• - Celebrations at kibbutz Sarid, in Emek Yizrael (Yizrael valley) during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, originally a harvest festival, but now also commemorates the giving of the Law (the Torah). May 19, 2018. Photo by Anat Hermony/FLASH90

The New Covenant With Israel: First-Fruits

editor - 2 June 2019

Shavuot or Shovuos, in Ashkenazi usage; Shavuʿoth in Sephardi and Mizrahi Hebrew (Hebrew: שָׁבוּעוֹת, lit. “Weeks”), is known as the Jewish Feast of Weeks (in English) that is celebrated seven weeks after Pesach. Originally it was the feast at which the “first-fruits” of the harvest (that which is harvested first) were sacrificed to God. Shavuot is originally a harvest-festival, but later it became the commemoration of the anniversary of the day when God gave the Torah (the Law, particularly the Ten Commandments) to the nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.

It was one of the Biblical pilgrimage festivals for which Jews from all over the Roman world came to the Temple in Jerusalem, both Jews and Proselytes, who born as non-Jews had converted to Judaism. From their proselytization onwards they are Jews too. Not born as Jews, but became Jews. One hundred and twenty Jews (Acts 1:5; 2:1-2) were filled with the Holy Spirit. To the amazement of the over one million Jews (according to Flavius Josephus) who came to Jerusalem from every nation to the then known world (Acts 2:5-12). Jewish first-fruits.

In Luke 19 Jesus made the New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah during the Seder. An inner-Jewish affair. Prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 31:31, “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a New Covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.” Luke 22:19-20 “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.” For you, My Jewish friends.

The signs of the New Covenant are the broken body and the shed blood of Jesus. And the New Covenant is sealed (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30) with the Holy Spirit of the promise that can and will apply and work out the meaning of the broken body and the shed blood in the lives of lost sinners.

Frist-fruits. That means that thereafter an enormous harvest will follow, Zechariah 12:10-14, Romans 11:25-29. From the gentile world too, the non-Jewish world. For centuries the Lord is gathering a people for His Name (Acts 15:14), from the gentile world as well. With Cornelius the door of the New Covenant was opened for Gentiles, Acts 10:44-48, to the utter amazement of the Jewish believers. We are welcome! Soon the full harvest will follow, when the final feast of Whitsun will come! And ultimately the nations also will be included in the Kingdom of peace and righteousness, when peace will cover the whole earth, flowing forth from Jerusalem, Isaiah 2:2-4. Because after Shavuot comes Sukkot: Feast of Tabernacles – the ingathering of the nations, Zechariah 14:16-17. Blessed Feast of Whitsun – Pentecost!

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