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Sunday, May 23, 2010

PENTECOST - Past and Present




I love the study of the Jewish Feasts.  Once I began to study them and become more familiar with them, it seemed that everything took on a higher purpose and the pattern and plan was more evident.  During our Biblical Studies while homeschooling, our family became more familiar with type and shadow, as well as, the fulfilling of prophecy through the study of Biblical Feasts. With the Season of Pentecost upon us, I thought to share some facts and information for those that may not have ever considered or studied them for themselves.  I came upon an article by Mary Fairchild and thought it an excellent, concise synopsis on the subject.  I have inserted parts of that article into the following compilation.

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Paul said in Colossians 2:16-17 that the Jewish feasts and celebrations were a shadow of the things to come through Jesus Christ. And though as Christians we may not celebrate these holidays in the traditional biblical sense, as we discover the significance of each, we will certainly gain a greater knowledge of God's Word, an improved understanding of the Bible, and a deeper relationship with the Lord.

Pentecost - Shavuot - Feast of Weeks:

Pentecost or Shavuot has many names in the Bible (the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, and the Latter Firstfruits). Celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover, Shavuot is traditionally a joyous time of giving thanks and presenting offerings for the new grain of the summer wheat harvest in Israel. The name "Feast of Weeks" was given because God commanded the Jews in Lev. 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 the Lord as a lasting ordinance.

Shavout was originally a festival for expressing thankfulness to the Lord for the blessing of the harvest. And because it occurred at the conclusion of the Passover, it acquired the name "Latter Firstfruits." The celebration is also tied to the giving of the Ten Commandments and thus bears the name Matin Torah or "giving of the Law." Jews believe that it was exactly at this time that God gave the Torah to the people through Moses on Mount Sinai.

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Celebrated 50 days after Passover, this feast has special significance. This time served to link the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt to the giving of the Torah, or God’s covenant law. It, therefore, serves as a reminder that the redemption from bondage was not fully complete until God’s people had received the fullness of God’s covenant word and order, or law.

Since 50 also signifies a time of jubilee according to the covenant (legal cancellation of debts, indentured relationships and restoration of land), this feast represents the shadow of a special time of jubilee.

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Time of Observance:

Pentecost is celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover, or the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (May or June).

Throughout Jewish history, it has been customary to engage in all-night study of the Torah on the first evening of Shavuot. Children were encouraged to memorize Scripture and rewarded with treats. The book of Ruth was traditionally read during Shavuot. Today, however, many of the customs have been left behind and their significance lost. The public holiday has become more of a culinary festival of dairy dishes. Traditional Jews still light candles and recite blessings, adorn their homes and synagogues with greenery, eat dairy foods, study the Torah, read the book of Ruth and attend Shavuot services.

Jesus and Pentecost:

In Acts 1, just before the resurrected Jesus is taken up into heaven, he tells the disciples about the Father's promised gift of the Holy Ghost. He tells them to wait in Jerusalem until they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which will empower them to go out into the world and be his witnesses.

A few days later, on Pentecost, the disciples are all together in an upper room, when the sound of a rushing mighty wind comes down from heaven, with tongues of fire resting on them. The Bible says, "All of them were filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." The crowds observed this, 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 3000 souls were added to the church!

The book of Acts continues to record the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Ghost that began on Pentecost. Once again we see the Old Testament revealing a shadow of the things to come through Jesus! After Moses went up to Mount Sinai, the Word of God was given to the Israelites at Shavuot. When the Jews accepted the Torah, they became servants of God. Similarly, after Jesus went up to heaven, the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. When the disciples received the gift, they became part of the Kingdom of God. Jews celebrated a joyous harvest on Shavuot, and the church celebrated a harvest of newborn souls on Pentecost.

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." (II Corinthians 3:3)


More Facts About Pentecost:

~Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage feasts when all Jewish males were required to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem.

~One theory on why Jews customarily eat dairy foods such as cheesecakes and cheese blitzes on Shavuot is that the Law was compared to "milk and honey" in the Bible.

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The seven Feasts of Moses are not only commemorative, but also prophetic:

The first three, in the month of Nisan, are predictive of the First Coming of Jesus. The last three, in the month of Tishri, are associated with His Second Coming. It is this one, in between, which is associated with the Church. The Birth of the Church appears to be a fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost, or Shavout.

Jesus predicted it...

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26)


It was also fulfilled precisely on the Feast of Pentecost. Acts 2:1-47

It is interesting to carefully compare Acts 2 with Exodus 19.

This is by no means an exhaustive explanation of the prophetic nature of the Biblical Feasts.  It takes just a simple "google search" to see the extensive information available.  In my opinion, the study of the Biblical feasts sheds so much more light and excitement to God's Purpose and Plan.  God has a perfect PLAN and we can be part of it!!!
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