The next important Holy Day on God’s “appointed times” calendar (Gen. 1:14 and Lev. 23), is the Day of Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits, which will be on Sunday, June 4, 2017.
Lev. 23:14: “And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 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.”
Seven weeks (49 days) are counted from the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls during the Days of Unleavened. The next day, Sunday, marks the 50th day. Pentecost means “fiftieth” or “count fifty.”
The Feast of Firstfruits or Pentecost is an Old Testament festival first instructed in Lev. 23. Many Christians today are ignorant of its origin and believe Pentecost is a New Testament concept. Many Christians call themselves Pentecostals and are not aware of its deeper meaning. Some pastors have even erroneously preached, “Pentecost was the first Sunday church service in the New Testament.” Wrong! Yes, it falls on a Sunday, but it is not about telling Christians they can now worship on Sundays or the beginning of a ‘tongue speaking’ movement. It was a high Holy Day or annual Sabbath of “the Lord thy God.” Many Christians stay far away from the word Sabbath, but you cannot get around this one; Pentecost is an annual Sabbath.
Had the pastors done their research or observe God’s biblical festivals, they wouldn’t make such a statement. Fact: The Feast of Firstfruits is one of God’s seven annual Holy Days or annual Sabbaths given by God in Lev. 23 – festivals He describes as “my feasts,” and “the feasts of the Lord.” Notice He didn’t say they are Jewish feasts. He gave them to Israel. Why? Israel was the only nation God was working with at the time.
Millions of Christians have made another blunder in equating Pentecost with the beginning of the tongue-speaking movement. In other words, the gift of ‘speaking in tongues’ started at Pentecost. No one can deny that a miracle occurred at the Pentecost gathering as recorded in Acts 2, but let us get some facts straight.
The first question one should ask is; why were God’s apostles and others gathered on the Day of Pentecost? To introduce Sunday worship? No! It was certainly for no Sunday service. There was no such gathering on Sundays at that time (except for the annual Sabbath of Pentecost), and furthermore, the very last verse in Luke tells us Jesus and His followers continued to worship in the temple following the practices they were taught up to the time Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus didn’t keep Sunday. Jesus kept the seventh day Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths (John 7). These men of God knew and observed the Feast of Firstfruits because of their Hebraic practices and in obedience to God’s commandments. They were there to celebrate the feast, not to attend a Sunday service. Plain and simple, despite what some churches teach. Pentecost just happens to fall on a Sunday each year because of the counting of seven weeks and then the fiftieth day.
Remember Jesus told His followers earlier to “tarry (wait) at Jerusalem to receive power from on high,” Luke 24:49. Jesus knew they would be at Jerusalem for the festival. He was not telling them to “tarry’ to get the gift of speaking in “tongues,” (foreign languages) but to wait for fulfillment of the promise of the coming of the Comforter, The Holy Spirit. Jesus used the opportunity to make good on His promise at that gathering. The coming of “power” gave the men of God and the church the boost they needed because from there onwards, preaching the gospel would be different. The fulfillment was the birth of the church.
Men from all different ethnic backgrounds, as Acts recorded, gathered for the festival of firstfruits. A miracle happened. The “power from on high” gave the men utterance or words to proclaim and they “spake with other tongues (Gr. Glossa: language).” The miracle was “each one heard them speaking in his own tongue (or language).” That’s a far cry from what churches that claim to speak in tongues do nowadays. It bears no resemblance to what actually happened at Pentecost.
Some groups have formed a whole religion from the Pentecost experience overlooking the purpose and meaning of the event. Some have gone as far as saying every Christian has to speak in tongues as evidence they have the Holy Spirit. Here’s what they have completely misunderstood. Pentecost was an unusual and miraculous event; its focus was not about tongue-speaking; they didn’t have and needed any interpreters; God used the occasion to empower the church. It didn’t mean churches could now “tarry for the Spirit” and introduce all manner of unbiblical principles to prove members speak in tongues because it is the only evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Tarry means “wait,” not to keep pushing your hands in the air to bring the Holy Spirit upon you as many people practice nowadays. That did not happen at Pentecost and there was no need for it.
The meaning of the Feast of Firstfruits or Pentecost is much more than that. It’s a pity the message has been skewed and interpreted erroneously and has marred the deeper meaning of the festival. Many who observe it as a Sunday service have missed the message completely. Will they ever grasp the concept of what it is to be a “firstfruit,” the original meaning of the festival? Will they stop to notice the references to the concept of “firstfruits” in the New Testament and see how it ties in inspiringly with the birth of the church and the whole plan of God for humanity? Will these groups ever pause to consider the implications of “firstfruits” and the risen Saviour, the Christ? Will they grasp, to any degree, that Jesus Christ has been described as the ‘firstfruit,” of the harvest; in so doing, the Feast of Firstfruits or Pentecost also carries a picture of the resurrection of our Saviour?
It would serve well if we would turn our attention to the Bible and learn what it says about this significant festival. Understandably, many people don’t understand the concept of “firstfruits,” in the New Testament and its link to Pentecost. It is one of God’s annual Sabbaths, which Christianity has largely ignored and instead embraced man-made festivals such as Christmas and Easter. Unless you have an understanding of the concept of these festivals, which outline God’s plan for humanity, that both Old and New Testaments teach clearly, there will be confusion.
1 Cor. 15:20 clearly describes Jesus Christ as the firstfruits of the harvest. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” In other words, Christ is the first or the “firstfruits” of those who will come up in the first resurrection. He is already risen and as verse 23 says “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” Can you see the connection with the Feast of Firstfruits (from the grain harvest in the Old Testament) and Jesus Christ the firstfruits of the great harvest of humanity portrayed in the New Testament? Can the Bible get any clearer than that? Many don’t read it and leave it up their pastors to interpret, and so, if the pastors make an error, everyone follows the error. Here’s an opportunity to learn the truth about Pentecost, the Feast of Firstfruits and what it means for your future and the future of all humanity. Download our FREE booklet The Miracle of Pentecost.