(The Wheat Harvest Feast)
“15 And from the morrow [the day] after the [weekly] Sabbath [Saturday], from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed [weekly] Sabbaths. 16 Until the morrow [the day] after the seventh [weekly] Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to YHWH. 17 Bring from your dwellings for a wave offering two loaves of bread, of two-tenths of an ĕphah of fine flour they are, baked with leaven, first-fruits to YHWH. 18 And besides the bread, you shall bring seven lambs a year old, perfect ones, and one young bull and two rams. They are a burnt offering to YHWH, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet fragrance to YHWH. 19 And you shall offer one male goat as a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old, as a peace offering. 20 And the priest shall wave them, besides the bread of the first-fruits, as a wave offering before YHWH, besides the two lambs. They are set-apart [Holy] to YHWH for the priest. 21 And on this same day you shall proclaim a set-apart [Holy] gathering for yourselves, you do no servile work on it – a law forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when you reap the harvest of your land [the Land of Israel] do not completely reap the corners of your field when you reap, and do not gather any gleaning from your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am YHWH your Elohim.” (Leviticus 23:15-22, The Scriptures Translation)
What Do We Know About Shavuot?
The name of this special time of celebration, Shavuot, comes from Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:15-16 and Deuteronomy 16:9-10. Within these Scriptures, we learn that Shavuot is determined by counting seven weeks starting after the Sabbath. There are two schools of understanding on “What” Sabbath is understood to be and used. This will be addressed later. Shavuot/Pentecost has three names in Scripture, two of which underscore its agricultural nature:
- Chag HaKatzir (Feast of the Harvest, Exodus 23:16)
- Yom HaBikkurim (Day of the Firstfruits, Numbers 28:26), and
- Shavuot (Feast of Weeks, Exodus 34:22; Numbers 28:26; Deuteronomy 16:10)
The Torah also says, “You shall count for yourselves” (Leviticus 23:16). In the Brit Chadashah (Renewed Covenant Scriptures) the Greek name for this Holy Day is pente ‘koste’s (Strong’s #G4005), which means “fifty” and it’s usually transliterated into English as “Pentecost.”
In Israel every 50th year is a Jubilee year. Because Shavuot comes on the “fiftieth” day, it is thought to be a mini-Jubilee.
Shavuot was primarily an agricultural Holy Day connected with the peak of the new wheat and barley crop. After the crop was harvested, the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were presented to YHWH in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. The offering consisted of two loaves of bread baked with leavened flour (Leviticus 23:17). Thus, the children of Israel celebrated YHWH’s provision at the start of the wheat season. In Deuteronomy 16:12, it gives us the reason for the observance of Shavuot, YHWH spoke and said, “You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall guard and do these decrees.”
Shavuot is the last of the Spring Feasts of YHWH which is celebrated as one of the three pilgrim festivals when every Israelite male went up to Jerusalem. The other pilgrimages are Pesach/Passover and Sukkot/Tabernacles.
The festival of Shavuot also encourages us to share what we have, both physically and spiritually, in keeping with the Torah Instructions to feed the stranger, the orphan, the widow and other poor and unfortunate people within the redeemed community.
It’s customary to read the book of Ruth which took place in the spring and at harvest time. One of the central messages of Shavuot is voluntarily taking upon oneself the Torah Instructions of YHWH by sharing in the story of Ruth who expressed her loyalty to YHWH’s Torah and to YHWH’s people by freely embracing both. Ruth also gives us a remez (hint) about an aspect of YHWH’s work on earth, the joining of the goyim (nations) to the nation of Israel, YHWH’s people, through Yeshua.
Is Shavuot Associated with the Giving of The Torah?
Most Jews associate Shavuot with the giving of the Book of the Torah. However, in the book, In the Jewish Tradition, Judith Fellner explains that the rabbis developed this idea after the Diaspora, because the Omer count was being forgotten. So, they attached one of Israel’s great historical events to Shavuot. By the third century, it became known as “The time of the giving of the Torah,” and it depicted the idea of the marriage covenant between Israel and the Almighty. It came to signify the idea of Israel entering into “Covenant” and saying “I do” to YHWH, even as she said “I do” at Mt. Sinai. And yet, among the Jewish people, Shavuot continues to be the least observed of the major feasts.
