The giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is nothing new to Christians. Most of us have read the Pentecost event over and over again, and it remains one of the main events in Christian history. While Pentecost is celebrated throughout all Christian congregations, the unknown fact is that Pentecost is first mentioned not in the New Testament of our Bibles, but in the Old. Today, we will delve into the Pentecost event and learn the hidden meaning behind this event and how it is part of “The Feasts/Appointed Times” instituted by God Almighty in Lev 23.
Let us find out the meaning of the word Pentecost from the Original Greek Manuscripts
Strong’s Greek Concordance – G4005 – πεντηκοστή – pentēkostē – pen-tay-kos-tay’ – fiftieth
Pentecost literally meant fiftieth. But what was this event, and where did it originate from? Pentecost is mentioned 3 times in the New Testament. Namely in Acts 2:1, 20:16 & 1Cor 16:8
We know that According to Acts 20:16, Paul was keen on being in Jerusalem for the “Day of Pentecost” (Fiftieth Day, as Pentecost means Fiftieth). To learn more about “Pentecost” or “The Fiftieth Day”, we need to go to Lev 23 to learn about God’s Feast days, as Pentecost is only one of God’s 7 Feast Days.
Understanding the Feasts (Appointed Times) of God
In Lev 23:2 God spoke to Moses saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations*, even these are my feasts**.
Let us look at the definition of the word translated as “Feast” in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts. Strong’s Hebrew Concordance – H4150 – מועד – mô‛êd – mo-ade’ – appointment
A better word for “Feast” would be “Appointment” as per the original meaning.
God proclaimed that these are “Holy assemblies*” & “His Appointments**“, in Lev 23:2
The “Feasts” or “Appointments” of God are mentioned 1st, not in Leviticus, but in Genesis.
Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
The word “Seasons” in Gen 1:14 and “Feasts” in Lev 23:2 is the same word in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts, “H4150 – Moed – Appointment”. When Gen 1:14 talks about seasons, we would automatically think of “Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter”. But God is actually talking about His Appointments.
It would be vastly different if we read this verse as:
Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for “appointments“, and for days, and years.
Brief Summary of the Appointments of God written in Lev 23
1. The Sabbath – Every 7th Day (Lev 23:3)
2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – 14th of the 1st Month is Passover / 15th to 21st is the week of U.B. ; The 15th and the 21st are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:5-7)
3. First Fruits – The day after the 7th day Sabbath, which is right after Passover (Lev 23:10,11)
4. Feast of Weeks also known as Pentecost – The 50th day counted from First Fruits (Lev 23:15,16)
5. Trumpets – 1st day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:24,25)
6. Atonement – 10th day of the 7th Month (Lev 23:27-30)
7. Tabernacles – 15th to 22nd day of the 7th Month ; 15th & 22 are Special Sabbaths (Lev 23:34-36)
Note: God’s month starts with the new moon(1Kin 8:2 contains H3391 – yerach – month & H2320 – kho’-desh – new moon which are both translated as month in the English translation).
The new year dawns when the new moon coincides with the Harvest becoming Green. (Exo 23:15 contains H24 – aw-beeb’ – young ear of grain, green ears of corn which means “Abib” meant when the harvest was turning green).
This might look primitive to us who are living in the age of technology, but God made this system, so that even a simple farmer could go out and figure this out for himself even if all methods of technology got destroyed tomorrow.
Feast/Appointment of Weeks which is also called Pentecost in Greek Lev 23:15,16
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.
The above verse talks about the 4th Feast in the list of Appointments given by God Almighty, to His people. It is generally known as the Feast of Weeks in the Scriptures(Exo 34:22, Deut 16:10,16, 2Chr 8:13). This was known as the Feast of Weeks because the people had to count 7 weeks from the Feast of First Fruits. (7days x 7 +1 = 50days)
“Pentecost” or “Feast of Weeks” as it is known in the Old Testament, was one of the 3 Appointments that God Specifically said all men should appear before Him.(People were supposed to come from their cities, wherever they lived, to God’s Temple in Jerusalem- Deut 16:16). These 3 appointments were,
1. Week of Unleavened Bread, which included Passover 2. Weeks 3.Tabernacles
Going back to the New Testament, Acts 1:3-5 records that Yeshua (Jesus’ true name) was seen by the disciples for 40 days after His resurrection, and that He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem till they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We know that according to the Bible, Yeshua rose on the Feast/Appointment of First Fruits. (Read this article for more information on this topic). If He ascended to the Father after 40 Days, this means that Pentecost would have been 10 days away. Acts 2:1 records that the Disciples were all together for the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost. The reason behind Jews from every nation to be in Jerusalem, at Pentecost according to Acts 2:5, was that they had come for this Feast of God according to God’s Commandment (discussed above) which said every male has to appear before God on these feasts(Deut 16:16).
