What does Pentecost mean to you? Is it just a certain day that your church’s pastor gives a special sermon? Maybe your church host’s a potluck this particular first day of the week. Do you even know what this day really represents?
Did you know that Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are appointed feasts of the Lord and that Passover actually leads up to Pentecost? Without celebrating Passover, there would be no need to celebrate Pentecost. These are Yahwey’s feasts, not merely the Jewish feast days and many people do not understand this.
It was commanded that the Passover shall be celebrated forever. All the assembly of the congregation of Israel was to kill the lamb between the evenings. [Exodus 11:6] What this means is that the Passover is kept until the beginning of the 14th day and killed between the evenings of the ending of the 13th and beginning of the fourteenth. Although there may be confusion to the timing of Passover due to there being two evenings in a day, a beginning and ending evening, there is only one ‘midnight’. Passover is named for the “passing over” of the death angel and scriptures states that the fourteenth day is Passover [Leviticus 23:5]. The death angel passed over on the 14th of Aviv at midnight, showing the meal had to be eaten early in the beginning of the 14th and not late in the day at the beginning of the 15th as some do wrongly do today. The word for ‘between the evenings is ‘Bin Ha arbayim’ which constitutes the start of a day, which simply means evening.
The Hebrew word for assembly is ‘mikraw’ and can also mean rehearsal. This means that Passover is set aside as a special day that Yahwey said to call His children to re-visit as a rehearsal of sorts to commemorate and remember the exodus out of Egypt. The epic exodus saw God’s covenant people delivered from the bondage of Egypt. Nevertheless, Yahwey has the prerogative to change the symbols of Passover as He did in the new covenant using bread and wine to symbolize the slain blood of the lamb. Passover is now celebrated annually as a memorial of the sacrifice of our Messiah, Yahushua HaMashiach.
Did you know that Passover constitutes the first step in the Plan of Salvation? One cannot be filled with the Spirit until one accepts that Yahushua has stood in the gap, providing forgiveness and redemption from bondage to sin. Passover has always been the plan of salvation through redemption in the blood.
Back on the first Passover when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, Passover was commemorated through the blood of the lamb being painted upon the doorpost. The opening to the home, [the doorposts] represents the entrance to the heart of a man’s home. Now on Passover, each time a true believer assembles with likeminded people, they are still observing the commandment; although now they are remembering the covenant that Yahushua made with mankind, and are rehearsing for the soon coming King to return through the doorway of the heavens to redeem His kinsmen.
Passover is an appointment that Yahwey expects all of His children to keep. As I mentioned, Passover includes the vital symbols of the bread and wine that Messiah introduced in His last Passover on the eve before He was taken captive before He was crucified. Yahushua’s sacrifice makes possible the forgiveness of one’s past sin and the opportunity for a completely new start, living in harmony with Yahwey’s will.
On the 14th day of Nisan, in 32 A.D., on the eve of Passover, Yahushua was crucified. The blood of the promised Sacrifice Lamb was shed. This is the redemption that Yahwey has provided. Passover brings salvation to His covenant people, delivering them from the bondage of sin and death just the same as when He first brought the Israelites and the sojourners (Gentiles) out of Egypt. Delivered from the plague of the death angel, the children of Israel and company, greeted the dawn of their redemption with new trust; born of experience. The night before they were timid slaves cowering behind locked doors just the same as we used to be locked in the chains of darkness. Now they threw open the doors of deliverance to the warmth of the morning sun and rejoiced. This is very similar to how you and I may have felt when we were first set free from the bondage of sin.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures Yahweys people of ancient Israel as they came out of Egypt; which typified coming out of sin. He was showing us even way back then, the plan of salvation. This is why He set aside these special days so that throughout time, people would join hand in hand to witness His plan unfolding. Just think if no one had kept this appointment to be in Judea during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
What if no one had kept the appointment of Passover when Messiah was crucified? There would have been no witnesses to write down what they saw. Even after He was crucified, what if no one had listened to Him to remain there in the Upper Room? No one would have been there on the fiftieth day after the seven Sabbaths to witness the infilling the Holy Spirit.
