We’re going to continue with The Feasts of God tonight. Depending on the translation it is called The Feast of Weeks, to the Jew, Shavuot (shav oo watt) which means Weeks, and in the Greek, as we know it, Pentecost which means 50thfor 50thday.
And looking back at what we talked about last week, tomorrow at sunset, the Feast of First Fruits ends, and let’s do a quick overview as we have just come out of our Easter Holiday, remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we looked at the three feasts that God ordained with Moses that represented that death and resurrection for the Jews.
All coming from Exodus 12 where God is preparing the people for the last plague on Egypt and their soon release, but we’ll read from Leviticus 23 where this is repeated:
Lev 23:1, “And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, The feasts of Jehovah, which you shall proclaim, holy convocations, even these are My appointed feasts.”
Then God lays out His feasts to the Children of Israel starting in Leviticus 23:5:
Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth dayof the first month, between the evenings, is Jehovah's Passover.”
The Passover coming from Exodus 12 remembering when God passed over the Children of Israel when He brought judgement on Egypt smiting the first born, to deliver His people from the bondage of Egypt. The Passover Feast process, represented a picture of the coming Messiah.
Leviticus 23:6, “and on the fifteenth day of the same month isthe Feast of Unleavened Breadto Jehovah. You must eat unleavened breadseven days.”
This coming also from Exodus Chapter 12 because as God said to Moses, “For in this same day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt.”The people were to remember that with haste they left Egypt without time to leaven their bread. Another picture of the coming Messiah.
During this feast, the bread they ate, and the wine they drank would represent a broken and bleeding Messiah who would take away their sins.
Leviticus23:9-11,”And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 10 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah to be received for you.”
The Feast of First Fruits corresponded with the harvest of Barley in the land of Israel. Barley was the first crop reaped from the winter sowing. This was a feast for the nation to thank the Lord for the coming harvest. It was a picture of a coming Messiah who would present Himself as the First Fruits of God from the dead.
All three of these feasts being processed one after another during the first harvest within a seven-day period. It recognized really a new beginning point for the Children of Israel as a Nation accomplishing two things:
Fulfilling promises that God gave to Abraham:
esis12:2,“And I will make you a great nation.” Genesis 13:14-16, “Lift up your eyes now and look from the place where you are northward and southward, and eastward and westward. 15 For all the land which you see I will give to you, and to your seed forever. 16 And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth,”
The Children of Israel, really the children of Jacob who ended up living in Egypt with their brother Joseph, and multiplying there for 215 years, became a great nation. There were more than 2M who left Egypt during the Exodus.
Fulfilled the promise of the Messiah that would save mankind from their sins which we see in many scriptures, but I picked out two for time sake.
Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uponhis shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isa 53:1-7, “Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of Jehovah revealed? (2) For He comes up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He has no form nor majesty that we should see Him, nor an appearance that we should desire Him. (3) He isdespised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not. (4) Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But He waswounded for our transgressions; He wasbruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peacewason Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.”
Jesus would fulfill all of the requirements of three feasts that the Children of Israel would act out over hundreds of years prior to His resurrection, and even today.
He was the spotless Passover Lamb who beaten, bruised, bled, and died for mankind, but God raised Him from the dead and Jesus is now with the Father, presenting Himself as the First Fruits from the dead that we who believe in Him as our Messiah, would have our sins completely removed, and not just covered, but as a promise, would live with Him in Eternity forever.
As the Children of Israel looked to the first feast season of seven days at the end of the Winter harvest as a time to find God’s peace, which we have found having Salvation in Jesus Christ, they looked to the next feast to see His power.
The Feast of Pentecost or Weeks represented the second encounter the Children of Israel would have with God. It was a fourth step within the three major steps for them on a journey to live in the complete rest of God. There are 7 feasts total that the Jews participate in together but within 3 seasons.
Let’s look at Pentecost. As I said earlier, the word Pentecost actually means “Fiftieth” in the Greek. And as I said earlier the Jew it is Shavuot (Shav oo watt) meaning Weeks.
In Exodus 34:22, God tells Moses, “You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year.”
Shavuot has a double significance. It marked the all-important wheat harvest in the Land of Israel and it also commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah or the Law to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.
In Exodus, God gave the Children of Israel His law, and He laid out His Feasts.
