What’s the connection between the Feast of Weeks and the Holy Spirit being poured out at Pentecost?
All of the festivals were put in place by the Lord to give the people a break to celebrate him and what he has done for them. To understand the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost better, let us rewind seven weeks to the Passover.
During the Passover, the Israelites celebrate freedom from the bondage of Egypt by fleeing during the night and days afterward of the Death Angel killing the firstborn in all of Egypt. This was the straw that broke the pharaohs back.
He allowed Israel to leave Egypt finally, and then recanted. But it was too late. When he chased them into the Red Sea, he died there along with all of his army. The Israelites had to move quickly that night to secure their freedom. This is one of the hallmarks of the Passover Seder or meal that they share every year at Passover. It reminds them of what it took to be free by the Lord from Egypt.
Passover usually happens around March-April in the year. We celebrate Resurrection Sunday at the same time that Jews celebrate the Passover. Make no mistake that there is a clear connection between Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that brought us eternal life and freedom and God’s freeing the Israelites from the house of slavery. We were freed from slavery to sin.
Now let us fast-forward to the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). It was on this day just seven weeks later from the Passover that Jesus’ command to the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father happened (Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4).
Those seven weeks, or 50 days, were all that was between Passover freedom and Pentecost outpouring and blessing. The word Pentecost means 50 days. And sevens are significant in Hebrew numerology. So seven sevens is extremely significant.
On the Passover and Pentecost, the sabbaths would be called Super sabbaths. This is because they not only celebrated the Sabbath rest God commanded in Old Testament law but also signified the beginning of a feast or Festival. Because to “holidays” would occur on the Sabbath, it was a Super Sabbath.
Pentecost occurs some time in the months of May-June. In Israel, this is a time of harvest. And that is the key to understanding the significance of the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was promised to God’s people, a great pouring out on everyone instead of just a few individuals (Joel 2:28-29).
This great pouring out, the blessing of God in the giving of the Holy Spirit through baptism happened on the day that the Israelite farmers gathered up all of their produce into their barns, the great blessing of God to take them through the next year.
Then they would gather the firstfruits of everything on their farm from animals to vegetables to other crops. They would then put these firstfruits on their carts and go to Jerusalem to sacrifice them to the Lord. On the same day that harvest and plenty were available, the Holy Spirit was poured out in full force to take the world by storm.
The blessing of the Holy Spirit and all that he does for us was emphasized and energized on the Day of Pentecost where everyone celebrated the abundance that God gives freely. And this is the connection between Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit among the disciples. The world would never be the same.
The image of the wheel above helps to show when the feasts happened both on Israel’s calendar and the Roman calendar. You can right-click on it and click “View Image” to get a larger picture. If you download it, you can full-screen it for even clearer imaging.