Tag Archives: Festival of Weeks (Shavuot)

To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God

At the end of the first weekly Shabbat of the seven weekly Shabbats, in between firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks the close friends of rabbi Jeshua had the shock of their life, having come to hear that their beloved master who was killed at the stake, now had disappeared from the grave. From the heavenly malach they heard that יהושע {Jeshua} was risen form the dead. Later they also had come to see him again, him also showing his wounds to proof to them he was not a ghost or spirit. Them knowing that God is a Spirit, came to hear from their beloved master teacher that he (Jeshua) was going back to Him and they saw him lifted in the air. When the moed of Shavuot was fully counted by the omer, they were all with one accord in one place. The talmidim knew they had to continue to study Torah and remember those Fifty days after Pesach and remembering how the Most High had revealed Himself and given the mitzvot to Moshe so that he could deliver them to the People of God.

For the talmidim and us it might be not a negligible fact that on the day of the revelation at Sinai they also remembered the death of of King David and the death of the successor of King David, the risen King of kings, from King David’s Tribe, the son of man and son of God, יהושע {Jeshua} (Jesus Christ). Their master had revealed the Words of God and made the mitzvot clear, so that they too could go into the world and explain them.

Today we remember that the entire people of Israel (600,000 heads of households and their families), as well as the souls of all future generations of Jews, heard God declare the first two of the Ten Commandments and witnessed God’s communication of the other eight through Moses. Following the revelation, Moses ascended the mountain for 40 days, to receive the remainder of the Torah from God.

At Sinai, the Elohim  rescinded the “decree” and “divide” (gezeirah) that had been in force since the 2nd day of creation separating the spiritual and the physical into two hermetic worlds; from this point on,

“the higher realms could descend into the lower realms, and the lower could ascend to the higher.”

Thus was born the “mitzvah” — a physical deed that, by virtue of the fact that it is commanded by God, brings Godliness into the physical world.

The deaths of two of the greatest figures in history serves as a reminder to us that revelation was not just a moment but a continuing process; that new faces of the infinitely meaningful Torah have always been revealed at the critical moments of our religious development; and that Sinai posed an immense challenge to the Jewish people to which we continue to try to rise.

English: King David, second king of Israel

English: King David, second king of Israel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David, a descendent of Judah the son of Jacob as well as of Ruth, a Moabite convert to Judaism, was anointed King of Israel by Samuel in 878 BCE. All future legitimate kings of Israel were David’s descendants. Mankind was told it would be from him that the Moshiach or the messiah, would come, who will “restore the kingdom of David to its glory of old.”

These two figures stand at key points in the development of this response, and thus have a special relationship to Shavuot.

“lower (worlds) shall ascend to the higher, and the higher descend to the low.”

It is significant that though the Midrash quotes God as saying

“I shall take the initiative,”

and though the descent of God in fact preceded Moses’ going up, it still mentions the ascent of the lower worlds before the descent of the higher. This is because the ascent of the low was the ultimate purpose of the giving of the Torah, and the ultimate purpose is the last tobe realized. Though Moses’ ascent came after God’s descent, it was nonetheless of great importance. God’s initiating step was needed beforehand, before man could rise to meet Him.

Only by the liberation of the people from slavery man could become a free person able to aim for the promised Land and preparing themselves for entering the Kingdom of God. That entrance also made possible for the goy, they now also liberated from the curse of death like all people became liberated from death by the death of the descendant of King David, the long awaited Messiah, Jeshua who by the allowance of the Most High God, may now be seated next to God to be a mediator between God and man.

The Elohim had come down to the world to give His Word, in two senses, the stone tablet and the fulfilment of His promise in the Gan Eden, when man had rebelled against God. That Word spoken in that Royal Garden had become in the flesh and the talmidin had been close to it, feeling how it brought in them the Word also to live.

Like in the time of Moshe the effect of the giving of the Word was felt within the world, now that Word given also would have its effect unto many generations still coming after the talmidin.

The Midrash may say

“No bird called, no bird flew” and “the voice which came from G-d had no echo”

because it was absorbed into the very texture of the world. But from the Shavuot 30 CE change came over the world, several disciples of rabbi Jeshua having shaken by the sound from the shamayim as of a groaning Ruach, which  filled all the Bayit where those scaredy-cats had taken their refuge.

