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1. 4 Names / 4 Languages
v 4 and 5: “These are Yehovah’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: Yehovah’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month…v 15 and 16: “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to Yehovah…” That day is tomorrow.
In Hebrew it’s The Feast of Shavuot [Shavuos in Ashkenazi usage – Yiddish].
Both translate into English as Weeks, so, in our English Bibles it’s called The Feast of Weeks.
In Greek it’s called Pentecost (“pente” is 50th – “cost” is day / Pente cost = 50th day.)
The 7 weeks (or 50 days) of counting is called The Counting of the Omer.
What’s great about Passover, the Counting, and Pentecost is we see their beginnings back in the Old Testament with Moses, and then we see their fulfillment in Christ in the New Testament.
But still, why should a Christian care or study about Old Testament Feasts? We have Jesus.
Let’s start at the source: Jesus (His name in Hebrew is Yeshua [Yehovah is salvation]).
2,000 years ago Yeshua-Jesus lived, died for us, rose again, and ascended into heaven.
On the day he rose, Jesus appeared on the Road to Emmaus.
Luke 24 tells us, “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem…As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.” He asked them what they were discussing that was making them so sad? They told him all about Jesus and said, “they crucified him, but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.”
To which Jesus responded, “How foolish you are! You’re so slow to believe everything the prophets said! Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then He began with Moses’ teachings and the Prophets to explain to them what was said about Him throughout the Scriptures.
So, Jesus shared everything about God’s plan starting with the Torah (the first 5 books of Moses), and then He explained all the prophecies. So, He went from creation in Genesis thru the prophet Malachi. Later, when the men described the conversation, “Weren’t we excited when he talked with us on the road and opened up the meaning of the Scriptures for us?”
One of the first things Jesus did after rising from the dead is to do what I am going to do today; explain where and how we can encounter Him in the Feasts from Genesis to Malachi.
Why? These men followed Yeshua in person for years but didn’t know Him according to His Word.
Later that day Yeshua appeared to all of the disciples and did the same thing He did on the road, “Then he said to them, “These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you. I told you that everything written about me in Moses’ Teachings, the Prophets, and the Psalms had to come true.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” He had already taught them all of this, probably repeatedly. Their minds were only open to receive according to what they expected. There have always been misunderstandings and disagreements among leaders and people from the time of creation to the time of the Law of Moses, it continued in the New Testament Church, the Catholic Church, between all the Protestant Denominations, within the Spirit-Filled Churches, and on and on. We don’t connect the dots that God has written down for us. The Feasts are very prophetic and help add clarity. We want to encounter Jesus. We want to know Yeshua more!
Are the Feasts just a Jewish thing?
On the day 4 of creation, “God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, seasons, days and years.” The word seasons isn’t speaking of spring, summer, winter, and fall. It’s mo’ed [mo-ade] and it’s the Hebrew word for “appointed times”. That word is uniquely used of days that will become, or are set apart, as biblical Festivals.
So, from the beginning, God set apart these days; 2,000 years before Abraham and 2,500 years before Moses or the Law. These days have always been God’s appointed times.
Zechariah 14 describes eternity, on the new earth (after the end times), “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, Yehovah Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yehovah Almighty, they will have no rain.”
These days are eternal – In the sense that we will celebrate them on into eternity.
Exodus 12 tells us, “Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to Yehovah; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.”
It’s not a human feast, or a Jewish feast, it belongs to God. It’s to Him and for Him, forever.
I also want to talk to you in a related subject: VPD Appeal
Deuteronomy 16 tells us how God wants us to celebrate Him. “Be joyful at your Feast” [that Hebrew word is [śāmaḥ – suh may-ack] – it means to rejoice (or full of joy and glad].
“Three times a year all your men must appear before Yehovah your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Passover in the Spring], and this week at
the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost in the Summer] and the Feast of Tabernacles [in the Fall].
No one should appear before Yehovah empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way Yehovah your God has blessed you.”
Not quite 3 months ago, as I was teaching on Purim, I shared that for the last two years, Victory has been making financial adjustments because donations had dropped lower. Every winter they drop.
Since covid, there has been a lot less to set aside. This year, in January and February the donations were way lower than we needed. In March at Purim, you gave generously, and in April at VPD, you gave generously again and helped us bounce back and make it thru May. First, thank you so much!
It’s now June; it’s summer, and it’s Pentecost, so I just want to make another appeal.
So, while I teach this morning, I’m also going to remind you that we need support.
I’m asking you to give. Go online at victory.radio and give, now, and later.
Or call us to give at 770-781-9150. Kelly and Bryan are standing by to take your call.
2. When to Start Counting to 50
The date of Pentecost is determined by Passover. Let’s look back in Leviticus 23 in the light of Passover 2,000 years ago and the death and resurrection of Jesus: “‘These are Yehovah’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:
- “Yehovah’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month…”
[In 30AD, twilight of the 14th was a Wednesday evening; the Last Supper was held, and Jesus was arrested. Then on Thursday morning (it was still the 14th because Jewish days begin in the evening) He was crucified from 9am-3pm (the time) the Passover lambs were being slain. They buried Him Thursday before twilight of the 15th His 1st night in the grave was the 15th.]
- “On the fifteenth day of that month Yehovah’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins…”
[From twilight Thursday evening till twilight Friday is the 15th. Then the Sabbath occurs Friday twilight on the 16th till Saturday twilight. Friday night the 16th was His 2nd night in the grave.
- Back to Leviticus: When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before Yehovah so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God…” [The day after the Sabbath is twilight Saturday (it’s now the 17th until twilight on Sunday evening.
It was Resurrection Day for Jesus (the morning of the 3rd day). It’s called the Feast of Firstfruits.]
- “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to Yehovah…” [You count 50 days and arrive at Shavuot or Pentecost.]
From the time of Moses, the Sadducee priests who maintained the Temple determined that the Sabbath in this passage was the weekly Shabbat Friday night/Saturday. But after the resurrection of Jesus, the church was born as thousands of Jews believed Yeshua Jesus was the Messiah and became followers and celebrated His death and resurrection Passover thru Firstfruits.
Herod then replaced the Sadducees with the Pharisees. To avoid Jews believing that Jesus died on Passover and rose three days later on Firstfruits – and therefore could be the Messiah – they changed the way the 50-day count worked.
Since all Feast days were also considered Sabbaths, they determined that the Sabbath in Leviticus 23 referred to the Passover itself. So, instead of waiting till the weekly Sabbath ended to begin the Counting of the Omer, Firstfruits would begin immediately after Passover, on the first day of Unleavened Bread on Nissan 15 (which eliminated the 3 days the Messiah was to be in the grave).
The Pharisees back then are the Orthodox now, so they are still observing it to eliminate Jesus from the picture. And it’s still working. Most Jewish people today see no connection whatsoever between Passover, Firstfruits and the death and resurrection of Yeshua Jesus.
