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SHAVU’OT  -PENTECOST  - MHG #45. May 2013

 

 

SHAVU’OT  -PENTECOST

WHAT A GREAT HARVEST FESTIVAL

THE CHURCHNELECTS!

 SHAVU’OTis the 4th of the seven “Appointed Times of the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:2). It is also referred to as,“The Feast of Weeks,” “The Feast of Harvest,and Pentecost.

It is a one-day festival – a day to dedicate the first fruits of the wheat harvest. It took place in the 3rd month of the Biblical calendar – Sivan (around May-June). 

Shavu’ot is linked to the earlier “waving of the first fruits of the barley harvest” during the Pentecost week, as it falls on the 50th day after that waving. 

The Hebrew word “Shavuot” means “sevens” or “weeks.” The name of the festival is derived from the 7 weeksperiod between the two events.

LEVITICUS 23:15-16

“You shall also count for yourselves, from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. You shall count fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to YHWH.”                     

As “the barley waving” was always on the first day of the week (the day after Sabbath after the Passover – Leviticus 23:11), Shavu’ot also falls on the first day of the week – exactly 50 days after the waving of the barley firstfruits. 

(The Pharisees and Sadducees did not agree on which Sabbath was referred to - the High Sabbath or the weekly Sabbath. The Pharisees held to the High Sabbath, which accounts for the different days for Shavu’ot on the Jewish calendar.)

Yahweh, the Heavenly Master, tells His people that the first fruits of the ground belong to Him. So this festival of Shavu’ot speaks of the importance of dedicating our first fruits - our best to God. 

Counting offthe 50 days created a spiritual anticipation that is unique to this holiday. The Feast of Weeks points to a principle: God wants us to spend a special time of thanksgiving with Him; He wants us to eagerly anticipate our offering, and the celebration of His gracious provision for us, and to look forward to the time of fellowship with Him,along with those who love Him.

“O clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumphant singing. For YHWH Elyon, the Most High, is awesome - a great King over all the earth. God has ascended with a shout; YHWH with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!” (Psalm 47:1,2,5,6)

Down through the centuries, has Israel has celebrated Shavu’ot with much excitement, not only because it signified a successful harvest, but also because it acknowledges the direct connection between theirdedication of first fruits and God’s provision.

Honour the LORD with your possessions and with the first-fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)

Shavu’ot then, is a celebration of God’s gracious provision for living in fellowship with Him.

Shavu’ot was one of the three festivals (Passover, Shavu’ot and Tabernacles) when all Israeli males were to present themselves before the LORD in Jerusalem. (Deut 16:16). This attendance wouldbe possible, of course, only after Israel occupied the Promised Land

The presentation of the first fruits of the harvests could not be made while Israel was in the wilderness where they had little agriculture and grain crops.  For 40 years they ate manna, (Exodus 16:35), and, no doubt, meat from their livestock as the flocks multiplied.

What was Israel required to perform during this festival? The offerings. It was stipulated:

LEVITICUS 23:17-18

“You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loavesof bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of a bushel.They shall be of fine flour, baked with leaven as firstfruits to YHWH. Along with the bread, you shall presentseven one–year-old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd, and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to YHWH, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a sweet aroma to YHWH.”

At Passover, a barley offering of unleavened bread was offered to the LORD. But at Shavu’ot it was a wheat offering — two loaves of leavened bread.  Why now the leavened bread?

The Passover was about the purging of sin — leaven is a symbol of sin, and it had to be removed from all their homes. Shavu’ot on the other hand, had to do with God’s people who still had sin in their lives and who therefore needed to receive the Torah (God’s instructions), and His Spirit, to guide them and to work in their lives.

Today, likewise, even though we are justified by His grace, we still have the sin nature in us, and we need the Word, the risen life of Christ, and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us, to teach us God’s ways. (We are not perfected until we receive ournew glorified bodies at the Rapture).

