly die to the world, to Egypt and Babylon, to die to its approval or censure - to die to the approval or blame of brethren and friends, so that at the end we can show ourselves approved to Yahweh. And that not dying is inescapable if we are to truly come to Yahweh and be delivered from sin. Dying and deliverance are inseparable.
Now I don't know about you, but I suspect your sentiments will be similar to mine - or will become similar in the course of life - in confessing that we are not as nearly dead to self as we imagine. We go through euphoric deliverances and spiritual endowments with Yahweh, as Israel did, and experience miracles and wonders in our lives. They may not include literal plagues, partings of waterways, manna from heaven, water from rocks, or anything nearly so outwardly dramatic, but they will - and should - include miraculous workings on the human heart and mind that leads to renewal and an increased anointing of love and hope. Faith is strengthened by such. What disappoints, frustrates and occasionally infuriates us, is that we think we're 'there' only to find out that what Yahweh has done in His wisdom and mercy has been to chop up our problems into manageable chunks and see us through each chunk in sequence, giving us blessings at the end of each one. He hasn't done it 'all at once' as we had hoped. The seven-stage journey through Sinai ought to warn us, though, that there are usually many chunks, depending what kind of life of sin we have been leading and how much repenting we have to do to get right with Yahweh.
If we have so much to do to get our lives right with Yahweh - and any disciple who is honest about his or her faults and sins knows that only too well - then it follows that we are unlikely to be able to complete this redemptive journey without a divine template of action if we aren't going to grope around haphazardly in the dark, hoping to be taken to, and over, the next hurdle. The enemy will, of course, seek to confuse and discourage us, hoping we will abandon the journey altogether. Accordingly, we need to pay very close attention to detail because it is in the detail of Yahweh's requirements and actions that we learn to get a sure footing and not to keep stumbling on terrain we aren't supposed to be walking over. Just as an inch or two from the edge of a cliff determines whether we fall off or not, so the Shavu'ot stage of this journey is critical to a major change in direction in life. The vast bulk of Christians never get beyond this stage.
Up to this point little has been asked of the people. They've been asked to trust in the blood of the Paschal Lamb placed on the doorposts of their homes and hearts to protect them from the destroying angel just as we trust in the Blood of Yah'shua to protect us now. There were very few rules or regulations up to this point other than to follow Moses's word or dabar which came directly from Yahweh, and which proved to be a matter of life and death for them, depending on whether they believed or doubted. And there were few rules because the Israelites were yet spiritual children. As we see how important to life this word or dabar is, we will grow in reverence for it, come to understand David's passionate dedication to it (Ps.119.97, 113, 163), and realise why Yah'shua faithfully upheld it - and told His disciples - us - to do the same, down to the last pen-stroke (Mt.5:17-20). He was, and is, saying that every letter of Torah is holy, especially set-apart by Yahweh. Paul said the same (Rom.7:12). He said that it was Torah which convicted him of sin and allowed him to present the death which was in himself to Yah'shua for removal (Rom.7:13). Shavu'ot - the Day on which Israel was given Torah and entered covenants to obey it - is therefore vital for us. It is a matter of life and death. And how we respond to it - whether we embrace it fervently or treat it casually as mere divine 'suggestions' or 'recommendations' - will determine the nature of the spiritual journey we have undertaken as pilgrims. It will determine whether the days ahead will be joyful, agonising or a gradual descent into darkness and spiritual oblivion. It will determine, in fact, whether we go around in circles or make a bold strike at entering the Land of Rest - for real.
Our response to the commandments or mitzvot of Yahweh - whether with joyful anticipation or with resentment as a burdensome imposition - will reveal to us just what sort of condition our heart is in. It will also determine whether our covenant or oath is for real, half-hearted or totally disconnected from our Creator's actual nature and character as a Divine Person. I, for one, am glad, when I drive my car, that there is a white broken line down the middle of the road telling me where the boundaries of traffic are, signposts to warn of me of hazardous bends, speed limits to ensure I don't accidentally hurt or kill myself, other motorists or pedestrians, and numerous other warning signs that make my journey - and the journey of other motorists - safer.
I remember on one occasion in England driving along a road up a hill which had just been laid with new asphalt. It was a three-laned road with two lanes going in one direction and one in the other. Because it had been newly asphalted, no lines had been painted to indicate which direction the extra lane was going in. The traffic in each direction assumed that the extra lane was theirs, thus making the middle lane entirely hazardous. Most people knew that whilst the road was unmarked the safest thing to do was to ignore the inner lane altogether and just drive a little slower in the lane they knew was safe. But there were some who were not of this opinion and who risked their lives and limbs and others' too driving on it. If we try to live out of our hearts without the visible markings of Torah, however confident we may be that our feeling life is genuine or safe, sooner or later we will make a disastrous mistake. It's not for nothing that Solomon warns trusting in your own feelings when he said:
"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Prov.28:26, NKJV)
or as the NIV puts it, "He who trusts in himself is a fool". The Torah is our hedge of protection, our road map for living, and the pattern upon which we are to build our lives. You can't build on your feelings nor assume that the degree of passion you invest in a belief necessarily makes it right. You may think your heart is right but more than one scripture warns against trusting in the revelations of the heart. We're told the human heart is deceitful - it tricks us - and that by default we should suspect its judgments (Jer.17:9, KJV). The only security is knowing Yahweh's mind and heart as revealed through Torah and ensuring that no experience contradicts a single part of it. Once that foundation is laid, and once our thoughts are patterned by it, and the words are admitted to, and written on, our hearts by the Ruach, we have real security against being deceived. But not before. Shavu'ot reminds us to take our Torah seriously and to invest time and effort into our study of it. In this fathers and husbands have the responsibility to lead and instruct their families.
Yahweh kept it simple to begin with. He summarised His entire Law in 10 'words' or commandments. Of course, they required amplification, which is why He revealed more mitzvot to Moses (613 in total) to explain in detail the meaning of these commandments even though in essence they are not hard to understand. And yet, when you are in darkness, however much in the light you may think you are walking, what you think is truth often turns out to be a horrible lie because you are listening to your heart before you do His Word.
