(Note: all quotations
are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, translation by David
H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., unless otherwise
"ADONAI said to
Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra’el: ‘The designated times of ADONAI
which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated
times." (Leviticus 23:1)
Festival of Weeks”
the festival of Shavu’ot with the first-gathered produce of the
wheat harvest….” (Exodus 34:22)
the day after the day of rest—that is, from the day you bring the sheaf
for waving—you are to count seven full weeks, until the day after the
seventh week; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present
a new grain offering to ADONAI.” (Leviticus 23:15-16)
festival of Shavu’ot arrived, and the believers all gathered
together in one place. Suddenly there came….” (Acts 2:1, 2a)
The Torah is full of wonderful,
spiritual principles that are learned through everyday experiences. In
his infinite wisdom, HaShem (God) knew that frail man was likely to
forget many of these important spiritual principles, which the
teachings of the Torah freely offered to him; teachings designed to
bless and help him in his everyday walk with his Creator. That is why
the Holy One, blessed be He, carefully designed the Jewish Calendar to
remind mankind of his place in history, and to prompt him, to ever
press closer in his relationship with his Heavenly Father. Why, even
the heavens and the earth themselves would serve as witnesses to remind
him of the special place that he has in HaShem’s heart (Jeremiah
31:35-37). Because ancient Isra’el was, and in many respects still is,
primarily an agriculturally active piece of real estate, what better
way for the Holy One to teach his children about his holy nature than
through their annual harvest responsibilities? As we shall see, the
festival known as Shavu'ot
(say “shah-voo-ote”) holds significant messianic truths that are
pertinent to every believer today.
The Hebrew word for week is “shavuah”, its plural is “shavu’ot”. Both
of these words come from the root word for “seven”. This is where the
festival gets its name. Shavu'ot
is the annual counting of seven weeks of days, hence forty-nine days.
This yearly count is listed in the Torah as a mitzvah, a command from
HaShem himself. The name “Pentecost”,
from the Greek word “pentekoste”, means “fifty days”, as the Torah
instructed Am Yisra’el (the people of Isra’el) to add the final day
after the seventh week. This festival is also known by a few other
names, but we will primarily use Shavu'ot for this study.
Two Significant Scriptural Shavu’ots?
Historically, the rabbis figure the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai
to have occurred on this day, that is, in the third month after Am
Yisra’el came out of Egypt. Actually, the exact date of this familiar
encounter, recorded for us in the book of Exodus, is not explicitly
stated; the chronological evidence is convincing, however. At any rate,
the author of the book of Acts does testify of the precise timing of
the festival of Shavu'ot, and he specifically relates this festival to
the pouring out of the Ruach HaKodesh, that is, the Holy Spirit, unto
the believers gathered there in Jerusalem.
Matan Torah (Giving of the Torah)
Ask any observant Jew, and he will tell you that Shavu’ot commemorates
Matan Torah, just as Pesach commemorates Yetziat Mitzrayim (Departure
from Egypt). Nevertheless, according to Torah, it appears that Shavu’ot
is only an agricultural holiday, with no connection at all to 'Matan
Torah'! How could it be that the Torah 'neglects' the primary reason
for Shavu’ot? The insights of Ohr
Somayach International, as prepared
by Rabbi G. Rubin will help us to unravel this mystery...
The chain of
events surrounding the giving of the Torah is very difficult to follow,
because, according to Rashi's understanding, the verses are not
arranged chronologically, and a number of jumps must be made in order
to reconstruct the sequence of events. The difficulties begin with the
fifth aliya of Yisro (the sequence of events surrounding Yisro himself
is a separate issue), and continue until the end of Ki Siso.
following outline should help to understand the order of events:
Rosh Chodesh Sivan the Jews arrive at the wilderness of Sinai. (19:1;
Early the following morning, the 2nd of Sivan, Moshe goes up Mt. Sinai
for the first time. He is instructed to offer the Jews the opportunity
of accepting the Torah, and of becoming a holy people. (19:3-6).
