Last week, we learned that First Fruits celebrates what God has provided (Leviticus 23:9-14). It represents resurrection like Passover represents redemption, and Unleavened Bread speaks of being set apart for God. The final spring festival, and the second of three that required visiting the Temple in Jerusalem, is Pentecost, meaning ‘fiftieth.’ The Hebrew name is Shavuot. It is also called the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15), and it occurs fifty days after the Saturday before the First Fruits gathering. Like First Fruits, priests wave the first of the new crop (wheat this time) to thank God for the harvest. It is about much more than thanksgiving, though—it’s about the power and authority of God passed, and passes, to His own.
The first Pentecost brought God’s power through His instructions via the Law. By the way: the original language presents the ‘Law’ as an ‘instruction,’ not debilitating rules and regulations! Anyway, the post-resurrection Pentecost brought God’s power not only through the Law (still valid for civility and morality) but by His Spirit, who began to dwell within anyone who belongs to Him through Jesus. The Spirit enables right living and God’s power and authority. I’ll give you a cool Pentecost tidbit since I’ve still got some room in this week’s article.
After rescuing the Israelites from Egypt, God gave the people ten basic commandments in stone and by proxy through Moses at the first Pentecost. Following them would help keep God’s people from falling prey to the rebellious ways of the non-God-fearing residents of the land that would eventually be theirs. At that Pentecost in about 1445 BCE, 3,000 people lost their lives because they disobeyed God’s standard (Exodus 32:26-28). However, 3,000 people gained their lives by embracing the instructions ‘written on their hearts’ by the Spirit during the post-resurrection Pentecost celebration (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Acts 2:36-41). God always puts things right—even after 1,500 years!
How did Jesus fulfill the feast? By giving us the power of God through Spirit and instruction (e.g., Acts 1:4-8), which had become His right to do so after His sacrifice and resurrection. Jesus’ gift at the post-resurrection Pentecost also put right the deficit of 3,000 souls suffered at the first Pentecost.
What about us? Choose to devote yourself to God through Jesus, receive His Spirit with all guidance and power He brings, and stay there!
Next week? Before we move to the fall feasts, likely related to Christ’s eventual return and the transition of the ages, I’ll share a love story and take the mystery out of some end-times stuff in Here Comes the Bride!
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley