Shavuot: The Feast of Weeks – “Pentecost”

The Spirit of Messiah came to write the Torah on fleshly tablets of human hearts.

Pentecost was the Greek name for the fifty days from the Day of Firstfruits until the beginning of the new wheat harvest, kept in the third month during late spring or early summer. In Hebrew this festival was called Shavuot, which means “weeks,” for the seven that were counted between the Firstfruits of Passover, to Pentecost, also called the “Feast of Firstfruits.” This special day is also called “Zeman Mattan Torah,” or the season of the “Giving of the Torah,” when God uttered the “Ten Commandments,” or as it said in Hebrew, the “Ten Words,” from Mount Sinai.

The Revelation of Sinai and the Giving of the Ten Words, also called the “Ten Commandments,” was like a wedding day for The God of Israel to marry His Chosen People as a bride. Moses was commanded to tell Israel to prepare to meet Him. This was the third month, or fifty days after leaving Egypt. In fact, the memorial celebration of this historic event is called “Pentecost” in Greek, meaning 50 days, and originally “Shavuot” in Hebrew, or “weeks,” for the 7 weeks between Passover and Pentecost.

The original “Pentecost” was accompanied by a “rushing mighty wind” or storm, a sound from heaven of a shofar [ram’s horn], and “languages of fire” burning over the heads of the Israelis, as God communicated the Covenant in the “tongues of men,” from the 70 nations found in Gen. 10 [the “Descendants of Noah” after the flood]. Acts 2:1-4 is not only the memorial festival of that day in the past, but the fulfillment of this Feast of the Lord, in the followers of the Messiah. So if we compare Exodus 19-20 to Acts 2, the same day that Moses received the “Letter of the Law” in his hands, we see that first century believers received the “Spirit of the Law” in their hearts. The LORD wants to take stony hearts, and transform them into fleshly tablets of the heart, so that He can write His Law within us by the Spirit of the Living God. 


HAVING A COVENANT MINDSET AND IDENTITY:

Our “New Covenant” status, renews our minds and establishes our hearts, to walk in our New Covenant privileges and benefits. We have been “born from above,” and have set our affections on “things above,” and not on the temporal things of this world. Messiah has set our captive souls free, released our minds from bondage, and has returned hearts back to the Father’s covenant love. We love God, we love Life, we love PEOPLE and we love OUR CITY. We elevate to this new level, every time we read God’s Word. Our level of thinking changes our level of becoming, our lives are transformed as our minds are renewed.

  1. NEW CREATIONrenewed and regenerated spiritually [2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15]
  2. REDEEMED – purchased by the blood of Messiah [Isaiah 52:3,7-10; 62:12; Luke 1:68; Acts 20:28; 26:18; Ephesians 1:7,14; 4:30; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:17-19; Revelation 5:9]
  1. FORGIVEN – pardoned from offenses committed [Colossians 1:14; 2:13; 1 John 2:12]
  2. FREE FROM SLAVERY released from the yoke of sin [Hebrews 2:15; Romans 8:15]
  3. ADOPTED TO SONSHIP – placed into God’s family as children [Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:5]
  4. SET APART AS HOLY – consecrated and declared acceptable vessels [Romans 6:22; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Peter 1:12-17]
  5. ACCEPTED – graced, favored and received as family [Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:6]
  6. PREDESTINED – preplanned purpose and destiny [Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5,11]
  7. CHOSEN AS KINGS & PRIESTS – selected and set apart to reign in Messiah’s kingdom [Exodus 19:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10]
  8. INDWELT BY THE SPIRIT – filled with the dwelling presence of the Spirit in us [Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 14:17; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 2 Timothy 1:14; Titus 3:5]
  9. EMPOWERED WITH AUTHORITY – given kingdom authority and power [John 1:12; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:19]
  1. MADE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR – given victory as a victor and not a victim [Numbers 14:3-8; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57]

