Summary: How the Old Testament Pentecost festival was fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Shavuot – e.g. Pentecost in the Old and Net Testaments
Last Sunday we have spoken about the festival of Pentecost as it is commanded by the Lord to be observed to the Israelites. We have spoken about the order of the Jewish festivals.
In Leviticus chapter 23 we have the list of 6 or 7 (depends how you view them) festivals.
Firstly, there is a group of festivals all connected to the Passover festival. This is the beginning of all the rest. The festival of paschal sacrifice of the lamb. Festival when the nation was born again – yes, the Israelites were as good as dead when they were slaves in Egypt. No rights, no freedom, no choice, no life, no joy … beaten, mistreated, abused, killed, deprived of humanity, they were no more than a possession, like a piece of furniture, or a farming tools, cooking utensils. That was their value.
So Passover gave birth to the nation. They were born again as a nation, as children of God. It all starts for you when you are born again as a child of God. When you accept the blood of a lamb as a sacrifice for your life, then you are becoming a child of God.
Without Passover, there would be no use of any other festival – they would be meaningless. If you are not born again, if you are not saved, if you do not know the power of the blood of the lamb, any other religious ceremonies that you do will be meaningless. There is power, power, wonders working power in the blood of the lamb!
The Passover festival is described in many places, I have put down one of the references here – Lev 23:4-5.
In the NT we have a corresponding Scripture in 1 Cor 5:7 were we read: “Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough – you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
The Passover festival is of course closely connected with the feast of the unleavened bread. Leviticus 23:4-8. For seven days (which represents fullness, completeness) they are not allowed to eat anything with leaven, or yeast. It is a feast when the born again nation was called to holiness. Separate yourselves from all sin, all leaven in your lives, in your houses, in your families.
Yeast represents sin. There is number of scriptures about yeast.
Matthew 16:6 – Jesus said: “beware of the yeast…”
But I want to stress that this feast instructs us to live in holiness:
I asked you recently a question: What is God´s will. Do you remember the answer? Check 1 Thes 4:3-7: “For this is God´s will: that you become holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to posses his own body (or wife) in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God. In this matter no one should violate the rights of his brother or take advantage of him, because the Lord is the avenger in all these cases, … (and then verse 7)
For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness.”
Once you are saved, born again, you are called to live holy life. Full stop. No concessions; no yeast. That is simply our call – your call.
So far we fully understand the strong connection of this feast to Passover, don´t we? Because there is no holiness possible without salvation, without forgiveness.
Once forgiven, then holy.
The next feast that follows in Leviticus 23:9-14 is the feast of firstfruits, which was celebrated, or marked the beginning of the wheat harvest.
Priests brought the first sheaf of the harvest to the temple.
In 1 Cor 15:20 we read: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
When Jesus died on the cross, He cried: “It is finished!” – salvation was finished. There was nothing else to do to save people. The price was paid.
When He rose from the dead, the harvest started! He was the first of many to follow! The harvest is plentiful but the workers a few – said Jesus, speaking about the gathering of souls for the kingdom.
Again we have to see the connection of this feast to the Passover: there is no resurrection to life unless you are born again, washed by the blood of the lamb and after you lived unleavened life – life of sanctification, holiness without which nobody will see the Lord. Passover – Unleavened bread – firstfruits.
So finally we come again back to our festival – Shavuot, Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, or it is also called the Day of firstfruits (not the feast, or festival, which we mentioned before, but the DAY). It is described in Lev 23:15-22.