Consider what the Israelites did while Moses went up to talk to Yahweh in the mountain - they had a pagan party - an orgy - and worshipped an Egyptian demon-god, Apis. And even after all of that had been 'resolved', after they had been betrothed by covenant, they did the same thing again at Baal-Peor under the influence of the false prophet Bilam (Balaam) who played both sides - being a Yahwist one minute and a pagan the next. And there are lots of those around these days, Christians talking with forked tongues, wolves in sheep's clothing, who make a show of discipleship but who in their hearts are the priests of Egypt, the very place we are supposed to have fled from. That is why we not only have to physically leave Egypt but leave our Egyptian heart behind too.
Now I am not suggesting for one moment that Yahweh will not accept you if you don't do everything perfectly. He is actually extraordinarily generous (1 Jn.1:9). What, then, is Yahweh looking for? The answer is to be found in the life of righteous King Hezekiah of Judah. Let me read you an extract from that:
"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith Yahweh, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto Yahweh, and said, Remember now, O Yahweh, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore" (Is.38:1-3, KJV).
I want you to notice that the scripture says that Hezekiah had a "perfect heart". However, this man was far from perfect. He made plenty of mistakes. You only have to read about him to know that. The important thing was that his heart was right before Yahweh. Our Father in Heaven places our mistakes under the blood of the Messiah when we ask Him to. Better, we know that Yahweh will "have compassion on us" and "will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Mic.7:19, NIV) if we repent. Now I guarantee that if you throw something off the side of a ship into the ocean, your chances of recovering it are as good as zero. And even if in the unlikely event that you did, the cost of doing so would cost you a fortune. That's how Yahweh treats sins which are repented of. And like Corie ten Boom said, we shouldn't go fishing for them. We should just leave leave them where Yahweh dumped them - in the depths of forgetfulness. And if Yahweh has forgiven us, so should we. That's a condition of being in right relationship with Him (Mt.6:12; Lk.11:14).
Yahweh responded to Hezekiah's tearful prayer and added 15 more years to his life. Everything looked hopeless to Hezekiah - he was indeed dying. So what made the difference? How did hopelessness turn to hope? What was it that he did? He "turned his face to the wall, and prayed to Yahweh". That's what he did.
Now have you ever faced a wall? I guarantee the view is not so good. A wall represents a dead-end. It represents coming to the end of oneself. And Hezekiah had come to the end of himself. He was physically dying. Facing that wall, there was only one thing to 'see' and that was Yahweh, and only Yahweh. When you turn your face to the wall, you turn away from other people as a means of deliverance. The physicians couldn't help Hezekiah any more, and he knew it. Only Yahweh was left. And that's what turning to the wall signifies. When we cease leaning on man for our salvation or deliverance, we face the wall and rely solely on Yahweh. And if you read on in the text, you'll discover that not only Hezekiah turn away from man but he also turned away from the prophet Isaiah - from his oracle! He turned away from his own sensations, sufferings, symptoms, sympathising relatives, medical skill and from everything earthly until he was alone with his Maker. His deliverance came when he finally let go of the world and could only see one thing: Yahweh-Elohim.
Shavu'ot was a meeting with Yahweh for the nation of Israel. And in that meeting what did Yahweh do? Comfort their hearts? Not at all! He recited the Ten Commandments very loudly and very emphatically as heavenly megawatt shofars blasted away! He had something better than comfort to offer - He delivered the Way of living that would give them a rocky spiritual foundation for ever and in a way that it would never be forgotten. This was the ground they were to walk on, representing the chief precepts of individual and communal living. They represented more than feelings of assurance - they were the concrete, heavenly lifestyle designed to prosper mankind forever.
The Ten Commandments are plainly stated in Exodus 20. They need to be burned into our minds and hearts, word for word, because if we can't get them right, we're going to fall down flat when it comes to refining our spiritual walk and submitting to the other mitzvot. Yahweh is not satisfied with unpolished jewels - He begins with them but He expects us to yield to ever more stringent refining so that His glory and love can be reflected in us for all the world to see and give glory to His Name. We are those jewels. The purer the light that comes from us the more effective our witness will be, and the more useful to Him we will be. We'll get our comfort in His praises as we get our living right (Mt.25:21; Lk.19:17).
Shavu'ot is the first recorded systematic attempt by Yahweh to get Israel walking on a well asphalted spiritual road with road signs and markings to see them safely back home to Him. Up until then it was a dirt trail with only one commandment like the one given to Lot in Sodom by the malakim or angels - march straight out and ahead and don't look back! That part of the journey had as its purpose the creation of distance between Yahweh's people and Egypt. That distancing is important.
Now Shavu'ot is mid-way, the fourth of the seven festivals, with three on either side, and it represents a choice to stop leaving Egypt, be quit of it permanently, and to actually go to the Promised land. The alternative is to continue to focus on leaving Egypt and in effect go back there. When we walk away from Egypt we can't walk with our heads turned facing where we came from. We can't spend all our lives leaving Egypt. There has to be a point where we are 100% committed to never going back so that we can actually go to the "land flowing with milk and honey" (Ex.3:8). That means facing forwards. It means burning our bridges like Elisha did (1 Ki.19:19-21). It's at Shavu'ot that our double-mindedness is supposed to end and total commitment finally given. Closing the door to Egypt, locking it, and giving the key to Yahweh, and never asking for it back, makes the journey a lot easier. That's not to say there aren't problems after Shavu'ot because there are - there is still major overcoming to be done. But so long as we have finally closed the door to the fleshpots of Egypt and resolved in our beings never to even consider going back, we're heading in the right direction and have finally 'left'. At Shavu'ot we have to decide, as it were, whether the glass of water of our lives either remains half empty or becomes half full. It's essentially a state of mind. All that's required is a change in attitude - a looking in the right direction.
Now the way the children of Israel faced Shavu'ot was, unfortunately, not correct. They had the choice of entering into a direct relationship with Yahweh or seeking an intermediary in the person of Moses. They gave into their fear and chose Moses, the one whom they had always complained against. They didn't want the responsibility of having to deal with their Maker on a one-to-one basis. Instead, by making Moses their intermediary, they could shift responsibility - and blame him when things went wrong. And that's precisely what they did and continued to do.
