The Spring Festivals of the Lord (Part 2) - Shavuot - PENTECOST - "The Feast of Weeks"

The Coming KINGDOM of the LORD

As we continue to progress through the "Church Age", the Lord God is rallying His people, the Church of the New Covenant and "Body of Christ". We can see more Christians gaining a better understanding of Old Testament origins and reconnecting with their Hebrew roots, as well as more people of the Jewish faith identifying with a Christ-based "messianic" belief and doctrine. Of course, all of these factors are occurring in accordance with the Lord's design as we draw nearer to the end of this age. We are in a time of preparation for the coming Kingdom of our Lord here on Earth.

All these things being held as evident, it is likewise important to reflect on the various elements we can learn from scripture in reference to the Lord's historical relationship with His people. By understanding these things better, we can more better serve our Lord God and perform His will in sharing this enlightenment with others.

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SHAVUOT and PENTECOST

The First SHAVUOT - "Feast of Weeks" - Historical Significance

The last festival of the spring season is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (late May or early June). "Shavuot" commemorates the anniversary of the day that God gave the law (Ten Commandments) to the Israelite nation assembled at Mount Sinai, although this specific association is not explicit in the standard biblical text. The date of Shavuot is directly linked to that of the Passover observance. These festivals were marked at the beginning of the spring season with the barley harvest, then concluded with the wheat harvest several weeks later, both of which tied in with the "Firstfruits" offering (Exodus 23:16). The Torah mandates that the seven-week "Counting of the Omer" (omer-measure of barley), would begin on the second day of Passover and would be followed by the "Feast of Weeks".

Shavuot occurs fifty days following Passover, beginning the count on the second day after Passover ("on the morrow"), plus seven sabbaths (7 weeks); which is (7 x 7 = 49 + 1 = 50). This counting of the days and weeks (thus the "Feast of Weeks") is understood as expressing the anticipation and desire for the "Giving of the Torah". On Passover, the Jewish people were freed from their enslavement to Pharaoh and made their exodus from Egypt; on Shavuot they were given the Torah through Moses and became a nation committed to serving the Lord God.

"FEAST of WEEKS" Observance

Shavuot is a festival of joy and thanksgiving celebrating the completion of the harvest season. It is also the second major biblical feast in which all able-bodied Jewish males were required to attend (the other two being Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles). Shavuot is celebrated as a sabbath with rest from ordinary labors which included the calling of a holy convocation.

After the original sheaf of barley is made as a wave offering, the weeks are counted and then a new offering is prepared with two loaves of bread made from the recent harvest of wheat. There was to be leaven in these loaves and cooked in the regular manner, unlike the unleavened bread used in the previous spring festivals. They are then taken into the temple where they are made as an offering to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:15-16; Deuteronomy 16:9).

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The Original PENTECOST

What the Israelites would not have known until hundreds of years later, was the prophetic significance of the timing for the "Feast of Weeks" or Shavuot, which of course was in God's plan through His infinite wisdom all along. The Hebrew festival of Shavuot would become the same as the liturgical celebration of Pentecost to most Christians, the name being derived from the Greek: Pente = fifty (likewise 50 days from the Passover feast).

In the New Testament of the Bible, forty days after the resurrection of Jesus in the last of His miraculous appearances (Matthew 28:16-17; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9), He informed the apostles that it was necessary that He leave them and ascend to His Father in Heaven (in order to apply the final benefits of His sacrifice on the cross). However, Jesus had told them that they would not be left abandoned and comfortless. He would send to them His Holy Spirit who would come to be alongside the members of His new church and help them in His absence (Mark 16:19-20).

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." (John 14:16-20 KJV)

The disciples were instructed to stay in Jerusalem until the "comforter" came to baptise them in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5,8). The coming of the Holy Spirit would occur ten days later, on the next Jewish holy festival - a joyful time when Jews from across the lands would have come to Jerusalem to celebrate the completion of the harvest season. This annual feast was none other than Shavuot or the "Feast of Weeks". The disciples waited as they were commanded and on the day of Pentecost, Christ's promise was delivered unto them. The Spirit of God descended on those first-century believers and worked miracles through them so that they could witness to all the people who had assembled for the festival (Acts 2).

This was the first Pentecost and the fulfillment of the prophetic connection with the original Shavuot and "Feast of Weeks". The Jews had celebrated the anticipation of the Torah (the Word of God) and the apostles had waited in anticipation of the Holy Spirit (the Living Word of God) and comforter for the Church of the New Covenant. Both of these holy events occurred exactly 50 days after their respective sacrifice of the Passover lamb and the sacrifice of the "Lamb of God" (Christ) accordingly. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as the "Birthday of the Christian Church".

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Spiritual Significance of PENTECOST

When the Holy Spirit revealed himself after the resurrection and ascension of Christ on Pentecost, He then embodied himself within the new church. This also represented both the Jews and Gentiles coming together through Christ as one church under the New Covenant(Ephesians 2:14-22). This aspect of the new church had also been prophetically displayed in bringing together the two loaves of bread used in the sacrificial offering for the temple.

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:13)

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew people were born into a sinful nature and still lived under the original covenant law. Even now during this "Age of the Church", there is sin within the congregation of the faithful as we are all born into sin prior to our receiving the grace of salvation and still live within a sinful world under the law (Romans 3:9-20). The Lord God and the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ, the head of the church) however, are of a sinless and pure essence or "unleavened" (as in unleavened bread). Therefore, the church still has leaven (a sinful nature) within her. Thus in the festival of Shavuot (or Pentecost), leaven is included in the two loaves of bread for the offering to symbolically represent this nature.