For those talmidin it was now clear that the Torah was no longer “in heaven,” but that the Word of God had descended to earth. For that reason, grasping that the world could face a new world, the beloved disciple of Jeshua, the apostle Jochanan (John)wrote about the word having come in the flesh.

John 1:1-5 OJB
Besuras Hageulah According to Yochanan

Bereshis (in the Beginning) was the Dvar Hashem [Yeshayah 55:11; Bereshis 1:1], and the Dvar Hashem was agav (along with) Hashem [Mishle 8:30; 30:4], and the Dvar Hashem was nothing less, by nature, than Elohim! [Psa 56:11(10); Yn 17:5; Rev. 19:13]  (2)  Bereshis (in the Beginning) this Dvar Hashem was with Hashem [Prov 8:30].  (3)  All things through him came to be, and without him came to be not one thing which came into being. [Ps 33:6,9; Prov 30:4]  (4)  In him was Chayyim (Life) and the Chayyim (Life) was the Ohr (Light) of Bnei Adam. [Tehillim 36:10 (9)]  (5)  And the Ohr shines in the choshech [Tehillim 18:28], and the choshech did not grasp it. [Yeshayah 9:1]

There had been man like the baptiser John who tried to shed light, but the true light that could enlighten everyone was his cousin who came into the world by the Ruach of the Most High, but the talmidin could be witnesses that the world did not recognize him who was sent by God.

Moshe had received the stone tablets and given them to the people, who took a very long time to come to make out why they had to follow those mitzvot and how they had to follow them.

Only afterwards did the work begin of refining, sanctifying and raising the world in spiritual ascent. This was the worship of the Jewish people, to turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God. The possibility of this achievement was created at Sinai; the actuality began later.

Just as the descent of God to the world began with Abraham and culminated in Moses, so the ascent of the world to God began after the giving of the Torah and reached its climax in the wise kings David and Shlomo (Solomon), his son, who in building the Temple took the Jewish people to a new apex in their upward climb to God. In line with the great kings the world received a high-priest who would not only be king of the United Monarchy, with the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah, but of the whole world with its seven continents (Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Oceania).

With the advent of David came two new developments. Firstly, he was the first king to rule over the whole of Israel (unlike Saul, who according to the Midrash {Bamidbar Rabbah, ch. 4.} did not rule over the tribe of Judah), and the dynasty was entrusted to him in perpetuity:

“The kingship shall never be removed from the seed of David.’ {1 Chronicles 29:2 ff.)

Jeshua being that seed has now taken over the dominion. the apostle John and his comrades could see that now the time for a special kind of monarchy had entered this system of things. Through the intermediary of kingship, Israel has an obedience to God which is both total and extending to every aspect of their being. Now the Kingdom of Israel shall have to come to witness their new king for ever. Though the world shall not want to recognise this sent one from God, many objecting such a position to a person who was once a man of flesh and blood. (Lots of Christians still take him as being their god and want to believe Jesus is God.) They all shall have to come to accept Jesus to be the mediator between God and man and the High Priest in the order of Melchisedec.

Thus we can see the difference between the acceptance of the Torah at Sinai and the obedience to God involved in the idea of Kingship, which David initiated and with the kingship of this King of kings, the sent one from God. The revelation at Sinai was an act of God:

“I shall take the initiative.”

It did not come from within the hearts of the people. And so it did not affect their whole being absolutely. But kingship does come from the people — their obedience is the source of the king’s authority. David’s reign signifies a new phenomenon: The voluntary, inward acceptance by the people of an absolute authority over them.

Ever since the Torah was given, the world was given a possibility to come into unity with God. Jeshua being revealed from above should be the eye opener for the world, him being the way to God, and the one who explained how we have to interpret the Law of God.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe urged that all children — including infants — should be brought to the synagogue on the 1st day of Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments in re-enactment of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai. Our sages relate that when God came to give the Torah to the people of Israel, He asked for a guarantee that that they will not forsake it.

“The heaven and the earth shall be our guarantors,”

said the Jews, but God replied that

“they will not last forever.”

To this the people replied

“Our fathers will guarantee it,”

But the Elohim said that

“they are busy.”

It was only when we promised that

“our children will guarantee it”

that God agreed,

“These are excellent guarantors.”

therefore we should make sure that our children do come to hear the mitzvot and shall have the Word of God imprinted in their hearts.

