PENTECOST(SHAVUOT)


                                                       

    The time of Firstfruits, starts on Nissan 17 and ends 50 days later on the feast of Pentecost (This year 6:00 P.M. Apr. 11 to 6.00 P.M.  May 30). Pentecost or Shavuot (This year 6:00 P.M. May 30- 6:00 P.M. May 31). has many names in the Bible (the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, and the Latter Firstfruits). Shavuot is traditionally a joyous time of giving thanks and presenting offerings for the new grain of the summer wheat harvest in Israel. The name "Feast of Weeks" was given because God commanded the Jews in Leviticus 23:15-16, to count seven full weeks (or 49 days) and then present offerings of new grain to the Lord as a lasting ordinance.

Shavuot was originally a festival for expressing thankfulness to the Lord for the blessing of the harvest. And because it occurred at the conclusion of the Passover, it acquired the name "Latter Firstfruits." The celebration is also tied to the giving of the Ten Commandments and thus bears the name Matin Torah or "giving of the Law." Jews believe that it was exactly at this time that God gave the Torah to the people through Moses on Mount Sinai. Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage feasts when all Jewish males were required to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem at the temple. As a matter of fact, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost occurred in the temple *(see Acts 2:46). The 120 met in the Upper Room in prayer. There is no way that the Upper Room could contain the thousands of people that came running after hearing the sound of the rushing mighty wind.

The Feast of Firstfruits prepares us for Pentecost, which is a promotion or explosion time. This is a period of time when so many ministries after the season of Firstfruits, can start to take off or explode by Pentecost.   If they can allow God to deal with them during that 50 days and open themselves up to the searching of the Holy Spirit, they can be put in position on Pentecost, for their promotion. In the original Pentecost, the children of Israel left Egypt on Nissan 15, crossed the Red Sea on Nissan 17 and traveled forty seven days from there to the foot of Mt. Sinai. When they arrived at Mt. Sinai, God instructed Moses to tell the people to purify (set apart) themselves for three days (Exodus 19 v. 10-15). After this three day period, they were to approach the mountain. God appeared on the mountain. The wind roared and the ground shook. The voice of God brought forth the Ten Commandments. Rabbi Joseph Hertz, in his Authorized Daily Prayer Book on pg. 791 states this: “The Revelation at Sinai it was taught, was given in the desert territory, which belongs to no one nation exclusively; and it was heard not by Israel alone, but by the inhabitants of all the earth. The Divine Voice divided itself into the 70 tongues then spoken on the earth, so that all the children of men might understand its world-embracing and man-redeeming message.” Also in the Jewish Midrash under the section called Exodus Rabbah 5:9 it states this: “When God gave the Torah (Ten Commandments) on Sinai, He displayed untold marvels to Israel with His voice. What happened? God spoke and the voice reverberated throughout the world….It says, "And all the people witnessed the thunderings” (Ex. 20 v. 18). Note: that it does not say the thunder (singular), but the thunderings; wherefore, Rabbi Johanan said that “God’s voice, as it was uttered, split into 70 voices, in the seventy languages, so that all the nations could understand. When each nation heard the voice in their own vernacular, their souls departed (they were in fear), save Israel, who heard but were not hurt…” The Midrash is a collection of works compiled between the third and twelfth centuries that seek out underlying truths and meanings of the Bible. Further writings from the Midrash state this: “On the occasion of the giving the Torah (Ten Commandments), the children of Israel not only heard the Lord’s Voice but actually saw the sound waves as they emerged from the Lord’s mouth. They described them as a fiery substance. Every commandment that left the Lord’s mouth traveled around the entire camp and came back to each Jew individually, asking him, “Do you accept upon yourself this commandment with all the Jewish law pertaining to it?” After each commandment, every Jew answered, yes! Finally, the fiery substance that they saw, engraved itself on the tablets of stone” (Read Heb. 12 v. 18-22). This description of what happened on the original Pentecost on Mt. Sinai is so very important because of it’s fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, as recorded in the Book of Acts. In Acts 2 v. 2, the word records that a sound of a rushing mighty wind came and filled all the temple where the apostles were sitting. Also, in v. 3, cloven tongues of fire sat on each of them. They got filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Every person in the multitude that gathered around after they heard the sound was confounded as they heard them speak in their own language. This is such a fulfillment of the original day of Pentecost on Mt. Sinai. There were loud sounds and fire, but instead of God speaking directly to the whole world, He is now speaking through men and women.

