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Today, beginning at sundown, is Shavuot Day. If this were Passover, Sabbath or Tabernacles (Succot), chances are, most of our readers and listeners would already have a pretty good understanding of what it is about. However, Shavuot does not seem so clear cut to many believers, who therefore don't see its relevance to them. I hope this Tsiyon Newsletter can help with that.
This is Part 2 of yesterday's newsletter. You may want to read that before you read this one, if you haven't read it already. Here is the link: http://tsiyon.net/newsletter/archive/2015/15_05_25_vol_10_17_tsiyon_news.htm
Here's is a quick recap:
Shavuot Day is the name of the feast that immediately follows the seven shavuot sabbath cycles that immediately follow Passover. It is first of all an agricultural cycle that starts with the offering of the first fruits of the barley harvest and ends with the offering of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, as in the following graphic.
Beyond its simple agricultural meaning, Shavuot celebrates the liberation of Israel from slavery in Egypt, to become a free nation at Sinai for the glory of YHWH. This coincided exactly with the agricultural Shavuot period, as in the next graphic.
This transition period of Israel was much like that of the caterpillar in the cocoon that emerges (in this figure on Shavuot) as the splendid butterfly.
Thus, Shavuot Day began as a celebration of the transition of Israel, at the completion of which a mob of slaves had been transformed into a free nation, dedicated to the glory of YHWH, much like an ugly caterpillar transformed into a beautiful butterfly fresh from the cocoon.
NOT THE END OF THE STORY
Had historic Israel only acted like the butterfly it was meant to be that might very well have been the whole story of Shavuot. However, Israel [for the most part] did not live up to that astounding potential.
As I have pointed out, that's why the faithful remnant of Israel needed a New Shavuot, and amazingly, we got one! Here's how:
ITS ALL ABOUT CATERPILLARS AND BUTTERFLIES
Really, it's all about the Covenant which is enumerated in the Torah. However, a good metaphor for this is caterpillars and butterflies. Becoming a "butterfly" depends on keeping the Covenant. The Covenant is the complete and unabridged Butterfly Manual. It describes perfectly what it means to be a butterfly and how a butterfly must behave to be a butterfly. Follow the Covenant as it is meant to be followed and you will soon learn how to fly like a butterfly because you will, in fact, be one - don't follow the Covenant and you are going nowhere fast on your sixteen caterpillar legs.
The problem is not access to the Covenant. That hurdle was put behind us when our forefathers entered the Covenant on Shavuot at Sinai. The problem for us has always been KEEPING the Covenant from day to day. It turns out it takes faith to fly. Our people have had their moments of flight, but mostly, not so much. Lacking the faith to fly, i.e. to live as the butterfly the Torah describes, we soon revert to our caterpillar ways. Caterpillars that don't convert can become nothing but rejects. YHWH doesn't want caterpillars that remain caterpillars. He only creates caterpillars because His ultimate purpose intends butterflies.
OK, we are saying most don't convert - they don't actually complete the transition the Torah requires. That is because of a decision of the individual to remain a caterpillar, even if falsely claiming the name of butterfly. That's sad, because you can't be a butterfly unless you actually ..well ..FLY!
Here is where the faithful remnant come in. Even if they haven't gotten there yet, with every breath they live to become butterflies! They have not failed to convert. They simply haven't completed their time in the cocoon. They are in transition to butterflyhood. True, they can't make the transition all the way by their own power. Surely, it is only God that can turn caterpillars into butterflies. What is different about the Remnant is that they believe that He can and that He will complete that work in them if they will only trust Him. So like their father Jacob, they struggle, even to exhaustion if necessary, and even then they cling to the neck of their Messiah and refuse to let go until He will utter that life-changing blessing. They are absolutely desperate to be butterflies! They simply will not be deterred by anything until He touches them and declares them to be ..ISRAEL! ..ISRAEL!! ..ISRAEL!!!
Even ..ISRAEL, MY SON!!!
MESSIAH CAME TO SAVE THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL
Messiah described his primary earthly mission this way: “I wasn’t sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” While He is Savior to all who will come, His mission here was in Israel and for Israel - Israel in this context meaning the faithful remnant of Israel who would follow Him and accept His salvation, who wanted to make the cut, but who were 'lost' i.e. could not make the transition without Him to actually BE True Israel. Matt 15:24
Like us, Messiah was opposed by an apostate system. The apostate religious system worked in tandem with the political and financial elite to oppress the people. This religious / political / commercial elite system oppressively ruled the people by wielding the powers of their unholy alliance against them. The religious system claimed to get their authority from the Torah - yet their real motivations were not in accord with the Torah. Their real motive was to keep the people in servitude to them and to the rest of the elite system. They and the rest of the elite system used deception, coercion and unrighteous raw power to maintain their position of superiority. Their system, including both the elite rulers and the mindless drones who chose to be their victims, was what Messiah called "the world" that he had come to save the remnant out of.
Ultimately that world killed Him. This was inevitable because His rightful Davidic Kingdom authority was a threat to their unholy contrived system, and they would not risk losing the false construct they had built for themselves. What the world could not understand is that His death would be salvation for His own while leading to their own ultimate destruction - which is exactly how all of that turned out.
He was killed on Passover, but before He was killed He established a New/Renewed Covenant with the faithful remnant of Israel via the Apostles as our national representatives, through which all of the promises of the original Covenant could flow to the Remnant. This Covenant was ratified by His own broken body and shed blood for us, which we must accept to become part of Renewed Israel. The power in this Covenant is revealed in His resurrection from the dead. This occurred at the start of the seven Shavuot cycles, beginning the count of those seven Shavuot cycles. He remained with them for most of that Shavuot period.
To these he also showed himself alive after he suffered, by many proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking about God’s Kingdom. Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, “Don’t depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me. For Yochanan indeed immersed in water, but you will be immersed in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:3-6
After His resurrection He taught them about the Kingdom for 40 days. Their comment shows how they understood His teaching i.e. as a restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. He assumed the general rightness of that assumption by addressing only the question of timing. But I digress. My point here is that they were in the cocoon with Messiah and He was directing their transformation! Only ten days remained until Shavuot Day when He ascended to heaven in their sight. Those first believers, including His family, were to stay together in Jerusalem and pray until the appointed time. That time came on Shavuot Day! The very thing they needed to constitute them together as True Israel, and to empower them individually to be able to keep the Covenant was poured out upon them that day! Yes, I am speaking of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, immersing them with spiritual gifts and ministries from on high, actually empowering them to keep the Covenant and to BE ISRAEL! (Acts 2, see Jer 31:31-34)
All of that looks like this:
THIS MEANS YOU!
Listen to this:
Giving thanks to the Father, who made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the holy ones [i.e. Israel] in light; who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love. Col 1:12-13
The Kingdom Transformation of that first remnant body continues in our day with each individual remnant believer. Each of us individually must go through that same transition from the darkness of this world system into the Kingdom of Messiah. This involves transformation to be "fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the holy ones" i.e. to actually be ISRAEL, to keep the Covenant, to actualize the fullness of Israel's inheritance in our own selves. In the words of our Metaphor: to actually become butterflies through the resurrection power of Messiah completing His work in us. Ultimately, Shavuot celebrates our own transformation into real covenant keeping Israel, part of Messiah's Kingdom Nation.
Finally, I have been praying for the Remnant during these Shavuot cycles and now, on Shavuot, I lift up this prayer once again. You can read it in this newsletter, and if you are in agreement please say "Amen."
Happy Shavuot and Shalom,
Eliyahu ben David