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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jonathan Bernis » Jonathan Bernis - Shavuot: God's Love and Provision

Jonathan Bernis - Shavuot: God's Love and Provision

Jonathan Bernis - Shavuot: God's Love and Provision
TOPICS: Shavout, Pentecost

Jonathan Bernis: Shalom and welcome to Jewish Voice. I'm Jonathan Bernis. This week we're celebrating Pentecost, or Shavuot in Hebrew. My co-host, Ezra Benjamin, and I are believing for an outpouring of God's spirit today in your life. Ezra, what a week!

Ezra Benjamin: What an incredible week.

Jonathan Bernis: This is a really important week! This is a really important holiday!

Ezra Benjamin: It's such an important time on God's annual biblical timetable, and yet, Jonathan, for most of our Jewish people around the world, we see it come and go on the calendar. We don't really understand what it's about, right? It's maybe the most misunderstood and undercelebrated of the Jewish holidays.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, which is strange because it's such a major feast. This is one of three times during the biblical calendar where the children of Israel, the men, were commanded to leave their homes, and on foot or by donkey if they had resources, the means, they had to travel all the way to Jerusalem to worship God, to meet with God.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And that's why there were so many Jewish people in the temple worshipping when the Holy Spirit was poured out, because they were following the commandment to return to Jerusalem for the three feasts. So, Ezra, Passover is the first. The men were commanded at Passover to make their sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem. And by the way, you see Jesus following the commands. He was traveling to Jerusalem to fulfill the command to be in Jerusalem for this Pilgrimage feast.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: Paul also, on the Pilgrimage feasts, sort of dropped everything. He was in remote parts of the Roman Empire, and he came back to Jerusalem and that took a long time. That was a big sacrifice of time, but they did it because this was an important command: go to Jerusalem and meet with your God.

Ezra Benjamin: So important.

Jonathan Bernis: Passover, number one. Number two is Shavuot. It's Pentecost, and this is the one that's overlooked by most American Jews. Israelis go on a picnic, but it's a major event biblically. And the third is Sukkot. It's the final wrap up. It's the feast of tabernacles. It's the great end gathering, and that's something that the nations will celebrate in the millennial kingdom.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen.

Jonathan Bernis: In the Messianic age. Gentiles will go to Jerusalem physically during the millennium to worship God.

Ezra Benjamin: When Yeshua rules and reigns on earth, the Jewish people and all of you who believe in him are going to March into Jerusalem to celebrate these feasts.

Jonathan Bernis: Yes.

Ezra Benjamin: It's incredible.

Jonathan Bernis: So, these are really important events. These are historic events, they're prophetic events, they're God moments. Mark Biltz calls the cycle of feasts God's day-timer, and I agree with him. This is God's day-timer, and Shavuot, or Pentecost, is a huge event. Most Christians... You talk about Jewish people not realizing the significance. Most Christians, although they look at acts 2, we're very familiar with Pentecost. From many teachers, they refer to this as the birthday of the church, and I agree with that to some extent. This is the promise that Jesus gave his disciples. Yeshua said, wait here. "Tarry here in Jerusalem," to use the King James, "Until the promise is fulfilled". The promise is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: And Ezra, you see that the first coming of the Messiah parallels the first three feasts in Leviticus 23.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay.

Jonathan Bernis: They are fulfilled, or filled to fullness, so you reverse the syllables. You have filled full with the coming, the first coming. The fall feasts connect with his return, but the spring feasts, Passover, Shavuot or Pentecost, and of course, in between them the resurrection, the first fruits, are directly fulfilled when Jesus dies as the Passover lamb. He dies at the same time as the lambs are being sacrificed.

Jonathan Bernis: On the eve of Passover. He's the Passover lamb that takes away the sins of the world. He's resurrected on the feast of first fruits, which is the first harvest of the year. It's a barley harvest.

Ezra Benjamin: During the season of unleavened bread...

Jonathan Bernis: The season of unleavened bread, the Passover, and he becomes the first fruits of life from the dead for us.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow.

Jonathan Bernis: Directly fulfills the feast, or brings it to fullness. And then the third one is Shavuot. What is the fulfillment of Shavuot? It's the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. What is it in the scriptures? It's the first wheat harvest.

Ezra Benjamin: Interesting.

Jonathan Bernis: What's the wheat harvest symbolize? Souls, and 3.000 are saved that day, and they were all Jews or proselytes to Judaism in the temple, there because they were commanded to go to Jerusalem for Shavuot.

Ezra Benjamin: It's incredible. Just at that level, Jonathan, it's incredible, but there's so much more context. And I hope you at home, whether you use a pen or a pencil and paper, or whether you use your tablet, or whatever you need to use, get ready to take some notes, because we want to get into the context.