Is Shavuot Connected to Jubilees?
In Israel every fiftieth year is a Jubilee year. Because Shavuot comes on the “fiftieth” day, it is thought to be a “mini-Jubilee.” In Hebrew, fifty represents liberty, freedom, and deliverance. Jubilee is a time when slaves were set free and debts were cancelled at the sound of the shofar (Leviticus 25:8-17). We too, need to be liberated from the sins that enslave us. The connection is in the number “50.”
All Believers in Yeshua/Jesus need to be liberated from the sins that enslave us.
We read in Exodus 34:22 where YHWH says “You shall make the Chag Shavuot (Festival of Weeks) with the first offering [first fruits] of the wheat harvest…”
In Deuteronomy 16:9 it says “You shall count seven weeks for yourselves; from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop [barley] shall you begin counting seven weeks.”
The Omer became the name of the period between Pesach/Passover and Shavuot.
“You shall bring an omer from your first harvest to the Kohen [priest]. He shall wave the omer before YHWH to gain favor for you; on the morrow [the day after] of the rest day [Weekly Sabbath] the Kohen shall wave it.” (Leviticus 23:10-11)
Before any grain produce of the new crop of barley could be eaten, a measure of ground barley was harvested by the kohanim (priest) and it was brought to the Temple on the day after the first day of rest of Chag HaMatzot (the first day of Unleavened Bread) as a mincha korban (meal offering). This korban was known as the omer, or first fruits (also known as HaBikkurim). It was a national korban symbolized by a sheaf of barley. It was not a korban brought by every farmer in the land.
Counting the Omer to Determine Shavuot
The Torah instructs us that seven weeks are to be counted from the time of the offering of the omer until Shavuot was to be celebrated, as it is written in Leviticus 23:15-17, 21:
“15 And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. 16 Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to YHWH. 17 Bring from your dwellings for a wave offering two loaves of bread, of two-tenths of an ĕphah of fine flour they are, baked with leaven, first-fruits to YHWH… 21 And on this same day you shall proclaim a set-apart gathering for yourselves, you do no servile work on it – a statute [decree] forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.”
The Counting Controversy
Not long after the middle of the first century C.E., the Pharisees gained control of all Jewish observations of the Feasts from the Sadducees who were led by the high priests of the family of Boethus.
The phrase “on the morrow of the rest day” or “from the day after the Shabbat” became one of the major points of controversy between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
The idea that Yeshua was resurrected on Sunday was not propagated by the church until approximately 400 years after His resurrection, after they had already rejected Pesach in favor of Easter.
Many err in reckoning the Day of Shavuot because they fail to follow Almighty YHWH’s Instructions to us in His Torah. (Leviticus 23:14-16)
While the Sadducees had been correctly counting the days to Shavuot from First Fruits, the Pharisees incorrectly began their own count starting the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread. Many still adhere to this teaching to this very day.
If we use what I call “Backward Mathematics,” we can determine “when” the counting of the Omer begins when we look at Leviticus 23:15-16.
Leviticus 23:15-16 “15 ‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath [This is talking about the weekly Sabbath and NOT the High Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread.], from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. 16 Until the morrow [the day] after the seventh [weekly] Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain [wheat] offering to YHWH.”
This is clearly talking about the weekly Sabbath.
Shavuot always falls on the first day of the week-Sunday.
Seven completed weekly Sabbaths = 49 days.
So, IF we follow YHWH’s Instructions, we should see that the Feast of Bikkurim falls on the first day of the week—Sunday.
By not counting correctly from Bikkurim to Shavuot, we are “missing the mark.”
From reading out of Scripture (Exegeses) we can see that the start of the Omer Count always begins on the first day of the week after Passover.
The Pharisees have read into (Eisegesis) Scripture what “they” want it to say. For they want “authority” rather than yielding to YHWH’s Absolute Written Word.
Embracing the wisdom of Torah is essential to our well-being. Being Empowered by the Ruach (Spirit) to be able to walk in His Truths is likewise Essential to our well-being.
