The late spring Feast of Pentecost shows the harvest of firstfruits, God's church. It is a continual reminder of our part in God's plan!
Pentecost contains an implicit promise of God's intervention and an answer to Satan's tactics as he grows ever more active in his attempts to wear us out.
The name of Boaz (a type of Christ) appears many times more than Ruth (a type of the church), indicating Christ's intense work on behalf of the church.
Pentecost is known for its stupendous signs, particularly in Acts 2. Yet it teaches us of another witness: our own display of Christ's way of life in us.
Because Pentecost does not have a specific date, God commands us to count from the day after the weekly Sabbath falling within the Days of Unleavened Bread.
We must look beyond our own calling, realizing that the sacrifice of Christ was for all men, with the hope that they will be added to the family of God.
The signs that accompanied Peter's Pentecost sermon attracted attention, confirmed God's Word, and provided meaning to the effects of the Holy Spirit.
Simeon's life serves as a precursor to that of God's called-out ones, demonstrating the elements necessary to bring a person to spiritual maturity.
The receiving of God's Spirit is for God's creative effort in our lives. God's Spirit transforms us from a state of destruction into a state of purity.
How does one count to Pentecost when Passover is on a weekly Sabbath, making the Last Day of Unleavened Bread the only other available Sabbath to begin the count?
The apostle Paul teaches that tongues (languages) are only used to communicate intelligently, not gibberish. Tongues originally served as a sign for unbelievers.
Peter's first sermon took place on the Day of Pentecost, yet his subject seems to 'fit' the Day of Trumpets. Here is how Pentecost and Trumpets relate.
Although many lessons of the book of Ruth allude to Old Covenant teachings, Ruth prefigures New Covenant principles such as mercy, Christ's care, and acceptance.
Because of our 'time-bound' state, unless we sync with God's timetable, we are squandering our God-given time to become members of His family.
Pentecost and Memorial Day may seem to be quite different, but we should not be too hasty in concluding that they do not share any common features.
Pentecost emphasizes the Christian's work, both in the field, his external labors, and his house, his internal labors. Being converted takes a great deal of work.
The seven Sabbaths in the count to Pentecost represent the process of the firstfruits becoming spiritually complete, that is, perfect and blameless.
Like Christ, we too are firstfruits, represented by the leavened loaves picturing our acceptance by the Father.
Adherents to the Pentecostal movement try to mimic some of the superficial surface manifestations of Acts 2 rather than follow the teaching given on that day.
Most know very little about the wavesheaf offering, even though it represents one of the most significant acts: the resurrection and ascension of Christ!
The Bible has much to say about the number fifty, such as counting 50 days to Pentecost, the measurements of the Tabernacle, and the 50 year Jubilee.
Fruit is a product of growth requiring knowledge, work, patience, truth (light) and water (God's Spirit). Only by remaining on the vine will we bear fruit.
In Pentecostalism, speaking in 'tongues' is the worshipped sign that God has accepted a person. Yet the miracle of Pentecost was not the speaking gibberish.
Fruit maturation takes time. Waiting for the fruit is just part of the story; while we wait, we must also work, including thinning and pruning.
Richard Ritenbaugh, acknowledging that the Psalms have been divided into five books, suggests that there is methodology in the organization, reminding us of the number of Divine grace, as well as a number of handy organization emphasizing groups of five, including the summary Psalms (Psalms 146-150), the Pentateuch, the Megilloth, and the Israelite's division of the year into five seasons. The Pentecost season generally corresponds to Book II of the Psalms, the Book of Exodus, and the story of Ruth, typifying counting to Pentecost (the 50th day commemorating the harvest), in which wave loaves baked with leaven (a symbol of corruption) would be offered. Themes of the Pentecost season include leaving the corners of the field un-harvested, the trek of the Israelites to Sinai to receive the Law and the Covenant (a marriage covenant occurring on the same day as Pentecost, depicting another marriage covenant), and the giving of the Holy Spirit on the anniversary of the giving of the Law. Exile, leaving, departing, separation, and redemption are also major themes of this season and Book II of the Psalms. The Book of Exodus also provides instructions for construction of the Tabernacle (prefiguring the church and a future nation of priests). The summary Psalm 147 indicates that God gives His Law and Spirit, building up the Heavenly Jerusalem through the redemption of a remnant (the redeemed outcasts transformed through trail and distress into the Israel of God), the Bride of Christ.
We must allow God to show us how to carefully number our days in order to gain a heart of wisdom and develop a godly perspective upon our remaining time.