That same day Moshe descends and assembles the elders and passes on the
message. The entire people respond in unison that whatever HaShem says,
they will do. (19:7-8).
the morning of the 3rd of Sivan Moshe again ascends the mountain to
bring the people's response to HaShem. (19:8; cf. Rashi).
this occasion he is told that on the day of Matan Torah HaShem will
speak to him (i.e. to Moshe alone) from the midst of a thick cloud. The
people will bear witness to this event, and this will establish the
authenticity of Moshe's prophecy forever. (19:9; according to Lavush
Ora, but see Gur Aryeh for a different understanding).
`Moshe's descent, as well as his subsequent conversation with the
people is not described in the verses, but is inferred by Rashi from
HaShem's response in verse 10 (see paragraph 8 below). The people seem
to have protested against hearing Matan Torah second hand from Moshe,
and insisted on hearing it from HaShem directly. (Rashi 19:9).
the 4th of Sivan Moshe returns to the mountain to bring the people's
request to HaShem. (The latter half of 19:9).
During this same encounter, HaShem informs Moshe that if the people
insist on hearing for themselves, they must purify themselves on the
4th and 5th in order to receive the Torah on the 6th. In addition,
Moshe is to instruct the people how close they may approach the
mountain during the revelation, and for how long the restriction is to
last. (19:10-13; cf. Rashi).
This is the same conversation with HaShem that is mentioned in Parashas
Mishpatim (24:1-2; cf. Rashi ad loc), where Moshe is told that he,
Aharon, Nadav, Avihu, and the elders are all to ascend on the day of
the revelation, but that only Moshe will approach the cloud.
Still on the 4th of Sivan, Moshe descends, and informs the people of
the command to purify themselves on these days. According to Rabbi
Yose, Moshe interpreted days mentioned in paragraph 8 as two complete
days in addition to the 4th, the delaying Matan Torah until the 7th of
Sivan. (19:14-15; cf. Rashi and Shabbos 87a).
This is the same conversation with the people described in Mishpatim,
when Moshe reminds the people of the Seven Noachide Laws, and the laws
received at Mara. The people agree to keep all of HaShem's
commandments. Moshe writes down all of the Torah from Bereishis until
this point. (24:3-4; cf. Rashi).
the 5th of Sivan Moshe builds an altar at the base of the mountain.
Offerings are made. Moshe reads the book he has written to the people,
who respond, "We will do and we will hear." The blood of the sacrifices
is sprinkled on the altar on behalf of the people. (24:4-8; Rashi ad
loc. and cf. Rashi 19:11).
the 6th of Sivan, or the 7th according to Rabbi Yose, Moshe leads the
people to the base of the mountain. We are informed, parenthetically,
that during Matan Torah the people are destined to hear only two
commandments directly. As for the others, Moshe will speak and HaShem
will amplify his voice. (19:16-19; Rashi).
HaShem reveals his throne upon the mountain and summons Moshe. Moshe is
told to warn the people again not to approach the mountain. Moshe
protests that the people have already been warned. HaShem tells him
that he must do so nevertheless. Then he is to return to the mountain.
Aharon and the first born, who are the priests at this point, are to
approach, each according to his level. (19:20-24: Rashi).
Moshe descends and passes on the information. (19:25).
Moshe's return to the mountain, together with Aharon, Nadav, Avihu and
the elders, is described in Mishpatim (24:9). This is the assent
foretold above, paragraph 9. During Matan Torah, Nadav, Avihu and the
elders gaze inappropriately. Their punishment is postponed until
another occasion, in order not to detract from Matan Torah. (24:10-11;
Matan Torah itself, the pronouncement of the 10 Statements, is in
Yisro. All of the 10 were said in a single word, then HaShem repeated
and explained each one individually. (20:1-14; Rashi).
The people heard the first two explained, but then were overwhelmed and
requested that Moshe hear the rest and relay them to the people.
(20:15-17; Rashi ad loc. and cf. Rashi 19:19).
this point the people back off. Moshe alone enters into the thick cloud
(20:18), just as HaShem had said would happen (see paragraph 5).
