Shabbat Shalom to you all, praise the Mighty Name of יהוה our Elohim. This is an exciting time for us as we gather together in loving obedience unto our Maker and Saviour and it is with great excitement that I stand here before you for this is harvest time! On this coming 1st day we will be gathering together to ‘perform’ the Feast of Weeks, known as Shavuot. Tonight I would like to just share a little on what this Feast is all about and the significance it carries for us as His called out ones – His betrothed. There is, among some, confusion as to when Shavuot is celebrated and kept and as I sent out a short mail this week regarding this I do hope that if there was any confusion among any of you that it has been cleared up. To summarise what I sent out regarding the correct observance and timing we celebrate Shavuot on the 1st day of the week, 50 days after the first fruit wave offering of the sheaf of barley which is also on the 1st day of the week, on the morrow after the ‘weekly Sabbath’ during Unleavened Bread. This ensures that we correctly count 7 fully completed Sabbaths. In my message given during the Feast of Unleavened Bread regarding first fruits and the counting of the omer I shared with you several steps or processes, if you will, that are required in the making and presentation of the bread that is waved as an acceptable offering before יהוה by our High Priest. To recap these 10 ‘steps’, they are:
1 – Sowing or planting – just as a farmer sows seed with the expectation of a fruitful harvest. I spoke earlier in the week and sent a mail regarding this is essence of this season that we are in with regards to the wheat and the darnel. The wheat and the darnel grows up together as taking the darnel out prematurely could result in uprooting good wheat and the major factor that distinguishes the wheat from the darnel/tares is at the ripening of harvest time where the ‘ear’ must develop! As the ear of the wheat develops it becomes heavy and causes the entire plant to ‘droop’ or hang down, whereas in darnel the ‘ear’ does not develop and remains upright – a picture of pride. What happens at harvest when the sickle is put to the harvest – the upright is chopped down! We know that the darnel grows up as a result of seed down by the devil and wheat as a result of seed sown by יהוה and so it is in life we can begin to clearly recognise the wheat from the darnel in that those who have ears – that is those who are listening and obeying – hearing and doing – faith with works – are the wheat and those who have no ear to hear the Truth are I fact the darnel and may even resemble the wheat only to be exposed at harvest time. The ‘Besorah’ – Good News has been sown into our hearts and the father has the great joy and expectation of a great harvest of souls to come!
2 – Growing – the period that takes place between sowing and reaping – this is when we are to ‘grow up’ and get off of just the milk!
3 – Reaping – a taking out to be made set-apart – this is sadly where the ‘church’ claims the process ends – however this is just the beginning – as the children of the Living Elohim come out of Mitsrayim/Babylon/religious man-made systems!
4 – Threshing – the applying of pressure to the grain in order to loosen the shells and separate the grain from the chaff – this is where it may begin to hurt as inherited lies are stripped away
5 – Winnowing – A fork like instrument is used to throw the threshed grain into the air where the wind ‘blows away’ the lighter particles and the heavier, more important are left behind.
6 – Parching – that is a removing of moisture – heat is turned up
7 – Crushing – done by a large ‘millstone’ – kernels are crushed yet not destroyed, they become useful and now become part of one flour mix and inseparable
8 – Sifting – A refining process to make the flour finer – in 2nd Temple times the flour was sifted 13 times – 13 being the number for ‘Echad’ which is One or Unified
9 – Testing – The testing of the flour to determine if refined enough
10 – Baking – Once tested and passed it can now be baked and presented fresh unto יהוה as the first fruit of the wheat harvest.
For more details on these steps and the application for us today I encourage you to go back and read through the message I gave regarding these. But why I am mentioning this is simply because it is at this Feast of Shavuot that the ‘Bread’ is waved as an offering before יהוה. This counting of the omer period is truly a time of assessing our own lives as we become more and more integrated into His Body being able to be presented before Elohim. From Pěsaḥ to Shavuot we see several progressions:
1 – From barley to wheat
2 – From Matza (unleavened Bread – H4682) to Bread with leaven (Lechem – H3899)
3 – From impurity to purity
4 – From Mitsrayim/Egypt to Mount Sinai
What we see is that this truly a significant time for us to remember and recollect at how we have been called out of darkness into His marvellous light, how we have been delivered from bondage to slavery in Mitsrayim/Egypt – that is the world’s systems and enslaved dogmas and set free to live according to the very Torah of freedom! It represents for us a time of recognising how the impurity of sin is removed from our lives and how we are then filled with the good leaven of His Torah that brings us together as a body presentable before Elohim.
