|Passover to Pentecost: A Point to Remember
By Joseph Prescia
There are several key events that happened during the 50 days between the Resurrection and Pentecost. According to E. W. Bullinger, the number 50 is “the number of jubilee or deliverance.” As believers in Christ we have something to celebrate because of what God has delivered us from. In order to see the significance in the New Testament we need some background from the Old Testament first.
In the book of Exodus we find that Pharaoh had let the children of Israel go from his captivity after the tenth and final plague. God’s chosen people were spared from the angel of death by implementing the details of the Passover lamb. Obedience to God brought them His protection. As the children of Israel departed from Egypt they traveled towards Mt. Sinai, arriving in time for Moses to receive the 10 Commandments 50 days later on the first Pentecost. Pentecost means “50th day.” A feast, known as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks, marked the anniversary of this day.
Exodus 34:22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. (KJV)
The children of Israel were required to bring to God the first fruit of their wheat harvest every year. Seven weeks plus one day would go by from the waving of the first fruits of barley harvest to the day of Pentecost totaling 50 days.
In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the first fruits being raised from the dead (I Corinthians 15:20). He was first seen on Resurrection Sunday, the same day the children of Israel were waving the first fruits of their barley harvest. If you were to count from the Resurrection to the day of Pentecost there are exactly 50 days.
From the time that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead to the day he ascended up into heaven is forty days. He was upon earth in his resurrected body during those 40 days. From the day of his ascension into heaven to the day of Pentecost is 10 days. 40+10=50 days.
One of the events that happened between the Resurrection and Pentecost while Jesus was in his resurrected body is found in John 20.
John 20:24-31 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (KJV)
Jesus’ emphasis was upon the written Word of God rather than the signs that they saw. A greater accomplishment for a believer is to believe God’s words above the signs. When we do, signs will naturally follow.
John 20:30-31 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (KJV)
There are many other signs that are not even mentioned or written in the Word of God because we are to base our believing upon the Word of God. If we go by signs for our believing, we are constantly looking for a new sign all the time. A believer can stand and endure by handling things the way Jesus did by proclaiming, “It is written.” When Jesus Christ was tempted in the desert he didn’t confront Satan with “Look at what I can do?” No he confronted him with “It is Written.” It requires believing God at His Word first, then you see. Just as Jesus taught Thomas, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” That’s exactly how we appropriate the Word of God in our life everyday. We believe the Word first and signs shall follow. We get our eyes on the Word.
Another event that happened between the Resurrection and Pentecost was Jesus walking on the road to Emmaus. I often wondered why Jesus did not show himself immediately to those two men. Some artists rendering of the event show Jesus in his white clothing and a hood over his head covering his face so as to not be seen. Why did Jesus not want to be so quickly revealed? Let’s read the record.
Luke 24:13-49 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened (Their conversation was about events.). And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done (The events were pulling them down mentally. They were looking for a sign rather than believing God at His Word. Three days had passed, they said, and yet the complaint they lodged about no resurrection was staring them in the face.). Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not (The Word of God proclaimed by angels was “that he was alive,” but him they saw not). Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory (Jesus is telling them it’s the written Word of God that you’ve been tricked out of. The written Word of God is where your heart needs to be focused, not the physical body that you cannot find)? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight (It wasn’t until the Word of God was first expounded unto them that their eyes were opened). And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures (They finally understood. It’s when the scriptures are opened that our hearts burn within us. It doesn’t say that about signs, because signs confirm the Word of God, not the other way around.)? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me (He was constantly taking them back to the Written Word of God.). Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is (what?) written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things (Jesus tells them, “You are witnesses of what was first written and now you see the results of what was written.” Jesus hid himself to make the point to focus on the written Word, rather than events or situations. Now that they understood this point Jesus tells them of another promise to believe.). And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (KJV)
There’s a new promise, a new thing written to them, that the promise of God would come and that they would be endued with power from on high.
On the day of Christ’s ascension we read the following:
Acts 1:4-5 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (KJV)
John baptized with water, “but” in contrast to his baptism you are going to receive something greater, holy spirit in you.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (KJV)
A person can be a witness after the written Word is declared. You’ve got to have the written Word before you can have something to witness about. Regarding this word “witness,” E. W. Bullinger says a witness is “one who remembers, i.e. one who has information or knowledge of a thing, and can therefore give information concerning, bring to light or confirm anything.”
The disciples were instructed to wait and then they would be witnesses because of the power they would receive. We know from the Resurrection to Pentecost was a total of 50 days. In the Old Testament they celebrated Pentecost every year at the Feast of Harvest. They were to be thankful for what God had done to provide the means necessary that they could even have a harvest. God prospered the wheat, the land and the people. God had given to the people and they were to reciprocate with thanksgiving back to Him. This Feast of Harvest was to give God the glory.
Adam and Eve lost spirit in the garden due to disobedience. Jesus Christ provided a way for men and women to have spirit regained because of their obedience. Christ sent the gift of holy spirit on Pentecost after he had accomplished redemption for mankind. Then we read about the one and only Pentecost that had fully come.
Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come (fully come, nothing else left to give. It’s harvest time.), they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (KJV)
When Moses received the 10 commandments in the Old Testament on Pentecost, God spoke to him out of a fire burning in a bush. Here in the New Testament on Pentecost it says “cloven tongues like as of fire.” Fire indicates a purifying. Pentecost was fulfilled because this fire “sat” upon them. Sitting indicates completeness. When Jesus Christ ascended he “sat” down on the right hand of God. Our redemption was complete with nothing left undone. Pentecost brings completeness; it brings spiritual life.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized (with holy spirit): and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (KJV)
When Moses came down from the mountain the children of Israel had yielded to idolatry with a golden calf. Moses broke the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments God had given him in disgust and about 3000 died because of disobedience. The Law brought death. On the day of Pentecost the Law ended. Pentecost brought life with this New Covenant and about 3000 souls were added because of obedience to His Word.
Jesus Christ was the first to be raised from the dead and to die no more.
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (KJV)
Harvest time is available because of Pentecost. Jesus Christ was the first indicating there will be more later. And that will happen at the return of Christ. We look forward to this return of Christ when the dead shall be raised and the living shall be changed to die no more.
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible (those that have died at the time of his return) must put on incorruption, and this mortal (those that are alive at the time of his return) must put on immortality. So when this corruptible (the dead) shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal (the alive) shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (KJV)
This is a great day to look forward to. Pentecost brought about holy spirit that Adam and Eve lost in the Garden. Mankind once again became complete as body, soul and spirit. And anyone who has the addition of holy spirit has this joyous occasion to look forward to when Christ returns, for we shall be changed, made immortal or incorruptible. The most significant point that Christ addressed from Passover to Pentecost was “it is written.” Believing the Word today brings hope for a joyous tomorrow.
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