Shavuot: Under Fire and On Fire!

By Bonnie Saul Wilks
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Posted in Jewish HolidaysShavuot on May 22, 2014


Jewish Days of Distinction

A Messianic Study of the Jewish Feasts and Holidays
“In addition to the Sabbath, these are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year” (Leviticus 23:4 NLT).

Feast: Shavuot or Pentecost

Summary: Shavuot falls on the Jewish calendar fifty days after Passover Sabbath, on Sivan 6-7. It is the second of three major feasts unto the Lord and holds great agricultural and historical significance. Sandwiched in between Passover and Sukkot, its historical background commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and Shavuot’s agricultural significance is connected with the harvesting of the first fruits that were brought to the Temple annually.

Read: Leviticus 23:15–17, Exodus 34:22, Acts 2:1-4

Hebrew Words: Shavuot means “weeks” in Hebrew, and the Jewish spring feast is called, “Feast of Weeks.” Christians call this holiday Pentecost which means “fifty” in Greek, from counting fifty days after the Passover Sabbath to figure the celebration day of Shavuot. It was on that day after the death and resurrection of Yeshua that the Ruach HaKodesh or Holy Spirit fell upon those who waited on God for boldness and power in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. This is considered to be the birth of the Church or the Body of Messiah (Acts 2). According to Jewish tradition, the Torah, in Hebrew (the first five books of the Bible) also called the Pentateuch in Greek, was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai during Shavuot.

Devotional Thought: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Act 2:1-4).

Imagine how the disciples and others felt waiting in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. They had followed Yeshua in His public ministry, witnessed the miracles and marveled at His Words. Yeshua’s followers had witnessed in the Ancient City the crowds that tore off their coats and waved branches before Him as they proclaimed the once small Jewish boy of Nazareth, “King of the Jews.” Shortly after, and suddenly, their Master was condemned to death, crucified, and buried. Then the resurrection! Then the ascension! Some had seen Him risen and ascend and some had not; yet still they believed. And they waited. I am sure the 120 who prayed could not wrap their minds around all that happened.

Those first Jewish disciples prayed passionately as they lingered. They were not passive. In the right moment, the Holy Spirit fell upon them and appeared with cloven tongues upon their heads. Their fervent prayers availed. The fire fell. The birth of the body of Messiah resulted; and as Peter preached his first Holy Ghost message, 3000 were added to the Church that day (Acts 2:41)!

The purpose of this outpouring and baptism is found in I Corinthians 12:13 (CJB): “For it was by one Spirit that we are all immersed into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free; and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Wow! The reason for that glorious manifestation was to make us one, so we can be a witness to the world of Yeshua’s salvation and new life.

Since then the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has been enthroned upon the praises of His people. The Creator of all has revealed His power and glory to those who linger and pray with strong hope throughout history. Revivals in each century have changed the course of the world. The common thread from past outpourings like the Moravian, Welsh, British, Azusa Street, Topeka, Kansas; Odessa, Ukraine; Toronto, or Brownsville (just to name a few) has been fervency in the waiting. Sometimes it has also sprung out of oppression. When the heat of suffering comes upon the body of Messiah, the glory of God is revealed. (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Currently there is great persecution of peoples around the world and especially in the Middle East. No one is exempt from the random killings of terrorists. Wayne and I had the privilege of meeting Canon Andrew White in 2014, who is affectionately called the Vicar of Baghdad. An Anglican priest, he oversees a large church made up of former Muslims and Christians. It is truly a picture of unity! In the last few years over 1000 of his congregants have been martyred for their love of the Lord Jesus. Amid these horrors, the Church in Iraq is under fire and on fire with daily miracles and resurrection from the dead!

Since the time of Pentecost that prophetically coincided with Shavuot, the Lord has been bringing Jew and Gentile together. He has been making us one, removing the wall between us. On this special Jewish feast, two loaves are offered on a single plate. One represents God’s ancient people and the other the nations. The single plate of offering symbolizes that we are united as one body (Ephesians 2:11-16). As one, we are prepared for the fires of revival that will change the world as we burn fervently together.

The fire of God’s Shekinah glory presence dwells with us, and we can pray with passion until it comes from heaven and consumes us. As we wait, as the 120 did, we become filled with fire ourselves! Those flames spread and burn quickly to those around us. Cry out for power and a revelation of His presence. He will answer with fire, and His glory will shine through us. When He returns, may He find the body of Messiah, Jew and Gentile, burning in white-hot revival as one united Bride.

Holiday Celebrations and Traditions: Jewish tradition tells us that it is customary to enjoy one or more dairy meals during Shavuot. Some say this tradition serves as a reminder of God’s promise to bring the Israelites who wandered in the desert to a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8). Another good reason to enjoy milk products abundantly is that the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai, and Jews were to receive its words as newborns receive “milk” that nourishes their bodies. The “milk” of the Torah nourishes the spirit and soul.