There will be a pattern to the spring festivals. Yeshua is fulfilling aspects of the redemption exactly on the “rehearsal” dates (mikrah) of the festivals. He was slain on Passover at the exact time it was being done in the Temple, he was buried on Hag Ha Matzah (Unleavened Bread) and resurrects on Bikkurim (First Fruits). So, that brings us to the next festival called Shavuot. We have already touched on it briefly. This day was called “Matan Torah” or the “Giving of the Torah” because it was this day that God appeared on Mount Sinai and gave the Torah. Exo 19-20 deals with this event. Yeshua resurrects, and ascends to Heaven from the Mount of Olives 40 days later, ten days before Shavuot. Yeshua will also be fulfilling aspects of the fall festivals in the Natzal (rapture/gathering) at Rosh Ha Shannah, the second coming to the earth and Jerusalem at Yom Kippur and the wedding supper, judgement and the Kingdom of God on earth at Sukkot, but we will get to that later.
Ezekiel chapters 8, 9, 10, 11 deals with the Shekinah departing the Temple and going to the Mount of Olives. At the top of the Mount of Olives there is a site called “The Resting Place of the Shekinah” or “Ha Rosh” (top). The Shekinah was there for three years and then departed. Yeshua departs at the same place the Shekinah departed in Ezekiel when he ascends to Heaven. Shavuot is seen as the “conclusion” or “atzeret” of the spring festivals.
Acts 2.1-2 the talmidim were all in “one place” like in Exo 19.2 when the Torah was given. They were probably in Solomon’s Portico of the Temple. The Temple was referred to as “Ha Bayit” or “the house” and you see it referred to as “house” in Acts 2.2. It says they were “sitting” so we know this did not happen in the inner courts (Azarah, Ezrat Ha Nashim, etc). In Acts 2.1, it says when the Shavuot “had fully comes” and it means they have reached the 50th day. In Acts 2.4, we have “tongues” mentioned and this alludes to when the Torah was given on Sinai. On p. 791 of the Hertz Pentateuch and Haftorahs, it says that God spoke the Torah in the 70 languages of the world, or “tongues.” Why 70 different languages? Because 70 people went into Egypt in Exo 1.1-5 and then the nations were divided up according to this number in Deut 32.8.
The manifestations that happened in Acts 2 also happened when God gave the Torah at Sinai. Heb 12.18 says that there was fire, whirlwind, a trumpet and a “sound of words” or “voices of words.” Deut 4.11-12 says, “And you came near and stood at the foot (under) of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens; darkness, cloud and thick gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound (voice) of words, but you saw no form-only a voice.” So, they saw no form of God but heard the voice of God from the fire. The shofar of God sounded at Sinai and the sound grew louder and louder. That is not what normally happens. When a person blows on a trumpet the sound gets softer and softer, but not here (Exo 19.19). This shofar is called “the First Trump.” Rosh Ha Shannah, another festival that is coming, is called “the Last Trump.” A third trumpet on Yom Kippur is called the “Great Trump” (Shofar Ha Gadol). Where did these names come from? It comes from the Akedah in Gen 22. There was a ram caught in the thicket. This ram was used as a burnt offering (Olah) in place of Isaac. The left horn of this ram is called “the First Shofar” and it was blown on Sinai. The right horn is called the “Last Trump” and it will be blown on Rosh Ha Shannah. Now, a Jewish marriage has two stages, the betrothal and full marriage (Deut 24.1). Shavuot is seen as the betrothal of God to Israel (Jer 2.1-3), so the “first trump” relates to this betrothal. The “last trump” relates to the full marriage at Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001, when the Lord comes for his bride (1 Cor 15.51-52).