Today this symbolizes when Jesus sent us the gift of the Holy Spirit as He did for the apostles at the original Pentecost festival, fifty days after His resurrection and triumphant return from the grave. It was the event that marked the sealing of the New Covenant and inauguration of the New Church of Christ. Pentecost likewise signifies and declares the baptism of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ (Acts 1:5-8). This baptism in the spirit allows us to move away from our innately sinful nature.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO THE CHURCH TODAY?

What many people may not realize is the magnitude of this gift through the Lord's grace. The Holy Spirit now dwells directly within the physical universe as embodied in the church by way of the New Covenant (as was established by Christ's sacrifice on the cross).

In the Old Testament, this covenant had NOT been established as yet. The ancient Hebrew patriarchs, prophets and priests were able to perform miraculous feats ONLY when the Lord embodied His Holy Spirit in them on specific occasions. The Lord would use His Spirit and angelic host to assist the children of God as needed, but once His works had been completed, these manifestations would again depart back into the spiritual realm. The Lord God always watched over His people and extended His hand as necessary, but His disciples were not continuously enabled to perform works of His will by themselves. Such would require the Lord's direct involvement or intervention. They would have to call on the Lord's power for certain needs or He would have to empower them to perform specific tasks that suited His purpose.

Under the New Covenant, this is the key element of the church (the "Body of Christ") and the purpose of the endwelling of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus Christ. This aspect of God's grace and gift to His disciples today is what grants us the strength and ability to perform His will through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is through this embodiment of His grace, that we are individually empowered and thus able to perform miracles and wonders which glorify the Lord and help to serve His will in this world. Pentecost reflects this and it is one of the more significant components of God's plan for His children in this age of the church.

"Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed." (Acts 5:14-16 NIV)

This truly is an amazing connection with our Father in Heaven. The church and "Body of Christ" has access to what was previously not in place until Christ's sacrifice established the New Covenant and sent the "comforter" to us fifty days later. By achieving a closer relationship with our Lord and understanding the full extent of this aspect of His love and grace, we can more better serve Him and prepare for His coming glorious Kingdom.

Just think of what the church could actually do, if everyone would fully develop this intimate connection with the Holy Spirit.

"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."
(Thomas A. Edison)

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"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." (Acts 2:17 NIV)

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COMMENTS - Tell Us What YOU Think (^VOTE Above^) 8 comments

Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 5 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

We are seeing things happening in Judaism towards the "messiah" more now than even in the days of Jesus, The Old Testament is opening up and what were once thought of as verses and chapters of how the Hebrew children were to live and such we now see it as the prophecies of these days we are living in. The book of Daniel is opened to us now and we can see what God was telling Daniel 2500 years ago. It is an amazing time in the Christian history and God has chosen us of this generation to see the end of days. I am blessed and feel honored to be a part of these days.


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

AMEN brother Michael and thanks for being the first to share your comments. It is indeed a glorious time to be alive in Christ! The previously closed chapters of scripture are being opened for all to see as we draw nearer the end of this age. The "Mystery of God" is becoming more evident as His Kingdom approaches. Be blessed always... Rev.Ted


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

christ4ever, Rev. Ted: This is a beautiful presentation on Pentecost.

As I was reading through this, I reached the point where you were discussing the purity of unlevened bread and the sinfulness of the levened bread and I got to thinking, prodded by The Holy Spirit.

Maybe this thinking was off course, that the unlevened bread represents the strictness and staunchiness under the old "Hebrew Laws" and that the adding of a levening agent served to open up to all peoples Jew and Gentile, slave or free, sinner or pious, the opportunity for all to become as one, as Christian, under the accepting and teachings of Jesus Christ. Chastise me if you will for not seeing this as you see it, but this is where the Holy Spirit drew me as I read through this hub.


fred allen profile image

fred allen 5 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

I like the quote by Thomas Edison. It's a challenge to all believers. I also like that you emphasized that all were healed with bold print. If we could cast aside all doubt and take God at His word, the world would look much different than it does. Our lives would look much different than they do. People would see the power of God and be drawn to Him. God help us revive the spirit of Pentecost when the power came from above and people were truly changed.


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

@Dave Mathews - Hi brother Dave - All that was relayed above in reference to the "leaven" was what is taught by the original Hebrew understanding and observance of this practice. The yeast actually sours the bread and thus is considered a contaminant versus that which is "unleavened" and without impurities. That is where this custom comes from.

I do not disagree with your interpretation for I fully understand how the Holy Spirit can impart a variety of messages to different people, although through the same scripture or symbolic reference. This is yet another reason and example how the Word of God (the Holy Bible) can also reveal different messages at different times from the exact same verse, depending on the need or occasion as deemed necessary or appropriate by the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, the two loaves of bread brought together (as the Jews and Gentiles in one church through Christ) can represent this union - and as the bread rises in the oven, so does the church rise above all things even under the heat of opposition and expand its spiritual covering.

Be blessed always... Rev.Ted


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

@fred allen - Hello brother Fred and thank you for your observations. AMEN to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all believers at His full potential. I likewise agree that: "If we could cast aside all doubt and take God at His word...", it would truly be a miraculous thing to witness as the entire "Body of Christ" is led completely in faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In His peace be blessed... Rev.Ted


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

I always love the old testament explanations of the New Testament truths. I don't know how we can even understand one without the other.

Enjoyed your informative article


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

Hi Tamara and thanks for coming by. I apologise for somehow missing this the first time around. You've made a great point in that these things reflect the "completeness" of God. The Old Testament and the New with its Gospels. The Jews and the Gentiles (and all nations). The first coming of Jesus Christ the "Messiah" and His future second coming to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. The Alpha and the Omega. How can we possibly have any one of these things without the other? -AMEN

The Lord be praised and many blessings extended to you!... Rev.Ted

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