Category: 06_2024_1

Shavuot

Shavuot

By Eric Carlson in 06_2024_1 on June 1, 2024

Leviticus 23:15-17. “‘From the day after the day of rest -that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving -you are to count seven full weeks, 16 until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present a new grain offering to ADONAI. You must bring bread from your homes for waving-two loaves made with one gallon of fine flour, baked with leaven -as first fruits for ADONAI.

Leviticus 23:21-22. On the same day, you are to call a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. 22 “‘When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don’t harvest all the way to the corners of your field, and don’t gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am ADONAI your God.'”

Shavuot, at its most fundamental and elemental understanding, is the commemoration of the divine revelation of God’s oracles given at Mt. Sinai which is the fulfillment of the Passover Experience. Passover’s Freedom isn’t experienced until Mt Sinai and the revelation of Adonai and His word, it is the culmination of the redemptive process, accepting God. It was at Mt. Sinai that Israel entered into a free will covenantal agreement with Adonai. In submission and obedience unto Him. Shavuot is also the First Fruits offering of the harvest that is brought to the Temple!

We celebrate the Feast Days to teach the children, the next generation. L’dor V’Dor, the timelines and covenants of God so that they may make their own free-will choice to serve Adonai. This is one of our most daunting and challenging tasks we face as parents, as Messianic Believers, and as a Congregation leader!

Teaching our children, families, and congregates God’s message is the antithesis of American and western culture’s Hellenistic philosophy of “Do what seems right according to your own eye (Judges 21:25)” and “Self reliance”. God teaches obedience and dependence while the world teaches non-obedience and independence. Without obedience to God and His word there is no obligation to freedom, there is no covenant relationship. Knowing God’s desire in your heart is not enough, God requires the application of His mitzvahs and commands in your life! It’s tradition that everyone either reads or hears the Ten Commandments read on Shavuot.

Within this freewill supplication of service and ministry unto God the ongoing miracle of Shavuot is revealed in another outpouring on the same day 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem which was the “First Fruits” of a Worldwide spiritual harvest:

Acts 2:1-4. The festival of Shavu’ot arrived, and the believers all gathered together in one place. 2 Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire, which separated and came to rest on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

The giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is the empowerment for us to effectively spread the Good News! Just before Ascending to Heaven, Yeshua in Acts 1 told His Talmidim “you will receive power when the Ruach HaKodesh comes upon you; you will be my witnesses both in Yerushalayim and in all Y’hudah and Shomron, indeed to the ends of the earth!” We tend to focus upon revival itself with the accompanying signs and wonders while real revival or awakenings are the spread of the Good News! The Shavuot experience is on-going, it’s a continuously occurring event, the Lord speaking into our lives and intervening on our behalf so that we may be His witness. God’s physical word brought to life through the Holy Spirit is continually renewed in our lives, daily! Our task is to hear and obey just as it was over 3,000 years ago! That multitude of voices from on top Mt Sinai, and that roaring wind from the upper room still beckons to us today!

Shavuot begins with the Decalogue or Ten Commandments which are the first fruits of the 613 commandments given by God to us in Torah. The Ten Commandments reveals God’s principles relating to morals, ethics, and worship of Him. The commandments include instructions to worship only God, to honor one’s parents, to keep Shabbat, as well as prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, theft, dishonesty, and coveting. We refer to Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 as the Ten Commandments yet neither of these two passages reference themselves as the Ten Commandments. Though these passages contain commands from God the only reference to Ten Words or anything close to Ten Commandments is found in:

Exodus 34:27-28. ADONAI said to Moshe, “Write these words down, because they are the terms of the covenant I have made with you and with Isra’el.” 28 Moshe was there with ADONAI forty days and forty nights, during which time he neither ate food nor drank water. [ADONAI] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.

What occurred between Exodus 20 and the Commands spoken by God then repeated by Moshe to the people of Israel and the Ten Words found in Exodus 24? The Golden Calf incident of Exodus 32. Though God had given the first 10 of 613 instructions, the verbal command and instructions alone wouldn’t be enough. Israel needed to walk this out, to have it become a part of their life, to live out who they were to become. We have the same requirement as well! We struggle with the same issues today just as Israel did 3,700 years ago.

The Children of Israel had enslaved in Egypt for several hundred years. They had become immersed, imbued, overwhelmed, subjected too, and infused with Egyptian culture. They had conformed to Egyptian fashions, they lived in mixed neighborhoods with the Egyptians. They ate Egypt’s food, the kept Egypt’s calendar, they participated in Egyptian worship and their multitudes of gods (that’s where the golden calf came from to begin with). We see the Children of Israel in Diaspora in Egypt with no biblical culture, no vision, and no hope; There was absolutely nothing Biblical or what would become known as being Jewish about them!!