Now, all this relates to biblical eschatology and the 7000 year plan of God. The first 2000 years was called “Tohu” meaning “desolation.” The next 2000 years was called “Torah” or “instruction.” The next 2000 years is called “Yom’t Mashiach” or “Days of the Messiah.” We are currently at the end of that 2000 year period. THe whole 6000 year period is called the Olam Ha Zeh, or “this present age.” The last 1000 year period is called the “Atid Lavo”, or “Future Coming/Age.” At Shavuot in Acts 2, it begins the 2000 year period called “Yom’ot Mashiach” or the “Days of the Messiah.”
Ezek 43.1-5 is the Haftorah (a reading from the Prophets) reading for Shavuot and it describes the Shekinah returning to the Temple. They were reading this on the day that the events in Acts 2 occurred. In Acts 2.2 we have a “violent, rushing wind” and this is linked to the Shekinah, the divine presence, coming into the Temple. The Ruach Ha Kodesh can also mean “wind” and it is also the “power of God” (Acts 1.8). However, there is a misconception of this. The Shekinah is the presence of God “within” a believer, and the Ruach Ha Kodesh is the power of God that comes “upon” a believer. So, let’s develop this out a little bit.
The largest Jewish community in the world in the first century was in Babylon, and they spoke Aramaic. The second largest Jewish community in the world in the first century was in Alexandria, Egypt and they spoke Greek. In the first century, the Shekinah and the Ruach were translated into Greek as “pneuma” which means “wind” (like “pneumonia”). In John 20.22-23 we read about the fact that Yeshua has resurrected, and he appears to his talmidim. He says “receive the Holy Spirit” and he breathes “in” them. This is the Shekinah (presence) of God within them. In Acts 1.4 he tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit, or the Ruach Ha Kodesh. But how can this be? John 20 says they received the Holy Spirit already. Or did they. The answer is “No” because they received the Shekinah (the presence within) in John 20, and in Acts they were going to receive the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the “power” upon them. These are two different manifestations of God but they both were translated as “pneuma” in Greek, so the concept was lost when you read it in English. So, when you read the New Testament and you come to “Spirit” you have to ask yourself, ” Is this “within” or “upon” a believer?” If it is “within” then it should be understood as the Shekinah, the presence of God. If it is “upon” then it is the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the power of God.
In John 4.34 Yeshua goes to the Samaritans around the time of Shavuot, and there “four months to the harvest” in the fall. Shavuot is the first fruits of the spring harvest. We have a bridge from Passover to Shavuot and there will be a bridge from Shavuot to Sukkot. They will be linked by the first and second tithe. The Basorah (gospel) will be going forth to all the world, starting at Shavuot and it will end in the harvest (John 4.34) four months later at Sukkot. In other words, it is not literally four months until the eschatological harvest, but it will be complete when Yeshua fulfills the fall festivals of Rosh Ha Shannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot during the month of Tishri.
Deut 9.10 says that Shavuot was called the “day of the assembly” which is “Yom Kahal” in Hebrew (see also Deut 10.4, 18.15-16). Why was Shavuot called this? Israel changed from a group of tribes to a nation at Sinai when the Lord gave the Torah. Their “constitution” was the Torah, and they became a congregation, or “kahal.” Kahal means a large congregation, and “kehilat” means a smaller group. That is why a synagogue can also be called a “kehilat.” Solomon had several names. One of them was “Kohelet” and the root is “kahal.” The Prophets prophesied that when Messiah came, the redemption would be accomplished and an eschatological congregation would be formed within the context of Israel.
Num 11.25-29 is seen as a picture of this eschatological congregation to come that would be empowered by the Ruach Ha Kodesh. In Greek, the word for “kahal” is “ecclesia” and this word has been translated as “church” in English. Dispensationalism in Christianity says that the prophets never “saw” the “church” or the “church age.” But that is not true, they did, but it was the Kahal, the eschatological congregation empowered by the Ruach Ha Kodesh. The word “church” conveys concepts in replacement theology Christianity, and it is true, the prophets never saw that for sure.
In Part 14, we will pick up here and begin to do an overview on the fall festivals, beginning with Rosh Ha Shannah and the season (1 Thes 5.1) of Teshuvah (to turn, to repent).