Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Feast of Weeks/Shavuot/Pentecost

May 27 is Pentecost Sunday for Christians. But today (and tomorrow) is the holy celebration of Shavuot for our Jewish friends:

The word "Shavuot" (Ashkenazi pronunciation"Shavuos") literally means "weeks". The holiday falls on the sixth of the month of Sivan, 50 days after the second night of Passover. Shavuot 2007 falls on Wednesday May 23, 2007 (and Thursday May 24, 2007 outside of Israel). There are at least five names commonly given to this holiday: Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, Feast of the first fruits, the harvest festival, "Atzeret" (the "ending", Passover being the beginning), and the Festival of the Giving of the Torah, are all biblical names for the holiday.
--Jewish Byte

It is the feast that celebrates the birthday of Judaism (via the giving of the Law, delivered by God to Moses) and the birthday of the Church (via the giving of the Holy Spirit, who writes His law in our hearts).

Here, from the Jews for Jesus site:

A firstfruits offering was actually presented at the end of Passover (Leviticus 23:9-14). Then, seven weeks after Passover came Shavuot. This feast literally means "weeks." Shavuot fell fifty days after the Sabbath which came during Passover (Leviticus 23:15, 16), thus in Greek it was called Pentecost, or "fiftieth."

After the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, the agricultural rites associated with the biblical feasts could no longer be observed. Jewish tradition made a connection between Shavuot and the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, which was understood to be the fiftieth day after the Israelites came out of Egypt. The holiday also came to be called, "The Season of the Giving of the Law." To this day, it has become traditional to observe Shavuot by staying up all night and studying Torah.

In Acts 2 and 3, the New Covenant records that the Holy Spirit was poured out at Shavuot. As a result, 3,000 Jewish people recognized that Y'shua was indeed the Messiah, and they turned to God. These souls were the firstfruits of God's gospel harvest. Today, Jewish believers in Jesus participate in Shavuot in various ways, as you'll see in this section.

Some of those ways are 1. reading the Scriptures all night, including the portion of the giving of the law, the commandments 2. eating dairy and 3. decorating with flowers and grasses.

Well, there you go. Drink milk, eat cheese, read the Word of God, and offer up to the Lord beautiful flowers and greenery as a way to thank Him for his provisions. And for Christians: Read those pertinent passages in Acts, and to be grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the seal of your salvation and your Comforter.


1 comment:

Douglas Clark said...

I have been studying the feasts and find myself frustrated. So far I am under the impression that The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) was strictly an agricultural feast as far as the commands of God go. But it also seems to be by divine coincidence that The Feast of Weeks mirrors the giving of The Law. Both took place 50 days after Passover.

Where I really see the divine coincidence is after the Spirit was given on Pentecost following the resurrection. The Law of Moses was written on tables of stone, whereas the law of the Spirit is written on our hearts. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with The Law 3,000 were slain. On the day of Pentecost 3,000 were added to the church.

So now I am on a search to see the correlations between the other feasts starting from the experience with Moses, then the agricultural observance and finally the spiritual fulfillment.

Any insights?