Shavuot – Pentecost

Shavuot – Pentecost

And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

Yeshua’s promise fulfilled

After the resurrection of Jesus, he appeared to his disciples for 40 days at the time of the Counting of Omers before returning to the Father. As promised, the time for the arrival of the Comforter was approaching. As our ancestors waited for the return of Moses in the wilderness of Sinai and at the foot of the mountain sometime in the 3rd month after the Exodus from Egypt, with the Promises written on the stone tablets, in other words the Commandments, the revelation was in the midst of great winds and flames. Similarly, our first brethren were filled with the Holy Spirit with the rise of wind and tongues of flame.

The Feast of Shavuot, according to the command of Moses, is about setting aside the first fruit of the harvest and presenting it, as we read in Exodus 34. On this Jewish feast the first disciples gathered in the upper house in Jerusalem. Jews and proselytes from all over the world gathered for this pilgrim’s holiday.

One of the prophetic deeds of rabbinic Jewry was to transform it into the Feast of the giving of the Torah in addition to the original presentation of the first fruits, because in exile, in the absence of the right to own any land for Jews, the presentation of the first fruit of the harvest simply lost its meaning. Only the Torah, as the spiritual first fruit that had been given to our people, could be at the center of the celebration. Shavuot’s date indeed seems to coincide with the revelation at mount Sinai.

However, instead of two stone tablets, the cloven or divided tongues of fire appeared to the disciples. The double or distributed tongues of flame are also reminiscent of the two stone tables. Although here in Acts the author mentions the fulfillment of a certain prophecy in Joel 3, here another great and important prophecy has been fulfilled as well: Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

Above, I mentioned 10 Promises instead of 10 Commandments. Indeed, a very important element can be found in the way the 10 Commandments have been formulated. I am talking about the future tense in which the 10 verbs of the 10 sentences are conjugated. All the commandments begin as follows: You shall/will not… kill, steal, commit adultery, worship idols, etc.…

At first glance, it may seem like just a stylistic twist and nothing strange can be noticed in it. Like our predecessors at the time, we instinctively interpreted them as being rules to be observed and that’s it. And this is okay, because this dimension of interpretation was also in the will of YHWH. They were given to us to be kept and respected. But they were also given to us so that we realize that we are not able to keep them without the help of Elohim and His Spirit.

The use of the future tense has a very deep spiritual meaning and it is a sign that the Commandments, no matter how compulsory they were, would one day work in us by themselves. It was a sign of the time to come, which pointed to the promise of Jeremiah that we had read earlier. It will not be that you will hold back and do not commit sin because you know the Commandments, but you will not wish to bear false witness, kill, commit adultery and the rest, for you will no longer want or need to do so. You will no longer be under the rule of yourself or any other alien spirit. You will not live according to your human instincts anymore. Your old man will no longer be the boss in your life and you will not be dragged by demons from within, but by Christ living inside of you. You will be free from sin, so you will no longer break the law and will be free from the curse of judgment which stems for breaking it.

Violation of the law can no longer occur from this moment if one remains obedient to the Spirit of Christ living in him. This is what the fulfillment of the law in Christ is all about. His spirit moves into us, we are born again by the baptism of fire, and observing the Law becomes an instinct, an impulse, an irresistible inner compulsion to which is no longer hard to obey. Not because we expect any reward from this, since we have already received the ultimate and total Reward through the blood of Christ, but because it is good to do good to the other, to do with our neighbor what our Lord would to do with them, in short, to love Him and our fellow humans.

The Commandment of Love, once engraved in our hearths, can no longer contradict either the 10 commandments or the further practical 613 laws.

When the commandment of loving our Elohim and our neighbor come to life in us, backwards each commandment will automatically and instinctively work in and through us outwards. This is how love delivers us not from the Law but from the judgment that its violation implies.

It is no longer a question that I go to my neighbor when he is in trouble and lift his lying donkey (that is, his life, existence, broken property, car, etc.) together with him because I will not be able to bear the sight of others being hindered and in troubles. I will do my best to move them on with these. There is no question anymore if I harm someone, I will then repair my fault by restoring the thing to the latter while adding a fifth as a sign of compensation showing humility and remorses.