There is another important aspect to Shavuot that we as Believers in Yeshua need to Embrace and that is the Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.
The Restoration of the Kingdom to Israel is likewise essential to our well-being. By increasing our understanding of Shavuot, this enables us to better arrive at that glorious end-time goal (Isaiah 49:8; Acts 1:6).
Pesach/Passover Completed at Shavuot
Pesach/Passover is our promise of freedom. The time between Pesach/Passover and Shavuot is known in some groups as the “Passover Season.” Some say that Shavuot is the close of Passover.
Har Tzion — Acts Chapter 2
YHWH promised through Jeremiah 31:33, “I will write my Torah on their hearts.” This He does as He gives His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).
Voices and Torches
In Exodus 20:18 it is written, literally translated from the Hebrew, “And the whole of the people, seeing the voices and the torches and the sound of the shofar and the mountain smoking, quivered, wavered, trembled with fear.” When the Greek translation of the Torah, the Septuagint, was completed in the 3rd century B.C.E., “voices” was translated “thunders” because voices are normally heard rather than seen. “Torches” was translated “lightning’s” probably because lightning seems more dramatic.
We should note also that in Hebrew, the word “voices” is plural. So then, “How can YHWH have more than one voice?” “They (the voices) were heard by each man according to his capacity, as it is said, ‘The voice of YHWH was heard according to strength.’” (Psalm 29:4) What the people heard was one Elohim, but many voices. This means that everyone heard the Torah in a way and in a language that they could understand it, even though they were a mixed multitude Exodus 12:38.
Prophecies Fulfilled Completing the Circle
What did Joel prophesy about?
Among other things, Joel said that YHWH was going to do something very special in one location Har Tzion (Mount Zion). “And everyone who calls on the name of YHWH will be saved; for on Har Tzion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance…” (Joel 2:32). So the declaration and outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh is related to Har Tzion.
The Upper Room and the Temple Mount
A common misconception exits that the location of the events of Acts Chapter 2 was the same “upper room” as reported in Acts 1:13.
The word “house” is used to describe the place where they were sitting. The Greek word is not oikia (Strong’s #G3414) meaning house or home, or a place of dwelling, but oikon, from oikos (Strong’s #G3624) which is predominately used to mean “the Sanctuary or House of YHWH,” (Matthew 12:4, 21:13).
Acts 2:1 says, “And when the day of Pentecost [50 days to Shavuot] had come they were all together in one place.”
The “one place” is none other than the Har HaBayit (Temple Mount) and specifically in the courtyard of the Mikdash (Holy Place).
Verse 2 says “And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.”
Everyone had assembled in the Temple in obedience to celebrating Shavuot. There is no way they could have assembled as many people as are talked about in someone’s home.
Did First Century Believers keep Shavuot?
In Act 20:16, it says “For Sha’ul [Paul] had decided to sail past Ephesos, … for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot].”
Clearly Paul was still keeping Shavuot after coming to know Yeshua as his Savior. (See Leviticus 23:10-21.)
In 1 Corinthians 16:8, we read “And I [Paul] shall remain in Ephesos until the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot].”
Why would Paul tell several Gentile congregations about the importance of keeping Shavuot with them IF they were not also keeping it?
Yahweh has given His people, Israel, and those who are called “strangers” His Instructions to keep His Mo’edim-Appointed Times (Feasts).
It is up to us, His children, to carry forth His Word of Truth to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
When the Law was given to ancient Israel, it testified against the immorality of their flesh, and “about three thousand men fell that day” (Exodus 32:28; 1 Corinthians 10:8). When the Holy Spirit was given, an empowered Apostle Peter began to preach, and “that day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 1:8, 2:38, 41, 3:12-26, 4:33). Even so, the wheat sheaves of Shavuot foretell the promised resurrection of those who put their faith in Messiah Yeshua (Matthew 13:39; Mark 4:26; Luke 10:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 14:14-16).
Rabbinic Judaism must cross over and receive Yeshua as their Messiah.
Christianity must cross over and embrace Torah.
When the two come together they will be Echad (One) in Yeshua and Yahweh.
