The Spiritual Intent of Pentecost!
As we observe this Holy Day of YEHOVAH God, we should reflect on our own covenantal relationship with YEHOVAH God, and Yeshua our Messiah. We should also reflect on the other covenantal relationships in our lives -- husband and wife, parents and children. Every year we should look upon Pentecost as a special day of commitment and covenant renewal. Pentecost holds the promise of being a key to the transformation process in our lives -- from carnal, earthly, to spiritual, divine. It represents the high peak of revelation and religious experience, contact with YEHOVAH God on a person level, in a higher plane.
by HOIM Staff
According to Jewish tradition, Pentecost is the day the fruit of trees is judged in heaven. Thus it pictures the judgment of the "first-fruits." True Israelite believers and followers of the Messiah are the "first-fruits" to YEHOVAH God of all the people of Israel. We see this in the following passages:
"Having willed it, He brought us forth by the word of truth, for us to be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." (James 1:18, Berean Literal Bible)
"And the church which is in their house. Salute Epenetus, my beloved: who is the firstfruits of Asia in Christ." (Romans 16:5, Douay-Rheims Bible)
"Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies." (Romans 8:23, NIV)
We of Israel are to be "bearing fruit" -- notice what the Messiah says: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last -- and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." (John 15:16) We will be judged according to our fruitfulness!
In principle we see that this Feast must occur after the end of barley harvest, when the "first-fruits" of the wheat harvest, known as the "omer," have been completed -- and it cannot occur until the first of the Summer wheat harvest is ready some four months after the Passover season, so that the two loaves of the "first-fruits" of wheat may be offered. See John 4:35: "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the [wheat] harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" This period of 100-plus days allows for the full maturation of the Summer wheat harvest, ready to be reaped.
What lesson can we learn from this? Yeshua the Messiah and YEHOVAH God the Father cannot return to this earth until the first-fruits of the spiritual crop are ready! That is, YEHOVAH God's return, which is symbolized by the Feast of Pentecost, cannot occur UNTIL THE BRIDE HAS MADE HERSELF READY!
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him [YEHOVAH God] glory, for the marriage of the Lamb [the Messiah] has come, and his wife [the Ecclesia] has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)
When the harvest is ready, YEHOVAH God will return -- with shouts of acclamation and joy! Notice I Thessalonians 4:15-17 --
For this we affirm to you, by the Lord's [the Messiah's] Word. That we [of Israel], the living, who are left over to the coming of the LORD [YEHOVAH God], will by no means precede those who fell asleep. Because the LORD [YEHOVAH God] Himself will come down from Heaven with a shout, with an Archangel's voice, and with God's [YEHOVAH's] trumpet; and the dead in Christ will be raised first: then we [of Israel], the living, who are left over, shall at the same time with them, be caught away in clouds, for a meeting of the LORD [YEHOVAH God] in the air; and so we shall be always with the Lord [the Messiah]. (The Emphatic Diaglott Containing the Original Greek Text)
The people known as "Jews" today, while mainly not of Israelite stock, have provided some insightful works that the true Israelite can incorporate into his understanding of YEHOVAH's festivals. Some of these works follow.
Notice what Hayyim Schauss, in The Jewish Festivals: History and Observance, states:
It appears that as far back as the days of the second Temple, Shavuos [Pentecost] was a twofold festival. It was the festival of the wheat harvest, when a sacrifice was offered from the new wheat crop; it was also considered the observance of the pact entered into between God and mankind [actually, the line of Adam]....The festival is celebrated, according to [the Book of Jubilees], as a symbol of the pact God made with Noah, in which he promised no future general flood, is renewed each year (p. 89)
Does the observance of Pentecost go back to the covenant YEHOVAH God made with Noah to never again flood the land with a Deluge, in punishment for sins? It is a fact that the observance of the day became closely interlinked with the giving of the Torah, because the Law of YEHOVAH God was brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses upon that very day and YEHOVAH God entered into the marriage covenant with Israel at that time. (Exodus 32:5)
Pentecost and the Book of Jubilees
According to Wikipedia:
The Book of Jubilees, sometimes called Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work of fifty chapters, considered canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews), where it is known as the Book of Division. Jubilees is considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches. It is also not considered canonical within Judaism outside of the Beta Israel.
It was well known to Early Christians, as evidenced by the writings of Epiphanius, Justin Martyr, Origen, Diodorus of Tarsus, Isidore of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville, Eutychius of Alexandria, John Malalas, George Syncellus, and George Kedrenos. The text was also utilized by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls.
