THE FEAST OF PENTECOST
The LORD said to Moses, From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two· tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the LORD, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings-an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering arid two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live (Leviticus 23:9, 15-21).
THE FEAST OF PENTECOST climaxed the glad season of Israel's grain harvest.
The beginning of the grain harvest was marked by the sacrifice, at the sanctuary, of the omer, the first sheaf of the newly cut barley; fifty days later, at the close of the harvest period, two loaves of bread, baked from the wheat of the new crop, were offered as a sacrifice. This bread offering was called the firstfruits of wheat harvest and the festival was therefore also called Yom ha-Bikkurim; the day of offering the first loaves of the new crop to God. Schauss, Hayyim, Thejewish Festivals, pp. 86-87
The first omer, which was offered during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the sixteenth of Nisan, was of the sheaf as it was reaped from the newly grown plants, as described in Leviticus 23:15·21:
From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of the new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two- tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a
burnt offering to the LORD, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings-an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before the LORD as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the LORD for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Pentecost and the Giving if the Law
The day after the Sabbath the sheaf of the first grain (Leviticus 23:10) was offered on the sixteenth of Nisan. From that date, fifty days were counted and usually the sixth day of the Hebrew month Sivan is proclaimed as Shavuot (a Hebrew word meaning "weeks") or Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. This chronology is fascinating because it is the basis of the rabbinic reason why Judaism now celebrates the giving of the Law on the Day of Pentecost. Dr. Alfred Edersheim gives insight to this reasoning:
The "feast of unleavened bread" may be said not to have quite passed till fifty days after its commencement, when it merged in that of Pentecost, or "of Weeks." According to unanimous Jewish tradition, which was universally received at the time of Christ, the day of Pentecost was the anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, which the Feast of Weeks was intended to commemorate. Thus, as the dedication of the harvest, commencing with the presentation of the first omer on the Passover, was completed in the thank offering of the two wave loaves at Pentecost, so the memorial of Israel's deliverance appropriately terminated in that of the giving of the Law, just as, making the highest application of it, the Passover sacrifice of the Lord Jesus may be said to have been completed in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Jewish tradition has it, that on the second of the third month, of Sivan, Moses had ascended the mount, that he communicated with the people on the third, reascended the mount on the fourth, and that then the people sanctified themselves on the fourth, fifth, and sixth of Sivan, on which latter day the Ten Commandments were actually given them. Accordingly, the days before Pentecost were always reckoned as the first, second, third, etc., since the presentation of the omer. Thus Maimonides beautifully observes: 'just as one who is expecting the most faithful of his friends is wont to count the days and hours to his arrival, so we also count from the omer of the day of our Exodus from Egypt to that of the giving of the Law, which was the object of our Exodus, as it is said: 'I bare you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto Myself.' And because this great manifestation did not last more than one day, therefore we annually commemorate it only one day." Edersheim, Alfred, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, pp. 225·226.
We can see that, even though Scriptures do not say that Pentecost is the actual anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, there is compelling evidence that indicates that "when the day of Pentecost came" as described in Acts 2:1, God's revelation on Mt. Sinai was probably in the minds of the apostles when suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2). A modern Orthodox Hebraist scholar describes the giving of the Law:
The Revelation on Mt. Sinai
Dawn of the sixth day of Sivan, in the year 2448 after the creation of the world ... thunder and lightning rent the air, and the sound of the shofar was heard growing strangely louder and louder. All the people in the camp of Israel trembled.
Then all was quiet again. The air was very still. Not a sound was to be heard. No bird twittered, no donkey brayed, no ox lowed. Every living thing held its breath. Even the angels interrupted their heavenly praises. Everybody and everything kept silent ... waiting ....
Suddenly God's mighty words were heard from one corner of the earth to the other:
"I AM GOD THY GOD!"
One after another, God proclaimed the Ten Commandments.
(Mindel, Nissan, Complete Festival Series, P: 167.)
Pentecost: Its Old Testament Offerings
On Pentecost, many different offerings were presented in the Temple. After the regular morning sacrifice, there was a burnt offering of "seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams (Leviticus 23:18). This was followed by a meal offering and a drink offering. After that, there was a sin offering of one kid, and then the climactic offering of the day, a "fellowship" or "peace" offering of "two lambs, each a year old" waved before the Lord, together with the two loaves which had been baked with leaven. (See Leviticus 23: 17,19). This peace offering was not offered on the altar; it was given to the priest. It could not be placed on the altar, because the loaves were baked with leaven.
It is highly
significant that the sin offering preceded the peace offering. We will never understand the meaning of
the peace offering until we grasp this truth. The sin offering came first, then the
peace offering. The peace
offering was not an offering for peace. It is a heartfelt
thank offering of one who has peace with his Lord. It is a sacramental meal where God, who is
represented by the priest, eats a meal together with His children,
who have already been cleansed
Pentecost: Its New Testament Fulfillment
Was Pentecost, like Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, also prophetic? The New Testament is abundantly clear that it was. Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled the type of the passover lamb at Calvary, when the corn of wheat was planted in the ground, rose from the dead and became the "firstfruits," fulfilling the type of the wave sheaf on the "day after the Sabbath." Then fifty days were counted, and when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting (Acts 2: 1-2).
If Jewish tradition connected the "feast of firstfruits" with the "mount that might be touched," and the "voice of words which they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them anymore," we have in this respect also "come unto Mount Zion," and to the better things of the new covenant. To us the Day of Pentecost is, indeed, the "feast of firstfruits," and that of the giving of the better law, "written not in tables of stone, but on the fleshy tables of the heart," "with the Spirit of the living God." For, as the worshipers were in the Temple, probably just as they were offering the wave lambs and the wave bread, the multitude heard that "sound from heaven, as of a mighty rushing wind," which drew them to the house where the apostles were gathered, there to hear "every man in his own language" [proclaiming] "the wonderful works of God." And on that Pentecost day, from the harvest of firstfruits, not less than three thousand souls added to the Church were presented as a wave offering to the Lord. The cloven tongues of fire and the apostolic gifts of that day of firstfruits have, indeed, long since disappeared. But the mighty rushing sound of the Presence and Power of the Holy Ghost has gone forth into all the world. 'Edersheim, Alfred, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, P: 231
How about you?
Have you received your Redeemer, the Stone whom the builders rejected?
In Him is life, light and joy and in His sacrifice is forgiveness of sin.
He, the Messiah is the way to Eternal Sabbath, Yom Shekulo Shabbat!
- The Messianic Age Day of Total Shabbat -
Eternal Paradise/Heaven, of the world to come.
Is that of one long extended, unending eternal Sabbath Day.
Reprinted for educational purposes from:
ISRAEL’S Holy Days, In type and Prophecy, Daniel Fuchs, chapter 4
Chosen People Ministries www.chosenpeople.com
And other publication sources.
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