Shavuot is the Feast of the Wheat Harvest and is one of the 3 major feast times when all men were to go up to Yerushalayim to celebrate – each of the 3 major Feasts were Harvest Feasts – Pěsaḥ and Unleavened Bread was at the time of the barley harvest, Shavuot the Wheat harvest and Sukkot the fruit harvest and all these are a picture of His Harvest of redeeming that which are His own.
There are great parallels between Mount Sinai and Mount Tsiyon in relation to Shavuot, and they are:
At Mount Sinai – Shavuot marks the day when יהוה entered into a covenant relationship with His people. When He gave the Torah in written form the people heard the trumpet of His voice – known as the 1st shofar which we will discuss on Shavuot and they saw and heard the thunder and lightning and the mountain in smoke – they heard and saw the fire of His voice announced with the first trumpet. At this sound they trembled and stayed at a distance and after hearing the first 10 Words they told Moshe to hear the rest and that they would do all he heard from יהוה.
At Mount Tsiyon – Shavuot marks the establishment of the Renewed Covenant where he wrote the Torah on the tablets of the hearts of the talmidim/disciples of יהושע Messiah. This event marks and celebrates the fulfilment of the prophecy in Yirmeyahu 31 which speaks of a day when His Torah would be written upon the hearts of His Children, Yisra’ĕl!
What they saw that day was what seemed to be ‘tongues of fire’ and they too heard the sound of a violent rushing wind form heaven and seeing the very fire of His voice resting upon them. This time they did not stand at a distance as they received the Spirit of Elohim and spoke in tongues and in essence this event was a reversal of the experience at Babel where the language of the people was confused by יהוה as a result of their disobedience in using their unity as a means for self gain and wicked purposes. The people at babel had a wrong form of unity – worshipping themselves and what יהוה did at Mount Tsiyon on Shavuot was to cause the languages that had separated the people to now be brought together and understand what was being spoken resulting in praise and awe of יהוה – the correct use if unity bringing worship unto יהוה. It is through our worship and fellowship together unto יהוה that He causes us by His Spirit to understand His Word which is no longer foreign or confusing. At Babel they were confused due to disobedience and at Mount Tsiyon on Shavuot the confusion was now broken and they understood as a result of obedient worship – the people were obedient in keeping His Feast, enabling them to now receive His Marriage Covenant (Ketuḇah) on their hearts.
At Mount Sinai – in the Wilderness the people rebelled and in one day 3000 were killed
At Mount Tsiyon – on Shavuot 3000 people heard the message and believed and were added to the body of believers –
A picture of renewal and restoration through obedience!
We now as believers are ministers of the Renewed Covenant! A covenant that יהושע Himself restored and repaired through His Blood, writing His very love letter on our hearts!!!
Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 3:3 “making it obvious that you are a letter of Messiah, served by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living Elohim, not on tablets of stone but on fleshly tablets of the heart.”
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 8:10 “Because this is the covenant that I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, says יהוה, giving My laws in their mind, and I shall write them on their hearts, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.”
I want to make it very clear at this point that Shavuot is a celebration time – in fact we are also commanded to rejoice! It is time to celebrate His Covenant with us and Him writing His Torah upon our hearts – we have His Marriage Covenant with us written on our hearts – we are betrothed to Him – and so this is not a ‘birthing of the church’ this is a wedding anniversary!!!!
It was at Mount Sinai that יהוה betrothed His Bride – Yisra’ĕl was now legally married and were the first fruit of His Harvest – they were the first fruit of the fullness of His Bride that was to make herself ready. It is at this time when we also recollect and recognise our need to make ourselves ready – not on our own that is – but as a body unified as one in Him found to be blameless and without spot by ridding ourselves of the leaven that kills – that is sin and being permeated with the good leaven of His Word that brings life. יהוה had saved His Bride, offered her salvation through the Blood of the Lamb on the doorposts at Passover and then He delivered her and washed her through the Sea of Reeds which had walls of water on both sides signifying full immersion and cleansed her and offered the Marriage covenant to His Bride to which she said ‘I do’ before even hearing what the requirements for the marriage would be!!! In Shemoth/Exodus 19 the nation responded as one body “we shall do” and so they then received the Ketuḇah/Marriage Contract!