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Preceding articles

Looking at the time when the Torah was given

Elul Observances

9 Adar and bickering or loving followers of the Torah preparing for Pesach

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Additional reading

  1. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  2. Jesus is risen
  3. Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Matthew Chapter 28
  4. The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 2
  5. Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v1-13 Working Spirit
  6. Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2
  7. For those who believe Jesus is God
  8. God’s salvation
  9. Jesus Messiah

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Further reading

Text of Book of Ruth and its connection to Shavuot

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Filed under Knowledge & Wisdom, Religious affairs, World affairs

Looking at the time when the Torah was given

Ruth in Boaz's Field

Ruth in Boaz’s Field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At nightfall tonight, we spend the entire first night of Shavuot studying Torah.
The traditional Tikkun Leil Shavout (“Rectification for Shavuot Night”) study program includes the opening and closing verses of each book of the Written Torah (Tanach), as well as of each Parshah; the entire Book of Ruth; the opening and closing sections of each tractate of the Talmud; a list of the 613 mitzvot; and selected readings from the Zohar and other Kabbalistic works.

On this day, Moses made a covenant with the Jewish people at the foot of Mount Sinai at which the people declared,

“All that God has spoken, we shall do and hear” (Exodus 24:7)

committing themselves to observe the Torah’s commandments (“do”) and strive to comprehend them (“hear”), while pledging to “do” also before they “hear.”

Remembering that on the 6th Sivan of the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), seven weeks after the Exodus, mankind was blessed by the Elohim revealing Himself on Mount Sinai and wanting to give the Words of Guidance.

Taken the day of Erev Shavuot of 2008 at Valle...

Taken the day of Erev Shavuot of 2008 at Valley Beth Shalom’s main sanctuary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The entire people of Israel (600,000 heads of households and their families), as well as the souls of all future generations of Jews, heard God declare the first two of the Ten Commandments and witnessed God’s communication of the other eight through Moses. Following the revelation, Moses ascended the mountain for 40 days, to receive the remainder of the Torah from God.

The Torah itself does not explicitly mention the connection of this day with the the giving of the Torah on Sinai (Matan Torah). It merely says,

“You shall count fifty days (from the second day of Pesach)… and you shall proclaim on that selfsame day: It shall be a holy convocation unto you.”

Now although we know that the Torah was given on the 6th of Sivan, during the time when the calendar was fixed by eyewitnesses to the new moon, the fiftieth day — Shavuot — could fall on the 5th, 6th, or 7th of Sivan. Therefore I would love to mention this today and call to you for remembering the set apart moment of the elohim coming closer to His People, giving them something precious to hold on, so that they could be sure to please their Most High Maker.

Nonetheless, now that the calendar is no longer variable, Shavuot always coincides with the 6th. And there is also a Biblical allusion to the significance of Shavuot in the fact that unlike the other festivals, the word “sin” is not mentioned in connection with the special sacrifices for Shavuot, and this is related to the Israelites’ acceptance of the Torah, which gave them the special merit of being forgiven their sins.

Within the diversity of the world we as lovers of God do have to come in unity with the divine Maker. When we look at the world around us, there are enough things which reveal the Master Hand of the Divine Creator. This should give us confidence that the Most High is always active, omnipresent and that it is on Him we should rely.

In the month of Nisan we remembered how God’s People “fled” from Egypt, both literally and metaphorically — fled from the knowledge of the world and were filled only with the revelation from above. Their unity was of the world-denying kind. The elohim for them was One because they knew only one thing, because the world had ceased to have being in their eyes.

Iyar, the second month, is the month wholly taken up with the Counting of the Omer, and preparing ourselves for the coming events at Sinai. The divine Creator wants each of us to be aware of ourselves and likes to see that we can have our world as something apart from God which has to be suppressed.

Now in the third month, Sivan, we look up at the time when the Torah was given, when God and the world became one thing.

This was the moment of genuine unity, when what had seemed two things became a third, including and going beyond both. {Jewish saying}

We must look at ourselves and recognise that we are still far off from being really totally “one with God”. We are not yet at one with the Eternal Most High Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Many still even do not dare to come close to Him pronouncing His titles or to enunciate His Divine Name.

We should be aware that first of all there has to be a willingness to come close to God. The best way to do that is by studying the Word God Himself has delivered to mankind. Today nobody really has an excuse that he or she would not have been able to hear God’s Word. Nearly everywhere in the world the Word of God is available in oral form, printed form with Bible translations in lots of languages so that people always could find one or an other language they can read and understand.