***Ironically, this year their altered calendar actually has Pentecost on the correct day.
Passover is 48 days behind us, and the eve of Pentecost is set to arrive tomorrow evening June 4th and will continue through Sunday evening June 5th.
Most of the 50 days of the Omer occur during the second Biblical Month which has 2 names.
In the Bible it’s called the month of Ziv (which comes from zahah, which is the word for flowers that are blooming – it means to be fruitful). It’s where we get the word zayit, an olive or olive tree.
The blossoming of the olive tree was a sign that the winter was over, and that spring (ziv) had arrived. Ziv reminds us to live our lives expecting good to bloom and burst forth.
Ziv is also called IYAR [ee-yar] which means gathering, so since Ziv means blooming, both words express the idea of harvesting. In Biblical Hebrew, Letters are Numbers and Words: IYAR means “I am God your healer”. Here is where the month gets its name: In Exodus 15 Israel had crossed the Red Sea and were making their way through the wilderness and in need of water, when they came to Marah – where the water was bitter (undrinkable).
God told Moses to throw a stick in the water and the water was made fit to drink.
God then told them if they obeyed, they would not suffer any of the diseases the Egyptians suffered from – because “I am Yehovah, who heals you.” This took place on the 1st day of Iyar. Iyar is considered a month of healing and the month that gives us hope.
It’s also one of the most meaningful months of the year. In the month of Ziv or Iyar:
Germany surrendered in WWII and the nation of Israel was re-established in 1948.
The last 11 days of Counting the Omer have been rather miraculous.
During these 11 days: The 6-Day War began in 1967 when Egypt, Syria, and Jordan simultaneously attacked Israel; the Arab nations were soundly defeated in only 6 days.
In those 6 days Israel seized: The Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; the West Bank (including East Jerusalem and Hebron from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria.
Most significantly, the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were both liberated.
It’s often compared to what happened in Marah – they went from bitter to sweet.
Psalm 30:12, “You turned my lament into dancing, you undid my sackcloth and girded me with joy.”
They also celebrate the Day of Distinction. In the time of Moses, it was the day God first called Israel His “Chosen People”. Moses ascended Mount Sinai for the first time and God told him to tell the people of Israel: “You shall be My chosen treasure from among all the nations”.
Of course, Sunday is Shavuot (when God gave the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai).
3. Voices and Fire
On the first Pentecost, signs and wonders accompanied the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
There was smoke, fire, and clouds on the mountain.
The mountain trembled and the blast of a shofar sounded louder and louder.
The voice of God was audibly heard by the entire nation.
According to the Midrash (a traditional Jewish interpretation of Scripture), the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai was accompanied by several wonders.
- Flames of fire which came to each individual at Sinai: “On the occasion of the giving of the Torah, the Children of Israel not only heard Yehovah’s Voice, but actually saw the sound waves as they emerged from Yehovah’s mouth. They visualized them as a fiery substance.”
- The voice of God speaking in every language known to man (in Rabbinic lore, there are 70 mother languages.) Exodus 20:15 says: “And all the people witnessed the thunderings“.
The Midrash says, “So, it is said that God’s voice, as it was uttered, split up into seventy voices, in seventy languages, so that all the nations should understand.”
Exodus 20:18 “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.” In Hebrew, the “thunder and lightning” in this passage literally reads “voices and (torches or fires or lights).”
Theologians believe “Voices” was translated “thunders” in English because voices are normally heard rather than seen, and “torches” was translated “lightnings” to perhaps match logically.
The Hebrew word for “voices” is plural. What the people heard was one God, but many voices or languages. This means that everyone heard the Torah in a way that they could understand it in the language that they spoke, even though they were a “mixed multitude” (Exodus 12:38).
In Acts 2:1-4, we have: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (a large fire of some sort came down from heaven and then divided and covered each one of them) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh] and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” You have voices and torches again.
Acts 2:5-8 “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?”
The Bible says the people heard in their language, but it doesn’t say they spoke in that language. Just like at Sinai, everyone heard in their own language as God spoke.
The disciples and followers of Jesus were all aware of the giving of the Torah at Shavuot.
They knew the story of the “words of fire” resting on each individual at Shavuot.
They knew the story of God’s voice speaking to all mankind in every language at Shavuot.
Therefore, the miracles and signs and wonders they experienced in Acts chapter two, carried deep significance and prophetic fulfillment. The tongues of fire and the speaking in every tongue were both direct allusions to the Mount Sinai experience and to the receiving of the Torah.
Was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit an event in history – Yes
Has it continued to happen even to our current day – Yes
Is it a one-time occurrence or a constant refilling – More is always available
In a very practical sense, we countdown the 50 days to Pentecost because 2,000 years ago was not a one-time experience for the disciples, but rather the first experience of a constant refilling of the Spirit.
As we arrive at Pentecost let’s seek together to encounter the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for those who never have and ask for even more of the wonderful manifest presence of Jesus for those who have encountered the Baptism but are still longing for more of His touch.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh] has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
If your particular church upbringing has left you confused or even hesitant about the possibilities of such encounters and experiences in our day, listen to Jesus describe what the average Christian life would look like just before He ascended:
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents [that’s not an invitation or encouragement to handle snakes by the way]; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them [likewise, that’s not an invitation or encouragement to drink poison]; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18
4. Every Promise Has Been Fulfilled
Let’s talk Farming and Counting!
Passover is almost 2 months behind us, and Pentecost is set to arrive this Saturday evening and will continue through Sunday evening.
We are between those two harvesting seasons right now, in a period called:
Sefirat HaOmer (sif-a-ret haw-omer) – the Counting of the Omer.
Spiritually speaking, when you are counting days or weeks, you are counting “to” something,
and that “something” you are arriving at is a promise.
An Omer is a measure of grain (a sheaf). There were two primary grains grown in Israel –
barley and wheat. The barley ripened first and was harvested at the Feast of Pesach or Passover.
The wheat took a bit longer to ripen, so they were commanded to wait and count 7 weeks after Passover before harvesting the wheat at The Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost.
Is there more to this then a harvest festival? Yes, the 50 days was the time it took to travel from Egypt to Mount Sinai. The Counting of the Omer also remembers the 50 days between the Passover in Egypt and the giving of the Word of God on stone tablets at Mount Sinai 3,500 years ago.
But there’s still more. Jesus was the true Passover Lamb 2,000 years ago and after his crucifixion and resurrection, He walked the roads of Israel for the first 40 Days of the Omer.
The next 10 days the apostles were on their own counting.
They surely didn’t realize what was coming, but they were representing the “church era” on the earth which we are still in. On day 50 Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit and birthed the church.
Just as tablets of stone were turned into the very Words and Laws of God at Sinai, so were hearts of stone turned to hearts of flesh as the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh] came upon them in Jerusalem. There is always more to the story.
At Pentecost, nothing from that year’s wheat harvest could be eaten until after the wave offering was made. Why? God established these festivals as times of Divine renewal or newness – what was forbidden becomes permissible.
