Leviticus 23:10-22 (read this part first in your own bible,or in a separate window, toggle therefore that button ->).
The feast of unleavened bread has not finished or there is already another feast: the feast of weeks, also called the feast of the first offspring.
This feast starts a day after the first normal Sabbath which falls after the 15th of Nissan. From that day onwards one should count seven full weeks until the day after the 7th Sabbath, 50 days. The name 'feast of weeks' is clear.
The name: feast of the first offspring has to do with the assignment that on the first day of that feast a first offspring of the harvest (a sheaf) should be brought to the priest so he could move it in the sight of God.
After 50 days not a sheaf but two loafs of bread should be moved before the Lord. This was at the time of the first harvest. Israel knew two harvests in a year. These two loafs, which are first offspring if the first harvest had to be moved before the Lord on the 50th day of the feast which in turn had to be a holy Sabbath; in spite of the fact that that day was on the first day of the week (to us that's Sunday). The Greek word for fiftieth is Pentacoste, which is being translated as Pentecost.
It was commanded to the Israelites to celebrate this feast forever. We have seen it before: Jesus, as the Lamb, was slaughtered on the day and the hour that God had fixed hundreds of years before as the day and the hour that the Lamb should be slaughtered during the Passover.
That day, the 14th of Nissan was a Wednesday.
Wednesday afternoon after 15.00 our Lord died, sacrificed for our sins (on this please read the separate bible study, which proofs this is so). ->
Thursday the 15th of Nissan it was a " great Sabbath" because that day the feast of unleavened bread started. After 3 days and 3 nights, as Jesus so clearly emphasized in Matthew 12, He rose again in the afternoon of the Sabbath.
Let us read this again:Matthew 12:38-40
"Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
The Sunday that followed the day of resurrection Jesus showed Himself to Mary of Magdala.
"Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'""
Jesus said this on the first day of the week that followed Passover. This was the day on which the feast of weeks began. This was the day on which one single sheaf should be moved before the Lord. The first offspring of a harvest still to come.
Do you see the connection between the feasts set by the Lord and the things that happened to Jesus? Jesus said that He should not be touched because He had not gone up to God the Father. It was forbidden for Israelites to eat ordinary bread until the next day that the first offspring was moved in the sight of the Lord.
"You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live."
Jesus said:John 6:51
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
"... is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?"
The breaking of the bread is having relationship with Christ. Touching Jesus is like having that relationship with Him. The Israelites could not eat bread until the first offspring had been moved before the Lord. They were not to have "communion" with the bread. This was an image of the True Bread, Jesus.
Why was Mary not allowed to touch Jesus?
For He had not ascended to His Father, to His God. Jesus had to move Himself before the Father, before one could have relationship with Him.
He was the first offspring of the harvest, the Forerunner.
The first offspring, which was moved up and down before God by the priest was an image, which referred to Jesus. What priest did move Jesus up and down before God? Jesus Himself is that priest!
"When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption."
Jesus is the priest that died to enter the sanctuary with His blood and also to move Himself before God. And he returned and showed Himself.
"Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.""
Then they were allowed to touch Him.
Why did Jesus have to move Himself before the Lord as a first offspring?
The priest "is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; "
The people would be pleasing in Gods eyes as the sheaf was moved in the sight of God. That is why Jesus had to ascend to God so that we would be pleasing in Gods eyes. Again it shows that the fests fixed by God exactly match with what Jesus had to go through.
Now it will also be clear that the start of the feast of week, as it is now being celebrated by most Jews that is on the day after the start of the feast of unleavened bread is not correct. The Bible clearly shows that this feast should start after the weekly Sabbath. Also the history of resurrection and temporary ascension of Jesus shows this. The feast ends on the 50th day. The day of Pentecost.
As said before, the feast of Pentecost is the last day of the feast of weeks. On that day something had to moved before God again.
(read here Leviticus 23:15-22)
"'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD."
Two baked loafs of bread are the first offspring before the Lord.
The first sheaf, which had to be moved before the Lord at the beginning of these 50 days, symbolized the start of the harvest.
The two loafs at the end of the 50 days symbolized the end of the harvest.
With the first sheaf there was no need for sour dough. It wasn't even bread yet. But the loafs, that had to be moved before the Lord at the end of the harvest, were baked with sour dough. As we saw before that first sheaf symbolizes Jesus. A sheaf of corn/barley could only be a sheaf if first the granule goes into the earth and dies, then thereafter new life exists, the ear of corn with the fruits.
