Shavuot—Getting in Tune With the Heavenly Philharmonic

This is a story—not just any story, but our story—yours and mine. It’s the story of our lives, the  story of our people. It’s an old story, yet a new story. Only the faces and places have changed. The plot remains eternally the same. It’s the story of the Creator reaching out to humans, who struggle to accept his love, yet who end up largely refusing it. It’s a never-ending cycle going from one generation to the next.

This story started a long time ago. When in Egypt, the children of Israel were in tune spiritually to the rhythms and beat of Egypt (a biblical metaphor for this world).

YHVH led the Israelites out of Egypt into the quietude of the wilderness.The Hebrew word for wilderness is midbar and is from dabar meaning “to speak, declare, converse” and is related the word d’bar meaning “to hear.” Thus, one could say that YHVH led the Israelites into the wilderness to hear him speak his word,  and to enter into conversation with him—an impossibility in the noise and confusion of the environment of Egypt where man is at the center of everything and a lot is going on. The wilderness was a sterile and neutral environment devoid of the noise and confusion of man-made stuff.

The first place YHVH brought the Israelites to was the foot of Mount Sinai so he could speak to them face to face.

Before they could hear him, they had to prepare themselves. They had to make themselves clean and set apart from the physical and carnal impurities and distractions of the world and the flesh, which impede one’s ability to hear YHVH—to connect with their Creator (Exod 19).

YHVH spoke to them, but it was too much for them to hear. It frightened them because they weren’t ready to hear him and to get their lives in sync with his Word — the Torah (Exod 20:19). They still had too much carnality in them. They were still too much in tune with the rhythms, that discordant cacophony masquerading as music, of Egypt. That old worldly, sinful man with his penchant toward the dissonant tunes of Egypt had to die in the sterile and noise-free zone of the wilderness. It was hear that Israel’s ear and heart would begin to be weaned off of the howlings and screechings that the world falsely identifies as beautiful and melodious and get tuned into the heavenly sounds of the music from above that sings of the beauty of YHVH’s holiness and the glory of his upward paths. 

Nonetheless, in his merciful love and to begin to accustom the ears of his people to heaven’s music, YHVH gave Israel his Torah—his words of instructions to live by. The Torah shows man how to get in harmony with his Creator. The Torah is a like a tuning fork. When one follows the Torah, one gets in tune with YHVH’s musical pitch—with the heart, mind and will of YHVH. When this occurs, as a natural result, one gets out of tune with the world, the flesh and the devil and begins to recognize for the discordant and evil noise that it really is.

The fact that Israel was more in tune with Egypt than with YHVH became evident at the golden calf incident when Israel turned to worshipping the Egyptian calf-idol. At the same time, YHVH’s merciful grace for his weak children was revealed. Contemporaneously, Moses was a holy man who, at a great personal price, had already forsaken Egypt and all it had to offer and had been purified in his own wilderness experience lasting forty years, where he learned to hear his Master’s voice and willingly submitted to YHVH’s will. He was by now totally sold out to YHVH. When Israel sinned, Moses was so grieved that he had to separate himself from the Israelites by placing his abode outside the camp of Israel (Exod 33:7). The human leaders YHVH chooses to lead his people are often in a special place of their own—one that is a little nearer to YHVH and, thusly, further from those around them who are still in tune with the music of this world that in sync with the rhythms of their own sin-bent nature. How can a leader be a leader if he is not in some small way out ahead of the people? YHVH prepares his leaders beforehand to lead by often stripping them of everything near and dear to them so that all they have left is him. This helps them to become detuned from the material world around them and to get in tune with the world above that Elohim inhabits. This happened to Moses who lost his Egyptian princely position and all the glory and honor that came with it. He also lost his wife and children. All he had left was YHVH. He had already died to himself, which is why he was set apart from the children of Israel who hadn’t yet reached this stage in their spiritual maturation.

The whole history of Israel from the golden calf incident until the day of Pentecost can be described as a tension between being in sync with the discordant and assonant vibes of the world versus being in harmony with the beauty of YHVH’s holiness and his path of righteousness. Israel found itself in the middle of this struggle. At times they leaned in one direction, at times in the other, but more often to the negative side. The Israelites’ perennial inclination toward Baal worship is a perfect example of this. To follow Baal was and is to succumb to the lower and downward pull of man’s carnal nature. “If it feels good do it,” is the mantra of the religion of the Baalim. On the other hand, YHVH demands that men resist the downward, gravitational pull of sin and to ascend to him. This is done only as we submit to YHVH and follow his rules—the Torah.

