Good News of Leviticus 23 – Pentecost

Lev 23:15-22 “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord. And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. And you shall make proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”

Weeks
The Feast of Weeks is also known as Shavuoth and Pentecost. Shavuoth is the Hebrew name. It signifies the 7 weeks from the waving of the barley sheaves to the waving of the wheat bread loaves. Pentecost is the Greek name given because of the 50 days specified. If you start with the day after the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread and count seven more Sabbaths plus one to get to the day after that Sabbath, you end up with 50 days regardless of the actual calendar date.

Wheat, Leaven & Love
Jer 31:31-34 Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: 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. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Wheat is beginning to be harvested when this feast takes place. The wheat is baked with leaven, then waved before the Lord. Baking with leaven signifies the presence of sin. Even so, the bread is waved. This departure signifies grace and the new covenant. Lev 23:22 also appears radically out of place with all of the preceding verses detailing the feasts. This is the first instruction that specifies doing something to help others in addition to ceremonial acts. The Lord commands the people to show love and compassion through blind charity. This is the first feast where we see kindness and grace toward fellow men being a critical component. Jeremiah says God will write the law into their hearts.

Pentecost
Ac 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested [or And tongues as of fire appeared to them, distributed among them, and rested] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

It was on the day of the Feast of Weeks, known better by most modern Christians as Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on men. Jesus was crucified on Passover and raised on the day after Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. He left his disciples 40 days later (Ac 1:3), leaving them alone for a few days until Pentecost. In that period the disciples gathered and prayed. They were together in one place when the Holy Spirit came in awesome power upon them. Moses received the 10 commandments in the third month on or about the same day this feast (Ex 19). Men stand condemned by the law of Moses. Here we see the law of liberty (Jas 1:25) in the form of the indwelling Holy Spirit being given in the same season and perhaps the very same day of the year over 14 centuries later. The Spirit is a deposit on the promised eternal life (2 Tim 1:14). Whole volumes could be written about the glory of Holy Spirit, but suffice it to say this day marked culmination of the promise so clearly outlined by Jeremiah 31:31-34.

The Good News of Pentecost
Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Water represents this life. You start out born as a human being in the flesh (water representation). To be born of the spirit is to receive the free gift of eternal life and all that goes with it. Those who accept Jesus as the Lord of their life, personally and completely, get all this and more. The Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence within the believer bringing all sorts of good things including the assurance of our eternal hope. This doesn’t make earthly life easier in the conventional sense, but it does make it possible to understand, see beyond the carnal, and accept the instructions we personally receive from God. The Holy Spirit makes all things of God possible through the conduit of man because it is the very Spirit of God placed inside us. Praise God for this greatest of gifts to be given to men of flesh.

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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