Shavuot: Celebrating the Bridegroom's Gifts to His Beloved

One of the topics I most enjoyed researching for my book, In the Shadow of the King, was the Lord’s Feast days. I don’t know how I could have sat through so many church services growing up without ever learning about these amazing divinely-appointed times. There is such richness in learning about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith in general and specifically, the Jewish traditions and writings on the Feasts. 

 This weekend, we’ll celebrate Shavuot or the “Feast of Weeks” which occurs after counting seven weeks (or “counting the Omer” for forty-nine days) following the celebration of the wave offering made during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:15-16). Shavuot commemorates the opening of the heavens and the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It symbolizes the covenant relationship of the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with the Jewish people. Traditionally, Jewish men forego sleep the first night of Shavuot, choosing instead to read the Torah until daybreak. The custom is a beautiful picture of a bride purifying herself through immersion in the Word to receive her Heavenly Groom in divine covenant.

 Shavuot is perhaps better known to Yeshua’s followers as Pentecost, the fiftieth day after counting the seven-week period. As recorded in Acts 2, on Pentecost the Heavens opened once again to give Jewish believers another divine gift as a covenant sign. This time the gift was the infilling of the Spirit of the Lord in fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29 (NIV): “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

 Seldom do all four Gospels record identical accounts, but on one point they clearly agree. It is Yeshua who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). Yeshua, the Bridegroom of His believers, gave the Spirit of G-d during Shavuot just as G-d the Father gave us the Torah and His Son Yeshua, the Word made flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14). It’s hard for the human mind (at least mine!) to comprehend the concept of the Lord as different persons yet a plural One (echad), all Holy, all Divine, but with unique attributes. Yet the Feast of Shavuot demonstrates how the Lord always remains the same. He’s a loving Bridegroom who longs to lavish heavenly gifts on His earthly bride—both His Word and His Spirit. And we are incomplete without receiving both into our hearts.

 I pray you and your family enjoy a wonderful holiday in grateful remembrance to our loving King.