“You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD.“ – Leviticus 23:17 NASB
Chapter 23 outlines the eight feasts that God ordained for the people of Israel. These festivals or “holy assemblies” were to be faithfully celebrated throughout the year. Each has its own unique significance and purpose. The sabbath day was a weekly occurrence that celebrated God’s rest after creation. The Feast of Passover celebrated their deliverance from slavery in Egypt by the hand of God. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a time to celebrate the blessings of God by dedicating the first portion of the earliest crops to Him. The Feast of First Fruits was a time to dedicate the first portions of the later crops to God. The Feast of Weeks of Trumpets celebrated the beginning of the new year. The Feast of Atonement was a day dedicated to making atonement for the sins of the entire nation. And the Feast of Booths was a celebration of God’s deliverance from Egypt and His provision during the wilderness wanderings. All of these feasts involved rest and a cessation from work. They were times to turn the focus of the people back onto God. These “holy assemblies” were corporate times of worship and praise of God for who He was and all He had done for them. They were to be perpetual reminders of God’s faithfulness and their own sinfulness.
But the one feast that stands out to me is the Feast of Pentecost, mainly because of its obvious ties to Christ and the day of Pentecost detailed in Acts 2. Interestingly, on this one occasion, the people were instructed to bring bread made with leaven. All other times leaven was forbidden, because leaven represented sin. So during Passover, all leaven was removed from the homes and the bread was to made without leaven (Exodus 12:15-20). It was a reminder of the bread they made in haste as they left Egypt. But at the Feast of Pentecost they were instructed to make their bread with leaven or yeast. “From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread to be lifted up before the LORD as an offering. These loaves must be baked from three quarts of choice flour that contains yeast. They will be an offering to the LORD from the first of your crops” (Leviticus 23:17 NLT).
The Feast of Pentecost was originally instituted 50 days after they came out of Egypt –in remembrance of the giving of the law upon mount Sinai. They were told to observe these feast all the days they were in the wilderness, as a memorial of what God had done. But the fulfillment of these feast was to come when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ (Acts 2:1). The word Pentecost is a Greek word that means “fifty days” and it was fifty days after Christ our passover had been sacrificed for us that the law of faith was given. On that day 3,000 individuals came to faith in Christ – the first fruits of the kingdom. Charles Ryrie points out that “the loaves, made with leaven, typified the formation of the church on the day of Pentecost. The church, the body of Christ, is composed of sinners who are saved by the grace of God.” On these on feast day, leaven was allowed to be included into the bread. And then hundreds of years later, on that same feast day, thousands of sinners were added to the church. Like them, our standing as sinners is puts us in need of a Savior. The original Feast of Pentecost was picturing the day when sinners (leaven) would be brought before the Lord and no longer rejected, but accepted by Him.
Father, I want to thank You, that in spite of my standing as a sinner, You accept me. You have placed Your Spirit within me and accept me as Your own. You have provided a way to make me acceptable to You in spite of my sinfulness. Those 3,000 individuals added that day so long ago were just the first fruits of many more to come. Thank You for including me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men