Shavuot – a Double Blessing

D’varim (Deuteronomy) 16:10-12 = “Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your G-d by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your G-d has given you. And rejoice before the Lord your G-d at the place He will choose as a dwelling place for His name – you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and your maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.” (Leaving Egypt is the same as leaving the sin of this world)

Next Shabbat (May 14th, 2005) will be the celebration for the early Feasters and June 13th for the traditional calendar observers. Shavu’ot (shaw-vu-OAT, as pronounced by the Sephardic Jews and is the national language of Israel) is one of the three pilgrim festivals that were to be celebrated in Jerusalem – the place where G-d has chosen to put His name. All men were to travel to the City to wave their two loaves of leavened bread before the Lord. This was a public testimony of the Lord’s provision for His people. It is a celebration of the abundant spring harvest. Since the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the emphasis has changed from animal sacrifices and agricultural aspects to celebrating the gift of Torah at Mt. Sinai. This day became the legal birth of Israel as a Nation.

Messianic Believers can also celebrate the gift of the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit which occurred on the same day. Christianity calls this day Pentecost, which means “50”, because it occurs 50 days after Passover, and considers this day to be the birthday of the “church“. We know that the “church”, actually the “called out ones” or ecclesia/congregation/kehelot were called out at Mt Sinai where G-d betrothed Himself to His people. That was the true birthday of the “church”.

“The festival of Shavuot arrived, and the Believers all gathered together in one place. Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roaring of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which separated and came to rest on each one of them. They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4 Complete Jewish Bible

Y’shua gave His disciples the Holy Spirit on the day of His resurrection (First Fruits) but He told them not to leave Jerusalem until they received the gift of the Father. (Acts 1:4-5) Throughout the Bible, fire has been a symbol of G-d’s presence and His covenant. The burning bush in the desert, the pillar of fire in the wilderness, etc. Fire is considered a symbol of the presence of the Ruach. Fire came down on the day of Pentecost (Greek word for 50)

As Believers, we can celebrate Shavuot as the giving of G-d’s instructions for daily living (the Torah) and as the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) the power and enablement to be bold witnesses in the world we live in. We are to take the gospel to the world with miracles of healing. We are to make disciples of all nations and teach obedience to G-d’s commandments. Somebody once said, “Without the work of missions and evangelism, Pentecost (Shavuot) is just so many goose bumps!”

To quote “Special appointments With God”, a book prepared by Cedar Park Assembly of God:
“Pentecost (or Shavuot) represents the work of God in a new dimension in our life. It stands in contrast to the work of God in salvation. In Salvation, Jesus is our Saviour but at Pentecost He is our baptizer. In salvation, the Holy Spirit comes into our life while at Pentecost the Spirit is released in power. Salvation comes from the resurrected Christ, while Spirit Baptism comes from the glorified Christ. Regeneration is the in-breathed Spirit while baptism is the out-poured Spirit. Salvation brings us into relationship with God while (Spirit) baptism is meant to bring us into a new relationship with the world. Salvation is God in you, whereas Pentecost is God released through you. Salvation and Spirit Baptism are as different as Passover is from Pentecost.”

Let’s begin to prepare our hearts to receive all G-d has for us while we do our best to keep His Torah.

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

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