("fiftieth".) (See FEASTS.) Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22; Numbers 28:26-31; Deuteronomy 16:9-14; Leviticus 23:15-22. The first sheaf offered at the Passover and the two leavened loaves at Pentecost marked the beginning and ending of the grain harvest, and sanctified the interval between as the whole harvest or Pentecostal season. The lesson to Israel was, "Jehovah maketh peace in thy borders, He filleth thee with the finest of the wheat" (Psalm 147:14). Pentecost commemorated the giving of the law on Sinai (Exodus 12:2; Exodus 12:19), the 50th day after the Exodus, 50th from "the morrow after the sabbath" (i.e. the first day of holy convocation, 15th Nisan); the day after was more fit for cutting the sheaf, the 16th day. It was also the birthday of the Christian church (Acts 2:1; Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8) through the Holy Spirit, who writes Christ's new law on the heart. It was the last Jewish feast Paul observed, and the first which, as Whitsunday, Christians kept.
"The feast of weeks" (a week of weeks between Passover and Pentecost), "the day of firstfruits." The sixth day of Sivan, lasting only one day; but the Jews in foreign countries have added a second day. Each of the two loaves was the tenth of an ephah (about three quarts and a half) of finest wheat flour. Waved Before Jehovah with a peace offering of the two lambs of the first year, and given to the priests. Seven lambs of the first year were sacrificed, one bullock and two rams as a burnt offering with meat and drink offering, and a kid sin offering. Each brought a free will offering. The Levite, stranger, fatherless, and widow were invited. As the Passover was a family gathering, Pentecost was a social feast. The people were reminded of their Egyptian bondage and of their duty to obey the law. The concourse at Pentecost was very great (Acts 2; Josephus Ant. 14:13, section 14, 17:10, section 2; B. J. 2:3, section 1). In Exodus 23:16; Exodus 23:19, "the first (i.e. chief) of the firstfruits" are the two wave loaves of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:17).
The omer offering at Passover was the prelude to the greater harvest offering at Pentecost, before which no other firstfruits could be offered. The interval between Pentecost and tabernacles was the time for offering firstfruits. The Jews called Pentecost "the concluding assembly of the Passover" ('atsereth). If the last supper was on the legal day, the 14th Nisan, and the Sabbath of Jesus' lying in the grave was the day of the omer, the Pentecost of Acts 2, 50 days after, must have been on the Jewish Saturday Sabbath. Others make the 13th that of the supper; 14th the crucifixion, the Passover day; 15th the day of Jesus' sleep, the Saturday Sabbath, the holy convocation; our Sunday, first day, the omer day; 50th day from that would be Pentecost, on our Lord's day. The tongues symbolized Christianity proclaimed by preaching; the antithesis to Babel's confusion of tongues and gathering of peoples under one ambitious will. Jerusalem, the mount of the Lord, is the center of God's spiritual kingdom of peace and righteousness; Babel, the center of Satan's kingdom and of human rebellion, ignores God the true bond of union, and so is the city of confusion, in the low dead level of Shinar. As Babel's sin disunited, so by the Spirit of God given on Pentecost believers are one, "keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-16).
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