The Lord (YHVH) commanded the grain offering on Shavuot, (known as Pentecost among Christians), to be made of the finest flour, baked with yeast, that is, leaven. Leaven, in the Bible, is almost universally, a symbol for "sin", and in the OT is strictly forbidden on the altar of YHVH., yet here, in the Feast of Weeks it is commanded as part of the offering. Just six weeks prior to this festival, Israel had spent a week eating unleavened bread, a clear picture of the connection between the Passover Lamb and the removal of sin from our lives. Now the grain offering for Shavuot contains yeast; two loaves with it. Why? A common interpretation of this for NT believers is that the loaves represent Jews and Gentiles, the two types of redeemed people, who, of course, still contain sin in our lives.
This Saturday evening begins the celebration of Shavuot. Most Christians might recognize this as the celebration of Pentecost in Acts 2. However, the very first Shavuot actually took place fifty days after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea about 1500 years before Acts was even written. It was on this day that the law was given on tablets of stone.
As we continue our study in Ruth during this Shavout season, the theme of redemption is prevalent. We read that Boaz became Naomi and Ruth's "kinsman redeemer", or "goel" – from the Hebrew, "lig'ol", to redeem, receive or buy back. In the Torah, a provision had been made for the poor person who was forced to sell part of his property or even himself (into slavery).
We have seen that names have significant meanings, and as discussed earlier, Elimelech, whose name means "My God is King", left Bethlehem with Naomi his wife and their two sons. The birth of these two boys must have brought joy and happiness, yet, having perished in Moab actually caused their very names to lose their original meanings.
During the Biblical festival of Shavuot, the book of Ruth is read. It's a powerful story of faith, restoration and redemption. The book opens with a famine in all the land surrounding Bethlehem, forcing a difficult decision upon Naomi's husband, Elimelech. Now, Bethlehem (beth: "house", lechem: "bread") literally means “house of bread”, so the irony of Elimelech's departure from his home, "house of bread", during a famine, is lost on English speaking readers, but reveals that every detail in the word of God can be meaningful, especially the meanings of names.
One of the greatest moves of God took place in 1727 on the estate of Count Zinzendorf. Count Zinzendorf was a strong believer who was deeply influenced by the faith of his grandmother and aunt. At the tender age of 22, he opened a portion of his estate to refugees seeking asylum from the religious persecution throughout Europe.
When the Torah was given on Shavuot in the days of Moses, the sin of the golden calf resulted in the death of 3,000 men. Some 1500 years later at the same season the Holy Spirit descended causing 3,000 men to be saved! The Lord has never changed; His mercy and His holiness are the same throughout all ages. But the contrast of these two historical events during the same Holy Day may be seen as a powerful illustration of this principle: “the letter [of the Law] kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:6)
As the world celebrates the end of 2014 and enters into 2015, it looks toward the conclusion of yet another year. However, God has not been working his plan according to the Gregorian calendar — but rather according to His own calendar. For example, when Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified, and became the Lamb of God slain for the world, it was on the Biblical feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew).
When Joseph became ruler over Egypt, his name was changed, and his identity was altered so that he no longer appeared or lived as a shepherd son of Israel from the land of Canaan, but as an Egyptian Prime Minister. The transformation was so thorough that when his ten brothers arrived in Egypt he was totally unrecognizable to them. This true story beautifully illustrates Mashiach ben Yosef (Yeshua/Jesus at His first coming), and contains a prophetic picture pointing to Yeshua and His Jewish people living today as we approach the Second Coming.
As we celebrate Shavuout, we're looking at the promise given 2000 years ago: that normal people will lead extraordinary lives; that disciples, who were terrified on the night of Yeshua's (Jesus) death, were transformed into bold saints of God; and that fishermen, tax collectors, and housewives – normal everyday people – became empowered, and turned the Roman Empire inside out and upside down!
Most people have never heard of "Auntie Cooke", but I guarantee you that you'll get to know her in glory! She arrived in Chicago in 1868 as a perfect stranger, but she immediately became involved in D.L. Moody's church when he was just thirty-one years old. She described him years later, as a 'diamond in the rough', and someone who needed the divine unction and power.
As we celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost) in a few weeks, my spirit is anxiously awaiting what God will do! Each Shavuot season during the counting of the omer, I love to study past revivals and in studying them, there's two recurring themes that stand out.
Shortly after WWI, Lawrence of Arabia was entertaining some of his Arab friends in Paris. He showed them the sights of the city: the Arc d'Triomph, the Louvre, the Champs Elysees. It was a remarkable irony to Lawrence that these amazing sights were not what most impressed his Arab friends — but rather the bathtub faucet of their hotel room. They were completely astonished that someone could turn a handle…and get all the water he wanted.
In the Tenach (Old Testament), the Lord commanded Israel to count the Omer (the Barley Harvest) beginning the day after the sabbath during Passover, 50 days to the Biblical Festival of Shavuot (Pentecost). Today is the 29th day of the Omer and Shavuot is just a few weeks away…
D.L. Moody has been influential in my personal life as I study and read about his life and ministry in the 1800's. I remember reading a story about how D.L. Moody was preparing to lead a revival throughout England to which an elderly pastor protested and said, "Why do we need this 'Mr. Moody'? He's uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?"
One of the mysteries of God is how He has placed the prophetic clock according to the Hebrew calendar. The feast of Sukkot is a harvest feast, which is also known as the feast of ingathering. This is one of the few feasts that has not yet been fulfilled prophetically.
In Israel, the celebration of Shavuot took place yesterday. Most Christians would recognize this as the celebration of Pentecost in Acts 2. However, the very first Shavuot took place fifty days after the Israel crossed the Red Sea. It was on this day according to Jewish tradition that the law was given on tablets of stone.
We've just returned to Israel and the region seems to be nothing but a boiling cauldron ready to erupt. In just a few days, we will celebrate the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot, in Hebrew. Most Christians recognize this holiday as the Feast of Pentecost — the time when the Holy Spirit descended and empowered His saints to accomplish the mission of global witness to Yeshua (Jesus).