Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
PENTECOST -- Its True Meaning and Incredible Symbolism
Not only do thousands observe Pentecost or Shavuot on the wrong day, but millions don't have any true understanding of its deep rich symbolical meaning and spiritual significance! Here the awesome and incredible truth is made crystal clear and plain as day!
by HOIM Staff
Millions of people don't understand the true meaning of the Pentecost holy day, because of one of two reasons: The Jews don't understand its real significance because they don't keep the right day and they don't recognize the true Messiah -- and this day is symbolical of the Messiah and his marriage to the Church in a very unique way! Thousands of others don't understand the true meaning of this day because, although they understand who is the true Messiah, they are also ignorant of the true day on which to observe Pentecost, and its vital linkage with the Passover season!
But YEHOVAH God has revealed the awesome meaning of this holy day during these "last days." Let's take a good look at the mystery of Pentecost -- the "Festival of Shavuot" or "Weeks" -- also called Yom Ha'Bikkurim, or "Day of The Firstfruits."
Going Through the Desert Wilderness
To understand Pentecost, then, let's notice it's direct relationship to Passover. We read that on the day after the "Sabbath" -- which was both the weekly Sabbath and also the high Holy Day of Passover, the 15th of Nisan -- the people were to bring an "omer" or sheaf of firstfruits of the barley harvest to the priest, to be waved for them (Leviticus 23:11). And from that day, which would be the 16th of Nisan, they were to count off seven sabbaths and then 50 days:
"You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath that you bring the Wave-sheaf, seven Sabbaths. They must be complete. Then AFTER the seventh Sabbath, you shall count fifty days, when you shall present a new offering to the EVER-LIVING. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave cakes of two tenths of fine flour. They shall be fermented, -- baked in an oven for the EVER-LIVING" (Leviticus 23:15-17, Ferrar Fenton Version).
Leading up to Pentecost, then, was a period of seven Sabbaths (or weeks) followed by 49 days -- counted from the day after Passover and the weekly Sabbath. Passover pictures the sacrificial lamb of YEHOVAH God shedding his blood in atonement for the sins of each sacrificer, the lamb of YEHOVAH God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29; I Corinthians 5:7). Putting leaven out of our homes for the seven days during the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures putting sin out of our lives. Israel came through the Red Sea in a miraculous deliverance from Egypt, a type of "sin." This pictures the "baptism" of every repentant sinner who confesses his sins and acknowledges Yeshua as the Messiah and Saviour (I Corinthians 10:1-4).
The two-month journey through the wilderness (Exodus 19:1) pictures the Christian's life of overcoming, rooting out sin, and conquering the fleshly impulses -- the "evil impulses" or yetzer ha'ra of human nature (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 8:7). The number "49" of course is significant: It is 7 X 7, or perfection perfected. Thus we are to have our spiritual character "perfected" during this life of overcoming, so that we can be worthy to stand before the Son of man and YEHOVAH God at their coming!
What, then, does all this lead up to? It leads up to the "fiftieth day" -- that is, Pentecost!
The Two Loaves and the Bread of Life
Pentecost occurs at the culmination of the march through the wilderness, and after the time spent by Moses on Mount Sinai communicating with YEHOVAH God. The seven Sabbaths picture the seven stages or thresholds of "overcoming" sin and developing the character and divine nature of YEHOVAH God -- replacing human nature with its earthly pulls with DIVINE nature (Galatians 4:19; II Peter 1:4). What is to happen, then, on the "fiftieth day" after the seven Sabbaths -- the "Feast of Weeks"? This Feast could be described as the "FEAST of the Weeks of Overcoming"! It is the PRESENT -- the GIFT of YEHOVAH God that He gives to His people who have obeyed His commandments, and served Him faithfully!
The Feast of Pentecost, therefore, pictures SALVATION -- and the GIFT of becoming ONE with YEHOVAH God -- spiritual ONENESS!
Notice! This feast pictures the harvest of the "firstfruits to the LORD" (Leviticus 23:17). On this Festival day two loaves of beautiful bread are offered to YEHOVAH God, as wave offerings, made of the finest wheat flour (v. 17). What do these two loaves of bread picture?
