If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13)
In his ‘Book of Mysteries’, Johnathan Cahn draws our attention to an ancient Jewish tradition and explains its significance for us today.
Over the centuries, weddings have been very important celebrations. In ancient times in Israel, wedding preparations were rather different from today. During the days of the betrothal, the bride and groom lived in their separate homes with their families, eagerly awaiting the great wedding day. During this time there was limited communication between the bride and groom. However, there was a custom that enabled the groom to send the bride a gift. It was a small token of his love for her. In Hebrew, this gift was called the ‘mattan’. The mattan would assure the bride that her groom had not forgotten her, he was preparing a place for her, and one day he would come and bring her to his home. They would then be together for the rest of their lives.
Interestingly, there is a date once a year in the Biblical calendar when Israel celebrates the feast of Shavuot. This is the time when when they remember the Law that was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The children of Isreal considered the Law to be God’s gift to them so Shavuot became known as the Day of Mattan, the Day of the Gift.
In the New Testament, we read that this festival was celebrated shorty after the death and resurrection of Jesus. For Shavuot, as well as other major Hebrew festivals, tens of thousands of Jews from lands near and far, make their way to Jerusalem. We read of a particular Shavuot in Acts 2 when around 120 followers of Jesus were gathered together in an upper room in Jerusalem. On Shavuot, the Day of Mattan (also known as Pentecost), we read these thrilling words:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:2-4)
This was the Mattan, the gift that Jesus had spoken about in Acts 1:4,5:
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:4,5)
Jonathan Cahn says:
“It means that the Holy Spirit is The Mattan, the gift that the bridegroom gives to the bride… the Spirit is given as the Bridegroom’s love for the bride, to encourage us in the days of our betrothal and separation, to assure us of his pledge, to bless us, strengthen us and beautify us”
I pray that today, we will all as deeply appreciate God’s Mattan to us, as the bride in ancient days appreciated the mattan from her groom.
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