The ultimate unity with the Most High comes only through (learning) Torah, when the mind of man and the will of God interfuse.

Tomorrow I’ll look at two other events which occurred on Shavuot

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Preceding articles

Elul Observances

9 Adar and bickering or loving followers of the Torah preparing for Pesach

Next

To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God

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Additional reading

  1. Why Sabbaths or Sabbath plural “shabbatot”
  2. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  3. Tongues a sign of authenticity or divine backing

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Filed under Religious affairs

Adar 6, Matan Torah remembering the giving of Torah

In the people of God their year 2448 (1313 BCE), on the 6th (or 7th) day of the third month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar, Sivan, after Moshe was called up at the mountain of Sinai, God told his chosen one what to tell to the people. With the Shemoth or  Exodus from Egypt only three months in the past, the Jews arrive at Mount Sinai to hear a terrible noise and to see flashing lights. They saw a mountain which was been touched and burned with fire and to blackness and to darkness and to tempest.

“Now all of the people were seeing the thunder-sounds, the flashing-torches, the shofar sound, and the mountain smoking; when the people saw, they faltered and stood far off.”
(Exodus 20:15 SB)

“The people stood far off, and Moshe approached the fog where God was.”
(Exodus 20:18 SB)

Moshe having entered into the thick ‘darkness’ of the clouds, came to hear the Voice of God, the Most High Divine Creator. God spoke to Moshe

“… Say thus to the Children of Israel: You yourselves have seen that it was from the heavens that I spoke with you.”
(Exodus 20:19 SB)

V11p133004 Torah

V11p133004 Torah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There God gave to the Children of Israel what is by most Christians known as the “Ten commandments” but would be better referred to as the (literal translation) ““The Ten Sayings” or Decalogue. These Sayings including more than ten actual mitzvahs. Later Jeshua would tell that he has come not to take that Law away, like so many christians think, but to explain it and to fulfil it.

“Do not suppose that I came to tear-down the law or the prophets; I did not come to tear-down, but to fulfil.”
(Matthew 5:17 MLV)

“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one serif of the law to fall short.”
(Luke 16:17 MLV)

“Now I am saying this: the law, which happened four hundred and thirty years afterward, does not invalidate a covenant* validated beforehand by God in reference to Christ so as to do-away-with the promise.”
(Galatians 3:17 MLV)

Many thousand years ago God found it time that what He wanted people would know very well what He expected from them. He wanted to make it clear to them what His expectations were.
He made it clear what He wanted man to keep to.

For those who doubt it, or use graven images in their worship places God made it clear He does not like such things.

“You are not to make beside me gods of silver, gods of gold you are not to make for yourselves!”
(Exodus 20:20 SB)

No body, who wants to be a child of God, may have more than One God before him or may become unequally yoked with unbelievers and take part in pagan rites and pagan festivals (like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, just to call a few).

It was on Sivan 2 that the Almighty God tells Moshe that He not only wants to give the Jews the Torah, but also wants to make them His chosen, set apart or holy nation, who will follow His commandments. The Jews wholeheartedly agree, replying,

“All God wishes we will do.”

On the third day of the month Moses relays the Jews’ answer to God and then returns to the Jews to tell them that he will be the messenger for the Ten Sayings; that what God told him up high on the mountain.

This weekend, Adar 6, 5777, we remember the giving of Torah and this transitional moment in our history — a moment known as Matan Torah (the Giving of the Torah). No longer were we merely the descendants of a great man named Abraham, or simply a Middle-Eastern people known as the Israelites. We had now become God’s people, chosen to learn His Torah and keep its laws. It’s a moment we celebrate every year on the festival of Shavuot, and this year will take place from May 30–June 1.

The Torah and Talmudic sources describe the delivery of the Ten Commandments as a unique experience — complete with thunder, lightning and a smoking mountaintop — and an event of historic significance. Yet the Talmudic account itself actually makes it quite difficult to understand what was so earth-shattering about

“the giving of the Torah.”

It was not that people did not yet know God’s Will. A significant body of legislation and moral lore was already in existence long before the historic event described as “the giving of the Torah.” Indeed, even without the Talmudic tradition it would seem that all of the Ten Commandments given at Sinai are either philosophical axioms (e.g., monotheism), moral imperatives and ideals (e.g., do not murder, do not steal, honour your father and mother, do not covet), or previously received mandates (e.g., the Sabbath). In other words, not the sort of material that would seem to warrant a divine revelation — and certainly not one of such grandeur.

