First Fruit/ Pentecost

First Fruit/ Pentecost

Lev 23:16‑21  ‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. 17 ‘You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two‑tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD. 18 ‘Along with the bread, you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd, and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their libations, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD. 19 ‘You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 ‘The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 ‘On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.

If you were Jewish the Law required that you must go up to Jerusalem. Shavous is one of 3 feasts that Jews were commanded by God to go to in Jerusalem.

The first is Passover, this is the second, and the third is Succoth, the feast of Tabernacles. Today we are called to remember Shavous.

Shavous is the 4th of 7 annual gatherings that God commanded Israel to commemorate. We find these feasts in Lev. 23. These 7 feasts form an outline of God’s prophetic timetable.

Historical Background:

Shavous was first celebrated after the children of Israel settled in the promised land. It was a feast that called all Israel to thank God for the land and the start of the Harvest.

When Israel was sent into dispersion, as the prophets had foretold, after the destruction of the Temple, it was impossible to fulfill the commandments related to the keeping of the feast.

Over the years the Rabbi’s changed the meaning and message of Shavous. They taught that Shavous marked the time that Israel was brought to the foot of Mt. Sinai and given the law.

Israel left Egypt on Passover and it is not a long journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai. In fact Mt. Sinai today is in Egyptian territory.

Exodus 19:1   In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt–on the very day–they came to the Desert of Sinai.

The 3rd month is May June since the Jewish calendar is a Lunar calendar beginning in March April the month of Passover.

Israel then, was at the foot of Mt. Sinai as described in Ex. 19 on Shavuot.

This year Shavuot begins at Sundown, May 16. But there is controversy over the day it is to be observed. Lev. 23 says that this feast is to begin 50 days after the Sabbath of Passover.

The Pharisees began counting on Passover, which is equated with a Sabbath, while the Sadducees began counting on the day after the first Sabbath following Passover so that it will always fall on Sunday. Since the feasts are a shadow of what was to come as Paul writes in Col. 2:16-17 then Shavuot foreshadowed the birth of Church. then Shavuot Biblically should be celebrated on Sunday.

In 586 when Israel was removed from God’s land the Temple was destroyed.  Since there is no Biblical place for sacrifices the Rabbi’s shifted the focus from the first fruits of the harvest to the receiving of the Law and Covenant at Sinai.

There are 3 significant aspects of Shavous I want us to consider this Evening. 1) The command to go up to Jerusalem, 2) the giving of the law, 3) the two loaves of leavened bread offered to the Lord.

Going up to Jerusalem

No matter where a person came from, getting to Jerusalem always involved going up. The psalmist wrote “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mt. Zion… the city or our great God.

Shavuot as I mentioned was one of the three pilgrimage feast days. As Jews from the Jerusalem and the nations would come in obedience to God, they were be moved to consider the things of the Lord.

But as much as being motivated to consider God, it was an experience, a festival of rejoicing and thanksgiving. Thousands of kinsmen thronging into Jerusalem to celebrate the Goodness and faithfulness of God.

God wanted his people to experience mispucha, the family of God. We get a glimpse of this in Luke 2:41‑45  And His parents used to go to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast; 43 and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And His parents were unaware of it, 44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for Him.

Shavuot was a time when hearts were more tender, to consider afresh walking with the Lord. But God was also setting of the stage for events that were promised to Israel by Moses and the prophets

The coming of the Messiah. The Rabbis write that all the law and the prophets were for nothing except the Messiah. Every Passover there was the anticipation that on that day Messiah would come.

We set a place for Elijah, and at certain point in the ceremony go to the door to see if he is there. For the prophets foretold that Elijah would herald the coming of the Messiah.

1500 years after the first Passover, God sent His promised Messiah to Jerusalem. The Passover Lamb prophesied by Isaiah described as a lamb in 53:7-8: He was oppressed and afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter, And like a sheep silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment, He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

Proud Jewish people rejected him but the humble of Israel recognized Jesus as that Messiah. This is still true today as King David tells in the Psalms 138:5 For though the LORD is exalted, Yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar.

