The Orthodox Study Bible contains an article on Pentecost that we thought would be fitting to share on the blog. So, below you will find the excerpt and a link to the study Bible. Also, there is a question to promote conversation in the comments.


And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. —John 14:16-17 NKJV

The Feast of Weeks

The Feast of Weeks was a celebration at the beginning of the grain harvest (Exodus 34:22). At this feast, the Hebrews offered their firstfruits of the harvest to the Lord at the tabernacle. It was one of the three major Jewish feasts, along with the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles (see Exodus 23:14–17; 4:18–23; Deuteronomy 16:1–17).

According to Leviticus 23:15, 16, the Feast was celebrated for seven consecutive weeks. It began “the morning following the Sabbath day” of Passover. Thus comes its title, the “Feast of Weeks.” Later in the Old Testament this feast became known as “Pentecost” (“fiftieth”). This is because the celebration was on the fiftieth day after Passover.

Pentecost

The Jewish Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled as described in Acts 2. On this Day of Pentecost came the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ, as Christ Himself had promised (John 14:16, 17).

The Orthodox services for Pentecost place their emphasis on the descent of the Holy Spirit in all His fullness. His descent means that the Mosaic Law, given by the Lawgiver and honored on the Jewish feast day of Pentecost, is now transcended: “The All-Holy Spirit, who freely distributes gifts to all, has descended and come to earth; not as He formerly had in the Law’s dark shadow, shining in the Prophets, but now in very truth, He is bestowed in us through Christ” (Vespers, Thursday after Pentecost).

The worship services for Pentecost repeatedly emphasize how Old Testament prophecies of the Holy Spirit are fulfilled on this day. Two of the greatest of these prophecies are found in the Old Testament readings for this Feast—Ezekiel 36:24–28 and Joel 3:1–5. St. Peter directly quotes the passage from Joel in his exhortation to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:16–21). Also, a third reading—Numbers 11:16–17, 24–29—relates how the Lord commands Moses to select seventy of the elders of Israel. Who, when the Spirit comes upon them, prophesy at the tabernacle. The comment of Moses regarding this event, “Would that all the Lord’s people might be prophets when the Lord would put His Spirit upon them” (Numbers 11:29), is prophetic of the Day of Pentecost.


Excerpted from a study article in the Orthodox Study Bible.

The Orthodox Study Bible

Orthodox Christianity is the face of ancient Christianity to the modern world. Also, it embraces the second largest body of Christians in the world. In this first-of-its-kind study Bible, the Bible is presented with commentary from the ancient Christian perspective. So, it speaks to those Christians who seek a deeper experience of the roots of their faith.

Features Include:

  • Old Testament newly translated from the Greek text of the Septuagint, including the Deuterocanon
  • New Testament from the New King James Version
  • Commentary drawn from the early Church Christians
  • Easy-to-Locate liturgical readings
  • Book Introductions and Outlines
  • Subject Index
  • Full-color Icons

So, how have you felt the Holy Spirit working in you? Please share below!

26 Comments

  1. Denis Lobo Reply

    Heavenly Father, I praise you, I adore you, I love you. I claim in your promise and plead for your Holy SpiritLord. Your word says whoever asks shall receive . Let your Holy Spirit step into my heart and his mighty presence engulf me even now as I yield and surrender to Your holy will. I am your holy temple. When the Holy Sporit dwells in me i will be endowed with the wisdom to descern the word and live according to it.
    Come Holy Spirit take control of me. I promise to submit to all that you desire of me and to accept all that you wish to happen to me.

    • Your zeal for the Lord is encouraging!
      May I remind you that upon a profession of faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Father and Son come to dwell with you. Can’t chop God up in a food processor, thus when Father and Son come to you, the Holy Spirit also comes to you
      So everyone who repents of their sin, believes Jesus is God Who came to make it possible for us to know God and live wit h Him here on earth and in eternity and makes Him the Lord of their life has already received the Holy Spirit. What your heart is crying out for is the release of your indeelling Holy Spirit which is the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are hundreds of millions living today who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that you will have that blessed experience!

      • Harold Kern Reply

        Larry, your comment is consistent with modern Christian dogma, but not with Book of Acts apostolic doctrine. Study carefully the infilling of the Holy Spirit as described in Acts 2, 8, 10-11, and 19. There are NOT in three different individuals who make up the Godhead–only one God and not three.

        • Thomas Cassick Reply

          The Truth, in The Word…

          A Pastor in his ministry
          Refused to teach, The Trinity
          For the deeper he read,
          The less he said,
          About dividing up divinity

          2 Timothy 2:15
          Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

          (…and NOT our God)

          pennman@poetic.com

  2. Vincent Crespo Reply

    The reference to what Peter quoted from Joel is incorrect. It’s not Joel 3:1-5. It is Joel 2:28-32. Great article though. I love this!! Thank you for everything you all do. God Bless!!

    • Vincent,

      In the Complete Jewish Bible you will find that the reference is as stated, from the original text. It is only in the English translations, where the partitioning is different that the references have been changed.

