Evangelistic Outreach Ministries

The Feast of Pentecost,
By Dr. Calvin Ray Evans

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come…" Acts 2:1

If I ask a number of people to give me an explanation of the meaning of Pentecost, there would be a wide variety of answers. The intent of this message is not to "clear the air" about the accuracy of your doctrine about the Holy Spirit. I have one genuine desire to help us better understand the importance of Pentecost (one of the feast days of the Hebrew people) in relation to the present dispensation of the Holy Ghost.

There were specific reasons why the fulfillment of Jesus’ teaching concerning the coming of "The Comforter" took place on Pentecost. Please read this message with an open heart and not a doctrinal slant and the Lord may use it to help us all love Him more for the power He has bestowed on us as believers. So, let’s examine some questions about Pentecost that are vital for us to have a better understanding about its meaning.

I. When was Pentecost?

Pentecost in the laws of God was tied directly to the Passover. The Lord gave specific instructions about this special feast day. At the end of Passover, the Lord gave His people instructions to set aside a feast day. "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete; Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord" (Lev. 23:15-16). The word Pentecost actually means "fifty." Since this feast took place fifty days after Passover, it was called "Pentecost." Therefore, Pentecost did not come into existence on the day the Holy Spirit was poured out. The Lord chose this particular day because of the events that were associated with this feast.

What a blessed thought to us that we serve a Lord of design. He does not operate by chance but He has a purpose in all that He does. Long before the Holy Spirit was sent to this earth to indwell and fill believers, God had already reserved a day in the Jewish calendar of feast days, to help us better understand His plan for the church.

II. What is Pentecost?

It was known to the Jews as Shavout (sha’ voo ot) which means the "Feast of Weeks" and was also called the "Day of the Firstfruits." It was a holiday to celebrate the harvest season. The farmers would bring their first harvests to Jerusalem to offer them to God as a token of thanksgiving. It was a praise offering for the larger harvest they trusted the Lord to bring in the fall of the year.

The events surrounding this feast day were simple in nature. The farmers of Israel would begin with the spring harvest of the barley crop which ripened during Passover. The harvest of other crops such as wheat, grains, fruit, etc. continued for seven more weeks. As each type of harvest would ripen, the firstfruit would not be eaten. Instead, the farmer would tie a ribbon around the branch. The ribbon signified that these fruits were "bikkurim" or the "firstfruits."

At the feast of Pentecost, the farmers would gather in grand procession with all the firstfruits in their possession. They would march into Jerusalem with singing and shouting to praise the Lord for the beginning of harvest. THIS WAS NOT THE HARVEST! It was a step of faith that they believed God for a greater harvest that was to come later. They were acknowledging the Lord for His blessings upon them. This established a principle of giving that was still practiced in the early church and continues today. They gave their gift by faith at the start of the season. Even as the early church gave their offerings on the first day of the week, it was not merely an act of praise for a work that was completed. It was an offering of praise for a greater harvest to come. It was not the end but rather it was the beginning of a greater blessing!

III. Where was Pentecost?

Pentecost was celebrated on Mt. Zion in the city of Jerusalem. There was not a better place for such a feast to happen. Jerusalem was the site where King David bought the threshing floor from the Jebusites. Later it was known as Jerusalem. The city remains the focal point of the world to this day.

There is something I found very interesting in my personal study about the Feast of Pentecost. According to Jewish tradition, King David was born and died on Shavout, the Feast of Weeks. Therefore, it was one of the great feasts in the Jewish calendar. For not only did this day mark the beginning of the firstfruits, it also memorialized their beloved king. It is all I can do to keep from shouting as I write this message to you! To the Christian believer, Pentecost was not only the day that marked the firstfruits of the church but it also memorializes our beloved King of Kings, Jesus Christ!

IV. Why was there a Pentecost?

The feast of Pentecost was a Jewish feast that had been observed in their teachings for years. For us to better understand the purpose of this great day we must look into the teachings of the Jews in relation to it. The feast really dealt with three main things:

A. REVELATION — Shavout commemorated the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites on Mt. Sinai. Exodus led them to a desert. The desert led them to Mt. Sinai. The Mount of Sinai led them to the law. The law led them to the power of God. So the revelation of the law was an important element of this festivity.

B. MANIFESTATION — One of the things that took place in the synagogues during Pentecost was the reading of the book of Ruth. This book dealt with the blessings and importance of the harvest. Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem during the time of the barley harvest which was the time of the firstfruits. It was not a manifestation of the end. It was a manifestation of the beginning. On the day of Pentecost when 3,000 were saved, it was not the end of the harvest. It marked the beginning of the harvest. The day of salvation was not concluding, it was just starting. The firstfuits were presented to the Lord that day in honor of a greater harvest. Hallelujah! The day of revival is not over! The Lord is helping us in these days to reach more than ever before as His church!

C. DEMONSTRATION — According to Ron Cantrell in his book, “The Feasts of the Lord,” he writes, "During Shavout , the farmers would gather the "bikkurim" or firstfruits into baskets and bring them to the city of Jerusalem where they would be eaten in the holy city. The farmers living close to Jerusalem would bring fresh fruits, while those who had to travel a long distance carried dried raisins and figs. This joyful occasion was celebrated with the music, timbres, and drums. As the pilgrims approached the city walls they were greeted by the inhabitants. Sometimes the King himself would join the procession to the Temple Mount. The Bikkurim ritual is no longer practiced in present day Israel."

The Jews demonstrated their faith in the Lord. We too should seek to demonstrate the power of the Holy Ghost as He works through us to reach others. The feast was an outward sign of an inward praise. May God help us to show others of His blessings on our life each day!

Preachers: Print the above sermon and use it in your ministry. The Lord will get the glory. All we ask is that you pray for us, and let us know it is helpful. Please contact us and let us know of those being saved or helped. Return to our www.calvinevans.org Web site for more sermons.