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Any answer which ignores the Old Testament roots of this day is incomplete at best. Pentecost means the 50th and is the 50th day after the wave sheaf offering on the day of the first fruits of the barley harvest. It is detailed in Lev 23:15, 16 where it is called the feast of weeks since it is seven weeks from the day of the wave sheaf offering. It is also called the day of wheat harvest since this was the day the first fruits of the wheat harvest were offered. Whether barley or wheat, it was unlawful for anyone to harvest or use any portion of those grains before the offering at 9:00 AM on the appointed feast day. Once the firstfruits were offered the entire harvest was sanctified (Ro 11:16). So, any "word study" to determine the meaning of Pentecost must necessarily include all of this terminology, and with firstfruits must distinguish between the barley, wheat and grape harvests. Each of the feasts are prophecies of some aspect of the plan of salvation, thus every fulfillment of these feasts in biblical types gives us some information as to the meaning of that part of the plan. Each of the feasts had a fulfillment in the Exodus story, and knowing these first fulfillments is absolutely necessary to understanding any later fulfillment of the feast. For instance, Passover was fulfilled as the Angel of Death passed over the houses (families) with the blood of the lamb (Jesus) on their lintels (hearts) and doorposts (ears). The wave sheaf of barley was fulfilled three days later when the company passed through the Red Sea being baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 10:2). Following this pattern, Pentecost was fulfilled 50 days later when God descended onto the mountain as fire and cloud and spoke directly to the people. The people refused this opportunity to hear God directly (Ex 20:18-21). It was the root cause of their inability to enter into the Promised land a year and a half later. This was the day of rebellion spoken of in Ps 95 for this was the day on which they refused to listen to God (The Hebrew word for hear also means obey, so this was the beginning of their rebellion.) Because the people rebelled against God on that day Pentecost could not be fulfilled and they did not receive the Holy Spirit at that time. It had to wait another 1480 years for the fulfillment on the 50th day after the resurrection. On that day God (the Holy Spirit) came down as tongues of fire on the 120 in the upper room, representing the word of God (Dt 33:2, Jer 5:14, Jer 23:29). God's fire is his word; it is also his sword (Ps 55:21, Ps 64:3, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12, Rev 1:16, 2:16, 19:15, 21). The people in that upper room had spent the previous 3+ years demonstrating that they would listen to God's voice and obey it, thus they were eligible to receive the Holy Spirit and use the sword of God's word to bring 3000 people into the church on that day. 1480 years earlier, when the people refused to "hear" and obey God, they convinced their priest to form a god of their own making they could worship 40 days later. When Moses came down the mountain the Levites only had a physical sword to use against those blasphemers and as a result 3000 of them were killed by the sword on that day. There is a huge difference in the results when we use God's sword, God's fire instead of man's sword and fire. The same thing is seen 40 years later when, lacking the sword of the spirit, Israel could only use the physical sword and kill the inhabitants of Canaan instead of convert them. In 33 AD with the sword of the spirit the Apostles and later their converts were able to convert the occupants of Canaan (Jews and Samaritans) and later spread out into the whole world. Today, Pentecost Sunday commemorates all of these things, reminding us to listen to God and obey his word (law) so that we later have the faith to enter into his rest. Those who teach rebellion against that word assure that their followers will not have the faith to enter that rest.
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