Pentecost, one of the three feasts that were mandated for Israel in Exodus 23 and 34. The first time was during the conversation God had with Moses on Mount Sinai before Moses broke the Tablets of the Law. Chapter 34 is the same order after Moses had to write the Law. Pentecost was the party at the end of the grain harvest. First Fruits was the beginning of the barley harvest that starts with Passover. Pentecost is the end of the wheat harvest. (Read the Book of Ruth also see Ruth Continued) God had planned for parties to take place in the Land, while the people were still in the desert.
In the first two commands about Pentecost, Father God does not go into a lot of detail. The particulars of the Feast are written in other Books of the Bible. In Leviticus 23: 15 – 22 very specific orders are given to the priest for the offerings. The orders include four parts that make up the whole package. I am not going into detail on the components. 1. The Wave Offering 2. The Burnt Offering 3. The Sin Offering 4. The Fellowship Offering. More on this later. Numbers 28: 26 – 31 has a slightly different take on the offerings for Pentecost. I can see this list being for the people to make sure they have enough materials for the priest to do their job and offer the correct sacrifice. Deuteronomy 16: 9 – 12 seems to be a reminder to the people to give according to how they have been blessed and that they are to have fun before the Lord.
The Four Parts of Leviticus 23 – It is important to remember that part of this feast commemoratives when God gave the Law in Exodus 19. It seems that the story really goes to Chapter 32 and ends with the Levites putting to death 3,000 partyers and the destruction of the gold calf. (Joseph Prince points out that 3,000 joined the Church on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.) Please allow me to do some extending of the parts of the sacrifice that was taking place in the Temple.
Pumpkin seed and Wheat
The Wave Offering – God’s waving created the sound of the rushing wind.
The Burnt Offering – The tongues of fire “burned” the disciples in the Upper Room.
The Sin Offering – Peter’s sermon introduced Jesus as the “sin offering” that had been paid.
Pentecost or fifty days after Easter is the end of a time period known as “Counting of the Omer” and for the Jews, it is the time period they remember the Exodus to the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. For the Christian, it marks the birth of the Church and the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew letter Nun the fourteenth letter of the Jewish alphabet represents Pentecost, which means fifty. Jesus during the Resurrection had shown Himself to the Disciples and had taught them about His Kingdom. After forty days He ascended into Heaven leaving them ten days to seek Him about this promised “Holy Spirit” that was to come. You have to wonder if they fully understood what Jesus was talking about or what was about to happen? Had Jesus explained that when the Holy Spirit came that they would walk in a new anointing and power that had not been experienced by that many people before? In Leviticus 23: 15 – 22 the observance of Pentecost is described. The main offering is the “firstfruits” of the season that is two loaves of baked bread that are to be waved before the Lord. The unusual thing about these loaves is that they are to be made with yeast. Normally offerings brought to the Temple were to be yeast-free as it is a type and shadow for sin. As the Hebrew4Christians website notes these loaves represent the Jew and Gentile being presented to God as firstfruits. In one parable found in Matthew 13: 33 and Luke 13: 20 yeast is compared to the kingdom of God. (Yeast is a living organism that serves a purpose in a sense they give what they are in life! Instead of sin maybe it is the type of yeast you are using!) Acts 2: 2 + 3 tell about the “sound of a violent wind” and “what seemed to be tongues of fire.” Other than God can be dramatic if He wants to be, maybe they symbolize the ram-horn trumpets and the fire for the burnt offerings that had to be made on Pentecost. I have wondered if the Disciples really knew what “wait for the gift my Father promised,” meant? They had seen Jesus operate in miraculous power but you wonder if they thought it would show up like that? I know that many who are Christians do not claim a “Pentecostal” experience is valid for today. Many make fun of it just as the Disciples were accused of being drunk but Peter dispelled that idea immediately (2:15). His closing comments in Acts 2: 38 + 39 talk about the “gift” (the one they had been waiting for) and says that the “promise is for you and your children and those who are far off” so that should include everyone since the first Pentecost and I did not notice that the “gift” was going to change in any way. Think about the gift of Pentecost! http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html