“Three times a year, you are to observe a festival for me. Keep the festival of matzah: for seven days, as I ordered you, you are to eat matzah at the time determined in the month of Aviv; for it was in that month that you left Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. Next, the festival of harvest, the firstfruits of your efforts sowing in the field; and last, the festival of ingathering, at the end of the year, when you gather in from the fields the results of your efforts.” (Exodus 23:14-16)
Three times a year, Jews, no matter where they lived, traveled to Jerusalem. The pilgrimage was connected to a commandment of the Lord to acknowledge three of the most important feasts of the Lord’s nation: Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. During the time of Yeshua, there lived about 600,000 in Jerusalem, and up to 2 million traveled to Jerusalem. The focus of these three holidays was repentance, forgiveness and unity. Every time, these holidays brought the nation together in Jerusalem, on the Temple mount, bringing it back to the origins of faith in the One True Creator. The people came together there, where the foundations of the birth of the nation of God was formed and where the Torah was given. These three holidays were acknowledged by Israel throughout all of its history. And today, these holidays are being acknowledged by true followers of God from all the nations, demonstrating to the world the unity of a nation before their God. Beginning the creation of a chosen people with Israel, the Lord continues His work even today, bringing together believers in Yeshua from all nations of the world. In the Messianic Kingdom the festivals “Shalosh Regalim” or “The Three Pilgrimages” become a necessity for all the nations:” Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim will go up every year to worship the king, Adonai-Tzva’ot, and to keep the festival of Sukkot. If any of the families of the earth does not go up to Yerushalayim to worship the king, Adonai-Tzva’ot, no rain will fall on them.” (Zachariah 14:16-17)
We can see that the High Holy days that the Lord has commanded for Israel to acknowledge, as a result, become a system of unity for all the nations. And these holidays will be celebrated exactly how God intended for Israel; everyone will come to Jerusalem and will worship God on His holy mountain, not with Easter eggs and bunnies, and not with decorated trees but with unleavened bread and holiness.
Shavuot, from the Hebrew word “shavua” which means: week, and Shavuot we can interpret as the holiday of weeks. Shavuot is celebrated seven weeks after Pesach, and the countdown begins on the second day of Pesach. As the Lord commanded: “From the day after the day of rest — that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving — you are to count seven full weeks…” (Leviticus 26:15)
Until the destruction of the Temple and the scattering of Israel, the accent of the holiday was agriculture. This was a holiday of the joy of the harvest. In the book of Exodus 23:20 Shavuot was known as the holiday of the first fruits. The seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot was the time of harvest. But on Shavuot, there was a great ceremony in the Temple and only compressed wheat and the first fruits were brought into the temple. The first fruits of grapes, figs, pomegranate, olives, dates and honey were brought. Only after the first fruits were brought to the Temple, could they eat from their first harvest. When bringing the first fruits into the Temple, there was a great ceremony, and it was honorable to all people, including kings. People came from different areas, coming closer to Jerusalem. They spent the night in areas not too far away from Jerusalem and bright early in the morning got up, and as they got up, the leader would announce: Rise and we will rise up to Zion to our Lord God. Marching in front with the fruits was a bull. His horns were covered in gold, and on his head was a crown of the branches of an olive tree. Following the bull were people playing on flutes that accompanied them all the way to the Temple mount. At the gates of the Temple, people took baskets of fruit upon their shoulders, and the choir of the Levites met them with singing: I will lift you up, Oh Lord, for You have raised me up and gave joy to my enemies.
Every time when Jews would go to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the Lord’s three main holidays, their procession was prophetical and pointed to the future return of the Jews to their God and the combining of the whole nation in the promised land of God.
On Shavuot, we read the book of Ruth and the story of Naomi: So she prepared to return with her daughters-in-law from the plain of Mo’av; for in the plain of Mo’av she had heard how Adonai had paid attention to his people by giving them food. Here we can also see the prophetical indication on the future return of the Jews to Erets Israel. Jews, hearing that once again God is gathering his nation to the Promised Land, will flow to Erets Israel and nothing will be able to close their path, for this is the will of God
SHAVUOT- A HOLIDAY OF THE GIVING OF THE TORAH
After the destruction of the Temple and the scattering of Israel, Shavuot lost its agricultural meaning and the main accent of the holiday became the gift of the Torah. Pesach is the holiday of the exodus out of Egypt, the holiday of freedom from physical slavery. But the exodus would not have been complete if God had not given them the Law, which gives the instruction of how the nation of God should live. If you free a criminal from prison and don’t teach him how to live, he will again return to prison. Such Law, which reflected God’s holiness and righteousness, became the Torah, which God granted to Israel on Mount Sinai on the 6th of Sivan, seven weeks after Pesach. God said to Moshe, “..when you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12). Moshe thought that the service to God would be connected with bringing sacrifices, but, when they approached Mount Sinai, all they had to do was stand, listen and accept the Torah – the Law of the holy life of God’s people. In other words, the main goal of freedom on Pesach was to bring the nation to Mount Sinai and to give him the Torah. The service, of which God spoke of, was to accept the word of the Torah. This is the best service of a person to God. After the Torah was given to them, thunder and lightning would not cease and would not allow the Israelites to fall asleep at night. In remembrance of this, Jews stay up all night at the western wall, Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem and read the Torah. Here is what the prophet Samuel says to King Saul, “Surely obeying is better than sacrifice, and heeding orders than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is like the sin of sorcery, stubbornness like the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of Adonai, he too has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
We all want to be heard, but for that we need to remember that,” The reward for humility is fear of Adonai, along with wealth, honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4).