When Jesus came out of the grave, He presented to His Father the Firstfruits wave offering of all the souls who had been locked away in Hades. He opened the door into eternity with God for all mankind who had been trapped in sin and death. We who were forbidden to approach God became acceptable and part of the Divine harvest.
When He poured out the Holy Spirit, He enabled us to go from redeemed to empowered, from indwelt to overflowing. He is always taking us from glory to glory. We are not done when we are saved, and we are not done when we are empowered. There was no salvation or infilling of the Holy Spirit without the cross. There is no power apart from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
It’s so easy to doubt that God will intervene for us, but it’s why are we to pray, “Give us our daily bread”. It’s not about what you had, or have, or will have. He is among us and wants to sustain us – from our breath – to the beating of our heart – and every single aspect of life.
The clothes and shoes of the Israelites didn’t wear out in the 40 years of wandering the desert;
bread appeared in the mornings, and water came out of a rock for them to drink their fill.
He has said, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be
added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Joshua 23:14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises Yehovah your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
Of the 2 million slaves that came out of Egypt with Moses, only two actually got to see the promises of God fulfilled with their own eyes and walk the land two separate times 40 years apart, Joshua and Caleb.
They both believed the promise despite the presence of giants but couldn’t go in then because the people lacked faith. They both had to wait 40 years for a new generation to arise.
As God reigned down great boulders from heaven on the heads of the giants, only Joshua and Caleb could see God’s promise come to pass.
Salvation will get you to heaven. I believe those who died in the desert during the 40 wilderness years walked out of their graves when Jesus did, and He brought them to heaven as firstfruits. But they didn’t see the promise come to pass (or the Promised Land) here in this world.
Joshua and Caleb are shadows of those who wait and enter into to His promise (The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.) The walked and waited 40 days and 40 years, but they walked in power.
As the apostles prayed that morning of Pentecost awaiting what Jesus promised, they didn’t know quite what to expect, only to expect an outpouring of God upon them. In an instant, the Holy Spirit fire fell on them, and they began speaking in languages they did not know. Joy filled them, and courage and boldness soared within them. They were the Firstfruits [bikoreem] of His power, now empowered to be who Jesus had prepared them to be.
5. Pentecost Is Forever Connected to Passover
The two most important biblical festivals are the ones we know the most about, Passover and Pentecost. We’re going to pick everything apart so we can understand them historically, spiritually, and ultimately? Passover and every other Biblical Feast has a set day, like the first of the month or the 10th of the month or the 14th of the month, etc., except Pentecost. It literally can’t exist without Passover.
You have to arrive at Passover, wait for the day after Sabbath, and then and only then can you start to count for 50 days to determine when Pentecost is. It’s completely unique among the feasts. Some people think it could be the day of the rapture in the End Times because you never know the date until you do. Of course, I already taught on Passover 50 days ago, so I’m just going to scratch the surface on it now, especially on the linkage between these two Feasts so we can understand how these feasts work.
We know that God called the Israelites “His children” and on Passover 3,500 years ago, God set His people free from bondage in Egypt, keeping a promise He made to Abraham, and He did it on the same day He made the promise 430 years later. After of living through 9 plagues that God sent on Egypt to judge them and all of their false gods, the day the Israelites became free, the death angel killed the first-born in every Egyptian household who didn’t cover their door with the blood of the Pesach lamb, and that included Pharaoh’s house.
Even Pharaoh wanted the Israelites gone by then. So, that morning Moses led everyone who would follow him out of bondage in Egypt to meet with God at Mount Sinai after a 50-day walk thru the desert. They ate unleavened bread for a week until they could stop long enough to let yeast rise in their bread.
When they got to the mountain, God gave them the 10 Commandments and the Torah, which they made a covenant to obey, and God invited them into a marriage-like intimacy with Him (which they rejected out of fear). That’s the history – that’s the “what happened.”
Of course, Passover in Egypt and the first Pentecost at Mount Sinai was just the beginning, because God told them to celebrate the meal every year; and on the day after the Sabbath, they were to celebrate a Festival called Firstfruits to thank God for supplying the barley harvest.
At Firstfruits they were told to start counting and waiting for 7 weeks (50 days), then feast again at a Festival called Weeks or The Day of the Firstfruits. They were to remember how God gave them the 10 Commandments and the Torah and thank Him for providing the wheat harvest.
About 2,000 years ago everything changed as Yeshua Jesus, the first-born Son of the Living God shed His blood and died as the Pesach Lamb on the cross on the day of Passover to set humanity free from sin, death, and over all the power of the enemy.
The feasts were about to come alive for anyone who would choose to receive Him and follow Him. Three days later on the day after the Sabbath at the Feast of Firstfruits, 1 Corinthians 15:20 tells us, “He was raised, from the dead, the firstfruits of those who are asleep.” So, that sounds like the beginning of some clarity there.
For the next 40 days Yeshua Jesus explained everything in detail and told them to follow Him, obey Him, and to wait in eager expectation because the Holy Spirit would be poured out by Him from heaven in not too many days; and then He ascended into heaven.
Ten days later on Pentecost, as they finished counting to 50 days, and they were remembering God’s gift of the Torah and the Commandments, suddenly the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who were waiting. And there were flames of fire and they spoke in new tongues that they didn’t know.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 sums up all of this, “Behold, the days are coming, says Yehovah, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says Yehovah.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yehovah:
I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know Yehovah,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The first Pentecost occurred 50 days after God brought them out of Egyptian slavery when they arrived at Mount Sinai and heard the voice of God declare the 10 Commandments, which they would later carve into stone, and made a covenant with Him to obey. But 1,500 years later, on that same day, Jesus rewrote that law on their hearts; He poured out the Holy Spirit and filled them with power.
And while they were to eat a Passover meal and to celebrate a weeklong Festival of Unleavened Bread, but they never told to smear blood on their doors again or walk the desert road to Mt Sinai to meet with God. What happened to that?
When he started his ministry by going into the wilderness for 40 days to be tested and tempted, the path from Egypt to Mt Sinai was visible again. John 10 tells us, “Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
1,500 years after Egypt, as Jesus was pouring out with his own righteousness bringing blood from his hands, feet, head and whole body, the doors in Egypt were visible again, but this time on a cross.
Every biblical festival is so many things, and so much more. The more you dig, the more God reveals. Pentecost is more than the law, the Holy Spirit baptism, power, or tongues. There is always more. Let’s take a journey of discovery.
The best way to understand something is to pick it apart piece by piece. And that means digging deep into the Word of God.
Deuteronomy 16 – “From the day after the Sabbath…count off seven full weeks…fifty days, and then present an offering of new grain to Yehovah.”
So first of all, you’re counting – And you’re counting to seven (days)
And then you’re counting to seven, seven times – so seven weeks – for a total of 50 days.
The number seven (sheva [sheh-vah]) is very present in scripture (over 600 times)
and it is very significant. Seven represents wholeness, perfection, and completion;
In six days, God created the universe but on the seventh day,
His work was completed and, therefore, He rested.
