Is the Feast of New Wine Pentecost? :: By Randy Nettles

The Temple Scroll is the longest of the scrolls found at Qumran near the Dead Sea in Israel. “Among the discoveries at Qumran, it is designated: 11QTemple Scroll (11Q19 [11QT]). It describes a Jewish temple, along with extensive detailed regulations about sacrifices and temple practices. The document is written in the form of a revelation from God to Moses, thereby with the intended meaning that this is the more appropriate temple which was revealed to Moses, and that Moses’ instructions were either forgotten or ignored when Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem. In other words, in the mind of the Scroll writer, “Solomon should have built the First Temple as it is described here in the Temple Scroll.”


“The Temple Scroll is written in Hebrew in the square Herodian script of the late Second Temple Period and comprises 65 columns (19 pieces of leather), and is 9 meters in length. Most of the text is a reworking of biblical material (mostly from Exodus chapter 34 to Deuteronomy chapter 23, although not in the same order as given in the Hebrew Bible; sometimes it combines different biblical texts to present a novel view, and there are parts that are non-biblical but which are presented using biblical phraseology.

There is no scholarly consensus regarding the date, origin, author, or authors, or its relationship to the Qumran community. Some scholars attribute the Temple Scroll to the isolated Qumran community, while others see no connection with the Qumran community; instead, they see the work as a priestly (possibly Zadokite) document which was hidden in a cave by Zealots during their flight from Jerusalem in 70 AD before the Roman destruction of the Temple.” Temple Scroll – Wikipedia

“The site of Qumran has been thoroughly excavated, and its numismatic finds fix the period of its occupation with precision. The coins range from the year 132 BC to 68 AD, a period of exactly 200 years. The latest coin corresponds with Qumran’s destruction by the Roman legions, while the first coin dates back to Simon, the last of the Maccabee brothers, who liberated Israel from Syrian oppression. For more information and additional insights about the date and background of the Temple Scroll and the Qumran community (thought to be the Essenes), see The Dead Sea Temple Scroll | Religious Studies Center (


The Essenes rewrote the biblical feast calendar to include two further bikkurim (first fruits) festivals to celebrate wine and oil in the Temple Scroll. Textual evidence indicates that the introduction for the festivals comes from another work and was incorporated into the Temple Scroll. In contrast to the Biblical feasts of the Lord of First Fruits (barley and wheat grains), the Temple Scroll calls for four more First Fruit feasts: The First Day of the First Month Festival (1 Nisan), the Feast of the First Fruits of Wine (3 Av), the Feast of the First Fruits of New Oil (22 Elul), and the Feast of the Wood Offering (23 Elul – 28 Elul).

The Essene’s calendar calls for the First Fruits of Wine to occur on Av 3, which is 50 days from Shavuot/Pentecost. As Shavuot is always on a Sunday, so is the festival of the F.F. of New Wine. Once again, if you don’t get the date for the Feast of Firstfruits (barley grain) right, you won’t get the date for the Feast of Weeks/Shavuot (wheat grain) right as well. And if you don’t get the date for Shavuot right, you certainly won’t get the festival of New Wine right either.

The Firstfruits of New Oil is to be celebrated 50 days from the F.F. of New Wine on Sunday, Elul 22. Likewise, to get this date correct, you must make sure you get all three dates for the Feast of Firstfruits, Shavuot, and New Wine correct. Although many people believe they see these feasts of New Wine and New Oil in the Bible, they are never mentioned by name or day/date in the Old or New Testament. I believe they may be mentioned in the Jewish Talmud because they were passed down by oral tradition from the days of the Essenes.

The first mention of “new wine” and “new oil” is found in Numbers 18. In chapter 17, Aaron (and the tribe of Levi) has just passed God’s test to see which tribe would be priests over Israel and servants of the Tabernacle of Meeting. Chapter 18 describes the duties of the priests and Levites and the offerings for their support. The other tribes would support the priests (Aaron and his descendants) and the Levites with the first of the harvests of the land that they would eventually enter and occupy.

