Although the Old Mosaic Covenant is Obsolete and is DISAPPEARING, YHWH has provided the Jewish people TIME for them to recognize their Messiah and mourn as one mourns for an only SON. God’s plan has ALWAYS BEEN to offer Salvation THROUGH HIS SON YESHUA (JESUS) to the entire world so He partially blinded the Jewish people ALLOWING FOR the Mystery of the Church Age. The Bible actually speaks of “two mysteries” in relation to His Jewish and Gentile family. Our God is a God of ORDER and refers to HIS MYSTERIOUS AGE OF GRACE.
Mystery 1: The Mystery of the Gentile Church, the indwelling of the HOLY SPIRIT during the AGE OF GRACE.
Mystery 2: The Mystery of the partial blinding of the Jewish people UNTIL the FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES has come in/AGE OF GRACE COMPLETE
If the Jewish people would have recognized their Messiah YESHUA at HIS FIRST COMING, it seems very possible that they would have “kept HIM for themselves”, but God had BIGGER PLANS. Jesus is the MESSIAH for ALL HUMANITY!
In-fact, this Mystery of Jew and Gentile, One in Messiah APPEARS to be written into TWO of the Old Testament Feasts, Yom Kippur, the Holiest day on the Jewish calendar and ALSO the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, which is called Shavuot by the Jewish people. Although understanding and celebrating the Old Testament Feast Days is NOT a requirement for Christians, we as Christians are missing out on wonderful blessings and insights into God’s plan of redemption by ignoring them and replacing them with our own traditions (Holidays), many of which have pagan roots (Christmas and Easter). As a matter of opinion, I also want to add that I personally do NOT believe, as some Christians do, that celebrating Christmas and Easter is a “sin”. Although both of these Holidays have pagan roots, IF we celebrate them in a manner that brings glory to Jesus, our Messiah, than I believe we have freedom in Christ to do so. However, that is just my personal opinion.
Feast of Weeks
With that said, most Christians are pretty unaware of the Old Testament Feast days, believing them to be “Jewish Feasts”. However, YHWH says that these are The LORD’s appointed times. The Hebrew word for “Feasts” (Moedim) does not mean a Feast in the sense of sitting down to a celebratory meal (although some of His “Feasts” definitely did involve celebrations). The word Moedim (Feasts) means appointments, or God’s appointments with mankind. God wrote His plan of Redemption into His Moedim, His Feast days. ALL of God’s Feasts focus on the Messiah, YESHUA (JESUS)! The spring Feasts point to Jesus’ first coming. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost/Shavuot) comes near the end of Spring, and has meaning for both Jew and Gentile. Then, there’s a long “dry” period during the summer where are no feast days. This long period between the Spring and Fall “Feasts” represents the 2000 year gap of the MYSTERIOUS Church Age in-between Jesus’ first coming and His 2nd coming, and also point to the time of the Harvest. The Fall Feasts center around Jesus’ 2nd coming.
Where do we see Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah in the “Feast” of Pentecost? Pentecost (Shavuot) is the “middle Feast”, occurring 50 days after the Resurrection (Feast of First fruits), usually towards the end of Spring. According to the Leviticus 23:15, the Israelite’s were told to count the days from Passover to Shavuot (Pentecost). This period is known as the 50 day Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure. The omer marks the beginning of the barley harvest when, in ancient times, Jews would bring the first sheaves to the Temple and the High Priest would WAVE them before the Lord as a means of thanking God for the harvest. The word omer literally means “sheaf” and refers to these early FIRST FRUIT offerings.
The Wave sheaf IS the first fruit of the Barley Harvest. If the wave sheaf is accepted by the Lord, then the entire harvest will be accepted. Jesus IS the Wavesheaf offering. After fulfilling His role as the Passover Lamb of God, and after Jesus fulfilled the “sign of Jonah” by remaining in the belly of the earth 3 days and 3 nights, Jesus ROSE just before Sunday morning, the morrow after the Sabbath per Leviticus 23. He was presented to and accepted by the Father as the FIRST FRUIT Wave Sheaf Offering. Because Jesus was accepted, the entire Harvest will be accepted by YHWH.