Yeshua the Messiah said, "I am that bread of life" (John 6:48), and, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven" (Exodus 16:4, 13-15; John 6:51). He commands his true followers to eat of his "bread" -- which is his body, broken for us (Matthew 26:26). In so doing, we become like him -- and receive of his spiritual essence. Therefore, the apostle Paul writes, speaking of the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God: "The bread which we brake, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are ONE BREAD, and one body: for we are all partakers of that ONE BREAD" (I Corinthians 10:16-17).
In other words, Yeshua the Messiah is pictured in the Scriptures as being a loaf of bread -- the righteous loaf that will come down from heaven. But the Church also is pictured as being ONE BREAD -- that is, ONE LOAF -- also. Thus we have two loaves -- one is the Messiah, and the other is the Ecclesia!
Some might object, saying, "But these two loaves are leavened, and leaven is a type of sin. So how can they represent the Messiah and the Ecclesia?"
It is true that "leaven" in the Bible sometimes represents sin, because of the way in which leaven works. Paul says, "A little leaven leaveneth a whole lump" (Gal. 5:9). In this passage he is talking about false teachings, that begin to influence and change a person's behavior for the worse.
Yeshua the Messiah told his disciples, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). The disciples understood how "he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the DOCTRINE of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (v. 12).
Leaven, in these cases, is a type of a corrupting and perverting influence -- something that changes the nature of a product for the worse! But leaven is also a type of YEHOVAH'S KINGDOM -- and a type of YEHOVAH's holy spirit -- which changes a person's nature for the better!
Yeshua the Messiah also taught: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto LEAVEN, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened" (Matthew 13:33). Like the leaven which renders mere flour into bread dough, and causes it to rise up, and become delicious and tasty, so the spirit of YEHOVAH God changes our human nature, and causes it to transform into YEHOVAH's holy and righteous divine nature! Yeshua the Messiah would hardly have said, "The kingdom of heaven is like SIN," would he? Obviously, in this case "leaven" does not picture "sin" at all!
Therefore, the leavened loaves offered to YEHOVAH God on Pentecost in no way represent loaves of bread saturated with the leaven of SIN! That would be ridiculous! YEHOVAH would never accept an offering transformed by the influences of SIN. Rather, these loaves contain leaven, which represents the transforming quality of YEHOVAH's holy spirit!
The Firstfruits of YEHOVAH God"
Notice that the two loaves of leavened bread offered on Pentecost are also called "the FIRSTFRUITS to the LORD" (Leviticus 23:17). Who or what, then, are the "firstfruits"?
The apostle Paul points out that as true followers of the Messiah, we are they "which have the FIRSTFRUITS of the Spirit" (Romans 8:23). The apostle James tells us, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of FIRSTFRUITS of his creatures" (James 1:17). Also, John in the book of Revelation, describes the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God -- true believers in the Messiah -- as spiritual "virgins," who have not been defiled by the "women" -- the false churches -- of this paganized world. John says, of them, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were REDEEMED from among men, BEING THE FIRSTFRUITS UNTO GOD and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:1-4).
Thus the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God, true Christians, are the "firstfruits" -- and also are "one bread."
But in First Corinthians, the apostle Paul says further:
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become THE FIRSTFRUITS [Greek, literally, firstfruit, singular] of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: CHRIST THE FIRSTFRUITS [Greek, singular, 'FIRSTFRUIT']; afterward they that are Christ's AT HIS COMING" (I Corinthians 15:20-23).
When are the "firstfruits" going to be presented to the Messiah? AT HIS COMING!
Do we get it then? WE ARE THE "FIRSTFRUITS," pictured by the two loaves of bread offered to YEHOVAH God on the day of Pentecost! One loaf pictures the Messiah himself! The other loaf pictures the Bride of the Messiah, the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God! Pentecost, then, pictures the great celestial WEDDING DAY -- THE WEDDING CELEBRATION -- OF THE MESSIAH AND HIS BRIDE, SPIRITUAL "ISRAEL"!
"A Wedding Coming Soon"
This wedding is described in Revelation 19. We read: Alleluia: for the LORD God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the MARRIAGE of the Lamb is come, and his WIFE hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:6-9).
