Shavuot and the Giving of the Torah / Pentecost and the Giving of the Holy Spirit – One in the same!
Exodus 34:22 You are to observe the Feast of Shavuot, which is the firstfruits of the wheat harvest
Deuteronomy 16:9 Seven weeks you are to count for yourself—from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain you will begin to count seven weeks. Then you will keep the Feast of Shavuot to Adonai your God with a measure of a freewill offering from your hand, which you are to give according to how Adonai your God blesses you:
Lev 23:15-16 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
Numbers 28:26 Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work:
After celebrating the Passover, we find ourselves in the midst of the counting of the omer and on our way to the mo’ed (appointed time feast) of Shavuot, also known as Pentecost in the Christian world. Jewish tradition holds that it was on Shavuot that the Torah was given to Israel and the book of Acts records that the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) was given on Shavout/Pentecost. For those of us of the Messianic way celebrating Yeshua as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, we rejoice in both the Torah and Spirit.
Judaism and Christianity are both rich in traditions associated with this day. However, how we get to the day may differ. The Scriptures tell us to count seven (7) weeks of days to the 50th day. The Christian world calls the 50th day “Pentecost” (meaning 50) and focuses on this day as the day of the giving of the Holy Spirit. However, the counting of the seven (7) weeks leading up to the 50th day is not normally practiced in Christianity; rather, Judaism not only speaks of Shavuot, but also focuses on the counting of the days.
The calendar for 2021 does not show Shavuot and Pentecost on the same day. Per the traditional counting in Judaism, Shavuot falls on Sunday evening of May 16 and the day part of May 17. Pentecost, on the other hand, is shown on Sunday, May 23. So what gives?
Well, there are two well known methods for when the counting of the omer begins. The determination of the start of each method is based on the Bible’s phrase “the day after the Sabbath”. The traditional counting method teaches that the phrase means “the annual Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread”, while the alternative method teaches that it means “the weekly Sabbath after Passover”. Now, when Passover falls on a Friday, both counting methods end up on the same day, which is always a Sunday. However, when Passover does not fall on a Friday, the alternate method of counting will still fall on a Sunday, but the traditional method will fall on another day of the week. This year, Passover fell on a Saturday night thereby making the traditional counting start on the very next night on Sunday, while the alternate count started a week later on the next Saturday night. This is why the day of Shavuot and Pentecost do not fall on the same day in 2021.
The traditional view is also the way followed by Israel’s national calendar and yet, the alternate way tends to align with the larger Christian world. So, what does a community that wants to show it solidarity with Israel and yet also align itself with the larger Christian world that happens to align with the alternative counting method?
Well, we have a solution. On the evening of May 16, 2021 at 8:15 PM, we plan to have a meeting via Zoom to gather, join together in praise online, and pray for Israel. Then on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 10:00 AM, we are planning a joint service with Embassy Church to give a sacrifice of praise and welcome the Holy Spirit of God. We will give a short explanation of Shavuot/Pentecost and then spend about an hour just praising and worship and making space for the Holy Spirit. Ahavat’s worship team will be leading the time of worship and we will zoom the service for those who are not able to come.
So mark your calendars and check out Events Page for updates!