Jesus here says: "I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."
Jesus had died and was buried in the ground but God arose Him and He got a new life. Not only that but His dying brought about much fruit. This fruit is being symbolized by the loafs of bread. They were rather large loafs that had to be moved before God. Thus much fruit.
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
There is a big temptation to link the already know images with the shaping of the church community. Everything looks like what is going to happen after the moving of the first offspring sheaf (Jesus) before God the next phase will be: the baking of the bread on the day of Pentecost. In other words: the making of the fruit of the filed into a bread, into a body. For is this not the purpose of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost?
But why does God then talk about two loaf of bread?
And why does He say that those loafs should be baked with sour dough on the inside?
If this loaf would mean the church community, then this image appears not to be correct.
The body of Christ is not divided into two bodies! And the sour dough? That was the image of sin? How can these loafs represent the church community. Paul talks more clearly on the community as being one body.
And Messiah confessing Jews also share that view. Ephesians 2:11-22 ->
"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
1 Corinthians 10:16b-17
"... is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf".
If we were to link the "moving loafs ", which were moved by the priest before God on Pentecost, to the community of Christ we are facing a problem.
God is executing every detail of the feast of Passover with utmost precision as He had fixed it centuries before.
Now we come to the detailed part of Pentecost we should all think that the precision with which God eventually had everything written down now suddenly does apply to the realization of His plans. If even the hour of the dying of the Passover Lamb has been accurately fixed, would the meaning of two loafs- baked with sour dough- then be converted into one body without sin just like that?
This of course cannot be.
But what is the story on these loafs of bread and how does the well-known feat of Pentecost fit into the whole picture? Let us first elaborate on the questions concerning these loafs and we will later see how the story, as told in Acts 2, fits into the totality.
The Two "Moving Loafs of Bread" at Pentecost
We have asked ourselves the question: why does Leviticus 23 talk about two loaf of bread and why should they be baked with sour dough inside?
It was already clear that these loaves were not types of the church community.
But what of whom they do depict?
To come straight to the point we read:Ezekiel 37:15-23
"The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, 'Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.' Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, 'Ephraim's stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.' Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand. "When your countrymen ask you, 'Won't you tell us what you mean by this?' say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph--which is in Ephraim's hand-- and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah's stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.' Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offences, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God."
Two pieces of wood refer to Judah and Ephraim. Two people who are actually one, that is to say: could be one.
Two pieces of wood that will be one in the hands of the Lord.
The two-tribe empire and the ten-tribe empire (wherever that one maybe now) will be one in the hands of the Lord. The Lord will make both nations, these two loafs of bread for they were made of the same material, into one.
But the loafs were baked with sour dough.
What is the Lord to do with that?
"... I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God".
(Yeast was the symbol of sinn, of wickedness).
A few chapters before this, the Lord says:
"Therefore say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.' "They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God."
For those of you who followed the Bible study on Israel, these are familiar quotes, just like:
"And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days."
We have already seen that this "and afterwards" in verse 28 refers to a period of unity of the people of Israel as we have read in Ezekiel. Before this unity of Judah and Israel a lot of things will happen that are linked to the dawning of the day of the Lord. At the end of the first harvest two loafs, which contained yeast, had to be moved before the Lord. The result will be that God will pour out His Ghost "on all living things." God will, when Jesus comes back to the Mount of Olives, join together two people in the land of Israel. There He will make a new covenant with them.
4 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
The sour dough which is in the loafs which will be moved before God, the sins and iniquity will be pardoned by God. Then the Lords Spirit shall, as we read before, be poured out. Not so limited as on the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago but on all flesh of Israel.
We already have dealt with some issues which have to do with this day.
However, not all is said what is important. This holiday is the final day of the feast of weeks, or the feast of firstfruits.
We have already seen that the name Pentecost comes from the Greek word: Penta Coste, that means fiftieth.
This is the fiftieth day of the festival weeks where we will have to give some attention.
The festival week is based on the harvest. Particularly in the first harvest. On the first day of the feast a sheaf had to be moved before the face of the Lord. This sheaf was the symbol of the beginning of the harvest.
We have also seen that Jesus Himself has moved before the Father as firstling of the harvest. That was on the first day of the week. On that day, according a commandment of God, a firstling Garve had to be moved before the Lord.
The prefiguration, who spoke by the feast, was in reality Jesus.