The wave sheaf offering begins the 50 day counting of the omer to end on Shavuot (Pentecost). The word Shavuot (or Shavuos) means “weeks.” It celebrates the completion of the seven-week Omer counting period between Passover and Shavuot. Shavuot is ALSO called “the Festival of the Giving of the Torah”. It is a celebration of the day that YHWH presented the Torah to the Hebrew people 7 weeks after the Exodus. It was no accident that Jesus’ Disciples were gathered together on the day of Pentecost (Shavuot). Jesus had told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the GIFT that He was sending them, HIS Holy Spirit!
SHAVUOT – 50TH day after the counting of the Omer (Wave Sheaf Offering)
Let’s think about this for a minute. The Disciples were told by Jesus just prior to His ascension into the clouds to remain in Jerusalem UNTIL they received POWER from ON HIGH! They weren’t sure how long it would take, but it turns out, that it took exactly 10 days. Jesus ascended 40 days after the Resurrection, and 10 days after that was Shavuot (Pentecost) when His Disciples received the GIFT of the HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 1:1-3). As was their custom, they had gathered together to celebrate Shavuot, the Festival of the Giving of the Torah (Law). They were celebrating the day that God came down on Mt. Sinai and handed Moses the ten commandments written on two tablets of stone, which IS the WRITTEN WORD OF GOD. On that VERY DAY, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, HIS Holy Spirit! Jesus IS the Word of God made FLESH (John 1:14). Jesus’ HOLY SPIRIT IS the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
Pentecost – 50th day after the counting of the Omer (Wave Sheaf Offering)
On Shavuot, the same day that the WRITTEN Word of God was first presented to the 12 Tribes of Israel via the Old Covenant (commandments written on stone), the Holy Spirit, which is the LIVING Word of God (sword of the SPIRIT) was presented to Jesus’ Disciples, and later spread to the Gentile church (commandments written on HUMAN HEARTS). Pentecost marked the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel 2, that God would pour out His Holy Spirit on ALL mankind! What we see here is that Shavuot/Pentecost was a two fold fulfillment, the giving of the WRITTEN WORD OF GOD in the OLD COVENANT, and the giving of the LIVING WORD OF GOD in the NEW COVENANT. Jew and Gentile, one under Messiah. The Old Covenant is obsolete and is PASSING AWAY! All people (Jew and Gentile) will eventually be brought to the FATHER under the NEW COVENANT, which is the FULFILLMENT of the EVERLASTING COVENANT, THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT.
How does Shavuot/Pentecost “tie into” the 50 day counting of the Omer and the Feast of weeks?
The wave sheaf offering BEGAN the 50 day counting of the Omer that culminated on Shavuot/Pentecost, the day in which both the WRITTEN WORD OF GOD (SHAVUOT/JEW) and the LIVING WORD OF GOD (PENTECOST/GENTILE) was given to mankind. On this day (Shavuot/Pentecost) the 12 Tribes of Israel were told to present TWO LOAVES OF BREAD baked WITH LEAVEN and FINE FLOUR as a WAVE OFFERING of FIRST FRUITS to the LORD. The offering was to be TWO loaves of bread baked with fine flour AND LEAVENING. The Wave Sheaf had no leavening, and was presented DURING the FEAST of UNLEAVENED BREAD. Leavening is symbolic for SIN because it ‘PUFFS UP’ like PRIDE (a HUGE sin). Because the loaves of bread were to be baked with leaven, these are a PICTURE of HUMANITY. Baked with fine flour as FIRST FRUITS also shows us a picture of the best man has to offer, those who are in Covenant with our God. There are TWO WAVE LOAVES, pointing to the 2 fulfillment’s of Shavuot and Passover, (Written and Living Word of God), Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah.
