Download PDF of newsletter here: HagHaKatzir
SHAVUOT, called in the Scriptures Hag Ha-Kat-zir, is one of the “Three Regalim” or pilgrimage feasts requiring all the male descendants of Jacob to return to Jerusalem at that time each year to appear before Adonai in the Temple. Since there is no longer a Temple in Jerusalem, many traditions have developed over the years as a means to continue observance during these seasons.
Traditionally, Jewish people read the book of Ruth on Shavuot as she was the great grandmother of King David, who, as tradition holds, was born and died on Shavuot. Ruth was a Moabite woman who was married to one of the sons of Naomi, an Israelite woman. When Naomi decided to return to Israel after the deaths of her two sons, Ruth, one of her daughters-in-law, begged to go with her, declaring, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your G-d shall be my G-d and your people shall be my people.”
Ruth truly was a “ger” who embraced the Jewish people and the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She was also led to the fields of Boaz to glean in his fields, and G-d drew Boaz’s heart toward Ruth. She ended up marrying Boaz, producing the king of Judah whose heart we get to know through the book of Psalms. Therefore reading from the book of Psalms is also a tradition today at Shavuot. The giving of the Torah is observed on Shavuot; some stay up all night reading from these different scriptures. Most people who do observe Shavuot eat dairy products at this time instead of meat. There are different ideas how this came about, but that is the tradition today.
Biblically speaking it is the 50th day of the counting of the Omer, which means “a measure”, and notes the end of the grain harvest.
Exodus 23:14-19 states,
“Three times you shall keep a feast unto Me in the year. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Aviv, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty; and the Feast of Harvest (Shavuot), the firstfruits of your labors (bik-u-rey ma-asey-cha), which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering (Sukkot), at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD… The choicest first-fruits (Bik-ku-rim) of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.”
All “Three Regalim” pertain to harvests and seasons for gathering harvests, but metaphorically it refers to a time of gathering unto the LORD the harvests of mankind. The Tanakh and Brit Hadasha (New Covenant) confirm this.
Hosea 10:12 states:
“Sow to yourselves according to righteousness,
Reap according to mercy, Break up your fallow ground; For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He come and cause righteousness to rain upon you.”
Isaiah 27:6 speaks of a future harvest:
“In days to come shall Jacob take root,
Israel shall blossom and bud;
And the face of the world shall be filled with fruitage.”
Mathew 13:39 says,
“The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the
harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.”
Mathew 13:30 says,
“Let both (the good seed and bad seed) grow together until the harvest. At harvest time, I will tell the reapers (angels,) “First, gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat (good seed) into My barn.”
Take note, the one who sows the good seed is the Messiah, the field is the world and the one who sows bad seed is HaSatan, the evil one.
Leviticus 23 begins by saying,
“And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: The appointed seasons of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My appointed seasons.”
I want you to note that accepted holidays in the church today are not supported by Scripture as fixed times or seasons. However, isn’t it interesting that the official church celebrations, Easter and Thanksgiving are observed around the same time period as the prescribed feasts of Leviticus 23, and Christmas falls around the Feast of Dedication otherwise known as Hanukah, which Yeshua Himself went up to Jerusalem to observe.
Leviticus 23:4-14 speaks of the first three feasts that would include the first of the Regalim,
“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at evening is the LORD’s ‘Passover’. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened bread. In the first day you shall have a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. But you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days. In the seventh day is a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. And the LORD spoke unto Moses saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when you are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you; the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf a he-lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. And the meal offering thereof shall be two tenth parts of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savor: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin. And you shall not eat bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears until the same day that you have brought an offering unto your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
The first of the Regalim follows the feast of Passover, which takes place on the 14th day of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar. We know by I Corinthians 5:7 in the New Covenant, that Messiah Yeshua, who died on Passover, was sacrificed for us:
“Get rid of the old hametz (leaven which represents sin), so you may be a new batch, just as you are unleavened (without sin) — for Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.”
We see that leaven stands for sin and that Messiah Yeshua was unleavened, without sin. We now should know and understand that Messiah Yeshua died on Passover. Easter is not mentioned in Scripture as the time when He died. Easter very seldom falls on the same date as Passover because during the time of the Roman Empire we shifted from the Jewish moon calendar to a new (sun) calendar containing more days in a year, thus effecting theological discrepancies. I Corinthians 5:7 is not the only scripture that mentions the first two feasts. We also find them mentioned in Mathew 26:26, which speaks about the shlichim or apostles joined together with Yeshua, eating Messiah’s last Passover meal before He would be offered up as our sacrificial Lamb. Messiah Yeshua took a piece of matzah (unleavened bread), made a b’rakhah (blessing), broke the matzah, gave it to each of the shlichim saying, Take, eat! This is my body (unleavened-without sin).