Pentecost forces us to stand out from the crowd, separated as firstfruits for sanctification and holiness. God has called us to be different.
From Passover to Pentecost to Trumpets to Atonement to the Feast of Tabernacles, these days should solidify our vision of he Father, Jesus, and one another.
When we receive God's Spirit, we cannot escape the responsibility of using it, being a light to the world in the correct way of living. Hi Spirit is His power.
The Jews establishes a fixed date for Shavuot in contradiction to the instruction for counting to Pentecost. This is part of the leavening of the Pharisees.
We may take it for granted that 'firstfruits' are synonymous with 'Christians.'" However, 'firstfruits' is very general, referring to surprising things.
The leavening indicates that the wave loaves speak to this life rather than the resurrection. It is accepted by God only because of the other sacrifices.
We are intrigued by supernatural power, and many seek to display it. Yet the Scriptures show the activity of the Holy Spirit in ways that are commonly missed.
Book II of the Psalms was written largely by David and shows how he reacts to some gruesome trials by surrendering to God's redemption.
Those reveling in the 'new freedoms' of apostasy cannot be persuaded to return to former beliefs because they no longer believe in the sanctified Word of God.
Spirit is an invisible force, the effects of which are clear by its manifestations. Spirit can be discerned by thinking through and evaluating its effects.
Our lives must be totally wrapped up in Christ, exemplifying His character. As we overcome, taking the same steps as Christ did, we will receive His reward.
When we yield to God's Spirit, we receive the power to do the things God has prepared His firstfruits to accomplish, adding to the capabilities of the spirit in man.
God's Holy Spirit typically refers to the mind of God and Christ, which is added to our human spirit to create a sound mind by which we witness of God.
Waiting for God is an acquired virtue requiring patience and longsuffering. Times of waiting are times to practice obedience and fellowship with others.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on a cache of collected programs and articles of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, reflects that we have come a long way since then, building upon the foundation that was laid in the early years. We have broadened and deepened what we know. Even though we do not have resources, we are doing a work, primarily in feeding the flock and preparing the Bride for Christ. We have published a wealth of educational materials, including the Berean and the Forerunner, made available to the greater Church of God. We are "doing the work," moving far beyond what Herbert W. Armstrong had outlined, pushing back the frontiers of understanding. We should put the knowledge we have learned into practice. The wave offering at the Feast of Weeks indicates that the loaves had been previously corrupted by sin, but baked and made holy for the priest. In the presentation of the loaves, we have a picture of evaluation, inspection, and judgment. The loaves had been previously corrupted by sin, but they are made of choice fine flour, and baked (symbolic of sanctification by tests and trials). The acceptance of these loaves is only possible in concert with a sin and peace offering. The loaves are accepted and proclaimed holy, symbolically representing our enablement to be a part of God's family, the affianced Bride of Christ. The loaves are only for the Priest, Christ's possession. The bread becomes part of Him as we become one with Him. At the present time, God's called-out ones are being judged by their works, based upon what they know and what they are doing with this knowledge. The more we know, the more God expects from us. Our lives must mirror the depths of knowledge God has given us. On the Day of Pentecost, the disciples realized that Christ was now in Heaven, having sent the promised Comforter, enabling miraculous works and positive conviction to foll
God provides the gift before it is actually needed so that when it is needed, everything is prepared for the person to do as he has been commissioned to do.
Christ frequently used 3rd person titles, such as the Son of Man and the Helper. Just as Christ sent the Helper—Himself—so Yahweh sent His Angel—Himself.
Naomi's attractive personality, selflessness, godly conviction and common sense characterize her relationship with her Gentile daughters-in-law.
John Ritenbaugh maintains that our historical and theological roots are advanced in a polished, literary, chronological narrative, perhaps designed as a trial document authored by Luke. It defends the apostle Paul and the early church, with a larger purpose of 1) augmenting or increasing the faith of the saints, setting a pattern for all future generations of the church, demonstrating its continuity with the acts of God in the Old Testament; 2) proclaiming the church's mission and message; 3) showing progress despite seemingly overwhelming opposition; 4) tracing the expansion of the gospel to the Gentiles; and 5) revealing the life and organization of the church, emphasizing the role of the Holy Spirit in the church's formation, growth, and empowerment. Peter's sermon 1) explains the scriptural and prophetic significance of the Pentecost miracle, 2) proclaims the identity, death, and resurrection of Jesus, 3) and calls for repentance, a major condition for receiving God's Spirit.