But we should know that it was no simple handing over a book of lore …  God gave man the basic rules to live by, the Ten Commandments.

Please do understand, though the name of the event — the Giving of the Torah — implies that the entire Torah was given that day, this is not the case. In fact, only the Ten Commandments were taught to us that day, and even they were only transmitted verbally. The physical luchot—the tablets — were not given for another 40 days.

Nevertheless, the name remains, as it marks the day the Elohim began the process of giving us the Torah. In that light we should remember this weekend which great gift we were given so that it would be much easier for us to know how to keep in line with God’s desires.

First we were taught the Ten Commandments. Then, Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to learn from God, for 40 days. We too can take such 40 days to meditate and wonder about our relationship with the Most High. You can call it a time of reflection. Also Jeshua took such a time to think about what God wanted from him and his followers. He too had gone in the desert for 40 days to contemplate. Jeshua also took time to cogitate and was not afraid to deny the requests from others to denounce God or to test God. Also God’s people had to wait such a long time before they saw Moshe back. Though they proved not to be as strong as Moshe and Jeshua, Jesus Christ, who thought it most important to do the Will of God and not his own will. Though it is clearly impossible for Moshe to have learned ‘all 385 commandments’, he did learn the rules they are based on, and so it is considered as if he actually learned them. On stone tablets the basic 10 sayings cover most rules. The rest of the Torah was communicated in stages throughout the Jews’ 40-year sojourn in the desert.

In short we could say

The Ten Commandments

  1. Believe in Only One God.
  2. Do not believe in other deities.
  3. Do not take God’s name in vain.
  4. Keep Shabbat.
  5. Honour your parents.
  6. Don’t murder.
  7. Don’t commit adultery.
  8. Don’t kidnap.
  9. Don’t give false testimony.
  10. Don’t covet another’s possessions.
The Ten Commandments, In SVG

The Ten Commandments, In SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This our the basic rules for man to follow. The 4 first ones you could consider laws believers in God should follow, but the 5th until the 10th commandment form the basic rules for all people, who should take care to be able to live with each other in the best and most peaceful conditions. By obeying those given ethic laws for humanity man should be able to live in peace.

Although Matan Torah is known as the time when God gave us His Torah to study and keep, there were a few Israelites who had kept the entire Torah of their own volition before Matan Torah.

Now the moment had come that the Elohim Hashem Jehovah asked man to take the act of making a conscious choice or decision. It had become time man had to show for Whom he wanted to stand. From the beginning of times God had given man freedom to act or judge on one’s own. Now it is time for man to show that he has the ability or power to discern what is responsible or socially appropriate.

Man has to make the choice how he is going to behave in a community. He has to choose the position he is going to take opposite others and how he is going to treat them.

Before Matan Torah, those who observed Torah did so entirely of their own accord. It was their own choice and we can not tell in what way they wanted to do it. We can only guess how they saw it as a matter of having a good relationship with the Divine Creator.

Probably their connection to God, therefore, was only as deep as their understanding and feeling. Like today people who come into the faith cannot know yet all what they have to keep to and have to go on a path of learning to come to know what God really wants from them.

English: The Title page of Mishnah Torah by Mo...

The Title page of Mishnah Torah by Moshe ben Maimon haRambam, published in Venice in 1575 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For us tonight having Matan Torah in our mind, we look at the time the Elohim connected His Essence to the Torah and gave it to mankind and as such also to us. Each of us has the own responsibility now to decide to accept that given Torah or to deny it. Each of us should see how The Law of God is our safeguarding but also our inner set apart (holy) contact with the Most High. When we observe the Torah, therefore, we are connected to God’s essence, no matter who we are and how much we understand or feel. {Likutei Sichot, vol. 28, pp. 11-12.}

Fear may have seized those at the fields before the mountain of Sinai, but we should not be in fear, because “God has visited his people!” and given His instructions so that they could live according to the Wishes of God. We should know that in every place where God’s Name is recorded He will come to us and will bless us.