(Moshe's descent after hearing the 10 Statements is not described in
After Matan Torah, Moshe is commanded to approach HaShem, and to remain
with him to receive the stone tablets. Moshe ascends, accompanied part
way by his disciple, Yehoshua. Aharon and Chur are left in charge.
this point, six days are mentioned, during which the cloud is present
on the mountain, before Moshe is invited to enter. Rashi brings two
opinions: a) These are the previous six days, the seventh being the day
the 10 Statements were pronounced, after which he is invited to enter
the cloud. Or b) These Six days begin after Matan Torah, and comprise
the first six days out of the forty. (24:15-18; Rashi).
This ascent takes place on the 7th of Sivan. (Rashi 32:1). Moshe
remains on the mountain for 40 days and nights. (24:18).
During these 40 days Moshe receives the laws commanded at the end of
Yisro and the bulk of Mishpatim. (20:19 until 23:33; see Rashi on
The end of the 40 days is described in Ki Sisa. When he is finished
speaking, HaShem gives Moshe the tablets. (31:18).
the 16th of Tammuz the people come to the mistaken conclusion that
Moshe is overdue. The Golden Calf is made. Aharon declares a festival
to HaShem for the next day. (32:1-5; Rashi).
They get up early on the morning of the 17th of Tammuz to worship the
HaShem tells Moshe to descend because of the Calf. Moshe descends. When
he sees the Calf he casts down the tablets and breaks them. He grinds
up the Calf and makes the people drink it. The Levites are ordered to
kill the idolaters. (32:7-29).
the 18th of Tammuz Moshe ascends the mountain to seek atonement for the
people (according to Rashi, Shemos 18:13 and Devarim 9:18, although in
Shemos 33:11 he says that Moshe came down on the 17th of Tammuz, burnt
the Calf on the 18th and went back up on the 19th, see Gur Aryeh for an
explanation). HaShem tells Moshe that from now on the Shechina will not
be with them. (Shemos 32:31 until 33:3)
Moshe descends on the 29th of Av (Rashi, Devarim 9:18). He informs the
people that the Shechina will not be with them. The people mourn.
(Shemos 33:4-6, Rashi).
are informed that from the time of the sin of the Calf, Moshe has moved
his tent out of the camp (33:7-11). There in his tent Moshe now pleads
with HaShem that the Shechina should go with them. HaShem agrees. Moshe
asks to see HaShem's glory, and HaShem agrees. Moshe is instructed to
carve two new tablets, and to prepare to return to the mountain the
next morning. (33:12 until 34:3).
Rosh Chodesh Elul Moshe once more ascends the mountain. (Rashi Shemos
33:11 and Devarim 9:18) He is instructed in the 13 Attributes of Mercy,
and warned that we must not make covenants with the Canaanites, but we
must shatter their altars. (34:4-17)
Rashi informs us that during this third period on the mountain the
building of the tabernacle was commanded (Rashi 31:18), but he does not
specify at what point. Perhaps he would place parshios Truma, Tetzavei
and the beginning of Ki Sisa (25:1 until 31:17), between 34:17 and
34:18. Thus the discussion of what to do to the Canaanite altars
(leading up to 34:17) would be followed by the instructions for making
a tabernacle and altar for HaShem. And the discussion of Shabbos in
verses 31:12-17, would be followed by the discussion of the festivals
(the usual association), 34:18-26.
verse 34:27 Moshe is informed which parts of the Torah may be written
down and which may not (Rashi). He remains on the mountain for forty
days and nights, as he did before, by the end of which HaShem has
rewritten the Ten Commandments on the tablets that Moshe has carved
(see Rashi to 34:1). He descends with the second tablets on Yom Kippur,
his face glowing with "rays of splendor". (34:29-35; Rashi).