Jonathan Bernis: Now, let me really blow people's minds, okay? Here's something that many of you did not know. Some of you do, many of you don't. We were talking about this with our group and many didn't know this. Not only is Shavuot the first wheat harvest, which is directly fulfilled with the first intake of souls into the Kingdom of God beyond the disciples and the 120 in the Book of Acts, this is the first great harvest. In the temple, 3.000 Jews, and they didn't convert to Christianity. Some of you might be shocked by that. They didn't convert to Christianity. The Holy Spirit fell on them, and then they discovered that Yeshua, Jesus, was their promised Messiah.

Ezra Benjamin: The promised one, yeah.

Jonathan Bernis: They were changed in the blink of an eye by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But, here's what's mind-blowing. Not only is this the wheat harvest, the first harvest of the year, symbolic of souls, but according to the rabbis, Ezra, this is the day that the law was given at mount Sinai. Moses received at mount Sinai the Ten Commandments, the giving of the law which establishes Israel as a nation, they were already a people, the Hebrews. Now they're the Israelites. They become a nation at mount Sinai. That took place on Shavuot, on Pentecost. What am I saying? I'm saying that the same day that the law was given, now the Holy Spirit is poured out. The law, the spirit.

Ezra Benjamin: The same day.

Jonathan Bernis: The same day of the Jewish calendar. The law, the spirit in acts 2, they are connected.

Ezra Benjamin: Wow. Jonathan, immediately my mind jumps to Jeremiah 31, ‘cause we're talking about the giving of the law, written on tablets of stone, the first Shavuot in the wilderness, and then the giving of God's spirit, which is really our ability to have his law, his words written on our hearts, Jew and gentile alike.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. Now, that's the result of a Messianic theology, because what many Christians are taught, and maybe you've been taught this, the law is over here in the old. It's done away with. It's a thing of the past, and now we have the new. Over here you have judgment, and you have law, and you have punishment and vengeance, and over here you have grace, and healing, and forgiveness. The law's gone, now it's the spirit.

Ezra Benjamin: Now it's grace time.

Jonathan Bernis: There's a problem with that, and the problem with that is that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Ezra Benjamin: Right.

Jonathan Bernis: He doesn't change. He's not a changing God. Now, we're no longer under that law. Paul's made that very clear. We're no longer under the law. So the question is, Ezra, where is the law?

Ezra Benjamin: Right, and Yeshua said I haven't come to abolish it, but to fulfill it. So, where is it being fulfilled?

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, so many teach it's dead, it's done away with, it's a thing of the past. No, Jeremiah 31 is the answer, and that is that the laws, which were on tablets, which were external, which were on our shoulders so we were under it, are now inside of us. How? Through the deposit of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost, Shavuot, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We now receive the Holy Spirit and along with that comes the laws of God, now written in our heart. I hope you're getting this! This is huge! The law's not dead, it's inside of you! That's so important. It's huge. It's so, so important. You have the laws of God within you. We have to take a quick break, but we'll be right back to look closer at Shavuot, at Pentecost, because this is your day for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Don't go anywhere.

Jonathan Bernis: I really want to encourage you to become a Jewish Voice partner. I'm passionate about this because I understand that it takes this partnership. You may not be able to go out in the field with us. Maybe you can: we welcome you to come with us to Ethiopia, to Zimbabwe, to Zambia, but maybe you can't. But, you can be there in spirit by sending us. Romans 10 says, "They can't hear unless one proclaim, and they can't proclaim unless they be sent". So, this is a partnership of sending so that we can proclaim the gospel to Jewish people, and I really want to get this Ruth scroll out to you. Why Ruth? Because Ruth was the one that said, "Your God will be my God, and your people shall be my people," and you have been grafted into the Jewish people, so you are a Ruth who needs to demonstrate that your God is the God of Israel, and that your people not only are the world, but especially the Jewish people, because there's a unique calling to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy. So, become a monthly partner with us. Ezra, the Shavuot is the outpouring.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah, and I just want to keep getting our audience more and more and more context, because the more you understand the context, the more the New Testament is going to open up to you, from acts 2 all the way to the end. Jonathan, one question though that we haven't covered yet. The word "Pentecost," maybe originally Greek, Latin origins, and then the word "Shavuot," Hebrew, these sound very different to my ear and yet we're talking about the same thing. What do these words mean?

Jonathan Bernis: Well, we are talking about the same thing, and I want to segue just a second and say the same idea with Christ. The word "Christ," for a Jewish person, means the God of Christianity, but it comes from the Greek "Christos," which means anointed one. It comes from the Hebrew word "Mashiach," Messiah. Christ is Messiah, and that's when a Jewish person understands, oh, okay, I get it now, ‘cause I understand Messiah, but Christ means something very different. Pentecost and Shavuot are the same thing, Ezra.

