The revelationary Message inherent in the Sacred Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) – the most neglected of the Three Jewish Festivals. Though high up on the ratings of Christianity, this Message has been totally misconstrued by popular Christian and Pentecostal interpretation, while they mislay one of the main requirements for Entry of His Eternal Kingdom!
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Romans 3:2 “What advantage then has the Jew? … A great advantage in every way … because unto them were committed the Oracles of God”
Foreseeing the resistance of the average believer against the ‘carnal, unbelieving Jew’, this New Testament Scripture then seals the imperishability for the future, of this statement: “What if some of them were unfaithful? Will their lack of fidelity cancel God’s fidelity? (towards this mandate of holding the Divine Oracles) That would be absurd. God will always prove to be true (to His Mandates and election) even though everyone proves to be false.”
This is an unbroken commitment, since ancient times right through to the future yet, as we shall show in this revealing study. YHVH, the Creator God, had revealed His Eternal Plan and System for the success and future of humanity, to Moses, with the instruction to educate the Hebrews so that their observance of, and obedience to God’s requirements, could serve as an example unto the nations (Deut. 4:6-10).
Acts 7:38 “Moses (at Mt. Sinai) was entrusted with the Oracles, to hand on to us”
1 Peter 4:11 “If any man speaks, let him speak as the Oracles of God”.
This has never been an easy matter – not for the Israelites, neither for Christianity or any other non-Jewish religious sect claiming the Promises of the God of Israel.
The apostle, in a letter to the Hebrews, an early Messianic Congregation, complains:
Heb. 5:12 “Really, when you should by this time have become masters, you need someone to teach you all over again, the elementary principles of interpreting God’s Oracles. You have gone back …”
What are these ‘Oracles’, which seem to be so important a matter for the believer and follower of YHVH? The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘oracle’ as “a place. a person, a prophet or thing which is regarded as an infallible guide, or source of divine inspiration and revelation.”
The New Testament uses this word in four places only – as quoted in all four instances above.
The ‘Old’ Testament or, more correctly, the Tanach, uses it in 16 places. Each of these usages refer to the Chamber in the Temple of Jerusalem, known as the D’vier – the “Holy of Holies” or the “Most Holy”. The Hebrew word “D’vier’ stems from the root word “Davar” – which means “Word” – and has been translated “Oracle” in English (KJV),
The First Hebrew Temple was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem, about 950 BCE, that was some 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt. This Temple replaced the mobile Tabernacle used by the Israelites during their Wilderness Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, Israel. This magnificent structure had three chambers: The Olam, the Hekal – or Great Chamber used for worship, also called the Holy Place, and the D’vier (or Oracle) – the Most Holy Sanctuary or Inner Chamber.
The D’vier housed the Ark of the Covenant – a wooden structure containing the two Stone Tablets (inscribed with the Ten ‘Words’ or Commandments of YHVH) which were handed to Moses by YHVH on Mt. Sinai (referred to also as the ‘Oracle‘ in Acts 7:38 above).
This Ark of the Covenant with its contents, the Torah (or Law), was of itself the inner Power and Source of the Oracle (Most Holy Chamber).
The authoritative Complete Hebrew Dictionary gives the following alternative Hebrew translations for ‘Oracle’ – “Word of HaShem (God), Prophecy, Prophet, Tanach (‘Old’ Testament), Temple, Covenant, Holy of Holies”
It is important that the reader now once more refers to the 4 Scriptures at the start of this study, to read it with these meanings in mind.
The pertinent meaning and vital requirements for the believer, of the “Oracles of YHVH”, thus, is depicted by the Most Holy Chamber of the Temple, with its ‘life-giving’ contents: The Torah (Law of God) in the Ark of the Covenant.
This is what has been committed by God to the Jews for all time;
This was / is the Source or Place of Delivery of the Divine Plan and Announcements of YHVH;
This then, is what is regarded as the infallible guide, or source of divine inspiration and revelation;
without this Source, the Temple becomes void of the Spirit of YHVH and useless – an abomination in the eyes of God!
