The Feast of Pentecost—as with all seven of the biblical Holy Days—represents an integral part of God’s Plan of salvation for a world cut off from Him. For those called into the truth, it is of utmost importance to fully recognize our role in that Plan.
By answering the following questions, you can set in your mind why you observe Pentecost. It helps to write out each scripture and occasionally review your notes.
(1) Did Christ promise His disciples that after His departure, He would send them spiritual help? John 14:16-18. Did Christ repeat this promise after His Resurrection? Luke 24:49; John 20:21-22; Acts 1:8. On what day did Christ send the Holy Spirit to His disciples? Acts 2:1-4.
Pentecost in AD 31 was the beginning of the New Testament Church of God. The disciples, who trained under Christ for three and a half years, received the Holy Spirit and began to fulfill their responsibilities as apostles.
This feast depicts the small early spring harvest, which typifies those called into the Church as firstfruits. Only a tiny minority are called now to fulfill special purposes in God’s Plan. The vast majority of humanity will be called later in God’s Plan as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles and Day of the Lord.
(2) Was Pentecost commanded to be kept forever as with Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread? Leviticus 23:14, 21.
When God says “forever,” He means forever!
(3) Did the apostles come together in Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost? Acts 2:1. Is there evidence that the Church in this era continued to keep Pentecost? Acts 20:16; I Corinthians 16:8.
Naturally, the apostles observed Pentecost and, as the Holy Days were important milestones, they often used these days as benchmarks in time.
(4) How does the wave sheaf offering tie into Pentecost, and what does it signify about the meaning of the day? Leviticus 23:10-11; John 20:17; I Corinthians 15:20-23.
The seven annual Holy Days are tied to the two harvest seasons in the region of Judea. The first season is the small spring harvest, followed later by the larger fall harvest. The first harvest begins during the Days of Unleavened Bread and ends by the time of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks. This name reflects how this feast is derived by counting seven Sabbaths, covering seven weeks. The Greek term for Pentecost means “fiftieth.”
Before the spring harvest began, the wave sheaf offering took place. This offering always occurred on the first day of the week, following the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. This wave sheaf offering of barley was the first of the firstfruits brought to the priest, to be presented before God. Barley was most often used for the wave sheaf offering, as it was the first grain to mature and be ready for harvest in early spring.
Christ fulfilled the wave sheaf offering after His Resurrection when His sacrifice was accepted by the Father (John 20:19).
(5) What day was the wave sheaf offering made each year? Leviticus 23:10-11.
“The morrow after the Sabbath” means the first day of the week, or Sunday. The context of this verse falls within the timeframe of the Days of Unleavened Bread, as verse 8 summarizes the seven days and states that the seventh day is a time of holy convocation. The Sabbath referred to in verse 11 could only be the weekly Sabbath that falls within the Days of Unleavened Bread. If it were counted from either one of the Holy Days (first or seventh), then Pentecost would always fall on the same day of the month year after year and would not have to be counted.
(6) How was the count made from the day of the wave sheaf offering? Leviticus 23:15-16.
We are to begin counting on the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath that falls during the Days of Unleavened Bread. The target day is clearly stated in verse 16, which shows that we are to number “even unto the day after the seventh Sabbath,” or seven weeks.
(7) Why are those called in this age known as firstfruits? James 1:18; Revelation 14:4. Do we find brethren referred to as firstfruits in Scripture? Romans 16:5; I Corinthians 16:15.
In ancient Israel, the small spring harvest of the firstfruits did not begin until the high priest presented the wave sheaf offering (the first of the firstfruits) for God to accept. Likewise, the harvest of the firstfruits in God’s Plan did not begin until Christ was accepted as the First of the Firstfruits. This small harvest of the firstfruits will not take place until Christ’s Return.
(8) What is the meaning of the two loaves of bread offered at the Feast of Firstfruits? Leviticus 23:17.
The two loaves of bread represent the times of the Old Testament Church and the times of the New Testament Church. One loaf portrays ancient Israel, and the other loaf portrays the true Church. The fact that both loaves contained leavening shows that even those called after the time of Christ are in the process of overcoming sin and developing character.
God gave the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai on the Feast of Pentecost. Although the Law was written in stone at that time (Ex. 31:18), those whom God calls into His Church are to have the Law written in their hearts (Jer. 31:33). This is made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.