As Christians we can only approach Yahweh by entering into a personal relationship with Yah'shua who is the prophesied prophet greater than Moses. And although there are false traditions in Christendom which perpetuate the inferior path - Catholics must go through their parish priest, the sacraments, the pope and the Catholic Church as a whole to be in right relationship and get into heaven - Mormons must go through their hierarchy of leaders, ordinances and acceptance of extra scriptures to be in right relationship with Yahweh and get into heaven - Jehovah's Witnesses must go through their Watchtower magazines and other publications to understand scripture rightly - in the New Covenant we must go directly to Yah'shua individually. That is how we must begin.
Now what this does not mean is that Christianity is an exclusively one-to-one religion - it's that too but it's also one-to-many. It's both one-to-one - us going directly to Yah'shua - and one-to-many - our place within the community of the redeemed which is Messianic Israel under proper headship in the proper divine order. Indeed, Shavu'ot specifically teaches both - on the one hand, every Israelite should have gone directly to Yahweh and become a prophet or prophetess for his or her own life, but Shavu'ot was also a national covenant. If the Israelites had chosen right, Moses would have remained the head - he would have still been the prophet-head of the nation and Aaron would still have been the Cohen Gadol or High Priest, but the people would have been walking in a deeper and higher endowment of the Ruach greatly superior to the one they had chosen. They would have been fully and ecstatically married to Yahweh rather than just betrothed and waiting for something better. They would have grown - as the first apostles did - from servanthood to friendship with Yahweh and their spiritual life would have been revolutionised. The issue, at root, was whether they would remain as spiritual children or grow up into spiritual adults. They chose not to grow up - yet.
If Shavu'ot was the Betrothal Covenant between Israel and Yahweh, then Yom haBikkurim was the Dedication Covenant. Dedication, like being engaged to be married, is not binding and can be broken off by the two parties involved, although that is never to be done lightly. Once the covenant is made at Shavu'ot, the contract is binding and we cannot squirm out of it. It's not full union yet - that comes at Sukkot - but it is nevertheless binding. The full force and impact of the relationship has not come into being, and indeed even if it is adulterous time and time again because of sin, it is still binding. Dedication is the first or barley harvest (Yom haBikkurim), betrothal is the second or wheat harvest (Shavu'ot), but full marriage must await the grape harvest when new wine can be served (Sukkot). That comes at the end of the New Covenant age.
Now you will also remember from what I taught you last year that the substance of covenant-making demands that the people seek no proof or validation. They have ample proof of Yahweh's power and love in the journey thus far. So when they are asked if they will enter into the Shavu'ot betrothal covenant with Yahweh, their answer is one of faith: "Na'aseh V'Nishmah!" Most English Bibles render this inaccurately, translating the Hebrew as: "We will do everything Yahweh has said" (Ex.19:8, NIV). However, literally translated these Hebrew words mean: "We agree to do even before we have listened". Here is the background of these words:
"In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt -- on the very day -- they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to Elohim, and Yahweh called to him from the mountain and said, 'This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites'" (Ex.19:1-6, NIV).
That's all they had to go on. This was before Moses went up into the cloud. This was before the sound of ram's horns was heard that shook the earth. This was before they heard Yahweh thunderously recite the Ten Commandments to them. It was an unconditional covenant of obedience. They made a choice to agree to what He would demand even before they knew what He would demand. They had to wait three days before the contents of Torah were given to them, washing themselves and their clothes in preparation in the meantime.
Shavu'ot is rightly seen by many as the conclusion of Pesach or Passover. It represents the end of one cycle within the seven festival cycle and the beginning of the second and last. It is for this reason that it is sometimes called Atseret. It was Israel's opportunity to speak to Yahweh face-to-face, something infinitely greater than watching dramatic physical miracles.
Tomorrow we are invited to meet our heavenly Bridegroom one-to-one and to enter for the first time (if we are new believers) - or re-enter - our covenants of obedience to Him individually and as a spiritual family and nation. Today's Torah is greater than what was revealed at Sinai because Yahweh has spoken a great deal more since that time. Starting this evening and ending at sunset tomorrow, we are invited by Him, while the Ruach haRevee is strongly present, to agree to obey the whole Counsel of Yahweh - the whole Word or Dabar, the Bible, built upon the foundation of Torah revealed through Moses. If we are willing to do that, then we will be baptised in the Ruach haRevee just as the first Christians were at Pentecost or Shavu'ot two thousand years ago. Yahweh wishes to immerse us to an ever greater degree in Himself if we will "agree to do" whatever He wants of us this coming year even "before we have listened" - even before we know what He is going to ask of us. If we are willing to do that, then it clearly indicates that we are also willing to die to our fleshy self and be reborn into something totally new. But don't think you can know beforehand either what He will ask you to do or what will happen - you have no idea! None of us do. And if you think you do, then you need to release that picture or image to Him and let Him ordain and conduct the course of events. To be in a position to do that, there are two things you need to submit to: (1) The authority of the Torah in your life - all of it; and (2) the power of the Ruach haQodesh in your life. The two go hand-in-hand. Remember, it was the Ruach who inspired the Torah.
