Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, is the fourth spring holiday in the Jewish calendar. The first holiday is Passover, where we celebrate the time when the Israelites were redeemed by the blood of the lamb from slavery in Egypt. The second spring holiday is the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is their flight from Egypt. Third is the Feast of Firstfruits, where the Israelites brought their offering before the Lord to bless their crops. And now we come to Shavuot, which is the giving of the Torah.
The feast of weeks commemorates when Moses had come down from Mt. Sinai with the ten commandments, and the children of Israel were given the Torah. Exodus 34:22 says, “And shalt observe the Feast of weeks, even of the Feast of first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the turn of the year.” Even today Jews celebrate by remembering that God had given the Torah to Moses and the children of Israel.
In Exodus chapter 24:3, there was a sort of marriage vow that took place between God and His people where Moses told the people what the Lord had said and they responded with one voice: “All the words the Lord said we will do”
In modern times, the Jewish people take out their finest china, their best silverware and linens. The house is decorated with fresh greenery. They make food with dairy in it, like cheesecake and blintzes, because milk symbolizes the Word of God. They stay up all night to study the Torah, but in their Torah it tells them not to afflict themselves on a holiday, so they study only until they are tired.
During Shavuot the book of Ruth is traditionally read. This is because it takes place between the Feast of Firstfruits and the the Feast of Weeks, when they were gleaning the fields. Ruth was a widow and returned with Naomi to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. Ruth went to the field to glean it and it was at that field that Boaz saw here and took favor on her. Boaz was her kinsman redeemer, and he takes Ruth as his wife and redeems the land and the inheritance.
At the Feast of Weeks, two loaves are to offered up along with a meal offering. These loaves were to be baked with leaven, or yeast. This was the only time leaven was to be used as part of an offering.
The Feast of Weeks is also mentioned in the New Testament. Fifty days after Christ ascended, Shavout got a new name, “Pentecost,” the Greek word for “fifty.” In Acts 2:4 we read, “They were filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them to speak out, and there were tongues of fire over each of their heads.” People passing by questioned whether or not they were drunk, but that wasn’t so at all; they were filled with the Spirit. These men who were watching all this happen asked this question: “what shall we do?” Peter responds Repent and each one of you be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So three thousand came to faith that day. For they believed and were baptized.
The day is coming when the Jewish people will come to understand what Pentecost is truly all about. This holiday in which we celebrate has much more importance than Moses receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai and giving the law to the Jewish people. For us believers in Jesus Christ it is the day that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit fifty days after He rose on the Feast of First Fruits, and 3000 people believed and were baptized .
To us Christians, Boaz and Ruth represent Christ and His Bride, the Church. Just as Boaz was the kinsman redeemer because he had the ability to redeem all of it and pay Ruth’s debt, so Jesus has the ability to redeem us through His blood. When we receive Him, we also receive the inheritance of the kingdom of God. In return, we become part of the royal priesthood. If there was no blood payment, then we are all stuck in our sins, however, Romans 6:23 tells us that sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life through Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
In Messianic teachings, one of the two loaves is considered to represent the Jew and the other to represent the Gentile. The Old Testament high priest would take in the two loaves with the yeast signifying sin, just as Jesus Messiah takes us in while we are still sinners. In Ephesians 2:14 we read “He is our shalom, the one who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation”. For there is no more need for the Jews to be separate from the Gentiles, seeing how we are brought together to serve the one true God. Jesus died upon the cross at Calvary and the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom signifying that man now has access to God, both Jew and Gentile.
I mentioned before that Shavuot is known as the wedding day between God and the Jewish people. They made a vow to worship and serve the Lord and to follow in His ways. We as Christians were once walking in darkness, but we stood before Almighty God, received Jesus into our life as our Salvation, and were baptized into God’s royal family. For He is our King and Redeemer and we are His children.
God chose you and I as “first fruits” for salvation through sanctification by the the Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit). Revelation 19:6 tells us, “Rejoice and be glad and give the glory to him! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” Jesus shall come back and return for his bride. We are to never forget our first love for God has never forgotten us.