by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
This Shabbat evening we count the forty ninth and final day of the Torah commandment to "... count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day (Passover) from the day you bring the omer as a wave offering seven weeks; they shall be complete. You shall count until the day after the seventh week, the fiftieth day, on which you shall bring a new meal offering to YHVH." (Exodus 23:15-16) The fiftieth day mentioned in the verse, the day on which we are to "bring a new meal offering to YHVH" is the festival of Shavu'ot (Pentecost), which begins this Saturday evening, immediately after the conclusion of Shabbat. Shavu'ot, which is also known in Torah as an atzeret (a concluding day or final day) of the Passover pilgrimage which preceded it by fifty days, is, by virtue of this designation, intimately connected to the Passover festival of freedom. Scripture also refers to it as the "Feast of Firstfruits" (Exodus 23:16, Numbers 28:26) with the bringing of the firstfruit offering to the Holy Temple as a manifestation of holiness, given expression through the holiness of the Temple. The Shavu'ot offering of "firstfruits" which is mandated by this scriptural commandment to be brought to the Holy Temple and presented to the priest, are the first fruits of the season.
However, since 325 CE at the Council in Nicaea, Christendom has been led to believe (as a result of various agendas of men) that "the Jews had their chance and blew it" and, as a result, the God of Israel wiped His Hands clean of all that had gone before, changed direction and, contrary to everything He has ever proclaimed about Himself, instituted a "new" covenant (click on highlighted words to view content) that did not require a behavioral assessment to come into YHVH's Presence and that the "Day of Pentecost" was the marker for when that change occurred. In the course of a few hundred years from the Resurrection, He went from being a consuming fire to a kindly, grandfatherly figure that mostly winks at the antics of His children, giving them pretty much whatever they want because He loves them so much. And, now, because the Son has center stage, the Father also stays pretty much in the background - the way you would expect an elderly, grandfatherly figure to be. Consequently, what has been considered "the Old Covenant" has now been replaced by this "new" one with the "old" now put out to pasture alongside "the law" and all that messy, legalistic "stuff" that caused the Hebrews to incur His Wrath to begin with that we don't have to abide by any more. There is only one problem with that line of thought - it is not scriptural. The Truth is - there is but One Covenant. Like a diamond and the Character of YHVH, we find there are several facets to this Covenant; but, there is only One Covenant and it has to do with YHVH Himself, His Plan and His Purpose toward his family - to bring Life out of death and to make that Life accessible to every one who would come to Him with a humble and contrite spirit (Isaiah 57:15). That commitment to His Family is seen in the second World War. Most often propagandized as punishment upon the Hebrew population was actually YHVH rallying support from all the freedom loving nations of the world to rescue His People from torment. The Covenant was fulfilled when the "fiery law" of Deuteronomy 33:2 appeared as "tongues of fire" within those believers waiting on the Promise at the Hebrew feast of Yom Shavu'ot (day of Pentecost) - the same earthshaking day the Words of YHVH's Nature had first been given in fire to the family of Jacob (Israel) at Sinai on tablets of stone fifty days after their Exodus from bondage and the first Pesach (Passover) as it is still celebrated today. So, from the Hebraic perspective these words are presented in, what is "new" about the covenant is the manner of delivery of YHVH's Words. They are now written and renewed on the hearts of men who will receive them, instead of on tablets of stone - BUT THEY ARE STILL THE SAME WORDS (John 1:12, Jeremiah 31:33). These Words are not altered, not done away with, as Yeshua reinforces in Matthew 5:17-19 - just a better way of having them delivered that is by or through Spirit.
|"And they were all filled with THE BREATH OF LIFE and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Hebrews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own dialect." Acts 2:4-6|
Understanding that the reason there were Hebrews from every nation there that day was because this was the Hebrew Feast of Shav'uot (in English - Pentecost). Recognizing this as an event that Hebrews, to this day, travel great lengths to Jerusalem to attend puts a whole different light of perspective upon these words. Each Hebrew community in each of those nations had a different dialect of Hebrew they spoke from the influence of the language of the nation they were in. Acts 2:6 in the Original Greek confirms it was Hebrew dialects they heard (Greek dialektos) - not completely different languages. This is important to understand because, according to the words written even in the English translations, there is nothing mentioned about any Gentiles being in attendance that day (see what it means to scripturally be Grafted In). For us to arbitrarily place Gentiles into that context becomes eisegesis (reading into the text) rather than exegesis (reading out of the text) - and history tells us there were no "Christians" around for at least another 200 years despite Christianity's claim that this event was solely for them. What happened that day was the fulfillment of the Promise of the Restoration of YHVH's Kingdom by the indwelling of YHVH's Spirit into the hearts of His Family thus creating a "new" Temple for YHVH to dwell in - from without to within. The Hebrew phrase ruach ha kodesh (reading right to left is Hebrew for "the holiness of spirit") has been used inadvertently as a substitute for the English "Holy Spirit" appearing in their bibles. This is incorrect as there is no capitalization in Hebrew; thus, there is no personification, no third person "Holy Spirit". What is the holiness of spirit? Holiness is the Nature abiding in Spirit, Who is YHVH. When Yeshua said to "be perfect even as your Father is perfect" in Matthew 5:48, He was not giving us something to do that was beyond our reach - nor was He telling us anything new. He was not giving us a "new" command. He was actually quoting Leviticus 19:2 (found in the Torah) which says, "You shall become holy, as I, YHVH, your Elohim am holy". The Way to become holy is to keep YHVH's Words. There are many "saints" recorded in the Tanakh (OT). The Hebrew word kadosh translated "saints" in the Tanakh and a variation of kodesh, is describing those who comprise the family of YHVH - those who abide within His Kingdom. Becoming holy is very different from what happened on Shavu'ot when those who were waiting received the Breath of Life from YHVH.
...from without to within
Today, there are two factions within the Kingdom of Israel, the family of YHVH - those who keep the Covenant of YHVH and receive Yeshua as the Hebrew Messiah to Israel, thereby becoming members of His Body as the Bridegroom; and those who keep the Covenant of YHVH but have not yet recognized Yeshua as the Messiah even while, at the same time, believing in and looking for the appearance of that promised Messiah. These latter are the betrothed of YHVH - the Bride. When Yeshua is revealed to them as that Messiah, those who accept Him will become echad with Him as He is with the Father - as those of His Body have already become. The New Jerusalem is a depiction of the culmination of that marriage between these two factions. The Good News of the Gospel is, through the fulfillment of the covenant the Father began with Adam and completed in Yeshua, that through the shed blood of Yeshua, the Kingdom of YHVH has been restored in the earth right now, today, as it was originally in the Garden, giving you and I the opportunity to become partakers of the Divine Nature by having the fullness of Spirit dwell within us. We can be echad with YHVH, the Creator of the universe, just as Yeshua is.
|"But when the fullness of time came, YHVH sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under Torah, in order that He might ransom those under Torah, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are (His) children, YHVH has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Galatians 4:4-6|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.