What is Shavuot? – Part 1

What is Shavuot? – Part 1

Shavuot is almost here! This is the feast that we have been Counting the Omer towards for almost fifty days now. So what is Shavuot?

Shavuot is a Hebrew word that means “Weeks” and that name derives from the fact that we have been counting up seven weeks— forty-nine days—from the Feast of First Fruits within the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and then Shavuot is the next day, the fiftieth day.  Because it falls on the fiftieth day, this feast is also called Pentecost, from the Greek word for “fifty”.

For the Jewish community, Shavuot is the celebration of the Giving of the Torah, Mattan Torah, at Mount Sinai. The Children of Israel were redeemed out of Egypt on the Feast of Passover and travelled by way of the Red Sea to Mount Sinai.

In the third month after Bnei-Yisrael had gone out of the land of Egypt, that same day they arrived at the wilderness of Sinai. They travelled from Rephidim, came into to the wilderness of Sinai, and set up camp in the wilderness. Israel camped there, right in front of the mountain. Moses went up to God, and ADONAI called to him from the mountain saying, “Say this to the house of Jacob, and tell Bnei-Yisrael, ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you listen closely to My voice, and keep My covenant, then you will be My own treasure from among all people, for all the earth is Mine. So as for you, you will be to Me a kingdom of kohanim and a holy nation. (Exodus 19:1-6, TLV)

This is the moment that HaShem called Israel into Covenant and set them apart. So in many ways we can think of Shavuot as the Wedding Anniversary of the Nation of Israel. Certainly that is something to be celebrated on this day.

For believers in Messiah, there is another layer of celebration in Shavuot. We know that the Appointed Times, the Festivals, are shadows of Messiah. All of the Feasts had an application at the time they were instituted and then a way in which the Messiah fulfills the Feast. In Passover, we see the Death of Yeshua our Passover Lamb and then, at First Fruits, his Resurrection. We read in the Book of Acts that, at Shavuot, the Ruach ha-Kodesh, or Holy Spirit, was poured out upon the waiting disciples.

When the day of Shavuot had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And tongues like fire spreading out appeared to them and settled on each one of them. They were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Ruach enabled them to speak out. (Acts 2:1-4, TLV

In the same way that Torah was given to the Children of Israel at Mt Sinai on this day, the Ruach was given to Messiah’s disciples at this same Feast. One of the purposes that the Messiah sent the Ruach to achieve is found in the Scriptures of the New Covenant in the writings of the prophet Ezekiel.

I will put My Ruach within you. Then I will cause you to walk in My laws, so you will keep My rulings and do them. (Ezekiel 36: 27, TLV)

The Ruach that fell on the first Shavuot after the Death and Resurrection of Messiah, enables the Disciples of Messiah to walk in the ways of HaShem that were delivered to his people on the very first Shavuot. Therefore as Disciples of Yeshua we have a double reason to celebrate.

So let’s remember this and celebrate this Shavuot. In 2020, we are not able to gather together in person to celebrate. We will have a service that will be available on Thursday evening to bring in the Shabbat. We invite you to gather with us via the web.