YOM KIPPUR, DAY OF ATONEMENT
In order to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of HOW God’s Grace has covered both Jew and Gentile during the MYSTERY of the Church Age/Age of Grace, we now need to look to the Fall Holy Day of Yom Kippur. This “Feast” or MOEDIM (appointed time) is really not a “feast” at all in the traditional sense, but rather a Fast. YOM KIPPUR (Day of atONEment) is the HOLIEST DAY on the JEWISH CALENDAR. God’s Grace for ALL mankind is written into this Holiest Day of the year! This day paints a picture of both the covering for and eventual eradication of sin. Jesus IS the atONEment for sin and because of His Sacrifice, mankind can once again be joined with our Creator God! Jesus IS THE WAY! Written into the Yom Kippur Ceremony itself is the “model”, if you will, that includes the provision God has made for both the Gentile and Jewish people.
Notice how the writer of Hebrews mentions that the Old Covenant has been MADE obsolete by Jesus and is growing old and READY to disappear. He did NOT say that the Old Covenant has YET disappeared, but it is READY to disappear. Why? This is because the Jewish people have been partially blinded UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles have come in. Jesus is giving the JEWISH PEOPLE….GRACE! He’s giving them TIME! All of this is written into the “Feast” (God’s appointment with mankind) of Yom Kippur.
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is on the 10th of Tishrei (1st month on the Jewish Civil Calendar/Fall). Yom Kippur, in the Fall, is the holiest day on the Hebrew Calendar. This is actually the ONLY day in Scripture where the Hebrew people were commanded by YHWH to “afflict themselves” (FAST) for an entire 24 hour period every year.
The day of Atonement was the ONLY day of the year that the Jewish High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies (in the Tabernacle and later in the Jewish Temple) where he would make intercession for his own sins and the sins of the people. Atonement means “covering.” The purpose of the sacrifice was to bring reconciliation between man and God by covering the sins of the people.
On this day, the high priest would remove his official priestly garments, which were radiant vestments. He would bathe and put on a pure white linen robe to symbolize repentance.
Next, he would make a sin offering for himself and the other priests by sacrificing a young bull and a ram for a burnt offering. Then he would enter the Holy of Holies with a pan of glowing coals from the alter of incense, filling the air with a smoky cloud and aroma of incense. Using his fingers, he would sprinkle the blood of the bull on the MERCY SEAT and the floor before the ARK of the Covenant.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting.
The high priest would then cast lots between TWO live goats that had been brought by the people. One goat was killed as a sin offering for the nation. Its blood was then added by the high priest to the blood already sprinkled inside the Holy of Holies. With this act, he atoned even for the Holy Place.
With grand ceremony, the high priest would then place his hands on the head of the live goat and confess the sins of the whole nation before the altar of burnt offering. Finally, he would give the live goat to an appointed person who carried it outside the camp and set it free into the wilderness. Symbolically, the “scapegoat” would carry away the sins of the people.
Jesus IS our High Priest FOREVER after the order of Melchizedek, a higher order than the Levitical Priesthood (Hebrews 7:17)! Jesus was WITHOUT SIN, so He did NOT need to offer a sacrifice for HIMSELF, as did the HUMAN high priest from the Levitical priesthood. The incense that was offered in the Holy of Holies REPRESENTS the prayers of the Saints that rise STRAIGHT up to HEAVEN, a PLEASING AROMA to YHWH! The mercy seat sat right on top of the ark of the Covenant! In a manner of speaking, the mercy seat concealed the people of God from the ever-condemning judgment of the Law. Each year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood of animals sacrificed for the atonement of the sins of God’s people. This blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat. The point conveyed by this imagery is that it is only through the offering of blood that the condemnation of the Law could be taken away and violations of God’s laws covered. The Greek word for “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5 is hilasterion, which means “that which makes expiation” or “propitiation.” It carries the idea of the removal of sin. The Ark of the Covenant made of common durable wood, and overlayed with gold, is the box that held the 10 commandments, and is also symbolic of the body of Jesus Christ who was fully human and yet fully Divine.
The meaning of the Two Goats?
Where have we seen this number “TWO” before? Oh, yes, the FEAST of Shavuot (Pentecost) and the TWO wave loaves..Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah. In the Fall Feast, the High priest OFFERS up TWO goats on Yom Kippur the Day of AtONEment.