THE GIVING OF THE TORAH

The Great I AM led His chosen people out of Egypt, brought them through the Red Sea and from bondage and slavery into freedom. He then gathered them to the base of Mount Sinai where He needed to give them His Torah-instructions, to guide them in their future as a nation.

As slaves they had been told what to do by their Egyptian masters, but now, in freedom, they needed the guidance of their new Heavenly Master. The Torah was God’s instructions to show His redeemed people how He wanted them to relate to Him, and to one another.

It should be noted that God gave them freedom - salvation from slavery, before He gave them His commandments. Keeping “the law” was not a condition for receiving freedom, but obedience to God’s instructions was to be a ready response to God’s grace in setting them free.

Traditionally, the rabbis have tied Shavu’ot to the giving of the Torah at Sinai. Although the Scripture does not actually state that Shavu’ot was the day YHWH gave the Torah, in Exodus 19:1 it states

“In the third month after the sons of Israel had goneout of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.”

The third month, the month of Sivan, was the month when Shavu’ot was to be observed.

“And Moses went up to God, and YHWH called to him from the mountain … Thus you shall say to the House of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel ….  If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own treasured possession out of all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:  3, 5, 6)

“And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.”

ISRAEL MEETS GOD AT SINAI

Moses was now ready to introduce the Israelites, more personally, to Yahweh their Almighty One – the One who had spoken to him at the burning bush; the One who had sent the plagues on the Egyptians; the One who had delivered the people with an outstretched arm, and brought them to this place, to meet Him face to face.

“Now Mount Sinai was all covered in smoke because YHWH descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently … Then YHWH came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And YHWH called Moses to the top of the mountain; and Moses went up.”  (Exodus 19:17-18, 20)

How long Moses was on the mountain at that time, we are not told. There were a number of encounters Moses experienced on the Mount – over a number of days.  The extensive instructions of the Covenant were given to him during that period.

 “And all the people saw the thundering and lightning flashes, and heard the sound of the trumpet, and saw the mountain in smoke. And when the people saw all this, they trembled, and stood at a distance.”(Exodus 20:18)

All the people in the entire camp saw and heard this awesome manifestation of Divine power. And they learned again that their Heavenly Master was indeed “an awesome God.”

When Moses came down from the mount, he brought the Ten Commandments engraved on the two stone tablets. (Exodus 31:18)

“Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of YHWH and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which YHWH has spoken we will do!’  Moses wrote down all the words of YHWH. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Exodus 24:3-4)

These Sinai events took place in the month of Sivan -about 7 weeks after the recent Passover in Egypt.

GOD’S COVENANT ENACTED AT SINAI

“Sinai” was the enacting of God’s Covenant with Israel which was comprised of three parts: the commandments, the judgments and the ordinances. It governed the moral, social and religious life of the nation.

It is called the Mosaic Covenant as it was enacted through Moses. It is also commonly called “The Law,” although there is no single Biblical Hebrew word for “Law” – as a legal system.  The word normally translated into English as Law is TORAH, which means instruction/teaching. The Hebrew text uses eight words, translated as precept, testimony, command, instruction, statute, judgment, ordinance and word, which, collectively, make up what is referred to as The Law.” 

Now while Shavu’ot looks back to the receiving of the Covenant Law; it also looks forward to the enactment of the new covenant thatYHWH promised through the prophet Jeremiah:

“‘See, the days are coming,’ declares YHWH, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah, not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt - My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares YHWH.

‘But this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after those days,’ declares YHWH: ‘I will put My Torah (instructions) within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people’.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

This word from YHWH clearly indicates, the Mosaiac covenant was temporary. Its requirements would be fulfilled by the Anointed One, and then it would be superseded by the new covenant.

 

WHY THE NEED FOR A NEW COVENANT?

Paul said: “The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (Rom 7:12).  But he also said: “It is evident that no one is justified by the Law before God.” (Galatians3:11).

