Christian Churches of God
(Edition 1.0 20090524-20090524)
The two-day Feast of Pentecost falls on the Sabbath and the First day of the week in the Third month of the Sacred Calendar. In this paper we will review how Pentecost is determined, what the day symbolizes and why it is important.
Pentecost is one of God’s seven annual Holy Days and one of the three annual pilgrimage Feasts for which we are instructed to bring an offering and keep outside of our gates. Pentecost is the only Holy Day of God that is not on a specific day of the month. It is however, on a specific day of the week, Sunday, also called the First day of the week.
Leviticus 23:10-11, 15-16, 21 "10 Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; 11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 15 "And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, 16 counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the LORD. 21 And you shall make proclamation on the same day; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work: it is a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (RSV)
Every Holy Day in God’s annual calendar points toward an important aspect in God’s Plan of Salvation (see Introduction to God’s Holy Days (No. CB131)). The Feast of Pentecost points toward the spiritual harvest of the elect, or the Church of God. It was partly fulfilled when the Ten Commandments were given to Israel at Mount Sinai, and then in 30 CE when the Holy Spirit was given to the Church (Acts 2), but Pentecost also looks forward to the redemption of the elect in the First Resurrection.
How is the day of Pentecost Determined?
The paper Wave Sheaf and the Count to Pentecost (CB137), reviews that the count to Pentecost begins in the first month during the Days of Unleavened Bread. The first day of the week during Unleavened Bread, Sunday, is the first day of the count. We count each day until we arrive at the 50th day, Pentecost. Both the Wave Sheaf and Pentecost are on the first day of the week (Sunday), 50 days apart. Counting to Pentecost is made up of seven perfect weeks (7 x 7 = 49). This yearly cycle mirrors how we count the years of the Jubilee. By the 49th day, we all should be in the place where Eloah has placed His name so we can be gathered together to keep the weekly Sabbath and Pentecost. For more details see Wave Sheaf and the count to Pentecost (CB 137) and The Omer Count to Pentecost (No. 173z).
In the Old Testament, Pentecost is called the “Feast of Weeks”. The term Pentecost (SGD 4005) was introduced in the New Testament. It means the “fiftieth day” and comes from the root word that means fifty.
Let us look briefly at the meaning of the number fifty. Fifty is ten times five. We also have seven times seven plus one from the actual count of seven full weeks. From the Symbolism of Numbers (No. 7) we read:
Ten (10) denotes ordinal completeness and a new commencement as one in the new series.
Five (5) denotes Divine Grace. Being 4+1, it is the works taken with the Spirit of God in peace towards strengthening by trial. Thus the fifth year of the sequence is one of grace and no trial is undertaken fully in this phase.
In Hebrew, Bullinger points out that Ha'aretz (the Earth) by gematria – which is the addition of the numerical value of the letters together – is a multiple of four, while Hashamayim (the heavens) is a multiple of five. The gematria of the Greek term Charis or Grace is also a multiple of five. Five is the leading factor in the Tabernacle measurement.
Seven (7) denotes spiritual perfection. It reflects the work of the Holy Spirit as the power of God, as a hallmark does. It is the mark of life and divides the periods of reproduction in animal life. It is the number of rest and the cycle of rest in the Jubilee. It is also the period of return to God in rest and return to His Law, and that is why the Law is read in the Sabbath year of the cycle.
When we look at the numbers associated with fifty, we see spiritual perfection (7x7) followed by complete divine grace (50). Fifty is a complete cycle reflected and mirrored in the Jubilee and the count to Pentecost.
These fifty days demonstrate the Jubilee system in man. They represent fifty years of the Holy Spirit developing in man. (This is the time between the ages of 20 when we become an adult and 70 representing the average lifespan given to man.) During these 50 days from the Wave Sheaf Offering to Pentecost, love and unity with the brethren and for God should grow.
Fifty is also very common in the Temple Solomon built. For more details see the papers The Tabernacle in the Wilderness (No. CB42), The Temple Solomon Built (No. CB107), Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C), Altar of Burnt Offering (No. CB108), Holy of Holies and Ark of the Covenant (No. CB112), Courtyards of God’s Dwelling Places (No. CB113), and Brazen Sea and Ten Lavers (No. CB114).
The Significance of the Pentecost Sacrifices
Leviticus 23:16-21 Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. 17 You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD. 18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD. 19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering. 20 The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (NKJV)
It is interesting that God instructed them to wave leavened loaves. In all other instances, offerings are to be unleavened. On the day of Pentecost, the leavening in the loaves represented the Holy Spirit. It looked forward to the Day of Pentecost in 30 CE when the Holy Spirit was given to the Church. This fulfilled the symbolism of the leavened loaves. The reason there are two loaves is to show us that Jesus Christ would come twice, once as a priest and again in the future as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to rule the planet under God.
