Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians 3

The Feast of Weeks

This is a post in a series of posts titled Types and Shadows. You may want to start at the FIRST post of the series, or see the PREVIOUS post, before reading this one.

In the past couple of posts, we’ve been looking at the Feasts of Israel and the Biblical typology that they represent. Yesterday we took a closer look at the Passover feast – today we are going to look at the Feast of Weeks.

Just as the Passover festival served as a commemoration of the Jewish exodus from Egypt, the Feast of Weeks served as a reminder of another important event that occurred not too long after that.  Exodus 19 describes the arrival of the Israelites at Mount Sinai:

In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on the very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

God then commanded the Israelites to celebrate this event with the Feast of Weeks (see Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10, 16).

As we talked about in the first post in this mini-series over the feasts, the Feast of Weeks got its name from the fact that it was celebrated 7 weeks after the waving of the Sheaf of Firstfruits, during the third month on the Jewish calendar. The day after these 7 weeks (the 50th day) was also known as Pentecost (which is the Greek word for fifty). Many Christians are familiar with Pentecost and the events that occurred on that day after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension to Heaven.  That story is found in Acts 2, where we find the 120 Christ-followers were all together in one place, when “suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…” (v. 2-4).  It was here that God released His Spirit and placed it inside the believers at that time, just like He does today when we confess Christ as our savior and are converted.

So how does the arrival of the Israelites at Sinai, which is celebrated by the Feast of Weeks, relate to the giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2? My lesson pointed out 3 ways that God revealed Himself at Mount Sinai, and explained how the day of Pentecost in the New Testament paralleled that:

The Power of God

Exodus 19:16-19 describes God’s power being displayed at Sinai:

On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder.

In much the same way, as He released His Holy Spirit on the believers at Pentecost, there was wind, fire, shaking, and miraculous signs (like new languages being spoken).

The Law of Moses

It was here at Sinai that God gave the Law to Moses, writing His holy standard in His own finger on tablets of stone. At Pentecost, the Spirit of God entered the hearts of the believers, and God wrote His only standard on the tablets of their hearts.

An interesting parallel that my lesson pointed out was the number of those affected by the giving of this Law in each situation. In the giving of the Law at Sinai the people were held to a high standard, so that in Exodus 32, when Moses came down the mountain and found them running wild and worshiping the golden calf, he ordered the Levites to “go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.” (v. 27)  The number that died that day was about 3000.  At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit went back and forth through those who were near, and as Peter preached, “those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:41)

The apostle Paul discusses this Biblical type in 2 Corinthians 3, where he says

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (v. 7-9)

The Pattern of the Tabernacle

As we discussed in a previous post, the Lord gave the Israelites the instructions for building the Tabernacle of Moses along with the Law at Sinai. We concluded that the purpose of the Tabernacle was to provide a dwelling for God to be with His people.  At Pentecost, we see the birth of the Church, and as we discussed previously, this is now where God dwells, inside the hearts of His people by His Spirit.

In the end, the Feast of Weeks was a harvest festival just like the feast of Passover. Whereas Passover was celebrated at the harvest of barley, Pentecost was celebrated at the harvest of wheat. “And in this harvest,” my lesson pointed out, “we see a wonderful picture of the tremendous ingathering of redeemed lives that took place with the birth of the Church. Just as in the Sheaf of Firstfruits, [where] the firstfruits of the barley harvest was waved before the Lord, so on the…Day of Pentecost, the firstfruits of the wheat harvest was waved before the Lord. So the Church of Pentecost became a wave offering of firstfruits, representing the massive harvest of souls that was to come.”

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Christ Lives Through Me

We have spend the last couple weeks talking about what the Gospel truly is, and the way we have outlined it is by breaking it into 4 different parts.  Each quarter of the Gospel has dealt with a specific need – the first quarter deals with the barrier of sin (Christ died for me); the second quarter deals with the unregenerate self (Christ died as me); and the third quarter deals with our new life in Christ (Christ lives in me).  Today we are going to look at the fourth quarter of the Gospel, the part that deals with how we minister to others in our new life in Christ (Christ lives through me).

When we talked about the earlier parts of the Gospel, especially the second quarter, we talked a little about the acts of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. An example of some of the acts of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

Jesus taught about this as well, but He gave us an idea of where these acts come from:

For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (Matthew 15:19)

What Jesus says is that these things come from an overflow of what is in your heart. The lesson puts it this way: “What festers inside a person’s heart will eventually be expressed in some form or fasion for others to see.”** Using what we’ve learned about the earlier parts of the Gospel, we might say that the acts of the flesh come from an overflow of the Old Self.

So if an overflow of the Old Self causes the acts of the flesh to appear, you’ve probably already guessed that an overflow of the New Self causes the Fruit of the Spirit to appear in our lives. The Bible uses terms like abundance (John 10:10), and superlative terms like immeasurable (Ephesians 3:20), surpassing (2 Corinthians 3:8), and inexpressible (1 Peter 1:8) to describe the life and blessings that we have in our New Life in Christ. If this life is so abundant, to the point that it is overflowing, where does this overflow go?  It goes to others!  God gives us more than we need so that we can share it with others!**

A Ministry Metaphor

In John 7, it says

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. (v. 38-39, emphasis added)

The lesson points out that the Scripture Jesus is referring to comes from the book of Isaiah:

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. (Isaiah 44:3)

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning and will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. (Isaiah 35:5-7)

So, just as John points out, and Isaiah writes about, this river of living water is the Holy Spirit, and we are to be filled with the Spirit daily. The lesson points out:

The living water Jesus spoke about was never meant to be just for you. It was meant to become “streams of living water” flowing out from you to others. This is the nature of ministry. What you have is what you give. Out of the overflow of your experience in God, you now minister to others.**

A Broken-Ministry Metaphor

In Jeremiah 2:13, God says:

My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

A cistern is not a well or a source of water – it’s more like a storage tank for water. The water has to be moved in from somewhere else. What God is accusing them (us) of is taking blessings from Him, and then going and attempting to live in their (our) own strength and ability. But this is not how God designed it.  He knows that our “cisterns” are broken – they leak!  We go to church on Sunday morning, and then by later that day, or Monday at the latest, the joy, peace, comfort, hope, and love, which God lavished on us through His Spirit, has all leaked out. We have nothing to share with those around us.  Instead, we should be filled anew every morning, from the spring of living water – a spring, which is a source of water, and in this case never runs dry.  When we are filled, God doesn’t just give us what we need, he over-fills us so that the excess can be shared with those around us.

**Taken from Lesson 18: God of the Overflow, from The Power of the Gospel, OBC

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