Forty-nine days go by. The harvest is now complete. The fiftieth day dawns. It is a day when no work may be done. Although it is Sunday for the children of Israel it is a Sabbath day, because God has commanded that when he set up the festivities.
On that day the disciples were all together. That was not by accident, no, the Lord had told them to wait for the gift that their father would give them.
"4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit."
They were all Jews who were together when Jesus said this. And they were aware of the practices and traditions which affect the daily life of the Jews so much.
Not so long ago they ate together the seder. They knew very well what was accustomed. Year by year, century by century the customs and habits were passed on. The last seder was still in their memory, they would never forget that night. On that night, Jesus took the three Matzos and pulled out the middle one and broke it.
He explained: "this is my body which is broken for you."
They never knew that this was the meaning of this ancient use. They also knew the use that the person who is braking the bread promises something. And that promise will be delivered at the fiftieth day of the feast of weeks. But when Jesus spoke about the promise from the Father they only understood that this promise would be given at Pentecost.
They had heard of the Lord what they would receive, but what exactly that meant was unknown to them.
And then when that day of Pentacost dawned, they were all gathered together.
"1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."
It was then at Pentecost packed in Jerusalem, because this day is a Sabbath day set by God. Anyone who had no legitimate reason to stay home should merge to Jerusalem to be present when the priest moved the two loaves before the face of the Lord.
Let's think for a while what happened there.
All these people heard the disciples speak.
7 ... "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?"
What a wonderful experience must that have been. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them to speak.
The people were so cut to the heart about what they heard that they asked:
"Brothers, what shall we do?"
On that day three thousand people were converted and were baptized.
We go back to the examination of the Pentecost as it was originally set, but also to the spiritual significance.
The feast had everything to do with the harvest, that is the reaping of the yield of the country.
This harvest feast, this Pentecostal day, is on the third month. That is the month Sivan.
We have seen, when we read all Leviticus 23, that in the seventh month there is another harvest feast, the Feast of Tabernacles.
Two times there is a harvest feast. Two timesthere is also a harvest in Israel. But if all feast also have a spiritual significance, and they do have that, then it means that there are two harvests of souls.
We limit ourselves now to the first harvest, we will think about the second harvest when we talk about the Feast of Tabernacles.
Let us review a few points.
On Pentecost had two loaves, which were baked with yeast, be waved before the Lord. "First-fruits for the Lord."
We have seen that these two loaves doesn't represent the church, but the two peoples of Israel: the two-tribes of Judah and the ten-tribes of Israel.
We have seen that if these two nations together will be moved for God, He will make them one and His Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh.
The gathering together of God's people from all nations and bringing them to the land of Israel is therefore characterized by the harvest of Pentecost.
And, as already mentioned, He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh (of the people of Israel, all twelve tribes).
But what happened on the Pentecost nearly 2,000 years ago?
Peter saw at once what was the significance of what happened.
"6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language." Acts 2:16, NIV."...this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
Did God changed his plan?
Is everything He said about the time of the outpouring of the Spirit no longer applying?
Joel expresses obvious that God's Spirit after certain events would be poured out? Let's read this again.
"And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people..."
After which events is that?
That will be after the events described in Joel 2.
17."Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
18 Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people.....
23.Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before....
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.
28."And afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit on all people...."
The people will repent and God will bless them back. He will be in their midst.
Ezekiel also had to pass on a word of the Lord about the same events:
"From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God.
23 And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.
24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offences, and I hid my face from them.
25 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name.
26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed towards me when they lived in safety in their land with no-one to make them afraid.
27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations.
28 Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.
29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD."
God will turn the fate of Jacob and He will take pity on the WHOLE house of Israel. He will bring them from the area of people and collect them together in the mountains of Israel. " I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD."
God's plan is not changed!
Everything God has said will happen. Also the outpouring of His Spirit on all the people of Israel.
But again, how we put the outpouring of God's Spirit around 2000 years ago?
Let us view the events again.
On this Pentecost-day, there were probably some 120 people together. They all were filled with the Holy Spirit.
In itself, this is a great event. But is this the literal fulfillment of the promise that God foretold in Joel?
No, this was "only" a pre-fulfillment.
If we are thinking of pre-fulfillment, we usually think of a natural people -Israel-, that so often in the natural level pre-fulfilled what became spiritual reality for Christians.
The recently covered Passover, which for them meant literal passing of the angel of death. For us it has a spiritual meaning: the spiritual death, which comes after the natural death, is passed to us by the blood of the Lamb.
