Messianic Overtones
in Judaism

A Study of Rites and Rituals in Types and Shadows

The Feast of Weeks (Shavuos)

Leviticus 23:15-21: "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath.  From the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall ye complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath, shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.  Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenths deals: they shall be of fine flour; and they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits unto the LORD."

This is the fourth feast on God's calendar; and in Bible numerics, 4 usually relates to things God has created for man's benefit, such as the 4 seasons; 4 elements; 4 directions, etc.  It now has been 50 days since the sheaf of First fruit was waved before the Lord, and now the full harvest God has grown is now ready to be gleaned and processed to nourish and support the farmers.

Scripturally, as we pointed out in the Feast of Firstfruits, the first sheaf was a type and shadow of Jesus in resurrection.  This present harvest speaks of those who will follow Jesus in resurrection power in the fullness of time.  On this day, after grain has been harvested, the priest comes before the LORD with an offering of two loaves of bread, baked with the harvest grain and with leaven.

Traditionally, this Feast of Weeks is also known, in Hebrew, as Shavuoth, meaning "weeks". It is known in the church world as Pentecost, which means, (in Greek), "50" for the fiftieth day after First Fruits.  The Jews celebrate it, even today, as a memorial of the time that God met with Moses on Mt. Sinai and manifested Himself in thunder and lightnings, thick clouds, and the sound of loud trumpets.  Mt. Sinai was full of smoke from the fire God had manifested, and the noise of the trumpets was almost deafening.  It was there that the LORD gave Moses the 10 commandments, written by the finger of God, Himself, on tablets of stone.  It is also where the oral law was given  to Moses during the 8 times that he climbed the mount, and wrote the "book of the law"as God spoke it. It covered guidelines for health, morality, government, marriage, family life, worship, and provided the pattern for the first meeting place  where the Israelites could make atonement before their God and worship Him. Years later, when God brought prophets to guide and warn the Jews, He encouraged them with prophecies that predicted a time coming soon that would change the covenant to a new experience a new covenant. It would change from stone tablets and the book of the law to a time when God would personalize His word internally in man. He would no longer deal with the priests, (with law and ritual), but directly with His children.  God used Ezekiel with a profound prophecy:

Ezekiel 36:24:  "I will take you from among the heathen (Gentile), and gather you out of all countries,and will bring you into your own land.  Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.  And ye shall dwell in the land of your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."

God is speaking here of a national and spiritual awakening!  Not for over two thousand years had there been a time God spoke of such intimacy..not since Adam had lost his relationship with God through his rebellion..and now, God was giving man hope of restoring that connection with Him again.  Jeremiah was given a prophetic word from the Lord for them, confirming Ezekiel's prophecy:

Jeremiah 31:31-33: " Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day that I took them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the LORD. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

The promise was out there, just waiting to be fulfilled!  Joel prophesied in Joel 2:28-29: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I shall pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also, upon the servants and handmaids in those dayswill I pour out My Spirit."

Isaiah 28:11: "For  lipswith and stammering another tongue will I speak to this people."  This is another promise of God's Spirit interacting with people; God touching the lives of humanity and moving in and through their vessels, operating in awesome ways!

The day of fulfillment finally arrived.  The New Testament records the fufilment Of  Jeremiah, Joel and  Isaiah at one event, which actually happened in the book of Acts, the 2nd chapter.  On one particular Feast of Shavuoth, in the early 30's A.D., it all came together...the prophecies, the hope, the prayers, the longing desires of their hearts to find all came together; Jerusalem was busy with crowds of the Feast of Weeks Holy Day traffic.  The Temple was filled with men from all over Israel who had come to watch the priest offer the two loaves for Shavuoth, and to worship the LORD for the Law.  In the midst of the service, coming from an upper room in another part of the Temple, a commotion was heard.  It started as a thunderous noise, and then, men and women's voices..praising, singing, and preaching..a cacophony of sound with the roaring of what seemed like a whirlwhind pushing through th open porticoes.  Men started running out of the sanctuary towards the upper room, astounded by the sight of a multitude of men and women, praying and praising, and of what appeared to be flames above their bodies, but without burning them!  Fire that burned without consuming them!  Was this the same kind of fire that Moses saw in the burning bush?  Was this like the same thunder, wind and fire that God manifested on Mt. Sinai?  Even more amazing, these local people were speaking the works of foreign lanuages, recognized only by those who spoke that language!

The bible text goes on to relate their response:  Acts 2:12 "..and they were all amazed, an were in doubt, saying one to another, what meanth this?  Others mocked and said, these men are full of new wine.  But Peter...lifted up his voice and said unto this known unto you, and harken to my words:  for these men are not drunk, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day, but this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel..."

Peter preached to those men about Jesus, the Messiah who was the Sheaf of First fruit, and how He rose from the dead...and how we shall be raised to be with Him at a later time, when He comes to gather His!  We are the anti-type of the two loaves of bread the priest raised up to God, because now, the Gospel message of salvation is to all men...Jew and Gentile alike.  We are the "loaves" of humanity, once filled with the leaven of hatred and malice, envy and sin,but now, we're new creatures in Christ, and accepted in the Beloved Messiah!  THAT Shavuoth was the fulfillment of the prophecy...the fulfillment of the ritual that had been practiced every year in the Temple.  Now, man doesn't need a priest to lift the loaves, for as a believer in Jesus, we are called to be kings and priests unto God, and no longer need a man to intercede for us..our only Intercessor is the LORD! "There is only mediator between man and God; the man Christ Jesus"  When the men realized who Jesus was, and that they had a part in crucifying Him, the text in Acts continues to tell us their response:" when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts and and brethren, what shall we do?  And Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin, and ye shall receive th gift of the Holy Ghost, for the promise is unto you.YES! They knew that promise...Joel promised them God's Spirit...Isaiah promised them His Spirit.  Now, Peter was telling them this was the day THEY could receive Him...and they did...Biblical history records 3,000 Jews gladly received His word, were baptized in water and Spirit...truly a harvest for the Lord.  Every day, the word is being sown in hopes of a greater harvest before the Lord comes, and every day, people are being baptized in Jesus name and being filled with God's Spirit!