Ezra Benjamin: Interesting.

Jonathan Bernis: Penta is 50, so this is the 50th day, but based on the Greek.

Ezra Benjamin: Okay, now what's the Hebrew mean?

Jonathan Bernis: Hebrew, Shavuot, is week, or weeks. So, the number 7 in Hebrew is sheva, and that means 7. So, this is 7 times 7. It's the 50th day after 7 periods of 7.

Ezra Benjamin: Interesting.

Jonathan Bernis: It's exactly the same thing. It's the same day. It's the day where the law was given, and the day, in acts 2, where the Holy Spirit was poured out. This is no coincidence that the people that were in the temple were at the right place at the right time, foreordained by God that on this day of the giving of the law, on this day when the first wheat harvest would be gathered and celebrated... Wheat is souls. Prophetically, wheat is souls. This is the first great gathering of souls into the Kingdom of God in acts 2. 3.000 and they were all Jews or proselytes to Judaism. They were in the temple worshipping. They were born from above in a single moment, and everything changed that day. This is a sequence, Ezra. Penta, 50: Shavuot, weeks: 7 weeks of 7. The 50th day, the giving of the law, the wheat harvest, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the first great gathering of souls.

Ezra Benjamin: Amazing. So important for you to understand as you're, I hope, taking notes at home. All of these people from Jewish communities throughout the known world weren't just by happenstance in Jerusalem. They didn't just get together for any reason. They're there waiting and praying on a biblical appointed time, remembering the giving of the law and waiting for a wheat harvest, and the Holy Spirit shows up.

Jonathan Bernis: And they got the reward. They were at the right place at the right time, and I want you to be at the right place at the right time. This is true of every biblical feast, by the way. It connects either to a direct fulfillment in the first coming, the death of Yeshua as the Passover lamb, his resurrection as the first fruits of life from the dead. When? Not on a random day, on first fruits. And the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not on a random day, on the great harvest of Pentecost, Shavuot, and the same is true of the fall feasts, that will yet to be fulfilled. Something prophetically will happen on Rosh Hashanah, on Yom Kippur, on Sukkot, that's directly tied to the return of the Messiah. This is God's timetable. This is God's calendar.

Ezra Benjamin: Amazing, and I hope the Lord's opening your eyes at home right now, and the reason we share with you all of these things is so you have the context and God opens your eyes to the Jewish roots of your faith. Easter, related, it can't be disconnected from Passover. And Pentecost is, not just can't be disconnected from, but is Shavuot, this Jewish feast.

Jonathan Bernis: How about the last supper? This is not some final meal only. This is the final Passover seder meal.

Ezra Benjamin: A Jewish feast.

Jonathan Bernis: A Jewish feast that everything has very specific meaning. The cup that Yeshua blesses and defines as his blood, interprets as his blood, is the third cup. It's a cup of redemption, no coincidence. The matzah is unleavened bread. It's his body. Why? No sin. There's no leaven, and it wasn't white bread, it was matzah. Everything connects, and the more you understand these interconnections, the more appreciation you can have for the God who is never changing, his word, which all ties together and really doesn't contradict itself. It's not the God of the old is a God of judgment and the God of the new is a God of grace. There's grace and there's judgment in both the old and the new.

Ezra Benjamin: Yeah. So Jonathan, how does our audience watching at home bring the realities of Shavuot, of Pentecost, to bear in their life today?

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, well, we're no longer under the law, but the law hasn't disappeared, it's in our heart. And with that comes a revelation of what's pleasing to God and what's displeasing to God, and we have it all here, and today is an opportunity to really connect with that reality, that the Holy Spirit lives in us and he wants to explode in us. We may be buried by the things of the world. You may be facing financial challenges. You may be dealing with the separation of a spouse. Whatever you're going through, the Holy Spirit is right there, ready to be poured out on the situation. As you grab ahold of him by faith, you're gonna release something new, a new Pentecost or Shavuot upon you, upon your household, in Jesus' name.

Ezra Benjamin: Amen. So important, so important for you at home to understand this concept. It's not tablets of stone giving us from the outside in the law, but it's the Holy Spirit poured out first on Jewish people on that first Pentecost, now the inside out, the law written on our hearts working itself out in lives.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, what I think is a problem that needs to be addressed and resolved is the idea that grace and law somehow oppose each other and are repelling each other. Yeah, legalism repels grace.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure.

Jonathan Bernis: It does. When we're legalistic and bound up in the law, it repels grace. But when we correctly understand that law and grace are intermingled together, we have the grace to keep the law, reinterpreted law, and all of this has been internalized, things start to come together in a way that doesn't make sense otherwise. I don't see a different God in the Old Testament dealing with Israel and a different God in the new. When we focus just on mercy and grace, we miss a God who has standards, who hates sin.