In 1 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 2, we read how the Ark of the Covenant with its Sacred Contents was brought into the Sacred D’vier of the Temple which Solomon had completed. 1 Kings 8:10 “Now when the priests came out of the Sanctuary (having placed the Ark in its place in the D’vier) the Cloud filled the Temple of YHVH and because of the Cloud, the Priests could no longer perform their duties. The Glory of YHVH filled YHVH’s Temple.” This was the same Cloud that lead Israel out of Egypt to show them the way to the Promised Land and to protect them. It took ‘possession’ of the Temple as soon as the Ark of the Covenant was placed within the Oracle.
Years later, when it became known that the Temple would be destroyed, the Ark was removed from the Holy of Holies and placed elsewhere for safe keeping and the Temple became devoid of the Glory of YHVH which departed from it. Not long after, the Temple of Solomon was completely destroyed (587 BCE) and the Jews deported to Babylon.
The Ark of the Covenant has been lost to this day. Notwithstanding, the Temple was rebuilt, starting after the 70 year exile to Babylon. The rebuilding of this 2nd Temple faced great opposition from neighbouring enemies and was desecrated time after time by invading conquerors over Israel. The Great Persecution of 167 BCE saw decrees abolishing the Jewish Oracles and the establishing of the cult of Zeus in the Temple of YHVH with pagan sacrificing on the Altar. All this time the Temple was devoid of the Ark of the Covenant – which meant that the Presence of YHVH (the Cloud) was absent and therefore also the Blessing over the nation of Israel.
It was to this Temple, devoid of the Presence of YHVH, that YAHU’SHUAH the Jewish Messiah (Whom Christianity mispresents as ‘Jesus Christ’), came 2000 years ago in fulfilment of the Prophecy of Malachai and Haggai:
Mal. 3:1 “… and the Lord Whom you seek shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant Whom you delight in”
Haggai 2:7 “And I will shake all the nations, and the Desire of all the nations shall come, and I shall fill this House with Glory, says YHVH of Hosts”
THE NEW COVENANT FULFILMENT IN THE FEAST OF SHAVUOT
– THE TRUE ORACLE OF YHVH –
1Cor. 6:19 “Your body, you know, is the Temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you”
Under the ‘Old’ Covenant, the ancient Tabernacle and Temple had a Most Holy inner Chamber where the Stone Tablets of the Law were stored in the Ark of the Covenant. Under the ‘New’ Covenant, the body of the professing believer forms a Temple for YHVH to dwell in – with the Law of YHVH now written on “the tables of the heart”, in the inner ‘chamber of the body’,
Jer. 31:31 “See the days are coming – it is YHVH Who speaks – when I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah – but not a Covenant like I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt … No, this is the Covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive … Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be My people.”
Ezek. 11:18 “I will give them a single heart, and I will put a New Spirit in them. I will remove the heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh in stead, so that they will keep My Laws and respect My Observances and put them into practice. Then they shall be My people and I will be their God”
Note, how being “their God” is conditional on the Law (Oracle) being written on their hearts and practiced by them, The presence of His Spirit in them causes them to practice His Law. Just as His Spiritual Presence in the Temple of Jerusalem required the actual presence of His Oracles (the Stone Tablets in the Ark of the Covenant), so His Spiritual indwelling in the heart of the believer is conditional on His Laws being ‘present’ in the human temple of the believer.
As the question is raised, whether the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem was an abomination to YHVH – so now the same question faces the believer who does not strive to ‘practice’ the Law of YHVH in their lives: is such a human temple an abomination to YHVH? Those who teach that “the Law has been done away with – nailed to the Cross – and we are saved by Grace now”.
This could have been an acceptable escape, were it not for the ‘seal’ which the ‘Desire of all the nations’, Who came to His own Temple in Jerusalem, had placed on this matter on the Day of Shavuot (Pentecost) 2000 years ago.
To understand the implication of this ‘seal’ or ‘stamp of approval’, we have to understand what the Feast of Shavuot depicts in the Plan of YHVH.
SHAVUOT – SECOND OF THE THREE FEASTS
– its Meaning and Place
IN THE PLAN OF YHVH
The full annual Cycle of Festivals of YHVH consist of 3 sets of Sacred Memorial Feasts at three set times of the year. Israelites were to “go up to Jerusalem” three times a year to celebrate these Feasts – at the start of the agricultural year (April/May), 50 days later, for Shavuot, and at the conclusion of the fruit season (Sept/Oct).
