There are seven specific feasts that the Lord instructed the Children of Israel to observe and celebrate. There are three Spring feasts; Passover, Firstfruits and Unleavened Bread. There are three Fall feasts; Trumpets, Atonement and the Harvest. In the midst of these is my favorite, called the Feast of Harvest in Exodus 23, but known to Christians as Pentecost. If the seven feasts are listed in date order, they form a Menorah design. It is interesting that Pentecost is in the middle, in the Servant Lamp position.
The Children of Israel were instructed to count fifty days starting with the first Sunday (which is the Feast of Firstfruits) after Passover. (Leviticus 23:15-16) Therefore, Pentecost always falls on Sunday, the Lord’s Day. It is the fiftieth day and the Greek word pentecost means fiftieth. This feast was to be a time of rejoicing. (Deuteronomy 1:11) It was on the Day of Pentecost that Peter preached the famous sermon of Acts 2 and thousands of souls were saved. Pentecost is considered to be the “birthday” of the Church.
The Book of Ruth tells the story of a Gentile, Ruth, working in the harvest field and being watched over by Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer. The harvest is the early, barley harvest. The result of the story is the kinsman-redeemer initiating the steps toward marriage with the Gentile bride at the time of the early harvest. Boaz is a type of our redeemer, Jesus; and Ruth is a type of the Church, the Gentile Bride. According to Jewish tradition, this preparation for the marriage occurred on the Day of Pentecost. In fact, currently in synagogues on the Day of Pentecost, the rabbis read the Book of Ruth.
In Exodus 34:22 Moses was instructed to celebrate the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) with the firstfruits of the harvest. The Church is the early harvest. As noted in an earlier lesson, the Church is the Spring bride and the Jews are the Fall bride.
It is obvious that the Lord planned for the Day of Pentecost to be an important day to the Gentile Church, many centuries before the time of Jesus and Peter’s Pentecost sermon. But there is more to this special day. The fifty days also relate to the fifty year cycle of Jubilee.
Every seven years in the land of Israel was a Sabbatical Year. No planting was done and the land rested. Every seven Sabbatical Years (forty-nine years) inaugurated the Year of Jubilee. This was the fiftieth year. In this year all land went back to the original owner, debts were forgiven, slaves were released and everyone got a fresh start with a “clean slate.” The Year of Jubilee was about redemption; the redemption of land and people.
Likewise, the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus, is also about redemption. Pentecost is about the redemption of all mankind. All mankind, not just a specific group of people, can be redeemed because of Jesus, “the Firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (First Corinthians 15:20)
Another name for the Year of Jubilee that is used by Jews today is “Homebringing.” All land and peoples are brought back home. The fifty days of Pentecost relate not only to the redemption of Jubilee, but to the Homebringing of the Church. Pentecost is a day of joy and redemption, and it is all about the Church. Maranatha!