“Moshe said to the people: Do not be afraid! For it is to test you that God has come, to have awe of him be upon you, so that you do not sin.”
(Exodus 20:17 SB)

“A slaughter-site of soil, you are to make for me, you are to slaughter upon it your offerings-up, your sacrifices of shalom, your sheep and your oxen! At every place where I cause my name to be recalled I will come to you and bless you.”
(Exodus 20:21 SB)

“I will make a great nation of you and will give-you-blessing and will make your name great. Be a blessing!”
(Genesis 12:2 SB)

“So are they to put my name upon the Children of Israel, that I myself may bless them.”
(Numbers 6:27 SB)

Moshe wrote down the Words of God and that way even today we can read what God wants from His creatures.

“Now Moshe wrote down all the words of YHWH. He started-early in the morning, building a slaughter-site beneath the mountain and twelve standing-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel.”
(Exodus 24:4 SB)

English: Moses repeated the commandments to th...

Moses repeated the commandments to the people, detail by a Carolingian book illuminator circa 840 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles

Our life depending on faith

God’s wisdom for the believer brings peace

Mishmash of a legal code but importance of mitzvah or commandments

Written by inspiration of God for our admonition, to whom it shall be imputed if they believe

Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion

29. Laws that Value People

Responsibilities of Parenthood for sharing the Word of God

Luther’s misunderstanding

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Additional reading

  1. Statutes given unto us
  2. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  3. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  4. God-breathed prophetic words written torah and the mitzvot to teach us
  5. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  6. Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty GodJudeo-Christian values and liberty
  7. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #1
  8. Hello America and atheists
  9. 1,500 to 1,700 years old Chiselled tablet with commandments sold at auction

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Further reading

  1. Our Competition With God
  2. A Summary of Exodus
  3. February 6, 2017-The Beginning of Law’
  4. Intro to the Ten Commandments or The Ten Words
  5. Ten Commandments – Exodus 20:1-17
  6. Exodus 24:12-18 Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights
  7. The first commandment – Putting God first
  8. God verses our gods
  9. God’s nature revealed as Law
  10. The 10 Commandments
  11. The Ten Commandments
  12. The Ten Commandments and Prophesy
  13. Daily Prompt: Ten
  14. Do You Keep the Ten Commandments
  15. 10 Rules Worth Following
  16. Ten Commandments
  17. Do the Ten Commandments apply to Christians?
  18. The beginning
  19. Can the Old Covenant be abolished if the Ten Commandments are not?
  20. “The Catechism in Six Parts: The Ten Commandments”
  21. How Not to Learn from The Bible
  22. God the Father – “I did not create you so that you could do whatever you want…”
  23. Want What You’ve Got! (Lent)
  24. Christian Parenting, Ten Commandments, and Les Miserables
  25. It Depends
  26. Idolatry & The Shack
  27. Honor Your Parents
  28. What I’m Reading: Are You Normal?
  29. Simple Standard
  30. Rules of the Road
  31. Sabbath, Creation, Guarding and Observing
  32. Top Ten Secrets From The Foundation Of Our World
  33. Simply following the Ten Commandments isn’t enough
  34. Seven Fundamental Practices: Sabbath Rest
  35. Sermon: Who Do You Love?
  36. Love and the Meaninglessness of Scripture
  37. Lying
  38. Lust of the eyes
  39. Morality and neurochemical impulses
  40. Shorty*: What Ultimately Comforted Job?
  41. Jesus Christ – “Remember, you are not here to please man with your actions but God – God’s Laws never change”
  42. I’ll Do It My Way -the terrible harvest of moral relativism

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To believe in the liberation of slavery and to repent

Having these special days we think about whom God wanted to save and whom He is willing to come to His Holy Land and His Holy Kingdom.

It are days that we wonder what sort of person is the Most High Divine Creator looking for and Who is He willing to call?

In the Christadelphian Bible readings for April the 26th we look what happened after the gathering at the upper room and the killing of rabbi Jeshua, when his disciples were so much afraid that they hid in a house and did not dare to show themselves outside in town.

Today we encounter also many who say they believe in Christ but do not dare to tell about him. Perhaps they also better remind what happened to the apostles. When the Day of the Festival of Shaḇu‛ota had come, they were all with one mind in one place.  About three years they had followed their master, listened intensively to his marvellous preaching about the Most High God and explaining the Torah. That master was never afraid to speak or to show others what he believed. But they were so afraid. Sitting in their hiding place suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues like flames, as of fire that separated and each flame came to  rest on each of them.  First full of awe they found themselves now filled with something special, an inner fire which seemed to fill themselves with energy. They heard the Holy Spirit and they themselves were surprised to hear themselves being able to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them that ability.