When God spoke to Israel from atop Mt Sinai on Shavuot this is who He is speaking too. God’s words were powerful at that specific moment upon Mt Sinai, but as soon as Moshe went up the mountain the second time into the presence of God the people returned to what they knew, familiar spirits! The familiar took over! What did they know? Egyptian culture, lifestyle, and worship hence the golden calf. They went back to what they knew! This has pervaded our nation and culture throughout our history. There isn’t a more powerful example of this than the history recorded in the book of Judges:

Judges 21:25. At that time there was no king in Isra’el; a man simply did whatever he thought was right (ya’shar {yaw-shawr’}: straight, upright, correct, right, correct, just, proper, righteous).

This brings us back to where I started, Gods commands, His Oracles, His instructions, His mitzvahs all given on Shavuot. In our society, today, we mimic the same behavior that Israel displayed during this time period. There’s no moral or social boundaries. Whatever a person believes to be right, righteous, or correct is what they do. People forge their own truths based upon their emotions and experiences vice absolute truth! Here’s the critical issue with this! We don’t judge ourselves in the Kingdom of God. Adonai is our Judge. He judges according to His word, not what every individual feels or thinks is right or righteous in their own eyes.

Psalms 103:17-19. But the mercy of ADONAI on those who fear him is from eternity past to eternity future, and his righteousness extends to his children’s children, 18 provided they keep his covenant and remember to follow his precepts. 19 ADONAI has established his throne in heaven; his kingly power rules everything.

Submitting to and obeying God is hard! His instructions aren’t difficult, in fact they are quite simple and easily understood. What’s hard is denying the flesh, overcoming ourselves, our motives, our agenda’s, and our human tendency to do whatever our flesh desires. Self-control is hard, it’s difficult. As Messianic Believers who keep the entire word to the best of our ability, we experience this firsthand! This is where the struggle comes into play for every individual. Doing whatever one thinks is right is easy because there’s no internal struggle, no accountability, no personal transformation. It’s how we end up with a Golden Calf! Remember how that came to be?

Exodus 32:22-24. Aharon replied, “My lord shouldn’t be so angry. You know what these people are like, that they are determined to do evil. 23 So they said to me, ‘Make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt – we don’t know what has become of him.’ 24 I answered them, ‘Anyone with gold, strip it off!’ So, they gave it to me. I threw it in the fire, and out came this calf!”

“Out came the calf”. No struggle, no difficulties! It just popped out of the fire! In verse 24 they proclaim: “Isra’el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” Adonai knew that words and commands alone weren’t enough. His Kingdom is one of Spirit, Truth, and Power.

Today our children sit in a public classroom 8 hours a day or more and are immersed in human secularism, wokeism, and gender dysphoria. The teachers are forbidden to correct the children, chaos and anarchy reign resulting in the current antisemitic protests we are currently experiencing! They’re taught that sexual immorality and sin are normal behaviors and to tolerate religions of the world! This is exactly where Israel was at spiritually when the Golden Calf popped out! The kingdom of Heaven, Gods instructions and precepts are something that you perform, you live them out. Teaching and talking about them aren’t enough. God’s word is to be alive in your life, not just talked about. The author of Hebrews gives us a profound statement regarding covenant living and judgment to the new Messianic Jewish Believers in Yeshua:

Hebrews 4:9-13. So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people. (The KJV uses the term rest vice Shabbat; the Greek word used here is Sabbatismos: Shabbat) 10 For the one who has entered God’s rest has also rested from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Therefore, let us do our best to enter that rest; so that no one will fall short because of the same kind of disobedience. 12 See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword – it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. 13 Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

There are no secrets from God. He knows your walk, He knows all about your golden calves, He knows if you are living a covenant, word-based life or not! His word is alive and when you consume it, when you immerse yourself into it, the word will do its work in you! The word of Adonai does not come back null or void. When your heart is circumcised, there’s repentance followed by healing and righteous living. Removing the word and replacing it with something else results in today’s immoral society and Israel’s society 3,700 years ago that popped out a golden calf. Moshe went up the mountain a second time and received the ten words! But this time they are slightly different. Why? To establish a covenant based upon relationship through action, words, behaviors, and the supernatural.

Exodus 34:10. He said, “Here, I am making a covenant; in front of all your people I will do wonders such as have not been created anywhere on earth or in any nation. All the people around you will see the work of ADONAI. What I am going to do through you will be awesome!

God promises that in covenant with Him the world, nations, people around you will clearly see something different. Doing wonders that have not been created anywhere on earth! You will walk in the supernatural. This is the Exodus story of Physical redemption from slavery in Egypt and the Exodus story of salvation from Sin through Yeshua’s blood who was crucified at Pesach as the Lamb of God. Moshe received even more profound oracles from God the second time. Exodus 20 established Gods initial covenant.

  1. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember Shabbat, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother so that you may live long in the land which ADONAI your God is giving you.
  6. Thou shalt not murder.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, animals, or anything else.

