Holiday Name And Meaning:
There are a few different names for this holiday. Shavuot (Shah-voo-oat) is one Hebrew name another is Zeman Mattan Torahtenu (the time of the giving of the law). It is sometimes called the Festival of Weeks (reference to the seven weeks and one day in between Passover and this holiday). Its Greek name is Pentecost . The Greek word for 50th day is Pentecoste representing the same 50-day period.
It is also known as The Day of First Fruits or sometimes called the Festival of the Harvest. Shavuot means weeks in Hebrew. It can also mean oaths. The rabbi's have compared it to a wedding between God and the Jewish people. For this reason, another name for the holiday is The Day of the Great Oath (wedding vows). Shavuot is a time when we can renew our acceptance of God's gifts.
First Fruits was observed on the 16th of Nissan. The omer offering of barley occurred at this time. Usually Shavuot is observed for two days on the sixth and seventh of Sivan. Some congregations (usually those located inside of Israel) only observe one day, the sixth.
It is common to read from the book of Ruth partially because of it's setting of summer harvest time in Israel. The entire book of Psalms is also read in some congregations. Occasionally Exodus Chapters 19 and 20 are read to remind us of the Ten Commandments. Some congregations have confirmation ceremonies at this time of year.
Over time, the holiday changed names and meanings. It originated as the holiday of First Fruits, which celebrated the agricultural significance of the first fruits being harvested and brought to the temple. This was the final Spring feast (Pentecost follows Passover). The holiday then gained added rabbinical support when it was determined that historical significance should be celebrated because this was also the same day that the law was received on Mt. Sinai. Its final change was when the Holy Spirit came on this same day, known as Pentecost. It is celebrated on the sixth day of Sivan.
How was First Fruits actually celebrated? Edward Chumney of Hebraic Heritage Ministries describes it this way.
"The observance was carried out in this manner, when the standing ripe harvest of barley and wheat was ready to be reaped. The celebrant would take one sheaf from the standing harvest and bring it to the priest. The lone sheaf was called 'the sheaf of the First Fruits.' The priest was then to take this one sheaf and wave it before the Lord in His house. This was to be done 'the day after the Sabbath.' Prescribed offerings were also to be presented along with the sheaf."(1)
A description of the procedure for bringing the First Fruits is also given in the Mishnah of Bikkurim.
Chapter 3; Mishna 3:
"Those who came from near to Yerushalayim would bring figs and grapes (because they would not be spoiled on a short journey); those who came from far from Yerushalayim would bring dried figs and raisins."
"An ox went before them with its horns overlaid with gold, and a crown of olive leaves was upon its head. The flute was played before them until they approached Yerushalayim. When they came close to Yerushalayim, they sent messengers before them, and they would decorate their First-Fruits."
"The governors, the chiefs and the treasurers went out to meet them. According to the rank of the arrivals, was the rank of those who came out to greet them. And all the craftsmen of Yerushalayim would stand before them and inquire concerning their welfare, 'Our brothers, from Place So-and-So, welcome!' "
Chapter 3; Mishna 4:
"The flute was played before them until they reached the Temple Mount. Once they reached the Temple Mount, even Agrippas the King would carry the basket on his shoulder and go in as far as the Azarah. Once they reached the Azarah, the Leviim would sing, 'I will praise You, O G-d, for You have raised me up, and You have not allowed my enemies to rejoice over me!' "
Rabbi Sampson Hirsch in his commentary on this day says that this is the only day of the year that two loaves of bread were symbolically offered. They represented the bread of freedom and the bread of independence that Israel received in return for submitting to the law. After the bread was placed on the alter, Deuteronomy 26:3 was recited.
The Temple Institute teaches that this holiday is the ultimate expression of joy, the unique joy of the land. This we find reflected in the recitation of the pilgrim in the temple, after he has handed his basket of first fruits to the priest, and the latter has set it down before the alter: "And you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord you God has given you.." (Deut. 26:11)
Bruce Scott gives us an idea of how the barley first fruit offering may have occurred.