There are people who hesitate when they hear that submission to Torah is required. For them it is just 'do' and 'don't' rules with no life in them. And it is true that if you approach them in the wrong way, they can appear this way (2 Cor.3:6). However, Torah is much wider than that. It is also Yahweh's instruction and teaching to us so that we can know and understand Him better. That's what the word 'torah' actually means. The character of Yahweh is revealed in it; and if we want to have a full, personal relationship with Him, and relate properly together as His people, then we need to know and understand the love and divine personality which is within Torah. The subjective moving of our hearts by the Ruach is wonderful but not enough because there has to be an integration of heart and mind, and the mind must be filled with Torah - Yahweh's mind. So I ask you most soberly: are you doing as Yahweh commanded? What do you do in your daily life? Here is the fruit of a person who is walking in Torah as Yahweh has commanded in the Shema:
"Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is echad (one). Love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates" (Dt.6:4-9, NIV)
Now I'd like to think of myself as a practical sort of person and I judge my own relationship with Yahweh by what draws me and what I am led to do, and not always by my feelings at any one particular time. When He says the commandments are to be upon my heart, then I look to my feelings towards them. Do I delight in them? Do I impress them upon my children? Do I talk about them when I wake up and go to sleep? Have I bound them to my mind and in my actions? Does my mind race with excitement when the Sabbath comes, or one of the Festivals? Do I delight in them? If I don't, something is wrong with my relationship with Yahweh - something is defective, because this is the foundation - this defines what my love for Him consists of. This is the lifestyle He wants me to live - anything else must, by definition, be of Egypt or Babylon. They are the 'doing' part of my relationship with Him, the manifestation of my faith in, and love of, Him. And I am attracted to people who spontaneously and joyously gravitate towards His Torah - this is what I find my delight in. It's the first principle of life and living and I want nothing else. Anything that would dilute or remove it is anathema to my soul. Yah'shua said so - He constantly emphasised Torah and especially the Shema which I have just read (e.g. Mk.12:29-34). Anything or anyone that would try to take me away from this manifestation of my first love must by definition be an adversary (1 Jn.2:15) - to love yes (Mt.5:44; Lk.6:27,35), but to follow, never.
I believe that the greatest enemy we face amongst fellow believers, as I have said so many times now, is what I now call the 'Kongsberg Delusion'. It's a very subtle sin because it seems to be right. A person may have a tremendous love in his heart for people, which is wonderful, but what happens - because there is no proper Torah foundation - is that our love for Yahweh diminishes and takes a firm second place. The result is rather like skipping Shavu'ot, since without it there is no law, so there can be no judgement, so there can't be a Yom Kippur either - which means that whatever joy there is, is a humanistic sort that is not the real simcha that flows from lovers of Yahweh. The delusion is that we love Yahweh by loving others, and whilst this is not untrue, it is only half the picture. Indeed, the picture is virtually a form of narcissim because the primary absorption is between members of the bride - fellow believers - instead of the bridegroom. It then becomes a social gospel. The woman in the Kongsberg Vision loved people, but as Yahweh said, she did not love Him but another gospel that did not actually include Him even though she thought it did because He was declared so often (OB 467). But then it is easy to credit Yahweh with false gospels.
Yah'shua said: "If you love Me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15, NIV). And what did He command? He commanded us to follow the Shema because this was the greatest commandment of all: a passionate love for Yahweh that leads to Torah-obedience, that leads to daily meditation on, and conversation about, it day and night.
It is quite wrong to claim that only certain kinds of people are attracted to that sort of thing, or that it suits one gender better than the other - it's for everyone. That love for Him will cause us to reach out to our neighbour and share the good news of Yah'shua and the importance of Torah. Yahweh's people will "shomer (do) the mitzvot (commandments) of hwhy (Yahweh), and have the testimony of Yah'shua haMoshiach" (Rev.12:17, RSTNE). Notice that these are Yahweh's commandments, the original Torah, and that a true disciple will be doing this first - and followed by the testimony of the Messiah - of His great love for us and His cleansing power. The order is not accidental - that is why you cannot ignore the Old Testament - it is the foundation of everything Yah'shua was, did and is. And in commemorating Shavu'ot we remember these things - first, the Torah given at Sinai, and then the in-filling Ruach haQodesh at the second Shavu'ot or Pentecost in Jerusalem. Here, then, is the true Pentecostal person - on fire for Torah and filled with the Ruach through faith in Messiah Yah'shua! Hallelu-Yah!
Shavu'ot occurred exactly 50 days after the Israelites crossed the Sea of Reeds at Yom haBikkurim, the day of Yah'shua's resurrection. 50 days later the Ruach haQodesh descended on the first Christian disciples at Shavu'ot and people were given the gift to supernaturally speak all the known languages and dialects of those Judahites who had gathered to Jerusalem for the festival. By choosing a face-to-face meeting with Yahweh through Yah'shua which the anointing brought, they received the gift of communication which tongues represents, showing how all barriers to communication can be removed through communion with the Elohim. In the first covenant the commandments were written on stone; in the second they are written on the heart that is open to receive them (Jer.31:31-33; Ps.40:8; 37:31; Is.51:7; Ezek.11:19-20; 36:26-27; 2 Cor.3:3; Heb.8:10).
It must be made perfectly clear that the second Shavu'ot could not have happened without the first one, and that still holds true today. We must first be baptised in water outwardly as a sign of the covenant and then, if we are truly sincere, we will be baptised in fire as evidence that our baptism was also a heart circumcision (Dt.30:6; Rom.2:29) - the cutting away of the world and of worldliness. The outer and inner components are both important and are validations and confirmations of each other. Indeed, it would be correct to make a comparison between Shavu'ot and the western and eastern church traditions, respectively, called 'confirmation' or 'chrism' - Shavu'ot confirms what happened at Bikkurim. And what practically is that confirmation? A joyful heartfelt - as opposed to a mechanical and resentful - observance of the commandments. For instance, whether we have been anointed by the Ruach haRevee or not will be seen, for example, in our attitude to the Sabbath. Is it your favourite day of the week or the one you look forward to the least? If it's your favourite, then you have been anointed by the Ruach haRevee. If you resent it, and view it as a burden, then you have not. Is our attitude like the worldly Judahites of Amos' day who complained: "When will ... the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?" (Amos 8:5, NIV) or is it one of joyful anticipation as Yahweh said it would be for those following Him:
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and Yahweh's holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in Yahweh, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob" (Is.58:13-14, NIV).
The Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments and is almost universally ignored even by those minority commandment-stressing evangelical Christians who should know better. Our outward and inward observance of the Sabbath is one of the tests of Yahweh's people - it's an indicator, a sign, a litmus test of trusting Him or not. Unlike the festivals, it alone is mentioned in the summary of all the other mitzvot or commandments, the Ten Commandments. Why? What's so important about it?
Well there are many reasons but I want to suggest with you today that it has to do with our willingness or not to obey covenant faithfully. The Sabbath is the seventh day, and seven is the number of covenant. It was so important, in fact, that it was given whilst Adam was the only human being on the planet. It was given over 2,000 years before Moses or the nation of Israel came into existence. In fact, Yah'shua said the Sabbath was made for man - anthropos - for the whole of mankind. And the fact that it is for a specific day - the 7th day - and not just any old day - means that our attitude to time and the outside world is as important as our inner condition or heart. In fact, our outward behaviour is from the heart. And if we're faking it, then it means our heart is faking it too.
