Pentecost And The Three Feasts
"When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place." Acts 1:2
"Pentekoste", fiftieth; from "pentekonta" (fifty) and "pente" (five)
Pentecost, meaning "the fiftieth day", is the second of the three great Jewish feasts, celebrated at Jerusalem yearly, the seventh week after the Passover, in grateful recognition of the completed harvest.
- Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Feast of Harvest
- Feast of Ingathering
"Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor." Exodus 23:14-16
The first major celebration of the Jewish year was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which included the Passover supper.
"And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" Mark 14:12
During the Feast of Unleavened Bread the Passover Lamb was killed and eaten. Fifty days after that Passover meal, the Jews celebrated the Feast of Harvest, which became known as "Pentecost", or the "Fiftieth".
"Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest." Leviticus 23:10
Pentecost was a celebration of firstfruits, the first harvest of crops. It signaled the beginning of the time of harvest.
As harvest time drew to a close the people were commanded by God to deliberately leave parts of their crops unharvested.
"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." Leviticus 23:22
The three feasts followed a pattern of seven, beginning with Passover.
- Seven weeks after Passover, the Feast of Harvest;
- Seven months after Passover, the Feast of Ingathering.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? How do the three feasts hint at the story of redemption in Christ? Why was Pentecost the perfect time for the "promise of the Father", the giving of the Holy Spirit?