"Once the barley first fruits were cut and put into baskets, the officials carried it back to the Temple area, where it was dried, beaten, and thoroughly sifted into fine flour. Based on Leviticus 2:11, all meal or grain offerings were to be unleavened. Because the omer was considered a meal offering, it was unleavened. As with other meal offerings, oil and frankincense were added to the omer (Leviticus 2:1).(2)
The omer was waived during the early daylight hours. The priests took one-tenth of the omer flour and brought it to the bronze alter. The priest then climbed the ramp and stood on the east side of the alter, where he waived the omer before the Lord, swinging the container of sifted flour forward, backward, up, and down. He then went to the west side of the alter, took a handful of the flour, and threw it on the fire. The remainder of the omer meal was then given to the priest for their personal consumption. Various sacrifices, meal offerings, and drink offerings accompanied the waiving of the omer (Leviticus 23:12-13)."(2)
There were at least seven different fruits allowed for this offering including wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil, and honey (Deut. 8:8). Wheat was the most common, because the wheat harvest occurred around the time of Pentecost. The baskets used were elaborate for the rich and made out of willow branches for the poor. People came from all over, because this was a pilgrimage feast (Acts 15).
When the first fruit of each crop began to ripen, the farmer would tie a ribbon around the branch to designate it as first fruits. This signified that the fruit was to be used for the first fruit offering (Bikkurim) when picked.
At one point the holiday may have been observed on the first Sunday following Passover. With no temple or priesthood the traditional First Fruits meaning has been lost.(3)
The harvest season was officially recognized with the waiving of the Omer (the offering of a measure of Barley around two dry quarts). It was the earliest of the cereal crops to be picked. Once the Omer was reaped (harvested and then waived in the form of an offering), Israel would then begin to count the days to the Feast of Shavuot. The Omer offering which occurred when the cycle was first put to the grain was considered the first day (Nissan 16), and then counting consecutively for 49 more days would take you exactly to day 50 (Sivan 7), which was Shavuot/Pentecost (Deut. 16:9). This numbering process is known as the Counting Of The Omer. Counting these days was considered a time of anticipation waiting to get to the 50th day.
By Shavuot time it was common for wheat to be ripened, so a wheat harvest was celebrated on Shavuot with the offering known as Lechem Habikkurim (the bread of First Fruits). This concluded the celebration of the grain harvest, which had started on the second day of Passover with the waiving of the Omer.
From Shavuot, counting backwards 50 days, you will find the waiving of the omer. There was a debate regarding the interpretation of Lev. 23:11,15. The scripture "the next day after the sabbath" was in question.
The Sadducees believed that this "sabbath" referred to the weekly sabbath (Friday night to Saturday night), during the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This meant to them that the omer would be waived on a Sunday. This would have given Shavuot the observance on the same day of the week every year (Always counting 50 days from the Sunday Omer would make Shavuot occur on a Sunday every year).
The Pharisees believed that the word "sabbath" referred to the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was also considered a sabbath day, regardless of the day of the week it occurred on. This would have given Shavuot a variable day of observance. (Always counting 50 days from the 16th day of Nissan would allow for Shavuot to still be 50 days from Passover, but it could fall on any day of the week depending on what day Nissan 16 fell.)
Both the Sadducees and Pharisees knew that Shavuot was to be 50 days after the waiving of the omer. It just became a question as to when to officially waive the omer and start the counting.
It is thought that, while the temple was still in existence, the Sadducees' interpretation was used. After 70 A.D., it was decided that the dating process used by the Pharisees would be the official dates used. This meant that the official counting of the omer was to begin on Nissan 16, the second day of Passover. This has been the ruling for around 2000 years and still is in effect today.(2)
In its early days, the holiday was observed on the fifth, sixth, or seventh of Sivan. This would depend on how many days were in the months of Nisan and Iyar. It was, however, always exactly 50 days from Passover, which established the chronological link between the two holidays.
Some rabbis viewed this fiftieth day as the true end to Passover (Tracate Shabbat 86b). There are some different reasons for this. One reason is because in Lev: 23:6-21, there is no separate name for the holiday so it is counted as the end of Passover.(4)
Eventually, the passage in Numbers 28:26 which pointed to the day of the First Fruits was given another name. It would become known as Atzeret, the last day of a festival. Some rabbinical literature along with Josephus used this name (Antiquities 3:10).
The historical and agricultural phases of Passover were each celebrated for seven days. The Exodus theme was marked during the seven days of Passover. It is believed that the Exodus took seven days from the 15th of Nissan (the actual Passover), to the crossing of the Red Sea on the 21st of Nissan. The agricultural theme, which was the ripening of the harvest, was marked during the last six days of Passover and the day of Shavuot.
The agricultural festival was seen by many as a thanksgiving for the creation of the Earth which took seven days.(2)
Some of the customs of the holiday include entertaining a student of the Torah and pouring honey over paper that has Bible verses written on it. The honey is then licked off and one is reminded of how sweet Bible study is. Some put roses on the Torah, while others celebrate with the addition of green plants to their home or place of worship.
