What is the purpose of religion?
What’s should be the higher purpose of religion? It should answer the deeper questions of life.
- What’s the meaning and purpose of life?
- Who am I?
- Where did I come from?
- Who made me?
- Why am I here?
- Whoever made me, what do they expect of me?
- Where am I going? What’s my ultimate destiny? Is there life after death?
Let’s narrow the picture down.
Why are we here today?
So why are we here celebrating Shavuot today?
- To fulfill the requirements of religious ritualism?
- To get your religious fix?
- Out of human pride—to do your religious thing so that you feel better than the poor religious slobs still celebrate Christmas and Easter who don’t keep YHVH’s biblical feasts?
- To hear some exciting exotic, arcane, ear tickling message that leaves your head bursting with something new and exciting? Not! That does nothing to bring you to repentance, change your life and bring you closer to Yeshua.
- Out of obedience to and worship of Yeshua you Lord and Master?
- Or because you love Yeshua with all your heart and want to obey him by keeping his commandments not because you’re expecting anything out of it personally but because he is worthy of worship and obedience? Period?!
- Or to be spiritually transformed, so that you can be about your Father’s business to help transform society around you for the kingdom of Elohim?
Some of these reasons are good, and some of them are not so good.
For those keeping Shavuot out of obedience, which is a good thing, remember that obeying Elohim’s Torah laws is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.
For Christ is the end [end result, goal or aim] of the Torah-law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Torah obedience is merely a vehicle to bring you something higher. Too many people make obedience including keeping the feasts the goal and not the process to achieve the goal.
When you get in a car to go somewhere, you believe that you’ve arrived at your destination just because you’re sitting in your car. Same with Torah obedience.
What’s the destination? The kingdom. Remember what the gospel message is that John, Yeshua and the apostles preached? “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The Deeper Meaning of Shavuot
Lev 15:15–21—What do the Torah’s Shavuot requirement have to do with anything that’s relevant to our lives now and to the meaning of life?
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.
And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.
Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
It’s about counting 50 days to the wheat harvest and then getting together to wave some bread and offer some animal sacrifices. What’s the relevance of that?
What’s the deeper and most basic meaning of Shavuot?
The basic aspects of Pentecost has to do with counting 50 days until the wheat harvest, and then gathering together to wave some bread and to make some animal sacrifices. The expanded meaning of Pentecost relates to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the marriage of Israel to YHVH, and later on, the writing of the Torah on the human heart by the Spirit of Elohim and then being empowered to take the gospel message to the world to gather in the spiritual wheat harvest comprised of the lost sheep of the house of Israel and all those they’ve intermarried and anyone else who wants to be part of redeemed Israel or the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16).
Pentecost was about spiritual revival and transformation. Why do we need the transformational empowerment of the Spirit of Elohim in our lives and what will bring it? The preaching of gospel around the world has transformed or renewed lives, nations, empires, cultures and large sections of the world for the past 2000 years.
We need/America and this world needs spiritual transformation and empowerment because man lost paradise when he sinned in the garden at the beginning. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory and deserve the wages of sin, which is death. As happened with Adam and Eve when they sinned, we all have sinned and our sin has cut us off from a loving relationship with YHVH Elohim, our Creator who created us in his image to share eternity with. But our sin caused us to fall under the power of sin resulting in fear, guilt and shame.
Man has been seeking paradise ever since—anything to bring him the love, joy, peace and hope he once had. To bring rest to troubled soul.
Whether humans know it or not, in the deepest yearnings of their heart, they want the Presence of Elohim and the Edenic paradise that can bring. This along with the eternal life that such a relationship can bring is human’s greatest longing desire.
We need spiritual revival because our sin has cut us off from Elohim.
Revival starts with the individual and works out to the family, then to the nation and to the world. This is how the good news of the gospel spreads: first to our personal Jerusalem, then outward to our Judea, Samaria and finally out to the world.
But no one can do this in their own strength. They need the empowerment of the Ruach to fulfill the great commission to gather in the wheat harvest of spiritually lost people.
The way back to Eden (or the way forward to the New Jerusalem) starts with humbly and repentantly accepting Yeshua as the Messiah, then loving him by keeping his Torah commandments and then embracing the mission Yeshua has given us to spread the gospel (the great commission). But before we can spread the good news, we must get empowered by the Ruach.