Yeshua the Firstfruits
As we saw above, Yeshua himself was the “first fruits” as noted in 1 Corinthians 15:23 (compare Romans 8:29). He spoke of a “harvest” of people with prepared hearts in Matthew 9:37-38 and John 4:35. Later (Acts 2:4) three thousand persons become the “firstfruits” of the Ruach (Spirit) Empowered activity of Yeshua’s talmidim (disciples). In Romans 8:23 what believers have of the Ruach HaKodesh (Set-Apart [Holy] Spirit) was said to be only the “firstfruits” in comparison with what is to come. I have also heard it taught that what we have in the way of the Holy Spirit is only a down payment and when we receive our glorified bodies; we will be fully Empowered by His Set-Apart Spirit.
For Believers in Yeshua the 49 days between Pesach/Passover and Shavuot marks the time between the Festival of our Physical Redemption (Passover) and the Festival of our Spiritual Empowerment (Shavuot).
We as Believers in Yeshua/Jesus need this Spiritual Empowerment so that we can clearly “hear” our Heavenly Father’s voice as He “whispers” in our ears “This is the Way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
For those who have and are redeemed by the shed blood of Yeshua, He has given us His Set-Apart (Holy) Spirit to live within us. This is part of His Way of empowering His children.
As we read His Word, the Holy Spirit is writing our loving Heavenly Father’s Word on our hearts so that we may walk (keep/do/obey) His Word IF and that is a BIG word, we ask Him to do this for us. (John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7; Jeremiah 31:31-33; 1 Corinthians 14:2)
Two Schools of Understanding
There are two schools of understanding on the meaning of the two loaves of leavened bread brought before Almighty Yahweh.
We notice that the Shavuot bread offering was made with leaven, symbolizing YHWH’s people as having sin before Yeshua’s atoning death. Later Paul writes to the Messianic Community in Corinth that “in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, HaMashiach (The Messiah), has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). Now the two loaves of the Shavuot offering can be understood as representing YHWH’s expanded people, inclusive of both the Israelites of all tribes and the non-Israelites, the Goyim, who were redeemed and reconciled with YHWH by Yeshua. (See Romans 11:17-26; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:14).
Another meaning of these two leavened loaves is depicted as being “both the houses of Israel” (Isaiah 8:14). Of all the bread offerings, only the two wave loaves of Shavuot were baked with leaven. Leaven symbolizes sin, and there are two houses of Israel – both of which have stumbled over the One who would be a “Sanctuary” to them.
Both houses have fallen short, and will continue to fall short as long as they are divided and antagonistic toward each other (Isaiah 8:14; John 2:22; Romans 11:25). Both Ephraim and Judah are plagued by leaven, meaning, they are puffed up with error. As they stand, neither house is fit to be “offered” on YHWH’s altar. Looking at each house separately, we can say neither house can be a “soothing aroma” to YHWH. Something is missing. And, something is present that keeps them from being fully acceptable to Him. To be an acceptable offering, bread must be unleavened. Both houses fall short of the glory of YHWH. The sins found in their respective houses are a stench in His nostrils and it prevents them from being fully acceptable to Him (Isaiah 65:5). Both are missing the quality of being sinless. That quality is found only in Yeshua. He is the Unleavened Bread of Pesach/Passover, and in Him, both houses can be made whole, sinless.
With the two houses of Israel in their leavened state, both loaves are nourishing “bread,” which depicts YHWH’s ability to “feed people” from both houses. Both houses of Israel offer some sustaining words of life to the children of Israel and to the non-Israelite. Neither house is perfect, so we should partake of that which is nourishing from each house, and ask our Heavenly Father to help us move on to that perfect place of sinlessness, wherein we will be able to Tabernacle with Him forever.
Again, both loaves were acceptable to YHWH in that they could be “waved” before Him, but in themselves, they were not fit to be a sacrifice. This shows us that, if YHWH can look upon these leavened houses with His Mercy, and draw both of them to Himself, we should seek to do no less. We should have proper regard for both the houses of Israel. We also see that both loaves could be in YHWH’s Holy Presence, and yet not be consumed. So it is that Judah and Ephraim are imperfect, and yet they are not utterly consumed by YHWH. He sees their defects, yet He loves them and longs for them.