Another modern day custom is to stay up all night to learn Torah. This is because the holiday itself it related to God giving Israel the Torah. A special book was prepared that some still use for this occasion called Tikkun leil Shavuot (Restoration of the Night of Shavuot). This book contains various selections from the Bible, rabbinic literature and other teachings.
The all night Torah study usually ends around sunrise when the morning services are normally started. There is also a related Midrash (one of many concerning this holiday) which is sometimes told that the night before the Torah was given, the Jews went to sleep to be well-rested for the big day ahead. However, they failed to rise early. and Moses had to come to wake them up to meet God, who was already waiting atop the mountain.
Dairy Meals are popular, with cheesecakes and blintzes along with ice cream being traditional foods of choice for many. Dairy meals are a reminder that Israel is the land of milk and honey. Other reasons for dairy traditions include recognizing that Israel received the dietary laws on this day, and linking dairy meals to the numerical (Gematria) value of milk - chalav - which totals 40, the number of days Moses spent on Mount Sinai when he went up to receive the Torah. Another reason dairy is popular at this holiday has to do with the fact that with the giving of the Torah, Jews became obligated to observe the kosher laws. Since the event took place on the Sabbath, no slaughtering could take place - and thus on that day, the Jews ate dairy. The dairy dinner may include two loaves of bread to remind us of the two loaves used as an offering in the days of the temple. Some try to make it a point to hear the 10 commandments read and then discuss them.(5)
Some congregations decorate with plants and flowers reminiscent of the slopes of Mount Sinai.(6)
A 12th century Aramaic poem. Akdamut, is read. This poem has a section in it that looks forward to the Messianic future.
Tradition also teaches that King Davis was born on this day and also died on this day. Some remember the founder of the Chassidic movement, Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shem Tov who also died on this day.(7)
This holiday is when most consider the changeover for Israel from a people to a nation. Before the giving of the Torah, Israel was viewed as a people. After Israel received the Torah, Israel became a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation"(Ex.19:6).
In Israel, Shavuot is considered a legal holiday. This means no public transportation, schools or newspapers.
Tradition observance of First Fruits meant that farmers were required to mark fruits and grains, sometimes with a red yarn, that were most progressed in their growth. After marking them, the farmer would declare them to be first fruits. The marked samplings would then be offered to God. Rabbinic legislation set a minimum of one-sixtieth of the harvest for each species to be brought.(8)
Some celebrations of this holiday include the reading of Psalm 67 because it consists of seven verses and forty-nine words (In Hebrew).(8)
Happy Birthday Israel:
In some ways Israel became a nation at Mt Sinai. They were birthed from over 400 years of slavery in Egypt to a nation. This was the start of a new life for Israel. They now were sustained by God the Father, but grew physically as a nation after their wondering in the desert for 40 years.
By contrast, thousands of years later, Israel or at least some of Israel was birthed again or born again. Jews who had gathered on this day to celebrate First Fruits, became the founding members along with the disciples of the "church." Also at this time there was a change in the family. While for the most part you had to be physically born to be a part of Israel, God's salvation would now become available to everyone, both Jew and Gentile. Those who believed became spiritually adopted into the family instead of being born into the family. They were "grafted in" through faith in the Jewish Messiah. We can read where the church was born at Pentecost (Acts 2). The author of the book of Hebrews draws upon this contrast in Hebrews 12:18-24).
Because of the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., there could no longer be a First Fruits offering. It was decided that the holiday should now focus on the theme of celebrating the events on Mt. Sinai, the giving of the law. This is today's primary observance of Shavuot. While the exact date of the giving of the law is open to interpretation, many scholars accept the Talmud (Tracate Shabbat 86b) as confirming the law was given on Shavuot.
Crops gathered at the beginning of the harvest season are known as first fruits. (Ex.23:16)
God commanded the people to bring a sheaf of the harvest (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:10). The Hebrew word for "sheaf" is omer. An omer is defined as "a measure of dry things, containing a tenth part of an ephah." The definition of an omer being a tenth part of an ephah is found in Exodus (Shemot) 16:36. An ephah contains 10 omers of grain. Remember, three times a year God commanded the people to come to Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) to celebrate the festivals of Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot), and Tabernacles (Sukkot). All three of these festivals are agricultural harvest festivals. Passover (Pesach) is the barley harvest. Pentecost(Shavuot) is the wheat harvest. Both of these festivals are first fruits harvests before the final harvest that was to come at the end of the year during the festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot), which is the fruit harvest.(9)(This would include olives and grapes).
