God Appointments

June 11, 2024

Since early May I have been pondering God’s calendar especially as we approach the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew), otherwise known as Pentecost which occurs on the Biblical Calendar beginning at sundown on June 11 of this year (2024). I believe that the Lord is beginning to shift and revive HIS work in this season of Shavuot/Pentecost.

Calendars are an integral part of our lives. They help us know what the date is and what day of the week it is. In American culture we mark each day of the week anticipating the weekend or time off from work. We count the weeks and days until we can take a vacation, or when a baby will be born, or we get married, or a holiday or whatever day we are anticipating.

Many of us also have special appointments and we put them in our calendar. The calendar helps us establish a rhythm in our life and helps us prepare and be on time for special times like weddings, anniversaries, graduations, birthdays and other celebrations important to us. If a certain day or time is important to us we put it in our calendar. With the advent of calendars on our phones we can also set alerts to be sure we don’t miss the appointment. Our calendars are mostly set around us and perhaps events important to work, family members or friends. If we are part of the Christian world our calendar may also include church events, holidays and special meeting times such as concerts and other gatherings.

How often do we consider that God has a calendar? He has set special appointed times when He calls His people to gather, worship, not do regular work, bring offerings and remember that He has brought out of the bondage of sin into freedom. There is a biblical cycle of appointed times. Jesus kept them as did the disciples and early Church.

However, in early Church history the Church fell away from keeping these appointments and began to set up a different calendar. For example, the push to create a separate non-Biblical celebration of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection began as early as the second century. In 325 CE it became official at the First Council of Nicaea to establish the date of “Easter” as the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Emperor Constantine wrote … it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. …Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way.” (Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book 3 chapter 18)

Have we received a different way from our Savior? I think not. We have received a different way from men who set themselves up above what God says in His Word. Jesus suffered, died, was buried and rose again during the week long celebration of the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits. God set the date in His Word. It begins at twilight on the first month of the biblical year on the 14th day – it is the LORD’s Passover (see Leviticus 23:4-8). God said that this time of Passover is a memorial and to be kept as a feast by an everlasting ordinance (see Exodus 12:14). Jesus is our Passover Lamb (see 1 Corinthians 5:7).

The next feast on the Biblical calendar is Shavuot (Hebrew for the Feast of Weeks) which we identify as Pentecost because it occurs 50 (penta) days after “Easter” or after the time of Passover/Unleavened Bread/Firstfruits? Well on the Christian calendar it’s obviously celebrated 50 days after Easter but on the Biblical calendar the appointed time is 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits (part of the week now collectively known as Passover). Some Scriptures about Shavuot are Leviticus 23:15-16, Numbers 28:26-27, Deuteronomy 16:9-12.

My purpose here is not to bring condemnation upon us if we celebrate the dates set on the Christian calendar, but to bring awareness that there is a DIFFERENT Calendar – God’s Calendar – God’s appointed times. Perhaps we should consider these appointments that God has set and begin to incorporate them into the rhythm of our lives? Obviously we are not an agrarian society as Israel was in ancient times, nor do we continue on with animal sacrifice as Jesus is THE perfect sacrifice that was slain. God is also always present with us and we can worship Him at anytime and anyplace. But, just as we have daily relationships with our spouses, family and friends we also have special “appointed” times of special celebrations wit them. So it is with God! He invites us into these times. It’s not a “have to do it”, but rather a “get to do it”. Yes, it will take some effort to re-adjust our calendars but it’s worth it!

I am expectant of this season of Shavuot/Pentecost. I believe God is shifting us and as it says in Habakkuk 3:2, reviving His work as in days of old. We surely need it! We need a fresh Baptism of the Holy Spirit that empowers us be strong witnesses of the saving, healing, transforming and delivering power of the Lord Jesus Christ! I believe that as we lay our hands on people in humility and faith praying for their healing and deliverance we will begin to see His glorious deeds manifest in this season. People are sick – in mind, body, emotions and spirit. It’s time for the people of God to bring them the ONE who heals – Christ Jesus! Let’s also expect many to come into the Kingdom just as on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when 3,000 souls came into the Kingdom and were baptized after Peter’s sermon empowered by the Holy Spirit!

I leave you with these scriptures which have been coming again and again since early May. Make them a prayer with me!

“O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. God came (and is coming) from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered (and is covering) the heavens, and the earth was full (and is full) of His praise. His brightness was (and is) like the light; and He had (and has) rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was (and is) hidden.” Habakkuk 3:2-4

May this Shavuot/Pentecost be the beginning of a shift for you and those you love. Come Lord Jesus Come – Maranatha!!