Another famous example is the withdrawal from Egypt. The people of Israel did so literally. For Christians this means: pull out of the world, ie no longer participate in sin and everything to do with it. A purely spiritual event.
The entry of the people of Israel in the promised land and their fight against the people there, all literal events, which we can can see as spiritual events.
For most Christians these are familiar images. They will in general have no difficulty to translate this sort of 'pre-fulfillments' into the spiritual reality that Christians apply.
But now comes the problem!
Does the dual nature of God's plans stop with this?
Is it true that only the natural people of Israel can serve as an example?
This is not so!
On our part, we, Christians, are again an example of what will come later. The 'spiritual', whereof we think that it is the maximum, the reality, is in fact just a pre-fulfillment for the ultimate reality.
Before we'll see how this idea on the pre-fulfillment applies at Pentecost as we know it, we take another well-known part of the Bible to illustrate what I mean.
It is in this chapter about Jesus who as high priest before God, has become the Mediator of a new covenant. The writer of this letter cites than verse 8 from a part that comes from Jeremiah 31.
"The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11 No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
What it says here, is accepted with gratitude by the Christians, as written for them. And fortunately, it is also true that God has put laws in our hearts, and also wrote in our minds.
Without that, it is not possible to please God. Now we let us guide by the Holy Spirit, Who lives in us and us, if we listen to him, immediately shows us when we threaten to leave God's way. From the inside than we do what God wants from us.
But .... have we ever really understand this quotation from Jeremiah?
The Lord says that He will create a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
Is here a matter of the Church of Jesus Christ?
Although the church of Jesus is in a way spiritual Israel, they are not in absolute terms. If the church in absolute spiritual sense is Israel, is Judah than an other part of the church?
In certain respects each individual Christian is taken by God held by hand from the spiritual country Egypt (the world), but can it be said of Christians, as a whole, that they are not concerned about God's covenant?
Because isn't that what we read in Hebrews about the Israelites?
And what not to understand at all is, if it were true that these texts are intended for Christians, is that God is no longer concerned about us.
It will gradually be clear that these texts are not primarily intended for Christians.
Still not entirely convinced?
Then ask yourself why you are going to Bible studies. You do that to know the Lord better, isn't it?
The result of God's putting His laws in our minds and writing those laws in our hearts should be that we will know the Lord.
Not just any notion that we will have of Him, but that we will know Him substantially. That is in verse 11.
"No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest."
No more Bible studies, because everyone will know God as He is up to.
This does not apply to Christians.
Is it not true that God has placed all laws in our hearts?
Fortunately, this is true. Hebr.10 confirms that. But ....
But it is all only in part, still imperfect.
It's all just a pre-fulfillment. The full reality is still to come.
Remember that Israel is really spared for the dead, when they hide themselves behind the blood of the lamb. Yet this was only one pre-fulfillment. The reality is a significant step further. This is not about a natural death, but this is about a spiritual, eternal death.
Also they have been in full reality entered the promised land.
But this was also only a pre-fulfillment of going in in the heavenly promised land, and that is where we already can stay spiritually. (Ephesians 2:6 ) But also this spiritual being present in the heavenly realms is a pre-fulfillment of being actually present with the Lord when He returns.
So, doesn't it have much value? Absolutely not, better it is, it has enormous value.
For the people of Israel it was amazing to be God's people. And yet what they experienced in many cases was only for a pre-fulfilling or a shadow of what we, Christians, experience. They would, rightfully, may be jealous of our relationship with God.
Yet many of the great things that we as Christians experience are again pre-fulfillings, or shadows of things that still go much further.
The same story also applies to that great event of Pentecost. Also in this case will show that what happened there (and still does) in fact only is a prefiguration of what's coming.
Similarly, the quotation from Joel that Peter does, it is clear that the original prophecy a much wider and a more comprehensive nature had, then what happened on that Pentecost-day nearly 2,000 years ago.
According to the prophecy the Spirit of God will be poured out on all flesh. What we read in Achts is totally different. We read there that God's Spirit was poured on 120 men and women over there in that room, even if you count the three thousand and five thousand souls to that which are listed in the following chapters it was not on all flesh.
But there were also no signs on the earth: blood and fire and smoke. And the sun has not changed in darkness and the moon not in blood, nor the the great and glorious day of the Lord has been there.
In short, the above prophecy of Joel speaks of a lot more than just the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to 120 people.
Why is that prophecy from Joel still apply to what happened there?
