Studies in Torah

Shavuot/Pentecost: God is gathering the ‘strangers’

What is Shavuot (Pentecost, Feast of Weeks) to you? What pictures comes to mind? Firstfruits? The comfort of the Holy Spirit? The 10 commandment given to the House of Jacob?

“Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:1–2 NASB)

The calendar is a gift of God to us. Pesach is God’s gift to us, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is for us, the Omer is for us, God has given it to us. It’s our job to preserve it. The feast of Shavuot/Pentecost is also’s God’s gift to us. 

“For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Corinthians 2:16 NASB)

Yeshua is not a stranger to us. What we are learning and what God is teaching us is all God’s gift. He is giving us His hope, His truth, His knowledge. 

Today is a day of appointment. God gave these times to us and when we meet with God at His appointed times, we are giving ourselves to God. Moses was told by God to tell Pharaoh that He wanted His people to meet with Him. 

God created man in His image, that is not just about the outward appearance but the inner-ward parts. God owns our spirit. He put it there. 

The first month had several special God appointments, including Pesach, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. 

You can’t have a third month without a first month. We can’t fully understand Shavuot without Pesach. Some strange events happened on Shavuot. Everything in all the appointed feasts are all about the Son of God. 

We aren’t just supposed to understand the rules and regulations of each feast but to look into Yeshua’s mind. That is what Shavuot is about. 

We know that during the time of Moses that God gave them a lot of instructions on what to do once they entered the Promised Land. There were certain things they wanted the people to do every year. 

The counting of the 50 days between the Feast of First Fruits and Shavuot is called the “counting of the omer.” Shavuot is the end of this count. 

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf (omer) of the first fruits [Strongs H7225] of your harvest to the priest. ‘He shall wave the sheaf (omer) before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. ‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf (omer), you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:9–12 NASB)

There’s even more. The word that is translated as “first fruits” in Lev. 23:9 as in Lev. 23:17 in English are not the same words in the Hebrew. 

“You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits [Strong’s H5560] to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:15–17 NASB)

I told my daughter-in-law recently that I needed to start writing down my thoughts. When I write, I am not writing in cursive but in print, which I do very precisely. My entire working life has been about drafting and engineering, which is all about details. 

There will always be a controversy on what day Shavuot falls and this will be true as long as the world is in a state of confusion. Some keep it on the 6th of Sivan, some keep it on the Shabbat, some keep it on Sunday. We all are doing our very best to understand what is written. If our scriptural knowledge is very precise, but we don’t care about people, we are worthless. 

God is not out to deliver men and women into hell, we are already there. The world is already condemned to die. Those who come to the light to be right with God will be saved. 

“Also on the day of the first fruits, when you present a new grain offering to the LORD in your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work.” (Numbers 28:26 NASB)

The word that is translated as “Feast of Weeks” is not literal. The word literally means “a period of seven.” 

A better translation is: 

“And on the day of the new things when you offer a new sacrifice to the Lord, of the sevens―it shall be designated, holy to you. You shall not do any work of service.” (Numbers 28:26 NETS)

The Feast of Shauvot is a package deal encompassing the counting of the omer. Shavuot is simply the culmination of this count. 

The sabbath is on a count of seven and we see in the Shabbat that God did not separate mankind from Shabbat but brought them into it. The closest witnesses we have to this is Adam and Eve and even they didn’t witness everything. They had to learn it from God Himself. Do you think they believed they came from primordial soup? No, of course not. They knew better because God Himself told them so. 

We are here to learn the mind of the Messiah and He shows us what was in the mind of the creator of Heaven and Earth. 

“Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:9–10 NASB)

We are not called to provide for the needy, we are to leave something for them to gather themselves. There’s a difference. 

A better translation is in the Septuagint which says: 

“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make a thorough job of your harvest, to harvest your field altogether, and you shall not gather what falls down of your harvest. And you shall not harvest your vineyard over again or gather the grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the guest; it is I who am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:9–10 NETS)

Let’s look more at the issue of the First Fruit in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans: 

“And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23 NASB)

Yeshua Himself is the resheet, while we are the bikkurim. Both are called First Fruits in English but there is a distinction. 

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20 NASB)

Yeshua is Life, while we are raised into life. Yeshua didn’t come that we would have right doctrine but that we would have life. 

God doesn’t ask that we understand every jot or tittle but that we want to understand of Him and that we would ask Him questions earnestly and to demand answers from him. 

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1–2 NASB)

This manifestation of God’s power was not observed by the entire house of Jacob but only the 120 people who were in that room. 

“And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” (Acts 2:3–4 NASB)

This is not a fire of heat but of light. This is not fire and brimstone. They walked out of that room and spoke to the people gathered in Jerusalem for the feast. 

At this point, there was only one loaf present: the Jewish people. And from that initial  gathering of 3,000, the Jewish believers multiplied exponentially. It wasn’t until 20 years later when God sent the Apostle Peter to Cornelius’ home and Cornelius and his family also received the same light that Peter had received himself about 20 years before, that the second loaf was presented and Gentile believers began to receive Yeshua. 

God sometimes “delays” not for His sake but for ours. Peter could not deny God’s display of power he witnessed in Cornelius’ house. Peter could no longer deny or question whether Yeshua’s message was for the Jews only or if it was also for the Gentiles. Gentiles might not have ever been welcome into the community of faith if God had not sent the vision of the unclean animals to change the Apostle Peter’s mind. 

Shauvot is a very important day. We were once strangers, separated from God but God is gathering His own from all the nations of the Earth.

There are four points I hope everyone can take away from today’s talk (in no particular order): 1. We are to have the same mind as is in Messiah Yeshua. 2. There are two different types of Firstfruits, and yet they are both “first.” 3. There was a delay between Yeshua’s call to the Jews vs. the Gentiles, and that is a good thing. 4. If you ask God for understanding, He will answer. Details are important, but they aren’t the only thing.

Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy. 

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