Thursday, April 25, 2013

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume V, Issue XX

The Giving of the Law and the Spirit

Seven weeks after Passover comes Shavuot. is directly linked to that of Passover. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah, the Law, on Sinai. On Passover, the people of Israel were freed from Egyptian servitude; on Shavuot they were given the Torah and became a nation committed to serving G-d. Shavout is one of the three 'pilgrimage feasts,' where the people were required to come to Jerusalem. The three feasts are: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks), and Sukkot (Tents or Booths).

Shavuot also is a the first time for the giving of the Bikkurim, or first fruits. The first fruits of wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates (Deut. 8:8) would be brought in a procession to the temple.

As thousands of pilgrims filled Jerusalem for this feast, after Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, the second chapter of the Book of Acts records a unique event:

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of G-d. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith G-d, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of G-d among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which G-d did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."

These were the firstfruits of the promise made to Abram in Genesis 22:18: "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."

Shavuot, or Pentecost, as it is called in Greek, first marked the giving of the Law. It was also the time for giving of the firstfruits of the Promised Land. Now the Spirit was given, empowering the Church to bring in human firstruits of the Promised Kingdom! The disciples, who had cowered in the upper room, now spoke boldly to men from other nations who had assembled in Jerusalem. The Church was now reaching out in Judea, Samaria and eventually to the very ends of the Earth. Isaiah 60 and Revelation 21 speak of the Nations coming to this Jerusalem and the restoration of fellowship between man and the Almighty!

In Isaiah 60 [4.] and in Revelation 21 Believers look to a New Heaven and a New Earth where a Heavenly Jerusalem descends to join the Earth. Here is a Kingdom that needs no temple, needs no sun to light it, for G-d Himself is the force that illuminates it! [5.]

"And I saw a new Heaven and a new earth: for the first Heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from G-d out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of G-d is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and G-d himself shall be with them, and be their G-d." -- Revelation 21:1-3

West_web East_web
Journey to Jesus, a mural depicting the nations coming to Jesus in the New Heaven and New Earth described in Revelation 21. Mural by Kristina Elaine Riley and Bob Kirchman

Journey to Jesus [click to view larger images].

"Our Christian hope is that we're going to live with Christ in a new Earth, where there is not only no more death, but where life is what it was always meant to be." -- Timothy Keller.

The sun breaks through after a passing storm.

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