Sermon #52 Leviticus Sermons
Title: The Feast of Pentecost
Text: Leviticus 23:15-22
Subject: The Typical Significance of the Feast of Weeks
Date: Sunday Morning—January 5, 2003
Tape # X-39b
Reading: Joel 2:21-32 and Acts 2:1-24, 32-36
Studying the Book of Leviticus, I keep praying that the Lord will be pleased to be my Teacher and show me his message for our souls in each type and picture it describes. I want us to truly see and behold the wonders of his law. May he be pleased to anoint our eyes (yours and mine) with the eye-salve of his grace and lead us as he led John through the wonders of the streets of the New Jerusalem. I want us to see the fine gold and every precious stone. May our Lord, the Lamb, be our light, as we open his Word. He promised…
(John 14:16-18) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Oh, may he be pleased, once more today, to come to us and lead us again to fountains of living waters.
Our text is Leviticus 23:15-22. In this passage we are given instructions concerning The Feast of Pentecost. In the Old Testament it was called “The Feast of Weeks” (2 Chron. 8:12-13); but we know it best as “The Feast of Pentecost” because that is how it is referred to in the New Testament. It was called “The Feast of Weeks” in the Old Testament because it was observed seven weeks and a day after the feast of Passover. It is called “The Feast of Pentecost” in the New Testament because it was observed seven weeks and a day (50 days) after the feast of Passover, and the word “Pentecost” means “fiftieth.”
(Leviticus 23:15-22) And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. 17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the first fruits unto the LORD. 18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. 19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
The feast of first fruits was held at the beginning of the barley harvest. This feast, the feast of Pentecost, was held seven weeks later, at the beginning of the wheat harvest. You cannot help noticing significant differences between the two feasts.
· The first fruits of the wheat, like the first fruits of the barley, were to be offered to the Lord, but not a sheaf. The wheat offering was to be offered in the form of two loaves of bread.
· This offering must be made of leavened bread, which the priest would eat (v. 20).
· This offered was to be made with specific animal sacrifices.
· And these two loaves of leavened bread were to be waved with two lambs of the first year before the Lord by God’s appointed priest.
What is the significance of all these things? Why are they given? What does the Holy Spirit teach us by this typical, costly ceremony of divine worship?
· Without question, this was a ceremony of thanksgiving to God, acknowledging that all our daily provisions come from him (James 1:17; 5:7).
(James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
(James 5:7) Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Proposition: But there is more here than an act of thanksgiving. The feast of Pentecost was a picture of the ingathering of God’s elect by the mighty operations of God the Holy Spirit (Joel 2, Acts 2).
The two loaves of leavened bread represent God’s elect, gathered from the four corners of the earth by the Holy Ghost, and presented before him, in connection with all the perfection and preciousness of Christ our Passover, who was sacrificed for us.
· In the Passover, we see the sacrificial death of Christ, the Lamb of God.
· In the sheaf of first fruits, we see the resurrection, ascension, and acceptance of Christ as our sin-atoning Substitute.
· Here, in the feast of Pentecost, we see the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh for the ingathering of God’s elect, which was the result of Christ’s accomplished redemption.
(Galatians 3:13-14) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Christ had to die, redemption had to be accomplished, sin had to be put away, before we could be brought to God and accepted of him. The sheaf must first be offered. Then, and only then, could the loaves be baked and presented to God with and upon the basis of the slain Lamb’s atonement.
Let’s look at this feast of Pentecost more closely, and observe those things that are so obvious that they are commonly overlooked.
I. The Time of the Feast
I do not usually pay much attention to ancient Jewish traditions, or any other religious traditions. But the Jews have, from ancient times, contended that the feast of Pentecost was to be observed 50 days after the Passover because this was precisely the time that God gave the law to Israel by the hand of Moses. Though the Scriptures do not verbally connect the two, there is an obvious connection.
· The Israelites left Egypt on the day of Passover.
· They arrived at Mt. Sinai sometime during the third month, (Exodus 19:1), which begins about a week before Pentecost.
· It was then that Moses was called up into Mt. Sinai to receive the law of God, the revelation of God’s holiness and justice.
I find those things very significant. You will, too, I am sure, if you consider these things.
A. The law was given to shut us up to Christ, to make us know our sin and our need of Christ as our Substitute.
B. The law’s revelation of God could not be complete without its fulfillment by Christ; and that fulfillment could not be known without our Lord’s resurrection, ascension and acceptance as our Substitute in heaven, declaring that he has fulfilled all the law in putting away our sins by the sacrifice of himself.
C. Yet, this glorious fact, by which God is revealed in all the splendor of his glorious holiness can never be known by any sinner until he has been brought in, gathered in, by God the Holy Spirit in regenerating grace.
II. The Two Loaves of Leavened Bread
Be sure you do not miss this. We are told that the sacrifice of this feast of Pentecost must be a sacrifice of two loaves of bread.—"They shall be baked with leaven" (v. 17). Why was this?
A. These loaves were to be baked with leaven and presented to the Lord as leavened loaves because they were intended to represent us, God’s people in this world.
· Two Loaves because God’s Church is made up of Both Jews and Gentiles.
· Two Leavened Loaves because Saved Sinners are Sinners Still!
Though, born of God, justified by blood and sanctified by grace, though filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit, though adorned with the gifts of his grace, believers are still people personally defiled with the leaven of sin. And we constantly acknowledge that painful, sad fact (1 John 1:7-2:1; Rom. 7:14-23).
