As some of you may know, I spent a good many years working as a muralist. I painted pictures, usually big pictures, for a living. Sometimes these would be knock-offs of the old masters and sometimes a creation of my own making but they were usually bold, big and impossible to overlook! They were specifically designed to be an eye-catching statement-piece in a client’s home. We find a similar objective in the word of God. The Lord left these rich, multi-layered, symbolic Feasts to be annual reminders to us of His Big Picture!- Colorful signposts signaling the arrival of the Messiah’s first coming, the Holy Spirit and the Fall Feasts picture his Second Coming!
In our continuing study of the seven Biblical Feasts of the Lord we have reached the midpoint. The Feast of Shavuot or “Weeks” is also called Pentecost ( from the Greek word for 50 or Pente). As discussed in my last post, Countdown, I emphasized that from the Feast of First Fruits to Hag Hashavuot are the 7 weeks of the Counting of the Omer. Pentecost then falls on the 50th day and was to be a day of rest. This is all outlined in Lev. 23, Deut. 16, Numbers 28, and 2 Chronicles 8:13.
The big Picture for Pentecost is, at it’s heart, a Trifold celebration thanking God for his blessings and Revealing God’s Blessings through 1) The harvest: His physical provision of the wheat harvest. 2) The Word: The giving of the Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai 3) The Holy Spirit: His outpouring of his power in Acts 2
We saw in the last post that the Feast of First Fruits marked the beginning of the barley harvest and Pentecost kicks off the wheat harvest. Pentecost is also one of three Feasts that the Lord decreed that all Hebrew men were required to attend. The mandatory Feasts were 1) Unleavened bread, 2) Shavuot or Pentecost and 3) The Feast of Tabernacles. He wanted to make sure that everyone was there to witness His important appointments when He brought them to fruition!
As we saw in the First Fruit wave offering, no one was to eat any of the harvest until the wave offering had been made. Interesting differences came with the Shavuot offering. Lev 23:17 outlines the details for this wave offering. Two loaves were made of the wheat flour and the priest waved them before the Lord. These loaves did have leavening in them unlike the Matzo ( a picture of the sinless, pierced Messiah) described in the last post. These wave loaves represented one for the Jewish family and one for the nations. Both had the leavening in them representing the sin that we have in our human lives! How marvelous! Because of the leavening agents these loaves were not burned but kept for the priests to dine on later. Two lambs and two loaves were the offerings for each family for Shavuot.
Many of the Feasts had traditions and extra frills added over the years. I try to focus on the original basics in this abbreviated study. Of course, after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and the end of sacrificial offerings- all the Feasts had to be amended. I feel it is important to note the ancient and traditional scripture readings for the Feast of Weeks. The Book of Ruth, which I discussed in Countdown is a masterpiece illustrating that the Love of the Messiah was not only intended for the Jewish “chosen” few. The wings of His tallit are large enough to cover us all!
An excellent study are these other, traditionally read, Pentecost passages: Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:12, Hab. 2:20- 3:19. They all describe the brightness of God’s Glory. In Ezekiel’s vision he witnessed wind and fire and voices: “Then I looked and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the North. A great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself and brightness was all around it and radiating out of the midst like the color of amber…Then the Spirit lifted me up and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice-Blessed is the Glory of the Lord from His place!” Habbakuk describes his vision as “His glory covered the heavens…His brightness was like the light…and fever followed at His feet.” Hab 3:3-5. One can see how, especially in light of this verbage that the faithful present at the Temple that morning recognized, especially after Peter’s sermon- and a light bulb of revelation went off for them- that they were witnessing, in some similar capacity, the arrival and manifestation of the Glory of God–The Holy Spirit!
I have written extensively about the fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost. Jesus had instructed his team to await the Comforter in Jerusalem and when the “fullness of Pentecost had come” they heard a Great and Rushing Wind!! They were, by this time, all at the Temple at the time of the morning sacrifice. A huge-God Mandated- crowd was there to witness the arrival of the Holy Spirit upon this core group of 120 believers. I encourage everyone to read the special permanent pages on this website labeled: Holy Spirit 101 and Holy Spirit 102 for more in depth study and references. We can see then that Feasts 1-3 had to do with ” the big picture” of Jesus’ First Coming 1) He is our Passover Lamb 2) He is our Unleavened Bread Sinless and pierced for our iniquities. Jesus was the broken Matzo, wrapped in the Afikomen napkin at the Passover table and hidden in the “grave” 3) He is the First Fruits of the Dead our Risen Savior. This brings us to Feast 4) Pentecost celebrates the arrival, in Power, of the Promised Holy Spirit. This year Pentecost is on May 24.
