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The Seven Feasts of Jehovah: Feast of Weeks (Pentecost, Shavuot)

The Fourth Feast: Feast of Weeks (Pentecost, Shavuot[1])
March/April May/June July Aug Sept/Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
Early rain The long hot Summer Late rain        
Nisan Iyar Sivan Tamuz Ab Elul Tishrei Marches–van Kislev Tevet Shebat Adar
Abib Ziv Sivan Tammuz Av Elul Ethanim Bul Kislev Tebeth Shevat Adar
Passover (14)
Unleavened Bread (15–21)*
Firstfruits (16)
  Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (6)*       Trumpets (Jewish New Year) (1)
Day of Atonement (10)
Tabernacles (15–21)*
         
*All men had to attend in Jerusalem (Deut 16:16, Ex 23:14)
Some alternative names/spellings for the months of the Hebrew calendar

The big idea

Part A – The Church presented in all the value and excellencies of Christ, because it is by Christ that we are united to Him (are with and in Him), through the freewill work He wrought on the cross, being the mystery revealed, uniting Jews and Gentiles.

Part B – The first fruits of the Spirit given at Pentecost (Rom 8:23): The Holy Spirit, who is He and what is His Work, in relation to Pentecost.

Part A

Key Bible Passages

Acts 2

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. Acts 2:1 – 5

Note that in this passage over 15 regions/nationalities of the world are represented, indicating the power of the Holy Spirit.

Leviticus 23:15–21

Ordinance of days to be counted, two loaves (note the yeast or leaven), burnt offering, grain and drink offering, peace offering, the holy convocation, a Sabbath, treatment of the stranger and poor, the gleanings of the field.

Num 28:26–29

The offerings at the feast, the burnt offering being a sweet arom to the LORD, offerings to be without blemish.

Deut 16:9–11

Ordinance of days to be counted, a tribute of a freewill offering, a time of rejoicing.

Gal 3:3–8

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." Galatians 3:8 (NKJV)

Eph 3:6

that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, Ephesians 3:6 (NKJV)

Summary

Purpose

To celebrate the harvest: it is a free will offering to the Lord, in response to the grace of God in His providence in the provisions of the harvest (Deut 16:10).

A holy convocation to the Lord, celebrated in the place the Lord appointed – Jerusalem finally (See Deut 16:16, Acts 20:16).

Relation to other feasts

This feast is inextricably linked with the Feast of First–fruits, which presents Christ. This feast, unlike Passover does not look back – the ordinance was given after the exodus, ie after Passover and represents today.

Relationship to Christians

It speaks of the free–will offering of Christ on the cross, who after He had ascended on high, sent the Holy Spirit (The Comforter) to unveil the mystery, which was the Church that is composed of saved Jews and Gentiles.

Key Elements (See Lev 23)

Was to be held seven complete weeks (hence 'feast of weeks') from the Feast of Firstfruits, that is after 7 x 7 days had passed and held on the 50th day (hence Pentecost).

Two loaves of leavened bread from new (wheat) flour (sifted 12 times, as tradition has it) (each being about 600 x 300 mm in size) waved before the Lord, also called the first–fruits (Lev 23:17). These were usually baked on the Friday before. Once waved (up–down, left–right, back–forward) they were given to the priests to consume.

Burnt offerings, seven lambs of the first year, one bull, two rams, with grain and drink offerings – a sweat aroma to the Lord.

One kid goat as a sin offering.

Two male lambs as a peace offering.

No work is to be done on this day, being a Holy convocation.

When reaping the field, the gleanings were to be left for the poor and stranger. (Note that unlike Passover, all could partake and rejoice – including the stranger; compare Deut 16:11 with Exodus 12:43).

The entire Nation was to rejoice, trumpets were blown (Num 10:10).

What is it?

It speaks of the new order of things, based on resurrection (first fruits always speak of new life). Hence it speaks directly of the gathering together at the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2, who will be presented to God, consecrated (without spot nor wrinkle or any such thing ... but holy without blemish. Eph 5:27)).