“All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the Lord, I have given them to you. Whatever first ripe fruit is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours” (Numbers 18:12-13). The priests and Levites would receive the first of the harvest of barley in early spring, the first of the harvest of wheat in late spring/early summer, the first of the harvest of grapes in summer/early fall, and the first of the harvest of oil in the fall season. However, only the grain feasts, the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks, are considered Holy Feasts unto the Lord.

The first grapes and oil that were harvested (firstfruits) were given as a tithe to the priests and Levites (as were the grain crops), but there was no feast day or convocation for them that is ever mentioned in Scripture. The only ones who stipulated that there was (or should be) were the Essenes, who believed all of the harvests and Feasts of the Lord should be assigned a specific day and date on their 364-day calendar. The Essenes were the ultimate date-setters.

After the 2nd Temple was completed and dedicated, the Jewish people who returned to Jerusalem and Judah with Nehemiah and Ezra made a vow to re-establish their covenant with the LORD and obey His commandments and statutes, including their support for the priests and Levites as in the days of old. This included bringing the firstfruits of the grain, and of the new wine and oil to the storerooms of the sanctuary, according to Nehemiah 10:32-39. No days or dates are mentioned.

There are many feasts and festivals that are recorded in the Bible, but none are named the First Fruits of New Wine and New Oil. A writer of a popular book that discusses the Dead Sea Scrolls calendar and numerous YouTube biblical commentators believe the feast mentioned in Judges 21:19 is the Feast of the First Fruits of New Wine. They also believe the First Fruits of New Wine is “Pentecost” mentioned in the Book of Acts.

They give a couple of reasons why they believe this. First, they believe new wine symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Wine is generally served at weddings, and weddings represent the union of Jesus and the Church in which the Holy Spirit (wine) is given freely. They believe the feast of Judges 21 is a typology of the Rapture in which brides are caught (up) and the marriage ceremony takes place. The brides are then taken to their new homes to live with the bridegroom.

So, when the yearly feast of Judges 21 occurs and mentions catching a bride (representing the Rapture) and a vineyard and dancing, it is thought that this has to be the feast of the First Fruits of New Wine. However, this cannot be the case, for verse 19 says, “There is a yearly feast of the Lord” in Shiloh.

There are only 7 (the number for completion) yearly Feasts of the Lord, and the First Fruits of New Wine isn’t one of them, if it was ever observed as a feast at all. The yearly feast in Shiloh was probably the Feast of Tabernacles, the most joyous Feast of the Lord. “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress” (Deuteronomy 16:13). The Benjamites took wives for themselves from the daughters of the other tribes of Israel who attended the Feast of Tabernacles that year.


Another example given by the adherents of the Pentecost/New Wine theory is when Jesus attended a wedding in Cana with his mother and performed his first miracle, as recorded in John 2, when he transformed water into wine. However, I believe the miracle of turning water into wine was an appropriate way for Jesus to begin his ministry, during which he elevated wine as both a symbol of the gospel and a symbol of the blood of the new covenant. The wedding at Cana was a celebration in which wine would have played a very typical part.

Yes, wine and marriage ceremonies go hand in hand, but does that mean that every time the Bible mentions a marriage that it is a typology of the wedding feast of the Lamb? Does wine necessarily represent the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” To be filled with wine (drunk) is the antithesis of being filled with the Spirit. If you are to be filled with the Spirit and not wine, how can wine represent the Spirit?

I would say wine better represents Jesus’ blood. According to the Bible, the wine used in communion symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for our salvation. The Last Supper with his disciples involved Jesus sharing wine with them as a representation of his blood. Jesus made it clear that the wine represents his blood according to Matthew 26:28-29. Isaiah 63:3 and Revelation 19:15 speak of Jesus treading the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God and the sprinkling of blood upon His garments during His second advent. In these examples, blood is a typology of wine.

I believe water better represents the Holy Spirit than wine does. “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39).

Luke 5:37-39 says, “No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'” These verses are not talking about the Holy Spirit per se. The Pharisees were asking Jesus about fasting and obeying the Law of Moses.