The answer is clear: The Holy Spirit was poured out there at that time. And how exactly the relationship Israel-Christian is is not important at that time, quite apart from whether the concealment was already known.
But for us the question remains: Why does God gave a prophecy about the outpouring of the Spirit on an entire people, and we see that this prophecy is initially applied to 120 people?
The answer is in principle very simple.
The number of believers of that group which first were baptized with the Holy Spirit is in fact not important!
Even if there was only one believer, then God had poured out His Spirit on that one person.
What matters is this:
All plans of God He had with the people of Israel (collectively) and still has, He fulfilled and pre-fulfilled those plans in the individual Christian.
Again, in other words:
Every aspect of acts of God to the people of Israel, from the exodus from Egypt and the still unmet promises of rehabilitation and living in the promised land and even more, are, or will be (pre)fulfilled in each individual Christian.
The focal point where everything is all about is that a total natural people (Israel) in God acts is equivalent to one spiritual Christian.
If we see this, we can understand much better everything what God is doing to the people of Israel, and everything He does with every Christian, in the context of his salvation plan.
Finally, on Pentecost:
The festival gives in symbols the gathering of the two peoples Judah and Israel. It is the raising of the crop in the barn. I.e. Judah and Israel will be gathered in the land of Israel.
But is it not true that when the Bible speaks about harvest, it is about the gathering together of Christians as Jesus comes?
No, the harvest for each individual Christian has been. Every Christian has been "brought into the barn", every Christian has its spiritual home already in the promised land.
After everything I said about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that it is a pre-fulfilment for the Christians, still not perfect, there will undoubtedly be people who 'rear up' at this idea.
Yet the fact remains, that we 'only' received the firstfruits of the Spirit, as Paul so clearly says:
Romans 8:23 KJV.
"....but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit...."
Firstfruits are never the whole. The firstfruits of the harvest, some ear, or some bread, a symbol of the entire harvest.
The feast of weeks is so called because it takes seven weeks.
It has to do with the harvest.
On the first day of the feast a sheaf, which was a symbol of the coming harvest, must be waved by the priest before the Lord.
We have seen that Jesus on the first day of the feast, for the Father has waved. He was the Firstfruit, the Precursor of the coming harvest.
The harvest itself is symbolized by the two loaves, which were baked with leaven. It is an image of two groups of people or of nations formed from the same material (corn), which will together be waved before the Lord. In this bread is leaven, an image of sin and evil.
It can not be that these two loaves are pointing to the Christians, because Christians are one bread, one body.
(1 Corinthians 10:17).
They are not the Christians from the pagans and Christians from the Jews, because in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, "for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:27-28).
And one body is not represented by two bodies (two loaves).
It is in our Bible study revealed that these two loaves are a picture of the peoples of Israel and Judah. At the end of the fullness of time, (7x7 days of feast of weeks) will be the two nations, which are of the same material, (they are all children of Israel) gathered in the country of Israel.
They still does not have washed their sins by the blood of Jesus (there is leaven in those breads), but, as they are, they will be waved before the Lord. Then they will see Jesus, they will be humble themselves for the Lord,
He will make reconciliation between them and pour out His Spirit on them.
These first three feasts show symbolically, what God's plan is with Israel. But they are also of great significance for the Christians. Because each one of these feast has been fulfilled in the life of every Christian individually.
Every Christian is behind the blood of the Lamb and moved out from "Egypt". Also to be heard so that each sin of his life will be banned and he/she is baptized (crossing the Red Sea).
God has reconciled with each individual believer and poured out His Spirit. Every believer is brought in the 'promised land', and so is the latter part of the Pentecost, spiritually fulfilled. (Ephesians 2:6).
The first three feast, the spring feasts, shows us God's plan of:
- Dying instead (The lamb, the blood at the door posts).
- Farewell to the world (Exodus from Egypt). Deliberately put away sin from your life (leaven away from the house).
- Gathering in the promised land, reconciliation with God; outpouring of God's Spirit. (The harvest is gathered in the barn, two loaves -the symbols of the harvest- are brought before God's face. God forgives and poured out His Spirit.)
These three feasts are showing the plan of God for his people Israel, but they also show God's plan for the Gentiles.
One day all of Israel will see that Jesus died for them. They will adopt His sacrifice.
One day they will humble themselves and confess their sins and put them away.
And then God will reconcile them and pour out His Spirit onto them.
But all this is, or may already be for every believer now completed prophecy.
These three feasts have a double meaning.