It is, of course, interesting to note that ancient Israel also entered into a physical "wedding" contract with YEHOVAH God at Mount Sinai, when they came out of Egypt under Moses. YEHOVAH God Himself came down to the top of Mount Sinai, and "revealed" Himself to Israel, and spoke the Ten Commandments or Words in their hearing (Exodus 19:20; 20:1-17). This was surely a momentous event. This was a special "revelation" of YEHOVAH God to mankind. It occurred in the desert. We read: "And all the people SAW the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the NOISE of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking..." (v. 18).
Notice that the people "SAW" the thunderings, and the "noise" of the trumpet. How do you "SEE" thunderings and noise? Generally speaking, we "hear" thunder with our ears; you cannot "see" it. Likewise, we "hear" noises with our ears, which can hear only a small portion of the entire spectrum of the band of "sound waves." But we do not "see" noises or other sounds. Yet the Scriptures are very explicit, here. YEHOVAH God is telling us something special. To "see" sound implies that the Israelites received a special REVELATION from YEHOVAH God -- they were able to do that which is not normal, according to the senses of the flesh. Their awareness was heightened, and their sensory receptacles were decloaked, and they were able to SEE sounds, thunderings, and lightnings -- they had a unique awareness of these sound waves. They experienced a sort of enlightened and mystical epiphany.
Pentecost and the Marriage Covenant
Israel entered into a covenant relationship with YEHOVAH God, and agreed to be obedient to Him (Exodus 24:3, 7). This was followed by burnt offerings and peace offerings, and Moses and the elders were then enabled and permitted to "see God" and not be killed (vs. 10-11). This was a MARRIAGE covenant! Jeremiah the prophet records the words of YEHOVAH God: "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you" (Jeremiah 3:14).
Interestingly, then, Pentecost itself also pictures the MARRIAGE of the Bride and the Lamb of YEHOVAH God -- the Messiah! His Father, YEHOVAH God, married ancient Israel, in a physical covenant, called the Old Covenant. But Israel rebelled, and He divorced her (Jeremiah 3:8,9-11, 20).
At the second appearance of the Messiah, Yeshua will MARRY his new bride, the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God. He will inaugurate the NEW COVENANT, which is also a Marriage Covenant, only this is not a physical covenant alone with physical promises of health and wealth and prosperity; this is a spiritual covenant with better promises, of spiritual inheritance, eternal life, and salvation, and becoming a very son of YEHOVAH God through the resurrection of the dead (see Hebrews 8: 7-10; Romans 8:16-18; Hebrews 11:39-40).
Mount Sinai and Mount Zion
The Old Covenant was made and ratified at Mount Sinai, and was a marriage covenant (Galatians 4:22-25) but, unfortunately, Israel didn't keep her end of the Covenant and YEHOVAH God later divorced her. The New Covenant will be consummated with the Church at the second coming of the Messiah, when he sets foot on this earth again (Revelation 10).
The Old Covenant was of the flesh, and compares to Rahab, and the child Ishmael, the child of the flesh (Galatians 4:24-25), which generates bondage and slavery. But the New Covenant is spiritual, and compares to Isaac, the child of promise, and faith, and brings true freedom through the Messiah, of whom Isaac was a "type" -- "Jerusalem above, which is the mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26-27). We in the Ecclesia are not children of the "bondwoman," but of the free (Galatians 4:28-31).
The apostle Paul further compares, or contrasts, these two covenants, Mount Sinai with Mount Zion, in the book of Hebrews. He writes:
"For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, not unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of the trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more...But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN [that is, "firstfruits"!], which are written in heaven [our names are inscribed in the Book of Life in heaven!], and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of the NEW COVENANT, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh" (Hebrews 12:18-25).
The Revelation at Mount Sinai
In his book Mirrors in Time: A Psycho-Spiritual Journey through the Jewish Year, Joel Ziff writes about the time at Sinai:
"The revelation at Mount Sinai was not only a mystical, intellectual, and inner experience. God's Presence manifests itself in concrete and practical form, in the Ten Commandments engraved in stone, and in the Torah with the 613 mitzvot, action imperatives that guide and inform every aspect of life. According to Shneur Zalman [the early 19th century leader of Chabad hasidism], at the time of revelation on Mount Sinai, the light of God's Essence, the Ayn Sof, the Infinite, is manifest through the Torah. In the same way, the personal revelation we experience is not limited to a cognitive discovery that remains within us. It translates into new rules and guidelines for ourselves in how to approach our situation more constructively. Understanding informs action" (p. 112).