Yes, the Law is good; for it declares the righteousness of God, brings conviction of sin, and it is “a tutor, a schoolmaster to lead us to the Messiah.” (Galatians 3:24)

The Mosaic covenant was necessary for Israel asit was required in the dispensation of Law– the period before the Messiah came. It was to provide instruction, and a means of atonement for aright relationship with God.

Now, since Messiah came and enacted the New Covenant, we understand  there was“a setting aside of the former commandment because it was weak and ineffectual - for the Law made nothing perfect - and instead, a better hope is introduced through which we now draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:18-19)

It should be obvious to all of us that the Old Covenant sacrificial ordinances are now obsolete, as Christ fulfilled them all.  There are lessons to learn from them, but praise God, they areobsolete!  But there are many Torah instructions that are repeated in the New Testament, and many of its edicts are a basis for our national Common Law. We therefore do not despise the Torah. Certainly there is a great amount of instruction in the New Covenant, so that we do not become Lawless.

“… holding fast to the teaching in accordance with the trustworthy Word, so that he will be able to exhort by sound doctrine, and refute those who contradict it.”  (Titus 1:9)

THE NEW COVENANT

The OT Shavu’ot (the Feast of Weeks), is the same feast the disciples observed in the NT - the Feast of Pentecost. The word Pentecost comes from the Greek pente and relates to the 50 days from the First Fruits to Shavu’ot.

So Shavu’ot looked forward to anew covenant and the writing of the God’s instructions on the hearts of His people.

Nearly 1,500 years after the first Shavu’ot, the Messiah poured out His Holy Spirit on His followers in Jerusalem, uniting them into one Body, and He began writing His instructions on their hearts. 

It happened around the year AD 30, and exactly on the day of Shavu’ot which became known as Pentecost.  This was the beginning of the ingathering of a great new harvest  of a new dispensation, and of Messiah’s “one new man - that is, “one new entity.” (Ephesians 2:15)

The New Covenant was enacted for followers of The Way, Y’shua, God’s Anointed One. The Jews who believed were immediately brought into His covenant.  Then the invitation was extended to the Samaritans and to the Gentiles; and to “whoever will” - Jews or Gentiles.

All Israel could have come into Messiah’s Covenant if they had believed. But sadly, Israel is still waiting for Jeremiah 31 to happen in the future — in the Day of the LORD.

I believe it is right to say that “Pentecost” is happening every day, every moment that a new person receives Y’shua as Saviour; for at that moment the Holy Spirit comes to indwell him/her — not with outward signs, but with inward assurance, peace and joy.

As Y’shua the Messiah was filled with all the fullness of Eternal Deity, (Col 1:19), He has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell and fill His extended Body, His “one new entity,” to empower and to guide each individual member. 

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.”… “The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him. But you know Him because He lives with you, and will be in you.” (John 15:26; 14:17)

The offering up of the two loaves at Shavu’ot is a picture of both believing Jews and believing Gentiles, together, being presented to the LORD.  And now, in Messiah, there is now one loaf.

“Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:17)

Y’shua said, “I am the Bread of Life.”  (John 6:35)

 

ALL WHO WILL, MAY COME!

Messiah’s New Covenant was enacted with anopen doorfor “whoever will,”from both Jewish and Gentile communities worldwide, to be included in the redemptive plan of God, to become members in Messiah’s corporate Body, and partakers of His Holy Spirit.  Y’shua Himself is the Door.

“I am the door; whoever enters through Me will be saved.  He will go in and go out, and find pasture.”  (John 10:9)

He also provides pure living water. "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters.” (Isaiah 55:1)

“Then he showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1)

 “Now on the final and most important day of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, Y'shua stood and cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from his innermost being.’ By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him wereto receive.”   (John 7:37-39)

“THE WRITING ON THE HEART”

In Messiah’s covenant, it is not merely a code of conduct imprinted on the heart; it was the implanting of the Holy Spirit in all believers. And it is He who produces an innate desire and thedelight to do the will of God.

It’s like the Messianic prophecy expresses:

I delight to do Your will, O My God; Your Torah (instruction) is within My heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

This work of the Holy Spirit was also foretold in Ezekiel 36:26-27:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; and I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My laws, and you will guard My judgments, and do them.”

