Shavuot/Pentecost – Feast of [Seven] Weeks/50 Days
Sonday, is the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, and the Christian holiday of Pentecost. They are one and the same, except that the two calendars have diverged. In this case, the celebration on the Sonday, the 50th day of the seven weeks since the resurrection of the Passover Lamb of God, is in line with the Word of God through Moses to Israel, and to us who believe in Yeshua/Jesus as both Lord and Messiah, our God and Savior. He is YHVH who came in flesh and blood to redeem us from our sins.
YHVH, God of Israel, gave instructions to His people that the days of counting after the Passover began with the First Fruits — what New Covenant believers understand to have been fulfilled with the resurrection of Yeshua from the grave on the third day from His death. This resurrection occurred on the day after the Sabbath, early on the first day of the week. Jesus is the First Fruits from the dead. He is the Living Bread of Life that God brought forth from the Earth. From this new beginning of new and eternal life, the count begins until the First Fruits of the wheat harvest, which New Testament believers understand to have been begun on that Pentecost/Shavuot close to 1990 years ago, when the 120 disciples in the upper room were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and became first fruits to God of the harvest of born-again believers yet to be filled full at the end of the age.
I want to draw attention to God’s instruction to Israel to bring to Him a new grain offering, containing leaven, in two loaves of bread, at the end of those counted days. (Lev 23:16-17) This is an exceptional offering, in that until this new grain offering, God would not accept any leaven in any offering by His people. (Lev 2:11) From the New Testament, we learn that leaven is a symbol for sin. Yet, on Shavuot/Pentecost, YHVH God requires that His people bring Him a grain offering containing that very thing! What are we to make of this?!
Before Messiah came, Israel looked forward to Him, the sinless Son of God and sacrifice. They did not really know what the leaven-less sacrifices spoke of, but God knew. But now that He has come, and lived His sinless life unto God, we look back — and live in the present — remembering His death, until He comes. (1Cor 11:23-26) Yeshua became sin/leaven for us, that we might become the unleavened/righteousness of God in Him! Praise God! Matza/Unleavened bread looks ahead to the One who would be that perfect sacrifice; the Showbread/Challot (leavened Sabbath bread) reminds God and us of that sacrifice for sin accomplished once-for-all to redeem and save all who believe, both within Israel and also among the nations.
Both Jewish and Gentile believers — called out from Israel and from among the nations — in New Covenant relationship with God through Yeshua’s shed blood, offer (i.e., remember) the sinless, blameless Lamb of God — the only acceptable sacrifice to our Father for our iniquity, transgressions, and sins — who bore our sins on His body on the cross/tree, becoming sin, who knew no sin, that God could be reconciled to us sinners, and open the way for all who repent and believe this gospel/good news to come with thankful hearts and also with full assurance into a personal relationship with God our Father, with His Son — the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah — and with one another in Holy Spirit unity and love.
Today is still the day of salvation and acceptable year of YHVH to all whomsoever will hear His voice and believe.
Hag sameach! Happy Holiday! A celebration of unity in Messiah Yeshua our Savior!
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, June 8, 2019, and reposted with permission.
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Howard Bass is the congregation pastor/leader of Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua's Inheritance) in Beer Sheva, Israel.