Dear Associates, Students and Friends:
Pentecost in 2005 occurs near the middle of June. However, for the sake of convenience, and for continuity, this month’s article is “The Teachings of Pentecost.” This article deals with the meaning of Pentecost in many of its applications and symbols. This topic immediately follows on from the teaching of last month’s two articles on Passover.
The year 2005 clearly illustrates the calendar differences between the traditional Christian observance of Easter (and the Christian observance of Pentecost) and the Jewish observance of Passover (and the Jewish observance of Pentecost). Christian Ishtar (oops, Easter) was celebrated on March 27th this year, while Passover was celebrated on April 28th. The respective Pentecost observances are similarly separated. May 15th is the Christian observance while the traditional Jewish observance is on June 12th. 1
In the Old Testament, Pentecost is the second of three feast periods where all males are supposed to go to the authorized sanctuary to properly observe the festival. This second festival is called “the feast of the harvest,” which in the New Testament is called Pentecost. 2
“And the feast of [the] harvest, the firstfruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field.”
It is given similar names in Exodus 34:22 and Numbers 28:26. The observances and rituals of this day are set out in Leviticus 23:15 and Numbers 28:27. Sacrifices were prescribed for that time, as well as free will offerings (Deuteronomy 16:9). 3
Dr. Martin clearly shows that one of the several teachings of Pentecost is that it is a time of beginnings and renewal. However, no teaching of Pentecost, however glorious, gives us any reason to observe the day, wave the sheaf, or bake loaves, or sacrifice animals on the day of Pentecost. Such things are of the law.
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”
Unless you express a mistaken “voluntary humility,” all of these things such as the sacrifices and observances of days are but a shadow of good things in the future:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary [willful] humility.”
Let me be clear, this humility is false and willful and does not come from God, but from your own vanity. Just as the chief priests were shadows of actions that occur in heaven (Hebrews 8:5), so too the holydays, and moons, and sabbaths all “are a shadow of things to come.” All of the ritualistic (outward, physical) features of the Old Covenant have been nailed to the tree of crucifixion (Colossians 2:14). Your present emphasis should be on the spiritual factors of biblical belief, not the outward and ceremonian. Study, learn and, understand the typical and symbolic teachings of the Old Testament that were fulfilled in Christ, are being fulfilled (in Pentecost) in us, the ekklesia of Christ, and will continue to be fulfilled in the future.
We have inaugurated a new computer records system, so we ask all of you who graciously contribute to ASK to be patient in waiting for your contribution receipts from us. You may experience some delay of a few days in the processing and mailing of those receipts. There is no need to contact us. Be assured you will receive your receipts as soon as possible. Eventually the new system will be considerably more efficient for all of us.
In addition, you will soon see a new ASK website frontpage that I am sure you will like as much as I do. It will be clearer and easier for you to navigate so you can get to the biblical teachings you desire as quickly as possible. The changes are not just cosmetic (although I like the new look), but they are also practical. The new format will allow us to add new features in the future. Let us know your likes and dislikes about the new ASK website frontpage. We appreciate feedback from each of you on anything that ASK does.
In June we will be putting Dr. Martin’s terrific book, Essentials of New Testament Doctrine online. Again it will appear a chapter or part of a chapter at a time. This means that once all chapters are up and online, the entire book will show up on the ASK search program.
Every day we receive letters, emails, and phone calls that let us know out how you benefit and enjoy the material from ASK. These communications keep us on our toes and help us to gauge how well our efforts serve the ekklesia of Christ. Dr. Martin wrote, and I write, and we all work with an understanding that ASK is not presenting material for the Gospel of Christ just for today or tomorrow, but for long-term use by the ekklesia and all lovers and seekers of the truth of God’s Word. Your support, comments, and prayers form an on-going network of true Associates for Scriptural Knowledge.
We have been receiving very positive comments from new readers about the quality and quantity of biblical teaching material on the ASK website. Word of mouth is always the best advertising, so let me ask you in every way possible — in your emails to friends and acquaintances, email forums, groups you attend, even in conversations — let people know that ASK exists and that it is a tremendous resource of incredible depth on a massive number of subjects regarding the Bible, God, and how to live your life freely as God wishes you to live. Be tactful and wise in doing so, of course, but be unafraid as well.
ASK continues from your support and funding through your gracious gifts. I must state that the level of support has decreased over the past months. Some people have even told us that because they can access ASK material over the internet, they no longer feel ASK needs their financial support, or perhaps they do not care whether others have access to excellent biblical teachings. After all, they have theirs and that is all that matters to them. If true, then that attitude is unfortunate. That being said, we owe all of you great thanks for your gifts, whether they are your affection or concern or your prayers, so that we may continue the good work of Ernest Martin to teach each of you the fullness of the Gospel from your own Bible.
1 Calendar calculations are discussed in “The Passover/Easter Controversy” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d050402.htm, “The New Testament Calendar” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d960101.htm, and “The Modern Jewish Calendar” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d760901.htm. DWS
2 For a brief description of the biblical festivals, see the articles “The Symbolism of Biblical Holidays” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d950501.htm and “The Sacrificial System of Israel” (with an audio of Dr. Martin speaking the article) at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d950502.htm. Josephus uses the same term and similarly describes the observances in Antiquities of the Jews 3:249–256. DWS
3 It is important to note the distinctive usage of the words in Scripture for “firstfruits.” Two Hebrew words are mistakenly translated “firstfruits.” The Hebrew word reshiyth (Strongs #07225) should best be rendered as “first” or “beginning” when used in regard to the Law. Reshiyth is used in Exodus 23:19, 34:26; Leviticus 2:12, 23:10; Numbers 15:20f, 18:12, 24:20; and Deuteronomy 11:12, 18:4, 21:17, 26:2, 10, 33:21. The Hebrew word bikkuwr (Strongs #01061) is usually used to denote firstfruits. Bikkuwr occurs in Exodus 23:16, 19; 34:22, 26; Leviticus 2:14, 23:17, 20; Numbers 13:20, 18:13, 28:26; 2 Kings 4:42; Nehemiah 10:35, 13:31; Isaiah 28:4; Ezekiel 44:30; and Nahum 3:12. The two Hebrew words are used together in Exodus 23:19, 34:26 and Ezekiel 44:30 to denote “the first of the firstfruits.” DWS
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