However, when compared with the Bible, some of the events in the Book of Jubilees are fabulous and non-Biblical, so caution has to be exercised when reading this book.
With that said, the Book of Jubilees does claim that originally the observance of this Holy Day does go back to Noah's time -- and even before! From the time of Creation itself, YEHOVAH God said that He established the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens to be "for signs, and for seasons (Hebrew moadim, meaning also "fixed times" or "festivals"), and for days, and years." (Genesis 1:14) We read in the Book of Jubilees:
And he gave to Noah and his sons a sign that there should not again be a deluge over the earth [land]; he placed his bow in the clouds as a sign of the eternal covenant that no water of the deluge should again come over the earth [land] to destroy it all the days of the earth.
On this account it is also ordained and written on the tablets of heaven that the celebration of the festival of weeks should be in this month, once a year, for a renewed covenant in each year. And during the time this festival was being celebrated in heaven, from the days of creation to the days of Noah...and Noah and his sons observed it...until the time when Noah died. But his children violated it until the days of Abraham, and they ate blood. But Abraham alone observed it, and Isaac and Jacob observed it, for these are his children.
...and in thy [Moses'] day the children of Israel forgot it until I renewed it for them on this mountain. [Exodus 32:5] And thou command the children of Israel that they should observe this festival in all their generations as a commandment for them one day in the year, in this month [Tammuz], they shall celebrate this festival. For it is the festival of weeks and is a festival of first-fruits; for this festival is of a double nature and double kind, as it is written and engraved concerning its celebration." (Jubilees 6:14-19)
The Book of Jubilees was written about a century before the time of the Messiah and seems to reflect a great deal of oral history and ancient Hebrew beliefs handed down from generation to generation. It provides an important, but cautionary, glimpse into the hidden history of YEHOVAH's Holy Days.
Notice that the Book of Jubilees emphasizes the "covenantal' aspect of the feast of Shavuot, or Pentecost! This covenantal concept is the real grist -- the true inner depth -- of this awesome Holy Day!
Pentecost -- The Day of the Covenant
A single man, according to the Bible, cannot become married just by living as a married person does. He has to make a vow or confession before witnesses that he is going to “take this woman to be my lawful wedded wife.” The woman then responds with a similar vow. There is no suggestion of good behavior first, or of earning this position, on the part of the wife-to-be. It is entirely dependent upon the grace of the husband and his love for her.
Likewise, when there is a confession of the Messiah as savior, there is no requirement to have first obeyed YEHOVAH's Laws. We start in a state of complete and utter hopelessness and dependence upon YEHOVAH God. So our first step, or entry point, is our confession of faith in the Messiah’s sacrifice. Then come other “steps” along the “way” that “leads” to eternal life.
Betrothment and marriage properly are a response to love. When in love, it is no problem to say, “I promise to obey” on the woman’s part. That is the commitment she makes biblically to a man who loves her enough to die for her. But without such love, no woman can say or do that. Likewise if we try to keep YEHOVAH’s commandments without loving Him for His grace and mercy, we just cannot do it. This is what the meaning of “the letter” is…it kills…it is covering ourselves with filthy rags. It is a false (horrible) religion that says we have to be trying to earn “salvation” by keeping the Law. Such a marriage could not last. Why? It is because there is no love involved.
We can now look at the picture we see in Ezekiel 16, where YEHOVAH God sought out His bride even when she was filthy and covered in blood:
And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the LORD GOD, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.
I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the LORD GOD. (Ezekiel 16:6-14)
There is no suggestion that the bride was washed because she was keeping any of YEHOVAH’s laws. Likewise we can never become washed first through keeping the Law. YEHOVAH God requires a cleansed and purified wife first -- and she is dependent on YEHOVAH who does the cleansing.
After marriage the wife has two options. Firstly she can respond to the One who loved, washed, and clothed her, and keep her commitment vows, or she can break her vows. She can stay clean by “walking in the light”:
"But if we walk in the light as he is in the light…and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
There is this “if” condition about keeping clean. In YEHOVAH’s plan we can see that the object is that she should take the wedding vows -- and then follow up by keeping that promise to love and obey!
But on the other hand the bride can “do her own thing”, and break her vows. From verse 15 of this chapter, this is what the Israelites did in playing the harlot. They (as the wife) broke the covenant. Then the Husband [YEHOVAH God] responds as follows:
Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD: Thus saith the LORD GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them; Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.
And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy. And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.
They shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords. And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more.
So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry. Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations." (Ezekiel 16:35-43)
When YEHOVAH God “married” Israel, what did YEHOVAH require of Israel? We have an abundance of references about the consequences of Israel’s disobedience and deliberate willful vow-breaking -- it finished in divorce for ten of the Israelite Tribes!