All of the other sacrifices on the day of Pentecost have spiritual significance as well. From Pentecost at Sinai (No. 115z) we read:
The seven lambs represent the seven spirits of God as the angels of the seven Churches.
The bullock, or young bull, is the Bull of Ephraim; which symbolizes Messiah (Deut. 33:17 cf. Num. 23:22 see also Jer. 31:18).
The two rams represent the two witnesses of the last days.
The sin and the peace offerings represent the reconciliation of the elect as the precursor to the general Atonement.
Pentecost in the year of Exodus – the giving of the Ten Commandments
Remember, from the paper Moses and the Exodus (No. CB16), Eloah ordered the elohim (i.e. the Angel that gave the Law to Moses) to take the Israelites out of Egypt. The Israelites understood that the Angel of the Presence, or the Angel of YHVH that led them in the cloud, was a subordinate being through whom God chose to reveal His Law to them (Jdg. 2:1-3). This messenger bore the Presence of God; he carried the Authority of God (Ex. 23:20-23), and the name of God. He was the Angel who gave the Law to Moses (Acts 7:38,53; Gal. 3:19). He was the Angel who spoke for God at Sinai (Acts 7:38).
Not long after the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai, Moses received a divine request to come up Mount Sinai alone to receive instructions directly from the Lord, the Angel of Yahovah, acting as a spokesman for God.
Exodus 19:1-25 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain. 3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” 7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. 9 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.” So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. 10 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.” 16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. 20 Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them.” 23 But Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 Then the LORD said to him, “Away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest He break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. (NKJV)
The very next chapter in the Bible begins the Ten Commandments that were given to the Israelites.
Moses made three ascents up the mountain during the first six days of the Third month. This coincides with the period of time that Pentecost occurs. The Israelites were given the basis of the Law over the period leading to the day of Pentecost. The Israelites were given the Law of God, including the Ten Commandments written in stone from this period. However, it had to be given twice as they sinned and the first tablets were broken.
The Israelites being given the Law of God at Pentecost looked forward to a time when the Holy Spirit would be given to the Church to write the Law of God in their hearts.
For more information see Moses and the Israelites Move on to Sinai (No. CB40), Pentecost at Sinai (No. 115) and The Ascents of Moses (No. 70).
Pentecost on Sinai pointed forward to the receipt of the Holy Spirit by the Church in 30 CE. Let us now look at Pentecost in the New Testament.
The Day of Pentecost in 30 CE – the giving of the Holy Spirit
In Acts 2 we read the story of Pentecost in 30 CE, the year Messiah was killed. We learn that the apostles were gathered together and the Holy Spirit came upon them in power. They obeyed Eloah and gathered with those that believed like them.
Acts 2:1-4 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (NKJV)
The Church was gathered together at 9:00 a.m. on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was given to the Church in power and allowed everyone there to hear what everyone else was saying in their own language. It was a great miracle.
Acts 2:15 states that 3000 were baptised on that day.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the power of God (see What is the Holy Spirit? (No.CB3)). The Holy Spirit works in the individual, bringing him or her into the Body of Christ, and develops each of us to become kings, priests and prophets. The Holy Spirit gives understanding of the mysteries to the elect and makes them stewards of the mysteries of God. For more information see the The Mysteries of God (No. 131).
What is a steward?
steward (plural stewards)
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/steward (There are other definitions, but this is the most relevant.)
We can clearly see the elect, as stewards, are managing the Law of Eloah and bringing His Law into practice on the planet. 1Corinthians 4:1-5 explains things even further.
1Corinthians 4:1-5 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God. (RSV)
The elect are given access to understanding the mysteries of God, but that understanding is dependent upon their relationship to God in the Holy Spirit. We must be dedicated to God in Jesus Christ. We must have an attitude of selflessness – putting God first and doing the work of God before everything else. The extent of the mysteries to be revealed in the Last Days will demonstrate the wisdom of God to both the heavenly and human Host.
The Holy Spirit works with you before baptism and in you from baptism (see paper Repentance and Baptism (No. 52)). It is not acceptable to be baptised and then not be committed to the work of God in Jesus Christ. God works with us through the Holy Spirit and introduces us to the mysteries of God. We then spend some time being trained in the word of God so that we understand God’s word and His way of life. Finally, we are prepared to teach the word of God to others. We teach by our actions as well as our words. That is why we are called lights of the world (Mat. 5:14). Those who are exposed and learn the faith from their youth are blessed.
The trials that we endure are to test our faith and our foundation, for we are the temple of God.
1Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
Jesus Christ was the first living stone chosen by God. We are added to Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone, one by one, to build the house of God. Upon each living stone (which we are), others are added. We must be true (honest in our words and actions) and firm (standing solidly in God’s way of life) for the temple to stand intact. The living stones are also given a living oracle (Acts 7:38), which is the Scriptures, and a living hope (1Pet. 1:3), which is the faith (see paper The Oracles of God (No. 184)).
The attitude that is required for each living stone to remain part of the structure is to put away all malice, guile, envy and slander. We are required to work together. We are to be as newborn babes, taking of the pure spiritual milk so we may grow to salvation.
The true work of God and the elect of God are identified from sound doctrine in the mysteries of God, and the way in which they worship the One True God. God tells us that if the prophets do not speak according to the law and to the testimony it is because there is no light in them (Isa. 8:20).
Isaiah 8:16-18,20 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 17 And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. 20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
This is prophecy. Jesus Christ has been given the elect, or the Church, by God the Father as signs and wonders to Israel and to the world. The law and the testimony have been given to us through the Holy Spirit and are sealed up in us. Because of the Holy Spirit, we are compelled to act according to the law and the testimony.
We should do our best to help the work of God and get the gospel out to all nations. In order to help, we must learn to be fruitful.
Titus 3:13-14 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apol'los on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not to be unfruitful. (RSV)
As for children, there are many ways to be fruitful. It can be with your prayers, or standing up in front of your friends for what you believe in. It can also be by living God’s way of life and putting Him first. All of these things help others to see God’s truth.
Why is the Holy Spirit important?
Without the Holy Spirit we are not part of the family of God. Without the Holy Spirit it is as if our lifeblood is cut off.
We are all corrupt, carnal people. We cannot overcome sin without the intervention of God through the Holy Spirit.
Jeremiah 10:23-24 I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. 24Correct me, O LORD, but in just measure; not in thy anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
The Holy Spirit is the link that unites us all. Remember, the Holy Spirit is not something we can feel or touch with our hands. We know if it is present or not, from what goes on in our minds and how we behave (Gal. 5:16-18, 22,23).
The Holy Spirit joins us all together to form the Temple of God (1Cor. 3:16; 6:19). God calls us into the Kingdom of God to work. It is not because we are special or good. The Spirit gives all of us some special gift or talent, so we can work together just like one body. A body is made up of many parts. Each of the body parts, such as arms, legs, eyes and ears, work together with all the other parts. Nothing works independently. So we need to help each other in the work of the Church with love and power from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is called the “helper” (Jn. 15:26). It helps us to understand the Bible and the things of God. It teaches us the truth (Jn. 14:16-17, 26; 16:13; 1Jn. 4:6; 5:6). It knows all things (1Cor. 2:10-11). The Holy Spirit is the means by which we become sons of God (Gal. 4:6-7; Rom. 8:14). Christ helps us, teaches us and comforts us through the Holy Spirit. This is actually the power of God living in us and in Christ. It comes from God and then to us through Christ. It is like a force that draws us to God through Christ (Heb. 7:25). It is invisible.
The Holy Spirit is also symbolised by water (Jdg. 15:19; Jn. 7:37-39). We are baptised with the Holy Spirit (Mat. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16) and that power fills us and makes us new beings. The Holy Spirit is the fountain of the water of life (Rev. 21:6)
The Spirit can be quenched (1Thes. 5:19) by being neglected or grieved (Eph. 4:30) and thus admits of gains and losses in the individual (see What is the Holy Spirit? (No. CB3) and The Statement of Beliefs (A1)).
When we have God’s Spirit and live the way He commands, we begin to show the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We can read about these in Galatians 5:22-23.
Three Harvests of Eloah
As we have learned, Messiah is the first of the fruits – the barley harvest with the Wave Sheaf offering during the days of Unleavened Bread. The Church is the second harvest – the wheat harvest which begins at Pentecost. It is the Church working under Joshua the Messiah’s direction that brings about the work of Eloah (Ha Elohim) in the Last Days. The elect, the Church, marries Messiah at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb that occurs with Messiah’s second coming (Rev. 19:7, 9). This leads into the third harvest, Ingathering, which is for the physical people who will live on into the Millennium (see the paper Ingathering (No.139)).
The harvest of God comprises the whole Earth, which includes all mankind and the Host. For more information see the paper The Three Harvests of God (No. CB133).
The Holy Spirit is the power of God that works in our hearts and minds giving us the desire to follow God’s way of life. It is nothing to be afraid of, as God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love (2Tim. 1:7).
God desires obedience more than sacrifice (1Sam.15:22). As we obey Him and keep His Laws He directs our thoughts (Prov. 6:3) and helps us stay on the right path.
Let us all go forth using the Holy Spirit that was given on Pentecost in 30 CE to boldly do the work of Eloah prior to the return of the Witnesses to the planet.