Ryan McClure, acknowledging that we are about to enter another Spring holy day cycle, urges us to probe into the deeper meaning of these days more than we have previously, reminding us that God's wisdom is unsearchable. We discover that Jesus Christ's sacrifice was foreordained before the foundation of the world to permit the successful reproduction of the God-kind, fashioning mankind in His image. From the first blood-sign on the doorpost saving the first born of ancient Israel from physical death (signifying obedience to God's commands), Jesus Christ's blood sacrifice provides the means for us to be justified, beginning the lengthy sanctifying process through which we acquire the boldness to enter the sanctuary of God's throne room. The days of Unleavened Bread picture the putting out of sin as we leave Egypt (symbolic of our past slavery to sin). The 50-day trek toward Pentecost pictures our converted walk following Jesus Christ, receiving God's Holy Spirit to become one of the First-fruits, an heir to the Kingdom of God and a member of God's family. We should use this sacred time to dive deeper into things God has planned for us.
The Kingdom parables allude to the process of spiritual maturity, depicting a planted and cultivated seed becoming a sprout, eventually bearing fruit.
Pentecost commemorates the establishment of the church and the bestowal of spiritual gifts through God's Spirit. We need to use these gifts responsibly.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing on Peter's proclamation that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God, recognizes that after this awesome insight, Jesus realized that He could begin building His church. Sadly, the church that publically appeared in the second century was hopelessly corrupt, but appropriated the name 'Christian.' The Roman Catholic church presumed to speak for Christianity, attempting to control political and religious constituencies. The medieval (Roman Catholic) church was awash in sexual sins, as well as sins of avarice. The custodians of the 'keys to the kingdom' wielded their power to bind and loose for carte blanche control, using tithes, papal fees, papal taxes, fiefdoms, the threat of excommunication, and the selling of indulgences to increase the revenue of the church and promote tyrannical political power over secular domains. This massive, corrupt monolith was not the small flock that Jesus Christ founded, a group called and empowered by God's Holy Spirit, the same power that gave Peter the insight to recognize Christ's true office. Although Peter was given responsibilities of leadership, as connoted from the rock imagery or symbolism, he was not granted the post of 'vicar of Christ.' Peter would be considered first of the lively stones selected for His Temple. The apostles are indeed part of the foundation and Jesus Christ is the Corner Stone. Peter gets credit for being the first stone selected for the foundation that would also include us as part of the living stones. The 'keys of the kingdom' simply refers to the office of steward or caretaker to maintain the physical operations of the church, facilitating access to believers and protecting the sanctity from scoffers and detractors. Binding and loosing refers to powers of judgment, based on what God has already allowed through the apparent and manifest principles
The Parable of the Sower and the Seed exemplifies a number things that can happen to prevent us from having a place in God's spiritual harvest.
Here are the foundational principles to keep in mind in observing the Feasts of God throughout the year.
Ups and downs, blessings and trials, have characterized every era of the church. God's people are always battling something negative between the brief highs.
Jesus redeemed us with His shed blood from the penalty of our sins, but He also works as our High Priest, continually redeeming us until we are resurrected.
With dominion comes responsibility to maintain. The sad history of mankind shows that he has mismanaged his power, bringing about disease, war, and famine.
Richard Ritenbaugh, examining Thomas Seeley's analysis of the swarm instinct of bee cultures, and sociologists' attempt to link that wired-in animal instinct to human behavior (opting usually for collective groupthink), suggests that there is a balanced approach to applying community behavior to Christian living, especially when we apply Paul's body analogies in Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12 God's admonition that we learn from the ant does not teach us to yield to a hierarchical system but, rather, to unselfishly participate in a community, the final goal being its edification. Swarm behavior, flock behavior, and herd behavior, according to Tom Seeley is more democratic than authoritarian (as assumed in previous models). In the Body of Christ, we similarly work as an interdependent body of believers, serving one another, laboring for a common goal, as is rehearsed annually through God's appointed feasts and Holy days, all of which have unique qualities and lessons. On Pentecost, the priests baked loaves with leavening, representing those set apart before Christ's earthly ministry and those set apart after His ministry. We are obligated to be team players, looking after the needs of the entire body. Our rugged individualism must be tempered with the knowledge that we are part of a larger, interdependent body. Though God called us all individually, we need to think of ourselves as a part of the community, being just as protective of the flock as is our Elder Brother. Whether we are branches of a vine, God's field, God's building, God's flock, or the very bride of Christ, the common denominator is that God has designed us to serve one another. If we, as servants and fellow family members, all do our part, God will give the increase. There ought not be schisms in the Body; we will be living together eternally.