Today, much is said about financial success; however, financial success is nothing. Without humility and without the fear of the Lord in our hearts, financial success can only bring the person to destruction. God gave the Torah and said, “Three times a year all your men are to appear in the presence of Adonai your God in the place which he will choose — at the festival of matzah, at the festival of Shavu‘ot and at the festival of Sukkot. They are not to show up before Adonai empty-handed,” (Deuteronomy 16:16).
Yes, we do need to have enough to cover our needs and come to the Lord not empty-handed. But we cannot become wealthy the wrong way. In accordance with the command of the Lord, we need to come before His Face to bring our offerings with a clean heart, with a clean mind-set, in clothes of righteousness and holiness. The one, who accepts the Torah, the indisputable Law of God, that one can reach perfection.
SHAVUOT – THE HOLY DAY OF THE DECENDENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
God created a covenant with Israel on Mount Sinai and gave him the Torah. For a long time, Israel tried to live by the Torah, but couldn’t fulfill it. As a result, Israel was scattered among many nations. And with the scattering of Israel, the Torah was scattered along with them. This was a great scattering of missionaries. Thanks to the scattering of Israel, all the nations received a revelation of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth and continues to have fellowship with humanity. Israel carried the revelation of God, who not only created the world but also gave the Torah, which by keeping it, gives life but rejecting it- death. Israel carried the revelation of a loving heavenly Father, who, along with that, does not accept a life outside of the Torah, and calls that life – sinful. For the rejection of the Torah, the Father will call everyone on judgment day and everyone will stand before Him and give an account for his life. Who can help us keep the Law and bring us back to unity with God? Did God create us for destruction? We find comfort in the book of the prophet Jeremiah, “Here, the days are coming,” says Adonai, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra’el and with the house of Y’hudah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them,” says Adonai.“For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra’el after those days,” says Adonai: “I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33; 31:30-32 CJB)
The Lord promised Himself, that the Torah will be written on their hearts and we will keep it. Because of the offering of Yeshua, which he brought on Pesach, becoming the Passover Lamb, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit became possible. The prophecy of Ezekiel was fulfilled, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them. You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:25-28).
This event took place in Jerusalem on Shavuot, when the disciples of Yeshua awaited the Holy Spirit with humility. It wasn’t a coincidence that God chose this time to pour out his Spirit. On this holiday, Shavuot, Jews from all over the world came together. There were about 2 million People. Many of them, believed in Yeshua and filled with the Spirit, took it across the entire world. Just as the Torah, after the freedom of slavery, directed us to the true path, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit gave the strength to walk this path and to reach eternity.
THE PROPHITICAL INDICATION OF SHALOSH REGALIM
Pesach pointed to Calvary. Shavuot pointed to the future pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Sukkot to the great unity of the Messianic Kingdom, “Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim will go up every year to worship the king, Adonai-Tzva’ot, and to keep the festival of Sukkot” (Zachariah 14:16)
It is not hard to notice that the end result of the Shalosh Regalim is the combining of all nations in the Kingdom of God. The city, into which we are earnestly trying to enter, the heavenly Jerusalem, is arranged as a city of unity. “I was glad when they said to me ‘The house of Adonai! Let’s go! Our feet were already standing at your gates, Yerushalayim. Yerushalayim, built as a city fostering friendship and unity. The tribes have gone up there, the tribes of Adonai, as a witness to Isra’el, to give thanks to the name of Adonai.” (Psalm 122:1-4).
The entrance into the eternal city is the unity of believers, who live according to the Torah (the Law of Israel). People thought that they were going to the wilderness to bring a sacrifice to the Lord, but the holiday was really about standing at the mountain and receiving the Torah. He, who does not study the Torah because of wealth, will sooner or later not study it because of poverty. He who studies the Torah in poverty will sooner or later keep it in abundance. “Because you didn’t serve Adonai your God with joy and gladness in your heart when you had such an abundance of everything; Adonai will send your enemy against you; and you will serve him when you are hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed and lacking everything; he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he destroys you.” (Deuteronomy 28:47-48).
Today we see a great division. There are many denominations that have guarded themselves with fences and tore the body of Messiah in pieces. And even within each denomination there is no unity. The division came from false teachings. Yeshua warned us about this in a proverb of the Kingdom of Heaven, where he spoke of the weeds that were planted by the enemy. Weeds are the false teachings, which bring division. We cannot achieve unity by force; this kind of unity always falls apart. The willed unity is achieved only as result of God’s work in us. “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing. Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up. (John 15:5-6)
Yeshua says that all of us, Jewish and non-Jewish, who are believers in Him, are the branches of one grapevine. The only difference is that the Jewish branches grew naturally, but the gentile branches were grafted in. We drink from the juice of this vine, and it brings us life. The juice of the vine is the Word of the Torah – the teaching of Moshe and Yeshua. Yeshua points out directly that His teaching corresponds with the teaching of the Torah. “For if you really believed Moshe, you would believe me; because it was about me that he wrote. But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46-47). If we reject the true teaching of Messiah then we will not enter into eternal life. It is necessary for us not only to be the branch on the vine, which represents Yeshua Himself, but also drink from His Word. “If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you.” (John 15:7).
When Israel left Egypt, God was in the midst of them [Itanu= God is with us] and He gave many signs to show that He was present. However, Israel was not yet brought into unity and for this reason did not enter the Promised Land of God. The same thing is happening today with us. In order to bring the nation into true unity, it was necessary to have the presence of God in everyone [Imanu = God is with us]. His presence in us today is seen in the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit, which became possible only through the offering of Yeshua. So in the end times the commandment of God is being fulfilled- it does not come from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but being filled with the Holy Spirit, coming into a united faith and being led by the hand of God in everything. The Lord does not bring us into unity by force, as this type of unity cannot be everlasting. The desire for unity needs to be birthed in our hearts and this will help us to achieve eternity.