In the end it is Rav Menachem
Leibtag of Yeshivat Har Etzion Alon Shvut, Isra’el, one of my personal
favorites among contemporary rabbis, whom I will quote for an answer to
the question posed above:
In the Torah, we find numerous
mitzvot (commandments) through which we commemorate Yetziat Mitzraim,
both on the ANNIVERSARY of the Exodus: e.g. eating matzah, telling of
the story of Yetziat Mitzraim, korban Pesach etc.; and even ALL YEAR
ROUND: e.g. "mitzvat bikkurim" (bringing the first fruits to
Yerushalayim), tfillin, shabbat, and the daily recital of "kriyat
shma", etc., all of which the Torah relates to the Exodus (i.e. "zecher
contrast, the Torah's approach to Ma'amad Har Sinai is totally
different. Nowhere in Chumash do we find a specific mitzvah whose
purpose is to commemorate this event. [Sefer Dvarim does require that
we not forget the events that transpired at Har Sinai (see 4:9-16), but
that requirement is related to the prohibition to make any image of
God. / See Hasagot HaRamban to Sefer HaMitzvot of the Rambam- Lo
the Torah does not even tell us the precise day on which
Matan Torah took place. While the precise day (and even time of day) of
the Exodus is mentioned numerous times, Chumash never reveals the
precise day on which Matan Torah took place. We are only informed that
Bnei Yisrael arrived at Har Sinai in the third month:
the third month of Bnei Yisrael's departure from the land of Egypt, ON
THIS DAY, they came to Midbar Sinai." (19:1)
only is the phrase "on this day" ambiguous, it is quite difficult to
determine how many days actually transpire between their arrival at Har
Sinai and Matan Torah (see Shmot 19:3-16 & B.T. Shabbat 86b). Thus,
even if we assume (see Rashi 19:1- "b'yom hazeh") that Bnei Yisrael
arrived on the first day of the month, the lack of a clear chronology
in the subsequent events still makes it impossible to pinpoint that
does the Torah PURPOSELY obscure the date of Matan Torah? Why does it
not leave us with any specific mitzvah to commemorate that event?
Torah's implicit message may be that Matan Torah is not an historically
bound event. EVERY DAY we must feel as though the Torah was given
TODAY. This concept is reflected in the Midrash:
it should have been written: 'ON THAT DAY'. Why does the pasuk say: 'ON
THIS DAY'? This comes to teach us that the words of the Torah should be
considered new to you – as though they were given TODAY!" (quoted by
Rashi Shmot 19:1)
generation must feel that it has entered into a covenant with God (see
Dvarim 5:1-3). Every generation must feel that God's words were spoken
to them no less than to earlier generations. To celebrate the
anniversary of Matan Torah as a single moment in our history would
diminish from that meta-historical dimension.
Shavu’ot in the New Testament: Round Two
According to the Scriptural account in the B’rit Chadashah (New
Covenant, i.e., New Testament), HaShem allowed his Spirit to be
experienced by all of the believers, as well as by the other men
gathered there. The result was the disciples’ ability to speak in
languages not yet personally learned. To be sure, the text says that
Jews from every nation under heaven heard in their respective language,
the Good News! This was amazing indeed! In fact, Kefa (Peter) had to
defend their state of sobriety, as they were accused of being drunk so
early in the morning! Were they indeed drunk? Yes, drunk in the Spirit!
Tongues of fire and the sound of a violent wind also accompanied this
magnificent display of the Spirit’s power. Actually, the Hebrew word
for “spirit”, “breath”, and “wind” are all the same—ruach! Some
believers today refer to this record as the birth of the Church.
Now the display of the tongues of fire and the presence of great sounds
is reminiscent of the Sinai encounter. The rabbis also teach that when
HaShem presented the Torah to the people, that it went forth in a
multiple of fiery substance, inviting each individual Jew to accept the
command to follow the whole of the Torah. The account in Acts describes
the tongues of fire alighting themselves upon each person. In the Sinai
delivery of the Torah, the account says “thunders and lightnings…”
(KJV). The actual Hebrew word rendered thunders is “voices”! This
strengthens the connection to the Acts account, with voices being
heard. But how does this festival teach us some spiritual importance
that we should not forget?
The Ruach HaKodesh – The Power to Live a Changed Life!
A reader of mine sent in the following question. I have used his
question and my answers to develop the remainder of this commentary.
What does it really mean to be baptized in Holy Spirit? Is there really
a second experience, even though I have been taught in church there is
one I can't justify it by scripture as I think it has more to do with
unity and membership within the believing community.
