†Rt. Rev. Dr. Vince McLaughlin, Th.D., D.Litt. Ph.D.
Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday), Yeladim shel ha Elohim (Children of God/Children possessed of God)
“Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks (Chag ha-Shavuot) to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:10) We will be celebrating Pentecost this Sunday as the time of the pouring out of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) on the Church (The Glorious Bride of Christ). Unfortunately, many of us do not realize how significant this celebratory feast is within Judaism and Messianic expectations for the first fruits of the Church. In Jewish communities throughout the world today, Jewish people are celebrating the Biblical holy day of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks). Last night, orthodox Jews (also Messianic believers) stayed up all night reading and learning The Torah (Exodus 19-20). This orthopraxy is called Tikun Leyl Shavuot (Rectification for Shavuot Night).Also, because of the holiday’s connection to the harvest and to agriculture, it is marked on Shavuot by food festivals and picnics, as well as visits to a kibbutz and to the Western (Wailing) Wall, a remnant of the ancient wall that once surrounded the Holy Temple's courtyard. Even in current conflict Jerusalem will be crowded today, and the Holy Place of the Western Wall will be packed with thousands of people praying under the careful eyes of the IDF. The streets of Jerusalem will be filled jest like it was 2,000 years ago when Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) fire fell on the Believers united in prayer, and about 3,000 observant Jews were saved. As background it is important to note The Torah commands that the Jewish People make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Shelosh Regalim, the three major festivals of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks), and Sukkot (Tents or Booths).
In the Tanakh, Shavuot is the second of the Shelosh Regalim, “Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place He will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread [Passover], the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot] and the Festival of Tabernacles [Sukkot].” (Deuteronomy 16:16) The name of the festival is actually derived from the Hebrew root word shavuah, meaning week. Shavuot (weeks) is the plural form. Shavuot marks the end of the seven-week period called Sefirat HaOmer (Counting of the Omer), which began at Passover. “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks [shavuot].” (Leviticus 23:15) On the fiftieth day, a new grain offering is to be presented to the Adonai Elohim/YHWH (LORD God) and a sacred assembly held to celebrate the Feast of Weeks. “Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:16) It is most significant and noteworthy that Shavuot is a multi-faceted holiday within Judaism and Messianic expectations associated with the names Shavuot and Pentecost. For example,
Yom HaBikurim (Day of the First Fruits) in Numbers 28:26 (but not the Festival of First Fruits in Leviticus 23:9–12).
Chag HaKatzir (Festival of Reaping) in Exodus 23:16.
Bikkurei Ketzir Chittim (The First Fruits of the Wheat Harvest) in Exodus 34:22/
Z’man Mattan Torateinu (Season of the Giving of the Torah), which is a name arising from Jewish tradition that says the Israelites received the Torah on this Day of First fruits.
I wish I had the time to go through each of the above because they provide such a venue of enlightenment and understanding of how comprehensive and thorough the El Gabor (Mighty God) truly is in everything.
“Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5–6)
According to traditional Jewish doctrine and belief, Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Although it is not explicitly stated in the Tanakh, this is believed to be the day in which the Ten Commandments were given to the nation of Israel seven weeks after their miraculous exodus from Egypt. More than 3,300 years ago at the foot of the mountain, the Jewish people accepted the privilege and the responsibility of living as YHWH’s “set-apart people.”
The Torah became the agreed upon standard of behavior and code of conduct for both the native-born Israelite and the stranger who lived amidst them.
“The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.” (Numbers 15:16)
The Megilat Ruth (Book of Ruth) is also read because the harvest scene described in Ruth are in keeping with this harvest festival. Furthermore, since Ruth was a convert to Judaism, her acceptance of the Torah reflects the theme of the receiving of the law. It is also traditionally believed that Ruth’s grandson, King David, was not only born on Shavuot, but also died on Shavuot.
All of us know that the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) occurred on Shavuot. On Shavuot, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon Yeshua's talmidim (disciples) who had been studying all night, as was the custom. They were waiting according to His final instructions. That outpouring came around 9 a.m. during the morning sacrifices.
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.... But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:4–8)
On this day, the disciples of Yeshua received power from the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to be His witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth!
“When the day of Shavuot came... All of them were filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Ruach enabled them.” (Acts 2:1, 4)
Shavuot has significance for all followers of Yeshua, both native-born Jews and those “wild branches” grafted into the natural olive tree. Without Shavuot, we would not have the power to witness for Yeshua about the Good News of salvation for all peoples – Jews and Gentiles alike.
Witnessing/testifying to the lost world about Yeshua does not come from our own might or power, but by the Ruach HaKodesh that came at Shavuot (Pentecost).
YHWH gave two of His most priceless gifts on this day: the Torah (His Word) and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). This most significant Chag Sameach emphasizes our need for both Truth and the Spirit of God who empowers us to live holy lives.
The Torah is the Word of Truth that reveals what a holy life looks like, but it is the Ruach that gives us the grace and strength to live out that truth in our daily lives. The Ruach would not have been poured out, however, if Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) had not come. He is the most precious gift that YHWH gave — eternal salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
In closing there is one last incredible visualization of Messianic expectation and truth associated with the reading of the Book of Ruth at Shavuot.
It is the divine plan that Boaz would act as Naomi’s (Jew) & Ruth’s (Gentile) Kinsman-Redeemer (Goel). We see the LORD Himself played the part of our Kinsman Redeemer with Israel, which He fulfilled when He redeemed Israel out of Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. The LORD said,
“I spread the corner of My garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you My solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became Mine.” (Ezekiel 16:8) But there would come a time when a final redemption would be made:
"Mashiach [Messiah] was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." (Hebrews 9:28)
Yeshua HaMashiach paid the final price for our sins and became our Kinsman Redeemer. He covered us with HIS Tzitzit &Tallit – The Garment of His Righteousness of His Person.
"Rejoicing with a joy inexpressible and full of His Glory!"