Every Pentecost, I love to remember this great event which occurred back in the first century, when the disciples were spreading the Word in Jerusalem. It impacted the whole city so powerfully that the religious leaders became increasingly disturbed.

But let me bring you to what one of these Pharisees said when he observed the rise of our faith. This comes from a man who wrote so much in the Talmud and who, unwittingly gave a powerful prophecy recorded in Acts 5. His name is Rabbi Gamaliel, under whom Paul received his Jewish training (Acts. 22:3). This is what Gamaliel said to the whole Sanhedrin just as the Ecclesia, the Body of the Messiah began its growth.

“…for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it — lest you even be found to fight against God.” Acts 5:38-39

So, according to the words of this man, since this new messianic movement has survived until today, it must mean it is from God, for no one was able nor is able to undermine its growth and power. And Gamaliel even adds that whoever fights it, fights God.

The reason why the Kehilat of God, the Ecclesia is still here is because it is this group of people, the believers, who are so important to God. They are so central that Yeshua calls them His Bride, and even more so, His Body. These two illustrations, the Bride and the Body, show us this incredible bond between God and man, and remind us of the inseparable nature of this bond, pointing to what God also enjoys with the nation of Israel. This same knot is found here with the ecclesia, and I feel so privileged to be part of it.

Let’s open our Bible to Leviticus 23 and vs.15-16. There are many words we may not understand right away, but each of them opens a window, revealing the depth behind the Feast of Pentecost. This is how the account begins.

You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the omer of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. ‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.’

In Hebrew Shavuot means weeks or sevens and in Greek and English the name is Pentecost which means fiftieth, this feast falling out 50 days after Passover. The period of time between Passover and Pentecost is called the counting of the omer. The omer is the quantity of grain that the Jewish people were to offer daily at the temple, for 49 days and on the 50th day, it was Shavuot or Pentecost.

As far as more information goes, this is all we are told. The rest of the passage speaks only of the different types of offerings made on this feast. When reading this, you might ask yourself, what is the meaning of this feast? What is the meaning of these 49 days of anticipation? The rabbis had to fill in some of the gaps and figured that, since it took around 50 days to get there from Egypt, this feast was connected with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

But this is not far from what the Spirit of God reveals to us in the Brit Chadashah, in the N.T. Here we find the answer in the fulfillment of Shavuot with the birth of the Kehilat of God, the Ecclesia, born 50 days following the death and resurrection of the Messiah.

See how the text of Acts 2:1 describes Pentecost, When the Day of Shavuot/ Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Notice the words in verse1 had fully come, one word in the Greek –  sumpleroo – meaning to completely fill  or being completely established or fulfilled. This Greek word comes from the word pleroo which is used when a prophecy is fulfilled, as we read in Matthew then was fulfilled (pleroo) what was spoken by a prophet. But here we have the preposition sum added to it, denoting that it has been completely fulfilled.

How was it then fulfilled? By the birth of the Church. This then is the answer to this mystery feast for after this, the world began to experience such positive changes, beginning in Jerusalem. It was then, and for the first time, when Israel was called to gather and fulfill God’s command to be a light to the nations. This is what Paul calls a newly revealed mystery. See how he describes the true Church of God in Ephesians 3:3-6, by revelation there was made known to me the mystery,… that in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Messiah through the gospel.

Here we find a definition for the Church today: First Paul speaks of a mystery, a revealed mystery.  This is one of the eight mysteries of the New Testament. They are called mysteries because they were not known in the Hebrew Bible. This is why the Torah does not explain this feast, and we see it only in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament).

So then, the meaning of the Feast of Shavuot is here revealed. What is the revelation? The revelation is not that the Gentiles would now believe or now have a faith in God. Their coming to faith was prophesied many times before by the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. And the revelation was not that the Gentiles would replace Israel. The revealed mystery is that Gentiles should be fellow heirs with Israel in worshipping the same God and in proclaiming the Word of God just like we do here together at Beth Ariel. We are Jews and Gentiles, unified in one Body, worshipping the God of the Bible. That is the fulfillment of the Feast of Shavuot.

There is a story of a family who was invited for supper by a rich and reputable family. They loved the place and the food so much, that they kicked out the owners, locked them out and took over all that belonged to the owners. This what happened between the visible church and Israel in history and until today. This is not what the Bible teaches. On the contrary, the Gentiles were to join the commonwealth of Israel.


Click here for the Message: “Pentecost, A New Beginning.”