Did you know that this is the second step in the plan of salvation? First we must repent, accept the fact that Yahushua has stood in the gap for us, taking upon Him the penalty for our own sin, which is the transgression of the law. He showed us the way to please our Holy Father and it is in His footsteps that we follow the same path to Salvation.
1st John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Yahushua was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. [1st John 3:5] It is important to know that repentance is necessary and that turning away from sin (Transgression of the law) is also a step that we must take in the plan of salvation.
STEP # 1 REPENT AND BELIEVE STEP # 2 TURN FROM SIN
Passover would be celebrated, next the week of unleavened bread and then began the counting of the seven weeks of harvest on the marrow after the first weekly Sabbath. Seven complete Sabbaths were counted and then on the following day (fiftieth) marked the completion of the wheat harvest. The grain harvest lasted seven weeks, beginning with the barley harvest that started right after Passover and ending with the wheat harvest that fell exactly seven weeks later. See how important it is for folks to know about the seventh Sabbath of the week so that they can count up to the Feast of Pentecost? If no one had been there keeping this feast, there would not have been any witnesses to the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit becoming manifest upon the peoples who would call upon His name. If we did not have calendars, how would we know when these Holy days are?
The scriptural instruction for counting to the day of Pentecost or the Feast of First Fruits is recorded in Leviticus chapter 23: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Verses 10-11) The Feast of Weeks that we now call Pentecost only last’s one day. The name Pentecost originates from the fact that there is an interval of fifty days between Passover/Un-leavened Bread and Pentecost. Pentecost or Shavuot has many names in the Bible, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, and the First fruits. The name “Feast of Weeks” was given because God commanded the Jews in Leviticus 23:15-16, to count seven full weeks (or 49 days) beginning on the second day of Passover, and then present offerings of new grain to Hashem as a lasting ordinance.
The observance of the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost is recorded in the Old Testament in Exodus 34:22, Leviticus 23:15-22, Deuteronomy 16:16, 2 Chronicles 8:13 and Ezekiel 1. There are also accounts in the New Testament that revolve around the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts, chapter 2. Pentecost is also mentioned in Acts 20:16, 1 Corinthians 16:8 and James 1:18.
Because this day marks the end of the grain harvest, the characteristics of the harvest is shown when the High Priest would wave the offering of first fruits unto the Lord God Almighty. These wave offerings were two loaves of leavened bread, made from the ripe grain that had just been harvested. This was done by the High Priest in the name of the congregation. In addition to the wave offering, the children of the God of Israel also give unto Yahwey an offering of the first fruits of their produce. This is in obedience to the commandment to not come before Him empty handed. I tend to think that Yahwey just wants His people to show a sign of appreciation of all that He has provided.
On the day of Pentecost back when the ecclesia were gathered in Jerusalem, the disciples were all together when the sound of a mighty wind comes down from heaven, with tongues of fire resting on them. The Bible says, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” The crowds observed this event and heard them speaking in different languages. They were amazed and thought the disciples were drunk on wine. Then Peter got up and preached the Good News of the kingdom and three thousand people accepted the message of repentance through Yahushua HaMashiach. That same day they were baptized and added to the family of Yahwey.
I personally feel that the folks that fell by the sword of the Levites because they sinned against Yahwey by creating and worshiping the golden calf, were remembered on the First Pentecost because these are the exact same number mentioned in the Bible. Three thousand fell in the wilderness because they sinned against Yahwey but on the day of Pentecost, three thousand were filled with the spirit because they believed, & repented when they heard the gospel; and were baptized.