Answer to Question 1:
First allow me to quote our (Kehilat T’nuvah’s) core Statement of
BAPTISM IN THE RUACH HAKODESH (HOLY SPIRIT) - We
believe by perfect faith that the Holy One, Blessed be He, desires that
all of his children appropriate and internalize the power and fullness
of his gracious Spirit. The Baptism in the Ruach HaKodesh and fire is a
gift from HaShem as promised by Yeshua the Messiah to all believers and
is received subsequent to the New Birth (Matt. 3:11; John 14:16, 17;
Acts 1:8; 2:38, 39). The gift of tongues is but one of the many
manifestations of the Ruach HaKodesh (Acts 2:4; 19:1-7; 1 Cor. 12:1-13;
ch. 14). We believe in the operation of all of the gifts of the Ruach
HaKodesh as enumerated in HaShem's Word. We embrace the complete
ministry of the Ruach HaKodesh (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12:1-13).
The very first mention of the Ruach in the Torah is in Genesis 1:2,
"…v’Ruach-Elohim m’rachefet al-paney ha-mayim" (…and the Spirit of God
hovered over the face of the water). Along with this reference, the
Ruach is also mentioned in quite a few other surprising locations in
the entire TaNaKH (Old Testament). Some rather familiar references are
found in the story of Shimshon (Samson), where we learn that he enjoyed
a special anointing from the Ruach (read Judges 13:24-14:20. In these
verses the Ruach is described as "coming upon him powerfully". But was
the Ruach within him? I’ve heard it taught that the Ruach did not enter
into men until the New Covenant, yet unmistakably the Torah says that
Adam had the Ruach breathed INTO him (read Genesis 2:7, where the word
translated "breath" is the Hebrew word "ruach"). In fact, it was this
"living" source breathed into him that sprang forth life in him.
Yet, in a very real way, the presence and ministry of the Ruach
HaKodesh, as we know him today, according to the times of the TaNaKH,
would not be fully realized until the birth, life, death, resurrection,
and ascension of Yeshua (read entire chapter of John 14, specifically
vv. 16-18, 26). Of this ministry and individual power of the Spirit,
Ezekiel prophesied about in 11:19, 20 and 36:25-29. This is also the
same individual "spirit" spoken about in Joel 2:28, 29, which is
confirmed by Peter in Acts 2:16-18. The Ruach HaKodesh was indeed
present in the days of the TaNaKH, yet his ministry was slightly
different than that of today. How so? Perhaps it can be said that in
the days following Messiah the Ruach bore direct witness of Yeshua’s
words, empowering the Shliachim (sent ones) to carry the precious
Gospel message to the uttermost ends of the earth. By contrast, but not
in contradistinction, the Ruach in the TaNaKH pointed individuals
towards the coming Messiah. Despite what more can be said on this
topic, I think we can all agree that from Genesis to Revelation it is
the Ruach HaKodesh who empowers a follower of HaShem to live a changed
and holy life.
To be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is to be filled with
Messiah (Christ). The Ruach HaKodesh came to glorify Messiah.
Therefore, if I am filled with the Spirit, I am abiding in Messiah. I
am walking in the light as he is in the light, and the blood of Yeshua
the Messiah (Jesus Christ) will cleanse and keep on cleansing me from
all unrighteousness. Messiah controls me because the word "filling"
means to be controlled. And if I am controlled - not as a robot but as
one who is led and empowered by the Spirit - the LORD Yeshua will walk
around in my body and live his resurrection life in and through me.
This amazing fact that Messiah lives in you and expresses his love
through you is one of the most important truths in the Torah. The
standards of the Torah life seem so high and so impossible to achieve
at times. To be sure, with our carnal flesh we cannot please God by
attempting to follow Torah. The Torah will always remind us of how
short we fall if we submit to it in the flesh.
But if we walk in the Spirit then we will walk in the Power and Life of
the Messiah himself! It is the life of Yeshua living through us that
enables us to keep the Torah as it is meant to be kept. Does the Torah
expect us to be sinless? Of course not. The Torah anticipates our
shortcomings and graciously makes provision for them. To be Torah
submissive, to be led by the Spirit, is to avail ourselves of the
sinless sacrifice of the Spotless Lamb. Only this sacrifice can remove
the stain of sin in our hearts. Only one man was sinless. That man was
Yeshua of Natzeret. Now, through his indwelling presence, he wants to
enable all that place their trust in him to live this same supernatural
If you are willing for Yeshua the Messiah to live his resurrection life
in and through you, you will bear spiritual fruit as naturally as a
healthy vine will bear an abundance of fruit.