We know that Yisra’ĕl committed whoring and adulterated herself with the world and יהוה issued a certificate of divorce (Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 3). According to the Torah – a divorced woman was not permitted to remarry until her husband had died. This is important for us to understand as here you had a divorced wife who could not re-enter the marriage covenant unless her husband died. יהושע came down Himself and died for His adulterous Bride that she would no longer be considered an adulterous woman if she remarried. He took up His Life again in order to renew the Marriage Covenant which His Bride had previously broken, but now could be renewed through His very own Blood that has washed His Bride. This is what יהוה did with Aḇraham when He cut Covenant with him in that he put Aḇraham to sleep and the fire of יהוה came down and passed through the sacrifices declaring that if Aḇraham or any of His descendants would break Covenant that He Himself would come down and pass through the sacrifice and take the punishment for our sins! What great love He has for us and it is here at Shavuot that we remember and rehearse this very truth that He has now written His Renewed Marriage Covenant on our hearts that we are presented as a pleasing Bride! This is a celebration of His Love for His Bride! And one of the major themes of Shavuot is revival – a time to truly reflect that which is to be upon our hearts – is His Torah upon your heart and do you walk obediently according to it – this is often a time for many to recognise and realise their need for renewal and cleansing and a re-establishing of His ways in their lives!
Shavuot is a picture of Yoḇel (Jubilee) for the Yoḇel cycle consists of 7 weeks of 7 years each. Every 7th year is a Sabbatical year where the land is to rest and in the 50th year – (The year after 49 years – 7 completed 7’s) in the year of Yoḇel/Jubilee where debts are cancelled and land and property is returned to the original owners. Yoḇel serves to bring freedom to captives and the land would lie fallow in order to produce food for the poor.
Shavuot/Feast of Weeks was when the first fruits that had been picked between the barley and the wheat harvest was brought and presented as a freewill offering before יהוה and was presented as a wave offering with great joy and trust for יהוה to provide for the rest of the harvest to come. So the sanctification of the first fruit harvest unto יהוה consecrates the entire harvest as being His – it is all His! The first represents the whole and so it is with those who were resurrected with יהושע and presented as a first fruit offering to Elohim represents and guarantees for us the whole harvest of souls upon the return of Messiah. Shavuot and its meaning is to be lived out daily in our lives as we daily are inwardly renewed by His Word leading us in Spirit and Truth enabling us to continue to bear fruit – good fruit that lasts – the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness and self-control which we are daily able to offer back to Him in a life of obedient living according to His Marriage Covenant – His Torah.
This harvest festival is a harvest of freewill offerings and rejoicing and we come before Him giving ourselves completely to Him – which includes our time, talents, resources and present them to Him with a cheerful heart.
As we know from the records recorded for us in Ma’asei/Acts we can clearly see the effect of living this life of an obedient Marriage out as we see that the true believers were devoted to the apostles teaching – that is to the Torah – they were devoted to fellowship – and this is critical as this is too what Shavuot represents – the two loaves of Bread being waved symbolic of the two houses coming together – Yehuḏah and Ephrayim as bread leavened with the “Besorah” – Good News and it is critical that we recognise this especially at this time of year that fellowship is critical in the life of the body. They broke bread and prayed together – they lived for one another and when there was need it was taken care of by all – this is what Shavuot also speaks to us of – a unified body living as one in Messiah!
They met every day – you know the world tells you that if you see too much of each other you will irritate each other and ruin the friendship – well I want to say that is not Scriptural – for those filled with the Spirit of Elohim can fellowship daily and the relationship never weakens – it only strengthens!!! Can the Spirit of Elohim be seen in your life – does your life represent that of a Spirit filled Believer who has the Torah upon their heart?
This feast is not only a historical event that took place in the desert or in Yerushalayim – this is His Appointed Time – a Feast that has been fulfilled by the work of יהושע Messiah and it shows us how we are to walk and live before יהוה today.
Ruth is a book that is typically read at this time as the accounts of Ruth take place during this period between the barley and wheat harvests. The story of Ruth in essence starts out when Elimeleḵ, which means Elohim is my King, leaves Bethlehem to go and stay in Moab because of a famine that hit the land. He left with his wife, Na‘omi which means ‘pleasant’ and his two sons, Maḥlon and Kilyon. Elimeleḵ died and the two sons married women from Mo’aḇ, named Orpah and Ruth. Na‘omi’s sons also died and she was then left with two daughters in law who had no sons.