What in the spring feasts is indicated for the people of Israel is important, but also for the Gentiles who live in the time between Jesus' ascension and His return.
The prophetic significance of these feasts is, and will be, pre-forfilled in the life of every Christian individually. It is a spiritual fulfillment.
What Israel will see is a literal fulfillment.
The Trumpet Feast, the fourth feast
In the series of seven feasts, which the Lord set up to reveal His plan of salvation, we arrived at the feast of the Trumpets.
The first feast is the Passover. Literally passing of the death angel after the acceptance of the substitute bloodshed of the lamb. Pointing to the Lamb: Jesus.
The second feast is that of the unleavened bread. Total cleaning of everything to do with sin. Exodus from Egypt (the world).
The third feast is the feast of the firstfruits. Pentecost. Gathering of the harvest. Two leavened loaves (Judah and Israel) are waved before the Lord. They are gathered together from the nations and brought to the country of Israel, where God will pour out His Spirit on all of them. All three feast are pre-fulfilled in every born again Christian individually.
Then comes the trumpet feast.Leviticus 23:23-25
"The LORD said to Moses,
"Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.
Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.'"
The beginning of God's act is symbolized by feasts that must be celebrated in the first month.
The end of all that God intends to do in this present world is shown in the feasts be held in the seventh month.
On the first day of the seventh month than is the trumpet feast.
Is it logical to assume that there are hidden symbolism in this feast? The seventh month - the seventh thousand of years. The seventh day - a Sabbath day, a rest day. The millennial kingdom of peace?
For what was the trumpet used in ancient Israel?
It was a signal for war.
Jeremiah 4:5 and 19-21
"Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say: 'Sound the trumpet throughout the land!' Cry aloud and say: 'Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!'....Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry.
20 Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?
Jeremiah signs in this and the next chapter the great evil which is coming over Israel. It is a castigation of the Lord.
Zephaniah also must describe that terrible day of the Lord. We read some verses:
"The great day of the LORD is near-- near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there.
That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.
I will bring distress on the people and they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth.
Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD's wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth."
Is this a final decision of the Lord?
Fortunately not! There is a possibility to escape.
"Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation,
before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day of the LORD's wrath comes upon you.
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger."
This great and dreadful day of the Lord, which is indeed announced with trumpets is not the reason for the feast. It wouldn't also be logical to remembrance this disaster with a celebration. There is nothing to celebration.
The people of Israel will come to reflect. And God's wrath will pass them.
"Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.
See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer."
There are several trumpets prior to trump that has to do with the trumpet feast.
There will be seven trumpets sounding, but the last trumpet is announcing that the kingdom of our Lord has come.
"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."
This is a really good reason for a feast.
And then will happen what is prophesied in Isaiah.
"In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one.
And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem."
Nehemiah saw it right that this day is a day to be happy.
(read here Nehemiah 8:1-3 and 9-13)
As already said that other trumpets have also something to do with all this. They are the predecessors of the last trumpet.
We have just read something about the trump what has to do with the evil which comes from the North. (Jeremiah).
According to Ezekiel, this is a great army from the country which is Magog. (Chapters 38-39).
Zechariah also speaks about this.
" A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.
I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city."
There will still be a terrible conflict in Israel.
It will be a fight that will be worked by the Lord. But if all this is likely to be difficult God will take over.
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle.
4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him!"
What a great time will that be.
And the best part is: every Christian will be there.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
"According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever."
In 1Corinthians 15 this momentous event is also associated with the last trumpet.
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
We can see that the trumpet feast also has a dual nature.
One points to the arrival of the Messiah for the people of Israel. He will put an end to the misery they have had to endure.
With the advent of the Messiah in their country will put an end to the divisions that there was (two people), and they will enjoy a time of tranquility and peace.
he other side of this story is that the period of spiritual calm and peace that we now share in Christ, will be transformed into an eternal rest. The promised land, where we now have to stay spiritually will be physically able to enter (obviously with changed bodies, as we have read in 1Corinthians 15).
This trumpet feast is a celebration where great joy plays a role. But it is not the last feast. Three feast will follow.
These feast, we will examine next.
First, the feast of THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.
From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the LORD, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings--an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before the LORD as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the LORD for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. "'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'"
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
1 Corinthians 10:17
17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
27 for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
Nehemiah 8:1-3 and 9-13
Nehemia 1all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel. 2 So on the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. (Nehemiah 8:1-3, NIV). 9Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. 10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve." 12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. 13 On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered round Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law.