The “new wine” is a new law (covenant), which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel cannot be constricted to the forms and limitations of the old law, just as old wineskins cannot hold the new wine (Mark 2:22). The new wineskins are those fitted to live under the new law (covenant). The old wine is Judaism; the old wineskins are those who trained in Judaism who cannot receive the new law and who say “the old is better.”

Most of those who hold to the idea of the children of Israel adding these two extra-biblical feasts of firstfruits of New Wine and New Oil on their appointed days (as recorded by the Essene’s calendar) believe the F.F. of New Wine is the same feast as Pentecost mentioned in Acts 2, and therefore, Shavuot and Pentecost are two different feasts. Therefore, Pentecost would come 50 days after Shavuot.

Most Bible scholars throughout history have believed the Feast of Pentecost in Acts is the same as Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks. I concur. Pentecost is the Greek word for “fiftieth,” referring to the 50th day from the Feast of Firstfruits. The Jews of the 1st century AD had a strong Greek influence, and they were stressing the importance of the 50th day, while the Hebrews of old stressed the importance of the completed seven “weeks” or “sabbaths” as the word Shavuot means “weeks.”

Acts 1 discusses Jesus’ ascension into heaven 40 days after His resurrection. I believe these 40 days were a test or trial for the Jews. God was given them one last chance. If, at this time, they had accepted Jesus as their risen Messiah, the 70th seven of Daniel 9:24 would have begun soon afterward. Since they didn’t, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit instead, and the 70th seven was put on hold. The Church of Jesus Christ was born in the interim.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His apostles they shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit “not many days from now.” So, the two choices of “not many days from now” are 10 days until Shavuot/Pentecost, or 60 days until the Feast of Pentecost/New Wine. Two months seems like a long time for this “not too many days from now” time duration. Acts 2:5 describes the crowd gathered in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit was given, “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.”

Of all the feasts of the Jewish year, Shavuot was the one that attracted the largest number of pilgrims from distant lands. The dangers of travel by sea or land in the early spring or late autumn (see Acts 27:9) prevented their coming in large numbers to the Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles. Also, Shavuot was a one-day feast, whereas the other two were for 7-8 days long. At no other feast would there have been representatives of so many nations speaking so many different languages.

I find it hard to believe that Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on a minor (possible) feast or festival called New Wine instead of a major Feast of the Lord, such as Shavuot. Do you mean to tell me Jesus skipped over Shavuot, which would have had mass amounts of people from all over the known world in attendance to instead send His Holy Spirit to a smaller festival where there would probably only be non-pilgrims in attendance that were celebrating the beginning of the harvest of grapes?

Those Jews living in faraway places couldn’t keep coming to Jerusalem every 50 days. They usually had to pick one Feast of the Lord to attend yearly, and it was usually Shavuot. Even those living in Israel didn’t always attend all three major Feasts of the Lord every year like they were supposed to.


One reason those who believe that Pentecost (of Acts 2:1) and New Wine are one and the same is because of this one verse. “Others mocking said, They are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13). This was the response of some Jews to the disciples of Christ speaking in foreign tongues to those who were gathered in Jerusalem during the Feast Day. They thought the disciples were drunk on wine for some reason, like that would actually explain the miracle of uneducated men speaking and communicating in various foreign languages. Evidently, these mockers were Jews from Israel who couldn’t understand any of the foreign languages, and at first, it just sounded like gibberish or drunken babel.

The correct English translation of Acts 2:13 should be “sweet wine” and not “new wine.” The Greek word is Γλεύκους (Gleukous – Strong’s: 1098) and is described as “sweet wine” or “fresh wine.” The English word “glucose” is derived from this Greek word. This word “gleukous” is found only once in Acts 2:13. The wine mentioned in this verse is more like sweet grape juice as it hasn’t had time to ferment.

On the other hand, the words for “new wine” are νέον (neon – Strong’s: 3501), meaning new or fresh, and οἶνον (oinon – Strong’s: 3631), meaning wine. So the two words together translate as “new wine.” This wine has started the process of fermentation but is not yet complete. “New wine” (neon oinon) is found in Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37, and Luke 5:38.

