The day began with anxious expectation. Only a few days earlier Yahshua had made an extraordinary statement about this day.
We read of it in Acts 1:4-5:
“And, being assembled together with them, [He] commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.”
The disciples had misunderstood, thinking it was about the prophesied Kingdom. “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Master, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power. But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Yahshua wasn’t ready to establish His Kingdom on earth then. Many more would need to be tried and tested for their desire to follow Him, eventually to take up important positions as priestly rulers. This school had only begun.
None of the disciples could have imagined what was about to happen as they were there in that upper room 2,000 years ago. As they had since their conversion, they gathered to keep this Feast known as Firstfruits or Feast of Weeks, also called Pentecost.
The Enabling Power of the Spirit
Which of them could have foreseen the dramatic transformation the events this Feast of Shabbuoth (Heb. “weeks”) would bring to his life and the lives of other believers.
They would embark on a critical part of Yahweh’s plan ultimately to bring His Kingdom to earth, with all His faithful to rule with Him. The important groundwork for that plan is set by this observance. It was at this time that the covenant with His people was ratified at Sinai. And Israel assured Him that they would do all He had said, including keeping His laws.
The Feast of Weeks provides us the ability by which the Covenant can be kept – as well as the means by which Yahweh’s message can be taken to the World – all by the giving of Yahweh’s Holy Spirit.
This is also called the Feast of Firstfruits which began that great calling to fulfill Yahweh’s plan of salvation with the called-out firstfruits of brethren.
The Feast of Weeks is unique as a multi-faceted, meaning-packed observ-ance. It is the final of the annual moedim to have had a second fulfillment in the New Testament.
Briefly, this Feast encompasses the core of the salvation plan. It gives us:
• the law to bring us in line with Yahweh’s will,
• the Spirit, not only to help us obey but also to empower His chosen to take the truth to all the world, and
• the harvest of both the natural fruit and the spiritual firstfruits for the kingdom.
Some confuse this Feast with the day of the barley wavesheaf during Unleavened Bread. The fact is, Pente-cost falls scripturally 50 days from the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not during it. Additionally, there are two different wavesheaves, one being the Passover barley, represented by Yahshua, and the other the Pentecost wheat, which depicts the saints.
Exodus 34:18-23 discusses the implication of firstfruits. The firstborn as firstfruits are a key class of people in the Scriptures.
The plan of salvation and the coming Kingdom itself are revealed in Yahweh’s seven annual Feast Days. These aren’t just ho-hum holidays kept because Yahweh had a whim. They are unlike all of man’s holidays that are here one day and gone the next with no lasting impact.
In stark contrast, Yahweh’s Feasts are jam-packed with profound, salvation truth, as well as prophetic meaning! What’s more, these holidays are com-mandments from Yahweh. They are part of His law given to all men. He says in essence, “These are My Feasts, and you will observe them if you want the blessing of salvation.”
These observances represent a great plan for His people, and when you are properly schooled in and complete the plan, you are ready for graduation.
All of Yahweh’s Feasts revolve around the harvest seasons, and it is the theme of harvest in a spiritual sense that gives these days real meaning.
John 3:13 tells us that no one but Yahshua has ascended to heaven. Therefore, He is the first of the firstfruits. He became the fulfillment of the spiritual wavesheaf offered during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Recall His cautioning Mary in John 20:17 not to touch (hold onto) Him because He had not yet ascended to His Father as the wavesheaf firstfruit offering.
Some wonder why Yahshua ascended to heaven following His resurrection and then came back to earth for 40 more days, and ascended again just before Pentecost.
The answer is so that He could fulfill the ordinance of the firstfruits offering. The firstfruits of the barley harvest with Israel was to be presented, or waved, before Yahweh on the morrow after the Sabbath within the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Leviticus 23:11.
Yahweh had to accept the firstfruits before the rest of the harvest could commence. If there was a shortcoming, if it was the wrong grain, if the grain was not firstfruits or if it didn’t for some other reason meet His expectations, then He would reject it.
As the perfect sacrifice, Yahshua met all the criteria and was accepted as the firstfruits offering at His resurrection for the harvest of souls.