Just as the twelve unleavened loaves of “show bread” found in the Tabernacle represented the twelve tribes of Israel, so the two leavened loaves of Shavuot represent both houses of Israel – Judah and Ephraim. The Father told Moses, “You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times.” We need to declare the truth that, the twelve unleavened loaves of the Bread of the Presence spoke of the unity of the twelve tribes of Israel, and the two leavened loaves speak of the current division in the two houses of Israel.
The division of the house of Judah and Ephraim is the stench that keeps us from being acceptable in the sight of our loving Heavenly Father, and it keeps us from our much-desired end-time harvest. We are to take the “Good News” to a dying and lost world. We need to cry out to our loving Heavenly Father about this matter. We need to “repent” if we are guilty, and we need to remind our brethren to “repent” and to forgive one another.
Abba (Father) Yah has shown me that if we hold on to those who have hurt us through words, deeds or in other ways, this is slowing us down. He gave me a picture to relate this truth. In the early 20th Century in America there used to be what was called “Chain Gangs.” These were prison criminals who worked on the road to either build roads and/or repair roads. They had a steel ball shackled to their ankle so they could not escape as it would slow them down greatly. This is the example/picture He gave me to show that as long as we “hang-on” to our hurt feelings of things people have done to us, it is slowing us down. Thus, it is hindering us from serving Him effectively. He wants His people to be free so they can move quickly as He calls each one. So, if we are holding on to all our hurts, we need to sever that steel ball shackled to our ankle that is slowing us down from serving Him in the capacity He has called each of us to do for Him. The sooner we sever that steel ball the sooner He can use us more effectively.
Now we need to stop and ask ourselves “How can we be cleansed of this condition the two houses of Israel are in?”
In Romans 11:16, we read: “If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.” With the Spring Feasts, the first piece of dough mentioned is that of Unleavened Bread, which represents Yeshua. He represents the “Holy” dough. The second lump of dough mentioned is, the two leavened loaves of Shavuot. We are part of that latter “lump.” We are made holy only when we abide in Yeshua; when we are obedient to His Absolute Written Word. He is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven. He is the Living Word of Life. He said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of YHWH” (Matthew 4:4; John 1:14; 6:48-51; 1 John 1:1; 1 Peter 1:23). He can transform us by His Set-Apart (Holy) Spirit.
His Word, from Genesis to Revelation, is like bread to us. The two loaves of Shavuot represent the two-covenant people who have charge over “Two Books of the Covenant.” Judah has had charge of the Old (First) Covenant, the Torah, and they tend to eat only of that covenant loaf. Ephraim, or Israel, has had charge of the Renewed Covenant, the covenant of the heart (Jeremiah 31:31-33), and they tend to eat only of that covenant loaf. YHWH has used these two houses to maintain these Books of the Covenant. However, what He really wants is to have “one loaf,” He wants to have “One Book of Covenants.” The first covenant, the Torah, teaches us “how” to approach YHWH based on His criteria. The Renewed Covenant teaches us “how” to tap into His Power. Thus, the Renewed Covenant Empowers us and takes us to an all new level using His Power to heal the sick, raise the dead, etc.
Although the overseers of these two Covenants have made mistakes in the way they have presented His Truths, nonetheless, the two leavened loaves continue to be YHWH’s prescribed wave offering and neither should be unfairly disrespectful to one another.
Shavuot is a day that tells of our Father’s patient endurance, love, and high hopes for both houses of Israel. Let us therefore do as we are told and make a Shavuot Proclamation about this truth. Let us wave two leavened loaves before Him and declare to the world the truth about Israel’s coming full restoration! We are talking about proclaiming the Restoration of ALL Israel.
Torah Is For All
The Torah does not teach that YHWH’s Instructions are the sole possession of the Jewish people, nor of the greater Bnei Yisrael (Children of Israel). They were not given exclusively to them nor for them. On the contrary, they were given to all people in all nations who seek the “how to’s” when faced with the central theme of the Torah, which is to “love YHWH your Elohim (Mighty One) with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
I share with people something Abba (Father) Yah has shown me over the past few years. I call it “Hebrew Math.” It goes like this:
We remember in Matthew 22:35-40 where it is written:
“35 …one learned in the Torah, did question, trying Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah?” 37 And Yeshua said to him, “ ‘You shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great command. 39 And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.””