The reasoning that Pentecost of Acts 2:1 is actually the Feast of New Wine, based on the accusation that the disciples were drunk on gleukous/grape juice, is quite ludicrous. Grapes might be first harvested in the summer months and made into gleukous, but you wouldn’t be able to get drunk on it until it has had time to ferment. I don’t know why the mockers used the word “gleukous” instead of using the word “oinon,” which means wine or “palaion oinon,” which is old wine. The old wine is a good stout fermented wine that one can get drunk on and would be available for year-round consumption.

I think it is possible the words got translated incorrectly. There are many English translations that just say “wine.” It’s unusual that this is the only instance of the word (gleukous) being used in the New Testament. Oinon is used 34 times in the New Testament. As I said before, the statement was ridiculous to begin with, as even if they were drinking fermented wine and were extremely drunk, it wouldn’t explain the “reverse-Babel” miracle. I certainly wouldn’t base my opinion on this day being the feast of New Wine (and not Shavuot) on this asinine statement from the mockers.

The next time “Pentecost” is mentioned is in Acts 20. “For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost: (Acts 20:16). This verse is referring to part of Paul’s third missionary journey in 57 AD. It appears Paul thought he had enough time to make the journey from Asia to Jerusalem in time for the day of Pentecost if he didn’t spend time in Ephesus. I believe this Pentecost is the same as Shavuot and not New Wine, for Paul would have had plenty of time to visit Ephesus if he had an extra 50 days (from Shavuot to New Wine) before the feast began in Jerusalem.

In Acts 21, Paul arrives in Jerusalem, but Luke never mentions the rituals of Pentecost or if Paul made it in time for the feast day. I believe he did make it in time for Pentecost (Shavuot to the Jews). However, some adherents of the Pentecost/New Wine theory don’t think there was enough time for Paul to make the journey in that short of a time, as he left Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and especially after some of the delays and extended stops along the way.

I don’t want to be too dogmatic about this, but here is a good timeline for Paul’s journey that shows he could have made it in time for Pentecost/Shavuot. Paul’s Third Missionary Journey and the Lunar Sabbath Calendar. You can add three more days to this timeline if you calculate the counting of the Omer from the weekly Sabbath instead of the “special Sabbath” of Nisan 15.

In Ken Johnson’s book, “The Ancient Dead Sea Scroll Calendar (and the Prophecies it Reveals),” Ken says the word “time” in the phrase “for a time, times, and a half” of Daniel 12:7 is “moed,” which means appointed time. I agree. He says, “So, Daniel is telling us the following numbers of days are between festivals (feasts). They are still three-and-one-half years long, but they should start and end on festivals!” Ken declares this isn’t a possibility on the Jewish lunisolar calendar but only on the Dead Sea Scroll calendar, for it is exactly 1335 days from Tabernacles to Pentecost (3.5 years later) on the 364-day calendar.

Of course, Daniel 12:7 is talking about the time of the Great Tribulation or Jacob’s Trouble, which is the last 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th seven. We know the last three fall Feasts of the Lord will occur when Jesus returns to the earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom at the end of these 3.5 years. That means Tabernacles will not be at the beginning of the 3.5 years but toward the end.

In my article, The End of the Age – From Firstfruits to Hanukkah (, I show how there are exactly 1335 days from the Feast of Firstfruits to Hanukkah (3.5 years later) on the Jewish lunisolar calendar using the correct Sadducee’s reckoning for the Feast of Firstfruits. Hanukkah is an important day for the Jews and their Temple. John 10:22-23 records that Jesus attended one Hanukkah celebration (Feast of Dedication) where the Jews tried to kill him. There are also 1260 days from the Feast of Firstfruits to the Day of Atonement (3.5 years later), which will be the timeline for Revelation 12:6.

In conclusion, I don’t know if the Jews ever celebrated three feasts of Shavuot (wheat, wine, and oil) as the Essenes interpreted the Torah and on the dates they stipulated on their calendar. The Bible only mentions the wheat feast of Shavuot that occurs after seven full Sabbaths from the barley feast of Firstfruits.