Judged by What We Do
All of this relates to the quality and nature of potential human firstfruits. The bride had to make herself ready. She had to meet certain expectations and qualifications. Yahshua said in Matthew 16:27 that when He comes He will reward everyone according to their works. He said the same thing in Revelation 22:12.
When the books are opened, each will be judged according to their works, Revelation 20:12. The life they lived and the obedience that they showed would have to stand the test of the law.
The barley and its firstfruits are gleaned long before other major grains. Yahshua is portrayed by the barley.
The Apostle Paul writes of this in 1Corinthians 15:22-23: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man IN HIS OWN ORDER: Messiah the firstfruits [wavesheaf]; afterward they that are Messiah’s at His Coming.”
Fifty days later the firstfruits of the human harvest is presented, depicted in the wheat harvest by the wave loaves of bread, Leviticus 23:15-21.
Finally comes the general harvest in the autumn, at the Feast of Tabernacles, also called the Feast of Ingathering.
Harvest is a central theme in all of the major Feasts. Is it any wonder that the Feasts begin chronologically with the tender ears of barley in the spring and end with the general ingathering of all the produce in the fall?
The barley had to be at a certain stage of maturity for the wavesheaf, just as Yahshua had to be spiritually confirmed to be the firstfruits in advance of the brethren. Just as firstfruits are not of ripe and dried grain, so Yahshua was not taken as an old man, but in His early 30s, at the beginning of the most productive age of an individual.
He prepared the way for us to help Him, and so He offers His Spirit for that.
In chapter 1 of Acts, Luke picks up where His Book of Luke left off, discussing the life of Yahshua the Messiah and His last act on earth at that time, called the transfiguration, vv. 1-2.
By those acts He did after His resurrection, they could not deny that He was the risen Messiah.
Had they left Jerusalem or had they not come for the Feast of Firstfruits, or Shabuoth, they would not have been present to receive Yahweh’s Spirit.
The same lesson is for us to make every effort to attend Yahweh’s Feasts.All indications are that Yahshua will return at a Feast, at a “time appointed” (moed), as Daniel 8:19 reveals.
When the woman (assembly) is carried on eagle’s wings into the wilderness, it’s for her protection; we will want to be with His people at that time. And it will likely happen when His people are gathered at an annual Feast.
But When Does Fulfillment Happen?
The first time such a thing occurred, ancient Israel as a unified body was taken into the wilderness to keep a Feast to Yahweh, as Moses explained to Pharaoh. Yahweh protected Israel from Pharaoh’s pursuing army.
Compare Exodus 19:4: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself;” with Revelation 12:6: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of Elohim, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (3½ years).
In Revelation 12:6 spiritual Israel is:
• taken to the wilderness (just as Israel was);
• to a place prepared of Yahweh (we are commanded to keep the Feasts where Yahweh places His Name, just as Israel did);
• there the Assembly is fed for a period of time (just as we feed on Yahweh’s word at His Feasts and as Israel ate manna).
So you are gathered with the brethren at a Feast, either Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, or Trumpets and the fall Feasts – the 3 main times as potential times for Yahshua to return.
There you find protection while others who are not obedient are left out in the world to suffer from tribulation or Yahweh’s wrath unleashed on the wicked.
Yahweh always works in parallels, in duality, in type and antitype – especially with prophecy – meaning ancient and modern fulfillment.
Pentecost and a New Dimension
The Bible is such a complex collection of books that the majority of what it has in it has a parallel to something else or to another place or time.
We see only through a dark glass. We see only the tip, while the rest of the iceberg lies submerged and out of sight.
Back to Acts 1.
Yahshua continues advising the disciples in verse 5, showing that there would be a distinction, an advancement, from John’s baptism, which would begin with Pentecost and the giving of the Spirit.
In verse 6 they were looking for Yahshua to restore the Kingdom to Israel right then. His answer came in verse 7: “And he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” He didn’t say something like, brothers, you have it all wrong, the Kingdom will be the newly established church.
We read in verse 8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Power is the Greek dunamis from which we get our word dynamite. It means force. That is what the Spirit is. A force emanating from the Father and Son to help witness Yahshua throughout all the earth.
In John 1:7 we see that John came to bear witness, the Greek word is marturia. It means an active witness, not just a single display.
Too often the idea is that I must get baptized and receive the Holy Spirit for the sake of my salvation, and then there is nothing more for me to do. I’ve now accomplished what was necessary.