But then, all hope is not lost for the bride. This is the story we find in the book of Hosea where we read about divorce and remarriage to a cleansed wife who becomes “accepted in the beloved.” It is also the story of the Gospel that leads ultimately to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of YEHOVAH God.
Now the popular gospel, as commonly taught, emphasizes the great grace of YEHOVAH God in the wilderness, but in their law-denying doctrine this keeps people from entering into the potential “married” position. Outside of entering into the “married” state, there is only eventual death in the wilderness. The popular doctrine leads to people being “cut off” by YEHOVAH’s severity, as the Israelites were in the Old Testament pages. So, when we talk about believing different gospels, it can be seen that the differences are in whether or not we move from the “single” to the “married” state. What is at issue here is whether or not we come to make a covenant to obey “the commandments (mitzvah), “the judgments (mishpat) and the statutes (choq).”
With the Israelites, the Law was not made a condition at the time when they started their journey, nor were they given the Law to obey when they left Egypt. The Israelites were “saved” from their slavery when they applied the sacrificial blood and left Egypt. They did not apply the blood to the doorposts and lintel just to avoid the angel of death and stay in Egypt. They had to have their shoes on ready to leave Egypt in haste for a journey. The “saved” Israelites did not immediately arrive either at Mount Sinai or at the border of the Promised Land. They had to journey on to Mount Sinai where they became betrothed to YEHOVAH God. The marriage comes later.
The teaching that law keeping is not the entry point is quite right. It is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” No argument with that! But it is wrong to teach that we should tarry forever in the wilderness, never mind how much YEHOVAH God looks after us there (for a time)!
The wilderness is where most Israelites died! And it is where perhaps most people in most churches will die! The denominations may teach and enjoy “coming out,” quite rightly, but in never proceeding further is their error. Churches promote an irresponsibility that precludes “entering in.” Church people are encouraged to be irresponsible by wrong doctrines. This ends in being cut off! Another aspect which is denied is the biblical change of status from being a “child” to becoming a “son,” but that is another subject.
So, as we observe this Holy Day of YEHOVAH God, we should reflect on our own covenantal relationship with YEHOVAH, and Yeshua our Messiah. We should also reflect on the other covenantal relationships in our lives -- husband and wife, parents and children. Every year we should look upon Pentecost as a special day of commitment and covenant renewal.
Pentecost and the Transcendental Change
As the Israelites witnessed YEHOVAH God's own Presence at Mount Sinai, and heard the living God speak to them directly from the mountain, we can only faintly imagine their emotions, their feelings, their transformation in the presence of the Almighty. Says Joel Ziff in Mirrors in Time, "The Israelites fully and directly experienced God's Essence and Presence at Mount Sinai. In this respect, as we hear the Word of God, our old understanding dies, creating a possibility for new learning." (p. 111)
"This change in consciousness is symbolically noted in the description of how the Israelites 'heard' the lightning and 'saw' the thunder at Sinai, as it says in the Torah: 'All the people saw the sounds' (Exodus 20:18). They now can see and hear what was previously unknown, hidden, and heard only from a distance." (p. 111)
How is it that the people "saw the thunder" and "the sound of the trumpet"? "Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off." (Exodus 20:18) Can we really ever "see" a "sound"? Actually, the answer is yes -- when in a higher state of consciousness, attuned to the presence of YEHOVAH God and His spirit, a combined form of seeing and hearing can occur -- a deeper awareness of sight and sound. The senses can become integrated in a unique way, leading to greater awareness and perceptivity. Writes Avraham Yaakov Finkel in The Essence of the Holy Days:
It occurs in an individual who is capable of rising above the limitations of the senses. Such a person can see sound and hear a vision. A prophet can do this. When receiving divine prophecy, the prophet divests himself of his corporeality, and his sense of hearing and vision blend into one. At Mount Sinai, after undergoing fifty days of spiritual refinement [following the "seven Sabbaths complete," Leviticus 23:15], the children of Israel attained the level of prophecy. They 'saw the sounds,' and thereby the belief in God was anchored in their hearts. (p. 188)
The children of Israel were so attuned to YEHOVAH God, at that moment, that when YEHOVAH asked them if they would obey His covenant, they replied in unison, "Naaseh venishma!" That is, "We will do and we will hear." (Exodus 24:7) Consider this! They were so close to YEHOVAH God, at that moment, that there was no hesitancy or doubt in their minds. They not only agreed to "do" YEHOVAH's Law and keep His commandments, but they agreed to DO it even before HEARING it! They said "we will do it," and then said, afterward, "we will hear it"! This exemplified real faith and commitment!
