Aloha Friday Message – May 25, 2012 – Friday before Pentecost

1221AFC052512 Pentecost

Read it online here, please.

KJV Acts 2:1 – And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

This coming Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost. As Christians we think of it mostly in terms of the second Chapter of Acts – the first four verses, the strong, driving wind, “cloven tongues as of fire,” speaking and prophesying in many languages (some of them possibly angelic languages), and Peter’s amazing proclamation of the Gospel. But what does it mean “… when the day of Pentecost was fully come?” And what were they doing with a Honda? (all with one Accord) OK, that’s an old joke and not a very good one either. Still let’s look a little into what Pentecost is all about.

We begin by turning to Leviticus 23 where God is telling Moses about the feast days he wants celebrated. Leviticus is the third book of the Bible after Genesis and Exodus and the middle book of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The name Leviticus refers to the fact that most of the content of this book is the Policy and Procedure Manual for the Tribe of Levi, the Priestly Tribe. There are 27 chapters of rules, advice, and information on topics like sacrificial offerings, purity, holiness, the prescribed conduct and values for priesthood, rules for the sanctuary, and definitions and procedures for all of the feast days. In chapter 23, there are several feasts listed. They are given in the order in which they are to be observed and there is information on preparations for each and income cases the reasons for the feasts and the rules that go with them.

Here are the feasts described in chapter 23, the section of Leviticus devoted to “Holiness Laws.” The Sabbath is described and then come other annual memorials. First comes Passover. Next is the Feast of Unleavened Bread which begins the day after Passover and lasts one week. During that time, Israelites ate unleavened bread. Then comes the Feast of Firstfruits, the day after Passover’s Sabbath, a Festival of Harvest and thanksgiving to God for the blessings of food. This was an offering made in hopes of further blessings from God. Usually this would be barley as it is one of the first grains to ripen.

Then there is the Festival of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah which commemorates the creation of the world. No work was to be done on that day and all of Israel was to bring offerings to the temple when they heard the blast from the trumpets. This is the fifth of the Seven Feasts. The Feast of Trumpets begins on the first day of the seventh month. It is the opening Festival of the “High Holy Days.” These three feasts )Feast of the Trumpets, the Feast of Atonement – Yom Kippur, and the Feast of Tabernacles – Succoth) bring to a close the Liturgical Year of Israel and foreshadow the Plan of Redemption made manifest in Jesus. So, the seven feast are:

1. Passover (Pesach)
2. Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamotzi)
3. Firstfruits (Yom Habikkurim)
4. Pentecost (Shavu’ot) The Feast of Weeks or Festival of Harvest
5. Trumpets (Yom Teru’ah)
6. Atonement (Yom Kippur)
7. Tablenacles (Succoth)

Pentecost is described in Leviticus 23:15-22. There was a period of seven weeks – a week of Sabbaths – that were measured off. On the day after the end of the seven weeks – the fiftieth day, a celebration was prescribed by God. The name “Pentecost” comes from the Greek term for the celebration, Πεντηκοστή ἡμέρα (pentekoste hemera) which means fiftieth day. The offering for that day consisted of two loaves of finest yeast bread made from the finest flour, seven one-year-old lambs, one bull, and two rams offered as burnt offerings. Verse 19 says, “Then you must offer one male goat as a sin offering and two one-year-old male lambs as a peace offering.” It is also in this passage that the directive to allow for gleaning. It was the law of gleaning that brought Ruth and Boaz together. That’s for another lesson, though.

Jesus was crucified during the Feast of the Lord’s Passover, and he ascended 40 days after his resurrection. The Holy Spirit came 50 days after the Resurrection, which was of course, 10 days after the Ascension. Because of the importance of this feast, which God said, “This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed wherever you live,” Jews of many nations would be gathered in Jerusalem in pilgrimage for this festival. When Peter, therefore, with the Holy Spirit rushing upon him and the other apostles stood up and addressed the crowd that had gathered around the place where the disciples were staying, persons of many languages and cultures were attracted to these curious events. The “tongues as of fire” are a fulfillment of John the Baptist’s prophecy of Jesus: “He will baptize you with Fire.” The parallel here is that God validated the Law given on Mount Sinai to Moses with fire (Exodus 19:16-18), and in the New Covenant, validated the arrival of the Paraclete with fire as well. Whereas in the First Covenant the fire was only in one place, in the New Covenant it was in many people.

The Feast of Firstfruits stands as a foreshadowing of the Resurrection of Christ as the “first fruits of them that sleep” (1 Cor. 15:20) in the expectation of further blessings from God – an even greater harvest. Pentecost foreshadows the coming of the Spirit, and the resultant harvest as the beginning of the “High Holy Days” of the Church.

Rosh Hashannah prefigures the Resurrection, the sounding of the trumpets and the dead being raised as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58. This is one of my favorite Bible passages because it is one of my favorite solos in Handel’s Messiah. I’m getting the shivers just thinking about it right now!

Yom Kippur was the singularly unique of the year in which the Most Sacred space in the Temple, the Holy of Holies (or “the Most Holy Place”), was entered. You may recall from a previous Aloha Friday Message that it was where the Ark of the Covenant was the location for the Sh’khinah Glory of God to reside. God’s presence literally inhabited the area above the Ark, and no one was permitted into the Most Holy Place except on Yom Kippur and in the precise manner which God had established. It was on this day that the sins of the whole nation were considered atoned – expiated, wiped out, redressed – for the preceding year. With Jesus Atonement, the sins of all time are wiped out forever.

So, now we know a bit more about why Pentecost is called Pentecost, why everyone was in Jerusalem at the time, why it is 50 days after Easter and 10 days after Ascension. And we know why and how it relates to the Seven Great Feasts God told Moses and the Levites to establish forever for the people of Israel. As we are the adopted children of Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the Life, Passion, and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, we really should know how these feasts came about and why they are important to us.

And now, Beloved, in closing I ask you to reflect on what you have read as you consider what God has planned for the Second Covenant Feast of Tabernacles.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

One Response to Aloha Friday Message – May 25, 2012 – Friday before Pentecost

  1. I don’t drive a Honda, but I am in ACCORD with you and BC and my God!! Jesus is so AWESOME. Last night [Evening of Recollection] was so very good. Many of us have lesser burdens: Physical, emotional, spiritual. Please pray for {L.} and her marriage, her children and the four (4) grandchildren she cares for. Also a big prayer for CK &b TN, beautiful young couple who lost {D}, their first child by a miscarriage. Aloha no Kakou!! Lanna Hal’a’s papa eddy

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