So, we have the seven-day week with a seventh day Sabbath rest.
We have seven patriarchs, seven-branched menorah, etc.,
There are seven Moadim or Biblical Feasts / Appointed times.
There was seven of each clean animal on the ark.
Noah’s family was on the ark for seven days until the rain started.
Jacob served seven years for Rachel and seven years for Leah.
Seventy people of the house of Jacob went to Egypt.
And then we arrive at Moses, he is to count seven days after Passover
for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and in the Fall seven days of Tabernacles
We count seven weeks, times seven weeks, till Pentecost
And the Last Days judgement features a seven-year tribulation.
So, if seven is really significant, then how much more significant is seven times seven.
Based on the number seven alone, Pentecost is one of the most important events in scripture.
So, we have to ask, is there any other event that counts sevens and that ends up counting seven times seven, and the 50th day is really important? Yes.
As a matter of fact, there is an event that is almost identical, which has two parts. It’s in Leviticus 25.
“Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to Yehovah. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.”
Every seventh year is a year of rest and release for the land. It’s called The Sabbatical Year or Shemita, which means release.
“And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound…And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.”
Every seven years we arrive at a Shemita (The Sabbatical Year). And we count seven Shemita (seven years times seven years) and on the 50th year we arrive at the Yovel (Year of Jubilee) which brings freedom and liberation.
So yes, arriving at Pentecost on the 50th day of counting does indeed point to a similar counting that’s done to get to the Year of Jubilee (Yovel) when every servant or slave would go free and have the right to return to his own property or land, and all debts would be cancelled.
So, it’s definitely worthy of learning about the Year of Jubilee or Yovel to see if the “more” that God has established for Pentecost may have something to do with the similar Yovel event.
And since a Yovel is made from seven Shemita years, it stands to reason that understanding Shemita will probably shine a light on Pentecost as well. And as it happens, we are currently in a Shemita Year, so it may be even more interesting for us.
Every seven years in Israel its Shemita (The Sabbatical Year) or The Year of Release”. The Basic Laws of Shemita in the Bible: give the land a sabbath rest to Yehovah, cease from cultivating the land (meaning no planting, fertilizing, weeding, or pruning, and no harvesting for selling or making a profit); they must release all debt, and relinquish ownership of anything that grows in the fields. So, all produce becomes ownerless or free for the taking by anyone.
Jews in Israel observe Shemita “to some degree”. After the time of Jesus, the Pharisees who were appointed by Herod replaced the Sadducees who had been part of the true priestly line of Zadok. These false rabbis overruled the Torah’s Shemita laws to ease the burden on farmers by developing leniency of sale rules to permit farmers to sell their land to non-Jews so that they could continue to work the land as usual during Shemita.
The key to understanding Shemita is to understand the weekly Sabbath because Shemita is also referred to as “A Sabbath to Yehovah” (Leviticus 25:4). They work for six days and rest on the seventh, likewise they work the land for six years and rest on the seventh.
“But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.” (Leviticus 25:4–5)
The purpose of Sabbath is to remember that God is our Creator. Shemita reminds us that God is the Creator and Owner of everything. The weekly Sabbath helps us rest, focus on God, our families, and grow in faith. The 7th year Shemita does that even more – especially faith.
God addressed the obvious question: If we don’t work the land, then what will we eat?
God promises that those who trust Him and observes the laws of Shemita will have extreme abundance – so that what grows in the sixth year will be enough not just for the seventh year, but the eighth, and until the ninth year when the new crops come in.
Shemita is a great equalizer for our hearts and our judgment. Shemita laws lift up the poor while both humbling and blessing those who have been blessed with more.
In Exodus 23:11 says, “during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it.”
The land cannot be worked which relieves the landowner from feelings of ownership and releases him from the pitfall in Deuteronomy 8:17: “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’”
In the year of Shemita, anything that grows is God’s doing, not ours. While we may be entrusted with God’s abundance, ultimately, everything belongs to Him, and it is our duty to share what we are given.
The second part of the verse says that the poor are permitted to eat whatever grows in the land of Israel for the entire year. This is much better than handouts to the hungry. Since the landowner hasn’t done anything to produce the food growing on the land, the poor person can collect it with dignity knowing that he’s being fed straight from the hand of God.
Another rule of Shemita is, “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts…They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because Yehovah’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.” Deuteronomy 15:12
So, the poor get a “second chance” and the creditor learns that it was never his money to begin with. He’s used by God to express grace.
Israelis grow 95% of the fruits and vegetables that they eat. So how can they let the land in Israel rest, but still provide fresh fruits and vegetables? They grow them above the ground without any dirt using hydroponics. Yea, they’re still not very good at following the rules.
The word Shemita literally means release, but it can also mean shaking, fall or collapse.
The Great Depression of 1929 began in a Shemita year as did the crash of 1937–1938.
In the past, when Israel did not give the Land its required year of rest every seven years, God exiled the people so that the Land could have its rest for the exact period of all those years it missed. The destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the people of Israel to Babylon happened in a Shemita year (in 586 BC.)
What do you do during Shemita?
1. Give yourself a break. Take some time off to rest and re-evaluate your life.
2. Give more than in other years.
3. Set aside a time every week to study and meditate on God’s Word.
4. Pray powerfully, harder, deeper, and with more faith.
5. Explore God’s creation. Cultivate gratitude for the land and the Creator of all land.
That’s how Shemita works. We’ll dig into the Yovel (or Jubilee) next and then we’ll see how they both clarify Pentecost.
8. The Year of Jubilee – Yovel
Two things first: Israel doesn’t currently observe the year of Jubilee because rabbis say that all twelve tribes must be living in their allotted lands in order for the Jubilee year to be observed.
Yovel only applies in the actual land of Israel.
Leviticus 25 “And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years…And you shall consecrate the Fiftieth Year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants.
It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family…you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field…”
In a Jubilee or Yovel Year, all the laws of Shemita were in effect, plus hereditary property was returned to its original family, even if it had been sold because of misfortune, poverty, or to pay off a debt. In case you’re wondering, the nearness of the Jubilee determined the value of land. If it were just a few years away, the land would sell for much less because it would soon be returned to its original owner.
Yovel and the first Pentecost at Sinai accomplished three things:
- slaves were set free
- those who lost ancestral land are returned to it (where they belong)
- and their ancestral land is returned to them.
Notice the language God uses here, “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you reside in My land as foreigners and strangers [we are all continually on a pilgrimage]. Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23–24)
We’re told to, “proclaim liberty throughout the land” – liberty for the people and liberty for the land.
It’s a homecoming. The “land” is seen as one of the family. When its sold, it’s no longer free.
God gives it rest by returning it to the rest of the family.
When we’re set free from bondage and return home, we are actually returning to God’s land, not our own. He is the owner and the provider, our Father and Bridegroom and Comforter. We are safe and cared for.