For more on the Feast of Pentecost/Shavuot read this blog>>

The image used above is by permission of Deana Harvey, the artist. Deana can be reached on Facebook at Tree of Life Art Gallery>>

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a non-profit ministry conducting Christian women’s conference, trips to Israel and online Christian Bible studies. 

Women of the Word also offers bible reading plans and instruction for how to understand the Bible for beginners and those maturing in their faith. WOW serves women of all denominations, cultures and ages and is focused on teaching biblical principles and their application in daily life.

Why celebrate the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot)?

I urge you to pray for the salvation of all the people of Israel, both Jew and Arab, and for a cessation of violence and peace within her borders. Come, Yeshua (Jesus) come we pray!! As a ministry we are also preparing ‘material blessings’ (Romans 15:27). Pentecost is a perfect time to give offerings. Please consider making a donation here which will be sent directly to help ministries that we have personal relationship with in Israel.

The Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot)

Many Christians have some familiarity with the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1 – 4) mentioned in the New Testament and if you have been part of any organized church tradition you may have heard of it. Did you know that it’s roots are in the Old Testament and actually a Feast that the LORD God commanded the children of Israel to celebrate?

This year (2022) The Feast of “Shavuot” begins the evening of June 4th which is Sivan 6 on the Hebrew Calendar. It is one of the three “pilgrimage” feasts when Jewish males were commanded in the Old Testament to go up to Jerusalem to present offerings to the LORD. The other two are Passover and Tabernacles.

Because the Hebrew calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar the Biblical Feasts are on different days of the Gregorian calendar each year and coincide infrequently. This year (2022) however they do as June 5th is Pentecost Sunday on the Gregorian calendar and Shavuot begins at sundown on June 4th ending at sundown June 5th in Israel. It is a true convergence. Let’s be expectant that as the Gentile church joins with our believing Jewish brothers and sisters in this celebration a new unity and love will flow between us as we are joined into one Body in Messiah Yeshua. How beautiful and exciting!

Shavuot means “weeks” in Hebrew so it is also known as the Feast of Weeks because it occurs 7 weeks after the Feast of Firstfruits which today is included in the eight day Feast of Passover (also knows as Feast of Unleavened Bread). Because it starts on the 50th day following Firstfruits, we call Shavuot Pentecost. Pente means 50 in Greek. Since Christians follow the Gregorian calendar “Pentecost” this year is Sunday June 5th. (Read about the Feast of Firstfruits and Weeks in Leviticus 23:9 – 22).

In the Bible Shavuot is also known as the Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16) because it celebrates the beginning (first fruits) of the wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22).

The Wave Offerings

On the Feast of Firstfruits (after Passover), one sheaf of barley was waved as a celebration of the the barley harvest and one male lamb without blemish was offered as a sacrifice unto the LORD. Can you see how this relates to Jesus who is called a spotless lamb and sacrificed himself on the cross for our redemption and salvation? Christ is the first fruits! (1 Corinthians 15:23)

On Shavuot a new grain (wheat) offering is brought to the LORD in the form of two loaves that were waved by the priests (Leviticus 23:16 – 17). Animal sacrifice was also involved in this Feast. However animal sacrifice ceased when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD. As Christians we believe Jesus is the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins. Animal sacrifice is no longer necessary for redemption.

The Two Loaves of Bread

What could the two loaves of bread symbolize? They could represent a double portion harvest. In Old Testament days it was the blessing of actual grain because Israel was an agricultural society. But in the New Testament Jesus said, “The fields are already white for harvest” (John 4:35), indicating a harvest of souls!! This is part of our mission as believers — to make disciples. While the Feast of Pentecost is about the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, it is also about 3,000 souls coming into the Kingdom! Who were these people? They were primarily Jews because Jews came up to the Temple at Shavuot from all over the known world. 3,000 souls came to know Jesus as Messiah that day and the “church” was born in power. (Read Acts Chapter 2). What an awesome “first fruits” offering and harvest! Many of these new believers empowered by the Holy Spirit would have returned to where they lived across Israel, Asia and even to Rome after Shavuot and spread the Gospel to their neighbors. Glory to God!!

The two loaves could also represent the “One New Man”, the coming together of Jew and Gentile, now one in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Together we make up the “church”. (Ephesians 2:11 – 22). God is not done with Israel and will keep His covenant promises to her. The Apostle Paul taught this in Romans Chapters 9 – 11.

The Book of Ruth

A Jewish tradition begun by the Rabbis is to read the Book of Ruth during Shavuot. The story of Ruth begins at the beginning of the barley harvest (Feast of Firstfruits) and continues through the wheat harvest beyond Shavuot. It is very meaningful!