Some want to separate the waiving of the omer from the feast of Shavuot. They are however linked together. Waiving the omer marked the First Fruits of the barley harvest. The waiving of the two loaves of bread marked the First Fruits of the wheat harvest. There was always 50 days from one to the other. Without the waiving of the omer, you wouldn't know when the waiving of the two loaves was to occur. These two holidays mark a beginning and an end to the theme of First Fruits.
Sometimes Shavuot is observed for two days, on the 6th and 7th of Sivan. Usually Reform Judaism and those who live in Israel only observe one day.
There is irony in the fact that in order to celebrate the giving of the Written Torah on Shavuot, we must accept the dating supplied by the Oral Law tradition, that the law was received on First Fruits.
There is a difference of opinion on exactly how much an Omer is (one-tenth of an ephah). It is dry measure containing two quarts according to the rabbis, but three and one-half quarts according to Josephus.
There are some other events in Biblical history and tradition that are symbolic of First Fruits.
Noah's Ark came to rest on Mt Ararat (Gen 8:4).
Israel eats the First Fruits of the promised land (Joshua 5:10-12).
Haman is defeated (Esther 3:1-6).
Israel was God's First Fruit (Exodus 4:22; Jer. 2:3).
The Gospel was preached to the Jews first (Romans 1:16).
We are to seek the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus was the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23).
Early believers were a kind of First Fruit (James 1:17-18).
The reaping of the omer First Fruit was so important that it may have been exempt from Sabbath restriction.
It is believed the the giving of the 10 commandments occurred 3319 years ago. (From 2006) (7)
The Book of Jubilees (of Second Temple times) indicates that Shavuot was also celebrated as an annual memorial of God's promise to Noah never again to destroy the world by flood.(6)
During this festival first-born children and animals were presented to the Lord.
There is a custom of walking to the Western Wall on Shavuot morning. This apparently began over 40 years ago, when exactly a week before the holiday, the Old City of Jerusalem was liberated during the Six Day War. Shavuot was the first day that the general public was allowed to visit the Western Wall, and thousands of people streamed joyously to the site for the occasion.(10)
Our Messiah can be found in this holiday in both First Fruits and when it later became Pentecost.
"Starting with the waiving of the omer and ending with the waiving of the two loaves, offering first fruits represents new life, resurrection, and life from the dead.
The omer typifies the resurrection of Jesus. It was an unleavened meal offering. In Scripture, leaven is symbolic of sin; thus, an unleavened offering represents that which has no sin. Just as the omer was unleavened, so Jesus the Messiah was without sin and was therefore raised from the dead, 'according to the spirit of holiness' (Rom.1:4). The omer was typically the first crop to harvest after winter thus some see the connection between the first harvest with the first resurrection.
Because the omer offering needed to be waived before the Lord during Passover, the omer also typifies the resurrection of Jesus in the timing of its presentation to the Lord. The last week of His life, Jesus became both the Passover Lamb and the omer offering without sin (leaven).(2)
John MacArthur writes an interesting explanation of one of the ways that Jesus fulfilled this holiday in its First Fruit meaning.
"God's redemptive New Testament timetable is pictured in the feast of Leviticus 23. The first great feast mentioned in that chapter is Passover. The killing of the Passover lamb pictured the death of Jesus Christ, the ultimate Passover lamb (I Corinthians 5:7). A second feast was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, celebrated on the day after Passover. During the feast, an offering of the first fruits of the grain harvest was made. Leviticus 23:15 commands that offering be made on the day after the Sabbath. The Sadducees and Pharisees differed on what that Sabbath was. The Sadducees interpreted it as a weekly Sabbath, and hence the grain offering would always be on Sunday. The Pharisees interpreted the Sabbath as the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. According to that interpretation, the grain offering would always fall on the same day of the month but not the same day of the week. Until the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., the Sadducees' interpretation was normative for Judaism. [F.F. Bruce The Book Of Acts (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1971) 53 n 3] Hence, the day the first fruits were offered would have been on Sunday. This provides an apt picture of the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection as the “first fruits of those who are asleep.”(11)
1 Corinthians 15:20 "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
Since Jesus died on Passover, the 14th of Nissan, and arose three days later, then we can say that the Messiah rose from the dead on the 17th of Nissan (First Fruits). That is why He is called the First Fruits of those who rise from the dead.
