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!
The Pentecost offering of two loaves contains the idea of difference, while the New Testament Pentecost in Acts 2 shows differences being divinely overcome.
The grain offering is not substitutionary; it does not symbolize an individual but rather the product of his labors toward others from God's bounty.
Scripture uses leaven as a symbol of corruption. The mystery deepens with the instruction of not one leavened loaf but two. Why two leavened loaves?
Right now in the church of God, doctrinal differences divide us, including when to start the count to Pentecost when Passover falls on a weekly Sabbath.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The signs that accompanied Peter's Pentecost sermon attracted attention, confirmed God's Word, and provided meaning to the effects of the Holy Spirit.
We may do the right thing toward a neighbor but not do it with the exact, perfect attitude that God does it in. Thus, our 'good' work contains corruption.
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 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.
Being careless with something we deem minor can be fatal. We are to live by every word God gives to us, kept pure, unadulterated by additions and subtractions.
The apostle Paul teaches that tongues (languages) are only used to communicate intelligently, not gibberish. Tongues originally served as a sign for unbelievers.
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.
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.
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.
Like Christ, we too are firstfruits, represented by the leavened loaves picturing our acceptance by the Father.
The phrase, 'when you come into the land' (regarding offering the Wavesheaf), sounds like an absolute command, but its usage shows there may be qualifiers.
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.
The Pentecost season generally corresponds to Book II of the Psalms, Exodus, and the story of Ruth. Major themes include exile, separation, and redemption.
The 'very same' or 'selfsame' day is a memorial of a past event, typically on the same date, including several of God's appointed times and pronouncements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.'
The Kingdom parables allude to the process of spiritual maturity, depicting a planted and cultivated seed becoming a sprout, eventually bearing fruit.
God has bless,ed the firstfruits with precious belief and knowledge which must be protected, guarded, nourished and exercised so it will not slip away.
Pentecost commemorates the establishment of the church and the bestowal of spiritual gifts through God's Spirit. We need to use these gifts responsibly.
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.
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.
Waiting for God is an acquired virtue requiring patience and longsuffering. Times of waiting are times to practice obedience and fellowship with others.
Here are the foundational principles to keep in mind in observing the Feasts of God throughout the year.
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.
Our historical and theological roots are advanced in a polished, chronological narrative (Acts), perhaps designed as a trial document authored by Luke.
Time is fleeting; any of us could perish tomorrow. Procrastination in matters of godliness can be fatal, as the parable of the rich fool teaches.
God's call to learn from the ant does not teach us to yield to a hierarchical system, but to participate in a community with the goal of edification.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With dominion comes responsibility to maintain. The sad history of mankind shows that he has mismanaged his power, bringing about disease, war, and famine.
When Jesus answered the Jewish religious leaders at His trial, telling them they would shortly see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of the sky (Matthew 26:64), He did not mean that they would be alive at His second coming. The verb see in this passage (and in Mark 14:62) means "to comprehend"; Jesus was prophesying that very soon they would begin grasping—though still rejecting the truth—that Christ was indeed the Messiah prophesied to sit on the right hand of the Father after ascending to heaven in clouds (Psalm 110:1). Daniel 7:13-14 clarifies the meaning of "coming" in Matthew 26:64: Christ was referring to His coming to the Father in heaven, not to His return to earth much later. In the events shortly after Christ's Ascension, the Jewish leadership became aware of Christ's resurrection and the miraculous events of Pentecost—none of which were done in a corner. They repeatedly heard reference to Christ's sitting on the right hand of God (Acts 2:32, Acts 5:30, Acts 7:56). Though they sometimes silenced the messengers (Acts 5:17-21; 40-43, Acts 7:60), they were unable to stop the work of the One who had received "all authority ... on heaven and earth" (Matthew 28:18). Forty years later, God destroyed the iteration of His Kingdom and its capital, from where those leaders had so corruptly ruled (Matthew 21:41), giving the Kingdom to a nation which bore its fruits (Matthew 21:43). Today, Christ sits at the right hand of His Father (Ephesians 1:20); furthermore, God has enlivened His chosen and, through a process we do not fully understand at this time, enabled them to "sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). They, together with Christ, have received the Kingdom, and will possess it forever (Daniel 7:18).
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.
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!