Michael Boling – The Feasts of the Lord: The Fullfillment of the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

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(Jeremiah 31:31-34)
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, 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 the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: 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 the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

(Acts 2:1-21)
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

‘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. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’

In our first post on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), we looked at the agricultural and marital background associated with the remembrance and celebration of this important event. In part two, we examined how the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai is also a vital aspect of the Feast of Shavuot as it symbolizes the betrothal marriage between God and Israel. In this final post on the Feast of Shavuot, we are going to look at how Shavuot was fulfilled in large part in Acts 2 and what it means for us today. Some common assumptions will also be examined for their validity based on the background we have established for what the Feast of Shavuot was all about, most importantly, a time when God and His people exchanged wedding vows.

The prophecy found in Jeremiah 31:31-34 carries great significance for the Feast of Shavuot, specifically as we get to exploring the events found in Acts 2. As we noted in the previous post, celebrating the giving of the law is a major function of the Feast of Shavuot. Additionally, the law was the marriage contract or ketubah between God and His people noting the relational expectations that constituted the manner in which God expected His bride to adhere to. Essentially, the giving of the law was the “I do’s” of the betrothal ceremony. Notice how in Jeremiah 31:32, God describes Himself as a husband further noting the way His bride (Israel), broke the terms of the ketubah. Despite their unfaithfulness, God promised something very important, that of renewing His marriage covenant with Israel and Judah so that the terms of the marriage contract would be written on their hearts in order that they might be a light to the Gentiles. But wait, there’s more!

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Michael Boling – The Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

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The Feast of Shavuot (The Later First Fruits/Weeks/Pentecost)

“and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field;” (Exodus 23:16)

“And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,” (Exodus 34:22)

15 ‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. 16 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. 17 You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD. 18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD. 19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering. 20 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. 21 And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (Leviticus 23:15-21)

26 ‘Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. 27 You shall present a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, 28 with their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for each bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 29 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30 also one kid of the goats, to make atonement for you. 31 Be sure they are without blemish. You shall present them with their drink offerings, besides the regular burnt offering with its grain offering. (Numbers 28:26-31)

9 “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you. 11 You shall rejoice before the LORD 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 the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. 12 And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. (Deuteronomy 16:9-12) But wait, there’s more!

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Michael Boling – The Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) (Part 2)

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The Feast of Shavuot (The Later First Fruits/Weeks/Pentecost) Part 2

“and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field;” (Exodus 23:16)

“And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest,” (Exodus 34:22)

15 ‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. 16 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. 17 You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD. 18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD. 19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering. 20 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. 21 And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (Leviticus 23:15-21)

26 ‘Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. 27 You shall present a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, 28 with their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for each bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 29 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30 also one kid of the goats, to make atonement for you. 31 Be sure they are without blemish. You shall present them with their drink offerings, besides the regular burnt offering with its grain offering. (Numbers 28:26-31)

9 “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you. 11 You shall rejoice before the LORD 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 the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. 12 And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. (Deuteronomy 16:9-12)

In the previous post, we explored the ceremonial aspects of the Feast of Shavuot specifically focusing on the agricultural and betrothal elements found in this important holiday. As promised, in this post we will focus on the rather significant aspect of the Feast of Shavuot, namely the remembrance and celebration of the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.

The counting of the omer up to the beginning of Shavuot represented the time from the crossing by Israel of the Red Sea to the day when Israel received the commands of God at Mt. Sinai. Thus, Shavuot “is called the season of the giving of the Torah (Z’man Matan Toraseinu) in Hebrew because this is the literal day that God revealed Himself to the people of Israel as they stood at base of Mt. Sinai.”[1] One may argue that Scripture does not specifically state this was the exact day God revealed the Torah to Israel, however, the significance of this event in the course of Israel and for that matter, all believers, cannot be overlooked. As such, the great Jewish philosopher Maimonides noted, “just as one who is expecting the most faithful of his friends is wont to count the days and hours to his arrival, so we also count from the omer of the day of our Exodus from Egypt to that of the giving of the law, which was the object of our Exodus, as it is said: ‘I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto Myself.” And because this great manifestation did not last more than one day, therefore we annually commemorate it only one day.” [2] But wait, there’s more!

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Martyn Lloyd-Jones – How Pentecost Stands as a Pattern for the Church’s Life

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The God Who Acts

In Acts 2 God starts the Christian church: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2 KJV). God was continuing, acting in them and through them.

It is quite certain that we would not be considering this now were it not for the fact that God has continued to act. Men and women in their blindness and sin have done their very best to ruin the Christian church. If she were our creation, she would have disappeared long ago, like many another institution. People have misunderstood, they have gone wrong, they have preached error, and the church would have died. So why is there still a church?

There is only one answer: God comes in revival. God sends His Spirit again. Look at the Protestant Reformation. God, just as he sent his word to John the Baptist, sent it to Martin Luther; and when God sends his Word even to one man and gives him great power, he can awaken a great church with fifteen centuries of tradition behind it. Only one man—but it was enough. Martin Luther, called of God, given the message and filled with God’s Spirit, overthrew a church that had become quite pagan in its teaching.

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A. W. Pink – The Holy Spirit’s Work in Salvation

In Acts 19 we learn that when the apostle Paul came to Ephesus he asked some disciples of John the Baptist Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (v. 2) And we are told “They said unto him, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Sad to say, history has repeated itself. Without doubt, were the members of hundreds of so-called “churches” (in which modernism and worldliness rule) asked the same question—they would be obliged to return an identical answer. The reason why those disciples at Ephesus knew nothing about the Holy Spirit was, most probably, because they had been baptized in Judea by the forerunner of Christ and then had returned to Ephesus where they remained in ignorance of what had taken place on the day of Pentecost. But the reason why the members of the average “church” know nothing about the third Person of the Godhead, is because the preachers they sit under, are silent concerning Him.

Nor is it very much better, with many of the churches still counted as orthodox. Though the Person of the Spirit may not be repudiated and though His name may occasionally be mentioned—yet, with only rare exceptions is there any definite scriptural teaching given out concerning the offices and operations of the divine Comforter. As to His work in salvation, this is very little understood even by professing Christians. In the majority of the places where the Lord Jesus is still formally acknowledged to be the only Savior for sinners, the current teaching of the day is that Christ has made it possible for men to be saved—but that they themselves must decide whether they shall be saved. The idea now so widely prevailing, is that Christ is offered to man’s acceptance, and that he must “accept Christ as his personal Savior,” “give his heart to Jesus,” “take his stand for Christ,” etc., if the blood of the Cross is to avail for his sins. Thus, according to this conception, the finished work of Christ, the greatest work of all time and in all the universe, is left contingent on the fickle will of man as to whether it shall be a success or a failure!

Entering now a much narrower circle in Christendom, in places where it is yet owned that the Holy Spirit has a mission and ministry in connection with the preaching of the Gospel, the general idea prevails even there, that when the Gospel of Christ is faithfully preached, the Holy Spirit convicts men of sin and reveals to them their need of a Savior. But beyond this very few are prepared to go. The theory prevailing in these places is that the sinner has to cooperate with the Spirit, that he himself must yield to the Spirit’s “striving”, or he will not and cannot be saved. But this pernicious and God-insulting theory denies two things: to argue that the natural man is capable of cooperating with the Spirit, is to deny that he is “dead in trespasses and sins” for a dead man is incapable of doing anything. And, to say that the operations of the Spirit in a man’s heart and conscience may be resisted and withstood—is to deny His omnipotence!

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