It’s kind of like a lease agreement for everyone, rich and poor alike. It protects the rights of each person and prevented land and wealth from being accumulated in the hands of a powerful few, while the majority remained powerless. But there is a lot to the actual words that God uses here.
As a reminder, we’re trying to see if Yovel (Jubilee) has any impact on Pentecost, since they are somewhat similar in the counting process. As it turns out, there are several other areas that overlap beyond the similar counting. The first one is the phrase we just talked about.
There are only two places that God ever says, “For all the earth or land is mine”.
The phrase in Hebrew is: [kî- lî kāl- hā-’ā-reṣ]. He says it at the first Pentecost at Sinai:
Exodus 19:5 “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.”
And then the same phrase is repeated for Jubilee in Leviticus 25:23, “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.”
So, Jubilee and Pentecost are not only related, but perhaps Jubilee is modeled after Pentecost.
The word Yovel is only used 27 times in scripture.
Twenty-one times it’s used as the word Jubilee, to specifically describe the Year of Jubilee.
That leaves six other times that could impact Pentecost.
Interestingly enough, the very first time the word Yovel was used in the Torah, was not at Jubilee, but in Exodus 19 at Mt Sinai at Pentecost when God blew a ram’s horn trumpet to say it was safe for the people to approach him on the mountain. “The people may go up the mountain only when the ram’s horn [Yovel] sounds a long blast.” That ram’s horn was the word Yovel.
So, in a sense the first Pentecost was also the first Year of Jubilee [Yovel] (because it was the year Israel became former slaves when God [brought them out / Shemita them / released them] from bondage in Egypt) to return to their own land as He had promised Abraham. So that is a definite link. What is it all about?
|Pentecost /Yovel Then||Pentecost / Yovel Now|
|Law On Stone to Stony Hearts
Fire on Sinai
Many Languages Heard
Power in a Cloud & Pillar & Ark
Offerings on An Altar
Glory Hidden Behind Veil
|Law Written on Our Hearts of Flesh
Fire Above Heads (Mind)
Many Languages Spoken (Tongues)
Power Inside Us
Witnesses Prophesying in Jerusalem…to the End of the Earth Offerings on a Permanent Pilgrimage
Glory Revealed as Veil Removed
Liberty – Release – Restored Families – Restored lands
9. How Do You Celebrate Pentecost?
“Three times a year all your men must appear before Yehovah your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before Yehovah empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” Deuteronomy 16:16-17
“Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to Yehovah your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings Yehovah your God has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:9-10
In Israel the firstfruits applied only to the seven species of the land of Israel: barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, and wheat. Pentecost is the beginning of the fruit harvest as well.
Today, We Give Financial Offerings.
What I want you to see here is: God is asking you to give, not randomly, but specifically.
He wants you to give your “first” fruit. They couldn’t eat any of the harvest until they gave it.
The barley harvest at Passover was a picture of our salvation. Jesus was the first-born son.
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29
When we give our firstfruits at Passover, we are remembering the resurrection of Jesus, and every saint that walked out of Hades and the grave that day.
We’re not thankful for our blessings. We are thankful for Jesus overcoming death. It’s firstfruits. God chose Israel to be his chosen people so He could become flesh through them and die for all people.
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Ephesians 2:18-19
The wheat harvest at Pentecost was a picture of the giving of the Word of God and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh], whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh] has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
So, when we give our Firstfruits of Pentecost, we remember receiving the Holy Spirit who is continually empowering us [or in faith we are still asking for Him to fill us and empower us].
Again, we’re not thankful for our blessings. We are thankful for the gift of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Don’t Approach God Unprepared – Take Three Days to Prepare:
“And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” Exodus 19:10-11 [The Israelites had three days to prepare to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai. They were told to wash their clothes and to stay ritually pure.]
All Night Study: Pentecost is the time to intentionally prepare yourself to receive more of the Holy Spirit. Customarily, a study and discussion of the Torah would start at dusk and carry on throughout the watches of the night, as a remembrance of those 3-day of preparation so they could receive God’s Word at Mount Sinai. They would study a portion of all 5 books in the Torah.
Pentecost Foods: Passover has a Seder with Lamb, wine, and unleavened bread.
At Pentecost You Eat Dairy-Based Foods & Wheat.
He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Deuteronomy 26:9-10
Because both the Law and the promised land that God was giving them was compared to nourishment and sweetness, it became one of the customs of Shavuot to serve foods that included milk and honey during the feast. It is common for cheese plates, cheesecake, and quiche to be served at Shavuot feasts. And it’s the wheat harvest so breads and pastas and pizza are great.
Read the Book of Ruth – She was the Gentile harvested into Israel
Ruth 1:16-17 “…Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.’”
The Torah reading for the Sabbath immediately preceding Shavuot is usually BaMidbar (“In the wilderness”). It’s believed that the Torah was given in the wilderness to demonstrate that it was not the property of a tribe but rather was available to anyone who chose to claim it as theirs.
Ruth is often considered to be the pioneer of all who “choose” or convert to follow the Living God, just as Jews accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai. They believe these verses are her conversion statement.
And since Ruth was the ancestor of King David and therefore Yeshua Jesus [her husband Boaz owned the ancestral land of the family in Bethlehem Ephrathah where Jesus was born], and according to the Talmud, David was born and died on Pentecost, we can look at David’s life as an example of our life journey. We follow him from boyhood to death, from sheep field to the throne, from worship to sin to repentance. A tradition is to share what we have, in keeping with the commands to feed the stranger, the orphan, the widow and other poor and unfortunate people as Boaz did for Ruth.
10. Is Pentecost connected to Shemita and Yovel?
We know that the word Yovel (a special ram’s horn used at Jubilee) was used almost exclusively at Jubilee, and only two other times in all of scripture.
And it’s at significant places for our discussion. It was used one time at the first Pentecost.
The only other five times Yovel is used is with Joshua as the Israelites are marching around Jericho, and the verbiage is really important when we compare Yovel to Pentecost.
Jos 6 “You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns [Yovel] before the ark (seven priests with seven Yovel – or seven sevens).
But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times (that’s another seven sevens), and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn [Yovel], and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”
So, there are a lot of links at Jericho to Yovel. And if you noticed, God also tells His people to “Go Up” when they hear the Yovel. If that sounds familiar, it’s the exact same phrase in Hebrew that He used at Mount Sinai at the first Pentecost.
So, is Jericho important? It is because of what God was saying by destroying the walls: Shemita / Release. God had promised to Abraham that this land would belong to his descendants forever. They had been slaves while the Canaanites had controlled it for hundreds of years.
How do you express ownership, authority, and legal control? You build walls around something.
It belongs to you, and no one can take it. By knocking down the walls, God was saying to all the people of the land, your authority here is removed. The land and authority were returned to its ancestral owners. It was a Yovel – a Jubilee.
So, there are significant overlaps between Pentecost and Jubilee:
- The similar counting of seven weeks or 50 days.
