Since today is Pentecost Sunday as traditionally celebrated by the church, I’ve been considering its significance. Initially a Jewish feast established under Moses, Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost is reckoned by counting 50 days from the Feast of Firstfruits (7 weeks and a day). According to Leviticus 23: 15, Pentecost (meaning fiftieth in Greek) occurs 50 days after Firstfruits on the day after the 7th Sabbath following. That means Firstfruits always occurs on a Sabbath and Pentecost always falls on a Sunday. (When I google the Jewish feast dates, they vary each year and do not fall on Sunday. I haven’t figured that out yet because Leviticus seems pretty clear. “Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath…”)
God’s fingerprints are all over this in the numbers of days related to this event. This strengthens the testimony of His satisfaction with the Firstfruits offering which was declared openly on Pentecost when He released the supply of fullness of the Spirit to the church.
- Pentecost is seven weeks plus one day from Firstfruits:
- Seven times seven (7 x 7 = 49), seven being the biblical number of completion or perfection, indicates God’s full satisfaction with the sacrifice that brought forth the initial harvest and the end of the Law as a means of establishing righteousness. The resurrection of Jesus, who could not be held by the grave because death had no claim on him since he died not for his own sins but for the sins of others, occurred on the first day of the week, the day after the weekly Sabbath of Passover week.
- Adding an additional day to the completion of the 7th week adds an 8thday. Eight is the biblical number of new beginnings. For example:
- Noah and his family were 8, saved by the flood from the corruption of the world, which gave the world a new beginning.
- Jesus was raised on the first day of the week (the 8th day) which gives all who believe a new beginning.
- The reckoning begins under the Law (Sabbath) and is fulfilled on the first day of the week, the 8th day/Sunday, under Grace.
According to Acts 2, in pouring out the Spirit on Pentecost, God declared the full satisfaction of the Law in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He declared the establishment of His Kingdom and, by the release of the Spirit, established Christ-followers as true and effective witnesses of all He has done in redeeming us through the sacrifice, resurrection, and glorification of His Son.
Now let us fulfill Christ’s promise and calling in the power of the Spirit: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
(Leviticus 23:9-22, esp 15; Acts 1:8, Acts 2:8, 22-25,30-33, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23)