The story of Ruth is of how she, a Moabites came alongside her Jewish mother-in law Naomi to care for her. Ruth emphatically states in Chapter 1, verse 16

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.’

Here is the story in a nutshell! Ruth fully identifies with Naomi and returns with her to Bethlehem leaving her own country. Both Naomi’s husband and Ruth’s husband are dead. In that culture widowhood was extremely difficult. Additionally they had no children; Naomi’s sons have also died and Ruth is childless which was another difficulty within the culture.

Naomi’s purpose in returning to Bethlehem is to seek out a “kinsmen redeemer” among her relatives. One is found in Boaz, who foreshadows Jesus, and Ruth marries him. Together they had a son named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, the Father of King David and therefore in the lineage of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus)!!

Here we see a Gentile woman being accepted into the House of Israel. What a beautiful foreshadowing of how the Church is made up of both Jew and Gentile becoming “one new man” in Yeshua. Hallelujah! May we be like Ruth, coming alongside the Jewish people to love them, bless them, care for them and draw them to their Messiah Yeshua!

We need Torah (the Word) and the Spirit

While we can not prove it from the Scriptures, the Rabbis teach that the Ten Commandments (Torah – teaching) was given on Mt. Sinai to Moses at the time of Shavuot. Observant Jews believe this today. We can glean from this as we celebrate the bringing together of the celebration of Shavuot/Pentecost in the Old and New Testaments! As believers in Jesus we want the power of the Holy Spirit and His manifestations but they must be rooted in God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will never contradict what the Word says because He is One with the Father and the Son!

Can you see how it enriches our understanding of the Scriptures and our walk with the LORD when we understand the richness of our inheritance as demonstrated in the Feasts of the LORD and in the Old Testament? We pray this season of harvest is a blessing to you as you bless others in Yeshua’s name. Click here to make a donation which will be given to our brothers and sisters in Israel according to Romans 15:27.

View videos to learn more….

Wave Offering with Pam Singer from Israel>>

The Church and Israel with Betsy Roy >>

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel.  Join us on the Amazing Israel Adventure next year Feb 26-March 10, 2023.

Celebrating Shavuot/Pentecost

by Betsy Roy

On the Hebrew calendar Shavuot occurs fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits. On the Christian calendar Pentecost occurs fifty days after Jesus’ Resurrection.

They are the same day since Jesus was resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits! The Old Testament Feast of Shavuot (or Weeks) is an agricultural feast celebrating the wheat harvest and also called the Feast of Reaping or Harvest. While not supported in the Biblical text, Rabbinic tradition teaches that at this time God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. Pentecost in the New Testament commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the 120 gathered in the Upper Room and their empowerment to spread the Gospel. Indeed, 3000 new believers came into the Kingdom that day (Acts 2) and were baptized. Wouldn’t we like to receive 3,000 new believers into our congregations today? That is a mighty move of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of men and women!

We need both the Word of God (His teachings and instructions) and the Spirit of God to guide us and teach us.

The Holy Spirit is our teacher and he brings to our remembrance all that Jesus taught. Jesus himself spoke the scriptures many times in various situations. Growing up as a Jewish man within a Jewish community, Jesus studied the scriptures, went to the synagogue and celebrated the Feasts of the Lord going up to Jerusalem to be in God’s House (the Temple). After being baptized in the Jordan River, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil and Jesus met every temptation by speaking God’s Word from Deuteronomy (see Luke 4).

Jesus’ example shows us how much we need to know God’s Word and need the Holy Spirit to rightly apply God’s Word in our lives. It’s not one without the other. There are many voices competing for our attention today. As believers we need to know whose voice is speaking to us as the enemy of our souls surely tries to get us to listen to his voice. The Holy Spirit will never contradict God’s Word. Therefore, to know the voice of the Spirit, we must also know what the Word of God says. The Spirit will bring understanding, illumination, revelation and confirmation of God’s Word, but never speak contrary to it. So, it’s the Word and the Spirit together!

Are you struggling with Life Issues, not knowing what to do today?

Go to God’s Word, the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He will! Perhaps you need a Redeemer – His name is Jesus – and he will forgive you of every sin if you ask him and then give you strength and power to live free of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you need direction? Again, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will help you. The Lord never turns away a sincere heart that comes to him.

Commemorating Shavuot and Pentecost is celebrating the WORD and the SPIRIT. Let’s be thankful God gave us both and pray and work towards a great harvest of souls into God’s Kingdom! 

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Betsy and her husband Jim lead the trips to Israel, which include visiting with local believers, both Messianic and Arab. Together they have 3 daughters and 3 grandchildren which are the delight of their hearts. God’s mercy endures from generation to generation.