Each year, as we observe the day of Pentecost, after having "counted the Omer" for the last forty-nine days, and achieving a pinnacle of "perfection," and arrive at the foot of "Sinai," we should prepare ourselves, as our ancestors did, for the moment of "Revelation." We should rehearse the giving of the Law, study over the Ten Commandments, and the Torah, and reflect on what this day means -- a day of ISRAEL'S MARRIAGE to YEHOVAH God, and of COVENANT, agreeing to obey YEHOVAH God and keep all His commandments -- as we enter into a NEW RELATIONSHIP typified by this day -- the relationship of BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM, the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God and Yeshua the Messiah!
Ziff portrays this truth from his own understanding of this day, as a Jew, in this way:
"The experience at Mount Sinai is described using the image of a WEDDING in which God is the GROOM standing under the marriage canopy -- the chuppah -- with the Israelites as the BRIDE. God and Israel make AN ETERNAL COMMITMENT TO ONE ANOTHER. God gives the Torah, and the Israelites pledge to adhere to its precepts. A WEDDING REPRESENTS THE BEGINNING OF A RELATIONSHIP. Although vows are made, the young couple must still struggle to TRANSLATE those vows into reality, overcoming differences and difficulties. In the same way, the commitment made at Sinai also represents a beginning of relationship. There are many difficulties to overcome: shortly after Moses ascends Mount Sinai, the Israelites make the golden calf, losing trust and violating their commitment" (p. 113).
Notice four imperatives here -- four golden truths:
First, the great occasion at Mount Sinai is compared to a WEDDING -- a marriage ceremony. The bride and groom exchange their "I do's," and the "bride" willingly agrees to "obey" her husband -- to keep His commandments. The couple "exchange vows." He agrees to protect and provide for her, and to love her and cherish her, through all times, good and bad, and to love her forever; she agrees to be faithful to Him, to obey Him, to love Him, and to endure life's trials with Him, despite distress, tests, problems, difficulties, discouragements, hard times, or whatever.
Secondly, this wedding represents a new relationship -- a new COMMITMENT on the part of both parties. This is an eternal, everlasting "commitment."
Thirdly, this wedding constitutes a TRANSFORMING experience -- it is a NEW RELATIONSHIP! Two who were formerly separate now "tie the knot" and become ONE! There is a NEW ONENESS that is instituted. Even as Adam took Eve as his wife, and "they twain" became "ONE FLESH" (Matthew 19:5-6; Genesis 2:21-24), even so the Messiah and the Ecclesia will become "ONE SPIRIT" -- that is, One, in spirit essence, in spiritual unity.
Even so, as Paul wrote, in this life we are to be TRANSFORMED until we are ready to become ONE with the Messiah! He wrote, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).
Paul likewise wrote to the Ephesians, "That ye put off concerning the former conduct the OLD man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be RENEWED in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the NEW man, which after God is CREATED in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
To the Colossians, Paul writes: "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on THE NEW MAN, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Colossians 3:9-10). As the people of YEHOVAH God, we are being changed -- transformed -- into the very IMAGE and spiritual likeness of Yeshua the Messiah!
Fourthly, this new relationship also bespeaks A NEW BEGINNING -- A NEW AWARENESS -- A NEW CREATION!
"The Eighth Day of Passover"
This truth is manifest in the fact that Pentecost is the fiftieth day after seven Sabbaths -- the final day of a Jubilee cycle of days (compare Leviticus 25). The fiftieth day represents the Jubilee year, the year of Freedom and Liberty and Release! "Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of Jubilee to sound...And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and PROCLAIM LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Leviticus 25:9-10). Pentecost, which by definition means "the fiftieth day," is the JUBILEE DAY -- the day of true freedom, guaranteed by the Laws of YEHOVAH God, and the Covenantal Power of YEHOVAH God!
