Happy Shavuot! 😉
For those of you who read my blog around Easter time (or have noticed the Messianic Seal symbol tattooed on my ankle!), you know that I’m fascinated by the Jewish roots of Christianity and how the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed! Anyway, it’s time to celebrate another God-ordained festival, one Christians call “Pentecost,” but to Jews and the early church back in Peter’s day, it’s “Shavuot,” –Weeks.
A quick rundown of Shavuot (so now you have something to discuss at dinner tonight, right!? 😉 ):
- It’s a spring celebration of the harvest and God’s provision.
- Seven weeks are counted from the day following the beginning of Passover for a total of __ days (that’s your arithmetic challenge for the day). This is in accordance with God’s command recorded in Leviticus 23:15.
- On each of the 49 days, the Temple priests would wave an offering of barley before the Lord. Afterward, all the new grains were allowed to be harvested and eaten. This symbolized the renewal of man’s partnership with God for the new harvest season; God provides and sustains, but humanity must labor diligently.
But more than a celebration of delicious carbohydrates, Shavuot was a time to reflect upon Mount Sinai, the place where God revealed Himself to Israel with earthshaking power:
“Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.” Exodus 19:17-19
It was at this time that God gave Moses the commandments, thereby setting apart the nation of Israel from the rest of the world with a revelation of how to live as a redeemed community. This was the birth of Judaism.
Now for a rundown of the “Pentecost” we read of in Acts chapter 2: (and this should provide satisfactory dinner conversation for tomorrow night, ha):
- Jesus’ followers – along with all Jewish males gathered to observe Shavuot – are assembled together in Jerusalem, eagerly anticipating their “immersion” in the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised them would occur just ten days before (Acts 1:5).
- When the day of Shavuot arrived, the Holy Spirit descended, as tongues of fire, on the 120 believers, imbuing them with power… from on high (Acts 2:3, Luke 24:49).
- After Peter preached, 3,000 people received new life in Christ. 1,500 years earlier on that day, 3,000 Israelites were slain for their idolatry and construction of false gods.
Never before had the Holy Spirit dwelled within men and women of God. This is why David prayed, “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” in the Psalms, and why the Spirit came upon Samson in the Book of Judges, to name a few examples.
The Holy Spirit is introduced in Scripture from the get-go, beginning in Genesis when He hovered over the face of the deep (Gen. 1:2). Throughout the Old Testament, we read of Him inspiring, instructing, and guiding kingdoms and individuals, revealing to them the will and word of God. It is because of Him that men could justly say, “Thus saith the Lord” without being mocked, or smote for that matter!
Just as the Messiah was the great promise of the Old Testament, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the promise of the new! How awesome to know that God’s Spirit is not only inside each of us permanently, but that He is the very ruach – “breath” – that seals us; He is “our deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Thank God for His Spirit and the Feast of Pentecost that was established millennia ago to foreshadow His ministry within our vessels of clay today.
No longer do we walk according to tablets of stone; now we have the law inscribed upon our hearts. No longer is a building made by human hands the seldom seen shrine for God’s Spirit; our bodies are the temples now! No longer do pilgrims need travel to Jerusalem to bask in God’s presence and give Him praise; we carry His presence with us wherever we go!
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! -2nd Corinthians 3:7-11
Stay fit, stay faithful, for you are filled with the Spirit! ~<3 Di