On the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts, YHVH put his Holy Spirit (or Set-Apart Spirit) into each person and wrote his Torah on his people’s hearts. This was the big breakthrough that helped men to finally have the internal help to get in harmony with the heavenly music of YHVH’s divine will—his Torah. Now, with the aid of the internal dynamo of the Set-Apart Spirit, each person was now able not only to operate in harmony with YHVH’s will, but they had the spiritual power to take the glorious melody of the message of the pro-Torah gospel message to the lost sheep of Israel scattered throughout the world.

The whole creation, all of nature, and the universe is in sync with YHVH Elohim. Each aspect of YHVH’s creation does what it was created to do without question. Each knows its Master and follows the Creator’s laws. The ox knows its master and the donkey its place in the world, but, on the contrary,  Israel fell into rebellion against its Creator (Isa 1:3). The heavens declare Elohim’s glory and the sun follows its circuit of rising and setting (Ps 19:1, 5–6). Everything reproduces after its own kind (Gen 1:20, 24–25). The cycles of seedtime and harvest, winter and summer, day and night continue without cessation (Gen 8:2). Only man rebels against this symphony of creation and refuses to follow the Heavenly Conductor’s direction. Man needs to repent of the sin of Torahlessness and get a new, circumcised heart to obey YHVH Elohim!

The weekly Sabbaths and biblical feasts are in harmony with the seasons, which are in harmony with the sun and moon. The plants and animals are in harmony with the seasons. Even the mighty ocean tides follow the moon’s direction. Like musicians in an orchestra, all follow the Divine Conductor’s direction. Yet man lives incongruently with the spiritual harmony with these things. Even man in his calendar, though subdivided into months (moons), refuses to follow the moon’s lunar cycle. Man is rebellious, stiffnecked and proud and thinks he knows better than the Creator. How small, foolish and silly man really is! The seasons, months, the seven day week that ends in the Sabbath, and the seven biblical festivals are all like musical instruments that when combined harmoniously create a melodious message pointing to the Creator. The whole creation is shouting, yes, screaming at man to follow the Creator’s direction—his Torah-word as wells as Yeshua, the Living Torah. Yet man refuses to listen, to obey and to walk in harmony with the directions of the Divine Conductor! Now is the time for man to repent of his rebellious pride and to get in sync with his Creator.

Psalm 19 says that the heavens declare YHVH’s glory from one end of earth to the other.  As the sun’s rays light man’s path in the darkness, so the Torah is a light to direct man in his spiritual walk through the darkness of this world (Pss 19:5ff; 119:105). Yeshua, the Living Torah, is our spiritual Sun of Righteousness who  brings healing to the troubled soul (Mal 4:2). He is the spiritual light of the world (John 1:7–9; 8:12), and he will be the only light in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:23). As Psalm 19 says, the whole creation, like musicians each playing their part in an orchestra, points us toward YHVH and his Torah (both the Written Torah and Yeshua the Living Torah-Word of Elohim incarnate), which is the spiritual vehicle to bring us to YHVH—to put us in harmony with him. About the Torah, Psalm 19 says,

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The Feast of Weeks or Shavuot—A Brief Explanation

Shavuot is the third festival in YHVH’s cyclical parade of annual sacred appointed times. It is also known as the Feast of the Harvest of the First Fruits (Exod 23:16), Day of First Fruits (Num 28:26) and the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot (which is Hebrew for weeks, Exod 34:22; Deut 16:10, 16; 2 Chr 8:13). Shavuot falls fifty days “from the day after the [weekly] Sabbath” (NKJV) that falls during the Days of Unleavened Bread, and hence the derivation of the name Pentecost (meaning “to count fifty”) as recorded in the Testimony of Yeshua (or New Testament/NT, Acts 2:16). 

According to the first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, the concept of counting fifty was expressed by the Jews of that day by the Hebrew word Asartha (Ant. III, x, 6). The 19th century Jewish scholar S. R. Hirsch in his Torah commentary refers to it as Azereth (The Pentateuch-Leviticus, p. 663). Both of these references seem to pointto the Hebrew word VRMG atzerah or atzereth,pl. meaning “an assembly or solemn assembly.”