- The phrases “the land is mine” and “go up” at the first Pentecost and Jericho.
- And the unique use of the ram’s horn called a Yovel not only at Jubilee, but also at the first Pentecost and at Jericho.
So, there may be some interesting insights worth looking at as to how Jubilee impacts how we see Pentecost. It’s easy to think we have the entire picture since Acts chapter two’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit and tongues, but consider that passage:
In Acts 2:17-18 Peter is preaching and quotes Joel 2:28-29, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.”
Interestingly, his last statement, “and they shall prophesy” was not from Joel’s prophecy. Peter prophetically added the last phrase, probably to underline the significance of what God was doing.
With the release of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God gave everyone who received the baptism, a prophetic anointing as well. We are not in the office of the Prophet; we are given the gift of prophesy (the ability to hear God and know His will).
But there’s a bigger question. Why did Peter choose this passage? They had just experienced flames of fire over them and received the gift of tongues, as they worshipped God in languages none of them knew before.
But this verse from Joel says nothing of flames of fire or tongues, which were the primary experiences of the Holy Spirit infilling that day. And the experience of Pentecost for the others there did not include dreams or visions.
1 Cor 14:39 links together prophecy and tongues, “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.” But it doesn’t say they must occur together.
Acts 19:6 tells of a time they happened together, “And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Peter was experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit after staying up all night with the other disciples studying the Torah to celebrate God’s giving of the Law to Moses on that same date 1,500 years earlier. And suddenly he saw those same friends now experiencing the outpouring along with him, and his first thought was that something has changed just as Jesus had told them. Common men, after receiving the Holy Spirit, were suddenly “prophesying” in the streets in a way that only someone in the office of a Prophet had done before and it was happening just as Joel predicted.
What is clear is that the outpouring at Pentecost 2,000 years ago was just a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. The signs such as the sun and moon growing dark with blood, fire, and smoke did not occur. The Spirit rested on only 120 believers in one city, but the fullness of Joel’s prophecy requires a global dimension.
There is more to come in the last days. And more importantly, that outpouring tells us that everything is not always cut and dry as to how Old Testament shadows and types become New Testament realities. There is always more to see and understand! Let’s keep digging in to see what we might have missed.
In the annual Pentecost Festival, they were commanded to make more sacrifices then at any other festival. There are 4 offerings – Sacrifices are taking the place of YOU dying –
They are the Ultimate Judgment and Contrast (it’s life or death – Jesus or destruction).
Leviticus 23:15-21 “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to Yehovah.
From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to Yehovah.
Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to Yehovah, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings – a food offering, an aroma pleasing to Yehovah.
Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before Yehovah as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to Yehovah for the priest.
On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.”
The Burnt Offering –
It’s All Burned – the life and death of Jesus perfectly accomplished the will of God.
The Meal Offering –
Of leavened bread that’s waved – flour, frankincense, oil, salt –
At Passover the bread was unleavened because leaven represented sin
Jesus was holy and made us holy – or unleavened
Then as we Count the Omer, we live a new redeemed life day to day
When we arrive at Pentecost – the bread is now leavened
But the leaven represents the Holy Spirit now – not sin.
In the same way that the Israelites lifted up the serpent in the desert and it represented Jesus on the cross, this leaven represents the Holy Spirit.
At Passover, Jesus became sin for us and took our punishment
At Pentecost we are holy from the blood of Jesus
He sees us like “the finest” flour so we can receive the Holy Spirit – the Power to Live
Matthew 13:33 “Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
In this case, the Holy Spirit in us is causing a change in us, convicting us and continually leading us to repentance (we are overcoming sin daily). He is changing our nature and character into a sweet smelling fragrance (fresh yeasty bread smells awesome).
The Sin Offering – for the remission of sin – First comes salvation then the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh]. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:36-39
The Fellowship or Peace Offering – He became our peace or substitute.
Pentecost was when the words of the Holy Spirit poured out of the mouth of His church,
the fruit of their lips was praise and the gospel which led to revival.
In Acts 2, Peter showed no fear – no hiding – no denying – no going fishing
It’s about the harvest – you will choose Fear OR Faith –
That’s why the spirit of fear is here and taking as many prisoners as possible.
The focus of Pentecost is on wheat, but they brought the first fruits all their crops.
There were 7 common crops at Pentecost (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates). There are 7 Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit.
Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit came upon the believers gathered together.
What happens when the Holy Spirit comes into your life? You manifest the Fruit of the Spirit.
The Feast of Weeks is fulfilled in the empowering of the Church to bring the harvest of the Gospel and the end time harvest by Jesus. “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am Yehovah your God.’” Leviticus 23:22
“I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand…the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.” Revelation 20:14-16
One of the obvious connections Pentecost has to the many Shemita of Jubilee is the Freewill Offerings. During Shemita you must release all debt, and everything that the land produces is yours for the taking and eating.
Here are the commands:
Deuteronomy 16:9-12 “You shall keep the Feast of Weeks to Yehovah your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as Yehovah your God blesses you. You shall rejoice before Yehovah your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where Yehovah your God chooses to make His name abide. And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.”
Shavuot (Pentecost) is about thanking God for all He provides.
What’s the best way to be thankful – according to God you give to someone in need.
God has commanded us to rejoice. And to give charity.
- think about God and rejoice
- think about Others and give
Deuteronomy 16:14-15 tells us to, “Be joyful at your festival –
- you, your sons and daughters (it’s a family thing – that’s easy)
And then the heart of Shemita and Yovel start to shine a light on Pentecost commands.
We are giving the land a rest as well as anyone who doesn’t have a home to go back to, or is hindered from going back to for other reasons:
- your male and female servants
- the Levites
- the foreigners
- the fatherless
- and the widows
- who live in your towns
Why? “And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.” Pentecost is a grand Jubilee (Yovel) the time of liberty and release.
“For seven days celebrate the Festival to Yehovah your God at the place Yehovah will choose. For Yehovah your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”
“No one should appear before Yehovah empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift
in proportion to the way Yehovah your God has blessed you.”
God will never come into your presence empty handed. He will give you life, strength, grace, a future, a dream, a vision, a family, a hope, and He will give you all of Himself every single day 24/7.
Isaiah 42:16 promises, “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.”
This 50 days of counting to Pentecost is a time to reflect on our character, to prepare ourselves to receive, as well as to live out God’s Word. Receiving the Torah seven weeks after God miraculously brought them out of Egyptian bondage meant not only accepting the privilege of knowing God and his Word and living as set apart people; it also meant accepting the responsibility of what the Word exhorts us to do.
The Word of God commanded them to provide for the Levites as well the fatherless, the widows, and even foreigners in the land. The blessings God has freely given us are not just for our own gain. We are to share with others who are in need. It was for this reason that God also commanded the people not to harvest the entire field but to leave the corners of their fields for the poor.
