Zion and the Feast of Weeks
This week we’ll pause our review of the Book of Mormon and observe Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks, which is observed this year on June 5 and 6. Shavuot commemorates Israel entering into a full covenant relationship with Yehovah as a nation under God. That relationship is observed here at Shavuot as Israel remembers and renews the Sinai Covenant, and Israel’s marriage as bride to Yehovah as the bridegroom. As a collective covenant, the Sinai Covenant forms the basis for which Yehovah could create His covenant people or Zion. We see this same sort of collective covenanting with America through the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, which is a prelude to a full restoration of God’s covenants and the Endtime restoration of Israel.
When we look at the Biblical holy days, they form a progression of observances that commemorates Israel’s developing and realization of a relationship with Yehovah as His covenant people – Zion. First, we saw that relationship initiated with Passover where there was a renewal of the first three basic covenants, which included the Messianic Covenant followed by the Abrahamic and then the Threshold (kingship) Covenants. Now here at Shavuot, we commemorate and renew the Priesthood and Sinai Covenants. These five covenants form the basis for Yehovah’s Zion people.
We have already considered the first three covenants when we observed Passover in our Passover Haggadah – HERE. Now at Shavuot, we’ll consider the Priesthood and Sinai Covenants.
When Yehovah restored Israel through Moses, His intent was to make Israel a kingdom of priests with the fathers of families as priests to their families – Ex. 19:6. This goal was derailed when Israel sinned with the golden calf. However, Yeshua (Yehovah) restored this priesthood during His mortal ministry, which was the Melchizedek Priesthood – Hebrews 7. This priesthood is obtained with an oath – v21,22 – and is comprised of four elements (Jacob 1:18,19).
The Sinai Covenant—God’s covenant with his people Israel as a nation—although a conditional covenant (whose blessings and privileges depend on whether his people keep the terms of the covenant), was never done away, even when Israel transgressed and ultimately apostatized. Today, the Sinai Covenant still forms the basis on which a nation may become God’s covenant people. - Dr. Gileadi
A Collective Covenant
The primary feature we see in the Sinai Covenant is that it is a collective covenant, meaning that each person under the covenant was responsible for living it to maintain the integrity of keeping the covenant terms. If one person broke the covenant, then all would suffer the consequences of breaking the covenant. Today, we see the same sort of collective covenanting between God and man in the covenant that America made with God. Though a mix of man-made and divine law, the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution is a prelude to a full restoration of God’s covenants and the Endtime restoration of Israel.
Because of ancient Israel’s disobedience, the full potential of the Sinai Covenant wasn’t achieved to create a Zion people. This potential in the Sinai Covenant will be achieved at the Endtimes when God’s Servant gathers the righteous remnants of Israel and integrates the Messianic Covenant and Melchizedek Priesthood in with the Sinai Covenant along with Yeshua’s example of living it. However, as individuals and families, we have enough information now that we can begin to live what we can.
Moreover, those who are Zion are Born of God, endure a Baptism of Fire – a trial of faith – and the Baptism of the Spirit – changed hearts – are sealed by the Spirit.
Observance and Covenant Renewal
We can observe Shavuot with a Shavuot Seder (order) like the Passover Seder, but here we commemorate Israel entering into a covenant relationship with Yehovah as a nation symbolized as a marriage between Yehovah, the bridegroom, and Israel as the bride. This Seder begins at the evening meal on the first day of Shavuot. Shavuot has been correlated with the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and Israel covenanting to do all the Lord asks.
Preparation: God commanded Israel to wash their clothes and to abstain from sexual relationships the night before.
Candle light is a reminder of God’s divine presence and perfection, which we can see in the menorah that resides in tabernacle/temple. Traditionally, two candles are lit and the blessing is recited by the matriarch of the home.
Matriarch: Blessed are you Father God, King of the Universe, who through your son Yehovah-Yeshua sanctifies us with your commandment to kindle the lights of the holiday.
(candles are lit)
Leader: Tonight, we gather together to commemorate and renew our collective relationship with Yehovah as His covenant people, which He calls Zion. Yehovah refers to this relationship as a marriage between Him and His people. This relationship was initiated at Passover as we renewed the Messianic, Abrahamic and Threshold covenants. We now renew the Priesthood and Sinai Covenants which complete the terms of Yehovah-Yeshua requirements to be His Covenant People – His Zion.
Reader One: Exodus 19:1-8
A Kingdom of Priests
Leader: Anciently, it was Yehovah’s intent to give the priesthood to every father in Israel, which is indicated at v6 and would have been the Melchizedek Priesthood, and was restored by Yeshua. Tonight, we review that priesthood and renew the Priesthood Covenant by reciting the Oath of the Priesthood. (see Jacob 1:18,19) The sign of the Priesthood Covenant is the altar, which represents the forgiveness of sin and a reconciled relationship with God. A family altar can be used here for praying, thank offering, etc.
Reader One: 1 Peter 2:9
Reader Two: Hebrews 7
Fathers: I will strive to keep myself pure.
I will teach the laws of God to my family.
I will be answerable and accountable for the transgressions of my family.
I will administer the ordinances of sanctification to my family.
A Holy Nation
Leader: The next concept that we see here in Exodus 19 is that Israel was to be a holy nation – Zion. The collective covenant that made Israel a nation is the Sinai Covenant, which included the Ten Commandments, the Statutes and Judgment in the Torah. Moreover, Yeshua was our example of living the Law perfectly. The covenant sign is the seventh-day Sabbath.
Reader One: Exodus 20:1-17
Reader Two: Deuteronomy 6:4-8
Reader Three: Deuteronomy 28
Reader Four: Deuteronomy 30:15-19
Reader Five: Matthew 5:17-19
All Together: All that the Lord has spoken we will do.
Leader: We will close our Shavuot Seder with the Kiddush and Hamotzi blessings with two loaves of leavened bread to represent joy, abundance and life through Yehovah-Yeshua and His Law.
Blessed are you Father God, King of the Universe, and His Son who created the fruit of the vine. (Drink glass of grape wine or juice.)
Blessed are you Father God, King of the Universe, and His Son who brings forth bread from the earth. (Eat the bread.)
Meal is Served!
FYI - For those who like my process/systems approach to the Gospel, I will be speaking at the Restoration Torah Conference in Lehi, Utah on Saturday, June 4. My address will be "Isaiah's Hebrew Gospel in the New Testment". Click the link in the image below to register.
RESTORATION TORAH CONFERENCE 2022
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