So, we see in the above Scriptures where Yeshua talks about the Two Commandments. When we take those same Two Commandments and go back to the Ten Words (Commandments) we can see that the first Four Commandments represent the First Command Yeshua spoke about on “How to love Yahweh” and the remaining Six Commands represent the Second Commandment Yeshua stated on “How to love your Neighbor as yourself.” One can also see the first Five Commandments as being “How to love Yahweh” and the last five Commandments on “How to love your Neighbor as yourself.” Either way works.
So, at this point our equation looks like this: 2 = 10.
Now let’s take it one more step. If we look at each of the Ten Commandments and go back to the Torah, we can find in there 613 Commandments/Instructions on “How to love Yahweh” and “How to love our Neighbor as ourselves.” Now our equation is expanded to 2 = 10 = 613. This is what Yeshua was pointing us to when He answered the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 22:34) who asked Him the question in Matthew 22:36 above.
So, when we study the Torah which is Yahweh’s Teachings and Instructions to His people, true believers in Yeshua, we learn what He expects of us as His people on “How” we approach Him and “How” He expects us to love Him as well as “How” He expects us to love our Neighbor as ourselves.
One of the problems that the worldwide Body of Yeshua faces today is a lack of definition of what it means to be part of the redeemed community, the Kingdom of YHWH. So many believers are running from YHWH’s Torah which is His Teachings and Instructions to us in fear of “legalism” and in search of “freedom in Christ” without Torah. They have been taught and erroneously believe that the “Law” is dead; it is no longer useful or required for the true believer; and that it was only given to the Jews, and then only for a limited time, until Yeshua showed up. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Some “say” that keeping the “Law” puts one in “bondage.” If this is true, then when Yeshua comes to Rule and Reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years and “requires” people to obey His Teachings and Instructions (Torah) on keeping the weekly Sabbath and the Appointed Times (Feasts) will be in bondage for 1,000 years.
Those who do not come to Jerusalem once a year for Sukkot (Tabernacles) will suffer no rain for their crops to grow (Zechariah 14:17). We also get a glimpse of what will take place during the 1,000-year Rule and Reign of Yeshua from Jerusalem when we read Jeremiah Chapters 40 through 49 because all these chapters are describing what will take place during that 1,000 years. So, all those who believe and teach that keeping the “Law” which contains being obedient to keeping His weekly Sabbath and the other Appointed Times (Feasts) as being in bondage will suffer 1,000 years in bondage to Him and His Absolute Written Ways—His Teachings and Instructions to His people-Israel.
In Isaiah 2:3 it says “And many peoples shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YHWH, to the House of the Elohim [God] of Jacob, and let Him Teach us His Ways, and let us walk in His Paths, for out of Tsiyon [Zion] comes forth the Torah, and the Word of YHWH from Yerushalayim [Jerusalem].” The words “Teach, Ways, Paths, Torah and Word” teach us that His Ways, His Paths, the Teaching and the Word of YHWH are used synonymously.
When we look at Abraham, we know that he was not Jewish. He was born in the city of Ur of Kasdim. He was a Gentile. YHWH said of him, “Abraham heard My voice and guarded [kept/do/obeyed] My Commandments, My decrees, and My Torah [My Instructions].” (Genesis 26:5)
YHWH Himself somehow revealed to these non-Jewish men some portions of His Holy Torah with the expectation that they would receive this teaching as His Word to them.
When the Torah was finally and fully revealed to Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel), the stated external purpose was to attract the Goyim, the nations. The Israelites were to faithfully and obediently live the Torah Teachings and Instructions before the surrounding nations as a mighty witness of the One True and Living Mighty One. Once the nations heard about these decrees and observed the Israelites being faithful and obedient to their Mighty One, they, the nations, would say, “Surely a wise and discerning people is this great nation! For which is a great nation that has a Mighty One Who is close to it, as is YHWH, our Mighty One, whenever we call to Him? And which is a great nation that has righteous decrees and ordinances, such as this entire Torah that I place before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:6-8)
The text in Genesis clearly implies that to accept Bnei Yisrael’s Elohim also meant to live by the revealed wisdom of what is written in His Torah, and be obedient to His loving instructions.