The COVENANT mindset, that we now walk in and express daily, conforms us to the image of God. This new identity is the express image of God that Jesus reveals in and through us. We are a walking billboard of a changed life, as our transformation is made evident to everyone around us. We are no longer a slave to sin, or this corrupt world system. We are absolutely free from bondage, peer pressure, and people’s unfactual opinions of us. The only opinion that really matters, is the one that has been formed and fashioned by the Word of Almighty God. He has predestined us to look like His divine image and to walk after His divine likeness. The serpent in the Garden can no longer deceive or beguile us, or even manipulate God’s Word to trick us. We know who we are, and whose we are. We belong to God’s family now, and all of our insecurities have been swallowed up by the Spirit’s sovereignty in our lives. Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty and freedom, as we are transformed into the Lord’s image, from one level of glory to another level of glory [2 Corinthians 3:16-18]. 


Happy New Year! LaShanah Tovah!

 

We are now in a new calendar year, 2018. This breaks down to two millenniums with 18 exceeding years. What is the significance to these last 18 years? The number 18 can be alphanumerically written as two Hebrew letters, which is where the system of Roman numerals came from. The original Semitic System that Hebrew developed from, assigns a numerical value to every Hebrew letter, as well as a pictographical image and idea that embodies the essence of each letter. These Hebrew consonants become signposts of significance, that reveal the root meaning to every word in Scripture.

EIGHTEEN Hebraically it is numbered by the Hebrew letter Chet ח (#8: Number of NEW BEGINNINGS), and the 10th letter Yud י, (#10: DIVINE ORDER & INCREASE), The numbers together spell the Hebrew word “LIFE”, CHAI חַי. Pictographically Yud י is a Hand, and Chet ח is a Fence, or Enclosure, like a “SHEEPFOLD”, to protect the LIFE of the SHEEP. Our Messiah taught that a GOOD SHEPHERD leaves the 99 SAFE SHEEP, to FIND one that is LOST, and bring it back to the FOLD.

The Shepherd of our souls promises to give us LIFE, and that LIFE more ABUNDANTLY, in John 10:10. This year is a of NEW BEGINNINGS coupled with INCREASE, because we are operating within the divine FENCE of His divine ORDER. This will therefore become a year that God motivates us to EXCEED all limitations and expectations. This is a year of EXCEEDING ABUNDANCE & RESOURCES, to accomplish the Father’s plan in our sphere of influence. Don’t live by last years limits, or become stuck by previous pressures or spiritual struggles! Live a life that is EXCEEDING in ABUNDANCE, above all that you could personally ask or think.


Going Back To The Beginning


The Bible starts with the famous words, “In the Beginning” [Be’reshit  בְּרֵאשִׁית in Hebrew – which literally means “in the first,” or “at first”], to give us an orderly time line of events starting with Creation, as well as an understanding of His priority and purpose for creating the world, and all that dwell in it. The biblical text says that God, or in Hebrew, Elohim אֱלֹהִים created everything! In fact, it specifically tells us that He created the Heavens [ha’shamayim הַשָּׁמַיִם], then He created the Earth [ha’aretz הָאָרֶץ].

This coincides with what the Apostle Paul writes to the believers of Colossae, in Colossians 1:15-16, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

Look at another verse, out of Hebrews, that speaks of this divine order in Creation:

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. – Hebrews 11:1-3 (NKJV)

So we can see in these verses that the invisible realm of the heavenlies, was established before the visible realm of earth was created, and that the visible things of earth were created by invisible heavenly realms. In fact, Job 38:7 describes angels, or “sons of God,” rejoicing as their Creator laid the foundations of the world:

4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? – Job 38:4-7 (NKJV)

The Master of the Universe even gave us the order of six progressive days of Creation, with the crowning of the seventh day [Sabbath, or Shabbat שַׁבָּת in Hebrew], as the mark of perfection and rest, as He was enthroned as King over His Creation. Days one through four established the foundation and lighting system in God’s new habitation. This all happened before life, whether animal or human, was even brought into existence. The completely submerged earth needed the light of God’s glory and intervention, to separate light from darkness, and waters above from below. Swamp-like land became dry soil, which made the earth a viable place for mankind, the apex of His Creation. Day five caused sea creatures to swim in the gathered bodies of water, called seas, and fowl to fly in the air of the new firmament created on day two. All these events prepared the new earth for what would happen on day six, when God would bring forth all kinds of living creatures from the earth.