The third of the first three feasts of Leviticus 23 is the feast of waving and lifting up the “first fruits” of the wave sheaf (barley – considered the poor man’s food). It’s a feast that falls on the third day, 16th of Nisan, after Messiah Yeshua’s death. The key word in this feast is “first-fruits” (Hebrew-Bik-ku-rim) which means: the very first-born, eligible for the birthright; the first-fruit of a crop. It is Messiah Yeshua, our Passover Lamb, without sin, who was lifted up on the third day.
LEVITICUS 23:15-22: FOURTH FEAST AND SECOND OF THE REGALIM
“And you shall count unto you from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: even unto the next day after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meal offering unto the LORD. You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth parts: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits unto the LORD. And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams; they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meal offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savor unto the LORD. Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. And you shall proclaim on that same day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest; you shall leave them unto the poor, and to the sojourner; I am the LORD your God.”
This fourth feast, which is the second of the Regalim, gives clear meaning as to its purpose through the writings in the Brit Hadasha (New Covenant). The counting of fifty days to the feast of Shavuot, which literally means “weeks” in Hebrew, begins on the third day after Passover, when the firstfruits (Bikkurim) are lifted up to the L-RD. Jewish writings tell us, “Each day after lifting up the wave sheaf a yellow ribbon is tied each morning to the first fruits that appear in the ground. At the end of the fifty days all of the harvest that has been designated as first fruits would then be gathered, brought to Jerusalem, and presented to the L-rd on Shavuot. It is similar to the way G-d will select the Bikkurim (first-fruits) of mankind to be the harvest of His chosen.
Acts 1:3-8 tells us that at the time of Messiah’s lifting up or being raised from the dead unto Life, He continued to be seen for forty days by the shlichim:
“To them He showed Himself to be alive after His suffering through many convincing proofs, appearing to them (shlichim) for forty days and speaking about the kingdom of G-d. Now while standing with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised–which, He said, “you heard from Me. For John immersed with water, but you will be immersed with the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) not many days from now.” So when they gathered together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” He said to them, “It is not your place to know the times or seasons which the Father has placed under His own control. But you will receive power when the Ruach haKodesh has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
It was, in fact, only ten days later at Shavuot, when Jewish men made their pilgrimage up to Jerusalem from all over the world for the Feast of Harvest, that His promise came into fruition. It was a total of seven Sabbaths and one day (50 days) from the lifting up of the wave sheaf mentioned in Leviticus 23:16. We note that the New Covenant Greek word Pentecost means 50. Those “harvested” as first-fruits of the Spirit received power when the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) had come upon them. It was then that the shlichim would be witnesses unto Messiah both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Then Messiah Yeshua departed into heaven.
Act 2:1-10 states,
“When the day of Shavuot had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And tongues like fire spreading out appeared to them and settled on each one of them. They were all filled with the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them to speak out. Now Jewish people were staying in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound came, the crowd gathered.
They were bewildered, because each was hearing them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “All these who are speaking—aren’t they Galileans? How is it that we each hear our own birth language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and those living in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and parts of Libya toward Cyrene, and visitors from Rome (both Jewish people and proselytes), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring in our own tongues the mighty deeds of God!”
Acts chapter two relates the beginning of the first-fruits (Bikkurim) of mankind, the spiritual harvest unto Adonai. I Corinthians 15:20-26 describes the order of things pertaining to the spiritual harvest.
“But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also has come through a Man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah will all be made alive.
But each in its own order: Messiah the firstfruits; then, at His coming, those who belong to Messiah; then the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
King David prophesied about this in Psalm 110:1:
“The LORD said unto my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
As we are nearing the 50th day of the counting of the omer marking the end of the grain harvest, which feeds the majority of the world bread from the earth, we need to remember the spiritual harvest of mankind. In John 4:35, Yeshua declares:
“Don’t you say, ‘Four more months, and then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you. Lift up your eyes and look at the fields! They are white and ready for harvest.”
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