I remember the earliest days of my walk in Torah when I was the greenest of students, I was completed confounded by the Feast of Shavuot. I read the portions like the verse above and the passage in Leviticus 23 and wondered about the traditions that surrounded this mysterious day. As I grew in my understanding of the other feasts, Shavuot still perplexed me. We honored the day by not working and we read from the Bible and, growing up in the Church, I knew that Acts 2 was an integral part of the fulfillment of this day. The Messiah had fulfilled Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits but what about this day?
“You are to count seven weeks; you are to begin counting seven weeks from the time you first put your sickle to the standing grain. You are to observe the festival of Shavu‘ot [weeks] for YHVH your God with a voluntary offering, which you are to give in accordance with the degree to which YHVH your God has prospered you. You are to rejoice in the presence of YHVH your God — you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the L’vi’im living in your towns, and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you — in the place where YHVH your God will choose to have his name live. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt; then you will keep and obey these laws.” Deuteronomy 16: 9-12 CJB
A few years back, I was asked to do a teaching about Shavuot for a group that would be keeping it for the first time. With the pressure of teaching the subject I poured into the Bible and discerned what I could. I got my teaching together and then I felt a snicker in my spirit. YHVH was speaking with me and He was tickled at my conclusions. (YHVH and I have a special and sarcastic relationship.) I was taken aback and questioned Him like the indignant son I am. Where I had gone wrong? I was led to a certain portion in Romans.
Therefore, what are we to say? That the Torah is sinful? Heaven forbid! Rather, the function of the Torah was that without it, I would not have known what sin is. For example, I would not have become conscious of what greed is if the Torah had not said, “Thou shalt not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, worked in me all kinds of evil desires — for apart from Torah, sin is dead. I was once alive outside the framework of Torah. But when the commandment really encountered me, sin sprang to life, and I died. The commandment that was intended to bring me life was found to be bringing me death! For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me; and through the commandment, sin killed me. So the Torah is holy; that is, the commandment is holy, just and good. Romans 7: 7-12 CJB
I knew that the Festival of Shavuot had to do with the giving of the Torah from Mount Sinai. I had learned that much. I was confused as to why I was being led to this passage about the Torah killing us yet it was still holy, just, and good. I was then led to a passage that made the imagery in this passage “spring to life.” In this passage, a 26 year old monarch would come face-to-face with the Truth of YHVH and the sin of his people.
Hilkiyahu the cohen hagadol said to Shafan the secretary, “I have found the scroll of the Torah in the house of YHVH.” Hilkiyah gave the scroll to Shafan, who read it. Then Shafan the secretary went back to the king and gave the king this report: “Your servants have poured out the money found in the house and handed it over to the people supervising the work in the house of YHVH.” Shafan the secretary also told the king, “Hilkiyah the cohen hagadol gave me a scroll.” Then Shafan read it aloud before the king. After the king had heard what was written in the scroll of the Torah, he tore his clothes. Then the king issued this order to Hilkiyah the cohen, Achikam the son of Shafan, ‘Akhbor the son of Mikhayah, Shafan the secretary and ‘Asayah the king’s servant: “Go; and consult YHVH for me, for the people and for all Y’hudah in regard to what is written in this scroll which has been found. For YHVH must be furious at us, since our ancestors did not listen to the words written in this scroll and didn’t do everything written there that concerns us.” 2 Kings 22: 8-13 CJB
King Josiah was confronted with Truth and holiness. Upon hearing the Torah, the sin of Israel “sprang to life.” Josiah saw how much Israel deserved YHVH’s judgment. Israel was spiritually pronounced dead. The commandments that were intended to preserve Israel’s life in conjunction with YHVH’s blessing and salvation were now bringing her death. The Torah showed King Josiah what sin was and how far away Israel had wandered.
Many of us who have come out of the world of man-made religion have been confronted by YHVH’s Torah in the same manner as Josiah. When we realized what the commandment was and that it was holy, just, and good. We became aware of our sins. In modern religion today, we see many who come to this realization, realize they need a Savior, and when confronted with the Truth of Torah continue to sin. Josiah could have ignored what was read to him and continued to allow the people of Israel to sin. He refused to do that and upon hearing the warning issued by the prophetess Huldah in the next passage of narrative, he acts in a way that would dissuade calamity from the people of Israel.
In the passage from Deuteronomy at the beginning of this article, YHVH concludes His portion about Shavuot with the statement, “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt; then you will keep and obey these laws.” Why would remembering the slavery in Egypt make us keep the laws of YHVH?
Because these laws are the basis of our freedom.
The Torah is about the deliverance from the slavery of sin. Shavuot shows us that we are not free without His rule over our lives. Shavuot is a celebration of freedom. One of the greatest lies modern religion teaches is that the Torah of YHVH handed down to Moshe is bondage. How can anyone come to that conclusion except they be deceived? The Torah of YHVH is His ketubah, or marriage contract, with each and every one of us. We are His bride and we are to be obedient to our Husband.
In Acts 2, it is no wonder that that same Ketubah came down from Heaven and given to those who were purchased by the bridegroom, Yeshua, on this wonderful Feast of YHVH called Shavuot. The New (or Renewed) Covenant of Jeremiah 31 was fulfilled on Shavuot more than a thousand years later. Shavuot is the completion of YHVH’s process of freeing us from bondage. He completed His work of freedom on Shavuot in the days of Moshe. On that Shavuot, Israel proved that their hearts were still enslaved to the idolatry of Egypt and 3,000 people died that day. On the Shavuot after the Messiah’s ascension, the people of Israel were given the Torah in a form it had never previously come; through the Holy Spirit. The Torah was written on their hearts and on that day, 3,000 people were saved from the bondage of sin.
“No previous king was like him (Josiah); because he turned to YHVH with all his heart, with all his being and with all his power, in accordance with all the Torah of Moshe; nor did any king like him arise afterwards.” 2 Kings 23: 25 CJB
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