2019 Study Summary 26: Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me | Israel Revealed

2019 Study Summary 26: Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me

Acts 1-5

“Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me”

How analogous are Old and New Testament Pentecost days?
The profound gift of the Holy Ghost was given to provide a witness of the completion of the Savior’s atonement. Being “set at liberty from our bruises” and happy to share our new-found freedom, we need the gift of the Holy Ghost to be witnesses. Fifty days after the Passover when Jesus was crucified and resurrected; there was a day of Pentecost. The day was chosen to “write the law in our hearts.” It is a “High Day” for the Jews called Shavuot. The most significant part of the celebration is the receiving of the Torah, the Law of Moses, “written on tablets of stone.”

How did the day of Pentecost get selected?
“Shavuot (Hebrew for “Weeks”), the name of the festival which celebrates the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat and fruit harvests . . . Shavuot is also the day on which the Torah was revealed to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai.” “The biblical text (Leviticus 23:4) states that Passover should be celebrated on the fifteenth of the first month (Nisan). It then says “From the day after the Sabbath . . . you shall keep count [until] seven full weeks have elapsed . . . you shall count fifty days . . . In English, the festival is often known as Pentecost, from the Greek word which means “the fiftieth day.”

How does heart and body connect on Shavuot?
“It is customary to stay up all night learning Torah on the first night of Shavuot. All men, women and children should go to the synagogue on the first day of Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments. As on other holidays, special meals are eaten, and no “work” may be performed. On the second day of Shavuot, the Yizkor (remembrance) memorial service is recited. Some communities read the Book of Ruth publicly, as King David—whose passing occurred on this day—was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite. Some have the custom to decorate their homes (and synagogues) with flowers and sweet-smelling plants in advance of Shavuot.” (Chabad.org)

How do “descending and ascending” give meaning to our lives?
The imagery of receiving the Torah from above on Shavuot (Jewish Pentecost), leads to understanding the New Testament day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost descended. The Holy Ghost descended so that the Savior could ascend. Likewise, we must have the Holy Ghost descend on us so that we can ascend to our Savior, who will bring us to His and our Father in Heaven.

How can we better understand “healing?”
The Savior’s healing power was given to his apostles as they learned to work in his name. Healing was part of the person becoming whole, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The great Jewish Rabbi, Maimonides, felt that healing had to be holistic. He was a physician as well as a doctor. “He abhorred the thought of using Torah learning as a means of support. This was a serious point of contention between him and the geonim of the religious establishment, and he turned to the profession of medicine. Jews and Muslims were among his patients. His ideas on medicine were advanced and sympathetic: he rejected the use of magic and charms in healing, and added that the doctor must know the whole patient in order to diagnose properly.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

Who provides does the miracle power?
There is another image that may help us understand the Savior’s power, entrusted to his apostles through the priesthood and gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the comparison of Aaron to Moses. “Aaron was clearly given a lesser role than Moses. Aaron experienced revelations from God and, being an eloquent speaker, acted as prophet and miracle- worker before Pharaoh in the matter of the Plagues of Egypt. However, it is significant that even where he plays an active role in performing the miracles, it is not a result of his own ability or initiative, but solely by divine command given through Moses.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

What can we witness?
In that sense, concentration on the highest power, that of the Lord, helps us consecrate everything to and for Him. Healings, blessings, repeated guidance through the gift of the Holy Ghost are manifestations, witnesses of the Lord’s great gift of atonement. We are witnesses!

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