Sunday, March 5, 2017

E.G.O. ---- Edging God Out --- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD? --- Week 5 - Pentecost

E.G.O.  ----  Edging God Out    

--- what happened to our Sabbath – and the 7 Feasts of the LORD?

Facilitated by Rev. †Ken Neuhaus at Fort Mitchell Baptist Church (KY) 

(8 week series 2/5/17 – 3/26/17) on 3/5/17

We are continuing in the discussion from Leviticus 23, regarding the Feasts of the LORD.
This week, we discuss what we know as Pentecost.   I
n the Christian liturgical year it has become a feast commemorating the "Birthday of the Church."   But if that was just a historical event, then what does Pentecost mean for us today?  Lets start in Leviticus 23:15-21.

So, there are three mandated festivals that Jewish people are to commemorate every year.  It is important enough that God commanded in scripture for them to observe year after year.  The three feasts are The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Pesach/Passover), The Feast of Weeks (Shavout/Pentecost), and The Feast of Booths/Tabernacles (Sukkot).

Let's look at The Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament - 
In Exodus 18:13-23, we see that the Israelites have been released from Egypt, and have been traveling through the desert heading toward the promised land.  But like all people, some become wayward and need someone else to decide right and wrong for them.  So we see that Moses has been doing this since they left Egypt.  But now, Moses appoints judges to help with the problems and disputes of the people.  I mention this little point because so much like all humans, even you and I need guidance to figure out how to live.  Next, in Exodus 19:1-3, we see where they arrive at Mt. Sinai.  They arrived here 7 weeks and one day after they left Egypt, and this becomes the Feast of Weeks.  Numbers 28:26, it is also a Holy Day and a Day of Rest.  This is a day to be called Holy, where they are honoring that they have arrived a place of Holiness, the place where the Torah is given to them by God.  But even more so, because according to Exodus 19:3-6,  this is where God called them to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  

Let's look at the Feast of Weeks in the New Testament-
This was eagerly celebrated in Israel because it signified the completion of the early harvest, the first harvest from the fields.  The priest would take the sheaf of grain, and in a special ceremony, would wave it before God as an offering.  And, Israelites could be assured of having food when God's blessing was upon them.  Pentecost signaled a good year ahead for an Israelite.  It was a great festival of both hope and joy.  But there is a more profound parallel to all this.  When Jesus ascended to heaven following the Resurrection, His followers were very perplexed because their risen Lord was taken away from them.  But He had promised He would not leave them as orphans.  John 14:18  So imagine the confusion of seeing the Savior of the World leaving them, being taken up into the sky.  Acts 1:9.  But then imagine the surprise as they continue by observing the Feasts, and upon the Feast of Weeks, they are gathered together and receive the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:1-41.  Here, in a mighty way, God empowered the body of Believers in Jesus, they were given power in the Holy Spirit.  Church, have you been empowered?

Let's look at the parallel of OT and NT-
In the Old Testament, the Feast of Weeks celebrates God giving the Torah.  The Torah is the means by which God's people can know how to relate with God and how to relate with people.  In the New Testament, the Feast of Weeks celebrates God giving His Spirit.  The Holy Spirit empowers God's people to have deep relationship with God and to have relationship with people.  

So what does this mean for us today?
1 Corinthians 12:13 reveals to us a glorious representation of who we are as one big body of believers.  Just as the LORD is ONE, so too are we to be ONE.   The Holy Spirit stirs us and allows us to be ONE.  Last week, we discussed the Greatest Commandment, from Matthew 22:36-40.  This is a teaching from Jesus that brings to light two Commandments from the Torah.  The first from the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18.  So, as the Old Testament gave the Torah at the Feast of Weeks in order to teach people how to relate --- so does the New Testament give the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to empower the Church.

In closing, a review of the first four (spring time) feasts reveals that Jesus was crucified on Passover, buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, raised on the Feast of First Fruits, and sent the Holy Spirit on Shavuot/Pentecost.  Because we have not yet seen the fulfillment of the 5th feast, Trumpets, we remain under the guidance of Pentecost.  We should live our lives full of the Holy Spirit!

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