Acts 2:1-4 (TS98)

Acts 2
1 And when the Day of the Festival of Weeks had come, they were all with one mind in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and settled on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Set-apart Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak.

Can you imagine how a remarkable speech was presented in that town where the people were together having had celebrated the most important event of the year. At such occasions the town was filled with several nationalities, all people speaking different tongues. And now those Galileans could  intrigue this great crowd speaking in their own languages.

Of course we only have the essential kernel of his speech, as the record says how the onlookers came to understand those people speaking in tongues were not drunk, as you suppose, since it was only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel that in the last days it shall be that the Elohim Jehovah God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, and that there would be sons and daughters prophesying.

Today when we can see more of those signs as prophesies foretold, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke, we can see that many loose hope and see their sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

Acts 2:20 (TS98)
20 ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of יהוה.

We are told of the importance of calling upon the name of the Host of host יהוה to be saved. Like the people in the time of Moses had to believe him, now the coming generations shall have to hear these words that Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to the world by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in the midst of the Israelites, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God was raised up by his heavenly Father, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Acts 2:24 (TS98)
24 “Him Elohim raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was impossible that He could be held in its grip.

In Moses his time god’s people could see how the angel of death passed their doors. Many after that liberation from slavery and the Egyptians put their hope in the One God Who they placed before themselves like David always saw God before him.

Jeshua had asked God why He had abandoned him; but God was always by him and did also not abandon his soul to Hades, when Jesus was three days in hell (sheol/hades).  Patriarch David both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

The apostles were witnesses that this master teacher, they had followed for such a short period, was raised up from the dead. They also were convinced that this man of flesh and blood was exalted at the right hand of God, not sitting on god’s throne or not taking in the place of God, like so many Christians want others to believe today. No, real Christians believe in this sent one from God to be like Moses, a leader who can bring us unto liberation, getting us free from those chains of the curse of death.

All who die shall stay in the graves and shall like David who also did not ascend into the heavens, have to look at the blessings God provided.

Acts 2:29-36 (TS98)
29 “Men and brothers, let me speak boldly to you of the ancestor Dawiḏ, that he died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “Being a prophet, then, and knowing that Elohim had sworn with an oath to him: of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, to raise up the Messiah to sit on his throne, 31 foreseeing this he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah, that His being was neither left in the grave, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 “Elohim has raised up this יהושע, of which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of Elohim, and having received from the Father the promise of the Set-apart Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 “For Dawiḏ did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself said, ‘יהוה said to my Master, “Sit at My right hand, 35 until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ’ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Yisra’ĕl know for certain that Elohim has made this יהושע, whom you impaled, both Master and Messiah.”

It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb, Jesus giving his body as a ransom for all man, is been ridiculed by telling that he should be God because no man can be without sin and fulfil God’s Wishes. It also makes a cruel God of the Creator because then they insinuate that God, at the beginning of man, gave such commandments to man He knew they would never be able to follow.

We should see  and understand that this man who sat a the table when he had given thanks, broke the bread, and said,

“This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.”

and afterwards in the same way took the cup, after supper, saying,

“This cup is the New Covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.”

also asked us to remember this act

1 Corinthians 11:26  (TS98)
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Master until He comes.

The liberation from slavery of death is what Christ Jesus has brought to mankind. And we should not forget that love of this Nazarene man. With an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, we should not forget that gracious Saviour and look forward to the same hope god’s chosen People was given, the Holy Land and a precious Kingdom of God.

So many, today, have forgotten him who never forgot God nor us! The majority has forgotten him who poured his blood forth for our sins! He whom we should make the abiding tenant of our memories is but a visitor therein. The stake where one would think that memory would linger, and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder, is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness and by those who do not want to believe that Jesus was a real man of flesh, blood and bones who managed to do the Will of God instead of doing his own will. In case he is God he naturally always would have done his own will.

Does not your conscience say that this is true? Do you not find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Can it not be that some creatures steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of him upon whom your affection ought to be set, because you prefer to keep to human doctrines and to human traditions? Is it not that some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should fix your eye steadily upon the stake which brought Jesus to the end of his life?