The ceremony is a type of God's people gathered by the Holy Spirit; it typified the mystery alluded to by Paul in Romans 16:25, and explained in Ephesians (1:9–12, 3:6) & Colossians 1:26. The two loaves are one offering indicating the mystery of the Church (Eph. 5:32), that of Israel joined with Gentiles (joint heirs – Eph. 3:6) under the headship of the Christ (Eph. 1:9), revealed to us by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:10).[2]

A weak testimony (the loaves) – two being the smallest number of witnesses in a testimony (Deut 17:6, Matt 18:16).

Leavened (always denotes sin) bread, baked (sin dealt with, symbolized by the destruction of the leaven by the heat), indicating that the Holy Spirit does not remove sin (see Romans 7) but the blood atones for it, hence the associated blood sacrifices.

The principal antitypes

The first–fruits speak of the risen Christ acceptable to the Father as evidenced at Pentecost in the sending of the Holy Spirit (Comforter).

The saints (or believers), being neither Jew or Greek (two loaves), but one (noting now we have only one loaf at the Lord's table), the Church, beginning at Pentecost (Acts 2); atoned by the blood of Christ (Rom 5:11, Heb 2:17); the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, revealed at Pentecost, united with Christ (1 Cor 12:12).

If Israel is the first fruits: Israel was holiness to the LORD, The firstfruits of His increase.," says the LORD.'" Jeremiah 2:3 (NKJV), then believers in the dispensation of Grace[3] are also a type of the first fruits, after Christ, the Firstfruits from among the dead.

The presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling with and in all true believers.

  1. Individually (1 Cor 16:15), i.e. the Believer
  2. Collectively (James 1:18), i.e. the Church
  3. 144,000 of The Revelation (Rev 7:4, 14:4), i.e. the Witnesses.
For the Saint, it is a reminder of the blessed position he holds, based on the "once for all" work of Christ, being grafted into the living branch (Rom 11:17, see also John 15) , indwelt with the Holy Spirit, being sanctified by Him (Rom 15:16), regenerated (John 3:3,5), being one with Christ.

Offerings (brief overview)

Burn offering (See also Leviticus 1, 6:9–13, Numbers 15:3–12)

Signifies Christ in death – offering Himself without spot to God (Hebrews 9:14), imparting dignity and glory to everything He did, accomplishing the will and glory of God. It is the God–ward aspect of Christ's work, being a "sweet aroma" to the Lord (Lev 1:17).

This offering was the highest in character and always first in the order of sacrifices.

This was to be taken with the grain and drink offerings.

The Meat Offering (Grain Offering) Leviticus 2, 6:14–23)

Signifies the Man Christ Jesus, in life – the man presenting to God an unblemished life with its grace and moral perfectness: holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners (see Firstfruits talk).

The Drink Offering (Exodus 29:40–41, Num 15:1–13, 28:8)

Signifies the joy of God and man in the obedience of Christ. It was strong drink poured unto the Lord in the Holy Place.

Could only be offered with the burnt and meat offerings – that is, the signification of death and life was required before joy was entered into. It highlights the voluntary nature of Christ's death.

Sin offering (Lev 4, 5:1–13, 6:24–40, 10:16–20)

This offering made it possible for the loaves that contained leavened, which was destroyed by heat, to be accepted. The sin offering is Jesus on the cross made sin for us. It is the judgement of God borne and sin condemned by Christ. The goat was the pre–eminent animal.

Peace offering (Lev 3, 7:11–21, Num 18:17,18)

The death of Christ being the ground on which communion with God can be made, whether by Church or individual. Trumpets were blown over the sacrifice in joy. It speaks of the voluntary surrender of Jesus to accomplish the will of God.

Application

To realise our position of being with and in Him. We are no more in the fallen Adam nor of the world, but we are in the Second Adam. This must but give us great comfort, and great hope.

The Church belongs to God. We are to be presented holy and without blame – hence we are exhorted to walk in this manner (Eph 1:4).

8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.
9The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8–9

This we are guaranteed by the seal of the Holy Spirit, which is irrevocable.