YHVH through his Torah (the law of Moses) instructed his people that Shavuot was…

  • a day of rest where laborious or servile work was prohibited (Lev 23:21)
  • a commanded assembly (Lev 23:21)
  • a time when the priests offered up offerings and sacrifices (Lev 23:18–20)
  • a time when all males were to bring the tithes of the increase of their income (Exod 23:14; Deut 16:16)
  • a time when the priests were to offer up as a wave offering to YHVH two loaves of leavened bread made of the freshly harvested wheat (Lev 23:17–20)
  • to occur where YHVH would place his name and all were to go there to celebrate it (Deut 16:11)
  • a time of rejoicing (Deut 16:11)
  • to be forever (Lev 23:21)

An Agricultural Festival With Prophetic Implications

Ancient Israel was an agricultural society that had a spring harvest of grain and a fall harvest of fruit. The spring harvest consisted of the smaller barley harvest, which began during the Days of Unleavened Bread, and the much larger wheat harvest occurring fifty days later at Shavuot. Both the barley and wheat harvests were prophetic pictures symbolizing new life and new creation, and both were presented to YHVH by the priests for his acceptance—a sheaf of barley on First Fruits Day on the Sunday during Hag HaMatzot (the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Lev 23:10–11), and two loaves of leavened wheat bread on Shavuot (Lev 23:17).

On First Fruits Day, the priests of Israel would raise the newly harvested barley and wave it before YHVH for his acceptance. This was a prophetic picture of Yeshua who upon his resurrection Saturday evening, and subsequent ascension to heaven later on the first day of the week to be accepted by the Father (John 20:17) at the exact time the priests were waving first fruits sheaf of barley heavenward. Literally, Yeshua was the first to resurrect from the dead, and can thus be called the first of the first fruits of the resurrection from the dead.

Fifty days later Pentecost occurred when the priests offered to YHVH the two loaves of leavened bread made of wheat from the first fruits of the larger of the two spring harvests. This foreshadowed the larger harvest of souls during the time period from the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (the Set-Apart Spirit) until Yeshua’s second coming. We are at the close of that time period now as the end of the age draws near. The Feast of Pentecost in Acts chapter two ushered in this time period with the harvest of thousands of people (Acts 2:41,47). It must be inserted here that an even larger harvest of people for the kingdom of YHVH is yet to occur during the fall feast days, which corresponds with the largest harvest of the entire year—the fall fruit harvest. This spiritual harvest will occur just prior to and after the return of Yeshua as an innumerable multitude of people come to faith in Yeshua out of the great tribulation (Rev 7:14) and when many more will be saved during the Messianic Age (or Millennium) itself.

The Prophetic Implications of the Feast of the Harvest of First Fruits

As we have seen, The Feast of the Harvest of First Fruits is another name for Shavuot (Exod 23:16; 34:22; Num 28:26). At Passover time, the barley (Exod 9:31 cp. chap. 12) was ready to be harvested in the land of Israel. Fifty days later at Pentecost, the larger wheat crop was ready for harvest (Exod 34:22). Barley and wheat were the two main grain crops of Israel (Deut 8:7–8; 2 Chron 2:15; Jer 41:8). In the late summer, the larger harvest of fruits and vegetables occurred. 

These three harvests coincided, as noted above, with Israel’s three pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. The success of these three harvests was contingent upon the arrival of the fall (early or former) rains and the latter rains of the spring upon the land of Israel. In biblical and Jewish thought, these rains are prophetic of an outpouring of the Spirit of Elohim upon the earth, as well as of an outpouring of YHVH’s Torah-understanding and glory. This two-fold aspect of YHVH’s Word (spirit and truth) is expressed in many ways in many places throughout the pages of Scripture: 

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Shavuot/Pentecost—Insights from Exodus 19, 20 and Acts 2

To fully understand Scripture and to extract its applicable meaning to us, we must insert ourselves into the scriptural narrative and ask, what can I learn from this and how does it apply to me? With such an inquiring mind and an open heart, the still small voice of the Spirit of Elohim will begin to whisper insights into our spirit and mind. 

This is how the Word of Elohim comes alive to us and how we find spiritual direction—light in the darkness—to guide us in the path of life. With this in mind, let us now discover what we can learn from Exodus chapter 19 as the children of Israel prepared to meet YHVH Elohim on the day of Pentecost (or Shavuot—its Hebrew name).