      In essence you are both correct; depending upon the translation and the text you are reading.

      Blessings.

      🙂

  3. David Roy Slentz Reply

    I love the article which highlights how these feast days given by God to the Israelites are shadows of the New Testament Pentecost in Acts 2!

    Just one question….
    Was Pentecost a 49-day celebration (as your article states: “celebrated for seven consecutive weeks” beginning the “morning following the Sabbath day” of Passover) … or was it a one-day celebration occurring seven weeks after the Passover?

    • Dan Weisman Reply

      The following statement is incorrect:

      “According to Leviticus 23:15, 16, the Feast was celebrated for seven consecutive weeks beginning “the morning following the Sabbath day” of Passover. Thus comes its title, the “Feast of Weeks.” Later in the Old Testament this feast became known as “Pentecost” (“fiftieth”), since it was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover.”

      Lev. 23:15-16 says, ““You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord.” (ESV)

      Shavuot (meaning “weeks” in Hebrew) is not descriptive of the character of the festival. It is a chronological tag which addresses itself to the time lapse between Passover and Shavuot. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) starts about 7 weeks after Passover. It was and is a one day celebration in Israel (and now two days outside of Israel).

      • Roland Ramsdale Reply

        Dan,
        I agree with all your comment except ” Later in the Old Testament this feast became known as “Pentecost” ” – can you please supply an OT reference for this.

        Modern Jewish calendars talk about “counting the Omer” and I understand that Omer means sheaf. My assumption was that one sheaf of each day’s harvest would be set aside as firstfruits of that day – then at the end of the 49 days the best of the firstfruits would be taken to Jerusalem to use as the firstfruits offering of the Feast of Weeks.

        • Dan Weisman Reply

          Roland,
          In my post, the statement about Pentecost was quoting the Orthodox Study Bible. The Study Bible quote that, “later in the Old Testament, this feast became known as “Pentecost” is incorrect. The Greek translation of the Bible known as the Septuagint uses the term, “Pentecost” for Shavuot. For information about counting the Omer and the Jewish observance of Shavout see: http://kehillatisrael.net/chagim/shavuot/index.html

    • Shavuot/Pentacost/Feast of Weeks is technically only a one day celebration.

      Your comment about the Israelite festival being a shadow picture of what is to come was not just Pentacost! It is all of the appointed times that you can read about in Lev. 23. It was Tabernacles/Succoth (when the Messiah was born), it was Passover (the Messiah coming and being the lamb), and the next coming of the Messiah will be on Yom Teruah/Feast of trumpets, and judgment day on Yom Kippur. They were all put in place by God as prophetic celebrations. Now the only question to ask is why aren’t people still celebrating these appointed times instead of the non-biblical pagan feast days?……

  4. Garth Felton Reply

    Am very exited your almost there, so keep connecting the dots! In the main article above it is mentioned that “According to Leviticus 23: 15, 16 the Feast (of Weeks) WAS celebrated for seven consecutive weeks…”. The use of the word “was” reveals the replacement philosophy with Christianity replacing God’s ordained feasts and celebrations which He commanded be observed form generation to generation. Christianity does not have “ancient Christian roots, it does however have ancient Jewish roots. Jewish people are not supposed to be grafted into to Christianity. All believers are to be graphted into the Jewish people and worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together as one. So, don’t go back just 2,000 years but find your “roots” in Torah.

      • Why I did say very well done is also to clarify that they are NOT Jewish Feasts. That must be highlighted for clarity! Another very good help for Chirstians to better understand why this explaination is needed can be better explained than myself by asking you to Google Upper Room Conspiracy. Explained by Chaim Goldman. Lovely to know that we can learn from others like this current sharing. Enjoy the journey.

    • Bernard Satchell Reply

      Yes yes yes sir, you are 100% correct. Christianity is a man made doctrine, contrary to many people’s beliefs. You only find it mentioned 3 times in the entire bible, and never when it is talking about the coming kingdom. God’s covenant was and will always be with Israel. There is no prophecy that said that Yeshua would change the way we worship the Most High when he leaves and place himself at the top of the religion. He only said and did his father’s will, not his own.

    • Wonderful article, Tuvya! Probably the hardest concept for American Christians–the fruit of the Spirit is not accomplished by “self-improvement”‘ but by the power of the Holy Spirit!

