A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

May 30, 2020

Understanding Pentecost: The Jewish and Christian Perspectives

     This weekend is Pentecost [meaning "fifty"], the Christian holiday which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Jewish Feast of Weeks [or Shavuot -- which is translated as "weeks" in Hebrew]. For the religion of Judaism, this feast emphasizes the time lapse between Passover and Shavuot, two of the three "solemn feasts" which every Jewish male was required to attend in Jerusalem [the other being the Feast of Tabernacles].
     Passover, in addition to its historical phase commemorating the end of Egyptian slavery, also was a spring festival linked to the beginning of the spring harvest season. The grain harvest lasted seven weeks, beginning with the harvesting of the barley on the second day of Passover and ending with the harvesting of the wheat about a month later, at Shavuot.
     The Feast of Weeks also involved a ritual in which there was the bringing of the wave offering of bread [as a show of peace and service to God], which was to be baked from the new crop of wheat. Leviticus 23:15-17 gives us the details of this ritual ... You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord. This was the way one expressed his or her gratitude to God for the new crop.
     It is important to us, as Christians, to understand that the Lord's Feasts were instituted not only as holy convocations, or gatherings, to the ancient Israelites, but they have continued significance to us as the children of God, whose faith is rooted in the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
     As I have pointed out to you in the past, the four Spring feasts are a mirror of Christ's reality here on earth. Jesus was crucified as the “Passover Lamb” and rose from the grave at the Feast of Firstfruits. Following His resurrection, Jesus spent the next 40 days teaching His disciples before ascending to heaven (Acts 1). Fifty days after His resurrection, and ascension, where He sat at the right hand of God, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit [which God had promised] to indwell the disciples and empower them for ministry. The promised Holy Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost, which is another name for the Feast of Weeks.
     Yes, this day has extraordinary meaning to the Body of Christ. The holiday of Pentecost commemorates the day God made good on His promise to send us a Counselor/Helper in the absence of our Lord and Savior. 
     Jesus, Himself, prophesied that this would happen ...  And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49); When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me (John 15;26). Paul confirms this in Ephesians 1:13 -14: having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance. 
     But this promise of the Holy Spirit was well-known throughout Jewish history, too. Their prophets had brought the message of the Promise down through the centuries. The Holy Spirit had been present in their midst whenever God sent Him for specific purposes. Haggai 2:5 exemplifies this concept: As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear! The prophet Ezekiel preached this message from YHWH: Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. And then there is the End Times prophecy from Joel 2:28-29: It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 
     As you can see, throughout the Old and New Testaments, which in reality are one continuous covenant with His own, there has been a promise that God would give us the Holy Spirit. And He has given us Holy days upon which we are to reflect and glorify His sovereignty.  The importance of that promise and those holy days are meant for both Jew and Christian; our faiths are intertwined, along with the promises from the Father and the Son. We are all called to repent and be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This weekend I will meditate on what the Holy Spirit has done in my life, and I will pray and express my gratitude for the gift of the Holy Spirit and for the revelation of the importance of this Feast. And I will cry out for a new anointing in the Spirit as I renew my dedication to witness of the power and authority of Jesus Christ on the earth. To God be the Glory!

Thank you to the websites MyJewishLearning.com and GotQuestions.org for supplementing my own research in the Word of God. May these resources which point to our Lord always be available.
 Isaiah 59:21     As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.”

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