The Eastern Gate - Temple Mound - Jerusalem.
Photo - Cooper Abrams - October, 2002
“And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD” (Lev. 23:15-16).
The word “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word for the “fiftieth day.” “Pente” is Greek for five. It is called “Shavout,” the Feast of Weeks (Exod. 34:22; Deut. 16:9-11) and the Feast of Harvest (Exod. 23:16) of the Day of the First Fruits (Num. 28:26).
“And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end (Ex. 34:22) .
“Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there” (Deut. 16:9-11).
“Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work” ( Num. 28:26).
Pentecost fell on the 50th day after the Passover. The Feast of the First Fruits, which fell on Sunday, the week after the Passover, was a feast of thanksgiving for the Spring crops. The feast offers thanksgiving to God for the Summer harvest (Lev. 23:15-16). The day after Passover was the Feast of the Unleavened Bread which lasted seven day. (Nisan 15-21). Pentecost was fifty days from Nisan 15 which was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
It was fifty days after God delivered the Children of Israel from captivity in Egypt that He gave them the Ten Commandments and the Law, establishing Israel as a nation. On this same day, fifty days after Christ was crucified that God established the institution of the local church there in Jerusalem as Acts 2 records.
On the Day of Pentecost believers for the first time were permanently indwelled by the Holy Spirit and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised the day He ascended into heaven. (Acts 1:5-8) Empowered by the Holy Spirit believers would spread out into Jerusalem and thence to Judea, Samaria and out to the ends of the earth preaching the God.
Pentecost falls on Sunday, the first day of the week “the morrow after the Sabbath.” (See Leviticus 23:11, 23:15, 23:16) Jesus was resurrected on first day of week, on the day of First Fruits which was Sunday. The Lord began the institution of the local church on Sunday, the Day of Pentecost. Thus on this Day the first believers of this present dispensation which is called the Church Age were indwelled by the Holy Spirit and empowered to be witnesses to the Gospel. The first “Fruit” was Christ, and the second “fruits” were those saved on the Day of Pentecost and those who have believed since.
Lev. 23:17, records that two “wave” loaves of bread of equal weight were baked with leaven. These two loaves were called the “first fruits.” The loaves represent sinful man, not the Lord and the Holy Spirit, because leaven is used. It seems clear they represent the bride of Christ made up of Jews and Gentiles, both with sin, unlike the unleavened bread at Passover which represented a sinless Messiah.
The provision for the poor and needy (Lev. 23:22). After Jesus’ resurrection He appeared to His disciples and taught them during the following forty day (Acts 1:3). He told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come and indwell them in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1, says that on the Day of Pentecost the Spirit did come and gathered a harvest of over 3000 souls. This was a great harvest of souls in number that First Fruits, but the Fall harvest will be even greater at the Rapture of the Bride of Christ. The Jews could fully understand and appreciate the sequence of events of Christ’s death (on Passover), burial (during Unleaven Bread), resurrection (on First Fruits) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (on the Feast of the Harvest or Pentecost).
Jews read the story of Ruth on the Day of Pentecost, even today. It is a story of love and devotion, it centers around the harvest. The story also relates the ingathering of Ruth, the Moabitess, a Gentile woman who came to know Naomi and her God, and was accepted. On the birth of the local church, the way was paved for both Jew and Gentile to accept and be accepted as a part of the family of God.
The harvest stops with the Fall harvest. Symbolically Christians are presently in the Summer harvest and must still be working in the fields until the Lord of the Harvest comes at the Second Coming and the Fall harvest is reaped.
Those listed as present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost were Jewish pilgrims from different nations. They were in these various nations due to the Dispersion. They all could understand both Aramaic and Greek in addition to the language of the nation where they lived. Thus, the gift of languages (KJV “tongues”) was really unnecessary. The key was Peter’s explanation in Acts 2:14-22. He said in the “last days” I will pour out my Spirit quoting Joel 2:28. What Peter was emphasizing was that this was an event of the “last days” which clearly was identified with the Coming of the Messiah. Peter preached that Jesus was the Messiah (verse 22f). Joel 2, begins with the proclamation of the terrible “day of the Lord” which is a reference to the judgment in the Great Tribulation. There is a regathering of Israel (Joel 2:15-16) and in Joel 2:18-27, God promises deliverance and the Millennium. In Joel 2:28, which is a reference to the Millennium, that follows the Coming of the Messiah, God says there will be an out pouring of His Spirit. In view is the promise that God will restore Israel. Peter is referring to Joel’s prophecy of God’s coming of deliverance of Israel. Verse 32, says that in Jerusalem shall be deliverance.
There was no need for “tongues” because the people could have understood Aramaic or Greek, thus the miracle was done as a sign of Jesus being the promised Deliverer and Messiah. Three thousand Jews, mostly of the pilgrims from other nations, understood the message and the point Peter made and they believed and were saved. It should have been a sign to all the Jews in Jerusalem and especially to those who have cried that He be crucified. However the Jews of Jerusalem continued mostly to reject Christ. Nothing that happen on this day can be understood in any way to have been remotely like the ecstatic speech of the modern tongues movement which is simply a learned psychological behavior. The sounds produced by modern tongues speakers is not a language, but mainly randomly uttered vowels.