Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:9-12 “Count seven weeks for yourself. Begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. 10 “And you shall perform the Festival of Weeks to יהוה your Elohim, according to the voluntary offering from your hand, which you give as יהוה your Elohim blesses you. 11 “And you shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim, you and your son and your daughter, and your male servant and your female servant, and the Lĕwite who is within your gates, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are in your midst, at the place where יהוה your Elohim chooses to make His Name dwell. 12 “And you shall remember that you were a slave in Mitsrayim, and you shall guard and do these laws.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:16-17 “Three times a year all your males appear before יהוה your Elohim in the place which He chooses: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and at the Festival of Weeks, and at the Festival of Booths. And none should appear before יהוה empty-handed, 17 but each one with the gift of his hand, according to the blessing of יהוה your Elohim which He has given you.”
It is day 50 – praise our Elohim that we have been ‘equipped to count’ as we looked at on our erev Shabbat Service in a message “Have you been counting?”; and be gathered here as a unified body of Messiah, acceptable and pleasing before Elohim in our High Priest and King יהושע Messiah, aměn!
As we gather here today, a proclaimed set-apart time of worship, let us enjoy this wonderful day together with Him. This is truly a time to celebrate His provision in our lives, as we come on this day and are reminded of how this day pictures for us a ‘receiving’ of His Word into our hearts, and so it is with great joy and expectancy that we come as a unified body with continued expectation for His infilling of His magnificent presence to be made manifest in all of our lives as His Spirit equips us to walk in the unity as we allow His Word to mature us in Him!
This is harvest time! When one would reap the harvest it typically would have been done in a circular way – in other words, as most of you may have seen, on some farms in the countryside how it looks like larges circles being cut – and this would leave then ‘the corners’ for the poor and alien – not that this happens in our culture today! But this is the way Elohim provides even for the poor as His Land represents provision for all as opposed to lack under slavery! Now the ‘size’ of one’s corners left for the poor and aliens depended upon the size of one’s heart – this again was over and above that which was set-apart for יהוה! Also what would happen at harvest time is that the farmer would not go over an already reaped part and whatever fell to the ground was too left for the alien and stranger and it was during this Feast that Ruth had this provision from the fields of Bo‘az – a great picture of our provision that we have from our Kinsman Redeemer, יהושע Messiah, as we humbly come and bow ourselves at His feet! Shavuot pictures for us the full provision of יהוה, when we clearly understand the counting to 50 as a picture of the Yoḇel (jubilee) and the release; for in the Yoḇel no fields were harvested and the poor would not only have access to the corners of the field as in a normal year but would now have access to all!
Shavuot is vitally important for us as it not only teaches us how to count as we have discussed on our erev Shabbat teaching, but it is a vital part of understanding יהוה’s Appointed Times and the purpose of receiving His Spirit that equips us to work out our deliverance with fear and trembling until our Bridegroom comes for us and makes our deliverance complete. Shavuot is a reminder of how we have received His Torah (Marriage Covenant) upon our hearts, establishing us as His set-apart Bride:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 8:10 “Because this is the covenant that I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, says יהוה, giving My laws in their mind, and I shall write them on their hearts, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.”
At Shavuot the shofar/trumpet is blown and is typically called the ‘first shofar’ and we know also that the ‘last shofar’ is blown on the Feast of Kippur on the Yoḇel (Jubilee), when the release is proclaimed and the return of the Bridegroom to His treasured possession
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “See, I speak a secret to you: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Yom Teruah most certainly ushers in the Awakening Blast and starts the process of the Trumpets that are sounded as spoken of in Ḥazon/Revelation and the last of these will take place on Yom Kippur on the Yoḇel year He returns.
So Shavuot and the ‘first shofar’ or trumpet is connected with the marriage union between יהוה and His people! And this is why I say this – for a Hebrew marriage consists typically of two main stages, listen to this Scripture:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 20:7 “And who is the man who is engaged to a woman and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.”
The Hebrew word translated as ‘engaged’ is אָרַשׂ ’aras’ (Strong’s H781) and carries with it the meaning of betrothal in regards to the bride price having already been paid. This is also known as the pledge to marry, i.e. the active voice or announcement of attaching a young woman for marriage to a man, with a financial exchange occurring between the parties’ families. This is when the Bride says, “yes” to the proposal and receives the marriage contract – known as the “Ketuḇah” and in so doing this she binds herself to her husband. This is considered as a legally binding contract that one cannot be divorced from except by death or adultery, and the parties – although not yet living together, they are legally married. The betrothal/ engagement is announced with the sound of a shofar. Now at Mount Sinai on Shavuot when the Ten Words were spoken – they heard the sound of the shofar – the very voice of Elohim – the sound of the first shofar announcing the marriage between Elohim and His people and He issued the Marriage contract – the Ten Words written on Tablets of stone. The Bride price had been paid – the Bride said yes and Yisra’ĕl was now legally married on Shavuot. Take a look at:
Shemoth/Exodus 19: 8 “And all the people answered together and said, “All that יהוה has spoken we shall do.” So Mosheh brought back the words of the people to יהוה.”