Acts 2 shows the amazing transformation of Peter as he jumps up and preaches to this ready made audience at the Temple. He tells this crowd, in no uncertain terms, that they must receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. When they asked what they should do when they realized that they truly had missed the Messiah; Peter answered as clearly as possible: Belief in Jesus as your Savior, Repent of your sins, Water Baptism to publically proclaim the washing away of your sins and turning of your life in a new path AND receiving of the Holy Spirit Baptism. It is a clear step of obedience, which has nothing whatsoever to do with your Salvation, but everything to do with empowering you to live the Christian life. This was true for the thousands of men that accepted Jesus that day at Herod’s Temple and it is true today as you read this post. If you would like me to pray with you to accept the Holy Spirit please don’t hesitate to contact me. Lest we forget, it isn’t about us, it is all about the Harvest!
There is all sorts of new volcanic activity ongoing and this is a good site to just look at a glance and see what is bubbling up around the world this week! http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/erupting_volcanoes.html Dutchsinse.com is also an excellent site. You can “like” it on Facebook and then updates appear as they are happening along with interesting explanations of seismic activity. Two more eruptions at Mt. Sakurajima in Southern Japan followed the earthquake at the opposite end of Japan the other day. Mt. Hakone the long dormant Japanese volcano just a scant 40 miles from Tokyo is still venting steam and the over 100 little earthquakes indicate shallow signs of a coming eruption. An unexpected volcanic ash eruption also occurred yesterday at Telica in Nicaragua in Central America. Italy currently has only one erupting volcano, Stromboli, but May 12 reports were noted that Mt. Etna has seen activity in it’s crater. so we will keep an eye on that.
In the-” It’s about dad gum time”- category:
Franklin Graham’s facebook page posted today” Three cheers for the U.S. Senate! They voted Monday in favor of a resolution to call on President Obama and his administration to do all they can to secure the release of American’s imprisoned in Ian, including Pastor Saeed Abedini. I hope that the President hears this message loud and clear and takes action!”
In a very disturbing story, Seth Borenstein, science writer for the Associated Press, reported on a federal survey that 2 out of every 5 American honeybee colonies died in the past year and that the worst die-off was in the summer. Since April 2014, beekeepers have lost 42.1% of their colonies, the second highest loss rate in nine years according to annual survey conducted by a bee partnership which includes the Dept. of Agriculture. ” What we are seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there is some bad things happening with our agro-eco-systems” said study co-author Keith Delaplane. at the University of Georgia. “We just happen to notice it with honeybees because they are so easy to count.” Experts cite a combination of mites, poor nutrition and pesticides are to blame for the bee deaths. Not surprisingly, Dick Rogers, chief beekeeper for pesticide-maker Bayer said that the loss figure is “not unusual at all.” No one has mentioned a link to increased Genetic Modification of plants with fungal and bacterial retardants inbred or at the cellular levels or applied to seeds prior to planting as used by colossal Ag concerns such as ConAgra and Monsanto. ** This author would like to point out that the passage from Revelations 6:6 which describes the Black Horse- third seal” A measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny; and see that you don’t hurt the oil and the wine. I’m just a city girl, but I don’t think that any of the products in that list require pollination by bee’s. Just saying…
Follow the money!
The Telegraph carried a disturbing story, the full text is available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/comment/11602399/ban-cash-end-boom-and-bust.html The article reports on a new law in Denmark which could be the first step towards an economic revolution that sees physical currencies and normal bank accounts abolished and gives governments futuristic new tools to fight the cycle of “boom and bust”. Officially, according to the article, the goal is to ease the financial burdens. It would allow merchants to avoid such cost of hiring a security service to send cash to the bank and is part of a program of reforms aimed at boosting growth citing evidence that high cash usage in an economy acts as a drag. But the move could be a key moment in the advent of “cashless societies” And once all money exists only in bank accounts-“monitored” or even directly controlled by the government- the authorities will be able to encourage us to spend more when the economy slows, or spend less when it is overheating. Norwegian academic and economist, Trond Andresen says that this is not such a far-fetched idea “Having everyone’s account at a single central institution allows the authorities to either encourage or discourage people to spend. He claims that electronic money is an inclusive and convenient system that is 1) cheaper to run than one based on coins and banknotes 2)Forgery is impossible as are robberies 3) Tax evasion is made all but impossible. **This author believes that Denmark must have much more faith in their government than I do in mine. More Government control in anything is rarely a good thing as they have no oversight and display a shocking willingness to squander money while producing nothing. While I am sure that the IRS would love the notion that tax evasion is a’ thing of the past’ I take issue with all of these benefits. Apparently, Mr. Andresen has never heard of hacking and other electronic issues which could allow ones funds to evaporate in a moment. This article does send up a flair reminding me of Revelations 13:17 where it sounds as if John is describing electronic access to funding that is no possible unless one has a chip or electronic pass kind of thing to the Government controlled accounts. Proceed with caution!