When she heard that יהוה had come to the aid of His people with food in Yehuḏah, Na‘omi and the 2 daughters in law prepared to go back to Na‘omi’s land. Then Na‘omi tried to stop them and she succeeded with one – the other – Ruth – said she would not leave Na‘omi and here Ruth makes probably one of the most profound declarations of faith in Scripture in chapter 1:16-17 “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you, or to go back from following after you. For wherever you go, I go; and wherever you stop over, I stop over. Your people is my people, and your Elohim is my Elohim. 17 Where you die, I die, and there I shall be buried. יהוה do so to me, and more also – for death itself parts you and me.” Ruth was declaring her love to Na‘omi and then confessed her faith in יהוה the true Living Elohim declaring that she will serve no other!!!
In the days of Yeshayahu’s ministry Yisra’ĕl was dispersed throughout the world because of the poverty of hearing the very words of יהוה when He declared it time to return – there was a famine for the Word, the very Bread of Life and Shavuot being a wheat harvest or bread festival is significant in giving thanks for יהוה’s provision, and we know that Bread in the Word is associated with the Word of Elohim. So why is this relevant to Ruth’s story? Well it was, as I said, in this harvest time between first fruits and weeks, between the barley harvest and the wheat harvest that this story unfolds and Ruth sets out to glean wheat in the field of Boaz, who sees her, inquires of her and is taken aback by her care of the Israelite women.
Because of her association with Na‘omi, Bo‘az orders that extra gleanings of wheat are dropped for Ruth to pick up for her use. During this Feast of Weeks in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23 it states that when one reaps the harvest they were no to reap to the edges or pick up the gleanings, which are those parts that are left after the reaper goes through – this was for the poor and the alien.
Na‘omi hears about this and then instructs Ruth what to do in order to be redeemed.
On the feast of Shavuot Ruth lay herself at Bo‘az’s feet to ask for his protection, in the same way we come to the feet of the Messiah, the very Bread of Life, and receive His protection. Bo‘az gave her enough food for her and Na‘omi to see them through until he returned from making arrangements to redeem them together. This is very symbolic as through יהושע we are given His Spirit and Word to see us through while He is away making final arrangements for our complete redemption.
It is at this point where I would like us to pick up from the story of Ruth as we read together from Chapter 4 of Ruth (Read).
In this chapter we see how Bo‘az became the ‘kinsman redeemer’ for the land of Na‘omi and Ruth and so married Ruth as part of the redemption price. The law of the kinsman redeemer is given in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25 and the law governing levirate Marriage is in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 25 and the purpose of these laws was to preserve the names and property of the families in Yisra’ĕl and ensured that a dead man’s family name did not die with him and that his property was not sold outside of the tribe or clan.
The Word Redemption means “to set free by paying a price”. And in the case of Ruth and Na‘omi, Elimeleḵ’s property was up for sale or under mortgage and that they couldn’t pay the redemption price and the rights to the property had passed to Ruth’s husband Maḥlon who was dead, and she was too poor to redeem the land.
This is an amazing picture for us, as when it comes to our spiritual redemption, for none of us are able to redeem our lives back – all of us have sinned and fallen short and were in bondage to sin, unable to free ourselves, then יהושע came and gave His life as a redemption price – as a ransom for sinners – and faith in Him sets captives free!
Not everybody could perform the duties of a kinsman redeemer – there were certain criteria, let us look at these:
1 – THE KINSMAN REDEEMER HAD TO BE RELATED – Bo‘az was related to Ruth, although there was one who was closer. יהושע Messiah was born in order that He too would become related to us so as to redeem us. He became flesh and Blood – The Very Word – the Very Torah became Flesh and Blood and dwelt among us – called us – taught us – showed us the Way and then died for us. When He was born He became our kinsman redeemer – the one who could redeem us from sin and HE remains our kinsman Redeemer for eternity, amen – there is no other!
2 – THE KINSMAN REDEEMER HAD TO BE ABLE TO PAY THE REDEMPTION PRICE
To qualify the kinsman had to be related and able to pay. Now Ruth and Na‘omi definitely could not pay the redemption price of the land – they were too poor to redeem themselves, but Bo‘az had all the resources to set them free! You see when it comes to the redemption of sinners, nobody and I mean nobody but יהושע Messiah is rich enough to pay the price. It is sad to see that in the early years of church history the Catholic Church devised a money making scheme telling people they could pay for ‘indulgences’. Let me make one thing clear – you can be the richest person alive – none of that money can save you!!! It doesn’t matter how many charities you give to or how many hand-outs you give – that cannot pay for your sin. No amount of money can set you free – you get people who are slaving away for money thinking it can buy them freedom – money cannot buy your freedom – only the shedding of the precious Blood of יהושע the Messiah has once and for all accomplished redemption for all who will believe and receive it. Freedom has been purchased by His Blood – there is redemption in the Blood of יהושע, amen!