Signs and miracles then and now

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was followed by signs. They prophesied and spoke in tongues. However, all this was due to the fact that the Holy Spirit moved into them and the process of sanctification began. The 2 Commandments of Love, which are the sum of the 10 commandments, which are themselves the summary of the so-called 613 mitzvot began to be engraved into their hearts.

As a result, their vision was purified, their thoughts were less and less under the influence of flesh and soul and the working law, the Living Word that resided in them, resulted in prophetic vision. Here, their tongues began to utter what their hearts were filled with, that is, a degree of holiness that human languages are not able to express.

It is not a question that these kinds of Spiritual manifestations are no longer needed today, because book printing…, the Bible into our pockets… and other arguments. It must be recognized that today’s over-educated humanity blinded by all kinds of sciences and philosophies and which considers itself highly informed and intelligent, is less and less likely to be convinced of the need for a Savior even with the best arguments in the world about the veracity of the Bible. Today more than ever, the world is in big need of signs and miracles. We must ask the Lord for them every day. May we speak tongues purely and may we even more prophesy and may we even more heal and deliver the sick and captives for these are what we disciples are seriously lacking today. We must ask for these to come and work and to ask it without doubting.

Let’s not stop at the level of the pentecostal manifestations of the Spirit but let’s go further without neglecting them by imploring the Lord so that the signs He has promised us will also accompany us wherever we go: And these signs shall accompany them that believe: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16: 17-18)

May all the four promises be fulfilled on this Pentecost in all members of the Body of Christ: the prophecy of Joel, Jeremiah, and the two promises of Jesus. Following the gift of the Holy Spirit should all Its fruits also abound in our lives, as we have just read in Mark.

ZeevShlomo / RichardSipos / 06.06.2021

The Feasts of the Lord in Christ

The Feasts of the Lord in Christ

The clarification and restoration of the Feasts of the Lord as well as of His Commandments, are a very important part of the ministry of all who are of Jewish descent as disciples of Christ.

Many of those who carry the title of Messianic Jew are working to preserve and restore the original Jewish, more precisely the original biblical holidays. Some of us organize events, occasions, gatherings to traditionally celebrate these holidays.

These kind of evnets may also be of great significance and fruitful for some time, but the perpetuation of superficial celebrations deprived of their spiritual content will sooner or later be more harmful than constructive. As a disciple of Christ, what to do with these feasts ordained by the Eternal, for Paul also questions and warns us on this subject: “But now that you know YHWH—or rather are known by YHWH—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces ? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.” (Gal 4:9-11)

By these words of Paul, no one should feel free to go on celebrating all the pagan-rooted disgraceful pseudo-christian feasts imposed by time and the Greco-Roman imperial spirit on original and pure Christianity. It should be obvious to everyone that it is still better to keep the original, even if it is in a Pharisaic and religious way, than keep binding to the false ones in any way.

Of course, no one wants to return to their original roots in a Pharisaic and religious way, as Paul describes it. We will further explain what motivated Paul’s declaration, how he opposes the observance of the feasts, Sabbath days and years, and Jubilee years, while he himself worked to restore YHWH’s full and fulfilled Word.

How to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord then?

I often heard believers complaining that after their conversion and rebirth, they have been very eagerly awaiting and celebrating biblical feasts for some time. Then after a while the enthusiasm fade away slowly and they didn’t really know what to think about this feeling. For many, the phenomenon causes a great deal of remorse, as they feel that something is wrong with them on the spiritual level and many times they even go as far as to judge themselves.

I myself have gone through this state. Especially after I settled my Jewish identity and returned to celebrating exclusively biblical holidays. I had the same feeling as during my childhood while celebrating Christmas and Easter, which, unaware of their falsehood or mixedness, I experienced as a real miracle, as is the case with most children.

I waited with great excitement for the coming of these appointed days, watching the dates to appear in one of the synagogues of Budapest, celebrating the Feasts of the Lord with the local Jewish community. After a few years, I had no more desire to celebrate, go to synagogues and I usually found out the next day that a holiday had escaped my attention again.

