Today we look at God’s reminder of the offering for the Feast of Weeks. This celebration happens seven weeks after Passover.
The Feast of Weeks also goes by another name; the Feast of Firstfruits. It marked the beginning of the season for harvesting wheat. It is believed to commemorate another even that happened while Israel was in the wilderness; God giving Moses the Law. Christians commemorate a different event on this same day; Pentecost. The day the Holy Spirit was given after Jesus’ ascension.
I have some questions about the middle commemorative events. I went back into Exodus and looked at this timing. At first I was looking at the two instances when tablets of stone were involved. In the first tablets events Moses was up on the mountain with God for 40 days which would have meant that the people traveled from Egypt to Mt. Sinai in ten days. But we know that Moses didn’t present the people with the tablets after that encounter with God. Moses’ second trip up the mountain with tablets of stone took place at least two days later. God had Moses cut stones that He would write on. He stayed with God for another 40 days before bringing the final set of commandments down to the people.
But there was one more event that I hadn’t considered. When the people first reached Mt. Sinai God called Moses up onto the mountain with Him. On the mountain He told Moses that He wanted to make a covenant with the people. Once they agreed to enter into this covenant God called for everyone to assemble so HE could speak to them all directly. He gave them the Ten commandments at that time through His own spoken words. This scared the people half to death and they asked that Moses do all the talking for God from then on. This was the FIRST time God gave the people His Laws.
But I have questions with this timeline because we are told that “On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai” (Exodus 19:1). This could be taken a couple of ways. One was is that this event happened three months after Israel left Egypt. That would put them 90 days out. Another way would be to assume that it was the beginning of the third month; 60 days out. And a third way would be to realize that they left in the middle of the month and to count the first moon as being part way through already. The total number of days from Passover to the Feast of Weeks (aka Pentecost or Firstfruits) is 50. I’m going to have to go with the assumption that God did the math here to give Israel another reminder.
This reminder is to point them back to the day they ALL agreed to live by God’s Laws. No better place for the goat offering to accompany the sacrifice than here as we ALL fall short. NO ONE but Jesus has ever been able to keep God’s Law perfectly.
I like the reminder of Pentecost. The gift of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is the only reason we have an hope of walking in Jesus’ footsteps. I think I need to put this on my own calendar to celebrate. I know others who do but I didn’t grow up honoring that day.
Pentecost holds another significance to the church. Jesus, the Firstfruits of God’s new covenant went home to be with His Father. He went to prepare a place for each of us. Many mansions waiting for the rest of the family to come home.
Father God, thanks for helping me with my math. I trust Your word and You made this observance long before the people were harvesting crops. You set it down as a reminder of Your Law AND of the new beginnings that were to come; seasonal and eternal. Help me keep returning my focus back to You and Your word always. Thank You for all the reminders to do just that.