The "Pentecost experience" had already begun to change them and their entire outlook on life. One may ask, how can you do something before you even hear it? Avraham Finkel states:
"Look at it this way. For example, if you want to open a door, you certainly don't have to tell your hand, 'Turn the knob.' Your head and your mind encompass all your limbs, and if your mind wants to take a certain action, your hand instinctively senses this without being told specifically.
"At the Giving of the Torah, there existed a perfect union between the Holy One, blessed is He, and the people of Israel. God was the Head of the nation. Consequently, when God wanted Israel to accept the Torah, the entire nation sensed what was asked of them. There was no need to teach them the specific details of the Torah." (p. 196)
In this state of close union with YEHOVAH God, they accepted His Torah in faith -- in complete submission and commitment to do His will. They did not have to have it all spelled out first!
Says Joel Ziff on the Sinai experience:
The experience at Mount Sinai is described using the image of a wedding in which God is the groom standing under the marriage canopy -- the chuppah -- with the Israelites as the bride. God and Israel make an eternal commitment to one another. God gives the Torah, and the Israelites pledge to adhere to its precepts. A wedding represents the BEGINNING of a relationship. Although vows are made, the young couple must still struggle to translate those vows into reality, overcoming differences and difficulties. In the same way, the commitment made at Sinai also represents a beginning of relationship. There are many difficulties to overcome: shortly after Moses ascends Mount Sinai, the Israelites make the golden calf, losing trust and violating their commitment.
This beginning is also symbolized by the offering of the first ripe fruits that begins at this time....For this reason, Shavuot is also known as Yom HaBikkurim, the day of the first fruits. We not only harvest the agricultural produce; we also begin to nourish ourselves with the fruits of our learning.
This same quality of commitment is reflected in the story of Ruth, which is read during the Shavuot service. Ruth, the ancestor of King David, is respected because of her commitment and devotion in caring for her mother-in-law Naomi....
The images of Shavuot allow us to receive a personal revelation that transforms our understanding, help us clarify a vision of our future, and motivate us to make a commitment to manifest that vision." (Ziff, Mirrors in Time, p.113)
Pentecost, then, represents a "peak experience." It is, or should be, a true epiphany -- a time of tremendous closeness to YEHOVAH God and His revelation. It ought to be a transforming experience -- involving commitment, rededication, renewal of spiritual vows to YEHOVAH, devotion, worship, and reverence. It should be a profound experience, causing us to reach deep down inside ourselves and truly humbling ourselves before our Mighty God and Everlasting Father, and our Savior and Messiah.
After working on ourselves and stripping off the impurities of "Egypt" and the yetzer hara (the tendencies and impulses to sin and do evil) we stand before YEHOVAH God -- ready for a transforming experience -- ready to receive a renewal and an infusion of His holy spirit, that will transform us spiritually.
Writes Joel Ziff of this principle:
"On the fiftieth day [after counting seven weeks -- Pentecost], an integration occurs that incorporates and transcends the previous learning. We surrender what we think we know to a higher understanding. We link the spiritual Essence to the material level of existence. At this time, all the parts are integrated, subsumed into a larger oneness. An integration occurs in which the whole is larger than the sum of its parts." (p. 115)
Obviously, there is far more to Pentecost than most of us have remotely imagined!
Pentecost holds the promise of being a key to the transformation process in our lives -- from carnal, earthly, to spiritual, divine. It represents the high peak of revelation and religious experience, contact with YEHOVAH God on a personal level, in a higher plane.
The apostle Paul says, accordingly, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2)
The Story of Ruth
The story of Ruth is especially appropriate for Pentecost for many reasons. It was at Pentecost that Boaz "married" Ruth. It was the beginning of the Spring barley harvest when Ruth went out into the fields to glean from the harvest of Boaz, her next-of-kinsman. (Ruth 2:17) She proposed to him on the eve of Pentecost, and he accepted, according to Israelite tradition. The Scriptures clearly reveal that it was the beginning of the barley harvest when Ruth began gleaning. (Ruth 1:22) She continued reaping until the end of barley harvest and the Summer wheat harvest (Ruth 2:23), which puts the story at the point of Pentecost! Therefore, the connection is obvious. (Ruth 2:6-11) The story of Ruth pictures the marriage of the Ecclesia, typified by Ruth, a convert from one of the northern ten tribes, and Yeshua the Messiah, typified by Boaz, of the tribe of Judah.
