ROBERT: For the Jews Passover was a celebration of God’s power in setting them free from slavery in Egypt. They had been in bondage, under bitter oppression. They cried out to God and He delivered them through Passover. What was passed over at Passover? Well the Israelites were passed over. You know somebody sometimes we sing Lord, don’t pass me by? I wanna tell you sometimes you want God to pass you by because the time had come for God’s judgment and it would have fallen on everyone but God gave the Israelites a way to escape. The key to their rescue was not an army. It was not in some great heroic deed but their deliverance came through the smallest, weakest, most innocent thing imaginable, a pure, spotless lamb. And when the blood of the lamb was placed on the doorpost God accepted the sacrifice of that lamb in place of Israel’s first born. The angel of death passed over them. So the central focus of Passover was the lamb. But even more than that the central focus was the blood of the lamb. Cause a cute little lamb tied up by the doorpost would not have kept the death angel away. The lamb had to be sacrificed and its blood poured out. We have Passover. Then fifty days later we come to Pentecost. Now when we think about Pentecost we think about Acts, chapter 2. The heavens open. The Holy Spirit descends. There’s the rumble of a mighty rushing wind, darting flames of fire, people speaking in other tongues. 3000 people getting saved and the Church is born. And that is Pentecost. But there’s a lot more to Pentecost than that. See it’s important to understand that Pentecost did not start in Acts, chapter 2. The disciples had celebrated Pentecost all their lives. Pentecost was a time to celebrate God’s provision. It initially celebrated God’s physical provision. It marked the ingathering of the wheat harvest. The first sheaves of the new wheat harvest had ripened. It was time to be thankful so the Jews said Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth.  Pentecost was celebrated by praise and by giving. It was a time for a massive outpouring of giving. Bird offerings, grain offerings, every kind of offering. But it was especially a time for first fruits offering. For a Pentecost first fruits offering they presented two loaves of bread made from the first ripened wheat of the new harvest and that first fruits offering secured God’s provision for the year ahead. To celebrate Pentecost the people would bring their offerings to the Lord at the Temple. And then they would go back to their homes and feast with their families and friends to celebrate God’s goodness. But God provided more than bread at Pentecost. It was also at Pentecost that God called Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai and gave him Torah. God provided the revelation they needed at Pentecost. You know it’s interesting to hear how the Jews pictured that event at Mount Sinai at Pentecost. This is what the Jews thought of when they thought of Pentecost. One Jewish writer said this. When God gave the Torah on Sinai He displayed untold marvels to Israel with His voice.   God spoke and the voice reverberated throughout the world. Rabbi Yohanan said that God’s voice as it was uttered split up into 70 voices and 70 languages so all the nations could understand and when each nation heard the voice in their own vernacular they were in fear. And the sons of Israel not only heard the Lord’s voice but they saw the sound waves as they emerged from the Lord’s mouth and they visualized them as a fiery substance and each commandment traveled around the entire camp and came to every Jew individually. And finally the fiery substance which they saw engraved itself on the stones. That’s how the Jews pictured Pentecost. Israel received God’s Torah at Pentecost in the midst of a loud roaring sound, revelation given in tongues and darting flames of fire. Sounds just like Acts 2. So Pentecost celebrates the release of God’s revelation. The traditional celebration of Pentecost would be to get together with your friends and stay up all night studying the Bible. It’s a way of saying Lord, we’re so thankful for Your word. Then they would have gone back to their house and they would have feasted together. Celebrating God. Pentecost is a celebration of God’s provision. And then they would have stayed up all night studying Torah. Jesus had just talked about the outpouring of the Spirit. They probably studied passages like Joel chapter 2. It was a way of showing their love for God’s word. And that’s why when morning dawned on the Day of Pentecost they were all together in one place. They were in a house where they had spent the night praising and feasting and rejoicing and honoring God for His goodness and on Pentecost morning all Jerusalem heard the sound of a mighty roaring wind and God released the third level of provision on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit. The Spirit came and filled the house. God’s fire came on each of them. They were empowered by Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. And they ran out into the streets where an amazed crowd was gathering to see what the sound had been and Peter preaches his Pentecost sermon and by the end of the day 3000 people are saved. See that’s what Pentecost celebrates. It’s a season for the glory of the Lord to be revealed. Habakkuk 2 says For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. At Pentecost God wants you to open your heart and let His Spirit overwhelm you. He wants the celebration of Pentecost to be a tremendous blessing to you. As you worship God with thankful hearts for His abundant provision your provision for multiplication and increase so as you celebrate Pentecost stir up your heart to thank God. Remember what He’s done. Be thankful. Read His Word. Bring offerings. Share testimonies. Sing praises and be ready to receive the outpouring of God’s blessing. Now you know these are for Christians. Amen? Okay. Now in the seventh month we come to the last feast. That’s Tabernacles. Most Christians don’t know much about Tabernacles. Some Christian writers used to call it the Feast of Booths. I don’t know about you but when I hear about a booth I think of something like this. That is not what this feast was about. In Hebrew the feast is called Sukkot, and it’s the plural of Sukkah. It’s the Hebrew word for a tent or a temporary shelter so this is the feast of temporary shelters but it sounds nicer to call it the Feast of Tabernacles. But the Feast of Tabernacles is a joyful week-long celebration. The primary instruction God gave for this feast, now you gotta get this, this is a very important instruction to obey. Just grit your teeth and say I’m gonna do it no matter how hard it is. God says here’s the one thing you need to do on this feast. Rejoice!

 

AUDIENCE: (CLAPPING) Whooo!

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