Insights from Exodus 19

Exodus 19:3, Moses. The name Moses/Moshesh literally means “drawing out or rescued.” What was Moses drawn out of or rescued from? From the waters of the Nile River in Egypt. Water can be a biblical metaphor for humanity as in the seas of humanity, and Egypt a metaphor for Satan’s world. That is to say that Moses was drawn out of or rescued from the seas of humanity. YHVH then used Moses to rescue, draw forth or fish the children of Israel out of the same sea of Satan’s world. 

Exodus 19:3, Moses went up. Even before Elohim called Moses, he was willing to go up. Elsewhere in the Psalms, we learn that if we incline our hearts toward YHVH, he will incline himself toward us. Yeshua promised that all those who ask, seek and knock will be rewarded accordingly.

Exodus 19:3, YHVH called. YHVH calls us to come up to him—to follow him. Will we answer or ignore his call?

Exodus 19:3, From the mountain. YHVH not only exists, but he exists above the earth on a proverbial mountain far above the human plane. Isaiah declared that YHVH is “high and lifted up.” He is calling us to come up to him. Will we go up to him, or do we love this world too much to answer his call to come up? Twice David the psalmist asks and then answers the question, who will ascend the hill or mountain of YHVH?

YHVH, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear YHVH; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change; he who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. (Ps 15:1–5)

Who may ascend into the hill of YHVH? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from YHVH, and righteousness from the Elohim of his salvation. (Ps 24:3–5)

Are you a spiritual mountain climber, or one who is content to be a spiritual low-lander preferring to inhabit the basement of life?

Exodus 19:4, Brought you [Israel] to myself. YHVH’s purpose for calling Israel out of Egypt was to bring them to himself. One cannot be of the world and at the same time be in Elohim. Yeshua said that his servants cannot serve two masters—Elohim and this world (or mammon). He also declared that though we are in this world, we are not to be of this world. Though we live in this world physically, we are not to be a part of, loyal to or identify with it spiritually.

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Happy Shavuot, Feast of Weeks or Pentecost 2024!

Here are some free resources of Hoshana Rabbah to help you to understand this deeply significant biblical feast and step in YHVH’s plan of salvation for his people this has great historical significance as relevance to modern believers.

Later today and into tomorrow on Shavuot (Sunday, June 16, 2024), I will be posting several articles that I have written that will give you more information and unique insights into the deeper spiritual meaning of Shavuot and how it applies to YOU. So stay tuned!

 

The Shameful Truth Behind Gay Pride Month

What’s the Big Deal Abut Pride Month?

The rainbow flag, Pride Month, LGBTQ+, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), Wokeism, CRT (critical race theory), the NWO (the new world order), ESG (environment, social, governance), gender pronouns and the list goes on and on of the terms that are now part of our current lingua franca whether we like it or not. Who is pushing this stuff on us anyway and why? It is definitely not Bible believing people. That in itself ought to give us a clue as to the source of it all! As I write this, it is the month of June. June used to be notable for being the beginning of summer. No longer. June is now about celebrating homosexuality and various expressions of sexual “freedom,” or biblically speaking, sexual deviancy. Pride month is now being celebrated and promoted from the White House all the way down to my local city hall.

It used to be that the role of government be it national or local was to build and maintain the highways and parks, protect our borders from alien invasions, defend us from enemies foreign and abroad, protect the civil liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, make and enforce laws to protect the citizens, lock up criminals, and make sure that water flows from our faucets, and when the toilet flushes it goes away. Now, however, the government has taken on the mantle of social engineer, or stated another way, the State has assumed the role of God by being the creator, purveyor and enforcer of its own religion called Wokeism or whatever else you want to call its anti-biblical agendas. And what is the goal of this new religion and its sycophantic acolytes? It is to remake society into its own image of what it thinks people should be like, and that image is very different than the traditional and often biblical based values we have known for hundreds of years in our Western societies. The tenets of this new religion rabidly and militantly stands against nearly everything the Bible declares to be right and true. Face it, if you are a Bible believer, you are the target, and are in their gun sights! Like a vomit-inducing horror movie, the agenda of these new religious zealots, who virulently hate YHVH Elohim, the Bible, the Messiah and you, is coming to a theater near you if it hasn’t already. This is the spirit of antichrist!

