Pentecost:The Day Israel was Betrothed to God (Yah’v’h) - Part 1

bride-lambTwo notable historical events occurred on this day of Pentecost. One is chronicled in the history of Israel as the coming down of Yah’v’h on Mt. Sinai who gave His set of laws and judgments to Moses and His people Israel. This day also marked the occasion when the Holy Spirit came down on Christ’ disciples gathered in Jerusalem in 30 CE (Common Era).

Both events commemorate the day when the Rock of Israel (that ‘Rock’ was Christ—I Cor. 10:4), forged and sealed a covenant with His people: the former being with the church in the wilderness (Acts7:38), that is ancient Israel, and the latter with the New Testament ‘ecclesia’ (Acts 2:1-4) in the first century.

“Asartha” is another name with which the Hebrews call Pentecost. The Hebrew word ‘asartha’ is derived from the root word ”azar” or “asar” (pronounced ‘aw-zar’) which means to ‘bind’ (compass) about or belt up. As we study Scripture, we will discover that the covenants made on both cases mentioned earlier, were deemed by the Rock as a marriage covenant.

Jeremiah 31:32 “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Considered a treasure to Himself among all the nations of the earth (Ps 135:4), Yah’v’h revealed  his mind on the wedding customs, services and ceremonies to the Hebrews (Jews) (Rom 3:1-2,9:4). A Study of this particular custom, therefore, will reveal tow distinct stages comprising the Hebrew marriage. Engagement period make up the first stage, while the second is the consummation of marriage that lasted for seven days (see Gen 29:26-27).

An engage couple is looked upon by God, and therefore by the Hebrews, as husband and wife (married). Engagement can only be broken and terminated by a certificate of divorce. However, engaged couples do not live together as yet, nor indulge in any forms of physical intimacies.

Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.”

Deuteronomy 22:23-24 “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.”

Joseph and Mary (Jesus’ mother) were engaged to be married. Thus, when Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, he took steps to secretly divorce her, but was prevented from so doing when an angel of God appeared in his dream and talked him out of it.

Matthew 1: 19-20 “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

Judging from what the Eternal inspired to be written in Scripture, we can comprehend that he looks for and desire an intimate personal relationship with His people; one likened to that of an engaged couple. What differs mainly is the intensity of feelings and emotions involved.

Unlike physical human beings, the Spirit God possess much more depth in feelings, height of emotions and much more profound expressions. Consider the Eternal’s command to his people whom he is molding in his likeness:  

Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.] 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The Rock of Israel revealed how he love God (the Father); and on the other hand shows how a Spirit God like Him should be loved by his bride. This way, the bride is being sanctified and prepared to think, speak, act and love the way Yah’v’h does, so she will be ready for life ahead in the spiritual Kingdom.

Scriptures had a lot to say about the existence of a spiritual ‘dimensions’. A mountain exists in the heavenly kingdom of God and is called Mt. Zion. Out there is the sea of glass, thrones, mansions, armies on horses, dominions; not to discount spirit beings like humans, animals, and flying objects or machines. Solid physical structures offer no barriers to spirits, by may just see like air that can be passed through with ease.

That spirit realm is eternal , a real world in comparison to this visible, fleeting cosmos we are in. This ephemeral world is but a parallel image of the timeless spiritual universe. Side by side, we may compare spirit to an ancient tree while the physical is likened to flowers in the field that blossom for a while (a day or two), then wither and are gone (Ps. 103:15-16).

Unseen forces that drive a tornado, super typhoons and lightnings are so powerful, and devastating. Sound and air waves, heat and microwaves, electricity, communication and data transmission lines are all in common use and mankind know they exist, but somehow, he takes them all for granted.

The Eternal is preparing a people to live with him in that ‘other dimensions’, and what He is working out and building up here on this planet is a close personal and lasting relationship: one that is solidly founded on complete trust, total commitment, sincerity, and truth; being built up on love, respect, honor, living faith, joy and gladness, knowledge and understanding seasoned with grace and humility.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.”

Psalm 51:6 “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.”