Remorse had soon been replaced by a sense of reassurance, not knowing what was really going on, but feeling that it was not disobedience, sin, or any spiritual distortion that caused this feeling, but that I was begining to unconsciously experience what Paul was talking about to the Galatians.

I think this initial feeling and enthusiasm was completely all right and even helped me to be strengthened in spirit and identity. However, it is good that it did not last long and that I moved on in this area as well.

Does fulfillment invalidate?

I began to get a real answer to the question when a member of a church celebrating the Sabbath explained that they were celebrating no feast except of Shabbats and baptisms. In his church, it is believed that when Christ was crucified, when the tapestry in the temple was split in two, all the biblical feasts were fulfilled, so there is no need to keep them any longer. My eyes immediately flashed, though I felt that there were some mistakes and contradictions in what he was saying, yet I felt that the real answer to that question of the meaning of the holidays in the age of Grace is something very close to this one. However, I indicated him the contradiction of their belief since Saturday, as the holidays are considered Shabbat by the Law. The day of the great atonement for exemple, Yom Kippur, in the Old Testament is mentioned as the Sabbath of the Sabbath. I don’t really understand why so much emphasis is often placed on weekly Saturdays, while other holidays are considered outdated? But this is not our topic for the moment.

The two dimensions of the Holidays

I asked the Eternal that instead of wasting my time unnecessarily trying to solve the question with my own human tools, He Himself would open my eyes to what His feasts should mean to us believers, for the Word considers all Feasts to be eternal. Why is it that before, during and after my conversion in my early years as a believer, it was so important and today I don’t realy fell any enthusiasm anymore.

I soon received the answer, when the image of the Holy Tabernacle in the wilderness appeared to me. I recalled that the members of the people only appeared at the courtyard of the Temple during the great Feasts and on the weekly Shabbats. They appeared here in order to meet and make offerings to Elohim. The members of the people came from the outside, out of the wilderness to the courtyard of the Sanctuary. This courtyard was the place where they met the Levites who took their offerings inside.

Knowing that the Tabernacle is the foreshadowing of the Body of Christ, knowing that we who serve Christ are all Levites of this Spiritual Sanctuary, I have understood that Feast are being and must be experienced quite differently by the outsiders compared to the ones serving within. For outsiders, i.e. seekers, superficial believers, religious people, those who still follow traditions, etc, the designated days, the Holidays, are the only moments of the year when they can meet and approach the Eternal. These are the appointed moments when they appear in the courtyard because they are still following laws and traditions that expect them to do so. The Holiness of these days make them fall into a different and deeper state of mind thus they get closer to their Creator within their hearths. They are not members of the Sanctuary, but they appear at its door and come closer to their Savior in spirit. At such times, both their ears and their hearts are more open to the calling and comforting word of the Lord. Preparing for the holidays and appearing in the courtyard is already making them ready for the encounter. In the meantime, for those who are already serving within the Sanctuary by our rebirth, we experience the essence and spiritual content of all the fulfilled holidays in every moment of our life. We no longer need to look at the calendar and expect any spiritual boost or change in our own lives from the holidays and their observance. These days, like the commandments, are fulfilled in us by Christ. This is how we can understand Paul’s words when he rebukes born again believers because they put too much emphasis and expectation on keeping the feasts in the traditional way and did not understand their new spiritual significance and role from the inner side of the Sanctuary. In a word, the Galatians returned to religiously way of celebrating holidays, like traditional non-messianic Jews do. In a word, they returned to the demon of religiositiy.

The Feasts fulfilled in us by the Messiah

First, we have heard YHWH’s inviting voice at our own Yom HaTrua (Rosh HaShana). Then, after our withdrawal from Egypt and the sacrifice of the Lamb of Pessach, the Atonement, the ultimate Yom Kippur in our life, took place. Then we receive the Holy Spirit, the Comforter as the fulfillment of the feast of Shavuot, when the law is not engraved on stone tables anymore, but on the flesh of our hearts, the moment we can say: I no longer live but Christ lives in me.