Yeshua said, "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit;
so you will be My disciples." You can be a great preacher, a Christian
scholar, a deacon or elder, attend church meetings daily, live a clean,
moral life, memorize hundreds of verses of Scripture, direct a church
choir, and teach Sunday school, but if you are not bearing fruit in the
sense that you are introducing others to Messiah, you are not filled
and controlled by the Ruach HaKodesh according to the Torah.
Some people say, "I witness for Messiah by living a good life." But it
is not enough to live a good life. Many non-believers live fine, moral,
ethical lives. According to the LORD Yeshua, the only way to
demonstrate that you are truly following him is to produce fruit, which
includes introducing others to our Savior as well as living holy lives.
And the only way you can produce fruit is through the power of the
Some time ago I asked one of the leading theologians of our time, the
dean of faculty for a famous theological seminary, if he felt that one
could be a Spirit-filled person with out sharing Messiah as a way of
life. His answer was an emphatic, "No!"
On what basis could he make such a strong statement? The answer is
obvious. Our Savior came to "seek and to save the lost," and he has
"chosen and ordained" you to share the good news of his love and
forgiveness with everyone, everywhere. To fail to witness for Messiah
with your lips is to disobey this command just as much as to fail to
witness for him by living a holy life is to disobey his command. In
neither case can the disobedient believer expect God to control and
empower his life, nor can he experience the reality of God's presence
A very discouraged student came to me for counsel after one of my
messages. For several months he had spent at least three hours each day
reading his Bible, praying and sharing his faith with others. Yet, he
had never introduced anyone to Messiah. After a time of discussion, his
problem became apparent - he was not controlled and empowered by the
Ruach HaKodesh, although he wanted to be.
So we prayed together, and by faith he appropriated the power of the
Ruach HaKodesh on the authority of God's Word. His life was absolutely
transformed. This "appropriating" might be what many are referring to
as the "second experience" of the Spirit, the move from the mental
ascent that Yeshua is LORD to the spiritual affirmation that he is
LORD. That very day he had his first experience of introducing a person
to Messiah. The next day he led another to Messiah and, two days later,
another. He has since introduced scores of people to our LORD.
Not only do you receive a supernatural power for witnessing when you
are filled with the Spirit, but your personality also begins to change.
As you continue to walk in the control and power of the Ruach HaKodesh,
the fruit of the Spirit becomes increasingly obvious in your life.
In Galatians 5:22,23, Sha’ul (Paul) explains, "When the Ruach HaKodesh
controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self
The believer's relationship with the Ruach HaKodesh is both critical
and progressive: critical, in that one learns that the Torah life is a
life of faith rather than a life of works and has no reference to
emotions ("The just shall live by faith."); progressive, in that, as
one walks consistently in the power and control of the Ruach HaKodesh,
the fruit of the Spirit will be produced in his life.
A word of caution is in order. Do not seek an emotional or mystical
experience. Do not depend on mystical impressions. The Torah must be
the basis of your spiritual growth. There is an interesting parallel
between Ephesians 5:18, which admonishes us to be constantly and
continually directed and empowered by the Ruach HaKodesh, and
Colossians 3:16, which admonishes us to "let the Word of Messiah richly
dwell within you..."
The end result of both letting the Word of Messiah dwell in you and
being filled with the Ruach HaKodesh will be that you will talk much
about the LORD quoting psalms and hymns and making music in your heart
to the LORD.
It is very important to recognize the magnitude of the balance between
the Torah and the Spirit of God. The Torah is closed to our
understanding and has little meaning to us apart from the illumination
given by the Ruach HaKodesh, and the Ruach HaKodesh is hindered in
speaking clear and life changing truth apart from the Torah.
