The day of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament and Shavuoth in Hebrew, is a day packed with biblical insight and importance.
It’s significant in both the Old and New testaments and is a day that Israel, along with the apostles, observed. It represents two essential gifts from our Heavenly Father: the giving of the Torah and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Examining the Command
As with any truth of Yahweh’s Word, understanding the foundation is important. Leviticus 23 is a key passage providing a summary of the seven annual Feasts, including the Feast of Weeks. It reads, ‘’And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh,” vv. 15-16.
Normally Yahweh gives the day and month for His appointed times. For example, He commands that we observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th day of the first month. He follows this same pattern for all His Feasts except for this one. Instead of providing a specific month and day, He commands that we count seven complete Sabbaths or weeks from the time that the wave sheaf was offered.
The wave sheaf was presented to Yahweh by the priest on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath, being the Sunday that falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The grain harvest could not begin until this firstfruits sheaf was waved before Yahweh.
After we count seven complete weeks, Scripture commands that we add a 50th day. This 50th day marks the Feast of Weeks and is where we receive the name “Pentecost.”
In verse 16 Yahweh says that on this day Israel was to offer a new grain offering. The type of grain is key. Understanding agriculture in the Old Testament is pivotal to His Feasts.
The first month, Abib, commemorates the barley harvest, Exodus 9:31. The next grain to be harvested is wheat. Therefore, the Feast of Weeks commemorates the wheat harvest. The first two major Feasts in the Word were based on agricultural harvests.
In verse 17 Yahweh commanded Israel to make two loaves of bread on this day. It reads, “Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto Yahweh.”
Notice that these two loaves both contained yeast or leavening. What might this leavening symbolize? It’s possible that it represents the establishment and growth of Yahweh’s assembly. We also find that leavening doesn’t always symbolize sin or something negative. Here leavening represents something pure or holy.
Pentecost is also a time of worship and fellowship: “And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations,” verse 21.
The phrase “holy convocation” comes from the Hebrew qodesh miqra, which means a holy or sacred meeting. Yahweh commands that we come together to worship Him on this Feast. It’s also a day of rest. It says here specifically do no “servile work.” This phrase derives from the Hebrew abodah, meaning “work of any kind.” This is a day not for ordinary work, but for the worship of our Elohim and fellowship with other like-minded believers.
Giving of the Law
Let’s now consider the Old and New testament fulfillments of this Feast. Yahweh’s Feasts reveal His plan of salvation for mankind. Our first clue is found in Exodus 19:1: “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.”
The timing here is critical. This passage confirms that Israel was in the wilderness of Sinai in the third month. Based on the 50-day count from the wave sheaf, this is the month Pentecost is in. We also know chronologically that this passage was immediately before Moses went up into Mount Sinai to receive the Law.
While it doesn’t say here that Moses received the law during this Feast, yet based on the evidence this is a high probability. In addition to Exodus 19 confirming they were at Sinai in the third month, the Jews maintain that the Law was given on this day. And it is consistent with the timing of their travels.
Another consideration is that nearly every major event in the Old and New testaments occurred on a Feast day. What event was more significant in the Old Testament than the giving of the Torah? Additionally, Scripture shows a relationship between the giving of the Law and its counterpart in the New Testament—the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost.
Outpouring of the Spirit
The second chapter of Acts provides a description of this event: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance,” verses 1-4. The people were gathered for Pentecost.
Contrary to popular church doctrine, New Testament believers continued observing the Feast days even after Yahshua’s death and resurrection. Acts 20:16 shows Paul’s desire to keep Pentecost in Jerusalem. Scripture also tells us that the Feasts will be observed in the millennial Kingdom, Isaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 45-46; and Zechariah 14:16-19.
Two important events occurred on this day in the New Testament: First, Yahweh poured out His Spirit on those gathered for Pentecost. And second, through Yahweh’s Spirit the people were given the gift of tongues (languages).
This outpouring of the Spirit is the New Testament fulfillment for this Feast. While some believe that Pentecost foreshadows the resurrection of the saints as the firstfruits of mankind, Scripture shows that this occurs at Yahshua’s coming, likely depicted in the Feast of Trumpets.
The Bible also confirms a relationship between the Torah (Old Testament) and Spirit (New Testament). Through the Law we receive the knowledge of Yahweh’s Word and through the Spirit we receive the ability to rightly apply that knowledge. Therefore, the Law and Spirit are complementary. What Yahweh began in the Old Testament He completed in the New Testament.
As noted, on that day those who received the Spirit were given the gift of tongues. Through the ages this gift has been misunderstood. In short, this gift is the ability to speak in another known language through divine inspiration. The word “tongues” comes from the Greek glossa and means “a language (especially one naturally unacquired),” Strong’s. Based on this definition, glossa is a known language that often was supernaturally given. Those gathered here acquired this gift through the Holy Spirit.
Peter’s Pentecost Sermon
In addition to the giving of the Holy Spirit, on this day Peter also gave a dynamic message that rattled the very foundation of the New Testament assembly.
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 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: 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,” Acts 2:16-21.
Peter begins by quoting the prophet Joel who describes how Yahweh would pour out His Spirit upon both men and women and how they would prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams. He said that all these things would occur through Yahweh’s Spirit and would come to pass in the last days.
The term “latter days” describes the time between between Acts, the beginning of the New Testament assembly, and the Second Coming of Yahshua the Messiah.
Remember that a thousand years is like a day to Yahweh. So like Peter, we too are living in the last days.
As we get closer to Yahshua’s return, we will see greater manifestations through the power of Yahweh’s Spirit. One of the most important lessons is in verse 21. Peter verifies that those who call on Yahweh’s Name will be saved. Yahweh’s personal Name is one of the pivotal truths in Scripture.
As the Sabbath serves as a sign of Yahweh’s people, Yahweh’s Name serves as a seal. If we desire a relationship with our Heavenly Father, we must begin by calling on and honoring His Name Yahweh!
Beginning in verse 36 we find the impact of Peter’s high-powered message: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that Elohim hath made that same Yahshua, whom ye have impaled, both Master and Messiah. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as Yahweh our Elohim shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls,” vv. 36-41.
After all the signs and wonders, and after Peter’s message, Scripture records that those gathered were pricked in their hearts for being responsible for the death of Yahshua the Messiah. The people asked Peter, “… what shall we do?”
At this point, they were distraught, realizing for the first time the mistake they had made. They understood the magnitude of what had happened. They were guilty of putting to death the Son of Yahweh. Peter told the crowd to repent and be baptized. As a result, about 3,000 people were immersed into Yahshua’s Name.
Yahweh used this day as the fire that would ignite the growth of the early New Testament assembly. If it were not for the outpouring of the Spirit, the gift of tongues, and Peter’s message, this likely would not have happened.
The Feast of Weeks provides many valuable lessons and great insight into Yahweh’s Word. Not only was the law delivered on this day, but also the Holy Spirit. Through the Law Yahweh has given mankind His instructions for righteous living and through His Spirit the wisdom to rightly apply the Word and give acumen to our lives.
We encourage you to join us for this important time commanded by Yahweh.