Yes, this was a promise to Israel, as it was God’s plan, and it still is, that Israel should come into His New Covenant. At Pentecost many Jews did receive the Y’shua the Messiah, and thus entered into the Messianic New Covenant. The majority however, rejected Y’shua, and remained anchored to the Old Covenant.

“He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. But to all who received Him, to those who believe in His Name, Y’shua, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:11-12)

Tragically, the Jewish race over the past two thousand years has failed to enter the Messiah’s new covenant. They have failed to enter into God’s rest. And Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob grieves over them. This is expressed in the book of Hebrews.

“Therefore, because the promise remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who were given the good news earlier failed to enter because of disobedience, God again sets a certain day,calling it ‘Today,’ saying through David - after a long interval - but in the same words as before: TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” … “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.”  (Ps 95:7-8. Hebrews 4:6-7, 9)

(There is, of course, two teachings in this passage.One is a call for hard-hearted Israel to repent; the other is an entreaty to new covenant believers to enter fully into the life of rest and faithin Y’shua, and faithfulness to the directions of His Holy Spirit.)

THE FEAST OF HARVEST

As part of the Jewish Shavu’ot ceremonies, there is traditionally, the reading of the Book of Ruth, because its story took place around the Shavu’ot harvest time. This is very interesting as the story of Ruth contains the message of the redemption of a Gentile.

Ruth, a Moabite, chose to become an Israelite at heart by clinging tightly to Naomi the Jewess, and to her God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Ruth, in due course, was married to Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer. (Ruth’s deceased husband was related to Boaz.) 

This is a picture of the Bride of the Lamb who is made up largely of Gentiles, and who is shortly to be married to her Kinsman-Redeemer – Y’shua the Messiah.

The day of Pentecost, the day of Shavuot, was the day the church – the Bride, the “one new entity” -- was formed with a nuclear of believers. To this Body, believing Jews and Gentiles are being added every day. It is now comprised of millions of blood-bought souls.

And presently, seated at His Father’s right hand, our Bridegroom is watching and “counting down” with great anticipation to the appointed time when He will return and take His beloved to theHeavenly City that He has been preparing for them for nearly 2000 years.

PENTECOST IS A VERY IMPORTANT DAY FOR THE CHURCH

Now, while Pentecost is listed in the traditional “church calendar,” I wonder why most evangelical and even Pentecostal churches neglect this wonderful festival, and barely acknowledge the day. Church!  Why should we not whole-heartedly celebrate this glorious New Covenant Day — our spiritual birthday?

THIS YEAR, PENTECOST IS ON MAY 19

“Come, let us sing to YHWH. Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His Presence with thanksgiving. Let us shout to Him with psalms.” (Psalm 95:1-2)

The teaching and celebration of Pentecost, I believe, should be an on-going reminder of the worldwide harvesting of Jews and Gentiles which is still under way, and that is now nearing completion.

SOME COMPARISONS

When Yahweh gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, it was accompanied by awesome manifestations on the Mount Sinai.

“And all the people saw the thundering and lightning flashes, and heard the sound of the trumpet, and saw the mountain in smoke. And when the people saw all this, they trembled, and stood at a distance.(Exodus 20:18)

And when Yahweh poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost on the nucleus of “the new entity,” there were also awesome manifestations.

“And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

 

 s292.photobucket.com

“Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:2-6)

There is another startling parallel (and contrast) between the OT Shavu’ot and the NT Pentecost. In Exodus 32:28, we read that 3,000 men died that day, but in Acts 2:41 there were 3,000 peoplesaved. The law brought death, while the Spirit brought life!

Another comparison: The Mosaic Covenant was ratified by animal blood.  The New Covenant was ratified by the blood of the Lamb of God.   (Hebrews 9:11-14, 18-28)

It is interesting also that the three manifestations of the Divine Majesty, were involved in the fulfilling of the spring feasts – Passover-Pentecost. The Sonwashonored as He fulfilled the Passover by His death. The Fatherwas honored as He fulfilled the firstfruits by raising up Christ from death and the grave. The Holy Spiritwas honored as He fulfilled the Feast of Weeks by His descent, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ.