Torah is the written contract or ketubah of the marriage of Israel to Yahweh. That document is very important. In Hebrew, betrothal is called erusin which comes from the root aras which is related to the Hebrew arar meaning to 'bind'. By this choice of words we see that betrothal is legally binding in Yahweh's eyes, even if the marriage is not consummated. For us, as I said, the allegorical consummation comes at Sukkot, at the end of the age when full marriage or nesu'in takes place. When someone rejects Torah they are rejecting the betrothal covenant of the believer to Yahweh which is an act of spiritual adultery. They are rejecting their marriage contract with Yahweh! They are actually demanding a divorce and following another god. Not that they can actually initiate the divorce - they can't. Only Yahweh can divorce His Bride, and then only when the Bride has fully ripened in iniquity by an act of total apostasy. Yahweh said:
"I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved Me and followed Me through the desert, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to Yahweh, the firstfruits of his harvest" (Jer.2:2-3, NIV).
Do not be under any illusions - do not deceive yourself into thinking that you can modify the ketubah or marriage contract if you claim to be a believer. Don't think you can unilaterally end it either - it is binding. Your attitude to Torah indicates your attitude to Yahweh and is a sign of your relationship with Him as His allegorical Bride. If I scorn any part of the Torah, or hold it in disdain or disbelief, or refuse to obey it, what does that tell me about my relationship to Yahweh and Yah'shua? It testifies that I hold them in contempt. It testifies that I view my betrothal as cheap. It means, in effect, that I am claiming to be the husband in the relationship. It means I am claiming marital headship over Yah'shua.
When Yahweh said to the assembled nation of Israel at Sinai: "... if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession" he was making a proposal of marriage. Do you recall how at Yom haBikkurim I explained that a wife fearing her husband was to respect him, and how a husband respecting his wife was to treat her as a precious treasure? It is the same language here in Exodus. And when Israel replied: "We agree to do even before we have listened", she was accepting the proposal of marriage, by pledging obedience even before what would be required of her had been revealed. It's exactly the same in ordinary marriage - the wife agrees to obey her Torah-obedient and Messiah-trusting husband in all things (Eph.5:22-24) even before she knows what he will require - she is agreeing to do even before she has listened.
The betrothal ceremony at Mount Sinai was spectacular indeed. As you know, the marriage is supposed to be performed under a chupah or wedding canopy. What was the chupah at Sinai? We read:
"On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with Elohim, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because Yahweh descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet (shofar) grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of Elohim answered him" (Ex.19:16-19, NIV).
Here we see that the people stood at the foot of the mountain which was covered with smoke. This was their chupah. A wedding was about to take place. And every wedding, as you know, must have at least two witnesses. So who were the two witnesses at Shavu'ot? Who were the two who signed the ketubah, the marriage contract, the Torah summarised in the Ten Commandments? Well, the two witnesses are always the friends of the bridegroom (Mt.9:15; Mk.2:19; Lk.5:34). Moses was obviously one of those friends but who was the other? And did Moses actually sign the contract? In fact, no! He broke the tablets of stone in fury because they had already descended into harlotry! What was to have been a full wedding was cancelled. So it became a betrothal only. And a betrothal requires no signature - just the verbal covenants.
We are likewise 'only' betrothed to Yah'shua. The full consummation occurs at the cosmic Sukkot when He comes back. As Messianic Israel we became betrothed to Him two thousand years ago in Jerusalem at Shavu'ot or Pentecost when the Ruach haRevee descended upon the assembly as cloven tongues of fire and gave the people the ability to speak foreign languages supernaturally. The question is: are we spiritually a part of Messianic Israel or do we just think we are? What are the evidences that we are? Have we agreed to obey the Torah and are we doing so? Will we be fully 'married' to Yah'shua when He is physically living with us on earth? For now He is in heaven and present only spiritually through the Ruach haQodesh.
After a marriage comes a week-long honeymoon which is known as the 'seven days of the chupah'. In Hebrew, a week is called a 'seven', which can mean seven days or seven years (Dan.9:24-27; Gen.29:27). Yahweh said through the prophet Joel:
"Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber" (Joel 2:16, NIV).
Here the bridegroom leaves the room (KJV "chamber") and the bride the chamber (KJV "closet"). The room the bride is leaving is, interestingly, called the chupah in Hebrew, and in this context refers to heaven. After the honeymoon in heaven, Yah'shua will be returning with His bride to attend the marriage supper (Rev.19:7-14) and it is then that we will rule with Him physically during the Millennium (Rev.20:4). However, if we are serious about being together as inheritors of the first resurrection - if our vision is of eternity and not just of mortality - then we must seriously read our marriage contract and fulfil our part of the covenant. We can't say to Him: "Oh, I didn't feel married in my heart so I don't feel obliged to obey" - what do you suppose He will say if we take that attitude? We all have our down times, even our crises but it's especially during these times that our covenants are put fully to the test and their substance measured. Life is full of bitter disappointments as the Exodus journey fully warns us of and it is well to remember that our life exists for Yahweh not for ourselves. If we wish to own our lives we will lose them (Mt.10:39). If we keep our eyes on Yahweh He will reveal His ways and His Word through our betrothal contract with Him, the Holy Bible. Then, through our struggles, Yahweh will not only reveal Himself in a greater way to us, but our life journey will not end in a spiritual wilderness because Yahweh will take us forward spiritually so that we can enjoy Him even more. He will prepare us for the autumn (fall) festivals which is the time of celebration as we have overcome, especially at Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, the 'Season of Our Joy'.
Brethren and sisters, when the Israelites assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive Torah at Shavu'ot there were loud supernaturally-produced shofar blasts which shook everything. This is the first of three great trumpet blasts to be made at the festivals. It's also blown at Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets or Shofarim which is 'the day of the awakening blast'. Paul mentions this shofar blast in his letter to the Corinthians:
"I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (shofar). For the trumpet (shofar) will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Cor.15:50-52, NIV).