These Sacred Feasts depict the full cycle of Salvation for the believer:
– from the initial laying off of sin upon the acceptance of the Sacrifice of Messiah (depicted by the Jewish Biblical Feast of Pesach – commemorating the ‘departure from Egypt during Pesach’ by the blood of the Paschal Lamb),
– progressing to the empowering receiving of the Spirit of God in a Pentecost experience, depicted by the Jewish Biblical Feast of Shavuot – commemorating the day of receiving of the Law at Sinai, This empowerment by the Spirit now makes the reborn believer into a “Temple of God”, writing the Law of YHVH on their hearts “... so that they will keep My Laws and respect My Observances and put them into practice. Then they shall be My people and I will be their God”
– through to the concluding of the Time of Salvation – after the Judgment, joining with God and the Redeemed (depicted by Yom Kippur and Succot Festivals) and entering His eternal Kingdom of Peace, ruling over the nations from Jerusalem in Israel.
These ‘Jewish’ Festivals follow the annual agricultural cycle in Israel and is dependent on the harvest for certain agricultural offerings of grains and fruits. Apart from being religious orientated, it also served as joyous agricultural festivals. Messiah accordingly, often compared spiritual growth to the harvest of fruit and grains.
For purposes of this study we shall review the middle Festival – Shavuot – the most neglected of the Sacred Festivals in Judaism and the most misinterpreted by Christianity.
Shavuot, or the “Feast of Weeks or Sabbaths” – is also known as “the Season of the Giving of the Law”. It originated during the time of the Exodus from Egypt and was first celebrated 50 days after their departure from Egypt. They arrived at Mt Sinai on this day, where they received the Law, written by Moses on 2 Tables of Stone, after his meeting with YHVH on the Mount.
Messiah fulfilled the first series of this Cycle of three Divinely ordained Feasts, by being ‘slaughtered’ as the Paschal Lamb, exactly on time, at Pesach – when Israel would slaughter the Paschal Lamb on the 14th day of the 1st month, Aviv, in commemoration of their departure from Egypt (‘the Land of enslavement’ for ancient Israel). At the moment of His death, towards the end of that dreadful day, there was an earth quake in Jerusalem, the sun darkened, graves opened for the resurrection of deceased souls – and the veil to the D’vier, the Oracle-less Sacred Chamber at the time, was torn, revealing the inner Sacred Chamber. This reflected the final utter discarding by the Most High YHVH, of the earthly Oracle-less Temple.
Would this be His Final Word about His requirement for the Law to be within His Temple in order for Him to Possess it by His Divine Presence? Would mankind now be left to their own devices, bereft of the Presence of God?
The next 50 days after His Death, counting towards Shavuot as the Law requires, saw His Resurrection from the Grave; communicating with His direct followers for 40 days; His Ascension to Heaven – and then, exactly on the 50th Day, the Day of Shavuot – staggering events took place in the very Temple which He had finally discarded!
‘Pentecost’ took place right in the Temple in Jerusalem
on the Jewish Feast of Shavuot
Acts 2 describes these events. The enormity of this event has been smothered by misconceptions which lie covered under misunderstanding of this section of Scripture. The idea is generally held that this event took place in a small room of a house in Jerusalem. where a small group of Messianic believers were assembled. However, it is clear from this chapter that a great crowd gathered in bewilderment and utter amazement at the roaring of a wind from heaven and when tongues of fire appeared on the heads of the assembled believers. Such an event in a secluded room in a small house could not likely have attracted such a great crowd of onlookers – 3000 of whom were baptised after the explanatory speech of Peter (Acts 1:41). The only place where such a big crowd could have been baptised in Jerusalem which has no rivers or dams, is outside the Gates of the Temple itself, where numerous ‘mikvot’ (‘baptismal fonts’) are to be found, to this day. These were used for ritual washing of those who visited the Temple. It is therefore most likely that these Messianic followers were gathered in a Room in the Temple in Jerusalem. The fact that Acts 2:2 refers to a ‘house’ where they were gathered, is nothing strange in Hebrew, as the Temple is commonly referred to by Jews as ‘HaBayit’ (the House) as in ‘the Temple Mount’, which is ‘Har HaBayit’
The staggering implications of such an event in the Temple, should be contemplated on, with regard to Messiah’s activities in the Temple and the generally unwelcome reception He received there unto the time of His Conviction and Death. Also with regard to the normal activities in the Temple on such a Festival.