     The feast of Pentecost is so important to us in our recognizing God’s seasons. As I mentioned earlier, Pentecost is a period of time where tremendous blessings and promotion can occur. Jesus had spent 40 days with them after He rose from the dead. This was during the time of Firstfruits. He was revealing the problem areas in their lives. This is the examination of the Holy Ghost that I was talking about earlier: letting the Holy Spirit point out areas of our lives that need to change. They responded to Jesus and showed up in Jerusalem, waiting for the power they were to receive. “You shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1 v. 8). Can you imagine the apostles the day before Pentecost, 10 days after Jesus ascended? They were alone in the upper room and probably scared. They had run away when Jesus was arrested about 53 days earlier. However when they were filled with the Holy Ghost they were instantly promoted to a higher level. On the first day, 3,000 souls got saved. On the next day another 5,000 souls got saved. In Acts 4, the Bible records that the apostles were arrested and in the same exact place that Peter denied Jesus, there is now a difference. Peter with boldness, said in v. 5 after they were threatened to not speak or teach in the Name of Jesus, “whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than God judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Do you see the change in them after this empowerment or promotion came on them? This is what God wants to do during the season of Pentecost: promote you, open new doors of opportunity, bring about immense blessings, use you in ways that you haven’t dreamed of, etc. It all starts with the days of Unleavened Bread and the 50 days of Firstfruits. Pour your heart out to Him, allow Him to point out areas that need to be changed in your life and get ready for this Pentecost experience. During the time of Firstfruits, He is removing all the excess baggage so you can crossover during the season of Pentecost. This is why it is so important to know God’s seasons: how He is moving and what He expects us to do. The season of Firstfruits is not a season of asking for things but a period of time where He can prepare you for things that you may start receiving on Pentecost. Again, Firstfruits is a season of finding out what is not right in our lives by the searchlight of the Holy Spirit. As we yield these areas of our lives to Him, He sovereignly removes them once and for all, as we cooperate. Then we are ready for that wonderful time of Pentecost where He has prepared us to receive abundantly. Praise Him! This is why so many Christians don’t receive from God. They don’t adapt to His seasons of how He is moving and what He wants to emphasize in their lives.                        

     This season of Pentecost is also a wonderful time of positioning. God sovereignly wants to place you in situations where you least expect. As we mentioned, just look at Peter and the other apostles. God placed them right in the midst of the authorities. As I mentioned earlier, Peter was positioned right where he had denied Jesus only days earlier. God wants to position you where you become the devil’s worst nightmare. Look at Peter being positioned in Joppa where a girl named Tabitha had died. God used him to raise her from the dead and this was known throughout Joppa and many believed in Jesus (Acts 9 v. 41). Look in Acts 10 where Peter was positioned to minister to Cornelius and his family. He preached the word and they all got filled with the Holy Ghost. This is a Jew going to Gentiles. There is no telling where God may position you, especially in this season of Pentecost. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas where positioned in jail and God did a great miracle for them. He sent an earthquake and all the prisoners were loosed. So God made a place of apparent defeat into a great victory. You may feel that God has placed you into a place where the devil is winning but God positioned you there for an inevitable victory. By you being positioned by God, there is no telling how many people can be loosed. Paul and Silas in this situation as recorded in Acts. 16, ministered to the jailer and his family and they all got saved. From Acts chapter 20 through 28, we can see the positioning power of God in the life of Paul. He was arrested in Jerusalem; four people had a vow to kill him, was brought before political leaders and wound up in Rome, just where Jesus wanted him to be. The authorities paid his way to Rome. In Acts 28 v. 30 and 31, the word says that “Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house…with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” Along the way, God positioned Paul before King Agrippa and he was “almost persuaded to be a Christian” (Acts 26 v. 28). God positioned Paul before Agrippa and the other leaders to give them an opportunity to get saved. You see by this illustration that God has situations that He wants to place you in i.e. divine encounters. Just allow God to have His way. He’ll close doors that He doesn’t want opened and put you into a place where you have no alternative, but to walk through the door in front of you. It will be so obvious to you when He places you, that this is the place He wants you to be. Pentecost is such a wonderful season for God to begin this positioning process. Just let go and let God. You can also see God’s protection for Paul as he was being positioned. Paul was delivered from the four men who wanted to kill Paul. Paul was also on a ship which was sinking and bitten by a snake on the island of Melita. None of these events could stop Paul from being positioned by God. You too have God’s complete protection during this process.