The free–will nature of the feast speaks of the liberty in which we live: "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" – salvation is through grace: Christ freely offers a new and living way to salvation.

Where do you stand in relation to God? Where will you be when you die? Have you repented of you sins before God, accepting the saving grace of His Son?

A saints daily demeanour should be one of joy ("rejoice always").

This should extend to the joy in giving as emphasised in the offering – what is your habit in giving?

A saints daily walk (life) should be ordered by the Lord (Holy Spirit & the Word), carrying out the good works prepared for him to do.

A saints life is to be filled with the Spirit! Our thoughts need to be filled of His thoughts and we must let Him guide us.

Do the worries or cares of the world overwhelm you – dear friend you need but go to Jesus. Do this in prayer and pass over to Him the worries. Write out each worry and pray Christ concerning each. Be assured Christ is able, beyond all measure, to help.

The poor and stranger needed to be cared for – as James exhorts us to do, and we are told by Paul to entertain.

Summary

Hence the Feast offerings prefigures the perfect glorious work of Christ in fulfilling the work to the glory of the Father, along with the joy of His voluntary death on the Cross, together with the prefigurement of the redemptive work of Christ, the Passover lamb, and the spotless life (unleavened) of Christ as our example.

Part B

The Sending of the Holy Spirit

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (KJV, John 16:7)

The Lord enters a discourse on the reason why He had to go, and the action of the Holy Spirit when he comes into the world (note that the Holy Spirit had not dwelt among men before, but from this point onward, our bodies would be the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells). Our Lord does not leave us in the dark. Sometimes we feel as if we are in the dark. But I perceive that the darkness is of my own doing. I crawl into darkness and suffer. Only when I move into the light of His Word, into the presence of Jesus Christ, does the day dawn.

He, the Lord, offers the practical truths of His going away.

Jesus the Son of God incarnate. If he remained with his small band of disciples, that is all He could have been with. The Son of Man on this earth was not omnipresent. He could not be in more than one place at once.

Christ returns to the Father and the Holy Spirit is sent. The one that can be in all places at once is sent (I suppose this is not entirely true, because he cannot reside in sin, but the point is, he can dwell with all believers). Indeed the Holy Spirit is with us today, but also with the small secret house churches, meeting right now, in China or the Arab countries etc. What a blessed thing that Christ returned to His Father to send the Spirit!

It should also be noted that Christ returned for more than just sending the Holy Spirit. Christ is our great high priest – He sits in heaven mediating for us, so the Father can see us, cleansed of every sin. This could not take place from earth. And as John 14:2 says, he has gone to prepare a place for us.

Part 1

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8And when He has come, He will convict (reprove) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9of sin, because they do not believe in Me; (John 16, see also 14:26)

Now we have the job description of the Holy Spirit when he comes. He was sent for a purpose, just as the Son was sent, and we may rest assured that every aspect of the Holy Spirit's job is being fulfilled.

Note the name of the Holy Spirit here (paraklhtov ie parakletos, par–ak'–lay–tos)

  • King James Version Comforter
  • New King James Version Helper
  • New International Version Counsellor

You can see from these translations the difficulty in translating the Greek word used by John here. The Holy Spirit is far greater than these word denote. The Greek denotes an intercessor, an advocate, helper or counsellor.

This word is used five time – four times applied to the Holy Spirit (all in John) and once to Jesus himself (1 John 2:1), being our advocate along with the role high priest. As High Priest Christ maintains his people before God and as advocate, pleads with the Father as an erring child that has turned aside (Wolston[4]).

The Holy Spirit clearly displays all the character the words above express. He is indeed our Comforter, Helper and Advocate, and much more. Jesus is stating that when the Holy Spirit came, he would occupy himself with all aspects of the believer, whether the comfort or happiness, or trials and difficulties, or his or her temptations, all would be at the perusal of the Holy Spirit.

In the preceding verses of this discourse the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Truth. This is an important attribute. Jesus in these few verses takes up on what a Spirit of Truth actually does. He defines what 'truthing' actually is.