This is so amazing, as Moshe acts like a marriage counsellor, and the people say in effect as one body, “I do”.
It is important to remember that this is done before the Ten Words or contract is even given!!! The Hebrew mind-set chooses to obey יהוה no matter what, even before He has told them what He expects they say they will obey – that is faith and trust in יהוה’s ability to lead them into His promises – we shall do whatever you tell us to, “I do”. Just as a Bride to be says yes when her husband proposes after which the legalities of the marriage are dealt with.
This acceptance was then announced with the ‘first shofar’ in
Shemoth/Exodus 19: 16-19 “And it came to be, on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain. And the sound of the ram’s horn was very loud, and all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Mosheh brought the people out of the camp to meet with Elohim, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 And Mount Sinai was in smoke, all of it, because יהוה descended upon it in fire. And its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and all the mountain trembled exceedingly. 19 And when the blast of the ram’s horn sounded long and became louder and louder, Mosheh spoke, and Elohim answered him by voice.”
Twice they hear the voice or sound of the shofar/ram’s horn. The wedding was now announced and then the terms of the marriage are given in the form of the Ten Words! Yisra’ĕl was now engaged or betrothed and was now seen as legally married!!! When we say yes to יהושע, there is a trumpet sound of victory and we become betrothed to Him and now walk in His Torah, Commands, marriage contract that is now written on our hearts!
At the final Yom Kippur, when the last shofar is blown, and He comes out of the Most Set-Apart Place to take up His Bride we see that this is typically called “the wedding ceremony of the Messiah”. This is when the marriage is consummated!!!
Now to understand this a little better, after the first step or stage in the Hebrew marriage process – the ‘engagement’ or betrothal, the bride, who is now legally married, goes home to her father’s house and prepares her wedding gown!!!
The bridegroom goes to his father’s house and prepares a dwelling for them. Only, and only, when the bridegroom’s father is satisfied that the bride and the bridegroom are both ready does he then give, ‘with a shofar blast’, his son permission to go and fetch his bride. Just imagine as the bridegroom, longing for his bride, making all the necessary preparation – eagerly waits for the sound of the last shofar!! When he hears this the son then goes, running I am sure, to the home of the bride’s parents and ‘lifts her up in the air’ and ‘takes her’ to his father’s house where the second stage of the marriage covenant is going to be taken. This is called in Hebrew לָקַח ‘laqach’ (H3947) which means ‘to take/ to fetch/ to lay hold of/ marry or take a wife’ and נָשָׂא ‘nasa’ (H5375) which means ‘to lift up or carry away’ for he takes her and lifts her up – ‘laqach nasa’.
This ‘lift up and take’ is passive on the part of the bride, as the bride cannot lift herself up and take herself to her husband’s house – the bridegroom has to physically lift up and take his bride – the action is on the part of the bridegroom.
How awesome is this picture we have here as you think how excited the bridegroom and bride would be when that shofar / trumpet is blown. The bride would be ready in her wedding gown, all clean and spotless and the groom would be running to fetch his long awaited bride and as he comes to her he then with such joy and excitement lifts her into his arms and takes her home!!!
Now listen to this text in the Renewed Covenant (N.T.), speaking of יהושע coming for us, His Bride is:
Tas‘loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “Because the Master Himself shall come down from heaven with a shout, with the voice of a chief messenger, and with the trumpet of Elohim, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first. 17 Then we, the living who are left over, shall be caught away together with them in the clouds to meet the Master in the air – and so we shall always be with the Master. 18 So, then, encourage one another with these words.”
Notice here in this passage the words ‘caught away together’ – In Greek is ‘harpazo hama’ – ἁρπάζω (G726 – harpazo – caught up) and ἅμα (G260 – hama – together) which corresponds with the Hebrew terms, ‘laqach’ and ‘nasa’. The Bride will be taken and lifted up by the Bridegroom and so the second part of the marriage will take place when Messiah comes again and lift us up and takes us with Him to the great Wedding Feast. He is coming for His Bride who has made herself ready – He is not coming for part of His Bride – then coming for the rest – He is coming for His ready Bride! This is NOT a rapture Scripture!!!
This is our Husband coming for His ready Bride to take her to the wedding feast – after Tribulation at His second coming, which the announcement of such begins on Yom Teruah and then He comes out of the Most Set-Apart Place on Yom Kippur at the Yoḇel (50th year) which is foreshadowed in the picture we see of counting to Shavuot (50)!
The early disciples waited with great expectation for 10 days after Messiah ascended into the heavens and so too do we see the 10 days between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur that we too will with great anticipation wait for His coming at the sound of the ‘last shofar’, and the need to persevere, endure and be steadfast till the end.
We are now living in the season between the first shofar and the last shofar, which is at the second coming of the Messiah. We have been betrothed to One Husband – the Messiah and we who are ‘in Him’ are legally married as we eagerly await His soon return from the Father’s house in heaven – when the Father sees that the Bride is ready and the time has come to sound the last shofar and Yom Teruah heralds the beginning of this time in for us with the sound of the Trumpet Blast – the last shofar.
