What does a Jewish feast (Shavuot/Pentecost) have to do with the congregation of God, the Church? A lot! On the eve of Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 we will have the privilege to add yet one more birthday candle to the more than 2000 that have, these many years, been illuminating the new and true Temple of God, the Church, which is Yeshua’s Body.
Birth Pangs of Fantastic Fortune
It’s true that birthdays can be harrowing and even deadly for some; the baker was killed on Pharaoh’s birthday (Gen. 40:20-23) and John the Baptist had his life taken on Herod’s birthday (Matt.14:6-11). But birthdays can also be beautiful events as seen when God rescued Israel from her bondage and then birthed and fashioned a nation for His purposes. Then fourteen hundred years later, God sent the Messiah who by the Spirit begat a people; a creation birthed by design. Eve was fashioned from the rib of Adam. Likewise, through the remnant of Israel, and through the New Covenant, God grafted the nations into the place of blessing, calling the Jewish/Gentile Church into existence. And what a miraculous entity this is; a birth to truly celebrate! We the Church are not only called His bride but we are Messiah’s own Body, tied together by the strongest eternal bonds possible.
This was a new institution of men, women, and children, transformed by the now permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit, germinated for the express purpose of teaching the world that it needed a Savior, and by the power now vested in it, it was to set the example of unconditional love and forgiveness. It was the birth of a dynamic organization driven by love and molded by the miracles of a daily transformation that it was to undergo.
Messiah Completes the Feasts
Looking back into Israel’s biblical history we read that because of sin and rebellion, the Spirit of God departed from the Temple just before its destruction. But with Messiah’s death and resurrection, He now completes the promise He made, that the Spirit would now take up permanent residence in the heart of every person who trusted the New Covenant promise (Jer. 31:31).
“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord”.
And why might tongues have been manifested on that day? Perhaps to point to a reversal of the curse of Babel. Then, men got together for evil, so God needed to disband them for their own sake. Now, they can work together in one accord because their love of Messiah becomes the unifying language between them.
Sanctifying the Leaven
Every sacrifice offered to God needed to be without leaven. As many know, leaven in the Bible symbolizes sin. However, the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) was unique in that two loaves with leaven were offered. Why? Rabbinical commentaries are quite silent on this portion of the Scripture perhaps because its meaning lies hidden in the mystery of its fulfillment found in the New Testament (Eph. 3:3-6). The reason for the two loaves of leavened bread points to both Jews and Gentiles – both sinners, hence the leaven — who were now offered up to God. They form the new Body, the mystery called the Church. Here Gentiles will be co-heirs with Jews, sharing in the spiritual inheritance and blessings of the Kingdom, being one in Messiah (Rom. 11).
The post Pentecost church age is marked by new laws and new powers. With the Holy Spirit permanently residing in the believer, we now have the authority and strength to control our thoughts and rule over sin. While this is happening on an individual basis, all the earth and its peoples are waiting for Israel’s national acceptance of the Messiah… for when she does, the Millennium will be ushered in. We, the Church, need to understand our role in this dispensation as the catalyst by which many will come to know Yeshua’s salvation and avoid Tribulation and eternal judgment. Just as you cannot not have the Messianic Kingdom without the death of the Messiah, you cannot have that same Kingdom without the rebirth of national Israel.