But, being the END of one cycle, the day of Pentecost is also known as "the eighth day" of Passover -- and the conclusion of the Passover festival season. Even as "Shemini Atzeret" is the "Eighth Day" and follows the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, so Pentecost or Shavuot is the "eighth day" of the Passover festival. The number "eight" is very significant. A week has "seven" days, and the first day of the next week is known as the "eighth day." Thus "eight" signifies a NEW BEGINNING, or the beginning of a new cycle, a new phase, a NEW CREATION. There were "eight" souls on Noah's ark that were saved, to enter a New World after the Deluge (I Peter 3:20).
The number "eight" in Hebrew sh'moneh, from the root shah'meyn, meaning "to make fat," "cover with fat," "to super-abound." As a participle, it means "one who abounds in strength." As a noun, it is "superabundant fertility," "oil," etc. As a numeral, then, it is the super-abundant number! As seven represents the day of completion, then eight, which follows seven, means "over and above perfect completion," or "the first of a new series." (See Number in Scripture, by E. W. Bullinger, p.196).
Thus the marriage of the Messiah and his Bride, the Ecclesia, constitutes a NEW BEGINNING -- a NEW relationship! And the whole earth will experience a NEW BEGINNING -- the Messianic Kingdom or Age -- which is THE KINGDOM OF YEHOVAH GOD!
Says Joel Ziff, in Mirrors in Time:
"This beginning is also symbolized by the offering of the FIRST RIPE FRUITS that begins at this time; 'The day of FIRST-FRUITS is when you bring a new grain [wheat] offering to God as part of your Shavuot festival. It shall be a sacred holiday to you when you may not do any mundane work' (Numbers 28:26).
"For this reason, Shavuot is also known as Yom HaBikkurim, the day of the firstfruits. We not only harvest the agricultural produce; we also begin to nourish ourselves with the fruit of our learning.
"This same quality of commitment is reflected in the story of Ruth, which is read during the Shavuot service. Ruth, the ancestor of King David, is respected because of her commitment and devotion in caring for her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth, whose husband had died, returns with Naomi to the land of Israel rather than stay in the land of her birth, Midian.
"The images of Shavuot allow us to receive a personal revelation that transforms our understanding, help us to clarify a vision of our future, and motivate us to make a commitment to manifest that vision" (p. 113).
On the Feast day of Shavuot, a new harvest begins -- the WHEAT harvest. On this day the "first ripe fruits" of the harvest are brought to the priests. On this day then the SUMMER harvest, which occurs with the "firstfruits," is depicted -- that is, the harvest of true Christians and followers of YEHOVAH God, who are "harvested" at the future coming of the Messiah!
The spring harvest from Passover till Pentecost was the barley harvest. But now the two loaves of bread are offered, at the beginning of the summer wheat harvest, symbolizing the perfected Messiah and the perfected Church, being presented before YEHOVAH God the Father, and "married" by Him to each other.
The Summer Wheat Harvest -- A New Season!
The two loaves of wheat bread also represent a further symbol of transcendent, integrative learning. As we grow in understanding, and spiritual knowledge, we become more useful and valuable to YEHOVAH God. Wheat is considered the greatest, most nourishing and balanced food for humans. In this depiction, we are symbolized by the fullness of the finest wheat bread, made from the firstfruits of the wheat harvest!
Writes Joel Ziff:
"The bread offering of Shavuot signals the manifestation of the quality of 'wheat,' integrative and intuitive learning in contrast to the barley offering of the omer, which nourishes the 'animal' soul associated with the Sefirot.
Connection with the Archtypic Father
"This quality of learning is also symbolically described as a connection with God as Father in contrast to the image of the Divine Mother associated with the counting of the omer. The mother's role in nourishing the child with her milk is direct and clear. The Father's role is more difficult to comprehend, associated traditionally with the role as economic provider. The mother offers the infant milk, and the father puts bread on the table....The child is too young to understand logically, but wheat gives the infant a knowledge that transcends what can be understood through the logical cognitive processes. The infant feels the connection and expresses it. The infant longs for the father, has trouble separating from the father, and cries when the father leaves...This knowledge is more powerful than the logical process. It is this aspect of God that we experience at Shavuot.