So here we are today, to realise and recognise that we, His Bride are betrothed – legally married and this day is the day when the ‘aras’ – the pledging/ engagement / betrothal took place at Mount Sinai, which Yisra’ĕl broke by adulterating herself with foreign mighty ones, and now through the Blood of Messiah, Our Kinsman Redeemer, we have been redeemed from sin – and fully paid for, that the marriage could be renewed, restored, repaired and redeemed through His sacrifice for our sins. At Shavuot the very contract or ‘Ketuḇah’ – His Torah is no longer written by His finger on stone tablets but now, written by His Very Set-Apart Spirit on our hearts! How awesome is that!!! As we eagerly look forward to the last trumpet blast – let us make ourselves ready by walking in His Torah given to us by His Spirit on this day of Shavuot. We walk in His marriage contract out of love, we are not saved by it, for He has already saved us by grace through faith and paid the betrothal price with His own Blood, and now we live out the married life as a faithful Bride right here and now in the season between the first and last shofar, declaring our true and total devotion to our Bridegroom, keeping the marriage pure in preparation for His soon return, when our salvation will be made complete.
We also wave the two loaves of Bread today before יהוה, symbolising the Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl, coming together as a perfect Bride – a body made whole through the Blood of Messiah – rid of sin and filled with the Good News – His Torah that has permeated the entire batch and is now presentable as a Bride ready for her King, as a body/community of Believers living in unity in His Word so mixed in to each other living as One. We wave it sideways and forwards and back to symbolise the very Word of Elohim that goes out into all the world and the bread is also symbolic of the very Words spoken by יהוה given on Shavuot on two stone tablets on Mount Sinai and then on Shavuot put into the tablets of the hearts of Believers at Mount Tsiyon in Yerushalayim as the Bread pictures us together as a community that has been cleansed of sin (bad leaven) and permeated with the Besorah (Good News) – the good leaven of the kingdom. The Very Word, by His Spirit now lives in us, and so we also celebrate today by feasting – and as I look at all these pastries and breads and jams and honey etc. before us, boy are we going to celebrate – happy anniversary Bride of Messiah – we celebrate our marriage with יהוה today!!!
This is a time of great thanksgiving and rejoicing as we come with our hands filled with great praise and make a true declaration of total commitment to our Husband and Maker, יהוה of Hosts! We read at the beginning the clear instruction to not come empty handed before יהוה; and so I ask you metaphorically today – “what is in your hands?” May your hands not be found to be empty before Him, but rather filled with thanksgiving and filled with His presence as you guard to do all His Good Word! I am reminded of the time when Giḏ’on and his 300 men were instructed to take empty jars and put torches in them as well as carry a shofar. Then at the instructed time they were to break the clay pots and with the lamps in their left hands and shofars in their right, they were to raise a resounding cry as they blew the shofar and gave a massive shout of victory where יהוה caused the enemy camp to cry out and flee and יהוה set the sword of each one against the other! (Shophetim/Judges 7:16-22).
What strikes me from this event as a great picture for us having our hands full and the message of Shavuot is the fact that we too, as a remnant, are to smash our clay jars – that is to die to self – and let the wonderful light of the Presence of יהוה shine forth as we keep our lamps filled with oil of gladness and have in effect His Word, which is a lamp to our feet, in our left hand and a shofar in our right, as we proclaim the Besorah with great urgency.
The harvest fields are ripe and our hands ought to be filled with His Word and the proclaiming of that Word, as we humble ourselves and offer up our bodies as a daily living sacrifice.
Are your hands filled or empty? Shavuot is a time to come and bring an offering of thanksgiving according to the voluntary offering of your hand, which you give as יהוה blesses you! And we do this with great joy as we are reminded that our hands must be filled continually with that which HE has blessed us with – His Besorah – that we may proclaim His release to so many who are still being held captive under enslavement to man’s traditions; and see as His Word is proclaimed how many will be added to Body just as 3000 were added on the first Shavuot after the resurrection of Messiah!
May we be faithful as a Bride who makes Herself ready – as clearly – for all of us here have said the ‘I do’ – therefore let us remember our ‘Marriage vows’ and live accordingly as we walk by His Torah/marriage covenant now written upon the fleshly tablets of our heart, sealed by His very breath – His very Set-apart Spirit.
Let us blow the shofar and let us celebrate our marriage with our Messiah and count daily the cost of being a true living sacrifice as we offer our lives daily as a slaughter offering of praise required of a set-apart people, aměn!
Let us rise together with ‘one voice’ sing ‘The Song of the Bride’
For those who are reading this – here are the words for this wonderful song that יהוה gave us as an assembly through Marcia:
THE SONG OF THE BRIDE
(Words and music by Marcia Rheeder)
Rise up bride of Messiah; Rise up bride of the King
Strip off your old, dirty garments; It’s time to wash and be clean
Yahushua is coming to fetch us; Hear the sound of the horn
He invites us into His presence; Can you see the lintel is torn?
Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! The wedding feast has begun!
Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! We are the bride of the One!
Our Husband stands in the garden; He longs for the sound of our voice
So lift up a new song to heaven; And let all creation rejoice!
O Israel do you hear it? Yahweh our Saviour is One
Our bridegroom has gone out before us; And every battle He’s won!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you peace!