The Feast of Weeks was to be held 50 days after the 7thSabbath was completed. The seventh Sabbath was the seventh Sabbath after the Feast of First Fruits when the priest was to wave the Barley that was harvested.
Let’s look at the actual passage where God talks to Moses about this feast. To tell you the truth, I have been in Leviticus more these weeks than I have been for a long time. How many people get into Leviticus? I bet you not many.
Leviticus23:15-22, “And you shall count to you from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete. 16 To the next day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days.
And you shall offer a new food offering to Jehovah. 17 You shall bring out of your homes two wave loaves of two-tenth parts. They shall be of fine flour. (This was the wheat harvest they were celebrating, so they were baking bread)
They shall be baked with leaven, firstfruits to Jehovah. 18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bull, and two rams. They shall be fora burnt offering to Jehovah, with their food offering, and their drink offerings, a fire offering of sweet savor to Jehovah.
19 Then you shall sacrifice one he-goat for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits, a wave offering before Jehovah, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to Jehovah for the priest. 21 And you shall proclaim on the same day thatit may be a holy convocation to you. You shall do no work of labor.
It shall bea statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not completely reap the corner of your field. When you reap the gleaning of your harvest, you shall not gather. You shall leave them to the poor and to the stranger. I amJehovah your God.”
So we see that this feast somewhat mirrors the Feast of First fruits. Another thanksgiving for the harvest, this time for wheat. The Feast of Weeks was held on the 6thof Sivan on the Jewish calendar 50 days from the last feast celebrating the harvest of Barley.
The wave offering expressed the Hebrew dependence on God for their daily bread and their dependence on Him and Him alone. But, it is unfortunate that the Feast of Weeks lost significance as a harvest feast when the Jews were scattered among the nations.
But what stood out to me was the significance to their celebration during this time about the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.
The Jews are taught that God gave the Torah to the people on the 6thof Sivan, they call it the Day of Weeks, on Mount Sinai. The Children of Israel arrived at Mount Sinai on the third month around the third day as stated in Exodus 19. The Jews say that on the 6thday, God gave them the Torah, the Law.
Exo 19:9, “And Jehovah said to Moses, Lo, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever. And Moses told the words of the people to Jehovah.”
Exo 19:14,“And Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people.And they washed their clothes.” The people had to be ceremoniously clean before coming into the Presence of God. A lot of significance here.
Exo 19:16, “And it happened on the third day in the morning, that there werethunders and lightning’s, and a thick cloud upon the mountain. And the voice of the trumpet was exceedingly loud, so that all the people in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God. And they stood at the lower part of the mountain. 18 And Mount Sinai was smoking, all of it, because Jehovah came down upon it in fire. And the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and became very strong, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And Jehovah came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain.”
So we see that Moses and his ceremonially cleaned people came before the Holy Great God.
When God came down, our Word states that there was thunder and lighting and a thick cloud surrounded the mountain. It says that whole mountain was smoking because God came down upon it in a fire. It was like Furnace. I had to throw that in.
After a trumpet blast, a trumpet that was not blown by any man, sounded, and it brought the people into great fear.
You see power being manifested here? Millions of people around a mountain, shuttering in fear. Even Moses was afraid.
In my study of this, from the Jewish texts, they say that the people actually sawthe voice of God. It’s not that just heard it, but Jewish scholars said they saw it.
The saw it coming out of tongues of fire coming down the mountain. They said that the Children of Israel who came out of Egypt when looking up saw the tongues of fire rolling off the mountain, and they saw and heard the one voice of God.
But what was a kicker to me, was though he spoke with one voice, those who heard Him, heard Him in their language. Not all of the people there had the same dialect. Jewish scholars of the law, going way back have said that YWH spoke so that all of the people there would understand Him. They all saw His voice and heard Him.
Psalms 29:7, “The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.”
Hebrews 12:18-19, “For you have not come to the mountain that might be touched and that burned with fire, nor to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words (which voicethey who heard begged that a word should not be spoken to them anymore, 20 for they could not endure the thing commanded…..21 and so fearful was the sight thatMoses said, I exceedingly fear and quake).”
The word thunder in Hebrew is Kole, qol. It means voice or to call out. Lightning is flashes of fire, so what the people saw and heard was a voice sounding like thunder appearing in the fire.
