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Is Celebrating Shavuot (Pentecost) Optional?

by Natan Lawrence

Is celebrating the biblical feast of Shavuot (aka the Feast of Week or Pentecost) optional for the born-again, redeemed Israelite believer in Yeshua the Messiah in the 21st century?

The short answer is, “NO!” unless one considers the clear commands of the Word of Elohim to be merely suggestions and not commands. “NO!” unless one rejects following the examples of Yeshua, the Apostle Paul and the Book of Acts followers of Yeshua. “NO!” unless one has become so conditioned to following the traditions of men that have made of non-effect the Word of Elohim that they have become blind and deaf to the clear truth of the Scriptures.

You see, we live in an age where the majority of so-called “Bible believers” and church people are more concerned about feelings, popularity, majority consensus, what others think, having fun, being entertained, the lust of the flesh and eyes that most either don’t know what the Word of Elohim says, or don’t care. Oh, they will swear otherwise, but their actions speak louder than their words. Amos the prophet describes this spiritual sickness well when he referred to apostate Israel as suffering from a “famine of the hearing of the words of YHVH,” (Hos 8:11Hos 8:11
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11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.  

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). You see, the word “hearing” in Hebrew is shema, which means not just “to hear,” but “to do and to obey” as well. It seems that nowadays, like then, a lot of folks hear, but few obey.

On May 27, 2012, we will be celebrating the biblical feast of Shavuot (Lev 23:15–22, Acts 2:1; 20:16Acts 2:1; 20:16
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2 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.  

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). On this blog, and on our ministry website (hoshanarabbah.org) we have been promoting our congregation’s and our ministry’s Shavuot celebration to those in our local area (the Pacific Northwest U.S. region). Well, what prompted this blog post was an interesting response I received today from someone who thanked us for the announcement, but was sorry they couldn’t make it to Shavuot because they had a birthday party to attend instead.

So, I submit, once again, the question, is celebrating Shavuot optional? Let me list the reasons why it is not—according to the Word of Elohim—this is not just my opinion!

  • Shavuot is a high holy day sabbath when YHVH commands his people to stop whatever they are doing and to meet with him on this day (Lev 23:1,15Lev 23:1,15
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    23 1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:  

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    –21).
  • YHVH enacted Shavuot as a statute for his people Israel(Lev 23:21Lev 23:21
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    21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.  

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    ).
  • If you’re a follower of and believer in Yeshua then that makes you a son of Abraham (Gal 3:29Gal 3:29
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    29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.  

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    ), and an Israelite (Eph 2:11Eph 2:11
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    11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  

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    –19), and so the command to observe Shavuot applies to you. Only the pagan, heathens are exempted from this celebration.
  • If you call yourself a Christian, Messianic, or a follower of Yeshua, then you’ll not want to risk being a hypocrite, but rather, you’ll want to do what he did and celebrate all of the biblical feasts including Shavuot. You’ll also want to follow the example of Paul who instructed us to imitate him as he imitated Yeshua by doing what Yeshua did (1 Cor 11:11 Cor 11:1
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    11 1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.  

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    ). To imitate means to do exactly what someone else does. Yeshua celebrated Shavuot (Acts 20:16Acts 20:16
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    16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.  

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    ).
  • If you love Yeshua, you will be keeping his commandments (John 14:15John 14:15
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    15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.  

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    ) of which Shavuot is one.
  • Some believers in Yeshua feel that we only need to do what he directly commanded us to do. Well, he commanded his disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high, which occurred on the day of Pentecost (Luke 24:49Luke 24:49
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    49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  

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    ; Acts 2:1Acts 2:1
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    2 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  

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    –4). Therefore, he was commanding them to celebrate, which  they continued to do as we see from the example of Paul above.
  • Finally, if there is any biblical feast that has precedence to be celebrated in our day, it should be the Feast of Pentecost, since, as many of us have been taught in our churches, the NT church was birthed on this day. So, if it was good enough for them, why not for us? And, it seems to me, that if there is any church group out there who should be celebrating Pentecost, it should be Pentecostals, right?

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