For this reason, YHWH revealed through the Prophets His provision for the Goyim. Nowhere in the Bible were the Goyim instructed to become “Jews” nor were they instructed to become adherents to “Judaism” or its particular cultural practices. But that doesn’t mean that they were or are now excluded from the “commonwealth” of Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel), YHWH’s chosen people. Some who see themselves as Goyim may be descendants of one of the tribes of Israel and not know it. In these End of Days more people are finding their ancestors to be descendants from one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
There is a saying “All Jews are Israelites BUT not all Israelites are Jews.” The Jewish people make up one twelfth of all Israel. Do not think that they represent all the nation of Israel as some “think” them to be. There are many descendants from the different tribes of Israel scattered all throughout Christianity.
Isaiah wrote his book to admonish all of the descendants of Jacob both Israel and Judah, to forsake their sins and to live again by the Covenant of the Torah. But Isaiah also had a message from YHWH for the Goyim. Particularly in chapter 56 where he encouraged the remnant of Goyim who followed the Elohim of Yisrael (Israel). Chapter 56 opens with encouragement to the remnant to continue following the Covenant of Torah. Through the prophet, YHWH calls upon them to “maintain justice and do what is right” as well as to “keep the Shabbat.” Notice who YHWH was actually addressing through Isaiah 56:6-8.
“6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to YHWH, to minister to Him, and to love the name of YHWH, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Shabbat and holds fast My Covenant; 7 even those I will bring to My Holy Mountain and make them joyful in My House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My Altar; for My House will be called a House of Prayer for all the peoples. 8 Adonai [Master] YHWH, who gathers the dispersed of Yisrael, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them [Israel], to those already gathered.” ”
YHWH speaks about “the foreigner” but not just any foreigner. These are foreigners who have bounded themselves to Him as their Elohim (God). In other words, YHWH has some important things to say to non-Israelite believers, not just to the descendants of Jacob (Israel).
First, YHWH tells them He Himself will make certain to include them with the remnant of His people, among Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel).
Second, YHWH will grant them access to “My Holy Mountain” and that He will accept their offerings at the Temple, because “My House shall be called a House of Prayer for all nations.” In other words, YHWH was doing all He could to assure these non-Israelite believers that they were on equal footing with Bnei Yisrael, the people of the Covenant.
Third, YHWH describes the lifestyle of these Goyim believers. He characterizes them in verse 6 as people “who keep the Shabbat without desecrating it and who hold fast to My Covenant.”
Finally, YHWH through Isaiah prophesies about the generations to come. He looks beyond his present situation and says, “Adonai YHWH declares He who gathers the exiles of Yisrael: I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.” We can see here that YHWH is promising that many from among the nations would believe in Him, thereby becoming a part of “them” – Bnei Yisrael – all of which would be living by the Torah! When would this happen? The natural answer to this would be at the Ingathering of the Goyim described in the Book of Acts.
They become those who are grafted in to the Commonwealth of Israel. (Ephesians 2:11-22; 1 Corinthians 12:2)
The Torah for All in the Brit Chadashah (Renewed Covenant)
Moving from the Prophets to the Brit Chadashah, leading up to the events of Shavuot in Acts Chapter 2, Yeshua was the first to encourage and introduce the Torah to the Goyim. The passage, often referred to as the “Great Commission” is a classic example. Yeshua instructs His followers to teach the potential believers from the Goyim His Instructions that He describes as “My Commandments.” Yet, it escapes the notice of so many Bible students that the vast bulk of His Instructions, as He taught them to His followers, consisted of explicit Torah passages and Torah-based instructions. This would have been perfectly consistent with the prophecy of Isaiah Chapter 56.
The next important passage we find following the events of Shavuot in Acts Chapter 2 is Acts Chapter 15. It contains a record of how the Goyim believers were received by the early Jewish followers of Yeshua and how they should relate to the Torah in obedience to Abba Yah’s Instructions.
