We are in another of the LORD’s appointed feasts. It is Shavuot, also called the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. At this time we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai as well as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that occurred 1500 years later in Jerusalem.
Shavuot is also the end of the counting of the Omer and the beginning of the wheat harvest. Israel’s three harvests are connected to the three pilgrimage feasts; Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, and each holds prophetic significance for God’s chosen people and the nations of the world.
There are great insights to be gleaned from Shavuot. In this week’s blog I want to highlight ADONAI’s marriage ceremony with Israel at Mount Sinai and the terms of the Marriage Contract or Ketubah as we say in Hebrew.
Let’s begin with the LORD’s proposal to Israel:
“Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples” (Exodus 19:5).
All of Israel accepted by saying: “All that ADONAI has spoken we will do!’” (Exodus 19:8).
After the proposal, the people were instructed to prepare themselves. HaShem spoke to Moses:
“Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” (Exodus 19:10-11)
Just as a bride would immerse herself in the mikvah (ceremonial washing) before her wedding and anoint herself with perfume oil, so too Israel had to wash their clothing and consecrate themselves to meet their Groom.
We read in chapter 20 of Exodus that ADONAI descended upon Mount Sinai with great thunderings, smoke and the sound of the shofar, and all of Israel heard the Ten Commandments being spoken to them.
Interestingly, the erev rav (mixed multitude) who had come up out of Egypt with the Israelites also heard the Torah in their own language! Does this sound familiar? Indeed! At the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, all who were present heard the mysteries of God being spoken in his own language! This was also symbolic as it meant that Gentiles could also become a part of God’s covenant.
The Torah was given to the people as the terms of the marriage contract or the Ketubah. Sadly however, not long after the beautiful wedding ceremony, Israel broke their covenant with the golden calf incident. What did ADONAI do? As Moses had to ascend the mountain for a second set of stone tablets, so too did God promise a new covenant. This time however, they would not be able to break it as it would be written upon their hearts instead of stone. We find the promise of a new covenant in the book of Jeremiah:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make pa new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when qI took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, rthough I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: sI will put my law within them, and I will write it ton their hearts. uAnd I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:31-33)
Fifteen hundred years later in Jerusalem, 120 disciples were gathered in a room in the Temple. They heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind and fire descended from heaven and sat upon each person’s head. Very rarely do we make the connection between Jeremiah 31 and Acts 2 but prophecy was being fulfilled. It is the Holy Spirit who writes the Torah upon the hearts of God’s people. This is the New Covenant that was ratified by the Blood of Yeshua!
As believers in Yeshua, we celebrate Shavuot/Pentecost giving thanks for the Torah and the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit), as we anticipate the return of the Bridegroom!
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach!