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Shavu'ot or Pentecost
Feast of Weeks

 

(Much of the following information is general knowledge, and other commentary came from the books God's Prophetic Calendar, by Lehman Strauss. Published by Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune NJ, ęCopyright 1987; and from The Gospel in the Feasts of Israel by Victor Buksbazen, Published by Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Bellmawr NJ, ęCopyright 2004. Used with permission. Both Dr. Strauss and Dr. Buksbazen have since gone on to be with the Lord. The feast overview chart came from Internet Biblical Resources.

"And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be completed: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offering, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savor unto the LORD. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings  throughout your generations" (Leviticus 23:15-21).

"And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end" (Exodus 34:22).

 

 

Three times a year the Israelites were commanded by God to appear before Him in Jerusalem. The occasions were as follows:

  1. Passover [Pesach] which celebrated Israel's deliverance from Egypt. It was symbolized by the eating of unleavened bread and the offering of the Passover lamb.

  2. Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost]. It was typified by the offering of two wave loaves made of newly harvested wheat.

  3. The Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot]. It was symbolized by booths and commemorated Israel's wandering through the wilderness and final entrance into the Promised Land.

 

The word Pentecost is Greek, meaning "fifty." It was so designated because it was observed on the fiftieth day after the Passover Sabbath. Fifty is the number for freedom. The season of Jubilee shows us that. [See Leviticus 25:8-13]. There are several names by which this feast is known--Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, Feast of Ingathering--but the most significant one is found in the Jewish liturgy: "The Season of the Giving of our Torah."  The Jewish people believe that it was on this feast that Yahweh spoke the Ten Commandments to Israel from Mt. Sinai. Therefore, this feast is considered the birthday of Judaism.

 

 

On the day of Shavuot, "two wave loaves" were brought to the Lord. These loaves were made of fine flour ground of the new wheat and baked with leaven. Of all the meal offerings, the two wave loaves alone were baked with leaven. Leaven is symbolic of sin. The Passover bread was unleavened because it signified the sinless body of Christ, who without sin, was the spotless Lamb of God who "became sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21). But the two wave loaves in the feast of Shavuot were symbolic of Israel, in whom exists sin. They were also a lesson in something new, which we will see concerns the Church being made up of both Jew and Gentile, and in which there is still sin present.

 

 

Passover finds its fulfillment in the death of Christ, "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Salvation appears first in God's calendar because His greatest concern is the redemption of lost humanity. God made a way for us to be redeemed through the bloody death of His Passover Lamb, Jesus the Messiah. The second feast which followed was Unleavened Bread, and it speaks of Christ as the spotless, sinless Lamb of God; and it also speaks of our sanctification. We have been redeemed and set apart by God to be holy people. Holiness is essential in our communion with God. Firstfruits is closely related to the first two feasts. We are to be good stewards of what God has given us because everything is His, but more importantly this feast speaks of our Lord's glorious resurrection when he arose from the grave victorious on "the morrow after the Sabbath." His resurrection guarantees that the harvest will follow, meaning that our resurrection and eternal security is guaranteed, not because of what we have done, but because of what HE has done for us through His finished work of redemption upon the Cross at Calvary.

Now we come to the middle of the seven holy convocations which is the Feast of Weeks also known as Shavuot or Pentecost. [See Exodus 34:2; Deut. 16:10, 16; 2 Corinthians 8:13]. It was exactly 50 days after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the Messiah that the Holy Spirit came to baptize believers into the body of Christ. Passover had to come before Firstfruits, and Firstfruits had to come before Pentecost. Our Lord had to die before He could rise from the grave. He had to ascend to Heaven before the Holy Spirit could come to baptize believers and indwell them, for "The Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39). The coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost marked a new entry on God's calendar, called "a new meat (meal) offering unto the LORD" (Leviticus 23:16). Here we are introduced to something new.

 

In Acts 2:1 we read that when "the day of Pentecost was fully come..." suggesting the fulfillment of the prophecy in God's prophetic calendar as He gave it in Leviticus 23. Acts 2:1 is the fulfillment of the type in Shavuot/Pentecost, because on the fiftieth day after our Lord's resurrection the Holy Spirit came down from Heaven. On that day He inaugurated a new thing on the earth, called also "the firstfruits unto the Lord" (Leviticus 23:17). The new thing is the Church, and it is obvious that the appearing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the type of the presentation of the two wave loaves to the Lord in Leviticus 23:17.

This is a problem with some Christians, particularly those persons who fail to distinguish the difference between Israel and the Church, or others who set the time of the Church's birth at a later period in the book of Acts. However, there is really no excuse for this because of the plain teaching of the Bible. The time period for the Church's beginning was set by God and fixed permanently in His calendar.