There is only one holiday left, which is still in progress of fulfillment, the one of the harvest: Sukkoth (the feast of the tabernacle). This feast symbolizes our meeting at the tent court as Levites with those who are not yet members of the Body of Christ. Sukkoth is under fullfilment as we, the Levites are constantly offering new souls to the Lord as the firstfruits of our ministries.

I will talk about Purim, Rosh HaShana, and Hannuka in other teachings, since being non-biblical holidays or a misunderstood and modified version of it.

The Holy Tabernacle as the permanent Holiday

We who serve within are constantly in the presence of YHWH and the High Priest serving above us is Yeshua. We also are temples ourselves, Elohim living in us by the Holy Spirit. Why would we need to pay attention to moments and calendars? Why do we feel the need to experience some extra blessing in our lives through celebrations? Is not the Spirit of the Savior dwelling in us? Have not all the promises contained in the Feasts been fulfilled in us? Anywhere, at any time, we can testify of our own conversion, our Yom HaTrua and our acceptance of the blood of Christ, Pessach after which our final settlement and atonement Yom Kippur led us to receive the ultimate guidance by His Spirit when Shavuot, Pentecost had been also finally fulfilled in our hearts.

Those who are inside and serve in the Sanctuary, the holidays are truly fulfilled and it is dangerous to think that dates and other literal ordinances can do us any good. The same is true here as with the Law. They help us remaining on the narrow path but they are not the goals anymore just signs, reminders. Yet these holidays are eternal, even by date and calendar! They are valid and important on the time dimension because there are moments when outsiders bow to the entrance of the Sanctuary in greater number and more spiritually prepared. On these events, they can meet with us and the Eternal. For us, holidays by date are an opportunity to serve, to testify, and to receive new brethren. Because for them who are living under alien spirit, these days mean more than the common days of the year. Therefore, let us not offend them by not being available at the door when they are coming. But let us not think that these days have more significance for us than others, for we are and must be in a state of eternal Holiday and eternal Sabbath.

Let us then observe the times and feasts, so that we can serve others and give them spiritual food. Let us make our testimony of what the essence of the actual Holiday is towards those who are not yet members of the sanctuary, who are not yet Levites. But apart from the joy that the sight of the ministry and the birth of new lives can bring, let’s not expect anything else for ourselves since we already received everything, the most: His Grace.

Elohim gave the Holidays, as well as the Sabbaths to the world as eternal signs to remind everyone that He is the Creator, Savior, and Lord of the world. We must respect and use these signs for the sake of others. On these days, the unredeemed man has the opportunity to get an insight in the Heavenly Sanctuary receiving an invitation to enter as well. It is a great opportunity for the Levitical priests who serve inside to make the invitation more appealing so that they should accept it.

Let us celebrate with a child’s heart for the sake of children

As a family father, after a few years of latent celebration, I realized the importance of commemorating these occasions in order to fix them in the memory of my children. I realized it would be a very big mistake to deprive them of these, just because their parents had grown up in spirit. The most powerful means of evangelism is to celebrate these days. It teaches a kind of humility and respect to our children, lays the foundation for their faith and, in the case of Jews, establishes their identity. Here, we learn that in our rushed world, we need moments to stop and focus exclusively on Elohim and seek Him. As I also remember the feasts of my childhood, although most of them were false, they still played a very important role in seeking and recognizing the true feasts of the Lord and the Lord Himself.

These celebrations will be signs in the future life of my children, hopefully on their discipleship paths, that they can rely on, that will strengthen them and show them the way. However, they will sooner or later have to move beyond the surface of these signs. It will not be enough for them to appear at the threshold 3 times a year on major holidays or weekly Shabbats, but as members of the Sanctuary, the essence of the feasts and Sabbaths must be engraved in their hearts to become permanent in them.

So let’s keep the holidays for the sake of the children, for those who are children by age, for those those, although physically grown, that are still children in spirit and for those who are not yet born again.

Zeev Shlomo / Richard Sipos / 5/12/2021

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