Shavuot is one of the only holidays that we are not really told why we are to celebrate it. It is a feast for sure in every sense of the word. It’s a great celebration that initiates the wheat harvest and concludes the Spring feasts of the LORD that started on Nisan 14 with Pesach. We are told in the Torah to count seven Sabbaths from Passover and to mark the fiftieth day as a holy convocation unto Him. But what does all this mean and what does it mean for us today? What was the significance of it in biblical times and more importantly, does it have any power for us today?
Although originally there were many sacrifices instituted on this day, the only real actionable item we can do today in the dispersion is to wave two fully leavened loaves of bread before Him as a symbolic peace offering and first fruits of the LORD. But don’t let this fool you. There is a tremendous punch packed into those two loaves of bread. Although the scriptures seem to be silent on the subject of Shavuot, a little more digging will reveal quite a bit more than meets the eye.
As the first fruits of the barley harvest from fifty days earlier, this was the first fruits offering of the wheat harvest, perhaps signifying the second of three prophetic harvests throughout time. The first being the initial harvest of the “new year,” when Yeshua walked the earth and brought forth a great inaugural harvest by resurrecting literally on the first fruits barley harvest; the second being the harvest in the middle of the three (wheat harvest), where mature witnesses would be raised up to properly represent Him (His disciples, which would represent the beginning of the rebirth of both kingdoms); and the third harvest at the end of time right before the Messiah comes back to take His bride. It is also interesting that there was a sin offering of a goat, which could easily be seen as a parallel to the sin offering of the goat for God that was offered on Yom Kippur; and also two lambs as a peace offering. It is as if He is showing us that He is putting the sins of Israel on “The Goat” (Satan), and is making peace with the “two lambs” of Yahweh, the two mature loaves of bread that represent the prophetic foreshadowing of the two houses of Israel. We are today entering into this ancient powerhouse of foreshadows, as the celebration of all that Christ did for us during this wonderful holiday starts to prophetically unfold right before our eyes. But there is so much more.
In the book of Jubilees, which was well-read and very valued in the first century by both Jews and Christians, and even considered Scripture by the Ethiopian Church, it has Noah being the very first human in recorded history to celebrate the Feast of Shavuot/Pentecost, but for different reasons. And although it is part of the pseudepigrapha and not considered part of the canon of Scripture, it can still bring us some very valuable insights and points to consider. For instance, in Jubilees chapter 6 it records that Shavuot was the actual day that Yahweh initiated the rainbow covenant to never flood the earth again in His wrath. Let’s take a look.
16 He set His bow in the cloud for a sign of the eternal covenant that there should not again be a flood on the earth to destroy it all the days of the earth. 17 For this reason it is ordained and written on the heavenly tables, that they should celebrate the feast of Weeks (Shavuot) in this month once a year, to renew the covenant every year.
It was also the day that Noah reciprocated the covenant with a promise to make it forbidden to ever eat or drink blood again as instructed by Yahweh (vs. 7). This eating of human blood is a direct reference to the Nephilim (the giants created from the fallen angels) killing mankind and teaching men to do the same; then taking that blood, or even the blood of animals, and ritually drinking it for the purpose of taking on their attributes (many cults still practice this ancient ritual today). This barbaric yet sophisticated way of destroying Yahweh’s crown jewel of creation and entering into the spiritual realm through blood ceremonies was a significant reason why the flood had to be initiated in the first place. Shavuot was the rainbow celebration that the earth had been cleansed of all this bloodshed and a covenant between men and God that neither would ever go down that road again. Unfortunately, it was only a few hundred years later and man would begin killing all over again. The pride, jealousy, and the “taking matters into our own hands” mentality that started with Cain would show its ugly head again and require the Father to add more layers to this heavenly celebration that started in the Garden. Speaking of the Garden, let’s look at a few more verses and see what we can discover.
18 And this whole festival was celebrated in heaven from the day of creation till the days of Noah-twenty-six jubilees and five weeks of years (1335 years); and Noah and his sons observed it for seven jubilees and one week of years (357 years), till the day of Noah’s death, and from the day of Noah’s death his sons did away with it until the days of Abraham, and they ate blood. 19 But Abraham observed it, and Isaac and Jacob and his children observed it up to thy days, and in thy days the children of Israel forgot it until ye celebrated it anew on this mountain.
If you look carefully at the text here you will notice that verse 18 states it was celebrated “in heaven” from the days of creation. This is striking. As not only does this timeline have Noah celebrating Shavuot over a thousand years before the commandment was given to Moses in the Torah but the text now suggests that it was celebrated in the Garden of Eden. This is not surprising since the creation account has the sun, moon, and stars given for signs and for “seasons,” with the word “seasons” in Hebrew being the word “moedim,” which literally means “festival, appointed feast days of the LORD.”
