Ties to Pentecost

Dear Brethren,

Pentecost is a Feast that must be counted, and this year the Feast of Pentecost falls on Sunday, May 23rd.

God says that we who are led by His Holy Spirit are the "Firstfruits" of His spiritual harvest.  Agriculturally speaking, firstfruits are the first  produce to ripen each year.  God uses the analogy of the harvest to demonstrate His plan of salvation.  Ancient Israel observed Pentecost – then, called the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Harvest – in late spring after the barley harvest.  Spiritual Firstfruits actually begin with Jesus Christ, represented by the first ripe grain of the Wave-Sheaf offering, and continue with us, the Church of God to Pentecost.  We, God's people, are a part of the spiritual Firstfruits.

"And the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the Feast of Ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field."  (Exodus 23:16) "Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the Lord, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work."  (Num 28:26)

The spiritual firstfruits are to wed.  Jesus Christ will be the husband of the bride. "For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.  For the Lord has called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou were refused, says thy God."  (Isaiah 54:5-6)

God described their relationship, formed by that Old Covenant, to Jeremiah when He said, "I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God."  (Jeremiah 11:4)

Notice the picture of the Wedding Covenant that takes place at the time of Pentecost, less than two months after Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage by Jesus Christ.  Israel replies, "I DO," in response to the terms of the Marriage Covenant. "Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said we will do... And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said we will do, and be obedient.  And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. 

"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:  And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a transparent work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. [Though the sapphire floor was as transparent as the clear blue sky, yet the tinted hue of the sapphire diminished the brilliance of God's glory sufficiently that mere physical men could look upon God, and not die (Exodus 33:18-33).]  And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink [representative of the Marriage Supper]."  (Exodus 24:3-11)

In the Book of Revelation we see the heavenly sea of glass.  "Before the throne [of God] there was a sea of glass like unto crystal."  (Revelation 4:6)  And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God."  (Revelation 15:2)  Physical human beings could only approach NEAR unto God at the time of the Old Covenant.  With the inauguration of the New Covenant, the spirit born saints will be empowered to be WITH Jesus Christ at the Wedding of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-8).

Jesus Christ, the object of the wave sheaf offering, and the Church of God saints, the object of the Pentecost wave offering are inextricably tied together by the counting of fifty days. "[The priest] shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it... 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: Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord... 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."  (Leviticus 23:11-20)

Pentecost is also called the Feast of Weeks, referring to the seven weeks prior to the fiftieth day.  "And thou shalt observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end."  (Exodus 34:22)

"And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."  (Acts 2:1)

Pentecost represents the New Testament establishment of the Church of God with the coming of God's Holy Spirit.  God's Law was given on this day on Mount Sinai.  The Holy Spirit enables Christians to keep the Law of God – even in its expanded meaning and spiritual intent.  Old Testament Israel, without God's Holy Spirit, was unable to keep the commandments as God desires we keep them.

On that first New Testament Pentecost, the disciples were waiting for the Promise of the Father.  "And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father."  (Acts 1:4) 

"...Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit."  (Acts 2:2-4)

Peter later preached, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."  (Acts 2:38-39)

Pentecost is our annual reminder of the Promise of the Father – His Holy Spirit which He has given to us – the firstfruits.


Sabbath Sermon:  "Ties to Pentecost" 
Pentecost Sermon: "Image of God"