All the while a whole other purpose for the giving of the Spirit is ignored.
The Holy Spirit is given for a key reason, individually and for humanity as well. We are converted to Truth for a purpose, not just to do nothing. Not just to sit back and say, “Well, I’m saved,” and do nothing more.
That notion is foreign to the Scriptures. Yahweh doesn’t function that way. Yahweh is a Mighty one of activity and creativity, of work and power and purpose and function. He expects nothing less of His family of people. To get out there and get the job done of teaching the truth to the world.
Imagine Yahshua taking a day off from evangelizing. “Let’s just go to Ceasarea, Peter and James, kick back, enjoy some wine, and watch the ships come in.” Imagine Yahshua doing nothing, as the do-nothing doctrine of faith alone for salvation is negated by Yahshua’s own actions. We have a job to do and we need to be discovering, learning, and teaching it. To serve Yahweh we need to know the Book.
Tradition has provided a simplistic, superficial purpose for the Spirit.Yahweh’s Spirit is not for showboating to draw attention to oneself in charismatic displays.
The Holy Spirit is not like fire-works, something pretty to watch, something to dazzle the eyes and excite the imagination. The Spirit is given to accomplish a work, its the power of dynamite (dunamis). Dynamite moves mountains.
When you scan the whole trajectory of Yahweh’s Feast days you see a dynamic plan in operation on the most basic, personal level:
• Passover, Yahweh separates a people out from the Egypt of sin.
• This is followed by the eating of unleavened bread, rooting out the falsity from our lives and hearts and replacing it with truth.
• Then comes the Feast of Weeks, where we are empowered with the Spirit to bring others to the truth of Yahweh.
So now Yahshua prepares the dis-ciples, telling them not to go anywhere, but to be at Jerusalem where they must wait for the promise of Yahweh. That promise was the force of dunamis – active power to be used to bring a forceful witness to the world through communication, example, and miracles.
His people are a witness to the greatest power in the universe. We should never be afraid to express or speak out when it comes to who we are as His called-out people.
The danger comes in pompously turning prideful with any spiritual gift.
This Ruach haKodesh, Yahweh’s Spirit force, is manifest by the gifts it bestows, detailed in 1Corinthians 12, like wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, prophecy, even just the stamina to “continue on” when discouraged or just being too tired to go any further.
Each of us is given one or more of the Spirit’s gifts when we are immersed into Yahshua’s Name.
The Gift of Tongues: Real Language
So let’s see how that promise of the Holy Spirit is fulfilled in Acts 2. Peter and the rest had been waiting in that large upper room.
This Pentecost would come nine days after his ascension to heaven.
Verses 1-2: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” One accord means “of one mind.” These were not a group of mixed worshipers brought together to beg down the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was imposed automatically from Yahweh to the gathered believers.
Verses 2-3: “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.”
In John 20:22 after Yahshua was resurrected He stood in a room with the disciples and breathed on those who were with them, giving them the firstfruits of the Spirit. That same breath of life made Adam a living man. Psalm 104:29 says that when Yahweh takes that spirit of life away we die; and again in verse 30, that He sends His Spirit and man is made a living being.
The Holy Spirit is the active force of Yahweh, and we see it in action in various ways.
The account continues in Acts 2:4-11: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” “Other” is the Greek heteros, meaning different kinds of glossa or languages.
“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language [dialektos, dialect].
“And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? [tongue, from root dialegomai: to dispute, to preach, to reason, to speak a language].… we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of Elohim.”
Peter’s Powerful Sermon
Peter answered those who questioned the tongues’ authenticity: “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel,” 2:14.
He then recites Joel 2:28: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith Yahweh, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”
Peter launches into more prophecy of the earth in the final days in verse 2:19: “And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of Yahweh come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be saved.”
We find all of this after the Spirit was poured out in Acts 2. The people had asked in verse 12, what does this mean? They heard people speaking in their languages, which was amazing enough, but it was what they heard being spoken that really amazed them.
Work – Dunamis – Power
The narrative continues in verse 22 concerning the wonderful works of Yahweh that v. 11 speaks of. Peter’s words through the power of the Spirit convicted 3,000 people. Now that’s power!