Since our Messiah rose from the dead on First Fruits, the theme of First Fruits now stands out as resurrection and salvation. Yeshua Himself, the "Firstfruits" who died and was resurrected never to die again, is counted upon to bring about a full harvest to those who confess with their mouths that He is Lord, and believe in their hearts that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10).(8)
Yeshua was crucified on Passover, on the very same day the Passover lamb was sacrificed. Then He rose from the dead on the day the Feast of First Fruits was celebrated. Following that, He spent 40 days with His disciples before His ascension into Heaven. Just before He ascended, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:1-5). This was fulfilled ten days later on Shavuot when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. About 3,000 people came to faith in Yeshua that day (Acts 2:40-41) and the Church was born.(13)
Other ways that Jesus may be seen as First Fruits:
The New Covenant And The Holy Spirit:
When the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost it meant something very special to the followers of Yeshua (Jesus), their Jewish Messiah. While Jesus came to initiate this New Covenant that Jeremiah spoke about in Jeremiah 31:31-33, it was then and still is now the Holy Spirit that gives all Christians the power to share the Gospel message with others so that we may all abound in hope.
"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jeremiah 31:31 NKJ)
It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to have biblical wisdom concerning Gods' word, will for our lives and ways. This is how God "puts his law (teachings) into our minds" and because we are thankful for a saving faith that is credited to us as righteousness, one that allows us to believe Messiah died on the cross for our sins, out of appreciation for that, our spiritual hearts desire to be obedient to Him. That is how God "writes it on our hearts."
A sheaf in the Bible can be used to typify a person or persons (Genesis 37: 5-11). It can also be a spiritual representation of people who accept the Messiah into their hearts.
Many prophetic Bible scholars believe that the two loaves (wave offering) offered on Pentecost symbolized the two peoples that make up the Church. Those two groups are the believing Jews and the Gentiles. While they are two separate groups, together they make up one body, the Body of Christ. While the loaves of bread were two separate loaves, together they also made up one offering.(See Ephesians 2:14-16).
Sometimes the two loaves are thought to be symbolic of the two tablets that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai.
The two loaves that were offered on Shavuot were baked with flour but still contained levin, symbolic of the presence of sin. From then until now, there is still the presence of the human sin nature in the church (Rom. 7:18). The process of trying to live a life that has an ever decreasing amount of sin in it is known as sanctification. Although this is a process, it is not finished until death when the believer is with Christ.
Ever wonder why the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost (Shavuot or “The day of Pentecost”)? God could have sent the Holy Spirit on any day, why then did He choose Pentecost? I believe it has to do with the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. That was the day the Jews received the written law. If the Jews received the law on First Fruits/Pentecost (50 days after the Passover), then it would make perfect sense to send the Holy Spirit on the same day many years later. In this manner, the Old Testament Feast of First Fruits/Pentecost could be further fulfilled.
The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to still live by the law, not the written law but to live within the spirit of the law. This is what Paul is talking about in Romans 7:6. It is a much higher standard than what was in place with only the written law. God spoke about this new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31. The day of Pentecost was a day when believers were circumcised in the heart inwardly and were then able to express their spiritual gifts outwardly. This time when the Holy Spirit would come was prophesied in Joel 2:28. Jesus used this holiday to show that even though He was gone, He could still work in our lives by fulfilling His promise to send what His (our) Father had promised (Luke 24:29).
As another sign that these two holidays are connected, we can look at some of their end results. On the day the law was given, Israel was in a great state of sin because of the worshiping of the golden calf. As a result, Moses ordered the killing of those who insisted on remaining faithful to idols. Around 3000 people were killed that day (Exodus 32:28). On Pentecost, the day that the Holy Spirit came, we can see that in fulfillment of the First Fruits holiday, God allowed 3000 people to be saved (Acts 2:41).
In the first case (the giving of the law), Israel was brought together by the law (rules of constitution); in the latter, believers in Christ were bonded together not by rules, but by the Holy Spirit within them.(6)
Although this is generally considered the time that the Holy Spirit came for all believers, (to permanently dwell inside their bodies with them) the Disciples also had an encounter with the Holy Spirit weeks before Pentecost. (see John 20:22).(6) There were other times also in the Old Testament that the Holy Spirit would be an influence on someone's life for a short period of time.