He is speaking of the resurrection here - the last trumpet or shofar is about our being physically raised to immortality. But before that comes the first shofar or trumpet blast - at Shavu'ot. It signals the birth of a family - a nation - through a wedding contract. Shavu'ot is about us as individuals, our families and about Messianic Israel as a whole. It's about Yahweh's divine order, the way He wants us to live, with the proper authorities and the heavenly lifestyle.
This is the way it will be in the Millennium. Are you prepared for that? Just how do you believe you'll be living your lives when Yah'shua comes back? Like you are now? Like the society around you lives? Just go back in time to the Bible world, when Israel was true, and that is the world we'll be inheriting as true disciples. That is what Shavu'ot is telling you - and expecting of you. And that is why the majority of Christians never come to this point. Many approach it but then backpeddal to the simpler dirt track rule of 'leaving Egypt' but in truth having no clue where they are going. Most think they'll be raptured away from having to bother about that anyway and be dropped into an unearthly world where they will cavort in some heavenly amusement park. If you want to know what the inheritance of the faithful is, read your Bibles! It's this world that's got to change, not the biblical one! It's the lifestyle of this world that will be swept away, not the biblical one. And Yahweh wants you and I to get ready for it no matter how odd the world may think we look as we live that lifestyle. Like Paul I can say:
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of Elohim for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Judahite, then for the Gentile" (Rom.1:16, NIV).
First for the Judahite, because he is the one who then was teaching and living Torah - he had the Shavu'ot foundation unlike the gentiles. It is the gentiles who are grafted into the world of the Judahite - into his lifestyle, not the other way round! (Rom.11:17-24) We have to abandon our gentile ways - we have to go home - and we can't do that by imitating gentile lifestyles and habits.
Shavu'ot quite frankly both thrills and frightens me. It thrills me because my heart is in the choices that I am being asked to make - to accept Yahweh's marriage contract with me. But is also frightens me because I know a lot of people turn away at this - they love Egyptian things too much and hanker for them. It is worse when families are under strain because one part wants to face Sukkot and the other wants to look back down the dirt road that leads back to Goshen in Egypt - to the fertile lands of paganism, to the fruitful valley of Sodom and Gomorra, to the hanging gardens of Babylon (Rev.11:8). They look so appetising, like that forbidden fruit in Eden - so very, very attractive to the eye, especially when the going is getting tough where we are at. And it's at this time that we, as ministers, must raise voices of caution and voices of warning, and take the flak of offended carnality. Therefore today I do lift this warning - and very emphatically - to take hold of the pole of all truth, which is defined by Torah and to resolutely turn away from the world system, change direction, and head out into the unknown desert again until the Promised Land comes in view.
This has been a challenging year for a lot of us, and still is for some. There has been a shaking in Israel like never before. This evening the heavenly shofar will blast, and throughout the day tomorrow, commanding us to assemble to hear what our marriage contract is going to consist of after we have agreed to listen and accept before even knowing what it is to be. That takes faith. That takes courage. But if we love Him with all our hearts, we'll do it, trusting that what he has prepared is far better than anything we could have dreamed of. May Yahweh bless you in Yah'shua's Name. Amen.
Edward Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, Treasure House, Shippensburg, PA, 1994
|Glossary of MLT Hebraic, Greek and English Terms |
For other terms and full details please see the Micropedia
AGlossary Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved
Adon(ai) = Master, a pagan fertility god, Adonis; used by many Messianics but not MLT
(a)eon(ian) = 7 dispensation- or age-long time periods, not forever (see le-olam-va-ed)
Alef-Tav = Alpha-Omega, A-Z, first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet = Yah'shua
Amen = truly, let it be so, written Amein by some Messianics
Apocrypha = Hebraic Scriptures not a part of the Protestant canon (e.g. Baruch)
Anti-Messiah = Hebraic term for the end-time Antichrist or anyone opposed to the Messiah
antinomian = lawless Christian who disregards all or part of Torah/commandments
Ashkenazi Jew = East European Jew descended from the Turkic-Japhethite Khazars
Assembly = church, congregation, ekklesia, community, fellowship, koinonia, gathering
Azazel = the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Baal, Ba'al = any other master than Yahweh, usually demonic in MLT terminology
Bachor(im) = firstborn son(s)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah = Son/Daughter of Commandment, covenant to obey Torah at age 12
being = soul, the whole person (spirit and body), e.g. "my whole being"
Beit, bet, beth = house, e.g. Beit Yisrael (House of Israel), Beth Lechem (House of Bread)
Beit haMikdash = Yahweh's Temple in Yerushalayim
B'rit Chadashah = the New Covenant; B'rit Chadashah Scriptures = New Testament
B'rit Milah = circumcision - abolished in the B'rit Chadashah, replaced by Mikvah
canon = authoritative Scripture (Heb. qaneh, Gk. kanŰn = measuring instrument)
Catechumen = a serious, covenanted investigator seeking Mikvah or Baptism in MLT
Chag haMatzah = Feast of Unleavened Bread, second of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Chavurat Bekorot = MLT's Priesthood Order, Holy Order and Assembly of the Firstborn
Cohen = priest; Cohen Gadol = High Priest (also spelled Kohen)
Council of Yah's elohim = the heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn or Chavurat Bekorot
demon = fallen malek or angel in rebellion against Yahweh (Heb. shad; see l-Shaddai)
derech = the Way, Path or Road - Yah'shua and the Gospel are the Way
Drash = moral or homiletic interpretation of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Echad = One, Union of two or more in one (as opposed to Yachid) - see Elohim
Echad Godhead Doctrine = Father Yahweh, Son Yah'shua and Sevenfold Ruach (Mother)
Êl, Eloah, Elah = God the Father, Yahweh
Êl-Elyon = Most High God, Yahweh
Êl-Shaddai = Master/Lord over all shads or demons
Elohim = God, the Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), lit. 'Mighty One(s)', 'Ruler(s)'
elohim = Israelite judges, rulers, angels or gods (false deities, idols, demons)
emunah = faith, actively trusting, clinging or adhering to (especially Yahweh or Yah'shua)
emet = truth, Yah'shua is the Emet
Ephraimite = descendant of the patriarch Ephraim and head of Messsianic Israel
Feasts of Yahweh = the 7 annual Moedim (Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot)
Gan-Eden = Garden of Eden, Paradise and state of the purified heart in Messiah
goy(im) = nation(s), Israelites or gentiles not born in or converted to the Covenant
hallelu-Yah = praise Yah(weh)!