A patient has been admitted and isolated at the UCONN Health Center with concerns that he has been infected with the Ebola virus. The unnamed patient was in Liberia from November 2014 until April 30, 2015 helping with the Ebola efforts there in a purely administrative role. Test results to confirm or eliminate an Ebola diagnosis should be back in 24 hours.
Wars and Rumors of Wars watch:
Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Knesset ceremony making 70 years since the Soviet victory over the Nazi’s. He cited that the historical lesson learned from WWII is not to back down from an extremist regime whose platform includes genocide and conquering other states, referring to the Iranian regime. “Against the enemies of freedom, enlightenment and progress we need to stand firm and in a timely manner, in order to prevent them from using weapons of mass destruction in order to realize their murderous agendas,” the prime minister said. Netanyahu quoted a senior Iranian official who he said was quoted in Arab media sources on Wednesday 5/13/15 as saying that Iran has God’s permission to liquidate Israel. “These statements are being heard by the representatives taking part in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and the talks continue as normal! ” We need to stand firm to prevent the Iranians from using weapons of mass destruction to carry out their will against Israel,” Netanyahu added.
The Jerusalem Post, yesterday reported that President Obama, in an interview with Asharq al-Awsat, an Arabic international newspaper based in London, empathized with the concerns expressed by regional allies apprehensive over the possibility that Iran will be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon. Shockingly, he admitted that “Iran clearly engages in dangerous and destabilizing behavior in different countries across the region,: the president, on the eve of his Camp David Gulf Nations summit, told the Saudi owned daily newspaper. “Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. It helps prop up the Assad regime in Syria. It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen. So countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iranian activities especially in its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations.” Obama said that he summoned the leaders of Gulf Nations to Camp David in order to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to their safety. The US seeks to “further strengthen our close partnerships”. ** President Obama did not address why, in light of these blatant issues with Iran whom he here labels a “terrorist nation,” he is still trying to negotiate their nuclear development and the lifting of economic sanctions. Negotiations have reconvened in Vienna at this printing. He did, however, take pains to assure the Saudi-owned newspaper that he still had hopes of brokering a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a related story, The Independent released a serious but expected story today: As tensions in the region are heightened due to Obama’s pitsy -patsy negotiations to curb Iran’s ongoing nuclear aspirations several leaders sent their regrets to the Camp David Gulf state summit. The Summit is an effort for the US to allay these leaders fears that the overtures to Iran will not come at their expense. However, in direct response to these fears, Saudi Arabia is now vowing to match Iran’s nuclear capabilities setting off a new Middle East arms race. Well done, President Obama! http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-vows-to-set-off-new-arms-race/
Speaking of Iran! In the continuing craziness in the Strait of Hormuz, cnn.com now reports that five small, Iranian” fast boats” have fired shots across the bow of a Singapore flagged cargo vessel in international waters in the Persian Gulf today in an attempt to stop this ship. A US official told CNN that it is not clear if the rounds hit the Alpine Eternity. The vessel, after being fired on, turned and escaped by entering UAE territorial waters according to initial US military reports of the incident. *** The Pentagon recently stopped it’s ordered escorts of commercial vessels through the strait but may need to reevaluate due to the continued evidence of sanctioned Iranian military Piracy threats. Please remember that, Incredibly, even as I write, the negotiations with Iran are ongoing in Vienna!!!
Weird and Uncomfortable Territory:
This photo was taken yesterday in Silsbee, Texas north of Beaumont, presumably as part of the mysterious and controversial upcoming Jade Helm “military exercises”. Does anyone else feel very uneasy-not to mention highly skeptical when they begin to see UN trains, personnel and equipment rolling around these sovereign states? Yeah, me too!
Pray for our leaders and pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!