Celebrate the Feast of Pentecost
Shavuot - Anointing for Service
Jesus' Holy Spirit
by: Robert (Bob) Somerville
"And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; [firstfruits] seven sabbaths shall be complete." (Lev 23:15)
The word Pentecost (Shavuot) means "fiftieth." From the New Testament perspective, it is primarily a day to celebrate the first "outpouring" of the Holy Spirit upon the church that Jesus had promised (Luke 24:49). It first occurred within the Jewish community (Acts 2:1). Some time later, it reoccurred at the house of Cornelius, an Italian family, when the Gentiles experienced a phenomenal "outpouring" (Acts 10:45). Today we have this continuing promise of God through the Apostle Peter, "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39). This means it is available to everyone who is a believer.
The word Pentecost is found only in the New Testament (Acts 2:1). It is identified in the Old Testament as the "Feast of Weeks" (Exodus 34:22) and the "Feast of Harvest" (Exodus 23:6). Pentecost, a Greek word meaning fiftieth, signifies that it occurred fifty days after the high priest offered to God the firstfruits of the barley harvest (Leviticus 23:10,11). Initially, this feast (as well as the other two great annual feasts, Passover and Tabernacles) was an agricultural festival.
Pentecost embodied many spiritual and prophetic demonstrations about the work and ministry of the coming Messiah. In fact, the entire life of our Lord was foreshadowed by a precisely timed series of events. The coming of the Holy Spirit is no exception. After the ascension of Jesus (Yahshua) to the right hand of God and His becoming our High Priest, the next great event was the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). It is not surprising, therefore, that the writer of the book of Acts informs us that this event occurred "when the day of Pentecost had fully come...."
The complete saturation of believers with the Holy Spirit bestowed many supernatural gifts and empowerments for declaring the Good News with power and effectiveness (Acts 1:8).
It would be a mistake to isolate one manifestation as evidencing this infilling. Pentecost represents a many-faceted demonstration of His presence. Some of the spiritual abilities with which the church was endowed are these: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, and speaking with tongues, both heavenly language and foreign languages of men (1 Corinthians 12:1 Corinthians 13:1). You will discover that gifts to the ministry are included in this equipping (Ephesians 4:8,11).
Simply stated, this Holy Spirit baptism was for the equipping of those who would be used of God with whatever they needed on any occasion and under any circumstances, to be an anointed witnesses and carrying out the work of God (John 14:12).
Today, more than ever, we must have these spiritual talents working in us so that the gospel of the kingdom may be published into all the world for a witness before the end comes (Matthew 24:14). The fact that Pentecost is also identified as the Feast of Harvest gives us some spiritual insight concerning the harvest of souls that God desires to be reaped from the earth. The Bible teaches that Jesus was the Son of man who came to sow good seed–the word of God (Luke 8:5-11). The church is the reaper sent forth for harvesting (John 4:38; Matthew 9:38). Through Spirit-filled witnessing, the harvest of earth will be reaped. It is for this reason that Jesus made the declaration "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me...unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The people of God can never be effective and productive in this harvest without an abundant anointing or baptism of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost symbolizes ANOINTING FOR THE HARVEST. A yearly observance of this biblical memorial day by the church serves to remind us of our total dependence upon the Holy Spirit to give us the guidance and anointing we must have for this spiritual harvest of earth. The apostle Peter referred to it as a "time of refreshing."
Pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers!
Our attitude toward this memorial day should be very much kindred to that of the great apostle Paul who hastened to be at Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16). Surely this yearly celebration brought to the first century church a remembrance of the glorious things that had happened at the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit a few years earlier when Peter had declared to the nation of Israel and the world, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel."
Jewish tradition asserts that YAHWEH God wrote the Ten Commandments on tables of stone with His own finger and gave them to humanity on the day of Pentecost. This teaches us that a work of the Holy Spirit is to write the laws of God upon the tables of our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3).
BREAD OF FIRSTFRUITS
"Ye shall bring out of your habitation TWO WAVE LOAVES (wheat bread)....they are the firstfruits unto the Lord." Lev. 23:17
Here is another invaluable truth to be learned from this agricultural feast. God said, "Ye shall bring out of your habitation TWO WAVE LOAVES (wheat bread)....they are the firstfruits unto the Lord." The spiritual and prophetic lesson to be learned from this demonstration of the Old Testament concerns the Jew and Gentile people. The spiritual crop that God will harvest out of these two nations of people is represented in the two loaves (1 Corinthians 10:17; James 1:18). The first century church was predominantly Jewish. The last century church will be predominantly Gentile. A bringing forth of two loaves is what is implied when the apostle's states that the blessings of God are - to the Jew first and also the Gentile.
"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." (James 1:18)
- Chronology Simplicity -
According to the New Testament record, Jesus appeared to His disciples within 40 days after His resurrection (Acts1:3).
The remaining ten days, counting to fifty, were spent in the upper room tarrying for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost,
or the fiftieth day, the promise was fulfilled (Luke 24:49).