Pentecost is one of three Feasts the Lord required His people to celebrate for all time. That tells us something about the heart of God. He really cares about this celebration! Why? What does it mean to us in this day?
Pentecost really centers on Giving and Provision. If we go back to the beginning we see that right after the Israelites came out of Egypt, the Lord led them to Mount Sinai. It was here that He wanted to communicate with them about their future. This was the place God chose to “make them a nation.” This group of Hebrew people were not yet a nation, but they were going on a journey with God to the place God had chosen where they would become a nation. A nation has to have laws that govern its actions and God was about to give them His Law for His Nation. We know that this was the place Moses received the 10 Commandments, along with a myriad of other statutes and ordinances that would make these people different than any other nation on Earth. The Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy detail the Law of God’s Kingdom. In Leviticus 23, Yahweh provides instruction for celebrating His Feasts. Verses 15-22 tell us about Pentecost, although God does not call it Pentecost at this point. He is speaking to the Hebrews about the harvests they will have when they get to the Promised Land. At this time, they were in the desert and they were not raising crops. But God had promised that the Land they were about to enter was a good land, filled with milk and honey. It was there that they would be established, raise crops and reap a harvest.
This feast was a feast of Harvest. It signaled the second harvest of the spring season, the wheat harvest. The first harvest was barley. It came at Passover and was known as early Firstfruits. The barley harvest was good and provided sustenance until the wheat harvest was reaped. Barley was used to make the unleavened bread that is eaten at Passover and was known as the “Bread of Affliction.” The wheat however, was the “fine food.” It would be used to make good bread for eating and for sacrificing. God instructed the Israelites to bring a sheaf of barley as a firstfruits offering and roast it with oil and incense. But for the wheat harvest, He instructed them to make two large loaves of bread – He actually told them how much flour to use, enough to make two loaves that were 21” x 12” x 3!” They were to wave these loaves before the Lord along with an offering of two lambs. This was a celebration of the abundant provision the Lord would give them. As they offered their firstfruits to the Lord, they could depend on Him to bless the rest of their harvest.
This feast would be celebrated 50 days after early Firstfruits. There was not a set day, it was completely dependent upon the date of the barley harvest. During the days following the barley harvest, they would “count the omer” in anticipation of the wheat harvest. When 50 days, or seven weeks, were up, they would celebrate the second harvest, thus the feast was known as Feast of Weeks.
We see that first God gave His Word, His Revelation, to Moses on this date. Then He gave the promise of His Harvest that would take place on this date for years to come. All through Old Testament times, the people of God celebrated the Harvest that God gave. They remembered the giving of the Law and celebrated by staying up all night in the synagogue reading the Torah.
After Jesus was crucified, He appeared to His disciples and told them He was about to send the Comforter to them and they should wait in Jerusalem until this occurred. They were in the Upper Room waiting at the time of the Feast of Weeks. By this time, the world had been strongly influenced by the Greeks and that was the predominate language of the day. The Greek root word “pente” means 50, so this holiday came to be known as Pentecost, meaning “50 days.”
Probably following the custom of staying up all night reading the Torah, the disciples were together celebrating and God surprised them by giving them the Holy Spirit. They had no idea what to expect when Jesus said He would send the Comforter, but while they were sitting there the wind of God began to blow and they could see ‘tongues of fire’ on each other. They all began to speak in different languages and they felt the Power of God come on them. They must have felt something very powerful because up to this time there were fearfully sitting in the Upper Room hiding from the Romans, but after this encounter with God’s Spirit, they were bold and went outside to preach and teach. The people recognized that something powerful had happened, too. The people that were gathered outside were from all around the region and spoke many languages. When they heard the disciples speaking, they recognized their own languages! They cried out to know God and 3000 were saved in one day. This was a Power encounter with the Living God, a baptism of the Holy Spirit.
As we consider this Feast through the Ages, we see God GAVE the Law or His Word, God GAVE the Harvest, and God GAVE His Spirit. Pentecost, then, is a celebration of provision and giving. We celebrate our dependence upon God and His giving, then we imitate Him and we give generously to those around us. One other special point was that in Leviticus 23:22, as God was telling them to celebrate the Harvest, He specifically made provision for the poor. This is where He instructed landowners to leave the corners of the harvest fields for the poor to come and glean the edges of the field. God’s provision was for all.
God gave the revelation of His heart through His Word, He gave the sustenance for our lives through the harvest, and He gave His Power to us through the Holy Spirit. Now He asks us to use these gifts of provision to reap the Harvest of Souls, His family, so that His Joy can be complete.
Consider making this celebration an annual event in your family. Gather with friends and family, celebrate God’s provision, pray and ask Him for a harvest strategy. You will be blessed!