Of the three pilgrimage Feasts of the LORD - Pesach/Matzot (Passover/Unleavened Bread), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) - we find that the most significant Feast, in terms of spiritual authority in the Kingdom, is placed right in the middle. Unfortunately, Shavuot is often overlooked in today’s observances by both Christians and Jews. For instance, even those who refer to themselves as “Messianic” get excited about celebrating Passover and can’t wait to go camping for Sukkot, but somehow the commanded gathering for Shavuot is deemed (more or less) as optional. Brothers and sisters, this ought not be, especially when you consider what this center Feast in the Biblical calendar is all about.
Last spring at a Christian leadership summit meeting, I heard a gifted man of God asking deep questions, “Where is the sacred place?” and “Where is the sacred time?” In this frenetic world, he was seeking the wisdom, understanding, and council of the Ruach (Spirit). As I sat in the audience listening to him, I knew he was asking to know the significance of the Biblical holidays, the Feasts of the LORD, especially Shavuot/Pentecost.
The sacred place is where Yahweh chose to place His Name is Jerusalem, the mount of assembly for the feasts of the LORD (moedim). The sacred time is set apart by the Sabbaths of the LORD, including the Biblical Feasts. In Scripture, there are three times a year that all males (and willing females) were to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate.
Shavuot is the central feast in all of the Biblical holidays. If you could envision a menorah, a seven branch lampstand, it is the middle stem or shaft. It is the one that is the highest, and a plumb line from heaven to earth. All the other Feasts are branches that extend to either side of the center. Since the holy menorah or lampstand is made of one piece of hammered gold, the Feasts of the LORD are united in one Holy Spirit.
And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches…And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: (Exodus 25:31-32)
The Biblical Feasts can be divided into two groups or sets of branches, the Spring Feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits to one side, and the Fall Feasts: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles to the other.1 Each one of the Feast days is an engagement appointment with our Beloved Bridegroom, Messiah Yeshua. To miss a date with Him, is to miss out on the blessing He wishes to bestow. Each of the moedim continually instruct about the Kingdom of God, and the LORD’s redemption for mankind. To grow in the knowledge of Him, by honoring the work of Messiah in each of the Biblical holidays, is to grow up into the fullness of Him, who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light. This understanding leads us to where we are:
… no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ… (Ephesians 4:14-15)
This growing up into Him, Messiah who is the Head, causes us to be obedient to the commandments of God as an act of love toward Him, who has shown us great mercy. His instructions found in Torah (five books of Moses) are not burdensome, but precious because:
…He is precious…ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:7-10)
Where and how you choose to celebrate Shavuot in many ways determines what spiritual authority you are under. Are you lining up with the Light of the kingdom authority of Yahweh Tsva’ot (the LORD of Hosts)? Or are you joining forces with the kingdom of darkness, and allowing the King of Babylon to rule in your lives? This is a vital question to ask. Whose dominion am I under? If we are ever going to experience the power of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) as witnessed in Acts chapter two, then we need to realign ourselves with the spiritual authority of the Ruach Adonai (Spirit of the LORD).
For those who observe Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, you will be familiar with the need to light the shamash (servant lamp) first. It is the center lamp of the menorah. It is the lamp that is used to light every other lamp. In Temple times this central lamp on the menorah was known as the western lamp, it was set apart, and its fire light was shared to illuminate the others. This servant lamp represents Messiah Yeshua who is:
… the true Light, which lights every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name… (John 1:9-12)
Just as Messiah Yeshua came to illuminate our darkness, the Ruach Adonai, illuminates our walk during Shavuot, the central Feast. It is for this very reason that devout Jews from every nation were assembled in Jerusalem for Shavuot, when the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit came in power upon those gathered.
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. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. (Acts 2:1-5)
To be in one accord, in one place, is the purpose of the pilgrimage Feasts. Abba (Father) in heaven desires to see His children all gathered in the sacred time to the sacred place, Jerusalem, to celebrate the Feasts in the mount of the assembly. This ingathering of His people, to the moedim, is part of the restoration of all things spoken by the holy prophets (Acts 3:21). This outpouring of the Ruach initiates the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel:
…Peter… lifted up his voice, and said unto them, “Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:14-18)
Even the timing of this Acts 2 outpouring of the Ruach occurred during a moed (set apart time). It was the third hour, the hour of prayer. Twice a day, during the third and ninth hours, a lamb was sacrificed in a Temple service. In Judaism today, this sacred time is still honored as a time of prayer. The third hour infilling of the Ruach was made available because of the third hour crucifixion (Mark 15:25) and the ninth hour death (Matthew 27:46) of Messiah Yeshua. What was initiated at Passover reached its fulfillment at Shavuot.
Messiah Yeshua is the King who will soon return to Jerusalem to restore the kingdom (Acts 1:16). In setting apart the sacred time, we rehearse for the sacred place. Just as a bride prepares for and rehearses for upcoming wedding, we rehearse for the day when we will be united with Messiah Yeshua, our Bridegroom, as He establishes His throne in Jerusalem.
Yet, there is another king who desires your affections. His kingdom is of this world. He has his own holiday and laws, and desires to rule the nations from Jerusalem. He desires to sit upon the mount of the moedim. He desires to change the appointed times for the Bride of Israel to meet with her betrothed Bridegroom.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [children of Abraham]: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation [moed], in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14)
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time [moed in Daniel 12:7] and times [moedim in Daniel 12:7] and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. (Daniel 7:25-27)
To not give the enemy a foothold in our lives, we need to choose to submit to the rule of Messiah. His Kingdom dominion is coming, and His will, will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The Temple and its Feast day celebrations are a shadow of what is in heaven. In the Kingdom to come, all the nations will be gathered to the Mount of Assembly (Jerusalem) to worship the King, Messiah Yeshua (Ezekiel 45:17-25 and Zechariah 14:16-18).
Let us resist the enemy and exalt our Bridegroom, rehearsing in anticipation of the good things to come! How did you spend this Shavuot? Were you in one accord with other Believers, or just doing your own independent thing? Were you focused on His way or your way? Were you gathering or scattering? The answers to these questions will show forth as you progress throughout the coming months.
This coming winter, take a look back, and reflect on your choices for Shavuot, and the fruit you will have born this year. May it all be good.
1 The Creation Gospel Book One by Dr. Hollisa Alewine.