We have entered one of the most significant times on the Hebrew calendar. The beginning of Sivan, the third month, began on Tuesday evening. It is associated with the letter ZAYIN, meaning receiving mercy for completion. It is also connected with the tribe of Zebulon whose name means "a habitation." Zebulon is the tribe that dwelt by the sea and brought to Israel the treasures of the sand and sea. The members of this tribe are shrewd business people who know how to live in prosperity.
The major feast of Shavuot (Hebrew) or Pentecost (Greek) falls on the sixth day of Sivan—today. Fifty days have passed since the firstfruits offering of Passover, and we have much to celebrate on this day. The celebration has three focuses. This is the day when the firstfruits offerings of the summer wheat crop were brought to the Temple. (Exodus 34:22) Two loaves of wheat bread baked with leaven were brought to the priests as a wave offering in accordance with Scripture. (Leviticus 23:17) Shavuot is a day to give thanks to God for His provision. He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider!
Sometime during the third month the law was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. When the temple was destroyed by the Romans the Sanhedrin decided to add the celebration of the giving of Torah to Shavuot. It became known as Zeman Mattan Toreatenu. ("The Time of the Giving—The Gift—of Our Law") Festival readings for this time include Exodus 19 and 20 (giving of the law) and the book of Ruth (harvest time). It is tradition for the Jewish people to eat dairy food during this feast, because Torah is like milk and honey for the soul. The Orthodox community spends all night and the next day reading and discussing Torah.
God planned to give another gift to Believers in Him on this day. It would be a gift that would be essential for understanding His Word and empowering His people. Jesus/Yeshua explained to His disciples that even though He was leaving them it would be a good thing. (John 16:5-11) He instructed them to wait in Jerusalem where the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon them. Isn't it significant that God would select the day when the Jews would be in Jerusalem to celebrate the harvest and the giving of Torah to pour out His Spirit? Think about the symbolism here! Also, think about the meaning of the tribe associated with this month! (Zebulon—A Habitation)
Two wheat loaves were brought as an offering. Could they represent Jew and Gentile or Jesus and His Church or The Spirit and the Word? Perhaps. The grain offered at Passover had no leaven with it, but the baked bread offered at Pentecost contained leaven. Jesus was the sinless Lamb of Passover (no leaven). The Church (with leaven) is meant to rise and feed the multitudes. She was empowered at Pentecost.
The giving of God's Spirit was a move to bring Believers into a new level of relationship with Him. Power comes with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. But, before God gives us an advancement He desires for us to be purified in order to prepare us for the season ahead. Just as the wheat must go to the threshing floor to be separated from the chaff, we must also allow the Lord to separate from us the things that do not honor Him. Such things as idolatry, complaining, unbelief, fear, passivity, anger, lying and ungratefulness do not belong in us. We must allow God to sift our hearts and let the wind of His Spirit blow out the chaff. This is open heaven season!! God has given those who cooperate with Him access to the resources of heaven.
Acts 2 describes the first Pentecost. "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." (Verses 1-4) As I sit here writing to you there is a mighty wind blowing across our region. How fitting!
Pentecost is a time of redemption. Jesus promised His disciples the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and He came just as prophesied. God-fearing Jews from every nation heard one another speaking in their own language. (Verses 5-6) This was the reversing of the curse of the Tower of Babel. Confusion and division became clarity and unity. After God engraved His law on tablets of stone, 3,000 people died at the building of the golden calf. (Exodus 32:28) However, 3,000 were added to the fellowship of Believers on Pentecost as God's law was written on their hearts. These 3,000 were the firstfruits of the Church. God marked the children of Israel as His possession when He made a covenant with them. (Exodus 34:27) Likewise, the Holy Spirit is the gift of God that sealed the people of the New Covenant. We—The Church—are His people! "...He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:21-22) Let us recognize and have relationship with the gift of God within us—The Holy Spirit.
Joan E. Mathias