You know that the power emitted from the mountain had to be great that even Moses was afraid. The people in Exodus 20 didn’t want God to speak anymore because they thought they would die.
Are we seeing something here?
I was reading what a Jewish teacher who wrote about this passage in Exodus on the mountain, and he said specifically, “Shavu’ot (shav oo watt) has no similarity with the Christian holiday Pentecost which occurs 50 days after their significant holiday.” (Tracy R Rich)
I beg to differ. Haha.
Actually what we read in the Scriptures is that “the first Pentecost was not in the Book of Acts, it was in the Book of Exodus.” (Booker) But looking to the future:
In Jeremiah31:31, “Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, 32 not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Jehovah; 33 but this shall bethe covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says Jehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
God did just that. He sent Jesus to restore and fulfill the covenant that God made with His people. And it not only was a restoration for the Children of Israel, it also included those who were not from that vine.
God in His love for all of His creation opened the door that all who believed in His Son would be grafted into the vine of His people. And just as one who was not a Hebrew who could by circumcision participate in the Passover and be considered as one who was of the land, so would we through belief because of a circumcision of the heart.
As I said earlier, The Feast of Pentecost represented the second encounter the Children of Israel would have with God. To know His power. And from that day at Mt Sinai, His power would be put on His people by His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus fulfilled this feast upon His ascension into heaven. He also fulfilled a promise by the Old Testament Prophets. Specifically, the Prophet Joel:
Joel 2:28-29, "It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. "Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
So we read n Acts Chapter 2:
And we see this in the 2ndChapter of Acts:
Act 2:1 And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly a sound came out of the heaven as borne along by the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And tongues as of fire appeared to them, being distributed; and it sat upon each of them. (Just like the Children of Israel saw on Mount Sinai.)
4 And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. On Sinai, God spoke to the people and they heard Him in their language. And we continue in that:
5 And dwelling at Jerusalem there were Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven.
Act 2:6 But this sound occurring, the multitude came together and were confounded, because they each heard them speaking in his own dialect.
7 And they were all amazed and marveled…….we hear them speaking the great things of God in our own languages. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying to one another, What does this mean?”
Yes, what does this mean? God so loved the World, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. Not only have everlasting life at the end of the age. But have life with power in this age.
God is now in us, with the power of heaven.
It was 50 days from The Feast of First fruits, to the Feast of Pentecost, and it was 50 days from Jesus resurrection to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
But the power of Pentecost did not originate 50 days after the resurrection. It originated on Mt Sinai with the giving of the Law and God manifesting Himself to His people.
It was then that God’s Feast that He created that the people would participate in for 1500 years to the date that Jesus would send the Holy Spirit. A power to be His witness to lost and hurting people.
At Sinai, people rushed to the mountain to see God, years later they would rush to the Mt Zion, and see God through His people. We are the grand design of God in this day.
It was proclaimed thousands of years ago, that we His people who were called by His name would carry Him within us, carry His power, His love, and His mercy to be used to reclaim that which was lost so people would be restored back to God.
But to quickly close, as we have talked about the power of God on Sinai, and the power of God at Pentecost at the beginning of the church in Acts 2, let’s go back to the feast that the Jews do not participate in any more. We can see the significance of two things.
For the Feast of Weeks, two loaves of bread had to be baked, the flour had to be sifted with no clumps, it was to be perfect, so it was a representation of Jesus who was sinless and pure. The two loaves also represented the Jew and the Gentile. Both have leaven in them, it represented sin, but both can receive the power of God in their lives to overcome sin and be an effective witness. Both had access to the sinless Messiah, so they were waved together.
God had a plan ~3500 years ago, that we His creation Jew and Gentile would be His people endued with power from Heaven to be a witness to others of not only His greatness but His love. And Jesus was to be in the center of it all with us and in us. Empowering us with the unlimited resources of heaven that is available to us. We just need to believe. Amen!
Next week we will continue with The Feasts of God.
But I would be amiss if I did not ask during this “Pentecost” message if there were those who have not been Baptized with the Holy Spirit who wants it. If that is something that you would like, please come up after I pray and we will pray for you to receive it. A young man ~ 2 weeks ago received the baptism here during the Prayer Room session. Do you want to be endued with power to witness and be open to the Spiritual Gifts? If so come on up.