3 – THE KINSMAN REDEEMER HAD TO BE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE
Not only did the kinsman redeemer have to be related and able to redeem, he had to be willing to redeem. In this story of Ruth we see that there was a nearer kinsman than Bo‘az who had the money, but was unwilling to redeem in fear of his own estate. This opened up the way for Bo‘az to redeem the land together with Na‘omi and Ruth.
Now we know that there is no one other than יהושע who could pay the redemption price and He was willing. The Father loved us so much – he was so willing – that He sent His only Son to die for us. יהושע was related to us in birth – in that He took on flesh and became like us, he paid the price for us – with His death and He willingly came that while we were still sinners He died for us – how awesome is His redemptive love!!
The words ‘redeem’, purchase’ or ‘buy’ is used at least 15 times in chapter 4 and so amplifies the point that there can be no redemption without a price! From our point of view, salvation and redemption is free – a free gift by grace through faith, but from YHWH’s point of view, according to His Torah there had to be a price paid and it was a costly one too – it cost יהושע His life!
Bo‘az was related, he was able and willing and paid the redemption price and then married Ruth to whom Obed was born, who became the father of Jesse, the father of David from whom was given the great privilege of being the ancestor of the Messiah!
The marriage of Bo‘az to Ruth is a picture of יהושע Messiah and His Bride – He has paid the redemption price and at Shavuot we can celebrate our marriage contract that has been written on our hearts, having been redeemed and renewed through the shed Blood of Messiah יהושע. His love language – His Torah – His marriage contract is written on the hearts of every believer as they receive יהושע Messiah as Saviour. We have His Torah on our hearts and when יהושע said to the woman at the well that a day will come when the true worshippers will worship YHWH in Spirit and in Truth, he was speaking of the day that the very Spirit of Elohim would be poured out into the hearts of His followers, equipping them by His grace to live Torah –to live the married life faithfully unto Him.
This feast is the culmination of the spring feasts – Passover and Unleavened Bread – First fruits and now Shavuot or Weeks.
Shavuot is also often regarded as the wedding anniversary – when Israel was betrothed to YHWH and now through יהושע that covenant has been renewed in His Blood sealed by His Spirit. This feast was 50 days after First fruits and 50 is the number of freedom (Yoḇel/ Jubilee) and we do know that it is for freedom that יהושע has set us free – we are free to worship Him – to walk in His ways – to walk in His very Torah given to all Believers at Pentecost.
The two loaves of Bread now with yeast; as we know yeast often is symbolic of sin and so during the feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread יהושע who was sinless was offered first with no yeast – And here at this feast, the Feast of Weeks/Shavuot/Pentecost it depicts the two houses – Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl who now have leaven in them – a good leaven having been permeated with the Good News – the Living Torah, and also represents the completion of the kingdom in our lives so that we can come to full maturity as His unified household. So there is also a right kind of leaven – that is the very presence of the Word working in and through us to perfect us:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:33 “Another parable He spoke to them, “The reign of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until all was leavened.”
One loaf represents the house of Yehuḏah and the other the lost sheep of the House of Yisra’ĕl – the sheep scattered among the nations – that is you and me! That is why Sha’ul tells us to remove the old leaven so that the right kind of leaven could have its full effect! The two loaves also represent the Living Word now in the Body – in the Bride to make herself ready!
As we tonight understand the joy and significance of this His feast – let this be a time to allow your hearts to be open before YHWH – open for His Truth to be rooted in your heart – let this be a time that we too can reflect on our need for His written Torah on our hearts to be alive and active that we may truly worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and that His Truth will permeate His body bringing us to maturity.
On this 1st day we will look at the love of a Bridegroom for His Bride as we come together to celebrate Shavuot and feast in Him with great rejoicing offering up our lives as a living sacrifice, amen! On Shavuot the message I will be sharing is called “Shavuot – The First Shofar”. Come and be blessed in celebrating our Marriage with The Bridegroom!