That day was not complete though, until a capable ruler was given dominion over every aspect of Creation. Fulfillment was not found until God created Adam, and his helpmate Eve, to reign as king and queen over His Kingdom. So we can see that the domains created in days 1-3, coincide perfectly with days 4-6, establishing an appropriate ruler to reign in dominion over each domain. While six days completed the creation, only day seven, the Sabbath, established the Sovereign Ruler over all His creation, and that is the Lord of the Sabbath, God Himself.

Eden, which means a “pleasurable place,” was more beautiful than the Hawaiian islands, more lush with green foliage than Ireland in springtime, more sublime and divine than a day spent in the rain forest of Brazil, with its comforting moisture that balanced the summer heat of its tropical humidity. With an exotic environment like Eden, who would need a honeymoon vacation? Who were the recipients of this wonderful reward? Who did God have in mind, to run His earthly resort, and perfect paradise?

The Genesis account unfolds from that Sixth Day, after the creating of mammals and land creatures. God went back to the “drawing board,” and formed a masterpiece from a lump of clay. The Potter placed His loving hands on the lifeless substance, and squeezed its form into a vessel that met His approval. The “center of His Wheel” was like the “center of His Will,” to make a mold that He could pour Himself into. This work of art, would be the masterpiece that would display His outstanding creativity, skill, and workmanship. His final paint stroke of this amazing creation would reveal the multifaceted character and invisible attributes of His unimaginable abilities and divine qualities.

While the Creator of the Universe is Himself beyond comprehension, His revelation of His personhood could somehow be on display through the man that reflected His Divine image, and creative potentials. Even God, in all of His Sovereignty, stood back and watched His first created son, ingeniously name everything that the Almighty had spoken into existence. Nothing in Creation reflected His power and authority more, than the royal son that He crowned with His own glory and honor. So, as HaShem’s royal family, of son and daughter, left reflect the perfect character and invisible attributes, in visible ways and action, that bring Him glory, and draw people closer to the Eternal and Ever-present God, Adonai Elohim! May His Name be blessed by all the living, for all eternity! Amen!

Shalom, shalom, from Rabbi Brian Bileci 


The Seat of the Kingdom is Jerusalem

Psalm 76:1 God is honored in Judah; His name is great in Israel. 2 Jerusalem [“Salem”] is where He lives; Mount Zion is His home. NLT


The Kingdom of God is a mysterious concept for many people to grasp and comprehend. The Bible that we have today, is a miraculous and meticulous literary masterpiece of 66 amazing authors, that reveals the answer to this mystery!

The Bible is a library of faith-filled stories, exhilarating family dynamics, unbelievable dramas and amazing life lessons. Its power-packed pages, reveal real people, in need of a real remedy, for life’s real and raw dilemmas and distressing situations. We need a relevant message that people can relate to, and an authentic solution that has the power to change their lives. This is what the Messiah calls the “Gospel of the Kingdom.”