FIRST GOAT: Jesus’ FIRST COMING
One of the goats would be killed, and it’s blood sprinkled on the mercy seat of YHWH in the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sin of the people of ISRAEL. This goat that was killed is a SYMBOL of the PASSOVER LAMB of GOD who takes AWAY the sin of the world – YESHUA (JESUS)! This Passover Lamb (YESHUA/JESUS), symbolized by the the Sacrificial GOAT on Yom Kippur, is the blood of the NEW COVENANT that has been poured out for ALL PEOPLE (including the lost 10 tribes of ISRAEL AND the GENTILE PEOPLE)..and later the Jewish people, for the FORGIVENESS OF SIN! Jesus sacrifice on the Cross is the ONLY Propitiation for sin. God is both merciful and Just. He cannot simply “overlook” sin. He won’t just “brush it off”. God HIMSELF in the form of HIS SON JESUS, took our sins and nailed them to the cross so that we could be FORGIVEN. It is the ONLY WAY for ALL MANKIND to be “at ONE” (ment) with our GOD!
SECOND GOAT: Jesus’ SECOND COMING
But why the other goat, the “scapegoat”, the Azazel? Well, some people may get thrown off because the name Azazel was also the name of a demon, but I do NOT believe the 2nd goat represents the enemy in any way since it was he who carried away the sins of the people! In a grand ceremony, the High Priest would press the sins of the people onto this LIVE GOAT and then send it into the wilderness (desert) supposedly not to return. Jewish legend states that a red sash was tied around the Live goat’s neck (scapegoat), as a symbol for the sin of the people.
We’ve seen this “red sash” pattern before
In the Passover story, the blood of the Passover Lamb of God was to be spread over the doorposts and lintels of each Hebrew family’s home. When this blood was present, the angel of death would “pass over” that home. This is a symbol of the blood of Jesus “spread” over the doorposts and lintels of our hearts. When Judgement comes, those who have the blood of Jesus covering their hearts will be “passed over” by the angel of eternal death.
This “red sash” also showed up in the story of Joshua and Rahab, when Joshua conquered Jericho, the first Canaanite city in the Promised Land. In that story, 2 Israelite spies were sent in to spy out the Canaanite city of Jericho, looking for weaknesses in their defenses. The two spies were nearly caught, but the Prostitute Rahab, a Canaanite, hid them in her home. In return for her kindness, the Israelite spies promised Rahab that if she gathered together her family into her home, and hung a red scarf out of the window, then the Israelite ARMY would “pass over” her home, and spare Rahab and her family a fate of certain death.
The Jewish legend of the Azazel
There is a Jewish legend concerning the two goats that is known as “the Legend of Azazel”. It is based upon Isaiah 1:18, where the prophet stated that “though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.” It became a Jewish custom to tie a red ribbon around the neck of the live goat. As this goat was sent out into the wilderness the red ribbon would miraculously turn white symbolizing that God had forgiven Israel’s sins for that year.
The same Jewish legend states that the red ribbon stopped turning white forty years before the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Forty years earlier was 30 AD, the year of the crucifixion – the year of the final sacrifice for sin. What the rabbis failed to conclude from this legend is the reason why the red ribbon stopped turning white. The reason why God was no longer forgiving the sins of Israel by means of the two goats is found in Hebrews 10:18: “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
That 2nd goat “went away” from Israel for a long time, with a red scarf tied around it’s neck and came back much later with a white scarf. However, the last time this happened was the year that Jesus was CRUCIFIED . I believe this 2nd goat is symbolic for Jesus’ covering and making intercession for the sins of the Jewish people UNTIL He returns in glory and they say “Blessed is HE who comes in the Name of the Lord! (Matthew 23:39)” Hebrews states that the Old Covenant has been made OBSOLETE and is NEARLY GONE. Jesus is giving the JEWISH PEOPLE GRACE because they have been partially blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles have come in. This is the part of the MYSTERY of the CHURCH AGE/THE AGE OF GRACE! But when Jesus returns, IF the Jewish people want their sins to be made white as snow, they too will have to ACCEPT that JESUS IS the PROPHESIED MESSIAH, the LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sin of the world! Zechariah 13 seems to show that 1/3 of the Jewish people will be saved, while sadly 2/3 of them will still reject their Messiah. But, we can still PRAY for MORE to be SAVED!!!