The elders in Jerusalem, led by Ya’akov (Jacob) the brother of Yeshua who is known in the Bible as James, knew that the Torah was the only existing body of teaching for all believers; Jewish, non-Jewish Israelites, or Goyim. However, the elders could not demand that the non-Jewish believers immediately follow all the Instructions of YHWH in His Torah with the same intensity that the Jewish believers did because they had not been reared and educated in Torah. So the elders’ message in Acts 15:19-20 communicated to the Goyim that, while they were equal in the sight of YHWH and that they should be accepted into fellowship, they still needed to gradually learn more of what it means to “walk uprightly” before YHWH in trusting, faithful obedience to Him as they grew in their personal relationship with Him.
The confirmation of this is in verse 21 where it says “For Moshe [Moses] has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Shabbat.” This was the elders’ encouragement to the non-Jewish believers to continue in their study of the Torah, since Torah Instructions was available in the local synagogue of almost every city in the Diaspora. In their wisdom, they knew the reality of Yeshua’s teaching that “my sheep know My voice and follow Me.” The Torah is the voice of Yeshua, and these new believers would hear and follow. Thus, Acts Chapter 15, far from downplaying the role of Torah in the life of non-Jewish believers, instead provides an encouragement for them to pursue the Torah at their own pace.
Non-Jewish believers have a meaningful and significant relationship to the Torah of Moshe. Through this relationship, YHWH Himself instructs His children to Embrace the full revelation of His grace in their lives. That full revelation consists of the whole of Scripture, including the Torah. In this way, many non-Jewish people who come to faith and are “grafted in” to the redeemed community, becoming submitted to YHWH in His Kingdom, can present a light to the nations in our generation by their Torah obedience. At the same time, they can even provoke the Jewish people to jealousy so they might return to the Elohim of their Fathers in repentance. The Torah has not died. It is still very much alive for all of us. The Torah is FOR the Redeemed Community. Not just part of it but all of it!
Our connection with YHWH is through our trusting, faithful obedience in doing His will. Because the will of a person and himself are indivisible – the self-expresses itself as the will. Only when we do YHWH’s will, do we bring ourselves close to Him. The loving Instructions of YHWH’s Torah are the will of YHWH expressed in concrete form. Obedience is the highest form of worship of our loving Heavenly Father. Any other form of worship is merely “feeling” spiritual; it is not being spiritual.
With this, I hope this teaching has shed some light on Shavuot to help all of us better understand a little bit more about one of His Appointed Times.
Thank you and Yahweh our Elohim bless you and be with you.
I want to speak a blessing upon each person and family here today.
Yahweh go before you that you may follow in His Footsteps.
Yahweh be behind you to protect you from all unseen dangers.
Yahweh be on your left side and on your right side to carry you through difficult days all through your life.
Yahweh be above you to keep your eyes always focused upon Him.
Yahweh be below you to keep you from ever falling away from Him.
Yahweh Embrace you with His loving arms and to hide you under His Wings of Protection.
Yahweh bless you.
In the Most Set-Apart Name, I speak this blessing to each person here today, Amein!
I am One Crying in The Wilderness!
Eddie Rogers, Minister, D.D.
It is Better to be Divided By Truth than United with Error!
The above chart was developed to show the timing of Passover, Unleavened Bread and the start of the Counting of the Omer to Shavuot also known as Pentecost for the Passover season in 2018. During the Passover week, the Feast of First Fruits is also observed which always falls on a Sunday during the week of Passover and Unleavened Bread. Many Jews and others observe the Feast of First Fruits on the 16th of Abib which is one day after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that starts on the 15th of Abib. This means that the Feast of First Fruits according to the Jews starts on the 16th of Abib and this can be on any day of the week. Passover is on the 14th of Abib and the first day of Unleavened Bread starts on the 15th of Abib. Many others have the Biblical understanding that the Feast of First Fruits always starts on the first day of the week which is Sunday. In the above chart the Feast of First Fruits falls on April 7th.
The Seven Feasts of the LORD – The Feast of Weeks [Gideon Levytam explains how the Feast of Shavuot/Pentecost points to the establishment of the new covenant and the birth of the assembly/church.]