In one sense it is mapping the virtual on real, to determine the discrepancies. It is detailing the figures with facts. In mapping we "ground truth" – that is we actually walk over the ground the map takes in to determine the truthfulness of the map. Is the bore marked actually a bore, or is it long abandoned? Is the road marked capable of taking ordinary cars or only off–road vehicles? The Holy Spirit does this with our life.

Part 2a (parenthesis)

Now note the work of the Holy Spirit

Just as an aside here, it is often a confusion amongst believers that they should pray to the Holy Spirit. This arises, I believe, because they neither clearly understand the role of the Holy Spirit, nor do not have a clear concept of the Trinity in their minds. The latter probably because of shallow teaching, the former, due to a child like understanding of Scripture.

We do not pray, as if we are praying to three individual creatures. Jesus says that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). In essence we pray to the Lord God Jehovah. But we are more blessed that David. He could only look forward to this day. We can call God, Father because Holy Spirit enables us to cry out "Abba Father". We hence desire from the bottom of our hearts to pray the Father. But how do we do this? We cannot approach God alone. Just visit the trepidation the high priest past through each Day of Atonement when he prepared for, and entered the Holy of Holies, once a year, to face God. It is indeed a terrible thing to face God.

But, we don't need to do it this way. We don't do it alone. Christ is our Great High Priest. We approach God through Christ. Read Romans chapter 5:

11And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NKJV Romans 5:11).

See, we have been reconciled. Reconciled thorough Christ. Hence we can approach the Father, unfettered with fear, on the ground of the blood of Christ.

On what ground do we approach God the Father – it is the ground the Christ has paved. God the Father sees us through Christ – through the blood of Christ we are seen perfect – "whiter than snow", "without spot or wrinkle". Note that God sees us because of Christ's work on the cross. There is nothing we have done – God cannot look upon sin – but Christ does way with our sin and God sees us through Christ. Take Christ away and God must turn away.

Where does the Holy Spirit fit in? If Christ reconciles us to the Father, the Holy Spirit points the way to Christ. The Holy Spirit never looks at himself. Indeed, Jesus states that the Holy Spirit will not speak of himself (John 16:13). He always points to the Son. Praying to the Holy Spirit therefore is not logical. It is not a reasonable thing for a believer to do. Our ultimate aim is to glorify God. The Holy Spirit points the way and hence we, guided by the Holy Spirit (he gives us the words to say), pray to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Part 3b

And when He has come, He will convict (reprove) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:of sin, because they do not believe in Me; (NKJV John 16)

He will come to convince the world of sin. Your bible may say convict. The truer meaning is convince or reprove (which is hard to understand). One translator struggling over this, used these words: "will bring demonstration to the world, of sin" (JND[5]).

The sin here is not your individual sin, nor the sin of the broken law, but the sin of not believing the Son. The world killed him. He is no longer here because God raised him from the dead and now He is in glory. The Holy Spirit is here because of his rejection, and he demonstrates to the world, sin. That is, he convinces the world of sin by his very presence (Wolston[6]).

Furthermore, this was not just the Jewish nation He was talking to. The Holy Spirit would convict all men and women, boys and girls, both Jew and Greek, Roman and Barbarian of their sin – the sin of crucifying Christ. We all had a hand in this.

The Holy Spirit would go out into the world to raise the standard (or flag) for purity, for morality, for knowledge of God (which is wisdom). He would turn the world upside down, which had began by the end of Acts.

Hence, this passage states that Holy Spirit would come to show people the great sin they made in taking Jesus and hanging him on the cross. By rejecting Christ, they rejected the one they should have believed.

If you reject Christ, you too will be rejected.

Of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; (John 16:10)

The world is left in darkness. Christ, the light returns to the Father. The Holy Spirit convinces the world that righteousness can only be found in Christ. "He is our righteousness", and there is only one place it can be found – in the Son of Man.

Man is ignorant of where to find righteousness, as Paul writes to the Romans (10) – "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" Romans 10:4. Hence the passage states that the Holy Spirit will convince people that Christ was The Righteous, that He was not a deceiver, and the words of the Centurion at the cross were indeed true "Certainly this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:46).