“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am Yehovah your God.” (Leviticus 23:22)
The 50-day journey through the desert from Egypt to God’s Mountain was to prepare them to constantly be on a pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5 reminds us, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” God would own the land and own them, so that He could care for both. That was the life of blessing that God had prepared.
In Exodus 6:2-4 God shows Moses His grand plan. “I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.” It was never a journey to the Promised Land but a life-journey through the land that God would lease to them so He could provide their every need.
A Pilgrimage-life of giving and receiving is the heart of Pentecost, Shemita, and Yovel.
13. To Be One With Him Means More of Him
In the Old Testament – It Was a Countdown to a Wedding that never occurred.
Leaving Egypt as free men, Israel is on what will be a 50-day journey to the Mountain of God
where every one of them hear God’s voice and receive His Law on stone tablets.
That encounter at the mountain was to be the wedding between God and His people. They just weren’t receptive. They couldn’t imagine that God loved them and was for them.
They could not believe that they could become one with God.
They could only see a great God and a bunch of slaves.
So, every year they are commanded to count 50-days (day by day) from Passover to Pentecost. Counting the Omer. After the resurrection of Jesus, they finally got to see a part of the wedding when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles and the new church, as a deposit of what was to come in eternity.
Hearts of stone were turned to hearts of flesh. And we realize that God wants to be even closer to us, so He fills us with the Holy Spirit. The Letter of the Law on stone had killed 3,000 at Sinai and the Spirit gave new life to 3,000 in Jerusalem.
While Moses was forced to hide the glory behind a veil,
Jesus tore down the veil and made the glory visible to all.
But the short version of the story starts in the Garden on Day 6 when everything was good,
but it wasn’t good that Adam should be alone, so we encounter the first marriage – of Adam and Eve. They were created to be so close, that she isn’t even given a name.
If you skip ahead to the end of the story in Revelation, you will find another wedding, between the church and Jesus. And again, she has no name – just “The Bride.”
In the New Testament – Counting the Omer was a countdown to be a Partaker in the Divine.
Counting the Omer was always a countdown to something.
Nothing from the year’s barley or wheat harvest could be eaten until after the wave offering was made. Why? It’s a time of Divine renewal or newness – what was forbidden becomes permissible.
When Jesus came out of the grave, He presented to His Father the wave offering of all the souls who had been locked away in Hades. He opened the door into eternity with God for all mankind who had been trapped in sin and death. We who were forbidden to approach God became acceptable and part of the Divine harvest.
When He poured out the Holy Spirit, He enabled us to go from redeemed to empowered,
from indwelt to overflowing. He is always taking us from glory to glory.
We are not done when we are saved, and we are not done when we are empowered.
There is always more of Him to pour out and He wants us to live our lives counting the days till our next encounter, waiting expectedly for another promise to come, confident in faith that we will pass right through the trials of life because our hearts are set on pilgrimage.
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14)
He wants us to grow up in Him, not remain children forever.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit doesn’t make a different kind of Christian, He fills us with His presence, empowers us with His presence, equips us with His presence, comforts us with His presence, etc.
The original outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost is told in Acts 2.
But soon, these same people, are seeking to be refilled again:
Acts 4:23-31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” The Baptism was not a one-time experience, but rather a constant refilling of the Spirit which they needed to change their world.
They continually sought to be empowered to accomplish whatever task God assigned to them, so they kept getting filled – and refilled — and refilled. The Counting of the Omer is our yearly reminder that there is an endless supply of “more” for those who keep asking, seeking, and knocking.
“But if from there you will seek Yehovah your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29
My Testimony: Forty-one years ago, on the second Friday of August in 1980, when I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I was utterly shocked that other languages which I didn’t understand or speak were suddenly pouring out of my mouth.
A moment before I had been standing in a field worshipping in the only language I have ever spoken, English. I had never heard anyone speak in tongues before or heard anyone teach on it.
The Holy Spirit massively changed my life in much the same way Jesus had the year before when I gave my life to Him.
I have known many people who have earnestly sought the Baptism of the Holy Spirit but still haven’t received. Some went away bitter, some went away offended, some stopped seeking and plunged into denial declaring that they had received the Baptism when they were saved, and no tongues were required. “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.” 1 Corinthians 14:39
Sadly, I also know of teachers who claimed to be filled with the Spirit and intentionally deceived other seekers into mumbling repetitious phrases and declared it a move of the Spirit. Striving in the flesh for a move of God is agonizing. So is screaming at the wind to blow where we want it to blow.
14. It’s Necessary
Earlier in Mark 16 we can see why they needed a significant encounter. When the women first came to the tomb after the resurrection and encountered an angel, “they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
Then when Mary Magdalene finally gained the courage to tell the apostles, “They did not believe.” When the two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road shared their story, “they did not believe them either…Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”
Obviously, Jesus doesn’t want any of us to repeat the mistakes of the apostles or fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 28, “Whom will He teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand the message…For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” and, “This is the refreshing”; yet they would not hear.”
Gifts of the Father, Son, and Spirit
When Peter began preaching after the Holy Spirit fell on them in the temple grounds, he spoke of King David, whose tomb was right beneath them. Peter quotes David saying, “I saw Yehovah always before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my TONGUE rejoices; my body also will live in hope.”
Peter was pointing out that this gift of tongues was a fulfillment of what King David saw prophetically. And he adds, “Yehovah said to My Lord [The Father said to the Son], sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool to your feet.” Peter was saying that the purpose of the infilling and empowering was happening to cause all the Sons’ enemies to be subjugated.
The Holy Spirit Baptism can occur any time after Jesus comes to dwell in our heart.
He doesn’t get buried in our hearts; He plants Himself in order to bear fruit.
We literally become a tree that bears spiritual fruit. All we have to do is ask and receive. Sometimes that includes asking until we receive.
The nine fruits listed in Galatians 5 all come as the result of “life” on a tree which requires us to grow. Controlling the tongue is not easy; our unruly tongues require revival. Faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, longsuffering, love, peace, and self-control are all expressed many ways, but never so beautiful as with the tongue. Proverbs 18 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Still, there’s more to the Spirit than tongues or what and how we speak. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us, “There are many spiritual gifts including: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.” The Spirit distributes them individually as He wills. Why does He give them? These nine gifts require us to minister to others in order to use them. They are not for keeping or storing up, but rather for using and giving away.
And Deuteronomy 30 reminds us, “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.”
Acts 1:4-8 …He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh] not many days from now.”
- There has been more conflict throughout church history on this one subject then probably every other issue combined because it is not intellectual and can’t be understood or argued or controlled by man. It requires faith and obedience.
- The experience was different for me, then it was for Kelly, and then it was for Corrie.
- Wait for the promise – no matter how long it takes –
- No matter what others experience don’t assume God will do things the same way with you.
- Worship Him constantly – ask to be filled
- When opportunities arise for the laying on of hands – have faith and see what happens.
- Don’t stop till you are full.
Can you be baptized in the Holy Spirit and power without speaking in tongues?