In the Book of Ruth, Boaz, whose name means “in His strength,” is a type of the Messiah. Ruth, whose name means “desirable,” is an Israelite and an idiom for the Ecclesia, while Naomi, whose name means “pleasant,” represents national Israel. Naomi’s family was driven from Israel during a time of famine. While living in the land of Moab her two sons married Israelite women also living in Moab. Tragically, Naomi’s husband and sons died, leaving behind three widows.
Now stranded in a foreign country and still reeling from her loss, news arrived that the famine had ended and there was food in Israel. Naomi, who was now destitute, determined she would return home. One daughter-in-law decided to remain in Moab but Ruth, who loved Naomi fiercely, and who had grown up with the pagan gods of the Moabites, refused to be parted from her and vowed to take Naomi’s God as her own.
They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. The Levitical law of gleaning provided the poor with an opportunity to gather food during the harvest. When Ruth went to gather food for them, she happened upon the fields of Boaz. He took notice of her and instructed his servants to protect her and leave her handfuls of grain on purpose. When Ruth returned home with a generous amount of barley her wise Israelite mother-in-law asked her in whose field she had gleaned. It turned out that the owner, Boaz, was a near kinsman and as such could act as a goel, or kinsman redeemer to purchase and restore to Naomi the land that had belonged to her husband. Naomi was also excited because she recognized an opportunity to provide security and a home for her beloved Ruth with a wealthy husband!
This Old Testament love story is rich with symbolism, and within its pages is concealed the New Testament mystery of the Ecclesia -- the Israelite bride of the Messiah. Ruth is introduced to Boaz by an unnamed servant, a type of the holy spirit. She learns of Boaz’s ways from Naomi, but Naomi is introduced to Boaz by Ruth. Boaz was secretly in love with Ruth and wanted to marry her, but he must await her move. Desiring to keep Ruth near to him, he tells her to remain with his servants in the fields until the Summer wheat harvest.
Then, following Naomi’s advice, Ruth removed her widow’s clothes, bathed, and anointed herself before presenting herself to Boaz at the threshing floor. There she assumed the position of a servant lying at his feet. In the act of spreading the hem of his garment over her, she asked him to become her kinsman redeemer and marry her. Boaz promised to resolve the matter that day and sent her home to her mother-in-law with gifts of grain. He went to the elders at the city gate and there redeemed Naomi’s land and purchased Ruth as his bride.
Ruth, an Israelite who had been residing in Moab, became the wife of Israel’s most eligible bachelor, her kinsman redeemer. Nothing in the Word of YEHOVAH God is insignificant. Note that Boaz instructed Ruth to remain throughout the Summer wheat harvest. In the New Testament, wheat is also a “type” of the Ecclesia. At a future point in time, a final wheat harvest will take place. (Revelation 20:11-15) In the agricultural calendar of ancient Israel, the Feast of Pentecost always coincided with the beginning of the Summer wheat harvest.
For those who disagree concerning Ruth's nationality, please take note of the following: Ruth 2:3 states that Boaz "was of the family of Elimelech" and Ruth 1:2 states that Elimelech's family were "Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah." This, therefore, makes Boaz an Ephrathite or Israelite. Then, in Ruth 2:20 we read that "Naomi said to her [Ruth], 'The man [Boaz] is a RELATIVE OF OURS, one of our KINSMEN." Further, in chapter 3, Naomi says to Ruth, "Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not OUR KINSMAN?" (verse 2). Clearly, this makes both Naomi and Ruth related to Boaz -- who is as Israelite! Therefore both Naomi and Ruth must be Israelites too!
This is confirmed by Boaz himself in Ruth 3:9 and 12 -- notice! Boaz says: “Who art thou?" Ruth answers, “I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art A NEAR KINSMAN." And Boaz’s replies, “And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.” The word "kinsman" shouts loudly, does it not? They were both of one "kin"! For more information read our article, Ruth Was An Israelite!
According to Jewish legend, Pentecost also pictures the day of the dragon's conflict, when YEHOVAH God will contain Leviathan, the crooked serpent, to later destroy him -- see Isaiah 27:
Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until His [YEHOVAH's] wrath has passed by. See, the LORD [YEHOVAH God] is coming out of his dwelling [Heaven] to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer. In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword -- his fierce, great and powerful sword [Revelation 19:15] -- Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. (Isaiah 26:20-21; 27:1)
Most Bibles reference this to Revelation 12:7-9, where Satan was cast out to the earth -- notice:
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures)
In John 12:31-33 we find words of the Messiah that place the time when Satan was "hurled down to earth" beyond doubt, notice!