 

The Lord Jesus the Messiah is both the founder and the foundation of the Church. He said:  "I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18). The Church is not built upon Peter as Romanism claims. A church that has Peter as its founder and foundation has little or nothing to offer lost sinners. Writing of Moses and Israel under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Paul said: "They drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Christ is the founder and foundation of His Church as the Bible so clearly states: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

One of the main features of the ritual of Shavuot was the presentation of two loaves to the Lord. The number of loaves represents the two component parts of the Church: (1) believing Jews and (2) believing Gentiles; both having been reconciled to God in one body through faith in the crucified and risen Son of God (Ephesians 2:13-18). The Feast of Shavuot was a prophecy and a portrait of the Church.

The two loaves show us the loving heart of God in the working of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost when three thousand souls were saved and added to the church, which is Christ's body (Ephesians 1:22-23). Oh, the marvelous grace of God we see here as He reaches down to save a host of lost sinners who had recently taken part in crucifying His only begotten Son; and He is still calling men and women, boys and girls to repent and believe the gospel message and be saved. So here at Pentecost the Church is born having a membership of about 3000 Jews and some Gentile proselytes. That's why we have two loaves baked with leaven. The Church is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, and the leaven shows that the Church is not without sin. If you are looking for perfection, don't look to the Church, but look to the Lamb of God in whom there is no leaven or sin.

Jesus the Messiah is the "Bread of Life" to both Jews and Gentiles, and the task for the Church is to carry the gospel to the whole world in this present dispensation. "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). This Feast of Shavuot was pointing to that day, fifty days after the resurrection of the Messiah, when Jew and Gentile would come together to worship Yahweh through Him.

We see two important things in this Church Age. First, there is a man in Heaven, the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ "who...when he had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3). The Son of God, who became our Passover and Firstfruits, is presently our "merciful and faithful high priest" (Hebrews 2:17). The other amazing fact is that God the Holy Spirit has come to earth to work in and through every believer in Christ. Before our Lord Jesus Christ died as the Passover and rose as the Firstfruits, He promised His disciples this: "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; 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" (John 14:16-17). Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit did not dwell permanently in the believers. He came upon them and was with them anointing and enabling them to do God's work. But today, as our Lord promised His disciples "that He may abide with you forever" (John 14:15), the Holy Spirit's indwelling is permanent. Every believer has been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ. Now, every believer is commanded to be "filled with the Spirit." We are to yield ourselves to the indwelling Holy Spirit's control and let Him lead us and guide us into God's perfect will and teach us the Word of God.

On the day of Pentecost the one true and living God, in the presence and power of the blessed Holy Spirit, formed the Church in an intimacy never before known. Every saved person is indwelt with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9), sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:13), and baptized with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). What love and grace God has shown us. He has sent both His Son and His Spirit to save us and bind us to Himself forever. Yes, Shavuot [Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks] is a lesson in something new.

The Jewish people today still read the book of Ruth on the day of Shavuot because (1) the setting is the time of wheat harvest, and (2) it presents Ruth, a Gentile woman, who came to know and love the God of Israel. What beautiful types we find in Ruth. Boaz, the friend and husband of Ruth, his Gentile bride, is the kinsman-redeemer and a type of the Lord Jesus Christ our Redeemer. The kinsman-redeemer had to meet some requirements:

  1. He had to be related by blood to those he redeems (Deuteronomy 24:5; John 1:14; Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 2:14-16).

  2. He must be willing to redeem.

  3. He must be able to redeem.

Our blessed Lord was made flesh that He might redeem us and set us free from the bondage of sin with His blood in order to adopt us into His family. He not only was willing to redeem us, but He wanted to redeem us because He loved us. He loved us so much that He was willing to become sin for us so that we could be justified in God's sight. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Praise His marvelous name, He loved us and was a willing Redeemer. He is also able to redeem us. As the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee said: "It's nice to have poor kinfolk who can sympathize with you, but it's even better to have a kinsman who can write out a check to bail you out of jail."

You and I were poor, miserable, wretched and blind in the bondage of sin until we came to know our Kinsman-Redeemer who was willing and able to redeem us and set us free. But to belong to Him, you must do what Ruth did. She personally went down to the threshing floor to claim Boaz as her kinsman-redeemer. For Christ to be your Kinsman-Redeemer, you must claim Him as your personal Redeemer through faith in His redemptive work on the Cross at Calvary, namely His death, burial, and resurrection. What a blessing to know our Kinsman-Redeemer in a real and personal way, to walk with Him by faith, and to be a part of His body, the Church.

Today, saved Jews and Gentiles are united in one Church in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of Life to both Jew and Gentile. We no longer see the individual sheaves, but loaves. The same Holy Spirit who empowered Peter can empower us today to carry the gospel message to a lost and dying world, which is the Church's responsibility and privilege in this present dispensation. May we praise God for His marvelous and matchless grace for what He has done for us and what He is going to do through His Son and His Spirit.

 

 

Pentecost / Shavuot Overview Chart

(From BiblicalHolidays.com)

First Pentecost

Pentecost After Christ

The Commandments Given The Holy Spirit Given
Fifty days from the crossing of the Red Sea Fifty days from the resurrection of Christ
Law of Yahweh written in Stone Law of Yahweh written on our hearts
Three thousand slain Three thousand receive salvation
The letter of the Law The Spirit of the Law

 

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