I know all the firstfruits (bikkurim) of the land were required to be brought into the storerooms of the Temple during the three harvest seasons of spring, summer, and fall as an offering and tithe for the priests and Levites, but whether the Jews ever had a holy convocation or celebration on a certain date for these events is doubtful. The Torah doesn’t mention them, but perhaps the Oral Torah or the Mishna does, where tradition sometimes gets confused for facts.

Regardless, I am confident the three mentions of the word “Pentecost” in the New Testament (Acts 2:1, Acts 20:16, 1 Corinthians 16:8) are all referring to the Feast of the Lord known as Shavuot.

Jesus fulfilled the first three spring Feasts of the Lord during Holy Week. He was crucified as the Lamb of God on Passover, was in the grave on Unleavened Break, and was resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits. Acts 1:2-3 says Jesus ascended into heaven after he was seen by his apostles for 40 days. Before Jesus ascended, he promised the Holy Spirit would come upon them “not many days from now.”

So, what feast best represents the Day of Pentecost (mentioned in Acts 2:1), where the Holy Spirit came as promised? Would it be the next spring (late spring/early summer) Feast of the Lord known as Shavuot, which would come 10 days from Jesus’ ascension, or would it come 60 days from Jesus’ ascension on a minor festival called New Wine? If the Holy Spirit was sent on New Wine, what happened to Shavuot, and how was it ever fulfilled by Jesus? After all, it is one of the seven Feasts of the Lord. Is it to be fulfilled in the future like the fall Feasts of the Lord will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Jesus? I believe the answer to that question is “no.”

Jesus fulfilled the Father’s Promise of Luke 24:49 by sending the Holy Spirit on the 4th Feast of the Lord, known as Shavuot (Pentecost in Greek). Just as the number 4 represents creation, so does Shavuot/Pentecost represent a new creation, for “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).


Exodus 23:17 says, “Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the LORD God.” Verses 15-16 stipulate these three times in the year are for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (including Passover and Firstfruits) in early spring, the Feast of Harvest (Shavuot) in late spring (May)/early summer (June), and the Feast of Ingathering (Tabernacles) in the fall, “when you have gathered your labors out of the field.”

The firstfruits of the first grain (barley) to rise out of the earth were to be offered to the Lord during the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread. This feast offering was fulfilled by Jesus during Passover (F.O.F.). “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

The next grain to rise out of the earth was wheat. The firstfruits of wheat, in the form of two baked with leaven loaves of wheat bread, were to be offered before the Lord during the Feast of Harvest (Shavuot). Many speculate this feast offering will be fulfilled by Jesus raising the “dead in Christ” at the Rapture. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23). 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 goes on to describe the rapture and translation of the living and dead in Christ, known as the Rapture of the Church.

Tabernacles took place at the end of the harvest season “when you have gathered your labors out of the field .” Fruits, olives, and grapes were all harvested by this time. This fall feast is the seventh and final Feast of the Lord. It is known as the Feast of Ingathering or the great “Harvest Home.” Many Bible scholars believe this feast will be fulfilled by Jesus after the Second Coming when He gathers all those “in Christ” who have survived Jacob’s Trouble and separates them from the unbelievers.

Unlike some fellow brothers in Christ, I don’t see a “Firstfruit of the Feast of New Wine” fulfilling the supernatural events that happened on that Day of Pentecost approximately 2000 years ago. I will continue to believe Shavuot and Pentecost are one and the same. The only difference is one is a Hebrew name, and the other is a Greek name. It reminds me of the two loaves of leavened bread that were waved before the Lord, representing the Jews and the Greeks (Gentiles). Perhaps they represent the Old Testament (covenant/law) and the New Testament (gospel of Christ’s redeeming work). In this case, the “new” is better.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24). “And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:35, 38-40).

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Jesus is the “bread of life,” and the Holy Spirit is the “living water.” When you come to Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit, you shall never hunger or thirst again. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:16).

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Randy Nettles