Yeshua breathed on the disciples and they received the Ruach, but it wasn’t until they were endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49) on the day of Pentecost that they were able to do the great commission.
But first they had to obey and have faith in Yeshua when he told them to tarry in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4). Those who loved Yeshua and obeyed his commands waited expectantly for his Promise of the Comforter to be fulfilled (Acts 1:4). Those who didn’t love him and, instead, had other things to do, left Jerusalem and went home to their cows, chickens and wheat fields. They missed out!
This means Yeshua expected his disciples to not leave Jerusalem until the promise was fulfilled. Some probably did, and lost out. We don’t hear about them. Only about those who stayed and got empowered and formed the foundational backbone and became the key players of a spiritual revival that shook the world.
They had a mustard seed of faith and tarried until they were endued with power. They didn’t know the Ruach as going to fall on them on Pentecost. This had never happened before. But they believed the words of Yeshua with simple child-like faith, and were rewarded.
These people were spiritually thirsty. Are you spiritually thirsty? Or are you complacent in your spiritual state of lukewarm lazy Laodiceanism?
They had to incline their heart or determinately decide even to be thirsty in the first place.
These people knew they had lack. That paradise was only attainable by way of Yeshua. When enough humble and spiritually hungry people came together in one accord in the upper room on the Temple Mount, it was then that heaven and earth met and the glorious kavod of YHVH’s presence fell on each individual and each one became the temple of the Ruach. The glory of YHVH departed the temple in Jerusalem in the time of Ezekiel (Ezek 10:4) and didn’t come back until the day of Pentecost.
Each of you is now the temple of the Ruach if you’ve been filled and empowered with the Ruach.
Have you been endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49) and received the dunamis baptism of the Ruach (Acts 1:5, 8)? If so, when was it? What are fruits of it? Are you regularly manifesting the 1 Cor 12 gifts of the Spirit? What are you doing with these gifts? Are you helping to spread the gospel? To gather in the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
America is depending on you. This nation is hanging in YHVH’s spiritual balance of divine judgment and is currently fighting to keep its soul. The spiritual forces of antichrist are trying to destroy us and everything that we believe in and know to be true.
Revival of this nation starts with you and me. Individually and collectively. It starts here and now today. If not now, when. If not you, who?
When we embrace these truths with our heart, mind and strength, we will find the answers to life’s deepest questions and yearnings. We will find our deepest meaning and purpose in life. We will understand the meaning of life and how we got here, where we’re at and where we’re going and what temporal and ultimate destiny is.
Now let’s look at the Pentecost instructions in Lev 23:15–21 again. The gospel message is contained here in coded form.
This same message is what the elderly John the disciple of Yeshua was still preaching toward the end of his life.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.…Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.…Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. (1 John 1:5; 2:7–8)
John was old by now, had heard and seen it all, yet his main message was still the basic gospel of Yeshua. He preached no ear tickling doctrines, no traditions of men, no esoteric biblical head knowledge, no arcane or hidden mystery neo-gnostic beliefs and no conspiracy theories. Just the meat and potatoes of the good news of Yeshua the Messiah.
I’m getting older too and have heard and seen it all since my first Pentecost in 1960. Like John, I keep coming back to the basic message of the gospel as well. It is this message that answers all the deeper questions of life and which transforms lives, brings people from the kingdom of darkness into light, erases the guilt and shame of sin, removes the fear of death and gives the hope of eternal life, heals the sick, opens blind eyes, makes the lame to walk and leap for joy, shines a light in the darkness and gives hope to the hopeless.
Those who preach this same basic message of the gospel message and cross of Yeshua the Messiah are the ones who have started nearly all the educational institutions of the world, as well as the hospitals and health clinics, stated nearly the relief agencies to help the poor and needy, brought to the world its greatest art and music, helped to elevate women, feed the hungry and raise the standard of living everywhere and I could go on. Sorry, but it wasn’t the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, the Jews or the indigenous natives of this or that forgotten land who did this. It was, for the most part, those who preached the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah.
It is that message that I continue to preach today—the same one that the apostles preached that turned the world upside down in one generations and transformed the Roman Empire to Christianity, which is still the world’s largest religion.