These holy days were part of a higher spiritual Torah that existed in the heavenly realm from which our earthly realm and earthly Torah was patterned. Holy days like Shavuot have their perfect meaning in that realm with full expression and understanding. Here on earth, ever since the fall of man, the true heavenly expression has been hidden to us and so we are only privy to what He has revealed to us about them. Our celebration of them is less by what we understand and more by faith in the One that encompasses all of them. When we celebrate Shavuot or any feast (including Shabbat) for that matter, we are joining into a celebration with all the hosts of heaven that have been observing the feasts from the dawn of time; thus connecting to the two realms with the feasts being an umbilical cord of sorts. Furthermore, if you look down through the ages in Scripture you will see layers of meaning attached to Shavuot which give us a clearer picture and a greater revelation for today.
Interestingly enough, the book of Jubilees in 16:13 has Isaac being born on Shavuot. This is quite amazing since Isaac is said to be prophetic foreshadow of Christ himself, who would be sent into this world in the form of His Spirit, on the same day thousands of years later. With the covenant given to Noah adding the layer of the earth being cleansed of the blood that was shed from sin, it is quite striking that Yeshua on the same day would give His Spirit to His disciples as the final piece of cleansing the earth again of the stain of sin. This would give them not just a covenant, but the power to actually fulfill it.
The next layer of Shavuot was the giving of the Torah over 1100 years down the road. Interestingly enough the very first commandment given that is in regards to our neighbor is the sixth commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” This was the very foundational component of the covenant made with Noah. On Sinai, God would add this layer onto Shavuot that would be another attempt to recalibrate His people back to love and kindness toward their fellow man from which the foundational stones of heaven are made from. And that is exactly what would happen almost 2000 years later at the time of Yeshua of Nazareth when the true power of heaven descended upon men to assist them to do just that.
In Acts chapter 2 we see the disciples gathered in an upper room on the Temple Mount waiting on the Lord. They had followed the Torah and counted the omer for the past fifty days in expectation of the words of their risen rabbi. While the Shavuot of Noah’s time was focused on the renewing the earth through the symbol of the rainbow–a symbol that is directly connected to the glory of His presence (Eze 1:28)–the focus of Pentecost would be another symbol of the Almighty: fire. This is connected to what Jubilees calls in verse 21 a “two-fold” feast. It is the Feast of Weeks and also the first fruits harvest of the wheat. It is the memorial countdown to the renewing of the earth through water–which is connected to the washing of the water of the Word through Christ–and also the first fruits harvest that can only come through the fire sent by the Spirit. This is the “Holy Spirit and fire” that John the Baptist was talking about in Mathew chapter 3. The glory of Yahweh (the rainbow) manifest itself when the water of His Word is infused by the pure light of His presence, and the all-consuming Fire that is given to us assists us in fulfilling the divine command of loving our neighbor as ourselves.
The power of Shavuot (Pentecost) was not the tongues of fire or even the speaking in foreign tongues that they did not know. The power was in the fact that the Creator of the universe, through the blood of His Son, had once again prepared a living temple, a way for Him to personally dwell within us and teach us how to actually fulfill the two golden commandments: Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and you do this by loving your neighbor as yourself. The supreme sovereignty of this holy day is in the fact that in both the days of Noah and at Pentecost Yahweh reconnected the “umbilical cord,” giving mankind another chance to commune with the hosts of heaven inside the rhythms of the kingdom. And those rhythms are built upon the love for all.
Just as the flood was a rebirth of the world and Isaac’s birth was the birth of a Promise that would be fulfilled in Christ, so the waving of the loaves of wheat bread by the high priest in the first century signified the promise of a great harvest in the fall. In the same way, the tongues of fire coming down on the Christ-followers that day was the final layer that would be added to the rebirth of the world once again. But this time the rebirth would not be in the physical, saving only eight souls upon an ark, but the rebirth of a spiritual kingdom that would be saved by the blood of the Lamb and cleansed by the holy fire of His Spirit.
So how does one really celebrate Shavuot today? Is it just by getting together and waving a couple of loaves of bread? My friends, it is much more. This feast represents the beginning of the multiplication of His kingdom on the earth; first with Noah and then with Yeshua. One loaf is Yeshua–the fulfillment of the Feast of Weeks–and the other is us, a mature replica of our Rabbi, the first fruits of His new creation. Our purpose? To fulfill the same requirement given to Noah: stop killing each other. Stop the hate, the bitterness, the anger, the jealousy, and the strife. This is the renewal of the Torah above with the Torah below. This is the time we remember to look past the faults of others and remember that He looks past ours. This is the renewal of our vows and the oath to forget the pain of our past, the pain that He washed away with the blood of His Son, and to live in the NOW! This is the day where we say, “No longer will I be like those in the days of Noah but I shall love my neighbor as myself and bring the kingdom of my God to earth!”
THIS is the true power of Shavuot! Now tell someone you love them right now!
Chag Sameach, mishpacha!