“Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord” (Leviticus 233:16)
The feast of Shavuot. It is also referred to as the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Harvest. Rabbis calculated it out and discovered the time that Moses received the Ten Commandments from the Lord on Mount Sinai. When they did so, Shavuot became the day that commemorated the giving of the Law. But over a thousand years after the Law was given to Moses, something of utmost importance happened as Christ’s disciples were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Shavuot. It was on that very day as 120 disciples gathered in a room, that they heard “the sound of a rushing mighty wind”, and the Spirit of God came upon them. The coming of God’s Spirit happened on the Hebrew feast of Shavuot. When the rabbis of the Greek world had to come up with a Greek name for this Hebrew holy day, they called it The Feast of the Fiftieth Day or in Greek, Pentecoste. Or as we call it, Pentecost.
What this means is that the Spirit of God was given to the believers after Christ’s resurrection on the very anniversary that the Law of God was given to Israel. That joins the old covenant and the new covenant together. But there is more significance to these two events. While Moses was receiving the Law, you may remember that Aaron was at the bottom of the mountain making a golden calf for the people to worship. As a result, at God’s command, the Levites slaughtered 3,000 of the people for their rebellion. (Exodus 32:28). When the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost 3,000 people came to faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:41). So out of rebellion 3,000 died and, centuries later, out of the movement of the Holy Spirit, three thousand souls came to life. All on the exact holy day.
The apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 3:6, “The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.” The Law can tell us the will of God, but only the Spirit can give us the power to live it. No matter how well we cross all the Ts and dot all the Is, rules and commandments are guides; but only the Holy Spirit can change us from disobedient sinners into obedient children.
By the way, the celebration of Shavuot, or Pentecost, began May 16th and will end May 18th. Happy Shavuot, Israel! Happy Pentecost, fellow followers of Jesus Christ!