The words of Adonai stand true. These commands establish the relational and inter-relational covenant between God and the individual, and between us as His children. Heaven isn’t about religion or rituals, it’s about love and relationships! The “Ten Commandments” are the first fruits of the 613 total instructions given at Mt Sinai. This is the covenant; this is the way! The Ten Words found in Exodus 34 are the terms of the covenant:

Exodus 34:27-28. DONAI said to Moshe, “Write these words down, because they are the terms of the covenant I have made with you and with Isra’el.” 28 Moshe was there with ADONAI forty days and forty nights, during which time he neither ate food nor drank water. [ADONAI] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.

Adonai is establishing the terms or tenor of the covenant. He’s telling Moshe detailed specifics of the commands, how He wants this covenant carried out, the tenor or feel of how it’s to be done. Remember the first two commands in Exodus 20:

  1. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.

This is how we fulfill, how we perform these two Mitzvah’s, these two commands:

Exodus 34:11-17. Observe what I am ordering you to do today. Here! I am driving out ahead of you the Emori, Kena’ani, Hitti, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi. 12 Be careful not to make a covenant with the people living in the land where you are going, so that they won’t become a snare within your own borders. 13 Rather, you are to demolish their altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their sacred poles; 14 because you are not to bow down to any other god; since ADONAI -whose very name is Jealous -is a jealous God. 15 Do not make a covenant with the people living in the land. It will cause you to go astray after their gods and sacrifice to their gods. Then they will invite you to join them in eating their sacrifices, 16 and you will take their daughters as wives for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves to their own gods and make your sons do the same! 17 “Do not cast metal gods for yourselves.

Adonai is clarifying in detail His commands from Exodus 20. Don’t make covenant with false Gods and those who serve them. Demolish their idols and pagan religious articles. Don’t construct or make idols. Don’t bow down to their gods because Adonai is extremely jealous, His name is jealous; ganna in Hebrew describes the character of Adonai who is jealous and will not tolerate worship of other gods. It describes Adonai’s attitude toward the worship of false gods which arouses His jealousy, anger, and judgment against those who do so!! Don’t even intermarry with their sons and daughters.

In Exodus 34 Adonai teaches us how to walk out, live, obey, and how to observe, to guard His commands! How to raise our children in the way that they should go so they will mature into Godly men and woman, not secular humanists! Then a few verses later we see Adonai’s will regarding this very Feast Day, Shavuot as one of the Pilgrimage feasts:

Exodus 34:22-23. “Observe the festival of Shavu’ot with the first-gathered produce of the wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year. 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Lord, ADONAI, the God of Isra’el.

The Moedim, the Feast celebrations are the foundation of the Kingdom of God, it’s how you live your life biblically according to Gods word and calendar! The observance and keeping of the Moedim, the feast days are one of the most critical components of the word! It’s the foundational knowledge and understanding of the Kingdom of God so that when He sent His Son 1,700 years later everyone understood Adonai’s foundation of redemption and salvation, infusing us with the Ruch HaKodesh on the same day He breathed into His word life, Power, so that we may be obedient and share the Good News.

God also provisioned in His oracles given at Mt Sinai covenant promises for the Gentile, the nations in the original promise to the Jewish people, the One New Humanity has been His plan all along. The story of Ruth, a gentile Moabite woman is a Shavuot Story. Why?

Leviticus 23:22. “‘When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don’t harvest all the way to the corners of your field, and don’t gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am ADONAI your God.'”

The edges of the fields are not harvested. The blessings are left for the poor and Foreigner, the Gehr! The non-Jew who is following the God of Israel. When Ruth’s Jewish husband died Naomi her mother-in-law told her to go home to her own Moabite people, three times, but Ruth knew better, she replied:

Ruth 1:16-17. But Rut said, “Don’t press me to leave you and stop following you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. 17 Where you die, I will die; and there I will be buried. May ADONAI bring terrible curses on me, and worse ones as well, if anything but death separates you and me.”

Ruth powerfully and graphically reveals several things here. First her profound words to Naomi define and establish the Gentile (Church’s) call and relationship to Israel! Second, Ruth’s story isn’t just about supporting, standing with, and loving Israel! Ruth submits and obeys the word of God! She lives a biblical lifestyle. The result of Ruth’s covenant promise is a wedding which results in a birth! Oved, who begot Ishi, who begot King David who was the man after Adonai’s own heart! Adonai established King David’s throne and rule forever, preparing for the coming Messiah who would be of the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah-establishing David’s throne forever!

Ruth’s story speaks of the unification of the only two people groups, Jew and Gentile, through trust and faithfulness to the God of Israel. From this union came the Promised Messiah, Yeshua, who unites Jew and Gentile in a new covenant with Himself at the center. God promised Abraham that his ‘seed’ would be a blessing to all nations. And we see that it is through the Good News of Yeshua that people from every nation have, tribe, and tongue come to receive Yeshua and trust in Adonai!

God is commissioning us all this Shavuot to proclaim the Good News in spirit and in truth, to shout it from every mountain top, at the top of your voice to Jew and Gentile alike! Don’t be timid, share the Good News! He comes in power, spirit and truth! He is Yeshua Ha Torah, the living word! Chag Shavuot Sameach!

Love and Blessings,
Rabbi Eric S Carlson