     The original Pentecost on Mt. Sinai was also a marriage contract that God made with Israel (Jeremiah 2 v.1-3). God also made a betrothal contract with His Body (2 Corinthians 11 v. 2). Jew and Gentile are espoused (betrothed) to Jesus and will soon become His wife (Rev. 19 v. 7-8). This season is also a time where God can bring ordained couples together for marriage. He can arrange for Divine Encounters. Those of you that are single and have had a promise from God concerning marriage should be attentive for a move of God in this area at this time of year. God could start to bring that God ordained companion into your life at the start of this season.

     Another aspect of the Day of Pentecost is the fact that during this feast, two loves of bread were being offered in the temple. The two loaves represent the church comprised of Jew and Gentile alike, both born into Jesus the Messiah. Look at the start of this feast for God to pour out a special anointing to bring Jews and Gentiles closer together. Be aware, be open and be available for Him to start accomplishing this through you. Also Matthias and Justus were a type of the two loaves being presented before God for Him to chose one to replace Judas (Acts 1:23-26). He chose Matthias. Also, these two loaves contained leaven. The Father is about to place His power into His people as leaven expands bread. This is a fulfillment of what Jesus said in Mat. 13:33 where leaven was placed in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened. The Father placed His power in His apostles to change the world!

     Another aspect of Pentecost is that on the original Pentecost on Mt. Sinai 3,000 people were killed because they worshipped the Golden Calf that Aaron had set up, while Moses was on the mountain (Exodus 32 v. 1-8, 26-28). In the Acts of the Apostles 2 v. 41, the word mentions that 3,000 Jews were saved on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. These replaced the 3,000 that were destroyed. Jesus brought life, not death. This is a time where God wants to replace the disobedient with the obedient. Look for God to be in the process of preparing you to take someone’s place, somebody whom God set up in a key position, but is not carrying through on the assignment that God gave. There is such a strong anointing of replacement during this season. God always has a ram in the bush to take the place of someone who is disobedient to His assignment. It is not that God is looking to remove people from their assignment for one mistake, but mainly the one who persistently does not complete assignments. Be available and ready for a new promotion from Him. Esther became Queen after the previous Queen (Vashti) rebelled against the king (Esther Chap.1). Joshua took Moses’ place after he was disobedient to God and led the people into the promise land. Remember, God always has a ram in the bush. “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one and setteth up another” (Psalm 75 v. 6, 7). 

     So I urgently ask you to seek him during the season of Firstfruits and get ready for some of the biggest blessings and opportunities that you have ever seen. When God is in a blessing season like Pentecost, there is no telling what and how much He will pour out. When He is withholding His blessings and looking to change an individual first, there is nothing that you can do to get Him to change seasons. It all has to do with His timing. He blesses us every day but He still has seasons where He has overwhelming blessings and promotions. We need to learn and take advantage of God’s movement during His seasons and not try to force Him to adapt to our period of expectation. As we spend time in His presence, especially during the time of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits, we will see what is expected of us and we can be in such a mode of receiving during such a season as Pentecost.

Some other aspects of Pentecost in Jerusalem are:

1.)    Increase power and boldness- Acts 3:8, 4:13, 19, 30-33,5:12-16, 10:44-48, 19:8-12,14:19-23,19:11-20, 20:20-24 and 28:30-31.

2.)    Expansion- After Pentecost the apostles started ”moving out” in their ministries. They were now getting around and demonstrating His power operating in their lives for all to see. With this power they started ministering to the needs of many people, so this season of Pentecost should generate new power to speak into the lives of other people in a deeper fashion.

3.)    Positioned- they were positioned in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, Paul travelled all over the world, Peter was positioned in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:44-48), Paul and Silas in the Phillipian jailer’s house (Acts 16:24-34), Peter in Dorcas’ house raising her from the dead (Acts 9:32-42).

In this season of Pentecost the Father is positioning us where we will be most effective and empowering us to be able to minister to people in a deeper and more profound way. This season (Firstfruits) that we are now in is the preparation for this new empowerment. The Father is working and working on our flesh (sin habits). As a result, it is so important to listen and obey His promptings. He is honoring our desire to help more of His children in a deeper way and He is using this time to prepare us.