May 28-30, 2009 • 5-7 Sivan
The Jewish festival of Shavuot has many names. It is known as an Agricultural Festival, the Conclusion of Passover, and the Commemoration of the Giving of the Torah.
Known as the Feast of the Harvest (Hag HaKatsir) or the Day of First Fruits (HaBikurim), as seen in the Bible, Shavuot was a celebration of the harvest. The season of the grain harvest lasted seven weeks, and was a season of gladness. The barley was harvested first and then the wheat. Shavuot celebrated the conclusion of the harvest. According to Lev. 23, two loaves made from two omers of flour (about 7 liters) were offered as a grain/wave offering for this day. In Temple times, Shavuot was one of the three required pilgrimages to the Temple by all Israelite males, with Passover and Sukkot being the other two.
~Conclusion of Passover~
~Giving of the Torah~
Perhaps the most important aspect of this season was the introduction of Torah (Zman Matan Torataynu). On Mt Sinai, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites. This association of Shavuot with the giving of Torah is derived in part from Exodus 19:1: "In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt, they came to the Desert of Sinai." Passover occurs in the Jewish month Nisan, then we count thru the next month Iyar, and Shavuot is celebrated in the third month, Sivan. Because of this, the Ten Commandments as well as the Book of Ruth (a story of redemption during the harvest) are traditionally read during this holiday. One commentary states: "On Passover, we were physically freed from slavery; on Shavuot, our freedom is given purpose – we are free in order to serve God according to the dictates of the Torah."
Yeshua followed this same example for these holidays. During Passover, we were set free from the slavery of sin through His death and resurrection, and from Acts 2 we see, our freedom was given purpose on Shavuot - be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and go forth into all the nations proclaiming the Good News of Messiah. "And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, indeed to the ends of the earth!" Acts 1:8