These basic instructions were given to the Levites when Moshe (Moses) spoke for Yahweh and told them, “And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.” (Verses 15-16)
This feast day was a reminder that fifty days after the God of Israel delivered the children from captivity in Mitsrayim (Egypt); setting them free from slavery and bondage, He then gave the law, His Teachings thereby establishing a nation. His Teachings are the boundaries that keep them established as a free nation. He wouldn’t have brought them from slavery in Egypt just to place them back into slavery and bondage to a set of rules. This was His way of giving His people boundaries to worship Him, thus teaching the whole camp, His righteousness and His way.
People in the camp would make poor choices and turn their back on the God of Israel and worship other gods. These people transgressed the law even though they knew that the penalty was death. This was however, temporary because one day, One would come Who would set them free from the law of sin and its penalty of death. We can look at the waving of the loaves of barley to be like Yahwey, accepting the waving away of sin. This feast is a reminder to us all that Yahwey has accepted the wave offering, making things all new and fresh because they had given their best as a token of their affection and gratitude for the land of promise. By this they were reminded of the bounty of Yahwey in His plentiful gifts of the fruit of the earth, and of their duty to offer up their prayers for His blessing on the next new fresh harvest.
And a new thing it certainly is when we become filled with the Holy Spirit as our comforter and guide to lead us into the knowledge of all truth and lead us through the passage of the rest of our lives, living in obedience to all that Yahwey has commanded. One of the neatest things that I learned is that from the day that I was filled with the Spirit of Yahwey; is the mere fact that I will never ever be alone again. No matter what comes my way and no matter how hard life will get, I will always have the encouragement of the Spirit to guide and teach me how to get through the ruff days and also how to appreciate all the blessings that come to those who walk out their lives in obedience to His Teachings.
It is by the grace of Yahwey that salvation comes. And it is by faith in the atoning blood of the Everlasting Covenant that we find redemption. There is no other salvation, no, not anywhere. The Blood of Israel’s Sacrifice Lamb provides the only means of salvation and peace with Yahwey to be found under heaven. This salvation is graciously provided by the God of Israel for all who believe. And it is given freely to all who are willing to embrace Him. He is the Almighty God who always existed, is now, and ever shall be. This is His salvation plan, the only one He ever laid out. And the blood of atonement is the essence of the New Covenant. Israel’s prophet Jeremiah spoke of the New Covenant, 600 years before the cross. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
So the main lesson of Passover was laid out right from the very beginning. And the central meaning of Passover is this: Salvation comes by grace through faith in the shed blood of Yahwey’s Sacrifice Lamb. This brings the one and only atonement that has ever, or will ever be acceptable as the cover for sin.
It is by way of these Feasts that Yahweh has marked time; these key events that would pertain to Yahushua and the bringing together of two peoples. The Jew and the Gentile who would both need salvation from their own leaven (Sin); although not all the people have recognized this yet. However, I sure hope that by the end of this reading that you have a better idea of why you are celebrating the Feast of Weeks which has now become called Pentecost; celebrating the First Fruits that will be offered up when Yahushua returns. ; A shadow of things still yet to come. All those who have died in Messiah will be resurrected unto eternal life as first fruits, the wave-loaves resulting from of harvest of Pentecost; those in whom His spirit dwells.
Just as a side note, it is after Pentecost that we begin to look forward to the fulfillment of the last three remaining Feasts of Yahwey that are in the fall of each year.
The Feast of Trumpets when we will one day hear the sound of the last trumpet. The Day of Atonement when all shall be set aside for judgment and the Feast of Tabernacles when we will all join our Messiah at the wedding supper of the Lamb. The last day is called the eighth day, which falls after the seven day Feast of Tabernacles. There isn’t a whole lot written about the eighth day so I have formed my own opinion and it is this. The eighth day is when all male children of Israel are to be circumcised. It only seems apparent then, at least to me anyway that the eighth day would not come for any of us until we are fully circumcised in our heart, mind, body and soul. All those final layers of all that besets us will be completely and forever stripped away.
Happy Pentecost to all of you who celebrate the new life given to us by the Life Giver Him self: Yahwey, Our Host.
1st John 3:3
“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”