"Now is the judgment of this world: NOW shall [future] the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
There are three things in this passage that the Messiah mentions as being "NOW" about to happen, namely --
1) the judgment of this world
2) the casting out of the prince of this world
3) the drawing of all men (i.e. Israelite men of all nations and classes) to himself -- as a result of his being lifted up to die on the tree
This fixes the time when Satan was "cast out" of heaven because it clearly shows the event to be contemporaneous with the era when the Messiah is drawing to himself men out of Israel. The word "now" must mean the same in both clauses.
John 12:31-33, along with what has already been cited, provides ample proof that the war in heaven, which culminated in Satan being "cast out" took place soon after the ascension of the resurrected Messiah into heaven in 31 A.D.
History records that the "great fury" of Satan against YEHOVAH's people, and his bloody persecutions in the early centuries of this era -- which agrees perfectly with what is stated in verses 12 and 13 of Revelation 12 -- grants further evidence that the war in heaven, and the casting out of Satan, took place at the BEGINNING of our era.
It was a crushing defeat, which nothing but the Messiah's death and resurrection could have inflicted upon the prince of this world. As the Messiah said, "NOW is the judgment of this world, NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out." The Old Testament shows us (Job 1:6; 2:1; Zechariah 3:1) that in the days before the Messiah's death, Satan had free access to the courts of heaven. But how could this continue after the work of atonement was completed? How could the accuser -- that old serpent -- raise his head and open his mouth, or even present himself before the slain Lamb upon the throne?
"Who shall now lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" The apostle Paul asks this challenging question in a passage that is full of joy because of the Messiah's triumph over death (Romans 8:33-39). Where, in the New Testament, is there a verse or passage to support the idea (apparently a product of very modern theology) that Satan still appears before the throne of YEHOVAH God -- as the accuser of the brethren? The New Testament CLEARLY places him on the earth:
"Your enemy, the Adversary, stalks about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (I Peter 5:8)
This is in perfect harmony with the passage that says the Devil and his hosts are "cast out into the earth," and he goes to make war with the remnant of the woman's seed, who keep the commandments of YEHOVAH God and have the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah. (Revelation 12:17) It is a great and serious ERROR to place this event before Creation -- or in 1914 or some such future day!
The breaking of Satan's power was by the death of the Messiah -- for by the death of the Messiah forgiveness of sin has been obtained, and Satan's most formidable weapon has been wrenched out of his hands! The New Testament plainly tells us that Satan is already a conquered foe, "cast out" of heaven and deprived of his authority over those whose citizenship is in heaven (verse 12). James tells us to "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (4:7) This could not be apart from the Messiah's victory at Golgotha; but now that the victory has been won, it could not be otherwise.
On Pentecost, the words of Akdomus, a beautiful Aramaic ode composed by the Chazan of Worms in the eleventh century, are chanted in the synagogue, presenting a vivid picture of the day when YEHOVAH God will have arrived, ushering in a time of eternal peace and bliss on earth without the presence of Satan.
Says Hayyim Schauss, as the ode Akdomus is chanted, the children see "the golden thrones, approached by seven stairs; seated on the thrones are the saints [of Israel], gleaming and shining like the stars of heaven. Above them are spread canopies of light, and below ripple streams of fragrant balsam. There is no end to the joy and happiness of the saints. They dance in Paradise, arm-in-arm with [YEHOVAH] God Himself. He entertains them with a mammoth spectacle, arranged especially for them, the combat between the Leviathan and the Behemoth." (p. 91-92)
This symbolizes the containment and future destruction of Satan, as pictured in Revelation 20:1-3:
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while." (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures)
Schauss goes on:
The teacher tells of the feast which God will prepare after the coming of the Messiah....He pictures the saints seated around a table made of precious stones, eating the flesh of the Leviathan and the Behemoth." (p. 92)
This is symbolic of the future "feast" outlined in the Book of Revelation, which will be given after the coming of the Messiah.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
The apostle John records:
Blessed are they which are called unto the MARRIAGE SUPPER of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:9)
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and the flesh of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. (Revelation 19:17-18)
The apostle John drew upon a passage in Ezekiel 39 when he wrote the book of Revelation -- notice!
The marriage of the Ecclesia (YEHOVAH's called out ones of Israel) to the Messiah is pictured in Revelation 19:7-9. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (the Messiah) precedes the taking over of the Kingdom rule by YEHOVAH God. Writes Howard B. Rand:
As for you, mortal, thus says the LORD [YEHOVAH] God: Speak to the birds of every kind and to all the wild animals: Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth -- of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat until you are filled, and drink blood until you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. And you shall be filled at My table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all kinds of soldiers, says the LORD [YEHOVAH] God. (17-20, NRSV)
It [the Marriage Supper] is the induction into office of his [the Messiah's] friends who are present with him at the Marriage Supper. They are destined to reign and rule in the Kingdom. These constitute the true Church or his Body, the spirit-filled men and women [of Israel] who are overcomers and will sit down with him in his Throne even as he sat down with his Father in His Throne. (A Study in Revelation. Destiny Publishers: 1985, page 289)
The Ecclesia is called in the New Testament the bride of the Messiah.
