Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:15–22; Numbers 28:26–31; Deuteronomy 16:6–12
Also known as the Pentecost, a Greek word that means ‘fifty,”
the Feast of Weeks is so named because seven weeks were counted from the Feast of Firstfruits until the Feast of Weeks. It marked the conclusion of the Passover season and the seven-week spring harvest, and there was no other feast until autumn. Along with the feasts of Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles, it was a sacred assembly that required the men to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem (Exodus 23:14-17; 34:22-23; Deuteronomy 16:16; 2 Chronicles 8:13).
Traditionally, this feast is associated with the giving of the Torah and Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. This occurred 50 days after the Israelites left Egypt and was accompanied with a trumpet, lightning, thunder, clouds, and fire (Exodus 19:16-19). The people responded with trembling, fear and quaking.
On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, there were also manifestations of God’s presence. The Holy Spirit descended as a mighty wind, the room was filled with God’s presence, tongues of fire sat on the heads of the disciples, and they all spoke in other tongues. When Moses descended, Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he encountered the people worshiping a golden calf, and 3,000 people were slain (Exodus 32:28). When Peter spoke to the crowd in Jerusalem, 3,000 people were saved. On Mt. Sinai God gave the people His Law. On Pentecost in Jerusalem God gave the people His Holy Spirit. The Ten Commandments were written on stone (Exodus 24:12); in Jerusalem, the commandments of God were written on the hearts of men (Hebrews 8:10).
Today, we understand Pentecost to be the birthday of the New Testament Church.
Just as the birth of Israel took place on Mt. Sinai 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits, so the birthday of the Church took place 50 days after the resurrection of Christ.
Just as the feasts of Firstfruits and Pentecost both take place on the day after the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16), so the resurrection of Jesus and the birth of the New Testament Church both occur on the day after the Sabbath. The Old Testament Sabbath was a day of rest; the New Testament ‘day of the Lord” is a spirit of rest.
This is in opposition to the Feast of Passover, for during the Feast of Weeks, God instructed the Jews to bring two loaves of baked, leavened bread. Why leavened bread? While Passover points us to the perfect life of Jesus, Pentecost shows us the Church has yet to attain sinless perfection. The two loaves represent both the Jew and the Gentile. Ephesians 2:14 says, ‘For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” The Jew and the Gentile make up the one body called the Church, still permeated with the leaven of sin, but still capable of doing God’s work through His power and anointing.
This is the end of the spring feasts. We have seen that:
1. The Feast of Passover speaks of redemption. Jesus, the Passover Lamb, was slain for the sins of the world.
2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread speaks of sanctification. Jesus was set apart, and His body would not decay in the grave.
3. The Feast of Firstfruits speaks of resurrection. Death could not hold Jesus in the grave.
4. The Feast of Weeks speaks of origination. The coming of the Holy Spirit inaugurated the new covenant and Church Age, which Jesus instituted on Pentecost.