Heylel = proper name of Satan or haSatan = the Adversary, the devil
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Hochmah = Wisdom, title of the 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
IDL = International Date Line, false man-made time division in Pacific Ocean
IDL Zone = Area between the true Divine Date Line (Lake Van/Eden) and the false one
Israeli = citizen of the modern Edomite-Khazar Republic of Israel (not Biblical Israel)
Israelite = citizen of biblical state of Israel or a modern follower of the Messiah
Jew = post-biblical term describing descendants of Edomite and Khazar converts to Judaism
Johannine = pertaining to the Apostle Yochanan (e.g. Gospel of John)
Josephite = descendant of the patriarch Joseph, the head of Messianic Israel
Judahite = a person in direct descent from the patriarch Judah, forefather of the Messiah
Judaism = a Talmudic-based religion rejecting Yah'shua the Messiah
Judean = a citizen of the Kingdom or Province of Judah until the 2nd Century diaspora
Kadosh la Yahweh = set-apart or dedicated to Yahweh, 'Holiness to the Lord', MLT motto
Karaites = Jews (from 700 AD) who reject the Talmud and accept only the Tanakh
kashrut = keeping kosher, food laws of Yahweh and correspinding lifestyle
Ketuvim = Writings or Hagiographa of the Tanakh
Khazar = a Turkic convert to Judaism ~700 AD forming the Ashkenazi Jewish community
kosher = clean foods authorised by Yahweh for human consumption
Lashon Hara = evil-speaking, gossip or slander
legalism = false route to salvation through works (self-salvation)
le-olam-va-ed = dispensation- or age-long, aeonian, not eternal, forever or for eternity
Lev = heart, as in Lev-Tsiyon = heart of Zion
Lev-Tsiyon = Heart of the Fortress [of Yahweh], Hebrew name of MLT's founder
Master = Lord, Sir, Adon(ai) - (one in authority, a ruler - a king, husband, prophet, judge)
Malak(im) = Angel(s), heavenly supernatural messenger(s)
manna = wafers of honey, bread from heaven (lit. 'what is this?')
matzah = unleavened bread, see Chag haMatzah
Menorah = 7-armed candlearbra = the 7 annual Moedim and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
Messiah = Christ; Anti-Messiah = Antichrist
Messianic Community = Body of Christ, sum total of all true believers; all true fellowships
Messianic Israel = all who worship Yahweh, trust in Yah'shua, obey Torah and overcome
Messianic Jew = Messianic convert from Judaism still clinging to Talmudic traditions
Midrash = aggadic interpretation of scripture vi‚ Drash, a scriptural discussion
Mikvah = baptism by immersion of convert into Yah'shua or of wife into husband
Mishpachah = family: nuclear, congregational, tribal or the whole of Messianic Israel
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon = family of the heart of the fortress [of Yahweh]
Mishpat = right-ruling or judgement
mitzvah/mitzvot = commandment(s)
moed(im) = appointment(s) of Yahweh, 7 Annual Feasts, Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh
Nefilim, Nephilim = giant offspring of materialised demons and human women
Nevi'im = prophetic writings of the Old Testament or Tanakh
New Birth = spiritual conversion in the Ruach haRishon, being 'born again' with new heart
Nidah = a woman's menstruation period during which no intercourse is permitted
Olive Branch = collection of revelations, prophecies and visions published by MLT
Paraclete = Comforter, Advocate (NEB), Counsellor, Ruach haQodesh (Gk. paraklÍtos)
PaRDeS = method of textual interpretation (homiletics) - see P'shat, Remez, Drash, Sod
Patriarch = a father who is head of his family, clan or tribe (lit. 'father-ruler')
Pentateuch = first five books of the Tanakh (Genesis-Deuteronomy), also called Torah
peribolaion = headcovering worn by daughters/wives in submission to fathers/husbands
Pesach = Passover, first of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Peshitta = an Aramaic version of the Bible
Prototrinitarianism = early, simplified MLT formulation of the Echad Godhead Doctrine
Prush(im) = Pharisee(s)
Pseudepigrapha = Non-canonical Hebrew writings additional to the Apocrypha
P'shat = literal, contextual, philological, exoteric, outer meaning of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Qadosh Qadoshim = Holy of Holies, most sacred set-apart room of the Beit haMikdash
Qodesh, Kodesh = set-apart, holy (see Ruach haQodesh)
Rabbi = Teacher, term used by Messianic Jews and some Messianic Israelites = Pastor
Refuge, the 12 Cities of = divinely protected MLT fortresses during the 7-year Tribulation
Remez = hint or allegorical level of Hebraic understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Rosh Chodesh = monthly New Moon appointment of Yahweh
ruach = spirit of a person (lit.'breath')
Ruach Elohim = Spirit of God (the Spirit of the collective Godhead or Elohim)
Ruach haChamashee = 5th Ruach presides over Yom Teruah and Yom Chamashee
Ruach haQodesh = the Sevenfold Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (lit. 'Set-Apart Breath')
Ruach haRevee = 4th Ruach presides over Shavu'ot, Yom Revee and Bar Mitzvah
Ruach haRishon = 1st Ruach presides over Pesach, Yom Rishon and the New Birth
Ruach haShanee = 2nd Ruach presides over Chag haMatzah and Yom Shanee
Ruach haSheshi = 6th Ruach presides over Yom Kippur and Yom Sheshi
Ruach haShleshi = 3rd Ruach presides over Yom haBikkurim, Yom Shleshi and Mikvah
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Satan = rebel archangel Heylel, father of lies, devil, chief demon (lit.'Adversary')
Sephardic Jew = West European Jew of mixed blood containing many Judahites
Septuagint = Greek translation of the Tanakh, LXX
Shegal haShabbat = 7th Ruach (Sabbath Queen) presides over Sukkot and Yom Shabbat
Shekinah = Divine Presence and Glory of Yahweh-Elohim
Set-apart = holy, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, separated (to and by Yahweh)
Shabbat-Shabbaton = High Sabbath (e.g. Yom Kippur)
Shalom = heavenly peace, standard Hebraic greeting invoking Yahweh's peace