Notice the comparison: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church...that he might present it to himself a glorious church...” (Ephesians 5:23, 27) This reveals plainly that the husband-wife relationship is also that of the Messiah and the Ecclesia.
When will the Messiah present the Ecclesia to himself? Yeshua has already become the firstborn Son of YEHOVAH God by the resurrection. He has been glorified! He is the first-BORN of many brethren. (Romans 8:29) We of Israel who are begotten of YEHOVAH God, now heirs of YEHOVAH God, are to be glorified with him (Romans 8:17) -- our vile bodies of mortal fleshly matter changed -- made like his glorified body. (Philippians 3:21)
The Messiah will present the Ecclesia to himself a glorious Church -- when it has been glorified -- changed from matter to spirit -- from human to spiritual.
And when shall that be? Shortly after the return of YEHOVAH God as the KING of kings and LORD of lords, to reestablish the government of YEHOVAH God over all nations (Revelation 19:11-16). The God family -- the God Kingdom -- will rule and govern all nations.
That will occur at the time described in the prophecy of the Revelation as “the last trump.” “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our LORD [YEHOVAH God], and of his Christ [Yeshua the Messiah]; and He [YEHOVAH God] shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
“And I heard as it were the voice...saying, Alleluia: for the LORD God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the MARRIAGE of the Lamb [Yeshua the Messiah] is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints [of Israel].” (Revelation 19:6-8)
The Ecclesia -- the righteous saints of Israel -- are here described as being presented to the Messiah a glorious (or glorified) Church, without spot or wrinkle.
But continue, same passage: “And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (verse 9) The “Lamb,” of course, is Yeshua the Messiah. (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 5:6)
But the true Israel of the New Testament are converted, natural-born Israelites by race.
What a Feast that is going to be!
The All-Night Vigil on Pentecost Eve
Yeshua the Messiah told the disciples to "wait" in Jerusalem, and to "tarry" there until they were to be empowered by YEHOVAH God from on high, by receiving the holy spirit -- the spirit of "power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (II Timothy 1:6-7) This is highly significant because the Jews have an age-old tradition about staying up all night, on the eve of Pentecost, to study the Laws of YEHOVAH God. This is to get in "final preparation" for the "Revelation" of YEHOVAH -- and meeting with YEHOVAH -- which symbolically is to occur on "Pentecost."
The disciples were waiting, no doubt in much anticipation -- both for the coming of Pentecost and for the expectation of the coming "promise from on high" -- the holy spirit! Was their vigil also connected with the Jewish practice of more intense preparation for Pentecost as the Holy Day approached?
Especially on the evening before the great day of the Feast, this preparation among YEHOVAH's people Israel should intensify, as the anticipation builds to a climax. Says Rabbi Irving Greenburg:
There is a custom to stay awake the entire night of Shavuot in preparation for the Revelation. The kabbalists saw this as time to prepare the bride's (Israel's) trousseau for the wedding (with God) in the morning. What is the preparation during this long night? It is the study of Torah, preparing a Jew for what he or she is about to receive....
Many congregations today carry on the tradition of all-night study by scheduling various classes and study groups to make the learning more meaningful. Good all-night sessions are an exciting, if tiring, off-beat learning experience. Those who stay up all night pray the morning service immediately at daybreak -- carrying through the symbolic acting out of 'eagerness' and anticipation to receive the Revelation. The service, which is full of joy and celebration, includes the chanting of the entire Hallel as on Passover. (The Jewish Way, p. 82-83)
In The Three Festivals, by Rabbi Yosef Stern, we discover:
Throughout the world Jews observe the centuries-old custom of conducting an all-night vigil dedicated to Torah learning on the first night of Shavuos....One explanation for this tradition is that it compensates for a tragic error committed by the Jewish [Israelite] nation as they were about to receive the Torah at Sinai: On the very morning Hashem came to give the Torah, they overslept! Hashem had to arouse them and remind them that it was time to receive the Ten Commandments. To atone for this blunder, Jews have accepted upon themselves the custom of remaining awake all night.