If you don’t speak in tongues, but obviously have gifts and anointing then they are coming from God, but not from what is known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Gifts of the Father
Romans 12:4-8 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Gifts of the Son
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
BONUS MATERIAL I DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO SHARE ON THE RADIO
15. He Walked With Them After Rising
Think about Counting the Omer this way:
The first 40 days of the Omer are the same days that Jesus walked the earth after His resurrection.
And day 40 is when He ascended into heaven. At the same place He will return.
And the same place the scapegoat disappeared with the sins of the nation on the Day of Atonement.
When the Jews count the Omer for Day 40, nothing significant happens.
There’s no significant historical tie-in.
Which begs the question, why did Jesus ascend on that day?
The question is kind of answered if you read the story.
Jesus walks them up the Mount of Olives and says “Goodbye, it’s time for me to go and almost time for you to go into all the world”. And He disappears. But they just keep standing there.
Jesus has to send angels back to say, “The movie’s over. He’s done here. It’s you now.
You’re the Omer. Day 41 is you. Go and pray and get ready for day 50.
You’re going to do greater works because He has gone. Peter, Be the Omer.”
And on Day 50 the church was birthed. You were birthed. I was birthed.
Counting the Omer was never about barley or wheat. It was always about you and me.
On Day 35 of Counting the Omer they finally Journeyed from God’s Mountain
Nearly a year after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, the Children of Israel departed their encampment near the Mountain.
The pillar of cloud rose for the first time from over the Tabernacle, to signal the resuming of their travels. The journey to near the Promised Land took just 40 days.
They arrived, and Moses sent 12 spies out on Sivan 29.
40 days later, on the 9th Av, the Spies Returned with a Bad Report. Israel would wander and die in the desert for the next 40 years, until their children crossed the Jordan and defeated the giants that had terrified their parent’s generation.
Jesus walked the Promised Land for 40 days after His resurrection. He was full of faith and obeyed. So, on day 40 He ascended. There was no wandering and dying like the 10 spies.
So, 10 days later He was in the true Promised Land to send the Holy Spirit to fill the disciples.
40 years later, the next generation of Israelites arrived in the Promised Land in the power of the Holy Spirit and as God miraculously reigned down great boulders from heaven on the heads of the giants, they defeated the giants that had terrified their parent’s generation. They conquered 60 cities in Bashan by the power of the Holy Spirit; Moses called it the Land of the Giants, whose names mean “terrors”. The same land where Jacob wrestled the Angel of Yehovah.
They could not have done these great exploits without the Holy Spirit, yet it didn’t stop them from sinning or falling into rebellion. Likewise, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop you or me from sinning or rebellion. I wish it did.
What is the Lesson we should gain from Counting the Omer to Pentecost? The Exodus journey is the very roadmap we need for a life of faith. Nearly every lesson we need is part of their journey.
I think the ultimate lesson is Waiting in faith.
Waiting isn’t wasting time. We have an important relationship to time. Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Why are we to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread?” What if you’re on salary and get a check every other week – should you pray a different prayer? Nope.
The Israelites were shepherds and had great herds of animals. They would have had to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of Pesach lambs for the first Passover in Egypt.
Yet over and over they are murmuring from hunger on their travels through the desert.
Why? God had set them free so He was their provider. Their animals were only for sacrifice.
On day 38 they whine that their flocks will die without water, till God gives them Water from a Rock at Rephidim. So, why didn’t they eat their flocks and herds and continue making bread from the grain they brought?
Our “daily bread” (from the Lord’s Prayer) was literally the manna that fell on Day 30 after leaving Egypt. They weren’t without flocks. They still had flocks after wandering for 40 years in the desert.
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright –
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.”
“Wait for it though it linger…” Being full of faith, while you wait, is part of being upright.
16. 40 Days & 10 Days in Eternity
The first Pentecost 3,500 years ago with Moses was intended to be their commissioning to go and live a new life of freedom (with the written Word) in the Promised Land – but that didn’t happen
The Pentecost with Jesus 2,000 years ago took place 10 days after the Great commission when Jesus sent them off to be the church (with the Holy Spirit in them writing the Word on their hearts).
The 50 days of Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) has 2 Parts.
40 Days & 10 Days = 50 Days
After His resurrection, Jesus stayed of the earth for another 40 days, before He ascends into heaven.
10 more Days pass and it is Pentecost when he sends the Holy Spirit.
So, 40 days and 10 days.
40 days means a complete period, season, age, or cycle.
10 also represents completeness, order.
The Bible was written by forty different people. (That was the age of the Word).
40 years after Jesus rose, the Romans burned Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.
40 days of fasting, 40 days spying the Promised Land, 40 years in the wilderness (the time it takes for a new generation to arise).
The 40 days Jesus remains on the earth after he is resurrected and the 10 days He was in heaven before He sends the Holy Spirit both mean something.
On His last day with them before His crucifixion: John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Before He ascended, Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It’s not as obvious in English, but His words were not random; Jesus spent 40 days with them on earth, then ascended, because He was saying, this is me being with you, not just now, but to the end of the age. It’s a visual picture.
Jesus has been in heaven for the last 2,000+ years just doing that 40-day cycle over and over,
being with us, being faithful, giving grace, interceding, etc.
After He ascends, then comes the 10 days – and BOOM, the Holy Spirit comes.
So, we know that one day the Father will say, Son, go get your bride.
Then comes our wedding, which is the end of this world.
So, Pentecost and the Holy Spirit represent everything about the wedding or eternity.
He is speaking in the Hebrew Perfect Tense, which is confusing in English.
What does that mean? Jesus is beginning something that will actually happen later.
Why does the Holy Spirit come 10 days after Jesus ascends? He said:
- “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
In using “the Hebrew Perfect Tense”, He is saying “pay attention to what I do during the 10 days (because it represents eternity).
We can be confident that He will return for us, why, because it is as certain as what He did during the 40 days.
Why Tablets of Stone – Why hearts that can turn to stone
Long after you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit you can fall away deep into sin but still have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts that come with Him.
It’s the same reason that God chose to engrave His commands on tablets of stone.
There are two kinds of letters. Letters which are written, and letters which are engraved.
The difference is that written letters are ultimately separate from what they are written on.
They are not one with the paper or the parchment. The letters are of ink, and they adhere to the paper, and then are they one.
When letters are engraved, the letters themselves are from the same medium as that on which they are written. The letters are not something external, they emanate from the stone itself.
“I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33; cf. Heb. 8:10).
So, when God does a work in us, it’s literally transformative, He becomes a part of us.
You can mis-use any gift, use them in immaturity, use them in sin, submit them to the devil.
You can walk away from your relationship with son into disobedience and throw away your relationship now and for eternity.
Romans 8:14 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
The baptism of the Holy Spirit doesn’t make a different kind of Christian. He fills you with His presence, empowers you with His presence, equips you with His presence, comforts you with His presence, etc. We need His presence!