"....At Mount Sinai, we make connection with God as Divine Father, receiving a nourishment that is complex and less obvious...
"Shneur Zalman associates the bread offering with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet using the mystical process known as gematria for making connections through numerology. The Hebrew word for wheat, chittah, adds up to twenty-two, the same as the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Once we have the basic sounds of the vowels associated with the time of the counting of the omer, we can combine them with letters to produce words, sentences, and conversations, the traffic of relationship. The letters represent the transcendent experience of Shavuot and the giving of the Torah" (Mirrors in Time, p. 115-117).
Notice! The counting of the Omer at Mount Sinai is one plane of relationship, which connects us with YEHOVAH God as our Provider, who sent the manna in the wilderness. But when the Israelites reached the Mountain of Sinai, a whole new relationship commenced. They saw YEHOVAH God then as Father. The basic building blocks they learned in the wilderness, and by counting the Omer when they reached the mountain (learning how to count -- a rudimentary concept), is now replaced by a transcendent new relationship -- typified by the outpouring of YEHOVAH's Words -- the Torah, which incorporates all His law and commandments. This new relationship is compared to firstfruits of "wheat," whereas the desert wilderness experience is compared to the firstfruits of "barley." As wheat transcends barley, in richness and desirability, so our new relationship with YEHOVAH transcends our old relationship. As "wheat," we are on a much higher, newer level -- a higher and more exalted "plane" of existence -- a much greater REVELATION of YEHOVAH God!
Integrative and Synergistic CHANGE
Joel Ziff compares it to the driving of a car. First a young person learns each isolated aspect of driving -- starting, steering, acceleration, braking, turning, watching the rear view mirror, backing up, etc., etc. It is a long series of movements and adjustments, which one must learn to coordinate together. But eventually, when that learning process is complete, we arrive at the time when we can put it all together. Once we practice and learn each separate skill, we finally come to the point where we can simply "drive." We put it all together, and as we become more skilled, it becomes more intuitive, and synergistic. We develop a "feel" for it, which we no longer have to be consciously aware of. It becomes like "habit." All the little individual "steps" are integrated into a larger "whole."
Says Joel Ziff:
"One's competence increases as each of the component skills is mastered. Eventually, a breakthrough occurs: all the pieces become integrated, without focusing on each as an individual skill. The prior learning dissolves into a new synergy, a whole greater than the parts, a more intuitive, nonlinear integration. The step-by-step, left-hemisphere [of the brain] learning from the time of the counting of the omer provides a foundation that is integrated and TRANSCENDED by the intuitive synergistic learning of SHAVUOT" (p. 118).
Thus the Feast of Shavuot pictures a rapid and accelerated CHANGE -- a new dimension of learning -- a new level of experience -- a new plane of existence -- a new platform of reality. It represents not merely a quantitative "leap" from that of the counting of the Omer, but a qualitative jump in existential reality! Whereas the counting of the Omer represents the human being working on overcoming the animal lusts and instincts, and the evil impulses (yetzer ha'ra) within human nature, and the trials and learning processes of this present life; the day of Shavuot, Pentecost, is a day of "Revelation" -- a day of Transcendence -- a day picturing the CHANGE that will occur within our very natures at the coming of Yeshua the Messiah to take his Bride to himself, and to prepare for the return of YEHOVAH God Who will inaugurate the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
Joel Ziff explains:
"Insight is meaningless if it does not translate into CHANGE in what we do and how we respond. For example, in working with addictions, twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous stress the need for making a commitment to change. There is also a recognition that commitment does not instantly translate into behavior. For this reason, the recovering addict is enjoined to take 'one day at a time.' Sometimes, one is not able to sustain the commitment, falls back into old addictive behavior, and must begin once more in the struggle for recovery.
"In the same way, for each of us, as we develop our understanding of new situations and how to cope with them, we arrive at a point where we are able to make a commitment to CHANGE [i.e., Shavuot]. Although this is an important step, we are ONLY BEGINNING: much effort is needed to translate that commitment into reality" (Joel Ziff, Mirrors in Time, p. 120-121).