  5. Fr. Timothy Cremeens, PhD Reply

    In 1974, by the grace of God, I experienced my personal Pentecost. By that, I mean the Holy Spirit descended upon me and filled me. The only way I can explain the experience is that I felt, and I know there will be those who might case aspersions on my “experience” but it is nonetheless my experience, as if a barrel or bucket of warm honey or syrup began at the top of my head and flowed down my body and when I became conscious of my surroundings I was speaking in a language I did not understand. It changed my life, all for the positive. Even though I was a Christian believer before this encounter with the Holy Spirit ramped up my love for Jesus Christ, my desire to pray, my desire to share the Gospel, heightened my sensitivity to sin in my life and desire to share the love of Jesus Christ with others AND more of an awareness of presence of the evil one and his plan to thwart the plan of the Gospel. Forty years later I embraced the Orthodox Christian Faith, but at no time have I ever repudiated this encounter with the Holy Spirit, nor the spiritual gifts that began to manifest themselves in my life. The only thing I would say to my Orthodox brothers and sisters is that the Lord does not desire that we commemorate Pentecost as if it were a historical event. Rather, the Lord wants us to experience Pentecost as a personal reality in our life. As St. Seraphim has stated: the GOAL of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. He spoke these words to a baptized & chrismated Orthodox layman and yet he still insists that the GOAL of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. I have one question….have you acquired the Holy Spirit? Are you INTENTIONALLY seeking to acquire the Holy Spirit?

  6. Rev. Robert Winters Reply

    The Feast of Weeks is Pentecost. The week of weeks was known as the “in-between-time” from the beginning of the 7 weeks which started at the celebration of “the Feast of First Fruits” which was always on the 1st day of the week following the regular Sabbath of The Feast of Unleavened Bread. There were 7 major feasts instituted in the Pentateuch, with three of them week long convocations; Unleavened Bread, preceded by Passover; The Feast of Pentecost, also known as the Feast of Weeks; and The Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Feast of Booths. They were all connected to the harvest cycles. Passover and The Feast of Unleavened Bread was at the very beginning of the grain harvest. Among other offerings there was a wave offering before the temple a sheaf of un-thrashed barley, a thank offering of the coming harvest. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated and then the people returned home to finish the barley harvest and then to complete the wheat harvest. Also observed was the eating of un-leavened bread, all the old leaven was to be removed from all the homes. The Feast of Pentecost has some unique practices, it celebrated both the end of the grain harvest, the most important of the food staple, and also celebrated the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, both themes were emphasized. A unique offering was a wave offering by the High Priest of two loaves of Leavened bread, the only time leaven is used in an offering during the feasts. The leaven represents something added to the bread, most of the time it is descriptive of the leaven of sin, as implied in the use of unleavened bread during The feast of Unleavened Bread. The sacrifice of the Lamb was to atone for the leaven of sin in the believer. In Pentecost the addition of leaven is descriptive of the added element of the Holy Spirit to the believer. John touches on this added element, the coming of the Holy Spirit, in chapters 14-16. The journey of Israel from Egypt to Mt. Sinai is the historical setting for Israel’s freedom, commemorated by the Feast of Passover and journeying to Sinai where Israel was given their constitution, the Mosaic Law. The Law was the standard for righteousness for God’s people. Paul comments on this in Romans in chapters 7 & 8. Chapter is a description of the failure of the law to produce righteousness. Romans 7 is a description of the power of sin through the Law not to save but to condemn. The knowledge of the Law could not defeat Paul’s sin of covetousness it just showed Paul to be bound by sin. Romans 8, the first part of the chapter, show victory not defeat when a person lived by the Spirit of the Law. This Spirit is the Holy Spirit that comes to empower the believer giving Paul The freedom he sought. That freedom is illustrated in Acts 20:17-35 when Paul is saying good-by to the Ephesians. “You know when I was among you that I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes but with my own hands ministered to my own needs and the men who were with me.
    The feast of Pentecost was the empowering of God to those who accepted Jesus as Messiah/Savior, and was received through faith. The Church became the embodiment of the Gospel and Israel, rejected for a time because of unbelief, to be restored to a position of grace in the end of the present age when they accept Jesus, whom they pierced, as Messiah. The last three Sacred Feasts are prophetic of this time of Israels trial and redemption.

  7. In John 14 Jesus spoke of the Father, Himself as Son, and the Holy Spirit as distinct and yet one. For example v16,17 ‘I will pray the Father and He will give another Helper…the Spirit…He dwells with you and will be in you’ and then ‘If anyone loves me…my Father will love him and we will come and make our home with him’. Jesus separated the disciples experience of the distinct persons of the trinity in terms of time. In Acts nearly all the accounts we have of individuals coming to faith in Christ have encounters with the Spirit at some time after their hearts had been won e.g. the disciples ch 2 the Samaritans ch 8 and the Gentiles ch10. I’m sure that this is the norm throughout church history. If we are open to God we receive all that Christ has secured for us through the cross, His resurrection and ascension, including baptism in the Spirit but as our eyes are opened to all these gifts in Christ. Like in Acts 8 there are many genuine believers who love the Lord who have heard virtually nothing about the promise of the Spirit. When they do the love in their hearts becomes a thirst and a hunger for more. And God answers the cry of their hearts. If we say we receive everything in Christ at the moment we come to faith that that is potentially true but often not the experience of the believer. Sometimes apparently correct doctrine seems to be a box that God will simply not be constrained by!

  8. Bernard Satchell Reply

    So if Pentecost was “fulfilled”, then why were they still celebrating it in Acts 20:16 and 1Cor 16:8? When did we officially stop celebrating it and why?

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