Now in response to the fulfillment of the work of the Heavenly 3-in-One, we can truly serve the Yahweh, the Eternal One, in power, authority, and truth!

THE POURING OUT OF THE SPIRIT

The prophet Joel foresaw the day when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all flesh.

“And after this I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. Even on the servants, both male and female, I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of YHWH comes.” (Joel 2:28-31)

This prophecy has at least three main fulfilments

Firstly, it was partially fulfilled at Pentecost in about AD 30.  And this brought about the harvest of the first fruits of the new dispensation – the age of grace, the age of the calling out of Messiah’s Body.  This outpouring is also referred to as the “early rains.”

Secondly, an outpouring at the end of the church age – the final ingathering into the Body. This is referred to as the “late rains.”

This exhortation by James is given particularly for believers at this present time.

“Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Master. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious ‘fruit of the earth,’ waiting patiently until the land receives the early and late rains.” (James 5:7)

The late rains is not likely to be a huge outpouring on one weekend just before the Rapture, as I once imagined.  I believe it is already happening in the parts of the world that have been languishing in darkness for so long.  And it began amongst the generation that saw the Fig Tree (Israel) shooting forth leaves in 1948. (Luke 21:29-32).

Over the past 50-60 years, the Holy Spirit has been breaking through and bringing many souls into the Body. There have been millions of new believers in Korea, China, Nepal, India, Iran, Egypt and the Arab world, and in other parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America.  (Tragically, the Western World, it seems, is largely missing out on the outpouring!)

The present dispensation is almost complete; the Body is almost complete. And any day now, the trumpet will sound, and the Bride will be caught up to meet the Master in the air.

Thirdly, there will be an outpouring of the Spirit during the Tribulation (“the last days”), and it will be then that Israel will be awakened to believe in Y’shua, and thus be saved.At last, the redeemed of Israel will be brought into the new covenant of Jeremiah 31, through faith in Y’shua, their long-awaited Messiah. The redeemed of Israel, as well as the new Gentile believers in the Tribulation, will not be included in the Bride, for Messiah’s “one new entity will have been completed and raptured. 

The new covenant for Israel as a nation, with God’s instructions written on their hearts, in the Tribulation, will prepare them for their blessed role in the Millennial Kingdom which will be established after the 7 years of Tribulation. They, along with the saved of other nations will be the progenitors of the new nations, and the administration that will inherit the glorious 1000-yearkingdom.

ISRAEL’S ULTIMATE PENTECOST

While many Israelis are receiving Y’shua as their Lord and Saviour today, and are thus entering into the NewMessianic Covenant, the majority of Israel are still missing out on the spiritualblessings of this covenant, and the privilege of being part of the Bride of the Lamb.

However, the promise remains, and it will be fulfilled when Israel returns to the LORD, and to His Anointed.

“I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel,” and, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; and I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My laws, and you will guard My judgments, and do them.”

These promises will be fulfilled “after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;” that is, after the Rapture of the Bride (the church/the new entity). 

“And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’ (Isaiah 59:20).  And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:25-27)           

For Israel, the fullness of Shavu’ot is still ahead. It will befulfilled in the first half of the Tribulation (before the awesome day of YHWH - the 2nd half),when the Holy Spirit is poured out.

A NEEDED CLARIFICATION

In these times there is often a confusion about Israel and the Church. We need to be clear that Israel is not the Church; and the Church is not Israel.  They are two distinct and separate entities.

Israel has a destiny outside the Church; and the Church has a destiny outside Israel. There should be a mutual respect by both entities, but it should be understood that the Scriptures teach, the church has a Heavenly destiny, whereas Israel has an terrestrial millennial destiny.