Acts 2:5 tells us that this Shavuot, there were devout men, Jews, “from every nation under heaven”. It was the time of one of the three pilgrimages which were incumbent on Jews to celebrate in Jerusalem.
The Temple on such a day would be a bee-hive of activity. various sacrifices had to be offered. The Festival would start at even, after sunset, with the blasts of the priests’ trumpets, announcing the commencement of the feast, sounded from the Temple mount. Immediately after midnight the Temple gates would be opened for receiving and examining by the officiating priesthood, of the burnt- and peace-offerings of the pilgrims. This vast activity had to be completed before the announcement for the commencement of the morning sacrifice The festive offerings prescribed in Numbers 28:26-30 would be brought – first, the sin-offering, with proper imposition of hands, confession of sin, and sprinkling of blood; and similarly the burnt-offerings, with their meat-offerings. The Levites would then chant the ‘Hallel’ Praise Psalm to accompanying music.
Then came the peculiar offering of the day – the two wave-loaves, with their accompanying sacrifices which consisted of seven lambs, without blemish, one young bullock, and two rams for a burnt-offering, with their appropriate meat-offerings. Then ‘one kid of the goats for a sin-offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace-offerings’ (Lev 23:19). After the ceremony of the wave-loaves, the people brought their own freewill-offerings, each as the Lord had prospered him – the afternoon and evening being spent in the festive meal, to which the stranger, the poor, and the Levite were bidden as the Lord’s welcome guests.
As the worshippers were in the Temple on this awesome Shavuot, the multitude heard a ‘sound from heaven, as of a mighty rushing wind,’ (probably like a tornado). Consternation set in as they witnessed tongues of fire on the Messianic group who made out the nucleus of Messiah’s followers. The multitude was bewildered to hear these Messianics speak in their own language.
Acts 2:7 “They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’, they said. ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? ,,, We hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God ,,, They asked each other what it all meant. Some however laughed it off. ‘They have been drinking too much …’ they said”.
This laughter was soon drowned out when Peter, obviously inspired now by the Power of the Spirit he had just received, spoke forcefully and undauntedly to the bewildered crowd, explaining to them Whom they had crucified: the “Lord and Messiah” of Israel (Acts 2:36).
Acts 2:37 “Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter, ‘What must we do, brothers?” Yet, he had to speak to them “for a long time” (verse 40) before they accepted to be baptised, the same day – 3000 of them.
Certainly, this must have included some Temple Priests, Levites, Rabbis, teachers. And, tragically, there must have been many who witnessed these events in the Temple that day, who would not be convinced – who turned against those who accepted the challenge to submit.
What a Day it must have been! What a week! – in the aftermath when the news got around. The confusion – the introspect – the admissions – the accusations – the denials – the excuses. And then, the building of counter measures to smother the guilt and protect the traditional religious institutions! But the matter was sealed! The Oracle of YHVH confirmed!
Yes, He certainly “came to His House” (Haggai 2:7 – note, it also refers to the ‘House’) to fill it with the Glory of YHVH!
These early Messianics were Jews who gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot. They were contemporaries of the Jewish Messiah Who practiced Judaism unto His Death. He was so conspicuously a Jew that strangers called Him ‘Rabbi’.
It is highly unlikely that these believers regarded the Law as having been “nailed to the Cross”. They continued to visit the Temple daily (Acts 2:46). It is more unlikely that Messiah would take possession of these human temples if they were devoid of the Oracles of YHVH. It would be no less absurd if this bewildering event of the infilling of His Spirit (Presence) into the souls of these Messianic believers did not follow the same pattern of the 1st and 2nd Temple in regard to His approval or disapproval of the conditional presence of His Oracles for inhabiting that Temple.