When we read the Scriptures, we quickly begin to see the harmony of its forty authors, who contributed their literary masterpieces of 66 different books, and how although there are a variety of sceneries, scenarios and settlements, what stands out is the overall underlying message, of the total redemption and restoration of mankind and the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. The Almighty and All-Sufficient One, who is both, our Creator and our final Judge, has unveiled His heart’s deepest longing, to be close with His Creation. Without denying the mistakes that His predestined people have plundered and plummeted into, and the devastating and destructive decisions that man has made, Our God still has a plan in mind. The Holy One that formed us, from a single lump of moist red clay from the ground, is patiently persistent in the plan which He has purposed for Adam and his fallen family, as well as the lost dominion. All of Adam’s descendants have fallen into the same set of lustful traps [John 2:15-16], that the Enemy has deceptively used in every generation, to blind us from God’s glory and saving grace. 

What if Adam would have simply responded to the voice of His Master? What would have happened to the Adversary’s seductive schemes, if the infamous couple in the Garden, would have ran into the loving arms of God, instead of hiding from His Abiding Presence. Do you think that God would have restrained His love? Would God refrain from emanating His own divine character, and not show mercy? Isn’t the Psalmist correct, when he declares that “His love endures forever?” Doesn’t King David reveal the restoration process in his poetic and prophetic writings of the book of Psalms. Especially all of the Messianic Psalms that reveal the Messiah’s kingdom reign and rule in the earth.

Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations plan evil together? Why do they make useless plans? 2 The kings of the earth rise up against the Lord. The rulers of the earth join together against His anointed king [King Messiah]. NIRV

Psalm 110:2 The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem you will rule over your enemies. NLT

Psalm 114:1 When the Israelites escaped from Egypt— when the family of Jacob left that foreign land—2 the land of Judah became God’s Sanctuary, and Israel became his kingdom. NLT

Revelation 11:15b…“The kingdoms of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Anointed One. And He shall reign forever and ever!” TLV

Does the Lord ever reject His children, when they chose to draw close to Him again, in complete repentance? If we read the sacred pages of the Biblical record, we can’t help but walk away with an undeniable answer, that positively proclaims His unending mercies and unbreakable covenants, to a world that is lost and submerged in guilt, shame and insecurities. We see this principle and promise, in what the Bible calls, “The Sure Mercies of David.” This Davidic Covenant establishes Jerusalem as the seat of God’s Kingdom on earth, as we prepare to reign with  the Messiah for 1000 years, in His Millennial Reign of the Messianic Days.

Man’s sin is definitely the problem to the sovereign reign of God’s kingdom in our lives, but it is God’s grace, accessed through the Messiah, that is undoubtedly the only real solution to our sin problem. When this message is preached and boldly proclaimed, the destructive direction of humanity’s pathway changes, and the “gospel of the kingdom,” or ”good news” takes over, and begins to liberate fallen people from tripping over the same stumbling blocks. These tricks have always prevailed against humanity, keeping people stuck in their sinful past mistakes. Look at how the Prophet Isaiah boldly declares this foundational truth of the power of “good news.” He writes to the chosen nation of Israel, which allows the Apostle Paul, to pick up the same message, not only to the Jewish world, as physical descendants of Abraham, but also  including the larger Gentile world, fulfilling Abraham’s promise, that he would become a “father of many nations.”

Abraham was promised a covenant of blessing, that required him to leave his dysfunctional homeland and family life, and travel to a place or city, that the Almighty declared that He would lead Abraham to. The writer of Hebrews described Abraham’s model of faith for us to follow.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he was to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he migrated to the land of promise as if it were foreign, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob—fellow heirs of the same promise. 10 For he was waiting for the city [Jerusalem] that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. TLV

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion—to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, a joyous gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are written in a scroll in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous ones made perfect, 24 and to Yeshua, the Mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than the blood of Abel.

Not only did Abraham allow God to lead him to the city of Jerusalem, and King David to establish it, He sent His Heavenly Son to be born Jewish People, to one day, to sit on David’s Jerusalem throne, as He descends back to the very site that He ascended from. When the Messiah returns, all nations will know that Jerusalem is the seat of God’s Kingdom, and they will all be united, both Jews and Gentiles, to study the Torah and learn the way, the truth and the life, of perfect peace.