It is crucial for us to understand theologically, that the primary
purpose in HaShem's giving of the Torah, as a way of making someone
righteous, only achieves its goal when the person, by faith, accepts
that Yeshua is the promised Messiah spoken about therein. Until the
individual reaches this conclusion, his familiarity of the Torah is
only so much intellectual nutrition. Only by believing in Yeshua will
the person be able to properly understand HaShem, and consequently, his
When the emphasis on the ministry of the Ruach HaKodesh and the Torah
is in proper balance in your life, the result is a life of power and
great fruitfulness in which our Savior, the LORD Yeshua The Messiah, is
wonderfully honored and glorified. As you continue then to allow the
Ruach HaKodesh to control and empower you, and as you meditate upon the
Torah, hiding it in your heart, your life expresses more and more the
beauty of Messiah and the fruit of the Spirit which Sha’ul lists in
Galatians 5:22,23. These attributes of our LORD Yeshua Himself, plus
fruitful witnessing, indicate that the LORD is actually living his life
in and through you!
Being filled with the Spirit results in an abundant and overflowing
life. Yeshua of Nazareth once cried out to the multitude, "If a man is
thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the
Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
John adds, "By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him
were later to receive."
Truly, this is "the abundant life," yet most believers are experiencing
little of it.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Answer to Question 2:
The terms "baptized" and "filled" are synonyms for the same experience
described above. The first term simply connects the experience with the
physical baptism that all believers are to undergo, as truthfully, many
believers admit to feeling "filled with the Spirit" at the moment of
their baptism. The terms are indeed used synonymously.
What does baptized with fire mean?
Answer to Question 3:
Once again, this term helps to describe the experience of being filled
with the knowledge of Messiah. Yet, this phrase seems to carry the
connotation of a soldier receiving his marching orders. The term "fire"
in the Bible is used to convey the power of the Word of God. To be
sure, both the Sinai experience and the day of Pentecost were
accompanied by great displays of fire. This signifies the Word of
God—the Torah—going forth in power in the life of an individual. To be
baptized in fire means to appropriate the knowledge of Messiah with the
knowledge of his Torah. Indeed the two go hand in hand. For without the
Word of God firmly rooted in a believer how can the Spirit bring all
things of Yeshua to his remembrance?
What is the Spirit’s fire that can be quenched if we despise prophecy?
Answer to Question 4:
Quench Not the Spirit
I Thessalonians 5:19
In our study of the ministry of the Ruach HaKodesh we understand that
the Ruach HaKodesh indwells every believer at the moment of salvation.
We also find that there are several direct commands from the Torah
concerning the Spirit of HaShem and believers. Let’s take a look at one
of them. This command comes at the close of Sha’ul's first epistle to
the Thessalonians. Notice chapter five and beginning with verse twelve.
We see the apostle pulling together the final part of his letter. As he
begins to close it seems that many exhortations came to mind as he
completed the epistle. One of those closing exhortations is "Quench not
What was Sha’ul talking about? Some would use this verse to try to
prove that one can lose their salvation and that the Spirit of HaShem
can be put out of their lives. We know that this is a misinterpretation
as we compare scripture with scripture. Sha’ul wrote to the Ephesian
believers admonishing them to be careful not to grieve the Ruach
HaKodesh who has sealed them until the day of redemption.
The dictionary gives four basic definitions of the word "quench". It
means to put out or extinguish; to suppress or squelch; to slake or
satisfy one's thirst; and to cool by thrusting in water or some other
Within the context of this verse we understand it to mean suppressing
or squelching the influence of the Ruach HaKodesh of God in the life of
I. Outlined Observations:
A. The Spirit of HaShem can be "quenched".
1. If it were not true then the Ruach HaKodesh would
not have had Sha’ul include this admonition.
2. This action is only attributed to the believer.
3. Primarily the Ruach HaKodesh is not quenched from
without, but from within.
B. What is it that the believer can do to quench the Spirit of HaShem
in his life?
1. It is not done merely by committing a single
sinful act...for it is the Spirit of God who convicts us of our
sin. It is done by continually living in sin even after the
Spirit has convicted a person of such sin! The emphasis here is
on the “repeat offender”.
2. To understand how believers quench the Spirit in
their life we have to remind ourselves of how the Spirit ministers to
3. Note: John 16:13.
4. He is here to teach us, guide us, direct us,
rebuke us, and to show us the way to unfold the Torah to give us joy,
peace and love.
