This is Day 36 of the counting of 50 days to Pentecost.
The Biblical Feast of Firstfruits
“How It Explains a Great Mystery
A little-understood festival commanded in the Bible helps us understand a key aspect of God's plan and why most of the world doesn't know or understand Him.
Pentecost has a meaning that transcends anything you might have ever thought about.
God has a plan. But when skeptics look at the sorry state of world conditions, many of them doubt the existence of God. After all, they reason, how can you have a God who created the heavens and earth, put man on the earth and then left the human race to fend for itself?
Is there any truth in this?
Surely if Almighty God had intended to convert the world to Him during this age, He would have succeeded in doing so. That hasn’t happened, so what is going on?
God is doing more than what people suppose. As we’ll see, He has an ordered, step-by-step plan to bring peace to the world and at the same time offer salvation to mankind in the most extraordinary way—a way that will give each person who has ever lived the best opportunity to fulfill that purpose.
It may not look like that now, but the Feast of Firstfruits, or Pentecost as it’s called in the New Testament, has a meaning that transcends anything you might have ever thought about.
Contrary to a popular belief, God is involved in human affairs—and a lot more than you might think. This ancient festival God gave Israel helps us to understand just what it is that He’s doing—and why it seems to many that He is doing little or nothing to save humanity right now.
Origins of the Festival of Firstfruits
Shortly after giving the Ten Commandments, God gave Israel another command: “Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread … and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labours which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year …” (Exodus 23:14-16).
At this Feast of Harvest, also called the Feast of Firstfruits or Weeks, the Israelites were to offer the firstfruits of the late spring wheat harvest in the Holy Land (Numbers 28:26; Exodus 34:22). Months later they celebrated another festival, called the Feast of Ingathering or the Feast of Tabernacles. This came at “the end of the year”—the end of the agricultural cycle of the year at summer’s end in the Holy Land—when the people gathered in all the harvest.
These festivals were commanded. And because of what God intends for us to learn from His festivals, they are still to be celebrated by God’s people today. We should also understand that when a person observes the festivals of God today, he is not just commemorating God’s blessings in the agricultural harvests of the Holy Land. He is celebrating and learning about something far more important—God’s very purpose and plan for the salvation of mankind!
A spiritual harvest and spiritual firstfruits
God’s Word speaks of two kinds of harvests. One is the agricultural harvest mentioned above. But that represents another harvest—the far more important spiritual harvest.
Notice Jesus Christ’s words in Luke 10:1-2: “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”
Jesus is likening the spiritual harvest to an actual grain harvest. In John 4:35-36 He said to His disciples: “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life …”
The harvests surrounding the biblical feasts of God were in fact designed to teach us about the spiritual harvest that Jesus came to earth to sow the seeds of and that He and His disciples began to reap. As there was an earlier and later harvest in the Middle East, so too are there two phases of the spiritual harvest.
The apostle James says that God’s people are “a kind of firstfruits of all he created” (James 1:18, New International Version, emphasis added throughout). This helps us see that those with whom God is working now are understood to be “firstfruits.” Firstfruits are the first of what is being produced. This implies there are other fruits to be harvested later.
This isn’t God’s world or God’s time
Have you ever wondered why the Christian religion has not resolved the world’s problems? Why hasn’t it prevailed over other great world religions and false philosophies?
One would expect the work of Jesus Christ, coming from God, would bring in an era where the great movement of Christianity would prevail and usher in a time of peace. After all, it is a teaching of the Christian Church that the Kingdom of God would expand from that small beginning and that the power of God would be manifest to the world in His disciples that followed.
So why hasn’t that happened?” Continued at: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/the-biblical-feast-of-firstfruits-how-it-explains-a-great-mystery
Pentecost's Meaning for You!
“Pentecost, an annual Holy Day within God’s calendar, brings an inspiring lesson for our lives.
Transcript of YouTube: https://youtu.be/ojatDBea5Nk
[Steve Myers] All right. We’re right between the time of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, God’s festival season. And this is a time that the Bible tells us there’s something very special in order to come to the time of the Passover. And in Leviticus 23:15, it gives us this unique aspect of Pentecost, and how we find what day that we’re to meet on as we worship and honor God. And it says, “You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbath shall be completed.” And then it says, “Count 50 days to the day after the seventh Sabbath, then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.”
So it’s telling us how we get to the day of Pentecost, this special feast that God’s design. And in order to celebrate on the proper day, you have to count. In fact, the word Pentecost means 50th. And so you count to the 50th day and that’s the day you celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. And I think there’s an important lesson there, because we know that these festival days, especially in Old Testament times, were arranged around the harvest seasons. And so this wave sheaf began the harvest season, that spring season. And that lasted all the way through Pentecost with the barley and then the wheat harvest. And so harvest is intricately connected to Pentecost. And so as you look here, we’re counting the days, counting our days to the harvest as this harvest is collected. And so we find this idea of maturing crops so that they’re prepared to be harvest.
And there’s a spiritual connection there that I think is so critical for us. Are you counting? We need to count the days of our life, as we consider our life. Are we growing spiritually? Are we dedicated to serving God? No matter rain, sunshine, snow, whatever it is that’s occurring in our life, are we continuing to grow spiritually as our harvest time continues? Because we know harvest only lasts for a certain amount of time.
And so I think we can connect this to a beautiful Psalm. In Psalms 90:12, it tells us something that I think is related to this idea of counting, and Pentecost. It says, “Teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” You see, all of us are only given a certain amount of time for life. And as God has called you and opened his mind…your mind to his truth we’ve got to choose to follow him. We have a limited amount of time, the harvest only lasted so long. We have to recognize that fact in our life. And don’t let down. Don’t let the discouragement, don’t let the bad weather of your life take you out of the picture so that you’re not ready for harvest. So be ready, count the days of your life and be ready not only for Pentecost but ultimately that great spiritual harvest.” From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/beyond-today-daily/pentecosts-meaning-for-you
Things are still quiet here at these senior apartments. The office is now open every weekday, well mostly. But still no entry to the Community Room, so no Bingo, Fitness or Health programs for the residents and only one person at a time in the laundry. Things might be back to normal one day.
The stores are livening up though, but most folks are wearing masks. I have been to Brookshire Bros, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Walmart and Tractor Supply. Those are about all the stores we have in this little city of Navasota, TX. Oh, there are a couple of auto parts stores, amongst all the antique stores. The local thrift shop opened back up, so I bought some shorts ready for summer. The beauty shop opened ‘with distancing’, so my neighbor and I got our hair cut, finally. I was beginning to look like an Old English Sheepdog.
The Bible study at church is still done on Zoom, but my neighbor and I prefer to go over there, but this time we stayed while the pastor recorded the sermon on Facebook. We were still under the 10 people limit in the church, but it was a great fellowshipping day.