Pentecost is a Greek word meaning fifty. The Pentecost Celebration is fifty days after Passover. In the Hebrew it is called Shavuot, “feast of weeks”. Each feast finds its fullness in the new covenant, that being said we cannot ignore the foundation in the original covenant. The Power of the Spirit without a foundation in the Word will lead to error. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us in all truth, and the Word is truth. Acts chapter two says when the day of Pentecost was fully come, what does that mean? For the believer it means a double celebration, the Word and the Holy Spirit.
It was fifty days after the Exodus that God called Moses up to Mount Sinai and gave him the Torah (Exodus nineteen and twenty). Deuteronomy 16:9-12 NIV “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you. And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place He will choose as a dwelling for His name – you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless, and the widows living among you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees”.
You’ll notice not a lot of instruction is given as to how to celebrate these feasts, I believe that is because God wanted us to enjoy these appointed times and receive them and participate in them according to the purpose of them and not have them become legalistic observances. There have been helpful books written in both the Jewish and Messianic communities to help guide our celebration, but the moment things become ritualistic or legalistic they have lost purpose and power.
Look at Psalm 91:14-16 in The Message, “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care, if you only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you long life, give you a long drink of salvation.” This is the feasts – this is God throwing parties every year! We go from faith to faith and glory to glory, this is the cycle of the feasts, to bring us higher every year and keep us cleaned up.
Pentecost has three areas of celebration; celebrating the Word, celebrating increase, and celebrating the Holy Spirit.
- Celebrating the Word of God
Many of our translations use the word law in place of Torah but the word in Hebrew actually means the teaching of God rather than the law of God. The word law for many as they read the Bible carries a negative connotation since the new covenant says we are not under law. Law in this sense means legalism. The teaching of God in both covenants still very much are applicable to our lives. The feast of Pentecost is a celebration of the Word. Reading Psalm 119 is great during this celebration, have a Bible study with friends, dig into the Word of God as part of your celebration. Psalm 119:10-16 in the Amplified gives a wonderful picture for this celebration. “With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. With my lips have I declared and recounted all the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to your ways [the paths of life marked out by your law (*teaching)]. I will delight myself in your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”
There is awesome power in the Word of God. Hosea 4:6 NIV “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” I know many will say we are under grace so this doesn’t apply to us but Jesus’ grace does not do away with God’s teachings. The sermon on the mount reiterated the ten commandments on a heart level. Now grace does allow for freedom to celebrate or not to celebrate the feasts but there is blessing that comes in the celebration. Yes, you can be blessed outside of these feasts but the blessings in the celebration are clearly given in Scripture.
- Celebrating Increase
Deuteronomy 16:10 NIV “Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing the LORD your God has given you.” At Passover everyone gives an equal offering but at Pentecost the offering is based on increase and when you give in a mindset of increase, you increase more and more.
Psalm 115:14 in the Amplified says, “May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children”. The NIV says, “may the LORD cause you to flourish”. Provision and increase is not just a financial thing but a physical thing as well. God instructed, remember and celebrate coming out of the bondage of Egypt. Exodus 15:26 KJV “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
In the season of Pentecost give. Give and it shall be given unto you. Receive increase, receive finances, receive healing, health and divine life. Claim increase as yours based on how you’ve sown into others and given to God.
- Celebrating the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:1-8; 2:1-4 KJV “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 2:1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
We cannot look at this even apart from the festival context they would have been participating in. The night before Pentecost had fully come the disciples would have given offerings joyfully in the temple and stayed up late into the night studying the word of God. To see the Holy Spirit’s coming purely through the lens and purpose of tongues is to miss why Jesus said the Spirit would come. John 16:12-15 KJV “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine, therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.“
It is interesting that in the three chapters Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, He never mentions tongues. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe in tongues and I do pray in tongues, however, the fullness of the feast is not found in a prayer language or tongues and interpretation but the Spirit revealing the truth of the word to us and empowering us to witness. If we dismiss these two things from our understanding of Pentecost, we have truly lost its power and only have a form in the manifestation of tongues.
Pentecost for the believer is a celebration of the word and the power of the word through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the continued celebration of the provision of healing and finances. When Scripture talks about receiving thirty, sixty and one hundred fold, I would submit that it has something to do with celebrating Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles; thirty, sixty and one hundred. At Pentecost gather with some friends; give joyfully, study the Scriptures and ask for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.