There is only one way for personal salvation, and that is through Messiah of Israel who is also the only Saviour for the whole world. (Acts 4:12).  No-one can come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)

We do not come to God through the Church, or through Judaism. There is one way - Y’shua.

There are two common false interpretations today that are confusing many and we need to be cautious about both.

1. REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY says Israel has been replaced, in God’s purposes, by the Church due to Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, Y’shua. In turn, Israel has been rejected by God, its chosen status has been forfeited.

2. JUDAISTIC THEOLOGY is not new. It was active in the early church, and the apostles warned about the Judaizers — referring to them as “the circumcision.” (Titus 1:10. Act 11:2)

The error takes various forms — a more extreme form would seek to take believers back to Judaism and Torah Observance for spiritual life and ultimate salvation.

Another form teaches that all believers in Christ are grafted into Israel and therefore become part of spiritual Israel. This is based on Romans 11:17-24.  But what Paul is teaching there, is that the believer is grafted into the rich root of the Olive tree. We are not grafted into Israel, but rather, into the rich root of the Olive Tree which is the life of God

Israel was in the Olive Tree by virtue of being chosen by Yahweh. The majority of the Jews, however, were broken off because of unbelief. But now Jewish believers are being grafted in again. And we Gentile believers have been grafted in amongst them. (v. 17). We are all partaking of the rich root of the life of God.

In another passage Y’shua says, “I am the Vine, and you are the branches.” (John 15:5).  Israel is not the Vine (it’s the Fig Tree.) And now many Jews today are becoming branches, along with us, in the Vine, Y’shua.

So let us not be confused about Israel and the Church - Messiah’s new entity.

 

ISRAEL’S ULTIMATE DESTINY

The Abrahamic and Davidiccovenants will be fulfilled in the redeemed Israel,  in the Millennial Kingdom..

“In you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

“For this is what YHWH says: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the House of Israel.”(Jeremiah 33:17)

“But Israel will be saved by YHWH with an everlasting salvation. You will never be put to shame or humiliated for ever and ever … In YHWH all the descendants of Israel will be justifiedand will glorify Him.”(Isaiah 45:17, 25)

“Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitants of Zion, for great in your midst isthe Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 12:6)

“In that day Israel will be the third - along with Egypt and Assyria - a blessing at the centre of the earth, whom YHWH of Hosts will bless, saying, 'Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:24-25)

“The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the House of YHWH will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream into it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of YHWH, to the house of the God of Jacob.He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.’  For the Torah (instruction) will go out from Zion, and the Word of YHWH from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:1-3)

“ ‘A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, declares YHWH.  ‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ says YHWH: ‘My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,’ says YHWH, ‘from this time on and for ever.  (Isaiah 59:20-21)

“And the glory of YHWH came into the temple by way of the gate facing east. … He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever.”  (Ezek. 43:4, 7)

After the Millennial Kingdom, the reign of Messiah will continue for ever, and the redeemed of Israel, and the redeemed of the Church, as well as the redeemed of other dispensations, will all have a part in the Eternal Kingdom. But Scripture has not revealed details of that future eternal Kingdom.  But God does say:

“Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in what I create; for I create Jerusalem to be a delight, and her people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem, and take delight in My people.” (Isaiah 65:17-19)

 

ISRAEL CELEBRATES65th INDEPENDENCE DAY

 

 

 

A day after the last prayers were said for Israel's fallen as part of Memorial Day, Israel celebrated its 65th Independence Day on 5/6 Iyar - April 16. (Most of us will be more familiar with the birth of modern Israel on May 14. That was the correct date in 1948.  But the English and Hebrew calendars don’t follow the same paths, and therefore don’t often lineup with each other.)

The national flag was raised once again to full mast on Mount Herzl, and the traditional torch lighting ceremony signifying the beginning of the festivities ensued.

With the beginning of Independence Day, Israel's streets were swept with swarms of people who watched fireworks and musical performances, spraying the streets with endless amounts of foam and hitting each other on the head with inflatable hammers.