Furthermore, “Pentecost” or “Appointment of Weeks” fulfilled some major prophecies given in Scripture. God had said that He will put a new Spirit in people, that they may walk in His Commandments (Ezek 11:19,20, 36:26,27). In Acts 2:17-21, Peter also refers to what the Prophet Joel said in Joel 2:28-32 about God’s Spirit being poured out to people. Is it just coincidence that God gave His Spirit on the Feat of Weeks? Let us look at the significance of these says which are mentioned in Scripture.
The Significance of God’s Feasts/Appointments
1. The Sabbath – Weekly appointment to remember God is the Creator of all things who created the universe in 6 days and sanctified the seventh (Exo 20:11) & it is a sign between Him and His people forever (Exo 31:13,17)
2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – Appointment to remember how God saved His People from Egypt & Bondage through the blood of a lamb and how they did not eat leaven which signified Sin (Exo 12:5-7, 11-20)
3. First Fruits – The Appointment in which people brought their Firstfruit to the priest to be offered upto God. It is believed that Israel crossed over the Red Sea on this day (Num 33:5-8)
4. Weeks, also known as Pentecost – The Appointment in which God wanted people to bring the best of their Harvest. It is believed that God spoke out His Commandments on this day (Exo 19:1)
5. Trumpets – The appointment established as a wake up call to the impending day of Judgement when one is to atone for his/her Sins (Lev 23:24,25)
6. Atonement – The appointment in which the High priest would enter the Holiest of Holies to offer a sacrifice for the people’s sins, so that God’s judgement would not overcome them (Lev 23:27-30)
7. Tabernacles – The appointment to remember that God was with His people throughout the wilderness journey. (Lev 23:34-36,42,43)
Renewed Significance of God’s Feasts/Appointments in Yeshua
1. The Sabbath – Weekly appointment to remember God is the Creator of all things and that we have entered into His Covenant, keeping the Sabbath as a sign between Him and us, that we are His people. This is the only appointed day that is repeated all throughout the year, bringing us to remembrance of He who has saved us, also looking forward to the impending rest given by Yeshua which is Life after Death (Heb 4)
2. Passover & the week of Unleavened bread – Appointment to remember how God saved His People from Egypt & Bondage through the blood of a lamb and how they did not eat leaven which signified Sin. Also that God saved us from bondage to Sin & death through the blood of Messiah Yeshua who was our Passover Lamb(1Pet 1:19) and that we are to live a sinless life putting out our old sinful ways which signified leaven(1Cor 5:8) [Yeshua died on a Passover, and was in the tomb by the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread]
3. First Fruits – The Appointment in which Yeshua was offered up as the Firstfruit of all who died (1Cor 15:20) and that we also should follow in His footsteps to become a chosen people, a Firstfruit unto God (James 1:18) [Yeshua rose on the Day of Firstfruits]
4. Weeks, also known as Pentecost – The Appointment in which God started to Harvest his own fields, which are His People(Mat 9:37) The Holy Spirit was given to bring to remembrance what Yeshua taught, which were not His words, but His Father’s (John 14:23-26) [Holy Spirit given to all who follow God through Yeshua, perfectly on God’s appointed day]
Another thing to point out, is that the first 3 Appointed days happen from the 1st Month to the 3rd Month(Passover, Firstfruits & Pentecost/Weeks). Then there is a period of silence. The next 3 Appointed days happen in the 7th Month(Trumpets, Atonement & Tabernacles). The first 3 coincide with the 1st wave of Rain in Israel and the First Harvest. The last 3 coincide with the 2nd wave of rain in Israel and the Second Harvest. This in turn is also prophetic as, when Yeshua came for the first time, He initiated God’s Kingdom on earth and His followers became the first Harvest. When He comes back the second time, He will Establish God’s Kingdom on earth and collect the rest of His Harvest according to His words(Mat 13:30). Just like there is silence from the 3rd to 7th Month, today we are in a period just like this, living after the first 3 appointments and awaiting the second 3.