Christian Dating Of Pentecost:
Early Christianity played a significant roll in the date setting of this holiday. Instead of the 50 day counting period starting from Passover, its basis was the date of Easter, which was an early compromise with the pagan worship of the fertility goddess Estar. This worship took place in recognition of the Spring Equinox. As a result, the date of Passover as a starting point was obscured causing Pentecost to be not completely based in Christianity.(14)
Passover as the original counting date was further removed in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea, which emphasized the importance of keeping Easter on Sunday. Several years later there was the Council of Antioch, when it was determined that anyone who celebrated the 14th day of Nissan as the Passover was to be excommunicated. These things were done, in part, as a result of attempts to eliminate the Jewishness of the Biblical faith and to be acceptable to pagans.(14)
After that, Passover celebration was considered heretical and so we have both the resurrection day and the date 3,000 people became believers at one time (Shavuot/Pentecost) wrongly timed. Consider this, that if God commanded to do something at a particular time, that His Adversary would promote a contrary idea.(14)
The Eastern Orthodox Church has held to this formula. However, in 1582 A.D. the Western churches changed the way of determining the date of Easter and used other human considerations to set the date. In Western churches, Easter must fall between March 22 and April 25. Occasionally, the Eastern and Western Easters coincide as they did in 2007.(14)
There is another link to these two events, the giving of the law and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
"Concerning the day the law was given, the school of Rabbi Ishmael taught Behold my word is like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces (Jer. 23:29)." Just as a hammer is divided into many sparks, so every single word that went forth from the Holy One, blessed be He, split up into seventy languages. (Talmud Shabbat 88.b)
In the second chapter of Acts, we read that when the Holy Spirit came a similar miracle happened. This time the Apostles that were there were able to allow God's word to go forth in many different languages. This event is also referred to as a form of speaking in tongues. There is also reference to the tongues on fire (Acts 2:3).
The 144,000 Jewish witnesses who witness of Jesus as Messiah during the tribulation period are considered by many to be the First Fruits of the tribulation period (Revelation 14:1-4).
Just as there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that Jewish people heard and accepted Jesus in a supernatural way on Pentecost, so an even greater outpouring is predicted by the prophet Zechariah:
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.(Zechariah 12:10).
This is a great prophecy. For a better understanding of this prophecy please read Jerusalem: In The Eye Of The Storm.
Jesus said this regarding the end-time harvest of souls:
Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38)
Discuss ways with both believers and Jewish friends who are non believers that we can live a holier life by observing the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law.
Example: The letter of the law may say that you need physical activity for adultery to occur, but consider what Jesus says about this same sin under the spirit of the law.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."(Matthew 5:27-28).
This may help to understand how unable we really are to observe the law.
There is something in this holiday for most people to celebrate.
The Lord required His people to give thanks at the beginning (First Fruits), middle (Feast of Weeks), and end (Tabernacles) of the harvest.
The Book of Jubilees (of Second Temple times) indicates that Shavuot was also celebrated as an annual memorial of God's promise to Noah never again to destroy the world by flood.(6)
This holiday is sometimes referred to as White Sunday. “Whitsunday” is believed to have come from “white Sunday” when, among the English, white robes were worn by those baptized on the day.(15)
Some believe that the term "The Last Days" Began with Pentecost's coming of the Holy Spirit, probably based on Peters reference to Joel's end time prophecy which was partially fulfilled that day with the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Articles that reflect upon the Pentecost - Shavuot - holiday include:
For a list of future holidays dates check the Master Calendar Table.
1). Eddie Chumney (Hebraic Ministries Int'l) The Seven Festivals of the Messiah.(Used with permission).
2). The Feast of Israel by Bruce Scott of Friends of Israel
3). Friends of Israel, Israel My Glory magazine, March/April 2009 p.23
4). Also used for reference was Information from The Biblical And Historical Background Of The Jewish Holy Days, by Abraham P. Bloch is copyrighted material and was used with permission of the publisher. KTAV Publishing, 900 Jefferson Street. box 6249, Hoboken, NJ 07030-0102
5). Arutz Sheva (firstname.lastname@example.org) 5/18/2010.
6). Jews for Jesus Newsletter June 2006 Volume 10:5766.
7). Chabad of Peoria Jewish Art Calendar 5767 (2006
8). Jewish Voice Ministries.
9). Also used for reference was a book titled A Commentary On the Jewish Roots of Romans by Joseph Shulam with Hillary Lecornu.
10). Arutz Sheva (email@example.com) 5/28/2009.
11). John MacArthur - The MacArthur New Testament Commentary - Acts 1-12 p.39-40.
12). No longer used.
13). A Rabbi looks at the last days by Jonathan Bernis p.169.
14). International Messianic Jewish Alliance, Newsletter #137 (Paul Liberman).
Temple Institute Newsletter June 14, 2005
Jews for Jesus