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The Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

Shavuot (Pentecost), is a Hebrew word meaning “weeks”. “Pentecost” is the Greek word for “50th”. After the Spring Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits you should count exactly fifty days from the last Passover and you will end up on Shavuot seven weeks later  according to the Hebrew calendar.

“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord.” – Leviticus 23:15-17

Shavuot, like so many other Jewish holidays began as an ancient agricultural festival, marking the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. All Israelite men were obligated to present themselves at the Temple in Jerusalem. Shavuotwas distinguished in ancient times by bringing firstfruits crop offerings to the Temple, marking the beginning of the summer wheat harvest.

The “Waving Ceremony”.

On the day of Shavuot (usually in May or early June), the priests offered two leavened loaves of wheat bread as firstfruits to the Lord. The waving of these two loaves and sacrifice of two lambs formed a “peace offering.” The priest waved them before the altar and set them aside for the priest’s festive meal eaten in the Temple. Pilgrim worshippers were instructed to offer freewill offerings and to rejoice before the LORD.

Why Two Loaves?

Each loaf contained about four pounds of flour (Lev. 23:17). According to Rabbinic teaching, each loaf was 7 x 4 handbreadths (28″ x 16″) and seven fingers wide (6″). The two loaves offered on Shavuot represents the Church of Jesus Christ which is “built upon the foundation of the apostles (New Testament believers) and the prophets (Old Testament believers). But just as these loaves contain leaven (yeast), so the Christian church isn’t yet perfected (1 John 1:8). Only Jesus Christ was perfect (Hebrews 4:15). The leaven may also illustrate the presence of “Tares” (weeds) (Matt.13:38) – false brethren living among both the Old and New Testament sanctified ones. The number two in the Bible is the number of WITNESS and TESTIMONY. Two witnesses establish a truth (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:19-20); The Ten Commandments were written on two stones (Ex. 31:18) and are fulfilled by two commandments of love (Matt. 22:34-40).

Rabbis Divert from the True Focus of Shavuot.

After the Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the iron fist of the Roman Empire, the Jewish people were defeated and dispersed all round the world and their homeland devastated.

Since the land was desolate worth nothing to harvest, the Jewish leaders (Sanhedrin) convened in A.D. 140 and decided to change the focus of Shavuot away from an agricultural festival.  In order to keep the holiday alive, the rabbis invented the false doctrine (still believed to this day) that Shavuot was the day that the Torah (Mosaic law) was given to Moses on Mount Sinai.  As a result, the focus of Shavuot was diverted from an agricultural feast to the commemoration of the Law and the birthday of Judaism.  The Bible never associates the Feast of Shavuot with Sinai! Unfortunately, this false man-made doctrine quickly caught on and has been practiced for centuries, although it has no biblical basis.

Pentecost-Shavuot Harvest

Pentecost – The celebration of the Summer Wheat Harvest and the birth of the Christian Church. Fifty days were carefully counted out and on the appointed day, two loaves of bread baked with leaven were waved aloft as an offering to the Lord. This is symbolic of the church being comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. On the day of Pentecost – directly following Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit was poured out on a large group of Jewish believers so that they would have the power to witness “to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The New Testament Fulfillment of Shavuot (Day of Pentecost)

As recorded in the Bible (Acts chapter 1 and 2) that the New Testament Church was born. It was on the 50th day after the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits that the apostles were praying together and the Holy Spirit descended on them. They received the “gift of tongues” – the ability to speak in other languages – and immediately began to preach about Jesus Christ the Messiah to Jewish people from all over the world who flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot. Christian Pentecost became not only a commemoration of the Holy Spirit’s visit but also marks the birth of Christianity – the uniting of both Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus the Messiah.

A Larger Harvest.