Shamash(im) = servant(s), deacon(s), attendant(s)
Shavu'ot = Pentecost or Weeks, fourth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Sheol = grave or pit, euphamism for Hades or hell - also see Tartarus
shofar = ram's horn, blown during Yahweh's Moedim
simcha = joy, keynote of Sukkot
Sod = mystical, anagogic, inner or esoteric understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Sukkot = Tabernacles or Booths, seventh of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Synagogue = Greek word used by Jews and Messianics (but not MLT) for a meeting house
talmid(a) = male/female disciple or student
Talmud = scriptures, teachings and commentaries belonging to non-Messianic Judaism
Tanakh = acronym for Old Testament Scriptures - Torah, Nevi'im & Ketuvim
Tartarus = place of imprisonment under the earth for rebellious angels and Nephilim
teshuvah = repentance, remorse and contrition leading back to Torah obedience
Torah = Yahweh's teachings or Law; New Covenant Torah includes Yah'shua's teachings
Tribulation, the Great = the final 7 years of the present aeon when Anti-Messiah rules
Trinity = Catholic Godhead formula - see Echad Godhead Doctrine and Prototrinitarianism
Tsiyon = Zion, a fortress, a name of Jerusalem and a prominent hill
Tzitzit/Tizitziyot = tassel(s) worn by men in remembrance of Torah
Universalism = salvation of all at the cosmic Yovel, with different rewards and punishments
Yachid = one, single person or item, as opposed to Echad (many in one, unity)
Yah'shua the Messiah = Jesus Christ (the Son)
Yahudah = Judah - see Judahite
Yahweh, Yah, YHWH = the true Name of our Heavenly Father, also carried by Yah'shua
Yahweh-Elohim = LORD God (the Father, Yahweh as Head of the Godhead or Elohim)
Yahweh haQatan = the sent Yahweh = Yah(weh)'shua, Malak of Yahweh's Presence
Yam Suf = Sea of Reeds, the true Israelite Exodus water crossing, not the Red Sea
Yarden = Jordan River (lit. 'meanderer')
Yerushalayim = Jerusalem
Yisrael = Israel (lit. 'ruling with l') = true believers under the New Covenant
Yom Chamashee = 5th day of the week (Thursday, Friday in IDL Zone)
Yom Din, Yom haDin = (the) Day of Judgement
Yom haBikkurim = Feast of Firstfruits, third of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Revee = 4th day of the week (Wednesday, Thursday in IDL Zone)
Yom Rishon = 1st day of the week (Sunday, Monday in IDL Zone)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, sixth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Shabbat = 7th day of the week and Sabbath Rest (Saturday, Sunday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shanee = 2nd day of the week (Monday, Tuesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Sheshi = 6th day of the week (Friday, Saturday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shleshi = 3rd day of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, fifth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yosef = Joseph - see Josephite
Yovel = Jubilee or Year of Jubilee
Zaqen(im) = elder(s) of an assembly or congregation, or senior members of a community
ZoŽ Life = Greek term for spiritual life in the Messiah
Commonly Used MLT Abbreviations
For additional abbreviations and explanations,
please see the Micropedia
Amp.V(er). = Amplified Version of the Bible
Aram. = Aramaic
AV = Authorised Version of the Bible - see KJV
BCAY = B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh - see NCCG
BoA = Books of Abraham (e.g. 1Abr., 2Abr., etc.)
cp, cf = compare with
CB(Q) = Chavurat Bekorot
CEV = Contemporary English Version of the Bible
ch. = chapter
CJB = Complete Jewish Bible
CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament
CYe = Council of Yah's elohim
Eng. = English
ff. = and onwards/forwards
fn = footnote
Gk. = Greek
GNB = Good News Bible - see TEV
Heb. = Hebrew, Hebraic
HEM = Holy Echad Marriage, eternal marriage
HO = Holy Order - see Chavurat Bekorot
HOC = Holy Order Collection of revelations - see OB
HRV = Hebraic-Roots Version of the Bible
ibid. = ibidem (lit. 'in the same place'), referring to a book previously cited
ICJC = Independent Church of Jesus Christ, earlier name of NCCF
ISRV = Institute for Scripture Research Version of the Bible
JB = Jerusalem Bible
JBP/Phillips = J.B.Phillips translation of the New Testament
JNT = Jewish New Testament
KJV = King James Version of the Bible - see AV
LB = Living Bible
lit. = literally or literature
LXX = Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon
Moff. = Moffatt translation of the Bible
MRC = Messianic Renewed Covenant Version of the NT
MS(S) = Manuscript(s)
NASB, NASV = New American Standard Bible/Version
NC&C = New Covenants & Commandments - see OB
NCCF = New Covenant Christian Fellowship, earlier name of NCCG
NCCG = New Covenant Church of God, earlier name of MLT - see BCAY
NCP = New Covenant Press, publishing arm of MLT
NCW = New Covenant Witness, MLT magazine
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible
NKJV = New King James Version of the Bible
Nor. = Norwegian
NT = New Testament, B'rit Chadashah
NWT = New World Translation of the Bible, unreliable Jehovah's Witness version
OB = Olive Branch - see NC&C
op.cit. = opere citato (lit. in the work cited)
OT = Old Testament, Tanakh
p(p). = page(s)
pl. = plural - see s.
PWNC = Prophetic Words of the New Covenant, revelation cataloging system - see OB
QED = quod erat demonstrandum (lit. which was shown to be proved)
RCF = Restoration Christian Fellowship, earlier name of ICJC
RhQ = Ruach haQodesh, Holy Spirit
RSTNE = Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition of the Bible
RSV = Revised Standard Version of the Bible
RV = Revised Version of the Bible
s. = singular - see pl.
S&G = Smith & Goodspeed Version of the Bible
TEV = Today's English Version of the Bible - see GNB
Vulg. = Biblia Vulgata, Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
WEB = World English Bible
This page was first created on 22 May 2007
Last updated on 22 May 2007
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