5. His ministry is to transform our lives, our
character, and our experience.
C. We quench the Spirit's influence in our lives when we resist his
ministry to us.
1. When we fail to yield ourselves to HaShem.
2. Note: Romans 6:13.
3. We quench the Spirit when we say "NO" to HaShem.
4. Nothing could be more misdirected than a
5. When HaShem created us He purposely left out the
ability for us to direct ourselves.
a. "Man's goings are of the Lord;
how can a man then understand his own way?" cf. Pr. 20:24
b. "O Lord, I know that the way
of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his
steps." cf. Jer. 10:23
c. HaShem sent the Ruach HaKodesh
into our lives that He might lead and direct us.
II. Yeshua the Messiah is our Example.
A. He was willing to GO where his Father chose.
1. The Creator was willing to come to this earth.
2. He left his glorified position in heaven to come
and be rejected on earth.
3. He came into this world with a mission and
message of grace.
4. Are we willing to go wherever the LORD might
choose to lead?
5. If not, we quench the Spirit in our lives.
B. He was willing to BE whatever his Father chose.
1. Not only was he willing to lay aside the garments
2. He was willing to be incarnate... become flesh...
the Creator taking on the form of the creation.
3. He "made himself of no reputation, and took upon
him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men", cf.
4. Are we willing to be what HaShem wants us to be?
5. If not, we quench the Spirit of God in our lives.
C. He was willing to DO whatever his Father chose.
1. He became obedient unto death.
2. He was willing to give his life on Calvary that
you and I might live eternally.
3. He suffered the most cruel of deaths, not because
he deserved to die, but because he chose to take our place that we
might go free!
4. Are we willing to be obedient to do what HaShem
wants us to do with our lives?
5. If not, we quench the Spirit of God.
III. What does it mean to be yielded to HaShem?
A. It means being willing to:
1. Go anywhere the Father might choose to lead.
2. Be anything that the Father might choose for us
3. Do whatever the Father might choose for us to do.
B. It means being in HaShem's will.
1. This is not a question of being willing to do
some one thing.
2. It is a question of being willing to do anything,
when where and how it may seem best to HaShem.
3. God doesn't expect us to make promises to him
about what we will or will not do.
4. The believer in the flesh says, "If HaShem wants
me to do something, let him tell me and I will decide whether or not I
will do it."
5. The yielded believer says, "I am willing to be
made willing to do his will."
6. Whatever it takes!
Quench not the Spirit. Don't say “no” to HaShem. Don't seek solutions
apart from his leading or treat him with indifference. We must be
willing to be led, be willing to go, to be, and to do whatever God
We know that it was the Torah, the very same teachings that we have
today, that was inscribed upon the stone tablets that day. We also know
that this same Torah is to be inscribed upon our hearts as we serve
Yeshua (Jesus), to the glory of HaShem the Father. How do we get the
Torah into our hearts? The Spirit of the Holy One makes real the fact
that Yeshua the Messiah, in obedience to the Father, emptied himself on
our behalf, and became as sin, that we might, consequently, become the
righteousness of the Father! In other words, because the Ruach HaKodesh
makes the effectual, sacrificial death of Messiah, a living reality in
our hearts, we are now free to walk in newness of life! This act of
faith on our part brings about the inscription of the Torah upon our
hearts! To be sure, the Torah says that HaShem himself does this
(Ezekiel 36:26, 27; Jeremiah 31:33)! We are free to pursue the Torah of
Truth without condemnation (Romans 8:1)! This new identity in Messiah
is the righteous relationship that our Heavenly Abba (Father) intended
for us all along. The details surrounding that eventful Shavu'ot in
Jerusalem now serve to remind us of this present reality.
If you have not yet experienced this wonderful truth, that HaShem
desires to have a personal relationship with you, then I urge you to
accept his Messiah today! The Spirit of the Holy One will fill your
life to overflowing, giving you a new and fresh purpose for living! His
Spirit will write the Torah upon your heart! To be sure, he has
promised to place within you a new voice and a new tongue! One that
sings praises to the Father of Mercies! This very same Father is the
one who sent his only and unique Son into the world to die for the sins
of all men!