5. Trumpets – The appointment established as a wake up call to the impending day of Judgement. Yeshua will return on a Day of Trumpets in the future. Is this an assumption? Why is then the trumpet mentioned when it talks about Christ’s return? Mat 24:31, 1Cor 15:52, 1Thes 4:16 (Some are under the impression that we cannot know when Christ will return. This is not entirely true. We do know when He will come, even though we do not know what year it will be. 1Thess 5:4 – We will do an in depth study of this in the future)
6. Atonement – The appointment in which the people are judged. This will probably be the day when God Judges the Earth. The day which is called the Great white throne judgement (Rev 20:11)
7. Tabernacles – The appointment to remember that God was with His people throughout the wilderness journey will probably be the same day that God will “Tabernacle” with man when a new heaven & a new earth is created by Him (Rev 21:3)
In short, all of these “Feasts” or “Appointments” are REMEMBRANCES of what God has done in the past and REHEARSALS of God’s future plans that are yet to happen.
In conclusion, I would just like to reiterate that Pentecost is not a New Testament celebration. It was not instituted after Yeshua’s Death. It was instituted by God in Lev 23. It is one of the Appointments He calls “My Feasts” Lev 23:2. If God stuck to a particular calendar and gave this calendar marked with His Appointments to us, shouldn’t we be present for these appointments?
Yeshua died on the Passover eve exactly according to God’s Appointed Times. Yeshua rose on Firstfruits exactly according to God’s Appointed Times. The Holy Spirit descended on His people on Pentecost/Weeks exactly according to God’s Appointed Times. There are 3 more of His Appointed Times which have not yet come to pass. (Trumpets, Atonement & Tabernacles) Shouldn’t we be paying a bit more attention to His Word & His Times? Or are we discarding these as pure coincidence? Pentecost is celebrated by many around the world, without them even knowing the significance of it. And some celebrate Pentecost but discard the other Appointed Days as “Old Laws”. “Old Covenant things”. “Done away in Christ”. I hope you have adequately seen the significance of these Appointments. My request to you is, that you read the Word for yourself, and check everything that is mentioned in this post.
I have given answers to some of the FAQs down below. I would be happy to answer any other questions that you may have, to the best of my ability.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Feasts written in Lev 23
Q: Aren’t these Jewish Feasts?
A: God calls them “His Feasts” in Lev 23:2. Furthermore, these appointments were given to all 12 tribes of Israel. Jews descend from Judah, which is only one tribe of Israel. The reason they are known as “Jewish Feasts” is because the Jews are the ones who obey and keep these appointed days. But like His Commandments, these feasts were also given to His People, Israel.
Q: Why do we, as gentiles, need to commemorate these feasts if they were given to Israel?
A: (First of all read the definitions of Jew & Gentile here) A simple reason is that God said they were “His Appointed times”. The word “Seasons” in Gen 1:14 and “Feasts” in Lev 23:2 is the same word (Strong’s Dictionary – H4150 – Moed – Appointed time). Which means God talked about these appointed times at creation itself, when He created the Sun, Moon and Stars.
Furthermore, The 10 Commandments were only given to Israel. Don’t we need to Keep His Commandments even though it was given to Israel? How can we then pick and choose what to obey and what not to?
Q: Did Yeshua teach us to commemorate these feasts?
A: Yeshua kept the Feasts, thereby showing us how we should follow Him, even though there is no record of Him saying that we have to keep them (Luke 2:39-52, John 2:23, John 7:37-39). The bottom line is, that Yeshua taught people to obey God & His Word(John 14:24) and The Feasts/Appointments of God are part of His Word.
Q: Did Paul & the 1st Century church keep these feasts and teach about it?
A: The 1st Century church including Paul, would have kept all of the feasts in obedience to God. Some of them are recorded as well. (Acts 2:1-4, 18:21, 20:6, 20:16 / 1 Cor 16:5-9 ,5:7-8). Paul asked people to keep the Feasts(1Cor 5:8). Paul even asked people, not to let anyone judge them for keeping the Feasts(Col 2:16) – this verse is commonly misinterpreted as Paul saying not to let anyone judge them for not keeping the feasts(Read Q6 on this link for more info).
Q: Aren’t the Feasts only up till Yeshua?
A: Then why did Paul and the Apostles keep them? The best evidence for this question lies in prophecies that are yet to come to pass about Yeshua’s 2nd coming. We will need to keep these feasts even when Christ returns in the future (Zechariah 14:16-19 / Isaiah 66:22,23). So are we to believe that the Feasts were in effect upto the 1st Century Church. Now it is invalid. And it will be in effect again when Yeshua returns?
Q: How am I supposed to keep the Feasts?
A: Read the Scriptures and obey whatever God says. These are not rituals in any way. You do not need to light special candles and say special prayers. Just obey what God has said in His Word to the best of your ability, even if you are alone in doing it.