This movie called, “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” or DEI for short, which is now being produced by Antichrist Inc., is being featured on the marquis of the ideological movie theater in my town. How is this, you ask. I live just south of one of the most liberal and libertine cities in the America, Portland, Oregon. Our state in general and Portland in particular, whose unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird” and who worships itself in the form of a goddess called Portlandia and whose giant statue adorns city hall, is a poster-child for Woke weirdness and leftist,  DEI antichrist ideologies. If it is antilogical lunacy, it passes muster with the majority of voters and politicians in this state whether it is euthanasia, the legalization of hard drugs, defunding the police, paying and enabling people to be homeless, criminalizing law-abiding gun owners, selling retail marijuana on every street corner, promoting full nudity in public places like downtown Portland’s annual naked bike ride, the state no longer requiring high school graduates to be able read and write because to do so is racists, or emptying the prisons of felonious criminals, and then refusing to prosecute criminals who attack the police. These are just a thimble full of crazy ideas that have taken root in the fertile ground in this Bible intolerant, God-hating state. Oregon definitely lacks tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness, equitability when it comes to biblical values or those who promote them!

So when I say that the religion of Wokeism and DEI has come to a theater near me, I am not speaking fantastically. This is because the middle to upper class suburban town in the outskirts of Portland in which I live has enthusiastically taken up the banner of DEI and Wokeism—nice sounding labels for sexual promiscuity, sexism, reverse racism and the persecution of people who hold to biblical values. I have checked it out and found that this attempt at social engineering is not in our city’s charter! Yet this does not stop my city’s political lemming leaders from marching in goose step with the ideological overlords and puppet masters of this new global religion. To wit, at tax payers’ expense, my city is now making bumper stickers with the city’s logo against the background of rainbow flag and encouraging its citizens to paste them their vehicles. What’s more, to make sure that their religion gets planted firmly in hearts and minds of local residents, the city is even sponsoring talks at our local library encouraging DEI and Woke ideologies. The city is then publishing articles in our city’s monthly newsletter promoting this new religion. Just this month, the city newsletter (a small newspaper), in celebrating “Pride Month”,  featured a giant rainbow flag in its masthead. All of this is going one while the roads go unpaved, dead and hazardous street trees remain uncut, weeds infest many of our city’s parks and flower beds and crime is on the rise. Can you see what’s wrong with this picture?

With regard to the rainbow that the homosexual agenda has hijacked as its identifying symbol, isn’t ironic that they would choose a symbol that YHVH Elohim used as a promise that he would not wipe the world clean again via a global flood because of its evil including sexual promiscuity and deviance? Is not the use of the rainbow to represent the homosexual et al agenda no more than an upraised and taunting fist in the face of the Almighty as if to say, “I dare you to bring judgment against us!” But I digress.

Now on to the real point of this piece. So June is Pride Month. Why pride? Pride in what? What is pride really all about? What is the opposite of pride that the moral degenerates are trying to cover up in themselves? What does the Bible have to say about pride? Let’s explore these a bit.

The Dictionary Definition of Pride

It is a fact that languages and word meanings evolve over time. This is a natural phenomenon. This reflects cultural trends of a society including its morals, values and ethics be they good or bad. Sadly and nowadays words like inclusive, gay and pride no longer mean what they used to. These words have been infused with colloquial meanings that reflect the values of a culture that is in moral and spiritual decline. In fact, for many of us, we have to be careful how we use these words in everyday speech for fear that people will think that we mean something other than their strict dictionary definition.

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Numbers 4–7 Parashat Nasso—The Aaronic Blessing Explained & Then Done

This is a gospel-oriented Torah study. Our goal is to connect the good news of Yeshua the Messiah (the gospel message) to its Hebraic, pro-Torah roots or foundations. The information given here is more than head knowledge. Understanding and wisdom (the right application of knowledge that is based on truth) is taught thus making biblical truth practical, relevant and applicable to your daily life. The truths of the Bible not only have the power to transform your life here and now for the better, but eventually to take you past the veil of death and into eternity.

This Torah study is subdivided in sections by topic in a magazine format thus making it easy to watch at several sittings.

May you be blessed as you watch this video.

For a free, printable adult and youth Torah study guide on this Torah portion (parashah), please go to http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/parshiot…