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Having known all these, let us turn back the hands of time to the day of Pentecost when God came down on Sinai and entered into a covenant of marriage with Israel; and examined it in view of the Jewish wedding custom, to teach about its spiritual application in our personal lives and relationship, with Yah’v’h, our God.

Meeting and Acquaintance: Qir’ah (keer-aw), an encountering, meet, seek

Relationships normally begin with the meeting and acquaintance of parties concerned. Through Moses, the Eternal made himself known to ancient Israel; including all the known world then. His self introductions via the ten plagues was more than enough to catch Israel’s attention, bring about awe and admirations, spread fear and unseat Israel out of her comfort in Egypt.

Exodus 10:2 “and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”

Exodus 9:16 “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”

By a physically inexplicable phenomenon, this Arm of Yah’v’h (Christ is that 'arm' – Isa 51:9-10; John 12:37-38) allowed the death of all Egypt’s firstborn (men and beasts) while he favored Israel and protected hers. He cut a safe way across the deep wide sea (Red Sea) for Israel’s passage to the other side; while made difficult and strenuous for Pharaoh and his mighty forces; who were all caught by the backlash of rushing waters that drowned them all.

Psalm 136:13 “To Him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    For His mercy endures forever;
14 And made Israel pass through the midst of it, For His mercy endures forever;

Miracles of this nature and magnitude (even on record), are stunning witness and faith boosters to the Eternal’s chosen but a cutting indictment to unbelievers, offering them no further reason to doubt that Yah’v’h, he is God.

Joshua 2:10 “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

Verbal Agreement: Shitre erusin or Ya’ad (yaw-ad), to engage, to fix upon, betroth, set

A little over a month after the Red Sea incident, Israel encamped in the desert by Mt. Sinai. Hewre, the Holy One of Israel (with Moses acting as mediator), made a proposal and agreement with His people; to which they all consented to do. Let’s read the account in:

Exodus 19:5-6 “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Exodus 19:8 “Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do.’ So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.”

The gospel being preached to all the world, is actually a wedding proposal by the groom to anyone who will listen, believe, act on their faith and enter the covenant; out of their own volition. Rebekah consented to be the wife of Isaac even before she met him (Gen.24:58-59). Believers also respond to the calling by faith.

Clouds and smoke surrounded the mountain of Sinai to protect the people from harm that memorable day of Pentecost (Shavout), when the Holy One in all His glory, came down and Himself spoke out the primary terms of the covenant. Smoke from incense spread out as veil to cover the mercy seat which kept Aaron, the high priest, from death when he entered the holy of holies on the day of Atonement.

Exodus 19:16-18 “Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountainquaked greatly.”

Leviticus 16:13 “And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die.

Since all Israel was seized by fear because of the nerve-shattering earthquake, thunder and lightning accompanying God’s presence and glory, Moses was instructed by Yah’v’h to be the one to receive the laws and judgments from him. And Moses told all these later to the people.

Exodus 24:3 “So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has said we will do.”

Written Contract : Ketubah, derived from the root word kothab—to write inscribe, record

   All the words of Yah’v’h that made up this covenant with the people were all written down by Moses. Before the audience of all the people gathered, Moses read the words written in that covenant. And all the people consented tot do all that God required.

Exodus 24:4 “And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Exodus 24:7 “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.”

The believers ketubah is the Bible: the written contract. In it area written the Eternal’s proposal, his promises to the bride, all rights and duties of the bride; the bride price, etc. The ketubah is executed and signed prior to the wedding ceremony.

Bride Price or Dowry: Mohar, derived form the root word: mahar—to bargain, to price

After reading the covenant to Israel, Moses commanded that oxen be sacrificed for burnt and peace offering to Yah’v’h. These sacrifices prophesy and point forward to the perfect sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ: His mohar for his bride.

Exodus 24:5 “Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.

Because of inestimable love for the bride, Jesus Christ went through the ridicule and shame, the agony, excruciating pain, torture and death by crucifixion.

I Peter 1: 18-19 “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  

Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

To be continued…

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