Real Christians should not only let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Jeshua both Lord and Christ and that this Jesus whom was put on the stake with the inscription that he is the “King of the Jews”, but should tell the whole world about him and his God.

St. Peter Preaching at Pentecost by Benjamin West

St. Peter Preaching at Pentecost by Benjamin West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter asked the people around them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins so that they too could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38  (TS98)
And Kĕpha said to them, “Repent, and let each one of you be immersed in the Name of יהושע Messiah for the forgiveness of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Set-apart Spirit.

At Pesach we can think of those who died and those who were able to escape death. Around the holiday period those apostles were filled with so much fear they could say

“We die daily.”

This was the life of the early Christians; they went everywhere with their lives in their hands.
We are not in this day called to pass through the same fearful persecutions: if we were, the Lord would give us grace to bear the test; but the tests of Christian life, at the present moment, though outwardly not so terrible, are yet more likely to overcome us than even those of the fiery age.

We have to bear the sneer of the world-that is little; its blandishments, its soft words, its oily speeches, its fawning, its hypocrisy, are far worse. Our danger is lest we grow rich and become proud, lest we give ourselves up to the fashions of this present evil world, and lose our faith. Or if wealth be not the trial, worldly care is quite as mischievous. If we cannot be torn in pieces by the roaring lion, if we may be hugged to death by the bear, the devil little cares which it is, so long as he destroys our love to Christ, and our confidence in him. {Spurgeon}

Spurgeon had good reason to fear that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than in those rougher times.

We must be awake now, for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall asleep to our own undoing, unless our faith in Jesus be a reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame. Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true-born children of the living God. Christian, do not think that these are times in which you can dispense with watchfulness or with holy ardour; you need these things more than ever, and may God the eternal Spirit display his omnipotence in you, that you may be able to say, in all these softer things, as well as in the rougher,

“We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” {Spurgeon}

The promise was for the Jews but now it has come to be also for the Gentiles and for their children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Almighty God of gods calls to Himself.

Acts 2:39-40 (TS98)
39 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as יהוה our Elohim shall call.” 40 And with many other words he earnestly witnessed and urged them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked generation.”

The Jews were saved from the Egyptians and from the pressure which was on them by their slavery. Today many are slave of this crooked generation, though many want to stay chained to this crooked world with its heathen rituals and pagan festivals.

All generations are ‘crooked’ to differing degrees but today we live in one that is extremely so! Peter had quoted king David his Psalm (verse 28)

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence”.

Icon of the Pentecost

Icon of the Pentecost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the time of the apostles the people around them did not hesitate to be baptised. All those who received the words spoken by the apostles who suddenly dared to come out of the house and speak in tongues, were baptised.

Around Pesach much time is taken to hear to the Words of God. Like at other times it is very important to hear (or read) to receive into the heart the Infallible Word of God. Today it is even to hear at more places than in the time of the apostles. A pity is to notice that it not necessarily means that people come to realise what it has to mean for them personally. Not enough people are willing to put away their fear for the world. Lots of people are more afraid of not taking part of such pagan feasts as Christmas, Easter, Halloween or others instead holding to those festivals God has given.

Today we are also reading in Deuteronomy (chapter 12) of those who heard Moses final stirring messages before he died – they received his words and so entered the promised land and were faithful in their lives.

The initial effect on those who received Peter’s words and were baptised was that they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” (verse 42). This is the result when God calls men and women to himself.

Our thoughts then went to those most moving words in Hebrews,

Hebrews 10:22-25 (TS98)
22 let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our expectation without yielding, for He who promised is trustworthy. 24 And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging, and so much more as you see the Day coming near.

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering … all the more as we see the day approaching.

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Preceding articles:

The Best Bedtime Stories

Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter

Responsibilities of Parenthood for sharing the Word of God

Counting Each Day – and Making them Count

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Additional reading:

  1. Jesus three days in hell
  2. The day of the festival of Pentecost
  3. Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v1-13 Working Spirit
  4. The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 2
  5. Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2
  6. Speaking in tongues (article on Bible Students)
  7. Speaking in tongues (article on Christadelphian World)
  8. Tongues a sign of authenticity or divine backing
  9. Meaning of “speaking in tongues”
  10. Authority given to him To give eternal life
  11. He has given us the Pneuma, the force, from Him
  12. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  13. Not enlightened by God’s Spirit
  14. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  15. We may not be ignorant to get wisdom

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