Friday, June 3, 2011

Transformations: The Feast of Weeks, Part 9

By Brenda Cathcart

At Mt. Sinai, God gave them the tablets of the Commandments written by the Holy Spirit. What form will this gift of the Holy Spirit take? The anticipation builds as the day approaches. Imagine the day before the feast; the disciples are once again, like they were every day, in the Temple praising God. As the services end, they join in the recitation of the counting of the Omer. “This is the 49th day of the counting of the Omer.” I wonder if they got any sleep that night as they anticipated the Feast.

The next morning, the Feast of Weeks arrives.

Acts 2:1 NKJV 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Luke tells us that, like the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, the disciples were together in unity. Where are they together? Let’s see where they should be.

The Feast of Weeks is one of the Feasts that all males including the disciples were to appear before the LORD their God. Jerusalem would be filled with Jewish men from all over the Roman world bringing their offerings to God. On the Feast of Weeks, they were to bring a firstfruits offering and a wave offering before the LORD.

Leviticus 23:16 MKJV 16 To the next day after the seventh sabbath you shall number fifty days. And you shall offer a new food offering to the LORD.

The time of the morning sacrifices when all this begins is the third hour or 9:00 in the morning. All the people who came up for the Feast including the disciples should be at the temple at this time. Luke records Peter saying that the Holy Spirit falls on them at 9:00!

Acts 2:14-15 NKJV 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

Luke also says that the Holy Spirit fills the house. The word house is oykos (#3624) meaning dwelling, house, temple. There are numerous places in the New Testament where God’s temple is referred to as oykos or house including Matthew 12:4, when Jesus refers to David entering the house of God and Matthew 21:13 where Jesus quotes Jeremiah saying that God’s house has become a den of thieves. Isaiah refers to the original holy mountain, Mt. Sinai, as well as to the temple mount, and the Temple as God’s house.

Isaiah 56:7 NKJV 7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."

Is the rest of the account of the falling of the Holy Spirit consistent with the disciples being isolated in an upper room or with the disciples being in the temple? Let’s read the rest of the account.

Acts 2:2-15 NKJV 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 "And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 "Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 "Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?" 13 Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine." 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

The men coming up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks witness the tongues of fire and the voices as each disciple speaks praises to God. Those who heard were devout Jews; they would be at the temple at the hour of the morning sacrifices! Further there were thousands of them! There is only one place where there would be a gathering of thousands of devout Jews on the Feast of Weeks! This is like the opening ceremony of the Olympics! They didn’t come from all around the Roman world to miss the opening ceremonies!

As we focus on the events described in this passage, did you see some similarities between the events at Mt. Sinai and the events at the temple on this momentous Feast of Weeks? The word sound in verse two comes from a Greek word meaning “roar (#2279).” There is a roar from heaven! The roar fills the entire temple and the surrounding area since thousands of people heard the sound. The disciples spoke in a language that every one heard as being their own language. Even though they were all Jewish, they lived in other nations and spoke the native language as well as Hebrew.

Peter and all the disciples with him are ready to give witness again to the identity of Jesus, the Son of the Living God. Peter testifies to the coming of the New Covenant.

Acts 2:38-39 NKJV 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

Jeremiah said the New Covenant will be when God would “put His law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” This word translated law is the Hebrew word Torah. It means much more than “law.” It comes from the Hebrew ya-rah (#3384) meaning to flow as water, to aim or shoot, to point out, teach or instruct. The Torah properly refers to the first five books of the Bible, the books of Moses. They do include laws and commandments but they also include stories that reveal the nature of God and His redemption plan. The Torah used in its broad sense refers to all of scripture. The Jewish sages say that as water flows from high point to low, the word of God flows from the heavens to the earth. The Holy Spirit that wrote the Commandments on the Tablets of Stone now writes them on our hearts and gives us power to live according to God’s instructions.

I started stating that all scripture tells the gospel story. The word Torah tells the gospel story in the Hebrew picture language.
Torah is  תורה
Tav: ת Cross, covenant or sign of the covenant
Vav: ו Nail, tent peg, to secure
Resh: ר Person especially the highest person, head
Hey: ה Reveal. At the end of a word hey can mean what comes from or out of,
belonging to

Torah: The covenant is secured by the revelation of the highest person. Backward it reads Behold the highest person nailed to the cross. In both directions, Torah, the written Word of God, reveals Christ, the Living Word. The written Torah was given to the Israelites on the very first Feast of Weeks at Mt. Sinai fifty days after they were redeemed from slavery in Egypt. The Living Word was written on the hearts of the disciples at the first Feast of Weeks fifty days after the Resurrection which redeemed them from the slavery of sin.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 NIV 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

When you celebrate the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost in just a little over a month, remember that this gift from the Father is our gift, your gift, as well. The same Spirit that wrote the Commandments on Tablets of stone and the hearts of the disciples writes them on our hearts. Paul calls each of us a letter from Jesus written by the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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