One of the reasons for the all-nighter, according to Rabbi Stern, is that it is believed that "the study of the Mosaic books during the night will hasten the arrival of the Messiah." According to Stern, the time from Passover to Pentecost represent a time of "spiritual purification (taharah) that grows in intensity during the seven weeks of sephirah" until it reaches a climax on the night of Pentecost, or Shavuot. (p. 203)
During the last fifty days of the count following the "seven Sabbaths complete" (Leviticus 23:15), we eliminate and get rid of the fifty levels or degrees of spiritual contamination and degradation we have accumulated. Thus these are fifty days representing fifty levels of spiritual purity. Each day we jettison another piece of impurity, another contaminant, another vice, until, after the last of the fifty days, we reach true purity, maturity, and perfection at Pentecost!
Says Rabbi Stern:
During these days and weeks, our personal efforts to cleanse ourselves of spiritual impurities are critical. However, if we make sincere efforts during sefirah, we can be assured that Hashem [YEHOVAH God] will shower us with an outpouring of taharah on the night of Shavuos, as the Sages said (Shabbos 104a) someone who comes to purify himself will receive [Divine] help. (p. 204)
This "Divine help" is described as an out-pouring of taharah -- divine purification. This help comes to us through the holy spirit of YEHOVAH God! Yeshua the Messiah declared:
"But the comforter, which is the holy spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he [it] shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26)
"Howbeit when it, the spirit of truth, is come, it will guide you into all truth: for it shall not speak of itself; but whatsoever it shall hear, that shall it speak; and it will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)
Rabbi Stern says that this taharah that descends and comes upon us, as we study Torah and the truths of YEHOVAH's Word, is exceedingly fragile. In his words:
The Zohar also reminds us that the taharah that descends on those who immerse themselves in Torah study on this night is a fragile thing. Unless we take active steps to preserve it throughout the year we cannot be assured that it will remain with us....Through our efforts during the seven weeks of sefirah [and the following 50 days] we merit the creation of a 'pure heart' for ourselves. However, it takes the all-night vigilance of Shavuos to give it permanence and to turn it into a 'steadfast spirit' that will endure throughout the year. (Stern, The Three Festivals, p. 204)
Although the Scriptures do not tell us that we must stay up all night, on the eve of Pentecost, to observe this day, this custom seems to go back to earliest times. And Yeshua the Messiah did tell us, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do." (Matthew 23:2-3) The staying up all night practice is not a commandment for YEHOVAH's people Israel. Nevertheless, it certainly would not be wrong to do it, as a final "preparation" for the Day of "Revelation" -- Pentecost!
After counting the weeks and days to Pentecost faithfully, it seems fitting that this "spiritual odyssey," or journey, should be capped off with a special celebration -- a special night of "final preparation" for FINAL EXAMS, as it were -- a night devoted to Bible study, prayer, and meditation, drawing closer to YEHOVAH God in preparation for the ULTIMATE PENTECOST PERSPECTIVE -- the soon arrival of YEHOVAH God and our Messianic King and Husband -- Yeshua Notzri -- Yeshua the Messiah!
In college, or at the university, students often "cram" for finals during the weeks immediately before final exams are to occur. They study extra hard, burn the midnight oil, and sometimes pull an "all-nighter" in order to get that final "term paper" prepared and written and presented on time. They review their class notes, assignments, and previous tests, so that they can be as prepared as possible for "finals."
So it should be with Pentecost. Have we ever looked at it that way before?
Pentecost, in typology, is the time of Final Exams -- the day we will be "judged," and evaluated, by our Creator and Teacher, YEHOVAH God!
Do you want to flunk the test?
Judging the Saints of Israel
When YEHOVAH God returns at the seventh and final trumpet, He will judge the saints of Israel! Notice!
John writes, "The nations raged, but your wrath has come, and the time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:18)
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our LORD [YEHOVAH God] and of his Messiah, and He [YEHOVAH God] will reign for ever and ever.' (Revelation 11:15)
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING of kings and LORD of lords. (Revelation 19:11-16)
The apostle Paul wrote:
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw -- each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." (I Corinthians 3:10-15)
Paul also wrote:
For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: 'As I live, says the LORD [YEHOVAH], every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to [YEHOVAH] God.' So then each of us shall give account of himself to [YEHOVAH God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way." (Romans 14:9-13)
It is not our purpose, in this article, to condemn those who do not see the full story behind Pentecost -- or the full light YEHOVAH God has shed upon this wonderful Feast day. But for those of us of Israel who do understand, let's observe this Festival with new joy, new meaning, new zeal, renewed dedication and commitment, and new vigilance!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Correcting the Errors of Modern Christianity!
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