Curiosities on Pentecost (Shavout)
While yet preparing for our 12th Acts study, I felt it would be good to share another curiosity about the day of Pentecost. (Shavout to the Jews.) I'll draw attention to the words in CAPS by the use of a number.
The Lord said, "You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be (1) SEVEN COMPLETE SABBATHS. You shall count fifty days (1) TO THE DAY AFTER THE SEVENTH SABBATH; then you shall present (2) A NEW GRAIN OFFERING to the Lord. You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, (2) BAKED WITH LEAVEN as first fruits to the Lord ..." (Lev23:15-17)
There is more to the feast of Pentecost than these Scriptures, but what I've presented will show the curiosities. Enclosed in Shavout is Jesus Christ and the new covenant, including the new covenant day of worship.
(1) The counting from Passover to Pentecost included seven full Sabbaths. Pentecost was to be celebrated the day after the seventh Sabbath. Which means that Pentecost was to be celebrated on the first day of the week. (Our Sunday.)
Some promote the idea that Constantine actually instituted first day worship. This is not the case. While Constantine did fix the date for Easter, first day worship actually begin with the earliest Jewish believers themselves.
Not only can we see this in the the New Testament writings, but the Tulmud refers to this Jewish Christian day as 'the Nazarene day.' Jewish synagogues that belonged to believers in Jesus were referred to as Be Nitzraphi. (House of Nazarenes.)
Remember the accusation brought against Paul? The lawyer Tertullus said, "For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." (Acts 24:5)
Paul's responded, "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets." (Verse 14)
My point being that Sunday was established early on as the day of worship for the new covenant. And while it was not made a law of the new covenant, it did become the traditional day of worship for both Jewish and Gentile believers.
(2) Notice God tells Moses there was to be a 'new' grain offering, but the offered loaves were to be baked with leaven. In the Bible leaven is always symbol of corruption or sin. Keep in mind that Passover was also called the feast of UNLEAVENED bread. But Pentecost had leavened bread.
The two loaves at Shavout were representative of sinful man, both Jew and Gentile, and in how that we as sinners are saved through the perfect atonement of a perfect sacrifice, the blood of Jesus. The leaven represents what the Jews called 'yezer ha-Ra', or the evil principle. That principle remains in our flesh. This is why Paul said that in his body was no good thing.
Nowhere in the Scriptures is there a doctrine called 'sinless perfection' in this life. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God. But saved sinners have a new law at work in their spirit natures. It is called the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Our spirits have been born again, and infused with the life of Jesus. Yet in our flesh there remains the yezer ha-Ra. This is why believers sometimes feel like there is a warfare going on in them.
But guess who is stronger? Did not the apostle say that 'greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world?' The point being that when the Spirit of Jesus is in charge, the result is always life and peace. When the 'yezer ha-Ra' is in charge, there is the possibility of every evil thing. (And don't think that Christians can't be bad guys.)
This brings us to the conclusion of the curiosity of Pentecost. Remember how the priest was to lift up the loaves and wave them before the Lord. This lifting of the loaves symbolized our have been lifted up in Christ Jesus. His perfect life has been credited to our account.
Isn't it amazing how you can find Jesus and the new covenant written throughout the Scriptures...
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 22, 2004
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