The Feast of Pentecost, then, is involved with CHANGE -- commitment to obey YEHOVAH God, and commitment to keep His laws faithfully, and commitment to CHANGE our behavior. Shavuot represents the BEGINNING of a commitment; it represents the beginning of a process.
"In this same way, as each of us experiences a moment of REVELATION [such as is depicted by the revelation at Mount Sinai], we then need to make a commitment to that vision, so that the thought and idea can be translated into reality. We spend the rest of the cycle of the year IN THAT PROCESS [the process of CHANGING]" (p. 121).
Shavuot, which means "Weeks," or Pentecost, which means "Fiftieth Day," both represent the concept of commitment to CHANGE. This holy day of YEHOVAH God represents a great day of CHANGE! It soars above the mundane life of dreary and difficult "overcoming," and fighting the pulls of the world and human nature, depicted by the forty-nine days of counting the Omer. It lifts one above the mundane to the celestial; from the mud to the stars; from the earthly to the divine; from going one-on-one in battling one's problems, to going face to face in experiencing the Revelation of YEHOVAH GOD!
A Great "CHANGE" That Is Coming
This picture of "change" is depicted in the New Testament. We read of the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread -- the day the Bridegroom returns and meets his Bride -- which is the time of the second appearance of Yeshua the Messiah, the "revelation" of Yeshua the Messiah. Paul wrote, "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed [i.e., his "revelation" as at the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread!] from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 1:7-8).
Peter speaks of the Messiah's coming as a great "Revelation," also -- "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:13).
At this spectacular revelation, we -- YEHOVAH's true people, who obey Him and keep His commandments -- will be CHANGED! Paul wrote, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead [in the Messiah] shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be CHANGED. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Corinthians 15:51-53).
The first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread depicts this incredible CHANGE which will occur at the future appearance of the Messiah, when the "firstfruits" are CHANGED and GLORIFIED and given eternal life! Paul says,
"There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body...As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (I Corinthians 15:41-49).
Paul also wrote of this incredible day and what it pictures: "For our conversation [Greek, "citizenship"] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall CHANGE our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3:20-21). John puts it this way:
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God...and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:1-2).
The patriarch Job, in the Old Testament, wrote: "If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my CHANGE come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to [finish] the work of thine hands" (Job 14:14-15).
A New Understanding of Pentecost
When we consider the deep significance and meaning of the day of Pentecost, the day of "firstfruits," and how it fits into YEHOVAH's overall plan, it should fill us with exuberance and anticipation -- exhilaration and excitement!
Think about it! This day does not merely describe the coming of YEHOVAH's holy spirit upon the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God, in 31 A.D. It does not merely represent the beginning of the "Church age" when the holy spirit came upon the Ecclesia for the first time (see Acts 2). Rather, it is the FOCAL POINT of the entire spring festival season, the CULMINATION of events that transpire from Passover until Pentecost!
Pentecost, as the "little Jubilee" -- being the "fiftieth day" after seven Sabbaths -- is a type of the day of the marriage of the Messiah, on the "Great Jubilee," at the last trumpet, when the "great trumpet shall be blown" (Isaiah 27:13). It typifies the harvesting of the "first-fruits" unto YEHOVAH God, that is, the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God down through the ages.
While Pentecost pictures the time of the giving of the Law, and the old covenant, a marriage covenant between YEHOVAH God and Israel, and also pictures the "marriage" of the Messiah to the Ecclesia, Yeshua's actual "second coming" will probably occur on the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread. It is this day that depicts when the Church will be glorified, and be given incorruptible bodies, and immortality, and eternal life, in the God Family. It is this day which depicts the day of our "epiphany" -- our complete CHANGE from mortal to immortal, from corruptible flesh to incorruptible spirit, from human to SPIRITUAL!
How many of us understand this wonderful focal point in YEHOVAH's calendar? How many understand that Pentecost is not just a "forgotten feast," that has no special meaning or importance? It is one of the three pilgrimage festivals of spring, summer and fall. And as the conclusion of the Passover season, it has very special meaning to those of us who are true Christians, depicting the day of our salvation, and the marriage of the Lamb to his Bride! Even so, come quickly, Lord Yeshua!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
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