The Book of Acts records one of the most anticipated events in the history of the Kingdom of Heaven (a). This event took place on Shavuot, Sivan 6, 30 C.E. (b).
On this particular Shavuot the number of Yeshua’s Talmidim (The 120) increased by 3000 members (Acts 2:41).
Symbolically the 3000 were a “first-fruits” offering as typified by the Wave Offering of the Shtai HaLechem (The two leavened loaves) which were presented to HaShem in the Beit HaMikdash (c) as commanded in the Torah ( VahYikrah 23:15-22; Bemidbar 28:26, Devarim 16:10) (d).
The purpose of this article is to provide the details of the observance of Shavuot in the first century of the Common Era which will enhance one’s understanding of what occurred on Shavuot – Sivan 6, 30 C.E.!
Shavuot – Sivan 6, 30 C.E.
According to some scholars approximately 200,000 people went up to Yerushalayim to celebrate Shavuot. Yeshua’s talmidim had been in Yerushalayim since his “Triumphal Entry” which took place a week before Pesach (Matthew 21:1-6). After Yeshua’s resurrection his talmidim spent an additional 40 days with him learning about the principles of “The Kingdom of God”as well as eagerly anticipating being “filled with Power from on High,” (Acts 1:1ff). This intense time of discipleship took place during the time known as “Sefirat HaOmer” (VahYikrah 23:15-16) (e).
Shavuot was one of the three “Shalosh Regalim” commonly known as the Three Pilgrim feasts (Shemot 23:14-19; Devarim 16:10-12). The basic requirements of this feast were:
- To joyfully appear before HaShem in the Azarah (The Temple Courtyard).
- To present to HaShem a Wave Offering of Shtai HaLechem with it’s accompanying offering of two Lambs. From my studies it appears that the Cohanim presented one Wave Offering on behalf of all the people who came up to Yerushalayim. However, my perception may not be conclusive.
- To present an offering of the seven species (Devarim 8:8), wheat being one of the Seven Species.
The Preparation of the Wave Offering
The wheat flour known as Solees or purified flour was the main ingredient of the Shtai HaLechem. The wheat was harvested and prepared a few days before Shavuot in the Azarah. The wheat was winnowed, beaten, ground in a mill and placed through a 13 stage sifting process. Each loaf of bread was made individually from its own piece of dough. The dough is then mixed with water and leaven and then baked. These details are all found in the Talmud (f).
This preparation process typifies harvesting and gathering in “fruit for eternal life” (Yochanan 4:31-38) .
- The world is God’s wheat field. Each person is sifted and prepared through their life experiences to enter the Kingdom of God.
- The two individually prepared loaves that are made with water and leaven represent the body of the Mashiach which is comprised of Jews and Greeks. The term Greeks signifies the people groups of the nations.
- Each member of each group has been redeemed and washed by the regenerating water of the Ruach HaKodesh (Titus 3:5). Yet at the same time because each person still lives in their mortal body they struggle with the leaven of their sinful nature (Romans 7:13-25).
The Presentation Of The Wave Offering
In between the morning and the afternoon Korban Tamid – the continual burnt offering (Shemot 29:38) – the Shtai Halechem are waved twice before HaShem. They are waved in six directions – North, South, East, West, Up and Down. The first time they are waved – Tnufa – together with the two live lambs. The lambs are slaughtered and cut into individual pieces. Then the Shtai HaLechem are waved in the same six directions with a piece or pieces of the lambs which are placed on top of the loaves. The lambs are then burned on the Temple’s Mizbayach (g).
The Wave offering is considered to be a Korban Todah (VahYikrah 7:12) or a thanksgiving offering, which is offered to give thanks to Adonoi for rescuing a person from individual disaster such as a sickness or an arduous journey especially a journey at sea (Tehillim 107).
The two Wavings of the two loaves and lambs in the six directions typify the following:
- The Two Lambs represent that Yeshua has redeemed both Jews and Greeks from personal disaster caused by the wages of sin which is death (Romans 6:23).
- The Two live lambs represent that the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world lives forever (Yochanan 11:25).
- The sacrifice of the lambs represents that The Lamb of God had to suffer to redeem mankind (Yeshayahu 53:1ff).
- The Wave offering being a Todah offering indicates that The Lamb of God is merciful and rescues each of his children from the disaster of darkness into the blessings of his Kingdom of marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9).
The Rest of the Story – Acts Chapter Two
Yeshua’s talmidim are gathered together “in One Place” with hundreds of thousands of people. The “Place” was the Temple courtyards. The Beit HaMigdash or The Temple is frequently called “The Place” – HaMakom – or “The House” – HaBayit (Acts 2;2) .
They are expecting the long awaited promise of the outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh. Then suddenly the long awaited outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh descends from HaShamayim (h).
Kefa, anointed by the Ruach speaks prophetically to the crowd of people and 3000 are “cut to the heart” and subsequently saved. (Acts 2:5-41).
These 3000 new believers, who have gathered in the Azarah from the “four corners of the earth” are a type of “first-fruits” Wave Offering.
In a wider sense every person – Jews or Greeks – who become a believer are a First-fruits Wave Offering! As it is written:
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created. – James 1:18
May The Holy One Of Yisrael bless each one of us with a Ruach filled Shavuot!!!
a. In Hebrew Malcut Shamayim מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם
b. Yeshua may have been crucified in 33 C.E.
c. Another name for the temple. Literally sanctified or holy House. בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ
d. I am using the hebrew names for the books of the Tenach. Please see: www.jewfaq.org/torah.htm
e. For a more detailed explanation please refer to : http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Sefirat_HaOmer/sefirat_haomer.html
f. The best book on the subject can be found for free online at : http://wit-resources.s3.amazonaws.com/Korban-Mincha.pdf Also please refer to Menachos 86b (cf. Tosafos in Da’as Zekeinim MiBa’alei Hatosafot to Bamidbar 28:25 and Rambam in Temidim Umusafimi 8:1)
g. Mizbayah is Hebrew for altar מִזְבֵּ֫חַ
h. Shamayim is a Hebrew word that is used for Heaven שָׁמַ֫יִם