We are celebrating Pentecost for the first time this year with our church. Here is something I wrote up about it:
Pentecost / Shavuot
June 9, 2008 (50 days after Passover)
You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 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.
(Deuteronomy 16:9-10 ESV)
Pentecost to the Israelites was the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of the Harvest. Fifty days after Passover was a time to come together and offer thanks to the LORD for the harvest of wheat. It also memorialized the 50 days from the Exodus until the LORD gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. In practice it was celebrated by staying up all night studying the Torah, having a feast and then offering your first fruits to the LORD. Frequently, the book of Ruth is read during this time as it takes place during the harvest and is an example of the command, “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” Lev. 23:22.
For Christians, Pentecost also memorializes the birth of the Church and the coming of the Holy Spirit. On that day 3000 souls were saved and all believers were baptized into the same body with Christ as the head of the church.
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 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. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV)
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:41-47 ESV)
Pentecost is a wonderful opportunity for us to rededicate ourselves to the studying of God’s Word, to offer thanks to him for all that he has provided for us and to share with others that abundance. It is also a wonderful time to celebrate our church family and to remember the gift given to us of the Holy Spirit.
For More Information See:
Celebrating Biblical Feasts in Your Home or Church by Martha Zimmerman