This year, Shavuot, also known as the Festival of Weeks, begins as the weekly Sabbath ended on Saturday evening at sunset yesterday.
Understanding this holiday from a Jewish perspective provides a fitting background to the celebration of Pentecost. The Torah is the gift God gave us first during this festival season. The teaching and instructions on how to live a kingdom lifestyle as YHWH’s people. The outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit, took place on the same day about 1,300 years later. This season and celebration is a Holy day or Feast day that YHWH our God instructs us in His Torah to honor forever. Shavuot is the true name of the holiday, Pentecost is the Greek translation of the word which means “50.” Shavuot fall exactly 50 days (seven Sabbaths) after the first day of Passover (Pesach).
“Count 50 days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.” (Lev. 23:16)
It’s the second of the three biblical pilgrimage festivals, following Pesach — the Feast of Unleavened Bread — and before the fall festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Many themes are interwoven in this holiday. Here’s a few.
The Book of Ruth
In biblical times, Israelites countrywide traveled to Jerusalem to present an offering at the Temple on Mount Zion (Temple Mount). Also known as Hag Ha’katzir (Harvest Festival), Jews traditionally read the Book of Ruth, along with the Torah portion, which reminds them to share God’s bountiful provision.
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 23:22).
The Book of Ruth tells the story of the Moabite woman who chose to return to Israel with her mother-in-law, Naomi.
“Entreat me not to leave you or turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go and wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
When the young widow goes out to glean, she finds herself in grain fields belonging to Naomi’s close relative, Boaz, who becomes her husband. Ruth then gives birth to Obed, the grandfather of King David, placing her in the genealogy of Israel’s Messiah.
First Fruits and Giving of the Torah
Israelites brought the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple, hence the name Hag ha’Bikkurim, the Festival of First Fruits. They likely brought some of the seven species with them — olives, grapes, wheat, barley, figs, dates, and pomegranates — those harvested in the spring after the winter rains. Today, Israel produces these same fruits in abundance. On Shavuot, dairy products and fruit are traditional fare, celebrating the land flowing with milk and honey.
Shavuot is also called Hag Matan Torateinu (Festival of the Giving of the Torah), celebrating God’s giving the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. It’s traditional to stay up all night studying the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
On Shavuot, nearly 2,000 years ago, 120 followers of Yeshua (Jesus) were waiting in an upper room in Jerusalem to receive another gift of power from on high. They were told to wait together until it happened.
They may have prayed about the promise foretold by the prophet Joel, which Peter described.
“There came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty, rushing wind…when they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2-4)
The outpouring of God’s Spirit produced quite a harvest — about 3,000 people joined the 120 disciples to become “witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”
In a Shemittah year an outpouring that surpasses what we have recorded in biblical history is where our expectation should rest. The One who has always been and rested on the throne as our King of the Universe is manifesting His authority and preparing His final statement to His people and mankind. The Mighty Hand of YHWH our God is what today’s world will see next.
The appointment book of YHWH our God is the Torah. He has given it to us to know how to worship in His presence forever. The Torah is the missing piece to the puzzle of living out ones salvation. The true meaning of salvation is lifestyle. There are many questions that continue to go unanswered, and unasked, in the Christian lifestyle and customs expressed for several generations. Jesus (Yeshua) is placed at the center of Christianity, but he is not Greek.
Christianity has taken the culture of the people of Israel, through the Hebrew lineage and interpreted out of a Greek mindset mold. History is a phenomenal tool we have to use to gain wisdom. When a history of accounts and events are altered to suit the belief system of another, there are many opportunities of mis-education. It is one thing to know of someone and another to actually know someone personally. In the simplest reasoning to intrigue you to seek further from your position of understanding, worshipping, and intimacy with God, I only ask that you learn the history of why you do all that you do in honor of your salvation through Jesus (Yeshua).
I only ask that if and when your act of worship becomes saturated with a sense of guilt in the temple, or non-productivity of God’s promises in your spiritual walk for any reason; for instance, an inability to participate in man designated annual days, tithes & offerings, building funds, special event participation, etc., that you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth of where this ‘feeling of guilt’ derives. YHWH gives us free will to worship Him, but not worshipping Him any way we want. He sent us a guide, teaching and instructing us on how to love Him in the Torah. Ruth chose to remain with Naomi freely, she willingly denounced her former practices of the Moabites, and chose to serve, worship and love Naomi’s God YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with her people. Ephraim of the House of Joseph (Israel), is offered also the choice, to follow YHWH and the Then 2000 years later He sent the final guide, teacher and instructor that will lead us to all truth-“The Holy Spirit”. He continues to follow His pattern of interaction with His people. Learn more about Jesus, the one who you worship and accredit your salvation, Learn more about how he studied, understood and worshipped Abba (Father), by obeying Him. How else will you receive the mind of Christ [1 Cor 2:16].
This is not rocket science, but it will require you to dig for yourself and stop depending on what we call the ,”professionals,” to spoon feed you what they want you to know; while removing what they cannot explain, understand or want you to know.
Loving you enough to share the truth,