Christians around the world soon will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles. They began to speak in foreign languages and witness to those around them; an event many believe marks the very beginning of the organized church.

But Pentecost was only one event, one episode in a chain of timeless tradition. The apostles were gathered to celebrate the festival of Shavuot, which marks the wheat harvest in ancient Israel and commemorates when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people. And one of the leading advocates of reintroducing traditional Jewish practices into modern Christianity argues Shavuot still has deep significance to contemporary believers.

Mark Biltz, the discoverer of the “blood moons” phenomenon and the author of the new book “God’s Day Timer,” says recognizing the deep connection between Shavuot and Pentecost provides invaluable insight into the biblical story.

“While many Christians know Pentecost as just a historical event that occurred 2,000 years ago, most do not realize it actually was a yearly event that is currently still being held every year by the Jewish people,” he said. “They even celebrated it every year for 1,500 years before Jesus was ever born. The biblical name is known as Shavuot, which means ‘weeks’. We find in Leviticus 23:15-16 that after the feast of first fruits begins the counting of seven weeks until the feast of Shavuot or Pentecost, being the 50th day. This feast was one of three pilgrimage feasts where the Jews were commanded to appear at the Temple as stated in Deuteronomy 16:16.”

This is important, says Biltz, because it explains why all of the apostles were together at the time of Pentecost, and also why they were surrounded by Jews from all over the area.

“This is why we read in the Book of Acts in chapter 2 that ‘there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky,'” Biltz noted. “Because they were all required to be there for the Feast. The Temple was known as the House of God and that is the House where the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts actually happened. ”

Biltz believes Christians should definitely care about and even celebrate this Jewish feast. He argues the biblical feasts mark “appointed times” when God intervenes in human history.

“Believers should definitely care about and keep the Feast of Shavuot because it is one of God’s appointed times,” he told WND. “To truly understand the prophetic meaning of what God is doing in these last days we must be on God’s calendar. Believers need to realize God has a ‘day timer’ with the times mentioned when He will intersect with human history. Due to anti-Semitism within the church over the last 2,000 years a fundamental lifeline has been cut that needs to be restored. Because of this most Pentecostals don’t even know that the Jews were the first Pentecostals! Even to this day the Jews still keep this feast and most Christians do not.

The Bible story is more miraculous and astounding than you could have imagined. See the incredible proof of the unchanging nature of God – and the exciting clues to what awaits at the end of days in “God’s Day Timer” by Mark Biltz, available as a book or documentary now in the WND Superstore.

“This is why Peter stated that Jesus would not return until the restitution of all things in Acts 3:18-21. Two thousand years ago, Peter was saying that God wanted all things to be restored. But instead of completing the ‘restoration’ of all things, the ‘replacing’ of all things became the church motto over the last 2,000 years. Fortunately, many Christians are coming to realize this and again are restoring the proper place of the Sabbath, the feast days, and God’s calendar by properly aligning themselves with what God desires.”

Biltz described the kind of activities Jews perform to commemorate Shavuot and suggested Christians could do some of the same things.

“The Jewish people, to this day, every Shavuot, stay up all night and read the Bible together,” he said. “They read Exodus 19 about the very first Pentecost when God descended on Mt. Sinai in fire. They read in Ezekiel about the Spirit of God coming as a mighty rushing wind, and they study the Book of Ruth about a Gentile being grafted into the House of Israel and the book’s concluding verses stating the genealogical line of the birth of King David, the forefather of Messiah!”

Biltz, the pastor of El Shaddai Ministries, has incorporated some of these practices in his own church.

“We believe that Shavuot/Pentecost is one of the greatest events in human history that should be memorialized, as God requires,” he said. “This was the first time since mankind was kicked out of the Garden of Eden that the Creator of the universe reentered our world to dwell with mankind. We celebrate this feast every year. Some stay up all night as well having the fun of an all-night Bible study with friends. El Shaddai Ministries has a congregational picnic every year where we also read the appointed sections of the Bible, wave two loaves of challah, blow the shofars, do baptisms in living waters, and have a great fellowship together honoring the Lord by doing what He asks.”

Biltz contends there is no difference between Shavuot and Pentecost “other than how they are spelled.”

However, he urges Christians to regard Pentecost not as simply an event in history which has already concluded, but as an important part of a continuing pattern which repeats again and again through time. For those interested in prophecy and the end times, Biltz says Shavuot is especially important.

“From the foundation of the world, God predetermined the historical dates when He would intersect human history,” Biltz said. “It was during the timing of the three pilgrimage feasts mentioned in Deuteronomy 16 that the Spirit of God would descend in fire. They were the feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. We read how the Lord descended in fire at the grand opening ceremony of Moses tabernacle, which was in the month of Nisan when Passover is celebrated. It was during the feast of Tabernacles at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple that the fire from heaven fell. Then at the feast of Shavuot/Pentecost again the spirit of God descended in the form of fire. This not only happened in Acts but in Exodus as well.”

“The problem is ‘Greek’ thinking within the church. Many see prophecy as a checklist that when once fulfilled it will never happen again. Hebraic thinking is that if it happened before, it will definitely happen again! When we read the prophet Ezekiel, we find out that during the millennial reign of the Messiah the feasts will still be celebrated. Even the prophet Zechariah states that the nations that do not celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles will receive the plague and no rain if they refuse to celebrate it. Only by being on God’s calendar and acknowledging the feast of Shavuot on the day it is to be celebrated will we ever know the full meaning of its future significance!”

The Bible story is more miraculous and astounding than you could have imagined. See the incredible proof of the unchanging nature of God – and the exciting clues to what awaits at the end of days in “God’s Day Timer” by Mark Biltz, available as a book or documentary now in the WND Superstore.

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