There were even those abroad who celebrated the State's birth. In Australia, the Americas, Europe and Africa, many waved the Star of David and sang Israeli hits.

The Israel Defence Forces opened its bases nationwide for visitors and offered a wide array of attractions for those arriving. In addition, and as usual, the show was stolen by the Israel Air Force with its traditional flyover across the country. The festive flyover crossed the country from Beersheva in the south to the Galilee in the north, showcasing various aircrafts, including fighter jets and helicopters, before the eyes of millions of Israelis.

But what is so special about Israel independence day?  May 14, 1948 was a most significant day on the Biblical prophetic chart – it is the day when a nation was reborn after nearly 1900 years. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. More than a million people perished, and most of the remainder of the Jews were taken away in chains as slaves for the Roman Empire.

THE WANDERING JEWS

God had warned Israel long before that if they forsook His Torah - His instructions, they would be dispersed throughout the nations and become a vagabond people.                         (2 Chronicles 7:19-22)

And that is what happened.  The Jews became the despised “wandering Jews.”

But Yahweh also promised that He would bring His people back to their land – a third time.  The first time was from Egypt. The second time was from Babylon. The third time is from all the nations. (Ezek. 37:21-22. 39:25-29)

And that is what began happening from the late 19th century when Dr Theodor Herzl initiated the Zionist movement with the aim of restoring Israel in the Promised Land. Mt Herzl is named after that amazing Zionist. He is regarded as the father of modern Israel, even though he died before the state was established.

In the early 20th centuries Jews from Russia and Europe found their way to Palestine, and began to farm the land under difficult circumstances. Much of the Middle East was ruled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

In World War 1, the Turks were defeated, and Great Britain was given the mandate by the newly formed League of Nations, to administer the region of Palestine. The East Palestine region was carved out as a reward to the Hashemite kings, and it became the Kingdom of Trans-Jordan.

Britain for some 20 years allowed Jews to return to the land.  That changed after World War 2, when the East Palestine region became a 3-way battle between, Britain, the Arabs, and the Jews. Britain stopped all Jewish migration and even sunk some ships carrying Jews who had fled from Hitler’s regime- within sight of the homeland.  The refugee crisis became a world concern.

In Nov 1947, the newly-formed United Nations adopted a resolution by a slim majority, to partition West Palestine, allowing for a Jewish state and an Arab state. And the plan was for Jerusalem to become an international city.

ISRAEL RESURRECTED

By May 13, 1948, Britain pulled out its troops. On May 14 the Jewish leader, David Ben Gurion, proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish state with merely 800,000 people, and named it ISRAEL.

The next day, the surrounding Arab nations who had opposed the UN resolution, launched an attack on Israel from all directions. The world expected the new state to be wiped out within a few days.  Fierce battles continued for over a year, but Israel survived. Miracles happened, as  the Bible prophecy was being fulfilled.

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you;I will bring your children from the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’  Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth. Everyone who is called by My Name whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, yes, whom I have made.” (Isaiah 43:5-7)

ISRAEL POPULATION TOPS 8 MILLION

APR 2013. Israel’s population at its 65th Independence Day stands at 8,018,000 people, three-fourths of whom are Jewish, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

This year marks the first time the Jewish population tops the iconic 6 million number, at 6.04 million. The Jewish residents of Israel make up 75.3% of the population. There are approximately 1.6 million Israeli Arabs (20.7%). Members of other religions, including non-Arab Christians, make up 4% of the population, or 318,000.

ISRAEL NOW FACES GREATEST THREAT

APR 2013. Israel is being surrounded by enemies all around - from Egypt, to Gaza, Sinai, Al Qaida, Syrian Golan Heights, and Hizb’ullah. And there’s Iran which constantly threatens to annihilate the “microbe Zionist regime,” now on the verge of deploying nuclear weapons.

The nations will come up against Israel to destroy it (Zechariah 12:2-6), but God says: “I will set out to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:9).  Israel has a Divinely-appointed destiny!   Amen!

 

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