50 days later, Israel was once again commanded to come to Jerusalem to present to God the offering required by the law to give thanks for the start of the summer harvests.

But once again God was setting the stage for another prophetic event in His timetable. This was the day that all Israel would witness the promise of God’s Spirit taking up residence not in the Temple but in His children. Acts 2 Read

Acts 2:1-13   When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. {2} Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. {3} They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. {4} All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. {5} Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. {6} When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

{7} Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? {8} Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? {9} Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, {10} Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome {11} (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

The sign that God’s Spirit came to rest on those who believed in the Promised Messiah was the filling of God’s Spirit revealed in the speaking of discernable languages.  The undoing of the Tower of Babel.

The Giving of The Law at Sinai

The Law when it was given at Sinai was a gift from God. When obeyed it brought blessing and peace. It was the requirements of God’s covenant with Israel. It set Israel apart as a special people

It provided man with the written expectations of God. It also provided a means of reconciliation through the sacrificial system when those laws were broken.

The covenant at Sinai caused the Psalmist to write the Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. How blessed are those who walk in the Law of the Lord. How blessed is the man who delights in the Law of the Lord.

The Law was a blessing to Israel. Paul wrote concerning this blessing to Israel, “… to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises”.

In Exodus when we read about the moment that God gave His Law to Israel we learn that when Moses brought the Law down from the Mountain the children of Israel were in great sin.  3,000 were put to death on that day.

Exodus 32:25-28   Moses saw that the people were running wild, and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him. Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.'”The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.

1500 years later on that very day God gave a New Law not written on tables of stone but on the heart.  This was the day that Jeremiah had prophesied about.

Jeremiah 31:31-33   “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. {32} It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, ” declares the LORD. {33} “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

When God gave the Law on Mt. Sinai, because of Israel’s sin 3,000 people died.  On this day we read in Acts 2 That after this message of the New Covenant was brought by Peter 3,000 came to everlasting Life.

Could it be just another coincidence that on the second Holy day that God commanded His people to gather in Jerusalem that He would cause such an event to happen?

The Offering of the Two Loaves of Bread.

This was a unique offering. These loaves were baked with leaven. Leaven in the Scripture speak of that which is impure and defiling. Yet God specifically commands here that this offering be made with leaven.

Leaven consists of microscopic organisms, characterized by their rapidity of growth and diffusiveness, so that it permeates the whole lump into which it is put, and nothing is able to stop its growth except fire.

These two loaves, many students of Scripture teach, foreshadow Jew and Gentile. As the High priest was offering these two loaves in the Temple of God on Shavuot 2000 years ago, God was pouring out His Spirit on Jew and Gentile.

On this day our High Priest Yeshua was offering to God the first fruits of this new bride of the Lord, Jew and Gentile. The leaven is symbolic of the sin within these people that are offered to the Lord.

Shavuot or Pentecost was the start of the harvest. Throughout the summer the harvest was carried on. So also 2000 years ago God began the harvest of Jew and Gentile in this present time.

Going up to Jerusalem, the anniversary of the giving of the Law and the Two loaves all point to an event that was to come. That event occurred on Shavuot 2000 years ago.

God is at work today in our broken world and he desires all people to be a part of His harvest. But unlike grain we have a choice. God has given us a free will to choose.

Israel when they stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai chose to embrace and accept the Law of God. The result was that Jewish people became a nation of priests and a people of God, his covenant nation married to the God of Israel.

They had applied the blood of the Lamb to their doorposts and came out of Egypt. A choice remains for us. God has provided the Lamb and desires to bring us into His new covenant and on the journey to the promised land.

It begins with repentance for sin and then receiving Yeshua as your Messiah, Lord and King.  If you will believe that God laid on Yeshua your sin and believe that God as He promised in the Jewish Scriptures, raised Him from the dead you will find forgiveness and life in Him.

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