God’s Appointed Time: Pentecost

God’s Appointed Time: Pentecost

Rabbi Barney KasdanBy Rabbi Barney KasdanMay 31, 20205 Minutes

The season of Pentecost, also known as Shavuot, First Fruits, and the Feast of Weeks, is a very important time in God’s calendar. Messianic Rabbi Barney Kasdan helps us understand the roots of this celebration.

Shavuot is designated as a time of thanksgiving for the early harvest. God’s faithfulness in providing the early wheat harvest increases hopefulness for an abundant fall harvest (Sukkot). Giving thanks for present provision leads to faith for future blessing.

The traditional Jewish observance of Shavuot is multifaceted. Historically, it centered around grain and animal offerings. These sacrifices foreshadow the fulfillment – Yeshua, the Messiah, the perfect sacrifice for atonement!

In addition, the Israelites came to Mount Sinai in the third month after Passover (Exodus 19:1). Shavuot is the day Moses received the Law to deliver to the people. Modern observance includes celebrating the giving of the Torah. Hence, the rabbinic name for Shavuot is Zman Matan Torateynu (the Time of the Giving of Our Law).

To the traditional Jewish community, it has always been a day of thanking God for the early harvest, trusting in a later harvest. What was understood in the physical realm of the Torah was made manifest in the spiritual realm of New Covenant times. The early fruits have come in; the implicit promise of the later harvest will also come.

The Prophetic Fulfillment

This synchronizes with promises in Scripture of latter-day messianic Jewish revival. Increasing numbers of Jewish people will believe in Yeshua until in the final day “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). I personally believe that the growing revival among Jews believing in the Messiah today indicates that we are drawing close to that time. The explosive growth of the messianic Jewish movement testifies to this modern reality.

Acts 2 reveals amazing details confirming the Jewish background of this New Testament Pentecost. Ezekiel 1 is the traditional reading from the prophets for Shavuot. This passage dramatically describes Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of God. Imagine thousands of Jewish worshipers leaving the Temple after the morning service (at the third hour, Acts 2:15) having just read the passage from Ezekiel 1.

Suddenly some of the same manifestations of the Holy Spirit started to appear before their eyes! No wonder they were amazed and perplexed by the windstorm and fire. It certainly got their attention! They must have wondered if God was revealing his Shekinah glory for the first time in nearly 600 years! The glory of God was present at the giving of the Law; the same glory was manifested at the giving of the Holy Spirit.

Having received their undivided attention through these acts of God, Peter was able to preach a powerful sermon about Messiah Yeshua, and 3,000 Jews responded to salvation. The first fruits of believers had come in a wonderful way!

The theme of Shavuot can be best summed up by the word revival. Israel was called to praise God for the first fruits of the ground, knowing that these early fruits assured the later harvest. This also applies to the spiritual Kingdom of God. The first fruits of believers at Shavuot virtually guarantee a revival in the latter-day spiritual harvest for Messiah.

Now we can understand why God included Shavuot in the three required festivals for every Jewish male. As Passover speaks of redemption, Shavuot speaks of revival, especially during this era. The message of Shavuot is one of great hope and joy. May the day come soon when the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon the house of David, and they will all look, in faith, to the One who was pierced (Zechariah 12:10)….

Excerpted from God’s Appointed Times, © 1993. Printed by permission. Lederer Books, available at www.messianicjewish.net.