The First Fruits of the Word
Whole Word Institute staff and students joined leaders who came from around the world to Jerusalem on Pentecost for a special consultation. Here at the Garden Tomb they shared a time of worship, celebrating the giving of the Word and of the Spirit. Many nations, including every continent, were represented. Through this consultation gathering, Whole Word Institute and its partners seek to lay the initial foundations for a movement through prayer and Spirit-led planning to eliminate the Original (Old) Testament Gap.
As we celebrated Pentecost, we were especially reminded of the leading role of God’s Spirit in the giving of His Word for all nations. When God poured out His Spirit on His disciples at Pentecost, they began to miraculously declare “the wonders of God” in the native languages of the many nationalities who had traveled to Jerusalem for Shavuot.
We can miss the full significance of this moment in redemption history without the Original (Old) Testament. Pentecost finds its roots in the festival of Shavuot, also known as the “Feast of Weeks,” or the “Feast of First Fruits.” During this feast, God’s people were to offer their best back to Him. As Deuteronomy 26 and 31 instruct, these first fruits were to be shared with Levites, children, the fatherless, servants, strangers, widows, and foreigners. Traditionally, Shavuot falls at the same time as the receiving of the Torah, when God’s glory appeared in a blaze of fire upon Mount Sinai, and Moses delivered His Word to Israel.
When the Spirit of God blew through the house at Pentecost, and the tongues of flames rested upon each disciple, God, in dramatic fashion, recalled Mount Sinai when He manifested His presence to His people, and Israel received His Word. But here in Acts 2, instead of a mountaintop, His presence rested upon the followers of Jesus, indwelling them with His Word, which they in turn shared with every nation, tribe, and tongue. Peter made this deep connection, as he stood up to address the crowd at Pentecost:
“And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
–Acts 2:17, 21
As the whole story reveals, God’s plan to dwell among His people was coming to pass, opening the doors wide to all who call on Jesus’ name.
One of Whole Word Institute’s online classes through the Hebrew Extension Learning Program is currently studying the book of Ruth, a traditional book to read during Shavuot. During the harvest time of Shavuot, Ruth, a foreigner, was welcomed into the house of Israel, and became part of the royal line of David.
Ruth herself foreshadowed the foreigners who would gather in Jerusalem at Shavuot shortly after Jesus commissioned his followers to make disciples of all nations.
Thank you for sharing the Word,
The Whole Word Institute team
The Whole Word for the Whole World