We are quickly approaching the Biblical feast of Pentecost which by the Jewish calendar falls on Sivan 6 or May 19th of this year. This is an interesting date for Shavuot or Pentecost as it is otherwise known, is replete with symbolism regarding the gentile bride and her kinsmen redeemer.Just like in the story of Ruth.
“So Boaz, said to Ruth, “My daughter listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here …So, Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and the wheat harvest were finished.” Ruth 2:8,23
In Leviticus 23: 15-21, God commands the Israelites to count 50 days from Passover to Shavuot. This 50 day count is known as “the counting of the Omer.” An omer is a biblical measure of grain. On the second day of Passover, an omer of barley was offered in the temple signaling the start of the harvest and the beginning of the 50 day count to Shavuot. On the 50th day, the barley harvest ends and the wheat harvest begins, the change in harvest symbolized by the waving of two wheat loaves by the High Priest in the temple before the Lord. The waving of the two leavened loaves, also, representing those who would be harvested; both Jew and Gentile – which is why the Torah and the Church share the same birthday.
It is well accepted that Ruth, the foreigner represents the largely gentile church redeemed by Jesus, the Lord of the harvest, as represented by Boaz, who functioned as her kinsman redeemer. I find it interesting that Boaz instructs her to stay through out the barley and the wheat harvest. In Jewish tradition, the counting of the Omer is said to be a time of preparation for receiving the Torah. The Exodus was looked on as a gift, while the giving of the Torah required some spiritual preparation or readiness. This presents an interesting picture. Do the fifty days between the First fruits resurrection of Jesus and the receiving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost constitute a period of readiness for the church as well? I see this indicated in the instructions Jesus gave his disciples before he ascended in to heaven - “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father has promised …” Acts 1:4 I also see this indicated in Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready.”