The early summer harvest of Shavuot in Israel was a small harvest in comparison to the larger harvest that came in the autumn of each year. This has prophetic significance. Strange as it might seem to mainstream Christianity today, God is not trying to save the whole world right now. He has planned a far larger harvest of souls when Jesus returns. Those of us who are saved today are only part of the smaller harvest. When most people in this present evil age are traveling the broad road to destruction, we have been uniquely called to enter in by the narrow gate that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14) and make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

God Pours Out His Holy Spirit.

As recorded in the Book of Acts chapter 2, that first day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:31. God initiated a new covenant with the house of Israel that also included the Gentile people:

“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. “ (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

On that morning He poured out His Holy Spirit on all flesh, as He had foretold. And that promise is still available for you today; that if you will turn from your transgression and call upon the name of the Lord, you shall be saved.

–         Luis Josephus

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Question: When is the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) in 2014?

Answer: June 3

Note: The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand.

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Click here to order a free copy of our booklet, “The Seven Biblical Feasts.”


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Religious Persecution

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like unto whitewashed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.“ – Matthew 23:27

Most believers in Jesus Christ are well aware of the fact that if we are truly living for God and pursuing a godly life, the unbelievers and the evil world system will persecute us. This type of persecution doesn’t usually take us by surprise. But when the persecution comes from within the Church and our own Christian brethren, it can be devastating. Oftentimes we stand in amazement and even shock. We reason to ourselves, “How can someone who professes to be a Christian be so cruel, judgmental or hateful towards another brother or sister in Christ?” Furthermore, this kind of attack is even more devastating when it comes from a pastor or other religious leader.

If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you.

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my teaching, they will keep yours also. “ – John 15:20

No matter how much it might hurt to be persecuted, misunderstood or even maligned by your own Christian brethren, we must remember that Jesus experienced the same. So many of the “religious types” were opposed to His teachings and godly example. Instead of praising Messiah Jesus for teaching the truth and exposing religious error, many of the Jews turned on Him. They went out of their way to oppose Him and discredit Him. They slandered His ministry and accused Him of serving the devil (Beelzebub).

The majority of the Jewish religionists that Jesus confronted with the truth of the gospel and His Messiahship didn’t want to hear Him because they were evil and religious hypocrites. Jesus described the religious leaders and the people who were following these blind leaders of the blind as “white-washed tombs.” They appeared righteous on the outside, but their hearts were full of deceit, hypocrisy, lust, and all manner of wickedness.

Modern Day Pharisees

Sadly, the Christian churches today are full of the same religious hypocrites and white-washed tombs (you know who you are). Many will write me hateful emails for speaking the truth. These modern-day Pharisee are always busy doing the work of their father the devil instead of the work of Christ. They love to criticize instead of encourage, to tear down instead of build up. They attend our Christian churches and prayer meetings right alongside of us, but they are not our true brethren. They are imposters that Satan has planted within the church – whited tombs which appear to be beautiful and attractive on the outside, yet filled with foulness and corruption inside. The “act” they put on in church is only a pretense; their religious appearance is only a mask that conceals their spiritual blindness. They are the “Tares” that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 13:40-43. He said these Tares would grow among the Wheat. But in the end, they would be plucked-up and thrown into the fire to be burnt.

“As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” – Matthew 13:40-43

The Lord Jesus shares the pain of the righteous.

When you’re persecuted for righteousness by religious hypocrites, remember that Satan and his followers (within the Church) delight to persecute those who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ and follow His principles of truth and righteous living. Stand firm in your commitment to God; persecution is a sure indication that you’re on the right track and living a life that God is well pleased with. Commit your hurt, pain and suffering to Him who judges justly.

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” – 1 Peter 2:23

Finally, do not forget that the Lord Jesus loves and cares for you deeply, and shares your pain. We have a sympathetic High Priest who Himself experienced the same religious persecution, trials and tribulations (Hebrews 4:15). Go to Him in prayer and you will receive grace, mercy, strength and comfort to help you cope and remain victorious.

–         Pastor Luis Yosefus

REAL JESUS MINISTRIES
www.RealJesus.net
realjesusministries@gmail.com

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