On the day of Pentecost the Spirit filled Church stood before God in the full perfection and acceptance of Christ’s blood and righteousness, crowned with the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Yet, they were leavened with the flesh. No power of the Spirit could do away with the fact that there was evil dwelling in the people of God. It might be suppressed and kept out of view; but it was there. This fact is portrayed in the type before us, by the leaven in the two loaves. And it is set forth in the actual history of the Church and in the life’s experience of every ransomed soul.
The fact is, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” The flesh will never be anything but flesh. The Holy Spirit did not come down, on the day of Pentecost, and does not come down in saving power and grace to improve nature or do away with the fact of its incurable evil.—Not at all! He came on the day of Pentecost to put God’s Church into an entirely new realm of life. On that day, the King of Glory baptized his Church and kingdom in the Holy Spirit. He comes in saving grace to give us a new nature, to bring us into one body, and connect us with Christ, our living Head in heaven, that we might “walk in the Spirit (live by faith, and no longer) fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
B. These two waved loaves were made out of the wheat seed, the fruit of that which had been sown in the earth.
(John 12:20-32) And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
C. These two leavened loaves were accepted, though leavened, by the Holy Lord God, as an offering of sweet savor, because of another sacrifice (v. 18).
I have already shown you that the leavened loaves portrayed God’s people in this world, saved by grace, yet sinners still. Clearly there is an indication in that fact that our God knows and acknowledges the evil that is in us. But, blessed be his matchless name, the evil that is divinely recognized is divinely provided for! Look at verse 18.
(Leviticus 23:18) And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.
Here, we have, in immediate connection between the leavened loaves and the presentation of an unblemished sacrifice, typifying the great and all-important truth that it is Christ's perfection and not our sinfulness that is ever before the eye of God!
· Ephesians 1:6
· Colossians 1:12
· Colossians 2:9-10
Here is rest and comfort and joy for our hearts and souls, even as we acknowledge our sin. God omniscient knows exactly what we are. “He remembers that we are dust!” He knows the worst of us. Yet, he does not deal with us after our sins. He does not reward us according to our iniquities. He deals with us in grace, and rewards us according to Christ’s righteousness! Our great God, who delights in mercy, has made provision according to his wisdom and knowledge, not according to ours.
"Ye shall offer with the bread, seven lambs without blemish."
· Seven is the number of perfection.
· Seven is the number of grace.
· Seven represents the work of God.
I am not preaching religious theory and speculation. I am telling you exactly what this type was intended by God to teach us. As I said before, this is obvious. Look at verses 19 and 20.
III. Two Lambs and a Priest
(Leviticus 23:19) Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.
(Leviticus 23:20) And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.
These two leavened loaves were offered and accepted because of two lambs of the first year offered by God’s appointed priest as peace offering, waved before God with the lambs.
A. The priests took the two lambs and the two leavened loaves, and waved them as one before God, and God accepted them as one!
· Christ is our Priest.
· Christ is our Sacrifice, our Peace Offering, and our Priest.
· Christ takes us and presents us to God upon the basis of his sacrifice.
· And God accepts us as one with Christ!
“Thus, on the day of Pentecost, the Church was presented, in all the value and excellency of Christ, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Though having in itself the leaven of the old nature, that leaven was not reckoned, because the divine Sin Offering had perfectly answered for it. The power of the Holy Ghost did not remove the leaven, but the blood of the Lamb had atoned for it.”—(C. H. Mackintosh)
The work of the Spirit in the believer does not remove indwelling evil. It enables him to detect it, judge, and reckon it as God does—put away by the blood of the Lamb!
(Romans 6:11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(1 Peter 4:1) Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.
Our sin is never under the eye of God. It has been put out of sight forever, and we are accepted in all the acceptableness of Christ, who offered Himself to God as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, that He might perfectly glorify Him in all things.
(Numbers 23:21) He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
B. These two leaven loaves were for the priest and were the priest’s food (v. 20).
John 4:32-34 gives us the meaning of this part of our typical picture.
(John 4:32-34) But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
IV. Rest Proclaimed
(Leviticus 23:21) And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
(Matthew 11:28-30) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
V. Gleanings for Poor Strangers
(Leviticus 23:22) And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
A. Without a doubt, this is a picture of God’s provision for us, both Jews and Gentiles.
We are by nature…
· Poor, needy, bankrupt sinners.
· Strangers, far off from God.
B. Our inheritance is the inheritance of Christ, bestowed by grace, and bestowed upon all God’s elect alike.
C. The gleanings of grace, the gleanings of heaven, the gleanings of the fields of glory are boundless, infinite bounties of grace, free grace in Christ.
The gleanings of Canaan represent the glories of heaven—the glories of Christ.
· God’s Church is not merely blessed by Christ, but with Christ and in Christ!
· The bride of Christ in heaven shall possess and enjoy her own wealthy and happy home in heaven, the home she rightfully holds as her own, the home to which she belongs.
· We are one with Christ!—Can you get hold of that?
God’s Church is the King’s Bride, the Queen of His throne, and the sharer of His joys, His dignities, and His glories. The eternal mansions of the Father's house on high the Church's portion. May we ever bear this in mind, and live worthy of such a holy and elevated destination!
· Come, poor sinner, glean in Canaan’s boundless fields!
· Come, strangers to grace and to God, come and welcome!
· What boundless blessedness we shall possess when all the Lord’s wheat has been gathered into his garner (Eph. 2:7; 5:25-27; Heb. 2:13; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Jude 24-25)!