This New Testament Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) was unique. It marked the genesis of a dynamic work to bring the truth to the entire world employing the active power of the Holy Spirit.
Some grow angry when they hear truth that counters what they believe. That is only because our world is solidly entrenched in layer upon layer of erroneous traditions that many have been taught to believe is true.
Only dynamite of the Spirit will loosen them from it.
This Feast has big implications. Israel had been released from Egypt at Passover, purged from past sin. Then in the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows, they were to remove all that leads to sin in their lies.
Now at the Feast of Firstfruits they received Yahweh’s law, His blueprint for the Kingdom. At this Acts 2 Feast, Yahweh’s Spirit was given to help them obey and to take the message of salvation to the world.
What does it mean for us today?
Time to Get Active
Pentecost is a time for action. To let that Spirit in those who were immersed bear fruit by teaching others of the truth of salvation that they have never heard.
When they left that Feast the disciples began to work. The rest of Acts is a testimony to the growth of the Assembly made possible by the Spirit.
Should we not do the same? To be a part of making things happen for the sake of Almighty Yahweh? To tell friends and relatives and anyone interested in the truth about Yahweh’s salvation plan?
Pentecost is the one biblical Feast day that churchianity has not been able to deny or ignore. There are at least two reasons for this: at the center of the Feast of Firstfruits or Pentecost is the Holy Spirit sent by Yahweh on this day to those desiring to follow the Truth. Yahweh’s Spirit is an essential aspect of a True Worshiper’s life and his or her salvation.
The other reason is that church-ianity teaches that it was on this Feast day when the “New Testament church” was born in Acts 2. In doing so they acknowledge this key Feast day.
Does Yahweh allow us to decide which Feast days we choose to keep and which to ignore? If we accept one, then scripturally we must accept them all. All of Yahweh’s Holy Days come as a package to be observed, with the admonition that these are the Feasts of Yahweh (not just Feasts of Jews), Leviticus 23:4.
To argue that these special days are “Mosaic Law” and therefore are abolished is to be ignorant of the many statements in Scripture telling us that these are Yahweh’s observances, not Moses’ observances. Each has aspects of salvation tied to them.
John wrote, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the Word which you have heard from the beginning,” 1John 2:7.
The only Word they had at the time was the Old Testament. Verse 24 continues, “Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.”
Yahshua kept every one of the Feast days. He said He had kept all His Father’s commandments and we are to follow Him, John 15:10. He did so perfectly, without fail, 1Peter 2:21-22.
The command for the Feast of Weeks is found in Deuteronomy 16:9-11: “Seven weeks shall you number unto you: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn. And you shall keep the feast of weeks unto Yahweh your Elohim with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give unto Yahweh your Elohim, according as Yahweh your Elohim has blessed you: And you shall rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that is within your gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which Yahweh your Elohim has chosen to place His name there.”
This Feast is marked by offerings and rejoicing. It was at the time of the Feast of Firstfruits that Israel received the law at Sinai, which can be determined by synchronizing the timing of their journey in the wilderness with the timing of the Feast.
The biblical Feasts are a type of the spiritual trek we make as we come out of the world and follow the ways of Yahweh. Seeking Truth is also a wilderness adventure at times as we travel a path not well-traveled by this world.
After the 120 received the power of the Spirit, they began to teach the truth boldly and powerfully. Peter gave such a stirring message that 3,000 people sought and received baptism into the Name of Yahshua.
In their ministries Peter and John spoke with uncommon power and boldness, Acts 4:13. Miracles began happening, and these apostles had powers they never had before in their various ministries.
The Feast of Firstfruits shows us that Yahweh’s laws exist beyond physical limitations. Now the spiritual intent of obedience is emphasized. The real purpose for obedience becomes clear and a righteous attitude is made manifest.
Hebrews 8:10 says that Yahweh’s laws would be put into our minds and written on our hearts. Some may claim that this means we obey only spiritually and don’t actually do anything, like observing the Sabbath or Feasts. However, in biblical terms writing something on a heart means to obey even more closely, as heartfelt.
Let’s read Ezekiel 11:19-20: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their Elohim.” We “take to heart” Yahweh’s laws when those laws are in our hearts.
The Feast of Weeks was the kickstart for the intense spread of New Testament teachings and Truth around the world, beginning an evangelism that continues today.