As we grow in grace and knowledge, we have a better understanding of the difference between the old and new covenants.
Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:9: “He taketh away the first, that he may establish this second.”
Paul also tells us this in 2 Corinthians 3:6: “Who[Yahweh] also hath made us able ministers [servants] of the New Testament." (Covenant, see Strong’s 1242)
Messiah is also quoted as saying his blood is of the New Testament. (Covenant) (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25)
I have learned more about the true meaning of Shavuoth, or Pentecost, with a deeper understanding of the new covenant. It is important for the firstfruits to leave the old covenant and embrace the new covenant. Under the old covenant, Passover is observed as the Jews do today. Unleavened bread is eaten at that meal, and the night on which it is celebrated is the 15thof Abib.
Messiah taught us a new way to observe the meal he had with his disciples the night before the 15thof Abib. This meal was on the evening of the 14th,not during the days of unleavened bread that began the evening of the 15th. The bread he gave to his disciples was leavened. That evening was not a true Old Covenant Passover meal, and did not occur after the sacrifice of the Passover lambs. Messiah was the Passover lamb and he did not die until the next afternoon at 3 PM. Under the old covenant, the leavening was removed from the homes by noon before the lambs were sacrificed. Thus, the Jews’ Passover meal was served with unleavened bread.
According to Luke 22:15-16, Messiah would not eat anymore until the kingdom of Yahweh. See also Mark 14:25.
We also understand that the seven days of unleavened bread, following the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, represent the consecration of the firstborn as priests. They were the original priests before the Levites, and had to be consecrated as the pattern was revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. These seven days of restricted movement along with unleavened bread is consistent with what we learn about the Levitical consecration in the book of Leviticus.
Exodus 13 shows us that Yahweh instructed Moses to sanctify or consecrate (Strong’s 6942) the firstborn. During this period of seven days, unleavened bread was eaten. Aaron followed this same pattern. (Leviticus 8)
Our understanding of Shavuoth, or Pentecost in the Greek, has deepened as well. The seven weekly Sabbaths represent the consecration of the firstfruits. It is important to take note of the fact that the bread offering for Pentecost is two loaves of leavened bread, which is called the bread of the firstfruits. This is why we learn that Messiah gave his disciples leavened bread the night before his death, because these men represented the beginning of the firstfruits who were to become priests in the order of Melchisedec.
Each Sabbath in the count toward Pentecost represents an age. These seven ages are equivalent to the seven days of consecration, which are required to become priests or firstfruits.
The pattern of consecration as revealed in Leviticus 8 is seven days and then on the eighth day, the priest begins to serve. (Leviticus 9:1) The firstfruits are called during the sixth age and resurrected in the seventh. However, Yahweh has known them before the foundation of the world. On the eighth or last great day, they begin their service as priests to judge the angels and mankind. (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)
For years I have learned and taught about Shavuoth from the perspective of the old covenant and the Israelites in the wilderness. I now view this period of time from the perspective of the new covenant. Each week of Pentecost, we can learn and discuss relevant topics from that age. Below are suggestions for each Sabbath or age:
1. This is when the genetic material of the firstfruits was created and placed in Adam. Many would be called, but few chosen. Recall Levi in the loins of Abraham. (Hebrews 7:5, 10)
2. Division and punishment were themes during this age of Noah. Recall that the name of Satan, Heylel, means divide and conquer.
3. During this age of Abraham we are introduced to the concepts of calling and separation. When potential firstfruits are born, they begin a process of separation from the world. This is one aspect to the challenge that all firstfruits face.
4. During this age of Moses we are introduced to the priesthood of the firstborn and Levites. It is here that we are introduced to the important concept of consecration. It is also a time to understand the patterns that were introduced to Moses.
5. This is the fifth week and the spiritual significance of that number is grace or favor. Please review appendix 10 in the Companion Bible for the spiritual significance of numbers. This is the age of David who was granted grace despite his sins and disobedience. This is an opportunity to review the life of David and discover how he became a friend of Yahweh.
6. Six is the number of man. Yahweh of hosts becomes incarnate. We are reconciled by his human death, but we are saved by his resurrected life and his name of life. (Romans 5:10)
7. This is the age when the firstfruits are resurrected. The earth enjoys prosperity for 1000 years while the firstfruits are with Messiah for one day in spiritual time. (2 Peter 3:8) We will complete our preparation to become judges on the last great day. It is of note that the sixth book of the Old Testament is named Yahshua, while the seventh book is named Judges.
The themes of the seven Sabbaths and Pentecost no longer focus only on the physical Israelites in the wilderness. During this time we can learn more about the preparation of the firstfruits throughout the ages and the completion of their consecration for service on the last great day as judges.
The pattern for priesthood is derived from the order of Melchisedec. The first-born Israelites and the Levites follow the same pattern. We must learn more about the order of Melchisedec in our role as firstfruits during the count toward Pentecost. The book of Hebrews is a good source for this deeper understanding. Also during Pentecost, we can review the book of Acts chapters 1 and 2, as well as the formation of the Spirit of Messiah and its significance to our overcoming.
This is also a good time to review the old covenant in Leviticus 23 and the new covenant perspective provided by Messiah in Hebrews 6:1-2. The Hebrews reference omits Coverings or Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. We must learn the significance of these differences and embrace the new. As we are taught to discern between clean and unclean, we must also discern between the old and new and fully participate in the new covenant.