Why celebrate Feast of Pentecost?

The Seven Feasts of the Lord: Pentecost (June 12, 2016)

From: Intercessors For The Philippines Inc. (Download PDF File)

Pentecost, Hag Hashavuot, is observed on the day after the seventh Sabbath from the Feast of First Fruits (Lev 23:15, 16, Ex 34:22, De 16:10). Fifty days after the First Fruits (Habikkurim). Israelite families would gather to travel to Jerusalem together with their servants, the fatherless, the widows, the Levites and the aliens who have come under the protection of Yahweh. The pilgrimage would be in a festive mood (rejoice before the Lord – Deut 16:10), with singing, dancing and music.

THE PROMISE OF SHAVUOT

A Festive Occasion

While Habikkurim is the first fruits of the barley harvest, Shavuot is the first fruits of the summer wheat harvest. Instead of presenting sheaves of grain, the Lord required two loaves of bread baked from fine flour and with leaven as first fruits offering (Lev 23:17). Burn offerings, sin offerings, grain offerings, drink offerings and fellowship offerings are also presented to the Lord. Furthermore, Deut 16:10 says the people are to celebrate by giving a freewill offering to God, in proportion to the blessings God has given them. All of these offerings were given with the attitude of celebration and rejoicing, because God has given them much. Even the widows and the orphans have their offerings, because God made a provision for them (Lev 23:22).

The Feast of Proclamation

After months of traveling in the desert, the Israelites came to Mount Sinai. On this day, God proclaimed His heart to the people: they will be His treasured possession, and He will make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. For their part, the people agreed to fully obey God and keep His covenant. Three days after, Moses received the laws that would govern their relationship with God (Exodus 19:1, 10-11). Traditional rabbinical teaching say that this was the first Shavuot, and the laws (Torah/Ten Commandments) are likened to a ketubah or marriage covenant between God and His chosen nation. But a sad turn of events happened even before Moses could give them the regulations from God. The people committed spiritual adultery by bowing down to the golden calf (Exodus 32), and as a result 3 000 people died that day by the sword. More perished from the plague God sent among them as punishment for their sins.

The Fulfillment of the Covenant

On the very same day hundreds of years later, the disciples of Jesus gathered in Jerusalem fifty days after the Jesus resurrected (Acts 2:1-4). They were in Jerusalem for the traditional observation of Shavuot, and they were together in one place, as JESUS commanded them (Luke 24:49). Suddenly, as on the day Moses received the ketuba, there was a fire, but this time it was in tongues of fire that settled on each one of them – the Holy Spirit has come upon them and has endued them with power to proclaim the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:8). The Law (Torah) on tablets of stone, the Holy Spirit wrote God’s instructions on the tablets of the hearts of Jesus’ disciples (2 Cor 3:3),making them a royal priesthood and dwelt within them as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). After Peter preached, three thousand believed in the Lord and were added to God’s kingdom that day.

PREPARING FOR THE FEAST

Israelites would decorate their synagogues and homes with greenery, floral arrangements and baskets of fruits as a reminder that Mount Sinai was lush with trees and grass at the time the Torah was given. This also symbolizes the abundant harvest God has given the people. We could also prepare for this feast in these ways:

1. Celebrate God’s Provision. The old hymn exhorts us, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” We need to learn to thank God for every blessing, whether big or small, because they come from the hand of the Heavenly Father.

2. Proclaim God’s Praise. Proclaim what God has done. Praise Him with songs and lavish offerings, because God gives to us lavishly. Proclaim (call upon) our Heavenly Father for forgiveness for our unfaithfulness, repent and praise Him for His goodness.

3. Rejoice in God’s Revelation. Thank God for revealing Himself to us, for revealing His mind and heart to us. Receive His revelation by filling our minds with His Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and building up our faith by eating and drinking from His revealed truth.

4. Prepare for a Fresh Outpouring of His Power. Be in the position to receive from the Lord by keeping yourself in step with the Spirit and obeying His instructions.

CELEBRATING THE FEAST

Leviticus 23:15-22, Numbers 28:26-31 and Deuteronomy 16:9-12 contain instructions on how the feast is to be observed:

1. The people were to have a holy convocation. The day is also proclaimed as a Sabbath when the people are not allowed to work, except to prepare food. Christians could use this time to also gather together like the apostles and spend time with God. Plan a retreat or Pentecost service and sing to Him. Celebrate His faithful provision and His revelation by singing, dancing, and worshiping the Lord lavishly and joyfully. Share testimonies and breaking bread together. The Jews traditionally eat dairy foods during this time to symbolize how God’s Word is like honey and milk (Song of Songs 4:11).

2. They were to present their offerings in the Temple. Likewise, we could prepare a thank offering for the blessings God has given. Since God specifically included instructions on providing for the poor on this feast, we can choose to give to a ministry that helps the poor.

3. On the night before Shavuot, it is traditional for the Jews to learn the Torah all through the night to demonstrate how important God’s Word is and their eagerness to receive it. On Shavuot, the book of Ruth is traditionally read after reading the Torah. Ruth takes place at the time of the wheat harvest and tells how Ruth believed in God and became the great grandmother of King David (and an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Himself). We could follow t his example by spending time reading and meditating on God’s Word: the Ten Commandments, the book of Ruth and Psalms, among others.

4. Pray for a fresh release of His Spirit, that just as the disciples were endued with power we will be filled afresh with His power. Pray for greater anointing and manifestation of His gifts so that we will become more powerful witnesses. Pray for a greater experience of His goodness. Pray also for Israel, the nation God has chosen for Himself, to truly be a nation of priests as He has proclaimed when the commandments were first given.

Sources:

– A Prophetic Calendar: feasts of Israel
– The Messianic Church Arising, Dr. Robert Heidler (2011 edition, Glory of Zion Intl Ministries)
– The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) (www.truthnet.org)
– Shavuot (www.bje.org.au)
– Shavuot – Feast of Weeks, Joel Allen, 2010, Messianic Family Fellowship (www.restoringtheway.org)
– How to Count and Omer and Celebrate Shavuot (www.setapartpeople.com)
– The Feast of Weeks: Pentecost in May, Chuck Missler (www.khouse.org)

 

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