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biblical teaching

Shavuot: What is it about?

Shavuot/Weeks is the fourth of the annual appointed times which YHVH God gave to Israel to celebrate and to remember His mighty works on behalf of His people. It is considered to be a Summer holy day, after the three Spring feasts, and leading up to the three Fall feasts. Each of the three pilgrim festivals – Passover, Shavuot, and Succot/Booths – are timed agriculturally to three harvests:  the barley, the wheat, and the fruit. These appointed times unfold the order of God’s covenant plan of redemption, beginning with the Jews, and then bringing in the Gentiles. He first spoke of this to Abraham/Abram. Believers in Yeshua/Jesus are able to also understand these appointed times bringing about the harvest of Jewish and Gentile people into the Kingdom of God. 

Lev 23:9-1115-17Josh 4:195:10-12  A careful reading of the verses in Leviticus reveal that Shavuot should always be on a Sonday – the 50th day after the Sabbath during the Passover/Unleavened Bread week – which starts the seven weeks count and fifty days from the waving of the firstfruit sheaf/omer of the barley harvest/Yeshua’s resurrection in fulfillment of the appointed time/first fruits from the dead. (1Cor 15:19-23) The counting begins from resurrected life: from the seed that was laid into the ground and died before breaking forth to its life. (Jn 12:24-26) Yeshua/Jesus began from His resurrection to show Himself alive to His disciples, and to hundreds of others, before He ascended by to glory on the 40th day of the 50-day count. YHVH our God gave a day, not a date, within His Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits week for both the waving of the firstfruits barley sheaf, and for the wheat harvest celebration. It is a time of rejoicing for all of the people within Israel – the citizens, the residents, the slaves, the strangers – and we are to remember that we were slaves in Egypt. (Dt 16:11-12)

Acts 2:1-1236-42   Shavuot/Pentecost comes at the time of the wheat harvest.  As we learn to understand this from God’s prophetic calendar, we see that Shavuot marked the firstfruits of the harvest of Jewish and Gentile believers (it took another fair number of years before the gospel went intentionally to Cornelius and the Gentiles), for whom Yeshua died: a new thing that God did through the gospel:  all have sinned, and need forgiveness and a Savior. Jesus did not die only for the Jews, nor only for the elect, but for every human being in all of history past and future. Repentance and faith in Him saves the sinner. The gospel is preached to everyone — whoever and wherever he or she or they may be in the world – until the Lord returns. (Mt 28:18-201Cor 11:26

This beginning on the historic Pentecost/Shavuot of the fulfillment of YHVH’s promise to Abram/Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) carried the Law and the Prophets forward towards God’s ingathering of Jews and Gentiles together equally into His family of the redeemed. This is not a renewing of the Sinai Covenant Law of Moses given to Israel, but a new covenant inclusive of saved and forgiven people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group. The Law does not recognize this equality of value of Jew and Gentile, nor of male and female; these are two major differences and changes which the gospel brings into the light, and towards its full fruition. (Col 1:24-29Gal 3:26-29) Shavuot/Pentecost brings in a new thing; God is not going back, but will fulfill every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets, as Messiah/Christ said plainly. (Mt 5:17-19Gal 4:21-31) Shavuot is not a celebration of the Law, but of the risen Lord, and our Father’s covenant love for us to forgive us and bring us back home to Himself. 

The Fall Appointed Times will fulfill YHVH God’s promises to Israel as a nation in the Land He has chosen to give to them, and also fulfill the blessing of the nations in the “life from the dead” that the salvation of “all Israel” will bring to them. (Rom 11) Meanwhile, God is calling out a royal priesthood of believers from out of every nation to rule and reign with Jesus/Yeshua when He returns in great power and glory to establish forever God’s Kingdom over His creation. 

Joel 2:28-29 Eng (3:1-2 Heb); Rom 12:3-81Cor 1214Eph 4:7-16   The Father began to give the gift of the Holy Spirit in Yeshua’s name to all who were born-again on Pentecost/Shavuot with the gift of tongues. The Holy Spirit was sent after Jesus had ascended back to Heaven 10 days earlier, no longer only to prophets, priests, and kings, but to any and all who believed – men, women, children, servants, Jews, Gentiles – a new thing through the gospel of the New Covenant: the triune God lives within the born-again new creation; Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Jn 7:37-3914:23-28Col 1:24-29) The first gift of the Spirit was the speaking in tongues, all glorifying God for His wonderful works. I know that there is much controversy regarding this particular gift, and of the gift of tongues spoken elsewhere. But, regardless, God began to truly dwell within and among His people, and gave/gives spiritual gifts to them to serve Him, the Body of Messiah, and anyone else – for the glory of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah.

Jn 17:15-23  Our High Priest Yeshua prayed to His Father and ours for the unity of Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua/Jesus, those who truly believe that He physically rose from death and the grave, having accomplished our redemption and salvation in His sacrificial death on the cross. He prays that we would love Him, and love the brothers and sisters, so that the world will know who Jesus Christ really is, and that God the Father loves us as He loves His beloved Son Jesus/Yeshua. Paul writes that this unity must be actively kept by us. (Eph 4:1-6) God is one; there is perfect love and unity within YHVH. God is love, and is actively working in us and with us so that His love in us will become the law of our own lives, as we humbly and thankfully sanctify and purify ourselves, by God’s grace and power, in expectation of the final harvest of fruit, the holy and righteous fruit that He likes. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.

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