Of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:11)

Satan got all men to join together to crucify the Saviour. Men who previously were enemies joined together to shed blood. Pilot who was disliked immensely by Herod became a friend because of a common cause – Jesus. The prince of this world – that is Satan – has been judged. The judgement has yet to be executed, but the fiery pit has been prepared for Satan and his angels ( Rev 12:9). Those who side with Satan will also end in this pit, called hell.

This truth must have a resounding impact on your life, on all our lives. Once realised that Satan has been judged, has been defeated, we can go straight to Jesus and He will save you.

The verse states that there will be demonstrable evidence of Satan's overthrow. The Church will be set up, and the Holy Spirit will be in it. The glory of God will shine through the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is every believer.

Part 4

"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. (John 16:12)

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13)

Clearly Christ had many truths to teach the disciples. Many had to wait until after his crucifixion. He spent 50 days with them until the Passover and would have taught many truths to his disciples in that time. Note that "all truth" here is not scientific all truth – only Jesus was all truth "I am.the truth". It clearly denotes spiritual truth. The evidence of enlightenment is clearly seen in Acts 2 where Peter preaches and 2000 believe.

The second part of (13) needs to be read in the context of the Son speaking for the Father – Jesus is saying – the Spirit does not speak independently, but dependently upon what the Father and the Son speaks.

Further, the Spirit was to speak concerning things to come. This surely happened, hence John had revealed to him some 40–60 or so years latter the Apocalypse. The disciples also had revelations of truth, in particular those concerning the fulfilment of the law – things too hard to understand at this point in time, but understandable a little later on.

Part 5

He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14)

The Holy Spirit was to glorify Christ. The Holy Spirit always points to Christ. He neither speaks of himself, nor speaks by himself, but he speaks to glorify Christ – just as the Father has said "I have glorified thee, and will glorify thee again", speaking to the Son. Hence any activity that does not glorify Christ, is not of the Spirit – reject it – it is not of God.

The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of Christ to the disciples "will take of Mine and declare it". The disciples were sorely ignorant at this point, but we see in the Acts to the Apostles that the light drove away the darkness of ignorance.

To see the truth about Christ we need to listen to the Holy Spirit, for he will surely declare it unto us.

15All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16)

The unity of the Godhead is a mystery. The unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is true and everlasting. This truth is declared to us through the Holy Spirit.

The last two verses are nearly incomprehensible to me. It clearly shows how little one can have of the Scriptures, and how deep its fountains are. These truths are immense and often we only grasp the most basic fundamentals but not the full richness of their depths.

May the Holy Spirit continue to have a place in our life so we can be taught.

 

Endnotes

[1] The Jews do not recognise this feast today for what it is; indeed this is the most forgotten feast of all (Shavuot). If the feast is recognised the Jews commemorate the giving of the Law at Mt Sinai. They read Ruth, as it highlights the willingness of Ruth to be "yoked" to the Torah (see Exodus 19 and 20; the 10 Commandments). For a Christian, the book of Ruth speaks of redemption of the non–believer, and the grafting of the gentile to the root of Jessie – Christ Jesus.

[2] It is interesting to note that two Pauline epistles reveal this mystery, more than any other New Testament books; Ephesians and Colossians, see especially Ephesians 3:3.

[3] Dispensation is a time period for which a particular set of rules or ordinances apply. We currently live in the dispensation of Grace, from Moses to the Messiah was the dispensation of the Law etc.

[4] Wolston, W.T.P. (1982) Another Comforter, Thirteen Lectures on the Operations of the Holy Spirit. Bible Truth, Illinois, USA, pg 99.

[5] New Translation, John Nelson Darby.

[6] Wolston, op. cit., pg. 114.

 

KJV = King James Version of the Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible original work copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
NKJV = New King James Version original work copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc

 

David L Simon (CCC 2005)
Edit and post Jan 2008, 2016
Seven feasts of Jehovah\The seven feasts of Jehovah – Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)