Shavuot has a fundamental Biblical mandate...
"Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing corn. Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you."
~ Deuteronomy 16: 9-12
Shavuot celebrates the time when the first fruits of Israel were harvested and brought in elaborately decorated baskets to the Temple. The beginning of the wheat harvest throughout the land of Israel was preceded by the offering of two loaves as a meal-offering in the Temple.
Originally an agricultural festival to celebrate the early harvest, but then rapidly developed into a symbolic feast remembering all of God's goodness and blessings in our lives – including the giving of His Word, and later His Spirit.
Known variously as: Chag Ha-Bikkurim (Festival of First Fruits, start of period); Chag HaKatzir (Feast of Harvest); Shavu'ot (Weeks, end of period) and then Pentecost (Gk. "fiftieth" – NT only).
These feasts carry a strong Biblical mandate and divinely appointed timing:
"These are the Lord's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times."
~ Leviticus 23:4
There are seven main Biblical festivals. The first four refer to the paschal sacrifice, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of the First Fruits, and Shavuot ('weeks' or Pentecost). The other three all occur in the sacred seventh month of Tishrei – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
"The feasts of the Lord were not given to enslave the Israelites but to free them to reflect on the Person, plan and attributes of the Holy One of Israel.
Through those special days, they were to recognise that He is Lord of every moment and must rule over every second of their lives."
~ Dr Mitch Glaser
The key themes of Shavuot are simple, including:
This study takes a look at an overview of Shavu'ot before looking at the strong links in the New Testament:
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."
~ Acts 2: 1-4 ~
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