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon the topic of uniqueness, observes that our unique calling makes us a special possession of God, His peculiar people. Sealed with a downpayment of God's Holy Spirit, we have the obligation to glorify God by keeping His commandments until our ultimate and final redemption. Until then, we are only partially redeemed—like the ancient Israelites, outside of the boundaries of Egypt but still enslaved to sin. We are involved in a long-term process, moving slowly, patiently, and incrementally toward perfection. We cannot assume we are a finished product and let down on our urgency, realizing that on that path lie abundant deadly snares and hidden traps.
Confusion and separation have been man's legacy since Eden. Christ is working to put an end to division, enabling us to be one with the Father and each other.
Paul admonishes the Corinthians to resist contentions, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, backbiting, whispering, slander, conceit, and agitation.
A common idea is that the Sabbath is the sign of the Old Covenant, but the Holy Spirit is the sign of the New. Yet the seventh day has been holy since creation.
As we count the 50 days toward Pentecost, we should consider the events of our lives, coming to understand that they reveal God's on-going maintenance.
When things go wrong, an improperly rooted person becomes hard and cynical. This disillusionment happens if our hope or trust are in the wrong place.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reiterating the five symmetrical and correlative sets of documents and events (the Torah, the Megilloth, the books of the Psalms, the summary psalms, and the five seasons), focuses on second set (comprising Book 2 of Psalms, Exodus, Ruth, Psalm 147, and the Pentecost season). In this section, the psalmist David invariably uses the term Elohim, or Creator, connoting power, strength, and infinite intelligence. As Creator, God has undertaken a physical and spiritual creation that is continual and ongoing. The psalmist want us to see the Creator who is in the process of preparing a spiritual creation, through the means of His law and His Holy Spirit, treading through a formidable wilderness, culminating in the Bride of Christ. David as a prototype Christian faced multiple trials requiring trust and dependency on God. Like the psalmist David, when we experience severe trials, we must learn to trust God, anticipating that things will eventually turn around for our good. We can distill valuable insights and lessons from the trials we go through, enabling us to grow in character, and to thrive even as we suffer for righteousness sake.
The idea of redemption is that of 'buying back,' of paying the cost—often a steep one—to restore someone or something to a former condition or ownership.
Jesus selected disciples with disparate temperaments, unifying them to accomplish a steadfast purpose. God disperses a wide diversity of spiritual gifts.
If we do not keep God's holy days, we will deprive ourselves of the knowledge of God's purpose. Jesus and the first century church observed and upheld these days.
Martin Collins, observing that language contains energy, expresses chagrin that advertisements from major corporations seem to be descending to the lowest common denominator. Today we live in a country that praises impulse over restraint, law breaking over law keeping, and foolishness over wisdom. Politically correct language disguises perversity and corruption. Words spoken by ourselves get buried in our DNA. If we claim cancer, diabetes, or weak eyes, we may make the condition more ingrained. We need to be vigilant in our daily conversation, listening carefully to our turn of phrase. When we repeat negative expressions, they become reinforced, and we develop a negative disposition. Our spoken words reinforce our thoughts. Evil thoughts produce evil words which produce an evil culture. Righteous thoughts produce righteous words which produce a righteous culture. Child rearing should not be punctuated with harsh and belittling words, especially if accompanied by absolutist terms like always or never. Harsh words may damage a person"s nervous system permanently. Our Elder Brother exercised self-control, refraining to use negative expressions. The power of God's Holy Spirit within us will help us restrain the tongue. In the Millennium, we are promised a new language which will transform the world"s culture, having its foundation in God"s Law. We already have been learning to think in this language as we meditate on God's Law, having received the gift of the Holy Spirit, receiving the mind of Christ.
Jesus Christ's and Paul's example in Sabbath observance (including the annual Sabbaths) provide a model as to how we keep the Sabbath and the holy days.
Over-emphasis on law produces rigidity and loophole hunters, while over-emphasis on spirit produces emotional imbalance, permissiveness, and lack of structure.
Leviticus 23 not only reveals God's holy days—it also provides, in symbol form, a detailed schematic of God's plan!
Galatians 4:9-10 is a favorite crutch of those who claim Christians no longer need to observe God's holy days. However, Paul's meaning is quite different.