In stead of following this vital lead of Law abidance as a prerequisite and a sign of the presence of His indwelling Spirit, many Pentecostal Christians have applied the miracle of the “Gift of strange tongues” to an incoherent brabbling as the ‘sign’ of His Presence, rather than a speaking in definite strange languages in order to proclaim the Marvels of YHVH (Acts 2:11) to those from other countries, audibly in their own languages – as it was Divinely given for this awe-inspiring occasion!
1. The Oracles of God have been committed to the Jews for all time, that is, to be Carriers of the Laws of the Creator God of Israel – to promote these Keys of Life, (abundant and successful life), to the other nations, by way of example and interpretation. Therefore, Messiah could confirm:
Matt. 23:2 “The Scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses (as interpreters of the Oracles which had been Divinely entrusted to Moses). You must therefore do what they tell you, and listen to what they say”
Unfortunately, the only part of this instruction which Christianity has absorbed, is the Messianic reprimand which follows and which gives them ammunition against the hypocritical actions of these “vipers” – whom Messiah so often were at loggerheads with: “But do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practice what they preach”. In other words: “follow them in their interpretation of the Oracles and practice what they say”. In stead, general Christian interpretation throws out the baby with the bath water by discarding the Oracles of Life together with the wrong actions of the Pharisees and Scribes!
2. The Oracle is the Source and the Place of Delivery of the Instructions and Announcements of YHVH. The Jews, the Jewish Faith and the Jewish System, as such, also serve as, and provide this Source of Divine Instruction in the form of the Torah, the Tanach (O.T.) and as such, the complete Bible, as well as interpretation and proclamation of the ancient Scriptures and its Message and the ‘System’ of YHVH. The Proclamations of YHVH are fulfilled in the history of Israel, which not only serve as a pointer to the past, but also to the future. Jerusalem itself acts as such a “Signal to the nations” at this very moment!
Refer: Isaiah 11:12
3. The Presence of YHVH in a building, organisation, congregation or individual, is inseparable from His Law. He does not dwell where His Law is not present! A Lawless concern becomes an Oracle-less concern – an abomination to YHVH! The inner heart and ‘dynamo’ of His Temple System, was the Oracle – containing His Word (Laws).
“In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
4. The sublime manifestation of the Oracle of YHVH, was/is YAHU’SHUAH the Messiah. He is the Word (Oracle/Law) which became Flesh (Jo. 1:14). He embodies the Source of Life as well as the Power unto successful fulfillment of Life. On that eventful Shavuot, 50 days after His Ordeal, He filled and empowered His followers with that same Schechinah Glory which filled the Temple of Solomon and which guided and protected the Israelites during their exit from Egypt, through the Wilderness, to the Promised Land of Israel.
His Presence in the believer, like in the Temple, is inseparable from His Law. At the occasion of this Shavuot, He confirmed His New Covenant by empowering His followers with His Spirit, with the sole Object of “writing His Laws on the tables of their heart in their inner Oracles”, to make of each of them a vehicle of delivery of His Instructions and Announcements; carriers to the world, of a Testimony to His Greatness and Mercy unto all who care to become Oracles of God; communally a guide, or source of divine inspiration and revelation –
each, a part of the Oracle of YHVH – a living Testimony
How do you figure in this Divine Plan? There is no reason why you should not!
Refer: http://www.revelations.org.za/Need.htm – “God needs You“
Time has allowed the Divine Directive and Confirmation of the proto-type, which had been enshrined in the ancient Tabernacle and Temple order and re-confirmed on this momentous Shavuot, to fade amongst professing believers. Many have opposed the Oracle throughout the ages. But, the Eternal Truth of the Scriptures confirm, in a description of a yet future event, that the foundations of this Oracle is immovable.
Rev, 11:18 “… and now the time has come … for the dead to be judged … and for Your servants to be rewarded. The time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth. Then the Sanctuary of God in Heaven opened and the Ark of the Covenant could be seen inside it. Then came flashes of lightning … thunder.”
Rev. 22:7 “Very soon now I shall be with you again. Blessed are those who treasure the Prophetic Message (Oracle) of this Book”