Pentecost is the second of the three main Feasts of the Lord that the Israelites were commanded to attend in Jerusalem. Feast, Mo’ed, in Hebrew means “appointed time,” the root of this word, Ya’ad, meaning “to appoint, to betroth, to summon, to direct, to rehearse.” So when we come together at the time appointed by God on His heavenly calendar, we practice His plan for the ages. In doing so, we not only honor Him, but we also receive our prophetic part or instruction for that year and our generation. There are seven main, Biblical feasts, spanning from Passover (Pesach) to Tabernacles (Succoth). Together they paint a picture of God’s plan for the ages and tell us a love story between God and His Bride.
The day after the Passover Shabbat was called the Feast of First Fruits. On that day they offered the Lord the first fruit of the barley harvest. It is no coincidence that Yeshua was also resurrected on that day: He is the first fruit of the resurrection (Eph.1:18). This began the “Counting of the Omer”, meaning they were to count seven Shabbats and the next day would be the “Feast of Weeks”, in Hebrew, Shavuot, in Greek, Pentecost. Shavuot celebrates the first fruit of the wheat harvest. In addition to the customary and festival sacrifices they were to present two loaves of bread baked with leaven (Leviticus 23:15-22). The High Priest would then lift these two loaves and shake them as he faced North, East, South and West. It is important to note that leaven, forbidden during Passover because it represents sin, is required at Shavuot since the first fruit offering represents the first fruit of God’s harvest as He establishes His kingdom on earth (Mat 13.33).
Shavuot, then, another divinely appointed time, continues to tell us the story of God’s Bride.
- Historically, the first Shavuot took place in the wilderness fifty days after the first Passover, when God redeemed for Himself a people, a Bride and presented her with his Torah (Instruction). She had now come of age and it was time for her betrothal. At Mt Sinai, the Father, in a display of awesome power and glory, declares his terms for this betrothal: first and foremost “You shall have no other Gods before me…” As the ten commandments are proclaimed (Exodus 19 & 20), the passion of His love rages in the fire, smoke, thunder and lightning and stands as a witness of His all consuming jealousy. “For love is as strong as death, jealously is as severe as Sheol; its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD (Song of Sol 8:6). So right then and there, at the Feast of Weeks, God betroths Himself to His bride Israel, seven weeks after her deliverance from bondage in Egypt. This is what the Jews refer to as the “giving of the Torah”, or God’s “Ketubah”, the bridal agreement between God and His people. So God purchased for Himself a bride when the Passover Lamb was offered in Egypt and then betrothed her to Himself when He made His original covenant, His bridal agreement, the giving of Torah written on tablets of stone.
- Similarly, Yeshua repurchased His adulterous Bride, who by then had broken her betrothal agreement and worshipped the gods of the nations, when He offered Himself as the Passover Lamb, renewing His covenant with His own flesh and blood. After His resurrection, He then instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit promised by the Father (Acts 1:4-5). One hundred and twenty of them gathered in the upper room and were with one mind and one accord continually devoting themselves to prayer when, on the day of Shavuot, “suddenly, there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire and they rested on each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak with other tongues” (Acts 2:2-4). As they all prophesied and declared the “mighty deeds of God” in the languages of the nations that were there for Shavuot, both Jews and proselytes, this was a clear sign that God had now made a way for the gentiles to be grafted into Israel and be brought into the bridal agreement through their faith in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. Again, this passionate display of God’s love for His bride was, as the apostle Paul explains, how they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is given in their hearts as a pledge of their inheritance. This, in covenant language meant that God, by sending His Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who believe in Yeshua was writing His living Torah on the tablets of their hearts, thus sealing them into the betrothal agreement and giving them a “down payment” of their future inheritance (Jeremiah 31: 31-34, Eph 1:13-14, 2Cor 1:22).
So today, as we gather together annually to celebrate Shavuot, let us present ourselves, both Jew and Gentile, as the two leavened loaves lifted and shaken by our High Priest Yeshua and wait and see what kind of outpouring the Father will send on his Betrothed Bride!