Ezra Benjamin: Sure, who is holy.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, who's holy. And vice versa, when we see this God of judgment and retribution, we miss the grace of lay your hands on the scapegoat and send it into the wilderness, or a sacrificial system to cover sin so God can dwell among us. All of this can come together when we begin to understand Jeremiah 31, "The law has been written in our heart".

Ezra Benjamin: Amen, and you have the answer at home, and you can share it with a Jewish friend, family member, or neighbor. You have the answer.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah. We have to take a short break, but I'm gonna be back with our "Ask the rabbi" segment, where I answer some questions that you've sent in. I also want to take some time to pray for you, for the needs of your family, because we believe in a God who hears and answers prayer. Stay with us, we'll be right back.

Jonathan Bernis: Welcome back. We've been celebrating Shavuot or Pentecost this week, the outpouring of God's spirit, and believing with you that this is your week of outpouring. God wants to minister to you, to your family, to your children and grandchildren. Whatever you're going through, there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit within reach. And now we're going to take some questions that you, our viewers, have e-mailed in. I love this part. I love answering questions and we always have some great ones. Ezra, let's start.

Ezra Benjamin: Some great ones today, Jonathan. Landon from St. Petersburg, Florida, asks, "What is the difference between the Jewish spring feasts and fall feasts? Are they literally related to literal sowing and reaping of a harvest, or is it all a spiritual metaphor"?

Jonathan Bernis: Well, Landon, yes and yes. They are related to the cycle of harvest. Israel was an agricultural society and the feasts, for the most part, very often are celebrating the various harvests: the barley harvest, the first wheat harvest, the final harvest at Sukkot. And then, there's also days that are memorials. Rosh Hashanah has become the new year, but it was the feast of trumpets, the blowing of the shofar, the shofarot, preparing the people to worship God. And then, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, was very significant. So, they're either agricultural or they're ceremonial, but they're also prophetic. They're not just metaphors, they're prophetic events on God's calendar, the cycle of feasts, that point to the redemptive plan of God through the Messiah, either his first coming or his return and fulfill. Let me talk about fulfill for a minute. Fulfill is best understood not as bringing to an end, but to fill full. Just reverse the syllables and you understand that this is a glass being filled, Ezra, being filled to fullness, and the spring feasts and the fall feasts are a matter of timing. They're different events that have a fulfillment, or a filling full, with either an agricultural harvest or a ceremonial remembrance, like Passover commemorates the Exodus out of Egypt and the lamb that was slain to protect the children of Israel from the angel of death. Jesus, Yeshua, becomes our Passover lamb. He celebrates or observes that final Passover and brings new meaning. He literally is resurrected on first fruits, and the Holy Spirit is poured out on Pentecost or Shavuot as we spoke about today. And then you have later on the fall feasts, that are, I believe, directly connected to Yeshua's return. It's the national repentance of Israel. I believe it's connected to the recognition of Yeshua and mourning for him, and repenting. And then, the final end gathering is the feast of tabernacles, or Sukkot. These are rich, Ezra, and they're for every believer. They're the inheritance, not only of the people of Israel, but those who sojourn with the people of Israel who are engrafted through the Messiah. You're a spiritual son or daughter of Abraham, and this is your inheritance! I want to make that, I can't say that enough. This is your inheritance, and that's why you have to understand this cycle of feasts and how Yeshua's at the center, Jesus is at the center of all of them.

Ezra Benjamin: Great.

Jonathan Bernis: Yeah, it's so important.

Ezra Benjamin: Critically important. John from Prescott, Arizona asks, "Why is there a separate Hebrew calendar and how is it different from the western one I use every day"?

Jonathan Bernis: The biblical calendar comes first, the Gregorian calendar, and it was a lunar calendar and it's a biblical calendar. This is God's established timetable and cycle through the year. So you have a biblical calendar and then later a Gregorian calendar that our calendar is based on, but obviously, we observe both. They're both important and they both exist. One is lunar, one is solar. Sometimes they connect with each other. Celebrate the biblical feasts. Understand how Yeshua's at the center of all of these feasts, and celebrate them in their fullness. If you have prayer needs, if you'd like more information about our ministry or the things we've talked about, you can log on to our website. It's packed with information. Our website is I want to leave you with this: God loves you, and so do we. And as we close our program, I also want to remind you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as we're exhorted in Psalm 122:6. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper who love thee". So, pray this week for Israel and the Jewish people. Until next time, this is Jonathan Bernis along with Ezra Benjamin, saying shalom and God bless you.
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